Mastermind of Hell - Chapter 4 - GeorgiDynamo (2024)

Chapter Text

Legends spread among the remaining Night Sentinels, tales of what had happened at Exultia pass. The few surviving Argenta told of The Mercenary Outlander… the Demon Worse Than Demons who rose from the sea of the dead and fought the twisted forms of the Blight Horde. A Maddened Savagery had overtaken him and they had fled from the path of the Lazarus Gas before they could see if he had survived or not. For all intents and purposes, Georgian Dynamo was presumed to have fallen valiants alongside Banner Sargent Garina and the rest of their Night Sentinel comrades so that Exultia may stand to see another day.

However, tales spread of a Maddened DOOM Slayer, one who had forced his way through the gates of oblivion and into the dark Plane below in search of retribution. His path was carved through the very depths of it, splitting the Umbral Plains apart. These reached the company that had been splintered from the Battalion led by Garina and they could all tell the kernel of truth behind it.

With the emergence of The Great Slayer and with these new myths in mind, the Night Sentinels embarked on a campaign deeper into the demon realm than ever before. Bringing forth the towering Atlans yet again, these constructs of divine fury led the charge, their colossal forms laying waste to the demonic hordes with each thunderous step. Alongside them, The Unchained Predator and his forces fought with unyielding determination, their weapons gleaming with the promise of retribution and vengeance for The Romanian Outlander. Though, even in his rampage, The Beast was not without his faculties, for he could clearly see the glimpses of the trail of destruction left behind by the savage Final Knight in the territories that they fought within.

Guided by the high priests of the Order of the Deag, who had sought divine counsel from the Mother God herself, the Night Sentinels discovered arcane methods to breach the innermost sanctums of Hell. Through ancient rituals and the power of the Deags, they opened new gateways into the demonic domain, tearing through the fabric of reality to confront the darkness at its core. The Sentinel Priests did not know this, but, in his fury, The Second Hellwalker had achieved the very same through his own means of finding partly opened gates and forcing them further open through a combination of his demonic and divine power.

As the gates of doom opened, a maelstrom of utter chaos was to engulf the Umbral Plains, Herebus Mountains and many other territories of Hell. Demonic screams would echo countless times through the infernal abyss as the Night Sentinels pressed forward undeterred, The Beast cleaving the way open with his crucible and god-machine fury. With each unwavering step in their resolve, they advanced closer to their ultimate goal: the eradication of the demonic threat and the restoration of peace to Argent D'Nur. No sacrifice was to be in vain and The first Hellwalker was absolutely determined to avenge the fallen no matter the cost.

With him at the forefront, The Night Sentinel war machines proved to be ever unstoppable in their advance. After the battles of Taras Nabad and Exultia pass, it appeared that the Argenta warriors were beginning to turn the tide of war. The Argenta armies, wrought with Maykr technology and enhanced by the very Essence their demonic enemies hurled against them, drove their campaign deeper and deeper into the blood-drenched territory of the demons. Countless victories were assured with the power of The Great Slayer, for with the Alpha-Interfector at the fore of their pack they brought certain doom to their demonic foes. Their confidence swelled as, during their battles, many retold how they could hear The DOOM Slayer bringing certain destruction to their enemies as well. Whether it was a mere echo in the heat of battle or a confirmation that Dynamo was still alive, their hope remained that The Mercenary was still present in some manner. If he was… and he was ripping and tear their enemies apart, then their reunion was sure to come soon, a hope which only further bolstered the fervor of The Beast and their Night Sentinel comrades.

However, amidst the triumphs and the relentless pursuit of victory, a devious plot lurked underneath the veil of secrecy among their divine figures. Unbeknownst to the noble warriors of the Argenta, the Khan Maykr had set her Priests to clandestine tasks, constructing vast factories upon the conquered heathen lands. These deceptive facilities were designed to harvest the Essence in secret for further development.

How this deception began the Night Sentinels would not know, for their focus remained on the hordes of the underworld. They were unaware of the machinations brewing behind the scenes, unaware of the depths to which their divine leaders, those that they had looked up to as figures on a pedestal, would sink in pursuit of power and control. Perhaps only the demonic mutant would have been able to uncover the plot, but the Order Deag had declared him dead and cast doubt over every single anecdote that he might still be alive after the Battle of Exultia Pass. It did not matter the proof brought forth to the contrary, for their word was final. The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer was dead.

Thusly, the simple inquiry was… Why then, when it appeared that victory might be at last achievable against the Hordes of Hell, would the Night Sentinels and their High King stoop so low as to consider their Mother God of betraying their sacred covenant and homeland?

They would not… and the consequences would be dire.

However, due to the admittedly unforeseen rise of The Great Slayer and the legends of the maddened savage Mercenary, the Khan Maykr's trepidation grew as she oversaw the unfolding of her grand design for the Maykr race. On top of those two concerning matters, The Seraphim Maykr who had played a hand in The Great Slayer's creation vanished from Urdak, his fate a mystery shrouded in secrecy. Some whispered of exile, punishment for his heretical actions, while others speculated darker motives at play. Both were mistaken as none knew the truth, not even the Mother God, a matter which deeply disturbed her.

All this time, the legions of Argenta rose unfettered under the unquenchable thirst for vengeance of The First Hellwalker, his presence igniting a fervor among the warriors that had been matched only by The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer when he was still among their ranks. It was unpredictable for her… but as she observed how his legend spread like wildfire, she saw the benefits in endorsing him. Soon enough, it became known that The Beast was the Maykr's god-machine, a holy relic reborn, sent to bring the Maykr's word to the wicked and to smite those who would seek to harm all who followed the path to Urdak. Using this guise of divine providence, Mother God sought to harness these tales of the Outlanders for her own gain, masterfully weaving their legend into the fabric of her propaganda to further the agenda of her Maykr race across the very planes of existence.

