Cult of Ustream (Canon)/Season One
The first season of the Cult of Ustream canon refers to the collection of events that involve the titular Cult of Ustream, as they assemble as an organization and consolidate their collective goals. Spanning the four and a half months following the resolution of the events with Drake Kuro, this part of the canon spans a number of "arcs," or individual subplots, beginning with the appearance of Shadow Version 27, and concluding with the occupation of Cult of Ustream Headquarters by a deity known as Oikeus.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Summary
- 2.1 Diclonius
- 2.2 A Brief Respite
- 2.3 Runaway Heiress
- 2.4 Black Assassin
- 2.5 The Debt
- 2.6 Vacation to Azuma Island
- 2.7 Showdown with the Black Assassin
- 2.8 The Station of Seotara
- 2.9 The Seals of Ustream
- 2.10 False Reality
- 2.11 Death of a Knight
- 2.12 Freedom
- 2.13 Third Seal
- 2.14 Foul Play
- 2.15 The Corrupted Edge of Justice
- 3 Setting
- 4 Dramatis Personae
- 5 External Links
- 6 Trivia
Season One encompasses a period of approximately five months, following the defeat of the dracoimperist Drake Kuro at the climax of Season Zero. The Cult has an influx of new arrivals within the first few months, including the Diclonius Shadow Version 27, Espira Xirro, Stefani Roseasilmillään, Valerie Knight, and Darius. While they quickly familiarize and adapt to the Cult's lifestyle, new problems begin surfacing, such as Jason's unpaid debt to a Shinigami and the appearance of the Black Assassin, who mercilessly hunts for Alexander Knight and his blood relatives. Eventually, they learn about the existence of a mysterious antagonistic group known as the Sealbreakers, who locate and destroy a previously-unknown series of complex magical seals scattered across Ustream for unknown reasons. This matter is left unresolved, however, as the Cult is forced to defend themselves against the revival of a rogue deity, who threatens the integrity of the entire region during the final segment of the Season.
During a brief break spanning the two weeks immediately following the events of the canon's Prologue, achlymperist and Cult of Ustream's second-in-command Lord X-Giga-X begins to rebuild his laboratory following its destruction during the Cult's last encounter with Drake Kuro. The area surrounding the Cult of Ustream Headquarters is disturbed by a dimensional shockwave that results in the appearance of Shadow Version 27, a Diclonius, and Espira Xirro, a human. Of the two, only Shadow is living and appears to have sustained major injuries, while Espira is seemingly dead. The various members of the Cult take immediate action in treating Shadow's wounds and set out to attempt to revive Espira.
Before Shadow is able to confirm the safety of his travelling companion, Ziolang Hirasu, a Demon and a powerful veteran member of the Cult of Ustream, abruptly challenges him to direct combat, refusing him access to the Cult's Headquarters to see Espira. Seeing no other choice in the matter, and practically having been bullied into making the decision, Shadow reluctantly agrees to engage Ziolang in combat. However, the Diclonius' obvious lack of any formal training is exposed immediately by Ziolang's superior swordplay. Exhausted from combat and his previous injuries, Shadow is kidnapped with ease by Ziolang and taken to his shack at the edge of the Cult's territory.
From Cult Headquarters, Alexander "CrazE" Knight, a genetically-modified human from Terra, is able to spot Ziolang's kidnapping attempt, and independently gives chase to the shack. Appearing suddenly enough to catch the Demon off his guard, CrazE plays distraction to Ziolang while Shadow makes an escape back to the Cult's main building. Here he finally manages to see Espira, fully healed as a result of the efforts of the Cult's medical specialist, Pricilla "Starr" Starkey.
Espira shows a remarkable recovery and an expert prowess in combat, thwarting Ziolang's second attempt to take Shadow away; this time, with the intention of taking him to train him on his home planet of Deveron. The Demon stubbornly refuses to back down, but concedes that Shadow be allowed to stay in Ustream for one day; a deadline which would allegedly be extended on the condition that Shadow show significant strides of improvement combat-wise during that timeframe. The Cult pitches in as one unit to help Shadow to train his fighting prowess, and by his next battle with Ziolang, the boy shows enough improvement by the Demon's standards to remain with the Cult on Euthora.
