"It… chose him…?" whispered a stunned Elizabeth.
"There's Alexander Aland, designated as [[Weiss Liger|weiss]]."\n\n"Aland? That ex-bounty hunter?" asked Dirk in surprise.\n\n"You've heard of him?"\n\n"Only by reputation. I heard he once killed a man with nothing more than a pencil, a bendy straw, and some liberal use of duct-tape."\n\nElizabeth rolled her eyes and replied, "Well he's a different man now. He proclaims himself a pacifist but, well, you can't teach a cat any tricks."\n\n"... What?"\n\nElizabeth continued on, "There's Terrence Regalia, desinated as [[Schwarz Tortonak|schwarz]], a recent highschool graduate--"\n\n"A graduate? You lot are accepting kids now?" asked Dirk.\n\n"The IMAGIN System made its choice, and as much as I'd like to otherwise, we can't change it."\n\n"Why the hell not? It can't possibly be that hard, look!" Dirk reached down and tried to pull off his own IMAGIN System and found the task impossible as it refused to budge.\n\n"The IMAGIN System grafts itself onto its Invoker's very skin. Only by removing your arm will you rid yourself of it."\n\n"Yeah... yeah, I get it."\n\n"And finally, there's [[me|rot]]." She shot him a teasing smirk that painfully reminded him of the good old days, before The Start. "But you know all about me, don't you Dirk?" \n
"You mean the suite symbols? You said that Olden--"\n\n"Splinter Cat."\n\n"Yeah that, was of the Spades."
The woman fiddles with a small, wristwatch-shaped device in her hands as she mutters, "C'mon… c'mon… Activate Safety Recall, blast it!"\n\nDirk grabs onto her arm and starts to pull her away as she yelps in surprise. Both try to talk over each other, with Dirk trying to drag her away while she fights to remain where she is.\n\nAn exasperated Dirk finnaly turns to her, "Are you insane?! Don't just stand here we've got to-" He blinks in shock. "Elizabeth?"\n\n"Unhand me you idiot, I have the situation perfectly under-" She blinks in surprise. "Dirk?\n\n"What are you doing here?!" They both shout at the other.\n\nDirk stares at Elizabeth, a [[pleased|henshin2]] look in his eyes despite the small [[bitter|henshin1]] frown on his face at seeing her again even if she was glaring at him.
<<silently>>\n<<set $blau_pride = $blau_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>It turned out that the sky was the apt choice for Dirk to begin his crusade as Blau Drakeen. Though far from numerous, there were plenty of Olden loitering the skies unseen by those below thanks to the ashen clouds billowing out from Grimm Tower.\n\nWhether by luck or though his own inate determination to prove his worth, Blau Drakeen was just able to subjugate the small horde within the day easily with just the use of his air-cannon, the Mach Dragoon, alone. He looked over the cards in his hands and marveled at their simple design and even simpler names.\n\n"Fairy, Kamaitaichi, Wolpertinger, and Harpy..." He muttered, looking them over. He frowned beneath his helmed visage as he realized just why they had been so easy to handle. "2, 3, 4, and 5 of Spades respectively..."\n\nA bolt of lightning arcing upwards from Tarot Park drew his eyes away from the Olden Cards in his hand. He smirked and replaced them back into the Suite Deck Roster upon his belt.\n\n"Well, at least this'll make subjugating those [[Olden|alone1]] in the park much easier..."
<<silently>>\n<<set $rot_pride = $rot_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>It turned out that the sewers were far from the ideal choice for Dirk to try and show off his skill at being the Invoker Blau Drakeen, particularly in front of Rot Feenix. \n\nThough only three Olden of the Diamonds Alignment Suite were littered about the small district, they were all so overwhelmingly power that it was all that Rot Feenix and Blau Drakeen could do to subjugate them even with his brilliant strategy of bursting open sewer pipes all "whilly nilly".\n\n'Who even says that anymore...?' Blau Drakeen thought to himself.\n\n"Not bad for your first time..." said Rot Feenix as she looked over the Olden Cards in her hands. "Better than your last at any rate."\n\n"Oh, ouch, I think that one stung a little." Blau Drakeen muttered under his breath.\n\n"Still a good thing I had these four already. The ones we just faced are the top tier of the Numbered Ranks." saidd Schwarz Tortonak, ignoring Blau Drakeen's mutterings. "Will o'Wisp, Elf, Wyvern, Nekomata, Galistant Beast, Amphitere, and Kitsune. The 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9 of Diamonds respectively."\n\n"... What about 5 and 6?" Blau Drakeen asked. "Think those are the ones are the metalworks?"\n\n"My dear, I don't think. I [[know|rot3]]."\n\n"Wise-aleck..."
Was it hours or was it minutes? All that Dirk knew was that one moment, he had been but an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation and the next, BANG!\n\nHe had become a superhero.\n\nHe knew this for certain by two indisputible facts. First and foremost was that even now, with the fight long over and people slowly trickling back into the streets, he was still garbed in azure-tinted armor with a dragon-headed gauntlet staring up at his scrutiny with an almost mocking sheen to its faux eyes. \n\nSecond was what he clutched in his opposite hand, a seemingly ordinary playing card with a not so ordinary label and image. Upon its edge was inscribed, "1 of Spades" and there, in its center, the very Olden he had defeated--"Subjugated, Dirk. That's what it's called. Good job by the way."\n\nHe turned his armored visage to Elizabeth who stood with arms crossed over her chest, her red business attire formally straightened without a single crease.\n\n"What is this? What did I become?" he asked her.\n\n"If you [[want|want]] the answers, come with me to Grimm Tower."\n\n'But do I really?' Dirk thought to himself, 'Do I want to know what kind of trouble I've literally strapped myself to?'\n\n"And if I [[refuse?|refuse]]"\n\n"Don't be pigheaded! You're asking me for an explanation, I'm offering it to you!"\n\nGrimm Tower… The headquarters of Central Hand Inc.… He didn't really have a choice at all now did he? He [[needed|need]] answers after all…
<<silently>>\n<<set $schwarz_pride = $schwarz_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>><<else>>"Well, well... Is the little turtle hatchling finally grown out of his shell?"\n\nDirk repressed the urge to groan tiredly as he looked up and saw that standing on the opposite side of the decimated grounds that once held a beautiful fountain, were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $blau eq "fin">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Clubs?"\n\nSchwarz Tortonak clenched his fists tightly. "So you met some before? Then I needn't tell you how badly I want to kill them do I?"<<else>>"And... these are?"\n\nSurprisingly, it was Schwarz Tortonak who answered, "They are The Royalties of the Clubs Alignment Suite. The ones I've wanted to kill more than any other Olden."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," grunted the Gargoyle, its stony wings rustling upon its back.\n\n"Queen," spoke the Centaur, pulling back the string of her bow as she aimed an arrow straight between Schwarz Tortonak's eyes. \n\n"King," scowled the Kirin, equine head bowed and horns gleaming with crystalline sharpness.\n\n"At last... At last I'll have my revenge!" crowed Schwarz Tortonak, one hand hovering over his Suite Deck Roster. Opposite him, Blau Drakeen did the same.\n\n"As will we, savage beast," said the Kirin. "You play an entirely different game, one that we are putting to end, here and now."\n\n"Well," Schwarz Tortonak whipped out the 10 of Clubs. "Go ahead and [[try|schwarz5]]!"\n\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $hartlands_pride = 0>>\n<<set $alone = 0>>\n<<set $ultimate = 0>>\n<<set $blau_pride = 0>>\n<<set $rot_pride = 0>>\n<<set $weiss_approval = 0>>\n<<set $schwarz_pride = 0>>\n<<set $enders_love = 0>>\n<<set $anders_approval = 0>>\n<<set $regalias_respect = 0>>\n<<endsilently>>Roughly one year ago, an event occured in Arcana City that most of its citizens refer to simply as "The Start". No one truly knows what caused The Start to occur, but there was no denying the horrendous reprecussions that followed... For you see, Arcana City had been separated from the rest of the world in every sense of the word, but this in itself would not be so bad were it not for what was also locked in the city with them...\n\nThe Olden. Humanoid replications of creatures once thought of as myth and legend, alive once more and wreaking unholy havoc upon the city, their new "Battlefield" as they wage a new war against each other. All that stands between them and the complete destruction of Arcana City is its sole benefactor, Central Hand Inc. who took control over the city in the days following The Start. It is through them and their military unit, the Evokers, that have kept the Olden at bay.\n\nYet the Olden still run rampant and the citizens cry out for a hero. And though he is not yet awares, Dirk Hartland will become the very hero Arcana City needs. And so his [[story begins...|begins]]
No one knows what was said in the end.\n\nNo one was left alive to hear it.\n\nAll that anyone could piece together in the aftermath that followed Arcana City's brutal return to the real world and the end of the Battlefield was that the Invokers had fought, and defeated, a truly monstrous foe at the cost of their lives.\n\nAnd roughly three-fourths of Arcana City.\n\nIn the end, only those who survived and truly knew of the horrors that took place across the Battlefield Arcana bothered to remember the Invokers and the sacrifices they made in the name of justice, peace, and love.\n\nAnd so the Battlefield came to a close.
