RP:Drow Alliances Are Hard to Maintain
Part of the The God of Undeath Arc
Summary: Kasyr drops in on House D’Artes after receiving a distressing letter from Gevurah. Unbeknownst to him, Quintessa stalked him to the Underdark, but could not get in House D’Artes. Meanwhile, Lanlan has made an animated paper man to spy on Gevurah as she goes about her day (ooc note: this RP immediately follows on from this one).
Gevurah is wearing the Gris-Gris Talisman when Kasyr arrives and becomes suspicious when she is not invisible to him (the talisman makes the wearer invisible to undead). She discovers Kasyr lost his vampire curse (ooc note: this is a huge ic secret, do not assume your character knows that!). Gevurah confronts Kasyr and casts a spell against him to discover his true mortal nature. Gevurah confesses she’s ineffective against Caluss (ooc note: this also an ic secret!) who has found a way to nullify her high order magic.
Lanlan appears in the flesh, disappointed that Kasyr is not killed, and provokes Kasyr into a fight. It works! Kas attacks Lan. Gev attacks Kas. Quintessa fights D'Artes guards. End result: Kas barely escapes with his life. Lan barely survives. Kasyr-Gevurah alliance is over.
Kasyr receives a letter with the insignia of House D'Artes stamped into the wax.
We have a problem. I've learned why Vakmatharas didn't kill Caluss. Get down here immediately.
Lanlan lies drained in the bed and replays the events that brought them to this point. Their fight was almost catastrophic. Again. Why is he like this? What was his plan? By now he knows she can't stay in this bed. And maybe she knows he can't stay here like a pet. But he feels bad. He kisses her back and lets his hand slide off her hip, savoring the feeling. "I know you do," he whispers. He's still replaying the things she said and what he said, and trying to remember what he did after, and was going to do. "Wait!" He stands out of bed and stops her at the door again. "One more kiss," he says as he plants one on her and holds her hands. "And...uh," he clears his throat in his balled up hand. "Sorry. Okay, bye! I'll be here." He twirls around and heads back to the bed. While she's gone he lays in it for a while, thinking he's tired, maybe he'll fall asleep. But he doesn't. He's thinking too much. He tidies up the bookshelf, puts clothes on, sits at her desk. He keeps thinking she must be coming back soon, and looks to the door. But she doesn't. How long has it even been? There's no way to tell time in here. After sitting idly at her desk for a long time, he finds inspiration. A project. If he was somewhere else he could bring it to life but...he snoops around. In a drawer at her desk he finds a usable medium. Just a piece of fancy stationery and some scissors and a pen. He carves a rough person shape out of it with the scissors and begins inscribing tiny, tiny, tiny letters, until...he runs out of room. He cut the guy too small! No problem. He shears a tiny cape out of paper and slots it into his back, stamping it with a tiny drop of wax. Almost done! The last thing he does is pinch a part of his palm that was scratched the night before, until a tiny red droplet forms at the mouth. Once he dabs the paper with it, the blood is instantly absorbed, and the writing disappears under a red shimmer. Lanlan closes his eyes and the tiny paper man opens his and slides under the door jam.
Kasyr is going over the checklist he's set up as he continues to descend through the winding passages leading to Trist'oth. He wasn't bleeding everywhere, not was this iteration of his trademark outfit smeared with blood- which definitely helped with the image of being impossible to keep down. It's a bit beaten up, sure, and there's some branches sticking out of his hair- but that's just sort of part and parcel with the kind of days the Kensai ends up happening. The more important element, was that he'd made sure to touch up on scent masking perfume that was so often favoured by members of the somewhat defunct assassins guild- his encounter with Mahri having reinforced its importance. That, and a (arguably) healthy overindulgence in potions meant to keep his temperature level in more frigid climes means the Kensai's body temperature is coming off as unnaturally warm. "...I'm forgetting something, J'pense." Dryad? "Work in progress." God killing Research? "Ditto." Kasyr dithers a bit longer, his stride slowing down as his steps take him further into the city and towards house D'artes. "Oh!" Feeling especially proud of this detail, the Kensai fetches some rather raw cuts of meat he'd had prepared for this part. Sure, it's basically just juicy bits of beef, but it never hurt to have some mostly wiped off blood on his lips so he doesn't get the courtesy of Gevurah's enthusiastic hospitality. "Okay. On y va." Knock knock?
Gevurah :: D’Artes guards have been previously instructed to immediately escort Kasyr to the matron the moment he arrives. She is currently in the drow council room overlooking reconstruction projects with a local architect. When Kasyr enters the room, Gevurah immediately releases the blueprints and dismisses the architect. “Come back later.” The architect hesitates. “Get out!” Gevurah hisses. As the woman gathers her drafts and scrambles to escape, Gevurah waves for Kasyr to have a seat. “Oh, my mistake,” she says as she removes the Gris Gris Talisman that Lanlan gave her. “You must not-” but it’s clear from the was Kasyr takes in the room and its occupants that Kasyr had been able to see her the whole time. “Could you see me when you walked in?”