A Brief Respite
After the incident with Ziolang, CrazE begins to display signs of possession. He infrequently appears to lose control of himself momentarily, exhibiting visual cues such as his eyes shifting color to red, a notably paler skin complexion, and most importantly displaying a separate persona. Upon seemingly regaining control of himself, he explains that he has been having migraines.
A clone of Jason mysteriously and inexplicably arrives at Cult Headquarters, and is quickly discovered by the real Jason as soon as he arrives. Shocked by the encounter, the clone inadvertently stumbles into the building's basement only to be frightened off by the appearance of a feral, seemingly deranged dragon. After he reveals himself as an unnamed clone created by another scientist residing in Ustream, he leaves without further incident.
Shadow, having come with Ziolang to witness the commotion caused by the Jason clone, inquires about the basement. He only gets cryptic answers, however, and is instead told to enter by Ziolang. There, he comes across the sickly green dragon encountered by the Jason clone, who predictably attacks Shadow almost immediately. However, much to the everyone's surprise, Shadow is remarkably able to coax a few moments of lucidity out of the dragon, whom he learns is named Fricai. The two bond over their similar life circumstances--Fricai, imprisoned due to his severe mental instability, and Shadow, having experienced similar treatment in his short life.
The following day, it is revealed by Lord X-Giga-X that the Shadow Drake Deathstorm and his mate Flameheart had an egg. Not wanting to deal with the prospect of watching over a hatchling while his laboratory is under construction, Lord X-Giga-X turns the egg over to Jason.
Shortly after, Jason and Shadow have a conflict with Starr regarding her dabbles in genetic experiments, as the two have a degree of sensitivity towards experimentation; Jason due to [...]. This minor spat increases the tensions between Jason and Starr, and it is also revealed after the argument that the Shapeshifter has an unpaid debt with an entity he claims is "Death".
Three days later, Jason visits Deathstorm at Lord X-Giga-X's lab under construction, voicing his concern regarding the Shadow Drake's treatment under the dracoimperist's control. The conversation on the topic is cut short as Deathstorm ends up returning to work, though Jason requests that Deathstorm contacts him if the dracoimperist pushes him too hard.
[details about Pink Death appearing/joining, other Cultists (Jack?) being made aware of Jason's debt could go here]
A mysterious woman known as "Gaga" is introduced at this point in time. Having appeared injured and covered in blood atop Cult Headquarters, she is extremely apprehensive of contact with the Cult at first, but after communication attempts in Suomi aided by Judas Numidius, she faints and is taken to the infirmary, where Starr and her assistant Shockwing treat her. The two appear to be reluctant to help, as Starr seems to have some prior knowledge of the woman.
Soon after, it becomes apparent that Gaga had been followed to Euthora. Jason and Ziolang are ambushed in the eastern forest by an archer who introduces himself as "Three". Ziolang is engaged more directly by another individual who introduces herself as "Four", as Jason, now aided by Mimring, continues to stave off Three's onslaught. Ultimately, Jason is defeated by Three in direct combat, but Espira appears shortly after to assassinate the assailant, before leaving to hunt the remaining invaders.
Ziolang's duel with Four escalates; impressed by her skills, the Demon offers a more direct form of competition wherein only swordsmanship would be allowed, becoming a spar. Four relates some doubts to Ziolang, but being wounded and fearful of failing her mission ultimately prompts her to flee the combat. Soon after, the combatants would meet again as Four rallied with her commander, Zero. Ziolang openly confronts Zero depicting Four’s doubts toward the mission, resulting with Zero turning on her subordinate; severing Four’s arm. Espira encounters Five and, after a brief encounter, mortally wounds him and leaves him to die.
Meanwhile, a Shapeshifter known as "Two" in association with the raid party is able to infiltrate the Cult Headquarters, where he makes his way to the infirmary. He is joined by two others; Four, and another individual known as "Zero". They assault Gaga and demand that she surrender the White Lightning Blade, a weapon she carried upon arriving in Ustream, as Zero claims to be its previous owner. At this point, it is revealed that Gaga is actually Stefani Roseasilmillään, who is the named heir to the throne on Syelsumoia. Zero engages Gaga in a sword fight, and the latter is surprisingly able to overpower and kill her opponent, but not before being severely wounded.