With Doomguy and Dynamo separately and unwittingly cleaving a path for her, the Mother God siphoned the Essence, processing it beyond and without the Night Sentinels’ knowledge, into the very fuel that would come to be known as Argent Energy.

Neither Hellwalker cared for polity. On one part, The Doom Marine had no interest in the workings of our people, his task set only on his desire; the destruction of the demons and their world and discovering the fate of the Romanian Outlander. He no longer spoke for reasons unknown, having taken a vow of complete silence though it was understood that he still possessed the ability, offering guttural hefts of anger as he inflicted tremendous pain upon his enemies. On the other hand, The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer did not have the mental faculties to care as he had given his mind to the endless rage in his burning desire. It was the same primal will as his brother-in-arms: the annihilation of the demons and their accursed world for all that they have done and taken away from him. His thunderous roars and chants across the heathen lands served as an ever present reminder of his unrelenting fury. He marched and fought on his own, unknowing of the fact that he was helping his fellow Night Sentinels while damning them all at the same time.

For years, they marched separately, Dynamo on his lonesome trail of destruction and Doom with the Night Sentinels through the infernal fires of the demon lands. Every return of the latter to their homeworld found much changed in Argent D'Nur.

If any blame is to be assigned for what was to come, then it fell upon the shoulders of the Night Sentinels themselves and High King Novik. In their zealous pursuit of victory, they became negligent of their own people, blind to the rising tide of malevolence fueled by their righteous crusade. Much like The Hellwalkers, they knew only that the enemy laid before them and the wealth of Argenta, their homes, at their backs. They did not pause to seek the cost and method of this progress. Not even The Final Knight, for his mind had been consumed by grief and sorrow for the past years as Argent D'Nur steadily descended.

The DOOM and Great Slayers along with Novik and the Night Sentinels continued their relentless campaign against the demonic host, seeking to obliterate the mastermind behind the hordes. Unfortunately, their steadfast adherence to duty led to them failing to act at the right time and allowed the insidious rancour of the Essence to grip the Argenta people.

It was on a mission deep within the boiling seas of the nether plane and in the consumed kingdom of Argint Negru, where the mythical Order of the Six resided. There, a company of Night Sentinels from the Battalion once commanded by Templar Banner Sargent Garina and now led by Doomguy, learned of the Khan Maykr's true dealings with the callous beasts. By strict Maykr design it was kept away from the prying eyes Sentinels and Argenta populace alike that the essence they had grown so reliant on during this war, that had allowed them to turn the tide against the relentless hordes, was comprised of the very spirit of their brothers and sisters who'd fallen to these vile creatures, only corrupted and twisted beyond any shred of hope. The macabre truth had been uncovered, that all beings who found their end by the demonic horde would become a vassal of the Hellscape, their flesh in time twisted into the very demons they tore apart, their souls extracted to create the Essence that powered their world… and Argent D'Nur.

The victims were the enemy, and they would become the enemy. Friend against friend, ally against ally, family against family.

It was inevitable.

However, that was not all that they had uncovered deep within the heart of the soul extraction facility on that fateful mission. As the dim glow of eerie crimson light was casting twisted shadows across the cold blackened stone walls, The Doom Marine and the Night Sentinels moved cautiously. Their heavy footsteps echoed countless times off the walls as they got closer and closer to a heavily oppressive atmosphere. It was not the sense of despair from the soul extraction machines… No, this was a familiar feeling that spread throughout the corridors and it was approaching them as well.

Suddenly, they stumbled upon the very source of it. A chilling sight as they came face to face with none other… than The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer. His demonic power long unleashed fully, there was no sign of any royal blue in his eyes, it had been drowned out by the crimson madness. They burned with a crazed intensity, his features contorted into a visage of primal rage as the few bits that remained of his Night Sentinel armor clung to him in bloodied and rusted rags. Surrounding him were the writhing forms of tortured souls, their anguished cries filling the air as he took looming steps closer… and closer…

There was no reason left in The Mad Mercenary, it had been lost years ago at Exultia pass. With a roar ripping from the back of his throat and Adamantine lined hidden blades extended, Dynamo launched himself at the Night Sentinels in a crazed frenzy. He had fought against those that had been transfigured into demons for the same length of time. On top of that, his senses had long been overwhelmed by the stench of Hell that he could no longer distinguish what and who was friend or foe.

Without a moment of hesitation, The First Hellwalker lunged for him as well. Their fists collided midair, sending a shock wave all around them which rocked the whole facility to its core. Mercilessly, the Outlanders began exchanging strikes with one another each blow reverberating through the environment like a thunderclap.

It was a reverse of their first battles within the Blood Arena. Despite fighting with nearly unmatchable ferocity, The Beast sought to subdue his savagery maddened adversary. On the other hand, the crazed demonic mutant was not holding anything back, his attacks relentless and unpredictable as he sought to overwhelm his once comrade. Still, he did not realise who it was that he had attacked.

More than once, did The Second Hellwalker manage to slice him open, but each time, The Great Slayer retaliated with devastating punches which sent him absolutely flying through the infernal complex. He was no longer a mere mortal, he was a demigod, empowered as the Saviour of the Argenta and now he could stand toe to toe against his grieving brother-in-arms’ demonic power. Amidst the chaotic clash that was tearing apart the soul extraction facility, Doomguy was able to glimpse a rim of royal blue in Dynamo's eyes. There was a fleeting spark of recognition amidst the madness that was consuming him, one that made him hesitate more than once. One that left The Mad Final Knight open to attack over and over. Of course, Doomguy capitalised each and every time. With each blow he struck, his intent was to chip away at the maddened fury that shrouded his friend, to reach the… man he knew was buried deep within.

