The Fall of the Archmagi Covenant

The Fall of the Archmagi Covenant

The Kingdom is in uproar. From the loyalists to the previous King who believe that, frankly, 'being from Tarai' is an unwritten rule in the succession charter, to the criminals who are now forced to fight for their very lives unless they want to be dragged into a war that they have nothing to do with, the country is burning. It will be a day or two at the earliest before absolute rule is established.

Of course. The trouble with chaos is that it allows some elements to slip through the cracks. One of the things that has is the Grandmaster himself. As he had been en route to a meeting with the former King, Lionheart had turned on the road the moment he had heard the plight of his fellows in the Covenant.

The old man is pissed.

Now there's roughly 18 individuals storming the courtyard of the Covenant proper. In truth, Lionheart had hoped for rather more. But, the Covenant had suffered greatly in the initial purges. Specifically marked as a threat to the Confederacy forces, many senior members had been struck down before they even knew what was happening.

Bolts of arcane fire crack and burn, shields flaring as the group plough into the 'killing grounds' before the Tower proper. The Confederacy forces met by a wave of arcane fire and death, burning and roaring as Lionheart comes to the fore, the old man surrounded by a corona of burning orange power.

"We shall not fall!" He roars, his voice thundering with arcane power. Unnaturally augmented, "The Covenant will stand! For the good of the Kingdom!"

All of this chaos. Men and women- criminals charging about and stirring a pot which should be left alone. Tarai was rightfully in Confederate control. Jo'un saw to that when she displayed the head of the, now late, king. And it should not be questioned. This Covenant uprising headed for tower is unacceptable. The chaos is unacceptable. Only one thing can ever stop chaos.
Order.
And what better order is there than a library? That is why The Great Unmoving Library makes its appearance. The white devil machin, wrapped in a large cloak of bright scarlet, concealing all but its helmet.
"That is where you are incorrect, old man." Maestra issues quite simply over the mecha's speakers. "Tarai is under martial law. And as such any opposing that law will recieve the aforementioned penalty, as set out."

Death.

Someone is here to quash someone else's dreams. "You will fall. And an example will be made."

Above all things, there is one crucial thing for a shinobi to consider and live by. The way of the ninja is not one walked in the light but steeped in the shadows; to be unseen, hidden. A spy, a messenger, a murderer. Ultimately, a weapon. For information could just as easily kill as a swift blade.

That is why the former heir to House Hyuga, a ninja of peerless skill with a personality that one could very well call dangerous, was now dressed in a grey-coloured robe and holding a large, stylized staff in his right hand. He had placed a proper eyepatch over his missing left eye and applied make-up in order to change his skin-tone.

The clothes and staff he had gotten mere moments ago, having ambushed one of the attackers from behind with a quick strike on one of the major nerve-clusters. Then, it was only a matter of seconds to throw the robe on and grab the staff. His impromptu disguise was, of course, far from perfect, but it was sufficient for his purposes since he knew how to remain inconspicuous.

His mark? An old man. Simple enough objective, really.

Lionheart lives true to his name. Throughout his long life, he has ever served as a confidant and advisor to his King. Even a friend. A man of potent learning and one of the most respected Grandmasters in years, Lionheart could not look more potent than he does now, wreathed with his flames and flanked by his pupils, his colleagues. Many had died already, the powers the enemy wielded were… fantastic.

But Lionheart would not allow this injustice to stand!

"So this is the face of the enemy." He mutters, drawing his staff up, leveling it at the potent warmachine above. "Stand firm, my friends. I know not what sorcery the enemy have at their disposal, but we can not give in!"

As one (barring Ibiki, most likely) the group raise their staffs to the sky…

And a mighty lion born of flame leaps from the end of the Grandmaster's staff. Roughly the same size as the Great Unmoving Library, the great beast of flame aims to tackle the cloaked machine, and bite at the helm.

The exertion this places upon the Grandmaster is painfully obvious, however. No longer a young man, and never as studied in the vicious magics of combat as he was in divination, sweat beads on his aged brow, a low snarl issuing from gritted teeth.

