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It has been a bit less than a week since the ambush on the investigator and his escort. Soran has completed the preparations for you all to leave, which will be first thing tomorrow. For now, however, you have retired to your rooms, to either meditate, sleep, or what have you. The stars twinkle in the skies above, as midnight sets in.
Five_Pillars sighs, as he finishes bundling a package, tying it off and leaving a small, expertly composed and calligraphied note on the bundle, which is large and bulky.
Five_Pillars doublechecks his preparations, and then mediates, hoping for solace.
Number Ten Camel sleeps the sound sleep of exhaustion.
Diamond is alive in two places at once, his mind travelling the path before his body even sets foot beyond his door. His meditations take him past the fertile plains and into the harsh mountains, then beyond them into the cruel and unforgiving desert. His body and possessions have been prepared for this journey, now only his spirit readies itself before their departure.
Scarab seems to be taking her sweet time turning in for the night, sitting by a window and looking at the stars a moment. She is clad only in a simple cotton cloth tunic, while on a table lit by candlelight rests her orichalcum breastplate and some of her shurikens, in the midst of being sharpened and checked.
Number Ten Camel clutches a little amulet of iron in his sleep.
Scarab is probably surprised when she sees Soran spring up in the air, flying right past her window with his sword drawn. His anima is in full force around him, resembling a golden bonfire. A moment later, a howl breaks the silence of the night, as Scarab sees a dimutive figure with the dark anima of some sort of dog beast follow Soran up.
Scarab blinks once at the surge of power zipping past. "What the... Soran?!"
Number Ten Camel rolls out of bed, grabbing his sword, throwing his cloak about his shoulders, looking about furtively.
Five_Pillars opens his eyes. He steps into the hallway, his claws frosting over with fractal traceries, as he strengthens his skin with the durability of a towering oak.
Diamond's eyes snap open, and he is out of the door in a flash, his swords slashing it open into four now-airborne pieces as he draws them from the floor nearby. Anyone waiting right outside it is in for a rude surprise.
Five_Pillars is just down the hall. He says "We should gather the others and go. Soran can handle himself."
Scarab grits her teeth and wastes no time slipping back into her equipment. Good thing it was laying out at the ready! With a forceful push, she throws the window open and slips outside onto the sheer wall of the Half Past Inn, Essence-laden gloves gripping it like glue.
Five and Diamond see Ciel emerge from her room, surprisingly already dressed with a pack hanging from her shoulder as she glances around warily.
Five_Pillars says "Ciel. Make sure you're ready for anything. We're going to go, and meet up with Soran when we get to Gem."
Scarab furtively searches the environs for any sign of the conflict from her unique vantage point, ready to fling death upon any intruders...
Scarab gets to see Soran begin to slow in his ascent, while the other form continues on up. There is a flicker around him and his anima, then another, then a series of flickers. Two miniscule red lights can be seen, before suddenly laughter pervades all your ears.
Number Ten Camel starts to struggle into his armour. It's light and easy, but still, many straps.
Then the thing appears right in front of Soran, to his surprise, and plows its fist into him with everything it's got. The two descend at near break neck speaks, crashing against the roof of the inn, through the hallway Ciel, Five, and Diamond are in, and down below as more screams from outside can be heard, along with a feral snarling and Soran's cursing.
Scarab also might spot multiple forms crawling along the streets of The Lap, and more screaming and the sound of battle.
Diamond hears Five's warning, and sees Ciel with pack on her back. He decides that supplies might be a nice thing to have. With a stomp, he kicks down on the floorboard, causing it to curl back, bending in a wave that travels down the floor to right underneath the pack, where the wood suddenly explodes. His pack soars through the air in a supernaturally accurate trajectory, and Diamond turns to catch it onto his shoulders weaving his arms into its straps with a turn. He surveys the hallway as he does so, of course.
Scarab cranes her neck to catch the battle, and then hangs on for dear life as the whole building shakes and groans under the impact. "By the flames..."
Ciel lets out a shriek at the sight of Soran and the thing plowing through both ceiling and floor, and begins to make for the stairs in a hurry.
