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The Archival Tower deep in the heart of the Neo Nation was the Parliament's primary depository of records. The entire history of the Nation was recorded on countless data discs stored deep inside. Clerks worked day and night, organizing the information and history, researching the past for indicators of the future. Normally, there was no quieter a place in the entire Neo Nation.

But this day was different.

A thunderous pounding trembled the main door of the Archival Tower, its frame cracking on all sides. Before long, one final blow sent the door crumbling to stony pieces as four armored individuals stood in the doorway. The first man's suit looked the heaviest, like ancient armor, complete with massive pauldrons, a mace and a shield. The second man's suit had a high collar and metallic wire tentacles dangling from his gauntlets, moving about as if they had a life of their own. The lone woman was athletic and buxom, wearing a form-fitting suit emanating a dark poisonous aura. The last man, with brilliant platinum hair, wore a suit with skull decorations on the shoulders and belt, and carried a scythe with a blade of dark energy.

"No!" one of the clerks screamed out. "It's them! It's the Four Horsemen!"

"Destroy everything!" shouted the man with the scythe. He had shoulder-length straight platinum hair which cascaded somewhat over his face and gave him an elegant appearance, though his cold temperament and obvious poise cast away any doubt about his strength or masculinity.

"Leave no trace! They mean to rewrite the Imperial history with false words. Famine! Their lives are yours. War! Destroy all of their terminals. Pestilence...with me."

"Wait!" shouted 'War', the strong young man with spiky, sandy blonde hair wearing the heaviest armor. "There's no need to kill these people, Death. Let's do what we came to do and be done with it."

"We must send a message. Reduce this entire place to ash!"

"William has been sniveling for days now," said 'Pestilence', the woman. Her pitch-black hair contrasted greatly with her pale skin, but her beauty was undeniable. Her armor bore cables that ran from her gauntlets into the inside of her breastplate as if she could emit a fluid or gas from her hands. "He hardly acts like a Horseman of War."

"We'll discuss that later, Pestilence," said 'Death'. "For now, seek out the sealed records of the Marasu Empire. We will spare only them...and show the people the deception this feeble Parliament has cast upon them."

"How about we switch roles, War?" said 'Famine', the lanky youth with tentacle-like apparatuses dangling from his armor. "I will destroy the terminals. You take out these workers. Prove to us that you are truly the man of War."

"There is no honor in killing defenseless men and women!" 'War growled.

A beam of poisonous black energy shot between War and Famine, destroying a computer terminal. Both turned in the direction the blast came from, facing the woman with her glowing hand outstretched.

"We're wasting time!" said Pestilence. "There's no telling when the army will be here. We should focus on the records and worry about destruction later...anything to end this pointless bickering."

The robed men and women staggered back, gasping, hands to their mouths in horror. "Those are... our nation's history...everything about our past..."

War stopped at the remark. He walked toward a terminal that yet remained intact and glared at the monitor.

"You," War turned toward one of the clerks. "What period is this?"

"Fifteen years prior..." he uttered, barely able to speak as if there were a lump in his throat. "Before the war."

War sat at the terminal and scanned the data on the screen, squinting. He stopped at a particular entry.

Famine latched his tentacles to pillars along the corners of the hall, raising his arms as the lights flowing through their piping began to dim. Meanwhile, Death and Pestilence smashed and blasted everything around them.

"War," Famine grunted. "What are you doing?"

"Looking for something."

"Well, what?"

"Confirmation."

War closed his eyes and nodded. He then stood up and slammed his mace into the terminal.

"I hear them," said Famine. "Lord Death! The army!"

"The data?" Death turned toward War and Famine.

"Destroyed," said War. "There was no sign of any 'sealed records'."

"What about the people?" said Pestilence, "Let's kill them."

"No time. Besides, we want them to tell the tale," Death said. "Let's be off! We shall resume our search later."

The Four Horsemen rushed out of the tower the same way they came in, but it was too late; hovering fighter ships surrounded them, guns trained on their position.

"Marasu Revolutionaries, there is nowhere to run! Surrender now!" spoke a voice from within one of the ships.

"Fools," Death growled. "If you realized who you were dealing with, you would have turned tail and run already."

He raised his scythe and prepared to fight, then the dark energy coming from his blade began to flicker.

"What is this?"

