Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Episode 40 : On the Needle's Point—Guilty!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

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 40 : On the Needle's Point—Guilty!

Skull Kaiser struggles to get up while Oketsu continues to smolder, essentially dead. He staggers to his feet and then is supported by Heiliger. Heiliger congratulates him and asks him how he feels. Remarkably, Skull Kaiser begins to swell with Ghost Light, returning to 100% in a matter of moments. Oketsu, too, now appears healed and he rises. Heiliger explains that in all his previous trials, Skull Kaiser never needed Lord Enma's boon, but time is of the essance and Skull Kaiser has two last challenges. Oketsu comes over to shake Skull Kaiser's hand and congratulate him. Skull Kaiser thanks him and Heiliger ushers him off to meet Shinzan who is not far off.

We cut to Nou Wire inside a dark cockpit surrounded by floating video screens. Through one, we can see Merlot down on one knee.

We cut to an exterior view of Merlot, indeed down on one knee and panting at Gran Lej's feet. They're very close to Gran Mal's destroyed leg and she appears to be exhausted and wounded, at least superficially, from fighting Gran Lej all by herself. Both notice some flashes coming from where Gran Mal's engine room would be. Inside the cockpit, Nou Wire notices an abnormal energy buildup and realizes that Gran Mal is going to explode. Gran Lej leaves Merlot and quickly tears a piece of Gran Mal's damaged leg free, then makes a hasty retreat. Merlot stares in astonishment not at all sure about what's happening. There's another flash from Gran Mal and Merlot is swept away, screaming. Gran Lej turns to face Gran Mal once more and quickly raises the sheet of metal up to shield itself as it digs in for the blast. We see a silver streak pass Gran Lej just as the light and flames from the explosion engulf the Gran.

We cut back to Skull Kaiser meeting Shinzan. Shinzan is a solid metal frame with bundles of spikes making up his "musculature". They're deep inside Needle Mountain, and Shinzan explains that he is in truth the heart of the mountain, a living part of it. He explains that those guilty of excessive violence are cast down onto the mountain. For those strong enough to survive the trauma, Shinzan awaits: he is indestructible and violence personified. Shinzan tells Skull Kaiser that violence was unknown to him before Samhain, that in fact, he was was a peaceful, thinking man, filled with compassion, but he was brought to the breaking point and Samhain offered a new way to express the rage that then characterized him. Violence became Skull Kaiser's solution to everything, and he became quite the expert at it. But here in Hell, Shinzan is the embodiment of violence and no one has bested him at his profession. While the other gates of Hell have had various keepers, Shinzan remains as the only original gatekeeper since Hell formed out of chaos. He tells Skull Kaiser that there is potentially no lesson to learn here, that if he can exceed Shinzan in violence and win that way, then so be it. In fact, Skull Kaiser has little alternative. He tells Skull Kaiser not to underestimate technique, though. Artless displays of brute force are primitive at best. Art and technique make a lesser man more, a weaker man strong. Hope and passion put him closer to the divine. No matter what happens, though, Skull Kaiser will be punished brutally for all the sins of his long, bloody past. Success or failure are almost secondary since the horrible punishment is what will be featured here.

To Be Continued...

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