Well. It would seem the man is not Lionhearted in name alone. Considering he summons a large, flaming feline to set upon The Library. "This is not the face of your enemy. Not my visage alone. But that of the Confederacy as a whole. And your uprising shall be crushed underfoot."
So speaks the librarian, as the white powered armor tugs aside its cloak, unveiling the large leather and metal bound tome within its grip. And it flings the text open, pages glowing with runes of power as the mighty beast draws in for the pounce. And it is absorbed. Sucked into the flickering pages and rendered harmless against the magical machine.
Of course, this leaves Alice facing off the angry mages with their staves raised high.

"Examples. Shall be made."

Her words are simple as the book's pages toss once again, the air surrounding the machine growing frigidly cold. Her intent being to flash freeze the mages closest to her. Ibiki is of course not intended to get caught in this, only those closest to her. But the distraction of a large machine trying to kill people left and right should leave all eyes on her anyway for some good distractions. Ninjas use distractions right?

Naturally Ibiki raised his staff to the sky as well. What kind of mage would he be if he did not support the spell of the Archmagus, after all? This was of course an empty gesture as Ibiki continued on his way, carefully making sure that he never remained at a point where Confederate counterattacks would hit him while slowly moving towards his quarry.

The carnage around him was exhilarating. It would be joyful to let loose and revel in the slaughter, but he was first and foremost a professional. His first priority was to finish the job — any killing he did afterwards was merely a bonus.

And as Alice unleashed her grand attack, Ibiki took the chance to step his game up a bit, disappearing from sight for a moment as he noticed everyone's attention on the Great Unmoving Library — reliably, as he had the perception power of the Byakugan at his disposal — and flashing back into visibility only a few feet away from the Archmage. There was no big trick to this stunt: he merely had moved faster than the human eye could see.

Lionheart's eyes goes a little bit wider at that. Stunned by what he was seeing, he had barely enough time to shield himself before the flash of cold freezes a couple of the hapless younger magi, the others managing to escape the worst of it. He straightens himself up, his full attention directed to the large killing machine. "Scatter!" He roars, and his compatriots comply.

Lionheart himself, however, remains precisely where he had been from the beginning. "You are strong." He admits, slamming his staff into the ground, he digs it in deep, taking a long, slow breath. Ibiki, naturally, is the last thing on his mind. He had told everyone to scatter; that magi should be moving too!

"But you are on our ground! This Covenant has supported us for a thousand years, it will answer us now, too!"

With a sudden wrenching motion, the ground underneath the Great Unmoving Library erupts into a huge pillar of rock, aiming to wrap around and snare the limbs of the enemy who would dare to strike at them on their home ground!

Calm. Silent. It hasn't even budged place from the moment it had arrived, The Library is just as named. Unmoving. And niether it, nor its pilot seem willing to yield in the face of the eldely mage. This is a battle of an unstoppable force, against an unmoveable object, with a ninja sneaking in about to set some C4 while no one is looking, isn't it?
"Even upon your ground, your Covenant cannot stand in the face of a supernation. You should know this. It is a pity one of such knowledge and strength cannot see logic. Truly a sad fate to befall you here this day."
There is one issue though. As the earth itself rises to engulf the machine. Alice specializes in elemental magic. Earth, being ons of such elements. And upon sensing the rise in power, she prepares her own counterspell. With rock and stone rising, just as fast, she unleashes words of arcane power, recited from memory frighteningly fast, dissolving the rock as it rises, reconstituting it, ripping minerals apart from refuse and clods of dirt. Until the air around the mecha is full of jewels. Glittering, shimmering, topaz, sapphire, ruby, emeralds and even a diamond here and there. All sharp crystals. Which take aim. And start to fly for fleeing mages. She's still playing the 'pay attention to me and not the assassin sneaking up on you' game.

A shinobi uses the tools at hand to achieve the best possible result. Sometimes, no tools are available. Sometimes they are not needed.

Ibiki knew many techniques and was capable of using pretty much anything effectively as a weapon, but first and foremost he was an expert in unarmed combat. He knew the many ways to strike a man to achieve a variety of results, he could use his single remaining eye to see nerve clusters and endings, even energy pathways inside the body. He had mastered the gentle fist technique called the Juuken and had combined it with his own knowledge of iron fist styles with devastating results.

