RP:There But For The Grace Of Gods

From HollowWiki

Part of the What You Leave Behind Arc

Summary: At Lionel's behest, Khitti leads a small team for a recon mission just off the coast of Chartsend. Rumor has it that there's been some sort of light show coming from the island and with as superstitious as most seafaring folk are, no one will go near it. Most suspect it has something to do with Kahran. Brand, Meri, Zahrani, and Ulah, a paladin associated with the Warrior's Guild (who is also keeping an eye on a sword that Rorin has gotten himself trapped in!), and Khitti find themselves face to face with... nothing at all having to do with Kahran whatsoever. What is on that island, however, is an Umbrawisp named Phylicia LaLaurie (a Shadow Plane race previously thought to only inhabit the Isle of the Damned, along with Khitti's archnemesis Facilier and his now deceased daughter, Amarrah) and her husband, a Greydusk named Izikel Mellowheart who have dedicated themselves to sacrificing anyone, even their own family, in the name of their gods, Delisha and Vakmathras. Something more sinister lies beneath even these dark deeds and it'll be up to those that work with the Light to put a stop to it all in the future.

Chartsend Docks

Khitti|| Chartsend today was rather… “Fraught. This is all fraught,” said a nearly nine month pregnant Khitti von Schreier as she swung Tenbatsu Kaji in the air, quoting her brother’s favorite word of late. A swarm of seagulls had plagued the Tranquility not long after the ship docked in Chartsend’s harbor. Children laughed away at the redhead from their spot on the docks, yelling at her, “It’s gonna poke you in the coconut!” And it did. One particularly fat, grey seagull swooped in behind Khitti and drilled its squawky beak into the back of her coconut--er, head. “Seagulls! Stop it now!” The children only cackled more. As the crew of the Tranquility attempted to go on about their business of preparing the ship to take a few adventurers on board, Khitti stomped her way to the port side of the oar-driven brigantine, “Get the frak out of here or I’ll smite you all!” No, she’s not. Don’t listen to her, Cyris. Khitti unsheathed Tenbatsu Kaji as Seika, the sprite within the sword, took Khitti’s antics in stride. The sprite caused the sword’s aura to glow that bright red, a display of power for Khitti so that she’s rid of one less pest for the time being. Much to Khitti’s delight, the children run off screaming, past those that would join Khitti, Brand, some of the Warrior’s Guild’s finest, and the Tranquility’s crew on their journey to that island not far away. Khitti cried out triumphantly and fistpumped the air, then shifted gears almost immediately and sighed, “I wish Onyx was here. They’re amazing at getting rid of these winged rats.”

Khitti|| “Ahem.” Ulah, the Warrior’s Guild’s and Lithrydel’s resident paladin trainer, cleared her throat as she approached Lionel’s second-in-command. The shapely blonde high elf did her best not to laugh too much at Khitti, for she did not want to incur her wrath, but those electric blue eyes of hers didn’t lie--the whole situation was entirely amusing. “I’ve brought the sword you spoke of from the guild headquarters, ma’am. You’re sure it’s him?” Rorin, pilgrim of Arkhen, had managed to merge himself with a sword. How he did this--and why--was a mystery. “Yep. Seika came in contact with him at one point, when Lionel and I were speaking to him. She can sense him inside it.” Khitti did her best to compose herself, even as another seagull swooped in and poked at her knees--the look of internal screaming, behind what was now a stoic face, was obvious. “Out of everyone coming with us, I think you’d be the most qualified to keep an eye on it. Use it if you have to, should problems arise. Perhaps his magic will aid you.” Ulah nodded, then went off to make her own preparations for the journey.

Khitti|| When Meri and Zahrani arrive, Khitti would give them a nod and a smile. “Evening!”, she said, for the sun had started to dip down in the horizon. “As a brief recap, Lionel’s sending us off to do some recon at an island nearby. Rumors say that it might be Kahran’s lackeys. So prepare yourselves accordingly in the unfortunate event of contact with anything there. I’d rather not, of course, if we can help it.” There was a motion towards that giant stomach of hers. It’d been getting harder of late for her to do much, signaling that it was almost ‘Go Time’, ie: almost time for that kid to come out. “Your captain for the duration of this trip is the lovely Brand,” Khitti gestured like Vanna White towards the blonde Catalian. “Please keep all appendages inside the ride at all times, your tray tables in their upright and locked positions, weapons at the ready, kill all seagulls on sight, and be prepared for turbulence. And if you frak up his ship, which is also our home, be advised that you -will- be sent a bill. That means you too, Rorin, if you can hear me!!” Yes, she shouted at that Rorin-sword Ulah had on her person. “And if we’re all quite ready--” she looked towards Brand, “--then you can take us where we need to go. Pretty please.”

An Island, Not Far From Chartsend

Lionel|| Sweat pours from the man’s face in rivulets as the hooked blade finds his chest. The night is cold, if tropically humid, but his perspiration comes out in boiling-hot drops. The fronds of lanky trees sway with the breeze above the tiny human-settled fishing village -- or what’s left of it. Homes have been scavenged, the fishery is threadbare, and where men and women went about their business and children once played upon paved simple paths, now it’s all deserted, the only footprints those of the cult and its few remaining victims. The man and his family, tied together here outside one of the thatched roof huts, are some of those victims. The man does not close his eyes. His family screams for his life to be spared, but he is silent, if shaking. He looks his murderer right in the eyes and faces death head-on. When his heart is plucked from its cavity, the man, heavily sedated but unable to suppress a mortifying shriek, slumps down upon the soft, loamy soil and rests forevermore.

Lionel|| Izzi, clutching the dead man’s heart in his palm, makes a depressed face when blood drips onto his perfectly-tailored softly-shimmering white silk cloak. He drops the heart into an ornate bronze urn with all the care of a chef tossing too much garlic into a bowl of pasta. The urn catches fire from some unseen source and the heart melts away too quickly to be the work of the mundane. Smoke billows out, forcing chokes from the manic, bereaving family, temporarily silencing their wails. Nothing else happens. “Well, that was a dud,” Izzi declares. The Greydusk, a creature of the Shadow Plane few in Lithrydel believe exist and only a handful have ever seen, is as recognizably disappointed as any human, elf or dwarf. He’s disappointed that his glorious goddess, Delisha, was hardly moved by this latest blood sacrifice. “Gabriel’s right,” says the man whose full name is Izikel Mellowheart -- trust the author, dear readers, his surname makes sense; he may be deranged but he’s rarely enraged. Making a pouty face at the dirty-rags, bruised-and-bleeding villagers just as they recover from their coughing fits and revert to their screams, Izzi kicks a stick down the path and then hops and skips back to the tower.

Lionel|| The tower is tall and narrow yet painted and trimmed like a gaudy gothic palace. Midnight purple is painted in streaks and flushes over smoothed edges and ornate silver awnings. The roof is arched and angled like the tip of a pagoda. Stained glass windows depict all manner of debauchery not already covered by the stone and marble grotesques lining the perimeter. The tower is a recent addition to this otherwise-quaint island; only two short years ago, Izzi and his multiethnic cult of Shadow Plane denizens migrated to Lithrydel quietly, pressed to leave their home realm in the face of Facilier’s antics. It would be an understatement to say that Kahran’s arrival, dominion, and subsequent alliance with Facilier hastened the need to find a nice island getaway on the edge of another world. The cult lived in relative harmony with the humble little nearby village for quite some time. But times change.

