Summary:The Solars battle the Mask of Winters in the remnants of the Roseate Iris

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


< Uncomfortable Truths | Sol Invictus Logs | A Difficult Prisoner >

MaskOfWinters looks over the assembled Solars, his icy face still unchanged, but the hint of concern still somehow visible in his demeanor.

Imrama takes his feet down from off the table. His stare becomes more serious. "In that case: Mask of Winters, Necrarch of the Stolen Cities, you are hereby placed under arrest. If you will surrender peacefully, we may discuss the terms. I am prepared to be generous in light of the fact that my friend Varanim is bored by violence."

MaskOfWinters looks at Imrama, and the (to his mind) ludicrousness of the statement seems to break his tension -- he laughs. "Arrest? You must be joking."

Lucent "That's what the Green Lady said?" Lucent grins, "But no, I am afraid the Admiral never jokes about Deliberative business."

Imrama "I never joke about matters of severe importance to the Deliberative..." Imrama breaks eye-contact for the first time, rolling his eyes up and thinking for an instant. "Except in bed."

zahara wrinkles her nose.

Spring "So. Can we go, then?"

Spring stands up and brushes off his hakama.

MaskOfWinters lets out a sound whose true origins are disguised in an oddly loud, raspy rumbling, but which may have been intended as a sigh. "I suppose violence it is, then," he says wearily, and with a snap of his fingers, the ground is suddenly shattered by a hundred jagged bone-blades, bursting through the walls and tile, and carefully avoiding the (now fleeing) waitstaff.

zahara digs around for a second, and brings out a familiar orichalcum circle laced with soulsteel. "You'll need.... oh, well then." She jumps backwards out of the way of a blade, her heel sliding down the flat of a second one just before launching herself into the air, landing a good bit off the ground.

Cerin simply allows the bone blades to stab right through where he is standing, his body partially atomising around the viscious knives.

Lucent The blades break against Lucent's armor, golden motes shining about him. An orrery of lights shines about him.

Spring happens to be standing exactly where the blades miss him, nestling in the folds of his hakama. Convenient!

Imrama allows the bone blades to crack and shatter on his skin. There is glow, no flicker, no flash of light. Only the disturbing, alien hardness of his skin.

stryck left the room.

Imrama shakes his head. "You are badly disappointing the lady, Winters. Without a hint of motion, Imrama draws down on the Deathlord, and fires a volley of sunlit bolts. "There go your carefully laid plans to score with yourself."

Cerin 's own arrows of essence hit scant moments behind Imrama's bolts, each one searing a line through the air as they leave from the bow, tracking across the room as Cerin leaps from the spike which had moments before tried to impale him.

MaskOfWinters reels under the assault of Imrama and Cerin's bolts, even as previously-invisible ghostly forms spin around him to deflect much of their intensity. As they strike home, they sizzle and burst into smoke, darkening the room and filling it with a foul stench.

MaskOfWinters howls in surprise and pain briefly, and then there's an odd occurrence: a soulsteel globe, about the size of a smallish melon, falls from somewhere within the Mask's voluminous robes, a broken chain-link hanging off of it on one side;

zahara It is a struggle to control her expression at Imrama's comment, but Zahara pulls it off, after a half second. "Honestly, Mask, I would have thought you knew better than to break oaths." Not deigning to touch the ground again, Zahara runs past his left shoulder, trailing her blue daiklave behind her. At the moment of contact, the tip flicks upward, slashing at the threads of Essence that surround him

MaskOfWinters it strikes the ground, splits open -- releasing a faint white apparition, that rises up a foot or so before dispersing utterly -- and fades from the glossy, reflective black of soulsteel to become simply mundane iron.

Spring "Hm."

Spring "Mr. Winters. Give me one of your human souls, and I swear I will not stand against you today."

MaskOfWinters extends one hand, and a great black staff crafted of soulsteel, hexagonal in shape and covered in deeply-carved Old Realm characters, appears in it. He swings it against the nearest wall, which explodes outward at the slightest touch, and leaps out through it, to an area of soil -- which skeletal hands are already clawing their way out of.