Ironic in a sense. The Marine Outlander who shook the Plains of Hell itself was using his battering ram-like fists to literally knock sense back into The Mercenary… and it was working, steadily. Thanks to the fact that he did not have his full faculties, his fighting prowess was also below where it should have been despite the relentless nature of his assault. Coupled with the fact that Doomguy was far more powerful than when they had first fought, it meant that he was able to pummel him into submission, knowing that Dynamo could take it and heal from it. He was banking on the fact that the both of them were unyielding and the demonic mutant literally unbreakable bones in order to subdue him without killing someone they desperately needed on their side properly again.

After what seemed like countless blows from The DOOM Marine, The Final Knight laid still, bloodied, battered yet still breathing. The crimson aura had started to subside from his form and his half-lidded crimson eyes had more and more royal blue in them… until his pupils and iris showed fully. As The First Hellwalker got off him and to his feet, he observed as the red was starting to clear from his sclera as well… and he couldn't help but grin widely, even if it looked a little wickedly, underneath his helmet. Finally, The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer was back to his senses.

Coughing several times before sucking in a very deep inhale, Dynamo's chest rose drastically as he bolted up to a sitting position. Breathing in and out deeply, he could feel the pain of healing all the blows that he'd endured. His mind was still foggy from the Maddened Savagery, having spent years in that state. After what felt like a good few minutes for him, his breathing finally stabilised as he held the side of his head with a bloodied gauntleted hand. By some miracle of another, he noticed that his backpack had survived, though, more importantly, he still had his two signature gauntlets along with the blades of his father and the bow of his mother. If he had lost those during the time spent crazed… he did not even want to think of the mere possibility of that.

Suddenly, The Second Hellwalker realised that he was not alone in this… place… wherever it was in Hell. Looking around quickly as he tried to regain his bearings, the first thing he noticed was Blazko III looming over him, his clenched fists dripping with blood… his blood based on the scent. It made the demon worse than demons within growl and snarl as the intoxicating smell flooded in… but he kept it contained within as he drew another deep breath. Quietly muttering The DOOM Slayer's chant in his beard, he inwardly vowed that he would not lose himself again, not with his brother-in-arms there. “Tei Slaven ben kar en tuk… Kar en tuk Hust en Vitar… Kar en tuk du tei exunt…” (The Slayer will rip and tear… Rip and tear Hell and Heaven… Rip and tear until the death) His voice was incredibly hoarse from all the shouting he'd been doing for God knew how long since ‘The Attack of the Dead Man’. Out of the corner of his royal blue eyes, he saw a hand outstretched and he glanced up to see The Beast being the one to offer it.

Behind and all around both Outlanders, the Night Sentinels stood and watched. While their helmets obscured most of their expressions, there was no denying the palpable sense of relief that he got from them. Many of them, he still recognised from years ago, when Banner Sargent Garina was leading them. The stalwart Templar Lord Sash had been promoted to Banner Sargent, even though he served under The DOOM Marine. Roan the Mighty stiff hefted his heavy halberd and seemed very pleased with the outcome of the fight between the two Outlanders. Gor the Relentless held his massive energy sword at the ready, prepared to eviscerate more enemies beside the Hellwalkers. Commander Valen seemed to be prepared as well… though one could see the grieving sorrow still visible in his good left eye after having lost his son at Exultia pass. Dynamo could not help but feel guilty for that… even though, realistically, there was nothing that he could have done in the face of the Lazarus Gas… Nothing that anyone could have done at that point in time.

Eventually, The Mercenary reached up and took the offered hand, grunting as he was hefted up to his feet. Taking in a deep inhale again, he took another glance around, trying to piece together where they were. “What happened?” He questioned with an admittedly confused furrow of his brow, glancing at The Great Slayer for an answer.

However, he only got an infuriated grunt in reply. A fury not towards him, but towards all that had happened. Before Dynamo could question it, Valen stepped forward and spoke in the common language for them to make it easier for him, out of respect for what The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer was forced to endure. “The Great Slayer has taken a vow of complete silence.” He explained briefly, realising that he had to brief the other man on what had happened over the past years.

“I see…” He nodded in a measured way, though it was understood that it must have been some sort of personal reason. Which meant that it was best not to press it. “How long… was I in that state?” Was the next thing that he absolutely had to know.

“Years, Dynamo.” The Sentinel General revealed in a heavy tone. “After Exultia… everyone believed that you had died defending the city. The Priests insisted that you had and made us honour you…” A faint smile almost tugged at the edges of his rugged goatee. “We are glad to see that they were sorely mistaken.”

Hearing that left The Final Knight in complete silence as he stared at them. When he had been lost in the Maddened Savagery, there were no real thoughts to be had, only rage and grief. Thinking about it, he figured that the Lazarus Gas might have had some effect on him beyond the obvious physical one. There was… a strange urge that he could feel at the back of his mind. “Yes… indeed they are.” His voice was rather distant as he did not really know what else to say. It was more than clear that, even after years of fighting, the war with Hell raged on. “Where are we?” The question was blurted out as he realised that… he had absolutely no idea, only that it had the stench of absolute despair… coming from sources that were… familiar, disturbingly familiar.

Valen glanced at his fellow Sentinels, then towards The Unchained Predator who seemed very irate regarding the subject. Looking back towards the demonic mutant, he replied honestly. “We… do not know exactly.” His tone was heavy yet measured. “It… appears to be a facility for… soul extraction.” Came his careful explanation, though he seemed to be holding back rage of his own on the subject. “These machines… they are of Maykr design… and they are meant to extract the tortured souls of the slain to power Hell's invasion… and even our world… through Argent and Argint Energy.”

Such a revelation left The Mercenary completely flabbergasted and slack-jawed. Never would he have believed that the Khan Maykr would have allowed such a thing to occur. Indeed, he had his suspicions but it never went this deep. The Maykr race were supposed to be the benevolent Gods of Argent D'Nur, not the ones that would cast their people to certain doom in pact with Hell itself. Unfortunately, there was no denying the harsh truth. From what he remembered before his frenzied years, he already had some suspicions regarding the crimson elixir. There were no words to be said anymore, he only firmed up and nodded, stepping forward to join the ranks of the Night Sentinels and Doomguy's side once more.

