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The Fiendish Dreadnought
(2013-06-02 - 2013-06-03)
No description.
Ivo Galvan The fog is as thick as a mire, so heavy it seems it should sink beneath the waves, yet it drifts like a massive spectre. Beyond it, invisible, creak the rotten wood of decaying vessels, like the groans of the long-dead. This is the graveyard of ships which never reached port. Rediscovered near Carwen, to which it once lay close, a profusion of undead have begun to stray beyond its limits and beset the thriving townsfolk. The company formed by Reize and his friends heads now to learn the cause of this new threat and explore this sinister place, so that fear does not give way to darkness. But the Shard Seekers in particular have a special reason for being here.

The brightest illumination, glaring against the soupy grey around their small boat, comes from the Shard Seeker device in Ivo's off-hand, where the crystalline 'magnet' strains on its chain and glows with red laced with gold. The chain is attached to a hand-guard for easy carrying, and a compass is installed in the guard for navigation, but the knight-errant has guided the prow based most on the device's light. Though he is wont to smile with amused curiosity even in the face of adversity, the blue-cloaked swordsman's expression is particularly grave, allowing his face to reveal his inner thoughts as he stands with his back to the others. It's not obvious what would be troubling him so much. He's never before displayed a distinct distaste for the undead. And the signal is very clear. And as it's a Shard Seeker device, the signal must indicate the presence of a world Shard.

Isn't that how it works?

Soon, the hulking mass of a splintered ship emerges before them, the adventurers' boat glides up, locating a possible point of boarding. Beyond the sundered wood, nothing is immediately visible. "It'll be difficult to navigate from here," Ivo remarks, and even though he instinctively speaks softly, his voice cuts through the emptiness all too clearly, only to seem to fade as soon as it meets the fog. "Supposedly these ships are all tangled together. I think it's best to board here, mark our location, and traverse them on foot until we reach our destination. I don't want to face resistance on the water, stuck between vessels."

When he turns to regard his allies, he is smiling amiably again, as though nothing is amiss. "Shall we begin?" he asks lightly as he turns.

But of course, all his allies have been stuck on a small boat with each other for the past hour or so, so-- it's not a sure bet that his smile will be met with smiles.
Reize Seatlan With the fog as thick as butter, one could have to take a hot knife to get through the dreadful fog. This presence of the darkness offers no sort of solstace. Instead, the fears and terror of the people hold true in such a dreary place. The atmosphere is the for the den of darkness. Despite of the darkness, there stands the illumination that dares to face the darkness.

It dares to face the unknown.

The Shard Seekers. They are travelers from afar, seeking to find the cause of the mess and put a stop to it. The group are led by the everpresent Shard Seeker device, which gives a good signal of something.

"...Could this be a World Shard?"

The boy look ahead, then he grunts while he rubs the back of his head. "Don't worry guys!" He offers a grin, "I am sure that we'll recover the shard!"

And then, the hulking mass of a splintered ship fades into view. It is ghastly and surreal on how it manifests. Reize's eyes lift up, his jaw gaping in shock and awe. "...Wow..." So, one has not really messed around with the undead too much.

It is amazing, it is---

One second.


Reize is leaning againt the outer side of the boat.


Either seasick or the stench of the ship's presence. Who knows?

Ivo's question of initiative is met with a thumbs up.


And that.
Royce Though hidden by the fog and the darkness, there is another already here, a presence of darkness that conspires great evil amist the bones of the long dead vessel and its cursed crew.

Words long lost and best forgotten spill from the lips of the hooded figure astride the deck of the rotting ghalleon, arcane phrases and fell incantations that flow in a steady stream of sound that is both utterly nonsensical and blissfully enticing. The darkness around her oozes dully glowing smears of unearthly red light as if reality itself were bleeding from the terrible magics being woven here.

True blood is mixed within as well, dark crimson patches staining the grimey planks. Most of it has been used as a form of paint to create a massive ring of concentric circles in which the ominous figure now stands at the center. Indecipherable runes and symbols meticiously fill the gaps as the rings grow ever smaller, each one hand-drawn with the care of a master calligrapher. The entire thing still glistens wetly as if only recently drawn and strangely shows no signs of drying along either the outer or inner edges to show any signs of where the artist may have placed the first stroke.

Only the small haphazard pools of slowly expanding red at the figure's feet seem to be fresher than the others. Red trails down the smooth face of the dark sorcerer in thin rivulets from the corner of their eyes as if tears of blood had sprung forth at the horror of what was being attempted here. Unfortunately, that is not the case for such sentiment might give away some small hint of humanity left within, a spark of conscience onto which people might grasp to dissuade her from the evil deeds she does here.

Royce has neither.

No it is merely the price that her body must pay to unleash the power that is required for this ritual. Nothing is ever free, the book has taught her that much atleast. The tome floats before her in the darkness and, though she cannot discern any source, it seems to radiate a baleful light. Each letter on its pages sears into her mind as her eye plays across the surface, absorbing the foul words necessary to summon up the power needed to take control of this grand bastion of the dead, only to be forgotten as the text translates into sound on her lips in a rising crescendo that sounds like singing.

She does not envy the knowledge that passes through her body. She is merely a vessel, the tool through which her savior and symbiote acts, and such things are not hers to know. Despite her lack of emotion, the witch can still feel the wrongness of what is happening here, an unnatural sensation that she is rather glad does not touch her in full.

The Seekers and their allies are not so lucky as to have such protection. The moment they breach the wall of fog and come face to face with the mighty ship a feeling of intense nausea rolls out to meet them as if they had passed through some invisible barrier holding it in. Voices can be heard from above, almost choir-like in their incessant chanting.
Pumpkinhead Imi and Ami are on the boat, both carrying semi-automatic rifles and wearing visors on their head. They have been very nervous about being on the water and have inquired the length of time to get to their destination repeatedly so far.

Imi smiles back to Ivo but it's strained but they immediately hug one another in fright once the nausea and, more importantly, the fog and spooky voices are unleashed.

They don't know how to swim after all.
Faruja Senra On the list of the many things Faruja Senra hates, undead very nearly tops the list. The dear departed, yanked from their deserved rest, souls denied the comforting light of Faram, the mere thought moves the Burmecian to righteous anger. Therefore, the trip on the boat has had one particularly silent Templar, his voice only breaking his silence in prayer. He couldn't keep his aura of holy down right now if he tried, the ratling acting as his own light source in this wretched place.

Only once they arrive, and Ivo mentions the plan does the ratling finally speak. "The shattered corpse of a world amidst the shattered remnants of ships. 'Tis almost fitting were, it not for the souls trapped within. Faram grant them rest." Glancing up, a feeling of nausea very nearly has him losing his lunch, the ratling stopping to gag over the side of the boat much like poor Reize had a moment earlier.

Cough. "It seems...we are not alone. These lights do not bode well, nor 'tis likely their creator is of pious or well-meaning mind surrounded by such death and decay. Quickly, I fear for the Shard's purity to be kept in a place such as this." In goes one Temple Knight, recklessly pursueing any signs of 'upwards' and towards that horrific chanting.
Morrighan Alazne Having been stuck on a less than sizable boat for what seemed like an eternity with that shabby blue caped man and his equallyshabby cohorts left Morrighan in a less than pleasant mood. Was this nonsense REALLY that important that the church had to send them off to assist these fools? How utterly prepostrous!

The appearance of their target...and it's stench caused our dainty little mage to immediately cover her mouth lest she accidentally join Reize in his retching. Nevermind /his/ reasons for doing such. "Ugh, this stench! ...Why must /I/ be subjected to this nonsense!?" Needless to say, Ivo's good natured proposal that they begin is met with a glare.

This all went against everything she stood for! And offended her sensibilities! This is not fair! ...Really, it isn't.

"Whatever! If you fools must delve into this foolishness, then do so! But get it done with sooner rather than later!" That incessant chanting certainly wasn't helping matters either.
Ivo Galvan "It is strange, where World Shards show up," Ivo murmurs, his lips tightening slightly, his expression turning neutral and ambiguous. It's in situations like this that he is unsure whether to let his doubts in the functionality of the device be known. Would it undermine morale at a crucial time? Would the knowledge that their adventures might be wild goose chases debase the very premise of the Shard Seekers?

He turns away.

"Either way, I think our fundamental objective should be to alleviate the concerns of the townsfolk," the self-appointed strategist says, forcing some spirit back into his voice. I mean, look at Reize, he's keeping his spirits up despite-- ooh, there he goes again, nice distance this time. "IF we find a Shard, so much the better, but let's not risk our lives more than we have to." Perhaps it is a skewed morality that would sacrifice a world for a single life. But there are countless worlds in this vast universe.

And Ivo only has so many friends.

It's then that the stench hits and the chanting begins, and the swordsman recoils, covering his nose with a gloved hand and arching an eyebrow. "Well, that was fast," he remarks wryly as he leaps from the boat, stopping as Faruja charges ahead to ensure their vessel is well-secured, close enough to the gutted ship so that the Legions don't face much risk of falling in, hopefully. He then turns to follow his undead-hunting friend at a bit of a distance--

"Really, now."