The raiding company is revealed to be the Sadistica Seins, an anti-establishment terrorist organization from Syelsumoia. They had followed and targeted Gaga, who becomes fearful of the prospect that her brothers will know that she is the named heir to the throne. As a result, Gaga refuses to return to her home planet, instead insisting on staying in Ustream in order to train herself and become stronger. She - along with the surviving members of the Seins, Four (Emma Isokoski) and Five (Valen Scarletburn) - join forces with the Cult. Valen and Emma are obligated to stay with Gaga, as she is also the new leader of the Seins, since Zero is revealed to have been Magda Roseasilmillään - Gaga's mother.
This brief period of relative tranquility was soon shattered with the arrival of the Black Assassin, an advanced android that was sent to kill CrazE and any blood relatives of his, including Valerie. Espira, Ziolang, and Vale engage the Black Assassin in combat after it attacks Valerie, CrazE, and Shadow after the latter boldly tried to interfere. After a long struggle, the trio is able to defeat the Assassin, and it appears to be destroyed irreparably. A brief period of rest follows, during which Espira seeks out Lord X-Giga-X to have him "analyze" a sample of fabric worn by the Black Assassin, along with its decapitated visor. Lord X-Giga-X obliges her request, and uses his achlympery in order to test for reactions. His experimentation appears to yield no meaningful results, other than the fabric seemingly "absorbing" a glove.
For a time, things quieted down; brief battles occur every so often, and CrazE and Starr manage to find the time to conceive their children. The revelation of the prospect of the two Cultists bearing children results in a fight between CrazE and Shockwing, Starr's laboratory assistant and close friend. During the fight, CrazE is injured and Shockwing is, upon Jason's direct order, begrudgingly forced to treat him. Shadow's friendship with Fricai grows stronger, which proves vital in the climax of this arc [why?]. The Black Assassin soon makes its return, however, and certain members [who?] of the Cult manage to fight it off once again, though not before learning it has acquired the use of a replicated form of Lord X-Giga-X's achlympery through his experimentation on the Assassin's visor. After being confront by both Espira and Jason on the matter, Lord X-Giga-X sets up the Adversity Network, allowing him to track the locations of all achlymperists in Ustream. He then provides Jason with a map with the same properties, allowing him to track them as well. Jason manages to glean a small amount of information [specify what] on the Black Assassin from CrazE, but not enough to be very helpful.
A few days pass without incident, but the being within CrazE's mind, identified as "Darkside," breaks free [why is this significant?]. While he is subdued with relative ease, the Cult finds itself with another problem; that of Jason's debt, apparently unresolved despite what had been previously claimed by the Pink Death. By holding the infant Zephyr hostage, Death manages to trick Jason into offering his soul again, causing the Shapeshifter to panic and resume his four-year flight from the inevitability of death. He is finally cornered after he and Mimring cross part of the Mithril Sea to the west, and as Mimring makes the journey back to Headquarters, [...]. Nearly dying when he gets there [why?], he is sustained by receiving the Demon-centric energy Kivorde from Ziolang while Jack Evans and Deathstorm travel to Hell in order to rescue Jason, with the help of the Pink Death. As Jack and Deathstorm distract Death, the pink one escorts Jason out of Hell, allowing him to rejoin his body and come back to life. Even when Death attempts to reap Jason's soul again, he finds that he cannot, and promptly vanishes. It is revealed that Pink Death traded in her immortality in exchange for Jason's soul, clearing his debt and effectively rendering her as a human, now going by the name of Destiny.
Vacation to Azuma Island
While Jason and Mimring were fleeing from Death's pursuit, CrazE, Starr, Shadow, Valerie, and Vale opt to travel to to Azuma Island, one of the Syelsumoia-colonized Euthorica Islands, to have a sort of vacation away from the stress [for how long?]. During this vacation, Shadow comically destroys a rollercoaster in a panicked frenzy, and Vale is the one imprisoned for it [why?]. The group also picked up Darius, a wielder of Prana with ties to the Knight family, along the way [why?], bringing him back with them to the Cult Headquarters just in time for the final showdown with the Black Assassin.