Silently… he did make note of the fact that Blazko III had become much more powerful, on the same level as The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer was in his own right. That fire in his wrathful green eyes had a divine note to it, not to mention that his scent had changed as well… it was, in fact, much more similar to his in the sense that he could feel both the divine and demonic parts coexisting within the body of his man who was too angry to ever perish. He had ascended into becoming a veritable Demigod… and, in all honesty, Dynamo could respect and even admire that. On top of that, he noticed the distinct orange pauldron underneath his shoulder guard, one that was indicative of a Sentinel Warrior King. His Majesty did not give those lightly… which made him realise that Taras Nabad had been successfully defended. Another notable detail was the weapon on his belt, the Wraith-energy powered Crucible. From the texts read when he was initiated in the Argenta culture, he knew that it was only to be wielded by a Sentinel God King… yet here was The DOOM Marine having claimed it as part of his arsenal. Most impressive. Part of him wondered how that might have come to be, what were the actual details beyond what he could put together based on context clues… However he supposed that was a tale for after they got out this cursed place and he had a moment to fully recover.

Proceeding even deeper, the soldiers of the Argenta could do nothing for those that they saw but stare on in utter shock. Even though it had been told to The Second Hellwalker, they still could not comprehend how a factory dedicated to such vile action could even exist. A place where the bodies of the slain were sorted and processed, tortured for the mill to have their souls extracted through sinister magick. However, it was not a magic unfamiliar to all of them as both Hellwalkers could recognise some of the hexes as ones belonging to the Order of the Deag… to Sentinel Priests. Attempting to process it all, they stepped through in-between enormous vats of pain and suffering, ethereal, almost Sentinel, energy permeating all around them. The haunting sounds of Lost Souls awash in an eternity of servitude to Hell pierced through to their very cores. Their corporeal forms had been transformed into energy to power their struggle against the Dark Realm and its malice… while at the same time fueling it.

Somehow, what made this grim reality even worse was the fact that it was sinking in. the machinery which was used to enact the vile process on the Night Sentinel fallen had been subjected to was not of Hellish design, only in its intent. For it was not by Balgaar hoof nor Gargoyle claw that this blasphemous technology had come to pass, but by the hand of the Sentinel Priests and the Argenta guided by the Mother God's hidden desires.

The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer was quickly putting it together as he was regaining his faculties and his brilliant mind had begun to work again. Inwardly, he cursed himself for having allowed the Maddened Savagery to overtake him. At the same time, he was completely horrified and enraged, especially since this meant that the same fate had befallen all of his siblings-in-arms who had given their lives at Exultia pass… including the Banner Sergeant whom he cared for. This, combined with what Valen, Gor, Roan and Lord Sash were telling him made it all but clear. They had been fooled, unwittingly cleaving the way for the Maykr race to extend its machinations over Hell itself and give Argent D'Nur to them.

It was dawning on the rest of them as well and the flicker of hope that they had once had at ending these infernal wars had begun to diminish. High King Novik and the Night Sentinels had fallen deep within the grasp of the enemy. They were fighting against their own transfigured brothers and sisters and yet, the Argenta people did not believe this to be true. Intoxicated as they were on Argent Energy and Argint Fumes, there was nothing that the Outlanders nor the Night Sentinels or even their High King would do that would hold any sway on the Argenta populace.

For now, there was nothing that the admittedly small contingent of righteous warriors could do… They had to retreat back from the soul extraction facilities at Nekravol and the Nekrovor of the fallen Argint Negru. While they did have the accomplishment of gaining back a valuable ally and brother-in-arms with the return of The Mercenary, it was of little comfort to the greater catastrophe at hand that was unfolding in their very home. Regardless of what was happening, the honor of the Night Sentinels would have to hold up the verity of these claims to the other warriors. The Mother God could be their divinity no more and even if the Argenta people at large would not see it as true, then they were resolute in saving their universe from themselves.

Despite believing his warriors’ words, especially that of the Outlanders for they had not once spoken without honesty… regrettably there was nothing that High King Novik could do for them. He was beholden to her and to publicly disown the Khan Maykr would mean turning the whole of his kingdom against them… for the word of the Outlanders no less. The Order Deag had much more sway on the populace… but there was a way.

Deep within the bowels of Sentinel Prime and amidst the very breast of the true enemy, in secret corridors and clandestine conferences that were orchestrated by His Majesty and his most trusted aides, the Night Sentinels would find those amongst them who similarly distrusted the Essence and had foretold the swelling corruption. Once the truth could be shared, the skeptics became members of the Sentinel Insurrection and the breach between holy and unholy Argenta began to grow. High King Novik would support them with everything, but he had to do so covertly as to keep the suspicions of the Deags and Maykrs away from The Hellwalkers and Sentinel Insurrectors.

There was no way that any of the Night Sentinels could deny it after what they had been told by The Outlanders and the contingent that had seen it with their very own eyes. The unholy spires raised in the Barren Lands functioned by the blessing of Maykr machinery. The Khan had betrayed Argent D'Nur and had made a pact with the demons to harvest their Essence, in return granting them access to all worlds under her influence. With their Essence and the Sentinel energy from the Priests, they further fueled the spread of the Maykr influence. Argint Negru had only proven to be the first victim. A symbiotic relationship had been formed and darkness now had been balanced by light. Where there was Heaven in Urdak, so there would be Hell. They were unaware of the existence of the higher plane in the Ghostly Ether. Only The Mercenary knew of such thanks to his connection with the Herald of the Realmmaker. The followers of the Maykrs would be granted passage to Urdak, and the sinners would fall into the fiery pits of the Dark Realm. This word would be spread from all cultures in all worlds and in all places throughout the whole of existence.

However, the High King, the Night Sentinels and the Argenta populace at large were not without blame, for it was their people, the Priests and Sentinel engineers, who had laid the work in place. Argenta's slaves had built the dark factories, and their own ancient Wraith-energy, what was commonly known as Sentinel energy, helped purify Hell's Elixir into the miracle fuel that now powered the Maykr's angelic world and their increasingly corrupted Argent D'Nur.

To those who had the ears to listen and the eyes to see, the Night Sentinels and Outlanders, especially The Romanian one, spoke of the evil brought by the Essence and carried their word throughout the underbelly of their society. Indeed, the Sentinels themselves had helped to create this new dichotomy, and so it must be for the Argenta to stop the spread of this pestilence, this new phase of existence, the dark and the light that was bound to doom them all. If not for them, then for the innocent whose worlds and Realms had yet to fall under the spell of the Maykr God and her unseen allies in the Hell dimension, the Mastermind behind the demonic invasion of Phobos and Deimos.

When it came to the rest of the populace, when the Night Sentinels had returned from the demonic realm with tales of slave factories that damned the souls of the innocent, their very people, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands…. The indoctrinated masses of Argent D'Nur took no quarrel with the Maykrs. After all, they were indebted to the demon Essence, the Ministers controlled by the Order Deag deliberating but finding no basis for change. The Templar messengers were cast down for daring to speak against those who have gifted the Argenta so much, their very Gods. In their infinite wisdom, the Maykrs would see fit that the faithful continue life anew in Urdak. Thusly, they feared the wrath of the Mother god, any retaliation from her and the denial of their heaven. A lifetime of servitude would not be undone by this foolish insurrection led by people who were not even born in this glorious land. In their zealous opinion, this was simply another trial, a test of faith to identify those that were truly worthy to experience life eternal in Urdak… and the Argenta would not waiver in their resolve.

Witnessing all of this, what was to come was inevitable. The schism had already been made and it was only becoming wider. The Night Sentinels prepared for war once again, though this battle meant drawing the blood of their own brothers and sisters who had lost their way terribly. Their army, the army of High King Novik, had seen the work of the demons firsthand and knew its evil all too well. Following His Majesty's confidential directive and enforced by Commander Valen, Lord Sash, Gor the Relentless and Roan the Mighty, their forces had returned to the way of the Wraiths. The Hellwalkers had only read about such a time, but actually seeing it implemented was a sight to behold, and though their armament was diminished without the Essence, it remained pure and righteous.

Predictably, a division amongst the Argenta had occurred, one side standing in opposition to the doctrine of the Maykrs, the other locked in belief towards the false Gods. The Ascended Argenta Empire was comprised of the faithful and misled, wielding the desecrated energies of Hell, the power of the Maykrs, and Marauders who had sided with the Khan Maykr, Her Illustrious Holiness standing as the supreme leader of them all. The latter of her forces had first been glimpsed by the demonic mutant at Exultia pass and it only cemented that the current events had been years in the making, an inevitability that some of the Night Sentinels would seek her power.

On the other side, Novik's Night Sentinels were bolstered by the free people of Argenta and the mightiest of all killers, The Hellwalkers themselves. Adding to their prowess in dispatching their enemies with brutal precision, Dynamo also brought his brilliant mind as Supreme Commander of the Watchdogs to their aid. Under his advice and working together with Commander Valen, strategies were devised, operations planned and tactics made in order to fulfill the plans they would draw. Their main mission was for the Sentinels to close the Argent energy factories in Nekravol and the Argint energy ones in its twin territory of Nekrovor. Both of those fed the world of Urdak directly with its supply of fresh Essence. They would stop the flow. The slumbering Wraiths would wake from their sleep and give Argent D'Nur courage, purifying Hell's and the Maykrs’ corruption.

Once all had been set, the battles would begin. For many more years the Civil War raged and would take its toll on the righteous soldiers as their armor was stained with the blood of their brothers and sisters on a cursed battlefield. Yet among them, The Mercenary and The Marine marched on relentlessly, they sliced and carved their way through the traitors without stopping, they were lights shining in this dire darkness, even if theirs was a crimson one.

Finally, after much bloodshed and hardship, an opportunity to end the war had been discovered by the Templars and the Night Sentinels. With The Great and DOOM Slayers at the head of their army, they gathered to traverse through the gate and sunder Nekroval, the city of the dead. The Templar Sentinels, whose Priests had pledged their allegiance long ago to High King Novik and his forces solely, not to the Maykrs or to the traitorous Order Deag, worked in service of their end goal. Those holy Templars Priests, who had learned everything from the Deags, had served the Argenta since time immemorial and they were well trusted by His Majesty and the rest of Insurrection's warriors. They assured them, the Night Sentinels and Hellwalkers, that the way was clear in the points that had been picked by The Watchdogs Supreme Commander and The Sentinel Commander. The two pristine military leaders set their minds to task, viewing and simulating the mission to come from every reasonably conceivable angle. A plan was set to march into the accursed walls of Nekravol and Nekrovor, to smite the factories and cutting off the flow of Essence to Urdak, thusly denying the Khan Maykr of her precious prize. The righteous Night Sentinels forces took spear, sword, shield and rifle in hand and advanced fearlessly, relented into the very bowels of Hell.

It was there that the venom of treachery struck…

Upon entry through the Hell Portal, the Night Sentinels and Hellwalkers were scattered to the winds of impossibly unplanned chaos. No amount of preparation could have foreseen it. The warriors were separated, their ranks split as the gates twisted and hurled them across each and every corner of the Unholy Plane. Some of the warriors appeared near the gates that they had walked through before but found that the vile Deags had barred the way back. Immediately, the trap was sprung and each lone Argenta warrior found themselves set upon by bloodthirsty multitudes of demonic beasts. Tyrants, Gargoyles, Barons of Hell, Pinkies, Hell Knights and Razers, Imps… they were endless.

However, even worse was that this was not solely the treacherous act of the Templar Priests that were still colluding unknowingly with the Order of the Deag… but one of their very own. Ever since witnessing the suffering within the soul extraction facilities, Commander Valen had been plagued by the visions of his fallen son enduring the torment. It never stopped, day and night, for years and all throughout the Civil War, the Deags showed him his boy's fate. He had hidden it, all of it from each and every one of his comrades-in-arms. Only The Final Knight had caught a glimpse of his suffering but Valen had dismissed any notion that he needed aid, for it was unbecoming of a Night Sentinel Commander.

Eventually, after such endless mental torture, he succumbed and secretly sought out Deag Grav, now a fully fledged Hell Priests thanks to the constant exposure that the Order had to the Essence and, in turn, Argent Energy. In his feigned benevolence… Grav offered to bring back his son… in exchange for knowledge regarding the location of the Wraiths that gave power and were the foundation of the Argenta people… the very beings who had given birth to Argent D'Nur as it was before the Maykrs ever came to be their Gods. In this stroke of maddened grief, Valen gave them that location, for he was one of the few who had the privilege to know where the Sepulchre of Elements was located. It was there that the Wraiths he had sworn to protect slumbered and gave them their Sentinel Energy… Hell had found his weakness and exploited it, sealing the demise of Argent D'Nur. If not for the Betrayer's stroke of madness the Wraiths power would have still belonged to the Night Sentinels and their flag would have still risen in defiance above all of Argent D'Nur…

His son was not returned to him… the Order Deag resurrected him in the form of the Icon of Sin. A foreseeable yet cruel twist of fate, for they had never told him how his son would be brought back to life… only that he would be. An unstoppable behemoth of a titan demon who could pull worlds from the Mortal Plane to the one below, powered and controlled by the heart of Valen's son, his soul forever agonising in that hellish state.

Realising the gravity of what he had done, how he had doomed his own people, his comrades, brothers and sisters… Valen took his Atlan and left in self-imposed exile within the deepest parts of Hell… right to the territory that had once been part of Exultia.

Scattered in Hell, abandoned by their clergy and any hope for reinforcements, the Night Sentinels proved their worth in what would be their final great war with the forces of all evil. Unrelenting in their determination in the face of certain death, the Night Sentinels crushed hundreds of demons and skewered Titans with their mastodon mechas. When their Atlans mechs held no more fuel, the relentless Sentinels took to the ground and fought the swarms on land. To the collective horror and rage of the Outlanders and their brethren, all of Hell knew of the Betrayal, for it was without question that the Maykrs and the Priests had sowed the seeds of deceit long before the brave warriors passed through the infernal gate. There was no reason to lament now, only fight, only survive, only deliver retribution until the death. No longer was their war cry “Ri tei Primo Victoria!” or “Attero dominatus!”...

No…

“KAR EN TUK DU TEI EXUNT!!!” (Rip and tear until the death)

“KAR EN TUK DU TEI EXUNT!!!”

“KAR EN TUK DU TEI EXUNT!!!”

“TEI ARGENTA BEN KAR EN TUK DU TEI EXUNT!!!” (The Argenta will rip and tear until the death)

What Hell witnessed on that fateful day was the everlasting beating heart of the free people of Argent D'Nur. They did not flinch in the face of their own promised demise but braved it with the courage of their unbreakable spirits. They died as they had lived, with spear, rifle, sword and shield in hand or even bare when those would break against their countless enemies. Urdak was too low a dimension to house such valorous giants for their rightful place would be in the hallowed halls of Valoare in the truly ascended Ghostly Ether. Theirs would be the fate of warrior gods, to be remembered for all time. Though their fate was to fall at the claws of demons, Ether's Valchiries would shelter their souls from the cruel fate that they were unworthy of… as deemed by a true deity. None other than the One Above All who made all of the Realms.

Lord Sash, the stalwart Templar Banner Sargent who took up the mantle after Garina, was found with his war standard pierced through the throat of a Baron of Hell, his body surrounded by the corpses of other Barons, Hell Knights and Pinkies. By the time that the light faded from the eyes of Roan the Mighty, he had eviscerated such a multitude of Imps, Gargoyles and Cacodemons that their entrails clung to the black rocks of the Herebus Mountains like vines. Gor, living up to his title and then some, was relentless until the end. He had broken his blade on the back of the nth Marauder that dared to try and attack him from the flanks, and by the time he fell he had slain another two-score with his hands alone. One by one, they all eventually succumbed to the endless horde in a battle they could have never won or survived through…

Witnessing each and every demise of the Night Sentinels that they had once sworn to serve, the Hell Priests of the Order Deag believed that all of them were slain. Their High King Novik included when he was finally slain by a legendary Balgaar… but not after massacring his way through endless Barons of Hell, Prowlers and Pain Elementals.

But they were Argenta. They were born to overcome all odds, no matter how dire.

Among the few that survived and continued the insurrection, even among the underworld of the Argenta society at large, rumors persisted. It was deemed heretical by the Order Deag, the claim that the Hellwalkers themselves still raged and tore through the Unholy Plane. However, they knew better and they stood in shock and awe as The Hellwalkers, despite being separated, still fought on.

The age of reckoning for the Outlanders was uncounted and it seemed like it would never come. The corrupted Templar Scribes under the Order Deag carved their names deep in the tablets of Hell across eons. Each subsequent battle etched terror in the hearts of the demons, from lowly Imps to the fearsome Barons of Hell.

THE UNCAGED BEAST.

THE UNCHAINED PREDATOR.

THE HELLWALKERS.

THE GREAT SLAYER.

THE DOOM SLAYER.

THE DEMON WORSE THAN ALL DEMONS.