--when he stops in his tracks, halting his advance upward.

"You need to bathe. Have you considered the ocean?"

From the noxious mists have emerged shambling figures, some draped in rotting flesh, others mere withered bone, and soon specters begin to float from between the splintered planks. Ivo draws his sword, a pulse of energy passing from its pommel up its blade as he takes a step back.

"Faruja!" he shouts. "Don't advance too far, they'll cut you off!"
Royce The shrill ghostly chorus hits a new pitch as the power of the ritual begins to move into its final stage. Whether or not this is due to the arrival of the heroic interlopers spurring the mysterious source of the dark magic onwards or mere bad timing on their part is impossible to know. In either case the chanting begins to pick up into an almost frenzied state and, as if responding to some siren call drawing their spirits back from the depths of Hell, the dead rise once more.

A wave of pressure assaults the band of investigators as the first undead arise to confront them. It is not a physical thing that presses them into the deck but rather the aftershock of a powerful presence that rails at their minds, dozens of invisible claws digging into their consciousness and trying to establish a foothold. The sensation lasts only a moment, however, there is a lingering cloying feeling that permeates the air.
Reize Seatlan Where is Reize at right now?


He is still at the edge of the ship, losing what little bit of lunch that he had left. However, the time passes and the boy is feeling a bit more into things. Granted, he is still out of it. The boy beams at the group, looking ahead at the ship.

"I'm ready! Let's get this do--..."

Insert that nauseating air that comes rolling around. The choir-chants are heard, but the stench is what gets to him.

This time, Reize /bites/ down that urge to start losing more of the lunch. Instead, he covers his nostrils and grumbles. "Let's do this!" The boy gives a very determined look, then he tightens the grip of his boomerangs.

When the specters start floating about, Reize draws upon his will and he steps into his stance. "Okay! We can do this, everyone! Let's get into the heart of this ship!"

Reize charges, with a boomerang flung from his hand and aiming for one of the specters.
Morrighan Alazne Morrighan just sighed as she stepped off the ship, continuing to cover her mouth with a hand. "They do not pay me enough for this." Was all she said as the others all prepared to face what came ahead. The pressure and the energy lingering in the air...somehow, it was familiar. "I could swear I have felt this somewhere before..."

Musing to herself, she watched as Reize ran off to be an idiot hero. "I hope /that/ is not all of the tactical prowess collectively possessed by your little group." Morrighan grumbled to no one in particular, narrowing her eyes at the boy's stupidity. Oh well, he was not her problem. Putting that aside for now. The mage would begin to move after the others, bringing up the rear just to be safe.

%t After all, it wasn't her job to fight! Nope!
Riku "Let's not risk our lives more than we have to?" Riku appears from off camera, where there has been some disturbing noises. (Best not to ask. Where did that squid get a lawnmower?) "Times really have changed. I thought the Shard Seeker motto is. -See this trouble attached to our faces. Ahh~ Ahh! Get it off.- "

Riku coughs from the miasmic fumes, grumbling something under his breath as he shivers and glares rather imperiously at the shambling figures. "Which sometimes grates on the nerves with you guys ringing the dinner bell so often."

The chanting pretty much slides off him as he advances not too far from the main group.

Damn those Guest Characters. They snark at you and then steal all your potions when you aren't looking.
Faruja Senra Suddenly, undead! The rat scowls, one ear tilting towards Ivo. "Quite! It shan't do to fall amidst these lost spirits, far too many souls awandering as it stands! Let us see what we can do about fixing that problem." Case in point? Faruja rounds on the nearest of the deathly creatures, a rusty and likely tetanus-covered sword falling to the ground as the skeleton's arm does much the same as the Burmecian lashes out with his holy spear. Just as he's about to perform a killing (re-killing?) blow, a wave of pressure knocks him upon his tail.

Something sickly tries to claw its way into his head, the Templar's soul and body rebelling in a brilliant flash of white light, the scent of incense and smoke left behind as he manages to get it down to a reasonable non-blinding level.

The scowl the rat wears, as Morri continues to complain, looks as though it's trying to take over the entirety of the rat's face; difficult, given it's a muzzle. "M'Lady Alazne, if 'tis pay that so bothers thee, then let us see about cleansing these lost souls and deal with whomever or whatever is agitating them so. Give me the culprit's head, and I shall see to it that thy pay is doubled. Thrice if we bring the wretch back to the Holy Office." Time to appeal to her greed. Piety surely wouldn't work!

Standing up, Faruja would shift his footing, backing off to try to cover the presumably downed Reize. "Quite alright, Ser Seatlan?" A fuzz-tipped tail will try to yank the boy up, should he need it. Templar tank go!
Faruja Senra Ear-perk. Sigh. "Such a pity, these fallen ones shall taste naught but steel and cleansing magicks!" Retorts the rat in Riku's general direction.
Ivo Galvan Ivo ejects the blade from his sword's hilt, an arc of crackling power connecting its cutting edge from the grip in his hand as flicks of his wrist guide a distant assault on his slowly advancing foes. A zombie is slashed thrice and felled as its legs are cut out from under it; a skeleton is beheaded and fumbles to retrieve its rolling skull, bones clattering right off the edge of a deck and shattering lower down. But when the steel strikes at a specter the blade passes through as though the monster were mist. The poised knight grimaces as Hauteclare reunites in his hand.

"Reize, watch out!" he calls. "I don't know if physical strikes will work on these ghosts!" As he attempts to charge a pulse of energy about his sword, he looks over his shoulder at Morrighan, managing to look wry but unworried. "Milady, do you perhaps have a /spell/ or two that might be adequate to overcoming immaterial foes?" He's pretty sure he's heard that white magic can do that. "Having seen you on the offense recently, I'm sure you will be quite effective."

Better that than expecting her to heal him.

"Now then..." An ethereal energy has begun to swirl about his blade, and Ivo points it at a small set of foes almost upon him. Face tight, sweat beading at his brow, but composure unshaken, he waits for several agonizing moments before raising the sword above his head. "Begone! BANISHING BLADE!" And slashing down, a gale of pearlescent power bursts forth, eliminating a cluster of four otherwise imperious adversaries. Once hit by a form of energy they're vulnerable to, the specters seem rather frail. Ivo heaves a sigh and steps closer, ignoring for now the other ghouls and ghosts still closing in.

"Faruja, you okay?" He shouldn't have worried. The Burmecian rejoins them, having enhaged in some holy light cleansing. Ivo is smiling slightly and turning to face an oncoming skeleton when he flinches suddenly, a creepy crawling sensation causing him to seize up. "What on-- gahh!" He is thus only barely able to deflect the oncoming attack in time, Hauteclare crossed with a rusty cutlass pressed up close to his head. He glances over his shoulder, but new foes are already crowding around, no doubt harassing his friends nearby.

"Riku! Get this trouble off my face!"

They haven't time to dawdle here. If whoever is causing this is up on the top deck, they've got to press onward before the culprit escapes!
Royce It would seem we are no longer alone here.

The deep grating voice punches through the fog of trance that had permeated Royce's entire being, her mind and body both locked in ritual that required her full concentration. The witch opens her blood-encrusted eyes but instead of the empty expanse of the ghalleon's deck her vision is overlaid upon an image of several individuals as they disembark from a ship with weapon's drawn.

"That man again.".

Despite the distraction from her task the magic of the spell has reached the point where its energies are self-sustaining and nigh unstoppable by any but an exceptionally skilled sorcerer. Even though it would be best for her to go down and nip this problem in the bud herself, her body remains the focal point for all of that terrible magic so she can do little but watch and direct the creatures that rise up as if in anticipation of having a guiding will.

This adventurer is becoming a nuisance. How fortunate that he has happened upon us now. This ship will be the tombstone for yet another band of fools and our armies shall grow all the larger for their efforts.

Royce focuses her mind into the undead, seizing control of their broken lingering wills. It is an all-together unpleasant feeling to be so intimately connected to death but, as with all things, the disgust that a mortal might experience simply does not exist within her. Necromancy has been her way of life for hundreds of years now in the most literal sense.

However, the ghosts and zombies that flood the hallways respond to her sluggishly, almost as if fighting her control. That shouldn't be happening. Only the most powerful of undead monstrosities retain their own minds and even fewer still can fight the influence of such powerful magic.

A tiny frown of effort works its way onto the witch's face. She need not relay this development to the book. It already knows. But she does so anyways, perhaps out of habit.

"Something is fighting me."
Reize Seatlan "What do you mean that physical strikes may not work on these ghosts?!" Reize whips his head back, snapping at Ivo with an irritated look.

Just like that, the boomerang whizzes over the ghastly creatures. They idly turn to face the direction of the boomerang's trajectory. They tilt their head over to the side with a curious look. Then, their heads creen straight towards the boy.

Reize stares.


Suddenly, one ghastly creature flies over towards Reize's face and it latches on to dear life.

There is that moment of uncomfortable silence. The chills of the nauseating wind passes by as Reize is taking this all in.

