8:00 PM, Off the west coast of Ireland
With the crushing of the order of the Talon and the ruination of most of the world's powers, the Black hand had emerged from the rubble as the premier military and economic force in the world. Millions of the disaffected had rushed to join their banner of black and red, wholeheartedly embracing their mad cause of omnicide. On a vast fleet of ships, a black hand force was sailing from north africa to launch a surprise attack on the Talon stronghold of Ireland. The armada of black and red vessels sailed quietly across the waves, cutting through them with ease as wings of sleek aircraft roared overhead in a practiced military drill that was to be a reenactment of the Black Hand's infamous invasion of Chicago on a far larger scale.
Vertigo bombers slipped past the sound barrier invisibly, their cloaking fields rendering them invisible to ireland's air defense network as they flew over the nation's military airbases. Then with a brief moment to drop the cloak and release their bombs, they sped off into the night before shimmering and becoming invisible again before the airbases were carpeted with explosives that rippled outwards in a series of blooming fireballs that roared angrily into the night, consuming the aircraft of the irish airforce in a mighty inferno and crippling it all across the country in a single, impeccably timed and practiced strike.
After a short run back to waiting aircraft carriers, the Vertigos came flying back, this time accompanied by Venoms, Carryalls, Armageddon bombers, and the fearsome Black Hand Saucers. The carryalls set down wave after wave of black hand soldiers onto the ground while others brought forth vehicles down from their bellies, magnetic grappling claws releasing them before the sleek craft rotated their turbofans and flew back to base across the atlantic ocean.
Before the irish military was aware of what was happening, Shadow teams who had infiltrated their bases had already set catastrophic amounts of explosives within their most critical command outposts, using their portable stealth generators and lethal dual supercharged particle beam SMGs to cut their way into the facilities before exiting them with their hang gliders, leaving behind the structures as they ruptured open like a can being popped open with a sledgehammer.
Airbourne regiments quickly swept aside the paralyzed and confused Irish army after the vertigos had come around and obliterated the small Irish navy, scything them down with calm, practiced discipline and efficiency coupled with zealotry and fantacism. Very few Black Hand soldiers fell to enemy fire within that bloody hour, as even the acolyte's body armour was virtually impervious to assault rifle rounds, while their own basic guns could cut through any protection the Irish army could place on it's soldiers.
But all of this was but a practice round for the real engagement, there were two hundred thousand soldiers of the order of the talon in this country, and about two thousand of their superhuman beatified knights in their elaborate clockwork power armour. Ireland had long been a stronghold for the Catholic order of the talon, and it remained so; even after the order fractured following Dathron's invasion of the earth. Compared to this formadible detatchment, the Irish military and the British forces in North ireland were as nothing.
That was where the three million soldiers arriving on the ships came in. Giving an all clear signal, the landing forces quickly belched forth legions of cultists onto the soil of ireland's beaches, the black armoured soldiers quickly moving out on armoured personnel carriers while tanks and walkers rolled out onto the grassy hills and plains of the country. Wings of Venoms and Vertigos quickly flew into the territory held by the order of the Talon in the country, engaging in fierce duels with the steampunk biplanes and da vinci tiltscrews over the skies of the country.
While the Talon's forces were individually superior, the Black Hand had the advantage of a twenty to one numerical advantage. Eventually, the last Talon aircraft was brought down out of the skies, and the wings of bombers flew in through the night, dropping loads of ordinance onto the Talon's positions while artillery weapons set up and pummeled their positions. Lancing red particle beams the colour of blood and thunderous artillery shells cut through the night, followed by deafening explosions and the screams of the injured and the dying.
The battle was fierce and desperate, but the arrival of a trio of the colossal four legged Redeemer walkers sealed it. The enormous metallic titans huge weapons lanced through the night, bringing death and destruction to all that came in their sight, rampaging through the Talon's lines like antedeluvian gods still stalking the earth long after the rest of their kin had passed on into myth and legend. Each step of their tremendous clawed feet shook the earth, while their shielding flashed crimson as they were struck, and their own weapons struck out like the fists of angry deities.
Finally, powerful cabals of liches were being dispatched, finishing the fight with deadly barrages of spells and dark magic, the ancient, undead and skeletal sorcerers bringing ruin to all before them as they made way for the true guest of honour in the invasion force. From one of the ships stepped forth an ebony skinned, leathery winged form with clawed hands and bird like feet that ended in wicked talons, while twin; lithe tails emerged from it's back. It's featureless face was hidden by a veil of tentacles, while two horns sprouted from it's forehead.
Garbed in black plated mail made out of bone, the Dark Pontiff of the Black Hand looked around as he took his first steps onto the irish soil, his taloned feet sinking into the wet sand with a bit of a squelch. "Ahh...the land of the forgotten Gods." He mused with a dark, raspy voice as he clutched a trident in his right hand, stepping forward as the rest of the black hand backed off deferentially to him, giving him respect and reverence akin to that of a God.
"I trust we will be fear of interlopers?" Nexatos asked calmly to one of his generals, a mutated cyborg whose few remaining organic parts were sprouting green, glowing crystals, a sign of his heavy dark glass mutation. "Yes my lord...we have swept away the native militaries and the order of the Talon...additionally, Shadow team scouts report that Rhiannon is where your auguries have suspected." The general responded in a somewhat metallic voice that sounded as if someone was shaking glass shards together in a jar.
