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No title.
(2013-06-11 - 2013-07-16)
No description.
Faruja Senra With Faith, work, and quite a lot of coin, the Cathedral is finally finished. Gothic architecture dominates the large building, reaching upwards as if trying to touch heaven itself. Affixed with gargoyles, beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Ajoran's holy tract, and a golden Ajoran cross glinting in the mid-day light of Fluorgis, it would be nearly impossible to miss among the city's skyline. There's even the beginnings of a garden out back, as well as a fountain depicting Saint Ajora himself. The front doors are large, with brass handles.

After the initial disaster whereupon the Heartless swarmed, security is tight. Local guards, some looking more bored than others, are posted around the building. Closer in, Temple Knights clad in gold armor greet the crowds of faithful and curious onlookers while fishing out those who seem suspicious; at times, less than gently. One or two, protesting rather loudly about the Church, receive a good punch to the gut before being thrown into the waiting arms of a local guard.

Within the building proper, high arches, long wooden pews, and further holy depictions dominate the building. Those who look up are treated to a large painting of Saint Ajora's hanging, and the flood that destroyed the heathen Pharist religion.

As is traditional in Ajoran Churches of any sort, the floor ends at a pulpit, before the floor gives way. Behind the railing, a massive golden Ajoran cross reaches up from the lowered floor.

Security is barely less tight within the Church, the Templar within stand at parade attention, weapons sheathed at their sides. Several lesser Sisters, priests, and other holy persons tend to the crowds within, while an elderly man waits at the pulpit. Somewhat rotund, and sporting a white beard nearly touching the ground, Father Barnabus regards the small figure beside him warmly.

Clad in his best armor, Faruja tries not to show the pain he's still in. "Are you quite certain, Father? With all due respect..."

The elderly man lays a hand upon the rat's shoulder. "Don't worry, my Child. None would be so foolish as to attack us here. I am safe. The Chalice is safe. Stand proud." The old man's voice drops.

"It wouldn't even be here if it weren't for you and your friend anyway. Now to your post, eh?" With a light shove, Faruja does just that. Coming to rest beside a stone chest, emblazened with holy symbols, the clear upper casing shows a silver chalice. Set within is a large green stone, showing the symbol of Saggitarius.

Stepping up to the pulpit, Father Barnabus smiles. "Welcome, oh Faithful, and those whom have yet to hear the call of the Lord! Today, we gather here in celebration of Fluorgis, it's people, blessed amongst Faram's children! May God watch over you all, and Ajora's hand guide you in all things!" Begins the old priest, voice powerful despite his age, echoing throughout the cathedral.
Will Sherman Will is here.

Will just needed to get a look at something...

He needed to get a look at something, and MIGHT get into a fist fight with someone who /hurt/ someone close to him. This friend has been hurt a lot lately, and he's even more on edge about it...but right now he's an ocean of calm. He sits, on a pew and looks around. The chest, possibly magic, however, blocks his sight. Why? Because he doesn't have X-ray eyes...just magic eyes that work like normal eyes.

Except they see fate.

Please don't be a horror, he thinks to himself... He's seen enough of those lately.
Arkham Fisher Hers is but a small part in this great ceremony, as befits a Sister Novice; in the pews, Arkham Fisher waits, with the rest of the ancillary staff of the Cathedral. 'Rest', she'd say, but she isn't actually attached here; she belongs to that rather ratty temple knight guarding the Chalice, and is here to make certain he doesn't dissolve into it or similar.

It looks to be a near thing, too... She hasn't seen him come home this shredded in almost their whole acquaintance. She hasn't had a chance to interrogate him yet; just to patch him up and get him vertical for the ceremony. As Father Barnabas calls the gathering to order, she joins her Brethren in adding, quietly, "Vechina Sveti Oche, halijo to srechanje." Her tongue never stumbles over the holy formulae, you know.
Louis LeBlue A warrior such as Louis LeBlue is ill suited for times like these. Times like peace - prosperity - and all that hubbub. So instead of being inside of the church, Louis is taking his time standing just at the side of the door, carrying a massive halberd and with his chin up. He looks like a proud guard, staring out along the streets of Fluorgis, sporting a medium armor that supports his body's build well. His station as a Shrine Knight is hard to miss, were one to know of the Glabadosian order.

"Move along." He mumbles to a young girl who is standing in front of him, glancing down at the little one, and then looking forwards again. The little girl however, does no such thing. She just keeps staring up at him, mouth open in amazement with /something/. Maybe it's the armor. Maybe it's just that Louis is made out of beefcake. Or maybe it's just that young child curiousity. She's holding a little blue icecream as she stares, her mouth and eyes continueing to just... widen at something.

Louis glances down again, a little uncomfortable now for getting stared at this much, and glances away. "Ahem." He raises a hand and coughs loudly. The girl continues to stare... when suddenly... SPLAT.

In the Fluorgis heat, the icecream has fallen off of the little wooden stick. And waterworks are quick to follow, the little one crying. Louis seems to wince for a moment, before he sighs and kneels down, and takes the girl onto his arm. "Come on, let's get you a new icecream."
Ophelia Excessive sunlight, thick crowds of commoners, and a genera lack of anything remotely entertaining to do. It is safe to say that Ophelia is not particularly pleased about having the safety of this grand opening being thrust upon her. Even less so because it would have been left to the templars and the other common soldiers of the Church had not one specific half-charred and completely annoying rat voluteered her command for the posting.

As always, the young woman is dressed in her finery and ornate armor, though she seems to have procured several pieces of glittering gold jewelry which adorns her fingers and head in an obviously showy display of wealth. Her various swords are strapped about her back, looking more decorative than functional, but anyone who has seen her in action will know that the beauty of these instruments, like that of their owner, does nothing inhibit their lethality.

As Faruja moves to take his place he receives yet another glare from the inquisitor, having made it a point to display her displeasure to him about this entire affair as often as possible. Despite her desire to loaf around - after all who would be stupid enough to attack a place with so many guards - in a place with so many scrutinizing eyes, even she is forced to play the part of the dutiful believer.

She stands upright with a proud regal bearing, one hand resting on the pommel of her primary blade while the rests lightly on her hip. Even without her overwhelmingly expensive clothing, her foreign features and upper class upbringing set her apart from most of the other members of the Church that are present here, something that she takes great pride in.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza is here.

It'd be wiser if he wasn't here. But he's here.

Up in the rafters is one man ready for support in case this goes badly. They don't actually intend to steal the stone today.. but if an oppurtunity presented itself, why not have the resources available?

The rest of the Braves were peppered around in the pews and aisles, wearing leather armor mostly under commoner's garb, with concealed weapons. Most of them wouldn't be recognized at a glance as their faces weren't on the handbills that commonly peppered the land. Mustadio and Agrias were notably absent.

Ramza was dressed rather humbly, as a peasant in a tunic and breeches, with boots. His hair was dyed auburn, and he had a thin fake mustache over his lip. Thank you modern movie innovations!

His only weapon was his concealed Cinqueda, but the man in the rafters held his Katana in case things.. went especially wrong. He hoped that it wouldn't be that disastrous as well.. the collateral damage would be unacceptable.

And then as he's walking inside the Cathedral.. through the throng of people entering with him, he just.. stares at Louis LeBlue's back.. he knows it's him instantly, and he's.. about to take a little girl to buy some new ice cream. The mere thought of that causes him to pause in his step, his gaze lingering on the man, before he shakes his head, and takes his place near the back of the Cathedral.

He spots Will Sherman almost instantly as well, and if the man looked his way he might only offer the most subtle of nods. Even though it was next to impossible that Will might be recognized, or linked to him.. he was still here to back him up if anything went wrong. After all.. whatever was supernatural within him, might react.. poorly, to the Sagittarius stone.
Cressida Cressida is here of course, although not being a terribly talkative sort, she's sticking to the shadows mostly, standing watch over the celebrations. It truly is a beautiful cathedral, and that chalice is certainly unique and precious..Just the kind of thing that would attract those nosy, troublesome heretics.

For now, she remains at the back of the church somewhere, intently watching passersby with those cold blue eyes of hers. Some familiar faces are recognized, and she offers a curt nod to Faruja, Ophelia and Arkham..
Hati Why in the world would Hati show up in a place like this? Well, first and foremost, it would prove an interesting experiement to see if she'd actually burst into flames for her non-believer ways. Thus far, the pyrotechnics have been disappointing.

Then again, she is in a relationship with a Templar, which means that at least making some sort of effort is required. Of course, the fact that she doesn't believe a word of this nonsense probably is a bad thing, figuring that the place is filled with armored guards. For now, she's behaving, putting up a front that might at least give her the chance to not be attacked on sight in the future when she comes around a certain mouse.

Mismatched wolfish eyes sweep through the room, then she leans her head back, looking up to the rafters. Oh, hai thar? Well, her eyes pass right over anyone nefariously lurking there, as she leans back, tail swishing idlely.
Emi Dennou Emi and Umi could use some company. The latter sits down next to Will and wraps an arm around his shoulders. The former is seated next to Umi.

"Are you okay?" Umi whispers. She squozes Will's shoulder faintly.

Emi stares ahead blankly as is more typical with her. She wonders if she's going to burst into flames here or something. So far: nope. Hm.
Artemis Eurus Artemis is here as well. Now, what does a masked woman do when she wishes to remain incognito? Remove the mask, apply another, more subtle deception.

Thus, Artemis is without the telltale mask and armor, wearing a simple blouse and skirt in the local fashion, her hair covered with a headscarf. For a good while now she has been watching from afar, the entire plan complicated by the fact that Louis stood guard outside the door. Cursing, she pulled aside a young girl, bought her ice cream, then began to tell her outrageous heroic stories about the large, handsome man in the templar armor.

The ice cream melts. Louis becomes distracted enough that she will risk entrance. Even her movements are different, more hesitant, her posture less erect, her gaze shy as she nods to those she passes. The young woman scurries into the Church, her eyes searching the crowd before her gaze settles on the man with the auburn hair and thin mustache. Artemis excuses herself many times as she moves through the crowd to then take the arm of the man. "Husband! There you are. You've gotten us good seats I see! Oh how beautiful it is!" she says, pitching her voice higher, looking around excitedly.
Serah Farron Serah Farron is there. There's ice cream. Serah + Ice Cream = happiness.

She didn't have much chances to eat some since she got dropped into this world. So she can enjoy! She's sitting at one of the tables, taking in spoonfuls of strawberry flavored ice treat, looking quiet happin with it too. She's not sure what the party is all about yet. But everyone seems to be happy right now, it *is* a celebration right? So she's going to mingle with the people and enjoy herself.

There's enough people to help her from Heartless if they decide to be party crashers too. She hopes.

She takes along look around at the different people around, and waves to Faruja as a greeting from her sitting place. She hasn't noticed most of the others that she might know yet.
Louis LeBlue Louis doesn't notice Ramza. Which is... a miracle. But then, it seems that nobody is recognizing him. And indeed, that is probably for the best. Because the youth would be likely to end with a spear through his back. It'd be a rather early end to the tale of the Final Fantasy Tactics side of things. The man disappears into the city for but a moment, and returns not long there-after with the girl slurping a new sea-salt icecream, still sitting on one raised arm - leveled to his chest.