"I'm no hero. I'm a would-be cop. What makes you think I can do this?" asked Dirk.\n\n"Well if you don't think yourself capable," said Elizabeth, pointing at her door. "There's the door, don't let it hit you on the way out!"
<<silently>>\n<<set $enders_love = $enders_love + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Grimm Tower is exactly as its name might suggest, a forboding tower of utter blackness with whole pillars of smokestacks piercing upwards from along its sides and billowing strangely colored clouds of smoke into the underbelly of Arcana City's artificial sky. Even from far below, Dirk and Elizabeth can both see how the sky flickers faintly as the smoke passes through it and into the oblivion outside of Arcana City's borders.\n\n"Cat got your tongue, Dirk?" asked Elizabeth, a teasing smile on her face as she regarded her ex-boyfriend.\n\nHe chuckled despite himself and shook his head. "Sorry, it's just… if this is what its headquarter's looks like, I can't imagine what the bossman looks.\n\n"I couldn't tell you," said Elizabeth as she flashed her key card and the front doors opened with an audible hiss. "Despite my standing in the company, I've never met the man. Now come on, we've got a lot to talk [[about|about]]."
<<if $weiss_approval eq "3">>\n<<display 'heart_jack'>>\n<<else>>"Is that so, tiger cub?"\n\nDirk repressed the urge to curse as he looked up and saw that standing on the opposite side of the flooded city street were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $blau eq "fin">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Hearts?"\n\nWeiss Liger smirked beneath his helmet. "Ah, so you've ran into a few already huh?"<<else>>"And... these are?"\n\nSurprisingly, it was Weiss Liger who answered, "They are The Royalties of the Heart Alignment Suite."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," said the Sea Bishop with a disdainful frown.\n\n"Queen," spoke the Kraken, arms crossed and tentacles flailing.\n\n"King," hissed the Leviathan, his massive tail still as ice.\n\n"So... We've gone and gotten your attention finally?" asked Weiss Liger as he pushed himself back to his feet.\n\n"Wretched human," said the Sea Bishop. "Rule breakers you both! Your God has forsaken you!"\n\n"Well if we're forsaken..." Dirk pushed himself upright, swaying slightly on his feet. "Then... we might as well make the same of you!"\n\n"IT'S YOUR [[TURN|weiss5]]."\n<<endif>>
Grimm Tower is exactly as its name might suggest, a forboding tower of utter blackness with whole pillars of smokestacks piercing upwards from along its sides and billowing strangely colored clouds of smoke into the underbelly of Arcana City's artificial sky. Even from far below, Dirk and Elizabeth can both see how the sky flickers faintly as the smoke passes through it and into the oblivion outside of Arcana City's borders.\n\n"So... That looks inviting," said Dirk. "I imagine Mr. Tobias is just as jolly looking."\n\n"Couldn't say," said Elizabeth as she flashed her key card and the front doors opened with an audible hiss. "Never met the man. Now come on, we've got a lot to talk [[about|about]]."
Dirk takes cover behind a corner, his heart playing his ribs like a rhythmical instrument. Sweat breaks out over his skin as he cautiuosly peers around the corner, in the direction people are running from.\n\nThere he spies the person from before who hadn't run with the rest. They are dressed in crimson, but with their back to him, all Dirk can tell is that the person is a woman, and she is about to get killed.\n\nWith bared teeth, Dirk rushes forth [[to help|help]].
"Elizabeth, why can't you explain to me here? I don't want to go to Grimm Tower! I just had some crazy...THING attach itself to me!"\n\n"Well that's tough, Dirk!" Elizabeth snaps. "I don't like this any more than you do, but it's not up to us anymore! You were chosen! Now you can either sit here and pout, or you can come with me to Grimm Tower. Either way, I'm not going to bicker with you about something so important in the middle of the street!"\n\nAnd with that, she turns on her heel and storms off.\n\nFeeling foolish, Dirk sighs and [[follows.|need]]\n\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $rot_pride = $rot_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Dirk found Elizabeth exactly where he expected to find her once he sorted out his thoughts. God, she looked as beautiful as the day he had met her all those years ago on this very spot, beneath the stony walls of Mythos Carnival, a once highly ornate castle located in the grounds of Tarot Park.\n\nNow though, since The Start, Mythos Carnival looked like the result of a nightmare with horird visages of monsters staining its once beautifully carved surface.\n\n"So... You want to help me for real, Dirk?"\n\nDirk blinked at that and frowned at the accusatory tone in the woman's voice. "I wanted to help you then too, Elizabeth. You just wouldn't let me."\n\n"Excuses, excuses."<<if $blau eq "fin">>She smirked as she glanced out the corner of her eyes at him. "Still, you did manage to subjugate the entirety of your Alignment Suite."\n\nDirk's eyes widened. "How did you--"\n\n"Central Hand is very thorough in keeping track of the Olden."\n\nDirk frowned. "But not so much in subjugating them."\n\n"Quite." Elizabeth sighed. "Well, even if it's only one thing they're quite good at it. They've managed to track down two possible sites where Olden of my Alignment Suite are holing themselves up. Not too hard to track them really given their extraordinary heat signatures but still... what poor places to pick."\n\n"Oh? Wait, let me see if I can guess. The [[metalworks|forge]]?"\n\n"And the [[sewers|sewers]]."\n\n"Oh... well, this will be just like old times for you won't it? Digging through other people's shit and all? Course, it's not hundreds of years old but still better than dying in a lead-ridden sweatbox right?"\n\n"Let's just go already..."<<else>>"Only one Olden, Dirk? And here I thought you'd try and live up to your father's expectations."\n\n"Well, it's not like either of us are famous for living up to our fathers' ideals." Dirk snapped at Elizabeth.\n\n"... Quite." She looked up at the hideous spires of Mythos Carnival. "Well if you insist on tagging along with me, suit up. We got only two places to search for Olden in my Alignment Suite and the sooner we clear them out the better."\n\n"Oh? How do you know where they're holing themselves up?"\n\n"Aside from their impressively high heat signatures, the Evokers are good for one thing and that's keeping track of the Olden even if they're incapable of much else. Now come on, it's either the [[sewers|sewers]] or the [[metalworks|forge]], neither of which appeal to me."\n\n"Well, if you think you can handle the stench, I'd say the sewers were our better bet considering the abundance of water down there but that's just me."<<endif>>
<<if $blau_pride eq "3">>\n<<display 'spade_jack'>>\n<<else>>"Is that so, little dragon?"\n\nDirk repressed the urge to curse as he looked up and saw that standing on the opposite side of the building roof were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $invoker1 eq "completed">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Spades?"\n\n"We are."<<else>>"And... you guys are?"\n\n"We are The Royalties of the Spade Alignment Suite."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," sneered the Gryphon, rustling his wings.\n\n"Queen," muttered the Simurg, her head still as stone.\n\n"King," said the Tengu, his grip loose upon the hilts of his sheathed swords.\n\n"Pathetic human," said the Gryphon. "You know nothing of the game you've stumbled into! You might as well cut your losses and just die where you stand!"\n\n"Well if I'm going to lose..." Dirk pushed himself upright, swaying slightly on his feet. "Then... I'll take the lot of you with me!"\n\n"IT'S YOUR [[TURN|alone2]]."\n<<endif>>
<<silently>>\n<<set $blau_pride = $blau_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Hardly exhausted from the weeklong escapade of hunting down and subjugating Olden, Dirk began the new day by transforming into Blau Drakeen and taking off into the open sky, utilizing his Olden Cards with an almost reckless abandon.\n\nPerhaps sensing his excessive use of Olden Cards, the last of the numbered Spades appeared before Blau Drakeen and began the attack. The 10 of Spades, Sylph, who was almost a living embodiment of the wind, struck at Blau Drakeen with everything it had.\n\nIt wasn't enough.\n\nThanks to his recent experience in utilizing his Olden Cards to their fullest potential, Blau Drakeen easily triumphed over the wind and subjugated the 10 of Spades with hardly a scratch on him and his confidence in himself none the worse for it.\n\n"I can do this..." Blau Drakeen clenched his fists tightly and raised his hands high into the air. "I can do this!"\n\n"Oh? Can you really, [[little dragon|spade_queen]]?"
