Summary:The Solars battle the warped Endu in the tunnels of Hezed.

XP:C4, I4, L4, S4, V4, Z4


< I Have My Eye On You | Sol Invictus Logs | Anything is Possible >

Under the touch of the Solars' incredible power, the waves of monsters seem to thin out, leaving the walls of the room slick with ichor and ash, and the smell of burned flesh choking out any other aroma that might have otherwise survived here.

Cerin "We should probably not stop moving. Whilst this horde is not quite numberless, I cannot see the edge of it," Cerin observes, as he strings fresh motes across his bow.

Imrama puffs away on his pipe, his guns still trailing coal-black smoke. The vapor from his pipe congeals into fish-shaped clouds striped blue and white which swim about the room, eating up the foul air in tiny bites.

zahara gestures towards the way she'd been heading with a grin. "This way is scariest."

The hallway in the direction the fear aura lies is increasingly thick with unpleasant stains and claw-marked stone -- it seems like... things have dwelt here for some time.

Cerin nods and walks with Zahara into the gathering fear.

Spring follows them.

The fear aura gets even thicker and more oppressive as the Solars advance down the wide hall -- and the blood stains and gnawed bones do nothing to cut the tension.

The walk is long, and difficult; by the end, it's almost difficult to see, the effect is so strong, and it's actually impossible to hear or smell anything useful, as the chittering and scraping and the stink of rot have grown so oppressive.

Finally, the end of the hallway appears: a vast, double-door, easily eighty feet tall and thirty feet wide, with the Old Realm characters for "Central Plaza" emblazoned on them, set into a massive granite wall.

Imrama regards the colossal doors with a slack, sallow expression. ::My friends, I am sorely, irrationally afraid of what lies beyond this gate. It is a creeping, insidious feeling rivaled only by my desire to see its source destroyed.::

zahara By the end of the hallway, Zahara has constructed a sort of pentacle-shaped object from the gnawed bones, which she flips around carelessly, even somewhat eagerly as she plows right into the overwhelming miasma of fear. Every once in a while a particularly gruesomely mutilated object causes her to smirk, and she adds it to her small collection.

Spring ::Reasonable.::

Colapso shivers with every step, appearing, again, almost like the boy he pretended to be for so long. ::Zahara...?::

Spring slows down, falling to the rear of the group and looking rather abstractedly at nothing in particular.

zahara ::Yes, Luc?::

Lucent ::... nothing.:: He nods, and keeps pushing on! ::Are you sure going to the center of THIS is a good idea?::

Cerin ::Then let us destroy it,:: Cerin remarks as he walks up to the great doors and unlocks them with a handful of motes channelled through the immense mechanisms securing them in place. The sounds of the giant pieces of machinery within the doors start to echo throughout the hall they have found themselves in, clanking and thumping until a thin line appears down the centre of the door ...

Cerin ::Of course it is, Lucent:: he says, as he looks up at the crack.

zahara ::Of course it is. Unless you want to leave all those poor defenseless Chiaroscurans alone with it.:: There might be a little irony in her voice, but maybe not.

The door slides open with a tremendous grinding noise, audible even over the ten times louder chittering that emerges through the crack.

Almost immediately the smell of rot becomes far stronger as well, nauseating in its intensity and thickness, and once the door opens far enough the Solars can see from whence it originates.

Lucent ... and Zahara's words was all it took, the fire returning to his eyes. ::That, we will NOT do.::

The chamber that the Solars enter into is truly massive, serving as it did as the nerve center and public gathering place of the city of Hezed.

The door opens onto a broad balcony with stairs climbing both up and down from its sides, which connect to a network of hundreds of other such balconies at different heights, arriving from all the city's numerous transit tunnels, and stretching between them is a vast network of mezzanines and short buildings strung across the gap on beams of Magical Material.