Lionel|| Izzi swings open the wrought iron entry gates and smirks to see his gorgeous wife. “I love you, wife!” Izzi waves his arms in the air like he doesn’t care that he and the Umbrawisp woman Phylicia LaLaurie are now responsible for the brutal blood sacrifices of dozens of innocent lives and counting. He grabs her spindly body, distracting her from the joyful task of tending to her rather unsavory, profoundly poisonous and downright glowing plantlife. “Phylicia, I don’t care -what- realm we’re in, you are one hot babe!” Eight spiders each the size of dogs trot along down the cathedral-like main chamber to play with the couple’s giggling children. The blood of dead villagers is splattered on nearby walls and an ill-fated woman’s head is stuck on a spike, her face perpetual abject horror. “I love you, too,” Phylicia grants her husband a quick kiss on his Greydusk cheek, “but you’d better be a good man and make the next few kills count or Gabriel will not be pleased.” Izzi laughs but rolls his dark eyes in an exaggerated manner. One could be forgiven for mistaking these two for theater actors in a satirical play. “Gabriel this, Gabriel that,” he answers, prompting their children to laugh like an audience at said play. “Let’s just make more kids!” Phylicia puts her delicate hands on her hips and scrunches up her nose. “That’s always your solution to everything. And don’t tell me more children means more available sacrifices. I’ve seen the way you look at the ones we’ve got left. You wouldn’t let me sacrifice them if it meant no funny business for a -year.-” A few of the children stop laughing, awkwardly. Other members of the cult scurry by, dragging prisoners to be slaughtered in the names of Delisha and Vakmatharas. A massive ritual fire burns high into the night sky by the village. It’s just another jolly evening on an island consumed by sin and excess.

Chartsend Docks

Zahrani silently stalks aboard the ship, the panther carrying a satchel of supplies. Her crossbow and bolts sit comfortably behind her back, along with a backup melee weapon; a spear of some kind. Her mace swings idly at her utility belt with each step. A single growl at the seagulls has them avoiding the paladin like the plague. She turns cyan eyes towards Khitti, smiling warmly and listening to her rundown of the mission. More recon; something tells her it will likely be just as interesting as the last mission. She stops next to the other paladin that had been speaking to Khitti, her head turned with a concerned curiosity at Rorin. Zahrani looks back at Seika, silently wondering how the boy managed such a strange feat.

Brand is wearing a tricorner hat made of woven straw. He bought it from one of those kitschy tourist kiosks just before heading to Chartsend, and if the proud look on his face is anything to go by, he might just intend to wear it until the day he dies. When they dock at Chartsend, however… the seagulls have other ideas. They peck and poke at his knees, his chest, his hat -- and then three of them each take a corner of said hat into their beaks and fly away with it. Brand shouts and chases them down the length of the deck, throwing fireballs at the thieves, but it is of no use. His hat is gone, stolen away by the trio of strangely coordinated, kleptomaniac sea fowl. “Ugh. I’m addin’ this to the list of things to blame Onyx for.” He pulls a lengthy roll of paper from his shirt pocket and scribbles onto it yet another line. “Anyway. Yes. Destination: Creepy Kahran Territory 35C. This day is just gonna get better and better, I can see it now.” It really, really isn’t.

Rorin slumbered deep within the crystalline core of the Guardian Blade after the defeat of his alter ego, Justice, who had been created by the curse he'd sealed inside along with him. Truth be it was Rorin that got sealed in with it when he failed to realize how deep the personality of Justice ran within him. Created by his anger and hate, twisting his ideals and goals, Rorin's attempt to seal the curse away and Justice along with it had been successful in a way. After the destruction of the chaotic persona, done with the aid of the other spirits sealed within, the integrity of the sword had been restored and its energies returned to normal. However now it lay dormant with the crystal in the longswords pommel grown gray and dark. It twinkled sometimes with arcs and rays of blue light being given off but otherwise its power and the influence of the spirits inside were repressed. Stifled until something happened. Right now it twinkled briefly though why no one cold really say. Perhaps some part of it replied to khittis snark or perhaps it was heralding the doom of Lythridel. Who knew?

Meri had a fairly decent sense of where they were going and what they were doing, so Khitti’s explanation only has about three-quarters of her attention. It was not the ship that was distracting Meri either, she has been on the Tranquility a number of times. It was the feline that was joining them that claimed the other twenty-five percent of Meri’s attentions. Zahrani is studied while Khtti speaks, Meri waiting for a break to actually approach to introduce herself. A hand is extended, forearms protected by bracers but one could still see part of Meri’s tattooed arms. “The name is Meri. I am not sure that we have met before. Glad to have you along.” She was confident that if Khitti and Brand had invited this feline along, that she must be quite capable. After introductions are made, Khitti is given a hug to say hello and Brand is greeted as well, Meri tries her luck with a fistbump for the Captain. Once her rounds are made, Meri finds her way to a comfortable spot for the duration of the trip.

The Island

Lionel|| The shapes on the pyre aren’t all just effigies. The scent of townsfolk flesh mingles with the sweetness of coconuts and the pungent barrels of fresh-caught fish near the storehouse. The surviving villagers rattle their ropes and chains, seated prostrated against the trees. Gabriel, his face painted pale white like a jester, dances as if at court on twigs and leafy green grass between sips of alcoholic juice. Phylicia and Izzi step gingerly from urn to urn, twenty-seven in all, each with a dead fellow’s heart burned inside it. Vile magics weave like webs between the urns as they travel their circuitous route, and the webs grow stronger the more urns are interconnected. They form a loop around the pyre; everything inside their ethereal net takes on a dim red haze and the silhouettes of trapped, dead souls join Gabriel in his dance. Numerous Greydusk and Umbrawisps bring forth drums and tap a heavy and primal beat.

Lionel|| “Louder!” Gabriel shrieks a command. “Louder, I say! And hurry it up over there, will ya? I’m a prophet, not a waiter!” He snaps his fingers indelicately. Phylicia and Izzi exchange brief dreadful glances but obey; Gabriel has promised them so much glory for Vakmatharas and Delisha, after all, and he’s already done so much. Has he, though? Really? Really, he hasn’t. But Gabriel is nothing if not ridiculously good at overselling his services. He’s oversold them so well that when the drummers all get sucked into the crimson vortex of blood and guts and silhouettes, torn to shreds for kindling, they don’t even seem to mind. Phylicia and Izzi don’t mind, either. They don’t mind seeing more of the prisoners brought inside the field and ripped apart, nor do they mind waving their arms in unison, pulling magic from within that field, and killing the cultist captors. Remarkably, only Gabriel, Phylicia and Izzi are even left out here apart from a few more prisoners, and literally no one cares. It is quite possibly the most apathetic mass homicide/suicide deluxe package to hit Lithrydel in decades.

