Sunday, December 10, 2017

Episode 10 : Enter the Darkness Squad

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 10 : Enter the Darkness Squad

From a video screen, Samhain addresses a shining silver figure, kneeling before him. Samhain informs Titan Foiler of Skull Kaiser's defection and orders him, as leader of the Darkness Squad, to use his team to eliminate the rebel. Titan Foiler stands as Samhain's image fades and cannot believe what he's just heard. He remembers training with Skull Kaiser in his youth—though the figures are always shadowy, we get a nice flashback here of them training with some intricate contraptions, sparring, and then finally being awarded their Artifacts by Samhain. He sighs heavily beneath his armor and calls the rest of the squad to him. We cut to Skull Kaiser tinkering with Gran Pham at an access panel. Gran Mid is nearby coiled up and Skull Kaiser inquires as to his recuperation. The snake groans and Skull Kaiser chuckles, saying that he'll be okay soon enough. Skull Kaiser finds what he's looking for, dislodges a component, and is relieved to see that it's fully intact and still functional. He apologizes to Gran Mid for not letting him use his fire on Gran Pham, but he had a good reason. Skull Kaiser steps away from Gran Pham and turns in the direction of the Loss Tower. Kneeling, he speaks Champagne's name. Her image appears before him, and she's startled by all the destruction around. Anticipating her feelings, Skull Kaiser apologizes to her for his mean talents. She looks to him reassuringly and shakes her head, telling him that she knows this is the only way, but that she wishes it could be different. He tells Champagne that he's acquired the component he needed and that once it's been modified and installed, he will have a distinct advantage, even without his troops. The voice of the Kaiser Bones speaks up and praises Skull Kaiser for his ingenuity, the use of Gran Pham's Charge Circuit indeed changes the odds. We cut back to Titan Foiler's chamber where he's summoned his four junior team members. We get brief introductions of each with neat little subtitles. Titan Foiler explains Skull Kaiser's defection and eventually tells them about Jeder Man's fate—he does this last as tactfully as possible, but Schatten Messer, the youngest member of the team, loses his temper immediately. Jeder Man was his brother! He sputters curses and before anyone can stop him, he throws his cloak over himself and disappears. The remaining members of the team step forward, except for Dust Pharaoh, and ask what to do out of concern. Titan Foiler orders Phantasma King to follow Schatten Messer as quickly as possible, to back him up, but they all realize that Schatten Messer is too fast with his ability to travel instantly through shadows.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Episode 09 : Make Peace with Your Demons, Jeder Man!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 09 : Make Peace with Your Demons, Jeder Man!

Skull Kaiser barks orders to Gran Mid to burn the corpse soldiers, which it begins doing after disengaging from Gran Pham's throat. With tears of grief and rage, Jeder Man shouts that he won't allow his troops to be destroyed and leaps toward Gran Mid. Sparks fly with another Den Geki Ha, but Skull Kaiser knocks Jeder Man far enough away from Gran Mid to make the attack ineffective. Skull Kaiser berates Jeder Man for his ego, and says, "Don't you know how easy it is to lose everything?!" and we see images of Skull Kaiser lying nearly dead at the Loss Queen's feet, then losing most of his army, then watching his castle burn to the ground. He continues, asking Jeder Man how many lives he and his army have taken. Each of those who died lost everything in an instant. He then softens somewhat and makes an appeal. He gives Jeder Man an opportunity to take responsibility for his past actions, to change his ways and fight against Samhain's evil. Jeder Man scoffs and insists that he's the Corpse General and if anyone is going to have a working relationship with death, it's going to be him, not Skull Kaiser. Skull Kaiser accepts his resolution and the two square off and begin fighting. Jeder Man makes the mistake of engaging Skull Kaiser in a physical fight. He lands one solid blow that nearly floors Skull Kaiser, but that's the last time he connects and then he proceeds to receive a pounding. He's able to use the Den Geki Ha just in time to save his own life and then keeps it up almost incessantly. He's growing tired, though; using that much energy is costly and he cannot keep it up. Skull Kaiser has spent too much time on the battlefield personally; he's too experienced and he's made good use of advance and retreat. Finally, Skull Kaiser breaks through the Den Geki Ha and delivers a fatal Kaiser Claw. In the final moments of the episode, Skull Kaiser takes the Denki Bolts and crushes them. Samhain's artifacts must be destroyed so that others won't have the power to back his evil cause.

To Be Continued...

Friday, December 8, 2017

Episode 08 : Every Man Shares the Same Fate!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 08 : Every Man Shares the Same Fate!

