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Fantasy Lovely Apocalypse [Steely & Toacho]

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure
  3. Dystopian

Toacho

The ‘Friend of a Friend’
[A roleplay with me and Steely Steely ]

━♠━​

Five steps. A woman with brimstone eyes had once told him. Five steps is all it takes. She had given a curled smirk while holding up a hand with ragged nails just as twisted as her horns.

He watches closely, eyes fixed on the bulky metal door. His hands are folded neatly behind his back, head crooked to the side just faintly as he waits. That is step one, after all. Patience. Everyone that lives must inevitably die. Therefore, he has all the time in the world. He has strode beside dying men on the battlefield, waiting for their reapers to finish the other souls. He has enjoyed cigars at funeral ceremonies as he watched a disheartened wife prepare to fire on the crowd, angels and demons alike waiting silently for their claims. He has grazed through the mist of calamities and bombs, watching the stuffed animals of children burn on the pavement. Hastiness was never a definition of his job requirement. As long as he was present, and a reaper was to arrive shortly after, then a human could take all the time in the world.

He watched the metal door slowly swing open, a young school girl running from it, wrists swiping over her eyes as she let out a strangled cry. As he began to prepare to step in closer, the heel of his shoe giving a soft click in the single step, he noticed a single wavering figure nearby.

Out from behind the heavy metal door, a small pure white creature poked its head out, a blinding and bright circle of white crossing just above it's head and faintly dipping into it's pale pink eyes.

A human could take all the time in the world, that is, unless an angel were to make an appearance.

Step two; a clean but passively aggressive step, always make your appearance felt. Not to the human, you may scare the timid creature. He cast a brief glance to the girl before shaking his head softly to himself. Most humans took seeing demons and angels unwell. For such a pathetic thing like her, perhaps revealing himself would make her fling herself off the roof all the more quickly? No, step one. Patience.

The heels of his shoes clicked softly as he took a step, then two steps forwards, finding himself appearing a couple of paces before the angelic creature. He could feel its bright blinded eyes staring directly into his back and, for a moment, he felt a sting of pride and pain from the creature before hearing the metal door click softly shut behind him, the creature striding forwards till they were level. The angel was at least a few heads smaller than him, its wings briefly wavering as if they were made of nothing more than fabric before they folded neatly behind itself, smoothing into its pure white suit.

"Ah, thought I was getting here early, was tempted to try and flag you down while looking for the damned place," The angel said with a grin, briefly turning its head as it gave a bright smile up to the demon. "Decided against it though. Figured that if you didn't find it, then it'd be your loss. How's Lucy?"

He remained silent, finding himself narrowing his eyes slightly as he watched the girl, the angel's blinding eyes directly on him. As the minutes passed, the angel eventually gave a small sigh before directing its attention back to the girl. Together, they watched it closely.

She gave a choked sob, wiping her nose on the sleeve of her olive green jacket. Naberius couldn't help but find himself glancing back to the door, briefly letting his mind wander to whether or not some human would hear the strangled cries. It's such a human trait. No sympathy until the point where it is no longer enough to work. They tease, push, and act so cruelly upon each other -- right up until the moment they know that human's soul will weigh on their conscious for the rest of their lives.

Hearing a gentle flutter, like a butterfly's wings, he cast his glance back forwards, the angel having strode a few paces forwards.

Step three. "You know how they will die, please step away from our property," Naberius bit out sharply, an eyebrow raising to the angelic creature as it stopped quickly in its tracks, about halfway between the girl at the edge of the roof and the demon at the exit.

The angel turned back around, offering another bright smile. "We normally get children, why change tradition now?"

"That's not how it works and you know it."

The angel gave a soft tsk, spinning around on its heels and continuing to smile brightly at the demon. It folded it's hands behind it's back and merely waited, staring at the demon as its wings ticked up faintly like a snake trying to scare off a predator. The angel even let its smile creep up wider as it tilted its head and closed its eyes with the wide grin like a remorseless child told that it couldn't have a cookie.

"How terrifying," Naberius stated with a roll of his eyes, keeping his own palms gently folded behind himself as he passed the angel, striding forwards to the side of the human, looking down the ledge. Step three, always watch your charge.

Step four is a slightly more pleasant one. He remembered the woman all those years ago being faintly excited as she had said it, trying to emphasis the enjoyment that most demons and angels alike derived from recognizing each other from a distance away. Try to recognize some faces.

A purposely vague part, seemingly as useful as the generic rule of 'Have fun!' written on children's birthday invites. But, as the years had passed, he had come to appreciate that rule. Sometimes there were other demons around. Familiar faces from centuries passed. He remembered showing up for a heart attack victim one day and noticing how the grandfather of the victim seemed oddly familiar. With a little investigation, he had the pleasant surprise of recognizing him as the serial murderer from a couple of decades ago that killed about eleven women after losing his wife. He had requested to take the soul of that man directly, just so he could see the look on his face when he was told he would meet the same fate as those girls. Who said he couldn't derive at least a little enjoyment?