He did not need a weapon. Jacob Lionheart was within his range.

Silently and without any hint to give away his intent, Ibiki approached and once he had reached the point where moving any closer would look suspicious — he dashed forward at an insane pace, closing the distance within less than a second!

And then his hand slammed into the back of the Archmage, five individual fingers burrying themselves into five different pressure points that could each kill a man — reinforced with Ibiki's impressive strength and chakra they were more like stabbing knives, mercilessly plunging into old tired flesh!

The distraction works without a hitch. The gems rip and tear, sending the inexperienced screaming to the floor, bleeding out their last. Always the first to go, the young are cruelly torn from this world, leaving only the strong core behind. Those who had been most senior, most dedicated to their practices. Hasty wards and desperate movements all that save them.

Lionheart is not listening to the words of his foe. He is listening to the screams of his people. It could not end this way! The Covenant had been in existence for as long as there had BEEN a Tarai! They would endure! They would rebuild! But even his most potent magics were being turned aside by this force. It was impossible- inhuman!

And, suddenly, he tenses. His eyes go wide, and his mouth opens in a silent scream, a trickle of blood escaping it as his staff clatters to the ground.

For a moment, there is silence. A heartbeat, no longer.

And then the second eldest in the group, a woman, cries- "Jacob!"

The body of the Grandmaster slumps to his knees, and then forwards to hit the dirt.

And the air around Ibiki erupts with lightning, this is not the subtle or intricate display which had been leveled against the pair up to now, no, with their leader mortally wounded, the group lashes out at each with raw, unfocused power. One particular man aiming to grab the body of the Grandmaster in the chaos, however.

"There's still a chance— We have to use the pool!"

An unsettling grin revealed itself on Ibiki's lips as he held the Grandmaster's shoulder with his left hand while he caused even more damage, tearing at the man's spine until he finally let go with a satisfied expression on his face. That had been a satisfying kill.
Hisnd at that precise moment he erupts into lightning, the robe he had been wearing as a disguise instantly shredded by the attack. His flesh sizzled as the attack died down; the ninja sank to his knees. Yet in his one eye was a strange expression, one of wild joy and savage brutality.

His grin widened as his hair flew free, his eye opened wide with white veins pulsating very visibly underneath the surrounding skin.

" … oh, I'm going to enjoy this."

He shivered for a moment in anticipation as dark laughter began to echo from his throat, an aura of sheer, wild murderous intent suddenly unleashed!

Hyuga Ibiki changed his armor mode to Berserk.

An unsettling grin revealed itself on Ibiki's lips as he held the Grandmaster's shoulder with his left hand while he caused even more damage, tearing at the man's spine until he finally let go with a satisfied expression on his face. That had been a satisfying kill.

And at that precise moment he erupts into lightning, the robe he had been wearing as a disguise instantly shredded by the attack. His flesh sizzled as the attack died down; the ninja sank to his knees. Yet in his one eye was a strange expression, one of wild joy and savage brutality.

His grin widened as his hair flew free, his eye opened wide with white veins pulsating very visibly underneath the surrounding skin.

" … oh, I'm going to enjoy this."

He shivered for a moment in anticipation as dark laughter began to echo from his throat, an aura of sheer, wild murderous intent suddenly unleashed!

And so Jacob Lionheart falls. With the young mages falling, finally the Library takes a step forward. Over the felled and wounded, a menacing advance towards those that remain. With Ibiki's work complete- and done exceptionally effeciently, as noted by the librarian, all that remains is to deal with the remaining survivors.
"Your leader has fallen."
Her words are as simple as that, as the machine is pelted by raw and enraged energy, scorch and sear marks marring the white armor plating and leaving burns upon the crimson cloak as it surges through the mecha's systems. But it's not enough to halt the magical mecha.
"One hundred and forty seven percent efficiency…" She mulls. "A bonus is in order, I think."
But such clerical details about Ibiki's pay are set aside as she takes the book and aims it. A thin, piercing ray of hot white light lashes forth with sniper accuracy. It will pierce anyone in its direct path, the end result being that she's mainly aiming for the man trying to grab Lionheart's body. Anyone else caught in the path is just a little extra bonus.
"Leave him where he lays."
Alice Maestra missed Lionheart with her Where are you going with that? moderate attack! <Standard Mechanic>

*SCHTING!*

It might not, at first, be exactly obvious what has happened. The man has grabbed Lionheart's body, and taken off towards the Tower, the body of the Grandmaster laid across his shoulder. But, suddenly, the bolt of power is arching upwards, where it stabs deep into the tower bricks, before fizzling out on the potent defenses laid into the brickwork.