The man comes to stand at the entrance again, and all things are well. He abandoned his post for just a moment, and let through a dangerous rebel! Will he ever forgive himself? And not to mention, beaten by his own /sister/ in this! Not that he'll ever find out that it was her fault. "Mister mister! Tell me a story!" It's a good thing that Louis isn't really the brightest of people, and has fallen for this trap so very easily. Artemis knows her brother well. Always had a soft spot for the youngsters.

"Well, there was that one day in Dugeura pass." Louis begins. And the moment he begins, he's swarmed by a series of further kids.


"I stood alone at the midst of the path. Before me was an army of heretics." He makes a slight head-motion to show how many there were, since one hand is holding his halberd, and the other is holding the kid. "They came at me, dozens of them. With Swords, with arrows. And there was even a lone Chocobo who dared challenge the great might of Louis LeBlue!" He slowly puts the little girl down onto the floor, and then makes a sweeping motion with his arm.

"They came at me in small groups. Their tactics seemed well planned. But they didn't count on the faith and the might of me - their greatest enemy. Louis LeBlue!" He really enjoys saying his own name. "I hew them down one by one. Until there was just me, and the mighty Chocobo before me."

The little ones gasps and quickly are asking; "What happened to the chocobo!?"

The man raises his head. "I dropped by weapon and wrestled with it for two whole hours! Until it finally gave in. Now, it is my favorite steed!"
Deelel Deelel is here too more so as a friend of Faruja and her intrest in user art. She was quite curious what the artisans had done here she really had to come take a look for herself. She looked a bit out of place for th city with her strange techno leaning outfir and the visable faintly glowing tattoos visable on her arm. Still she was in a very good mood all thigns considered. She'd come to see she'd also had hand in the recovery of the relic, the strange white haired man they'd met comes to mind for the first time sine the inciden and she had to wonder about that. She's come to see really she's not sure about just what's going on here after all she knows it's a relic they recovered and it's very imporant to said faith but that's about it prehaps in the end so she's off to find Faruja.
Faruja Senra Faruja offers a nod and a polite smile to Ophelia at every glare. It's the medieval equivalent of a troll face. For all of his pain, the Burmecian is enjoying every moment of the Inquisitor's anger and discomfort. The smile becomes a touch less meant to induce rage, and more genuine as the rat notes a few familiar faces. Swishing tails get a beaming smile that's quickly squelched, he Templar hiding it beneath a feigned cough. Cressidia's nod is returned, tail flicking since he can't really bow in the moment. Sister Fisher gets a crossing of the chest, and a quiet 'Faram'.

Luckily for those hiding in the rafters, guards very rarely look up. It's something of a rule in video game worlds. Unless you're a werewolf, apparently.

Will Sherman's eyes will see something most interesting indeed! The Chalice itself practically swims in magic, strands of gossamar flowing towards the stone within. More worryingly, dark, whispy strands extend from the stone itself. One strand, pulled taut, stretches to the elderly man at the pulpit. Another, far looser, hangs upon the wrist of the Templar guarding the case, encircling the clawed, gauntleted hand like some sort of leash, or chain.

No one seems to out the Heretics amongst them! Nor does anyone object /too/ strongly to certain Lady Farron's eating ice cream. At the front of each pew, lines of Ajoran holy tracts can be seen held in little slots. Occasionally, a very tiny sticky note says 'do not get food or drink on Holy Books - Mngmnt.'

A few priests walk down the pews, offering devotional wafers, and a smidge of wine to those who accept it. Meanwhile, the holy man at the pulpit continues on.

"Look beside you, please, to the person next to you. Each and every person here is a Child of Holy Faram, brothers and sisters. What worth is there in conflict, in bloodshed, in spitting upon each other? That, dear Children, is a road to damnation and destruction! Join hands with your brother, or sister, please, and join me in a prayer!" The elderly man begins to pray loudly.

"Oh, holy Faram, protect us from vile Shadow! Save us from the greed, and hate of your misguided Children! Tend the Flock, and put those who know not your Light onto the path of righteousness! Bathe those who show love for others in your holy radiance, and keep them from harm, for it is the meager and kind that best exemplify your love!"

Amidst the front row, a coweled figure in the robes of a novice fidgets, occasionally tugging at his clothing, quietly muttering to himself.
Zack Fair Ramza may not be the wisest guy around, but he's a good leader. Zack Fair - the enigmatic mercenary from another world - wouldn't follow him if he wasn't. Despite knowing the man for only a month or so, Zack is the sort to make friends rapidly, with a good heart and a good sense for people. If Ramza was someone who would cause him trouble, well...Zack would probably have figured it out by now.

Zack is also wearing a moustache, not because he feels the need to disguise (he is not actually wearing any kind of disguise), but because he feels like wearing a fake moustache today. That's...that's pretty much it. After all, he's a mercenary known to at least one of the templars - Zack isn't exactly Heresy 101 guy here.

"No, don't do that," he tells Artemis, "You draw attention to yourself like that, that's not cool." Subtlety may not be Zack's forte, but every SOLDIER had at least basic Black Ops training, if only so they knew how to recognize infiltrators. It was important to know that kind of stuff!

Really, really important, in some cases. Wutai had deployed a number of infiltrators into Midgar before the worlds fell, during the worst parts of the war; Zack had been forced to make some ugly choices in those days. He was praying that those days were behind him, but...well...Zack wasn't the type to sit out when there were people in danger. Sure, he could've gone and retired in Hanalulu with a bunch of dancing girls at his beck and call,, no he couldn't've. Not Zack Fair. Not while he had a debt to repay and problems to deal with.

Zack moves away from Ramza as the chanting starts. He's *not* in disguise, after all, outside his very charming moustache; he doesn't need to draw attention to his leader right now.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza Beoulve doesn't even look at Zack, his eyes were on his /wife/, to keep up the deception. He knew instinctually not to look at his other people. If he got outted.. he did /not/ want them all to fall with him. That'd likely still happen, as he doubted that they'd just let him fall if some /patricidal prick with a halberd/ decided to run him through. It wasn't like he truly minded keeping his eyes on her anyhow.

On his world, there wasn't much in the way of modern black ops training. Some ninja infiltration lessons sure, but disguises weren't really up to par in Ivalice for him to have learned much on that.

The chanting starts.. and his eyes are on the goblet now. He doesn't accept the devotional wafers or the wine.. because he's just staring.

Even without Will's confirmation, he had a feeling that whatever was within, was the real article.
Faruja Senra Most curiously, to Will, the fidgeting man possesses a white strand connecting itself to Father Barnabus. It's rather light, as though the relationship is yet young, but clearly positive. Glancing over the crowd, the two seem to make brief eye contact. The elderly Priest's foot taps the pulpit briefly, the man then shifting as though it was accidental.
Cressida Cressida is naturally a bit paranoid, and not a terribly gregarious type. She's already feeling a little suffocated by all the people around her. Last time she was around so many people...No, she'd rather not think about that. Her ribbonned tail swishes slowly behind her, adjusting her winged headband as she tries to blend in as best as she can..

And then, suddenly she notices another...Werewolf? Here? How.....? Cold blue eyes narrow as she moves towards Hati, peering at her intently, trying to figure out who she is. No, not from her own doomed clan, but maybe vaguely familiar from somewhere..

For a moment, Hati is again lost in the crowds and she draws a breath..Did she really want to meet others like herself? No..Best to stay away..Moving silently around the back of the church, she smiles faintly at Arkham, having found her company somewhat pleasant in the past.

Still, edging towards the exit for a breath of fresh air, she notices 'Some Templar She's Never Met' before, telling tales of heroics to the kids outside. She smirks, folding her arms as she listens, reminded of the tales her mother used to tell her as a child. It's somewhat relaxing, hearing them again..

But when the holy man at the pulpit calls for them all to hold hands and pray, she turns her attention back to the interior of the cathedral, bowing her head, taking the hands of the strangers next to her..And prays silently..

Oh yeah, she totally didnt notice those sneaky heretics in disguise! Darn them!
Will Sherman Will frowns a bit..

And then gets a hug on his shoulder. He looks to Umi and smiles at her lightly, "Hey." He says to her, and looks to Emi. He too gives her a smile, but he...he looks on edge. "I' not really. Something is.." He says, and then things start. He looks around again... then to the challace...

It's magic alright...very powerful. Not unlike what he's seen in Magicite or...Cirra. He thinks about it's stronger, much stronger. He taps his fingers against his hand and thinks.

But the dark strings...he follows them, one to the Templar, and one to...the old man. The connection is deep...very deep. Will frowns, it is something else...a darkness darker than what he's seen in even some Shadow Lords.

He shivers for a moment, looking cold.

The man in the front row catches his attention, Will is looking for anything to take his eyes off the stone for a moment, trying to recover his focus. He takes a breath, he looks worried...even taking Umi's hand for some small measure of comfort. "It's real." he says, "That's...not fake." He mutters to her. "There is something...dark."
The lighter string is welcome to see...
Ophelia Faruja's smile turns the Inquisitor's already dour glare into a petulant scowl but she remains at her post - strangling the rat can come later, when she can properly enjoy it. Also when Alexander's overwhelmingly annoying presence isn't firmly lodged into the back of her mind.

Even though she knows he is here, it is impossible to spot the old man amongst the heavy mass of bodies that have crowded into the chapel. Decades of training, learning the tricks and talents of avoiding detection by ghosts, dark sorcerers, and all manner of ghoulish demons, and she still can't even pretend to be on the same level as her master. Perhaps it is some facet of the ancient ritual that bound her to his will that allows him to move so easily without her notice or, more likely, even now the crusty old hunter did not fully trust her enough to reveal all of his secrets.

Whatever the case, Ophelia can still feel his touch upon her, restraining her darker desires and instincts like a choking leash on some disobedient hound. If it wasn't for the fact that no one but the two of them are aware of this rather one-sided relationship, she might have acted a long time ago to rid herself of the embarassment of being at the mercy of a human. Ophelia understands the necessity of the cage that has been forced upon her but that makes it no less grating to someone as fierce and independant as she.

The woman straightens up even further, adjusting her posture a bit as her master's annoyance washes over her mood like a subtle cloak. Even the old man understands that this is pointless busy-work but at the same time, something felt odd and out of place about this entire gathering. He had instructed her to keep her eyes open for anything unusual but without her supernatural senses to comb for unusual readings, Ophelia isn't sure what exactly she should be looking for.
Deelel Deelel is in a pretty good mood for the moment she's just having fun and taking in the place. She's just impressed at the massive amoutn of work has gone into this monument of faith. She has to say she's impressed as the artisans skills. She's being fairly respectful but she's still for that disc on her back. Heaven help anyone who tries to take it. She's not noticed the heratics either then agains he doesn't notice them too well. Deelel unaware of her not acceptingt he officering due to her strange nature and not being of any of the world.