Once, these would have been glorious and beautiful: gardens of luminescent trees casting light upon the city, massive fountains pouring freshly-scented surface water from top to bottom to refresh the air, brilliant gold-edged abstract statues of Exalted heroes and suns and moons taking the place of the real thing shut out by rock,

and brilliant diamonds set into the roof taking the place of the stars...

But now, instead, the statues are in ruins, the gardens are rotten and vile, and the room is filled entirely with horror:

For writhing all about, entangling every stairwell and bannister, stretching out hundreds of yards in every direction, are thick, ichorous tentacles, portions of undeveloped and misshapen human anatomy sticking out of them at odd angles, and at their heart, a single, gigantic, glowing, lidless red eye --

the behemoth Endu, now grown far beyond his stature when first the Solars met him in the city of Denandsor.

The warped ghosts and chittering flesh-beasts alike crawl all over him in their innumerable thousands, striking and biting at one another and at Endu himself, tearing out chunks of flesh from vast cocooned pods and crafting more of themselves even as the Solars look on.

Cerin notes immediately that whatever has happened to Endu in the interim, it hasn't all been good: large parts of his tentacles are necrotized and rotting, producing the powerful and awful smell, and his eye seems to have a strange, pallid film across it that was not previously there.

Cerin ::It is almost sad, to see it like this:: he says, frowning.

zahara "Endu didn't smell this bad last time," she notes.

Lucent "Sun have mercy..."

Cerin "Nor so ... unhealthy." Whatever that phrase meant in relation to a being of a thousand misshapen limbs.

zahara "I wonder if it's related to the Sun's darkening..."

The lidless red eye turns and focuses on the Solars, and first slowly, but then with greater intensity... the vast creature begins shaking, and with him, the whole of Hezed.

zahara blinks at the behemoth as she grips the hilt of her daiklave "oooh, I remember that look."

Lucent shivers as he gazes upon that abyss. "We must give it mercy." Saturn shines bright on his hand.

Spring "If that is what it desires."

zahara "I don't think it's quite recovered from being stabbed in the eye last time we met."

Cerin "I think it might be more than that."

zahara nods slowly. "Yes, you might be correct... well, Spring, here's your chance to compare sick behemoth to your pinky finger." She giggles again.

Spring blinks, and holds it up thoughtfully.

"YOUUUUUUUU," an unimaginably deep and vast voice echoes from every conceivable direction, elevating the shaking to the level of a full-on earthquake.

Spring quickly puts his finger back down.

zahara wiggles her fingers at it in a little hello.

Whatever's wrong with Endu, it doesn't seem to line up that closely with Spring's finger, except in the obvious sense that both appear to be necrosis-based Essence conditions of great virulence.

The beast's great red eye flashes an intense, brilliant light, and with surprising quickness given their degenerative state, quite a few of the nearby tentacles writhe and twist through the air, arcing rapidly towards the platform the Solars stand on, with murder on their agenda.

zahara clears her throat and yells back in a significantly more imaginable voice. "Now, I know we've had our differences in the past, Endu my lovely tentacled friend, but you're looking a little ill. And I brought doctors!"

Spring ::What?::

Lucent ::... I thought we were going to kill it!::

zahara ::Oh, we probably are. But i DID bring doctors.::

Imrama ::Unimpeachable reasoning, Empress.:: Imrama turns to the vast, clouded eye, quaking only slightly. "Indeed, o That Which Devours From Without: the last time that you danced with this Circle, it did not go well for you. Yet, we are not without mercy. There are several possible courses ahead, some of which include your survival. Which will you choose?"

Spring reaches out almost plaintively to the tentacles, and they falter as he dances between them.

The tentacles' strikes fall away from the Solars themselves, though they strike through and shatter the balcony upon which they stand, casting fragments of rock in every direction.

zahara plummets for a half second before she remembers to take a step, and reaches out to catch the others who can't fly.

Cerin lands lightly on Zahara's flowing blue locks.

Lucent stays where he is, the disks of the Coronal keeping him there. "So much fear. So little reason."

Spring reaches out for Zahara, their fingertips brushing, and plummets towards the enormous creature.

zahara "whoops"

Imrama 's Anima Banner explodes around him in a radiant cascade, a bright wave of counter force against the assault. As the balcony falls away from his feet, he moves not at all, for it is his practice not to rest his weight on the earth, in any case.

zahara watches Spring fall with a sort of amused look as she flicks the Bonds out to catch Varanim, who was just out of reach.

Imrama reaches out to catch Kivir's arm, letting Pentecost dissolving into lightning and fly back to his hip in order to free up a hand.

Cerin moves over the dancing silken tresses of Zahara's hair as it starts slowly to settle around her, before he leaps off lightly to land on one of her orbitting swords, balancing upon the hilt as he lets fly with the motes he has already knocked, the brilliant motes plunging down into the mass of shadow at the base of one of the tentacles.

Spring coughs a few times, then curls around his stomach as he plunges towards the monstrosity, landing and rolling perilously close to its jaws, as he pulls a tiny, blossoming tree from his own mouth. Kneeling quickly, he places Incomparable Sapling gently on the body of Hezed, and the roots sink in.

One of Endu's tentacles wraps from behind Spring until it surrounds him entirely, and when anyone looking from above next sees the tendril move, Spring is no longer anywhere to be seen.

zahara stares down at where Spring was, feeling ever so slightly guilty. "Hey, that's MY doctor. Give him back."

The great eye turns towards Zahara with hatred and, even though it is covered by a white film, it has no trouble focusing. It glows for a moment -- and then bolts of vicious, jagged red light fly out of it with an audible scccorch sound towards Zahara and Cerin.

zahara "uh oh."

Cerin makes a gesture and space seems to distort around him as the black ribbons of the armour twist and shimmer into life, wrapping him in shadows which don't exist.

zahara x1;ACTION sets her stance wide in the air, bringing the giant blue slab around one-handed in two quick parries that slice through the path of the light, deflecting it so that it hits the walls to the left and right of her, sending showers of rock and a few remaining shards of balcony raining down on the Behemoth. Almost before noticing it, a flying sword dips down to interpose itself between her and some imprecisely deflected light of

zahara imprecisely deflected light of doom and whatnot.

Varanim finishes speaking, a disturbing half-audible cadence suddenly ending with a coughing sound. "Let go," she says to Zahara, her voice strange and quiet behind the mask, and then she falls...

zahara x1;ACTION lets Varanim drop, trusting that she knows w hat she's doing and isn't diving headlong after Spring in some sort of rabid martyrlike attack thing. You never know, but Varanim just doesn't seem the type to do something that stupid. In the meantime, she calls up her own half-suppressed incantation, the familiar rush of sorcery filling her veins, burning as the words leave her lips and flow into her Anima, dripping down to splas

zahara dripping down to splash on the flailing tentacles and untold horrors beneath her. The ground begins to tremble again, only recently recovered from the roar of Endu.

Varanim As she falls, she spreads her arms, and the piece of the Void kept close to her heart grows and devours, wrapping her in folds of soulsteel and darkness. She coughs out a spray of blood and the cocoon swells into a ruddy immensity, knitting a warstrider from nothingness. Then she lands on the floor below, with a thunderous clanging and splintering of stone, and draws her daiklaive en garde.

The chittering mass of horrors swarms upwards and outwards, threatening to devour any that stands in its way -- that is, anyone standing attached to any physical surface.

zahara gestures, and with a final groan, the rock beneath the behemoth shatters, spewing out hot liquid lava which semi-solidifies at its apex, sending up waves of searing heat as the newly formed tentacles - carefully placed away from where she supposes Spring and knows Varanim is - but incredibly inconveniently placed if one happens to be a behemoth who doesn't like sitting on fire.

Endu's great bulk is built entirely of tentacles, and slides away from the eruption points in a slithering, ichorous dance, but tens (or hundreds) of the tiny, creeping beasties are incinerated instantly or sent flying.