The Sea Between Chartsend And The Island

Khitti|| 0Plenty of pleasantries would be exchanged as the Tranquility left the dock. To Zahrani it’s a ‘How’s the chapel lately? And the forest? Well have to meet up soon after this is all over with!’ and Meri gets a hug in return and a smirk at that fistbump, as well as ‘I’ve been thinking about holding a party at the bakery after the kid is born! You should totally help me!’. The closer the ship go to the island however, a wave of unease overcame Ulah, Khitti, and Seika, causing the redhead to not be quite so chipper as she was. An aura of despair wrapped around the whole of the island, and even reached into the sea, tearing into the minds and hearts of those sensitive enough to feel it. Khitti’d taken her place next to Brand’s side at the ship’s wheel after the pleasantries were exchanged, and as that feeling of doom and gloom overtook her, she grabbed ahold of his shirt, to cling to him somewhat while he steered the ship, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Khitti did her best to hide the fact that she was pretty much quaking in her boots, but it wasn’t good enough. “Brand, I think this was a mistake.” Only of late was Khitti more hesitant than ever to jump headlong into things that were clearly evil--you would be too if you were lugging around a kid inside you like you were some kind of marsupial.

Khitti put on a brave face though, and left Brand’s side, moving back towards where the rest of the folk were gathered on the top deck, “I’m sure things are fine. Could just be that there’s something dead and tainted floating around here, yeah?” She said this, hoping to convince not only them, but herself, but as they were brought closer and closer to the dock, and that big bonfire came into view, the scent of burning flesh crept up into the nostrils. Anyone with an inclination towards fire magic of any sort knew that smell, Khitti and Brand most of all on this ship. “I think this just turned into a rescue mission, guys.” Whatever pleasantness had been about Khitti during the duration of this journey had been dissolved away. Tenbatsu Kaji was drawn immediately, and when the ship hit the dock, Khitti was the first to disembark from the ship. You all know how this works: keep up with the Khat before the pregnant woman goes on a rampage. She’ll do it. You know she will.

Zahrani turns to face Meri, accepting the handshake with a warm paw. "My name is Zahrani. I am a paladin of Cyris. It is nice to meet you as well, Meri," she responds with a mid-tenor voice that has a characteristic feline roughness to it. To Khitti's question about the chapel, she responds, "It is quiet, mostly, when I am there." A chapel dedicated to the God of Independence would very likely be a quiet place while Larket is under its current ruler. As the ship approaches the island, the panther seems to have the mother of all poker-faces as the dread permeates the air. The paladin gears up as they dock, pulling an armored hood over her feline head and doing one final check on her armor, weapons, and utility belt. A rescue mission it is, then. Rani exhales, a pale amber mist coming out of her mouth and disappearing into the fog. The faint yellow glow of divine aura suggests some form of battle meditation, and once the ship stops and Khitti disembarks, her feline friend is right behind her, the armor beneath her cloak making only the slightest clinking noise with each sprinting footstep.

Brand not only fistbumped Meri, he even gave her the bro nod! Meri must have rolled a 20 on her charisma check, or something. But it seems the party’s luck was used up in that encounter, for it’s shortly thereafter that they pull up to shore and collectively roll… idk, a two or so. A three, maybe? Surely not a four. “Just our bloody luck,” says Brand, ignorant to his author’s reckless fourth-wall-breaking and dice-rolling ways. And then of course Khitti runs off. Because that’s what Khitti -always- does. “Oi! Wait the frak up, you!” Brand leaves the ship to his first mate and chases after his woman. How can she even run like that in her current state? She’s probably going to jumpstart her labor or something, and then they’ll have -that- problem on top of everything else. (Little does Brand know, they’ve already halfway done that RP, so the nightmare scenario he’s playing in his head would actually create quite the time paradox.)

Before Meri breaks away from the small talk to hunker down in a seat for the duration of the trip, the blonde indicates that she would be happy to plan a party at the bakery with Khitti. More details to be worked out later, this was not the best time to chat about themes and color schemes. The island draws begins to take form on the horizon, first nothing but a blur but as the ship draws closer more details are made out. There was a bit of a glow to the island, a fire? It smelled like fire...It smelled like...Meri’s mind is brought back to a certain event on a bridge, the scent was too familiar and Meri tried to block that detail from her mind. A rescue mission indeed. Meri was not surprised that this did not turn out to be a simple recon mission, nothing in these lands is ever that simple. Khitti was the first to disembark the ship, and Meri was very nearly the last person to step out onto the docks. Thankfully keeping up with a pregnant woman is not -that- hard, at least so Meri thinks at first. Khitti seems quite intent on proving everyone in her company wrong. That woman sometimes, Meri affectionately muses.

The Island

Lionel|| “It’s a boat,” Izzi says, squinting. He knows it’s a boat because he’s seen boats and the Tranquility most certainly looks just like one. The village -- rest in pieces -- used to have boats before the Shadow Plane cultists tore them apart for timber. “Boats have people on them,” Phylicia replies. “It’s just as Gabriel said. Light a big enough bonfire and every buck and doe comes running.” Izzi smiles appreciatively. “Maybe I was wrong to disparage Gabriel’s good name,” the Greydusk concedes. “Do you think more boats will come after this?” Phylicia grins, leaning over to clutch her husband’s hand meaningfully. “Livestock every week,” she whispers huskily. The tone of her voice -does things- to Izzi. He shudders, giggles in a manly fashion, and retrieves a profoundly sharp hunting lance, swinging it forth with a whoosh for effect. Twin daggers materialize in Phylicia’s hand, each one laced with the venom of a nigh-mythical herakles blackfish. “Let’s say hello.”

Lionel|| “Hello,” Phylicia says to the in the plainest tone the world may ever know. Izzi scratches the purple stubble of his thin beard, glancing between the offshore arrivals. Some 800 meters behind him and his loving wife, a massive fire is burning like a tempest, hell is barely contained within a twenty-seven urn perimeter fence, and a stark white man is still dancing. Neither Izzi nor Phylicia look like any species most Lithrydelians will be familiar with, but the shrug of their shoulders and the chipper eyes in his skull and bored eyes in hers flies completely at-odds with the pandemonium of it all. “Come here often?” Izzi’s question is chased with a smile. He taps his lance against the dirt, inadvertently revealing the ribcage of a barely-buried corpse. A tremendous power emanates from both cultists, one which anyone adept at sensing mana can not only easily detect but they may even suffer substantial blowback just from doing so. It feels like the call of the grave. It is the culmination of their dark arts, a vile strength that -- alarmingly -- lords over their surroundings, engulfing the landing party and all their pure magic. If they’re attuned to holy spells in any real fashion, they might just be suffering some serious migraines right about now. Side effects also include disorientation, difficulty breathing, and mild strangulation. “Aww,” Izzi grins. “They’re feeling a bit… ‘lightheaded.’” He turns to his wife. “Do you get it? Lightheaded? Because some of them are light-elemental? Do you see what I did there, babe?” Phylicia smiles tightly. “I see what you did there.” Curiously, neither of them make any overt moves to physically attack. And yet they’ve already drawn first blood.