<<silently>>\n<<set $weiss_approval = $weiss_approval + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Hardly exhausted from the weeklong escapade of hunting down and subjugating Olden, Dirk met up with Alexander in the streets of Arcana City, just outside of its few opened gyms where the two had promised each other a small spar before setting to the hunt once more. \n\nPerhaps sensing the close proximity of not one but two Invokers, the last of the numbered Hearts appeared before the two men and began the attack. The 10 of Spades, Undine, who was almost a living embodiment of water itself, struck at the two Invokers with everything it had.\n\nIt wasn't enough.\n\nThanks in no small part to his recent accumulation of Olden Cards, never mind those in Blau Drakeen's possession, Weiss Liger easily cut his way through to the heart of Undine where the two Invokers combined their elements of wind and water together to subjugate the 10 of Hearts with hardly a scratch on either of them.\n\n"Well, well kid... You certainly aren't what I expected. Not in the [[least|heart_queen]]."
But who was there left to help? Elizabeth the [[Rot Feenix?|rot]] Alexander the [[Weiss Liger|weiss]]? Terrence the [[Schwarz Tortonak|schwarz]]?
<<silently>>\n<<set $schwarz_pride = $schwarz_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Hardly exhausted from the day long hunting down and subjugating Olden, Blau Drakeen stood by and watched wearily as Schwarz Tortonak stood glaring down at his reflection in the waters of Fallen Fountain, one of just many such places of rememberance across Arcana City. \n\nPerhaps sensing the close proximity of not one but two Invokers, the last of the numbered Clubs appeared before the two men and began the attack. The 10 of Clubs, Gnome, who was almost a living embodiment of earth and stone, struck at the two Invokers with everything it had.\n\nIt wasn't enough.\n\nThanks in no small part to his recent accumulation of Olden Cards, never mind those in Blau Drakeen's possession, Schwarz Tortonak easily crushed the emassing pile dirtpile that was Gnome until the two Invokers combined their elements of wind and earth together to subjugate the 10 of Clubs with hardly a scratch on either of them.\n\n"Huh... Aren't you just... full of surprises... old timer..." Schwarz Tortonak panted for breath, but he was smiling beneath his helmet.\n\n"Shut... up... Not... that [[old|clubs_queen]]."
<<silently>>\n<<set $rot_pride = $rot_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Hardly exhausted from the long afternoon spent hunting down and subjugating Olden, Blau Drakeen ran beside Rot Feenix as they made their way back to Grimm Tower, racing along the railways leading towards Arcana City's heart.\n\nPerhaps sensing the close proximity of not one but two Invokers, the last of the numbered Diamonds appeared before the two Invokers and began the attack. The 10 of Diamonds, Salamander, who was almost a living embodiment of fire itself, struck at the two Invokers with everything it had.\n\nIt wasn't enough.\n\nThanks in no small part to her recent accumulation of Olden Cards, never mind those in Blau Drakeen's possession, Rot Feenix easily smothered the flames that was Salamander just enough for Blau Drakeen to choke it utterly with Mach Dragoon. The 10 of Diamonds was subjugated with hardly a scratch on either Invoker.\n\n"Huh, so that just happened." Blau Drakeen glanced over at Rot Feenix, "Think you can keep up with me still, sweetie?"\n\n"Oh darling..." Rot Feenix sighed with a shake of her head though she was smiling beneath her helmet, "You know that I can [[outpace|diamonds_queen]] you any day of the week."
<<if $rot_pride eq "2">>\n<<display 'good5'>>\n<<else>>Quite exhausted from a long afternoon in sweltering metalworks and smelly sewers, Dirk was quite ready to call it quits right then and there at the railway station leading back to Grimm Tower. He was a fool to think that she held any place in her heart for him still. Beside him, with her arms crossed tightly across her chest and scowling at anyone who happened to look her way, Elizabeth silently shared the same sentiment. How stupid was she to think he had changed from the man she had dumped?\n\nPerhaps sensing their emotional turmoil, the last of the numbered Diamonds blazed across the railway with fire in its eyes and molten steel in its wake. The Salamander, who was almost a living embodiment of fire, struck at the pair of Invokers in mid-transformation with everything it had.\n\nIt nearly killed them both.\n\nOnly by Rot Feenix's quick thinking and liberal use of her Volanos Cloak, which had transformed into wings strong enough to carry both her and Blau Drakeen out of immediate harm's way, did they manage to survive the sudden attack and smother the fiery Olden beneath her Feng and Huang. Rot Feenix managed to escape the worst of the 10 of Diamonds' attack but it was all that Blau Drakeen could do not to fall prey to his own [[exhaustion|diamonds_queen]].\n<<endif>>
<<set $invoker1 = $invoker1 + "1">><<set $rot_pride = $rot_pride + 1>>Dirk sat beside Elizabeth as they stared up into the artificial night sky of Arcana City, their hands dangerously close to touching one another.\n\n<<if $alone gte 3>>With the combined might of more than one Alignment Suite of Olden to deal with, subjugating The Royalties of Elizabeth's Alignment Suite had been almost too easy...\n\n"Too easy..." Elizabeth whispered. "Dirk, I don't like this. The Royalties were supposed to be the strongest of the Alignment Suites, something that not even four Invokers could handle but you and I were able to do so."\n\n"Maybe we're just that good a team, ever think of that?" He asked her.\n\n"I have... but Dirk... Something just doesn't feel right. For as long as I've worked for Central Hand Inc., I've never once seen the man behind it all. Not once. I think it's time that changed, don't you [[agree|endgame1]]...? Or perhaps, you think that you should help the [[others|others]] subjugate their Olden first?"\n<<else>>Though it had taken all of their Olden Cards to do it, Dirk managed to help Elizabeth subjugate The Royalties of the Diamonds Alignment Suite. Elizabeth was, by her own casual admittence the strongest of the Invokers now.\n\nDirk wondered then if he should try and aid the former bounty hunter [[Alexander|weiss]], the high school gradute, [[Terrence|schwarz]] or strike it out on his [[own|alone]]?<<endif>>\n\n<<if $rot_pride gte 3>><<set $ultimate = $ultimate + "1">>Dirk felt her fingers grasping his own before he heard the soft whisper of her voice in his ear, "Dirk..."\n\nHe swallowed and turned to Elizabeth and saw her face slowly, ever so slowly, closing in on his own. "Elizabeth?"\n\n"You know how much I love the past, right?"\n\n"Yeah... it's why you wanted to be an archaelogist in the first place right?"\n\n"Exactly but... there are some things that I enjoy about the present too." With that said, she pressed her lips upon his own and it was all that Dirk could do not to take her back into his arms then and there, regardless of the openness of such a wanton display of affection.\n\nAs it was, he set his tongue to a fierce duel with her own and by the time the two realized their need of air, they were both extremely red in the face and panting for breath. A small photograph slipped out from Elizabeth's breast pocket and Dirk caught in on sheer instinct. He glanced at it and was surprised to see it was the photograph of their first anniversary dinner, the very same photograph he carried in his wallet.\n\nHe looked at Elizabeth and dared to ask the question that had been plauging him ever since he had first run into her after so much time spent apart, "So... So does this mean... what I hope it means? Can we go back to what we were before... all of this...?"\n\n"No."\n\n"... Oh." Dirk started to look down when she turned his gaze back towards her smiling face.\n\n"The past is in the past, and while it can paint the ideals of a better future, it's the actions of the present that carve it into being. I love you, Dirk Hartland. Don't you ever forget it."\n[img[Rot.png]]\n<<else>>Dirk smiled and nodded. "Well...let's get going towards the next adventure."<<endif>>