Lucent watches Varanim with disquiet. He shakes as he sees his paramour darkened so... but not as much as he does as he realises what she is up against! "No, you will not hurt my beloved." He proclaims. "You will not hurt any of them." The light shines around him, forming Four Suns, each entangled with the other, each with a different light for a different Virtue!

Lucent "Have our mercy, Endu. Have Fire from the Heavens!"

Lucent He snaps his fingers, and shines brighter than the Golden Sun, an adamant light that obscures everything as fire from heavens falls upon the creature, burning through the tentacles, consuming everything on their path!

Imrama watches Endu make the series of mistakes that will likely end its life with displeasure and a twinge of sorrow. Then he steels himself for the battle at hand, and makes a formal pronouncement: "Let the depths of the earth bare witness, that this did not have to be so." He speaks these words, but no ear, not even Cerin's, is subtle enough to hear them, for their sound departs his lips and...

Imrama ...hangs in the air just a few feet from his face. At that point, his words congeal into a translucent blue image: the Old Realm character for the folly of those who should know better. For an instant, it hangs for all to see, and then shatters into a thousand thousand shards, raining down onto poor foolish Endu, the Gluttony of Despair. The fragments fall as razored-sleet, taking the form...

Imrama ...of the Ice-Knife Hail, a variety of War Weather not seen in Creation in over an Age. Heavy they fall. Deeply they delve. Deadly they strike.

Some of the tentacles swing into action, ripping through the platforms and throwing up huge chunks of rock to block Lucent's rains of fire, but the full force of his attack is too much for such defenses, and two knots of the tentacles are dissolved wholly in incandescent Solar fire.

Endu howls a low, deep howl, and the foundation of the hall shakes; chunks of the ceiling begin to break out and fall downwards from the shock.

More of the tentacles are severed entirely by Imrama's brutal freezing rain.

zahara "You know, this could have gone much less painfully. Not that this isn't more fun for the rest of us."

Endu roars, and the red energy that fills its eye seems to flow out, into the still living portions of its remaining tentacles, leaving them awkwardly black-spotted by bits of necrotic flesh.

He swipes in rage at his targets, leaving blood-red trails of crackling energy in the air behind his swinging tentacles.

As Zahara bats the tentacles out of the air and Varanim's deathly warstrider shell protects her from the brunt of the assaults, Imrama and Lucent open themselves up to the tendrils' buffeting strikes.

The actual bludgeoning effect is largely ineffective against their thick defenses, but the red Essence that flows out of those tentacles fills the Solars with an unbelievable, burning pain, far in excess of any actual damage they may have caused.

Cerin Leaping off the sword pomell as it sweeps to defend Zahara, Cerin is airborne as it becomes time to attack again. This doesn't phase him in the slightest, drawing back a trio of motes even as he arcs through the air. He releases them and suddenly within the cave the world becomes black and white, shadows defined by lines sharper than razorblades as the arrows blaze far brighter than the sun. They hit Endu's eye, and suddenly it

Cerin seems like the lights go out, even in this cave filled with glowing solars. Cerin lands lightly, on the pomell of another sword.

Six more batches of tentacles are severed utterly, their vast bulks twitching and spasming even in death as they fall away from the creature's central mass and crash into the platforms below, destroying them and then exploding in a shower of broken rock and blackish-purple ichor.

Varanim has stood deaf to the ruin that falls from above and the useless scraping of claws on her outer shell. She moves only when struck by the tentacle to latch onto it and cling as it thrashes onward past her. Her focus complete, she pulls herself up to stand atop it, running down the red road of pain toward Endu's body and trailing behind her the sound of her blade devouring the air.

Varanim Leaping high, she brings the grand daiklave down in a horrible heavy arc, to cut a wound into which the entire warstrider can fall.

The tentacle splits wide open, purple ichor gushing out and coating every inch of Varanim's deathly armor, and the mottled, pulsing, gristly meat inside is revealed.