Five_Pillars says "CAMEL! ARMOR, GEAR. MOVE!"
<Number Ten Camel> NO SHIT!
Number Ten Camel sounds shrill tonight.
Scarab clambers back into her room and throws open the door to the hallways, though it more falls to the floor at her touch.
Five_Pillars rolls into his room, coming up in the practiced posture of the water dragon form as he scoops up his gear and the bundle. "Down to the tunnels."
<Scarab> Everyone, look alive! We've got company...! The streets are crawling with goons, too!
More shouting from below can be heard, before another flare of golden light as the entire building shakes again. Shouting from below can be heard, as well. Ciel nods and quickly descends the stairs.
Five_Pillars nods. "Best we avoid them, then. And ... get /back/ here, damnit, Ciel!"
Number Ten Camel kicks open his door, saddlebags over his shoulder, weapons hanging off straps.
Diamond points with his sword, after her. "Five, lead the way! Ciel, you're after him! Scarab, with me! Camel, guard Ciel's back!" With that, he jumps down the hole after Soran.
Number Ten Camel grunts. "Gotta grab my mount, too."
Five_Pillars says "Ciel. Wait up, damnit."
She is already down the stairs.
Number Ten Camel hustles down the stairs to the main floor, trying to work out a sane way to get his fated companion into the tunnels.
Five_Pillars says "Well then." He tosses the bundle down into the hole, a several hundred pounds of jade aerifacts and armor, as he moves down the stairs with Camel and Scarab, tyring to catch up to Ciel.
Diamond meanwhile lands to see what appears to be a child wrapped in black cloths let loose another punch to Soran's chest, sending him flying through the wall and out of the building and into another before springing away towards the normal entrance to the inn.
Scarab tilts her head to look at the stairwell, and then makes a break for it it. If this is concerning Ciel, she's not about to let her out of sight....
Five_Pillars tries to keep an eye on Ciel. Where the hell does she think she's going?
Diamond twitches a little, his eyes tracing Soran's flight before snapping to attention towards the... 'child' before him. He assumes the Mantis Form, blades held in the defensive position of foreclaws. "Why, hello, I don't think we've been introduced." He doesn't smile.
Those heading downstairs get to see the same figure come to a stop as someone else walks through the doorway, blade in one hand and a shield in the other, all made of black steel. The same can be said of the armor covering her. She grins as Ciel lets out a shriek at the sight of her, silver hair flowing in the wind as her obsidian eyes watch her. "Hello, dear sister."
The robes of the child shift a bit before his face becomes visible... ugh. It is twisted and deformed, with parts of it hanging off of it as he lets out a feral growl at Diamond.
Scarab comes to a dead stop, face going white and a curse forming in her mouth. as she instinctively reaches for her weapons belt. "Tanoi?? Oh hell."
Ciel watches 'Tanoi' for a few moments before she lets out a scream of desperation. Light engulfs her entire body as she lets her true nature flow forth, the caste mark appearing on her forehead. Her silver hair whips around her face as suddenly a swan bursts forth around her, spreading its wings as her rapier finds itself in her hands. Tanoi grins as she brings her own soulsteel blade up. "Come on then, sister."
Ciel lets loose another howl of desperation as Tanoi gesture to the child to move aside, which he does. Ciel springs forward as essence flows around her blade and herself, upon Tanoi in an instant before she aims a thrust right for her head with another scream. For a moment, it seems like the blade will strike. Then the woman grins as black flames engulf her.
The next moment, she bursts into what must be hundreds and thousands of shadows, swirling around the room with abandon as her laughter echos. Ciel staggers as her thrust finds no resistance, coming to a stop as she brings the blade up in a defensive stance, the swan flowing around her closing its wings in front of it as well. Tanoi's voice can be heard, full of laughter and malice.
