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Present Possibilities: Zia
(2013-09-06 - 2013-09-20)
No description.
Oathkeeper Stars flash by, world after world, as Zia is torn through the Realm Between. She can see them, in the far distance. The worlds as she rises from her place of darkness. In front of her, light, behind her, darkness. In her hand, the star that continues to pull her, its halo protecting her from the corruptive forces of darkness. In the distance now and again, she can see them; massive Heartless slowly sailing through space, moving in on the stars in the distance. So many worlds.

Somewhere out there, a star suddenly falls down towards the area she just left, plunging into the darkness. Another world devoured by the Heartless. Another world which didn't have a Keyblade Wielder to lock its World Heart and protect it against its fall. Another world that either didn't have a Dusk Princess, or lost it.

The brightness of the star she holds begins to become overwhelming. She's approaching a place. A far larger world than the others she's seen before, with another one floating near - slowly spinning around it. The second world seems to be carved through with ravines of darkness. It almost looks like a tinier version of the first...

Brightness rises...

And then suddenly, she lands. Or rather, appears? It's the strangest thing, for she suddenly finds herself amidst a city she would most certainly recognize. Amidst rather confused looking people with a shared trait. White hair.

There's a murmer, and people start crowding around her, confused how she'd just appeared out of basically nowhere. The star in her hand stops glowing. She'll quickly notice that some of the people here are bandaged up. It seems like some of them are wounded.
Zia There's something familiar about seeing the worlds flash by like this - as if it were something out of a dream. No, it is /exactly/ like something out of a dream. Once, she'd been given a glimpse of the way the worlds looked from a distance. Thousands of shining points of light, all interconnected. Yet, this is the first time that she's seen a world fall from this perspective. Her breath catches. If it weren't for the pull of the star in her hand, she might have stopped to watch that place where the world had fallen, eclipsed by the darkness.

It's easy enough to be awed by the scale of things. Her ears tuck back as a huge Heartless passes dangerously close, but somehow doesn't seem to notice her presence. "By Merlin's pants..." She mutters under her breath, "Could these be the ones tha the synergist was talkin aboot?" Zia's expression shows one part marvel, one part fear as she glances behind her, unsure if she's truly safe from the gigantic hunter of hearts.

Then, a world rises up before her, like nothing she's ever seen before. Perhaps she would have to look into these 'gummi-ship' things, if this is what others have seen in the Plains Between. It's hard to understand exactly what she's seeing at first, or to recognise the world for what it is. "Where is this...?" She murmurs to herself, not expecting an answer. As the star brightens, though, she squints, shielding her eyes with one hand.

One moment - here, the next - elsewhere. Zia blinks as spots linger in her sight as if she had looked close to the sun for too long. In her hand, the star has gone still again. "Next stop on the crazy express..." And then, she seems to realize that she isn't alone here. As her vision clears, she can see the all too familiar sights of jungle plants and ruined structures.

"Atlantis..." She whispers the word, eyes moving from person to person, wondering if this could be real. While the old castle had felt eerie and lost, this place still felt alive. The star is quickly tucked away, even before the locals start to approach.

"Wha... wha's happened here?" She asks quickly, looking for any familiar faces among the humans, and then beyond them, trying to find a vision of the gargoyles she knows to protect this place.
Oathkeeper The white haired people move aside, so that an elderly man can move fowards. He's actually using a cane to move, showing just how old this particular Atlantean is. "They're out there, fighting." He tells Zia, clearly being able to tell by her gaze that she's looking for her own kind. The man shakes his head. "I'm afraid we are not as suited for it."

He then looks over towards the far edge of Atlantis, towards a mighty bridge that hangs on one side of it towards a deep cavern beyond. "They've gone over yonder." The old man declares, before lowering his cane with a shaking hand and then looking up at Zia. "Please, if you could help them. They are strong. But... there were so many of them."

"Heartless." They've learned the name that the 'upworlders' use for the creatures. One young man seemed to comment this time in particular.

The old man adds; "After you people left and destroyed the tunnel. They were gone for a long time. But recently, a small quake opened a really old stone doorway of some sorts. They've been coming from there."
Zia Though her last visit to Atlantis had been short, the small group had time enough for a brief visitation with the King of the Atlantean people. He had been wary of outsiders, but as the strangers had brought news of a threat to his people, he had let them stay.

The sight of the old man, with his white eyes and long beard instantly draw reverence from those around him. Zia, too, bows her head as he approaches, her hair tipping forward. The crystal at her neck glows faintly in the half-light of this place, her ears tucked down.

The King's slow, gravelly voice draws silence from the others around them. It's only when he looks across the expanse that she lifts her head, eyes following his path. Before the question can form on her lips, the young man answers it or her, and her attention swivels back to the gathering of white-haired humans. "Heartless..." The word comes as a curse, her hand gripping into a fist.

As the King continues, it's all too easy to imagine the threat that now faces the people of Atlantis. Her hand reaches for her phone, but of course: no reception. "Ah'll go." She tucks the phone away, silently cursing the failure of modern technology. It always seems to go at just the time when it's needed most. "They'll need help." She takes a single step, then hesitates.

"Get wha'ever archers ye can, 'n have guards ready te cut the bridge if we give the signal. It'll hopefully slow them down." Even Heartless aren't lava-proof, but if they have fliers, those archers will be needed desperately. "Get anyone who cannae fight somewhere safe."