Showdown with the Black Assassin
The day after after Jason returns to the land of the living [informal], CrazE, Shadow, Starr, Valerie, and Vale, now accompanied by Darius, return from their vacation to Azuma Island. Almost immediately, the Black Assassin attacks again, in what proves to be its final battle. Darius, Jason, Mimring, Starr, and Lord X-Giga-X were all killed; Espira (although thought to have been killed), Grodisflare, crazE, and Fricai were seriously injured, and ultimately Shadow was the one who destroyed the Black Assassin permanently, by destroying the visor. In the end, Shockwing manages to heal everyone, having employed Starr's medical training to revive the dead.
The Station of Seotara
After finally defeating the Black Assassin, the Cult earns a well-deserved break. During this time [how long?], repairs are made to Headquarters and Kyton Haryn, a Shapeshifter who claims to be a defected member of the Durasken military, joins the Cult [why?]. This extremely brief period of down time vanishes when a new group, known as the Station of Seotara - a military group sent to keep an eye on Durasken's southern border - finds itself in the territory occupied by the Cult of Ustream. The small reconnaissance group involved consists of Slash, Ayana, Reika Aerixai, and Zaiek Kierrmi. Jason smells the group (particularly the other Shapeshifter, Slash), and instinct causes him to abandon his would-be confrontation with Lord X-Giga-X regarding a dragon, in favor of driving away the intruder to his territory. He is soundly defeated once Slash shifts into his Banether form. Jason retreats with the help of Mimring, and the group approaches Lord X-Giga-X's laboratory to raid it, once again leading to its destruction in the process.
Immediate action cannot be taken as Jason sustained major injuries in his fight with Slash. He was injected with a very potent, degenerative poison by Slash's Banether form. After he recovers, it is decided that the Cult will collectively keep an eye out for the Station, and rather than launch a reactionary retaliation against it, will wait and see if they reappear in the future. It is also during this time that they realize [who? / how?] that one off-worlder is among the group, as the Banether is a Phantasian monster.
The Seals of Ustream
The Cult of Ustream rapidly finds itself in the middle of an alarmingly large-scale plot. Apparently, within Ustream there exists five seals that restrain an unknown force. A lone woman, Azænia, is destroying these seals with unknown motivation. Her first target is contained in a shipwreck a short distance south of Shadow Drake Cassiel's cavern. A short and one-sided battle ends with Cassiel injured and the Cult retreating to assess the situation, and Cassiel and Deathstorm reveal to the Cultists present that each of the three Shadow Drakes independently guarded three of Ustream's seals. Neither of them know what the seals are restraining, but it is agreed, or at least mutually understood, that nobody is particularly keen on finding out what it is by releasing it.
The Cult resolves to find the seals before Azænia does and assure their safety, but Stormshaper finds the Station of Seotara base before they set out. Interested in the possibility of gathering intelligence on the rival group, Jason has Lord X-Giga-X lead an investigation team to the building occupied by the Station before he, Mimring, Deathstorm, Dark, Shadow, and Gaga depart for the southern seal in Deathstorm's old [why?] territory. There they find it: a tower with smaller towers floating around it, which is thankfully completely unharmed. Before they can do so much as comment on the fact, a gigantic Stormcloud Firedrake confronts them: Skyking Súndávr, the Familiar of Koth Grimseeker, a man who had tried to take over Euthora 700 years prior by controlling all of its dragons, before Skyking Shyr defeated and sealed him away. In attempting to reason with Súndávr, they both [who?] assure the seal's safety and learn that the Stormcloud is still in contact with his master. After a violent farewell [what? / why?] from the dragon, the group heads north to assist Lord X-Giga-X and his investigation team.