"Sister, sister. You've been running from fate for- so long. You said you enjoyed this little chase across Creation, from Thorns to here. Now it is time for this to end, for you to return. He awaits his Beloved, my sister. And he will wait no LONGER." In that instant, the shadows converge on Ciel, ripping apart her anima as it lets out a scream. Then Ciel's voice can be heard, before suddenly being cut off. Tanoi flickers into sight as Ciel is sent flying, her chest opened with a massive gash. She suddenly goes still as her anima sputters, a gash ripped across it as black flames race across its form, consuming it entirely. Ciel goes even paler than before as she lands on the ground, blood pooling around her as the anima finally gives out, the white feathers falling all around you, consumed by black flames as Tanoi straightens, flicking her blade once to rid it of Ciel's life blood as she smiles serenely.
Then those three seconds end, as she looks at the rest of you.
Five_Pillars looks like he's been hit. In the gut. With a hammer.
Scarab lets out an anguished cry, "...is this the reunion you wanted so badly? To KILL her?!"
Diamond is the dawn of three small suns, his castemark and eyes alike glowing with untempered rage. His anima roars about him silently, bursting forth with such force that the floorboards and furniture about him is bleached in a wave, a six foot radius of cut and varnished wood reduced to dry husks.
"She is where all life must be. Within death's embrace. Soon she will join me and the others, and no longer deny her destiny. Death calls to all, and none escape."
The child lets out another feral growl at the lot of you, as Tanoi smiles. "Do you wish to join her, and become our brothers and sisters as well? Death and our lord will accept you all."
<Number Ten Camel> There are things yet to achieve in life. Leave us.
Scarab tenses up, just staring incredulously at the woman who before was her benefactor.
Five_Pillars pauses, a moment, his face torn in anquish. A wordless cry of rage escapes him.
The shouting and screams outside continue as the two stand before you, Tanoi grinning as the child merely howls.
<Scarab> I wanted to believe Soran was wrong about you, but it seems you're one of the death obsessed loonies after all. Killing your own sister as a sacrifice... that is truely heartless!
"Not as sacrifice, Scarab. She will become like me and Her Faithful Hound. She's been running for so long. It was merely my good fortune dear Soran took her under his wing. It made it much easier for me to arrange for this."
The child lets out another growl as Tanoi speaks, eyeing all of you with a wild look in his deformed eyes as he froths.
Diamond merely dashes forward, his passing more silent than a whisper and quicker than the wind. His anima sears the floor beneath him, and bleaches the already-fair skin and clothes of Ciel's corpse as he leaps over her stilled body. He leaps up as he approaches the armored woman, into a forward flip that sends him in a near collision with the ceiling--his swords slash at ceiling, collapsing it as he reaches it...
Before it has the chance to fall, his feet catch the pieces, his flight suddenly arrested. With another lunge of his essence-empowered legs, he dives straight down at the woman called 'Tanoi', swords forward to slice her into three pieces on either side of her bleeding castemark. Wooden debris falls about him, and his impact is wreathed in a veil of bleached woodwork and dust.
Diamond /almost/ falls on his face, but catches himself in midair just in time!
Shadows fly out of the dust surrounding the three as Tanoi's laughter is heard. An instant later they all rush back into the dust, then Diamond is suddenly propelled out of it, hitting the ground hard and skidding across it, leaving behind a bloody trail. He is still alive, but has a gash deep in his side. The dust clears, revealing her wreathed in black fire as she watches you all with a bemused look. Hound merely yips a couple of times.
Scarab clenches a fist, gritting her teeth, watching the flashy and brave Diamond get felled with just one hit...
The next instance she's on the move again, making right for Camel as her blade is brought back. "Another one of the Circle out. How long will you entertain me, child?" Then her blade becomes a whirl of darkness as one, two, three, four, no five attacks slice through the air towards him!
Number Ten Camel grits his teeth, waiting until the last moment to leap to one side under a table, his gauntlet flashing out to stop the blade as it slices through the thick wood!
Her blade manages to land a single hit on Camel, drawing blood as he feels his very power flow from his own body into the blade. She grins as she watches him. "Not bad, not bad at all! You are quite the catch! Hound, after one of the others!" The child lets out a bark before it bounds forward towards Five. His own anima flares out, howling as he draws back the laughing skull attached to his hand and lets it fly straight for Five's gut!
