Operation story: 13-20

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The Shard
Lifebone Nerve Center
Lifebone Spine

After operation

The Sanguinarch rushes to the battlefield. Using "Teekaz blood" preserved for millennia, he completes the last step of the ritual. Something is about to be born atop The Shard. Amiya and Logos confront him.
Background-Victorian Palace.png
How dull.
Did you think this would anger me? Offend me?
Did you think I would kick your corpse in anger? Curse your insolence?
I'm not going to do any of that, Lettou. René Lettou.
Insignificant man... same as the land itself in my eyes, an annoyance.
Did you think this act could give meaning to your pathetic life?
Still so conceited, Lettou.
I won't give you another thought, not so much as a momentary glance.
<Background 1>
Sanguinarch of Vampires ...Theresis.
Theresis Vampire.
Sanguinarch of Vampires If memory serves, I have some sort of role in your hypocritical "Military Commission".
But I haven't seen a war report from you in quite some time?
Theresis Nor have you attended any Commission meetings in quite some time.
You've always held the requisite command authority.
Sanguinarch of Vampires "Command authority."
I don't need to command my offspring, they serve me naturally, they serve their court.
Theresis ......
Then you need to manage them better.
The war's end approaches, and your underlings need to play a more significant role. Their wanton behavior vexes me.
The western front is wasting time.
Sanguinarch of Vampires This is necessary for the ritual.
Without enough blood and tears, how are we supposed to gather enough material for the witchcraft?
You and Theresa told me about the ancient door you found, covered in scabs.
Is the source of all Sarkaz suffering, the origin of our fate, really behind that door?
Theresis The preparations for the ritual are complete.
But one of the nodes, the town of Brentwood, is under attack by our enemies.
Sanguinarch of Vampires Are you dispatching me to resolve these trifling nuisances for you, Theresis?
Oh, that reminds me, oh revered "Regent" of the Military Commission—
Since the Commission has noted this is such a crucial town, why did it not prepare any significant defense?
No shrouded casters, meat puppets, or any haphazardly bewitched, flesh-woven brutes?
Theresis ......
Sanguinarch of Vampires ...I indulged you and your sister on account of your dazzlingly powerful souls.
Weak Sarkaz call you Regent, and the Confessarii have gathered around you, bringing Theresa back to you.
The Regent and the resurrected "King of Sarkaz", what a fascinating pair of siblings.
But all of this owes to your actions, your power, not your... status.
Theresis Power.
Sanguinarch of Vampires Hmph.
I have blessed this battlefield in order to cast the grandest of curses.
I, in my benevolence as head of one of the oldest of the courts, have awakened the power hidden within the blood of the Sarkaz.
And so, Theresis, have you felt it? Does my boon delight you?
Oh, but how much power can be drawn from your mixed blood?
Theresis ......
The end is near, it's making you restless.
Conceal your weakness.
Or shall I say, do you need a reminder or two?
Sanguinarch of Vampires Heh.
I will complete the final part of the ritual for you, proud Regent.
But it is not in service of the narrow ambitions of you and your sister, eyes always fixed on that nomadic city bearing the false name of Kazdel.
It's just another resting place in that painful river.
Theresis Theresa is ready.
The Shard will soon unleash a power that Victoria could never imagine.
The skeleton is waiting in the hub outside the encampment, you can go from there to Brentwood.
Sanguinarch of Vampires Exciting, isn't it...? Theresis, you always wear such dull, lifeless faces.
I've seen it. A black light rising over the horizon, like a wall of obsidian, that will eventually found a real city.
Theresis ......
Sanguinarch of Vampires Heh... You mock my impatience, but isn't silence the best way to conceal your deepest thoughts?
If only I could go back in time to see it for myself.
If you really can retrieve the power that could reshape this great land, that which the Sarkaz first reached out to touch... "Originium".
Then I will, on your behalf, spread the name of Kazdel to every scrap of land I set foot on.
<Background black>
The Sarkaz, my people, have abandoned their past for too long.
They hate, they curse, they swear revenge upon our enemies.
So disappointing.
My people have forgotten even the origin of their bloodline, forgotten the names of our ancestors.
They mate in numbness and sorrow, giving birth to generations of hideous, mixed-blood offspring.
They throw themselves into the shadows of the nomadic cities, hiding in the streets, begging invaders for food.
I have lost interest in Victorian blood, and the Sarkaz who are satisfied with it... they infuriate me even more.
From the moment Sarkaz first called themselves Sarkaz, from the moment this "world" alienated them—
It's enough to drive one mad with rage.
<Background 2>
Ulšulah My Prince, the drifting of the Feranmut is about to end, and we will soon arrive at the waystation near Brentwood.
The town has been occupied by Victorians, and they are clearing out your creations.
Sanguinarch of Vampires Creations?