They knew The Mercenary and The Marine would come… As they always had, as they always will, to feast on the blood of the wicked. For only they could draw strength from their fallen foes, and ever their power grew... swift and unrelenting. Where none of their siblings-in-arms could stand before the horde… The Great Slayer and The DOOM Slayer did. Despair spread before them like a plague, striking fear into the shadow-dwellers, driving them to deeper and darker pits. However, the Masterminds deemed it necessary to bring forth beings to turn the tide against the Hellwalkers. From the depths of the abyss in the Titan's Territory rose The Great Ones, the Mighty Bruiser Brothers. A pair of behemoth champions mightier than all who had come before these Titan breed demons of immeasurable power and ferocity.

Each brother strode upon the Plains of Hell and faced Doomguy and Dynamo respectively, a mighty battle unfolding on the desolate plains. The Titans fought with the fury of the countless that had fallen at the hands and blades of the Hellwalkers… but the rage and hate of their opponents was even greater.

In the heart of the Umbral Plains, deep within the bowels of the lower plane, The Unchained Predator faced one of these towering colossus, a Great One. Its massive form cast a shadow that darkened the landscape around them even more as the ground quacked beneath each of its thunderous hooved steps. Its eyes glowed yellow with an otherworldly malevolence as its hideously deformed maw split to the sides, large sharp teeth protruding from above and beneath. With a roar that shook the very foundations of the Herebus Mountains in the distance, it launched itself at The First Hellwalker, bringing down its colossal fists with devastating force.

Doomguy couldn't help but grin underneath his battered Night Sentinel helmet. The green in it had long become a deep crimson from the amount of dried viscera on it and the silver accents had faded to a deep grey. However, it still served him well. With a speed beyond that which he had as a mere human, he dodged and leapt to the side. Avoiding the aftershock, he circled the monstrous titan, knowing that his Crucible was the key to defeating it.

It was not the same one that fell the Dreadnought Titan at Taras Nabad, but the same Wraith-fire blazed brightly from the hilt all the same.

Seeing his relentless dash, The Great One attempted to step on him, to crush him like nothing more than a pest. Each giant hoof came down with tremendous force, sending shockwaves rippling through the air. With a shout of rage, The Great Slayer leapt for one of its legs, latching on with his burning blade. His giant enemy roared in pain as it tried to shake him off, yet The Beast was steadily climbing up its mountain-topping form, his wrathful green eyes set intently on his prey. However the Great Bruiser was not to be an easy kill, managing to shake off Doomguy and swinging its hammering fist to pulverise him as he was in the air. With widening eyes, he struck for it defiantly, latching on to it as it stepped with the momentum. Climbing up on its knuckles, Doomguy jumped off and aimed right for its forehead. A tremendous shout of fury ripped from the back of his throat as he executed a downward thrust with the Crucible.

The Mighty Titan could not comprehend what it was seeing for a split second as Doomguy was coming right for its face. It opened its gaping maw wide in an attempt to swallow him whole… but The DOOM Marine aimed well as the Crucible slashed through its thick hide and deep into its skull. Not wasting a moment, The Unchained Predator proceeded to slash into it again and again… and again!

Normally, no strike would have been able to get through its outer protection, the Titan breed of demons being able to endure the most punishment out of all breeds. Exactly why many were used as behemoth beasts of burden by the Lords, Barons and Gods of Hell. However, that resilience proved to be its detriment in this battle against The First Hellwalker.

Splitting its head open, he was ruthless and was not going to stop until the demon would still. The Great One stumbled on its feet through the Umbral Plains. letting out roars of agony that were capable of chilling Hellfire itself with its sheer suffering. It tried to shake off The Great Slayer… but it was to no avail as his ruthless aggression continued while it crossed into the Titan's Territory.. Collapsing to its knees, it tried to claw at its face, but each time the Wraith-energy burned and sliced whole chunks of flesh. The Beast did not let off, coming down with it as the enormous Titan crashed on its back, quaking all of Hell. The sheer intensity of the impact was enough to reshape the landscape around them, creating new craters, hills and chasms.

Even as its dying moans filled the eerie atmosphere, Doomguy was not done mutilating its already grotesque form… until he saw its yellow eyes lose their shine and become nothing more than hollow sockets, devoid of any Essence.

Breathing through gritted teeth and his expression permanently contorted with rage… all of Hell witnessed the great tragedy that befell them… For The Scourge of Hell stood victorious atop his latest victim… and his rampage was bound to continue.

A similar fate was to befall its twin as it found itself face to face with the one and only Bearer of The DOOM Slayer…

Finding himself in what felt like the heart of Hell again, Dynamo breathed out as the crimson aura seeped from his form, casting a foreboding atmosphere all around him that made the demons flinch. After all, he was worse than all of them with the blood and guts hanging of his ragged Night Sentinel armour being a very clear testament to that fact. Prepared to rip and tear, he watched with burning royal blue eyes as The Great One stepped towards him. Each of its steps shook the ground beneath their feet and he immediately noticed how all of the demons were clearing out from its path. Clearly, they were expecting it to be able to swiftly dispatch the demonic mutant. It wound up its fists above its head before slamming them down into the ground to crush him, but The Second Hellwalker was swift enough to leap in time, launching his grappling hooks into muscular legs.

Propelling himself at it with tremendous speed, his divine metal-lined hidden blades were poised to hack away at it. That was exactly what they did as he made impact and The Might Bruiser roared in agony as The Final Knight sliced it to its bone. Attempting to shake him off or slam its fists into the pest, it proved fruitless as he leapt off, using his grappling hooks again. They latched themselves deep in the skin of its gut and he pulled on the cables, diving like a spear into the monstrous titan.

Its sickly yellow eyes went wide in shock as it stumbled back several steps, its hooves crashing through hills and into chasms that further made it lose its balance. The Great One tumbled back through the lands and into the Titan's Territory from wence it came. Perhaps it was a brotherly instinct. If they were to be born together, the Mighty Bruiser Brothers would also die together.