<<silently>>\n<<set $weiss_approval = $weiss_approval + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>It turned out that the lake was the apt choice for the two Invokers to begin the hunt for the Hearts Alignment Suite of Olden. Though only a small school of them at best, there were plenty of Olden swimming about the dark and oily waters of Blackwater Lake.\n\nWeiss Liger proved himself to live up to his own reputation, cutting down every Olden in his path with his Masume Tiger Blades with such ease that Blau Drakeen hardly need to raise up his air cannon, the Mach Dragoon. Though it had taken some time, as the lake itself was quite large and few if any of the Olden were inclined to emerge, they both were able to keep the property damage to a minimum at least.\n\nStanding atop the wreckage of what was once the pier, the two Invokers looked over the Olden Cards held in Weiss Liger's hands, plus the two that he had previously subjugated all on his own.\n\n"Gremlin, Nuckelavee, Yeti, Grindylow, Chupacabra, and Hippocampus." Blau Drakeen muttered. "Quite the collection."\n\n"Hardly," snorted Weiss Liger. "There's the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of Hearts. In that order. Congrats kid, you took out another low ranked Olden. Still, this will make subjugating the rest of the Numbered Ranks easier."\n\n"Numbered Ranks?"\n\n"All in due time kid. All in due [[time|weiss3]]..."\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $weiss_approval = $weiss_approval + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Dirk carefully entered the gymnasium in the basement of Grimm Tower with a nervous grimace. It wasn't just that the room was exceptionally warm due to its proximity to whatever massive devices Central Hand used to power the entirety of Arcana City, but that the man he was looking for was beating the stuffing out of a punching bag.\n\nLiterally, beating it out. In CHUNKS no less.\n\n"So, you're the rookie huh?"\n\nDirk blinked and scowled at the man who could hardly be ten years his senior. <<if $blau eq "fin">>"Not so new as to handle the entirety of my Alignment Suite."\n\n"Oh ho, looks like the dragon's got some hot air to go with his cold wind, eh?" Alexander turned and smirked at Dirk. "Well then, suit up and since you're so good at hunting Olden, you get to pick where we go first. Reports from the Evokers say the Olden of my Alignment Suite, Hearts and water if you're curious, have been spotted near [[Blackwater Lake|lake]] and the [[water treatment plant|water]]."\n\n"Well, much fun as it sounds to try and reenact every known horror movie known to man, I think the lake's a better place to go fishing for some Olden."\n\n"Joy, I'm shackled with a bad comedian." Alexander shook his head.\n\n<<else>>"I admit to having fought only one Olden so far but--"\n\n"But nothing rookie." Alexander turned with a scowl on his face as he approached Dirk, who couldn't help but back away from the man who could very well be a tiger conformed into a human body.\n\n"You fought one Olden? Well congrats, you're still green on the field despite the blue of your armor! Look, you seem like a good man given how much Elizabeth likes to talk about you, but I, for one, am not going to see another good man die. Go home son. Leave this to the professinals."\n\nAlexander turned and started for a new punching bag but ground to a halt when he heard the activation of an IMAGIN System. He turned and regarded Blau Drakeen.\n\n"By luck or fate, I am an Invoker. Whether you want me to or not, you NEED me to help you subjugate the Olden, if only those of my Alignment Suite. So why don't you drop the tough guy act and just let me help you?"\n\nAlexander turned and shook his head. "Well since you're all suited up for the job, why don't you pick where we go first. Reports from the Evokers say the Olden of my Alignment Suite, Hearts and water if you're curious, have been spotted near [[Blackwater Lake|lake]] and the [[water treatment plant|water]]."\n\n"If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not go to the place that's been used for every single bad horror film ever conceived by man."\n<<endif>>
<<silently>>\n<<set $schwarz_pride = $schwarz_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>It turned out that the old warehouses were far from the ideal choice for Dirk to begin his career as Blau Drakeen. Though only three Olden of the Clubs Alignment Suite were littered about the small district, they were all so overwhelmingly power that it was all that Schwarz Tortonak and Blau Drakeen could do to subjugate them.\n\n"Not bad... For an old timer," muttered Schwarz Tortonak as he looked over his haul.\n\n"Not bad? I was nearly stepped on! TWICE." Blau Drakeen scowled beneath his helmet.\n\n"These are the top tier of the Numbered Ranks too..." muttered Schwarz Tortonak, ignoring Blau Drakeen utterly. "Kodama, Goblin, Treant, Matagot, Homunculus, Golem, and Giant. The 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9 of Clubs respectively."\n\n"... What about 5 and 6?" Blau Drakeen was hesitant to ask.\n\nBeneath his helmet, Schwarz Tortonak grinned savagely. "So glad you [[asked|schwarz3]]... There are those construnction yards left to check after all."\n\n"Yay..."
The Battlefield Arcana
<<if $blau_pride eq "2">>\n<<display 'good1'>>\n<<else>>Quite exhausted from the weeklong escapade of hunting down and subjugating Olden, Dirk barely managed to gather the strength to transform into Blau Drakeen and begin another hunt for the Olden of his Alignment Suite.\n\nPerhaps sensing his weakness, the last of the numbered Spades appeared before Blau Drakeen and began the attack. The Sylph, who was almost a living embodiment of the wind, struck at Blau Drakeen with everything it had.\n\nIt nearly finished him then and there.\n\nThrough his own determination to see the job done, to not die to an unseen enemy, Blau Drakeen's pure dumb luck pulled him through for one final time and he subjugated the 10 of Spades with his armor barely holding itself together. With an exhausted, almost human sounding, sigh, the armor disengaged itself and Dirk bonelessly collapsed to the ground.\n\n"My week, couldn't possibly get any [[worse|spade_queen]]."\n<<endif>>
The four Invokers whirled and saw, much to their disbelief, an Olden standing behind them. An Olden that, much like The Royalties, resembled humanity only so much that were it not for a mouth that stretched far too wide and filled with an overabundance of fanged teeth, could actually be human.\n\n"The hell are you, clown?" asked Terrence.\n\n"Clown? Close but no cigar, little Terry..." The Olden chuckled as its beady, red eyes fell upon a paling Elizabeth. "Ah, my dear Miss Enders, you know me for what I am. I know you do, your brilliance is matched only by the Ruling Ace attached to your very soul."\n\n"Elizabeth?" asked Dirk. "What is this thing?"\n\n"It's... the fifty-third Olden..."\n\n"What?!" snapped Alexander. "That's impossible! There's only supposed to be fifty-two! That's how many are in an actual deck of cards, right?"\n\n"Plus one other," muttered Dirk, eyes wide with shock. "The Jo--"\n\n"Please. I much prefer the title... The Wild One. Now," The Wild One gestured with clawed hands and the Invokers suddenly found themselves transformed into their armored guises. "Let's begin the final round shall we?"\n\n"The hell?! How did he--" demanded Schwarz Tortonak.\n\n"Delightfully stupid pawns, the lot of you. Do I need to spell it out for you? Can't you see the connection between myself and you?" The Wild One gestured at its form that was, save for its humanlike face, covered entirely in armor. "We are the same you and I. We'd have to be. I helped to create you [[after|endgame3]] all."
Dirk stands stock still as he looks over towards the woman seemingly frozen in shock. He sees as the Olden's feline eyes are drawn to its unmoving prey and it laps at its fangs in hunger. It slashes with its claws that dig deep not into the woman's chest but into Dirk's.\n\nHe's dead before he hits the ground but at least his sacrifice was enough to protect the life of an innocent, if only for one moment longer...\n\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $enders_love = $enders_love + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>"Is the Diamonds, of the element of fire. My Invoker designation is Rot Feenix."\n\n"And that makes me--"\n\n"Spades, of the element of wind. Blau Drakeen is your designation."\n\nDirk nodded and sat back in his own chair. "So... how many of these Olden are there then? I'm guessing if you guys know enough to divide them based on their element--"\n\n"Fifty-two, all ranked according to their level of power."\n\nDirk choked. "Fi-Fifty-TWO?!"\n\nElizabeth nodded but then looked thoughtful, "Well, fifty-one now that you subjugated one."\n\n"Merciful God..." Dirk leaned forward and pressed his hands against his forehead. "So many..."\n\n"Hey..." Elizabeth leaned across her desk and placed her hand on Dirk's shoulder. "With you joining us, that makes four Invokers. The odds are in our favor now. We can start [[subjugating|subjugate]] them all now."