Sadly, it did not seem that today would be one of those interesting coincidences. Instead, as he looked out, he only saw a small crowd of humans beginning to gather on the street. Looking closer, however, he did notice one particularly interesting detail. Another of those odd pale creatures, lingering within the crowd, a dainty triangular halo around their head. How peculiar? Perhaps someone in the crowd would die of shock? Or maybe the girl would fall on one of them. That would be amusing. Dying trying to help was not an uncommon passing for humans.

A small strangled final cry from the girl was just enough to bring his sight away from the curiously confused angel below and to the sight beside him as he watched the girl begin to tumble off the roof, body twisting uncomfortably as she tried to grab something last second, her eyes landing directly on him for just a split second as she let out a shriek of horror and began her descent. She hit the ground with a horrible thud that even he could hear from his place at the roof. The wind whistled as it passed through.

His eyes turned sharply to the angel beside him, flickering first to its outstretched hand just where she had been, and then its bright innocent smile. "What can you say," It chimed, tucking its hand behind its back before spreading its wings. "Just lending her a helping hand."

It was gone within a moment.

Naberius gave a faint snarl at the angel's tactics before taking a step off the roof, finding himself standing in front of the scene below, the angel already rambling on about something. He glanced around briefly, noticing how the humans had quickly backed away, some shouting or crying or even both. However, one peculiar fact was how the other angel had seeming vanished. He could not see them anywhere. Perhaps they were just being as nosy as ever?

Looking back down to the sight, he saw two outlines of the girl. The first, laying in a bloodied mass on the ground with wide eyes and an agape mouth. He paid little regard to the mortal form and instead flickered his gaze to the faintly transparent, wide-eyed, and dazed form on the ground, staring up to the crouching form of the angel in front of her as it clicked open its briefcase, showing a variety of different halos within.

"-Here we have the social paradise, you will be able to meet back up with your grandmother -- lovely woman I must say -- as well as Rickie. You do miss dear Rickie, right?" The angel rambled on, words fast and excited.

"I-" The girl choked out, still in shock. "I thought daddy said Rickie went to a farm to herd sheep?"

Naberius winced, the angel's eyes widening briefly but still maintaining its sharp and unnatural smile. Suddenly, it gave a quick laugh before moving on. "This one will take you to exactly right here! But nicer, you won't need to deal with any of these horrible people ever again! The pain is only temporary and before you know it, you won't even remember what happened! You'll have the perfect life! Forever!"

"He's lying," Naberius snapped, folding his arms in front of himself as he began to look around for their designated reaper. Of course it would be late. She was clearly brain dead, that was the only reason the damned angel was able to talk with her currently, so there would be no recovery. Maybe the reaper had forgotten? Its not like that would be a first, it would just be messy. Forcing the girl to spend the rest of her days in limbo until her family had to pull the plug. He gave a soft sigh, almost pitying the poor girl. "He can't promise you anything because you do not have a choice in the matter."

The angel glanced back, still smiling.

"What do you mean?" The girl asked.

"You're dead. By suicide, nonetheless. I would say that the most choice you have in the matter is whether or not you want to eventually let go or not." He mentioned, slowly striding forwards until he was right in front of her, then crouching down but still having to crane his head down to look her in the eyes. A shadow reflected across her body from where he leaned. "All for some boy that you wouldn't even remember in a year, really? Something so permanent for something so temporary?" He asked. There's no need to prolong the explanation of her torture. She was going to be reaped soon. It was suicide. She would go to him. The angel had no chance.

"But-" The girl sputtered, new tears forming. "I didn't kill myself.. I was upset.. But I didn't... I didn't want to.."

He furrowed his brow as he looked down at the girl, then glancing to the angel. The angel's grin had widened, nearly splitting its face, thumb running over the smooth leather of the briefcase repeatedly. "No," Naberius hummed, furrowing his brow as the side of his mouth twitched down in distaste.

He stood up sharply, the angel abandoning its briefcase as its wings fluttered and it appeared behind him, trying to catch a glimpse of the papers. "Oh my, oh my," The angel chirped excitedly, shifting again to try and get a look as the demon spun around to hide the papers and continued unfolding them. With hurried hands, part of it tore slightly as he worked at it, snarling briefly at the angel as it flew up lightly to peer over his shoulder, blowing a gust of wind into the faces of the humans nearby who were all the more oblivious.

He finally caught the paper at the edges and tugged it open, skimming over it quickly. The angel shifted again, looking for just a moment before giving a soft snicker of laughter and appearing by the girl again, still standing though, wings completely unfolded. What a burning gaze to add insult to injury.

"There are two addresses here," The demon finally bit out, dumbfounded that someone had made such a simplistic error. "Where the hell is mine then?"