Lanlan limbos elegantly under the door and then rolls up flat against the wall and begins to shimmy inch by inch along it. As a gargantuan stomps past, the air he disperses swirls past Lanlan and sucks him off the wall, sending him fluttering like a leaf. After spinning and floating back to the stone floor, another giant stomps on him. He's sucked to the bottom of his shoe. He stays there though, because he's going in the right direction. Step by step, Lanlan folds his way up the servants heel until they pass they're about to pass the double doors to the council room. Another servant is about to enter carrying a tray with two refreshments. One of them looks a little bit like tomato juice but it's hard to tell from this perspective. The servants pass each other, and Lanlan appears on the calf of the one with a tray. Kasyr's here already? She didn't make it seem like he'd be here today. Lanlan slides against a table leg near Gevurah's legs and listens.
Kasyr is definitely taking in the sights as he's led along. Whilst there is a lot of intricacies to drow society that are lost on him, what he does know about drow divorces is nuanced enough that he's expecting more . . . damage. Unless, it was a ruse. Or, or, it had in fact occured seamlessly, and the rumours of the departure were a red herring. It's thoughts like these and more which accompany the swordsman as he owlishly peers around, his attention ultimately settling on Gevurah, and the gestured seat. Without even thinking about it, he starts to move over towards where she directed him, but there's something about the ensuing question that has him second guessing himself, and the hint of suspicion now present. "Mm. Y- . Nn- " What's he broken -now-. He hasn't even finished fixing the last thing. "-aybe? Define see?" Was this a state secret thing he'd seen? Were the blueprints something special? Was the Architect secretly Lanlan in disguise? ...Okay, not that latter one, on second thought.
Gevurah slips on the talisman again and gestures at herself emphatically. “Can you see me?” She moves silently, slowly, across the room and watches Kasyr’s eyes to see if they follow her. In the process, she kicks the paper doll. Glancing down at the paper on her show, but not looking at it too carefully, she assumes it’s scrap paper the architect left behind.
Lanlan knows she most likely didn't kick him on purpose, but he still takes it personally and clings to her shin momentarily. What was she talking about? Then he sees the gris-gris talisman. -Could- Kasyr see her? He didn't even politely sip his 'tomato juice'! What could this mean!? It could mean anything. The gris-gris was completely untested and looked too much like a bag of dirt to be eminently powerful. Maybe he could smell her or something. Maybe. But he knew that tone. A tiny tear in the paper formed as Lanlan's sadistic grin opened a seam.
Kasyr is pretty good at maintaining a neutral expression normally, but he can't help the manner in which the perplexed look creeps across his face. A part of him wants to chalk this up to some peculiar bit of drow humour- where any answer given ends in a punchline, but that's not the sense he gets at all. Is she testing something, perhaps tied to whatever news she had? "...Yes. You know, I can come back later, if that helps, enfin. We can maybe take it from the top...?"
Gevurah isn’t listening to Kasyr’s hemming and hawing. Her mind races through all the tiny suspicions she’s had about him in recent months: she’s never seen him drink blood, her staff gossiped that he used the bathroom and not for bathing, he once hid something that suspiciously resembled food, he looks tired often, sometimes he looks like he sweats. Those peculiar facts were dismissed by other facts: he has no heat signature, he doesn’t smell, there is no known cure for vampirism, and, most importantly, why would he lie? The priestess circles around Kasyr slowly until she blocks the exit he came in through (there are other exits across the vast room, opposite the massive table). She slides a sharp letter opened off a side table near the door and pokes the tip into the narrow opening of hex-bag talisman that hangs around her neck as if performing a spell. Suddenly she throws the blade at Kasyr’s shoulder with divinely-enhanced speed and accuracy, fully expecting him to evade the blow, but hoping he will be distracted just long enough for her to get off an actual spell (the hex-bag feint was a sleight of hand, there was no spell). A black skull erupts from her hand at supernatural speed, trailing behind it a wispy gray cone. When the skull and cone collide with a living creature, it saps them of their strength quickly and enfeebles them within seconds. The undead are immune. Are you undead, Kasyr?
Lanlan accordions himself at the shoulders with silent laughter. He was trying to escape! He can't get enough of this. So he leans his digitless hands into Gevurah's shoe creating small folds, and then places them in the rare wrinkle on her pants, climbing up the back of her thigh. Once he gets to the top of a firm cheek, he leans out from behind and pokes his head out, peering between her hip and arm. She carries him unwittingly while circling her prey. What's she doing now? He curiously curls around her stomach to see her poking something into a tiny bag, then pulls his head back quickly. A spell? No! A knife! NO! A spell! He hops eagerly on a belt loop while waiting to see him crumble.