It turned out that the park was far from the apt choice for Dirk to begin his crusade as Blau Drakeen. Though only a small number of Olden claimed the open grounds of Tarot Park as their own, it was through sheer luck and numerous strategic retreats that Blau Drakeen had been able to subjugate them within a week's time.\n\nHe looked over the cards in his hands and frowned at their ferocious design and familiar names.\n\n"Raiju, Pegasus, Roc, and Sphinx." Blau Drakeen winced at the last one and again when he realized their ranking, "6, 7, 8, and 9 respectively... I'm one lucky son of a bi--"\n\nThe roar of a tornado drew Blau Drakeen's eyes up to the top of the nearby skyscrapers, where he could just barely see a small horde of Olden battling amongst the blackened clouds of the Arcana City sky. He sighed tiredly and replaced all but one back into the Suite Deck Roster upon his belt.\n\n"Well," He panted for breath as he fingered the 7 of Spades, Pegasus. "Hopefully, handling those [[Olden|alone1]] up there will be easier than these ones were..."
<<silently>>\n<<set $rot_pride = $rot_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>><<else>>"Well... Aren't you just the fiery birdie?"\n\nDirk repressed the urge to out curse a sailor as he looked up and saw that standing on the opposite side of the molten railways, were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $blau eq "fin">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Diamonds?"\n\nRot Feenix nodded, "Exactly. Stronger even then the Ranked Numbers, but somehow, I don't doubt our ability to subjugate them."<<else>>"And... these are?"\n\nSurprisingly, it was Rot Feenix who answered, "They are The Royalties of the Diamonds Alignment Suite. I've never seen them gathered together like this before though..."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," grunted the O'Lantern, a horrendous scarecrow like no other with a reaping scythe clutched tightly in oaken fingers.\n\n"Queen," moaned the Succubus, biting the tip of her thumb as she hungrily eyed Blau Drakeen.\n\n"King," roared the Oni, massive warclub swinging in the air above his horned head.\n\n"Be careful, darling, don't get over confident." Rot Feenix said, one hand hovering over her Suite Deck Roster. Standing beside her, Blau Drakeen did the same.\n\n"Aw, ain't that just the sweetest thing? Two little lovebirds locked in our little war game? What say we crush them both together then?"\n\n"Well, I can think of no one better to die beside, but..." Rot Feenix whipped out the 10 of Diamonds. "Not [[today|rot5]]!"\n\n
<<if $rot_pride eq "3">>\n<<display 'diamonds_jack'>>\n<<else>>\n"Well... Aren't you just the fiery birdie?"\n\nDirk repressed the urge to groan tiredly as he looked up and saw that standing on the opposite side of the molten railway that wouldn't be in any kind of serviceable condition anytime soon, were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $blau eq "fin">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Diamonds?"\n\nRot Feenix nodded approvingly. "So you met some already. Good. That'll make subjugating these ones even easier."<<else>>"And... these are?"\n\nSurprisingly, it was Rot Feenix who answered, "They are The Royalties of the Diamonds Alignment Suite. The strongest of all the Olden in my Suite, even more so the Ranked Numbers."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," whispered the O'Lantern, a terrifying scarecrow with a farmer's scythe resting between batlike wings.\n\n"Queen," moaned the Succubus, biting the tip of her thumb as she hungrily eyed Rot Feenix.\n\n"King," grunted the Oni, massive warclub thumping the ground before his clawed toes.\n\n"Get ready, honey." said Rot Feenix as she unfurled her fans.\n\n"Little girl, you know nothing of the pleasures awaiting victory in this game," murmured the Succubus. "We would show you them should you let us."\n\nBlau Drakeen shivered. "Is it wrong that I'm both terrfied and intrigued by what she just said?"\n\n"Shut up and [[subjugate|rot5]] them already!"<<endif>>
\nIt turned out that the water treatment plant was the worst place to begin their opening assault upon the Alignment Suite of Hearts. Though only a small number of Olden stalked the dripping wet hallways of the plant as their own, it was by the skin of their teeth that both Weiss Liger and Blau Drakeen managed to pull through and subjugate them by the dawn of the following morning though the plant would need some serious repairs before it could function again.\n\n"This," growled Weiss Liger, "is precisely why I didn't want no damned green marine on my team!"\n\n"Hey, at least we got the Olden subjugated right?"\n\n"Wrong! Do you see that plant? It'll take days for it to be fixed and brought back to full working order! That means that water will have to be rationed even more than it already is, in no small thanks to you!"\n\nBlau Drakeen gazed over the wreckage. His fists tightened and he looked away.\n\n"Still... I got to admit, we got quite the haul here..." Weiss Liger looked over the Olden Cards he now held alongside the two he had already subjugated on his own. "Nuckelavee, Chupacabra, Kappa, Bunyip, and Hydra."\n\nBlau Drakeen shivered. "Can we not talk mention the Hydra? I've never seen so many snake heads." Both attached or otherwise was left unsaid.\n\nWeiss Liger continued, "2, 5, 7, 8, and 9 of Hearts. Well, at least this will make the [[lot|weiss3]] in the lake much easier to subjugate."\n
It turned out that the metalworks was the better choice for Blau Drakeen to try and impress Rot Feenix with his precise control over his pressurized air cannon, the Mach Dragoon. Rot Feenix's own weapons, twin bladed fans appropriately named Feng and Huang, could only distract the Olden so much with their enchanting music never mind the limitations of their true, destructive potential in such close quarters.\n\nThough it was but two Olden rampaging throughout the metalworks, they were easily subjugated inside the same hour with the afternoon sun only just beginning to set on an artificial sky.\n\n"Congratulations, honey. You managed to beat two medium ranked Olden."\n\n"Medium ranked?" muttered Blau Drakeen as he looked down at the Olden Cards in Rot Feenix's hands. "Those two? But they were so easy to subjugate..." He blinked. "And don't call me honey, you know I hate that."\n\n"Of course they were, honey. I had these after all." Rot Feenix fanned out the rest of the Olden Cards. "Will o'Wisp, Elf, Wyvern, Nekomata, Peryton, and Hellhound. The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of Diamonds respectively. Subjugating the last pair was almost ridiculously easy."\n\n"Ridiculously easy she says..." muttered Blau Drakeen. "Well, Doll, off to the sewers then?" He gulped as he felt bladed tips of her warfans pressed against his throught.\n\n"Don't ever call me [[Doll|rot3]], honey. You know how much I hate that word."\n\n"Yeah..." He coughed out the squeak of his voice and tried again, "Yeah, I get it."
It turned out that the construction yards was an apt choice for Blau Drakeen to exercise the full control of his armor and his weapon, the Mach Dragoon, but with an ally like Schwarz Tortonak at his side such opportunities was virtually nonexistent. Though the Invoker's weapon was that of a shield aptly named as the Towering Shell, Schwarz Tortonak was every bit a mad dog fresh from the chain.\n\nThough it was but two Olden stalking about the freshly abandonned construction yards, they were easily subjugated within hours of each other with the evening sun only just beginning to set on an artificial horizon.\n\n"Congrats, old man. You managed to beat two medium ranked Olden."\n\n"Medium ranked?" muttered Blau Drakeen as he looked down at the Olden Cards in Schwarz Tortonak's hands. "Those two? But they were so easy to subjugate..."\n\n"Of course they were. Look." Schwarz Tortonak fanned out the rest of the Olden Cards. "Kodama, Goblin, Treant, Matagot, Tanuki, and Troll. The 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of Clubs respectively. I already had the first four so picking off the following pair was disgustingly easy."\n\n"Easy he says..." muttered Blau Drakeen.\n\n"Try and keep up with me old man. We got a few more Olden to kill this [[day|schwarz3]]."