"Ah," The angel began, clearly ecstatic that there had been a mistake. "Well I am pretty sure Lucy had mentioned something about how she had a distracted driver case nearby. Some guy that knocked up a bunch of women and always abandoned them. She was pretty sure that she'd lose that case, but it seems like she's got a better case now that there's nobody there to play devil's advocate?" The angel chirped, stroking its chin briefly before flashing its eyes back down to the dazed girl on the ground. "Ah, but that's not your problem, sweety. He's right though, you shouldn't play by rooftops!" He said, wagging his finger at her before giggling and crouching down, ruffling the hair of the terrified girl. "Not that it matters now. Clouds are so soft, I promise, maybe I'll show you when we get up there! How does that sounds?"

"Bastard," Naberius grit out before taking another step, appearing at the roof once more and abandoning the two below. Looking down, he briefly noticed the angel shake its head with a grin and turn back to the little girl, resuming its sales pitch. With another tsk, he turned his sights around the area and noticed a familiar setting. A truck smashed into a tree, absolutely totaled and crumpled in on itself. He could hardly tell if there was an angel or reaper present yet. Regardless, he needed to find out. He couldn't believe that he had been given the wrong paperwork. During this time, nonetheless! So many recent souls, such a surge in deaths, constant work and he was given the wrong address?

He would be having a strong word with whoever had designated him with two addresses. Two names were easy. He had two hands, after all. Two times were also child's play. Physically, however, he could not be in two places at once.

Step five. Always correct any mistakes.

He appeared at the sight of the car crash and looked around, attempting to spot any sign of the angel and potentially the reaper.

━♠━​
 

Steely

Stressed College Student
A doe raced through the domains of nature, its trotting all but rendered mute by the thick grass dotting the surface. It dodged, danced and weaved a graceful path betwixt trees, sauntered over rocks and splashed through shallow streams. It had only the faint glow of moonlight to guide it, the pallor struggling to penetrate the leaves swaying above the agile creature. And yet, it had not a care in the world. These were its lands, where it knew every stone, every tree, every blade of grass, every gust of wind and every course of water. There was nothing to fear.

Yet, something changed. Midway during its sprint, its strength faltered. The legs were as if clad in lead, growing tired and swollen. Its chest burned from within, pumping fiery blood through its vessels. The eyes grew sensitive, and the mere sparkle of the Moon on a pond rendered it blind. The doe slowed down, legs struggling to hold its body upright, panted breaths leaving its poor lungs. Soon, they turned to sickly wheezes, a hacking cough leaving strings of a pus-like substance hanging from its mouth. Without strength, it collapsed, laying on the grass.

The eyes rolled into the back of its skull. The throat overflew with the secretion, silencing the few wails it had left in it with horrid gurgles. The legs twitched, now covered in rashes and gangrenous wounds. A final movement, fickle and desperate, and then it stopped. Life oozed from its wounds, running free like the pitch-black blood staining the soil beneath it. A pale soul emerged, dazed and confused.

A shadowy figure approached, however, their steps calm and their breath carrying the strength of a thousand blizzards. In its pale hands a scythe was held, glinting with moonlight. Wrapped in a cloak of darkness, they claimed step by step with utmost patience, hazy red eyes set on the terrified soul. A hand reached out for its head, lethargically caressing the ethereal apparition. The other prepared the scythe, the blade humming with an ominous power. The blow came, swift and precise...

Only to strike nothing but the air. In a split-second, a sickly green aura surged before their sight, dissipating the soul instantaneously. The cloaked stranger stopped, though the event failed to fill them with surprise. They simply held back, returning to a simple stance, scythe in hands and face concealed by their cloak. Soon, a cackle broke the still silent of the night. Tendrils of pus-yellow and dark green erupted from where the doe's body rested, stretching and morphing what remained beyond its limits. Legs, arms, a torso, and a head. A cloud of rot surrounding the vaguely humanoid arrival. A rotten smile, dripping with blood and all manner of repugnant secretion.

"My, my, sister Death. What a pleasure!" The voice - high-pitched and laced with amusement - stunk of rot and carried a taste of poison. "It has been so long, so terribly long! I certainly wished we met under better circumstances, though this shall serve us just right. Oh, yes, it shall."

Death's gaze remained fixated on the new arrival, watching as the snatched soul lightly wailed and wept; every odd moment or so, it gurgled and coughed. "Pestilence." The reaper spoke with steely firmness and patience. The name muttered was cold, impossibly cold. Pestilence naught could do to fight back the sudden shudder. "What inspires you to disturb my exile?"

"Have you not heard? Or have you ceased caring even for your dear reapers, hm?" Pestilence paced around, their feet sinking past the sheet of grass and dirt beneath them. A bird flew close, taking an unwise perch on their shoulder. A gentle touch of their hand and the creature trembled, its feathers falling, the tiny body claimed by tumorous growths and pus-filled bubbles. Soon, it sung its last song of suffering, and the pale soul that emerged was swiftly claimed by Pestilence's cloud of disease and rot. Death's expression remained the same - silent, understanding solemnity. "It is time, dear sister. You know well what I mean. You have strayed from your duty long enough."