Atop Gran Mid's head, Skull Kaiser perks up, thinking he sees Jeder Man's army in the distance. He hears a familiar sound from that direction ("Gran Pham Charge!") and he realizes that it's too late as a blinding flash strikes Gran Mid a glancing but damaging blow. Skull Kaiser is thrown clear and shakes his head to regain his senses. His remaining troops stored within Gran Mid's ribs are scattered about and organizing to meet the new threat. Lightning strikes nearby, energizing the ground. There is a low hum, and at various points, corpses begin to rise from the ground. They stagger forward with sinister purpose and appear to be everywhere. Skull Kaiser brains a zombie who gets too close as he's addressed by Jeder Man. From Gran Pham, Jeder Man looks on and speaks with a superior air. He inquires about Bone Reaper's troops, the Jump Deck incident, and finally about what happened with the Loss Queen. Skull Kaiser answers simply and honestly and assures Jeder Man that he, too, will fall to the Kaiser Claw. Jeder Man laughs and asks how he's going to do that being so horribly outnumbered and with his Gran damaged. Skull Kaiser looks to Gran Mid and they share a moment of silent communication which is punctuated by Skull Kaiser's shout, "Gran Mid, Dive!" at which point Gran Mid does so and disappears underground. Skull Kaiser leaps high in the air and tries to knock Jeder Man from Gran Pham, but he's knocked back himself by the Den Geki Ha, an electrical discharge that fills the air around Jeder Man, forming a shield. The skeleton soldiers are overwhelmed by the zombies and destroyed. Skull Kaiser curses to himself. His troops had fought valiantly and their help was invaluable to him - there's nothing to do but move forward. The zombies come incessantly, but he deals with them tirelessly. He taunts Jeder Man until he eventually cannot contain his anger and initiates another Gran Pham Charge—just as Skull Kaiser intended. Skull Kaiser jumps out of the way, but all the corpse soldiers aren't so able. Jeder Man wonders where Skull Kaiser is, and turns abruptly to the sound of his voice. At Skull Kaiser's order, Gran Mid erupts from the ground, coils around Gran Pham, and sinks its boney fangs into Gran Pham's throat. Gran Pham rears, with Gran Mid still attached to its throat, and issues a roar as fountains of sparks rain down. Gran Pham collapses and the lights in its eyes go out. Jeder Man is stunned and his grief for Gran Pham quickly turns to rage. He curses Skull Kaiser and promises to destroy him.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Episode 07 : Corpse General Jeder Man

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 07 : Corpse General Jeder Man

Jeder Man stands before his burning Jump Deck cursing Skull Kaiser—he recognizes the power of the flames that destroyed both Jump Decks as belonging to Gran Mid, who only obeys Skull Kaiser's orders. Jeder Man shouts to some of his soldiers to stay clear of the flames as some attempt to go about their tasks at the Jump Deck as if it weren't a conflagration. Samhain's image appears on the damaged video screen nearby and he demands to know what's going on. Jeder Man does his best to explain while maintaining decorum. Truth is, he doesn't know what's going on exactly. He tells Samhain that he will mobilize immediately for the Skeleton Territory, assess the situation, and take care of it whatever it is. Jeder Man moves off barking out orders to his troops who fall into line silently and somewhat slowly. He mounts Gran Pham, his giant zombie war elephant, and issues the order to move out. Jeder Man wonders what could have happened to Skull Kaiser; has he turned against Samhain? He remembers how Skull Kaiser had defeated each of the Loss Queen's generals, most notably Aurelius, whose totem was the bee, and Pompeii, whose totem was the stag beetle. He frowns, disliking the possibility of having to fight such a monstrous opponent, but then vows that if Skull Kaiser has defected, he won't let him live. We cut to Skull Kaiser riding atop Gran Mid's head. His voice-over tells us that at the very least the next working Jump Deck is a long way off in the Puppet General's territory. All he has to do for the time being is head off Jeder Man who is sure to be on his way. He laughs to himself, thanking the powers that be for Gran Mid, whose fire will certainly prove to be the bane of Jeder Man's army.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Episode 06 : The Battlefield Is My Home Now

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 06 : The Battlefield Is My Home Now

The episode opens with fighting continuing out in front of Skull Kaiser's castle. He and his troops are seriously outnumbered, but they are slowly evening the odds and turning the tide. Some of the fighting moves into the castle as Bone Reaper's troops seek retreat within the castle walls. One of Bone Reaper's wounded soldiers has the wherewithal to make it to the Jump Deck where he raises Jeder Man on the video screen. Jeder Man is the Corpse General in the next closest territory and he is appalled by what he sees and hears. He tells the soldier to standby at the Jump Deck and he'll have soldiers there immediately. Back outside, Skull Kaiser's attention is taken by the rising of the Jump Deck antenna, and its operation; he realizes that he's too late, that more troops are on the way. He sighs heavily knowing that he'll have to destroy his castle instead of just disabling the Jump Deck. He leaps to Gran Mid's head then we cut to the interior of his castle again where he can hear his voice issuing the command to exit, if survival to any is important. The soldier at the Jump Deck looks fearfully over his shoulder as the detachment of corpse soldiers begins to materialize on the platform. Skull Kaiser points Gran Mid at his castle as myriad skeleton soldiers scurry from the gate, then, with a wave of his hand, he cries out, "Gran Mid Fire!" Rearing high, Gran Mid lowers and belches out a liquid cone of flame that incinerates the castle. We cut to the interior of the castle as the Skeleton soldier at the Jump Deck is consumed by the fire along with the still-materializing corpse soldiers on the platform. On the video screen, before it's destroyed, we see Jeder Man's Jump Deck explode violently as Jeder Man himself shouts curses. Outside, the fighting is all done now. Skull Kaiser has only a handful of troops left and they all kneel behind him in silence as he watches his castle smolder. An image of Champagne, smiling sadly, appears before him. He quickly kneels and lowers his head, refusing her offer to send him the rest of his troops. She apologizes to him for his loss but he insists that there is nothing to be sorry for, that the battlefield is his home now.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Episode 05 : Poseur! There Is Only One Skeleton General!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 05 : Poseur! There Is Only One Skeleton General!