Then a single voice raises.

"Withdraw! Leave them to us! Francis and I shall look after Jacob, and these two!"

Elizabeth Staasburg could have had an easy life. She could have remained with her noble roots, and forsaken the Covenant in its hour of need. But, for the sake of her friend, she had chosen to come here, and make her stand. Now, she is facing down a true weapon of war, and a bloodthirsty assassin. The other remaining members of the ragtag band defer to her order; there was no room in her tone for challenge. There was an iron resolve. If she was to die, then she would extract a heavy price for it indeed.

Her hands raise her staff, a heavy iron affair, befitting her status as a combat magi. What she lacked in the power of Lionheart himself, she more than made up for in determination. This was her moment.

That Francis had managed to get Lionheart inside the tower only bolstered her resolve.

"The Covenant is the heart of Tarai. The seat of our knowledge, and the pride of our people! We shall NEVER fall to the likes of you!"

And with that, the woman rushes forwards. The first motion of her staff aiming to crash the heavy weapon directly against Ibiki's temple. The second producing a bright wave of light, slicing out to arc and slash at the Great Unmoving Library.

Among the many techniques passed down the Hyuga family line through generations is one commonly refered to as an 'ultimate defense': The Hakke Shou Kaiten, which roughly translates to 'Heavenly Spin'.

While the loss of Ibiki's left eye has rendered this ultimate defense not quite perfect since he cannot view the full threehundred-sixty degrees around him, it is usually more than enough. Such as in this case.

As the staff was about to strike Ibiki's temple he suddenly twisted around in a spinning motion, releasing a violent burst of chakra from the place the woman had just been about to strike in order to repel her attack. Rather than stop there, though, Ibiki used his momentum and pushed his opened palm right towards the woman, sending a burst of powerful and organ-disrupting chakra right into her belly together with a strong shove — if she had no way to counteract this attack, anyway.

How she got off the second attack on Alice will be a question pondered by sages for centuries. That's magic for ya.

The fleeing wizards and magi are of no concern for Alice. If they with to leave the vicinity of the battle and become non-combatants, they can be weeded out at a later time should they return and become nuisances.
The fact of the matter is, there are still those standing in the way of this rebellion being fully quashed. And now, the Library's attention shifts. Upon the woman that deemed it wise to remain and fight two foes by herself.
"And that knowledge, just as Tarai, now belongs to the Confederacy. Every action you take only condemns yourself further." Alice issues coldly.
Now she has to be pinpoint precise. Ibiki is right there after all, considering that Staasburg decided to enter open and close combat with a ninja that even one-eyed can still see reallt damn far around his head. But she would still be firing into close combat. Flipping the book closed, one claw-tipped metal finger points. Having to concentrate on a proper firing solution results in the woman's spell leaves a decent sized gash upon the mecha's midsection, the occasional spark showing through the armor plating, thanks to damage rendered.
And then, she capitalizes on the Hyuga's attack, taking the opportunity to wait just until he finishes before firing, fully intent to catch the woman with several bright beams of red heat. Again, laser thin, just to add to it.

Staasburg is taken completely by surprise. Though she had, in the past, engaged many enemies in close quarters, she'd never experienced the kind of assault Ibiki is capable of dealing out, and the powerful strike rips into her guts with the kind of devastating force that she would normally associate with only the deadliest magics.

As she is flung backwards, the woman is speared several times, beams of light strike clean through flesh and bone, searing the wounds closed, at least. She hits the ground, and doesn't find the strength to pick herself up again. Instead, she whispers a few words, and looks up to the sky. It was strange. She had never imagined that death would feel as numb as it does. The hot, throbbing pain in her guts was already giving way to a cold, creeping emptiness…

Upstairs, Francis has forced water from the pool into Lionheart's lips. The old mans eyes open, glowing with a deep inner light. This, after all, was borrowed life. The mind and soul were willing, but the body was no longer fit for purpose.