Death's lips parted, her pensive breath louder than the gentle howl of the wind coursing through the leaves. "Yet I receive no warning; no angel nor demon has knocked upon my door. This prompts me to believe that..."

"He fails to care, still. Or he simply doesn't know. Does it matter, in the end?" As Pestilence spoke, they idly snatched passing creatures. A squirrel, a wild dog, a fox; before long, they had collected a dozens souls, each falling ill in a matter of seconds. Their fates were creatively - yet disturbingly - different, though the suffering in their last moments was all but the same. "The time is nigh, sister. You know that well. You must act."

Distant neighing and a furious gallop reached her ears. A sturdy, young mare arrived in the scene, reducing its speed to a simple trot before stopping by Pestilence's side. "And now I must go. I recommend a swift return, sister Death." Pestilence spoke, hiding a low chuckle. As soon as they were mounted, the once majestic mare rot with disease, sprouted tumors left and right and bled continuously from infected wounds. Pestilence sighed, their composure oozing with satisfaction. "War is already at work. And of course: be a dear and claim these for me, will you? In my name."

The souls of the animals claimed by Pestilence's putrid creations appeared before Death, clustered into a mass of ethereal rot, pus and disease. They sang together in a dissonant chant of pain, a suffering that echoed through the very soil the reaper stood upon. Thus, Death acted. The pale skin gave way to bones gripping the scythe tightly. The fair, solemn face disappeared, a skull appearing in its stead, empty sockets glowing with red. The scythe sliced through the air, and the souls were reaped.

Silence and peace returned to the forest, finally. Yet Death knew not how long it would last.

Meanwhile...
The crashed car, much like the girl's suicidal fall, accrued quite the audience. From what the morbidly curious could gather, the driver was texting on the wheel, and swerved hard when faced with the back of a bus. The swerve cost him not only his car, but also punted a passing motorcycle rider across the street and onto the sidewalk. Chaos was already forming, though the worst was yet the come. Miraculously, the driver survived, albeit heavily wounded; and in an ironic twist, the rider of the motorcycle he struck had also survived, in much better shape. The driver struggled to leave the smoking, damaged carcass of his vehicle, coughing and grasping his wounds in pain.

The rider shouted an insult, approaching the stumbling man with fire in his eyes. Despite his wounds, the driver returned the aggression with more filthy words, and it wasn't long before the crash became but a distant memory, the onlookers focusing on the ensuing debacle. A passersby approached, holding his hands out in a diplomatic fashion, trying to defuse the situation. It only worsened it. The rider didn't take the newcomer's attempt at pacification lightly, shoving him away and throwing a wild punch. Chaos ensued. Cries in favor of the fight grew louder than those asking for help.

For Naberius, though, no angel nor reaper appeared. Instead, through the oblivious citizens a horse emerged, muscle-clad and wrapped in armor. Atop its saddle sat an equally hulking figure, cackling with cruel laughter as he watched the scene unfold before his own eyes, glowing with blood lust. The horse brought him towards the circle formed by the impromptu audience, where he trotted around the two, poking and stoking the fires of anger within the two fighters. Soon, blood was spilled and teeth flew. The wounded driver joined in only to be subdued by the rider who mercilessly kicked him into the ground. War cackled with laughter, invisible yet influential, pulling the strings behind the ongoing scene.

Life in him expired with a final, desperate breath, and the soul emerged soon after, choleric and maddened. Yet, War's sword failed to capture the spirit. There was a small pause in the Horseman's victorious and prideful boasting as he searched the crowds for a reaper, an angel or perhaps a demon. It didn't take long for him to single Naberius out from the crowd. Demons had auras of their own, exquisitely distinguishable from even the bloodiest, most hateful of warriors. He put his crimson horse on a small trot, phasing through the audience and appearing before the demon. His face was hidden behind the horned helmet, though the glare of his red eyes was unmistakable.

"Ah, a demon answering the call of business, I see. Is Hell not aware?" The voice boomed and conjured images of spilled blood, inhuman fury and blind pride. "Matters little. I hope that soul is all you need here. There are higher forces lying in wait. This shall be bigger than any of us. We--"

"I am here, I am here!" A high-pitched and winded shout cut War's words in half as a dark-clad figure emerged from the shadows of an adjacent alleyway. With his mane of white-hair in complete disarray, the lanky reaper approached the two, pale cheeks surprisingly rosy from his sprint. A glance towards the unfolding chaos and he shuddered, holding a hand to his forehead. "Oh heavens, what is... but my supervisor didn't mention this much chaos!"