Adrian Koltun
<<silently>>\n<<set $blau_pride = $blau_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Dirk wandered the streets of Arcana City just as he had done the previous day before the madness that was his recent lot in life had begun with a vengeance. He glanced down at the IMAGIN System strapped tightly to his wrist and thought to himself.\n\n'Where do I even begin to look for an Olden of my Alignment Suite?' <<if $invoker1 eq "completed">>He glanced upwards into the sky, 'The others had some clue to their Oldens usual haunts but mine are of the wind. Where the heck does something allied with the wind go?'<<else>>He glanced up into the sky, 'Perhaps there's more to these Alignment Suites than what Elizabeth said? If mine are of the wind then they'll be somewhere that they would be stronger... but where?'<<endif>>\n\nHe looked down one street as a bus advertising Tarot Park rumbled past, 'The [[open|park]] grounds of the nearby park?\n\nDirk turned the opposite way, looking up at the topmost spires of the nearby skyscrapers. 'Or up near the [[sky|sky]]?'\n\nBy Elizabeth's admitance, his Alignment Suite was that of the element of air so, logically speaking, there would be a greater abundance of Olden in the sky versus close to the ground...\n\n"Decisions, decisions..."\n\n
It is written in the history books, that in their final bid to try and stop the ancient Olden known simply as The Wild One, the Invokers it had so easily defeated revealed their own final hand and transferred all of their Olden, nay, their entire IMAGIN Systems, onto Dirk Hartland, transforming him from the blue armored Blau Drakeen into the golden Einmalig Ryujin. \n\nWith this enhanced power, Dirk laid waste to The Wild One and subjugated it. As it underwent the painful process of sealing, the Wild One left some parting words to Dirk, words only known to him and the other Invokers who have remained silent on this matter to this very day. With the Wild One's powers added to his own, Dirk broke the dimensional barrier and brought Arcana City back to Earth.\n\nHowever, the cost of victory proved immeasurably high as Dirk began to turn to stone in a strange semblance to the original stone figure from which all the Olden had sprung and who once, in its life as a mortal man, had been the Wild One. As he stood before them, slowly dying, Dirk offered his own parting words to his fellow Invokers and told the sole female of the group, his lover Elizabeth Enders, to make sure that the world would know that this was not the first time that the Olden had been unleashed onto the world nor would it likely be the last.\n\nHe told her that if they are to prevent another Battlefield from taking place, she must see to it that the Olden are destroyed while they remain sealed even if it means destroying him along with them. Elizabeth promised it would be done and in the months that followed, was a firm and guiding hand in erasing much of the destruction that had littered itself across Arcana City.\n\nWhy, she even made sure that Dirk Hartland would forever be remembered for generations to come with the donation of a statue standing produly at the front gates of Mythos Carnival. A statue of an armored figure standing at the heart of the city with a plaque beneath it that reads: Dirk Hartland. \n\nHero.
<<silently>>\n<<set $weiss_approval = $weiss_approval + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Blau Drakeen lowered his arms and saw that standing on the opposite side of the building rooftop were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $blau eq "fin">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Hearts?"\n\n"We are."<<else>>"And... these are?"\n\nSurprisngly, it was Weiss Liger who answered with a somber tone, "The Royalties of the Hearts Alignment Suite."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," said the Sea Bishop with a soft smile.\n\n"Queen," spoke the Kraken, arms and tentacles both crossed tightly.\n\n"King," growled the Leviathan, his massive tail coiling with his ire.\n\n"So... We've gone and gotten your attention finally?" asked Weiss Liger, one hand hovering over his Suite Deck Roster. Opposite him, Blau Drakeen did the same.\n\n"You have and more," said the Leviathan. "You don't realize the rules you've broken, the tempers you've raised."\n\n"Well, I guess there's one thing to do then." Weiss Liger whipped out the 10 of Hearts. "[[Cool|weiss5]] you guys off!"\n\n
Dirk walked down the streets of Arcana with his hands deep into his pockets. A man hardly past the prime of his early thirties, Dirk wondered again whether he should try and swallow his pride and join one of the many squadrons of Evokers patrolling the city. It wasn't true policework, but perhaps he could at least where the family badge with some sense of pride at accomplishing something in this wartorn city.\n\nThe ground suddenly trembles beneath him and Dirk turns as a voice cries out, "RUN! RUN! It's one of the Olden!"\n\nPeople scream and go rushing past Dirk as he considers whether to [[turn|coward]] and run with the crowd, take cover and [[wait|Caution]] for a good opportunity to act, or [[to help|help]] someone seemingly [[frozen|hesitate]] in shock.\n\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $blau_pride = $blau_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Blau Drakeen lowered his arms and saw that standing on the opposite side of the building rooftop were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $invoker1 eq "completed">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Spades?"\n\n"We are."<<else>>"And... you guys are?"\n\n"The Royalties of the Spade Alignment Suite."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," said the Gryphon with a regal bow.\n\n"Queen," murmured the Simurg, bobbing her avian head.\n\n"King," growled the Tengu, his grip tightening upon both his blades.\n\n"So... I've earned the attention of the Royalties huh...? Tell me, is it fear that drove you to face me or pride?" asked Blau Drakeen, one hand hovering his Suite Deck Roster.\n\n"You are one to talk of arrogance human." The Tengu snorted. "You know nothing of the game in which you play."\n\n"Oh, but I do know one thing about it." He whipped out the 10 of Spades. "Play to [[win|alone2]]!"\n\n
Sitting in her small but highly ornate office, Dirk couldn't help but be impressed by his ex's standing in Central Hand. Hard not to be when she openly displayed an IMAGIN System strapped on her wrist though hers bore a red-colored diamond to his blue spade.\n\n"These are called the IMAGIN Systems. With them, ordinary humans attain the powers of the Olden and can, if need be, use their powers to our advantage. However, as I'm sure you can see, there are some subtleties between them."\n\n<<if $enders_love eq "2">>\n<<display 'test2'>>\n<<else>>"You mean aside from the cosmetic differences?" He asked.\n<<endif>>\n\n"Quite." Elizabeth reclined back in her chair. "The Olden are divided amongst themselves based on their elemental affinities and we at Central Hand have labelled these groups as Alignment Suites based on the four card suites."\n\n"I see... So [[mine|wind]]... and [[yours|fire]]?"
<<silently>>\n<<set $blau_pride = $blau_pride + 1>>\n<<set $alone = $alone + "4">>\n<<endsilently>>\nDirk sat upon his couch with a tired smile on his face.\n\n<<if $invoker1 gte 0>>With the combined might of more than one Alignment Suite of Olden to deal with, subjugating The Royalties of his Alignment Suite had been almost too easy...\n\n"Too easy..." Dirk opened his eyes and wondered again if there was more to these Olden than what Central Hand Inc. was telling him and the other Invokers. "Perhaps I should go to [[HQ|endgame1]]... or should I try and help one of the [[others?|others]]"\n<<else>>Though it had taken all of his Olden Cards to do it, he managed to subjugate The Royalties of the Spade Alignment Suite. He was, according to [[Elizabeth|rot]], the strongest of the Invokers.\n\nHe wondered then if he should try and aid the others in subjugating their own Olden, for certainly they would do the same for him if the situation was reversed, but who? The former bounty hunter [[Alexander|weiss]], or the highschool graduate [[Terrence|schwarz]]?<<endif>>\n\n<<if $blau_pride gte 3>><<set $ultimate = $ultimate + "1">>He looked down at the coffee table, where his father's badge sat glimmering in the faint evening light. How long had it been since last he wore it? When he was a child, playing pretend at being a cop, at being a hero.\n\nBut what was he now if not a hero?\n\nHe reached over and picked up the badge, looking it over with a small smile on his face.\n\n"It might not be what either of us expected dad, but I hope I'm making you proud." He pinned the badge to the breast pocket of his shirt.\n[img[Blau.png]]\n<<else>>"Decisions, decisions..."<<endif>>
"COMPATIBLE INVOKER DETECTED."\n\nThe spade-shaped symbol upon the IMAGIN System flashes with azure-tinted light and it suddenly appears upon Dirk's left arm.\n\n<<if $enders_love eq "1">>\n<<display 'test1'>>\n<<else>>"Why would it choose him?!" yelled Elizabeth.\n<<endif>>\n\n"IT'S YOUR TURN…"\n\nThe IMAGIN System glows once again as the shadow of an Asian dragon appears to fly across the surface of Dirk's body before it settles upon his left arm. The spade sigil appears before Dirk before it and the glow upon his body vanish with a sudden gust of wind that blows the Splinter Cat into the opposite building.\n\nDirk lowers his left arm, the open jaws of the Dragoon closing with an audible hiss, and looks down at his armor-clad arms in surprise. He has been transformed into the Invoker of the Spade Alignment Suite.\n\n"[[BLAU DRAKEEN|blau]]."\n
<<silently>>\n<<set $enders_love = $enders_love + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>"Dirk, this isn't the time for heroics!"\n\nDirk looks over to the now empty street and replies, "I think this is the perfect time for them actually…"\n\nHe points at the Splinter Cat who is slowly stalking towards them.\n\n"And it's one of the Spades too… Listen Dirk, we might have a chance if you just let me--"\n\nThe Splinter Cat roars and lunges towards them with serrated tail twisting forth to cut them down. Dirk pushes Elizabeth out of the way just as the device in her hands, the IMAGIN System, suddenly [[activates|henshin3]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $enders_love = 0>>\n<<endsilently>>"Let go of me Dirk, I can take care of myself just fine without your needless heroics!"\n\nDirk steps back in surprise but he doesn't release his grip on her arm. He scowls angrily at her. "Oh yeah like you have a chance against that thing!"\n\nHe points at the Splinter Cat who has turned and is slowly stalking towards them.\n\n"I have more than a chance, Dirk. Once I get the IMAGIN System activated I can subjugate that Olden!"\n\nShe starts to fiddle with the device just as the Splinter Cat roars and lunges towards them with serrated tail twisting forth to cut them down. Dirk pushes Elizabeth out of the way just as the device in her hands, the IMAGIN System, suddenly [[activates|henshin3]].