She is starting to pick up some people she thinks she knows she thinks she sees Will and Umi a bit ways from her. Though the story telling templar has caught her attention. Matters of Faith are something she does have some experiance with after all she was sentance to die for what she belived in after all.
Arkham Fisher Arkham is not here to be vigilant, but she watches the crowd... for a few moments. Truth be told, the relic seems to be of greater interest; even just what she can see of it fascinates her, fills her with, with awe, or perhaps dread. A rather more immediate show of the Holiest Father's power than she's used to, to be sure.

This service is more what she's used to, on that score. Set among the clerics as she is, she joins them in prayer as she has a thousand times before (though not recently, not for far too long) and lets ritual calm her fears.

In any case, with this much force at hand, there's not much that can trouble them, is there?
Serah Farron Serah Farron would know who Ramza is, if she could see through the disguise. But honestly she wasn't looking that closely at people either, so Ramza is safe for now. She keeps the spoon between her lips when she looks toward Will though. Hard to mistake that (usually) loud guy, even in a crowd. She hopes he's going to behave at this time, just so the party can go quietly.

She stands up though, and moves to put her bown away. She gets a bit closer to the holy people, just a bit curious, but smiling as she offers her greetings, with a small curtsy "Thank you for the pleasant party, celebration, and foods, Holy ones."
Artemis Eurus Artemis has, of course, noticed many more faces she recognizes in the room. There is Ophelia, the samurai who had attacked their camp. They had nearly captured her and Faruja.

There was Faruja, looking like he'd been through an ordeal recently.

Of course, Louis. She turns her head slightly to better catch the sound of his voice from the door, telling a story of his adventures. Her heart aches with memory of happier times.

Artemis holds to Ramza's arm, following along with the service until she is told to do otherwise.
Hati Though Hati's nose twitches at a passing scent that seems familiar enough to her, the wolf doesn't turn in that direction. If it is another wolf, then perhaps a meeting would not be best under such circumstances. With the chanting and praying and everything else going on, it doesn't make an environment for good conversation.

For now, waffers and wine are passed on, although the prospect of praying felt a bit alien to the wolf. She ends up, reluctantly, taking the hand of a young man nearby. Her ears flatten, but the girl at least lowers her head, muttering to herself.

Unlike many here, she isn't that up to date on the whole Heretics versus Church thing. So, she doesn't realize how many 'wolves' there are here in sheep's clothing.
Emi Dennou Umi nods to Will and listens to him. NEither of them really have 'fate sight', but they can recognize it when Will has seen 'something'. And what's more, they have plenty of reason to distrust the Church right now--at least, certain powerful elements within it, which unfortunately leads to the former.

She leans in to listen to the rest and she nods a bit.

"We wish we could say at this point that it was a surprise." Emi says, sighing a bit. "Well, now we have to think about what to do. Or if we should try and swipe it--" She drums her fingers across her cheek. "...Though now would be inappropriate, we simply have to hope it doesn't, how do you say, 'activate'?, The Network supposes vaguely."
Faruja Senra After several minutes, the round of prayers ends. As is typical, an organ set upon the side of the room bellows out, followed by a choir. Many within the crowd sing along, however after the opening prayers, less faithful amongst those here converse quietly. No one seems keen on stopping them, and it provides a few holy persons enough time to slip towards a person or two at the behest of those gathered.

Serah is addressed by a rather tiny priestess; a moogle, in fact. She has to reach up to offer the devotional wafer and wine. It might have been adorable if it weren't for the kindly, yet pure look of a true believer on her face. The float spell helps a little too. "Faram bless, M'Lady! I'm glad you're enjoying! All kind people are welcome here." Returns the moogle to Serah quietly.

A white robed woman walks up to Hati, smiling pleasantly. "Umm, excuse me? One of the Templar asked me to give you this. He insisted." The young woman offers a golden cross, before crossing her chest. The wolfess has two guesses on who did the asking.

One amongst the group /hasn't/ been praying, or joining hands. That happens to be the coweled figure. Strangely, none seem to be overly bothered by this, though Faruja occasionally glances at the curious person. A light frown sits upon his muzzle. Even the infuriated looks from Ophelia can't squelch the bad feeling the rat's getting. The Templar takes a step closer. Father Barnabus' smile, almost imperceptibly, grows wider.

The robed figure stands, drawing several glances. Throwing back the hood, it's the face of a handsome young man, black haired and tanned. After another fidged, a deep, calming breath, he raises his voice, ringing out through the Cathedral.

"Death to harbingers of false faiths!"

A red, Ivalician gun is produced from his robes, the barrel seemingly sawed off to produce a concealable pistol. Pulling the strigger, a blazing bullet streaks towards the elderly Priest upon the pulpit. It never hits its target, the standing Burmecian bodily knocking away both priest and stand. The fiery bullet pierces the Templar's chest. "F...Father!" Weakly calls out Faruja, before stumbling, tripping and landing beside the stone case.

Amidst the many strands of those gathered, tangled as they are, several others stand. Dressed in priestly robes, commoners clothes, and other things, they produce weapons and turn towards the holy men and women with murderous intent. Outside the Cathedral, several of the local guards turn on their fellows, cutting them down with their weapons before advancing on the Templar outside. Screams ring out, both without and within.

Quietly, Saggitarius shimmers in its case.

~Battle Start~

Victory Conditions: Subdue the assassins.

Defeat Conditions: Father Barnabus and the Holy Men are defeated.

Holy Men remaining: 12.
Serah Farron Assassins? When its not heartless, its people withour hearts, this shows that she can never win, can she?

As much as she'd like to just duck and cover herself, she just can't do that, not thinking that others would be in danger, and that even one of them could be let through because of her in the end. She was given some power, she's going to use it, her focus be damned at that point.

And today, she's not feeling like playing healer either. She's going to show those assassins not to mess with pink.

While not a magic prodigy, her spell casting is still relatively potent, and can surprise, but right now she's looking at slowing them down. The more time it takes to get to the holy men, the easier it is to protect them after all. The ground seems to 'sludge' around the assassins, as she casts Slow on them, and then further weakens them with her spells, allowing the others to get good strikes in.
Hati You were wondering why Hati showed up? Oh yes, it's because of this. Life is a bit trouble some when your boyfriend can't go anywhere without getting himself mortally wounded. Someday, she's really going to have to buy that mouse some mythril or something, or at least take out some life insurance. Then again, who would really think Faruja is a good bet for life insurance? Really? Come on now...

The moment the shot rings out, Hati lets go of the hand beside her, snarling audibly. They can go ahead and steal precious artificts for all she cares, but don't. mess. with. /her/ mouse. Rawr. A dagger is drawn from behind her back, and a few quick runes later, a glyph appears underneath certain members of the Network and the mysterious other werewolf. Whatever her reason for picking those two, who knows. After that...

Well, one moment there's a blue-haired girl, the next, there's one big, angry werewolf playing bodyguard to a certain downed Templar.
Cressida Everything is so peaceful and serene..Cressida bows slightly as she's offered a wafer and wine. Yes. Peace. Tranquility, this is what she desires. Being here, holding hands with complete strangers..Andthen suddenly a robed figure shoots at the high priest..And Faruja leaps to take the bullet instead!

"Ser Faruja.." She mutters as she makes a move towards him. Then suddenly more robed figures reveal themselves, brandishing weapons! "Damn..Heretics!" It must be, who else would try to assassinate the holy man!? Cold eyes narrow as she pulls out her silver spear, leaping first towards Faruja to tend to his wounds. She'll get to the others once she's certain he's alright.

Pushing through the crowds, she leaps to his side and begins to administer healing spells. "Let's get you out of here.." She murmurs, but that'll be difficult with them surrounded by assassins as they are. Eyes narrow as she stands guard over the fallen templar knight, doing what she can for him..

She's only vaguely aware of THAT WOLF standing next to her, and she nods to Hati wordlessly..
Louis LeBlue Many more stories are shared by Louis - though a bit more quiet now that mass is in session; closing the doors on the halls within. The little ones are sent off a little while later into the prayers, and Louis takes up post as a guard, calmly staring ahead. That's when there's suddenly the sound of that bullet! The bang is loud enough for the man to recognize, and he immediately opens the doors. "What is going on!?" He bellows with a fierce voice, and watches Faruja stumbling down over the Father in a protective gesture.

And then, suddenly behind him, a series of swords slash down across his back. A series of strikes that one might expect even a beefcake like Louis to fall to. But all this does is anger the warrior. "BETRAYAL!?" He calls out loudly, grabbing his halberd and turning around. "HERETICS!" He declares immediately, and brings the massive halberd down on a hapless assassin NPC nearby and plunges them down to the ground - chest first and all. "I, Louis LeBlue, will not stand for this cowardly attack!"

The fact that there may be innocents is forgotten at the moment, for he picks out the trecherous guards rather readily and slowly walks threateningly towards a second, whirling his massive halberd over his head.
Arkham Fisher "Faru!" The Church may shame her for it, but Arkham knows a write-off when she sees one; her concern is instead for her Knight. After all, his health is her first responsibility. Well, her first responsibility after her own, of course.

The Brother beside her appears to have sprouted a brace of daggers, and acquired a distinctly un-brotherly look. She's hemmed in by pews and parishoners... no way out.

No way out but through. We may recall here that our little scribe has some, ah, extracurricular experience. She ducks low under the man's first swipe, and dives forward into him, hoping to plow him over. Sparks crackle about her open hands as she wraps them behind his knees, sure to deliver an extra jolt to her takedown.
Zack Fair 'The stone is trying to take over Faruja.'

That's all Zack Fair needs to hear. Faruja is, after all, Zack's friend; he might be Zack's enemy, but only professionally. Zack doesn't make a business out of hating people, or being angry at people; he's too nice a guy for that.

Zack Fair rips off his Peace Moustache; his foot plants on one of the pews. Then...superhumanity takes hold. Superhuman Mako-augmented muscles send Zack flying off the pew; he goes soaring across the church, racing on the edges of the pews in a most impossible fashion. Onlookers are probably stunned; Zack weaves between fleeing peasants with ease, his feet never touching the ground as he takes a shortcut right to Faruja Senra...and the case.

Zack jumps. He lands behind the case, and his hand tightens into a fist. "'ru, I need you to trust me here."

Zack Fair is not a man who stands by when horrible things try and rule his friends. Zack Fair is a man who dives in to save them. Zack Fair is a man who will give up everything to save the people close to his heart.

Zack's fist smashes down into the crystal. Shockingly, it is not the fist that gives - it is the crystal, cracks exploding across its surface. Magical seals, the temple floor - they crack as Zack's hammering fist smashes downwards into the pedestal.

"I need you to trust me, because I'm about to do something really stupid, but I'll give it back when I'm done."

Another punch. Still no blood. What kind of man is this, who can make the building around him give before his bone and flesh?

The third punch smashes down, and the crystal erupts around him, cutting against his arm. He ignores it, reaching right for the stone. This is such a bad idea, Zack thinks.

He grins.

He grabs.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza Beoulve seems.. torn.