"MMFFFGHHH!!GHHHHEEHHHHHOOHHHH!! (HEELLLP! GETITOFF!)" The boy is flailing his arms around.

0[Reize's attacks are ineffective against ghosts.]

The boy flails and runs around until the ghastly creature forces Reize to hit his face on the ground. The boy is clutching himself in pain. Thankfully, Faruja is moving to yank him up with the tail.

Ghost is gone.

"Thanks..." He says with a delirious tone.
Riku Having your legs cut out from under you must be a going trend because several zombies join in on the hip new sensation courtest of Archadian steel. A skull from one of the zombies plonks over the side of the ship as Riku neatly cuts the neckbone connecting the body to the rest of the bonehead.

Several of them corner Riku in short order including one of the spectres, knocking Riku off his feet in the process of dodging several ridiculously unhygenic hooks and a rusted knife. "Just visualize all the moaning dead as Ivo, and I don't think you should have any trouble." The teenager says as an aside to the white mage, smiling and rolling back onto his feet as if this were a pleasant summer holiday instead of a nauseous lurching scramble for survival against the hoards of the not so recently deceased. He flinches visibly from the scraping but its-- somehow muted, as if trying to penetrate a thick level of fog to reach his conscious attention. Or jello. Black Raspberry and Lemon jello with twinkling twilight bits stuck in the mold.

Fear the emo ham in a good mood.

The teenager fights free of the trio temporarily, slamming a booted foot into the kneejoint of the offending skeleton nearest to Ivo, an armored fist smashing into the elbow joint causing the rusted cutlass to fall towards the deck. Riku kicks the cutlass up into his hand and proceeds to slash the offending skeleton into several equally sized pieces. "NEXT~" he calls out cheerfully, whipping around to confront the original three with a big predatory smile. He looks away from the skeletons to offer Reize a hand back to his feet, not rubbing in the 'I told you so' other than by smirking.

A class act, that one.

Class act.
Morrighan Alazne A sigh.

"Sir Senra. If you believe that I am one to be enticed by such an obvious ploy, then you insult both of our intelligences." Morrighan was not a certain wayward dragon after all! Let's not mention names. "But I suppose that watching you all get overwhelmed by a swarm of undead /would/ make things more troublesome."

That said, the dark elf raised a hand slightly, having to focus a bit harder than usual in order to channel light magic instead of dark. "Do me a favor to try not to prove your incompetence by dying. Though I suppose I could only find it all the more amusing." Was her response to Ivo. Her magic manifested as multiple spheres of light radiating about her form. Following after the others, all Morrighan had to do was glance at any offending target to cause one of the spheres to fire off as a single ray of light. A laser in other words. Impact with any offending undead rendered most vaporized in a single shot, but some stubborn ones took two or three. And with one light sphere gone, another would replace it.

"....." Falling strangely devoid of complaints then, Morrighan's eyes had narrowed as she moved along with the group. "...Something is not right." Something much more profound than the undead already before them. Something familiar... "But that is impossible...Surely I must be mistaken."

She hoped she was wrong anyhow.
Pumpkinhead Ami and Imi have been hesitant to get on the SHIP OF EVIL. Ami, eventually, hesitantly steps onto the ship of evil and makes heir way to gradually catch up with the others, they're a bit behind, however, and they communicate in soft whispers as they advance on Ivo's position.

"Are there really ghosts on this...?" Ami asks of Imi.

"Haha, I hope not. That would be a bit much, this one supposes."

"Yes, yes..." Ami nods slowly. "...There won't be any ghosts, or undead, or anything like--"

A skeleton head that had recently been beheaded by Ivo flies past Ami.

Faruja Senra Thank Faram for friends, and associates. Between Riku's and Ivo's swordsmanship, Morrighan's blinding magics, it seems as though they have a fighting chance! Still, the hallway is littered with the blasted undead. Glancing to Reize, the Burmecian sighs.

"/Do/ remind me to find an enchanted boomerang, dear Reize! For now, ignore the incorporeal. Allow me!"

Thrust! "Faram's wrath strike down the unblessed! Holy Explosion!" Right at the tail end of Morri's lightshow, the Burmecian adds his own, a line of the deceased vaporized by falling blasts of holy anger. One may have to watch for a few new holes in the wood, however.

The Burmecian isn't quite as magicall in-tune as the elf, but the entire blasted place feels /wrong/. "My deepest apologies, mayhap the Lord shall see fit to sharpen my guile before the next. Merely thinking of morale!" That's totally it, rat. Totally.

Hey, wait. They're missing a pair of Dennous. Noting a touch of reluctance upon the pair, Faruja puffs up his chest. "Lady Ami, Lady Imi, we go forth into this debased, unhallowed place to cleanse it of its evils! Surely the Holy Prophet and the Divine Father guide our hands towards victory, so long as we hold Him in Heaven within our hearts! These foul, unholy wretches shall be as noth..." Apparently, the group missed three zombies. These zombies happen to have formerly been monks. Grab. The trio of undead mooks proceed to punch, kick, and finally suplex the Templar into the ground.

Current Faruja Status: /.@
Reize Seatlan It is a good thing that Reize has friends. Everyone is rather competent in handling the undead. Reize is not exactly in the best of capacity in handling this type of situation. This is one of those cases where the darkness has a deep edge against the boy. There is virtue of resiliency despite of the odds.

While Riku helps the boy up, Reize turns to see his face.And that smirk.


Reize has steam comig from his head. It doesn't help when Faruja adds his comment regarding enchanted boomerangs. "Grrr, I'll show you..." Reize reaches into his pocket to pull out his fearsome tool.

The hookshot.

As the former monks rise to their feet, they have started to assault Faruja. Reize's eyes widen and then he looks straight towards the sail. "I got you, Faruja!" The young man activates the mechanism of his hookshot, which extends and latches against the sail.

Reize comes flying out towards the undead mooks, lunging forward to start diving at the group with a kick, then he spins back up to his feet. He spins around to kick both of the mooks. Both hands slam onto the ground, keeping him propelled as he twists about for a sweeping strike at the skeletons!

"Take that!"


"..Wait, where did my hookshot go?"

Meanwhile, that hookshot hangs on top of the sail.
Ivo Galvan "Ser Senra, perhaps the pontification can-- oop."

Pulling himself together, Ivo, recently rescued by Riku's proficient display, leaps toward the felled Faruja, but finds he doesn't have enough time to charge up his Banishing Blade technique before he lands. Yet when Reize leaps in, lashing out with a kick that knocks the erstwhile assailants back, Ivo skids, pivots, and pulls off an Assist Attack, belating unleashing a burst of energy just large enough to blast the undead the rest of the way and off the edge of the ship. Combo damage multiplier! "You're a man of principle, my friend," he assures the nezumi as he helps Faruja up, his light-hearted tone mostly masking his fatigue, "but I expect the heavens will be most pleased to see you still standing, as will I." He turns his smiling face toward Morrighan, that smile swiftly turning lopsided. "Milady, a little restoration, if you please."

Yes, swords flash, lances gleam, Legions are traumatized, magical lasers go pew, pew, pew (one only hopes). With their powers combined, the heroes -- however reluctant some of them -- at last sweep the lower deck clean of the walking and floating dead, for the moment. Ivo rolls his shoulders, shaking out his cloak, and sets his sights on a splintered path up what was once a staircase, toward from whence the eerie incantations emanate. His earlier worries forgotten, he occupies his mind with a more immediate concern. "Let's get up there while the getting's good," he quips, glancing over to confirm that Reize has indeed recovered himself thanks to the aid of their friends. You'd think he'd be a little more distraught when the boy was running around with a soul-sucker strapped to his face.

These things have a way of working themselves out.

"Glad to see our supporting fire has arrived," he adds, flashing a grin at Imi and Ami. He wants to keep their spirits up, but he doesn't want to waste any time. "We're going to advance, so can you two watch our backs?" There's no undead that way. I mean, what undead? "Reize, make sure the girls don't get lost, okay?" They were brave to come, but they seem a bit shaken up right now. Not that he wants to pre-empt the fearless leader, but heavens forbid he encounter another ghost. "Er-- on second thought-- Imi, Ami, do you think you could, uh, help Reize get his thing?" And so the helper becomes the helped.

With that, Ivo is dashing up the stairs, braving creaking planks and rotting wood to dart his way up the remnants of decks as scattered foes lurch in from the sides, trying to ignore them for now. He's not the fastest, but he is determined. And within moments he will espy a distant figure draped in shadows...

"You there! Are you responsible for this chanting?" Lowering his sword, he continues to approach until he can get the figure in view. "I'm a big fan. Do you have a recording? Also, did you know there are undead roaming around here? Quite terrifying, really. Why don't you join... us...?"

Wait, does he recognize this person?
Royce As if the admission that something is wrong were the final words to a spell of disaster, a chain reaction suddenly cascades through the undead yet to reveal themselves. Many of them seize up violently, momentarily paralyzed as dark energy floods into them in even greater quantities than before. The heavy pressure of an evil and malevolent power surges outwards anew, puncuated by a deep and ominous roar that shakes the ship so hard that the ancient boards rattle in unsettling ways.

