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It had been the morning after the Valley of Ordichon was attacked by Undead forces, and Hepheastus had held a meeting within the halls of the Sapphire Palace to dicuss his decision on the matter of whether or not to ask the Council of Kingdoms for assistance against Octavian. Hepheastus thought about it for several minutes, then rose from his chair and spoke.
Hepheastus: Okay, so I understand it is obvious that Octavian wishes to destroy us. He has already framed us for burning the Undead Village, his corruption must end now, but understand that not even I can face him alone. Not only is he aware of our intent to destroy him, but my abilities have been crippled by his mischief, and we require great help in order to stop him. For now, he knows we are coming after him, so he will be looking to become stronger for when the time comes. He will build armies, forts, anything that will protect him from our wrath. But for the moment, we can do two things to prepare for this day, we can refer to the Council of Kingdoms for the assistance of the whole of Ooo, or we can find the greatest warriors in Ooo, and form our very own army against him. First, we must consider help from the warriors of Ooo, we haven't a good history with the Council, as you know, we have taken this land from the posessions of several kingdoms, and we stand our ground because of it. Confronting them with our issues would not be easy, so we must only consider it if necessary. For now, I will traverse the lands of Ooo, searching for villages to join our fight in exchange for our protection. Now that we have that settled, where do I go first?
Goblin: Well sir, I believe the Undead Village is under the juristiction of a fortress in Outcast, a city in the east, but it's quite difficult to get there. There is a great forest that leads to Outcast, but many who have travelled through have become lost in it's mist.
Hepheastus: No matter, we haven't anything to lose, so I suppose I could consider it. I stress that while I'm gone, you all help to repair the barrier and strengthen our defenses. If I return successfully, I will bring soldiers and supplies to assist us.
Vampire: But what of the Undead Village? We were able to defeat them, but if something else happens they will surely look to the Council of Kingdoms for assistance, just
as they have mentioned.
Hepheastus: No matter, I trust you all can hold your ground until I return. We are far away from any major kingdoms except the Goblins, and they are quite pacifist. It should be no worry.
Skeleton: But what about Octavian?
Hepheastus: You're right, we have to get help, but I can't risk Octavian returning to the valley anytime soon. Most of my powers have been crippled, but his enchantment has set me at some advantages. He is of course a fire wizard, so if I protect the barrier with my flames, it should hold him off until I get here. Anyway, I'll be leaving now, return to your posts,
Everyone: Yes sir.
Hepheastus then left the palace and exited the barrier, then proceeded to aim at the barrier and blast his flames at it. The whole half of the valley that his territory resided in had lit up, and the barrier was covered in Hepheastus' flames. Hepheastus then headed east towards Outcast, but it took Hepheastus few minutes to reach a passage that led into the forest. He looked back at the smoke rising from the barrier and reminded himself that should the smoke stop, then the palace was in danger of attack. He continued into what seemed to be a dark, old forest that existed before the Great Mushroom War. The trees were damp and there were many sheds within the forest that were abandoned. He crossed through swamps and heard echoes of sticks snapping and water splashing as he walked through. The fog had become dense and he could only see within 10 feet of himself. He stopped. He felt a strange presence and aimed his flamethrower in front of him. He then heard feet moving through the water and looked all around his location. He shouted.
Hepheastus: Who's there?!?
Just then, a hand had risen from the swamp water and grasped Hepheastus' leg. Just then, a Human Zombie had pulled himself up from the swamp a few feet from him. He grabbed his sword and cut off the hand holding him and backed away a few feet.
Hepheastus: Die you abominations!
Many zombies had risen from the ground, and Hepheastus prepared for a fight, but as they closed in, even more rose from the ground. They had been dressed in pre-war armor and had rotted to a point where their most of therir skeletons were exposed, it had seemed that there was a great battle that had sent many of them to their graves, and as more and more soldiers rose from the dead, it had seemed that the battle had taken it's toll longer than it had seemed to Hepheastus before. Just before him was an army of the undead, all slowly walking and crawling toward him to tear him limb from limb, but Hepheastus had readied for battle. He aimed his flamethrower and burned and sliced his way through the crowd, but as each one was killed, two more had risen to replace it. Many of the passers through the forest had risen from the dead as well, they had been killed by the undead forces. Hepheastus was growing weary, so he decided to continue forward. As he tore through the forest in haste, the army had slowly pursued him, and even more rose in front of him as he passed. Just then a zombie rose right in front of him, and he bumped into him and fell on him. He rose and the zombie slowly moaned.
Zombie: Retreat..strike, losing...men, bombs..
Hepheastus rose up and stabbed the zombie with his sword. He then pulled it out and continued to run east. He wasn't looking where he was going and he smashed against a pre-war siren. He looked behind him as the great army of zombies was closing up on him. He then looked again at the siren and noticed a red button.
Hepheastus: Well, here goes nothing.