"Lord Death..." Pestilence spoke up, "Our power levels are running low. We need to retreat."

"Never!"

The ships aimed their cannons and opened fire at the four, raining plasma blasts down upon them. The blasts subsided and the smoke cleared, and War stood in front of the others, holding his shield out, an energy barrier manifesting from its glowing center that repelled the fire. None of them were harmed.

"Listen to Vanessa, Faust," said War. "You can't die here, right?"

Death--Faust--flashed teeth, then nodded. "Cover us, War. Can you do it?"

"Of course. Nothing can penetrate my invincible guard, thanks to you."

Faust put a hand on his armored shoulder. "My brother in arms. Famine, Pestilence, let's go!"

The three rushed away toward an alley. War hopped backward, keeping pace with his allies, facing the ships with his shield out. They continued to fire, but War blocked their blasts easily. As soon as he was certain they were clear, he rushed into the alley behind them, disappearing in the plume of dust and debris that rained down when the ships blasted the walls, narrowly missing them.

***

Night fell. A battle cruiser hovered over a vast cityscape of towering buildings protruding like spikes under chemical-filled cumulus clouds. The ship's searchlights swept across the city, tracing blinding white circles across the streets and walls of the buildings below.

The captain sat in the center of the bridge, various crewmembers controlling the ship's flight path and other maintenance. One crewmember wheeled around in his seat and faced the captain.

"Captain, we have them," he said. "We've traced their energy signatures to that warehouse in A-Block."

"Finally," the captain said. "After over two years of dealing with these vagrants, we finally have them cornered. Inform the Chancellor that we have located the Revolutionaries."

"Yes, sir," the young ensign said as he turned back to his console, tapping buttons to send the message. "Captain, we're receiving a call from the ruling body. The Chancellor wishes to speak with you."

"On screen."

"Yes, captain," said the ensign again, pressing another key. A large viewing screen that doubled as the ship's main viewing portal came to life and the face of a mature gentleman appeared.

"Captain, what news?" said the Chancellor.

"High Chancellor," said the captain, "We have found the Revolutionaries. Their brazen attack on the Archival Tower has sealed their fates. We've managed to track their energy signatures to this location and are currently awaiting orders."

The Chancellor appeared to scratch his chin as if deep in thought, then he nodded. "Full deployment. We will not allow these rogues to take us back to the dark ages. Wipe them out. All of them."

"With pleasure, sir," the captain smiled as the screen switched off. "All hands! To arms! Full deployment! Show no quarter! Get in there and take them out!"

Throughout the ship, men scrambled from their posts, donning battle dress and equipping themselves with energy rifles and riot shields. They headed to the ship's hangar and, splitting into groups of six, climbed aboard small hovercrafts with energy blasters affixed to their port and starboard sides. The attack aircraft soared from the battle cruiser's underbelly and soared toward the small factory on the ground.

The Four Horsemen stood together deep inside a warehouse.

"It's over, Faust. The Neo Nation's army was there to flank us. They knew we were coming! We're lucky we escaped with our lives."

"I can't believe my Horseman of War, of all people, is talking like such a coward," the man known as Faust shot back. "As long as we have the battle armors, they can never defeat us."

"We're running out of crystals to charge our energy packs," said William. "We can't get any more from the mines either...they're guarded as much as the Capital now. We can't keep this fight up any longer. And we don't have the right."

"What is this about, William?" said the lone female in the group. "Just what were you studying back there that was so important? You owe us an explanation."

"I don't owe you anything, Vanessa," William retorted. "I'm grateful to Faust for providing me with the battle armor, like we all should be. He's the only one among us who knows how to build these things. But what have we been fighting for? The only reason things aren't peaceful here in the Neo Nation is because of what we've been doing!"

Faust's face tightened. "I knew it. Famine, Pestilence...it seems our ally War has become a turncoat. You, William, you who I grew up with on the streets, both of us orphans...I can't believe you of all people would betray me."

"When will you accept it, Faust?" William roared. "There is no more Marasu Empire. It's gone. The time has come to move on with our lives. If we surrender and throw ourselves on the mercy of the Parliament's courts..."

"How dare you say that to me?! I lost everything...my family, my legacy, all of it, just because those arrogant Terradins refused to share their resources with my father. You said you believed in my cause. You told me you wanted to help me get back what's rightfully mine. And now, after a little time in the archives, you turn your back on everything you've said?"