Up on the top deck the witch is likewise overwhelmed. Unspeakable energy races through the air, tracing the pathways of magic that she has extended into the undead and burning them out like the fuses of a cannon. Only the quick intervention of the book severes the lines before the incredible counter strike can render her to ash.

A pillar of sickly red light erupts from the center of the ritual circle, neon power streaming upwards into the fog and sky, painting both awash with bloody crimson tones that burn away the night for a few blinding moments. It also puts a pretty solid beacon up for the heroes to follow.

When the light fades Royce is no where to be found on the deck. She is, infact, now embedded in the wall of what used to be the captain's cabin. Shattered doors and broken glass create a trail of destruction that leads over to the fallen witch. The book is clutched tightly in her arms, shielding it from harm with her body though its horrid pages would require far worse to actually be destroyed.

It takes her a few moments to recover but the woman quickly pushes her way out of the mess of water-soaked wood and assesses the situation. She's been completely repulsed. Cutting the ritual off like that has left her body weak and in no position to fight. The adventurers ironically are now in better shape to deal with whatever it was that usurped her magic.

Fortunately, she has a way to deal with this.

Flipping the book to a certain page, Royce mutters a swift incantation and her body is cloaked in a silhouette of white light. The magic infuses itself into her clothes and they begin to shift and change into a less sinister form. Spikes and metal blades recede and black melts away to be replaced by the purest white. The massive cannon upon her back mutates as well, shrinking and bleeding into the shape of twin flintlock pistols which hang from a loose chain around her hips.

The transformation takes only a few moments and as the eye-searing burst of necromantic energy begins to fade, Ivo is greeted by a familiar face as Alicia strides out of the shattered doorway.

"Oho? Have you come to plunder this ancient ship's pirate booty as well, Ivo Galvan?"

The witch has lowered her hood and her dazzling silver hair now glitters in the faint moonlight that filters through the fog. She gives the knight a bright smile. The witch looks practically the same as before only less threatening and dark. Her outfit is now white though no less revealing and anyone who has seen her in the past will likely be able to see right through the flimsy disguise if that's even what it's supposed to be.

Alicia winks at him playfully. "Or are you just after mine? You certain seem to chase it often enough. It seems I cannot turn around without finding you in my shadow, fufufu."
Riku "Does the thought of your death amuse a lot of woman Ivo or are you just REALLY that good?" Riku is about to continue the ribbing in exactly that same vein when there is suddenly a great deal of Rat punching, kicking and suplexing. And in another and darker time there would simply be a call for popcorn and maybe a good video camera used to capture the moment.

But instead-- Riku sighs, wincing at the thrashing. He is about to intervene but he is glad to see that the church rat is well taken care of within his group. Except -- oh look. It's that damn hookshot again.

Riku is actually surprised Reize hasn't /already/ lost it. Or maybe this is the 12th or 13th dynasty of said hookshot. He looks at the thing dangling on top of the sail and then looks down at Reize.

Sometimes silence and a shake of the head can say it all. When there is a disruption in the force however, Riku takes a hit like he'd been clawed in the stomach and then punched through a wall (perhaps in reverse order) The teenager groans slightly before sagging to his knees, nearly blacking out for a moment from the shockwave of dark energy from the ritual magic.

This is a /really/ bad thing, with those zombies descending on him and he plummets to his knees just before he is showered by bones and rotten flesh (Undead hunting. As sure a way as anything to love showers) He grimaces, rubbing his chest for a moment as he shrugs aside the bone bits and staggers to his feet. He narrows his eyes and peers around.

Oh yeah. A bloody beacon that pierces the night sky? And they? Going /right/ towards it. This sounds like such a good plan now. And-- Alicia.

There is a glare in your direction. Oh yes. Captain, set phazers to GLARE.
Pumpkinhead Ami walks back a bit and ducks down in the darkness as if to pick something up. She returns, looking over to Faruja, her head tilting. She blinks a few times as he gives what is practically a sermon. And then she says, "This one would not think to understand Faram's will," humbly. "Look what I found?"

She holds up skeleton head that is still biting the air.

"--The Network thought about taking it as a pet--" She begins, but a series of undead mooks start plowing into the templar even as Ami watches.


Ami reaches out with one hand and unleashes a wave of electricity, trying to knock them back through force rather than through voltage.

"His thing?" Imi asks. "Oh my... but this isn't really the time..."

She turns her head around a bit before noticing that Reize has left his hookshot out.

Imi raises a hand, intending to magnetically draw it to her hand. Hopefully this won't get too awkward.
Morrighan Alazne These fools certainly seemed all too adept at this action hero nonsense. Morrighan could scarcely resist rolling her eyes at the display of varied combat prowess between those in this little group. ...And then there was Faruja getting the stuffing beat out of him by a trio of zombie monks. "...Pffft-- ehehehe..."

Unable to resist, she brought a hand to her mouth as she witness the thrashing. Sure, she could have spared her colleague with a well place volley of light rays, but...the show was too amusing to break up. Thus once their allies finally stepped in, Morrighan could only sigh and lament the end of the show before stepping forward. "Yes, yes..."

Holding her hands out, she channeled healing energies over to Faruja, tending to the bruises gotten from the beating he just took. The amused smile never left her face however. As Ivo ran off to see just what was going on above, Morrighan has just about finished with Faruja. "There. Done. Now try not to wind up taking another beating like that." Pause. "...Or if you really must, I suppose I should just enjoy the show."

Blunt enough? Nah.
Reize Seatlan "You got it, Ivo! With my sense of directions, I'll be able to lead the two! Just let me find my---"

It takes a moment for Reize to take a look up to see where his greatest tool is located. He can see it hung in the air, suspended along the sail. The boy stares up for a couple of moments, and then he looks over at Riku.


His head hangs low as his antenna hair flops low. Comical tears roll along his eyes. Reize does quirk an eyebrow at Imi and Ivo, "...My thing?" He grumbles. "It's a hookshot! It is my hookshot that Skoll made for me!" He looks up, then he turns to see that Ivo is makingh is way up the stairs to handle some sort of the affairs.

---And then the ship shakes by that ominous roar.

"Buh?!" He tries to hold on, keeping some sort of balance as the ship undergoes its violent shift. However, Reize loses his balance and falls off to slide against the ground.

And the hookshot falls right into Imi's hand from the magnetic pull.
Faruja Senra Between Reize's deft martial arts, a certain elf's healing, and an errant knight's encouragement of said healing, Faruja is up with only his pride wounded. "Dear Lord, kindly do not hesitate to slap my muzzle closed should it run overmuch, Ser Seatlan. Much obliged, and well done. Thy skills and prowess grow." There's a hint of pride for the young adventurer. The young boy's no greenhorn anymore! Stab! Another zombie down.

"Terribly sorry about the hookshot."

Smile. Faruja's tail manages to sway despite the seriousness of this whole endeavor. "Truly, 'tis my desire to remain upon this patchwork world until the Lord sees fit to call me. A Templar shan't shirk his duty, Ser Galvan, yet so too must one know /sense/. This place is in need of an army, not a single band to cleanse utterly. Let us do what we can about this...spell or ritual, or whatever foulness is afoot!"

The elf's laughing at him. His tail makes a gesure in the air that's air from polite in his homeland. "At thy /pleasure/, dear Lady Alazne. Mayhap I shall keep a sphere of our next engagement for thy entertainment." Counters the rat, having to step around the sarcasm he leaves behind. Or maybe that's just undead parts.

As for the Dennous? "The unhallowed dead are not pets, Lady Ami! Remind me, and we shall see upon getting thyself something less likely to consume thee in thy slumber! A wyvern, perhaps." Because Ami Dennou with a massive flying lizard would have no downsides whatsoever.

The backwash from the red pillar, once they're upon the deck, knocks the rat upon his back. Briefly knocked out in the entire exchange, he finds a voice speaking. A familiar voice, followed by a familiar sight. The Templar's grip upon his spear tightens, eye going wide, trembling as he slowly gets to his feet. Only belatedly does it register that one Ivo Galvan and the Witch who attacked not one, but /two/ holy sites stands before them in what is possibly the worst disguise he has ever laid witness to.

An incantation, and in a swirl of white light, Faruja is first sucked up then deposited before 'Alicia'. Reaching out, spear upon his back, he'll attempt to first grab the girl's gun arm, while the other clawed, gauntleted hand goes for the throat. Should he manage to wrestle her flat against the doorframe? Faruja shall squeeze, and hard, looking as though he's attempting to simply crush her windpipe.

"My, my, my, my, my! So we meet again, mmm, Witch!? I should have /known/! What evil seek thee to create here? Defiling a temple not enough for thee, hmm? Raising the bodies of those soldiers, slaying good men, and causing dear Templar Stannus to run? 'Twas one of the very men that saved my life when I was thrown into this wretched, accursed world! Desertion...know thee the punishment for that!? Death. DEATH! A good man dead! What is worse? He took his /own/ life before my very eyes from SHAME! Shame caused by thy blasphemous, heartless actions! This...this shan't kill thee, of course. But /do/ have the decency to SUFFER FOR THE LIVES THAT HATH FALLEN BY THY HANDS AND THE SIN BROUGHT UPON THIS WORLD BY THY OWN DOINGS!!!" Faruja's rant can probably be heard all the way into the decks.