After analyzing the situation, he realizes what is actually going on, thanks to the very handy vision of a man he'd secreted in the crowd.

He also realizes that if Artemis or himself go out there, he'd be revealed almost instantly. So instead, he calls down the one of his most competent NPCs to help in the fight to save Faruja Senra

A man in Dragoon armor jumps down from the rafters, on the way down tossing Kunai with tags attached to them idly towards the back of one of the assassins. On contact with whatever they make, they explode with fiery force.

He lands beside in one of the aisles, his spear whirling about in a fluorish as he readies himself for the assault.

The style of his armor is a rather common one.. but it's possible that either Faruja or Louis /might/ recognize him.

He rushes towards another assassin, spinning that spear before trying to impale him. As he runs forward, he runs a finger across the edge of the spear, and suddenly it crackles with electrical energy at the tip, which he thrusts towards another man. To end his assault, he tosses an orb at another assassin, which would burst nearby him. The air around him would turn intensely cold, sucking the very heat out of it. If the man didn't get out of the way, his skin would be coated with rime and frostbite would set in almost instantly.
Deelel Deelel is now restored to what she should have been since the day she was created she's now fully functional in control of her mind. She isn't able to act fast enough to stop the first attack but she's already going, Faruja is hit he's hit pretty bad. The disc comes off her back and there's a loud humm as the combat edge goes live without her even thinking about it. Her movement to anyone are text book perfect she's not wasting much if any moment here. She thinks not about the stone at this point she's more concerned about the people.

She's just seen one of her closest friends get shot and he's taken something that would have killed her. She's already moving, evading anyone in her way as she moves for the attacker. She doesn't say a thing, there is nothing to be said at this point really she will remember this moment in perfect clarity. She realizes it's perhaps the price of what she is but she won't let this go on any longer.

She flips over more into the air as she loads sever command lines.

It's clear one thing Deelel is heading right for the assassin she's almost seeming to dance her way through the crowd as she goes whomever this person is they are in for a very bad day at the basic's hands.
Ophelia Time seems to slow down for a moment as the heavily robed figure with his face hidden behind shadow and cloth rises to his feet. Ophelia's mind sharpens to a focus impossible to achieve through means beyond the supernatural, her vampire blood opening a window to the future that projects the events of the next few moments in dazzling clarity before they even happen.

Curiously, she turns to watch the shadow of the man seated in the front pew, his voice hazy and distorted in a dream-like state as the shouts of blasphemy ring out for only her to hear. The weapon comes forth, barking fire and steel as the trigger snaps downwards like hammer of a judge sentencing the old priest behind the podium to death.

Ophelia smiles and lets it happen.

All at once the vision fades and the world around her snaps into frantic motion as if desperately trying to catch up to the foresight that her fleeting vision had granted her. The man rises, the shot is fired, and the priest goes down in a haze of smoke and tangled robes. However, there is one descrepancy, a tiny alteration as Faruja throws himself into the line of fire.

The vampire frowns slightly at this but her displeasure is fleeting. It doesn't matter if the old man dies. The assassination attempt has already been made. Blood has been spilled, weapons drawn.

Nothing is going to save these men from her now.

Metal hisses sharply as the blade at Ophelia's side is drawn forth from its protective covering. Ephemeral light dances across the surface of the masterfully wrought weapon as it is brought to bear and for a moment that same energy flickers in the eyes of the young woman, her dark irises flaring to a neon crimson as she turns a disturbing and arrogant smirk upon the foremost of the fools who had dared to assault this holy place.

"Murder in the house of the Lord? Rarely have I encountered such brazen disregard for decency. There will be no need for a trial to determine your guilt, as it is plain to see for all."

Ophelia moves with casual disregard for the panic and chaos that erupts from this sudden display of violence, striding across the dias where the stone chalice rests and descending the steps down to the pews as if going for an afternoon stroll. Drawing within a few paces of the assassin, she flourishes her blade in an overly elaborate fashion.

"You cry out for blood? Come then... let us see the color of yours."

Ophelia moves. Even without her powers augmenting her to blinding speeds, her motions are effortless and fluid and within the span of a heartbeat her blade is slicing a silver crescent through the air at the throat of the heretic. The blade cuts a viscious counter motion without stopping, slicing downwards and then falling back as the Inquisitor takes up a defensive stance on the odd chance that her swift strike was not fatal.
Will Sherman Will see's many things...

He narrows his eyes at the assassin...but right now other things...

Faruja is hurt, worse, Faruja is...something is trying to take him over. The Dark string to the priest is visible to him too...Will only has ONE chance...

He leaps over the pews, litterally landing RIGHT on the first row...

"You should stop the assassining. You're bad at it...and also I know it's staged." he says to the assassin...and then...

His hand starts to glow red...his body starts to glow bright...he channels the energy. Magical energy RADIATES off of him like a storm...and he tries to grab two strings...he can only grab that is trying to attach to Zack...and one trying to attatch to Faruja...

If Will can grab the strings, they Manifest, as Will tries to SHATTER them.

"GET OUT OF THEM!" the voice of two cry out, the voice best FELT slightly resonate.
Emi Dennou Emi listens to Will over the radio. She rubs her hand down her face. Faruja, she thinks. Is he really being betrayed by his own church? That's terrible. And what's worse, she doubts she can convince Faruja of this. He'd probably say heretic lies have corrupted her ears. But Will doesn't lie.

Emi can't really figure out how to help Zack, but if Faruja is bleeding out his guts, there's something she can do about that. She jogs over to him and ducks down close. "Arkie!" She shouts, hoping she'll come help. She unleashes a small ripple of electricity from her hands to help close the wound--or draw out impurities that managed to get inside his body as a result of his injuries!
Artemis Eurus Artemis doesn't gasp as the assassin pops up, pulls out a gun, and shoots the priest--or tries to. She does wince slightly as Faruja goes down. He will live. There are healers all over. He will live.

Her eyes dart around the room as a conversations is carried quietly over their linkpearl, the group trying to figure out just what was happening here and what part they should play.

If she were alone, she would have entered into this fray--but she was with Ramza, and she would expose him if she revealed herself now.

It takes only a moment for everything to change. Zack grabs the zodiac stone.

Quickly a plan is formed. That plan being generally, fight for you live and that of your friends.

Artemis stands, and in one smooth motion tears her dress off and throws it aside. Beneath, she wears light leather armor, a sword strapped to her thigh, a dagger between her breasts, and several other bladed weapons hidden...elsewhere. The headscarf falls away as she draws her katana, her posture changing to that of the warrior, immediately moving to cover Ramza.
Faruja Senra Over the Church comms, one of the Templar within the Cathedral calls out as Louis cries out. 'Heretics, Lord LeBlue! They...they tried to kill Father Barnabus!' Comes the panicked voice of one of the men. As a guard goes down, the other traits march upon Louis, swords and maces swung in unison; these mean are professionals, at least as far as local standards go. Lacking helmets, they /look/ like Fluorgisians as well. Dissidents within the guard against the Church?

The large wolf, as well as Cressidia guarding the downed rat barely gain any attention, as the less distinctive Templar go to work. A few assassins are cut down by the holy warriors, though the moogle that Serah had met not moments earlier meets a knife to the chest. She falls, eyes on her assassin. There's no hate, only pity. "F...Faram...forgive you your s...siinn.." She falls silent.

Serah's strikes prove debilitating, however, saving the life of a nearby Priest. The woman, seeing the moogle fall, draws a knife. Screaming bloody vengeance, she plunges it into the assassin's back, falling atop him. She doesn't stop stabbing.

Chaos reigns, assassins homing in on the holy men and women, and peasants attempting to flee; making the Templar's jobs all that much harder. Zack grabs the chalice. The Stone hungers, working its influence, shimmering for a brief moment. Lines of whispy darkness lunge for Zack to Will's eyes.

Looking up, barely conscious as his life's blood bleeds out in the horrific, burning chest-wound, the rat can barely speak. Glaring at Zack, his words are muttered, only the man closest to him able to hear them.

Arkie's attack is enough to save a life, the assassin bowled over. Yet, her skills don't seem to harm the man, in her rush to tackle him impact rubber shoes! The electricity does little, and the struggling assassin works on simply trying to beat her in the head with a fist.

The dark strands are grasped, several heads turning as they manifest. Attached to Faruja, it snaps like so much yarn amidst the great powers hidden within the Hobo King. In Zack's hand, the chalice grows hotter, as though radiating the stone's anger at such interference.

Father Barnabus stands. An assassin comes for him. Frowning, the old man shakes his head, muttering a single word. "Holy." In a burst of light, the assassin is turned to ash.

The gun wielding assassin huffs, scowling. "...Damn vermin. Kill 'em all." Orders the man. An incantation later, and he dissappears. Only a small icon remains: a necklace.

Emi's healing efforts prove helpful, slowing the massive blood loss of the Templar. However, it will take much more than a single healing to even stabilize the wounded Burmecian.

Exploding kunai down several assassins, even as civilians make their way out. This frees up beleaguered Templar, who rush in, barely bothering to register their saviours or the irony involved.

Holy Men left: 11. Father Barnabus: unhurt.
Zack Fair Zack makes contact with the Saggitarius Stone. His fingers curl around the supernatural superweapon, flesh meeting magicite as Zack does what Zack always does - throws himself in harm's way for the sake of a friend. feels like he's done this before. Zack's grin widens as magic races up his arm and into his body; his eyes burst to life with light, mako and magicite meeting in glorious unison. Zack's hand closes so tight, his knuckles are going white. The glow in his eyes intensifies.


The voice thunders in Zack's head; it's ancient and dark and resonates through him loudly. Zack fumbles for a moment, mentally, at the sound; Ramza had briefed him, sure, but that didn't compare. That didn't compare for a moment to the sheer feeling, the ecstatic horror of touching the thing. That, that was something entirely different. It was something Zack wasn't prepared for at all, not yet.



Zack appears. Then another Zack appear - a Zack in a red cloak, wide black wings spreading from his back, red eyes staring back at him. The stone's image.


"I have a lot of wishes," Zack tells the thing, a grin on his face, "But my wish right now is that you leave my buddy 'ru alone, huh?"


Zack Fair screams and doubles over in pain.



Zack nods at his reflection. "I thought you were gonna say something like that. But...look. The thing is...I can't let my buddy get hurt, you know? I mean...he doesn't even know what you are, yeah? He has no clue. But...I do."

The other Zack raises an eyebrow. 0HOW?

"A little bird told me." Zack waves his hand, a wide grin on his face. "Look. You grant wishes, right? That's what you do. So why won't you grant mine? It's not like it's hard, or anything. Just leave my friend alone."


"Oh yeah? I bet you can't." Zack makes a 'bring it on' motion with his hand at the stone!Zack. "C'mon. Let's see if you've got what it takes. Let's see if you've got the *stones* to take me on."

0HUMOR WILL NOT SAVE YOU. The other Zack draws a crackling black materia blade, swinging it once in the air. It hisses and hums through Zack's mind as Midgar springs to life - a broken, rusted, twisted hellscape of Midgar, a black and broken land filled with blood and bodies.