Utilizing the pool himself, Francois anoints his staff with water, and disappears in a flash. It would seem, for all intents and purposes, that to the invaders… the battle is over. The rebellion routed. Though Staasburg is still clinging to life, it's clear that she is breathing her last.

After Staasburg was shoved back Ibiki merely stood there, right hand still stretched forward from his last attack. The only indication that he was alive was that he was rolling his head back, a happy expression on his face. Though that changed instantly as he leapt back, putting distance between himself and the soon-to-be corpse.

His expression had changed to one of dismay as he surveyed the empty battlefield — the carnage had ended before it had really begun. Though it was a testament to his skill, he felt disappointment. It had been a long time since he had allowed himself to cut his murderous urges loose, that he had faced a mission wherein such a thing was even feasible.

For a moment he glanced back towards the Great Unmoving Library, and in that moment he truly considered attacking the General inside as his killing intent flared alive once more … and then, ebbed. Killing the contractor was bad for business. Plus, he'd have to face her in the open, and to fight a mystical powerhouse like that straight-on was foolish at best.

And so it is done. That is how it seems anyway.

With the woman now falling, The Library moves to stand over her, staring down at Staasburg's dying form. A glance is shot for the tower. The mage that escaped there with the corpse of the old man is still a valid concern. But for the moment the task at hand is complete.
The uprising is stilled.
Alice, will for all intents and purposes, wait for Ibiki to calm himself down, but regardless, the machine kneels to scoop the dying woman up. "Excellent work. You payment has already been forwarded to you, along with a 47 percent bonus due to your efficiency in the matter."
'Francis' can be dealt with later, as the machine rises to its feet. The tower and the mana pool above it now under control, it's not really necessary to remain much longer. "Continued work under our employ will of course be further rewarded, should you see fit. Until then, I have a report to write."

And a dying prisoner to keep from dying and interrogate. Fun times.

Suddenly: Fire.

Yeah, it's a lot like that. The old mans body has made its way back down the stairs of the tower in a flash, and steps out into the courtyard once more. Lionheart appears only for a fraction of a second, however. He opens his mouth wide, and simply lets out the magic that was within him. Focusing as much as he could, he pours his heart, spirit, and soul into this final act of vengeance and spite. The final expression of his determination to drive back the invaders, do the impossible, and stay the hand of the Confederacy.

The fire literally roars out of him. Not touching the body of his former friend, but coupled with an earth-shaking bellow, like some great injured beast, the flames boil out to fill the entire courtyard with fire and death.

When it is over, the elderly Grandmaster collapses to the dirt, his eyes closed and spirit truly departed.

So fell the Archmagi Covenant.

After the fire died down … Ibiki was gone. Where he had stood the Earth was devastated, a strange spiral-shaped mark carved into the ground as if someone had taken a huge drill to it.

Much further off, the shinobi frantically tried to catch his breath. That had been close; he could feel the irritation of his skin, likely third degree burns all over his chest that would soon begin to hurt for real. Luckily keeping pain in check was routine and he'd have some time to meditate, boost his natural healing with chakra to ease his wounds. Perhaps he would be able to find some herbs around. It was best to leave his employer guessing rather than to stick with her in hopes of medical attention. If she thought he escaped unharmed, all the better. Deception was another one of the primary disciplines of a shinobi.

Oh god… FIRE.

With Staasburg in her grip, Alice was about to teleport away. Back to base, to drop off the woman for medical attention and then serious questioning. But it is not to be. Attention snapping, concentration breaking long enough to disrupt her exit, the fire, fuelled by Lionheart's heart and soul itself pierces her shields before she can raise them.
Scorching heat leaves white armor glowing red, smoking, sizzling as the flames die down, core temperature of the magical machine raising enough to cause the Librarian within to sweat a bit. But it cools, a large, nasty black singe mark on the plating.
But the man is seriously dead now. Because after he falls again? Alice pelts at his body with heat rays and buzz saws JUST TO MAKE DAMN SURE. Before she teleports her mech off and away.

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