Number Ten Camel lets out a muted cry of pain. "Not caught me.. yet!"
Five_Pillars takes the blow, in silence. He does not even wince.
The kid glances up, blinking a couple of times in surprise as his scarred and twisted face adopts an expression of puzzlement.
Tanoi smiles as she watches Camel. "Ciel gave me the same line, dear."
<Scarab> I've nearly been the the grave once... death's not catching this Spider just yet!
Scarab hunkers down and makes a sprint for where the wounded Diamond lays prone after the horrendous Deathknight's assault. Passing by him in a blur, she scoops him up with both arms and then proceeds to run up the wall of the tavern and onto the cieling. From there, she executes a dive straight down at the chair that hdies the tunnel, striking it full force and smasshing through to the tunnels below!
Scarab makes it to the tunnels, finding them empty. Which is probably a bit of good news amid all of this chaos.
Five_Pillars weeps openly, the tears flowing down his armor, the hide of a dead shark-god, and sliding off, pattering like rain into the floor, as he moves with the fluid grace of the water dragon. He takes a step forward, his aged foot creaking on the boards of the inn's floor. And then another. Without a sound now, his entire capacity for speech having been, apparently, consumed by his primal yell, he advances, inexorably. The anguish on his face fades, though his tears continue to flow, as he moves forward, not merely emulating the water dragon, but, for a brief moment, becoming that primal force of nature.
Like a tsunami he advances. Slowly. Surely. And promising devastation in his wake. Slowly at first, but gathering in force and power, he slams into his foe like a roaring tidal wave, thrashing the boy as he advances. He's speaking now, the roar of crashing waves and of the punding surf in his voice.
<Five_Pillars> "NO MORE!" He stands between Camel and the woman as he ends his movement. "NO MORE WILL YOU TAKE FROM THEIR RIGHTFUL PLACE. NOT. ONE. MORE"
The child wide eyes before suddenly whirling, bringing the smashfist up to knock away the first attack as he lets out another howl, the dog like beast surrounding him doing the same. Spittle flies from his mouth as the howls add to the noise.
He manages to partially deflect the first, then takes a step back as his blood begins to flow onto the ground. He whines, shaking a bit, but other than that doesn't seem slowed in the least.
Tanoi raises an eyebrow as she watches Five. "Do you wish to embrace death first, old man?" Her attention is distracted from whatever Five's response might be however as there's another flash of golden light from the hole Soran was sent through, as the sensation of something breaking flows through all of you. Then Soran bursts through the wall, his sword replaced by a massive golden grand daiklaive as he barrels full tilt into Tanoi.
They manage to somehow trade multiple blows against each other even as they roll before springing away and clashing again as Soran yells. "ENOUGH OF THIS LARIA! �ENOUGH!�" She steps back as she works her own defensive dance, responding with a shout. "That isn't my name anymore, dear! And it won't be for the rest of time!" Then those two exit, still clashing.
<Number Ten Camel> Five... can you call forth spirits? As those doors don't have handles down there..
Meanwhile, the kid turns to face Five, growling before suddenly letting out a low howl as his anima does the same. THen he springs up, right through the ceiling and the ceiling above that and high into the air, out of sight. Some sense of deja vu might be felt, however, as the laughter joins the howl in booming across the area. Then suddenly the kid is right above Five, as holes open in the ceiling above him. Then the cackling smashfist hits Five in the chest, at full speed.
Five_Pillars says "In a mo... shit."
Five_Pillars braces, flowing like water
For a moment they remain there, as Five takes the hit full on. Then there's a cracking noise, before the floor shatters. Then the ground. Then suddenly the two of you are in the tunnel as pieces of it rain in front of you. The kid looks more than a little confused at both the man surviving and ending up in a tunnel as he lands on the ground easily, looking around.
Nobody dies. Though the tunnel doesn't look so good past Five and the kid.
Scarab coughs, taking a step back as the hail of debris blocks any hope of using this escape route. So much for that plan.
The kid blinks at Five a couple of times, tilting his head.
<Scarab> Greeeeat... Five, is the way clear up top?