He turned to face the two figures standing just a few ways from the commotion, his golden eyes as wide as saucers. "Master War? And a demon?" War huffed with annoyance, eyes rolling as he slowly returned to the situation at hand, his wrathful aura working to influence a few more rounds of violence among the humans. This left the reaper, Antonnius, and Naberius, standing by, with Antonnius anxiously fiddling with his clothes. "Well, greetings. I shan't impede your work, worry not! If you require assistance or information of any kind, I shall be..." He glanced around, gesturing a circle with his index, "here."

Antonnius gave a small, meek smile only to return to the chaotic scene. War watched above it all, examining the on-going fight for a perfect candidate to possess, though that wasn't part of the reaper's mission. Soon, another soul emerged. Oh, there she was! An elderly woman, recently departed thanks to a heart-attack made worse by the ensuing chaos. Her spirit walked about, clearly lost, and the reaper rushed to her side, taking her hand with great care and brandishing his best smile.

"It's okay, it's all better now, you see?" The lady summoned a smile of her own, though there was still confusion swimming in her gaze. "You needn't worry, miss. You will be just fine. Is there anything you need ask?"

"Oh, dear, thank you for your kindness. So rare these days!" Her smile was beaming, bringing a pang of warmth to Antonnius' chest. "But do tell me, what happened? Why is everything so... different?" She heard the cries of the choleric crowd, but Antonnius took her hand once again, prompting her to remain focused on him. "Is everything alright?"

"Of course it is! Worry not, you are just fine. I would simply ask you to..." His words trailed off as a shadow was cast down on him, the flapping of wings reaching his ears.

"My, is that... is that an angel?" The lady asked, mouth agape with oblivious awe. Antonnius glanced up towards the skies above to see the heavenly creature soaring in circles, akin to a crow waiting for an opportune moment to feast on a corpse. "I had never seen one... are they--"

The angel prepared to approach. Antonnius' scythe appeared in the blink of an eye. The poor lady continued to ask questions, confused, only to have her spirit reaped by the blade of the reaper. The white-haired wraith's heart pounded in his chest, though he returned the venomous gaze of the angel with a stern one, seeing to it that they weren't to linger in the area. A sigh of relief and disappointment left his mouth as he hid his scythe once again, raking his digits through his hair.

Well, Purgatory would be a better judge than any opportunistic angel. Or so he wished.
 

Toacho

The ‘Friend of a Friend’
━♠━​

Naberius strode forwards, eyes flickering across the scene of the crash. Much to his surprise, it seemed that the driver had not immediately passed away. He cocked his head to the side as he watched, the heels of his shoes giving a soft click on the pavement as he took a few more leisurely steps forwards for a better view of the show that was quickly unwinding before him. As he began to approach the outskirts of the circle forming around the rider and driver, some of the humans would shift, blocking his view. With a soft tsk, he glanced across the crowd, noticing a woman in one of the sparse areas with a large purse over her arm, currently seeming to be actively amused by the fight as she gave a small snort of laughter when the rider swung.

"Of course you would find that amusing," He mused, mostly to himself. With a swift flick of his hand, the strap to the woman's purse suddenly snapped, sending her purse and the belongings within spilling onto the ground. The woman swore, crouching down to retrieve everything, no longer blocking the demon's sight line.

Naberius folded his hands neatly behind his back as he watched the scene unravel. However, as he listened the the shouts from the jeering crowd, he eventually noticing the faint clatter of hooves nearby, causing his to turn his gaze to the newcomer. Surely his eyes were deceiving him. War himself, in the flesh.

He watched the man weave through the crowd, causing wrath to slowly seep into the souls of those nearby. He could almost see the flicker of fire burning up their very cores and pushing them towards violence. So easily influenced. He could never understand why these creatures were God's favorite.

As the being took notice of Naberius, catching his eye briefly, Naberius made no move towards the man, instead choosing to keep a careful eye on the scene -- particularly as he watched a final blow take the driver's life. At the precise moment that the soul left the creature's mangled body, the demon lightly twitched a finger, the soul folding in on itself grotesquely just as it was pulling itself from the corpse, as if trying to take the smallest shape possible. It looked like a horrible little ball of mangled flesh, about the size of the palm of a hand. Two fractured bones jutted out of the small ball. It was difficult to compact them down so tightly, there were often imperfections. The femurs never quite liked the split-second process. His coworkers had taken to calling these strange little protrusions 'wings', as they formed for nearly all the demons that worked in the claiming field.

Unlike angels, who preferred to keep the souls of humans perfectly intact to before they were even reaped, demons functioned solely on efficiency. If there was a soul that no angel cared to even make an effort to claim, then it would immediately be packed and sent away. If no reaper were to make an appearance? Well, it was unconventional, but not his fault if they refused to serve their duties.