This group, originally consisting of Lord X-Giga-X, Grodisflare, Erahvs, Jack, Kyton, and Stormshaper, in response to being noticed before actually reaching the building, begins to attack the Station, presumably in retaliation for the Station's own raid on Cult Headquarters. Shortly, the group who had investigated the seal, as well as Jude, arrive to support the raid. Shortly, Jason, Kyton, and Lord X-Giga-X find themselves entering the basement sector of the building, where they find Slash and his fellow Phantasian member in the Station, a summoner-arcanist named Mya Vertgrand. A fight ensues, during which Kyton flees the scene. The battle between the Cult's first- and second-in-command- soon joined by Mimring- and the Phantasian duo does not end in the favor of the former group, with the room becoming filled with dangerous energy. When they begin to consider their options, Deathstorm urgently makes them aware of the destruction of the second seal, resulting in a very obvious pillar of light and magic in the sky to the west of the Station's building. As a result, retreating becomes their only option. The Phantasian duo attempt to thwart their efforts, but Lord X-Giga-X successfully blasts a large hole in the ceiling. Mya then stands down, suggesting Slash to do the same, allowing the trio to escape.
During this time, Grodisflare and Erahvs are captured by the group's leader, Bophez Igneite, and Kyton is captured when he tries to escape later, after gathering information. The Station later interrogates Kyton, learning of the existence of the seals from him. Bophez learns more about the seals and Sundavr's presence in Ustream from Grodisflare. Some point after, the three prisoners are rescued by Espira Xirro, Lord X-Giga-X, and Xibu Uif G.
After another brief respite, the Cult breaks up a fight [where are they now?] between Ganso Turris, a Euthoran Shapeshifter from Durasken whom Jason knows as his adoptive brother, and Careodry, a melanistic Voidwalker with obscure morals [is this relevant?]. As Ganso recovers from the battle, Careodry approaches the Cult and challenges them to a game, despite the arrival of a Soul Harvester, a member of The Edge hierarchy who maintain the consistency of reality, on the scene. The Soul Harvester attempts to persuade Careodry to leave the Cult alone. The Cult initially refuses Careodry's offer, but in spite of being rebuffed, Careodry insists and forces them to place his game anyway. The Voidwalker drags Jason, Mimring, Shadow, Lord X-Giga-X, Starr, and Shockwing into his void. They are told to "view a simulated world and make changes based on what they see," [replace with direct quotation]. This does not go over well; even Careodry grows bored with the experiment. In the end, the dragon challenges them with something he finds to be "more interesting." Careodry will create a branch of reality separate from their own timeline, revealing that the Voidwalker has the power to manipulate history. He intends to place them in a very real scenario that is similar to their reality, but different [why?]. [insert goals of Careodry's game here]. Only one of the involved members will be aware of the fact that they are in the game; the rest will have their memories altered to reflect the new circumstances. Reality can be changed by the individual chosen, under the supervision of Careodry himself, who will communicate by way of his Voidcore, a gemstone that is naturally produced by Voidwalkers [specify significance?]. It is at this point that Dark is also pulled into the game, having [...].
It is decided that Shadow will be the one entrusted with the Voidcore, and thus [...]. He finds himself in Tarik, the capital city of Durasken, where he eventually encounters nearly all of the members of the Cult who were engaged in the game, along with a few who were not [why? / who?]. He finds Jason under the restraint of Tarik's local guards, violent and nearly feral; Lord X-Giga-X wanders the city under a cloak, searching for books on dracoimpery with the help of a man named Nit Toi; Dark follows Jack and Jude on the latter's journey for musical inspiration [what?]; and Shockwing and his sister Scena rescue Starr from a prison [why?] elsewhere in the city. The only one absent is Mimring, who would not logically be anywhere near the city [why?]. Shadow is even more pressured [why?] to find the dragon and bring the Cultists together when the reality almost seems to break, stopping time and showing an ominous, borderline macabre landscape, and both Careodry and the Soul Harvester urge Shadow to hurry. Eventually Shadow finds Mimring, together with his brothers Starlight and Icelake Thunderscale, off the coast of the island Tarik is situated on, and after reaching the island once again, the Cult is forcibly removed from the manufactured reality, and the game ends.
The involved Cultists find themselves back inside of Careodry's void, with all memories from both timelines intact. However, they also find themselves surrounded by Soul Harvesters, one of them Crux [who?], who informs them that there is a problem with the branched timeline [what problem?]. The branch created by Careodry will effectively be wiped from reality, and the Cultists involved will have their memories of it erased. Surprisingly, all of them agree to the memory erasure, not wishing to retain some of the harder memories anyway. One by one, the memories are removed from each of the Cultists. However, when Shadow is the last to have his memories erased, Crux stops the Soul Harvesters. Careodry explains that as Shadow was placed into the artificial timeline without any changing any of the context of his existence or his memories, he only remembers what he had experienced. With no conflicting memories of his existence between the two timelines, he is allowed to have his mind remain unchanged, much like how Careodry is able to continually retain his memories despite travelling between timelines. Shadow is then sent back to Ustream with the rest of the Cult, still in possession of Careodry's Voidcore.