<Five_Pillars> "For the moment. Get Camel and get us some mounts. I'll finish up down here."
Scarab doesn't respond with words, only decisive action. With a twirl she sends up a cloud of loose pebbles and launches herself and Diamond upwards through the hole just created with a huge glowing streak of power! Arcing gently into the midnight air right up through the roof, she then tumbles to the ground right outside the broken entrance door.
Scarab is greeted by the sight of Soran and 'Tanoi' engaged in a fierce duel outside the inn. Tanoi ducks one slash, as Soran's grand daiklaive tears into a building and practically rips the wall apart. He snaps it back as if it was a feather, forcing her to jump away from another. His anima flares as another snapping sensation flows over all of you. Scarab also spots Dendra leaping from the crowd and joining the fight.
She brings her own daiklaive to bear against Tanoi, however.
Scarab yells to Camel, still inside. "Camel, get your pet and go! It's getting crazy out here!"
Number Ten Camel flips up to his feet, kicking the table away, running to the window leading into the street, he kicks a chair enroute to break it as he unslings his firewand, diving through the window, and looking around frantically.
The window gets chaired. Shatter.
Five_Pillars advances again, crowding his opponent back against the rubble. Step. Swing. Step. Slash. Step. Slice. Step. Over and over he sttacks his oponnent, driving the boy deeper into the tunnel, and away from the easy leap up through the hole in the roof.
Two more wounds are added, as he snarls as blood continues to floor from his stained robes onto the stone ground.
Meanwhile, back on the surface, Tanoi/Laria deflects on strike from Dendra, sending her spinning, then backflips away from a swipe from Soran, she lands on the ground, skidding. Soran springs up in the air, beginning to descend upon her as she draws his grand daiklaive back as a corona lights up around him. She actually looks frightened for once, before she closes her eyes and yanks out an odd gem.
It glows once, and she disappears in a wisp of darkness, as does the child.
Soran's daiklaive slams into the ground, right where her head was, as he kneels there, panting.
The zombies disappear as well.
<Number Ten Camel> Soran! What's wrong? I sensed something... snapping..
Five_Pillars leaps up, digging his claws into the floor above, as he pulls himself up to the next level, not stopping to reflect. There will be time for that, later. He runs by Ciel, snagging a lock of her silver hair as he runs outside at a jog.
Ciel is not there.
Just a splatter of blood, and a feather.
Scarab doesn't have time to gawk as the overmatched Tanoi vanishes into thin air, trying her best to capitalize on this uncertaintly and find some horses.. even if they must be stolen from right under the Realm's noses.
Soran remains where he is for a few moments, catching his breath. "One...moment... Camel..." Dendra begins to approach, a slight grin on her face as she draws her daiklaive back. Which quickly disappears as the daiklaive is suddenly flying in the air in two pieces. The next instant she's on the ground, daiklaive at her neck as Soran stands above her. "I'm going to say this once. You call off your people, or I send you right after Laria."
Dendra looks quite frankly surprised at this turn before Soran continues. "And I'm sure she remembers you quite vividly, considering you're part of the reason she's a godamned fucking deathknight."
Five_Pillars snags Camels elbow. "We'll talk later. For now, we /move/." he whispers.
Number Ten Camel frowns, but nods, moving quickly to the stables, picking out some solid mounts for the others.
Five_Pillars says "Too many, already have died this day. His caste mark glows, even dressed as he is as an immaculate.
Five_Pillars says "How many more must die, before we realize that all of us here?" He points to Soran with one claw, and to a bloodied young legionarie with the other. "That we are /all/ in the botherhood of the living?"
Five_Pillars steps over a severed zombie arm, as he continues "LEt there be NO. More. Blood. Not on this day."
Five_Pillars says "Send no more friends, nor enemies, into the grip of death, which came so close to all of us today. Tomorrow, we may war again."
Five_Pillars says "But /this/ day. Today. We stand, united, as the living."
Five_Pillarsme raises a hand to the heavens. "LET ALL THE GODS BEAR WITNESS. I WILL KILL NO MORE, THIS DAY!"