Khitti|| The pair from the Shadow Plane would end up blocking the group’s path, that feeling of dread that had been there since the boat had neared the island only intensifying further. Khitti stopped in her tracks, leaving several feet in between them and those that should not be here, Ulah following tentatively with the Rorin-sword in tow. She stared at Phylicia, stared at the being that looked so much like Amarrah, so much like Facilier. The redhead stared and stared and could not find words until Izzi’s ridiculous greeting passed through one ear and out the other, “Umbrawisp. You’re one of Facilier’s people.”

Khitti|| Olive-green eyes scanned the area behind them--the tower, the bonfire, the prisoners, the Gabriel--then focused on Phylicia and her husband, “Did Facilier send you? To lure me here? He no longer has an army, we saw to that in Larket--is he not able to come for me himself? He forces someone we care about to turn against us… and he can’t even show his face anymore?” Khitti was, to put it simply, quite angry. The new architecture on the island looked so much like the buildings in Mourir, in the Shadow Plane, and it only served to anger her further. “I’m giving you one chance to leave now. Go home. Lithrydel is -my- home and I won’t let you--” Khitti’s bitter warning was cut short and Tenbatsu Kaji left her hold as both hands went to Khitti’s throat. She couldn’t speak? No, she couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t breathe and things had suddenly become blurry in that dizzied state bestowed upon her by the dark magic Gabriel channeled.

Khitti gasped for air, tried to keep herself steady as tears lined her eyes. What about her child? What would happen to it if she died right here and now? Not even Seika could help her, the sprite’s own magic stifled by the ill magic. Khitti didn’t want to die here. She wasn’t ready. Things were better now. After everything bad that’d happened, things worked out. She wanted to have this child, and marry Brand, and live happily ever after just like all of those fairy tales she loved so much, but… perhaps it was not meant to be…

Zahrani approaches the two creatures, cyan eyes fixed on them. As the unholy magic bore down on them, the panther's breathing deepens; she feels like she had just run a mile without hydration. She had faced this sort of dampening power before, but not to this degree. Her battle meditation is just barely holding, her sharp teeth bared as she deploys a shield and draws her crossbow. She scans the surrounding area, searching for any sign of the source of the dark aura. The perimeter of urns catches her gaze, and without warning, she fires a steel bolt past the pair of Umbrawisp, aiming for one of the urns. 150 pounds of draw force in that weapon's taut string, sending it forth faster than any longbowman's arrow. Perhaps it would interrupt their ritual in some way, but if not, the panther prepares a defensive posture near the others, her ranged weapon replaced with her spear and shield.

Brand has always hated or been indifferent to the gods, except for that one time Cyris came in handy. Oh, and there was that whole thing with Khitti coming back from the (un)dead, too. Can’t forget that. Anyway, the point is he’s hardly a spiritual or holy man, and so he’s not really sure what’s going on and why several of the people around him are choking -- or why he isn’t. Oh, but he knows a pun when he hears one. And it’s the pun that gives the game away. He smirks in appreciation -- even with Khitti choking beside him, he cannot resist a good pun -- and his gaze flits between the pyre in the background and the couple before them. “Welp. You ever heard that sayin’ about light chasin’ the shadows away?” Raising his arms, he calls the bonfire away from its kindling. No sooner has it arced over the couple’s heads than he lowers his arms with force, seeking to send this great ball of flame hurtling down on their heads.

Rorin stirred within the Guardian Blade. He could feel the evil and corruption all around them as it thickened through the air. The crystal of the blade grew brighter, its twinkle now a soft glow, waxing and waning as if it was taking breath. It resonated with power that was meant to slay the wicked and protect the weak and wickedness was indeed what grew closer to them now. As they breached land the sword hummed and shook within its scabbard much like the hands of someone who could barely contain their rage. The crystal in its pommel shone brilliantly and Ulah could hear a menagerie of whispers in her head that certainly did not belong to her. More akin to growling, nearly unintelligible, except that they would manage to coalesce into one hissed word- “Ssshhaaade” as the older beings within the blade recognized these pitiful dark sorts of creatures as being called. Rorin himself felt as if he could almost see outside of the crystal, the darkness was so strong, so repulsive, he could barely reach out, though he could feel the energy of all the blades previous wielders welling up en masse with violent thoughts and a flood of spiritual rage that would surge throughout the carriers mind.

Meri was not attuned to holy spells, not like Khitti or Zahrani seem to be, but that does not mean that Meri is completely resistant to the effects of the spells. It just does not take quite the sickening hold on the psion as it does some of the other people in their party. It was clear that the two that had come to greet them were not friendly, but that was probably a given, there was a reason that they were speculating that this would be a rescue mission. Zahrani was the first to take to action, with Brand lending his own assistance next, and Meri’s own assault trailing shortly behind the two of them. The party that Meri is accompanying would not be able to see what the blonde was doing, but Izzi and his wife would certainly be able to feel it. Meri stood in concentration, channeling and manipulating telekinetic energy, so that it was like two unseen hands were gripping both Izzi and Phylicia about their throats, giving them a taste of their own medicine. Meri kept a guarded distance from the duo for now. If Zahrani was not able to disrupt the ritual by destroying the urn, then maybe the approach that Meri and Brand were taking would be enough. If they were not burned to a crisp by Brand, then Meri would happily try and crush their throats in.

Lionel|| Phylicia huffs and flicks her wrists around the hilts of her daggers, crouching into a combat stance as soon as Khitti starts talking. “Did. She. Just?” Izzi shrugs nonchalantly, mellow as a morning coffee. “She did, sweet wife! She did.” His giggling is back. “Facilier is a two-timing lemming with a bad back and an even worse bedside manner,” Phylicia exclaims. “He’s a small-minded fool too big for his britches. He’s a swineherd! I’d sell his throat for soup! I’ll sell yours for saying that!” Izzi blinks and tilts his head at the Umbrawisp. “Babe,” he interrupts sheepishly. “I think she gets the picture. Besides,” he bites his lips and grins excitedly, “she’s too busy suffocating to hear you, anyway!” Phylicia growls lowly. “It’s Vakmatharas and Delisha whom we serve,” she sets the record straight. “We left the Shadow Plane on stranger tides to get away from that bastard. And we’ve been doing rather well for ourselves melting hearts and corrupting souls en masses ever since!” Izzi scratches at his beard again thoughtfully. “Well, in fairness, babe, we weren’t really doing the whole genocide thing -as soon- as we arrived. That was thanks to Gabriel,” he waves a hand toward the hellmouth in the dark distance behind them, “a nice guy who convinced us to set up shop here and turn it all into a butchery. By the way,” he says whilst raising his sharp lance and charging ahead, “you’re just the -cattle- we’ve been waiting for!”