Death of a Knight
With most of the Cult's memories of the second half of Careodry's game erased, it initially appears as though there has been very little incident in the past several days. This illusion is dispelled when Darius and Valerie reappear in Ustream without warning after having been missing since shortly after Kyton's arrival [why?]. A brief episode of post-traumatic stress coupled with a misunderstanding results in Darius trying to fight off a very confused Cult before the matter [what?] is resolved fairly quickly. Both Valerie and Darius are taken to the infirmary to recover. Valerie wakes up, has a similar but less intense reaction than Darius, and reveals that they were taken to a place called the Dark Zone and that CrazE stayed behind, nobly having sacrificed himself to save their lives.
At this point, Lord X-Giga-X begins laughing, much to everyone's shock and annoyance [expand or remove]. When Shadow pins Lord X-Giga-X to the infirmary wall with a vector, Jason attempts to break up the growing fight, later telling Shadow that while he does not condone Lord X-Giga-X's response, Shadow needs to take Valerie's feelings [of?] on the matter into consideration as well [why?].
Darkside suddenly appears at this point, demanding to see Darius and Valerie in order to ensure they are unharmed. After some deliberation, Jason grants Darkside's request, before leaving to catch up with Lord X-Giga-X to talk to him about Deathstorm's potential freedom. After this topic goes nowhere, Lord X-Giga-X informs Jason of the death of David Shaver, a young Shapeshifter he had taken into his care after the Cult formed, who had died defending Charos's seal.
A funeral service is held for CrazE, which is attended by [...]. Jason opts not to reveal the fact that David is also dead, not wanting to pile on top [informal] of the grief.
Jason, having acquired some semblance of achlympery from his Darkwing Firedrake form, seeks the tutelage of Lord X-Giga-X in order to hone his ability with the skill. A training session in achlympery with both Deathstorm and Lord X-Giga-X himself reveals that Jason's manipulation of darkness is based purely on emotion, and is therefore completely untrainable. At this point, Lord X-Giga-X is contacted by one of his dragons that his new experiment, Hexidos Urso, is awakening, and abruptly leaves. Jason is left alone with Deathstorm, and questions the Shadow Drake why Lord X-Giga-X left in such a rush. The dragon tells him the reason, despite an order not to, and Jason brashly rushes to Lord X-Giga-X's lab to interrupt and potentially kill the experiment. This proves to not work in his favor as he arrives while Organization G-X is attempting to deal with the berserk creation. Almost as soon as the Shapeshifter enters the scene, Hexidos notices him and begins to target him, giving Erahvs an opportunity to calm the raging experiment. While the experiment is seen as a success for Organization G-X, a short, high-tension conversation with his second-in-command leads an irritated Jason to alleviate Deathstorm of his mental connection to Lord X-Giga-X. The Shapeshifter rebinds Deathstorm as a Familiar the next day, using his dracoimpery and prior emotional connection to the Shadow Drake.
Lord X-Giga-X is furious with Jason's meddling, enough to a point where his anger triggers his transformation. He eventually calms down thanks to Grodisflare. To the Shapeshifter's disappointment, he does not actually go to confront him, as he seems to have another idea in mind.
But this incident quickly becomes the least of the Cult's problems.