Dirk rushes alongside the crowd and with his back exposed to it, is cut down by the Olden.\n\nJust another casualty to the Battlefield.
<<silently>>\n<<set $invoker1 = $invoker1 + "1">>\n<<set $schwarz_pride = $schwarz_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>\nDirk stood behind Terrence as the young boy knelt before a large slab of stone upon which were etched a long series of names. Terrence's hand rubbed across three of the many dozens that littered the wall.\n\n<<if $blau gte 1>><<set $ultimate = $ultimate + "1">>With the combined might of more than one Alignment Suite of Olden to deal with, subjugating The Royalties of Terrence's Alignment Suite had been almost too easy...\n\n"Too easy..." Terrence whispered. "What I had seen them do, what I know they could do..." His hand tightened into a fist. "Something isn't right here, old timer. I don't like secrets and it's high time we met the power behind [[Central Hand|endgame1]]..."\n\nTerrence glanced out the corner of his eye at Dirk. "Or do you think you should help the [[others|others]] first?"\n<<else>>Though it had taken all of their Olden Cards to do it, Dirk managed to help Terrence subjugate The Royalties of the Clubs Alignment Suite. Terrence was, according to [[Elizabeth|rot]], the strongest of the Invokers.\n\nHe wondered then if he should try and aid the former bounty hunter [[Alexander|weiss]] or strike it out on his [[own|alone]]?<<endif>>\n\n<<if $schwarz_pride gte 3>><<set $ultimate = $ultimate + "1">>"Hey Dirk..."\n\nDirk looked back and saw that Terrence was playing with the beaded bracelet on his right wrist. Dirk blinked at the sudden realization that the young man had called him by his name and not "old timer". "Yeah?"\n\n"I've hated them, the Olden... so much that I honestly couldn't imagine a time when I could stop hating them. What they did to me and mine... what they're doing still to countless others... I hate them still but... not so much that I need this to remind me of better days."\n\nHe removed the bracelet from his wrist and tossed it at Dirk who caught it wordlessly. The older man looked over the beads and saw that three in particular were colored in distinctive colors, as though they were a pale attempt at duplicating the sheen of birthstones.\n\n"You gonna be alright... kid?"\n\n"... Yeah... In time."\n[img[Schwarz.png]]\n<<else>>"Well...? What are you waiting for old timer? Let's go kill some more Olden."<<endif>>
"What?" gasped Weiss Liger.\n\n"I was the first Olden to be unleashed back into the world a hundred years ago, back when the tomb had first been unearthed. I slaughtered the discovers and with their blood built a guise for myself to roam amongst you filthy humans, building up my empire, my Central Hand, until such a time that I could begin the Battlefield once more."\n\n"It was you...?" whispered Rot Feenix, "All this time, it was you who had unleashed the Olden into Arcana City!? Why?! Why would you do all this?!"\n\n"Sacrifices must be made, my dear Miss Enders. Speaking of."\n\nA flash of darkness and Rot Feenix was sent flying through the air.\n\n"Elizabeth!" cried Blau Drakeen.\n\n"Shit!" cursed Weiss Liger, rushing in to the attack only to be blown back just as easily. Schwarz Tortonak unleashed a mad howl of rage and dug his Towering Shell deep into the ground but even that could not hold up against the overwhelming blackness that the Wild One unleashed with but a casual wave of its hands.\n\n"Such a shame really... I had high hopes that you would be the first to witness the return but even with my precarious use of science, the Era of Magic refuses to be resurrected with the subjugation of the Olden alone. You, all of you, must be sacrificed to bring it back."\n\nThe Wild One tilted its head and tapped at its chin. "And the city too, I suppose. Just to be safe."\n\n"You... Just what are you trying to accomplish?!" roared Blau Drakeen, raising the Mach Dragoon as he reached for his Suite Deck Roster.\n\n"True Restoration, Mister Hartland. The very thing that should have happened millennia ago." The Wild One said, "The way that I see it, you have two options left to you. You may try and [[fight|good]] me. Try and fail might I add.\n\n"Or... you can [[help me|bad]] bring about the True Restoration."\n\n<<if $ultimate gte 4>>[[...|true]]<<else>>...<<endif>>
<<if $schwarz_pride eq "2">>\n<<display 'good4'>>\n<<else>>Quite exhausted from the day's escapade of hunting down and subjugating Olden, Dirk all but collapsed out of the armor of Blau Drakeen as he sat wearily upon Fallen Fountain, one of just many such places of rememberance across Arcana City. Across from him, Terrence scowled and opened his mouth to criticize the older Invoker's weakness.\n\nPerhaps sensing their strife, the last of the numbered Clubs appeared erupted from the fountains on a rising tide of earth to begin the attack. The Gnome, who was almost a living embodiment of stone and earth, struck at the pair of Invokers in mid-transformation with everything it had.\n\nIt nearly killed them both.\n\nOnly by Schwarz Tortonak's near inhuman rage did they manage to survive the sudden attack and crush the terran Olden beneath his Towering Shell. Blau Drakeen managed to escape the worst of the 10 of Clubs' attack but it was all that Schwarz Tortonak could do not to fall prey to his own [[weariness|clubs_queen]].\n<<endif>>
Dirk and his fellow Invokers arrived at the foot of Grimm Tower. Contrary to what it had once been, the tower was dark and no vibrant clouds of smoke billowed forth from any of its many pipes. There was nary a soul to be found save for the Invokers themselves.\n\n<<if $weiss_approval gte 3>>"Is it me or does anyone else have a realy weird feeling about this?"<<else>>"Well, kid, here we all are. What's the plan...?"<<endif>> asked Alexander.\n\n<<if $schwarz_pride gte 3>>"We all do, old timer, but that ain't gonna stop us from going in and kicking some butt if need be."<<else>>"We go in, kick butt, and get some answers. Duh."<<endif>> said Alexander.\n\n<<if $rot_pride gte 3>>"I doubt that everyone in Central Hand will suddenly be gunning for us now that all of the Olden are subjugated, Terrence."<<else>>"Crude but no less an apt choice of words. Now that all of the Olden are subjugated, there's little in Arcana City capable of standing against us."<<endif>> said Elizabeth.\n\nDirk smiled, "Well, at least it'll be easier than defeating The Royalties right?"\n\n"Oh... You'd think that wouldn't [[you|endgame2]]?"
