Summary:The Solars fight off the undead menace that's suddenly struck, then race off to rescue a companion.

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


< Tough Job, I Guess | Sol Invictus Logs | A Fiery Interlude >

Zahara negotiates her way to the control room -- which now shows no signs whatsoever of the bloodstains left behind during Zahara's first visit -- where the elaborate ice display shows, in utter intricate detail, the ground beneath the city, and even the tiny frozen skeletons of the much larger beasts that even now begin their rampage below.

The Deliberators stand in the central chamber with the other Solars, most of them awaiting the word for how they ought next to act.

zahara uses the map as a focus for her magic, sliding the tips of her nails across the land ever so gently as she feels the ebb and flow of Air Fortress Aztaret, and then extends her senses to the surrounding water. It's been a long time since she's exchanged the crackling lick of fire for the pounding of the waves. And so she begins to chant.

The immensely huge quantity of Essence that is tapped deep within Crystal's elaborate amplification grid flows gently, in just a tiny, safe amount, into Spring's fingertips. It seems altogether too natural to control.

Varanim ::And here I thought I was just bailing on a boring meeting. Best day to stay home ever.::

Spring, through a variety of impressive and unusual means, drops to the ground below and begins running through the streets, towards the Auric Temple, even as the skeletons of megayeddims burst out of the ground around his feet.

Spring "Here we go again."

Cerin ::Oh, yes, you're at home. Would you just pop outside and look for any ji-beasts or other creatures from before humanity? It might be useful to know the scale of the incursion.::

Imrama Inside the Deliberative chamber, Imrama climbs an invisible staircase to address the crowd from the air.

Imrama "Dear friends and fellows, the war with the Lion has come to our very doorstep! I humbly suggest that each of us take a moment to contact our stewards and viziers in distant lands. Once the scope of this assault is known, we must devote ourselves at once to the defense of our host city and the free people of the Blessed Isle!"

Varanim ::Can't see any from my window,:: Varanim replies, sounding a little disappointed. ::Hm, I just had a hilarious idea. Might be out of touch for a bit, try not to lose the Blessed Isle.::

Cerin ::That is something of a relief. Try not to anything overly rash without good reason.::

aurora left the room.

There is a flurry of activity in the Deliberative chamber, a great deal of quiet shouting and rustling of various implements as the members of the body contact others from their nations. After just a minute or so, a picture emerges: the attack has covered all the Blessed Isle, but the incursion on lands beyond seems to be only in the form of

skeletons walking across the bottom of the Inland Sea, emerging wet and unholy to menace shoreline communities across the near Threshold.

Meanwhile, Spring finds himself dodging rapidly between ponderous skeletons as he runs down the empty roads of the former Imperial City. The Auric Temple rises up in front of him, almost just within reach -- but then, also rising up in front of him is the remnants of a huge tyrant lizard that Spring seems to have caught the empty eyesocket of. It "roars" silently and moves to step on him.

Imrama "Then our course is clear, O Heroes of the Earth! To arms! To arms! The Lion is coming!"

And far above, Zahara completes her casting, rivulets of water pouring from her fingers onto the tiny ice map even as below, the sky itself seems to open up and an almighty deluge spills out into the land, battering skeletons and trees and abandoned vegetable carts alike in its single-minded brutality.

In the chamber, the Deliberative members are inflamed by Imrama's speech. Flame-of-Glory heartily cheers Imrama. "Let us strike at them until none remain," he shouts, and with weapon drawn charges out the front door of the chamber -- just in time to see that those undead beasts who once held the power of flight have begun to gather in the city streets of Atzeret, ready to pick a fight.

Spring continues running towards the lizard skeleton, a slight smile curving his lips. As the bony foot comes down, he raises his hands to meet it, then shifts his hips in the Seventh Anti-Dinosaur Skeleton Technique -- a hackneyed move in this situation, true, but precisely because of its effectiveness.

