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No title.
(2013-07-01 - Now)
No description.
Albireo Albark The silence is almost deafening as Mercade Alexander's body falls to the ground. It is an oppressive silence, a monstrous silence that drowns out noise and thought and action; it is a stranglehold vacuum upon the world as time seems to slow for the express purpose of watching this man fall dead to the ground. It is as if someone turned on an old silent movie; each moment of his fall is a careful frame flickering in the dying light as the insides of the Tower yawn and swallow you up whole whether you set foot into it or not, the shadows wrapping around your party, great metaphorical hands dragging you into its great black maw. The image of Mercade Alexander is burned into your eyes as he falls, the last gasp of a dying man etched into your minds as the Tower of Oblivion suddenly opens itself into the stage that it has always been and was always meant to be.

A great stairway runs up, and up, and up. It spirals, infinitely high, up an infinite climb; each step is larger than a human being could cross in a single motion, as though it were made for the feet of a giant. High, high, high in the sky, you can see thunderclouds cross through the Tower, their lightning the only true source of illumination within. And yet it is lit, in some manner; a hazy half-light, a dreamy, phantasmal light that spreads throughout the foyer to touch each and every one of you.

That will-o-wisp luminescence falls on a dead man. Will Sherman lies at the base of the stair, his throat torn out by some ineffable creature - or a man, an unfamiliar man just off to the side, blood on his lips, phantom wolves and birds-of-prey raging around him like a tempest of beasts. That man struggles with another unfamiliar figure, a pretty little redheaded girl whose eyes blaze with power and madness alike; around her the world bends and twists and warps, shadows leaping to her command. And then...

And then there is Isaac Hanlon. Isaac, helpless, sees it all; Isaac, on his hands and knees, struck down by whatever it is that he witnessed mere moments ago, whatever it is that sparked this terrible conflict. Whatever it is, Isaac spares you what he saw - or perhaps your mysterious guide, the ever-smiling Albireo, is sparing you what Isaac saw, out of the kindness of whatever passes for a heart under that mysterious chest. Either way, Isaac knows something is missing from this scene; there is an outline, a subtle outline in the darkness, almost imperceptible if you aren't seeking it. It is tall and formless, and focusing on it too long will force a shiver down your back no matter how fearless; whatever is being omitted from this scene is being omitted for your good, that's for certain.

Albireo's lips spread in a wide grin as the tempestuous wild man and the redheaded girl rip each other to shreds, phantom wolves and shadow magic colliding explosively, over and over and over, until they are nothing. The blue-haired man slides his way over to Isaac - the real Isaac, not the phantasmal image sitting on his knees.

Albireo raises his finger to his lips and blows on it. It hums.

"Is this the real this just fantasy...caught in a landslide, no escape from reality..."
Pumpkinhead Ami is still sobbing for most of the voyage upward, though gradually she stabilizes--at least outwardly--she doesn't talk at all which isn't unusual but in this case the silence seems to not be shyness, but something not unlike guilt.

The party reaches a familiar scene, at least for Isaac, but as is apparent to Isaac it's not just familiar, there's been some modifications. Is this based on his memory or was his memory 'off' all along? Nobody else, of course, has any clue--not even The Network , the one entity that was also from this world.

"No escape from reality!" Feige sings back to Albireo, materializing in the room along with Imi who, notably, is holding a gun to her own head, smiling with dissonant serenity. "Open your eyes and take to the skies and seeeeeo/~"

She shakes her head slowly at the sight of the bloodshed, the phantoms vanishing under their own power. "Anyway, no funny business! I don't really want to, but her usefulness is just about at its end--I don't want to but, well, the choice between that and evisceration or whatever fun you have planned, heh..."
Avira Avira is paralyzed.

She knows that Mercade is not HER Mercade. The previous scene had very well established that such a Mercade, with a fondness for bouxom green-haired laides, existed. But there was so little difference between them. The green-haired woman's glowing words of him had been spot on, all the qualities she has come to know in her own detective. Physically, they were indistinguishable.

So although her mind struggles to rationalize the fact that her Mercade is standing next to her, seeing him dead like this hits him just as hard.

She's quick to back away and avert her gaze after only a moment of handling the corpse. She looks to the others and sees a dead Will and an Isaac in shambles-though really, that is actually the same Isaac right now, isn't it? She continues to look around, her gaze settling on an odd spot.

"...what /is/ that?" she says, squinting at the distortion, then drawing back. "W...what is that?!" Poor Feige, she gets /ignored/ right now. Though Avira's more likely to try to pop Albireo in the nose again at the moment.
Mercade Alexander There is no man who is so secure in the depths of his soul that he can see his own corpse and not feel a horrible shiver. For an unknown time he fell to his knees, staring glassy-eyed at this confrontation of his own mortality.

But he has to accept it. This is the past. Not his future... Though he does feel a sting of pain in his heart for the woman who waits for him in the Ringside Arrangements. Mercade looks up, forcing himself to his feet, and he stands, walking up to Avira, putting a hand on her shoulder and reaching down to embrace her. "Avira..." He says. "It's all right. We have to keep moving." He straightens, and he trys to draw Avira way from that horrible tableau....

Only to see even more horrible things.

Mercade looks over the oppressive, horrifying environment with wide eyes, taking in the situation and trying to make sense of it. He /has/ to make sense of it. The beastial man to one side, fighting the mad sorceress. The mauled, shredded Will. Isaac, broken and on his knees... And the blotted presence which no doubt would be the most terrible and majestic of all.

Feige's singing causes him to look over towards her, and he scowls. He is quiet for a moment, before he says, "I don't want to kill you, Abramson. But you're really making it difficult on me. Why are you doing this?"
Artemis Eurus Cold fingers dance their way up her spine as Artemis continues in the tower to see the other Will dead, her eyes moving on quickly to the strange anomaly that Avira soon focuses upon. The fingers on her spine digs in their nails and Artemis breathes in sharply. There is something simply /wrong/.

Artemis moves to stand behind Avira and speaks lowly, "I do not think you really want to do. It may be best to try to keep your eyes straight ahead," she suggests. But Mercade has the comforting thing done.

When Feige speaks and appears, Artemis' hand is upon the hilt of her sword, eyes narrowing as she regards the scientist cooly. She was merely muscle here and she knew it. Soon it would be time for muscle. There stands Imi, a gun to her head. Can Artemis be quicker than a gun? She is fairly confident that she could dissolve this quickly, but with some risk to Imi's life. Best wait a few, let the others speak, see if they can get a bit of distance between Feige and Imi.

Artemis is clearly ready however, strung taught and ready to act in an instant, her eyes locked on Feige's eyes as if trying to see her thoughts running behind them.

Mercade doesn't want to kill Feige? Whyever not? Artemis fully intends to make sure there is nothing left of her.
Deidra Deidra has got her anger under control though her eyes are still glowing solid red at the moment she's managed to reign her anger in she can only look at the body one last time and feeling a crushing feeling of loss. It was not the Mercade she knows and considers one of the people she trusts the most in the world. She heads up the stair keeping her wings close and an often making sure of herself leaping up each stair to get moving.

As they move up she finds another body and stares in horror it's Will ripped apart and she looks about for a moment and then there are others there she sees what has happened here she not sure who the others are but she knows they were likely important to him. She attempts to keep herself together for the moment as she knows there's more things going on than she can understand. She remains very quiet as the things on the radio bursts into song from Albireo she's not got anything else to save but she feels dead inside seeing Will now like this what else has happened how could something have gone so wrong here? How could have something gone so very wrong here.

She doesn't even register Feige for the moment then it dawns on her she's here she looks to Feige her eyes back to normal, and they narrow a bit as she sizes her up. Whatever Mercade's reasons for wanting to spare Feige she will trust him, she has to trust him in this situation, right?. Her wings unfurl and rise up as she seems to be ready to move but she does not act hostile and she tries to ignore Albireo singing over the radio. They are here to rescue someone, she thinks not commit murder.
Will Sherman Will thought he was ready for this...

Will was not QUITE ready for this...

Mercade's body with it's own head blow off causes a reaction...stress in his body. It's terrible...horrible...what kind of madness would drive that man to this? Any Mercade...

It melts away, revealing the inside...some woman, mad with darkness and power as the world warps around them. Another man eating and eating...standing over the body of...

His body.

Will stares at his body for a moment...There is just a moment, a sense of...slightly akin to horror and jealousy. Will will never experience death...he will never go to the other side...he will be here, forever. There is a comfort of death, not like this, but something that people find...

But he'll never have that mercy. Will shakes the thoughts...not now, not here...

Then Feige appears, Imi holding the gun to her head makes him snap back...there is something that raises inside him...anger...rage...despair. All of this at once...

But something is wrong. His eyes see Feige...and notice something off. Something...

Blot? How is this...what is this? What /IS/ the Blot? It's faint...hard to see, but standing next to Albark right now...

Will looks, what is hiding from his eyes...something is here, something else... but he can not see it...

Will reaches deep, reaches into this very soul...