The Templar shall have to interrogate his friend over the matter later. For now, Faruja Senra has to strangle a Witch.
Pumpkinhead Ami thinks about Faruja's comment.

"If you hallow it, can it be a pet then?"
Ivo Galvan Ivo is not the most spiritually sensitive, but even he can't miss the pillar of red light from the top deck he is approaching, and gritting his teeth, he spurs himself onward, stumbling through the disorientation with a resolve only those who know him well would know he possesses. If the ritual is finishing, he hasn't a moment to lose. But what he sees--


--slackens his jaw and causes him to stumble in his tracks.

"You look... unblemished."

Ivo is a lover of beauty. His public admiration of attractive women is a social ploy to provoke interesting interactions, and it's rare that he is swept away. But a person can be the cause of an aesthetic experience as well. Amidst the silvery fog and moonlight, Alicia's radiant figure causes Ivo's throat to dry up despite himself, and that she is the last person he expected to find her is all else it takes to leave him utterly stunned.

"...but I can't be sure until I examine you thoroughly." And there is so much skin to examine. Ivo recovers with a smile, seeming to have passed over the whole 'obvious suspicion at what this random woman is doing here' stage. "Is your booty intact? I would hate for your treasures to be plundered. I retain hope you'll lend them to me freely."

As the others arrive, though, Ivo seems to become distracted, as much as he's visibly enjoying this interaction. Glancing down at his wrist, he contorts his hand a bit and dislodges the Shard Seeker device's magnet, letting it dangle free again, and it appears to be glowing all the stronger now, pointing through the fog. He walks to the edge of the top deck, trying to peer toward where the lodestone poinnts. "It's a few ships away, but... that has to be it... whatever it is," he mutters. "It's just a question of breaking through... if we can move across the rigging here from the top deck, we might be able to get there directly..."

But when he turns back to his fellows--

"Faruja, what are you doing!?"

Ivo, shocked, steps forward, reaching out his hand.

"You'll kill her! I don't know what's happened between you two," he says, more gently, "and I'm sure you have good reason for your fury, but she and I have helped each other before, and she never seized any opportunity to harm me." That he's aware of. "More importantly, the device is saying that the source of the disturbance isn't here. Pillar aside..." He does quirk an eyebrow at Alicia about that. "What exactly happened here? Are you here just for treasure? I wouldn't pry, but if my friend here suspects you..." Well, not that she can reply unless Faruja lets up just a little bit.

Still, believe it or not, Ivo puts the mission before women, at least when the lives of his friends are on the line. "Reize!" he calls down belowdecks. "The source of the anomaly is a few ships down! Can you make it up the rigging and cross via the tangled ropes? You should be able to avoid most of the undead that way. Just, uh..."

Short pause.

" out for ghosts, okay?"
Royce The witch's eyes widen in surprise as she is beset upon with little warning. She opens her mouth to protest as the first clawed hand wraps around her arm but the second cuts her off with a strangled gurgle before the first word can finish forming.

Alicia closes her eye against the impact as it jostles her to the bone despite the pliant surface of the old decayed wood. Her free hand comes up to wrap around Faruja's hand, attempting to pull it loose enough that she can get air into her lungs long enough to speak, but her strength is no match for the raging templar.

Finally, the woman manages to gain a short reprieve and she barks out a single word that distorts the air around her aggressor.


There is a sharp pop and a flash of light engulfs Faruja, lasting only as long as the flash of a camera bulb. And then he is gone. Alicia sags to her knees and takes a deep breath, rubbing at the red bruising that is already forming around her neck.

"It... was not... me..."

The witch stares down at the deck pointedly as if talking to it. But the only thing to be found there now is... a lizard? A newt to be precise; a newt with one eye and a tiny spear.

Alicia looks downcast as she peers at the Faruzard. "Sorry about that. But you have mistaken me for someone else, though your error is understandable." Her head tilts up to regard Ivo mournfully. "I... have a twin sister, you see. An identical twin sister." She pauses again before adding. "An /evil/ identical twin sister."

If she were a Dennou this is where Royce would add 'the Network bses with a completely straight face'.
Riku "..And I see Faruja's the same." Riku murmurs to himself quietly, rubbing his face and trying to get some of the undead goo off as he approaches the decks. "For good or ill." He wipes down the sword and advances with the point held low but at the ready.

He looks up at the rigging and the tangled ropes. "What I wouldn't do for a working teleport." the youth says under his breath, training the glare lasers at the world in general for a moment before the good humor returns somewhat more sluggishly.

He lets Ivo handle Alicia (Or rather. Ivo handle Faruja handling Alicia far too roughly for civilized television-- or Alicia handle herself by handing Faruja the opportunity to experience being a newt) and looks at the Legionettes with the claimed hookshot, then up at the ropes again. "This doesn't look too hard." he says at Reize, teasing.

"What could possibly go wrong?" adding his contribution to the Shard Seeker bank of 'Things you just do NOT say'.
Morrighan Alazne Morrighan was one of the last to venture above, having heard the commotion coming from Faruja and likely would have even a mile away. Sheesh. Nevertheless she took her sweet time, resulting in the first thing she actually saw when she arrived being...Faruja not quite up to size. "...Well then." This is familiar.

Her eyes slowly turned over to 'Alicia', eying her with a fair bit of suspicion. Oh that spell was entirely too familiar. Having been on the end of it once. At least it wasn't her this time! That was important! "...I must say, Sir Senra. This form suits you a lot more."

A mocking smirk followed that statement. "...But I suppose our superiors would not be pleased to find a newt in place of a rat. Alas." That said, the dark elf raised an arm, palm outward and pointed at Faruja. "Do try not to murder her this time, yes?" After that, dark magic built up, slithering over Faruja's lizard form and searching for the source of the spell.

Having broken it once before, it only took a couple seconds before it was found, and then-- snap. "There." An identical flash of light and Faruja was back to normal. "Now, be a dear and at least attempt to use your brain this time, hm?"

And after that was said and done, Morrighan simply crossed her arms and looked at the others, awaiting to see what would come next. Did they really think /Reize/ would be able to pull this off without something blowing up in spectacular fashion?

She didn't.
Reize Seatlan Reize wanted to make sure that Faruja was safe. Knowing that the paladin is safe once more, the young adventurer smiles. "Thanks, Faruja! However, let's get back to dealing with the undead here!" The young boy glances over, peering closely as the situation sems to grow quite a bit worse.

Reize turns towards the backwash of the red pillar, frowning deeply. However, it is when Faruja disappears before Reize blinks, "Eh?!"

While Reize can't quite see the situation above, he can sure as well hear it. Reize shouts, "Ooii! Faruja! What are you doing?!" Ivo soon comes down after several moments, "Eh?!" He looks up at Ivo, "Yeah! I should be able to!"

He looks over towards Ami and Imi, "Hey, if you see any ghosts pop up, could you blast them?" Reize turns to take off towards the tangled ropes. He looks over at Riku, "...Time to find out!"

And Reize is off...

....Wait, what are those forms...?

Ghosts! Lots of them appear. They all eye Reize.
Pumpkinhead "Why make those that have already perished suffer more in unlife? It's so cruel." Ami says, still holding the chattering skull. It struggles to pry itself out of Ami's hand and start biting

well okay it's Reize by default.

"I'm sorry to hear about your evil twin sister." Imi says. "The Network understands sisterly bonds can be tough sometimes, but you should persevere, and perhaps encourage her to be less of an evil twin sister, and more of a tightly bound sister who will cooperate with you and gang up against others with you, this one feels."

Ami nods faintly. "Yes of course. Sisters are important." She pats the skull's head. "We will watch for ghosts, and try to protect them....from those that don't understand."
Reize Seatlan "OOOOWWWWWWW!!! FIRST THE GHOSTS, NOW THIS!" cries Reize.
Pumpkinhead "Hey stop it, behave..." Ami says. "Behave. Bad skullhead. Bad!"

She tries to pull the skull away.
Faruja Senra Faruja's head turns, eye staring at Ivo's own, the special brand of madness given to particularly zealous individuals dancing within. His hand only squeezes all the tighter for the man's word. "'Tis naught but the plaything of the Fell Abyss within this one, Ivo Galvan! Let not thy desires overcome thy sense! Exploring amidst that foul ritual!? Thy intellect and senses are keen. Be not the inconsistensies damning? But if 'tis proof that thou doth desire, allow me but a /moment/. Death comes not easily to this one. A limb ripped asunder? An explosion, nearly slaying myself in the process? Paltry! Her blighted flesh seeks to knit itself back no matter what harm doth befall her. Twisted, black magick of foules..."

The rat's second rant, and would-be murder is interrupted with a single word. Faruzard looks up. Glaaaaare! He speaks a stream of words in newtish, no doubt causing lizards everywhere to faint and tiny little newt hatchlings to bawl their eyes out. He's also ridiculously cute. Hopefully Ami won't take /him/ home for a pet!