Lionel|| Enveloped by blood-red mist and the feral screams of the restless dead, Gabriel spins his frame with gusto and adds some fancy flair to his footwork. “Eat up, Master! Have your fill! Tasty morsels, each and every one of them, fattened up on fish!” Zahrani’s crossbow bolt shatters one of the urns, snapping the dark magical field open one twenty-seventh of the way. Immediately, the red mist and shadowy spirits leak out onto the island, the hellmouth no longer contained. In leaking, they fail to go wherever it is that Gabriel wants them to go, and whoever his nameless master may be, they’re probably not thrilled with this arrangement. And when Brand lifts the bonfire from the leaking evil field, it only further destabilizes, its red-hot fuel suddenly yanked and displaced. If left unchecked for long, the island may be consumed by the black magic and made unbreathable for weeks or more, and Gabriel’s mysterious plan will be unfurled forever. “Wow! I really hate you!” Gabriel’s pale-painted face gets splashes and splotches of gore and guts all over it in the screwed-up deathly cyclone, and he spits some out of his mouth, flashing pure disgust. He runs outside the field as it continually leaks, crying out frantically. “This is untenable! Heathenous barbarians, this lot!” He points his finger accusingly. It’s easy for him to do when he’s so far behind Phylicia and Izzi, after all, and prancing behind a tree to shield himself against Zahrani’s bolts. The shackled imprisoned survivors stare at him, shivering. “Phylicia! Izikel! Kill those ungrateful schmucks and come seal this with someone else’s heart at once!” Why isn’t Gabriel just plucking the heart from one of the prisoners? Truth be told, he’s a bit squeamish of the procedure.

Lionel|| “Oh my gobrino,” Izzi shouts mid-lunge, twisting around to see the great big bonfire coming down over Phylicia. “Gabe, shut up over there! We’re a bit busy, yeah?” The leaking red wickedness comes in swirls and ribbons over the soil and shore, giving Izzi an idea. He narrows his eyes in deliberation and raises his lance skyward. A chunk of the red stuff hones in on its tip, and --miraculously -- he hoists it all toward Brand’s fire assault, blowing everything into the void before it can kill his wife. “Thanks, hon,” Phylicia remarks politely. She gives him a wink, too, which invigorates him into turning back around to face their opponents. “You see, a healthy marriage is about looking out for one-another. I…” Suddenly, his throat tingles, and so does Phylicia’s. The Umbrawisp shoots the psion daggers for a glare and fidgets, resisting the urge to grab her jaw. Instead, she twirls one of her knives with not only expert aim but supernatural speed; it buzzes for a split second and then it’s right where she wants it -- somewhere in the neighborhood of Brand’s mouth. Its foul magics could rip his body apart at the seams if the blow lands. Her other knife is tossed toward Zahrani and then she’s a blur of speed and sound, her spindly legs carrying her to Meri with vengeful zest. “Knock it off, you,” she barks, reaching out to grab Meri’s abdomen and tear at it with her claws. Izzi is hardly idle. He channels more of the leaking ritual spell onto his lance and swings in a meaty, open arc, its length impressive enough to cleave at Khitti and Zahrani and Brand in tandem. If they don’t dodge, they’ll be hit with not only sharp steel but vile, seething, scathing blasts of energy, too.

Khitti|| The Guardian Blade, with its menagerie of whispers and resonating magic, had not gone unnoticed by Ulah as the high elf watched over it. Unlike Khitti, and a bit like Zahrani, the blonde paladin was much better trained to try to stave off the effects of dark magic and this situation was no different. “Okay, kid. I get it. Let’s go stop the bad guys,” she said, spinning the hilt of the Guardian Blade in one hand as a heater shield with the emblem of Arkhen on it was pulled from its place on her back. Brand’s fireball and Meri’s psionics are dealt with, but as Izzi went to deal with Khitti, Zahrani, and Brand, Ulah lifted that shield Captain America-style and attempted to bash the Greydusk in the back of the head, taking care to step around his attack. And if that didn’t do anything? Well, the Rorin-sword would be put work real quick-like, the paladin hacking and slashing at Izzi, in hopes something would get through.

Khitti, on the other hand, was released from her unseen prison as Zahrani disrupted the spell, and Brand further mucked things up for Gabriel with his fireball. It’s a good thing Khitti wasn’t a vampire anymore or else the searing heat from that rather large bit of flame would probably melt her face off. Brand probably wouldn’t want to marry her if she didn’t have a face. A few coughs were given, but she didn’t have much time to recover before she was forced to go on the defensive. Tenbatsu Kaji was retrieved, the sword finding home in Khitti’s hand again with a mere thought, and large swaths of holy fire were summoned up with a few mid-air slices of the Cyris-blessed blade. “Oh good,” Khitti said to Izzi, raising her voice a bit so that he could hear her over the din of the battle, “I guess that means Brand and I will do just fine when we’re married. It’s always nice to have that sort of connection with your partner.” It was said with snark, of course, as was Khitti’s way. “Zahrani! Keep hitting those urns!” was offered to the feline as the rose gold armor Seika gave Khitti was called upon--yes, it looks ridiculous on a pregnant woman, but shhh, she needs protection, alright?!

Zahrani readies her own shield, the glint of Phylicia's knife catching her eye first. She tilts the shield at an angle, deflecting the toxic blade away from the group. She sees the male Umbrawisp approaching with a sweeping motion, the paladin continuing the shield's motion and positioning herself nearer to the dark weapon. She strafes, her shield angled at just below 45 degrees, and as Izzi's weapon impacts, there is a "BYOOM" sound of divine energy from the shield; instead of trying to stop the lance, Rani's strategy is to send its business end bouncing upward, hopefully forcing the male opponent into a vulnerable position for the others. Only then does she follow-up on Khitti's order to concentrate on the urns. The feline moves off slightly from the group, her crossbow reloading rapidly with supernatural force as another bolt is loosed at the targets.

Brand pouts up at the sky, his flame naught now but a wisp of smoke. “Weird,” he muses, “that usually works.” Does Brand make a habit of stealing bonfires and raining them down on his enemies? Well, no, maybe not so specifically. Fiery Balls O’ Doom give him a pretty good winrate in general, though. And how did it just… disappear like that? It’s a good thing Brand cocks his head to one side in his confusion, or that second throwing knife would probably have torn his face off. Khitti probably wouldn’t want to marry him if he didn’t have a face. Thankfully, the knife whizzes right past him, and the other is blocked by Zahrani, and the Catalian is none the wiser to either. Probably he should get back to paying attention to the fight, though, and dodge that lance if it’s still headed his way. Dodge dodge.

Rorin was swept into al the rage that was carried by all the spirits within the blade. “Shades! Kill them- Eat Them- Tear them apart!” They shouted and screamed and he too could feel their rage at the creatures of darkness and the murder wrought for their bloody dark ritual here. But there was something more. With their rage came a well of power from within the blade that could not be so simply stifled and for Ulah it would mean a release from the choking death that others may have felt. Under the power was something so much more calm too, just as angry but more calculating, more powerful, the source and driving force of the Guardian Blade. She was awakening and as she did Rorin could see the window to freedom grow. He could nearly reach it. Could nearly have the blade in hand and with it end the darkness. With it in hand blue fire would erupt along its length and the true power of the artifact would quickly be known. It would highten Ulah’s own strikes with supernatural guidance, using all the experience and knowledge of its internalized wielders to guide it, in a nearly imperceptible way to its users hand, it would turn and tilt and guide itself into the most crucial gaps, whatever weakest point it could find. Whatever blood it found where it sought it would drink up with a sizzle and crack so that its influence would grow. By no means a mindless fury, the practiced, cold hatred within, was far more deadly than unguided rage. Something was happening inside though as the fire swelled and the light grew brighter. Something was coming.