He presed the button, and a great warning sound rose from the midst. The zombies had stopped and put their hands on their heads and moaned. A zombie in front of him had moaned
The whole army then collapsed and sunk under the damp soil. The siren stopped, and the forest grew quiet. Hepheastus had looked around him. It was clear for him to move on. Hepheastus had walked past the siren and continued a few feet before stopping but then stopped because he heard another sound, the ground rumbled, and a giant hand rose from the ground by the siren. It pulled itself up with the siren and was revealed to be an undead ogre. It roared and ripped the siren from the ground. Hepheastus readied yet again and charged at the ogre. The ogre then took the siren and threw it at Hepheastus and launched him many feet as he tumbled with the large object. He pulled himself up and grabbed his sword. He leaped at the ogre, but the ogre had grabbed him and roared again. Hepheastus took his sword and cut the ogre's finger off and the ogre had taken Hepheastus and threw him against thre ground. Hepheastus stood up then grabbed the giant severed finger and cast it at him with great strength. It hit the ogres eye and the ogre roared again. It was blinded and fell against a tree, went forward and fell face down. Hepheastus then grabbed his sword and stabbed him in the head. He backed away and the ogre sunk in the ground with the other zombies. Hepheastus holstered his sword and continued east. After a few minutes of walking, he was finally out of the forest, before him was a great city. As he passed through, it had seemed quiet, but out of the silence came a white figure wearing a mask pointing it's head out of a building built from the soil. Just then more different colored figures with masks appeared. Finally, one white figure came forward. He himself had appeared to be made out of materials from the ground, possibly clay. He wore a mask that resembled a skull and wore nothing other than that. He then spoke
Stranger: Uhh, welcome...this is...uhh..Outcast
Hepheastus: Why do you stumble in front of me clay man?
Stranger: Well..we don't really call ourselves "Clay people". We like to call ourselves Mennequins.
Hepheastus: Okay "Mennequin", what's wrong with you?
Mennequin: Well, we heard the sirens. Our ancestors wrote that if sirens were heard across the land, then the fire clouds were coming. And we hadn't really heard that sound before, so we figured it must be the fire cloud warning.
Hepheastus: Fire clouds? You must mean the Great Mushroom Wa.......well nevermind that. I hail from a palace west of here looking for help.
Mennequin: Help? Oh no...we are not the violent type. We have not seen war for ages and we don't plan to, oh no sir. You may want to talk to the Council of Demise. They live within the ancient fortress and control most undead forces and our beautiful city, you will want to speak to them.
Hepheastus: Very well then.
Hepheastus then passed through the city as the citizens looked at him in awe. Hepheastus noticed that there were 4 types of mennequins. The pale, white ones, bearing masks that resemble skulls, the red ones, bearing masks with red war paint, the green ones, bearing masks painted with black circles, two for the eyes, and one for the mouth, and the black ones, bearing masks that resembled a mouth and eyes stitched. Hepheastus continued to the fortress and opened the door, and came across four men discussing something. One was the embodiment of a skeleton with the head of a snake bearing a kings attire, the second resembled a plague doctor from pre-war times, the third was a skeleton who bore bronze armor, possibly of human warriors that existed thousands of years before the Great Mushroom War, and the fourth was a humanoid undead who was covered in a black mist of insects. They had been discussing something.
King Skeleton: We must discuss the issue of the next apocalypse. When exactly is this going to happen?
Plague Doctor: I say Death, I don't quite think we're ready to discuss that yet, it's a long time from here...
Warrior Skeleton: That's preposterous, we gave the last generations too much time, I say we start it next year
Insect Man: No, no, no you've got it all wrong, we should start it as soon as they get into space, just to mess with them.
Hepheastus thought to himself.
Hepheastus:The Council of Demise? They must be the Four Horsemen, Death, Pestillence, War, and Famine.
Death then noticed Hepheastus.
Death: Ahh....welcome, welcome. We knew you were coming Hepheastus.
Hepheastus: Wait, I don't quite understand, how are you Death? I thought there was only one, and he resides in the underworld.
Death: Correct, but we control the fate of Earth's generations, I am elder Death, otherwise known as Mortus, and once I become a god, the other Death will take my place in the Council, and someone will replace him and so on. The other Death works full time, I already did that around pre-war times, now I control how everything ends in Ooo and elsewhere.
Hepheastus: Yes, but I heard that your Council controls the undead as well.
War: Indeed, but what do you require of us Hepheastus?
Hepheastus: I need your assistance with the matter of Octavian, he is causing much mischief within Ooo and betrayed me. His mischief is going to turn the Council of Kingdoms against me, so I need an army to stand against him.
Pestillence: Indeed, but what is in it for us?
Famine: I for one think this is good, makes for a good turn towards the apocalypse at least in my opinion. We could use Octavian's mischief. Should he grow much stronger he could cause a lot of trouble, is that not what we are here for?
Death: Yes, but Hepheastus here is a demi-god. We owe his kin for our existence, and the existence of the earthlings
War: I don't care, I just want to see people fight already.
Death: Very well, all who wish to partake in this matter, yay or nay, yay is helping Hepheastus, nay is continuing on. I say yay.
War: Hmmm.....I think.......Yay
Death: Very well Hepheastus, our undead armies will assist you in your fight, but under the conditions that the villagers of the Undead Village within your valley may reside within your territory. If you accept these conditions, you shall have the full support of the Undead, understood?
Hepheastus: Very well.
Hepheastus then signed a contract with the Council of Demise and was about to leave the fortress, but then Death spoke.
Death: Oh no, you don't need go back through that forest, it's quite the burden to get back through. Here I'll help you out.
Death then snapped his fingers and sent Hepheastus through a portal into the valley. He then returned to find that the Undead Village had migrated into the kingdom. A new miltary post was built for the Undead Army, and the General and King of the Undead Village had joined among Hepheastus' assistants. Hepheastus waits for the next opportunity to further build his army.