With another gentle finger twitch, as Naberius' gaze flickered towards the approaching War, the ball of ghostly flesh would appear directly within the demon's hand. Naberius gave a gentle sigh as he used his thumb to smooth the two protrusions, a gentle twig like snap sounding from each movement. Then, with little more formalities, he tucked the soul within his jacket before directing his attention back up to War, Naberius feeling a faint tinge of distaste already boiling in the back of his throat. While he had never met the being personally, he had acquaintances who had. Most of those run-ins had always been unpleasant at best.

"Of course, that is my job, after all," Naberius stated with a calm but somewhat blunt tone. He did, however, find one of the comments to be somewhat notable. Is Hell not aware? "We happened to have the unpleasant misfortune of operating within the basement. I am afraid that most of the chatter of your realms rarely reaches us."

He traced his eyes to the newcomer as he folded his hands back behind himself, quickly recognizing it to be a reaper. As he noticed the young reaper falter at the sight of both him and War, Naberius sure hoped that he was not here in order to declare the soul dead. It was, after all, much past that point. The demon gave a small nod of acknowledgement but little more. As the reaper went off to reap an elderly woman, the demon's eyes drifting to the woman's soul but hardly lingering as he deemed her an unnecessary challenge. The worst thing she had done in her life was a bit of heavy drinking in her early years. There was no need to fight for a soul that would inevitably not belong to him.

"You mentioned higher forces," Naberius mentioned, trailing his gaze back to War, the demon hardly giving much room for more light taunts or chatter. He never was one for such small talk. Hence why he always made sure the tongues were crushed first when compacting his souls. "Has God decided to resurface, maybe create a new race? Or perhaps he is just tired of laying wait and has chosen to prepare for another flood?" He asked, tilting his head sharply, his spine giving a slightly unnatural click as he made the jerky move. Despite the sharp move, as well as his question, his eyes remained in their same emotionless state. It would be like staring into the eyes of a dead fish, completely unreadable.

━♠━​
 

Steely

Stressed College Student
War tended to the situation with brutal efficiency. There was no grace, no precision and no patience. Everything moved with the force of a thousand soldiers, burning with the hatred buried deep within each and every human's essence. Though he seemed mostly idle, those with a keen eye could see the murderous, bloody aura seeping into the minds of the humans, oozing with energy to be spent in bloodshed. Punches and kicks were guided as though ordered by the barks of a general, fueled with the animosity of conflict. Bones cracked, teeth were kicked in and crimson rained from every blow. One could almost hear a low chuckle emanating from under that mountain of metal and wrath.

Still, the demon proved to be curious. Or insistent. In the dissonance between the question and the lifeless gaze, War allowed the situation to take its course to fully focus on the being before him. The mention of God made him cackle with laughter. "God?!" His tone was mocking, dripping with venom. "The old hermit flees his role still. Me and my siblings are simply carrying out the inevitable, and as it stands, he has little say in it." A pause, and his eyes moved to the reaper, meek and introverted, almost shrinking before the gaze of War. "Ah, I see Death remains in isolation, even as the bells toll. What a disgrace. To think she is the oldest of us all..."

Antonnius frowned, though his forming scowl quickly crumbled under War's hateful stare.

"Well, there is much to be done. I advise caution, demon. Times are changing." For a moment, the glare in War's crimson eyes gave way to a distant, almost sage gaze, akin to the broken stare of a warrior whose psyche had been gored by the horrors of conflict. "And you will need it. Believe it... or don't. In either way, it is the fate of this world."

Without another word, the horse neighed and reared, the flames of its mane burning with the intensity of the sun. His sword was brandished, and off he went, galloping at full speed through the group, adding a final touch of madness to the ensuing fight. At this rate, it wouldn't be long before another soul emerged from the crowd.

With War gone, Antonnius stepped closer to the demon, hands held together in a rather cautious approach. In reality, he was trying his best to drown out the sounds of agony and hatred assaulting his ears. Whoever assigned him to this soul was either ignorant to his dislike of tumultuous deaths, or particularly cruel. Everything coalesced into a symphony of anger and despair that drove his thoughts wild, his skull aching from the inside. Cruel, indeed. Though others would argue that as a reaper, Antonnius should be better prepared to face situations like this.

A pained grimace rested on his pale features as he glanced at the demon, perhaps seeking a way out of this outbreak of insanity. Even with all the chaos, he had a duty to uphold, after all, and anything else would prove to be more soothing than what unfolded before his eyes. A small spark of realization flared in his mind. Perhaps the demon needed some semblance of guidance? He was no amateur, that he could notice from his aura alone, though it was part of his job to cooperate with demons and angels, no matter how unsavory they may prove to be.

"I... believe you might want an explanation?" Antonnius adopted a low tone, though it was still very much audible through the ruckus. "Or not, of course. As said, I shan't interrupt your work, and, well, truth be told, it's been a while since the rules were properly enforced..." He was already interrupting whatever the demon was about to do, now that he had claimed the soul of the driver. Yet, Antonnius felt somewhat lost. The End Times were coming and the reapers had given little to no instruction on how to carry on with their duties in the face of such an event.