Meri|| Well then, things did not seem to be going well at all for these would-be heros. Meri barely has any time to fully process how things are playing out before Phylicia is descending upon her in a blur of motion, giving Meri barely enough time to react. Meri reaches for the word at her hip and begins to pull it free from it’s metal scabbard. Phylicia commands that Meri knock it off while taking a swipe at her abdomen, forcing Meri to take a couple of steps backward in retreat lest she be gutted. The armored vest that she wears probably is not enough to protect Meri’s insides from this assault. Her sword is drawn just in time, the blade consumed by flames as anyone who has fought alongside Meri probably anticipates it to do by now, and is swung out, making contact with Phylicia’s appendage to deflect it from dealing any significant damage to Meri. Just a little flesh wound on her side, not a full on gutting, nothing to be concerned about. Khitti’s command to Zahrani is heard, and while the psion would like to offer some help with those urns, she is sufficiently distracted by Phylicia. Her concentration could only stretch so far, which means that Phylicia got what she wanted. Meri’s concentration on the group was broken and focus was put on Phylicia alone. The psion channels that telekinetic energy into a blast that is meant to try and knock the umbrawisp backwards, bare minimum offer distraction enough for Meri to advance so that she can thrust her sword into the center of Phylicia’s body. If Meri was not successful, that was fine, she was not going to overthink it, but she would fight on. Phylicia has speed to her advantage but Meri would try and predict those attacks through subtle hints in body language, the skirmish would press on, leaving Meri largely unable to assist the rest of the party.

Lionel|| Izzi is momentarily stunned by Ulah’s shield, the momentum of his lance’s swing keeping his arms too outstretched to prevent himself from tumbling over on impact. The Greydusk is deft on his feet, ducking and evading each of Ulah’s subsequent sword strikes despite his dizziness. He tugs at the low end of his lance to retrieve it but the heavy weapon is slow to respond. Slow enough, in fact, that he can’t stop Zahrani from smacking it upwards and shoving its wielder even further backwards. “Rude,” he mumbles, largely unfazed emotionally but still kind of mildly irked. “Well, I mean, it’s whatever, man. It’s fine. You still can’t hit me.” Ulah’s sword shimmers blue and everything changes. The swift footwork, the evasive maneuvers, the carefree glint in his eye, all start to crumble when the paladin’s abilities increase. It’s all Izzi can do, scrambling to get around that damned heavenly blade of hers, to summon more of the leaking red matter protectively. It’s made easier by Zahrani’s practiced shots; with the breaking each urn, the ritual is destroyed ever further, but the island is that much closer to being consumed by evil. A huge swath of the mist -- complete with shrill sounds of the dead -- goes up at once between he and Ulah. She’ll cut right through it, but the Greydusk has retrieved his lance and waltzed around her by now, positioning himself with his back turned to Khitti in order to gain the advantage against his current foe. “I’m gonna enjoy -your- heart!” The Greydusk is thrilled! This won’t be like those other sacrifices. This is going to rock. He slashes at Ulah with the edge of his reclaimed lance, hopping back -- closer to Khitti, as it happens -- for maximum range and effect.

Lionel|| Phylicia snarls when her knife doesn’t kill on impact, leaping into a barrel roll sideways across Meri’s peripheral and moving in for a second lunge. But she stops, skids across the ground, and contemplates her next move. The fire on this woman’s sword has the Umbrawisp in a conundrum. She snaps her fingers, both hands free to do with as she pleases, and a burgeoning ball of dark energy swirls, fed by all the evil permeating across the island. Several of the shrieking silhouettes of the dead which have become so readily apparent inside the black magic ritual abruptly burst into unlife, piling up between Meri and Phylicia just as the psion’s telekinetic blast springs forth. It successfully punctures through them -- they fade away like nothingness -- and Phylicia hits the ground hard with a thud. But as Meri jumps to impale her, a second wave of the undead creatures festers into reality, and she cuts through them instead just inches from her target. Phylicia rolls across the dirt, growling heinously, and the wounded undead she has called to her aid lunge and snap their odd fangs and claws and bulbous shoulder-spawned tendrils in an effort to overwhelm. Some spring for Meri, some spring for Brand, and one vaults from behind Khitti with its fists unfurled ready to snap her neck. Whichever tree Gabriel has taken refuge behind, he is not having this. He’s just not having this at all.

Khitti can’t help but grin right now; it wasn’t often lately that she got to fight like this. That eagerness in battle that she always used to ooze as a reckless, stabby vampire bubbled over now as she saw an opening while Izzi was fixated on Ulah. “Say bye, Phylicia!” is shouted to the umbrawisp, trying to pull the woman’s attention from Meri over towards her husband. Only an instant later, that merciless glee Khitti was exhibiting faded, replaced with angry stoicism. Ulah had continued to exchange blows with Izzi with the assistance of Rorin, and as Izzi jumped back near Khitti, he’d find that holy katana plunged deep within his heart. “I don’t think so. I -told- you. This is my home. You don’t belong here.” A step or two forward is taken, Tenbatsu Kaji’s aura glowing that bright red again, the sword’s magic at its full power as Khitti ran Izzie through. “I’ve had it with the darkness. I’m ready for there to be light… and I’m starting with you.” ‘Let there be light’ it was, as holy fire erupted from the sword, slowly engulfing the Greydusk from the inside out. “I gave you a chance. I tried. I would’ve let you go home.”

Khitti|| Ulah paused in her attacks as Khitti’s own was gifted to Izzi. She studied Khitti’s own demeanor, filing it away to be discussed later. There was still much the redhead had to learn, moreso in the philosophical nature of being a paladin, rather than just fighting with holy swords and holy magic. Gabriel’s disappearance was realized and with that latent magic all paladins have to sense evil, the high elf left the fray much like Zahrani did, but it was to seek out the human. Ever so carefully, she’d sneak up on Gabriel and reach for his hair, attempting to pull him out of his hiding place.

Zahrani puts her crossbow away, brandishing her mace as her ears turn towards her companions. She sees undead enter the fry, spotting one in particular as it bears down on Khitti from behind. The feline brings her shield in front of her in a phalanx stance, sprinting into a charge and rapidly closing the distance between her and the corpses. The paladin unleashes a lioness-like roar, and her shield smashes into Khitti's undead assailant, causing a hairline crack in the shield. The head of Rani's mace seems to glow like a small star as she follows with an upward swing, a faint buzzing of holy magic channeling through the weapon as it aims to turn the zombie's head into a fine mist.

Brand is fighting zombies again. This is familiar territory, and he treads it with relative ease. Punch, punch. Flame, flame. He’s moving on to help with the horde of undead plaguing Meri, about to set another one on fire, when he notices something peculiar. “Ah!” he exclaims, and plucks a dirty, tattered fez from the zombie’s head and fits it onto his own. “Thank you for your generous donation to Brand’s Stockpile of Silly Hats.” And the undead, now that it has nothing of value left to salvage, is finally lit ablaze.