Imrama strides with a purpose towards the nearest point of egress from the flying citadel. He takes three steps into the open air, and on the fourth, rests his foot on the deck of the Fable. He begins to call out the tune of a First Age air shanty, and one by one, the members of his phantom crew answer by appearing silently out of the sunlight.

zahara smiles in satisfaction, watching the scene play out in miniature on the map. "Nothing like a little widespread devastation to brighten my day, really," she muses.

The move -- despite claims to the contrary by certain seventh-dan masters of Swift Lizard Martial Arts -- does indeed do exactly as advertised, and Spring finds himself redirecting his foe's momentum in precisely the opposite direction, with just enough force to launch it into the rapidly oncoming torrential wall of water that is rapidly rushing towards Spring's current location.

Imrama's crew glitter brightly in the sun, a sharp contrast to the vague black aura that hangs around the zombified pterosaurs that swoop down and strike unpleasantly at him and his compatriots.

Cerin stands beside Imrama. The lines of purest sunfire his bow traces out towards any pterodactyls which would like to consider Imrama as lunch does act as a deterrent sufficient to keep Imrama unmolested as the Fable forms.

Bones split and pop at the slightest touch of Cerin's arrows, filling the air with a slight musk of cooked marrow, like one might experience during the cooking of an extremely evil stew.

Spring continues running for a few moments, then stops, tongue slightly protruding, and repeats the move he has just used a few times until he is satisfied with his form. Then he continues into the Auric Temple.

Imrama As Imrama finishes bringing the Fable to full battle-readiness he looks over his shoulder at Cerin, "Much obliged, my friend." Turning back to his crew, he shouts, "Man all guns. Our works not finished until nothing dead walks."

In the streets of Crystal, the members of the Exalted Deliberative do noble battle against their assailants. Depths-of-Ocean runs up a nearby building and leaps, wavecleaver out and mouth stuck in an eternal battle scream, onto the back of an undead flying beast, sending it careening towards its fellows so he can strike at them as well;

Nikoleta wields two hand-scythes with a practiced and calm air, hooking the creatures and snapping their bones with the practiced motions of a farmer clearing unwanted saplings from his land;

Jelter Hometra takes to the skies on his own wings, while Akuna follows him in the form of one of the very creatures whose remains they battle -- only elegantly patterned in interwoven silver and black feather patterns that were never seen by the world in the time these creatures still lived.

And on the deck of the Fable of the Reconstruction, a crew of beings who are also, in their own way, nothing but a memory of a bygone time ready the massive guns to fire.

Meanwhile, far below, Spring ducks quickly into the nearest door to the Auric Temple and shuts it behind him, perhaps three full seconds before the wave of water crashes with earth-shattering force into the building's outer wall, sending echoing reverberations through the halls of the ancient manse.

Imrama "On my mark. Mark!" with these words, Imrama looses an avalanche of sunfire onto the almost pittiable forms of the ancient remnants below.

zahara watches the water recede, carrying with it the smashed remains of thousands - say, those would maybe be useful for building her underwater, too gloomy - she is left mildly off-balance. A battle just doesn't feel right without a proper Kraken.

Beams of light as bright as the sun above -- brighter, perhaps, given the crescent that cuts away at its surface -- burst forth from the vessel, annihilating beastly skeletons in instants as they pass across their fragile forms, leaving nothing but the scent of a summer day behind.

Cerin decides to join Zahara in the control room, arcs of light flying from his bow as he moves over the outside of the deliberative building toward her.

zahara slips into her familiar incantation. Below, the drenched island begins to sizzle, then rumble as she pours her Essence into a second summoning. Fire to burn away the Water.

Inside the Imperial Manse, Spring finds himself less threatened and more easily able to navigate to his objective. A few minute's careful wandering takes him to the Dawn chamber, its black jade panel greeting him, an invitation for him to tap into the grid of weapons that underlies the entire Blessed Isle and use it as he sees fit.

Spring hums happily and begins pushing buttons more or less experimentally.