Zack's grin only widens. He reaches up as a string comes cracking inwards - Will's touch. He grabs it, tugging on it lightly, as if to let Will know not to worry about him. But it's good to know that he's got reinforcements. "It's saved my life so far."



The black wings that just exploded from Zack Fair's back cannot be any kind of good sign. But he's not moving, so that's something! Right? Right?
Faruja Senra Ophelia's blade finds the throat of a 'Priest', her vampiric senses and speed cutting her down before she can thrust a spiked knuckle into the chest of an older Priest. Two others of the remaining assassins focus on the threat that is Ophelia. Many of the others strike at those wielding weapons against them, sparing few, except those not actively striking at the assassins.
Cressida Cressida's eyes narrow as Emi moves towards Faruja..She does not recognize her as one amongst the churchfolk. But she doesn't know she is working with the heretics yet, either. "Who are you?" she regards her warily, uncertain of who is friend or foe in this mess..However, she has little time to react as assassins quickly close in on her.

"Die, heretics!" she yells as she slices into those who stand in her path, cutting them down one by one..She peers around at father Barnabus, seeing that he is alright. If he's their original target, he's in more danger than Faru, although he seems to be handling himself well.

Instead she continues to swing her spear around in complex circles, unleashing strange silvery explosive energy with each strike as she tries to reach Zack..And the zodiac stone.

"Foul heretic! That stone is not yours!"
Will Sherman Will levels his gaze towards Zack...the strings disappate...but Zack is..

He nods once. "Alright. I'll be back if you need it." He says, lowly, and looks to Faruja, "Hi...protect the Priest..I don't know what will happen when I do this." he says...

And leaps right towards the next String...well, more like reach one, he's still next to them. This one...

This one is much thicker and solid, it is connected to the Priest, which manifets when he grabs hold of it. His eyes narrow and he growls in both pain and determination...

"SHATTER!" he booms, as the red flare attempts to break through the black string.
Serah Farron Serah Farron was given enhanced physical attributes after becoming a l'Cie. For the most part, noone would know from the outsdie, but in battles it becomes more apparent, the seemingly 'normal', and perhaps even somewhat frail looking girl becomes faster than the norm, better reflexes, and definitely stronger overall, and that's considering the magic she can cast either. Which might come as a surprise for the assassins coming her way, as she bounces up, flipping backward over their stabs, and extending a hand while holding her wrist with the other hand, she sends another spell their way, to debilitate their protection even further.

She lands back, just a few steps away, blinking at what's going on over the row of assassins.. namely the now winged Zack "What's going on over there?" She asks outloud, before she ducks the next swipe. "Less talking more cleaning up, it seems..." Which she turns back on them right away. A salvo of ice spikes is shot from her open hands, aiming at their limbs to freeze them over, attempting to slow them down. She doesn't want ot kill them if she can, even if... they did murder the nice moogle priest... Curse them, but vengeance only brings more vengeance, and it will be better service by justice if they can properly contain them.
Arkham Fisher 'Arkie!' Someone calls for her-- you learn to pick it out of the din, it's true-- but our Sister is occupied right now. Please remain on the line and she'll be with you as soon as this /stack/ of /filth/ stops /hammering/ on her /head/, /Winds take him/.

The girl crawls up her attacker bodily, hoping to keep him using those pommels instead of the blades, but the battering is difficult to bear.

Nearly eye to eye with the man, now, in a position no Sister should be caught in, she grabs for his wrist. Around her there's a brief shiver, as the elements stand to attention, and she wrests a dagger of her own from his belt; with chill determination, she makes a thrust for his throat. Chill indeed-- frost crackles on the knife's edge. Before he gets any bright ideas, an answering thrust comes from beneath him, a spine grown of the same hearty sandstone as the cathedral. Arkham should perhaps have thought this through better, as she's forced to roll aside or be hoist on her own petard.
Ramza Beoulve Damnation. DAMNATION!

The best laid plans, ruined by reality. In his pew, Ramza took a deep breath, before rising out of his seat, stating two words to Artemis, "Cover me."

And that's when he ran down the aisle on the left side, legs pounding. In the back of his mind, he didn't really know how well this would work... both stones he'd handled before.. there had been temptation. He'd been able to resist it. But this.. this was different, he'd never seen the stones actively trying to take control of a man before. And that man was someone in his company.

He felt a certain responsibility for it. And so as he ran down the left aisle, he analyzed the situation. Zack..he may already be, being taken over. Those wings, they looked decidedly like they belonged to a Lucavi Archdemon, but the transformation wasn't complete yet.

Dropping down, he slid legs first through one group of assassins, before he got back up into a run. All the way up to the altar, all the way up towards Zack,

Growling, he would state, "You are /stronger/ than this, Ser Fair."

But before Zack could react in a way to defend the stone in his state of half-possession, Ramza would disappear, and blink forward, his trajectory shifting to move in front of him. And then he'd thrust his hand into the goblet, if he isn't stopped, trying to get a grasp on the Sagittarius stone.
Deelel Deelel sees there are several of them here already as people are fleeing Deelel is noe moving in with her disc and she's decening upon them the disc humms as Deelel moves in she shifts to attack. She moves with lighting speed her disc being used as a close combat weapon given the nature of where they are fighting. She doesn't let up, does not seem to tire or need to breath at all as she fights this person.

"You cut down one of my closest friends. Threted every User here! I will not suffer you to contiune this!"

Deelel's attacks are still comming she'll flip away formt hsi one to try to lock down another attacker and this time she'll aim to bounce the disc between the two of them.
Louis LeBlue Ramza speaks. Just as those guards come for him, Louis LeBlue hears a voice that he recognizes all too well. With rage and anger in his eyes, Louis turns around to see not just Ramza - rushing for his ally whom now holds the stone - but also his lost Sister. And without mask for that matter!

"BEEEEOOOLVEEEE! I WILL HAVE YOUR HEAD FOR THIS TREACHERY!" Louis shouts at the top of his lungs, turning around fully and taking a firm step towards him just as a massive mace comes across his back, followed by a blade that bounces off of his armor. He doesn't care the least about the fact that there's a guy showing black wings right now, or that there is a werewolf guarding Faruja. In that moment, Louis gains TUNNELVISION: Ramza.

Well, okay, not entirely tunnelvision. First, there's an angry glance back towards the treacherous assassins who tried to attack him while his back was turned. With a massive sweep, his halberd comes across and makes for both of their bodies in an attempt to slam them into the wall of the Cathedral and crush them between the Halberd and said wall. Only then does he come waltzing in for Ramza, looming, until he finally ends up before Artemis.

After all, it is inevitable that she will stand in his way. "Move, sister." He demands, his voice mildly softer when addressing her. Perhaps it's the lack of mask that draws him back to those younger days. Those days without...

Ophelia Blood spurts momentarily into the air as Ophelia's blade kisses the exposed flesh of her victim. A fern-frond pattern of red splatters wetly against the floor as the metal killing tool completes its half-moon cut, sluicing the dark vitae off like rainwater even as it rises to meet the counter attacks of yet more assassins.

Despite her arrogance and ethusiasm, the woman is pushed back by the task of fending off multiple assaults at once. In life her skill far exceeded that expected by her age but it was nothing that could not be overcome. In death her powers have magnified a dozen times over but with the daystar burning fiercely in the sky she is robbed of the dark curse's bolstering support.

Clashing metal and shuffling feet become the tune to which the small group at the front of the podium moves. Ophelia maintains her smug grin as she ducks and parries, sometimes escaping devastating blows by little more than the span of a fingertip with elegant movements that look to be as much steps to an intricate dance than battle manuevers.

She is forced on the defensive for several seconds but like any good performance the main star resumes the lead. A second katana escapes its sheath with a whisper, snicking through the air towards the momentary gap in the assault of the man on her right. She flows from this thrust into a low sweeping undercut, muttering a short incantation or prayer to her blade and a thick blue mist erupts from its raging spirit, living coils of heavy fog seeping into the combatants to sap them of their vital energies and slow them down.

Rising up just as swiftly, Ophelia brings both of her swords up in a vertical pair of cuts that carve a wicked V into the air, each one seeking out the body of a seperate assassin.
Emi Dennou Emi is not terribly worried about the assassins at this point. Barnabus literally just said a word and turned one into ash, after all. She focuses on Faruja for the time being, but pauses as she looks on towards Arkham. She squints in her direction before raising her free hand up--

--and unleashing a wave of electricity through her arm to plow through assassins that happen to be near her. She can't do this alone, she needs a professional (named Arkie) to help her! This is a church, Emi thinks to herself, shouldn't there be more healers?


Umi meanwhile sits in her pew, scratching at her head. Emi notices Umi is just sitting there and they look at each other.

"What." She says. "Everybody said to wait and see."

"That was before the assassins." Emi says.

"And then we were told to not help them--" Umi begins.
Emi takes in a long, deep breath and gives Umi a stare.

"AW ALRIGHT! I GOT IT!" Umi shouts before she dives in for the assassins, using the power of FISTICUFFS to her advantage. Actually it's not Fisticuffs, it's FOOTICUFFS because she's jumpkicking one in the head and THUNDER UPPERCUTTING another.

"Better." Emi says before returning her attention to Faruja.
Artemis Eurus Artemis watches as Zack struggles, her eyes going wide as great dark wings sprout from his back.

She looks to Faruja then, hoping he is conscious enough to see what it is Zack has saved him from.

Hearing Ramza's order, Artemis nods and does so, following in his shadow as he runs for Zack and makes a grab for the stone. She trusts him. Gods, but she trusts him. If anyone can withstand the temptation, it is Ramza.

Artemis' green gaze rises as Louis enters the church, her eyes meeting his, the irises the exact same shade. Without her mask, the resemblance between them in /quite/ obvious to anyone who was paying any attention. Not that everyone wasn't pretty busy at the moment.

Artemis raises her blade, shaking her head. "Brother, you know I cannot," she replies, unable to hide the sadness in her voice. "Is this what was done to you? Did you hold one of these stones in your hand? Was it this power that turned you KINSLAYER!?" she demands, her sadness turning to anger. She lashes out with her blade, the very sword he'd given her as a gift long ago, re-forged after it was broken by Tyrin.
Faruja Senra Cressidia's weapon proves powerful, cutting down a pair of assassins rounding on Barnabus away from the crowd. Others barely manage to get out of the way while dealing with their own targets-slash-opponents, the fighters here proving competent. These are no mere street thugs!

A knife to the throat, and a stone spear to the back, and the blasted assassin goes down; impaled and writhing as he paints the Cathedral's floor red. Falling limp, ARkie is freed. No more come after her for the moment; the assassin's numbers dwindling.

The thread of Fate in Will's hands weakens, frays, and visibly starts to dissolve. Father Barnabus turns his head, staring at Will. He frowns lightly. An assassin steps closer, aiming a strike to the Hobo King's head with a spiked club. Even as Will seeks to destroy the thread, it begins to repair itself; both upon Barnabus' end, as well as the stone's. For whatever reason, the stone wants the preacher as much as he wants it.