"Excellent." Nexatos said as he straightened himself to his considerable full height of twelve feet before teleporting himself to the location with a tap of his trident. Now that the wards placed on Ireland by the Talon had been dispelled by the Liches, he could freely teleport too and fro on the island. He brought himself into a forest, where a cabal of mighty liches and mummies were awaiting him, bowing deferentially to their master.
"We await your command, Dark Pontiff." The lead mummy, clad in the garb of the pharaohs as well as bandages said as he stood up out of his kneel. "Very good Nehekarekh...do we have visual?" Nexatos asked chillingly, his coolness seemingly at odds with his famously fiery rhetoric. "+Yes my lord, two hundred meters due east of your position, be advised; target has a seelie court.+" Came in a voice crackling over a radio, to which Nexatos nodded as he stalked forward, his odd digitrade gait taking him right through the brush at surprising speed before he caught sight of his target.
A lovely woman bathing in a river could be spotted, her bare skin near white and almost glowing like the moon, standing in stark contrast to her black as night hair, which rippled down to the base of her spine while faeries danced around her, seemingly oblivious to the fact that evil and malevolent powers had taken over her homeland. She was Rhiannon, a celtic Goddess of the Winds and Moon, one of the few such Gods of that pantheon who had broken their long isolation in occasional dalliances with mortals, and it was easy to see why she would produce more than a few heirs, she was jaw droppingly beautiful, not a mark marred her skin, her face was perfectly symmetrical, her hour glass figure curved in all the right places and her long, luscious legs were nearly irresistible.
But to a heart as cold and dead as Nexatos and his undead servants, she was just another target, and all the more vulnerable for being outside of her armour. With the crackle and moan of tortured spirits a inferno of black flames leapt forth from Nexatos' hands as he broke forth from the trees, followed forth by the Cabal that had followed him, who opened up with their own spells that cascaded through the landscape, sending arcane death crashing through the once peaceful and idyllic area. The faeries guarding her quickly did their best to move to defend the wind goddess, but they paid for their audacity with their lives, and each in turn was cut down by the frenzy of spells.
Rhiannon, in shock tried to run after knocking one of the liches into the air with a hypersonic torrent of wind and speared one of the wraiths with a river of burning moonlight that incinerated the light hating incorporeal undead who vanished with a scream. As she ran she brought in another gust of wind that flensed the flesh off of a vampire mage, bringing the creature down gurgling in his own blood before she grabbed and twisted the head off of a mummy lord, sending the dessicated thing rolling onto the ground.
She almost got away, but Nexatos spoke a few serpentine words of vile power and black chains gripped at her limbs, forming from the shadows and becoming stuff of solidness as they dragged the goddess to the ground and began to writhe across her, holding her down. "Ah...Rhiannon....It has been too long since I have drank from the power of a god." Nexatos said hoarsely in an near whisper as one of his tails brushed it's tip against up from her navel to her chin before a harsh laugh came forth from his nonthroat.
"You will do nicely..." He said with dark relish as his hands began to glow with evil power. A dark, chilling wail rippled through the air as he began dark incantations that drew upon the inscrutable power of the icon, shadowy tendrils reaching into her and then flowing outwards, partially into Nexatos, partially to sources beyond the imaginings of any mortal. The tendrils snaked around, turning virtually invisible as they stretched out, latching onto the other deities of the Celtic Pantheon, reaching into them and beginning to drink slowly but surely from their essences.
With this unnatural ritual, a evil ripple went out through the supernatural world, almost at once, mythological beings around the world began to stumble forward as searing pain burned through them, a overwhelming desire to find something to lash out at started to fill them, and they began to emerge from their typical haunts to satisfy that destructive urge to do harm. The essence of magic was disrupted like the surface of water would be by a wave, while for many forms it would be nearly imperceptible, for the likes of the druids, they would find themselves wracked by often erratic and wild magic. Lastly, a great sense of unease flowed through the minds of the deities of the earth, a great sense of something unnatural stemming from the celtic lands.
But the Black Hand knew that the Celtic Gods were an isolationist and exceptionally bitter lot, having tremendous loathing for the Asgardians and Olympians, as their servants had brutalised one another for the entirety of antiquity, with constant wars between Germanic and Celtic tribes and invasion and counter invasion of helenic then later Roman territory and those of the Celts. They resented the persecution and slaughter of their chosen priests, the druids by the Romans for engaging in the human sacrifices they asked of their followers, and had nothing but spite for the Olympians the Romans worshipped as a result. And with such bad blood, it would be all too easy to assume that this was the Celt's doing as some part of a plot to gain revenge after all these years.
But Rhiannon, even in her ungarbed and helpless state, still released a silent cry for help, one that would only be heard by those she had mothered, she hoped that somewhere, at least one of her offspring would hear the cry and come to not only her aid, but the aid of potentially the entire universe, as she saw into the dark and horrific mind of that which Nexatos served, that horrific thing known as the universe that hungers, the dread Icon.