Summary:The Solars battle to rescue the remnants of Brigid, while Spring takes an unexpected dive into the mouth of the Void.

XP:C4, I4, S4, V4, Z4

< Plots that Span Centuries | Sol Invictus Logs | Everything Went As We Intended It To >

`Sark "Is she not grand?" says the ancient priest, pride beaming in his strangely-accented voice.

`zahara "She is indeed amazing." Zahara says

`Sark "And she is almost complete. Soon the entirety of her familial retinue will join at her side." And he looks knowingly at Zahara's sternum area.

`zahara "And when she is complete, then what?"

`Sark "The final night will begin," he says, grinning in somewhat disturbing ecstasy.

`Sark Brigid's warped ghost moans wordlessly, with little indication that it is aware of what goes on around it.

Spring_ "Is that good?"

`Cerin "Past conversations with cultists of various stripe suggests not," Cerin remarks.

Spring_ "It is always dangerous to assume things, Cerin."

`Varanim "When guys like him grin like they need to change their pants now, it's usually bad for me, is what I've found."

`zahara "As I will indubitably be participating in this final night of yours, I am interested in what will happen. Please do tell us." Zahara says politely. And she is very nice, isn't she? Pleasant to be around and such things, it almost makes you want to sit down and have some tea.

`Sark "The end of days is upon us," he says, sliding into his comforting, homey priest voice, and raising his oak staff expressively. "The sun gutters and dies in the sky above, as the worms of the earth rise up to devour its very roots."

`Sark "The dead grow to outnumber the living. Curses and disease spread across the land, cutting down those in the prime of life. Fields fall fallow and water runs red."

Spring_ ::I have heard this story before.::

`Sark "As below, so above..." he says, his eyes growing slowly but steadily more crazed as he speaks. "A dark star to fill the skies above, to gaze down at an empty world as it packs itself in for a night that will never end. This is what we have created!" Flecks of grey plasm-spit shoot uncontrollably out of his mouth as he talks.

`Cerin ::As I said. While assumptions can be bad, you do get to learn the type::

`Varanim Varanim's eyes glaze a bit as she goes to a corner of her head she doesn't normally consult, and inquires whether Jardis in her hearthstone has heard this line before.

`zahara "So what's in it for you?"

Spring_ ::Are we here to rescue your ancestor or...not rescue your ancestor? I am unclear.::

`zahara ::Rescue or put to rest.::

`Sark Varanim gets a surprisingly quick response. "The Dark Star Children. Heretical sect during the post-Usurpation era. Believed the sins of the son cast back upon the father, such that the sun itself should be put out and replaced with its opposite, a sphere that sucks the light from Creation as it rises."

`Sark "You should be encountering any of them, however. It was verified with elaborate sorcery that every member who ever belonged to that cult was captured and put to death."

Spring_ "Would it be a problem for your apocalyptic reverie if we were to remove and restore Brygeta?"

Spring_ "I hope it will not be." Spring smiles politely.

`Varanim ::Dilemma, guys. Do I share possibly useful information I just got from Jardis, or spend the next half hour explaining in loving detail how wrong he got the end bit?::

`Imrama pushes off of the floor and falls gracefully up towards the ceiling, his anima of clockwork birds bursting gently out around him as he rises. He stops only when he is level with the ring of spectators, standing on air closest to the fallen Dragon King.

`Cerin ::Tell us first, lecture later?::

Spring_ ::I thought you were able to split your soul into a helpful side and a more traditional side.::

`Sark "That... would definitely be a problem," Sark says to Spring, his easygoing manner gaining a sharp edge in the process.

Spring_ "What a shame."

Spring_ "Well."

`Sark "We seek only the proper end for the fallen world, Zahara Zhan," he says. "A place for everything, and everything its place -- the Void."

`Varanim ::My helpful side is too small to be heard by the human ear, so fine. It turns out there were these Dark Star Children who wanted to replace the shiny hangover-inducing sun with a much more soothing and darker version. But they're all dead, so they obviously can't be a problem now.::

Spring_ "It was very nice talking to you."

`Varanim ::Oh, and they were into turning childrens' sins against their parents, so way to go, Zahara. It's officially your fault.::

Spring_ ::If I were to hypothetically fall into the Void, do any of you have an idea as to how you might prevent me from being swallowed forever by Oblivion?::

`Cerin ::Oh, I see. Well. It's good to know that they can't possibly be leading an underworld cult. Oh, wait...::

`Varanim ::Yes, but not that I could teach you in thirty seconds.::

`Sark Ka'ro the Dragon-King looks over at Imrama curiously.