  • Near the great lidless eye, the tentacles blend together, grow indistinguishable from one another -- and it is here that Varanim's strike splits the beast open, purple ichor gushing out and coating every inch of Varanim's deathly armor, and the mottled, pulsing, gristly meat inside is revealed.

Varanim vanishes without a word into the vast folds of necrotic flesh, which shortly begin to emit unpleasant tearing sounds.

zahara wrinkles her nose. "Endu, I didn't think you could smell any worse, but I was wrong." The Kraken tentacles bash about at anything that moves in haphazard unison, laying into their much less elegant and fiery counterparts. Meanwhile, Zahara's bell tolls out its dire peal, and she favors him with a razored smile. "I think I've told you that fighting us was a bad idea before."

Lucent watches that... and his eyes brighten with pride! The tentacles fell around him, those who had struck him with such force... and had done nothing. He stood in the same place as he did before, untouchable... with bared, gritted teeth. Everything hurt. Everything. The tentacles made it hurt almost like when he had his eyes torn out... but he would not flinch. He would not give it the pleasure of seeing him flinch.

Zahara's tentacles fight back against Endu's, tearing and sending flaming ripples up everywhere as they strike, and incinerating the little beasts as they plow bodily into the Kraken's arms.

Then the bell peals, and the creatures seem to pause, the pain that Endu had dished out now returned back upon it and its horrific brood.

Spring An unexpected...ripple comes across the telepathic rings, followed by an unfamiliar voice.

Sapling ::Give...him...back!::

Sapling shudders, and begins to expand, roots sinking into the behemoth's flesh with an audible sucking noise, branches bursting forwards, blossoms falling, replacing themselves, and falling again, seasons passing in seconds. In just moments the tree has grown to a full story in height.

Deep inside the creature's bulky body, Varanim cuts through the gristled flesh, spotted throughout both with patches of rotten, liquified flesh and absorbed (but still distinct) human body parts that have merged in with the creature's flesh.

After some distance, the sunny glow pouring through the meat tells Varanim what lies before her -- and a little more cutting reveals a semi-conscious Spring, near the end of a valiant struggle against Endu's meaty attempts to crush and absorb him.

The tiny tree stretches up to a huge height, growing and growing until it butts up against the ceiling, its grand branches stretching out in every direction and its mazy roots growing larger and larger, outfoxing Endu's tendrils and splitting into a thousand tinier roots, until, finally

the great lidless eye sits underneath the massive root structure, its tendrils pinned down and its eye balefully staring at its vanquishors.

The great behemoth's creatures even slacken and collapse, the motive rage that drove them seeming to have collapsed under the weight of the Solar's superior firepower.

Varanim Several long, heavy moments after the creatures collapse, a wet thumping precedes Varanim's emergence from Endu's mouth, every inch of her warstrider covered in various dark fluids, but carrying Spring carefully in one arm.

Lucent inhales, shining bright as he exhises the pain from his body. "We did it!"

Spring hangs limply, acidic gore dripping from his body.

Lucent "Spring?" Lucent blinks, walking up a stairway of lights to get to the Warstrider's arm... "Varanim, is he...?"

zahara "Huh. Good thing I brought two doctors."

Varanim shrugs her free shoulder, kneeling to lay Spring out so Lucent can examine him.

Lucent brings out Serenity to touch Spring, exhising his pain. Journeys touches him, coursing through his body to perceive where he is broken. And the sun comes upon Lucent's forehead, forming a third eye upon which to exhamine the fallen Solar... "Your tree did it, you stupid Wasirran, you cannot just die now and miss all the bloom..."

Spring's got some surface acid burns, body bruises, and appears to be in a somewhat woozy, half-conscious state, but is otherwise relatively healthy.

Spring twitches as Lucent's light shines on him, and stirs, slightly. His eyes slit open, and he draws a careful breath.

Spring "...something..."

Spring "...went wrong."

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Page last modified on March 23, 2009, at 02:43 AM