"Your father was a tyrant!" William screamed. "I read the history, Faust. I know the truth. His workers were treated as slaves, his handmaidens as concubines. The environment was a mess; the skies scorched with chemicals from his factories, most of the vegetation killed by the wastes. Your father was killing this land...it was only fitting that he was removed from power. He was evil. Now, with him gone and an actual democracy in control of this land, light slowly returns to this 'dark' nation."

Faust stared fiercely at William, saying nothing.

"I used to believe in your cause," William continued, "But after discovering just what your 'legacy' was all about...if you want to take this nation back to the way it was, transform the Neo Nation back into the Marasu Empire, then I cannot side with you."

"It was my father's right to make this land as he saw fit," Faust retorted. "He was the ruler, the Emperor of this nation. I don't care what you say; everyone who sides with this 'Neo Nation' is a traitor to this land. All who oppose me, the rightful Emperor, will be crushed."

Faust drew the rod from his back and pressed a button on its side. Through the open shaft at its top, a curved blade of purple-black energy growled to life.

"I may not have maximum power, but I have more than enough to deal with a filthy turncoat, William."

"You would attack me, Faust?" William muttered. "I have no wish to do battle with you, my friend. I simply want all of us to get away, while we still can, leave this nation and start fresh somewhere else."

Faust steadily approached William with his scythe firm in hand.

"Vanessa? Reynaldo?" William turned to his armor-bearing compatriots.

"I side with the Emperor," Vanessa said, a purple haze emanating from her armor. "No matter what."

"As do I, War," said the last armored man, Famine, or Reynaldo. He stepped closer to Faust and Vanessa. "The Horsemen should never be at odds with one another, and Death is our leader. If you no longer believe in our ideals, we have no choice but to take the armor from you and grant it to someone worthy of being the true Horseman of War."

William shut his eyes. "So be it. I don't agree with your cause, but you're all my friends. I won't fight you."

As Faust, Vanessa, and Reynaldo approached William, all were startled by a booming whoosh from outside the building.

Reynaldo glanced about, taking in the sounds and muttering quickly. The tentacles from his armor seemed to follow his head's movements.

"I hear something... D-24 anti-gravity engines, Beta Class Battle Cruiser and about...seven Stalker antiaircraft...the Neo Nation army is here!"

Suddenly a thunderous explosion shattered the shutter door!

Faust shielded himself from the flying debris as the Stalker antiaircraft hovers landed on the ground, their occupants leaping out and rushing into the building with rifles drawn, rays of plasma energy permeating the air.

Faust spun around to give his allies an order. "We'll discuss this later, War--what?!"

William was nowhere to be found.

Faust, Vanessa and Reynaldo stood alone in the center of the warehouse as the Neo Nation's troopers flooded in.

"That's him!" one of the soldiers said. "Fire at will!"

Faust stared fiercely at his enemies. Then, he and his remaining two Horsemen disappeared in a flash of purple-black energy.

"Where'd they go?!" a soldier gasped.

"He must have some sort of personal displacement device--a teleporter! In his armor? How is that possible?"

"Never mind. A piece of equipment like that would be too demanding on their energy reserves to take them too far, especially if one of them is transporting multiple people. Scan for their energy signatures and triangulate their location."

"Yes sir...Got them! Three blocks south."

"Move out!"

A rooftop, some distance south of the warehouse.

Faust, Vanessa and Reynaldo stood staring at the dark skyline of the Neo Nation.

"What are we going to do, Death?" said Reynaldo. "If it weren't for your teleporter, we'd have died back there. And I know you used up what little power you have left in your armor by doing that. It's only a matter of time before they catch up to us. If they tracked us before, they can track us now. We have to get out of their scanning range!"

Faust just stared into the sky. Vanessa approached him.

"Perhaps William was on to something, my lord."

"Pestilence...you too?"

The three looked towards the city and saw the specks of light in the sky that soon revealed themselves as the battle cruiser and Stalker ships, flying towards them.

"I don't agree with William's cowardice," Vanessa went on. "But it is true that we are outmatched. Our energy won't hold out forever, not if we keep fighting now."

Faust looked down.

"Please, my lord," Vanessa continued. "I can't bear to lose you. Let's escape while we can."

"Where do you suggest we go?" Faust snapped. "The only civilized land in range is...Terradin."