Kasyr 's empathy's pretty useful as a danger sense, sometimes- since it means he usually gets at least some sort of warning that murder's imminent. Now, trying to gauge levels of suspicion or general homicidal intent -can- be pretty tricky, given the penchant for those elements in drow society, and the almost overwhelming and nigh constant existence of it in individuals like Kuzial- but the rapid escalation in this moment's at least a pretty good giveaway that he probably shouldn't have said that. And he's really trying his best to maintain a casual and civil posture, his hands spread out in a hapless gesture, "Look. If this is about the shri- Oh mer-" There's a sort of pretense that evaporates in that moment, that carefully cultivated sense of whimsy going right out the window as sparks burst to life around his right hand. The knife finds itself latched onto and tugged by those tendrils of electricity straight into Kasyr's waiting hand, if only so he can promptly hurl it with every bit of strength he can muster into her sho "de. -oh." The Knifes already well on it's way out of his hand when that burst of negative energy crashes into his chest, his knees buckling out from under him as he's abruptly dragged to the ground beneath the weight of his own trenchcoat. "So this is what that feels like." He tries to lift up a finger to make a time-out gesture, only for the damn thing to also make it nigh-impossible, so instead settles with a raised index finger. "Be. right. with. you." Kasyr just needs to catch his breath a little, amirite? Maybe a bit of nervous humming might help. Nothing suspicious about him humming, right?
Gevurah dodges out of the way of the counter-thrown knife as she lifts her thick woolen sleeve to deflect and deaden the projectile at an oblique angle. She winces as the knife glances along the side of her forearm. “What the hell is this, Kasyr!” The empath may be relieved to discover she feels no need to kill him outright - not yet anyway. Once again she circles him with a predatorial gleam in her eye. The priestess scans Kasyr’s aura, which, admittedly, she could have done instead of the enfeebling spell, but, well, she was already a little angry and inflicting pain is a great way to let off steam. “You’re…” She squints as she tries to read what he is. He certainly is not a vampire, and he resembles a human, but not quite. Having become a vampire revenant and then having that power stolen did not quite make him fully human, but mostly human. She kicks a chair near Kasyr in frustration, thinks about her current predicament, then shouts the drow f-bomb. Switching back to common, she hisses as she speaks to Kasyr, “What use are you now! There is no way you can wield Gospel in this pathetic condition! And-and-and!” Her breath comes out in terrified, shuddering waves. The empath may feel her anger quickly transmute into soul-strickening terror. “We’re f******,” she says, now dropping the f-bomb in common. “Completely screwed. You can’t-! And I can’t-!” She presses a hand to her gaping mouth and paces away from Kasyr quickly. Another f-bomb in drow, yelped like a villain who may finally see her day of reckoning.
Lanlan, aka paper boi, dives off Gevurah instinctively as panic reverberates through him. He attacked her and he'd use his tiny paper body to absorb the blow if he could. When she pivots her body out of its trajectory, he acrobatically coils and springs off her side to intercept. But he's too weak. The knife pierces his wafery body to the hilt and carries him into the wall. The reaction triggers a contingency he put in place in case he got caught, and he starts burning up at the tips of his hands and feet. But the feint has him! She's safe. Relief and joy completely wrinkle him as tremors start near his waist and spread up to his shoulders. This is just what he was hoping for! The last thing he sees is a perplexing lack of satisfaction in Gevurah before he opens his eyes in her room again.
Kasyr might not feel a distinct killing intent right in that moment, but the manner in which she circles around him isn't really putting him at ease, or giving a reason for his hackles to settle. Instead, he simply focuses on that small tune- a wordless prayer to Daedria as he tries to take hold of a well of strength so he can do something other than try to wiggle out from the folds of his clunky-ass coat. Honestly, there's something vicariously cathartic about Gevurah's outburst in this moment, if only because the Kensai has effectively already screwed the pooch- making the logistical nightmare of maintaining the charade a moot point. That is -completely- the reason why a nervous chuckle escapes his lips when he finally wrenches his way clear of his coat. And not at all because of the weird sinking feeling that Gevurah had come onto the same conclusion he had -years- ago. Another anxious little chuckle threatens to spill out, and he finds himself chewing on his knuckle to suppress it, to instead just stumble step over to a seat and sink into it. He takes in a deep breath then, his hand spreading out across his mouth, "Mmm." Hmm. N-No- Nope. Suppressing that. "You say that like being persistently screwed wasn't the operational state to start with." This at least manages to ring true enough with the Kensais bleak humour. " Et yes. It's a grand work in progress. That I've managed to work around well enough to get the job done." Well, when he isn't off in the boonies just twiddling his thumbs, training- and hoping that will somehow fix all his problems. Maybe he just worked best under pressure? Procrastinating on a potential apocalypse is probably not all that forgivable."Wait, you're . . .?" Things are even worse, aren't they?
Gevurah :: When Kasyr makes light of their predicament, Gevurah snaps, “No, I am not ‘persistently screwed’ because I’m not a useless screw-up like you!” But they are screwed. The whole planet is. “F—K!!” She slaps the goblet of blood off the table. It crashes onto the floor and empties like a macabre rorschach with a world-ending clatter. “I can’t…” She doesn’t even know how to admit this weakness, even though frankly there is nothing all that embarrassing about being less powerful than a literal god. Reminding herself of this, she admits through gritted teeth, “Caluss can nullify my rituals and high-order spells. He can also invert my spells and create portals to attack me. He already did.” She barely escaped with her life but this sob story isn’t for Kasyr’s fuzzy ears. She gestures over his body, “Is this fixable.”
Lanlan briefly plays over what's happened. Then bursts out of his chair angrily mumbling non-words that cause his features to melt and morph. By the time he's out the door, his cheekbones are slightly depressed, his brow ridge is more pronouonced (as his eyebrows diminish and recede), he gains a slight underbite, and a dark scar appears across the bridge of his nose. This nonexistent person will be familiar to Gevurah, even from far away. Lanlan's commitment to the persona extends to the familiar sound of his uneven gait, seemingly caused by a crooked spine and misaligned pelvis. Together they produce what is effectively to legs of different lengths. He pushes through the doors as Gevurah explains her calamity. Their calamity. "Wait! Don't-" It's too late. She reveals her misfortune. He questions Gevurah with his eyes, but resigns and waits for her to finish. "Sorry I'm late matron," he says with a hoarse voice. Also an effect.
Kasyr really can't help the fact that a single eyebrow pops up at Gevurah's accusation, and just sort of... lingers in that position as he looks at her. He doesn't say a siiiiiingle thing, merely continues to sit there and listen, his head propped up on a hand, as he more or less welcomes her to the world of the perpetually paralyzed in terror of inescapable Divine perdition that never, ever gets better. That said, whatever spiteful bit of enjoyment he gets out of someone being in the proverbially same sinking boat doesn't last long, and the manner in which Gevurah composes herself and explains things forces the Kensai back from retreating inside of himself. He straightens up in his seat, fingers reaching into his coat to pluck out a scalpel, so he has something to fiddle with, " I meant-" Then the doors fly open and Kasyr is in the process of giving what is perhaps the most lethal death glare he can muster. He taps the flat of the scalpel against his fingers, trying his best to master the tumultuous feelings currently steeping there- which only seem to grow worse with the strangers presence. A toxic sort of familiarity that has no right being there, and reminding him of his own more recent troubles. "What I said about being a work in progress." His lips press together into a thin line, before he curtly adds, "Is this something you intend on dealing with, or letting moi? I don't mind, really." It's not really the servants fault that they arrived in the room at the absolute worst given time. These things happen, right? And Kasyr's actually making an effort to try and be cordial for a moment.
Gevurah has no patience for Lanlan’s commitment to method acting - not now. “You can drop the illusion. I lifted the bounty on your head.” She eyes Lanlan warily as it is clear he was spying - perhaps listening in at the door? She’d never guess a paper doll. Were she not so preoccupied with their collective and inevitable doom, she’d be worse than wary. Kasyr’s temper surprises her. Her brows lift as she watches Kasyr’s agitation inexplicably escalate. He wasn’t even upset when she threw an ashtray at his head. “He stays. I believe you are already acquainted.” She gestures at Lanlan as he presumably drops the disguise. “And he already knows,” she says to Kasyr. “Lan was there when Caluss attacked me.” Her gaze meets Lanlan’s questioning stare and replies in kind through the meaningful, expressive language that forms between two people who know each other intimately. ‘Trust Kasyr with this. It’s okay.’
Lanlan notices the scalpel and he smiles impishly at Kasyr. Then he turns around and pulls the dagger out of the wall behind. Once back to facing Kasyr again, he holds his hands together at his waist, holding the now invisible dagger in one of them, and smiles again 'politely'. Obviously Gevurah would take his side, he relished thinking of how she might torment Kasyr for even suggesting he's something that needs to be dealt with. And she does take his side! In a very, very disappointing way. He frowns, having his advantage dispersed by his own lover? They'd have to talk about this. Anyway he straightens up and his features begin stretching and shrinking back to what Kasyr would recognize. He hands Gevurah her knife while looking at Kasyr, irritated. "We're all dispensed with our disguises now aren't we? Good. Yes I know some. I don't know what role 'Gnat' plays against Caluss." Suddenly it makes sense as to why Luffy called him 'diminished'. Then under his breath, "Or why this development seems to have you so troubled? I thought he'd be dead by the time I walked in."