As Ramza seems to try to steal the stone, Barnabus motions. "Retrieve the Chalice! It is a holy artifact! That one is in league with the assassins! Don't let your Brother Templar and cruelly stricken sister fall in vain! Righteous judgement awaits!" Several mook Templar point their blades at Ramza, incanting as Holy Sword skills rain upon the man. Shouts of 'Heretic' ring out, even if they're unaware of just how right they are!

Deel's agile strikes, and Ophelia's sword magicks strike true. Twin katanas cut down two more assassins. Deel's disk strikes, felling another, though into mere unconsciousness. More blood coats the floor. Those Templar not focused on Ramza start to remove the remaining panicked citizens and priestly types. With the efforts of those gathered, only Barnabus remains.

Predictably, even with the cures applied to him by Emi, Faruja has lapsed into a state of near-shock. If he can tell the horrid transformation going on within Zack, he may very well believe it to be a figment of his imagination. Though it's hard to tell with his pure red eye, that ocular is trying to roll itself into the back of his head. Not a good sign.

Footicuffs by the Network Node prove effective, as they quite keenly apply Boots to the Head of the horrible assassins. Plus, there's electricity involved as well, sending the pair down. By this point, there's only about four assassins left. Time to mop up. Rather than attack, they begin to look for their own safety, trying to make their way to windows and doors. Many of the Templar catch on, now that their charges are safe, blocking them with body and steel.

Ice spikes manage to down one of the few remaining assassins, the others scrambling out of the way. The man's alive, but frozen to the floor. That remains for all of five seconds, as a particularly zealous Templar removes the assassin's head.

Achievement Unlocked: Save the Priest

Less than three Holy Men die, and Barnabus lives.
Arkham Fisher Such violence, in front of a children! Arkham indeed falls aside, limp, just as her victim does, as the stone reassumes some semblance of civility. No blades fall upon her as she recovers herself, though; the battle has left her behind.

Her head still rings from the man's assault, and her hands, once again, are red. But the Father did say, there was a time to kill, too. Kneeling at the assassin's side, she gives him a quick, professional evaluation: nope. There's only one thing to be done for him.

"Veliki Oche, vodite to dusho priti k materi z usega. Mora tam najit mir. Faram."

Leaving him to his reward, she stands, shakily, and searches for Faruja.
Will Sherman Will's hand burns...he still has the thread.

"You might THINK you want this, father, but you DO NOT!" he says, "Stop being a puppet!" Will says, "TAKE YOUR FATE INTO YOUR HANDS..." He says, and then...the powerful force of will from the hobo king starts shaking the whole building. He's going to put everything he has...into this /one/ attempt to shatter it. His eyes blaze...his hands glow bright red...

And then his hand litterally attempts to SHATTER reality around the string, aiming to crack through the string and break the influence of the stone over the priest.
Zack Fair INSIDE

This was not his best idea, Zack Fair considers, as he's hurled across the dessicated ruins of Midgar by the stone-created double. A single punch sent him soaring; an ancient evil was infinitely more powerful than he was! Who knew?


"I bet you say that to all the SOLDIER," Zack taunts just before his own fist comes down into his stomach. Imaginary blood comes flying from his mouth; the imaginary building cracks, the roof beginning to fall towards the dessicated streets below. Still, Zack is undaunted; he reaches up to grab the creature's hand, his eyes stern and willful. He openly refuses to let it go - he refuses to allow the creature to move on, to escape, to get away. They fall - they fall together.


The first thing Ramza would see is the ruined, blasted city of Midgar; the dessicated hellscape, the blood, the bodies, the nightmarish, crumbling buildings, the sky stained black with smog. Reactors pumping poison into the sky dot the landscape; vents pumping poison into the water cover the sea. Then he would see the crumbling ceiling.

Then he would see Zack, struggling with himself - his very, very evil-looking self. His incredibly evil self.

Zack looks up and grins. "Hey. Guess what else I have that you don't, besides stunning good looks and a shining sense of humor?"


Ophelia Two more lives are cut short by her hands, two souls consigned to whatever afterlife awaits beyond the veil of mortality.

Ophelia smiles, blades in hand as death surrounds her in various fashions. Twin pools of crimson fluid expand steadily at her feet, dark shimmering mirrors of sanguinary substance merging together as the last remaining traces of life ebb from the crumpled and ruined bodies.

It takes a monumental effort not to feed upon this vast source. Blood fills the chapel, staining the floor and the walls like some dark mockery of the altar to holy benevolence that sits as the centerpiece to the large building. Her breath comes heavily as she feels the beast stir within, its hunger gnawing at her gut like some wasting disease. It can never be cleansed, never be quelled entirely - merely sated for a time. She almost gives in.

A sharp grip on her mind snaps her out of the trance followed quickly by an equally rough grip on the back of her neck. Like some disapproving parent, Alexander pulls her back from the brink, cuffing her on the side of the head. "Get it together, girl."

Ophelia merely nods, sheathing her blades with twin ambidextrous sweeps that flick the remaining blood from their lengths in a stylish fashion. Her attention turns back to the pulpit and the stone coffer, only to be greeted by a sight most interesting.

The black wings upon Zack's back are the immediate attention grabbers but the twisting of reality is a close second when the building begins to shake a moment later. "Whatever is in that box, we need to get them away from it," Alexander growls. "And no, you can't just kill them. Not yet."

The Inquisitor gives a soft grunt of disapproval but doesn't argue. She approaches both Ramza and Zack, stalking around them with an appraising look, trying to weigh the threat of merely kicking them both away from the stone. It's usually not that simple.
Ramza Beoulve As he grasped the stone, it was as if reality shattered around him, the world he perceived but a pane of opaque glass, hiding the reality behind the situation.

There was a blurring of motion and a shifting of a myriad of colors.

And then the young heretic leader was standing on the hellish landscape inside Zack's mind. Here, there were no deceptions. This was the realm of the soul, where the only thing that mattered was the strength of will, and one's heart. He'd fought this battle before, twice.. he just never spoke of it.

His expression surveyed Midgar, and he found it in part akin to the hodgepodge landscape that Goug had become now. But it wasn't time to consider the implications of that. In this realm, the smog didn't even concern him.. he didn't need to breathe.

Ramza grinned at Zack. "Reinforcements indeed. I don't think I ever initiated you into the rules of my company. Let's start with the first rule..."

Ramza didn't consider himself a powerful individual in the physical world. He was extremely humble by nature. He didn't hold excessive pride in his accomplishments.. but most of all. He didn't seek power, and what power he had, he wielded with responsibility.

In this realm, that made him a very powerful individual indeed.

In the spiritual realm, he stalked up to Zack's very evil self, drew back his arm, and elbowed him in the face with spiritrending force. "...We don't leave anyone behind."

Another haymaker punch. "I deny you, demon, you won't have him!"

And then as his arm drew back once more, it shined with holy force. "Bright light.."

His fist shined with radiant holy power, right before it erupted forward into the spiritual manifestation. "...shine down on bloody impurity!"

Holy energy cascades through the manifestation of Zack's evil self, before erupting out of every crevasse of it... in an attempt to cause an expulsion of the impure spirit."

Back in the physical reality. Ramza's body reacted almost.. mechanically, on autopilot. It instinctually sensed the connection between Barnabus to Zack. And so his elbow careened into the man's face. Followed by a haymaker punch to his neck. And finally... "Bright light..." The fist erupted forward into his gut. "....shine down on bloody impurity."

Holy energy would descend from beyond the rooftops of the Cathedral, congealing into orbs of holy power, they would surge through the false priest, before gathering at his feet... then erupting skyward once more.
Emi Dennou Emi cricks her neck lightly, whistling for Arkham to head her-way to look after Faruja. She herself stands herself up.

She reaches to her side and withdraws a pair of HANDCUFFS. She starts swinging them around her index finger. She really wants to try this and instructs Umi to stop fighting for a moment.

She swings the handcuffs over her head and flings the handcuffs over towards one of the assassins. The handcuffs attempt to snap around their wrists, Inspector Zenigata style.

It's also possible they'll collide against their forehead.
Deelel Deelel is more concerned with the innocents getting hurt an item is an item but then she sees smoen acting to steal the artifact. She knows things may be never as they seem so it's not certainty that Ramza is with the attackers but he's being an opptunits and robbing a faith of a relic. She's more concerned with the surival of the inocent and stopping these killers than anything else right now.

Deelel does show some mercy if they don't get back up she leaveds them there's too many others to worry about. She pauses now looking to see a the thidf the weapon's still armed however she looks to the theives she helped to recover. Will speaks she's got a lot of respect for Will given what he's done for Manhattan and generally around the multiverse at large. Something is truely up here. She has to make a choice the relic or the people? It's a binary thing for her, people are more imporant. But there's still a danger at this point She now turns to to Ramza and his companions hee disk still armed and she's looking like she's about to make a move but there's something strange ... here...also the surivign attackers need to be questioned.

She doesn't move to attack Ramza and his companions but she is going to take a step towards him. She sounds a bit strange as she talks something sounds off a little bit odd prehaps given the nature of her voice.

"Care to explain your self?"
Louis LeBlue "I have never held one of those stones." Louis answers the woman, his frown increasing. "They are not for people like you and your Heretic kind. Those who carry darkness and filth in their heart will end up like /that/ man." He points towards Zack. "Only those TRULY chosen can wield the power of that stone. Only those who truly /Accept Ajora/, our savior." The woman lashes out with her blade; he recognizes it indeed. He'd spent quite some of his money on that blade. Yet, he doubts she knows who had given her that blade. The blade that had been perfectly weighted for her.

The blade is caught by Louis' right hand, grabbing it in the perfect manner where it only cuts a little into his right hand's palm, drawing red blood that starts to seep down her blade. "Do not betray your brother like this, Claudia. Step aside!" He then tries to throw her AND the blade aside, and continues to step forwards. "RAMZA! Let go of the artifact and draw your blade! This is the day you perish!"

And that's when light falls, and attempts to flay one of their priests! And not just any priest. No, this one had connections! This one should not be left to fall. Yet, there is little Louis can do to halt the oncoming magical spell. All he can do is watch as the priest is likely turned to ashes - if Ramza had any say about it. And thus, REVENGENCE time!

It's a word.

Look, if Konami gets to make up shit and use it, so do I! Shut up!

Knowing Artemis is certain to stand in his way again, he first swings his halberd's flat towards her side, before storming closer towards Ramza and bringing his weapon to bear like a spear, and then attempts to plunge it straight through the man's back while he's occupied with his spell and his associate.
Serah Farron Serah Farron phews as they catch the last of the assassins... dead or alive at that point. At least... she hopes they got all of them. For what it might be worth, she quickly moves to the down moogle priest, atempting to use her healing magic to revive or heal her back, not really happy with this kind of outcome. In a world of magic, a little miracle is a possibility right?
Faruja Senra The Strand of Fate shatters. Father Barnabus staggers. He quails aloud, loss and pain down to the very soul let loose. It's only for a moment, but the man seems to /shimmer/. Clenching his teeth, the shimmering stops, as though a mirage dissappearing before one's sight. Then the light of Holy crashes down on Barnabus, engulfing the portly man.