Perhaps he could find some guidance in this demon?

Or at least some semblance of a task. He knew demons and their system well: soul-collection was a business to each and every one of them. Even with Death's exile - and at least with the select few he worked with - they preferred the orthodox method of claiming a soul. "Though it seems as if you are not one for taking companions, I could offer aid in the processing of souls." His sales pitch wasn't very strong, specially in the eyes of the business savvy demons. Antonnius was often too meek or too subservient to the wills of others to get his point across, much less enlist help in a task of his own. It wouldn't hurt to try, though. He even cleared his throat and set his hair straight for it! "If you will hear me out, of course."

"War speaks true, and I predict we shall see an exponential increase in deaths in the future..." Antonnius stared off into the distance for a moment, but his eyes were soon back on Naberius. "Perhaps this could be... mutually beneficial?"
 

Toacho

The ‘Friend of a Friend’
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Naberius raised an eyebrow at the peculiar phrasing. "Oh?" He hummed, considering what in the world that could mean. 'Me and my siblings are simply carrying out the inevitable.' Surely that did not mean what he thought it did? After all, their last apocalyptic scenario had been -- well -- many years ago. Once could call the flood as such, but even then, only Death was tasked to that job. None of the other siblings had a hand.

He had heard stories of the siblings and their brutality. Bloody, violent, and outright cruel ones. Always passing through the circles of hell like poison, spreading through each branch until a superior had to quiet the whispers. Even then, not even Naberius or his few sparse superiors could ever confirm the cases. Regardless of whether or not this was God's doing -- perhaps the old man had decided to clear the slate -- one fact was very clear; business would picking up rather quickly and much too soon for comfort.

At the vaguely threatening comment, Naberius gave a faint nod of respect, hardly more than a twitch of his neck. "I have already died once. I hardly expect that a second time would be much more of a discomfort." Demons of his status rarely ever died twice. Even then, he knew better than to deem it impossible.

Naberius took a swift step back, appearing a couple of paces behind his original spot as the horse reared up, the demon's hands still folded neatly behind his back as he watched the soldier depart, then flickering his eyes across the fight currently raging around him. So much chaos already, and according to the soldier, this was hardly even the beginning of it. His eyes briefly grazed the group. A man getting his head caved in by a few delinquent teenagers. An elderly man darting into traffic while trying to escape a woman, a car slamming into the man. A familiar woman clutching a broken purse as she slammed it into a man approaching her, throwing him backwards into a larger man who would promptly swing at him. Naberius gave a soft sigh, adjusting his glasses and noticing a shadow pass through the crowd. Or rather, reflect down onto the crowd.

Glancing up, he noticed an angel, small bodied and with a smile of too many teeth, drifting down before landing on a nearby wire. Alongside it, there were about four other angels sitting perched. He could even recognize the one from prior -- the one that had so casually pushed the girl off the building. A couple of them watched him, while the three others had their eyes trained on the crowd specifically, as if just waiting to make a dash for any stray souls to leave the main vicinity of the gory mess.

Naberius glanced over to the pale reaper as he heard a soft voice, the demon raising an eyebrow at him as he made his offer. Naberius considered it for only a moment, weighing the choice before eventually giving a small nod and glancing back up to the angels. "I believe that would be a helpful partnership. As it stands currently, Hell is rather ill-informed."

As an angel dropped from the wire and spread it's wings, eyes trained on the mangled body of the man hit by the car as he still clung to life, Naberius twitched his hand, the electrical wire snapping, the flock of angels forced to take off while the wire dipped down just in time to strike the stray angel. It gave a slight hiss, one of the wings appearing slightly singed as it took off to join its brothers and sisters at a nearby fence, a sour look plastered on its face.

Still, as the souls from the previous bodies emerged, he refused to take his claim of any of them. Eventually, he pulled his gaze from the angels and back to the reaper. He disliked chatter, it took time out of work, but this seemed like essential chatter. The souls could wait. "I believe my first question would be to ask what exactly is occurring? This is not the only circumstance of the Horsemen. Over the last few days, there had been both an increase in death as well as an increase in errors. May I ask why this is?" His phrasing was polite, but also quite direct. He was interested in answers, after all.

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Steely

Stressed College Student
Antonnius felt the pure pressure of being put under Naberius' gaze. He had worked with demons in the past, yes, but they were relatively young and considerably more energetic with their profession. None compared to the dead, lifeless stare of this demon who oozed experience and calculated formality at the slightest gesture of his hand. Even his means of dealing with the swarm of angels was prim and proper, a simple display of power to keep them at bay and remind them of the competition that lingered in the vicinity. Yet, he had to speak. Naberius wasn't one for chatter, and to linger when given the word would certainly not help the reaper's case.