Rorin In the darkness the sword crackled and fizzed as if it were a firework about to go off. The crystal of its pommel shone like a star in the night and it quaked with a building energy that threatened to shake the screws in its handguard guard out. This weapon, nothing less than a pillar of energy, was almost ready to release. One more drop, one thrust, one act of violence and no longer would it be able to hold back everything that had been built up inside of it for so long. Rorin could feel it inside, the window was so close to being open, to the point where he could see and feel everything that happened outside of the blade and thirsted for that last drop that would spill and spell freedom for him. Would it mean freedom for anything else though? What would the true spirit of the Guardian Blade do when it was awakened insi/de?

Meri is momentarily surprised when Phylicia summons undead to her aid, but Meri does not let this distract her. Her fiery weapon meets with the undead rather than her intended target, disappointing but onward we go. There is a vague grin when Khitti’s words are heard. Say bye, Phylicia. The undead that stand between Meri and Phylicia are not ignored, but they will only be dealt with enough for Meri to break past them, employing both the use of her psionic abilities and her firesword to create gap enough for Meri to rush past the undead so that she can resume the assault on Phylicia herself. Plus Brand has come to help fight those zombies, it is too familiar a scene. This combined with the scent of burning bodies? No dying, Khitti. Anyway! The hope is that Phylicia witnessing the death of her husband sends the female into even just a temporary state of shock, one that Meri fully hopes to use to her advtantage. The tattooed blonde’s sword is put into motion, racing toward Phylicia in a horizontal arc that threatens to separate her head from the rest of her person. Meri is so hopeful that Izzi’s death will have Phylicia sufficiently distracted that the woman leaves herself completely unguarded and exposed to retaliation from Phylicia, for the woman is throwing her all into the offensive.

Lionel|| Next to Zahrani’s power, her targeted, Khitti-bound zombie is pulp. Following Brand’s scrupulous plucked fez, his targeted, Meri-bound zombie is deep-fried. Phylicia tilts, barely acknowledging Khitti’s taunt, but her eyes widen in shock soon thereafter. Whatever screams the undead are on about in their frenzy do not compare to the sandy screech of a fresh widow. Izzi stumbles, rasping for breath. Looking down at Tenbatsu Kaji striking out from where his shredded heart was once housed, the Greydusk is no longer mellow. His lips move but none can hear what he’s saying. His frightened, fading eyes swivel over at Khitti in the instant before his corpse erupts in flame. Phylicia never gets a chance to say goodbye. She fumes and stomps, her spider-like limbs waving madly, and in her tragedy-stricken blindness, she tugs every last fiber of Gabriel’s ritual spell directly upon her in undulating beams of red-and-black-and-screaming magnetism. The sheer force of it will probably knock her foes slantwise and down on their backs for several seconds. All of them, that is, except for Meri. The psion’s trajectory is already almost upon Phylicia, and she’s actively running toward the Umbrawisp, and her sword’s flames will billow and extend in the wake of the dark magic plowing all over the area, and Phylicia -- who in her rage has tried her very best to transform herself into a purely evil, magic-infused creature of unimaginable power -- is instead beheaded. The vortex of corruption surrounding her suddenly pops, clangs, and dissolves. The battle is over. The island still shakes and malevolent energy still writhes over it, and that malevolence will linger here for weeks to come, too, meaning the landing party will likely still want to get out of here sooner rather than later. But thanks to their timely intervention, the ritual itself has been stopped entirely, and whatever dark master intended to feed on it -- a question for another day, perhaps? -- will not dine tonight.

Lionel|| Gabriel isn’t hard for Ulah to find. Izzi’s death is the last straw for this man; he’s vexed! He pounds his shoes into the dirt like a child throwing a tantrum, his fists balled and tears streaking over his painted face, ruining all that makeup. Ugly blotches of it cake to his skin where traces of blood and guts remain affixed. “Windbags! Blowhards! Nobody likes a showoff, least of all -you!- I put more work into this ceremony than you losers put into whatever it is that -losers- do! I came out here to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now!” Ulah, mid-sneak, will have close-range vantage as he grabs at the prisoners’ chains, trembling, and focuses a small gust of entropic magic, shattering the metal and letting them run free. Ulah may grab a few stray hairs from his scalp before he gives chase, propelling the freed prisoners to faster pace, letting further orbs of entropy coalesce over his palms, aiming for the escapees as they run in dogged hops and bursts toward the Tranquility, toward safety. When the island’s being consumed by raging darkness, and the tower harbors unknown dangers besides, the Tranquility is going to live up to her name for these poor panicked people… and Gabriel is going to keep his focus on the backs of their skulls, using them as hostages while he sweats and shivers. He’s a desperate man now. Ulah is no doubt behind him, and his hostages are racing straight past the away team, who will no doubt be regaining composure by now following Phylicia’s blast.

Khitti watched as Izikel’s form faded away into ash in front of her. Did she whisper like that when -she- burned alive, that day she fell from Cenril’s bridge? It wasn’t Izzi staring back over his shoulder at Khitti now--it was Amarrah. Or, rather, the amalgamation of that other umbrawisp and Khitti’s twin, Lydia. The pregnant redhead yelped, and stumbled backwards, taken off guard by this vision of death from days past as Tenbatsu Kaji is dropped into the Greydusk’s remains. Phylicia’s spell only aids in this, Khitti’s rather rounded form finding itself planted on the ground with a thud. Khitti eyed the ashes, waiting for Amarrah, ghost or otherwise, to come leaping out of the charred Greydusk and end Khitti. When no attack came, she backed away slowly with her hands and feet, then just sat there, confused and full of that despair that had its hold on the island.

Khitti|| As the prisoners ran for safety, and Gabriel followed, Ulah sheathed the Rorin-sword mid-run, took hold of her shield like a frisbie and flung it at the human. Now, it was clear that not even this elf could get a shield of that size to hit its target from that far away, but… that’s where a little bit of add from Arkhen comes in. Enveloped in white light, the shield spun and spun aiming to collide with Gabriel’s head, much like the shield had with Izikel’s. “Keep running! To the ship! Go!”, the elf yelled to the prisoners before turning to those she had left behind, “We need to get out of here. Now. We’ll come back. Make it safe for them to return. But, right now, we all need to get out of here. That dark magic’s too strong to stay here much longer.”

Zahrani gets knocked to the ground by Phylicia's blast, landing in a pile of ash that used to be a zombie. She makes a coughing noise before getting back to her feet. She surveys the others; it appears the fight is over. Her weary gaze turns to survey the island; it is heartbreaking to watch the darkness permeate it, but it would heal. She slings her shield over her shoulder, the defensive tool almost in two pieces, as she walks towards the ship. Amber energy wafts off of the feline's body like steam, her form changing within the shimmering light. Once the "steam" fades, she bears the form she had used at the Lover's Ball; mostly Elven, with dark, nut-brown skin, a wide nose and full lips, and a head carefully dreadlocked ebon curls. The only things feline about her form now are the black fur on her pointed ears, and the long tail swishing idly behind her. The cat is fatigued and sweaty, and the strain of using that much holy power to stave off the dampening effect has left her...overheated for lack of a better term. Fortunately, the combination of cold fog and perspiration keeps her temperature regulated as the paladin wobbles slightly, regaining her footing and reaching the Tranquility.