A wolfess and a certain field medic slash Novice stand over the Templar. One can do little more than comfort the deathly wounded Burmecian, Arkie focusing on keeping the stubborn rat alive. She doesn't speak, only heals, lost in the moment.

Handcuffs away! They all flick neatly onto the wrists of the remaining assassins. In comes the Templar, applying metal boots to heads. And chests. And limbs. Repeatedly. They won't kill them, but there's plenty of righteous stomping going on. One of the Templar shouts about Heretics and avenging the fallen moogle sister. Seems she was quite kind and popular with her fellow NPC Churchies.

The light of Holy fades. Barnabus is gone. Something flickers behind Ramza. A long beard, smoldering, touches him. "It shall take a little more than that to cut down a servant of greater powers." One hand grasps the chalice, impossibly strong for a man of his age. Or a man at all. The other hand falls on Ramza's shoulder, as Louis makes a more frontal assault. Evil priests don't play nice. "Holy." The very same spell crashes down upon Ramza as used against the Priest. Should he manage to yank away the chalice, the old man will simply teleport away to the fallen Templar's side. Zack seems to be ignored, though Templar are calling out about 'Heretics' and 'Demon'. One or two marvel, however, at the string Will exposed...

The poor moogle's eyes are glassy, Serah's magic merely healing the body; the soul is long gone into her God's arms. Tellingly, her face is as kind and warm in repose as it was in life, gazing as if to comfort the woman trying to save her departed life. For a brief moment, Serah may feel a tiny hand on her shoulder, squeezing. If she looks, no one is there, at least in the physical realm.
Artemis Eurus Of course, the Priest calls upon his minions to try to stop Ramza. Holy swords flash, but Artemis is faster. She parries, blocks, and takes all the righteous rage in Ramza's stead, bodily blocking him with her form and her sword. Converged on by many, she takes damage, lightly armored as she is, but it doesn't slow her down--no, not in the least. She steps forward, sword flashing, blood flying outward in a spray as she cuts the throat of one of the mooks, reverses her grip and slams her sword back to drive it through the middle of another, twisting the blade before she pulls it free, whirls it, and comes back into a defensive stance to keep the world off of Ramza and face her brother. No mean feat.

She can't know what is going for Zack and Ramza, she can't see the battle they fight. Artemis MUST keep Louis off Ramza.

He grabs her blade, a humiliating gesture, still trying not to fight her. "You are blind or under its spell Louis...someday I will free you from it," she says, driving her knee up into his stomach before she yanks her sword back, trying to get between him and Ramza before the blow can connect. "LOUIS, NO!" she screams, lashing out with her blade.
Zack Fair Ramza's fist hammers against the creature, and it is in no way physical - it is nothing but a manifestation of Ramza Beoulve's soul, his heart, his kindness. Kindness and justice flash against darkness each strike sends the demonic Zack twisting and turning, shifting from the evil Zack whose guise it took towards its true face with each hammer. Each strike hurls the monster further and further away; the smog clears, the darkness lifts, and, with the final strike, the creature is hurled out of Zack Fair's mind and body with a scream that will haunt Zack for the rest of his days. He will hear that shriek in his dreams; he will awake to it, in a cold sweat, that monstrous face part-his, part-demon's, part-stranger's disappating into hell itself.


Louis LaBlue's blade flashes in as Zack's consciousness is ejected back into his own body. The motion is fluid, precise; the wings flash outwards, black feathers intercepting the blade and drawing it down Zack's own back. Blood springs forth as it tears through Zack's shirt; it clashes off the Materia Blade, and Zack's back quickly closes itself up through some magic Louis is likely not privy to. But then, how could he be? How could he know what really lurks in Zack Fair's body? The power of Jenova is strong.

Zack turns, a huge grin on his face as he pulls Ramza off the stone.

"Y'know," Zack observes as he draws the Materia Blade, "You're a real piece of work. Here I am, minding my own business, and you come in and try and stab the guy paying my bills in the back like it's justice."

"Now, I didn't come here to fight. I had the peace moustache on. But a friend of mine needed help, and I've never been known to back down when a friend needed help. Not about to start now." The massive blade flashes in Zack's hand as he levels it at Louis. "But I sure don't like guys who try and stab another man in the back. The way I figure it, you wanna kill somebody, you do it to their face; you make sure they know it's coming. That's how a man should kill someone."

"Now, I don't wanna kill you. So I'm gonna get out of here. I promised to put that thing back down when my friend was safe, and I'm also never gonna be a guy who doesn't stick to my promises. But if you try and stab us in the back while we're leaving?"

Zack's voice goes cold. "Then I'm gonna make this personal. And you don't want me to make this personal. OK?"

And then his voice is back to the cheerful, normal, upbeat Zack that it always is. "C'mon, Ramza. I can't get paid if you die."
Will Sherman "...damn.." Will says. He shattered the string. He /BROKE/ it...

0It's because it's fate is much like ours. The stone needs to be destroyed.

"Don't you idiots see! That string is black! He's tied to the darkness, despite what he is throwing. It's a monster in sheeps clothing!" Will tries to warn. "And you tried to corrupt one of my friends." Will says, narrowing his eyes, looking towards Faruja. He starts focusing again, drawing magical energy to himself.

Ramza Beoulve The priest blinks behind him, Ramza feels the heat of the smoldering beard, the feel of the hairs upon him... and then bright luminescence surges through him. He spasms as what little darkness that is in his heart bubbles to the surface, and is /punished/ for it's mere presence. He bites back a muffled gasp of pain, and then shoves the man away. Zack pushes him away from the stone, and blocks the strike meant for his back from the patricidal Shrine Knight.

Ramza Beoulve rises to his full height. His poise unperturbed despite the renewed desperation of the decision. He doesn't even spare the stone a second glance, he just looks at Barnabus, "You sold your soul cheaply unto the Lucavi, and one day you shall know the price of such folly."

He taps his linkpearl, "Reveal yourselves."

Suddenly, ten more individuals still within the Church draw their blades out of their peasant garb. Several training loaded crossbows on the Templars. "We must away, for now. Noone gets left behind. Fain forgive me if I won't indulge your lust for blood any longer, LeBlue."

And with that, they begin to circle their way around the throng of Templars and Inquisitors both, making their tactical retreat slowly, with no deliberate movements towards the back of the church.
Ophelia And suddenly there's commotion around the stone chalice. Ramza's holy assault reveals a rather interesting bit of information as the old priest unveils a great deal of power which is turned upon the heretic. Zack's wings save him from a different assault as the staunch templar Louis attempts to bring the wanted man to justice to no avail.

Ophelia watches with great interest as the wound seals itself over through means that are not particularly clear. She saw him inbibe no healing draughts nor call upon magical spells to aid him in that short moment. Magic radiates from him though it is unfamilar and she cannot decided if he is some sort of monster like herself or something else entirely.

Ultimately, it does not matter. He stands in the defense of the heretics. To believe that mere words would stay the hands of so many templar and inquisitors, here in a stronghold of the faith, while their most hated enemy stands among their midst - the level of arrogance needed to expect this tactic to work actually stuns her for a moment.

Ophelia draws her primary blade with a predatory smile as the man turns his back on her. She remembers him, oh yes. The one who interfered in her duel with the masked woman. She has yet to pay him back for that sleight but that is soon to be rectified.

"Unfortunately for you, my dear man, this is already /quite/ personal."

Before her master can voice any complaints as the thoughts of aggression surface in her mind, Ophelia dashes at the SOLDIER from behind. The hilt of her katana is driven towards his side, aiming a disabling blow at his kidney while he is distracted. She strikes again mercilessly, carving her blade down and then up, followed by a series of blinding strikes that come from a half dozen different angles in the span of a few seconds.
Louis LeBlue "Witchcraft!" Louis declares at Will as he starts speaking to those around him. "Do not believe the Heretics - their lies are great and many. As are their dark magics. You saw how this man carries the wings of a demon on him!" Louis' halberd-blade trembles against Zack's Materia sword. The SOLDIER might be surprised with the strength of what seems to be a 'regular human' before him. Far more strength in fact, than a regular human /should/ ever be capable of.

Likely, Louis is surprised that Zack wasn't flung halfway across the room for blocking that just now. His eyes widen for a moment, then settle down to a sneer once again. At his side, Artemis comes in - still trying to halt him from getting to Ramza. But this time, Zack intercepts her! For all the talking Zack is doing, nothing of it really does anything for Louis. He's too far gone. He's not too smart either, so that helps.

"What is this? WHAT IS THIS!?" Louis demands to know. This isn't one of 'his' superiors. He'd know. He'd KNOW if there was an Ultima Demon or otherwise within Zack. "You dare tell me about stabbing someone in the back, when you FILTHY HERETICS just tried to slay a priest - and got innocent people involved in your little crusade!? HOW DARE YOU!?" And so, Zack just did something amazing.

He drew attention off of Ramza, and right onto him. Like, gigantic target painted on his ass now. That may or may not be a good thing, depending. He doesn't even hear Ramza's claim of leaving now. Right as Ophelia attacks, so does Louis - plunging his weapon straight for Zack's leg foot in an attempt to 'pin him' to the floor, before throwing a kick for his midriff.
Faruja Senra Will's words and the strange events almost get several Templar to turn upon the Priest who acted so strangely. Then the man speaks.

"Warriors of the Church! Do not allow this man to lead you astray! He's nothing more than a Heretic, no doubt in league with the assassins! Here to spread confusion, doubt, to weaken your faith!"

Shaking his head, he pushes past Arkie, Cressidia, and Hati. "Let me show you all a true miracle, the power of this chalice! I'll dispell doubt with this holy artefact of Faram! Witness HIS power!"

Kneeling over Faruja, Barnabus chants, holding the chalice over the rat. The stone within shines. Those sensitive to it would feel power, ancient and perhaps horrible, fill the room as green light settles over the fallen nezumi. Consuming him for a moment, it fades away.

Faruja Senra gasps, breath returning to his lungs. His eye opens, glancing about in panick. Barnabus lays a hand on the Templar's shoulder, smiling warmly. The wound is gone, as if it never existed in the first place; more perfectly healed than any act of technology or White Magic.

"Rise, you who would give your life for a fellow servant of Faram. By Ajora's hand, and Faram's divine power, you shall live." Weakly, Faruja takes Barnabus' hand, shakily standing, before collapsing into the arms of the large wolf beside him.

"Faram be praised! healed him!" "It's a miracle!" "Ajora bless! That was no spell!" Calls various remaining Templar. Several fall to their knees in prayer. Distracted, there's a good opening here for any who would seek to flee...

Barnabus breathes a sigh of relief, tucking the chalice within his robes. His hand seems to hold something, though nothing is in his free hand.

Only a single set of eyes can see the black strand remade, connecting himself and the stone. So too is Faruja's remade; about his neck like a leash. Or perhaps a noose.