Then suddenly there were two. Will and Loki's souls can be seen for a brief moment by those that can see such things. One dark, one light, both have a signifigant reason to be aware, to be be angry. They synchronize, and then...

Will's hands are glowing with red energy...his eyes looking for something...somewhere...

But Imi has his full attention first. His focus is purely on Imi, "Imi. You are not just a are a person. You can FIGHT this...You are not just a tool for that monster." he offers a hand, "Hand us the gun."
Isaac Hanlon The doors open. A gunshot. Isaac sees Mercade fall for the second time in person. It is the thousand-thousandth time he has seen it in his own mind's eye. It hurts a little less each time. By now, he's almost wholly numb to the sight.

Or, at least... that's what he tells himself.

Isaac starts forward. He puts one foot in front of the other, starting mechanically and then getting some energy into it. His expression similarly begins blank; it fills in as he goes, shifting to sudden sorrow and gradually changing to total outrage. He goes forward, into the tower. His body starts to shimmer, wobbling like he was the subject of a badly-made flip-book; it seems to flicker between the shape of a serpent the size of a man with a cunning gleam in its eyes and Isaac himself.

"I am I," Isaac states, his voice a snarl as he strides past the rest of his comrades, "and no one else."

The strange effect stops. Isaac does not. He walks out into the open space at the base of the staircase, crossing the distance. He tenses a little more with every step, gaining a little more speed. By the time he's halfway to the battle on the stairs between the red-haired girl and the man surrounded by phantasms, he's broken into a dead run. He casts a glance at Feige and Imi, but his focus isn't on them -- Will has that handled, Will and everyone else. Isaac looks ahead, at him, and the missing shape, and suddenly, everything falls into place.

They say that history repeats. They didn't say anything about memory.

Reality reasserts itself -- Isaac's reality, and no one else's. Things are wrong here. He fixes one, but only one. Albireo's singing is needless -- it isn't what he heard, back then. He remembers setting it all up very clearly.

There's a feeling like an elevator car just ground to a halt, the world of memories shuddering in protest. Everything carries on as if it had begun to smoothly rise once again, without a hint of the disruption in service. Sounds filter in from behind him, from outside. The city is alive with music, drowning out the chaos and the carnage caused by the end of this world.

o/` And for him this life is made of time and choices
An endless blend of vistas painted bright with memories
The here and now will bow to him to only serve one purpose
To keep your peace o/`

Things outside are calmed by it, if only a little. In here, it just reminds him of what he has to do.

"BEE! GET BACK!" Isaac Hanlon slashes his left hand through the air in front of him with a yell of barely-contained fury. He unleashes a rippling blast of bright cyan twisted together with vivid gold, parting the air and erasing shadow-creatures that surround the strange man attacking the girl as it comes in contact with them. The lash seeks the man controlling them, the man with a bloodied face, standing over the body of one of his dearest friends and assaulting the mere memory of the one person he loved most in this world or any other.

He was helpless. /Was/ helpless. Now, he's anything but. He attacks him with the power he should have brought to bear /then/, the reality-warping sorcery he's always held and rarely expressed. His teeth are bared in a snarl, his eyes wide as he hits the figure with another surge of the same power before he can register what just happened.

And then, because he knows who he is and what he can do, he hits him again.

And again.

And /again/.
Albireo Albark Albireo continues singing his song until the music ends, the angelic backup vocals dying as he folds his hands behind his back to watch; Isaac's music forces its way through the world, and Albireo's smile widens a little bit more. Isaac strikes with magical fury and desperation and rage, but he might as well be striking ghosts; they are memories, and nothing more. The strikes do little but aid in the destruction of them both; the howling man still gets his jaws around the redhead's throat, just like Isaac remembers. It happened again.

"For someone who's accepted the present," Albireo observes, leaning against Avira, "He sure does struggle to change the past, doesn't he."

A bunch of people ask Albireo about the big omitted space, and he just smiles on, like the whole thing is one great big joke to him. "It's very interesting how you folks do that. You think you're the main characters; you think you're *important*, like the world revolves around you! You show up in my house and make demands of me, and then you get angry at me for answering you!" He leans down between Avira and Mercade, stage-whispering, "It's not really very attractive to be so selfish."

"Oh, but, what am I saying. You have so much more to do. And, well..."

"Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go o/ Gotta leave you all behind to face the Truth..."
Pumpkinhead "Eh," Feige says. "Always with the questions, and half the time when I respond, it's like I'm talking to air. Or I'm not believed. Well, that's how it is with being in the field of mad science, I suppose." She waggles a hand from side to side. "And--hey! Hey!"" She waggles her arms at Avira like a muppet. "Don't look behind the curtain! Ugh!" She looks back to Mercade. "Anyway. Countless reasons. First if I trap y'all here forever, I'm pretty sure I'll be granted all the secrets of the multiverse I could want--haha just kidding, I'll never be satisfied!--Secondly," She holds up a second finger. "I wished to confirm Isaac's story. I know, I know, it's not a very impressive reason but you can't just trust /one/ conversation, you know?"

She spins on her heel, walking back in front of Imi for the moment. "Thirdly..."

She pauses for a moment.

"Thirdly..." She looks towards that dark 'gap' in nothingness and says, "Well, I'll leave that...I'll leave that for you...if you want."

And then, from the outline, comes a whisper. "Yes..." The voice sounds almost mild mannered at first hearing, but after running it through your hand it sounds more like the voice is trying on humanity the way any other monster would put on a mask of skin to appear human. "The time for masks is over. After all, I owe them--or their alternate selves--so much."

God steps forward. If Isaac looks, he'll remember the cloak, he'll remembering seeing the COSMOS inside of his cloak, the cosmos of his world.

"The third reason, was because I left something behind in that dream. I needed him back. Thank you, everyone, for bringing him to me."

Tendrils of Blot reach out and grab ahold of Almark's fate lines. Will can try to stop it, but it won't work, it's too powerful--too natural--it's not his fate lines being manipulated, it's his fate lines returning to normal.

Albireo no doubt says another some more pithy comments before suddenly, as if a vaccuum had just opened up, he is pulled inward towards God's 'body', consumed whole in just a few moments into the cosmos of his robes.

"I couldn't manifest my body, as I was, I had to act through this agent." God continues.

"My way is Yahweh!" Feige chirps merrily. "Proof of God, yes! Hahaha! If only Alma could have seen this?" Her eyes sparkle with madness.

Meanwhile Will tries to appeal to Imi. Imi smiles blankly at him and says, "Sorry! According to my programming, I /am/ a puppet."

"I am truly sorry." God says, reaching up towards his hood. "But I haven't been completely honest." He pulls the hood back and something akin to a glamour fades away from him.

And what remains is a shadow man, his entire body of inky shadow. The fate lines are suddenly--clear as day--covered in Blot. It is an entity that reaches out throughout all its connections and corrupts, corrodes.

"I am... Once I was called... The Phantom Blot."

BGM CHANGE: (If Isaac tries to BGM Change it to something else while Phantom Blot is present, it will be absorbed by the darkness).

"Thanks to you, and my servant... I have been allowed to return to the worlds from which Yensid has banished me, carved me up with the accursed blade, and divided my body amongst the worlds. For aeons I have slept, dreamed--my dreams infiltrating and corrupting your reality irregardless of my desire. For aeons, the world in which dream overlapped with reality, I struggled to awaken, to be free...that desire...manifested itself as Albireo Almark."

The Phantom Blot whispers, "But you likely do not know of my name as the Phantom Blot. My true Chaos." He then makes a faint 'achem' and calls out, "PHANTOM THIEF MARS! It is time you revealed yourself! There is no chance you are not here...!"
Maximilien Max /is/ there. He's been there the whole time, of course; he used a hero point to be in the scene. His cape flutters a little as he makes his appearance somewhere behind Feige - how he got back there is inexplicable.

"There are a million ways I want you to die," Max hisses at Feige's ear, his voice dark and low and black in all the ways the TDA has never heard it. Then he straightens and looks up at the thing that speaks his name, that named his presence; he looks directly at it for all of a moment. Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne is, after all, made of willpower.

That doesn't mean he wants to look at it for long. He jerks his eyes away after a moment, his voice and smile restored. "And whom may I say is calling?"
Mercade Alexander Mercade finds himself, and the TDA, caught in a rididiculously complicated trap.

"What the..." Mercade says, struck comparatively dumb for the moment as he sees like ten trap cards go off at once. "I... I..."

Mercade looks around at what's going on, the man who is usually so good at thinking on the fly paralyzed at the moment with the inability to really think of what he should be /doing/ at the moment. Isaac is fighting the man, an eldritch horror is reborn, Abramson has Imi...

Everything is fallaing apart, and he's not sure what he can do about it.

Or if he /can/ do anything about it.
Avira Avira takes another step backwards, mentally likening the sensation to /really/ looking at Garland. Unpleasant. Not something she can endure for long, especially given the dimmed state of her heart. She feels the hand on her shoulder and covers it with one of her own, looking up to see Mercade.