Spring_ ::Hm.::

`zahara ::What? I don't have any children.::

`Varanim ::Right, you're the child.::

`zahara ::Oh, I suppose that's alright then. Does this mean that I don't have to pay for anything I've done wrong?::

`Cerin ::I suspect they might be working on a double or nothing scheme::

Spring_ ::Imrama, can you make a hole in this wall? Dragon-King sized.::

`Imrama gives the Dragon King an empathetic look, raises his eyebrows and greets him in the High Holy Speech. "Ka'ro. My clutch-sibling. A long path of anger and sadness must have led you to here. I am sorry for that. But you and I both know; these star-eating fools can't win."

`Imrama ::Where do you want it?::

Spring_ ::Anywhere that opens onto Nothing.::

`Sark The mosok grins a wide, toothy grin that has devoured many lesser beings in its time. "Of course not," it says in guttural yet incredibly fluent Old Realm speech. "But what I learn as they fail and gutter out has been invaluable."

`zahara "Well, let us assist you in finding your place, then."

`Imrama slightly shrugs and exhales in an almost laugh. "Very well. Just fair warning then; their gutter is upon them. I would rather not see you put out as well. Whatever you have done, I can be certain that Invictus will take you back. You are still his child. You can stand with the rest of us, or stay where you are, and fall screaming to the Void."

`Sark Ka'ro looks over Imrama and his pals for a second and grins. "My odds are on you," he says, and without hesitating, reaches over, grabs the nearest ghost, and eats him.

Spring_ "Attention, please. We will now rescue Brygeta Zhan. Are any of you here intending to stop us?"

`Imrama "As a factor in your deliberations," Imrama announces loudly, drawing his guns, "Please consider, that we are both exceedingly powerful and dangerously creative."

`Sark With the sudden violence on the deck and the announcement of oncoming hostilities, the ghosts, arachnoxi, and lone Abyssal on the edges of the room make a headlong charge towards the stripe of non-violence at the center of the room.

`Sark , meanwhile, merely begins to laugh. "That is how you wish this to be?" he says. He walks over to the device securing Brigid and, whispering underneath his breath -- and standing squarely in the non-violence corridor -- he begins to slowly unlatch her from it.

`Imrama ::Spring: are you still in the market for a large hole?::

Spring_ ::Yes, please.::

`Varanim Varanim's lips begin to move soundlessly even as Sark's do. She throws her soulsteel arm out to the side, and it fractures into a dozen chains and jagged ribbons of metal, all spread out and writhing on the air. At the same time Algorab leaps from its dozing perch on her shoulder, flapping to gather height as if clearing the way.

`Imrama turns in the Voidward direction, raises his guns to the wall, and fires. Coruscading bolts of white fire fly from Kilauea and Pentecost like Nexus fireworks on Emissary's Day. They weave and spiral amongst each other - ten? twenty? perhaps a hundred it seems before crashing as one into the wall, and exploding in a network of overlapping sunbursts.

`Sark The walls to either side of Brigid's spidery prison explode with the force of a thousand suns, jagged black rock launching outward in every possible direction, the light of the explosion itself casting a wan glow across every surface in the small chamber.

`Sark What lays beyond is but another hallway, led into by feeds from two others far away, that follows down almost an eighth of a mile directly along the non-violence path -- and at the far end, only a thin rock wall separates that hallway's final edge from the pit of the Void itself.

`Varanim As ragged streamers of sunset cloud trail about her head and shoulders, Varanim's silent incantation cuts off. The hovering Algorab begins to vomit blood, first a thin stream from its crow's beak and then great gouts as it unfolds into its larger form. Gallons splash down through the lattice of Varanim's arm, falling to stone in the precise patterns of summoning. "Brygeta Zahn," she finishes.

`Cerin Since Varanim appears to be making a move towards Zahara's ancestor, and since there is a charge, Cerin pivots neatly on the spot, leveling his bow at the onrushers. Then he fires a single arrow toward them, imbued with the Ghost-Eating Technique and empowered to seek the hearts of those it is aimed at. As it leaves the strip delimited by the white light, it shatters into a glittering scythe of motes, seeking ghost, arachnoxi and

`Cerin abyssal alike.

`Sark Cerin's bolts fly straight and true across the dark, dank Underworld air, moving faster than the eye can see towards their quarries, so thick as to fill every corner of the room with a bright, warm glow, yet so razor-thin as to pass between even the threads of a cloak, slaying its wearer without pulling a single thread.

`Sark In an instant, the ghosts that charge towards safety at the center of the room are vaporized, their fragile plasmic forms rent asunder by Cerin's powerful Essence, each arrow striking precisely at its target's insubstantial heart, slicing through long-maintained Essence patterns and leaving naught behind but faint sparkles that soon fade on to nothingness.

`Sark Four of the arachnoxi fall alike, but the others weave before them webs of Essence-gorging black Essence and capture the motes to gutter out in stillness, or phase-shift themselves with this Underworld reality and thereby stay beyond all harm for a moment -- or, in the case of the last one, simply absorb the punishment and, in a truly vast expenditure of Essence, swallow down the pain and move, wounded but alive, onward into the protected pathway.