Kasyr may have in fact been already in the process of reaching over towards his coat again, which is still standing up by virtue of all the metal slats and mesh woven through it, when the veil obscuring Lanlan is dispersed. His features contort between annoyance, a weird sort of comprehension, and then finally begin to settle towards something like a semblance of controlled neutrality. It's a little bit easier to bury down those feelings twisting up, and Gevurah helps to keep things focused on the work. But not quite easy enough to ignore that shortsighted utterance. The scalpel dances between his fingers, his attention keenly focused on Lanlan, "...Gnat?" It carries neither the slyness, nor forced courtesy of the illusionist- but there's certainly a wolfish smile on the Kensai's lips, which doesn't match up in the slightest with his frigid tone. "Your concern is... noted." His head draws down, his eyes shutting as he vacillates between a faint desire to try and master the ire bubbling up inside of him, and the simple inescapable fact that he can practically feel Lanlan's satisfaction at getting under the the Kensai's skin. And those emotions give Kasyr something he can latch onto, that he can -trust- in that moment, despite Lanlan's displayed prowess with deception. And which make it oh so very easy and satisfying to send the scalpel that's been dancing between his fingers at the mage. The difference here between what he'd done just moments ago, however, is Intensity- because there's not a single Iota of his being that can really justify. Which is probably why it's a glob of molten metal being propelled with enough force to punch through the wall that's aimed at Lanlan's guts. "She probably would have wanted this." This is, in fact, true. And there's definitely a sense of dissonant serenity in acknowledging that fact, even if it's currently gutting their chances at surviving the rapidly encroaching end times.
Gevurah :: The mood in the room puckers as the mens’ tempers flare for reasons the priestess cannot divine. Gevurah resists her impulse to intervene and put an end to the chest-thumping. Instead she takes the knife from Lanlan and leans on her hip against the table to watch this strange bravado unfold from two people who typically prefer humor to bluster. Their animus burns so hot that it blurs all reason, like heat radiating off pavement blurs objects in the distance. She watches Lanlan intensely as if focusing on him will bring clarity to his contempt. Her focus is so totally absorbed by Lanlan that she fails to see the wicked gleam in Kasyr’s eye, or the tell-tale way he holds the scalpel before the strike. Kasyr’s scalpel-melting magic tips her off a little too late. By the time she’s reacting, she’s too slow to stop the projectile. An attack on her lover flips a wrathful switch deep in Gevurah’s gut. She extends her nails into razor-sharp claws and dives at Kasyr’s stomach to stab it clean through with every intent to kill him - no, not intent. Intent would suggest that she is thinking. She isn’t thinking. If she were thinking she, a priestess, would never endanger herself in melee range against a spellblade. No, if she kills him, it’s blindly, fueled by rage. From her palm erupts a flamethrower with enough force to send Kasyr (and his chair) flying against the room and smashing into the wall, with enough heat to sear his flesh before the chair comes to a crashing stop. All that patience that she gifted to Kasyr (patience when he messed up, patience when he lied) melted as quickly as that scalpel.
Lanlan is decent at agitating people exactly as much as he wants to, usually to that end. But sometimes to get them to reveal something they wouldn't otherwise in a peaceful state of mind. This time he's dramatically failed at one and accidentally succeeded at the other. It's noticeable, even without trying to pay attention, that Kasyr doesn't react to Luffy's nickname the way he was designed to. Lanlan quirks his head curiously in the non-revenant's direction wondering what he should be anticipating, here. And then to Gevurah, who seems to be aware of something extremely wrong he's just said. When has he had this feeling before? Oh! Not very long ago in fact. "What's wrong Kasyr." Lanlan felt as though Kasyr was begging him to ask that, so he impatiently offered it as a statement instead. There was no answer. The last time he got this feeling, he didn't act before shrapnel and debris came humming past his head. "Oh." Feeding the instinct, he blurs himself and his surroundings. An instant before Kas throws the knife, all the colors and shades that define where he stands become woven and mixed in a swirl. Of course Lanlan can see out of it, and it's only by seeing where Kasyr's hand moves that he can guess the shape of a person who might live through this. He shoves his rump out, throws his arms up, and teeters on his heels in a sharp 'less than' symbol, as the molten blob singes barely past his midsection. How close was it? He couldn't actually see. Close enough that his clothes now burn as he wear them. A breath. Fear, confusion, anger. He glances behind and sees the burning hole behind him that could've been him. Anger, anger, anger. With the shirt he wears burning up to his neck now and down to his pants, he channels his magic into four long and sharp screws, that dart rapidly over to Kasyr, hover just over before his eyes, and then plunge into his hands and feet, and through the table and floor. Blood squirts a little out of the top of each piece of rusty hardware, and then slowly puddles under each extremity. The intention is to convince him he's bound to the table and chair he sits in (and inflict serious pain). Then he'd be helpless while his matron so lovingly dove into the fray on his behalf. Behind the blinding brightness of the flamethrower though, he'd have to simply wait to see the result.
Kasyr 's expression is locked into one of loathing, and there's not a single manner in which he can interpret Lanlan's query other than one last bit of facetious mockery that's hopefully punctuated by his abrupt cessation from existence. It's madness, of course- the empath intuitively aware of some complex and tangled web that exists between the illusionist and Matron that flares up with a brilliant intensity in the wake of this action. Every passing second, there's an awareness that whatever brittle alliance they'd managed to forge and carefully satisfy is crumbling to dust- but it's drowned in a sense of righteous indignation that makes it feel just worthwhile enough to start moving towards the source of it all. But rage is not a shield, it provides no protection from the Matron that Kasyr neglects, and his vest may as well be parchment before her nails, skin, muscle and viscera tearing in bloody swaths. Flesh gives way beneath spectral spikes- leaving him bound to the chair as the beginning of something swells and smoulders within Gevurahs hand. A sword that was not there the moment prior slips into existence beneath the Kensai's finger tips, soul bound steel finding a home within a desperate grasp. Kasyr needs that conduit , to tap into that primal font of lightning- setting it loose to voraciously tear at his already ruined flesh so he can rob Gevurah of what might have otherwise been a beautiful coordinated execution. Because within that moment, the Kensai 's liquid lightning- a hybridization of purpose and energy that flickers across the room even before the chair can properly lift off the ground from the force of the flame. His chest heaves, and he can feel something likely vital uncoiling inside the growing ruins of his guts, bits of flesh flaking away into a sparking abyss, and that familiar bit of fatalism settles in. The world can rot. For a brief moment his movements are guided by a brilliant confluence of skill & purpose - surging forwards towards Lanlan's location in a series of swings that seem to alternate between murderous and mutilating in their intention. Every step's accompanied by a flicker, every thrust a distorted blur, the swordsman relying on a combination of speed and simple determination. Because for just this moment, his empathy may as well be blind- so overwhelmed and overwrought with his own discordant sentiments leaking out in an oppressive ambiance that will quickly falter as his body starts to break apart.
Quintessa feels a sinking feeling in her chest. She's been stalking this place for hours trying to find a way in, so she doesn't know what's happened, but she can still somehow feel something awful tugging at her heart. "I have a bad feeling about this..." she mutters, avoiding the drow patrols that threaten to expose her even under her invisibility.
Gevurah :: Kasyr is faster than Gevurah. It’s a simple fact, and one that her ferocious will cannot overcome. The Kensai slips from her flamethrower and, nearly instantaneously, reappears right up in Lanlan’s distorting illusion. “No-” the word is sucked out of her mouth by Kasyr’s lightning heat. Rage twists into desperation. No. Not Lan. No, please, Vakmatharas, don’t take him. The High Priestess offers a substitution: a furry-eared traitor for a smart-mouthed drow. She lifts a hand before her face, twists the palm outwards then rotates in as her fingers twitch into a divine and dark symbol. A gray scythe appears above Kasyr’s head and swings down like a pendulum to split his cranium in two - or at the very least, for Kasyr to leap back from Lanlan. Gevurah’s palms slide past each other as her arms and chest open wide. The scyth’s blade stretches into a large kite shield to protect Lanlan, regardless of what happens to Kasyr. “Lanlan!” she shouts in hopes of hearing him call back. Outside Quintessa can plainly see his fears confirmed. The guards mobilize. Several are called in off the street. Three are already charging down the hall and busting into the boardroom where Kasyr, Matron and Lanlan fight. Soon they’ll be within striking distance of Kasyr, and reinforcements are coming. “KILL KASYR!” Gevurah hisses.
Lanlan saw Kasyr's intent stubbornly unfettered even after Gevurah perforated him with her beautiful nails, and knew he still had Kasyr's attention. And that felt good. Why? Gevurah was strong, the strongest woman he knew, but he didn't know if she could take Kasyr up close. But neither could Lanlan so why was this good. He'd have to wonder later, now he had to focus on surviving. The lightning was destined for him, Lanlan knew. What did he have time for? What was his quickest spell? Before he could even begin to think, Kasyr was upon him. His only move was to use what was around him, the blur effect. He'd have to adapt it. He sucked the distorting effect into himself, and started backing up, ducking, side-stepping, juking. Every step left an image of himself behind, a snapshot of Lanlan an instant before. But Kasyr was too fast. The images Lanlan left were sliced and dispersed much faster than one that could replace it. But still, Lanlan bought himself some time, time to think? Not quite. But time to interpose himself between the floating kite shield and Kasyr. He grabbed it by the edges, finding it surprisingly weightless. He'd escaped unscathed for now, but there was nothing left of his illusion. Desperately, he held the shield out before a wild stab from Kasyr, and the sword seemed to stick. "I'm here, Gevurah," he says, believing he had a seconds reprieve. But he didn't. Not really. Lanlan glances to the doors of the war room for a jiffy when he hears the rumbling steps of her soldiers’ boots, but he doesn't hear the sword penetrate fully the black shield, nor does he hear it slide into his chest. Lightning diffuses through his body, flickering hot sparkles over the bare skin where his shirt used to be. He sees the guards trample in as he drops to a knee, trying to push the shield against the hilt and force the sword back out of him.
Kasyr may often indulge in bouts of recklessness, but this moment is not one of them - that singular murderous obsession that burns through his mind keeping his awareness honed to a fine point. And though those rabid energies currently consume his flesh, spreading fractures of sparking light out across his skin, and searing through his insides- they also serve to distort his very perceptions, amplifying them so he can keep up with the unnatural alacrity he's currently displaying- enabling his brief backslide out of the path of the scythe. The ensuing chaos that erupts in the room as some bit players are introduced to the scene is an unwelcome addition, only serving to hasten the deathly exhaustion that was trying to settle into his aching limbs. That it had to be all or nothing is what manages to set the swordsman back into motion- that vindictive desperation seeing what was a half-hearted stagger forward turning into a devastating thrust that not only pierces the divine barrier, but also sends the lightning charged blade Into Lanlan. Sick satisfaction, and a bleak sense of malice feel the Kensai for just a moment, and help to lace just an extra bit of spite into the motion- before he feels his fingers break apart beneath the force of the impact, leaving him instead to stumble away with a rapidly mounting sense of exhaustion. The staggering steps he takes towards the exit, and the encroaching guards are hardly feigned- and serve as more than ample reason for them take a swing at the Kensai. Which also happens to offer Kasyr a perfect opportunity to discharge the ambient energy that he'd been accumulating about his person, the limited range between himself and their weapons making them ideal conduits- and leaving them in spastic seizures as Kasyr tries to shamble towards the exit. Really, it'd be rather apt to leave Kasyr vulnerable to being preyed upon Gevurah- but then, that's what the insult to Lanlan's injury was for. Because unless Lanlan manages to draw that blade out from himself, the magic that was still laced into it is effectively poised to not only send a surge of kinetic energy into him, and potentially cause a lovely array of internal damage, it was also going to dislodge the shield from itself ...and into Lanlan's face. Perhaps the prospect of peeling her lover out from a divot in the wall might prove to be an adequate distraction.
Quintessa begins to internally panic when she see the troops outside mobilizing. What were they up to? Quickly, the hex blade stalks out of her hiding place to approach the front doors, her hands already moving to her weapon to prepare to fight her way inside, if she must. Quintessa is only slightly surprised when the gate guards move to intercept her, weapons already drawn to try and kill a known ally of Kasyr. "What mean this?" she calls out in broken Drow, "Me go inside or you will be... much kill." She didn't know much of this awkward language, but from the way some of the guards were leveling their crossbows at her she could safely assume they didn't want to talk. "Fine," she says, returning to common. "Llafn tân!" She screams, her voice echoing through the buildings of Trist'oth and alerting anymore nearby guardsmen to her position at the gates as her katana sets aflame under her enchantment, spreading light in the deep dark. The Drow crossbowmen don't hesitate and fire a volley the moment it looks like Quintessa is a threat, but the changeling anticipates this. Swinging her sword in a wide arc, the hex blade calls out "Mwy o dân!" as a massive wave of fire erupts from edge of her sword and swallows up the oncoming bolts and slams into the outside walls, immolating anyone unlucky enough to get caught in its wake. The small group that had moved to attack her in melee must either flee back inside the gates or suffer her wrath. As the troops inside the walls move into position, Quintessa boldly steps forward through the fires that still burned in the streets, her spike heels clicking solidly on the concreate as she steps over the few that failed to avoid her spell. "I'll say this one more time," she calls out in common, bringing her sword up for another spell, "Surrender Kasyr to me or all of you die!"
Gevurah lets loose a loud, horrified yelp unlike any sound Lanlan has heard her make before. The terror morphs into a white hot rage, as searing as the sword that’s bored through Lanlan’s chest. The soldiers advance on Kasyr in coordinated attack. The drow mage fires a spell to slow the speedy Kasyr to a lethargic pace. The marksman shoots a crossbow laced with poison. The swordsman dual wields curved blades and aims for Kasyr’s already weakened torso. Gevurah is torn between exacting revenge on her ally-turned-foe or healing her lover. Her soldiers may not be equipped to take down the injured Kensai without her, but Lanlan may not survive without her quick healing. She races towards Lanlan, dispelling the summoned shield with her sheer will before Lanlan is crushed against a wall, and slides onto her knees to catch Lanlan gently as he falls backwards. “Lan,” her voice chokes and stutters. Her hand rests gently on Lanlan’s gaping wound as blood pools around and over her flesh like a spring of dwindling life. Tears sting her eyes as she whispers a spell to slow and, eventually, stop the bleeding if it isn’t too late, but she doesn’t yet know which organs have been punctured. The blood pooling in Lanlan’s mouth signals that she has just a few minutes before Vakmatharas claims him. The priestess can heal a little, but it isn’t her strong suit. Her dark arts focus on how to kill, not how to save, because she never thought she’d have much reason to save anyone at all. As Kasyr escapes, she shouts for someone to fetch her greatest healer, only to remember that Daath killed that healer. Damn. The matron calls for a second healer. Now. Immediately. Faster. Lanlan’s blood soaks into her dress, the one she wore as a second-pick outfit after he had seduced her out of her corset. That was just hours ago. How quickly the day turned.