He wraps her arms around her and Avira holds onto him. "Mercade...what is it..." she murmurs, unable to look away, her stomach twisting as she witnesses Isaac leap forward to try that girl? A girl he is calling Bee? But it was a memory.

Uncomfortably, Avira's briefly sandwiched between two men. Normally she'd be okay with this, but one of those men is Alberio.

Even worse, seconds later, the man wedges his head between her and Mercade to whisper obnoxiously at him. Avira shoots him an angry look before looking away. just the wrong time. God reveals Himself and she freezes. "Wh..." she stares, "That''s...He's...Yahweh.." Well fortunately, He turns into something a little more comprehensable to look at, not that it is much better. It is a pure darkness that Avira has gazed into before and even stumbled through between the worlds.


"Ffffff-" she carefully unwinds herself from Mercade and steps in front of him, sliding the Spine free.
Will Sherman Will can not fathom what is going on...he is not old enough to, his power is too wrapped up in Binding Loki... he has spent too long amongst the mortals...but...

It's also gives him a perspective that is different from others. Will's strings are...numberous at best. He is old, he never truly forgets people he's met over his life...eve here, even now...even when chaos itself stands before them...even when they unwittingly released it...

He steps forward, towards Imi. "No, you are not. It is a lie by Feige. She was trying to control your sisters...she is trying to seal your heart away.." Will focuses only on Imi. Nothing else matters right now...Isaac is doing what he needs to do, the annoying man is eaten...nothing else matters for this one moment.

He grabs Ami's hand, he needs this...he feels something. The light, the memories of Imi...

It rushes from the other Dennou' comes from the hearts of the other members of the TDA...

Will steps forward again, aiming to reach for the strings of Imi...

Aiming to...connect the hearts for just the briefest of weigh the dice in their favor.

"Wake up!" he commands.
Artemis Eurus Artemis has no idea, specifically, just what is going on. The small details are lost on her, but the big picture is not. Who is Yahweh specifically? She had no idea. But she knows enough. She isn't stupid. You do not simply ignore the presence of a god. She'd never thought the gods were not real. She stands here in the presence of Chaos. That is one hell of a complication.

But it does not change the mission.

Artemis' eyes have been on Imi, every muscle in her body poised to strike. An opening is seen, her instincts ring and she abides by their call. There comes a sound of muted thunder, like the crack of lightning crashing from under water and Artemis disappears from where she stands, reappearing not a heartbeat later in front of Imi, her hand already raised to grab the girl by the wrist and knock the gun from her hand.

Two plans are formed in that instant, but hopefully they come together peacefully instead of clashing, as Will tugs on the threads of wyrd that tie them together.
Deidra Things go from bad to even worse. Yahweh appears the Gargoyle is dumb founded beyond words and their mind is about reeling at this revelation what the heck is going on here. It does not last even as Albireo Al bark is consumed? Wait what is going on here she's straining go understand what's going on here then the thing reveals it self.

It's chaos itself a terrible force something that causes feelings deeply rooted in life that have been there since life was young. The fear of chaos burbles forth for a moment she steps back for half a second there's an urge to run, she fights that down and has her itome out in hand as she moves up along side Mercade and Avira she has an idea of where this is going she's got to focus on something, something to do if she thinks too hard about what's going on her mind might break. This has been a night of terror and despair and it's only seeming to get /worse/. It seems it was all a setup to free the Phantom Blot err chaos or whatever this thing is? It is terrible news for everyone here.

Will presses on and does something he's trying more than words something powerful, she feels Will's power for a moment as he connects to the TDA and thinks she understands what he's trying to so. It may be the best chance they have to save Imi. Still even if this daring plan works there's the matter of the Phantom Blot, Deidra prepares herself now. Artemis has a very good plan in mind as she moves in it's going to be soon time for Deidra to play her part.
Isaac Hanlon Isaac is doing what he thinks needs to be done. It is not what needs to happen, but it is what he /wants/ to happen. He hurts him, hitting memory with something that should hurt even that. It might slow him down, but it doesn't stop the inevitable. The wild man descends on the girl, and they disappear, consumed by a tide of utter blackness that swirls up from below and descends from above. Isaac watches phantom-him stumble to his feet, crying out and trying to ascend the staircase, to get away from the terror and to find the girl.

He turns away. He remembers it like it was yesterday -- and here he is, seeing it today.

Albireo is consumed as Feige's master shows himself. Isaac remembers it. He Who Is Called I Am, Yahweh, the Almighty, God with a capital 'G.' He remembers trying to find... someone... and looking into His boundless self; he remembers beginning to speak with him when the Heartless finally reached them, and when the world fell once again. He'd always wondered why He never chose to strike them down. Isaac assumed it was because of how twisted the world had become with His death, but now...

Now he knows.

Isaac turns back to Feige, and to the cloaked figure from out of his memory. It is real, his mind screams, reeling from the sight. It is /real/, as real as what you saw beneath that helm, within that armor. Those eyes, those /eyes/ --

Isaac swallows thickly. He shudders violently, and forces himself to calm down. He trembles, but only just. He can look upon the Phantom Blot and not turn away in terror and nausea; he has seen Chaos no less than three times, unfiltered by the meager lens of the human eye. Your wounds are already his scars.

"It was all for this? For... for /you/? All of it?" His voice is hollow, like he doesn't want to believe it.
Pumpkinhead "I am called the Phantom Blot," The entity says. "Much like yourself, I set aside my true name long ago. In all honesty, I do not even remember my name...just as I planned it." He glances towards Isaac. "Thanks to...what is he calling himself now...Garland? Yes, he struck Isaac with a sword made from his own nightmares. I choose not to belief that was not accidental on his part. Perhaps he desired a favor. I will consider how to repay him at a later time...but the nightmare recursion allowed Albireo to be ressurected. He was no mere memory. He was a dream."

"Haha," Feige laughs. "Well I don't want /you/ to die. But to be fair, it's not as if I knew you two were so gosh darned close when I made my move. Yahweh was very interested--But yep, all for him! Why, you wouldn't think this is the first time I hacked the Network, do you? They were going to destroy them! I had to save them...for their worth... they still had so much untapped potential, but to be sent to the Cronus project--what a waste! I tried I tried, I really did, but in the end--The Network itself foiled my efforts... but I learned. I learned to hack their system...and that's what drew Yahweh to me. He had a mision for me. I tried to resist, I honestly did...but..ahnn...who can resist the will of God for long? Not me..." She smiles broadly, mad tears trickling down her cheek. "Not me... He called me his little chaos butterfly. Flap flap... through the Network, I sent a message...a message to Mercade Alexander over there--"

At this point hell breaks loose. Will tries to speak to Imi. And it doesn't seem like it's working--but in truth, it works just enough. The grip on the gun slackens just enough for Artemis to notice.

And she darts forward, grabbing the gun and smacking it away and smacking her arm. Imi sends a shock directly through Artemis to throw her off of her.

Ami who has been quiet all this time suddenly snaps her gun up and fires it--not at Imi, but at Feige. With her control over electromagnetics, she manages to guide it so it collides directly into her chest. Feige is sent flying backwards and Ami runs forward, tackling into Imi as well, "This one will hold her and perform counterviral procedures. Do what you have to do, The Network requests." And with a sudden jump, she throws herself forward through infinity, the two rapidly becoming faint dots--but the plan worked. Imi is now effectively no longer a hostage.

The Blot looks at the fallen Feige for a moment before turning back to Isaac. "I was that world." He says. "Its dreams were my dreams, or more appropos--my nightmares my nightmares. I tried to destroy myself...or what you might call Albireo Almark tried to destroy me. The product of an eternity of isolation, seperate from most of my soul. But he is I, and I am him. The Network..." He raises his heads. "Well, I will leave that to Miss Abramson."

He turns and says, "But do not worry, Isaac. I do not intend to allow your friends to remain dead. You have done me a great service. I am not like other Chaoses. I am Man Versus Himself. I am the Rebellion against the Self. I will ensure your friends are ressurected."

He shimmers once, and adds, "Phantom Thief MARS... I will assist you in saving your sister as well. But we will discuss that at another time. I understand too well...what it is to lose family."

And then he vanishes from the Castle Oblivion.

Feige Abramson gets herself up, rubbing at her chest where she's been shot. Red blood drips from the wound but she quaffs a potion, healing herself. IT should have blown her chest apart, but something stopped it from hitting all the way.

"Heh...heh..." Feige chuckles faintly, clawing at her face. "Well I've done my job... but you're not gonna let me just leave are you...? Heh... heh..." She lets her hands drop. "...Do you want to know the secret of The Network..? Why they were perfect... why my interest...?"

She stands up, tearing off her skin with her own hands along her arms, revealing animatronic parts, and black globes of Blot within them, segmented so as to not reach the rest of her body. "We shall bring Paradise here! Let's see if you're worthy of the universe Metatron desired! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!" She fans out her arms, flinging bottles of SCIENCE towards the group.