The words that were to leave his throat were as heavy as lead, coiling around his tongue and immobilizing him with hesitance. A breath, and they came out. "To put it simply, mister... the End Times are coming." He felt no relief in disclosing this information; the realization finally dawned upon him, written like a novel across his place face. The wide eyes, the lost gaze, the tense lips. As with every other shocking revelation, the results never fully struck the one receiving the news until they saw the yields of the situation before them. The reaper spent a good moment in silence, though the sickening sound of another skull being split open anchored him back to reality. "It explains the chaotic situation, I believe."

He turned to the scene, watching the skulking angels to make sure they didn't prey on the souls emerging from the chaos. "It was vague for the reapers too, of course. Even I don't know the full extent of it, though as I am but a part of Death's influence, well..." He mustered a small smile, a hint of pride playing on those rosy lips. "We certainly had a head start on the matter."

"Truth be told, though, I am... quite lost." And he was, indeed. While the situation before them was horrid enough, it would escalate to worse levels throughout the next weeks. And what was a reaper like him to do when demons and angels - and the very Horsemen of the Apocalypse - fight with tooth and nail for the myriad of souls emerging from the dead? Bureaucracy wouldn't save him, that was for sure. "So, as previously suggested, I could very well help you with the processing of souls. And while I certainly have no doubts about your fighting ability, having a reaper tagging along could make everything more... efficient."

Ah, efficiency. That could tip the scales in his favor, undoubtedly. It would serve the demon well to avoid getting tangled in petty conflicts with groups of angels, as ripping their wings from their backs would cost him far too much time in his future dealings.

What Naberius probably didn't count on was the reaper's sudden surge in confidence. He puffed his chest a little, and his hands rested at his hips. A bright smile almost split his face in half. The eyes didn't lie - he was doing this to drown out the massacre behind him - though the 'tough guy' impression fit him as well as a camel fit through a needle's eye. The reaper wasn't muscular or threatening in appearance. In fact, he had much more of a soft look about him. Then again, this was all part of his sales pitch.

With enough luck, Naberius wouldn't mock this shoddy display of martial reliability.

"So, what is your say on the matter? We can start immediately!" His enthusiasm clashed horridly with the flurries of insults and the pained screams emanating from the scene, though he was not about to let it damage his mood. Not now, at least. Reaping souls in such states of anguish and rabid anger would certainly change that.
 

Toacho

The ‘Friend of a Friend’
━♠━​

Naberius furrowed his brow slightly at the mention of the apocalypse. "The apocalypse?" The demon mused with a faint hum, drawing his eyes back to the crowd of people. Luckily, it seemed like the crowd had reached the peak of their blood lust, soon they would begin dropping like flies. Wounded people fight with a lot less vigor, after all.

He glanced back over as the reaper stated how little he knew about it as well. Naberius gave a soft twitch of a smile, almost as if ghosting a laugh. "Well, if not us starting it," He said, pacing slightly towards the reaper but curving around him a few steps before he reached him, the demon seeming to just be processing his thoughts on the matter. "- and not the reapers," He continued, curving back around on the other side before stopping only a couple of feet away, tilting his heard sharply and furrowing his brow slightly again. "Then I wonder who in particular chose to begin the process? Surely not the angels. I have faith in their abilities, but it happens to be quite limited." He said, seeming to have little regard for the angels still lingering close by. "I am assuming that it would be none other than the horsemen."

Despite the young reaper's claim of efficiency, Naberius found little use in that aspect. When paperwork came correct, he could take his claims with little more than a couple of exchanged sentences. No, the little reaper's use came elsewhere. Amicus curiae. He was a friend of the court. It was the best way to stay in the loop of the current circumstances. After all, was Death not one of the horsemen herself? The very Death that all reapers supposedly worked under.

Unlike the angels, who operated under a competition system where each of them worked for themselves and teams were hardly formed; or the demons, who functioned with strict branches with supervisors and workers; the reapers were a different and much more interesting bunch. At the end of the day, they would not be able to exist without Death. Angels had survived for thousands of years without God. While demons would take a rather large hit at the loss of Lucifer, they would be able to work around it just as humans worked around the death of a CEO.

By forming a professional togetherness with the little reaper, he would be able to have a source of insight to the current state of the so-called apocalypse as it approached.

He gave a smile, it not quite reaching his eyes as he held a single bony hand out for a handshake. "Naberius," He introduced smoothly. "May I ask for your name in return?" He waited for an answer, then turning his gaze back to the humans, then flickering towards the angels as they shifted in place, wings occasionally twitching as they waited for their moment to move in, a couple of them having already inched closer as if daring each other to get closer. Few of them were smiling anymore, seeming to have resolved to drop the facade. Naberius gave a small sigh. "I was not given the paperwork for any of these cases, and judging by how I see no other demons nearby, I would assume that these were not scheduled. Shall we begin with sorting through these?" He asked, glancing to the reaper.

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