The panel responds to Spring's instructions like it was built to do nothing more than make him happy in this very moment. Quickly, he finds his mind filling with a mental image of the nearby isle, at an Essential level -- the dots of black that are the skeletons, the spreading blue ocean of water -- and then, even as he incorporates all this information, a red blossom opening

as Zahara's massively jacked-up Kraken opens its tendrils for the first time, instantly vaporizing several tons of water and filling the area with steam and superheated Essence.

As he reaches further into the system's capabilities, he finds the mechanisms -- the coiled, locked-down weaponry that are spread across the isle, ready to be deployed -- as well as the knowledge that any he unleashes now will not be ready to use again for a great time....

Spring ::On a scale of one to ten, how serious is this calamity?::

Spring ::I find myself too generally blase to judge.::

zahara ::So far it's nothing we can't handle. A mere army of skeletons is barely breaking a sweat.::

Zahara gets a good, close look at her kraken opening from the control room, just as Cerin slips through the window to stand next to her.

Cerin is careful to land with a footstep, although with deference to the urgency of the situation, the kiss on her cheek is almost simultaneous with this.

zahara is mildly startled nonetheless, but turns to embrace Cerin for a moment. "Something is happening."

Cerin "That is distressingly non-specific," he notes, slipping arms around her briefly before stepping back a little.

zahara nods toward the map

Spring shrugs, and looks for the least prepossessing weapon system available.

Even as the combined forces of the Solars tear away at the forces of darkness, Zahara notices something at the same time Spring does, looking at a very different map from a very different place: many of the remnants of these creatures have started to move of their own accord, bones pulling together like magnets dropped on ice, slowly yet inexorably,

slipping beneath the vast tendrils of the Magma Kraken and joining into something -- bigger.

Spring "Hm."

Cerin "Ah."

zahara "I really hope this isn't another SUE."

The bones stick together at whatever odd angles they strike one another, growing larger and larger like some child's implausible drawing, even as the black energy they emit begins to grow stronger.

zahara crosses her arms, concentrates for a moment, then makes a slashing gesture outwards, striking at the creature with Solar Circle Countermagic... though she doubts it'll really help.

Cerin studies it, to try and asscertain if this is a probable explanation.

Spring frowns and begins pushing a different set of buttons.

From somewhere in the vicinity, a single bone, previously prepared for use in the All-Shattering Ten Thousand Vile Femurs Assault, is subtly reharmonized to vibrate with a different energy, and it begins to clink along the ground, to join its compatriots in the vast (and growing) bone morass.

Spring ::Zahara. Can you see, on your map, the three thousandth, four hundredth and forty-third bone from the left?::

zahara ::Are you serious?::

Spring ::Hm.::

Cerin ::Is that the one with the deep black striations?:: Cerin looks through the floor.

Spring ::Let me check. Yes.::

Cerin ::What is its significance?:: he enquires as he studies it closer.

Spring ::I have affected it, such that it will be absorbed into the growing monstrosity. If you were to use Crystal's armament to fill it with divine Essence, it would further my intentions.::

Cerin obliges.

Imrama In the meanwhile, Imrama continues to smash monstrous skeletons with zeal and glee.

zahara ::Couldn't pick the giant dinosaur skeleton bone could you? No you have to pick some tiny-ass bone with black stripes:: she grumbles.

Up on the deck, Elana Jiye and Winter leaf fight back to back, leaving shattered ice-coated bones all around their feet, even as Xuan Ei picks off creatures from a great distance with tiny golden missiles that leap swiftly from her hands.

Meanwhile, divine energy flows into that one single bone from above, infusing it as per Spring's instructions.

As time moves on, the bone structure grows even larger, and some vague shape begins to appear in it -- nothing beyond the vague form of huge pseudopods and a sunken depression for a mouth, but that is enough for it to begin to move, walking and pushing across the wet, muddy ground in an attempt to reach out and swallow Atzeret entire.

Spring continues punching buttons, preparing the next move while keeping an eye on the creature.