<<silently>>\n<<set $weiss_approval = $weiss_approval + 1>>\n<<set $invoker1 = $invoker1 + "1">>\n<<endsilently>>\nDirk sat down opposite of Alexander in the mildly busy restaurant, nursing a cup of warm coffeee in his hands. Across from him, Alexander was gazing out into the streets, a small frown on his face.\n\n<<if $blau gte 1>>With the combined might of more than one Alignment Suite of Olden to deal with, subjugating The Royalties of Alexander's Alignment Suite had been almost too easy...\n\n"Too easy..." Alexander shook his head. "Something isn't right here, kid. Perhaps we should go and see what answers we can find for ourselves at [[HQ|endgame1]]... Or do you think you should give the [[others|others]] a helping hand first?"\n<<else>>Though it had taken all of their Olden Cards to do it, Dirk managed to help Alexander subjugate The Royalties of the Heart Alignment Suite. Alexander was, according to [[Elizabeth|rot]], the strongest of the Invokers.\n\nHe wondered then if he should try and aid the highschool graduate [[Terrence|schwarz]] or strike it out on his [[own|alone]]?<<endif>>\n\n<<if $weiss_approval gte 3>><<set $ultimate = $ultimate + "1">>"You know, Dirk..."\n\nDirk looked up and saw that Alexander was fingering an old pair of dogtags. He blinked at the sudden realization that the man had called him by his name and not "kid". "Alexander?"\n\n"I've killed more people than I can even name. But not once, have I ever been proud of it. There's only one thing in all of my life that I've strived to achieve. I don't think I'll ever find it. And yet... I'm okay with that. Here."\n\nWith a quick jerk, he pulled off the tags and tossed them to Dirk. He caught them and glanced down at them in surprise more for the symbol etched onto the back of them than anything else. "Peace?"\n\n[img[Weiss.png]]\n<<else>>"Well...? What are you waiting for kid? Let's get this show on the road."<<endif>>
<<if $schwarz_pride eq "3">>\n<<display 'clubs_jack'>>\n<<else>>\n"Well, well... Is the little turtle hatchling finally grown out of his shell?"\n\nDirk repressed the urge to curse as he looked up and saw that standing on the opposite side of the decimated grounds that once held a beautiful fountain, were three distinctive looking Olden in that these were humanoid though still incredibly monstrous.\n\n<<if $blau eq "fin">>"Let me guess, you're The Royalties of the Clubs?"\n\nSchwarz Tortonak clenched his fists tightly. "So you met some before? Then I needn't tell you how badly I want to kill them do I?"<<else>>"And... these are?"\n\nSurprisingly, it was Schwarz Tortonak who answered, "They are The Royalties of the Clubs Alignment Suite. The ones I've wanted to kill more than any other Olden."<<endif>>\n\n"Jack," muttered the Gargoyle, horned head bowed as he clawed at the earth.\n\n"Queen," spoke the Centaur, an arrow nocked in her bow but the weapon not yet raised.\n\n"King," murmured the Kirin, his eyes strangely sad as he gazed upon the two Invokers.\n\n"At last... At last, my family will be avenged..." said Schwarz Tortonak as he picked up the Towering Shell.\n\n"Poor child," murmured the Centaur. "We regret the actions we undertook but our regret does not give sway to forgiving you for your own crimes."\n\nSchwarz Tortonak swayed on his feet. "Regret...? PITY? Do not speak to me of pity or regret! You are all MONSTERS!"\n\n"Monsters..." said Blau Drakeen as he placed a steading hand upon Schwarz Tortonak's back. "Whose tyranny ends. [[Tonight|schwarz5]]."\n<<endif>>
<<if $weiss_approval eq 2>>\n<<display 'good2'>>\n<<else>>Quite exhausted from their weeklong reenactment of every known horror film to ever take place in tight quarters, it was a disgruntled Alexander who ran into an equally tired Dirk in the streets of Arcana City by pure happenstance.\n\nPerhaps sensing their lack of goodwill, the last of the numbered Hearts appeared before the pair and began the attack. The Undine, who was almost a living embodiment of water, struck at the two Invokers with everything it had.\n\nIt nearly finished them both.\n\nThrough his own, almost inhuman strength, Weiss Liger cut through the heart of Undine with one final, powerful stroke of his swords and subjugated the 10 of Hearts with his very blades almost crumbing to pieces in his hands. Blau Drakeen was in an equally bad way as his armor disengaged with an almost human sounding sigh.\n\n"Well," he panted tiredly for air, "at least it can't get any [[worse|heart_queen]], right?"\n<<endif>>
<<silently>>\n<<set $schwarz_pride = $schwarz_pride + 1>>\n<<endsilently>>Dirk wandered out onto the top of the Grimm Tower, glancing about and wondering how it was that the clouds of smog seemed incapable of flowed straight up before letting the wind carry them away from the tower itself. He glanced across the rooftop and saw leaning precariously over the edge, a young man still in his teeanged years but with eyes of a man three times his age.\n\nTerrence glanced over towards Dirk and snorted. "So, you're the new Invoker? I'm not impressed."\n\nDirk blinked and scowled at the boy who could hardly be ten years his junior. <<if $blau eq "fin">>"Not so new as to handle the entirety of my Alignment Suite, kid."\n\nFaster than he expected, Dirk found Terrence sneering into his face as he growled. "Don't. Call. Me. Kid. I haven't been a kid for MONTHS. Not since The Start. Not since my family was slaughtered right in front of my eyes and all I could do was watch helplessly beneath the rubble of our home."\n\nDirk winced but did not dare to look weak in front of the younger boy, his own eyes narrowed. "We all lost people important to us, Terrence. Don't think that you're alone in that."\n\n"Pfeh. Might as well be." Terrence turned and walked towards the railing once more.\n\n"Where are you going?" Dirk called after him.\n\n"To the abandoned [[construction yards|construction]]. Or the [[old warehouses|warehouse]]. Both are likely teeming with Olden to kill."\n\n"... You mean subjugate."\n\n"I know what I said, old man."\n\n"Well, if it's all the same to you ki-Terrence, I think we should hit the old warehouses first."\n\n"Oh? And why is that?"\n\n'Because honestly, I don't want you dropping a wrecking ball on top of me.' Dirk thought to himself. "No reason."\n<<else>>"I admit to having fought only one Olden so far but--"\n\n"So what." Terrence turned away with a disgusted sneer, "You fought one Olden? Well congrats, three more and you'll be even with me!"\n\nTerrence turned and walked towards the railing once more.\n\n"Where are you going?" Dirk called after him.\n\n"To the abandoned [[construction yards|construction]]. Or the [[old warehouses|warehouse]]. Both are likely teeming with Olden to kill."\n\n"... You mean subjugate, right?"\n\n"I know what I said, old timer."\n\n"Little punk..." Dirk muttered to himself before following after Terrence. "Well if you ask me--"\n\n"I didn't."\n\n"I think we'd have a better chance of finding more Olden in the warehouses. Lots of open spaces for them to hide and all."\n<<endif>>
"We?" Dirk looked up. "Four?"\n\nElizabeth nodded. "One for every Alignment Suite. If you want you can meet up with the others."\n\n<<if $enders_love eq "3">>\n<<display 'test3'>>\n<<else>>"There's Alexander Aland, designated as [[Weiss Liger|weiss]]."\n\n"Aland? That ex-bounty hunter?" asked Dirk in surprise.\n\n"You've heard of him?"\n\n"Only by reputation. I heard he once killed a man with nothing more than a pencil, a bendy straw, and some liberal use of duct-tape."\n\nElizabeth rolled her eyes and replied, "Well he's a different man now. He proclaims himself a pacifist but, well, you can't teach a cat any tricks."\n\n"... What?"\n\nElizabeth continued on, "There's Terrence Regalia, desinated as [[Schwarz Tortonak|schwarz]], a recent highschool graduate--"\n\n"A graduate? You lot are accepting kids now?" asked Dirk.\n\n"The IMAGIN System made its choice, and as much as I'd like to otherwise, we can't change it."\n\n"Why the hell not? It can't possibly be that hard, look!" Dirk reached down and tried to pull off his own IMAGIN System and found the task impossible as it refused to budge.\n\n"The IMAGIN System grafts itself onto its Invoker's very skin. Unless you want to lose a hand, I suggest you suck it up and deal with it, Dirk."<<endif>> \nShe shrugged and leaned back in her chair. "Or you can try and strike it out [[alone|alone]]. Just so long as you get the job [[done|done]]."\n\nDirk looked back down at the floor as he thought over his options.
"What other choice is there?"\n\nSuch was the last question asked of the last chance humanity had on Earth. A question only heard by an inhuman creature for a monstrously mad ideal. The Wild One had gotten what it wanted in the end and through the aid of Blau Drakeen, of the man named Dirk Hartland, the Invokers and their Ruling Aces were subjugated and with his back turned to it, Dirk himself was slain where he stood and the Wild One emerged victorious.\n\nAnd the Battlefield Arcana at last came to a close as the entire city and all of its people were sacrificed to the True Restoration. \n\nThe shockwaves that soon followed decimated the entirety of humanity across the globe and no one, no man, woman, or child, were left alive to experience the changes wrought upon the world as the 2nd Era of Magic began anew as whole cities fell to an apocalyptic ruin. Man's science became the bittersweet ruins of a bygone era and mankind itself a creature of myth to be told around the fire as creatures once gone from the world returned to it once more.\n\nAnd so it ends.
"Is the Spades, of the element of wind."\n\n"Then yours is--"\n\n"Diamond, of the element of fire."\n\nDirk nodded and sat back in his own chair. "So... how many of these Olden are there then? I'm guessing if you guys know enough to divide them based on their element--"\n\n"Fifty-two, all ranked according to their level of power."\n\nDirk choked. "Fi-Fifty-TWO?!"\n\nElizabeth nodded but then looked thoughtful, "Well, fifty-one now that you subjugated one."\n\n"Merciful God..." Dirk leaned forward and pressed his hands against his forehead. "So many..."\n\nElizabeth nodded, looking grim-faced as she said, "With you joining us, that makes four Invokers. At least now we can begin [[subjugating|subjugate]] these monsters."