At about the same time Jason frees Deathstorm from Lord X-Giga-X's control, Quasma Eleko, a disciple of the guardian of the seal located at the castle formerly occupied by Drake Kuro is defeated by Azænia, this time with the aid of the enigmatic parasitic Ymohmi. Ymohmi restrains Quasma while Azænia goes into the castle and destroys the seal inside. The destruction of the third seal alerts not only the Cult, but the Station of Seotara. Now joined by a duo of Seotaran spies, Hobekitsu Gecar and Kenchoi Sepain, the Station are the first to the respond due to their proximity. They then confront Azænia and Ymohmi, whom are eventually joined by Faryn Zyhrai [who?]. The Sealbreakers are forced to retreat when the Cult arrives with reinforcements to help the Station. A meeting between the Cult and the Station is held after everyone has had the chance to recover, and a coalition is formed: both factions will work together to protect the seals. At this point Hobekitsu Gecar notices Shadow's Voidcore; the gemstone is perfect for this situation, as Jason or Lord X-Giga-X can station a dragon at the fourth seal, and the dragon can contact its master if the seal is attacked, allowing a fast response and arrival via the Voidcore.
The Cult arrives at the fourth seal before the Station does and is immediately met with a very hostile, dark green female Shadow Drake, to everyone's surprise [why?]. The Shadow Drake, named Vergari, believes the Cult to be in association with the Sealbreakers, and it takes a fair amount of diplomacy and persuasion to convince her to not attack them. Surprisingly, she claims to know nothing of the seals; she is merely defending her territory, which coincidentally overlaps with one of the seals. She also discloses that her friend was injured badly in battle against the Sealbreakers. When the Cult goes to check the dragon's friend and treat him, they are astounded to find that the dragon in question is none other than Volant, one of Drake Kuro's dragons and a former adversary of the Cult. The Station arrives soon after, and Mya sets up a magical circle [function?] around the seal [why?].
Shadow ends up asking Careodry for a new Voidcore, as an insurance that he will not lose the only connection to Careodry that he has. In return, he is given a brilliant red version of the jewel. At the same time, Lord X-Giga-X strikes a deal with Starlight Thunderscale, offering him food and strength in exchange for the dragon submitting to Lord X-Giga-X's control via dracoimpery. The dragon accepts out of desperation, having been mostly unsuccessful in his attempts to hunt in the territory that he inhabits. Adopted by Lord X-Giga-X's dracoimpery, Starlight becomes a member of Organization G-X.
Later that night, Lord X-Giga-X kills Stormshaper as a delayed act of vengeance due to Jason's freeing of Deathstorm. He also kidnaps Zephyr as leverage against Jason, using the young Shadow Drake as blackmail so that the Shapeshifter will find another dragon for him. Jason is furious and attempts to confront Lord X-Giga-X, but Giag attacks him in an attempt to buy his original and Grodisflare time to escape. When Jason attempts to kill Giag, Erahvs pushes him out of the Shapeshifter's path, resulting in a short conflict that results in his own death. Jason then leaves Giag and Smeremus- the latter briefly coming outside to pick up Erahvs' corpse- to chase after Lord X-Giga-X, eventually calming down a bit as he finally confronts him. Lord X-Giga-X is formally demoted from second-in-command of the Cult of Ustream at this point. An attempt to rescue Zephyr from the lab while stalling Grodisflare and Lord X-Giga-X goes awry, prompting Xibu to teleport away with Starlight and Zephyr. Jason orders the destruction of the lab. When Lord X-Giga-X eventually returns to salvage some of his possessions and research before it is too late, he instead has a short confrontation with Shadow. It is now that Shadow realizes the full extent of the man's Lawful Evil [what?] personality [why?]. The Diclonius resolves that when he is strong enough, he will stop him [from?]. Lord X-Giga-X finds this prospect to be amusing, but does nothing more than teleport away.
Darius, Kayera, Jude, Espira, and Vale chase Lord X-Giga-X down, and there is a short confrontation. Darius and Kayera break away from this conflict in order to pursue Xibu, who still has Zephyr. Deathstorm also arrives at the main battle, trying to tell Jude to have Darius and Kayera stand down, but Lord X-Giga-X unexpectedly tells Xibu to hand Zephyr over. The reason for this change of heart is that Zephyr's achlympery has already sealed away with Lord X-Giga-X's Tragedy Lock, seemingly as another attempt to use the young hatchling as a barter. Zephyr is taken back to Headquarters.
Lord X-Giga-X later has a conversation with Starlight, having already taken notice of the dragon's toximpery. It is during the conversation that Lord X-Giga-X is informed of Mimring's injured left shoulder, seemingly giving him yet another idea.