Imrama ::This seems like an inauspicious development, my friends.::

zahara ::I knew we should have made Varanim come with us.::

Spring ::Just for the record. We are all agreed that this thing does not have a soul, right?::

zahara ::It's barely got a body::

Cerin ::It is a construct of necromancy. Emphasis on the construct.::

Spring ::Good.::

Spring ::Just a few moments more, then.::

Imrama ::So I shouldn't shoot it, then? Because I would normally shoot a thing like this.::

Spring ::shrug::

Spring ::Shooting it will probably be fine.::

zahara looks out the nearest window, searching for Akuna's feathered form. No one would notice if he disappeared right now, would they? Surely not.

Imrama ::Well, alright!:: Blazing sunbolts rain down from the Fable onto the lumbering bone mass. As nothing more than perfectly focused, essence-charged light, they make no sound, but to the keenest ears, such as Cerin's, an accompanying sound can be heard as Imrama shouts "Krzap!" from inside his ship's hull.

Hundreds and hundreds of bones blast off on impact from Imrama's bolts, and more from the swipes the magma kraken takes at its bottom quarters, though the mass as a whole continues to grow.

The creature lunges forward, its vast depression mouth wrapping around the edge of Atzeret, its bony pseudopods gripping the sides -- millions of bone splinters shattering and streaking through the air in every direction, black energy rolling off of it like oil off of a badly-cooked fish...

The city begins to shake, its internal stabilization fighting valiantly against the beast's efforts to tear it from the sky.

zahara sents a jolt of Celestial energy down its throat, "GET YOUR MANGY MOUTH OFF MY CITY!"

The Deliberators on the surface, even the still largely unfazed Akuna, begin to move to the (relative) safety of inside the city, rather than out where they can be struck by tens of thousands of jagged, burning bones at any time.

Zahara sees through the windows that the wave is following close on the heels of the Exalts who duck inside, and its grip on the city seems to be growing stronger even as waves of bones grow higher and higher on the streets, rising up towards the high point where Zahara and Cerin stand...

Imrama In swooping arcs, the Fable flies circles around the bone-mass's 'head', pelting it with sunbolts.

Spring nods, observing the situation, and pushes the button.

There is a moment, a long moment, where there is no sound, nothing to be heard within one hundred miles of the city.

Then, suddenly, there are all the sounds at once.

A comet of white light, moving almost too quickly to see, shoots into the scene from somewhere far away, ejected from the Realm Defense Grid with astonishing force; it swings through the air, gathering up Imrama's sunbolts and wrapping them within itself; spinning around each kraken tendril until its fiery essence is drawn up into a burning cocoon;

and then, zooming, moving directly towards that single bone, carefully transformed into a beacon through Cerin's divine energy injection -- it strikes, and there is a truly massive explosion.

Every bone in the creature's massive frame bursts outward at an unimaginable speed, producing a shockwave that buffets against the Fable's hull and sends Atzeret skidding miles across the sky at a 45-degree angle, upended by the force of the explosion...

zahara sees what's coming a second before the explosion (having cleverly put two and two together with the whole bone thing) and braces herself for the explosion. She flips the Bonds around the base of the map pedestal to make sure she will not get shoved rudely away from them, steps into the air, and concentrates on steering the city back to safety

It's not too long before Zahara can slow the city in the air, readjust it to its proper position, and scan out over the end results of this assault: a great deal of the landscape scarred, sodden, and scorched, certainly many things destroyed and many citizens lost in the interim -- but the threat now, at least, defeated, the bone fragments that rain down on the ground below now stripped of all their power.

zahara ::I hope this puts a dent in the Lion's ongoing invasion. The smell is atrocious. ::

Spring ::Perhaps we can ship them back somehow.::

From somewhere below where Zahara is standing, she can hear the sounds of Deliberators grumbling and moaning as they readjust from the rough ride they just had.

Imrama From the prow of the Fable, Imrama surveys the wreckage, looking for survivors in nead of assistance.