Lucent "Skeletons? When did that help ANYONE, Larquen?"

Lucent leapt out, following the mask together with a cloud of debris dragged with his every step, dragged into the gravity of each of his spheres! Light reflected in the glass, light hidden by the debris! "I wish I was a better man, you know." And then, he SHOUTS, everything burning and breaking as the spheres break, become one with the debris and EVERYTHING falls upon the Mask! "A better man would not enjoy this so much."

MaskOfWinters After a moment's weighing of relative values (and mentally ensuring that he can bond the promise), the Mask pulls out one of his soulsteel globes and tosses it to a place just above where Spring could reach from where he's standing. "Catch."

Spring reaches up with one hand and catches the globe. With the other hand, he waves dramatically, and red-gold shafts of light fly from each of his fingers to the central chakras of the nearby waitstaff, causing their auras to blossom with an intense power.

Spring "I would take it as a personal favor if you ensured the safety of my companions."

Spring looks at the globe for a few moments and seems to be considering something, then shrugs and eats it.

Spring "Also, could I get some more coffee?"

MaskOfWinters The nearest waitress still finds this situation terrifying and ducks under a counter, but the one who up until a moment ago was standing near the front door trying to usher other patrons safely out the door remembers Spring from a previous visit, and recalling the generosity of his gratuity, nods in assent.

MaskOfWinters Three of Lucent's projectiles strike at the Mask's center with a brutal and unforgiving force -- his fine robes tatter, his stance is disrupted -- but he catches the outermost two on the tips of his staff with a practiced motion Lucent remembers from practice sessions long ago.

MaskOfWinters "The better man gave up on being the better man a long time ago," he says, unable as always to resist the opportunity to burnish his own ego even amidst a firefight. As skeletons of creatures long extinct from the Blessed Isle crawl up around him and charge the other Solars, the ghost of Larquen Quen swings his staff with an unearthly force against Lucent's chest, letting the captured projectile burst as he does so.

Lucent "What is it, die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain?" All of Lucent's orbs became swords, all but the sun, captured by the mask as Dawn and Zenith, the other three casts vanishing in the air, unable to be whole! The swords on his way, unable to halt his advance as the strike hits Lucent's chest... and EXPLODES!

Lucent ... and as the smoke clears, he is still there, holding the tip of the staff, with a perfect smile.

Lucent "I prefer to keep being a hero. The light LIKES us, you know."

MaskOfWinters The moment Lucent's words leave his lips, he notices that his hun and po are suddenly remarkably eager to switch places within him, regardless of what havoc such an ill-considered idea might wreak in the short term.

Spring glances at Lucent interestedly.

Varanim tips a little salute to Imrama for his attempt at peaceful resolution, then the walls and floor erupt in bones--and her arm erupts in soulsteel fibers, lashing about and snapping off all the points that approach her. Still perched on her chair while the others erupt into motion, she reaches sideways into the air and cradles the Mask of Summers in her hand for a moment.

MaskOfWinters Spring detects in his compatriot a textbook case of the Soul-Inverting Millennial Rose Garden Heart Dropsy, Eastern Extraction.

Lucent "Ugh." Lucent grits his teeth, pushing him and the staff away! "So underhanded."

Spring "Lucent, have you been eating fruit whose little god has gone insane due to celestial justice procedures again?"

Lucent "You know me. I just cannot stay away from bad apples."

Lucent His anima almost twists itself inside-out, a tear of blood streaking down his lip, the black crescent on his forehead spilling out like blotched ink. The only thing keeping Lucent whole -- and making quips -- seems to be nothing other than pure, sheer willpower.

Imrama adjusts his stance just slightly, enough to provide him with a clear view of the Mask through the hole in the wall. For a long moment, he seems to chew his lips aggressively, churning up a rich mouthful of coffee-flavored saliva. He throws his head back and reels forward, hurling his spit out at the Mask. As it leaves his mouth, the liquid transforms into a drop of pure sunlight, made holier...

Imrama Imrama's unspoken prayers.