Brand is knocked on his arse from the blast, and the fez tumbles off of his head. It’s promptly trampled on by one of the strangers running past, and when the dust clears, the fez is but unravelled thread. Brand scowls as he brings himself back to his feet. Two hats lost in one day, and now he’s about to have his ship overrun by a bunch of death-cultist refugees who are probably going to be traumatized and in need of care and cot until he can find them somewhere else to go. He watches as the last of them flees past, and it’s clear a decision is weighing on his mind as his eyes go to Khitti, back to the ship, back to Khitti. But perhaps for the first time, Khitti wins, and Brand heaves her up and into his arms before chasing after the ex-prisoners. (Dozla and the rest of the crew can handle them until he catches up, surely? It’ll be fiiiiine… Aw, frak. Dozla is going to try to mother them all for the next month, isn’t she? Seven hells.)

Rorin|| It could feel the kill coming on- it thirsted for blood like a vampire in the desert sun- it would relish the moment it pierced the shades shadowed form for years to come- only to be sheathed so close to burning glory?! It would not stand for this indignation! It would not tolerate being denied the last and most proud strike of the hunt! The sword burned through its scabbard, losing itself from Ulahs blade covered in a massive pillar of burning light that swallowed the darkness and drove the undead to ash. The evil around it was beaten back as it burned with a righteous fury so bright that it carried a sound of ringing glory and heavenly bells. Fantastic sirens and holy chants echoed out, whispers of breath from above and beyond came down upon out blade, as the blade sank into the dried blood and viscera on the ground that had been previously an ingredient in the forsaken rituals the shades had taken part of. It drove itself into the ground here as if it had decided to make some sort of last stand cover the escape of the heros while it burned away the ungodly mess left to soak into the earth. As it sank downward it seemed to split apart with pieces of its metal traveling through huge cracks splitting the rock wide. While the events hit their crescendo the blade shook wildly until it exploded, sending shards of itself all over, only the crystal burning brightly at the center of its happenstance.

Rorin|| Unaided and unabetted the shards of the Guardian Blade began to fly through the air, trailing light, tracing unknown and ancient patterns, forming a ritual of its own. Once complete the air and metal stilled while let formed at its center, solid and globular, rising from the depths, full of some incredible power, growing, taking form- until a body stood in the center of the circle and all of the light flew into it. With an ounstretched hand the crystal of the living weapon began to collect its pieces, forming something new, something more, all of the power that had surrounded it sucked in, body and bade reformed. Rorin stood in the midst of the aftermath with a strange new form of the Guardian Blade glowing in his hands, but there was no time for that! As the evil swept in like a tide returning Rorin stumbled and shook with his feet coming up under him till he was running pell mell towards the ship and all the darkness swam and swarmed behind him!

Meri|| The battle is over and Meri really is not in the mood to explore the island for fun. Laying out on the beach and catching some sun does not sound look a good idea, this place still felt more than a little unsettling and Meri was not even sensitive to such magics. Plus fighting was exhausting, and though she was not gutted she does have an injury to her side that should probably be looked at. So Meri did not need to be told twice about their need to get out of there. It would be back to the ship for Meri, never mind that Gabriel fellow. Also never mind what was going on with that sword? It was a sight Meri has not seen before, to be certain. Wait, was that Rorin? Never mind that either, Meri would puzzle on that later. Though she was eager to get back to the ship, the psion was not quick in her retreat, she took her time so that she could herd the newly freed prisoners toward the safety of the ship, helping those that might be stumbling over there own feet. Once back on the Tranquility and only with Brand’s blessing (or Dolza’s?), Meri would help to see to things like food and water for the people who have just found freedom. Lennier was undoubtably busy today, but at some point Meri herself would sit down for the healer too. It is nothing serious, nothing a few stitches would not fix.

Lione || Gabriel’s head collides with Ulah’s shield and his jaw gets knocked into the ground with enough of a bang to leave an imprint and cover the remainder of his white face paint in clumps. He gasps, swallowing dirt and then retching it up. His ears are ringing and he can barely move; it’s a struggle to climb back up. His everything hurts. Dazed and confused, he moans, haggard and wan. It’s only when he sees the fleeing shapes of the ship-spawned interlopers trotting back from whence they came, his hostages now out of his reach, that it hits him: the island outpost operation is in utter disarray. He’d come here, whispered sweet promises of power into the ears of the Shadow Plane spawn called Greydusks and Umbrawisps, compelled Phylicia and Izikel to kill the natives and even their own over and over again, built it all up to summon ships to be added to his master’s feast… and the very first ship just happened to be this one. “Who could have guessed?” He sobs. “So many ships. So many seas. Why them? -Why them?!-” Ignited by anger, Gabriel stands up straight and pounds the ground with his feet again. He tightens his fist until his hands are ghost-white. “Why you?” He spits and spits and spits until there’s no more saliva for the spitting, cursing at the Tranquility. “You rascals! You vagrants! You bad renters! Well, to hell with your lease! It’s -through!- And you’ll never rent here again! When my master hears of this, I’m gonna punk you up and…” Rorin emerges from a blinding light, blanketing the island in righteousness. The brightness stings, the holiness stings, and the ringing in Gabriel’s ears is back again. As the undead scourge is ended, the second of two masks on Gabriel’s face breaks away in allergic reaction to all this wretched -light.- Indeed, the white paint was but a facade of a facade. A reptilian is grumbling and muttering beneath it, a reptilian named G’breel Loorkah, a gods-damned Preklek. The Preklek wrinkles his scaly nose and sticks his tongue out mockingly when the ship pulls away from the evil-soaked island. “Whatever to you! You have -no idea- what’s coming for you! Rest easy, princesses! Hmph!”

Lionel|| And the Preklek’s mysterious master isn’t necessarily the only thing that will cause trouble in the future. The surviving villagers are fed, watered, tended-to. Lennier’s care, Dozla’s mothering, Meri’s assistance, they’re grateful for it to be sure. They needed food. They needed drink. They needed medical assistance. Dozla’s a charmer, besides. But when they tuck themselves into cots for the evening, the darkness flashes in their eyes in blood-red mists. No one on that island could truly be saved. It had infested each and every villager. And it’s just escaped containment.

Khitti was picked up by that handsome ship captain, like that mermaid in her favorite fairy tale. The shock hadn’t quite wore away yet and so she just took to watching him with those wide, olive-green eyes. “It was Amarrah…” came her voice, equal parts bewildered and timid, the exact opposite of how she’d been when the ship arrived here. But it hadn’t been Amarrah, and Khitti knew that, and this prompted a frown. Khitti didn’t say anything more, though. Instead, she just wrapped her arms around him and watched over his shoulder as Tenbatsu Kaji floated along behind him. That feeling of dread hadn’t left her yet. Just like always, she had one of those bad feelings. -Something- was coming and she needed to gather up those paladins and other equally devout folk soon.

Khitti|| Ulah had been rolling her eyes at Gabriel’s rant with the intention of grabbing him and taking him in for some not so nice questioning at the Warrior’s Guild’s headquarters. And then he turned into a preklek? “What in Arkhen’s name?” But she’s barely allowed to register this before Guardian Blade on her hip flew from there and started spinning about in the air… and then a wild Rorin appeared? “Kid, you’ve got a lot of explaining to do later,” is all the blonde high elf could manage before shaking her head and joining the other’s on the ship.