Ramza makes his gambit. The Templar don't resist, between the miracle and their own wounds, unable to with so many arrayed against them. Barnabus smiles.

"Flee, cowards. Faram's judgement shall meet you soon enough." Inwardly, the Priest laughs.
Zack Fair Zack moves his blade around as Artemis comes swinging in; his blade meets hers, and he looks into her eyes. "No. Nobody dies today. Not on my watch. Not while I made a promise."

"C'mon. Let's get outta here. If we stay, people'll just get hurt."

Somebody does get hurt, alright. That somebody is Zack. As Ophelia's sword comes swinging in, Zack's blade flashes faster than it has any right to do with its size; the blade scrapes across his face, slashing his cheek, but it's mostly harmless. Unfortunately, it leaves Zack very open - Louis stabs Zack's foot, pinning him to the floor just as he desired, and his kick stabs into Zack's stomach with a great deal of strength and force.

Zack coughs.

"The way I remembered it, I just saved your life from a heretic, and you stabbed me in the back."


Zack's eyes flash. He rips the halberd out his foot with as much effort as it would take a normal man to stab him. "I could kill you with this right now. I could drive this through the skull of every single person in this room. You saw what I was capable of when I broke that crystal; you saw what I could do with my bare hands, and now you handed me another weapon."

Zack inverts the blade and hands it back to Louis. "But you're afraid. Somebody important to you just got attacked, and it's really easy to blame us because we were here."

"But lemme ask you a question. What kind of assassin hands you back your blade after you stab him?"

Zack grins, despite the blood. He doesn't slash. He doesn't cut. He doesn't strike back. He just slings his sword over his shoulder. "You guys get one, okay? 'cause I know you're scared, and I get that. And I really don't wanna hurt any of you."

He moves for the door, waving his hand over his shoulder. "But if you try and kill me again I will throw you out of this church and put my foot down your face until the self-defense laws say it's okay. Clear?"
Deelel Deelel now realises what's happrned to Faruja how badly he's been hurt and the showdown has just gone freaking crazy at this. There's things she knows she doesn't enderstand going on here. She's now sure what the heck to do at the moment. She needs to find out more she's listening shes' going to have to find people talk, collect information and find out. She also needs to consult with another...
Ophelia Ophelia's blade kisses flesh but she's not fast enough. The slight line of red that appears on Zack's cheek spurs her on and she brings her foreign blade back to strike again.

A hand on her wrist stops her, it's grip firm and harsh. Pain lances through her arm as the bones within her slender limb are squeezed together in an unnatural way until the sword clatters to the ground, falling from insensate fingers.

Alexander looms over the vampire with a harsh glare but says nothing, any complaint or order he may have had to give the young woman overshadowed by Father Barnabus' dismissal. She tugs at her wrist, trying to free herself from the humiliating position but the old man's strength far outweighs her own in this state. With a frustrated hiss, she turns away from him to glare at the heretics as they make their measured withdrawal.

A measure of composure returns to Ophelia after a moment. She casually brushes a loose lock of hair from her face and gives Zack a wry smirk, arm still held aloft.

"Another time then?"
Will Sherman "You are an idiot." Will says right towards Louis.

"A fool, a moron, a /unthinking/ brute." Will continues, walking towards Louis. "I was /willing/ to ignore you hurting my little sister for the sake of the people under your protection.."

"But you /willingl-Oh gods above no!"

Will stares in horror as the stone is used on Faruja...

No. NO...

Anger starts to draw on his hands...his eyes narrow...he is going to /shatter/...

Then Zack says stuff. Will winces. He grits his teeth and takes a step back. "<GOOSEHONK> you Tom wana be. I am not a Heretic, and YOU get to learn a important lesson today."

"I don't subscribe to your world view because I /come from a different one/. Deal with it." He says, "And if you /touch/ a hair on her head again. I'll do more than break your face." He says, and walks out, struggling to keep himself from rampaging.
Louis LeBlue "One who tries to confuse the masses." Louis answers Zack, squinting at him. "And you didn't save my life from her. Her sword won't be the end of me. And while I respect that you are strong, you are a mere Heretic, and are nothing before my blade - also, just to be clear, you jumped in the way the first time." Louis grabs the blade from Zack and prepares to use it upon him once more. But Zack is too fast, moving out of his reach and heading out of the place. "Come back you coward!"

Louis remains back however, watching Faruja having been healed, and kneels down besides the Burmecian. "Faruja, hey, are you alright?" Faruja is a comrade, so no angry Louis face for him. Aaand back to ignoring Will. He hasn't a clue who he is talking about in regards to a 'little sister' though.
Emi Dennou Emi is quiet for a few moments as Will is shortly referred to as a heretic. This is not entirely unanticipated, but she's at a bit of a loss on how to proceed. Does she shoot a hole through Louis's head, or does she do something that won't hamper her investigation? Is her investigation already ruined? She is not comfortable throwing Will under just for the case either. She owes him too much.

"Sir Templar." She says after a moment, carefully. "I am a detective. I would like to take one of the assassins as part of my private interrogation with regards to a plot against the Church."

She glances over to the assassins and then back to Louis. "It is obvious that there will be more coming. I doubt the mastermind has boldly shown their face here. I came here to support my friend Faruja." She nods to the Church Mouse. "And spent most of my time dealing with the assassins and trying to heal his wounds. Unfortunately, I am not that skilled a medic. Still, I hope that proves my credentials. You may ask Arkie--ahh Sister Fisher--about our skills if you are concerned about our capabilities."
Faruja Senra Still quite in the arms of his friends, Faruja stares into Louis as he kneels. The short Templar seems to stare /through/ his comrade. Muzzle moving in a constant litany of prayers, he trembles. Though healed in body, the shock and awe of a person having been part of a miracle remains. Eventually, his eye closes, succumbing to exhaustion. At the very least, he's alive.
Louis LeBlue Louis looks up when Emi begins to speak. A Detective? "I believe we have inquisitors who are perfectly capable of performing that job, though your offer is certainly appreciated." The man answers. In truth, he doesn't know Emi, and doesn't nessesarily trust her. He quickly glances down at Faruja, who is mumbling prayers, and picks him up and lays him into the hands of the large protective Werewolf - Hati. "Keep him safe." He demands of her, before turning aboutface to Emi and bowing his head a little.

"It is clear to me that the mastermind showed their face just fine here. And it appears that the Heretic leader - Ramza - has gained even more powerful members. I suggest you keep away from this conflict, little missy. You wouldn't want to get mixed up with 'their kind'."
Ophelia Ophelia turns her gaze to the young girl, frown already forming. Since it's clear that she's no longer intending to go rushing off to attack anyone again, Alexander releases her arm. She quickly gathers and sheathes the fallen blade before stalking over to stand before Emi.

"Your credentials are irrelevant," she starts with a smug and condescening tone, reaffirming Louis' words. "This is a matter for the Church. More specifically, the Inquisition shall be the one who prys the secrets from the lips of these foul assassins."
Emi Dennou Emi says, "I am sorry, it is my job to get involved in these conflicts. You do not have to worry, however. I have no intention of getting mixed up in anyone's kind." She considers for a moment and then adds, "It is my concern that someone within the Church may be assisting in coordinating the assassins--and I have a personal interest, now that they have hurt my friend, but I understand that I have little cause for you to believe me."

Hmm how to put this.

"--If I may make another offer. May I interrogate one under your--or a man of your choosing's--supervision?"
Louis LeBlue "Miss Ophelia, I leave this matter to you." Louis declares, before storming off. If he's fast, he might catch up to the Heretic forces and be able to find out where they have been hiding. But, knowing how fate works... it's likely that the man will fail in this effort. The Heretics were always good at covering their own tracks.
Emi Dennou Emi's head sssssssssslooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly turns towards Ophelia.





-->>>>o_o<<<<-- OH MY GOD SORRY FARAM
Ophelia The richly dressed woman glances over at Louis as he storms off and then back down at the creepily staring girl. She gives Emi the same dismissive smirk that sent Zack on his way, a hand coming to rest on her hip.

"Let me make this quite clear, little girl. I care nothing for what you perceive as your job or your business. You are not a member of this clergy and therefore have no need of any information regarding these attacks. If there is any wrong doing to be found among our ranks, that is for /us/ to discover and any such ill-conceived activities shall be dealt with... accordingly."

Ophelia's smile turns dark. "If you wish to investigate any such matters on your own, I cannot stop you. However, I suggest you take care, lest any unwanted suspicion fall upon your own shoulders. You would do best to heed the advice of that man and stay out of Church affairs. We are quite capable of handling them on our own."
Emi Dennou "Alright." Emi says at this point, reaching into her clothes to pull out a business card, which she offers to Ophelia.

"Then I will be taking the assassin that I captured on my own as a clan representative of Fluorgis. If you have issue with this, you can take it up to the mayor of Fluorgis." Emi says. "I will be, as a note, reporting your unwillingness to work with clan authorities with the city government and then you can tell the city government that you are stopping the detective who uncovered the Baron plot to destroy Fluorgis from investigating a crime."

She turns from Ophelia whether she takes the card or not, hefts the assassin she just cuffed not too long ago by the arm, and walks out the front door.
Ophelia Ophelia reaches out to take the card, her eyebrow quirking as she adopts an amused expression. She holds it up to her face and reads the neat printed lettering, her amusement evolving into a patronizing grin.

"Awwhaha. That's so cute."

It becomes much less cute when Emi picks up one of the assassins and attempts to just walk out. The verbal slap in the face is not one that she's willing to merely let slide. Her face contorts into a dark scowl and the sound of her blade being drawn is impossible to mistake.

"Your arrogance is astounding but it will not prevent me from cutting you down if you take a single step more, whelp."

Several of the templar glance at each other, not quite sure what to make of this. Many of them instinctively draw their own weapons, taking a step forward to impede the path of the girl and her cargo. However, before they can get much further another voice rings out throughout the chapel.

"Halt! You will allow this child to pass freely!"

Ophelia's eyes widen in surprise and she rounds on the owner of the voice with an angry glare, only to find herself staring at Father Barnabus. Her wrath fades a little but she quickly recovers and takes a step torwards him, her fist clenching in the air.

"But, Father! We must not allow her to-"

"Enough! This one has graciously offered their assistance. Surely you would not turn away a helping hand in our time of tragedy?"

Though he ask a question of her, the words are quite clearly filled with authority meant to squash any notions of disagreement. Ophelia's jaw clenches but she sheathes her blade and looks away.

"Tch. Have it your way."

"Thank you, my child." The old priest tries to prevent a measure of sarcasm from entering his voice as his subordinate 'allows' him to make the decision. He turns his gaze to Emi and gives her a gentle incline of his head. "Be well, child. Should you discover anything of import, please, bring it to our attention."

This scene contained 85 poses. The players who were present were: Faruja Senra, Will Sherman, Deelel, Hati, Emi Dennou, Ramza Beoulve, Serah Farron, Cressida, Ophelia, Artemis Eurus, Louis LeBlue, Arkham Fisher, Zack Fair