`Sark The Abyssal merely chooses to become a spray of blood and ichor, a familiar yet twisted technique to the Solars, and thereby avoid the assault altogether, before himself reaching the edge of the central pathway.

`Sark Across the room, there is a wrenching sound, and with a single explosive launch that sends Sark catapulting backwards head over heels, the disturbingly modified ghost of Brygeta Zhan launches itself out from its prison, away from the wall, to float in the air to one side.

`Sark Her long hair still hangs down almost to the ground, but now it waves gently in the air, its every fiber charging with powerful black Essence; her twisted limbs growing long and emaciated, claws that burst with flower-like Essence at every joint stretching out from each;

`Sark clasped to her ghostly bosom, the Solars can now see, is a mantle of very familiar design -- but where the version Zahara has once seen, and even now keeps tiny fragments of, was brilliant red, this one is ashen grey trimmed with bone white.

`Sark She screams wordlessly in a voice that Zahara recognizes from (slightly) more pleasant circumstances, and her hands begin to glow with powerful Essence. With one she strikes the ceiling, cracking it and letting a tiny rivulet of water begin to drip down through the new opening -- and with the other hand she touches that water and sets it ablaze.

`zahara sidesteps to avoid a splash of blood as Varanim summons her ancestress, to whom she gives a gracious bow as she utters the words so familiar to her, that at one point she had woken up when the room shook, only to discover she had accidentally summoned a Magma Kraken in her sleep. Nonetheless, this one she summons on purpose, and releases to its own devices. After all, it's not

`zahara violence if it's mindless.

`Sark A Kraken does indeed roar to life at the periphery of the room, its tendrils lashing out in every direction.

Spring_ extends his hand, palm up, and the underworld freezes for a moment, pivoting around his calm gaze. A thin golden light swirls in his palm and curls up his index finger...and he crooks it, beckoning his enemies towards him.

Spring_ calmly strolls towards the hole, and waits.

Spring_ **never mind

Spring_ calmly strolls towards the remaining slab of erstwhile drywall, and taps it with a finger, shattering it into a thousand tiny (rounded and safe to walk on) pebbles. Waving politely, he jumps off the edge.

`Sark Although compelled by the magic geomancy of this place not to attack him, the abyssal and surviving arachnoxi nonetheless feel a sudden, unquenchable desire: to move towards Long-Awaited Spring, to touch him, to enrapture him in their brutal embrace. With a touch, they begin to charge after him, through the holes in the wall, down the nearby hallway -- and off the edge, with only the Void awaiting below.

Spring_ ::Do not be alarmed. I am a Deathlord, after all.::

`Sark Ka'ro, who has moved to the central area without suffering any visible negative effects, cocks an eyebrow at Spring's showboaty maneuver, then looks up at the liquid fire dripping in from the ceiling, and setting the rock of the floor on fire as it does so. "Have you accounted for this problem, airwalker?" he says to Imrama with a grim laugh.

`zahara ::Why couldn't you have done that when you were Thirteen?::

Spring_ ::It would have been too stupid.::

`Imrama "I am not the foremost ledger-keeper in my circle." Imrama replies, calmly.

`Imrama He lowers his weapons a bit, now pointed towards the floor and the pooling liquid flame. Geysers of elemental water spray from the guns, with force enough to cleave mountains, seeking to drain the combustive swill down several levels, and away.

`Varanim Now focused on the struggle of wills with the ghost, Varanim grimaces at the increasingly unsafe floor, and Algorab dips low enough for her to scramble on distractedly.

`Cerin While everyone is focused on the rather imposing figure of Brygeta or the actions of her spells, Cerin vanishes in the confusion, the black ribbons of his armour wrapping him in confusing essence. A brief trip outside of the protected strip allows him to secure an item of clothing left by his exceedingly precise shooting. Drapping it over his arm, he is once more wrapped in shadows, appearing behind Brygeta. From there, it's a

`Cerin simple switch while focused essence distracts all Creation from the possibility of it.

`Sark As Imrama desperately fights the all-consuming fire that Brigid has set here, she pulls her hands back in preparation for another assault. In her right hand, the twisting, brilliant geometric patterns of the Excoriation of Exquisite Diamonds begin to form, strands of immaculate gemstones stretching from each finger to the others in an infinitely-complex pattern;

`Sark and in the left, a spark of brilliant green light appears, then grows, spinning and twirling, growing to soon encompass her entire hand with the brilliant, radioactive glow of Ligier, the Malfean Sun: for in that hand she holds the ultimate destructive spell, that known as the Summoning of Total Annihilation.