There is little that could possibly resemble a "survivor" in the immediate area, though much further away Imrama identifies some areas where citizens had managed to survive on high ground against the rather ridiculous odds stacked against them in this particular sequence of events.

Spring ::So how is the trial going?::

Imrama ::Postponed due to calamity. And possibly to be done away with entirely, depending on our next step with the Lion.::

Colapso ::There.:: Lucent's anima begins to dim as he steps from higher ground down lower, amidst the remains of the beast. ::The evacuation is finished. Everyone who.. everyone who could get to safety, did. I am sorry for being too slow. You did a great job, Imrama, Spring.::

zahara ::Oh come on, the wave thing was pretty good, am I right?::

Colapso ::That it was. Sorry, I was a little busy when it happenned, Empress.::

Spring ::Wait, that wave was you? That nearly killed me.::

zahara ::How nearly?::

Lucent ::I think that is rather not the point!::

Spring ::Not at all nearly. All right. Withdrawn.::

Lucent ::You should apologize! Friends are not supposed to nearly kill friends or el... oh, ok, then!::

zahara ::Thank you. I had every faith in you to be able to bypass my sorcery without dying.::

Lucent ::He was fortunate. But three hundred sixty-three died today. Sixty-four. Sixty-five.:: Lucent continued counting as he walked the lower levels. The pieces of their bodies dragged around him in a grotesque orbit, tended by little crying Incarna.

zahara ::Honestly that's not bad considering the size of the army of undead. Think positive!"

Lucent ::I am thinking of killing the Lion. Dead. Er, deader. You KNOW!::

Lucent ::... is that positive?::

zahara ::Sounds good to me. Better for the world and all of that shiny stuff.::

Spring ::You might want to talk to Varanim about that. I believe she has gone into the Underworld.::

Lucent smiles. ::And that's why I love y -- wait, she has done WHAT WHEN?!?::

Lucent ::Please tell me she did not go to the Lion on her own.::

Spring ::I am trying to develop a reputation based on never lying. Zahara?::

zahara ::I'm just irritated that she went without me. Though this was fun too.::

zahara ::Yes?::

Lucent ::DAMNIT!:: A conflagration of fifty yards radius marks the Zenith Caste Mark in fire as Lucent gives burial to the three hundred sixty-seven people he had managed to gather, rising atop his night butterfly towards the Fable! ::Imrama, how fast can you get to The Thousand? We cannot let Varanim in there alone. Not THERE!::

Spring ::Oh. I was asking if you could help Lucent by lying to him as he had requested. I think it might be academic now.::

Imrama ::Very fast. But have you considered that our dramatic entrance might disturb whatever plan Varanim is following?::

Lucent ::The last time she went there she LOST AN ARM!::

Spring ::Well, she has another.::

Lucent ::Not the point!::

zahara ::Imrama's point, however is quite pointed.::

Lucent ::... trust... her... that is kind of extreme!::

zahara ::Now now, that's no way for a paramour to think of his love.::

zahara ::Say, Varanim. How's everything going in the underworld? Do you need a dramatic rescue or any such? I have to say it sounds fun.::

Lucent ::I did not m... not like... you KNOW!::

Varanim is either still cross-Shroud and thus out of range, or doesn't want to dignify that with a response.

Spring ::Why is it called the Thousand, anyway?::

Lucent ::I do trust her! I just worry about her!::

Lucent ::Impressive suntuous number. According to Varanim other Necromancers are always about tacky intimidation tactics.::

zahara ::Well, perhaps we can show up in some other part of the Thousand, and distract them all et cetera et cetera.::

Lucent ::GREAT idea!::

Lucent ::They expect us to retaliate, probably! Let us to do that!::

zahara ::In fact I would feel good about some retaliation. Let's go!:: She makes for the ship

Imrama "Ah, marvelous concensus!" Imrama smiles as he sets in a speedy course to the fortress of the enemy.

< Tough Job, I Guess | Sol Invictus Logs | A Fiery Interlude >

Page last modified on November 29, 2009, at 02:20 AM