"Then let's just go there!" Reynaldo screamed. "If you ever want to win your birthright back, we need to regroup! The Neo Nation army won't follow us there...they can't cross the border without an international incident. And who knows? A lot's changed since the war. We might be able to find new allies in the land of our enemies."

A trio of Stalker ships closed in on the three, energy building up within their plasma cannons.

"Fine," Faust said. "I won't let these filthy mongrels have my death to celebrate. Go."

"What about you?" Vanessa said.

"I'm going to make sure they don't follow us. Famine, do you have any reserve energy?"

Reynaldo nodded. "Some. I haven't used up all the energy I took from the Tower yet."
"Transfer what you can to me, and then go. I'll divert their attention."

"What are you going to do, my lord?" asked Vanessa.

"I'm going to go fetch us a ride."

Reynaldo nodded, affixing one of his tentacles to Faust's breastplate. For a brief moment light appeared to travel from the tentacle into Faust's armor, then he severed the connection and took off from the roof, Vanessa following him.

"They're getting away!" shouted one soldier from one of the Stalker ships.
"Wait!" said another. "Look!"

Their targeting systems locked onto Faust, who remained on the rooftop as his friends fled.

"That's him...that's Faust. We take him out and it's all over. Forget the other two. Concentrate all firepower on that boy!"

Faust tightly gripped his scythe and disappeared in a purple-black flash.

"What? Where did he go to now?"

"Scanning...he's close...he's..."

"What? Where is he?!"

"He's...what the--"

A purple flash appeared within the cockpit, behind the pilots in one of the Stalker ships. Faust materialized, his energy scythe ignited in his grasp.

The captain stared at his monitor. He watched as one of his fighters swung about and turned toward its wingmen.

"What's going on?!" he growled.

"Captain!" said an ensign. "We've lost communication with Stalker-Beta. It seems...based on the onboard recorder, Faust Raven commandeered it."

"What of the pilots?!" hollered the captain.

The ensign merely shook his head.

The captain and crew watched the monitor in horror as the stolen Stalker ship turned about and shot down the other ones like it, blasting them out of the sky before they knew what was happening. The ship flew past Vanessa and Reynaldo, and they boarded the craft before it sped away toward the borders of the Neo Nation.

"Prepare to pursue them. I want them cut out of the sky," the captain said.

"Yes sir," the ensign replied. "Wait, Captain, another call from the Chancellor."

"Patch it through."

Again, the High Chancellor's face appeared on the battle cruiser's bridge view screen.

"Full retreat, Captain," said the Chancellor. "Let them go."

"What?!" gasped the captain. "I don't understand. Faust Raven is the last remnant. You've made it our top priority to see him eliminated."

"Look at his flight path. He's headed to Terradin," the Chancellor explained. "If we pursue him across the border, the Terradin High Council could consider the presence of our ships there an invasion of their airspace...they may take it as an attack, as an act of war."

"Can you not just explain the situation? Faust Raven is too dangerous to live!"

"There's more to it than that. The Terradin Council cannot know that we knew Faust survived. We swore to them all the remnants of the Empire were destroyed. That was one of the focal points of our treaty. Faust was but a child then--who could murder such an innocent? We had no way of knowing things would turn out this way, that he would discover his legacy and gain the power to turn it against us..."

"Chancellor...we must at least warn Terradin about the criminal. We're supposed to be allies now..."

"Enough, Captain! Weren't you listening? We will do no such thing. As far as we're concerned, Faust Raven does not exist. Return to base. If he should ever return, we shall deal with him as we have in the past. But for now...let him be Terradin's problem."
When I first started writing WEAPON Combat League back in 2003, the intent was to make it into a graphic novel. Over time, as I have mentioned numerous times in my journals and such, the story grew, and it is now obscenely long. I was uploading the story here in my dA gallery for a while, realizing that it simply wasn't going to be drawn; I just didn't have what it took to make it into a visual production. But because I didn't give this writing my all (because of said intent to make it into a comic book), I came to the conclusion that the prose didn't belong in my dA gallery, and I sent all the chapter uploads to my storage.