Spell broken! Standing, still shaking in rage, his eye is latched onto 'Alicia'. Her explaination leaves him speechless, only pride keeping him from literally frothing in rage. Give the rat a moment. At this rate, he'll need blood pressure medication.

"...Much obliged Lady Alazne. Should the lying Witch so much as /breathe/ a blasphemous word, kindly reduce her to dust M'Lady."

Sigh. "...We've a boy to rescue." Thrust! "Absorb power in the sky and strike! Lightning Stab!"

Ker-crack! The rat shall attempt to lesson the amount of ghosts assaulting the poor adventurer. Just don't evade into them Reize!
Ivo Galvan Evil identical twin sister. Identical twin sister. Twin sister.

"You have a twin sister!?" Ivo practically shouts, his desires momentarily overcoming his sense -- did someone warn him about that? -- eyes widening like a man gazing for the first time upon a lost paradise. He's narrowed his focus to what strikes him as the important bits, news so exciting that the very possibility causes him to forget all else. "Where?" Wait a minute. "Is that why you're here, among all these undead, with these strange rituals going on? Could you be looking for her?" Sometimes, Ivo has a strong intuition. Occasionally, he jumps to conclusions. In this case, he's in a bit of a hurry, and besides, he would prefer it if Alicia turned out to be a more sympathetic figure.

He's a compassionate guy like that.

"How's your health, Ser Senra?" he then offers in a more reasonable tone, composing himself, as Morrighan works her magic and gets the Burmecian back in a bipedal state. "Transformations haven't left you queasy, have they?" It occurs to Ivo embarrassingly late that this twin sister story is, well, pretty preposterous, whatever the circumstances that have led his allies to doubt Alicia. But they don't have the time to hash this out here, regardless. "If we keep an eye on Alicia for now and leave with her, can we discuss this matter later? I have a bad feeling about staying here any longer than necessary..."

It's just as he says that, hearing Riku's encouragement, that he turns about and sees Reize having scampered his way up the ropes and beginning to make progress until, well, the inevitable occurs. "Reize! Damn..." He turns back. This ship won't stay cleared forever. They have to move on while they still can and get the job done so they can retreat before their path back is blocked. "I can't get to him in time like this. Riku, do you think you can reach Reize? Just please make sure he doesn't get knocked into the water. I'm sure Imi and Ami can handle the ghosts." He turns and looks down toward the Legions to confirm the situation, and overhears the conversation in progress, whereupon he promptly spaces out.

"...Tightly bound sisters..."

Several moments pass.

"...uh, maybe we should handle those ghosts, too..."

Looks like Faruja is on it, and Morrighan is left to guard Alicia. She'll be fine, right? Right. Alicia only has those guns. And her pistols. Actually, Ivo is a little curious whose guns are-- "I'm going to go on ahead, alright?" he says to the two women. "Call out if there's trouble." He wants to know about that red pillar himself, but that'll have to wait. These undead certainly won't.

Being on the top deck, Ivo takes a different route, leaving Reize to his allies so that he can push forward, following the glowing light at the end of the Shard Seeker device, clambering atop rigging and pulling himself as quickly as he can along ropes, scrambling over splintered masts and the entangled wreckages of ships long since collided. As he does, his eye is drawn to the light of the device, which grows ruddier and darker, the gold laced with traces of shadow, and for some reason a shiver runs down his spine. Something about this isn't right. Something about this isn't like what should--


An unearthly roar sunders the night.

What bursts forth from the nearby ship that was Ivo's objective seems to be a pillar much like the one that erupted from Alicia's location, but silvery and effervescent. Moments of horrified viewing will reveal, however, that the spectacle is no magical display but a veritable /column of spirits/, ghosts and spectres and ghouls roiling their way up from that frigate, countless and terrible. Their eerie luminescence reveals a ship that has been-- supplemented. Where it has withered and cracked like so many others, bones and sedimented shadow have caked like dread mortar to fill the gaps. It is as though the ship itself has become some unholy embodiment, an unapproachable massive blight. And as the pillar of spirits part, revealing the shattered deck, the source of that cry is revealed.

It is enormous and skeletal, clad in a ragged robe of royal purple as large as a tapestry, crowned with a sinister spiked helmet. Lightning crackles about its bony hands as it curls in on itself with a resentful hiss. It emits a wave of tremendous quaking power by its mere presence. And there is one among the party who will, at least, recognize it on sight.

It is Lich, the Fiend of Earth.
Ivo Galvan
"Gaahh!" Struck by the extraordinary foe's preternatural oppression, Ivo, who had endured so well thus far, loses his grip upon the ropes and plummets to the ship below him, one ship ahead of his friends and one away from the profane floating fortress ahead. He grunts and rolls, only to splinter through the wood and land on a lower deck, still visible to his friends through the gaping holes in the walls of the rotten ships. "Damn..." Spitting dirt, he gets to his knees. "What the hell are we supposed to do..." Forget World Shards, if there even is one. The source of the undead plaguing Carwen is a /Fiend/. Are any of them ready for this kind of fight, on /this/ battlefield? Shaking his head, Ivo twists and bumps his shoulder against a barrel, and blinking, he looks over. There appear to be many of them on the deck of the ship he's rolled onto, and he wipes away some of the dirt to reveal the label.


"...Reize... Hey! Reize!"

0Ship Loading Minigame...

"Your expertise is required!!"

Riku Riku looks to the legionettes performance of Mr. Skullhead and his mind is officially blown. There can be sparks seen and perhaps a little bit of smoke as he looks at them incredulously.

We're sorry, the guest character you have dialed is temporarily out of service. Please try again later.

Riku looks up at the tangled ropes and shakes himself out of his Confused Funk. He scrambles up the rotten wood with dexterity, sheathing the sword briefly to make use of both hands. He gets up to Reize and the hoard of O_O ghosts just as Faruja starts to lay into them.

He grabs a rope, starting to make his way over ---

And then Lich makes their entrance. The preternatural shock wave is only momentary, but it's enough to freeze blood and blacken vision and the rope slips from Riku's fingers as his body spasms from the wave of darkness. He falls from the rigging, his only saving grace from tumbling to the rotted deck being his foot being snagged on the ropes.

The consequence of this? --Being a very tasty and inviting target for every ghost and zombie within range. Riku struggles and thrashes, trying to right himself as everything looks pretty flipped upside down.
Royce The witch takes a step back as the magic of her curse is undone in short order by another. Her eye drifts over to Morrighan, instantly recognizing the dark elf from their encounter but she feigns a look of surprise at her magical prowess.

"My, it seems there is another here who knows a little black magic. How interesting."

The smile returns to her face as it seems that pretty much everyone is willing to buy her story, except for the irrate nezumi. Just according to plan. One rather odd side effect of waking up with no memories of /anything/, including ones own personality, is that Royce has literally had to relearn how to behave in a belieavable fashion in order to survive. Her zombie-like lack of emotions only makes this challenge all the more difficult. But as the years slowly rolled by there came along a solution.


In particular, the witch has an almost freakish obession with soap operas. Drama! Excitement! Completely normal and not ridiculously fake human interaction! All of the things that she's missing in her life. It also happens to be where she got the evil twin idea. Clearly if it's shown on tv then people will believe it's true. Faruja obviously needs to watch more tv to understand her brilliance.

Alicia nods sadly at Imi. "Yes, it's quite the terrible thing. We both learned the art but she was always of a darker nature than I." She's also wearing white now. Clearly not evil. "I have been chasing her for many years to try and persuade her to give up her evil ways but alas my efforts have been unsuccessful."

Ivo's attept to be gallant is observed from the deck. She does not lift a hand to help him when it fails miserably, though. She was told to sit still and behave after all.

Mentally, Royce shoots an 'I told you so' towards the dark book which is now hidden in the captain's cabin and the sound of a soft thump can be heard as it tips forward onto the deck in the hard-cover version of a facepalm.
Faruja Senra Faruja's mind has taken up a mantra while Ivo gets lured in by our resident Evil Necromancer. 'Must not kill the Witch while companions are in danger. Must not kill the Witch.'

Then, Ivo does something horrific. He uses logic, and 'being reasonable'.

'Must not strangle Ivo. Must not strangle Ivo.' Thoughts that no doubt have met many minds, most of whom likely female.

The short rat seems to deflate, casting one more glare to Royce. "...Agreed, Ser Galvan. Ensure she doth not slip into the night while we work, hmm? Keep thy eyes upon her."

As Riku comes into /issues/ with ghosts, the rat is on it, trying to not think of the irony of attempting to save the life of someone he swore to kill. Lightning stabs for everyghost!

The aura of sickening power gives the rat just enough time to throw up a shield, and slam his weapon's point into the wood of the deck. Bracing himself, the pure power of Lich sends him gliding down the deck, spear and claws ripping up a gash from one end of the ship to the other. The downside? This means there shall be one rat overboard. Excuse him while he tries to not drown this turn.
Reize Seatlan There is the everpresent of horrible luck that befallens Reize. They are in the form of many ghosts that are looming over him. Numerous of those wicked, undead beings manifest around from the ship, hovering in the air with an ominous gaze. All of those eyes pinpoint straight towards the boy.