Five_Pillars waits for the crowd's reaction, as he sheathes his weapons.
Dendra merely nods at both Soran and Five before he lifts his daiklaive, letting her get to her feet and back away before speaking. "Very well, Soran. Two weeks truce, while this town recovers. After that, we talk. I was not expecting to see /her/ again." She withdraws, soon followed by her troops as Soran lets his blade disappear from sight.
The next moment, he collapses.
The moment after /that/, Syla's kneeling beside him, biting her lower lip. "Damn damn damn damn."
Five_Pillars says "Mounts." He heaves himself up on one, and then says, much lower, pitched for his friends only. "We leave /now/. I do not tarry here two weeks."
Scarab is already at the stables as Camel approaches, slinging the unconscious and still-glowing Diamond onto the back of one of the sturdier-looking horses.
Syla shifts her gaze to you all, as Soran follows suit, albeit a whole lot slower as he breathes heavily.
Five_Pillars says "We /will/ have words, Soran." He gazes at the man for a long moment, then turns back to camel, waiting for their guid eto lead them out of here, and into the desert to a place of some safety.
Scarab does her best to assist the more experienced camel-jockey and get them over to the rest of the groupa s quickly as possible.
Number Ten Camel is on his mounts back quickly and smoothly, firewand ready in case anyone gets any ideas, with a confident cluck of his tongue he starts his camel off, leading the others through the streets to leave town.
Meanwhile, the inn creaks before giving way completely. Syla helps Soran to his feet. To be quite blunt, he looks awful.
Number Ten Camel slows, turning to face Soran. "Do you need assistance?"
Soran doesn't respond, though Syla nods emphatically, looking a bit desperate as she tries to bring the man over towards you all.
Number Ten Camel hops off his camel, and tries to lift Soran onto it's back, he can walk for a little while.
Five_Pillars gets off his mount, and helps Soran up ontp Camel's camel.
Number Ten Camel says very quietly "You can't handle it can you Soran? Your full power. My thanks for saving us.."
The three of you easily manage to get him onto the camel. He again doesn't respond as he passes out. Syla nods slightly to Camel. "Seals... You all felt it, didn't you?"
Scarab just has an uneasy frown, keeping a firm grip on Diamond with her strength. She's already got one burden already...
Five_Pillars says "Yes. What's getting loose?"
Five_Pillars says "Talk and walk, though" He goes back, and boosts Syla up onto his mount.
Five_Pillars begins walking, still headed out of town. Oh yes. Ouuuut of town.
Number Ten Camel leads the group out of town, reassuring the stolen mounts with soft sounds and gentle pats.
Syla blinks in surprise as she ends up on Five's mount, looking a bit embarrassed as she's handled. She then nods slightly as she spurs the mount to follow. "His power. Those seals were levied on him during the Wyld Hunt Dendra led. Back then it was him and Laria fighting the Realm. When the seals got dropped on him, they managed to split them up and kill Laria."
<Number Ten Camel> Hmm. Sounds like a long story
<Scarab> .o( At least this wasn't my fault. These people have a fued going on way before I showed up to meddle. )
Five_Pillars says "Camel. Do you know someplace out of the way, where travelers rarely go?"
Five_Pillars says "We need rest." As his charms fade, he looks like an old man again, albiet still one tough, winrkled old man.
Five_Pillars says "And to treat the wounded, and mourn the dead."
Syla nods once, closing her eyes. "I'm sorry about not helping..."
Scarab sighs and shakes her head. "It would've been of no use anyway -- not against that kind of power."
Five_Pillars says "We /will/ be ready, next time."
<Number Ten Camel> Hmm. Not off hand. I'll keep an eye out. We'll want to make good time for now though.
Five_Pillars nods, and keeps on walking.
<Number Ten Camel> Gemwards, you say?
Five Pillars nods. "That was Soran's plan. We'll discuss it after we put some sand between us and this place."
Syla nods. "This slipped by everyone. She wasn't supposed to have support, not after the last few failures. Especially not that kid." She nods towards Five and Camel, as the group continues towards the South. With one less.