The Corrupted Edge of Justice
As the Cult begins to relax once again, a planned trip to the nearby shrine to Vol en-ait Rae goes awry as Oikeus, a Syelsumoii deity [of what?] previously sealed within Vale, kills Cuwind [who? / when introduced?] and is released. Only Jude is able to fully grasp the magnitude of this situation; the others do not know what to do other than retreat. Mimring stays behind and foolishly attempts to fight Oikeus alone, taking in electricity and involuntarily discharging it just as often as he weaponizes it. Headquarters is unsafe as Oikeus sits on it [why?]. Jude makes sure everyone gets out safely while the rest of the Cult assembles at the wreckage of Lord X-Giga-X's lab. They decide that the only viable place to regroup for now is the Station of Seotara base.
They head in [direction], arrive at the Station's building, and quickly explain the current situation. Almost automatically, the Station grants asylum to the Cult, allowing them to stay in the basement of the building. As Mimring is still discharging electricity, he is forced to stay outside. Jason also stays outside near him for comfort. The area is blanketed in unnaturally thick darkness and a heavy storm; neither of them see Lord X-Giga-X direct a large concentration of attacks [of what kind?] at Mimring's shoulder, crippling his ability to fly and magically infecting the wound. Now threatening Mimring's life, he forces Jason to lead him to Durasken in search of a new dragon. Their search leads them to an encounter with the Illusionary Wyvern, Izexn. Jason abandons Lord X-Giga-X, leaving him in a short confrontation with the dragon, ultimately leading to him brining Izexn into Organization G-X. Both of their attentions are turned when they the voice of someone from the Kurasa Forest below, seemingly affected by Izexn's mist sprayed during their fight. An investigation of this results in them finding Nit Toi. Taking an interest in the young boy, Lord X-Giga-X allows Nit to come with him as he then returns to Ustream.
The unnatural darkness forces the temperature to drop, and the storm morphs into a blizzard. Everyone is ordered to stay inside, until strange nightmares shake the building and a small group ventures outside to fight and kill a creature they believe is causing it. The creature, an Oriphyrin, is slain with relative ease, and the group returns to base rather than going out to kill more, as it is not necessary to seek out and engage more Oriphyrins and would instead be a waste of energy in exchange for no significant gain.
The next morning, Vale resolves to "right the wrongs" that Oikeus forced him to carry out. Before this proclamation of reformation can be acted on, the god in question causes an earthquake and sends a telepathic challenge to both the Cult and Station. Soon after, an arc of light penetrates the skies of Ustream [why? / significance?]. These two events combined prompt another meeting between the two groups to discuss these events and possible courses of action. It is then that they learn that the arc of light is the result of Oikeus attempting to use the Manacle [what?] in Seotara to return to Syelsumoia. They decide that the best chance they have is to distract Oikeus to prevent further use of the Manacle.
However, as the meeting commences, Kayera and Valerie slip away from the coalition to attempt to retrieve the former's pod [why?]. Shadow follows after the two of them in an attempt to stop them, but ultimately fails and ends up joining them on their venture.
Soon, the two groups decide upon dividing into two groups heading on their mission: one group [who?] to distract Oikeus, and another [who?] to infiltrate the Cult's Headquarters. However, an argument sparks between Gaga, Espira, and Vale in response to Gaga volunteering herself for the distraction team, causing her to leave the room in frustration [over what?]. After this, the absence of Kayera, Valerie, and Shadow is eventually noticed [by whom?]. Under the assumption that the three of them had headed out to attempt something that could jeopardize their mission, they immediately depart with urgency.
After the meeting adjourns, the coalition between the Cult and the Station is split into its three primary groups [redundant?]: the one formed between Shadow, Valerie, and Kayera; the one tunneling to Cult Headquarters to gain a surprise angle and tactical advantage against Oikeus; and a more directly confrontational group that would serve to distract Oikeus until help can arrive. The formermost reaches Headquarters via Kayera's portal, under cover of a barrier [of what?] from the harsh wind, only having to deal with the persisting bitter cold. They head in the direction of Headquarters after some hesitation, and ultimately turn out to have not been too far off-target. The group quickly finds that the wrecked building is encased in red ice. The group finds Kayera's pod undamaged among this ice, and cautiously, Shadow extends a vector to touch it.