MaskOfWinters The crushing outdoor sunlight drags down the Mask's elsewhere-vast necromantic abilities, but even hobbled so he far outstrips any living foe the Solars have ever faced. The skeletons drawn up from the earth below -- great six-legged predatory beasts from the days when the Sun still dwelt on this isle --

MaskOfWinters glow with a horrifying black un-light, and leap back into the coffeehouse, in the process tearing out what remains of the western wall and thereby causing the rest of the structure to begin a collapse. With long-dormant ferocity, their forelimbs strike out at the Exalts.

Varanim then reaches out with her left hand to grasp her extracted po--which has been, ha-ha, shadowing her--and pulls it across to this side of the Shroud. "Lord a-mercy, this is going to hurt," she sighs. Then she pulls down the mask and thrusts both hands into the chest of her soul-double, pulling out its half-corporeal heart and tossing it gently at the Mask.

Varanim Filaments of darkness branch out in fractal patterns through the air, terrible symmetries are drawn between his nature and that which sleeps far below, and through the eyes of summer Varanim sees him as nothing more or less than another hekatonkhire to bind. She throws her will against it, as her anima unfurls above and blood dribbles from her nose and ears and eyes.

MaskOfWinters moves to neatly avoid Imrama's spittle-strike, but it is at that moment that Varanim chooses to put him to a test of wills, and he finds himself momentarily rooted to the spot.

Spring picks a napkin up from the rubble of their table and carefully wipes the blood off of Varanim's face.

MaskOfWinters The salival missile strikes in a fiery solar burst, burning the Mask's robes, casting out yet more black smoke, burning and dissolving the spiritual flesh beneath with a sound that is already, in itself, indescribably painful to hear, much less to experience, but the Mask of Winters seems almost unaware of it, even as two more spheres fall from within his robes to crack on the ground beneath --

MaskOfWinters for in that moment, there is nothing but two masks, one icy-blue and one fiery-gold, locked in an eternal, deadly combat that electrifies the air and sends shivers down the spines of every living being within ten miles.

Lucent His anima was almost collapsed into itself, Lucent himself vanishing amidst it. Sun only knew how his words managed to sound so clear amidst that onslaught. "Larquen. You were a poor comrade, a bastard of a Best Man, a treacherous politician, a failure as a hero, and a lousy lay," Lucent pointed at him, the orbs of the Coronal breaking down and twisting, about to become images of the shinma and cease to exist.

Lucent "But you were a good FRIEND. In the name of that, give up. You cannot beat all of us."

Spring "There must be some pastries around here."

Spring walks through the titanic conflict and digs through the wreckage near the kitchen.

zahara fends off the reaching skeletons with her blade, smashing their fingers out of her way and whacking one upside the head with the Bell, sending out a lovely peal of music. "What is it with people trying to reach up my dress?" she grumbles, and jumps upward again, to get out of reach for the future. Seeing Mask locked in mental battle against Varanim, she takes the opportunity to add a little more light to the situation.

zahara Her Aura burns with the familiar molten runes of the Magma Kraken's summoning.

Spring finds a blueberry muffin after some effort. Brushing it off, he tears off a small piece, breathes on it, and flips it, glowing with Solar radiance, into Lucent's mouth, where the tart sweet chunk adheres to his palate chakra and begins to put his component souls in their proper place.

Spring eats the rest.

Lucent noms.

Cerin leaps up through the disintegrating fabric of the inn, drawing back a mote across his bow which glows brightly enough to set the room into sharp relief. The monsterous skeletons suddenly loom large on the wall. Then the mote splits into six, two of which lance into each of the skeletal beasts.

MaskOfWinters Three skeletons disintegrate, their dark energy wafting upwards towards the sky in jagged plumes of smoke.

Lucent And Lucent ceased to exist. Unwinding, the warped light covered him... and then spread out with ethereal winds, and Lucent was whole, licking his lips from the taste of the sun-touched fruit, holding the swords of Pluto and Saturn on his hands. "Delicious."

MaskOfWinters After a long, terrifying moment, with a single swing of his head, the Mask of Winters breaks the locked gaze with Varanim and shatters what remains of her spell, freeing himself from the pull of her necromancy.