Her wings flare, her feet move with a quick pace, and just at the edge of the chasm, the gargoyle launches herself, catching an updraft to lift her across the lava below and towards the sounds of fighting beyond.
Oathkeeper The white haired people of Atlantis look at the Gargoyle with worry, and the man man simply inclines his head upon Zia's suggestion. It's uncertain if they would listen to her and do their bidding. They are after all, as welcoming as they've tried to be, rather hesitant about outsiders. Still, they gaze after the alabaster gargoyle as she flies her way across Atlantis, and is caught by that up-draft. The heat of the lava is more than enough to carry her far up above, allowing her a moment of wonder as she's given a beautiful sight of this land of heritage.

Soon enough, the Gargoyle spots the bridge the old man had spoken of and pointed towards. It's an old wooden bridge that looks like it doesn't have much more life in it, but has still been holding steady for all these hundreds upon hundreds of years. Further along she can see bodies moving. A blast of blue light suddenly illuminates the area, as a gulf of black bodied heartless are launched into the air and thrown harshly into the lava like little rag-dolls.

The Gargoyles are strong, and fight with a guardian's heart. With that much light in their hearts, it's no wonder that even their mere talons can harm these black critters. On the other hand, there is an awful lot of these heartless. The closer Zia gets, the better she can see it. Two heavy-wrought stone doors with arcane and intricate drawings upon themselves, the image of two wolves with their 'paws' no longer touching as the door has been 'opened'. The worse part is that the doors have been opened 'inwards'. Meaning that to close them, one has to stand on the opposite side.

Some of the Gargoyles, sensitive enough to the eddies of air around their position gaze up as Zia comes in - looking upon her in surprise, and clearing the way for her to land. The ground is littered with heartless Soldiers and Shadows. Not particularly threatening in and off of themselves. However... there's so many of them.
Zia The first time that she had spread her wings over these lands, it had been along side one of the Atlantean Gargoyles. They had spent the night here, and she and Percival had gotten a tour of the lands by air. It had seemed beautiful then, though now it seems like a land that is left all too vulnerable. This place was nearly lost once, long ago, and now it is in danger again, threatened by the same forces that loom over all of the outside worlds.

It's easy enough to follow the signs of battle, gargoyles swooping in and out of the fray. Some grab up the Heartless to drop them into the chasm below, others stand to fight toe to toe with the dark creatures. Those with weapons of their own seem to be leading the charge. The 'Guardians' may be strong, but no one can fight forever.

Zia backwings to slow herself, landing in a battle crouch, her hand drawn back. The keyblade had come to her when she had fought in that Shadow-land version of her own world. Could she really call upon it again? Closing her eyes, the gargoyle clenches her fingers, willing it to appear, praying for the strength to protect these people. There is a sudden feeling of something warm within her fingers, and as she rises, the same blade as before lies within her grasp.

"You're back!" - "How did you get here?" - "Glad to see you, we could use the help." Voices ring out from around her, and Zia nods, knowing that they didn't have a lot of time for long explinations.

"No time te talk, m'friends. We need te get those doors shut." They are clearly the source of the danger, and if she can get them sealed from the other side, it might buy them time. "Ah'm goin te head toward the doors, try te get them closed. Try te keep them busy."

It's Tala, the leader of these gargoyles that steps forward, looking breathless and harried. "If you try to close those doors, you'll be trapped on the other side." It's obvious that such a plan would be suicide, but she doesn't say it, she simply eyes Zia with a worried expression.

"Ah know, but Ah might have a ticket out. If Ah can get the doors closed, barracade them wi' wha'ever ye can." There's no way that she could stand against all of those Heartless on her own, and she knows it. Yet, here she is, knowing the price of sacrifice, and being willing to do it anyways to save countless others. She can only hope that the star works as an escape device. Moments like these, though, you rarely think things through to the possible bitter ends.

Once the decision is made, the gargoyles seem to move with some purpose and Zia makes for the doors.
Oathkeeper The heartless do not halt for something as small as another Gargoyle landing. They continue to combat the guardians and give her no heed. That is... until that moment where she draws out her keyblade. There's this moment of sudden silence that the shimmer of light has settled, and the weight of her Keyblade lies within her hands. Solid. Firm. And... she's being stared at.

Shadows, both those hiding in the ground, and those on the surface stare at her with their yellow beady eyes. The Soldiers halt their clattering movements for just a moment - an /eerie/ moment that last just a fraction of a moment too long. It gives the Gargoyles a moment to recover from the pressure they were under moments ago, but it's not long before the Heartless begin to swarm towards Zia, rather than trying to come at the Gargoyles as a whole.

"It's not right. This is our place." One Gargoyle mentions in desperation, not wanting to see Zia sacrifice her life for /their/ home. "She's just as much one of us as you and I. We must trust in her." A smaller female in the distance replies as she rides a Gargoyle Beast onto a Shadow while sweeping her leg out at a Soldier approaching from the side. Together, the Gargoyles band together in an impressive wall of protective instincts - keeping Zia as safe as they can as she advances.

Still, there's plenty of Shadows and Heartless coming from that door that she'll need to do something about one way or the other! And while her Keyblade certainly seems to disintegrate those heartless far more easily than one might expect from a blunt looking weapon like that - they are pressing her. Still, Zia perseveres and gets closer and closer to the door. Behind it, she can catch glimpses of what looks like a broken altar with a stone stand on it - with a faint painting behind it that shows a /particular golden helm/ on it.
Zia The feeling of eyes turning her way is not unfamiliar. She'd felt that once before. It had been eerie then, and even now it sends a chill through her veins. Once, a long time ago, she would have run away from something like this. She'd been a different person then, one without a family, friends, or a clan to protect. