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RP:An End, Once And For All

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Part of the Township Troopers Arc


Part of the The Day I Tried To Live Arc


Part of the In Darkness We Trust Arc


This is a Warrior's Guild RP.


Summary: The Warrior's Guild, with Brand and Larewen, descend upon the island, once inhabited by the Haathians and now overrun with bugs galore, in hopes of bringing the insects' reign to an end.

The Docks, Rynvale

Lionel | Cresting the final league, the Tranquility earns her name. Moving through a choppy sea with a quiet, serene grace, the ship has avoided drawing too much attention in the time it has taken for her crew to depart Rynvale and narrow in on the island. Time and weather have been a boon as well; the sun’s last fuchsia rays cling to the watery western horizon as a thick blanket of purplish dusk crosses overhead. Sailors heave their strong arms, but they do so without song or shout or cheer, and top speeds are avoided in favor of something slick but not rapid. Alarming the island’s guardian, Matu’Omi, may be inevitable. But the closer Brand can bring the team before that happens, the better. Thus far, the going has been good, but troubled minds and sour stomachs have swept over the ship like a plague. Esche’s slender hands grab the railing gracefully, and a dim smile traces his lips as he considers Rorin’s question. “I suppose it was mere happenstance, or cosmic fate, which drew me to our commander. Whichever you prefer.” He nods warmly, crossing his arms and studying the recently-promoted young knight. “And what of you? This is the most I’ve seen you speak in some time, as if something extraordinary has been weighing on your conscience.” Rorin flinches beneath his full mask, but the boy gets the impression Esche has seen through that mask just the same. “Just a lot going on,” he counters carefully. “Anyway, we’re almost there, right? I’ll go check the hold one last time.” Esche nods again, watching Rorin step away. The towering dwarf called Sundance marches toward the elf in the boy’s place, barrel-chested and wielding two impressively-forged steel axes. “Calm before the storm,” the man growls nervously. “Lionel hasn’t moved since we set off. He just stands there.” Esche peers past Sundance -- no easy task at a modest height like his -- and observes their leader. Lionel is situated near to the very edge of the Tranquility’s bow, one hand gracing Hellfire’s hilt. “I believe that is about to change,” Esche replies cryptically. Sundance grunts at the elf’s all-too-typical vagueness, but when Brand calls out loudly enough for the whole crew to hear his words, Esche is proven correct. “"Island's in sight, but something huge is movin' at us from east-by-northeast, and I'm pretty frakkin' sure we all know what that 'something' is! I'm takin' her in real quick-like, so you'd best hold onto your asses!" He’s not wrong. The Tranquility lurches hard to port, and the sailors throw their backs into the oars, and the vessel rips through the waves even as greater waves smack into her from the colossal creature that’s about to greet them violently.


Lionel | All-the-while, Lionel extends his fingers around the hilt of his fabled sword, and Esche and Sundance -- and a returning Rorin -- watch him as he slowly, deliberately, turns to face the rest of the naval team. “This war’s gone on too long,” he begins. His tone matches the ship’s title, yet his voice successfully carries. “Too many lives have been lost.” Carefully, he begins to withdraw the black metal of his blade from its prismatic sheath. Behind him and into the ocean, the menacing form of the turtle-like being known as Matu’Omi begins to rise, an impossible hundred meters from one end to the other, sending crushing waves like small tsunamis toward them. Yet Lionel does not flinch. Rather, he tilts his stance, and his azure eyes flicker toward Hellfire for half a heartbeat, and the blade roars into emerald flame, and he raises it like a rallying cry as the Tranquility is shaken by the first major impact. “This is not their world. It’s ours.” The flames build toward a tempest and swirl into the night sky as Matu’Omi bellows and lunges. The island’s guardian closes half the rest of the gap, seeking to smash into them, to stop them just shy of the shoreline. “Most of us never asked for this. It doesn’t matter what we want. What matters is that the bastards in front of us won’t stop until everyone’s an eaten corpse in Lithrydel.” Hellfire’s flames rip through the air, breaking into the creature’s scales, and Lionel jumps to the rail, balancing himself against all odds as the Tranquility is rocked by a nonstop barrage. “We’re the light in dark spaces! We’re the hope when night falls! But nevermind theatrics! Nevermind self-important titles, designed to make us feel better about ourselves when the going gets rough! What matters is that we’re the vanguard against every freak with a murder fetish! What matters is we’re the Warrior’s Guild, and we’re ending this war tonight!” A roar is heard, but it’s louder than the mythical beast Matu’Omi. It’s the crew, charging to meet the thing in battle. Esche’s smile deepens slightly, and he swirls his oaken staff to join them.


Kreekitaka slammed his jawblade into his chest once, then spun it rapidly, smacking the deck with the blunt side of the weapon, building up charge as quickly as possible while Lionel spoke, the percussive thump-thump-thump a constant accompaniment to the man's speech. And when Matu'Omi closed the gap, the uyeer wanted to be the first into the charge. "Cyear for me!" he shouted, downed a potion--and dove over the side, then angled his jawblade down toward the monster and pressed the button, activating its enchantment. The jawblade let loose a blast like rolling thunder and hurled him up into the air. "Remember me, beasTAH!?" he cried as he plunged towards it, hoping that the sound grabbed its attention. Vindicator had been given special orders, as had a couple of sailors tending him. The huge scorpion was resting in a spot with a clear view of the turtle, and, when the creature hopefully turned to look up at Kree as he descended, perhaps attracted by the noise and the memory of the damage it had done, the sailors pulled the lever and Vindicator's tail snapped forward, hurling a sphere made using a hybrid of hagfish-leather and blow-fish leather, which, upon being disturbed, expanded and expanded until it burst, hurling spines laced with a paralytic venom in all directions. The sphere was aimed right for Kree, who snagged it in mid-air with the jawblade, primed it with a tentacle, and hurled it downwards into the turtle's mouth. "Enjoy being frozen, monsTAH!er!" he roared.


Khitti didn’t join in with the crew’s cheering. She didn’t acknowledge Brand’s yelling, or Lionel’s speech, or Kreekitaka’s demand to make way for his ridiculously huge form as he made his way towards the turtle. Her mind was elsewhere: The Shadow Plane. It was gaining closer and closer to the day that they’d leave and she was growing more introverted with regards to everyone--especially Brand and Lionel. No swords were unsheathed and no bow drawn when the time to act was called for; for the moment, she’d focus on using that borrowed magic from Amarrah. With that black crystal orb held firmly in her left hand, the right summoned up a great twisting ball of shadows, shadow-flame, and shadow-ice, the very center of it like a glittering maelstrom as the three magics swirled about. Making sure to avoid injuring Kreekitaka, the first ball, and then another, and soon another after that, were all lobbed at the beast, in hopes that it’d break through its defenses with the acidic shadows and leave gaping holes in its shell for the other two elements in the orbs and anyone else that might attack it to have easier access of doing so.


Lionel twirls his lithe frame as he hurls himself toward Matu’Omi, but then he backs off, jerks westbound, and grips the ship’s ropes, gauging Kreekitaka’s damage to the foe. Amazingly, his plan has been successful; Matu’Omi screams so loud that waves of wind visibly fire forth from its massive mouth, but that mouth turns to ice and the hulking frame topples to the side just seconds before it would have crashed into the Tranquility. “Nasty song you’ve got there,” he mutters. “Ice and fire.” Snapping his finger, Catal’s Last Prince redirects Hellfire’s emerald flames to join Khitti’s own barrage, and the magics fuse in a spectacular crest of light, there to whip upon the guardian’s freezing shell. Matu’Omi, formerly so perilously close to crushing the life out of everyone gathered here tonight, can only despair as its thick protective armor shatters, leaving it wide open to what comes next. It screams another ‘song’, bashing itself into the ship, but Brand’s hand on the wheel veers them wayward of the brunt of the damage; one unfortunate sailor plummets to his doom, but Matu’Omi tastes defeat. Rorin’s holy magic scorches the unprotected creature, and Esche joins the fray with shot after shot of terramancy, and Sundance digs his bloodied axes deep within its gargantuan skull. With a final wail, an ancient, single-minded guardian’s life’s work comes to a swift, decisive end. As it dies, the Tranquility strafes, and the Warrior’s Guild arrives.


Lionel | Boots on the ground, the naval team wastes no time rushing through the sandy, craggy shoreline toward the long grasses and swamps further inland. A wooden bridge extends across the bog as the tower looms ahead. Viewed from up close, the tower seems to have been constructed of big, thick red bricks but a grey-and-tan mixture the likes of which none have seen in millennia. It’s sturdy against a building wind, not rocking or creaking in the slightest, even as scores of palm trees are buffeted to the point of loose fronds. Despite the aerial battle overhead, Lionel, Rorin, Sundance, and Esche -- and those who run with them -- make a good, uninterrupted sprint toward the expansive main gate, whereupon Rorin sets to work placing curious magical runes from Emelyan’s supply shipment at set intervals. “Plug your ears and stand four-point-seven meters from the point of detonation,” he instructs them, although his words are muffled by the screeching of a wyvern on Emrith’s team. “Fraksake,” Sundance complains. “How am I supposed tah know how far’s four-point-seven? Lionel, this kid’s too damn meticulous for his own good.” Rorin, visibly flustered after removing his mask, bites his lip. “-At least- four-point-seven! Sheesh! It’s inferred!” Sundance grumbles, and he and Esche and Lionel do as instructed as the paladin finishes with the runes. Presuming that everyone else has also followed Rorin’s advance, no one will anticlimactically explode in the white-hot light that pierces the doors to a crisp pile of ash. Pristine ivory halls and gaudy red-and-gold decor make for an odd pairing with the stink of so many insectoid corpses piled atop golem-like ancient machines and skeletons with bits of black cloth. It’s the last of Haath, the last line of defense against the menace one war-weary magister unwittingly created. The amount of flesh preserved upon some of these corpses paints a dreary picture, like a life-or-death struggle that time forgot. “These people died saving the realm,” Esche speaks quietly, leaning beside one. “It’s as well that they did it out of duty, not seeking fame, because for thousands of years, all traces of them vanished.” The elf purses his lips, placing his hand upon what’s left of the Haathian’s forehead. “Saren’el, corypheus. Thank you.” The Guild begins its ascent up the many floors of Haath’s last vestige.


Kreekitaka landed atop Matu'Omi's shell and immediately dove off of it to avoid being pummelled by that same barrage of magic. One can be assured he was hammering at things under the surface, even though he wasn't doing much in the way of damage. When the boat turned to leave, he paddled hard to catch up, and climbed back aboard, swiftly mounting Vindicator and arming himself with a lance that he'd brought specifically for the opportunity to fight, mounted, against the innumerable hordes that were surely waiting for them upon reaching the shore. Which meant he was extremely disappointed as he rode out of the surf like a conqueror from the ocean, water surging all around him, atop his heavily-armored war scorpion--and found no innumerable hordes waiting for them, instead having an easy march to the building. He made sure to stand well back from the explosive. Fortunately the opening was just large enough to squeeze the giant scorpion inside the building with them, and as they looked around the crab said, with basically no indoor voice: "Where are HHHTHe swarms, Yionoh? Was HHHTHis pyace noTAH! covereDAH! in insecTAH!s yasTAH! TAH!ime? HHHTHe onyee HHHTHings we've seen HHHTHus far are syain aoreaDAH!ee!" Tempting fate a little there, Kree, but it is still a valid question to ask. Granted, it was asked with the tone of a kid who's just run down the stairs on Christmas morning and found that there are no presents under the tree, so some may not see it as entirely valid.


Khitti cringed at the sounds Matu’Omi made, doing her best to ignore it, a part of her feeling a bit bad for the being. Funny. Now’s the time when she decides to have a heart towards -anything- lately. She does manage a slight grin, though, for the light show that the melding of her magic and Lionel’s creates, but even that is short-lived. As her booted feet touched the sand with everyone else’s, she pulled the hood of her duster up over her head to hide the growing frown that was creeping across her features. Were they even going to make it out of this? Was she even going to get to go to the Shadow Plane? Was she going to get her cure that was promised by Amarrah’s dad? The feeling of dread was unbearable. She does not, however, anti-climatically implode, though the temptation was there. While the others chose to look into the building, Khitti kept her attention on the path behind them--ever the faithful watchdog of Frostmaw was she (or watchKhat...whatever.)


Dominic || Brand touched down on shore only after giving temporary command of the Tranquility over to one of his crew -- one of the ones in the running for First Mate. Now was as good a time as any to give them a trial run of command, he supposed, though hopefully nothing -too- eventful would happen while he was away. As for Brand, he was going where the action was supposed to be, where his fiery services were most needed. After properly ducking from Rorin’s explosive blast, he scaled the steps up the tower two at a time, nary a word spared to Khitti or anyone else. This was more or less par for the course with Brand: on a mission, only speak when necessary.


Lionel pauses in his stairway climb to wince at Kreekitaka’s inquiry. He can’t suppress a feeling of unease over the strangely easy entry, although he reckons Kree just feels sad. “I don’t know,” he admits. “But we know what we saw. Stay close and double-check everything we come across. I doubt a force that vast is even universally lying in wait to ambush us, but -some- of them surely are. We’ve been down this road too many times before. As for the rest of them…” He pauses. “...I don’t know,” he repeats, and that’s the end of that. The corpses continue, and with them, the insectoid husks and the strange mechanical creations. The walls remain a polished ivory, albeit splattered with enough blood to lend a pinkish hue. Tower ascent continues, and Esche and Sundance stand guard from behind, ever-cautious of the startling ease of this mission. The air grows thicker, and the stench of the dead carries a firmer, sour note, and at last, opposition is found. Having played this game too many times in too many locations, Lionel is ready; he’s already moving swiftly, sword and dagger drawn, at the first signs. Fierce two-meter mosquitoes creep out from the nooks in the ivory walls, lengthy stingers bursting free from their perch upon globular abdomens. They zip toward the team, hungrily closing the distance stinger-first to stab through tender flesh. Behind them, columns and rows of mantises turn the corners in this labyrinthine maze, stretching the scythes of their arms and flinging them ahead like boomerangs. The scythes are sharp -- sharp enough to sever human and elven and dwarven heads from their necks, although Kreekitaka would probably survive direct hits -- and the mantises race the mosquitoes to the prey rather than waiting for their weapons to return to them. And the strange glass-like ceiling suddenly shatters, shards falling upon bipeds and insectoids alike, when a squadron of silvery butterflies blasts gale force wind followed by a cone of fire. The Warrior’s Guild is besieged.


Kreekitaka looked at the stairs with distaste. Vindicator was not going to be able to climb those. He'd been expecting a battle out on the sand, where having a giant monster underneath you can come in handy. This wasn't right. He gave the order for it to return to the ship--it wouldn't be useful where they all were going, and he'd rather it go back to a place where it might be safer. Now he was free to ascend, and ascend he did. He had left the lance atop Vindicator, and was now wielding the jawblade in one claw and carrying a small shield in the other. The weapon made rhythmic thumps as they walked up the stairs--probably ruining any shot at stealth they might have achieved, but then with how silent this section of the building was their footsteps echoed anyhow. Thump, thump, thump, heylookcombatfinally! Immediately Kree attempted to shove his way to the front again and braced himself. "Yionoh, mages," he said, "yeTAH! us aTAH!ack as one!" He raised his jawblade and fired it, unleashing another thunderclap of force in the confined space of the room. The sheer number of bugs meant that this alone wouldn't stop them, but it might smash a few of the ones in the front and deflect some of the projectiles. The real hope of the attack was to accelerate and propel any magic that was caught in the blast, redoubling its force and perhaps searing through the onslaught. With that done, the crab was hurling himself right into combat, swinging both jawblade and shield like weapons to crush anything in his path.


Khitti :: Butterflies? Didn’t she have enough frakking trouble with -one- butterfly lately? All of that tension that’d been building up over the past weeks--the worrying, the lack of speaking to anyone, the wonder if she’ll even succeed in any of this mess--was suddenly let loose with an irate scream as the glass shards fell around her and the others. Nope. Not gonna let them live. Not a single one of them. She’d leave the others to deal with the bugs on the ground, shadow-stepping up and away from the group to tend to the flying pests. A temporary ceiling above them was created as arcs of shadow-flame seared across the sky, the vampiress taking precious seconds to land against the walls of the tower in between her portal-jumping and attacks on the butterflies, using the same dark elements of the Plane of Shadow to try to rid them of the deceptively beautiful bugs and their winds, albeit separately this time around. If any of those below her even gave it a brief thought, they’d probably easily assume why she’d make her focus be on the butterflies, heh (hint: it’s totally not Amarrah or anything). The winds from the butterflies do manage to blow her off course a few times, small bouts of flame and ice seeking the ground below instead of their intended targets as Khitti tried to right herself and resume her half-magic, half-vampiric agility-fueled acrobatics.

Dominic || Right about now would be a good time to have use of the kid’s bubble shield, Brand thought, right before the barrage of attacks fell down upon them all. Alas, but there -were- drawbacks to Dominic’s withdrawal from… basically everything, however few. Instead, Brand raised his hands towards the ceiling and did the best he could to replicate the spell, crafting a dome of ice overhead such that it might spare him and his companions from some of the onslaught. It was a crude imitation at best, and did not completely envelop them like the original would have; however Dominic had come about that protective power, ‘protection’ wasn’t particularly something Brand excelled at. ‘Glass cannon’ was the phrase, for often the best defense was a little agility and a lot of offensive power. At least one scythe got buried deep into the thick blue ice, its blade coming to a stop only inches from severing Brand’s hands from his arms. This ice wouldn’t hold long, not with that fire in play… but thankfully, Khitti was making quick work of those butterflies. It couldn’t be that she had a vendetta against the creatures, of course. No, not at all. Brand maintained his spell as best he could while observing the vampiress at work. The ice warped his vision of her as she leaped about from portal to portal, leaving her as something of a darkened blur to his eyes. Good thing it was them she was fighting and not him, he mused.


Rorin enjoyed the fact no one decided to explode with the door at their entrance. He had some much less precise methods of blowing things up, as he wagered half the infiltraters did, though the less power they had to expend the better. "Weapons," Rorin said quietly as he looked over the golem. "And their operators I'd think," he posed about the more humanoid corpses. "They sacrificed themselves. Trapped themselves in here with them- therethere's no other way they'd be so well preserved." Rorin echoed Esches prayer before the team began ascending. "The entire structure must have been like this" Rorin surmised in answer to Kreekitaka. "No way in our out unless we make one. Which begs a few questions," where is the queen, where is the fail safe weapon, can the defenses be reactivated, how will they get down? Though the wheels blazed in his head Rorins body remained completely focused as his left hand gripped the belt of his broad sword tightly. Rorin removed the patch over his inhuman right eye to let it dart about more freely in the socket. A simple maneuver removed his glove and opened the length of his right sleeve as well where his blueish monster like arm waited. The blade half drawn Rorin could feel them coming. A buzz, a pulse, a desire burning into a maddening itching need to slay these creatures and set free the tortured souls within them. Rorins arm began to grow and change into its more dangerous white form as he parried and slashed the incoming bleeders. They burst upon his blade and whetted his cursed arm in red as the gap in their forces was quickly filled. Rorin dashed forward and summoned his signature shield to reflect the blades projectiles back towards their foes before raising it against the shattered cieling. They were every where, "stay close, group together so they can't overwhelm us!" Rorin shouted as matched blade to blade and arm to arm against the arachnid menace. The pilgrim followed his own advice in that he'd group up with whoever was about to be flanked or swarmed and defend them just the same as any he saw wounded.


Lionel moves in tandem with his crustacean ally’s suggestion, blasting volleys of emerald and ruby flame to accommodate the shadow magics and holy magics and shockwaves of a well-oiled machine. The Guild has been through thick, through thin, and survived. Now, as a score of mantises slices them, ripping Lionel’s shirt and bloodying his arm, the team reacts in unison. Rorin destroys his targets whilst Khitti almost effortlessly dispatches the butterflies up above. Skewering the mosquitoes’ stingers, Lionel curves his footing sharply to the left, knocking one bug into another, and then another, and on and on it goes, and then with a sly grin he hops on top of the toppled horde and steps on them with all his might. “This is good,” he tells himself, as Sundance chortles and follows suit. “It’s taken months, but I feel like a natural sense of order in the universe has finally been resto --” he doesn’t have time to finish the boast; the cone of fire from a dying butterfly’s assault forces him out of the way, there to watch the mosquitoes melt. The Guild continues up the last few floors of this storied structure, until their destination is revealed at last. A great bridge separates one control room from the other, and in the distance, shapes that might be Emrith and his team are barely visible on the opposite side. Lionel has the utmost trust and faith in that team, but it still gives him a moment’s relief to see them. Curiously, the roof of this sprawling megacomplex is absolutely transparent despite the total sturdiness broadcast outside. What seemed like thick stone out there is see-through in here; the still-dark sky has become panorama. Further Haathian corpses and constructs lay scattered along the way. Within this massive hall, a series of mechanical arrays line the perimeter. Text floats across the arrays, but it disappears in favor of newer text, and it goes on, endlessly, in a language no one here can speak. It’s like the glyphs Rorin used to gain access, but far more foreign, and so profoundly advanced. Esche is disturbed. “I sense no magic. I sense nothing… only coldness from these… devices.” He squints, shakes his head, and speaks no more. “Whatever it is, it’s not what we came for.” Lionel cuts that conversation short, then dips his chin toward the large crystalline construction pulsing bluish white and visibly sparkling beyond its structure. /| Beside it is a panel with pushable keys that Lithrydelians may only recognize as keyboard-esque, but one thing is legible in the common script: a warning. ‘Here upon this, the Island Closest to Heaven, we the chosen await life’s final journey. The continent is ravaged; we the chosen are all that remain. With this, the crystalline entity, we defend the world against our sin. The creatures were sent to sleep in the lands beneath the waves and sands and forests. If anyone should ever find this place, then our seal has failed, and they have returned. Ignite the entity and our heavenly place will become hell. All shall burn. A ten-minute warm-up period is required, then Heaven’s Pillar will melt all living things to nothingness. Go with your gods, stranger.” Lionel has only just finished reading the message when a very ‘heavenly pillar’ of light erupts from above the roof, shaking the tower to the point that even his deft acrobatics can’t quite save him from being hurled across the room and slammed into an ivory wall, violently. He grunts, and Esche and Sundance land not far from him, and then the dark sky becomes that much darker; silhouettes of thousands of winged insectoids block out what few stars are in sight, and the tower continues to shake. Outside, they’re pouring up from beneath the earth, and it’s all Lionel can do to slam his fist into a nearby array, desperately. “Unbelievable,” he mutters. “We’re finally here, and they’re finally launching.” Esche’s green eyes widen as he replies, “their direction is unmistakable. The entire insectoid fleet is heading straight for Lithrydel.” Although the chambers are filled with the bizarre beeps of all these unknown technologies, those beeps are temporarily silenced by the defeated gasps of some among the group. Lionel spares a brief glance at the Haathian corpses, but bitterness quickly turns to thoughtfulness. “Khitti, I think you’re about to save Lithrydel.” He shoots her a knowing look, then steels his nerves and approaches the crystalline entity. Holding out his hand nervously, he touches the buttons beside the warning, and suddenly the tower’s shaking worsens tenfold. Alongside an alien announcement of some kind, a common-tongued one has only a few simple words: “Countdown stalled. Activate the six. The six. The six.” Lionel’s frown worsens, then worsens again, as the ivory walls burst in all around them, revealing a powerful score of long-legged spiders already spinning their webs to ensnare the group. “Dammit Emrith, I hope you know what you’re doing over there,” the Catalian mutters beneath his breath before swiveling around to raise his blade defensively. “We hold! As soon as Emrith’s team gets those crystals online, we run like hell! Until then, hold the line! Hold the line!” Hellfire charges an emerald flame, but Lionel has to duck to avoid the first stream of spray.


Kreekitaka looked all around for the source of the voice. "Who says six?" he asked, right before more spiders suddenly emerged from the shadows. "Aha!" he shouted. "BursTAH! HHHTHeir sTAH!omachs!" he shouted, once more charging into combat. This time, however, things went... a little differently. The first blast of web, he caught on his shield. The next, as well. But the closer he got, the more the creatures caught on, and the next blast of webs had his shield-arm adhered to his torso. After that, they'd likely have a field day with him, all four of his legs becoming anchored to the floor, his forward charge halted almost faster than it had begun. Swearing viciously in his native tongue (which ended up being a surprisingly musical sound), he fired off another concussive blast from his jawblade, but given the distance and the wide-open space of the room and the fact that he had spent some time wondering at this room, it didn't have as much charge. He holstered the weapon and opened his claw, daring the spiders to come within reach of his one free crusher--of course, should he be beset by more than one, he'd probably find himself in something of a pickle.


Khitti had landed onto Brand’s ice shield as carefully as possible once the butterflies were dealt with, shadow-stepping one more time -through- his shield to stand beside him. There’s silent regard for the male, but not much more as she soon followed Lionel and the rest up the stairs once again. The strange stone gains her attention now as Lionel deals with the console, the vampiress attempting to keep an ear our in case she’s immediately needed. And then she is. Save...Lithrydel? What? No. Does not compute. Error 404: Khitti’s brain not found. Her words actually echoed her thoughts, “Vait...vhat?” Her line of sight would soon follow to where Lionel had been looking though, down to the corpses. “But…” Damn it. She’d hadn’t perfected her necromancy, or even came close to it--that trial in Vailkrin wasn’t nearly enough for something like this at all. Khitti took a much needed deep breath and focused, as the countdown began, then stalled, and then the goddamn spiders appeared. Figures. Tapping into the amplifier crystal, she looked reminiscent of Amarrah in Raiez’s cave, that fateful day that awoke the creature from her magic-induced slumber. Both hands raised, like a maestro conducting an orchestra, the shadows that had engulfed her in Vailkrin enveloping the redhead again--she almost seemed as if she were nothing more than the shadows themselves as the purple and black magic flickered around her form. There was an odd sort of respect for the dead, unlike with most necromancers, as she silently bade the spirits to return, her somatic movements fluid, and even hinted with sadness. She hated this. Hated disrupting the dead. Hated using them for her own gain, even if that gain was just to live through this moment.


Khitti :: They started as wisps, and soon gained their former selves, albeit as ghosts. Some of the Haathians were directed to the constructs, wherein they’d utilized whatever ranged attack the machines held, their strange structures glowing a deep purple. Others were directed to the ceiling itself, using their banshee-like cries in unison to shatter it with the sound’s vibrations (the mortals around her are probably gonna want to cover their ears at this point). Khitti even went a step further, fueling her necromantic magic into the corpses themselves, springing them to life to help not only ward against the spiders, but to use whatever magic they had in their former lives to aid in the destruction of the ceiling. Khitti was silent throughout the duration of this, but the look on her face said it all--she never wanted to do this again -ever-. There were tears, despite a look of determination, for the dead she corrupted to help them all. Once her silent orders were given to the dead, she too joined in with the assault, and let loose a wide-arcing cone, of those dark elements she commanded, skyward to the ceiling. -This- was very likely the extent of Amarrah’s powers.


Dominic || Brand’s line of sight trailed from the rune-covered walls, to the console with the disembodied voice, to the awakened horde of bugs, and finally to Khitti, shrouded in shadow. He probably ought to be doing something to fight the creatures as they encroached upon them, but the sight of the vampiress had him… a bit distracted. A spider finally came too near and was engulfed in his flame without his gaze even turning away; even as transfixed as he was, he knew better than to -wholly- lose all sense of his surroundings. But then another came, and another, and Brand had to draw his eyes away. Let the woman do her work. She didn’t need his encouragement, didn’t need him mentally cheering her on. Probably didn’t even want it, the way things had been going of late. No, Brand’s task was as it ever was: keep himself alive along with as many of his companions as he could manage. That meant turning away, leaping into the thick of the fray with hands pelting balls of flame and legs dodging this way and that around sticky strands of webbing and acid spittle and whatever else the creatures could throw at them.


Rorin surges against the tide of arachnid forces despite the cuts and gashes he suffers sparing others. As they fall the pilgrim charges forward with the rest of the guild to crest this final rise and come upon a strange place. Slowing his pace he took careful observation of the controls. He shook his head just as quickly. Rorin had no idea what any of it meant or how it worked. All that seemed to be legible were cryptic warnings with little to no directions. "Something here must-" Rorin was thrown flat on his behind as the tower shook vehemently. From this position he has a great view of the apocalypse going on just outside. "Sir, I think someone else should-" too late. Lionels pressed things and now spiders flooded the room with their webs as Rorin picked his targets. "Commander, we can burn the webs!" Rorin barely waited for him to confirm before beginning to launch blasts of holy light to tear the threads apart before they got so thick they might spell doom for the party and all of Lythridel besides.


Lionel senses something having changed for the better, but he cannot consciously detect specifics. In reality, the Catalian’s Ishaarite spirit, Halycanos, has noted Krice’s departure into the battle above, but Lionel -- having spent half his life merged to the spirit -- knows better than to be distracted. It is enough to know that something, anything, is going smoothly. And that’s especially welcome news when an army has been launched upon an unsuspecting mainland in the dead of night and a pack of ferocious spiders has trapped Kreekitaka. Dodging a leg and then severing it, Lionel grunts and issues Rorin a stout thumbs-up. “Sundance, Esche, on me,” he orders, and the dwarven and elven allies are beside him in a flash. “Let’s do this.” He swings Hellfire in an arc, billowing a roaring red flame over the webbing, whilst Esche taps the blade with his staff, imbuing it with an ever more precise trajectory. Sundance taps his twin axes to the steel, then slashes wildly at the now-burning web, only to rip them free and splatter gore into a flinching, retreating spider. Meanwhile, vengeful Haathians march to Khitti’s drum. No matter her reservations, they almost seem… satisfied. From within their strange machines, the ghosts shatter the glass, then move alongside Krice, breaking enemy lines as the insectoid fleet turns, slows, and evaluates the threat. Fire and electricity rage within the night sky, the creatures blasting magic at the interlopers, hoping to kill them, that they may proceed with their mission of Lithrydelian extermination. Yet the spirits do not even seem to feel the attacks. They fight all the stronger, a righteous hunger to slay their slayers, to end those who ended civilization. The tower’s shaking intensifies, and now it sways, too, to the rhythm of the fighting and the lone crystalline entity shutting down. But the six crystals remain on Emrith’s side of the equation, and the various arrays are going haywire from the confusion. Lionel and his allies carve into the spiders, but the walls are beginning to crumble; if the other team doesn’t set the countdown soon, it may all be for naught…


Kreekitaka explodes upwards with a very Kool-Aid-like "Oh yeah!" And now that the spiders were in range, it was slaughtering time. He hurled himself into a spider and brought his shield down into it as if it were an extra-weighted fist, knocking it senseless. His other claw reached out, clamped down on the beast's head, and squeezed, splattering its gore in all directions as its cephalothorax burst like a water balloon. But he wasn't finished yet, as he knew the creatures had a little switch inside. He shived his arm further into the spider, using its body as a shield and his shield as another weapon, until he found that itching, burning sensation he was looking for as the creature's stomach burst and its acids began that chemical reaction he was looking for. He spun and hurled it into the throng--and it exploded again, more violently this time, splattering itself all over its fellows. The wounds inflicted by some of the others caused those chemicals to begin reacting with theirs, and soon there were more explosions where more and more spiders detonated against each other, bursting in a glorious chain reaction. But there were too many who were unbroken to have gotten them all like that--but that was okay, because that meant there were more potential spider-bombs!


Khitti didn’t particularly care about whether or not the spirits were satisfied. What she did care about was the fact that she was starting to feel particularly woozy at this point. She had to keep going, though, had to keep channeling. It was all that she could do to not pass out, but soon she did, and promptly collapsed where she had stood. The shadows died away and faded from the redhead, the magic she had sent towards the heavens disappearing as well, but the spirits continued their assault--it was Khitti’s last order before she lost consciousness. Save them. Help them. Don’t let them become like you. Or like me. Don’t let them die. Please.


Dominic || Spiders. It was always gorram spiders. Even Brand was starting to get sick of the things at this point, and he generally -liked- spiders. Well, the normal-sized ones, anyway. And Francis, the giant dog-like spider from the Shadow Plane that he and Khitti had befriended. The rest of these? They needed to frakkin’ die. Such was his train of thought, brooding and uninterrupted -- until the bulk of them… burst in some sort of chain reaction? Well then. Brand only -just- managed to escape from the worst of the spider-guts (though he’d certainly need a bath after this) and then… he felt it before he saw it. Even with that vampiric psychic link between them near dead at the moment, he could feel the change in the air when Khitti collapsed. Maybe he was only sensing the lack of her magic channeling. But whatever the case was, he was upon her with haste, taking her in his arms (and definitely getting some of the spider guts all over her in the process. Sorry, Khitti). There’d be no pulse for him to check, not on a vampire, but he searched her for some other sign of life anyhow, some indication that she was merely unconscious and not… gone. But she didn’t worry him. Oh, no, not at all. Of course not. Brand was fine. -Totally- fine. Not slightly panicking, inwardly, as he searched for that sign. Not at all.


Rorin 's faith shone brightly as the heavenly blue light that covered his arm and sword. The darker things seem and the closer to the end of becomes Rorins light burns brighter and brighter as a beacon of hope. The pilgrim dashes alongside Lionel to Kreekitakas aid with his weapons pushing back the enemy wave bit by bit. Rorin did not know it at first but a song rang out from him that matched the somber fire fueling the intense battle for the world. He cheered on the Haathian souls with great prayers and a circle of divine magic spread out from him to steady and fortify his allies as the tower trembled. Even as the very walls collapse around them Rorin does not miss a bit for sword and song are set to the towers away with the tune of battle. Soon a new catastrophe arises in the form a fire storming bag that blacks out the night sky and threatens to tear the tower asunder. There is little any of them can do at this point. "Can we reach it?" Rorin said to Lionel, dashing to the man so he can be heard, "can we reach it commander? Is there a way?" Rorins eyes were wide, looking for any affirmation he could be given. "If we get close enough we can end this the way it really started. Together," before the earth itself ends and all is lost. In this last moment Rorin would not be afraid. On this last battlefield they must stand their ground.


Lionel | An end, once and for all. The words flash through Lionel’s frantic mind as the crystalline entities emit their charge and the countdown begins in earnest and the tower sways. He’s lurched across the hall, grabbing an array as the shaking worsens, and the world seems to blaze into cacophony. “An end, once and for all,” he informs Rorin, as he regains his footing and stands beside the lad. Sundance lowers his axes and takes up position beside them. The very floor ahead of their feet begins to crumble, as if eating itself alive, but the Haathian spirits heed Khitti’s prayer, and they move to intercept, granting a supernatural barrier and keeping the warriors steady. The impossible chiroptera unfolds its webbed wings, surrounded by a growing tempest of fire and wind which is now whipping around its colossal form so wide, it rivals the very volcano in magnitude. A child in Rynvale cannot sleep; she peers out through her window, and far to the east, a ball of fire is swirling like a comet. The city awakens in abject fear, as the insectoids who had sought to consume that city are rolled into the ball of fury and burned to ash. So, too, are many of the Haathian spirits and their machines, and the tower -- the last of their legacy -- comes dangerously close to falling. The island itself now shakes, and the thing, the bat, the artificially-created god of this forgotten place, blasts beam after beam of pure light into sand, into the swamp, into the mountains. All things burn; all things perish. Everything alive must die. If the island is to be destroyed -- if these interlopers are to stop the horde -- then they will die. An end, once and for all. The creature is too far away, but its might is so perfect, its attacks are ravaging the web holding it at bay. There is nothing the Warrior’s Guild can do, nothing anyone can do, to reach the beast, but a fiery death awaits them just the same. Even the stairways have gone up in pieces, and the tower is collapsing from the bottom up, and it feels to Lionel like standing on the brink in the center of a cyclone. It’s not fair, but life is rarely fair. “You did good,” he tells Rorin, as the proverbial cyclone crashes in on them from all sides. “I’m… proud of you.” Everything melts into the inferno. On a long enough timeline, death comes for us all. An end, once and for all. Were it not for Grace Valerii’s sacrifice, this would be that end. Ilaerothil flaps great wings against the current of wind, defiantly, and swoops overhead as the Everspider’s web snaps and the tower collapses. In that blink of an eye, everyone is given just enough momentum to hop aboard and escape the nightmare. The Island Closest to Heaven flashes like wicked lightning, the creature immolates itself with two keen eyes waiting to see its victims scorched, then it screams in primal anguish as it realizes the depths of its failure, and it dies. Ilaerothil rounds about to find Krice, then sprints at top speeds toward the Tranquility, depositing Lionel and whoever else jumps with him. “Brand, take us the -hell- out of here, now, now, now, now, now,” the Hero of Hellfire implores, as the waves roil up in the wake of the island’s destruction…


Kreekitaka realized, as the spiders exploded all around, that this gunk was a very powerful thing. Swiftly, he opened as many empty vials as he had on him and filled them with the spider-guts. As the behemoth bat-creature began to descend towards them, the crabman dropped his shield, pulled out all the rest of his potions with one claw and his jawblade with the other, and began swinging against the ground. If he had enough resistance--if he could get in a good shot at one of the wings--just maybe he could conquer it. Potions downed, he started towards the monster, because it was the most wondrous beast he'd ever seen and he was going to take something from it as a trophy--but then Ilaerothil snagged him with a hindclaw and airlifted him away. "Wha--no! No! Yionoh!" He flailed uselessly, having none of the right angles to get out of his grasp. "I haDAH! iTAH! I can beaTAH! HHHTHis!" Of course his words were entirely lost in the cacophony of the exploding island. By the time they'd returned to the ship, he just had his arms crossed in a very childish pout. "ImmoyaTAH!eDAH! iTAH!seff... useyess anyhow... razzum frazzum..." Vindicator wasn't bright enough to realize that it was just barely avoiding death, and was just pleased enough to have Kree back that it actually rubbed up against him, almost like a cat might.


Khitti :: It seemed like forever before Khitti finally showed some sign of life--or, unlife, as it were. First there was a bit of tossing and turning in Brand’s arms, like someone waking up from a nightmare. Her face would scrunch up in that irritated look she most often gave the Catalian that held her, and a slew of Dhavislaavian curse words would pass from her lips. Brand would know them now after so long; they’re pretty unsavory and not for the faint of heart. And then, finally, she’d open her eyes and find that blonde grumpy dude holding her? And she might’ve felt the tiniest hint of worry flicker over their psychic link? There was immediate confusion, and she’d soon pull out of his grasp, throwing up those walls again that’d started to build up over the past few weeks. “Sorry. Can’t be asked to do anything around here vithout mucking it somehow or getting hurt or whatever,” she’d mumble, echoing his thoughts on her over the past year. Khitti would stand, with a bit of wobbling thanks to the weakness her lack of magic caused, but she seemed fine otherwise. And then, the tower began to collapse. And then, there was a frakking dragon. And then, Khitti suddenly wished she lived in a world without dragons or spiders because this was getting to be ridiculous. She didn’t even have time to process the fact that there was a giant bat or that she actually -didn’t- fail in her actions. The former would certainly come later, after they’d gotten dropped onto the Tranquility thanks to Ilaerothil, but definitely not the latter--she was far too pessimistic and hard on herself for that, even if she’d taken to not showing it as much anymore. Brand would likely not get a chance to chide her for her apology either, thankfully, as he’d be much too busy now with captaining that ship that he loved so dearly. Khitti was grateful for the Haathians’ devices at this point, because she didn’t know if she had it in her right now to fight anymore, at least not right now. And so, as the island was destroyed, she didn’t even bother to watch. Khitti knew what it looked like for a home to be annihilated, she didn’t need to see it happen again. Instead, the vampiress would find a nice quiet spot, out of the way, and sit herself down onto the deck until she was needed again--if that were to even happen before they got back to Rynvale.



Rorin is wide eyed and shaken by more than just the tower. The end is here. Arkhen greet me with open arms. Rorin smiled at Lions for what seemed like it would be the last time. Yet... There! Upon the wind, a beating of allied wings that matched their own hearts, and as the tower collapsed Rorin has so little time but to know there is a savior in the dark. In a flash collected feet meet the boards of their boat once again. Rorin is as quick to tie off life lines as he is to suggest blasting the water in order to get them moving faster though it's not needed as the islands collapse soon drove them out from .


Dominic || She was fine. Khitti was fine. That was the first breath of relief Brand had exhaled in who knew how long, and the only one he’d get for some time as the chaos erupted around them. Fire, so much fire, and so much destruction that Brand could not ever hope to match even if he wanted to. In what seemed like the space of a blink they were back upon the Tranquility, and Brand certainly didn’t need to be told twice to get the frak out -- in fact, he didn’t even need to be told the first time. From the moment his feet hit deck he was sprinting for the wheel, shouting this command and that to his crew, twisting the Tranquility away from certain fiery doom and away to safer waters. Safe, heh, that was a hell of a concept. They’d averted one world-ending crisis, sure, but the trek to the Shadow Plane loomed ahead for Brand, for Khitti, for the crew of the Tranquility, and for whomever else would join them on their venture. That mission didn’t leave the looming threat of apocalypse over their heads, sure, but… on a more personal level, things were sure to change. And that was the best case scenario, if everything went according to plan and Amarrah held no nasty tricks up her sleeve and the creatures of the Shadow Plane were not, again, mostly hostile to them and overwhelmingly beyond their power to defeat. He’d brook no outward pessimism, not for himself and not for any of his crew, but… privately, the man had his doubts. Something -always- had to go wrong. That was the way of the universe. That they’d avoided it here today, however narrowly, was an anomaly.

==

Emrith sits astride Ilaerothil's broad back, Larewen settled directly in front of him; the spell-blade would rather have her within easy reach and clear line of sight. The dragon, as well as all the other various mounts bent on the aerial half of this penultimate mission, have been instructed to fly to the northern side of the structure on the island off the coast of Rynvale, to keep a loose arrowhead formation with the green dragon at its tip until or unless other signals are given. The vampiric elf still wears his cursed ring, but now sports a wooden whistle on a thong tied round his neck. In the event that riders and mounts are separated, the whistle can be used to summon the latter to the former. Emrith glances sidelong at the wyvern nearest him, slightly behind and to his right. Grace is there, the unlikely survivor of the massacre at the training ground, and she possesses a whistle around her own neck. Nothing could have dissuaded the woman from joining the fight, and Emrith, whose team members seemed cobbled together under various levels of duress, is thrilled to have one more willing set of hands. The group approaches the island, having circled wide and swooped in from the north. The strange tower-like structure is clearly visible in the dusk, and their approach is swift and direct. Unfortunately, the easy flight is doomed to become very complicated. A shape detaches itself from the top of the tower, a sinuous serpent whose colour seems to blend to match whatever is nearest it. A faint scrim of clouds hangs low, and the snake dives into it without being seen, seeming to move without the need for wings, erupting a moment later with a deafening, ragged hiss. Sthyss-Cha has arrived, and it is furious. Huge bubbles spew from its mouth, rolling and bobbing through the empty air toward mounts and riders both. Emrith's keen eye spots one of these before he sees the beast itself, and he shouts a warning. "Break! Break!" he bellows, his voice augmented by magic to carry as far as it might need to in order to be heard. And then the serpent is among them, lashing its tail, gnashing its jaws, whipping and slashing and spewing more of those bubbles. It moves far faster and more dextrously than any of the mounts can manage, and it all Emrith can do to keep it in sight. His swords flick out to the side, skewering one of the strange spheres and popping it, but another hits him in the face, driving him onto his back. Ilaerothil trumpets a battle-cry and vents a breath of pure air, meaning to blow the strange obstructions away before they can wreak any havoc. Emrith, from his new and more precarious point of vantage, uses Nahr to shoot a fireball toward the serpent, only to blink in surprise as a bubble intercepts it, warps briefly, then redirects the fiery ball right back at him. "Down!" he yells, and the dragon drops, Emrith's own fireball sizzling by overhead. "The bubbles bounce magic! Worry the serpent! The serpent!"


Larewen has never been on the back of a dragon, despite her centuries of life and unlife. It stirs in the elf a sort of discomfort that she can’t quite lay her finger on. Actually, the elf often keeps both feet on the ground, so a wyvern, even had Emrith not worried her just the other night, would have been out of the question. En route, she largely keeps her eyes focused on the open sky before them, only occasionally glancing down at the water with a wrinkle of her nose. When they reach the island and its serpent, she relaxes - if only because the prospect of battle and the use of her magics calm her nerves. And…. when she sees the bubble that will eventually pop in Emrith’s face, she’s ducking forward and circling her arms around as much of Ilaerothil’s neck as she can. It is only after it has erupted that the elf straightens up once more. Her augmented eye watches the bubble that Emrith fires at, mouth opening to tell him what it is going to do, but its too late for that. The dragon dips down and Larewen makes a mental note, whilst pursing her lips tightly together, to never fly again. When Ilaerothil evens out once more, the elf is already casting. Her words are cold, void of emotion, and herald darkness. The shadows cast by the clouds are robbed from them and the gloom of the forest below is swept upwards, coming together and thickening until it is a tangible, black orb. A gesture, a drawing back of her fingers and a sudden thrust forward and twist, has the orb stretching and twisting into thick, sinewy ropes that cut through the air, writhing and twisting. The darkness seeks the serpent’s jaws, its ends continuously morphing as it swings around and around. Like a bola trips the legs of an enemy, this one seeks to force its mouth closed.


Krice was on a fully matured mount at the rear of the arrow-formed aerial assault, just about center with Emrith at the pointy end and a couple metres behind the last two riders at his left and right. Dressed in his usual black attire, but harbouring a multitude of weaponry, the warrior was clearly as ready as one could be for the final battle against Public Enemy Number Bug. On his back was the katana he always carried, sheathed and locked in place with the hilt angled over his left shoulder; just above it, a second sword of similar craftsmanship and colour, reachable over the same shoulder; against his left hip, the bulk of a complex crossbow with a tri-track for a three-bolt release per shot, hanging there on its leather over-the-shoulder strap; against the warrior's -right- hip, an S-curved dirk, plain in appearance but probably -not- in function; in front of it, a dark-brown leather pouch, which ran across the foreside of his hip and stopped just short of the dagger. The contents within were secured in bolt-shaped mini-sacks, reloading ammunition for the crossbow. As their destination loomed ahead, Krice paid particular attention to their surroundings, trusting his wyvern to follow the formation of those in front of him while he visually scouted advantages and disadvantages. Advantage number one: a ridiculous amount of space. His gilded stare caught movement in front of the group and he steered his focus in time to witness the peeling of that serpent from its skyward perch, large and ominous and full of anger - focused wholly on the aerial team. Instinct compelled him to drive his wyvern low beneath the serpent's odd bubble-breath, breaking from the arrow-group just a moment before Emrith's command to disperse. Krice flew beneath the group, avoiding others who took slightly similar trajectories, and drove his wyvern straight for the airborne viper. Its movements swift and sharp, the warrior quickly found himself disadvantaged by the limited agility of the beast beneath him, but he corrected his approach and aligned the wyvern with his quarry after a few more attempts. With a kick to the flanks of his mount, and a whip of the reins gripped in one hand, he pulled back his left to withdraw the lower-positioned katana from his back, thereafter holding it behind him, along the wyvern's back, to limit aerodynamic disturbance. Flying parallel to the serpent and beneath it, the warrior drove his mount toward its tail and reared up to cut at the sinewy creature's underbelly, a quick, strong blow seeking the departure of innards from body; it also served to test the strength of the serpent's skin. If guts and slime slid out behind the warrior, then he would know how much force to deliver. Conversely, if no injury was inflicted upon his target, he would recalculate his approach and know to exact more strength against it.


Emrith :: The fight is going as well as can be expected when a trio of aerial mounts are assailed by something much faster and more able-bodied than they are. Emrith is lucky enough to get in a lucky slash at the serpent's face, taking one of its eyes and spraying blackish ichor in all directions, but before he can drive the blade home into what passes for its brain, the snake whips its head away, nearly wrenching the weapon from his grasp. The various efforts of his team are not going to be enough; despite a mouth tied shut with dark magic and a chink in the armoured skin of its belly, the snake appears to be none the worse for wear. In fact, it seems to be growing stronger the more it flies, a nimbus of energy beginning to coalesce around its entire body and thickening as it darts to and fro. Emrith gets a heavy jolt up his left arm when he tries to stab at the beast through that protective shield, and knows that, like the guardian on the last mission, this beast will be too difficult to fell in the time they yet possess. The spell-blade winces inwardly, grimaces with disgust, then raises his voice once more. "Get down! Get down! It's protecting itself!" he screams, and suits actions to words by sending Ilaerothil into a steep groundward dive. Peculiarly, the serpent seems content to harry those above rather than chasing Emrith and Larewen toward the earth, as if its intelligence extends only far enough to cause it to keep guard high above. The green dragon hits the dirt with a snort and a snarl, and Emrith spills off her back bonelessly, as he is so often wont to do, coming up in a crouch and looking back over Larewen's shoulder. "Come down! And follow!" His green eyes have caught sight of a doorway overgrown by mutated vegetation, and before long he is sprinting in that direction, blades out and hacking. The door is soon laid bare, a black steel rectangle which slides silently back on hidden tracks when Emrith's hand rests against it. Trusting that his team is behind him, he steps into the building. It is like a scene from another world. The walls are made from some smooth, painted stuff that looks like dressed stone but isn't. The hall is spaced evenly with steel doors. Scattered across the ground are bones, dust and reddish-black stains that can only be long-dried blood. As Emrith takes his first few steps into the building, a disembodied voice, which seems to issue from a strange metal grill on the ceiling, states very clearly, "Emergency gas procedure will commence in ninety seconds. Follow the arrow--" and then falls silent. Grace's voice, soft but sybillant in the echoing corridor, asks a single question. "What arrow?" And as if in answer, the voice crackles back to life. "arrow on your left to the nearest--" before subsiding again. The hallway heads straight for what seems like too long a time given the outward appearance of the building. Emrith turns to Larewen, takes a shuffling step closer to her and says, in a voice made soft with awe, "I don't like this place. It is wrong. It is wrong." In a mocking, twisted echo of his own quiet words, the disembodied speaker of moments before makes one last meaningless, enigmatic cry. "It is six! It is SIX!"


Larewen is thankful to be back on the ground and, lacking grace entirely, outright tumbles off the dragon. She lands in the dirt at Emrith’s feet and grunts as a rock jabs into her belly. Particularly, into that gaping hole in her gut. Pushing herself to her feet, the elf, clad in pants and loose fitting shirt as opposed to her normal garb, does not bother with dusting herself off. A myriad thoughts roam her mind, even as they step into the hallway. Emrith’s words echo in her mind. This, the fear of losing her lover, is enough to numb her to the eerieness that unsettles the spell blade. His words, stirring her from automatic movement, draw her mismatched eyes to him. “Huh?” she asks, blinking at him. She reads his expression, frowns, and then truly takes in the unusual appearance of the corridor through which they walk. The aged bones and blood pique her interest, and she pulls away briefly to run her fingers over both before returning to Emrith’s side. She flinches at the voices, startled as she glances around warily. Larewen is all too eager to toy with the darkness at her fingertips. Finally, she concedes. “It is… eerie.”


Krice rode the wyvern as if he'd been raised atop the backs of flying creatures, though at first he misjudged his mount's capabilities and received feedback a little removed from his expectations. Noting the success of his first blow to the serpent, the warrior pulled on reins and guided the wyvern ​away from the far superior beast at an angle it could tolerate, preparing to come around for a second attack, katana raised. However, as he drew closer to the self-reinforcing serpent, he must have become aware of its otherworldly protection because that sword lowered, no longer poised to strike. With Emrith's words unfurling in his mind, he pulled sharply on the reins of his draconid and guided her into a steep descent, a screech announcing the creature's initial protest. Katana held along the wyvern's flank, flatside of the steel pressed to his calf, the warrior shot a gaze overhead to see the serpent -not- pursuing the fleeing team, but lurking above with no apparent desire to follow. Perplexed by this, he frowned thoughtfully but took not a moment to consider the flying viper's motives, pulling and releasing his wyvern's reins to let it down into an easier descent. Despite this change in velocity, the creature still landed harder than she would have if she'd been the only one airborne, and Krice gave a quick pat to her scaly neck in quiet apology before he dismounted to follow the others to that door. He waited at the frame for Grace to enter ahead of him, first taking hold of her arm as he peered into the strange corridor. After a moment's hesitation, and a questioning look from the woman, Krice gave her an encouraging nod for morale before he followed, assured that everyone was accounted for - and disregarding that which had caused him to hesitate in the first place. " Emergency gas'?" He outwardly questioned, scanning the hallway's many doors as he ventured deeper inside. " What the hell does -that- mean?" The question was rhetorical; he knew that the 'emergency gas procedure' likely meant sterilization of all foreign bodies--in this case, all bodies in general. Well aware of their limited time, Krice called past Grace to Emrith at the front whilst locking focus onto the indicated arrow. Weird. Damn -weird-. " Don't know about you, but I'd take its words as a warning. We need to get out of here sooner than later."


Emrith :: "Something is troubling you, love, though I suspect that now is not the time to pursue it." Still, even in these peculiar environs, with the weight of the future heavy on him, Emrith manages a smile. "I promise, Larewen, that I won't deliver on my threat of two nights ago." The corridor ends at a solid steel door, which Emrith yanks open and steps through without a second thought. Mistake. The chirring, musical shriek begins almost atonce as Emrith enters this new, larger room. It is ringed with balconies high above, and crowding those catwalks are two dozen or so cricket-like monstrosities, waving their legs and singing for all they are worth, attempting to induce their victims below to collapse. Grace slaps her hands over her ears and screams, then charges into the room past Emrith, lowering one arm long enough to free the bastard sword at her hip. Tiny blackish shapes, each the size of an infant mouse, begin to fall like rain from the crickets. Some hit the floor with fleshy splats while others begin to hop and spring at anything they can reach. They are fleas, each one armed with a strange saliva which, upon a successful bite, will begin to work on the nervous system of the victim, releasing massive amounts of oxytosin and rendering the target passive and euphoric. The fleas will try to first bite and then congregate on infected hosts, since great numbers of the little beasts seem capable of a variation of a telepathic hive-mind which can control defenseless or near-defenseless prey. All it will take is a little bad luck, and soon enough the four who have just come to this large balconied room may find themselves compelled to fall upon each other, driven by their parasitic hosts to destroy one another even as their bodies flood with pleasure. Insult to injury - or perhaps it will be the other way round - comes in the form of seven enormous mosquitoes, each armed with a stinger the approximate size and shape of a knight's lance. They dive-bomb the beleaguered party, intending to skewer them and make quicker work than the fleas will. Emrith bats one of the little fleas out of the air, but is not fast enough to save himself being slashed by a mosquito on its way past; a few inches to the left, and Emrith Kohl would have died instantly with a stinger to the heart. As it is, blood gouts from the rip in his shoulder, and Nahr falls to his side; miraculously he keeps hold of the weapon even as dark shadowy tendrils begin to spill from his ring and form around him. Soon, there is nothing left where Emrith had been but a mass of inky blackness in the approximate shape of a spider. The construct begins to fight furiously, seemingly immune to the flea-bites and unfazed by the shrill song of the crickets high above.


Larewen :: “EMRITH!” the elf cries out as he pulls ahead of her to open the door, though for a brief moment she is left with her jaw slack as Grace charges past them both and into the room. “Fools,” she hisses, more to herself than either one as she glances back to Krice, whose suggestion was unheeded. The necromancer’s shoulders roll upward in the male’s direction as she shakes her head. Her tongue clicks against the roof of her mouth and then the fleas are falling and the mosquito narrowly misses impaling Emrith and suddenly Larewen is no longer so disconnected. His lover’s features change from contemplative to something not of this world, but vaguely animalistic in nature. She sprints near the spell blade, spells already rolling off her tongue to form wards of darkness. Shadows creep toward the four, spreading like inky water with the intent of climbing their bodies and thickening. It is only strong enough to keep the fleas from biting into their flesh if it isn’t too late, and it most definitely won’t protect them from the mosquitos. Those… well, she’s more concerned with Emrith, because that’s the biggest reason she’s here, no matter what she might try and convince herself. While holding those wards in place, the elf is already uttering another spell. The shadows that have gathered around the quartet shift and grow, quickly becoming spikes of darkness that soon pull away from the wards. These missiles are launched outward by the elf’s command, targeting the fleas first. Her aim though… that remains to be seen, for as the necromancer is preoccupied with aiming those projectiles, she gains a new ornament herself: A proboscis emerges from her torso, the pain numbed by adrenaline and her gaze lowers, confused. She’d forgotten the oversized creatures, but now… Now… the elf reaches down, curls her fingers around the spear like limb of the creature, and breaks attempts to break it with by sheer vampiric force.


Krice kept his senses attuned to his surroundings, internally pinching at the sounds of his closer allies to focus on a more distant cacophony. ​Having lacked the bug-mission experience of his counterparts, he couldn't immediately discern the origin of the noises that awaited them, or the far-off smell--regardless, his mind was on evacuating the corridor before its disembodied commander could gas them to death. By the time Emrith had lead the team to that door at the end of the hallway, the silver-haired enigma was increasingly aware of the subtle sounds of a congregated mass on the other side, yet knew little else to compel him to action. With the door swung open by the vampire at the head of the group, everyone was gifted vision of the oversized critters lying in wait around the edges of the room, and the stench of insectoids wafting out just as impressively. Wincing at the loud eruption of chirps and stridulating crickets, Krice was initially taken off-guard but incapacitated his more distant hearing to enable him to focus in the mind-numbing haze. With Grace charging ahead, he rushed forward as well, passing Emrith and Larewen - with a helpless shrug given the latter - to fight alongside the other female. As she felled her second cricket, he struck at his third, decapitating the winged beast midway through its attack on Grace. He slid an arm around over her abdomen and pulled her away while the creature fell harmlessly behind him, obscuring her from not only the slime and gunk of the dead cricket, but also from a shot of neurotoxin as projected by an incoming flea. It splattered harmlessly to the ground beside them, but grazed the fabric of Krice's right folded sleeve. After thrusting his katana backward to stab the flea through its revolting throat, the warrior inspected that sleeve and released Grace to continue her own fighting, thereafter gazing down at the steel of his katana - just in case the toxin from the fallen flea damaged it in some way. It was in this moment that he noticed the writhing shadows melting their way up from the floor to encapsulate him. Weird, too - and disturbing. A quick glance was thrown toward Larewen, for she was a known shadowmancer, and he could see the connection between the shadows and the vampire in the very language of her body - and the actual language rolling off her tongue. With a disgruntled grumble, he wasted no time entering the fray anew, surrounded by flailing attackers as he was. The warrior fought mostly at Grace's back, but did not limit his ability of covering a broader area for the sake of protecting her; she seemed able enough. With every kill, he tried to cut or dodge in such a way that no harmful fluids would fall on him, though doing so in a free-for-all was almost impossible, even aided by supernatural speed and agility. The range of his crossbow assisted in this; one slash to a nearby foe of the katana, and then a three-bolt shot at the forehead of a mosquito rearing its stinger at Larewen's back, and so on and so forth.


Krice :: Flinching away from the point-blank spit of a fifth flea, the warrior received its venom across his long bangs, which served as an unintended shield for his face, protecting his skin from absorbing the substance. Reaching up and angling his left arm in tight, he grabbed where those bangs were dry, level with his eyes, and cut at a diagonal, disconnecting the soiled strands from his head to avoid accidentally touching the toxin that soaked them. The strands fell heavily to the floor as Krice spun around to decapitate another ghastly creature, gazing up at the hordes that still remained - and becoming aware of something high above them, beyond the cacophony of beating wings and screeching vocal chords. A secondary horde of winged creatures, passing overhead but not turning to attack them. He frowned, confused by this, and pivoted to cut through the gut of another approaching cricket before receiving a slash from the stinger of a passing mosquito, splicing through skin and flesh across his right cheek halfway down his throat. Pure, rich blood spilled freely from the wound and he grunted in discomfort, but he pressed on, fighting his way through the mess of insectoids to retreat. " Protect someone else!" He called to Larewen, alleviating her of the need to keep him safe in her shadow's embrace. He rushed past Emrith, called an indiscernible reassurance that he wasn't abandoning the fight, and then disappeared through the door. Outside, the silver-haired enigma was greeted by a sky blackened with the moving bodies of insectoids in unified flight, and unsettled wyverns. His own looked ready to take off without him and he called after her: " Gylworliath, calm down!" She twitched her head his way as he rushed at her, his crossbow reloaded and returned to his hip, sword still in hand. He mounted the wyvern in a single leap, secured his left foot in a stirrup and kicked at her flanks to take flight, ascending into the Lithrydel-destined horde, slashing at their bellies and throats as his wyvern passed beneath and beside them.


Emrith is caught up in the shadowy spider-construct, hardly able to sense beyond that carapace of darkness. The shadowy armour Larewen conjures around Emrith's body simply melds into the structure of the Everspider's own form, and Larewen's subsequent spell fails to call forth missiles of dark energy from that quarter. Instead, the necromancer has inadvertently powered Grrya Dama'Ka, boosting the quantity of its shadowy essence and granting Emrith that much extra protection before it fails. It is only a moment later when Larewen takes a stinger through the torso. Emrith knows none of this, though; all he knows is that the pain in his shoulder seems to be draining away, second by second, and that his body is being tossed and turned about as the creature, seemingly of its own accord, defends itself. It leaps, it lunges, it skitters and scampers and slides. After swatting innumerable fleas and severing the stingers of two of the seven mosquitoes, the spider begins to climb the wall. The crickets above are able to jump, and jump they must, but they make easy prey. Snap. Snap. Snap. Blood flows everywhere, vile and stinking. And as lakes of the viscous stuff begin first to form upon and then to drip down from the catwalk, the manifestation of Grrya Dama'Ka begins to chitter in an unknown language, the sound of which reaches Emrith in his protective bastion and seds his mind reeling. Monstrous pain begins to roll through his skull like a bowling-ball as that maddening onslaught continues. Soon, the balcony is free of obstructions, and the Everspider leaps back down, landing silently on the floor. Emrith opens his mouth, tries to speak, and at first cannot make himself heard above the sounds issuing from his impromptu mount. Eventually, though, sheer tenacity wins through, and his voice thunders through the room. "We keep going! Larewen, to me!" The spider scuttles across the room, rips a sagging door clear of its rotted hinges and squeezes its hideous bulk through the aperture beyond. Ahead of them is a flight of stairs, turning up and up and up, sweeping away into stygian blackness above. "We go up," Emrith says, voice booming in the stairwell. There is no way to be stealthy now, no way for the elf to be free of his prison. For now, there is only the objective, and the hope that his barely sensed allies are all still here, still alive, still fighting with him. It would be an awful thing, to be borne about in the belly of this shadow-beast until it grew strong enough to terrorize the world at large, to end his days powerless, the author of worldly destruction.


Emrith :: Above the group, a faint whispering begins, something Grrya Dama'Ka senses first but which will soon be evident to all. A moment later, a vast sea of greenish fire begins to seethe down the stairs, but as it reaches the party, it lifts, swirls, eddies, revealing faces within. "Help us!" one screams. "Go back! Go back!" cries another. The Everspider attempts to climb further, but spirits whirl down to momentarily block his progress before relenting a second later, and he flinches back. Emrith's voice issues from within that shell. "The Haathian damned?" he asks. "I know little of dark magic, and I cannot fight them from in here. But perhaps they are trying to tell us something." One of the spider's legs twitches as if the captured spell-blade has made a particularly vicious attempt to free himself. Another spirit, drifting a little apart from the rest, begins to gibber, ""This is wrong! This is death! This is six! Six! Six! Touch!" in a cackling, lunatic litany. Emrith's voice cuts across that nonsensical repetition. "Six? I have heard that before. What--" Unknown to the man himself, there is something strange, something wondrous, at the top of the stairs, should the group manage to ply a path through the agigated green ghosts to reach that far. An enormous vaulted room, spanned by a narrow bridge whose far end descends into gloom. The roof of this enormous chamber gives a clear view of the sky above, and strange, eerily still forms huddle against the walls, as if having stood sentinel so long they have forgotten what they were guarding. Set into the bridge's nearer end is a hexagon formed of white marble, inset with six softly glowing crystals. The lone spirit, without ceasing its talk, begins to zip up and down the stairs, attempting to get the attention of anyone who will give it the time of day. Emrith knows none of this. For him, there is only darkness, and the muffled sounds outside his protection. The other spirits - hundreds of them, perhaps - seem agitated, as if seeking a purpose, a reason to justify their remaining in the tower at all.


Larewen offers Krice a thin lipped grimace in thanks when he pulls the mosquito out of her back as he passes her. Darkened blood seeps through her shirt and the smell of pure corruption mingles with Emrith’s blood and the ichor of the insectoids. Tightening her jaw, she begins to ascend the stairs, but unlike Grrya Dama’Ka and Emrith. The verdant flame of the wandering souls distract her from the pain in her belly. Larewen, on the other hand, does have a manner by which to dispatch the spirits and she is already casting again. This time, the words that fall from her lips are far darker, far more unnatural than those she’d spoken before. Something otherworldly hooks into the agitated spirits, an unseen force coiling around their very being against their wills. The elf’s mouth falls open, jaw impossibly wide in a manner reminiscent of the ruins beneath Vailkrin, only this time she does not scream; she breathes inward. The disembodied Haathian souls are drawn toward her, fighting the necromantic energies that flows into them. Grace, caught with Larewen behind the agitated ghosts, is both thankful and mildly disturbed by what she is witnessing. Where blade and force have failed, magic perseveres and the elf is quite literally eating the deceased. Except for that one. It is fortunate to have escaped the necromancer’s hunger, and by the time it descends the steps again, the spell has ended and Grace and Larewen are ascending them. The necromancer’s features are drawn tightly together, for the souls she has taken into her body, souls that will need rehoming when she has returned to Valkrian are so very loud. Larewen shouts something, something that is meant to silence the myriad voices. This is when the frantic spirit’s words are finally heard and she follows it into the room. She steps around the spider construct as the ghost and when she speaks, it is to it. “Stop! I see you, I hear you. Speak. Tell me what to do,” she hisses at the creature, mismatched eyes fixed upon it. And then, she would listen, hands moving to activate the crystals in accordance to the spirit’s words.


Krice flew through the airborne horde from behind, killing insectoids on his way up to the leading few. They turned before he got to them, however, eliminating his need to eliminate -them- before they could pass over deeper waters en route to unknowing peoples of the lands. A whoosh of cool air brushed his flanks and he gazed around, watching an allied force of ghostly souls sail alongside him through the air high overhead. Gilded eyes scanned their faces, read their intentions, and if not for all the blood and slime covering him from the battle below, the image might have been a beautiful one. Impressed - and perhaps a little moved - to the point of stillness, the evading dive from an incoming blast of magic was left to Gylworliath who -was- very much alert and aware, slapping her wings shut to beneath the projectile. She screeched with ire and stayed low, before the warrior - having suffered attention-grabbing whiplash - guided her to his foes. He worked in tandem with the ghostly army, slashing at the insectoids with relative ease and without too much need for evasion - until they dispersed upward and swooped back down at varying arcs and speeds to lob their attacks at him from all sides. His undead companions protected him, though a gust of magic whipped through silver strands as they trailed behind him in the air, and his attention was sharpened to prevent another such close call. Unaware that these long-dead specters were summoned by an ally, the silver-haired enigma continued to fight with them, felling as many winged creatures as his wounded body - and tiring mount - would allow.


Emrith is dragged, unable to protest, up into the secondary control room, the location of the six, the hub at which the countdown will begin to take place. Grrya Dama'Ka, whose thoughts seem louder by the moment, seems aware of all the frantic life around it, nearby, seeking to escape. It is not ready to devour, and only it, the Everspider, must be allowed to feast. These others must be stopped, and if the little elf's allies are bent on the same task, then they will be spared. For now, they will be spared, at least. With no further heed for the elf in its shadowy stomach, the massive construct begins extruding ropes of shadowy darkness upward, over the walls, out through the holes. Stone creaks. Glass crunches. Steel squeals. And then, the top of the uppermost chamber sprays free in a violent maelstrom, ripping upward at the mercy of the enormous web that hurled it. Krice is mercifully spared, but insectile life all around him is shredded and pulverized. The sheer amount of control it would take to leave him free of harm at the eye of such a terrific storm doesn't bear thinking about. It is in this moment, however, that the Everspider's essence trembles and slips. Emrith tumbles free, hits the floor and looks up just in time to see Larewen touching the crystals. "The six are initiated," a new feminine-sounding voice intones. "Countdown sequence locked." The tower, already stressed and strained, gives another tremendous shake, spilling the spell-blade to the ground. He screams as his wounded arm hits the floor, a shard of broken stone driving itself into his flesh just above the elbow. Then he is on his feet, weaving, head hammering with pain, looking up at the night sky. The web is still there, still lashing, still full of projectiles which arc and whistle and hammer the ghastly horde. All is lit by the hellish pillar of fire, but soon, darkness descends.


Emrith :: In a long-gone aeon, a creature was made. Wings like the unfolded night, body like a furnace, heart as empty as as a lost love's promise. It has waited an age and more for the tremor that would signal its waking, and feeling it, it rises. Great flaps bring it up and out of the old, old volcano in which it had slept, carrying it high above the battlefield, blotting out the stars as it begins a quickly-increasing circle. Wind begins to howl, keening unnaturally in the ether, and fire begins to rain down on that tide of rushing air, first in spatters, then in skeins, then in huge, frothing torrents. The great bat's fury is heedless and horrifying, laying waste to anything it can reach. It does not seek. It merely destroys. Spare mounts, unneeded thus far, are flashed to cinders as they fly off, panic-stricken. Ilaerothil, who had wisely moved out to sea to hunt for fish, is beyond the realm of the bat's tremendous attack. Emrith looks up into the awful spectacle above, amazed to see that the web and its projectiles are still there, although tattered and failing now. The spider construct, huddled next to him, twitches a leg, then speaks, its voice a titanic basso. "We are one!" And suddenly, the tatters of web are weaving together, forming something like a black umbrella between the bat, its firestorm, and the people on the tower's now-naked top. "Grace!" Emrith shouts, reaching for his own whistle. "Call her! Call her! We need to get out of here!" Grace has pre-empted Emrith's request and already has the whistle to her lips even as Emrith reaches toward his throat. Something strikes him in the back just as an ear-splitting note rips through the air. It chokes off suddenly, and as Emrith hits the ground on his belly, he looks up in time to see a piece of masonry, now free of the web which had previously flung it about with such abandon, strike Grace's already pinned body just below the knees. The impact is enough to shear through flesh and bone, leaving her feet twitching a few inches away from the rest of her. "It hurts!" she shrieks. "It hurts! It huuuuurts!" Emrith crawls over to the downed warrior, bits of his wooden whistle crumbled on his chest, but he knows it is too late. Ribs stick out at impossible angles, and it is really a wonder that Grace is still alive at all. The woman who survived Ameno's sudden and horrific transformation, killed not by the enemy but by the unintentional machinations of an unlikely ally. "Peace, Grace," Emrith says softly, and there are tears in his eyes. In this moment, he has eyes only for the dying woman. Nahr is in his hand. "Close your eyes." Grace coughs blood, but her eyes flick shut. It is all Emrith needs. A quick thrust. Blood flows. Her body goes limp. From the west, coming fast in under that unnatural umbrella, the drumming of wingbeats. Ilaerothil is coming. Grace did not die in vain.


Larewen is unmoving after she has finished touching the crystals, for there’s too much going on in her head. Her eyes are locked with the spirit that stands before her, envious of its quiet. She is so fixed on this that she does not hear Emrith’s shouting. She smells Grace’s blood, but even then the elf does not turn. Finally, her mouth opens, that same spell repeated as she swallows the spirit that had given them the sequence and it is during this moment that she, too, is struck by debris - or flying glass, in this case. Several large pieces impale the elf’s body, but the damage is relatively small in comparison. Flesh wounds, really. Only one of those larger pieces of glass strikes her left eye, burying itself deep enough to scratch the bone at the back of the socket and severing the optic nerve. She turns then, finally, in the direction from which Grace’s crying had come, toward the smell of blood and the soft sound of Emrith’s voice as he speaks to the dying woman. Larewen tries to blink and fails before she raises her hands to the sides of her head and covers her ears. “Hush, hush, hush!”


Krice was about ready to strike at another insectoid when the Leaning Tower Of Holy Sh-- lost its roof to a violent explosion. Too distracted in so short a window of opportunity to strike now, he drove Gylworliath low, turning to glance back at the structure from whence he had come - the structure in which his friends and allies presumably still fought their own insectoids. Dread overcame in, fear for the survival of those people against such harrowing odds, even as the more pressing problem of debris and fire raining overhead screamed for his attention. Shrapnel fell all around the warrior and his mount, who screeched in fear for herself as the insectoids all around them became victim to the onslaught - a miracle about which he would have to ponder, later. For now, he and his wyvern were left alone in the air, corpses surrounding them in their final descent to the ground, some on their swirling -ascent- into the raging inferno billowing downward from the great bat-beast's furiously beating wings. With a panoramic view of the freakish destruction unfolding, this seemed more to Krice like an Island closest to Hell than to Heaven. Gylworliath did well to keep herself - and therefore her rider - out of danger, and though the warrior wanted to stay close to the crumbling tower, the heat would not allow his mount to draw nearer. Gliding around the outskirts of curtaining fire, his crimson gaze sought through chaos and death the bodies of his allies, to confirm or deny their safety from the dilapidated structure. It was only when Lionel emerged on his own mount that Krice felt some semblance of relief, the emotion evident in his eyes even as the gash on the left side of his face and neck continued to bleed. With the Knight-Commander retreating way from the flames, back toward the Tranquility, Krice was left to ask in his wake, " Wait... The others...?" He didn't expect an answer and whipped his head around, gazing groggily through the final embers of the dying bat's onslaught. So wondrous a thing, and yet so destructive. Gylworliath screeched in dismay, her lungs and wings straining for strength past her usual levels of endurance, but she followed her rider's guidance, circling above the collapsed tower to watch for the emergence of the remaining survivors.


Emrith waits in tense anticipation as the world burns around him. Ilaerothil's arrival comes not a moment too soon, and he leaps toward her, mustering the last of his strength and sprawling upon her shoulder, scrambling from there onto her back and into his accustomed place. With his web gone and his source of strength mostly spent, Grrya Dama'Ka does one thing more before dissipating; these allies will not burn, but the devourers have returned to the earth, forever unable to satiate their long hunger. The Everspider, shrinking as he acts his last will on the mortal world for awhile, folds in on himself, forming a hammock-like mass of shadows that scoops toward Larewen, meaning to first catch her and then sling her onto the dragon's back. Then it is gone, just more gloom amid the smoke and ruination of the fiery tower, and Ilaerothil is lifting off with her cargo, everyone save Grace accounted for. The dragon does not have to be told to seek out the ship in order to deposit some of her payload there, but as she climbs into the sky, bearing Larewen and Emrith away toward Rynvale, ghosting along above the Tranquility and keeping a close and watchful eye upon it, the green dragon's wrath comes through loud and clear...so loud, in fact, that very likely any within a mile or two will hear that telepathic shout. "Foolish! Foolish! I cannot always rescue you, Emrith Kohl! I will bring you to safety, but until you prove your wisdom, you will not sit astride my back again. I hope your folly was worth its cost." She snorts a high-pressure jet of chlorine gas up into the sky, banks, lowers herself toward the water. "I am of half a mind to dump you in the sea and let you swim!" Yet, through the rage, through the anger, there is concern...the heart-wrenching kind that Larewen herself has felt on behalf of the elf in the past, the kind one feels when a loved one has been snatched from the very brink of death. "I know," Emrith murmurs, cradling his wounded shoulder. "I know, Ilaerothil. And I'm sorry."


Larewen is oddly quiet, oddly listless as she is born by the Everspider atop Ilaerothil. If anyone were to turn to look at the woman, they’d see her with that shard of glass sticking out of her eye, those numerous cuts upon her flesh oozing black blood, and her lips moving. She is talking, but no voice accompanies her words and her hands are still pressed to the side of her face as she struggles to quiet the voices of those she had imbibed. The dragon’s ire echoes Larewen’s own sentiment toward Emrith on countless occasions, that is true but this time… this time Larewen does not chide her lover, for she is preoccupied. As she speaks, the elf’s right hand lifts, fingers tracing the scarred flesh of her left cheek as they move toward her eye and the shard lodged within. The pain… the pain offers her a reprieve from the voices as she wraps her fingers around the glass and tugs. It bites into her palm as she pulls and a sickening squelch might be heard by Emrith as she plucks the orb from her its socket. Blackness oozes from the hole left in her face, yet the elf is despondent.