Summary:The Circle is forced to defeat Winter as he attempts to turn their own resources against them.

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

< Onset of Winter | Sol Invictus Logs | A Disarming Procedure >

Cerin, in less than an instant, has fully cataloged the contents of Winter's stomach: including a wide variety of living animals, numerous strange objects, several soulsteel objects of uncertain purpose, and no fewer than six mortal ghosts, rolled up conveniently into a cylindrical shape for easier storage.

`Kraken ::What are the ghosts for?:: Cerin wonders over the telepathic link they share. He summons his orichalcum bow as he does.

`Winter "Now, if you will excuse me..." Winter begins to walk steadily towards the wall closest to the outside.

`Lucent ::Empress. I humbly request your permission to disrupt the Essence flows of the Labyrinthine Cascade.::

`zahara ::I am not so sure that is a good idea... but I trust you. Don't kill my home please.::

`Lucent had been reaching beneath Winter, applying the pressure of his Primordial grasp to the entire ground beneath Winter. He touches each grain of sand around it, filling each minute void in the architecture, and with a single gesture he pulls down ALL of it, breaking the floor too fast for one to leap out! ::Only the floor. I will give you a nice red carpet afterwards to make up.::

`Winter falls, softly, into the pit below him...and continues walking into the wall, his body disappearing into it with a glistening translucency. With the hand that has yet to pass into the wall, he waves, and for just a moment the whistling of the wind is accompanied by a discordant choir of eight whispering voices -- just a moment, before the eight voices coalesce into eight grim-faced ghosts,...

`Winter ...which some of the Solars may recognize as assassins who, once upon a time, worked for Kasima the Knive.


`Winter In the Cascade, where surprisingly few souls have met their end, only a few ghosts answer to the Deathlord's call. In Solaria, recently home to a vicious terror attack, the voices of the dead amount to nothing less than a cacophony, before Cerin can detect a staggering number of ghosts appearing within the greater Sunlands area. But out near the edges, at a forlorn pit once frequented by...

`Winter ...Lucien...the sound is very loud indeed.

`zahara cringes.

`zahara "My floor," she sighs unhappily.

`Varanim There is an echoing void of silence around Varanim's head which just exactly could fit the words, 'I told you so.'

`Cerin ::Varanim, it appears Winter has raised some ghosts.::

`Lucent "Cheater." Lucent grumbles as he watches Winter disappearing, stepping down the hole with the Coronal-Stairs.

`zahara With an irritated wave, the walls shift aside at Zahara's command, opening after Spring's disappearing ass. "This is MY HOUSE. My walls. My rules." And the bell rings out, not caring whether or not he is ephemeral, the points of her angry swords riding the sonic wave

`Winter almost automatically moves towards the approaching attack in a smooth and accepting motion that, without the Solar Essence normally running through him, utterly fails to protect him from the assault. As the bell's sound begins to eat away at him, the swords slash through him multiple times, relentlessly....but instead of the gouts of blood one might expect, they throw off shimmering clouds...

`Winter ...of ghostly flesh, which glimmer and vanish, leaving a mutilated corpse behind, only moments from hitting the ground.

`Winter In those moments, his cut-open stomach rumbles, and those who can see it see one of the ghosts in his belly shiver, stretch and fall apart, bit by bit, into the nothingness of Oblivion -- and the Deathlord's ghostly body knits itself back together, until it stands healthy again, or as healthy as it can be. Winter lets out a soft burp, and pats his chest.

`zahara "One down. How many left?"

`Cerin ::Five::

`Varanim ::A baby Deathlord, playing with toy ghosts? I'll take care of it, but only if you promise Lucent won't be allowed to adapt it to some nauseating children's theater thing.::

`Lucent ::Not even if you are shown as a shining heroine taking the bad ghosts away?::

`Winter ::Must this be difficult? I only want to leave.::

`Varanim takes a drink, reaches sideways, and pulls the Mask of Summers down to obscure her face. Then she simply watches with mild interest. Outside there is an oppressive sense of gathering thunder, but the only visible effect is across the Shroud, where clouds begin to spiral in above the Cascade in the previously barren Netheos sky.

`Lucent ::And we want the Spring BACK. And if need be, we will punish the Winter in the name of the Sun!:: Lucent takes the sub-orb in his hands and throws it down to one of the ghosts... and a single moment before touching the ninja's face, it stopped. And then exploded with shards going everywhere, with the ghost-burning radiance of the sun!

`Lucent ::Or to be more coloquial, this is an intervention on your dead-addiction.::

A ninja explodes, leaving ectoplasm dripping off the nearby walls and a slight scorch mark on the floor beneath where it stood a moment earlier.

`Cerin Cerin draws his hand down the air, leaving a glowing string of motes. He plucks them from their places one at a time, sending them flying towards Winter in a hail of golden fire. Each one seeking his death-blacked ... solar plexus.

`Winter manages to control his defensive movements this time, and floats sideways into a wall, which explodes outwards as the arrows pass through it and thud into Winter. He collapses, curled around the glowing arrows, then, as another ghost shrivels away, they go out, one by one, and he rises to his feet as if on puppet strings.

`Winter glances upwards as he continues moving into yet another wall, looking at Lucent first, then Cerin, Varanim, and settling on Zahara. He reaches out with one hand and whispers a word in a language dead for thousands of years, and the Dreambreaker feels an unexpected tug, as her hun and po attempt to suddenly part ways.

`Winter Meanwhile, the seven ghosts swarm towards Cerin, who can see a similar but much larger movement occurring with the mass of ghosts out in Solaria proper, marching on the Cascade with, it can be assumed, ectoplasmic torches and pitchforks.

Zahara feels herself grow lighter... lighter... like her whole body had become a balloon.... then, with a sudden tearing sound, she finds herself floating above her own body -- which seems to carry on with a life of its own.

`Cerin ignores the ghosts.

`zahara "Oh you are in SO MUCH TROUBLE, Thirteen Springy Winters!"

`Varanim "Actually, you want to use a hook for tha... never mind." Varanim points at Winter and speaks firmly to Zahara's body. "Grab the idiot."

`Varanim Outside, milk curdles for a quarter mile around the Cascade.

`Winter passes into the wall, and as Cerin tracks him, he has a realization -- with the Manse modifications that Zahara put into place when he fled, and taking into account the wall that his arrows destroyed, the Manse's shape is surprisingly close to forming a Wasirran character -- the character for "Oblivion." In fact, it would only take the destruction of one wall to complete it -- the wall, of...

`Winter ...course, that Winter is standing in.

`zahara 's lower self, relieved of the burden of thought, goes tearing after the recently departed Spring, bringing her daiklave down on the walls with shattering force.

`zahara "MY SLATE"

`Cerin ::We can't destroy the wall he's in,:: Cerin says. ::Fortunately, I don't have to::

`Cerin ::Ah.::

Somewhere, in the bowels of the Cascade, there is a strange gurgling noise, and then all the ambient lights go out.

`Lucent ::Winter, are you aware this is looking more and more like what A VILLAIN WOULD DO?!?::

`Lucent ::Maybe because you are now a villain?::

`Lucent ::Maybe?::

`Winter ::We have always done what we had to do, to survive, and to save Creation, Lucent.::

`Lucent ::Are you going to laugh maniacally now?::

`Lucent asks Cerin, ::Why can we not destroy that wall?::

`Cerin ::It was the last wall keeping him within the confines of the cascade.::

`zahara "I am going to kill you so many times you will lose count!"

`Cerin Cerin continues to ignore the ghosts which swarm around him. Now freed from the constraints of needing to protect the geomancy since it's aready broken beyond convinient repair, he's free to be a little more liberal with his targeting of the arrows. The smashed walls offering lines of sight also helps. Cerin's form blurs as he teleports, and then there's the spark of an arrow, cutting lines of fire across the room. A dropped

`Cerin catchfly petal. Another blur, another cascade of fire. A dropped guilder rose petal. Another blur, burning lines of light. Another catchfly petal. Another blur, a scratched sigil cut into the slate. A drop of blood. To close the ward of solar fire which now surrounds Winter.

`zahara 's ghost shouts epithets and threats as her body keeps smashing away at the slate.

`Winter floats into the fiery ward and grunts, stepping back. Turning his head slightly, he examines it, then closes a fist, shadow welling up inside it and dripping out the sides.

`Winter opens his mouth, unhinging it to a grotesque degree, and the four remaining souls inside him float outwards, soaked in shadow, and, struggling, are pushed outwards into the boundaries of the ward. They sizzle agonizingly as the necromantic force in Winter's fist battles the boundaries of the Wolf. One, two, burn away, and then a thin opening is seen, a slightly dimmer point in the line,...

`Winter ...and Winter slips out.

`zahara "That's disgusting."

`Winter "I...," he hisses, "believe we have had this conversation before."

`zahara "And you're still disgusting."

`zahara figures since he's dematerialized and so is she, she may as well try an old fashioned brawl, and she leaps on him with a ghostly howl, translucent fists trying to grab his eyes and tear them out. Meanwhile her body just tries to tear him to shreds, using everything at its disposal. Currently 6 weapons and some brute strength.

`Winter wrestles more or less effectively with Zahara's hun, but in doing so leaves himself open for her body's strikes, taking a few vicious lacerations. He reaches out, and one of Kasima's assassins, the one most injured by the Bell, is sucked down, into his hand, and he presses it into his mouth and swallows hard. As it digests, his wounds heal again.

`Varanim Outside, anyone looking up at the Cascade would see a scrap of black feathers lift from the pinnacle, then unfold into the form of the giant crow Algorab. Dead eyes also see it haloed in the brilliance of summer as it croaks impossibly loud, speaking a wordless order to all ghosts in earshot: turn away, this carnage is claimed as the territory of a greater power.

There's a sound, like ten thousand feet suddenly clamping into lockstep, and all of the remaining Kasima ghosts twist into place, their fluid motions suddenly gone and replaced with standing stock still, each one's face pointed precisely at the crow floating far above, that living eyes cannot see....

`Varanim "Someone wake me up when amateur hour is over, I have a bottle to finish."

`Winter mutters something in a blackened, dead language that few people alive or dead can understand. Those who know what it sounds like when the creatures of the Void speak to one another, though, can understand his brief statement as meaning, approximately, "An undetermined thing haswill havedid become wrong."

`Lucent "That's what Glimpse said." There are two things Lucent does. The first is is to spread his arms and chant to the Sun for help, and suddenly the remains of all the ghosts they had destroyed vanished, a brilliant conflagration filling the entire room, and from that light came translucent figures, each speaking, their words just going through him...

`Lucent "This is not where it should take you," Said Mercury

`Lucent "This is not where joy lies," Said Venus

`Lucent "This is not who you should battle," Said Mars

`Lucent "This is not why," Said Jupiter

`Lucent "This is only ends," Said Saturn

`Lucent "This is not how you should change," Said the Moon

`Lucent "This is not what my children should be," Said the Sun

`Lucent All words that went through him, but for the last one, the gentleman in dark blue, who reached up to him like a million knives.

`Lucent "This is not what Winter means."

`Lucent The gentleman in blue reached up to him... and then he was just the dark blue orb of Pluto, which landed on Winter's forehead like the proverbial apple on Brigid

The orb strikes his forehead with incredible force. Winter blinks twice, as if in the utmost confusion, and then collapses to the floor in an unceremonious heap.

`zahara sits on him, and continues trying to claw the artifact eyes out of his head. "Should have never given you anything. Never again."

`Lucent "... huh, that worked."

`Varanim "Zahara, stop that. Lucent, if I show you where Zahara's Hun is, can you put her back together? I have bigger things to worry about."

`Varanim pulls off the Mask, and takes a drink.

`Varanim "We're going to a spot about fifty miles from here. Zahara, I'll need that thing I asked you to make. Lucent... do whatever mental exercises you need to make yourself ready for doing what I tell you, for once."

`zahara "Oh, yeah, I'll get right on that." she says indignantly, flicking goop off one ectoplasm-covered hand

`Lucent "Yes, I certainly can." Lucent nods, reaching out to hold Zahara with a pincer made out of the Pluto Orb. "But she is so cute like this!"

`Cerin "Lucent ..." Cerin says, warning in his tone.

`Lucent "Kidding, kidding! Hahahahaha." Lucent looked contrite at Cerin, then to Zahara's Hun, "Empress, can I hold you with this, I promise not to hurt at all?"

`zahara "Like you didn't ruin my floor?"

`Lucent "I never said I would NOT ruin your floor!"

`Varanim ::Cerin,:: Varanim says privately, ::is there a story between Zahara and the floor that I urgently need to know?::

`Cerin ::The floor is made of slate:: Cerin says. As if this should explain everything.


< Onset of Winter | Sol Invictus Logs | A Disarming Procedure >

Page last modified on April 25, 2011, at 08:14 PM