They stare at Reize.
And stare at Reize.
.... and stare at Reize.
And. Stare. At. Reize.

"... Crap."

The ghosts bullet straight towards the boy, seeking to drive him off of the rope and to have him fall into the water. "Gaaahhh!" As much as Reize tries to hold on, it is going to be difficult to remain on if the ghosts are successful in knocking him out of the picture.

Thankfully, a bolt of lightning strikes down. In fact, several bolts of lightning make impact against the ghosts, who wither away. "Ah...!" Reize turns his head, seeing Faruja, "Good going, Faruja!" The boy beams.

It is sudden.

There is a preternatural shock wave discharged. That essence has the boy's body shudder violent. That impact even knocks him off of the rope, "Gaaaaahhhh! Imi, could you toss me my hookshot?!" And then, he lands harshly against the path near that anomaly.

0It even starts to shake up the pendant, which starts glowing.

As the pendant emits a glimmering light, that low of magic starts to resonate. Parts of the darkness in the sky slowly breaks away, allowing a speck of a window to open. That window reveals a star. As the glinting light sparkles along the pendant, it begins glowing rapidly.

His eyes gaze into that anomaly, his gaze harden as he stares deep. ...Until he hears a voice calling him.

It's Ivo!

Reize turns his head at Ivo, "Huh?!" Then, the boy brightens, getting back up t his feet. "You can count on me!" His eyes fall upon the presence of Lich. ...So, that's the source of it all.

Reize's gaze now tighten with filled determination.
Morrighan Alazne "Uh-huh..." Nodding slowly, Morrighan just stayed put letting the others do that whole hero thing. 'Alicia's' comments about black magic cause her to look the other woman's way with a narrowed gaze. "Indeed. How interesting." No, her patience was running thin. She wanted to be gone from this blasted place already. It smelled, there were undead everywhere, and some suspicious woman was hiding behind a prepostrous story and being generally unpleasant, and gah!

"Oh yes, of course. Leave me with her." She mumbled, rolling her eyes after. Well, there were worse things to do than have to watch a suspicious individual. "Alas..." Of course things are not going to go quite that smoothly. The eruption of darkness and undead and SOULS immediately drew Morrighan's gaze.

That familiar feeling was flaring up again. There was no mistaking it this time. "...You must be joking." But no, it as no joke. It was LICH. The very same fiend that she had wound up summoning in all the nonsense back at the Iifa tree long ago. "So this is where you got off to." And then suddenly, nonchalance.

Or more accurately, nonchalance to hide a very profound feeling of dread. If Lich was here...was Garland anywhere nearby? She couldn't help but look about from where she stood. Even if it wasn't the case.

"...No, he is not here. I must be getting paranoid." Sigh. "I must warn you fools! That being up ahead is far more powerful than anything you have faced before! Do not take it lightly!"
Ivo Galvan Ivo stares down the Fiend of Earth from a ship away, bracing himself against the potent force emanating from Lich's fully revealed form, struggling not to lose heart at the sight of the sheer number of specters which now wreathe that dreadnought, like purgatory afloat. Taking Lich on like this would be suicide. The Fiend seems to have barricaded itself here and systematically turned its home into a fortress of its own element, surrounding itself with defenses.

Yet there are a few odd points that, now that he is more highly alert, call on Ivo's attention. This creature does not seem all that well adapted to the water. Why would it lurk on a boat? Furthermore, why are all its energies devoted to defending itself? Other than the sheer terrible majesty of its presence, Lich does not seem able or willing, it is not clear which, to attack them directly from a distance. What exactly is it doing here?

"Morrighan!" Ivo shouts back, hearing the dark elf call out a rare warning. "What do you know about this monster? What is it doing here? If you know anything, this is the time to tell us!" Ivo was enjoying teasing her just the other day, but right now his voice is all business.

And business looks bad. Turning, he sees Riku dangling from a rope and Faruja skid off of a deck and fall with a splash into the water. "What a disaster... Riku? Are you alright!?" It looks like Faruja was at least able to offer some support before being flung from the ship, so Riku may be able to help himself the rest of the way, but Ivo doesn't want to find out what might be lurking down there. Who is left to help? The Dennous avoid the water, so--

"Alicia! Can you help pull Faruja from the water!?" Yeah, he knows, he knows. But she only turned him into a newt, and she didn't squash him. She might know some witchcraft that could help in this situation. At worst, she'll have to dive in and get all wet. And by worst, he means, best quest ever!

For now, someone has to try to face down this monstrosity, and at the moment it seems like only Ivo and Reize are available. "Reize, we can't attack head on," he explains loud enough to be heard as he leans down to start pulling at a barrel, "but if we can load some of these onto the other ship through gaps in the wood, and then aim some fire over there, we should be able to generate a big enough blast to push it away from the rest of the flotilla and send it to sea-- or even sink it!" It's like Fiend jenga. With bombs. "It's a bit of a stretch, but it may be..."

Grunting, getting a good grip, he hefts the barrel up and positions it on his shoulder, the slender young man huffing and beginning to rush dangerously close to the edge of the deck.

"...our best /shot/!"

With that last cry of exertion, Ivo launches with a last spin, and manages to send it sailing right over the water and neatly into one of the gaps in the wall of the undead barge, where it rolls neatly to a stop.


Riku And hey-- who happens to be actually good at Ocean Terrain?

That guy you swore to kill. Funny that. Riku untangles himself and slices through some of the netting to fling himself into the ocean after the templar (because wearing armor and ocean? Hey. Not cool.)

He tries to assist Faruja in drowning this turn. Wait. No-- The other option. The one that is helping to get the templar back onto the smelly ships so they can leap back into the fray. Sometimes in a more or less literal fashion.
Royce Alicia also seems to be enraptured by the awesome presence that has revealed itself. As before the sight of such a fearsome undead construct is incredibly interesting to her because such a feat still remains out of her grasp. To be able to destroy and research this fiend or better yet capture it and reverse engineer, now that would be a prize.

Unfortunately, even at her full strength, Lich managed to repel her efforts to take control. Now, wounded as she is and unable to unleash her full magics, it's not even a distant possibility.

Ivo's request that she aid his ally is met with a quirked brow. The witch turns and wanders over to the side of the deck, apparently unphased by the burst of dark power that heralded the arrival of their new terrible foe. She leans forward and peers down at the murky water but the fog makes it difficult for her to spot the fiesty templar. Atleast, that'll be her excuse.

Unfortuantely, Faruja has actual allies willing to save his furry hide. The witch clicks her tongue against her teeth at the rescue and turns her attention back to the mini-game of barrel chucking. Now how can she make this go very badly and look like an accident.

She could set fire to the powder but not in anything resembling a subtle manner. She could attempt to direct the spectres down at them but again that would be too obvious. Looks like she'll just have to hope they screw this one up on their own for the moment. But with Reize leaping in to help, that's a safe bet.
Faruja Senra More and more, Faruja is finding this whole 'killing Riku' thing may have been a bad idea. He'll have to mull it over later, his lungs rebelling as they typically aren't of the habit of breathing water. Flopping onto deck, he takes a good minute coughing up said liquid. When he can finally speak, he glances to Riku.

"...Mayhap my judgement doth be clouded upon thy visage, Riku. Thank you." He'd speak more, but there's evil afoot, and they have a job to do. Now once again breathing air, he chugs an ether. Another incantation, and...

Roarrrrr! The bulk of Arista the wyvern warps into existance, the rat holding a quick conversation. Turning to Riku, he nods.

"Care for a touch of arial bombardment?" The Templar will grab an explosive barrel before leaping upon Arista's back. Whether Riku gets on or not, they'll soon be in the air!
Morrighan Alazne Oh, they want to know? Well, that was easy enough. "Ah...hmn...Well. How do I explain this..." Morrighan casually mused despite the situation before her. "I suppose you could say that I originally summoned that thing you see before you. It's name is Lich, and it is a being known as a 'Fiend'. As far as I understand, it's power far outstrips any usual Eidolon, Aeon, Guardian Force, or what have you."


"Also, this thing seems to be a part of the being known as Garland." Yeah, let's not forget that. Morrighan just smiled as she rattled off all that information, not seeming to be worried for their well beings. "All of that said...have fun! And do try not to be crushed into nothing!"

Nope. Not worried for them a bit. They were big damn heroes, they'd handle themselves. Yep.
Reize Seatlan Things are looking bleak for the traveling heroes. It seems that the presence of Lich is one that is everpresently bad. It only spells worse things from here on out. It is one that the Shard Seekers have to do something about!

Reize looks up at the fearsomeness of the Lich. He looks over towards Morrighan, who seems to know the Fiend, "...Eh?! What is that?!" He turns to face Ivo, who has a plan.

"Eh?!" He calls out from the ship, then he furrows his eyebrows.

"...Got it!"

Gameplan. Check.