Well, I flipped the script and unstored them (along with everything else I ever uploaded to dA). I was reading over some of the comments that WCL's few but loyal and interested followers left on the story uploads, and it re-inspired me to focus on developing my concept again. Since I find that it's writing about my creations that compels me to draw them, I'm focusing back on writing this tale. It's really long...ridiculously long. I think it might be longer than War and Peace already. Maybe not. I never read it. But I know WCL is long. But I still love this story so much.

This particular upload is the very first chapter in the story, which I strangely never uploaded before. I actually scripted and drew thumbnails for this chapter in comic form already... it worked out to be 26 pages in landscape format. I'm just having some trouble getting myself motivated to draw it. I'm really out of practice.

A part of me is afraid. Afraid that WCL sucks, that it embarrasses me as a creator, but there's no doubt that I care about it and I'm proud of what I designed, so I'm pushing past the fear of shame and putting it out there anyway. If you pay a visit to my WEAPON Combat League gallery, you'll find the rest of the prose submissions up to where I stopped. There's actually a lot more story after that and I think I'm going to upload it all. It'll give me something to keep on the side of my mind while I whittle down my commission workload. It's easier to focus on writing and storytelling one concept while drawing something else.

This chapter focuses on these three: as well as a character named William who I have yet to draw an updated image for. It builds part of the foundation of the WCL universe. Hope you dig it. I figure the best way to reignite my drive to create is to focus on what I'm most proud of.

Next Chapter: Clipped Wings

Faust and company return in Legacy
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:iconbloodymess-vaot:
You left a lot to the readers imaginary or forced him to make up from stuff he had seen in other stories, which prolly is due to the fact you planned to illustrate it.

I couldn't really imagine how Williams, defended everyone against all those plasma beams without knowing what his shield is capable of or seeing it. Well I imagined a big force field bubble around the 4^^

It was very dialog heavy, which I usually like, but at one or two points the characters had a little plot explaining monologue which felt kinda off.

Now the positive stuff yay

You have a very fast and action-packed writing style it was really fun to read and never was boring, or describing stuff no one cares about anyways. It was very plot focused and you said with a few words what other people need way more for.

Your characters are the real stars of the story and I love that!
Their strong character showed up immediately again with only a few words and I mean character not stereotype, which at first I was tending to put them into, but they showed me better^^

For example Williams, at first I thought he is like the police man from Minority Report, visiting the evil guy at his home alone, knowing he is evil and very unscrupulous and has full power, well you prolly know where that ends even if not seen the movie^^

I was like omg Williams you are so going to die soon for being a righteous idiot out of the blue to show how evil the other are, but in the end his actions and the time for them totally made sense and you felt for him, and omg he even was smart enough to get out, that was really awesome! And I don't even like Williams, as I root more for the evil chars:P

It seems to me Death is really evil and enjoys it but does not have to wave around with it like an idiot. For now he is my favorite, but maybe Famine will be later, but he did not show that much color yet.

And Pestilence omg she is such a b****, just awesome^^

Good thing the Mimimi-Guy left:P

Another thing I liked is that you were able to handle all 4 at same time without having one picking his nose till he suddenly gets mentioned again^^

Over all I like it and will continue reading it.
What do you think?
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:iconbluevengeance:
BlueVengeance Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012
I agree with the above poster. I'd go with a book or a game. You have a lot of characters to use, so I don't see why not. Nice prologue, btw.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks. I'm going to finish the story first, and go from there. Once the prose is finished, publishing it as a book will be easy and making a game doesn't intrude upon that project.
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:iconbilljersey:
BillJersey Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I've come to the conclusion a long time ago that when an idea gets too big for one person to make into a comic, than maybe its meant to be put in some kind of other medium.

Like maybe a game (tabletop D&D style), video game, or a book series. Or maybe multiple mediums. Like doing some of the side stories as comics.

Since you got a good chunk of it written out already, it could be possibly seemless to transition into another form.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
One thing I've always wanted to do was take the characters and make sprites out of them with their moves fully animated. I've already made out a list with basic thumbnails of how their attacks would play out. For a beat-em-up styled game perhaps, like Guardian Heroes. Since I already know how to make character sprites and animate them, it could potentially be more efficient than trying to make a graphic novel (or a series of GNs) out of the concept, although no less difficult I'm sure. My only problem is that a game couldn't give the story the full attention it deserves; after all, it's a rare game whose most defining feature is its story, and nor should it ever be...but like you said, multiple mediums. The development of a game doesn't eliminate the existence of the writing.
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