Lanlan almost thinks he's done enough, and more than he expected to ever do! With Kasyr tangled up in Gevurah's shield, and her soldiers approaching, Gnat won't be able to turn his sword or lightning against her any time soon. That isn't to say he's ready to rest. Gevurah may have somehow become a greater priority than he thought possible, but his love for himself was still gargantuan. And the spite against anyone who harmed him almost matched it. He gripped and shoved the shield through gritted teeth while mumbling a spell, and his eyebrows danced in often interrupted patterns. Above Kasyr, a black void opened in thin air where a large bloodshot eyeball watched him for a moment, before pulling back and reaching a tree trunk of a tentacle grasped the rim of the portal and wrenched it open wider. Wide enough for a second obsidian tentacle, covered in spikes the size of daggers to begin to slither around Kasyr. Lanlan smiles maliciously, baring his bloodstained teeth, before the stinging of a thousand wasps (or an electrically charged sword) overwhelms him. The illusion vanishes as Lanlan spasms, and is then launched into the wall behind him. He's mostly unaware then, but feels Gevurah over him. He rests a bloody hand on her arm and holds, tries to talk, but chokes. He turns his head a little to try to empty the blood from his mouth, but his cough is weak, it dribbles down his chin and the side of his cheek. "Gev-" he tries to speak but the blood regenerates. Probably a lung. He puts his other hand on her to try to convey his message. She could probably see it in his eyes: he's afraid.
Kasyr doesn't even really get to relish in the sight of the swordsman falling to the ground in a seizuring mess from an introduction to excessive electrocution, or the way the arrow, caught in the burst of lightning, has it's shaft reduced to ashes, and the arrowhead sent firing back through its wielder. The way in which he manages to introduce the mage to one of his cohorts swords is an afterthought, the Kensais focus being solely focused on the colossal effort it takes for him to move one foot after the other. Lanlan, at least, manages to make him falter- but the ephemeral nature of his malign figment makes it a brief hiccup. Kasyr is effectively consumed by the stubborn desire to die on his own terms- a determination that keeps him moving through those corridors, alternating between stumbling steps, and moments where he shambles against the walls, leaving sanguine smears in his wake. And ever does the thought loom in his mind, that it would be so easy to just crumple to the ground, falling to pieces like the vase he knocks over (Sorry, not Sorry, Gevurah). To just succumb to the creeping chill that's spread out from his guts, and which now begins to hook it's claws into a battle weary heart with the promise of a long and well deserved rest. Somewhere along the lines, he begins to hum a tune that he has no recollection of beginning, nor that he can keep track of as his sense of awareness balances on the edge of oblivion, punctuated only be the occasional interlude of violence. Until even that fails him, a brief respite from chaos finally making the prospect of sliding against a wall and taking a rest too difficult to resist.
Quintessa had to give it to the guards here at House D'Artes, they weren't ones to back down from a fight. Since she was a lone target, the anti-mages moved in first, dimming the fire that burned on her sword by slowly snuffing out the flow of mana. They seemed right proud of themselves until the hex blade charged and ran the first one through, the tempered steel of her katana slicing right through the Drow's armor like butter. "Fools!" she hisses at them, baring her sharp teeth in a cruel grin. The guards had assumed her a mere human at first, but that mistake was quickly becoming realized. In trained synchronization, a pair of Drow fighters move in, one wielding a spear, the other a short sword. Without use of her defensive magic, Quintessa is forced into a straight fight with them. The changeling deflects the oncoming sword swing with ease, her curved blade swiftly parrying the strike before sweeping around for a counter-attack. The hex blade strikes true, literally disarming the Drow in a single stroke as his arm hits the ground. She hesitates against the spearmen however, uttering the words of her 'Ice Shield' spell in vain as the spear penetrates the flesh above her shoulder blade. Quintessa curses, spinning around to retaliate only for the spearman to defend against her swipe. "Enough of this!" she roars, her aura growing out to push against the influence of the anti-mages, thick, black fog surrounding the changeling and obscuring her heat signature. The anti-mages struggle to deafen this new tactic Quintessa begins to wield against them, but she manages to down many more guardsmen during this time. The spearman that had stabbed her falls first, his head rolling out of the fog before she moves into the fray of soldiers. They finally manage to snuff out her connection to her mana again, reveling the changeling through the fog of her aura as she pulls her katana from the body of a Drow warrior. Lucky for Quintessa, all the best guards had been sent inside to defend the Matron, if these were the elite units she wouldn't be doing so well against them.
Gevurah :: When Lanlan shares his private fear with Gevurah, she shakes her head stubbornly and says “No, I won’t let that happen.” The matron dries her eyes quickly as Izzerin, two healers, and two guards (new ones who have to step carefully over the bodies Kasyr dropped) filter into the room. The guards in particular look unimpressed with the concern the matron showers on former Second Patron Lanlan who was, until just an hour ago, an unwelcome enemy of House D’Artes. He’s dying? Good riddance. The healer kneels beside Lanlan opposite Gevurah and works dispassionately to carry out her matron’s wish. In truth, the healer would rather Lanlan not survive his wounds, but understands, with just one look at Gevurah, that if Lanlan dies, the healer will die too. Once the bleeding has been stopped and the lung has been temporarily propped up by magic, Lanlan is taken to a guest room to recover. Gevurah doesn’t leave his side for reasons both practical (i.e. many in this estate would still like to see him dead), and of the heart.