From the inside, The Mercenary began to tear it apart with reckless abandon. Each pint of wicked blood spilled made his rage greater and his power began to skyrocket as he was going absolutely Berserk. He was ripping his way up its body, cleaving through demonic organs as he was baptised in their wicked blood once more. While brutal, his precision in dismantling the enormous Titan absolutely terrifying for any who bear witness to his methods. Roar after roar, shout after shout, slash after slash, Dynamo… Nay… The Demon Worse Than Demons emerged from the gaping mouth of the Great One, smashing his bladed fist through its teeth. Bones crunched and snapped horribly as shouts of agony echoed countless times across Hell… An identical symphony of agony could be heard from the opposite side of the Hellish territory that they were in.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl as its behemoth frame collapsed back onto the desolate landscape. The Herebus Mountains shook and the Umbral Plains gained new ravines as The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer rode the corpse of his opponent to the ground. Standing atop its head, a thunderous roar ripped from the back of his head, a warning to all of Hell that the Demon Worse Than Demons would kill them all. Eventually, time appeared to stand still as the greatest of demons who served at the behest of their Lords, their champions, the Mighty Bruiser Brothers, had been felled by the Hellwalkers. Inevitably, in their shocking defeat, the shadow horde were routed.

In their terrible rancor all across the Hellish plane, the First Hellwalker came upon The Wretch Who Shall Not Be Named. A heretical being that was a Herald of the One Above and Below all, loyal to the righteous cause of The Mercenary and The Marine. Whispers were heard by The Beast and that was why he sought out this figure. He found them in a sliver of Hell that was hidden away even from the Dark Lords… and was surprised to find a teen girl behind the title. However, this was no ordinary human, but the very Herald of the Realmmaker. She had no scruples in fulfilling Doomguy's demand of creating him a new armour, even making it out of the divine metal that only she could have procured from the God Forge of the Ghostly Ether… Adamantine. Despite her young age, there was no sign that she would flinch, no trepidation as she began her work dutifully. From the remnants of his Night Sentinel gear, wrought in the furnaces of Hell, The Wretch went on to cast a mighty armour, impenetrable and unyielding, specially made for The Great Slayer.

Now adorned in the fearsome Praetor Suit, his conquest of Hell could begin anew and with renewed vigor, as the very Creator endorsed his Holy War over the forsaken lower Plane.

A short while later, The Bearer of The DOOM Slayer had also come upon The Wretch Who Shall Not Be Named, but there was no blade or armour that he required. Instead… there, in the furnals of Hell, that he would cast a new pair of tags… one's adorned with a symbol that Hell feared… The Mark of the Slayer.

With both of the Hellwalkers armed with weapons worthy of the Valchiries from Valoare, the protectors of the Ghostly Ether themselves… Hell's fate was all but sealed. Wielding a blade, sword and shield of Adamantine strength, The Mercenary and The Marine were set on their mission of banishing all that were left unbroken by their savagery to the void.

However, as the mighty Titan fell and dread engulfed the armies of Doom, the demon priests of the Blood Temples laid a trap to capture these Scourges of Hell. In the foreboding depths, the Demon Priests Nilox, Grav, and Ranak gathered in a sinister council in order to devise some sort of plan to stop the Scourges of Hell in their rampage. With malevolent whispers exchanged over the permeating sense of fear, they devised a cunning trap. It was a great risk and their sanctuary would be utterly destroyed, yet any price was worth paying to stop Dynamo and Doomguy. Deag Grav, the leader of the trio since they had served the Argenta Sentinels, laid out the intricate details of their plan, his raspy voice dripping with malice as he spoke of luring the Scourges into a false sense of security before springing the trap. Deag Nilox nodded in agreement, his yellowed eyes gleaming with anticipation at the prospect of capturing their formidable adversaries. He had never liked the Outlanders and now it was time to forever be rid of them. Deag Ranak, would be the one to facilitate the concealment of their true intentions within the Blood Temples. Under his breath, he, muttered incantations, channeling their dark energies to fortify their trap and ensure its success. With each word of the Cultists Prayerspoken, the atmosphere crackled with Argent and Argint Energy as the trio channeled the very Essence of Hell.

With their final preparations made, the Blood Temples awaited their unwitting prey. The hunters would become the hunted and those preyed upon would turn against The Unchained Predators. The air around the areas designated as their last resting places held a foreboding heaviness as the distant echoes of The Great Slayer and DOOM Slayer's roars were heard, getting ever closer.

It was a plan that The Wretch Who Shall Not Be Named, in her omniscience of the One Above and Below All, had foreseen… yet was bound not to intervene.

Insatiable, even by the vanquishing of the Great Ones, the Hellwalkers sought more prey in the tombs of the Blood Keeps. Their ferocity was unmatched and relentless as countless demons were sacrificed to their blades. One, The Doom Marine, cleaved a path wrought in Wraith-energy towards the one in the Kadingir region. Meanwhile, the demonic mutant slashed through the one located in the dark depths of Nekrovor.

Blinded by their shared fervor and heedless of the danger that lurked within the ancient temples, the Hellwalkers pressed forward, lured inexorably towards the hearts of the darkness that lay concealed within. As they breached the inner sanctums of the Blood Keeps, the Hell Priests, sprung their trap. With a deafening roar, the temples came crashing down upon the Great Slayer and the Doom Slayer, incapacitating the both of them. In their defeat, The Marine was entombed in the cursed sarcophagus while The Mercenary was chained in the Cursed Catacombs beneath the Citadel of Nekrovor. The Mark of the Doom Slayer was burned upon The Beast's crypt and The Final Knight's sealing slab, a warning to all of Hell that the terrors within must never be freed.

There they lie still, and ever more, in silent suffering…

Mastermind of Hell - Chapter 4 - GeorgiDynamo (2024)
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