It's unpleasant.
Maximilien Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne has three great desires in this world. Among them, the Blot - the thing that stands before them, that IS this world's God, the binding force of the memories that Isaac Hanlon currently stands in - has just offered him his biggest.

It's a question, then, of who Maximilien Amades Renaud-Sylvianne is. Of what he'll give up, of what he'll sacrifice, to save his little sister as he swore he would so long ago, when the darkness closed around Paris and the nightmares came crawling from the edges of reality to swallow it whole, and her fingers had slipped through his-

Max is jolted out of his thoughts as Feige begins flinging bottles of SCIENCE at him. Max's reaction is faster than fast, swifter than swift; the Phantom Thief ducks, the bottles swishing past him, barely scraping across his flowing cape as he drops. They splatter against the wall of the infinite Tower; Max straightens, watching as Feige tears herself to pieces, revealing what she truly is.

Yes. This. He can focus on this. This is palpable, this is something he can reach out and touch and interact with, something within his ability to grasp. This is not a god; this is a person, if a mechanical one. It wasn't like he hadn't dealt with mechanical people before.

Max bundles up his feelings. He shoves them behind the mask, the mask he had worn for as long as he could remember; he stuffs his feelings away and reaches into his coat. The smile comes out as Max draws a rose out of his pocket.

"Madamoiselle, I have known you were nothing since the moment I touched your hand in Manhattan," Maximilien replies wryly, "Your fingers were far too cold."

He spins the flower as his cane snaps out of his sleeve, glowing with magical power as he fills the room with the sweet scent of roses...and disappears.
Will Sherman Will gets science RIGHT TO THE EYES.

Will recoils in pain...covering his eyes and shakes his head...

Ami and Imi fall over the edge... "NO!" he calls out, looking down at

Could they survive it..? He...

Wills eyes narrow...

"There is no forgiveness." he says, with a edge...a tone...something that isn't strictly him, he energy unfolds from his body, as strings themselves become visible to everyone.

And then he reaches to simply start plucking Feige's strings. Reguardless of her role as just a is one she embraced, she chose this they did theirs. And he just starts removing strings.

"FIEGE!" he booms in anger.
Artemis Eurus Phantom Blot? What in the nine worlds? Artemis is taking this all in, but she had to remain focused. This is the realm of Isaac and the others. She's a guest here. Chaos seems to take no interest in her. That's just /fine/.

Artemis grits her teeth against the shock delivered from Imi, not letting go even as her hair stands on end and her muscles convulse. Ami arrives then, and takes over. Artemis nods. "Understood!" she says to Ami, flashing her a look a respect before she stands and begins moving toward Feige.

She pauses only momentarily as Feige begins tearing off her skin. It is a horrific sight. Somewhere inside her head, Artemis is screaming. It is tucked away. Everyone is emotional. She cannot afford to be too.

That doesn't mean she isn't invested.

"I want you to know that I am going to take your head," she says to Feige, calmly, cooly. Then she dashes froward, her katana a blur of gleaming steel that slashes straight for Feige's throat.
Mercade Alexander Mercade watches the events before him unfold. Exposition is made. Mercade listens as the Blot explains itself. Chaos. God? No. Not God, but something else. He cannot accept this.

He does not respond to the Blot, even as he makes dark offers to Hanlon and Max. He believes in them. He has nothing to say to the entity. It vanishes, forestalling one immediate problem. The situation simplifies. The beastial man and the woman vanish, consumed by darkness. Something about it feels... bitter, to him, but he does not know them. He cannot understand the context of what was happening, not like Hanlon does. The situation is simplified.

The teamwork of Will, Artemis, and Ami create an opening. The hostage situation is handled, for now. The situation is simplified.

All lines draw towards Feige Abramson, the singular point, who calls out for them, to test them. The bottles fly out towards them, and Mercade backflips in the infinits space, one hand snapping out to produce the pear-handled magnum. His trenchcoat flares as he lands...

Next to his own body. His other hand feels something. Something warm. He looks down, and nods to himself.

Mercade stands, the other hand bringing up a Glock .45 ACP. In his world, a regular pistol that held regular bullets, a weapon he used to fight horrors with the desperation and will of a man whose life and death were changed forever.

Here, it has meaning. He racks the slide, an empty brass casing ejected from it to spin on the floor, and he whips his hands through the air, preparing to spill blood in the House of the Lord. "Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself, Abramson." Mercade says, simply, as he begins to lay down dual-pistoled fusillades.
Avira The moment the Phantom Blot says the name Garland, Avira seems to zone out entirely, rage in her eyes. Garland, he who would presume to toy with all of their lives like this-of course he's related. To make matters worse, it seems to escape.

Slowly, she turns towards Feige. She has nothing to say towards the pawn of Yahweh-Phantom Blot, eyes quickly darting as everyone makes their move and the Dennous...seem to escape? It's hard to determine how exactly they exit from Castle Oblivion. Previous experience has taught her it just happens.

Much to her disappointment, the shot to the chest does not take Feige out. While there's no doubt Avira would fight her, the thought of personally killing her, even after all of /this/ still feels overwhelmingly repulsive. That was a small sliver of herself that she would never let go-

'We shall bring Paradise here!'
'We shall bring forth the Dreaming.'

Avira grinds her teeth and charges forwards, smashing through one of the hurled glasses, ignoring the cloying contents that cling to her. "No." she hisses, descending upon Feige, Spine striking out multiple times at each Blot-filled chamber upon the cybernetics. "Not again."
Deidra Deidra listen as the Blot aka chaos goes on. It tells about what it did, he tells his plans what he did and hints to why he did so. She narrows her eyes as he goes on but it ends as Will makes his move and everyone else does at this point.

"This world, it's people that you destroyed there is to be no forgiveness or mercy foe what you have done. You played with the lives of untold people and you will answer for it."

Then things get better for a moment but become worse rapidly after. Imi shoots Feige and everything starts to happen so fast. Then even more reveals that leave her so shocked she's dumbfounded now it plans to bring back Isaac's friend. No it's likely in some twisted fashion they will be returned it seems. Then Feige goes to a new level of body horror as she rips herself apart and reveals her true nature the Gargoyle can only watch for a moment before her mind gets enough control again to get her self moving. She has not forgot about Ami and Imi there's nothing she can do right now but fight Feige. She does not yell at her she just starts the Latin chanting she then raises one hand at the thing that was the mistress of mad science or perhaps it always was that thing that they see now? Still her spells are woven and the curses attempt to sink into the nightmare.
Isaac Hanlon Exposition.

There was a time when Isaac would welcome such information. He would listen very carefully, insisting the other members of his entourage be quiet and let them continue ranting. He'd get all the little things he'd need later on to destroy them in this manner, and oftentimes, wouldn't even need to use them.

The Phantom Blot and Dr. Abramson are two individuals -- entities, at this point, he mentally remarks -- who need to be so destroyed. Not destroyed; the word has lost too much of its meaning over the course of years, used by everyone and everything whenever they even jokingly threatened someone. Death is too easy, an escape from reality. He doesn't want them to go to whatever the Hereafter might be, if such a thing even exists. That's a reward, even if a poor one in some cases.

He wants them to /cease/. To be /annihilated/. There will be no moment of peace after a long road; there will be no respite once their trials are at an end. Their existences will terminate with blind terror and a moment of utter agony, and then their twisted little minds will lock onto that and that alone as they cease to be in even the /thoughts/ of those left behind. They will be /less/ than a memory. Dreams won't be able to /contain/ them.

Isaac hears the offer. He is dimly aware of some kind of caustic chemical splashing onto him. There's a flicker of the cyan light from earlier, and the wizard casts himself into the air before more can seep into him. There are flickers of what seem to be embers, hissing heat arising from him, shedding the burning concoctions. It's impossible to be from him -- Isaac can't do a lick of elemental magic, that much is certain. He trembles with what seems like animal terror, hanging his head like a puppet with its strings cut. His eyes stare hollowly into the middle distance.

Isaac's voice is a quiet thing. It reaches the bounds of the chamber all the same.

"Some say the world will end in fire," he says, speaking flatly. He sounds as if he's reciting something. Some might find it familiar, if they are particularly well-read. He lifts his head, very slowly, straightening his stance and coming out of his nearly boneless slouch. His eyes slowly track towards the animatronic Abramson. They're empty, devoid of much of anything. The spark is gone. "Some say in ice."

The sorcerer lifts his arms like a maestro preparing to conduct. His tablet is in his pocket; his mechanical hang twitches, as if with a pent-up desire for violence of its very own. He takes hold of the magic within and without, ignoring his own trappings and casting them aside. There is no thought for such things.

"From what I've tasted of desire..." Isaac continues, his voice taking on a vaguely sing-song quality. The corners of his mouth turn slightly upwards. The expression never reaches his eyes, but a spark grows there. It is an ugly thing.

The Ivalicean mages had it all wrong. You don't call down fire. You don't summon it forth from the ground or the sky or within or anything like that. As such, Isaac doesn't bother casting Firaga. He can't, anyway. That isn't what he does.