When the young boy moves towards one of the barrels nearby, Reize gets a good grip. "Ngghhh...!" He gives that exertion of tossing the barrel towards the gap. It doesn't leave ship.

0No Good!




And a barrel rolls over to fall on Reize's back.


0Epic Fail!
Faruja Senra From above, Faruja and Arista both wince. "Worry naught, Ser Seatlan, one's spine is oft more resilient than expected!" Frown. "Trust me, 'tis not uncommon for myself! Ahh...mayhap Lady Misaki shall give thee a backrub after this!" Encouragement go.
Riku "You wouldn't be the first." Riku says calmly and without rancor. He even manages to smile slightly. "Let's do it." He looks at Arista a little tenatively but then gets up on the wyvern along with the templar and DEATH from ABOVE.

As opposed to Death in the Water. Death on either side and Death squishing Reize like a jelly donut to the floor. "...owch."
Ivo Galvan "You /summoned/ it?" Ivo shouts back at Morrighan. He's a little indignant, but somehow, perhaps bizarrely, this doesn't entirely surprise him. Frankly, more of his mental energy is devoted to marvelling at how carelessly she's willing to reveal all this information about herself; she sincerely does not care what they think. Anyway, what does surprise him is the name she mentions. "A /part/ of Garland?" 'The being known as Garland', she says. Maira mentioned him earlier as a dangerous figure chasing her, some sort of Shadow Lord. Is a creature like this just a fragment of Garland's power? Maybe Ivo was a little overconfident in offering to help.

Just a little.

"Well, seeing as you're in some way /personally responsible/ for this, can you at least provide some support for our allies?" he calls back. Despite the situation, he sounds almost amused, if only because of how ludicrous it's all become. He gestures up at the wyvern which Faruja has summoned and intends to take to the sky. "He's going to be beset by ghosts if he ascends too high! Can you clear a path for him?" All the specters from that eruption before are still lurking above, and will no doubt descend in a swarm if they don't hurry.

"Alright, well, Reize, do you think your pendant can ignite the--"

And the barrel that landed oon Reize's back rolls over to collide with Ivo's legs just as he turns, causing him to trip and fall to the ground.



"I didn't even throw it!!"
Faruja Senra "Up then! Off we go." A tail will help Riku up, the rat glancing to Arista. "No. This one is not to be eaten before /or/ after the flight. Riku is not an in-flight meal either, smart tail!" Arista notably sulks even as she flies upwards.

Ear-perk. Really, Lady Bishop? /REALLY!?/. This is whom you hired into our Church? Pushing down his desire to murder one of his own Church members for hiring a Daemon-summoner as an ally, the rat concentrates. Head (and barrel) as flat to Arista's back as he can, the trio ascend to a respectable height as the wyvern catches an updraft. Then, with one mightly flap of her wings, she begins to descend, all claws and teeth towards any specter that might try to get in the way. "Lady Alazne, kindly do as Ser Galvan says!"

In his free hand, he aims a few judicious shots of Holy and Lightning based spear skills , before chucking his barrel! The object lands neatly upon the offending ship, hopefully near enough to the side of the deck where it can blow a hole in part of the side! Then, Faruja shifts his weight, urging Arista to swoop around in a breakneck turn.

"'Twould be well advised to hold tight, Riku! A fall from this height into the water at this speed would be fatal!'
Reize Seatlan "..Wait, what?"

Reize blinks, his head creening up at Morrighan as sheexplains about the Fiend. It is Lich, a fiend. It has more power than even an Eidolon. Now, it is the next part that bothers him.

It is a part of Garland. Reize's eyes harden at the mention of Garland. It had been a long time since the boy dealt with him. It is the prince, long ago, who fell from Garland. The prince became a Heartless. That man.

Reize's eyes narrow as he starts to stand up to his feet. Just as the barrel falls away from him and Ivo, Reize is taking a deep breath. The flow of magic manifests along his hand before he brings his arm to the side. As flow of magic trinkles along his hand, the relic begins pulsating with its light. The light becomes brighter as he lifts a hand into the air.

A glowing tarot forms in place.

As the glittering tarot dances in his grasp, Reize sucks in a breath.

"Flickering flame... burn."

The tarot shatters.


His hand drops.

Soon, three balls of fire manifest around his hand, then it flies straight towards the ship.

Time to cause a detonation.

For high score.
Royce Alicia looks worried as the barrels are manhandled in a most unprofessional fashion. It's fortunate that they're at sea and everything is too soaked to create any sparks otherwise that might have ended badly and she doesn't want that. Today is also opposite day.

Ofcourse, the witch isn't really invested in their fates either way. Seeing them destroyed here would prevent any further interloping, especially since Ivo seems to have an odd habit of showing up in the same places as herself. On the other hand, having fewer allies about to deal with their current situation could prove troublesome, especially now that she knows of its nature. There are now not one but two people who have tried to wrest control of Lich away from itself. It may not be terribly forgiving.

On the other other hand (one two three... wait), she could probably just dive into the ocean and drift back with the tides. There are a few benefits of being partly immortal. But if they survive this that would only heap more suspicioun on her. Best to just sit tight and watch for now.
Morrighan Alazne Sigh.

"I suppose it would not cost me anything to actually assist you." Waving a hand outwards in a cavalier manner, the light orbs continuing to orbit her form fire outwards, aiming to purify any specters that got too close to Faruja and Arista, opening up a path for them to fly through without hinderance.

Meanwhile, the dark mage looked on as the barrel shenanigans went on, seeming rather amused with the turnout. The sight of Reize and Ivo failing spectacularly caused a smile to grow on her face. Ah, such a sight would never get old, would it? Nope, it wouldn't. But nevetheless...that boy's pendant certainly seemed to be a point of interest. Morrighan didn't think the idiot had any magical capabilities at all. Yet here he was...casting a basic fire spell.


Oh well, it should do the job! ...Maybe. Or not. That /is/ a Fiend.
Riku Riku actually loves flying. He just is very nervous when the source of that flight may potentially eat him. It's the little things that make your flight experience uncomfortable-- like a lack of peanuts.

The teenager clings to the wyvern, yelling into the wind at the breakneck turn and then starting to laugh a little, trying not to close his eyes at the dizzying turns of perspective. "Yeah. Being smeared across the ocean sounds like a bad plan. Remind Reize and Ivo not to manage it. At this rate? They might."

He huddles back against the Wyvern and grits his teeth against the oppressive pull of the fiend's darkness. The world swum in and out of focus-- and not just because of the manuevering.
Ivo Galvan The Dread Ship Lichcraft goes up like a light.

The barrels that Ivo and Reize had thrown explode first, and with the addition of the natural impact of the pendant's power send the skeletal vessel hurtling away from the rest of the Ship Graveyard, ropes and rigging tearing and masts splintering as the floating fortress is sent hurtling into the fog. It's then that the barrel which their air support launched from above ignites, tearing a hole in the side of the corrupted frigate and causing it to list to the side, slowly taking on water.

Emitting a shrill, keening wail, Lich summons its minions to its side, and in the distance skeletons and zombies can be seen shambling down toward the great wounds in the ship, seemingly attempting to clumsily bail out the water that the Lich's home is taking on. Zombies are swiftly washed out into the ocean, and skeletons stare philosophically at the gaps in their bony hands. This may take a little work.

But whatever Lich's fate, it seems satisfied, for whatever strange reason, to be left alone. Its ship is slowly sinking as it fades away into the distance, to be carried on by the current or sunk to the bottom of the sea, but at least to molest Carwen no longer. If there were any Shard guarded by Lich, it will not be accessible to them today. But they didn't have much choice in the matter. And besides--

"Maybe we'll attempt an underwater expedition later," Ivo offers as words of encouragement, a little breathless with exhaustion.

--he kind of doubts it anyway.

As the presence of the Fiend slowly fades, the threatening miasma lightens with it, and the undead cease to stir so fitfully. But the Ship Graveyard is far from a safe location. "Everyone alright?" he calls. "Let's get back to the boat before we get into any more trouble for now. I think we've had more than enough adventure for one night." He pauses, catching sight of Alicia, who seems to have been waiting patiently on the other ship, and reconsiders. "Well, almost enough..."

That's one adventure you're underleveled for, pal.

"That's what grinding is for," Ivo mutters under his breath, before turning to look at Reize, smiling down at their fearless leader. "Nice shooting, chief. With barrels, too. I never doubted for a minute your special skill would come in handy."

He did, though.
Faruja Senra "Now, now, now. Ye of little faith, et cetera, et cetera."

KABOOOM!!! "Well done Sers and Madame, well done!" Once more upon the deck, Faruja leaps down. The first thing he does is toss poor Reize a Cure. Faram knows he needs it after that back-crushing.

Then, he'll watch the ship sink.

"May thy pallid gaze never trouble the world of the living, nor dead again foul, unholy being!" Yells the Templar before going on battlefield medic duty.

This scene contained 61 poses. The players who were present were: Ivo Galvan, Reize Seatlan, Faruja Senra, Riku, Pumpkinhead, Morrighan Alazne, Royce