The episode opens with Skull Kaiser's voice echoing throughout the Loss Tower. He tells his troops to stop their fighting, that they have a new cause. We cut to various scenes throughout the Loss Tower as the skeletons stare blankly into space listening to their general while Champagne's soldiers aren't quite sure what to make of what's going on. Skull Kaiser stations half of his remaining forces to guard the Loss Tower and he orders the rest outside to load into Gran Mid, his giant skeleton snake. Once again, Skull Kaiser is traveling atop Gran Mid's head with a number of his troops tucked up within Gran Mid's ribs for optimum speed. Skull Kaiser's voice-over indicates that his castle has a Jump Deck, where Samhain can teleport troops immediately, so they must hurry back. Once they reach the castle, they see Bone Reaper just clearing the castle gates with myriad fresh troops at his back. Bone Reaper is terribly confused and treats Skull Kaiser with suspicion. They exchange insults briefly, but the truth of the situation comes out and Bone Reaper relishes the opportunity to destroy Skull Kaiser firsthand—an idea which makes Skull Kaiser laugh heartily. The two bodies of soldiers clash, and above the din, Bone Reaper complains that Skull Kaiser has an unfair advantage using his Gran. Without a word, Skull Kaiser dashes from Gran Mid through a throng of Bone Reaper's soldiers. He destroys them almost effortlessly as he passes and is face to face with his inferior in seconds. He gives Bone Reaper a moment to realize that he could have killed him, then he chuckles as he avoids the sweep of the Ivory Scythe. Bone Reaper is clearly shaken, but gathers himself and tries to make good his boasts. He cannot come near Skull Kaiser even with the aid of the potent artifact given to him by Samhain. Skull Kaiser tires of toying with Bone Reaper and finishes him off with the Kaiser Claw. The Ivory Scythe is destroyed in the process.

To Be Continued...

NOTE: Some with sharp eyes might notice that this episode title has appeared here before, but as episode 6, not episode 5. That is the result of revision. In my first wave of revisions, SK fought Pompeii, the stag beetle Loss Commander, in episode 1, and things shifted a bit by one episode until resuming the same order at some point.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Episode 04 : The Voice of a Hundred Heroes

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 04 : The Voice of a Hundred Heroes

Skull Kaiser is falling in an endless black void. He looks at his hands, which are covered with his own blood, and realizes that he's not wearing the Kaiser Bones any more (this is the second time we see Skull Kaiser's face, but we won't see it again for a long time after). He doesn't understand what's happened to him until he hears the echoing voice of Champagne, then he remembers being defeated in her throne room. He realizes that he's on the threshold of death and suddenly he's surrounded by horrible imagery of atrocities throughout time committed by his master, Samhain. He cannot stomach what he sees though he knows that he's played a very active role in similar events. Other voices begin to crowd into his head, quietly at first, then with more volume and in greater number. He clutches at his head trying to banish the ghosts of the evil he's helped perpetrate, but the ghosts won't go away. Champagne explains that the Kaiser Bones haven't gone anywhere, but that Skull Kaiser is in a coma. The voices he hears are those of the Kaiser Bones themselves still fixed to his own broken body. She continues, telling him how the Bones are the remains of numerous heroes from ages past, all who've been defeated by Samhain or his former generals. Skull Kaiser tries to resist the truth, but he is forced to accept it. First he is filled with self-loathing, then with an overwhelming sense of remorse. He accepts his fate and humbly asks forgiveness before death takes him. But this last act stirs some resonance in the Kaiser Bones and Skull Kaiser feels somewhat uplifted. He hears Champagne's voice again and she offers him a second chance. She makes no demands on him at all and tells him he is free to do whatever he wishes with his second chance. Skull Kaiser then wakes up on the floor of Champagne's throne room, astonished at being completely healed. Choked with emotion, he bows down before the Loss Queen and swears his allegiance to her. He further vows that he will not rest until Samhain's threat to her is extinguished.

To Be Continued...