If he could, it would be a pale comparison to what happens next.

The air between Isaac and Feige stops being air with a loud WHUMP and a wave of intense, searing heat. He transmutes it from oxygen into nothing less than napalm, sluicing the Greek fire across the floor in the form of a liquid inferno. It doesn't so much approach her as it does appear around her, collapsing inwards with a cataclysmic roar and then leaping up from the ground like a hungry geyser. The temperature inside the otherwise chilling Tower raises a handful of degrees, and it devours the darkness like it was a pile of dry tinder. The inferno has a life of its own.

Isaac continues, speaking as if nothing had happened. There's a slight edge to his voice. His left hand has clenched into a white-knuckled fist.

"I hold with those... who favor fire."
Pumpkinhead "Aw c'mon, these are recent." Feige clicks her hand once. "Had to do /something/ once Cronus tore me open that night." Will grabs at Feige's strings. This is almost as much of a bad move as it is when he was going for Legion BLOT. As it stands, even as he rips into Feige's strings, the Blot travels alongside the strings, rapidly ripping along Will's own, the ones he cannot see, but he can see the Blot traveling towards him, reaching--they don't take his eyes, not just yet, but it wants them, it can almost taste them.

Being a guest has its advantages. Their lack of interest has already proven to result in big problems for Feige who is now out a hostage. She probably attacked first because she is not so foolish to expect she would get out of here without a fight. And she has no intent to surrender. Artemis slams her sword against Feige's throat, cutting off the synthflesh there and revealing powerful metal. Feige reaches up with an arm and grabs Artemis's.

"Honestly, they invited outsiders." She clucks her tongue. "You've made this difficult for me." Her grip tightens gradually, ultimately the strength becomes CRUSHING rather than merely uncomfortable. She then swings Artemis up and tosses her aside.

"Haha... New Testament eh? Why do you think that applies to me? All books are fallible compared to the true thing." But Feige didn't wear a bible over her breast pocket today so bullets are still quite effective against her. Most of them slam into her animatronics denting and bending the metal--it's very durable, but she retaliates with a magnetic pulse, sending those bullets flying right back for Mercade!

Deidra's curses slow Feige down even as she flits forward, leaning right into her ear to whisper a word to her--it makes her ears scream in agony before Avira finally closes in on her, ripping apart several Blot packs along Feige's body and sending them spraying about. She gets some of it on her.

It's horrible.

Feige stumbles about. " that all--"

Isaac explodes Feige Abramson. The fire rips through her body, igniting what remains of her synthflesh and showing her animatronic body--the bulk of what remains of her body, there's still some organic bits, but right now they're purely consumed by flame.

She screams in something between ecstasy and pain before like 6 missiles fly out at Isaac, detonating around him.

Feige walks through the fire. "The supreme cybernetic technology, mm? Animatronics, they called it." She gestures forward. "The truth of The Network... is their original purpose. They were not meant for Cronus--rather, they were made to be Angels! You see, The Angels were a Network in of themselves. The Blot--is a Network in of himself. Heh hah hah. That similarity of nature between them of Mercade allowed them to join his communicate."

Feige tries to fall back, throwing herself backwards as she says, "Behold! The fruits of my Masters! The Beetleworx!"

Horrible crab monsters, each filled with The Filth start crawling out from infinity, running towards our heroes and attempting to bite and claw and snatch!
Will Sherman Will is thrashed...beaten, caught by the Beetleworx... his body bleeds and is broken...finally, he is thrown to the ground as the BLOT tries to tear at his own strings...

Will isn't a god, demi god is even a long shot...he is something other than human, but he is still MOSTLY human...he just happens to hold things that should not be in his heart. He lies still efor a moment....

And then his broken body starts to move, his hands pushing him to his feet...his eyes focused right on Feige with every terrible stare he can get out. Blood trickles down his face running into his eyes as the blot tries to get something into his very being...


The blot finds the strings repaired, Will can die, will can be broken...However, Will's fate can not be changed except by his own will. He stands, one arm hanging uselessly at his side as he takes a step forward...he can see the blot, the string...he needs to avoid it...and aim for what is keeping Feige together. He bites his tongue, weathering the pain of the various injuries...tears run down his face, pain threatens to take him from the waking world, but Will refuses...

"THEY ARE NOT YOUR TOOLS!" Will shouts, "They are PEOPLE! They are who they WANT to be...not who YOU tell them to! LIFE is not yours to toy with. Life is not your domain. NOR is the fate of others! They have their own will, their own desires, their own worries, fears, regrets...they are NOT YOUR TOYS! THEY ARE MY LITTLE SISTERS...AND YOU WILL NOT TOUCH ANOTHER HAIR ON THEIR HEADS!"

Will leaps forward, he has only one good arm, but he doesn't care. He strikes with it, and kicking if he has to. Will unleases evetrything he can, repeatedly and viciously...he tears at not just her physically, but her very existance...


And then...

He litterally tries to shatter her fate with a single, terrible, earth shattering punch...
Avira With brutal efficiency, Avira's serrated blade tears through the Blot packs that are no doubt giving Feige additional power. Some of the Blot gets on her. Avira shudders.

But she keeps going. Weeks ago, Garland drowned her in the Darkness. This felt like a minor annoyance in comparison.

"Go on." Avira drawls, her brown eyes focused upon the scientist. She slips around with agility, easily granting access to Isaac or Mercade or Artemis or anyone who dares strike this awful woman. It was tempting to tell her to shut up, this was important-sounding. Something in here had to be a key to tracking down the Blot-or maybe even defeating Garland-no, Chaos.

A beetleworx uncerimoniously knocks her down from behind, pinning her to the ground with its massive bulk. It's tragically easy to do, really, because Avira is an extremely petite woman (as Max has succintly noted before). It takes considerable struggling on Avira's part to wiggle her way out from underneath it, then strike out at its legs to topple it awkwardly before moving for higher ground. Of course, the higher ground just happens to be on the beetle's back since there are no other options available. In a way, it's like riding Herbie, her steelclad beetle from Ivalice. Except this thing is far more murderous.

Inwardly, she feels awful. This is a fight for survival for her, not a fight to take someone /down/. Not a beating. Garland's words come back to haunt her. You don't fight me, you /survive/ me. "...then it's all I can do right now. ISAAC!" she calls out over his crackling flames. He'll find no trace of Avira's own ice magic being attempted here, her own magical power not enough to overcome this. But Isaac will feel something else though in the form of an odd calming effect that evokes memories of that void he traveled to months ago to meet Avira there.

The feeling spreads, then, to Mercade. HER Mercade. Will will also feel it too, that strange light power, entwining with his own threads.

Avira grits her teeth, the pain inside her caused by the Blot suddenly much sharper. Her free hand clenches tightly upon the carpace of her unwilling mount.
Artemis Eurus Artemis bares her teeth at Feige, grass-green eyes gleaming from within her mask even as Feige grabs her arm and tries to crush her wrist. Bones crack, bruises form almost instantly. Artemis clenches her teeth hard against the pain and is then thrown.

Gracefully, Artemis turns herself in the air, smoothly controlling her descent so that she lands neatly in a crouch, watching Feige with narrowed eyes. "A favor was owed," she replies to Feige, then reaches to her belt to pull out a wineskin--except it is filled with tea of course. She unfolds to her full height once more, quaffing the tea then tossing it aside. The samurai then rolls her wrist as it heals itself, at least partially. It is enough.

Artemis just stands there as Feige speaks. It makes a strange kind of sense, but it makes no difference to her. Artemis does not care what they were intended to be. She cares for what they are.

An oath was made. A debt to be repaid.

The masked woman disappears again from where she stood, reappearing behind Feige and sweeping her sword out in a deadly arc of speed and well-honed fury in an attack meant to sever the spine. Feige was not human anymore, but everyone had weak points. Artemis would attempt to find them.
Maximilien "There's no way I would allow something so disappointing to touch my flesh," Max replies as he dances between the hideous beetles like they're not even there. He really moves like a world-class dancer, too; each step is a twirl, each tap of his cane accompanies a tap of his foot. If it wasn't mortal peril, it would be a beautiful spectacle to witness; flower petals, a whirling cape, a tapping cane, and a handsome smile on a beautiful man's face as he makes his way through the horrible darkness unstained. Nothing touches him that he doesn't want to touch him; in the middle of the storm of chaos, Max is an eye of serenity.

But then, that serenity is a facade, too. Underneath that mask is a boiling, bubbling fury - a rage that has only been calmed, only been stoppered and corked, by the words of a beautiful woman full of more anger than Max could ever be. That rage threatens to boil to life once more as Max weaves and spins and twirls and pirouettes his way through the Beetleworx; it threatens to burst upwards and roar out of him, to overwhelm his serenity and common sense in favor of murdering Feige Abramson where she stands.

Max's cane spins in his hand as he taps it against one of the Beetleworx, propelling him over another. He lands somewhere near Feige, and immediately, his hand goes into his coat - into his coat-o'-tricks, his magic spells and gadgets he's always got on hand. He throws his hand outwards...

Flowers come raining down across the floor, but more importantly, they come raining down across Feige Ambramson, obscuring her vision as Max disappears into the air again with a laugh and a leap.

But still...
Isaac Hanlon Isaac covers Feige in liquid fire. Feige replies in kind, firing a fusillade of missiles up into him. They detonate all around him, bright spots of fire and shrapnel appearing in mid-air and adding more illumination to the inferno raging below. Isaac falls form the sky, trailing smoke and fire as he descends. He stops before he hits the ground, flipping in the air and launching himself back straight into the sky.

His left sleeve is on fire. He reaches up with his own cybernetic hand and pats it out, staring down at Feige with ever-growing hate in his eyes. If looks could kill, this one would merely brutally maim. He has to save enough of her for what would happen next.

Beetleworx begin to flood into the room, the constructs rushing out from the infinite expanse with crushing pincers, slashing claws and gnashing teeth. Isaac can tell that they represent the very thing that he was lured here to release. He can practically /smell/ the Filth, the corruption, the /taint/ that powers them. They charge forward in endless waves, rushing into the flames heedlessly.

Animatronics, she says. The most advanced form of cybernetics, she says. She remains in the flames, the heat around Feige lethal to anything living and assuredly making even the metal parts begin to suffer from the temperature. Isaac watches with almost morbid fascination as she burns alive. There is not a single part of him that feels sorrow on her behalf. The last time he encountered Angels, he gave that part of him away. He feels as though it might be slipping again.

Calm. Avira gives him calm. He remembers the void. He takes the calm and pushes it deep down, holding it as a reserve for the self. He will not die here. He refuses to. He didn't last time, and he won't this time.

"But if I had to perish twice," Isaac says, speaking to Feige as if he were having a conversation with her over a cup of coffee, "I think I know enough of hate --"

Beetleworx close. Isaac flicks his wrist contemptuously at the machines. The air twists again, changing to curtains of napalm once again. It covers the Beetleworx like he was painting them with bright orange paint, burning with great clouds of smoke. It will hurt them, but even that won't stop them immediately. You have to really apply that extra touch.

Isaac is happy to oblige.

"-- to say that for destruction, ice --

Another slight motion. There's a sound like a giant snapping a tree in half that rings in the infinite space they find themselves in. The light goes out in an instant, and the intense heat gives way to an instant of utter cold. It goes from swelteringly hot to sub-zero in less than a second. The clinging fire changes, starting as a raging inferno with a mind of its own and ending as solid ice, growing as fast as the flame but with solid tines pressing into the horde of machines and growing into a colossal wall that rings the group. The spell climbs higher, turning clouds of smoke into intricate thorn-bushes of black ice. It cracks and breaks, falling into the Beetleworx like a deadly avalanche.

"-- is also great --"

Feige is no exception. The liquid flame still clinging to her, the raging inferno that still surrounds her, is not left untouched. Her body is suddenly full of solid ice instead of licking flames, the supernaturally cold mass growing like a living thing and trying to overtake her just as the flame had. Isaac knows something of science, you see, unlike many Black Mages; in fact, he knows something about cybernetics, having been working to create such a thing for himself. He knows that if you take an extremely hot thing, and you make it extremely cold without letting it cool first, it has... unpleasant side effects.

He wonders what it would feel like if those things were inside a person.

Isaac supposes he'll find out.

"-- and would suffice."
Deidra Deidra does not comment on Feige's claim about her upgrades. Will moves in and something happens she's not sure what's going on as she can't see the strings that Will always see after all. Deidra realizes she's one of the rogue unexpected elements here, perhaps that's why she's here. Either way the chanting starts up anew now as she focus her power sending freezing winds full of jagged shards of ice at Feige, she keeps it to a focused scream though trying to not effect her allies who are fighting her up close. She just does not engage in banter for the moment she's too busy in focusing her spell to notices the terrible force of power coming at her the horrible crab monsters get a hold of her bite, claw scratch and otherwise do terrible thing to the Gargoyle ripping into her skin, her clothing and generally causing her a lot of pain, cutting her spell short.
Mercade Alexander Mercade spins in the air, more agile than ever as he vaults across the infinite existence that is the Tower. Bullets streak across the air, one of the catching him with a glancing strike across his arm and drawing blood. "Ggh!" He says, hitting the ground roughly. He falls backwards, backpedaling to put his back near one of his allies.

That ally is Avira. She votes for not dying. Mercade seconds the motion. He looks over his shoulder to her and nods, smiling faintly as he feels her support (and her magic) beside him. "We can do this, Avira." Thankfully, Mercade has ranged weapons, so he can afford to stick by Avira in a defensive postition as he spins his hands, blurring as he reloads quickly.

"The Angels... I can't say I ever met them or know them, Abramson. But if you want to stick with Old Testament, then we can always go with 'eye for an eye'." He tries to keep his voice steady in the face of the horror Abramson's become. Really, this is just one more note in a long darkness of the soul.

Mercade gets rushed down by Beetleworx. The horrifying, Filthy creatures strike at him, but he spins, twisting artfully through the midst of the creatures as they snap down upon him. The actions are reflexive, but they look like... Dance moves? One moment, it's a waltz, the next a swing slide. The third a ballet leap.

Except he's also firing his guns.
Pumpkinhead Feige may not be too worried about Max, at her peril, because he did claim to be a pacifist. Then again, Max claims to be many things. Flower power is kind of not what Feige is expecting from Max at this point, she throws a vile of foul smelling liquid at Max, which glances off, but she gets pierced by many flowers like a Sailor Moon villain which, in some ways, she kind of is. She's like a lady Prof Tomoe.

Isaac's sudden cooling may not be as effective as he hoped--scientifically speaking--but the cybernetics do seem considerably more brittle. The Blot is unaffected, however, and it grabs ahold of the servos designed to keep her moving and forces them along, hardeing across the metal and providing another shell of armor. She still didn't like it.

Artemis cuts around for weakpoints, trying to take advantage, but Feige rebounds like another to plow into her body with an arm. "You can have my head when you cleave it from my dead body!"

She pauses for a moment.

"...I mean no, you can't have my head." Feige mutters. "Note to self, be more careful about phrasing in the future."

Ami and Imi continue to do battle. Imi is on the defensive, they're now dancing around through infinity, approaching the battlefield once more. Ami moves not as swiftly or elegantly as Max, but she's also a lot cuter so it sort of equalizes to about the same. It's like she's dancing. Imi can't win this fight, she's literally the worst fighter of the Dennous and she's struggling to keep control. Ami pokes her a few time in the head with her finger, a small electric shark dissipitating into Imi. She starts slowing down, her eyes widening--

Mercade has trouble with the Beetleworx, they keep on him, he whittles down their number with bullets--a solid plan, range means the Blot won't splash on him--but this makes it difficult to deal with the ones on top of him which chew and chomp at his body.

"Now now, eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind!" Feige quips.

Avira jumps onto a Beetleworx. It tries to bounce her off but she's a Beastmaster, she can ride and guide the Beetleworx where she would like and it's starting to listen despite being an abomination. Hey--Phantom Blot literally said he's the Rebellion against Self--that can extend to the Beetleworx with the right...circumstances.


Deidra jumps in, unleashing terrible magic about the Beetleworx, clearing them even faster than Mercade, the numbers are dwindling down, the remainder try to chomp down on Deidra as well.

Will punches his fist into Feige's FATE. Considering how things are going that might be a wild thing to do--her fate seems to be going unpleasant places, maybe you want to keep it there. Then again, the blow itself seems palpable. Feige jerks back, her body starts shaking apart--Isaac's work finally starts to take root thanks to the Will-assist.

"Hsss..." Feige says, noticing things aren't going her way right now.

"Well," She murmurs. "All I gotta do..." Through sheer force of Will, she rips herself up to her feet and screams wordlessly for Isaac first, attempting to tear through him with her strength. She's no longer being fancy against Isaac, she's just going to tear up his chest, then fling him towards Mercade--leaping at Max shortly after, shoulder missiles launching at Isaac and Mercade as she attempts to grab into Max--

And forcefully give him a smooch! Except this is a very unpleasnat smooch because it's like her slamming her face into his and biting at his lips with terrible crushing lips.
Avira Smiling faintly, Avira tries not to slump forward onto the beetle. She knows that strange empowerment from the heart thing actually worked, but at the same time it left her feeling drained and tired. Her muscles slack slightly but her hand remains rigidly clinging to the creature. That creature..

...strange. It seemed a bit more tame than usual. Almost like riding around on Herbie. Almost. She kicks the sides of its carpace to spur it onward, pointing ahead with the Spine. Now that Isaac has switched from overwhelming fire to ice, she seems a lot more comfortable with her own magic. In fact, it almost seems to draw itself from the environment Isaac has created, hijacked and woven into shapes that Avira manipulates with ease. Appearing running alongside of her are whispy gales of ice and snow that resemble moving wolves. The magic-created apparations charge ahead, lunging upon Feige from behind. The teeth are sharp and unpleasant. But that is nothing compared to Avira's brutal follow-up.

Specifically, the brutal follow-up where Avira runs Feige over with the "piloted" beetleworx.
Will Sherman Will continues to walk...even though his injuries are adding up, he continues to walk. Imi and Ami fight above him, he looks up to see that Ami is winning...It tears at his heart to see it...but he knows she has to do this...he's done all he can...the rest is hers...

But he can make Feige...he can make her pay.

"Did you...not hear me?" he hisses....his right hand glows again, aiming to strike into her body, aiming to tear and destroy those strings again. He can't muster the energy for anything stronger, but he can weaken her...he can make his friends and allies take advantage of his strikes...

He hammers into her, aiming to tear at those strings...

They don't wither...or shrink, they shatter if he can grab them, again, tearing at them almost like a rabid dog. Will's focus is simply annihilation.

"I will not...TOUCH A HAIR ON THEIR HEADS AGAIN!" he says, once more punching right at her...trying to break reality around her with each blow.
Artemis Eurus Artemis' attempts to cut Feige to pieces is not going terribly well. This is the first time she's had to fight someone made of metal on the /inside/ rather than covered with plate on the outside. Tch.

At Feige's words, Artemis flashes her a grim smile. "Very well, I will do just that," she replies.

While Artemis' blade isn't terribly effective against Feige, Isaac's magic sure is. The samurai recognizes the desperation in Feige as she goes for Isaac--he's a huge threat to her. When you can't be the huge threat yourself, you protect the one most likely to take the bitch down.

The masked woman dances in front of Isaac just in time to be grabbed by Feige before she even has a chance to realize she's trying to tear up the wrong target. Artemis gasps as various parts of her 'pop' in ways they most certainly should not. Her left shoulder is completely dislocated. Blood begins to pool beneath her, dripping down from beneath her armor.

Feige moves to Max before she even seems to realize what happened, leaving Artemis to look back toward Isaac, her expression stoic. "Well, bard, do it again. Let us send this bitch to oblivion."

The blonde warrior throws out her hand toward Feige then in a telekinetic thrust, followed by another charge. The blade of her sword lights up with flame as she strikes, aiming to ram her blade through the cyborg's stomach and /twist/.
Mercade Alexander Mercade is deft, but he's not perfect. He dodges, but one of the Beetleworx bites into him, leaving a long tear in his arm. He gasps, pulling back and clenching the wound as he feels /something/ weakening him, racing through his systems. Poison? Or something worse? He can't tell right now. All he can do is keep moving.

"Pick one or the other, woman, you can't have it both ways!" Mercade yells back at Feige. "God, Evil Science is so irrational! And inconsistent!" Feige rushes forward, abandoning fancy science for smashy science. This could be a problem. Mercade leaps upwards, planting his feet on her STEELY SCIENCE SHOULDERS and flipping off of them in a vault. "AND INACCURATE!"

There is a significant KLI-KLATCH as he comes down behind her. Feige's senses should scientifically identify what's happening just as it comes.

That's right when Mercade begins unloading a shotgun into her back repeatedly.

Maximilien Max apparently isn't taking any of that. As Feige grabs him and moves to kiss him, she They disintegrate, breaking apart as she bites into them; Max's laughter rings out through the Tower as his phantasmal afterimages explode into a wide variety of flower petals, all shapes and stripes. Roses, daisies, posies, all sorts of flowers just fall away, collapsing to nothing as Max reappears with his cane in hand.

"You test me," Max observes calmly, in his thick, overpowering French accent. "You test me, again and again. You push me towards my limit - as if you wish to see to what lengths I am willing to go, to what depths I am willing to sink. You have hurt people I love and you will hurt /more/ people I love so long as you live. With every day that passes, you have forced me to fear for those I care most about, for their safety, their health, their sanity, their well-being."

Max swings his cane. "But I have known torment. I have seen the columns of men march through my home, dragging the children from their beds, never to be seen again. I have watched the men with iron masks rip apart families; I have seen the faces of men as they are led to their end not by the shadows, not by the darkness, but by miserable human beings."

Max disappears again; when he lands, he's distressingly close to Feige, his cane blazing with arcane fire. "You are not the worst darkness I have ever seen. You are not the greatest evil I have ever known. You are a hollow, empty thing, filled by a hollow, empty thing; everything about you rings with mistruth, as though you were nothing but a bell to be played by your master."

"I will not break my vows on you. You are not worth that. You are a shadow, a nothingness, a dream."

"I will not draw blood from something that lacks a soul."

Max's cane dies; he steps back and draws his cape into his hand, then darts to the side, to avoid the incoming blows. He takes a bow, a broad smile on his face.
Deidra Chaos is reigns with this battle int he sense of it's so fast, it's so brutal, and just everyone else as Feige continues to rage brutal combat against all the TDA. This is perhaps beyond even the seriousness of restoring Manhattan. This is about the forces that made a world and it's people simply to die to enable it's maker to do horrible things and bring down other world in all likely hood. Even worse she has friends who are perhaps some of the only survivors of that world. She's not happy she's not happy at all as now comes Feige just becomes more and more of a horror and then she's moving in to kiss wait what kiss? Yes she's trying to kiss Issac, Max and Mercade. With the quick action on their own such as Mercade and Maximilien are able to get out of harms way.

As for Isaac? Artemis is throwing herself in harms way she's had enough she can't move in time to help there but she's chanting again yet this time she's moving she's trying to get in close to Feige she knows she's going to have to do something stupid here to deal with the Mistress of evil science. It could end very badly for her? She doesn't care at this point. She'd have been nothing never amounted to anything had the people here not given her the chances and support she needed it the most.

Her mind is made up she charges in at Feige letting out a cry and starts chanting as she gets closer-in she's going to attempt to enter a grapple with her and grab on to her. She'll look at Feige her eyes glowing solid red as she continues the chant and then comes the force of the ice trying to freeze her in place the winds howling and lashing at her. It does not end there as Deidra summons every last bit of power she has into a final strike attempting to bring down the thing that was once a person with all of the magical power she can muster. AS the spell finishes.


The pillar of magical energy starting to coalesce to form and Deidra may get caught in her own spell with how close she's got to Feige at this point then the pillar erupts as the force of Deidra will upon the magic she has called force and there' an explosion with a flash of light.
Isaac Hanlon Isaac sets up the pins; it is up to everyone else to knock them down.

And, well, they do. What he's doing is having an effect. He can tell because Feige comes at him like a god-damn Terminator, rushing for him and clearly trying to close to melee to crush his bones to fine powder and his organs to jelly. Isaac ascends, and Artemis interposes, intercepting the worst of it. The missiles that arc out of her catch Isaac's eye, and he gestures with one hand, a flicker of cyan light detonating them before they get close.

Isaac turns his eye to Artemis. He feels that calm clawing at him from the inside. He wants to let the anger overtake him. He doesn't want to /feel/ anymore. He just wants to watch her burn, burn, burn, to die in perfect torment. He wants Feige to feel even a /little/ of what he feels every single day.

But that won't bring them back.

Isaac takes a deep, slow breath. His stony, angry expression softens and fades. The sensation of peace from the void spreads. He feels sorrow clawing at him, and anger raging even still. Ignore it, he thinks. He won't be one of them.

"Bard, huh," he mutters. He casts another quick glance at the masked woman as she looks at him, giving her a dazzling smile. He rolls his shoulders and looks down at the mechanical monstrosity that Feige Abramson has become. He brings two of his flesh and blood fingers to his lips and whistles, a sharp, shrill sound.


"You know, Feige," Isaac calls down, "I knew a guy like you once. He claimed he was doing his thing to raise everyone up into Paradise; to bring mankind back into the Garden. Remove our imperfections, make everyone perfect, the whole package. It seemed like a pretty sweet deal for a while, but then I got to thinking... when /that/ happens, are we still really human?"

"It's a whole philosophical quandry you've got to work through when you try to do something like that," Isaac explains. He apparently idly tosses a ball of swirling gold and blue light back and forth between his hands. It swirls as he does, getting a little spin that he's imparting when it leaves his fingertips. "If we aren't imperfect, and if we don't have the option to try and make ourselves better than we are, /are/ we still human? If everyone is the same, and there's nowhere to go /up/, then... what's the point? Live in a life of perfect happiness all the time, with anything to do we could want, except... to grow."

Isaac shrugs. "If everybody's special, nobody's special, Doctor Abramson. And as you and I both know, mediocrity is a terrible fate."

There's a brief pause. Isaac twirls the little ball on the tip of his finger. He looks thoughtful for a long moment as it twirls, and he suddenly tosses it into the air and snatches it out of it with his hand.

"I'll let you think that one over later -- /in Hell/. 0ANATHEMA!"

Isaac abruptly thrusts his left hand forward, releasing the spell. The Anathema Lash is designed to erase inhuman monsters from existence, overtaking them and destroying them utterly. It often manifests in various different ways, blanketing an area with marvelously complicated tines of light that pierce and annihilate with the barest touch. It's a beautiful thing to behold, and terrible all the same. In here, the space is so big that he could do anything he wanted with it: turn it into a maze of glowing vines that entangle and disintegrate, or crush anyone caught in it in a box that shrinks to nothingness.

Isaac goes with the classical solution to eldritch horrors invading the mortal world:

A brilliant laser with a core of gold fading to blue at the edges that is wider than he is tall.

Sometimes, you just have to nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Pumpkinhead "Haha!! I saved their lives to begin with!" Feige shouts back at Will, "You oughta be thanking me! Well, not really, but you could be a bit less condescending." She doesn't notice as Ami, with Imi in her arms, lands nearby, setting down Imi, who manages, rubbing her forehead, to stay standing. Imi is NOT smiling. In her hands is a shovel she managed to summon through her own memories, it's twisted at the head and Ami has a vicious cut across her forehead that tells that story. Will plows again through her fate strings, her armor starts shaking apart rapidly and she grabs at her head, disoriented.

Artemis manages to finally take advantage of Feige's weakening state by carving into her body, cleaving off her left arm in a single blow. Unfortunately, the other blow collides against Artemis's head, removing her from the fight--but she did good, she did good.

Deidra explodes Feige with enough strength to send her flying through the air. She crashes to the ground, getting up to lunge at Max but Mercade is there, plowing into her with the shotgun. The force sends her stumbling forward and into the ground, kneeling before Max.

"Sticks..." She breathes out. "And stones...may break my bones... But words can hurt too, you know?"

She grasps at her chest, spasming. "Baruch... Atah Adonai... Eloheinu...Melech Ha-Olam, Boreh--P'ri ha-gafen..." She whispers, staring into the sky, her arm dropping to her side in defeat. The tines of light rip through her, the Blot across her body is incinerated in moments--it is but a trickle to the Phantom, but for Feige it is pure agony. Frankly, she might even be more purified from his influence than Legion BLOT from this--because, after all, Isaac didn't have to worry about Feige's survival.

When the light fades, all that remains is a shembling of cybernetics and Feige's head--her last glimmering wards across her labcoat fading to dust. She sinks to her knees, listening to the last of Max's words.

"A dream..." She chuckles lightly, whispering the Hollow Herald motto. "To sleep dream. The Nazis...haha...what they did to my people..." She looks square into Max's eyes. "...The Blot is a perfect God for that world."

She sighs. "...But you know..." The remains of a tear evaporate into smoke across her metal cheek.

"I'm going to miss my chats with dear Alberic."

And that's about when Avira comes in on her Beetleworx and tramples all over her body, konking her out like woah. She goes down in a heap of metal.

And Imi approaches, a smile reappearing on her lips as she grips her shovel tightly.
Avira As Feige disappears beneath the churning legs of the creature, a small part of Avira suddenly grows quiet with dread. "OH NO...I didn't...that's still." She couldn't be down.

Evil science was immortal!

The beetles charge continues on for a few seconds before Avira forces it to slow, then stop completely. "She's stil...I mean guys this is where the lecutring starts happenning. Right?"

She struggles to change the schedule to no avail. "Come on...get up get up..."
Artemis Eurus Arm off. Artemis is grabbing for it as she gets smacked in the head, which, unfortunately, knocks her out. The samurai falls.

She's vaguely conscious, but not exactly in fighting condition. There are a great deal of things broken, she is aware. Artemis can be happy though that she is still "there" enough to watch Feige make her grand exit. Oh, good. Her head.

Now, if only Artemis could bring her limbs to move.
Will Sherman Feige is struck down with the power of her own ...creation.

Ironic. Will stands over Feige for a moment, his eyes glancing to see that Ami has won...Imi is back...though the shovel tells a story.

He looks at Feige...rage wells up...the ground shakes for a moment as he starts to motion down with his hand... The images of the dead Dennous...all those tubes...fighting the BLOT out of Saitei... his body shakes with rage...

And then Umi's face snaps him out of it, the words she spoke to him...

The power is released, Will forces it /NO/! This isn't him...they stopped Feige...that was enough. He will not...

No. He looks up at Imi...and he moves right towards her and wraps his still good arm around her. "No. That's not who we are Imi." he says, trying to convince her...

"...Just like Umi said, I can't do it...nor should you."
Mercade Alexander Artemis goes down. Mercade is quickly beside her, feeding her a potion. He keeps a stock of them on hand since they work so well. "Thank you for your help, Artemis. You've been a real lifesaver." He smiles, and tries to keep her intact.

He looks up, over his shoulder, and looks at the others. "If you're going to use that shovel, use it to dig a grave." Mercade mentions. "She's gone. Least we can do is give her a burial."

Hopefully somewhere no wandering things can find her easily.
Isaac Hanlon Isaac brings the rain. Feige feels the pain.

He's willing to take the alignment hit for the catharsis.

Isaac descends when it all seems like it's over. He drops a couple steps away from Feige's crumpled form, looking down on it. He looks between the others here, and then looks upwards, into the infinite space above them. He's frowning.

"I don't want to stay here any longer than we have to," he says quietly. "Too many bad memories." He pauses a moment, and then looks back to the others.

"Unless you have a better idea... I guess we could seal her up in the basement until we find a more permanent solution." Isaac kind of wants to throw her into the abyss and walk away. He does not act on it.
Pumpkinhead Imi smashes into Feige's head with the shovel. She raises it up to slam it down again but Will wraps an arm around her, tells her no, he can't do it, nor should she, very good sentiments but--

"Who...we...are?" Imi asks. "This one...knows precisely what she is. Ami and I--we are the legs. We handle the internal threats--"

Ami quietly rests a hand on Imi's shoulder and says. "I want to be a vet."

There is a small silence from that before Ami continues, "...Mercade," She looks at him. "...We're sorry for the trouble ... and for hacking into the alternate you's brain at the behest of the viral upload. Thank you for saving Imi. We are in your debt." She looks towards Max as if for confirmation. Imi looks too--but it seems Max, in spite of his desires, is electing to not murder Feige.

He who hesitates is loss. Suddenly, a dark portal appears under Feige's remains---rapidly engulfing them in darkness!

And a small tape reporter flies in from the other end.

It plays upon hitting the ground. A vaguely russian voice sings.

"Congratulations on your victory~"
"You must feel very proud!~"
"But there's truths to this world that you've yet to see~"
"A darkness still left in a shroud~!"

"It's nice to meet all of you~!"
"I'm pleased as punch what can I say!~"
"Though you've disrupted our plans it's true~!"
"We'll live to fight another day~!"

The tape shuts itself off and then dissipitates into nothingness.
Maximilien At some point along the way, Maximilien Amadeus Renaud-Sylvianne apparently vanished while no one was looking. Maybe this was to preserve his identity from Artemis, to ensure she didn't get a clear glimpse; maybe it was just because his job was done; maybe it's because Max is about as ineffable as you can get and still be a person. Who knows?
Deidra Deidra is caught in the blast of her own spell and sent flying in way that is anything but fun. She skids across the ground and does not come up for a moment she lets out a groan of pain as she gets up. She is clearly hurt in general but notably, one of her wings has a nasty tear int he membrane but she's bracing through he pain. She gets up staggering a bit as she looks over to Mercade.

"Yes, but lets get out of here. I fear if this place latches on to our memories. I'm just happy it seems everyone made it."
Avira On the bright side, at least they did not have blood on their hands. Avira's at least a little heartened when it seems that nobody's wanted to be responsible for actually killing Feige. Death would be an easy way out.

However, this also means that Feige has escaped and a Russian is covering for her.

"I hate to be the barer of bad news but..." Avira looks uncomfortable, "I'm not entirely sure how you 'leave' Castle Oblivion. It just sort of happens."
Will Sherman Will frowns...

"Evil Science is <GOOSEHONK>." he mutters, and looks at the two Dennous...god he feels like hell right now...but to see them both safe...

He smiles, weakly at them both and stands up...and Mercade grabs his arm. He nods once...


Outside the Castle, a HORRENDOUS SCREAM OF PURE PAIN can be heard. Birds scatter for miles...

Will can move his arm, but tears well in his eyes...oh god oh god oh GOD...

Isaac Hanlon If there were any birds, they'd definitely be gone.

Isaac looks around again. He looks at the door, frowning. "Well, I could always try... the usual way, I guess." He starts walking to the giant double doors that lead to the space outside the Tower. He's never looked back; it strikes him as suddenly odd to be walking out. Shouldn't they just... teleport, or something?

Isaac shakes his head and gets to the magic. He goes through his usual ritualistic steps, and tries to open a portal from here to the front door of the TDA. Maybe it'll work. It'd be a nice change of pace.

This scene contained 53 poses. The players who were present were: Deidra, Will Sherman, Mercade Alexander, Avira, Pumpkinhead, Albireo Albark (Aka: Maximilien), Isaac Hanlon, Artemis Eurus