`zahara In the decision between pain and annihilation, Zahara has always been partial to loosing ludicrous amounts of pain upon the denizens of the world, and thus she directs her attention to the countering of the latter of the two spells. With a word of command, she bends her will and essence to shatter that sickening greenish glow before it can be released.

`Sark With a nearly wordless howl, Brygeta Zhan's twisted ghost turns towards her distant descendant. She brings her arm back, ready to loose the spell and unleash the ultimate destruction contained within, but she catches Zahara's eye, and for a moment, their gazes lock on one another.

`Sark That stare lasts a nerve-wracking, almost infinitely long moment -- and then it is Brigid who breaks that stare, her arm hesitating for just a moment... and Zahara's countermagic strikes, just instants before the sphere can leave her hand, and shatters it into ten thousand pieces.

`Sark With a brilliant explosion, the remnants of the one spell fire outwards in every direction, and the ghost of Brigid reels back, loosing her other arm and the less dangerous -- but no less spectacular -- spell contained within, with Cerin unfortunately the only target within range...

`Sark From Brigid's hand, the web of gemstones slips out, the immaculate diamonds that make it up aligning themselves in the air along unseen geomantic lines of force. One affixes itself within a foot of Cerin, and within instants the quantity seems to be exploding -- each diamond sends out eight almost invisible strands at which, almost faster than the eye can see, eight tinier diamonds form, and again and again....

`Sark Within mere moments, the webs of gemstones are so fine as to form lattices of the most perfect, nigh-invisible knives of purest diamond -- which grow and shift through the air in pursuit of their quarry at an immense speed, leaving a latticework of immense value behind in their wake.

`Sark Now, even as an explosion of light expands from Brigid's hand where Zahara's spell shattered hers, this moving diamond knife plunges itself over and over at Cerin's heart.

`zahara "Cerin!" Zahara screams

`Varanim Trusting Algorab to navigate the falling bone and jets of steam, trusting Zahara to deal with the fearsome Essence gathering around her ancestor, Varanim focuses on the strand of the spell connecting her and Brygeta and now drawing taut. "And you're still dead," she grins through gritted teeth, flinging out her still-dripping left arm to call Brygeta to her side.

`Sark Even as shards of Zahara's exploding countermagic sear her ghostly flesh, even as she rolls back readying herself to throw more unimaginably powerful sorcery out into the breach, Brygeta Zhan feels a sudden tug, an irresistible pulling, a force she has never felt before but inflicted on others hundreds, thousands of times perhaps in her life... and with a sudden flash-bang, she vanishes from her spot --

`Sark and reappears mere inches away from Varanim, in the central no-violence zone.

`Cerin watches with interest at the impossibly growing network of diamonds around him. He catalogues each and everyone, and the essence patterns which drive them. This would have to be timed to ... perfection. He watched the knife stab in, once. The Penumbra Stance saved him, once. Then it drew back, and he watched it come in again. As the diamonds stabbed in, Cerin drew in the ribbons of the cloak, wrapping them tight around him. T

`Cerin Then, as the glittering knife would pierce his heart, the Penumbra Stance triggered once more ... and he was only shadows.

`Sark Brigid stares at Varanim with a look -- if human emotions even still apply to her -- of absolute, unquenchable hatred, as she struggles mightily to escape the bond that presses down on her.

`Sark Meanwhile, the Excoriation, confused at the loss of its quarry, spins and curves in wide circular arcs across the room, leaving behind huge, beautifully glittering lattices of purest diamond in perfect geometric arcs, before suddenly seeming to make up its mind and plunging at an almost immeasurable speed out through the door, up into the tunnel system, and out of sight.

`Varanim meets Brigid's eyes, and her own have bled dry of fear of death and joy in life alike--there is only a calm, precise awareness of this one moment, an intricate manifestation of her work that is all she bothers to breathe for, most days. "If you don't like the rules, you shouldn't have written them this way," she says mildly, and pulls.

`Sark Brigid stares deep into Varanim's eyes, and looks for a moment like she's going to break free of every conceivable restraint -- but then, instead, crumples to a kneeling heap in front of her, something sounding almost like sobbing emanating from her ghostly frame.

`zahara Knowing exactly what that particular spell can do to a person Zahara is relieved, if not entirely surprised when Cerin avoids it entirely. And so she turns her attention back to family of another sort.

`Spring ::...hello? Can you hear me?::

`zahara walks over to the ghostly form and kneels next to her, unwinding one of the Bonds from her waist and draping it over the progenitor of her family like a blanket (which it conveniently reshapes itself to resemble. "Peace, Brygeta Zhan. We are not here to harm you."

`Varanim ::Where are you, anyway? Typical of the men to vanish when the heavy lifting comes around.::

`Spring ::..........::

`Spring ::...something went wrong.::


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Page last modified on October 29, 2010, at 01:28 PM