Varanim pulls aside the mask and leans forward to vomit blood, eyes still swimming from looking on the unknowable darkness. "Totally worth it," she says before half-sliding out of the chair with a ghastly grin.

Lucent "No." As the Mask shatters the spell, Lucent follows the light to Varanim... and his face turns to Copper. The orb of the sun falls to his chest, mingling with his own sun... and a hundred different faces of Lucent made of sunlight leap out of him, Adagio and Helios and all others, striking at Quen, tackling Quen, punching him right in the ice-mask! For in only one thing are they all in agreement.

Lucent "You do NOT touch my girlfriend."

zahara looks away from casting the Kraken long enough to decide she needs to party with Adagio again.

  1. SolInvictus: mode (+q Cerin) by ChanServ

Spring ::Cerin. How are you at petty theft?::

Cerin ::Much as I am with grand theft::

Spring ::We only needed him to give us one of the globes freely.::

Cerin ::An astute observation::

MaskOfWinters Freed from Varanim's shackles, the Mask casually deflects Lucent's blows with the ends of his staff. "You are, as always, quick to assert ownership of things which do not belong to you," he says dismissively.

Lucent "I bet that is what the Green Lady said, too."

Spring "I doubt she is quite so prolix."

Varanim "Could we leave my sex life out of this?"

Spring "An interesting question. Is it, in point of fact, possible?"

Lucent "No, no, this is about me being possessive. Or not. You ARE my girlfriend, right?"

Lucent "Are you going to let the world-destroying evil be RIGHT?"

Imrama runs across the room, dodging falling debris in an effort to maintain his speed. He reaches the wide hole leading to the open earth where Lucent and the Mask are sparing, and leaps, tumbling into a vaulting somersault through the air, flying over both their heads. Passing over the Mask of Winters, he suddenly stops, his anima of clockwork birds whipping about him. Upside down, his head comes...

Imrama ...even with the Mask's, and he whispers in the Deathlord's ear as Imrama's four arms point like the legs of a spider about to pluck him from the earth. "Your time is long past, Shadow of a Shadow of a Shadow of Larquen Quen. Now is the hour when you surrender what you have already lost. Your legacy is our future." With that, he fires.

Cerin It is quite unfortunate for the Mask that Lucent is present in the coffee shop. This is true for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most pertinent reason at this instant is that his presence is distracting to the Mask. So very, very distracting. It's a distraction which Cerin exploits mercilessly. There is a ripple of gossamer essence within the room, a web of orientation interactions woven so fine that they can pass right

Cerin through all the combat essence being hurled around the room. So fragile that the necromancy cannot even touch them. This ripple is caused by the Magpie's Theiving Talons, fed through the Night Seal with all of Cerin's understanding of essence. It's this web which wraps the Mask. It's this web that lifts all of the captured souls from the Mask's pockets. It's this web which will stop him from noticing this very important fact.

Cerin Well, not until it's far too late, anyway.

MaskOfWinters Imrama's bolts tear through the Mask's black robes, crack his icy mask, and coat the rocks behind him with a thick layer of ectoplasm.

MaskOfWinters Somewhere deep in his mind, he makes the motion to crack open another soul-sphere, to draw its lifeforce into his own and go on fighting -- and only then, at the brink of temporary (but all too terrifying nonetheless) dissolution does he notice their absence.

MaskOfWinters The Mask of Winters is a deeply educated man, a master of probabilities, and a scholar of all things arcane -- enough, certainly to properly recognize the vast and unavoidable danger posed by the Magma Kraken only moments away from being called into being by Zahara's rapidly weaving fingers.

MaskOfWinters And so, he did what any such wise and educated scholar would do in the same position.

MaskOfWinters "Halt," he said, dropping to one knee amidst gouts of rising pyresmoke and the tatters of his robe. "I yield."

MaskOfWinters --------

Spring "So, can I borrow some Abyssals, then?"

< Uncomfortable Truths | Sol Invictus Logs | A Difficult Prisoner >

Page last modified on November 29, 2009, at 10:05 AM