Summary:The Solars fly to the Thousand to rescue Varanim and try to cause a little damage along the way.

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


< A Fiery Interlude | Sol Invictus Logs | Half Dead >

Imrama Through storm and wrack, between churning clouds and a boiling sea, like some great maw clamped nearly shut, flies the Fable of the Reconstruction. It shines as a beacon as thunder pulses through the twilight world of the Seven Leagues of the Looking Glass. Below deck, safe from the storm and the worst of its noise, the Circle of the Sunlands await

Imrama arrival at that cursed citadel: the Thousand.

Lucent glares at it "Direct your fire carefully, Admiral - remember that Varanim is down there somewhere."

Cerin "Perhaps some thought, then, before we go in guns blazing with sunlight?"

Imrama 's heart sinks in his chest at Cerin's wise caution. But he's such a pro, you'd never know it.

Spring "Does anybody have a plan?"

zahara "The ship is already fairly bright, and our charge is to be a distraction for Varanim is it not?"

Cerin "Well, I suggest some thought only that our distraction can also be useful in its own right."

Cerin "It seems like a shame to waste the occasion, as it were."

Lucent "Well, you are the one with thousand-league eyes - what can you see that could, and should, be crippled?"

Cerin examines the Thousand over the edge of the Fable, both physically and geomantically, looking for concentrations of troops and nexuses of power which would prove tempting to target. He also looks for defences...

Just as the moment calls for it, Imrama's crew tack slightly into the wind and push through the paper-thin border of the Leagues, emerging now into the dead air of the Netheos skies, where the ship positions itself conveniently behind a nearby soot cloud.

Far below them, the jagged peaks of the mountain range known as the Thousand rise up, and betwixt them hundreds of tinier peaks of ghostly manufacture -- the spires and towers of the Lion's vast and sweeping fortress complex, which tunnels and breaks through the mountains to such an intertwined degree that the name of one is that of the other.

Wan lights glow from these false peaks, only slightly illuminating their matte-black surfaces, even as redder glows emanate from the half-extinct volcanos that dot the range.

Along the southernmost edge of the fortress-range, the mountain known as the Merciless rises up, the center of the Lion's core stronghold and the locale of Varanim's previous visit. It seems by far to draw the most Essence, to Cerin's eye, with at least three significant ley nexuses beneath its jagged surface,

and the most heavily-gathered undead troops seem to be stored in the two sections which most nearly border it.

As for defenses, Cerin notes hidden catapults, coiled bone-chain launchers, bubbled void-energy held in check to be launched indiscriminately at foes through the breaking of soulsteel restraints, and at least seven other distinct forms of both aerial and ground targeted weapons which can be easily used from almost any point on the mountain's exterior.

Cerin relays this information for the benefit of those who cannot see through clouds of soot dense enough to hide the Fable

Imrama "So, it seems that the nation-sized fortress built by history's first and mightiest death-tyrant over a span of centuries, sparing no expense and with the aid of a million million tireless slaves, is, in fact, rather well defended." ::Guns blazing with sunlight must be starting to look pretty good right now, huh?:: Imrama thinks to himself.

zahara "Perhaps a little."

zahara "You know, it would be sort of fun to make that volcano blow."

Cerin "I do find myself unsurprised at this development, it is true."

zahara nudges Cerin fondly "you're not surprised about anything though."

Spring There is a sound from Spring's direction, like that of face meeting hand, but anyone who turns to look sees nothing unusual.

Lucent "So if we shattered those ley-nexuses and ran as fast as we could... Cerin, Spring. You think it would?"

Cerin "Would be impractical, yes."

Cerin "Imrama, I believe your initial plan has much to recommend it. However, if we fly this line" he gestures on a line towards the center of the Thousand "And shoot there more than other places" he indicates a collection of towers. "And then peel off, when the fire gets too heavy."

Spring "I have to agree that we should avoid getting too strongly committed."

Imrama 's heart leaps as the prospect of solar gunfire returns. But he's such a pro, you'd never know it.

Spring "However, I was under the impression that the Fable was, not to put too fine a point on it, indestructible."

Spring "We need not concern ourselves with most of the enemy's artillery; the only real danger is from those weapons which might affect us personally."

zahara gets a sour look as she recalls what happened to her first, not so indestructible airship.

Lucent "There are techniques to desestabilize Essence Constructs such as the fable, but I do not think any of those are ranged. So beware flying Abyssals?"

Spring "Or Abyssals fired out of catapults."

Imrama "Strictly speaking, it is not so much indestructable. It just requires an inordinant amount of time and effort to destroy."

The fortress' pale lights throb and hum softly, far below the Fable's hiding place in the clouds.