Those mindless insects are nothing more than a few drops of residual blood carelessly spilled by children of the Crimson Court while painting runes on crystals.
Let the Victorians celebrate their "victory".
Ulšulah My mistake. Forgive me, Your Highness.
I look to the Military Commission's Major, a Sarkaz.
Theresis has arranged so many children to wander outside the court in this system of his.
Sanguinarch of Vampires You are called Ulšulah.
Ulšulah ...Yes, Your Highness.
Sanguinarch of Vampires Your blood is mixed with too much alcohol. I can forgive hedonism and indulgence.
But your hesitation disappoints.
I can wash those away for you, "Major".
Ulšulah ...I am grateful for your benevolence, My Prince, but I can... handle myself. I... will endeavor to do better.
She bows her head, the nerves have gripped her.
But at least these mixed-blood children understand how to resist, which compensates somewhat for their ignorance.
Sanguinarch of Vampires Ulšulah... Ulšulah...
Ulšulah the Time-Stealer. A popular household story.
Hah, "Ulšulah" has taken the reins of this particular skeleton. Amusing.
Ulšulah Just a coincidence, Your Highness. When I took the name, I never thought I would really be any kind of hero—
Sanguinarch of Vampires Hero?
Ulšulah was a coward.
He couldn't even look directly into the eyes of this Feranmut, daring only to hide in the turbulent currents it stirred up, waking some of the people immersed in illusion.
So I sent him on such a mission, of course, "to save many people."
Ulšulah ......
Hollow murmurs echo throughout the space.
Sanguinarch of Vampires What is it? Have recognized me at last?
Dead silence.
Its intelligence has long been stripped away. Only an empty shell remains to react.
Ulšulah My Prince, we are nearly there.
We may encounter some illusions—
Sanguinarch of Vampires No need to remind me.
I've dealt with this one far more than you ever have.
Background-Wilderness Dusk.png
The ashen Kazdel, sent to its doom in Diαbolic flames.
They sweep through the tents of all the clans.
I can hear the roar of the flames, I can hear the lamentations of the flames.
Why are we still surrendering? Why are we still weak?
Are you satisfied with this?
Are you satisfied?!
Then I, on your behalf—
My ancient kin kneel and weep in the ruins.
The King of Sarkaz is dead.
The King killed the King.
I know he is just a ripple in the illusion.
I know this is our unchangeable history.
Sanguinarch of Vampires ......
(In ancient Sarkaz) You worked hard to build this ashen Kazdel, and the Sarkaz have a home again.
(In ancient Sarkaz) But doesn't its diminutive size infuriate you?
(In ancient Sarkaz) The outblood invaders deprived the Teekaz of their ancestral land. So, you started to compromise, shrinking and distorting that which stands for your home.
(In ancient Sarkaz) To a plain, a circle of fields, until you can only call it your city, your village.
(In ancient Sarkaz) This is the starting point of Sarkaz weakness.
(In ancient Sarkaz) And now, I look back from the endpoint.
<Background 2>
Ulšulah The illusions are over.
Sanguinarch of Vampires This skeleton has returned to its lair.
Ulšulah My Prince... it is my duty to remind you that the forces in control of the Brentwood core Arts Circle are nearby.
They may not be aware that the skeleton leaves a trace. Our return may have been exposed.
Your power is undeniable, but among our enemies, there may be...
Sanguinarch of Vampires No matter.
Have our enemies destroyed the ritual nodes?
The battlefield Arts Circles cast by this skeleton were merely the tendrils, extremities of the Crimson Court's grasp.
In any case, since we've come to the end...
Allow me to personally stand as the center of this most ancient ritual—
The sun is rising, and the first rays of blood red have already spilled through the damaged cave of the waystation.
A new day.
But this day will be different from all the sorrowful days that have come before.
Sanguinarch of Vampires "Farchaser", eh? The crowned hunter, our first King of Sarkaz.
If your soul still lingers among the myriad after thousands of years—
Enough dark clouds have accumulated atop the spire known as The Shard.
The foolish Victorians see this storm as nothing more than a spear to be thrown.
How shallow, their inherently corrupt nature, always inclined toward conflict.
I close my eyes, feeling the Arts Circles composed of blood-red crystals, feeling all the blood that has flowed through this land since the war—No, since we degraded ourselves into Sarkaz.
They tremble at my mercy, they boil at my call.
Sanguinarch of Vampires If you watch us yet, the descendants of your lost homeland...
If those distant legends that have been distorted and painted over are not lies—
Let the suffering in that cradle descend again.
Let us... reclaim the lost fate of the Teekaz.
<Background black>
A drop of blood drips from my eye.
It flows down my face.
Such a distant voice answers me.
It's as if I could reach out and touch it.
That door, long buried in dust and smoke, is slowly loosening.
The storm over Londinium is playing a new movement.
Hm, it seems, something is missing...
A loud noise.
<Background 2>
Ulšulah ...As we thought, the Victorians are attacking here.
We will do what we can to buy you time to complete the ritual, My Prince.
Sanguinarch of Vampires The Victorians? Heh.
Theresis, you really have surprised me.
No, no, girl called Ulšulah, we are not facing any such "Victorians".
Our guests deserve to witness this moment.
Another pureblood, still a young knell.
And the usurper "King of Sarkaz".
Ulšulah No matter who they are, the Military Commission's plan must be executed.
I'll strengthen my connection with the Feranmut as much as possible, in order to prevent them from reaching this place.
My Prince, please—
Sanguinarch of Vampires You have no standing from which to advise me.
Ah, I do so want to see—What cliches will they spout at me this time? What moments of despair can they show me?
Now then, "Major", you stay here.
This dispensable work of yours is over.
<Background 3>
How many years have these hollow skeletons gone unfilled? Four centuries? Five?
At the time, I was not yet master of the Crimson Court.
At the time, I could still hear the arrogant whispers of the putrid War King, I could hear the sounds of the Arch-liar of Djall, torturing the night away.
At the time, even if the Vampires were hostile to them, these mighty souls surging with hatred and faith made my heart swell.
At the time, the Sarkaz were already a scattered people with no home to call their own. But at the time, I could see the remnants of their proud souls.
??? "Ruin".
A sea of blood devours the curse.
Sanguinarch of Vampires Are you still toying with these pathetic words, these false curses, Banshee?
Why don't you face the power that truly belongs to you, the power gathered in your blood?
Isn't the elegy you can sing now so much more melodious?
Alas, you are silent, never to open your mouth.
[Logos stands before the Sanguinarch.]
Logos Vampire.
What is it you are trying to reach?
This is no ritual recorded in Sarkaz literature.
[Amiya joins in.]
Amiya What is it... calling?
It's... I think I see a... "seed".
You... you're trying to awaken it with millennia-old witchcraft, to nourish it with the Arts Circles on the battlefields, and control it with the storm over The Shard.
You must be stopped!
You'll destroy Londinium! It'll be nothing but a heap of rubble full of Originium!
No, not only that... at this scale, with this much power... I can even see...
The revenge of the Sarkaz will drag all of Terra into the abyss.
[Amiya channels her Arts at the Sanguinarch.]
Sanguinarch of Vampires ..."Revenge".
Cautus, you still claim to be the King of Sarkaz, but your views are so biased.
Two hundred years ago, a coalition of Terran nations destroyed Kazdel once.
And now, do you think we would bring pain and destruction to Victoria as simple vengeance for their conquest two centuries ago?
Sigh... I am disappointed once again.
The Black Crown lingers over your head, and indeed, this is yet another ridiculous thing wrought by the "King of Sarkaz".
Killing an enemy and butchering a country, burying a city and annihilating a culture, these things are not different, for the Sarkaz, these are far from enough to be called resistance.
We've come to Londinium, this outblood capital, not for any kind of "retaliation".
"Seed"? Not a bad description.
Watch and see what sights this seed will bring.
Logos You're a narrow-minded one, Vampire.
No flowery words can change the nature of what it is you're doing.
You call me silent?
Rest assured, Vampire, you will hear me speak.
"Fetters, fall heavy on your body."
[Logos' Arts restrains the Sanguinarch...]
Logos Amiya!
[...as Amiya strikes him.]
The Black Crown appears over the outblood's head.
A black spear pierces my scapula.
Amiya What? So easy—
—No! It's not!
Ah... fresh blood gushes out. The King of Sarkaz has opened a wound for me.
This is the blood so preciously bestowed to me and my ancestors for millennia.
I carefully select the blood of my choice.
The masters of the Crimson Court have a responsibility to, day after day, wipe away even the most minute hint of impurity.
But the reason we are so pure is not that this bloodline has never been lost, never been defiled.
But because—
I've finally found it.
A drop of blood.
It has been passed down through the millennia—
Teekaz blood.
The land falls silent, the rivers stagnate, the air moans.
The entire world turns solemn.
As I reach out my hand, it floats slowly in front of me. It does not drip.
It only goes up, up...
Amiya His blood!
He's going to complete the ritual!
Teekaz blood is now gone from our world.
[A rumble is felt.]
Logos ...! The incantation left in Londinium was just destroyed in that instant.
What's happened in Londinium?
Amiya, end this battle quickly, I feel some kind of—
[Blood pours down from the sky.]
Sanguinarch of Vampires Don't be so hasty, honored guests.
Blood crawls over the bones—
Bloodstains emerge from the decay.
Sanguinarch of Vampires It's just such a great opportunity.
In the sight of the first curse—perhaps today, we...
Can bid farewell to the last "King of Sarkaz".