Spring "In any case, I think, in order to be an effective distraction, we ought to take a slightly more direct approach." He points towards the Merciless.

zahara ::Varanim, can you hear me?::

Varanim ::Yes. Say, what has five eyeballs and a black ivory ball?::

zahara ::Ummm... you?::

Lucent ::A half-blind Spider!::

Spring ::Please tell me the answer is not the First and Forsaken Lion."

Spring '''::

Varanim shrugs, answering as she crams everything small enough to be easily portable in her bag. ::I think those are all wrong. But I'm a little busy not being on fire right now, will catch up soon.::

Cerin ::Something which should be looked at later?::

zahara ::You're not in the main tower are you? I only ask because we might blow it up and you said you don't want to be on fire.::

Varanim ::Or be looked at BY later, oh ho ho. Fire away.::

zahara ::Alright then. Do you want us to pick you up or do you have some clever plan worked up on how to escape with your skin et cetera intact?::

Varanim ::Hm, let me get back to you on that.::

zahara "Ok, well, I think it's time to blow some shit up."

Cerin ::Okay, though we don't plan to stay long::

Lucent ::And Take Care. Please.::

Varanim ::Luckily, it's one of those quick turnaround research questions. Have fun storming the castle.::

zahara ::It'd take a miracle for this to work.::

Lucent ::It always does.::

Spring ::Harel?::

There's a long pause, then an oddly muffled mental response: ::.......yes?::

Spring ::I happen to be in town for the weekend. Any suggestions on places to visit?::

...boy, I sure am thirsty. I'd better go to the seventh declension tower on the southeastern peak and get a drink...
: Harel seems to be a little paranoid about his thoughts being overheard.

Spring "As long as we are here, I have someone I ought to meet. I will catch up with you all in due time. Perhaps, Imrama, if you could just dip a little lower...."

zahara shrugs. "May as well."

Imrama swings the Fable down low, out of the soot cloud, to bring Spring within jumping distance of his desired tower. Leveling off, he banks around to train the starboard guns on one of the mountain's energy nexi. There is a blinding flash, and the air of Netheos sizzles with the righteous heat of the Sun.

Spring hops off at the right moment, doffing his hat politely, and falls into an entirely different scene.

zahara considers the landscape as she summons up the Essence to cast her favorite spell. Honestly at this point it's more a signature than a weapon of mass destruction...

There is a surprisingly huge explosion as pyreflame and twisted Essence burst outwards from the site of Imrama's volley, shooting outwards in an undistinguished mass before bending out in tiny streamers that align themselves to the invisible Essence currents of the air and streak off like fiery snakes into the sky beyond...

Imrama nods, pleased at the outcome, and brings the ship around for a pass over the next target.

From several points on the exterior of the mountain, one of the other seven defenses Cerin observed spring into action: ancient skeletal birds, their bones reinforced with soulsteel, stretched over with tanned human skin, armed with Essence blasters and piloted through the air by nemissaries. A cloud of at least twenty slice through the air and bank strongly towards the Fable,

deathly Essence spitting out of them in a ratatatat of spiky greyish-black energy globules.

Imrama "Maintain bombardment, and take evassive action!" Imrama calls out the orders as he takes to the Fable's deck, and unholsters his guns.

The Fable continues to fire away at the exterior of the mountain, even as the defense systems come in to try to put a halt to it.

zahara releases her spell with a flourish. The very mountain shudders as magma suddenly flows through it. Instead of her usual vague circle of tentacles, this time, they burst forth from the mountain in a pattern, one after the other. For a moment, the tentacles lay down, forming a perfect Z, complete with flourishes on the end. Then they go about dismantling anything that comes within range, and the mountain itself when there's nothing else.

Lucent stepped on the nearest opening in the Fable, letting out the Coronal upon the undead birds like a rain of light! Each breaking into different orbs, of different colors... it filled the sky with a thousand cascades of cutting terror, lighting up its clouds and cleaving anything in its way!

Zahara's tendrils begin to smash away at the mountain, triggering another defense mechanism: sluices open up high above and frigid, brackish water begins to cascade down the sides, cooling the hot magma at a touch.

Meanwhile, bird after bird explodes in a brilliant shower of sparks as Lucent's orbs pound through them, scattering their component pieces to dust.

zahara directs the tentacles to form her new signature as they cool, while at the same time working with the new ammunition provided by the defenses.

Lucent "Look, they were ready for you! Specifically! That must be flattering."

zahara "It kind of is, actually." she grins at Lucent. "I'll have to make sure to prepare some specifically anti-Lion defenses to return the gesture."

Lucent "Delicious mice?"

zahara "I like it!"

Imrama "The Lion is wise enough to know who might come for him. A pity he is not wise enough to know he will fall." Imrama raises Kilauea and Pentecost and begins to fire, his hands whipping back and forth at such speed that they become a blur of fire and lightning. The cascading volley of randiant bolts flies towards the remaining necrotic birds.

Fireworks fill the dark and cloudy sky of Netheos as more defenses fall under the brilliantly-lit attacks of the Solar Exalts.

zahara The brackish waves spilling from the top of the mountain, soon begin to slow in their descent, the waters churning with new energy. With a flick of her wrist (and quite a lot of Essence), Zahara turns the water upon itself, driving it back into and through the mountain with crushing force.

Cerin ignores all of the explosions and the incoming riders. He knows that the others can deal with them. Instead he picks his targets carefully, taking his time. The rank and file have nothing to fear from Cerin, today at least. Those of unusually high essence or apparent import to the Lion's army, on the other hand ...

Cerin ... they end up eaten.

Lucent crosses the streams of his cascades of lights with Imrama's radiant bolts, images of the Incarna formed in fire and lighting whenever their explosive meetings finish!

The water that cooled her kraken now drives its way into the mountain, springing leaks in the Thousand and crushing any unfortunates standing too nearby; meanwhile, Cerin's arrows dart through tiny cracks in windows and thin layers of rock to strike out ghostly lieutenants, too swiftly for them to even realize that they've been (re)slain.

Lucent And in their lights, Lucent gives his message, loud enough for all to hear

Lucent Journeys Spoke: "In the name of heaven" and Kilauea's shot went through her, shooting farther than all others through scores of birds!

Lucent Mars Spoke: "We will punish you!" and Pentecost's shot went through her, shattering skeletons with an angry shout!

Lucent The Sun Spoke: "For those who harm my children..." and Kilauea's shot went through him, exploding brilliant in all directions!

Lucent Saturn Spoke: "... Eye for an Eye!" And the let her sword fall, and Lucent struck through the manner it shattered over all the ground.

And even through a sky filled with ten million tiny glowing emenations from the pyrotechnics unleashed by his compatriots, Cerin notices instantly when a figure matching Varanim's Essence profile steps up into a tower on the far eastern edge of the mountain.

Cerin ::Not wanting to be rude, Varanim, but do you want to be rescued, or at least retrieved? I can't help but notice that the tower you are in is rather on fire.::

Varanim ::Aren't you a thoughtful duck, I was just about to call. One more moment.::

Cerin "Imrama, if you'd be so good as to swing a little to port?"

Imrama gives a salute, his weapon still in hand. "Aye." With his left foot striking the deck, Imrama taps out the command.

Cerin ::Oh, don't rush. Lucent is having fun with rainbows::

Varanim ::I've never been so glad to not be near a window. Take the top off whenever you're ready, it's been a few years since I smelled my own burning flesh.::

Cerin "Imrama, how accurate are the guns of the Fable? Varanim wants a roof blowing off, but given where she is standing, it really should only be the roof."

Imrama "Best I do it myself then." Imrama strides severa feet to the ship's prow, takes aim with Pentecost, and squeezes once. The phoenix of alchemical fire that is momentarily birthed into the world screams a noiseless scream as it dives for the tower, strikes its topmost point, and explodes.

zahara reclines on the deck in a convenient hammock as she recovers from her exertions. She tucks her hands behind her head, and closes her eyes. "Wake me up if I'm about to die or some such."

Lucent reaches with his Primordial senses for Varanim... and on the moment the Fable was even an inch close enough to feel her through the ceiling-less building he pulled, fishing Varanim out of the building and flames and through the air towards the deck! ::Am I interrupting anything?::

Varanim "Erk." Varanim peers down into the cell as she rises, reaching an arm down if needed. ::You think you can get me to say things were about to get really hot with an Abyssal, but you're wrong::

Cerin ::I think you just did?::

Lucent ::She loves to pretend she didn't say those silly lines. She's too serious to, you know!::

A small hand does indeed reach out to grab Varanim's, and when she finds herself alighting on the deck of the Fable, another figure alights beside her: a tall woman, wavy black hair cascading down to the small of her back, greyish-brown skin, clad in what must be prisoner's garb of black, and carrying a simple silver flute.

Lucent "You have gained wei -- oh."

Imrama regards his new passenger with a generous, if careful, eye.

Varanim regards Lucent with an ungenerous eye, then remembers she's missing a gloat and turns around to wave goodbye to the Jester.

zahara peers lazily over at Varanim and raises a brow at the newcomer. "This isn't like Lucent's pet Abyssals is it?"

Lucent "Ember is my brother! And Crow is..." He considers for a moment. "... most definetly NOT a pet!"

Varanim rolls her eyes at Zahara as if suggesting that Lucent's reaction is all the answer that deserves.

Imrama's generous eye provides him with the name "Kala Raani."

Lucent takes a step closer, "You are free now. Do not worry, we are the good guys."

< A Fiery Interlude | Sol Invictus Logs | Half Dead >

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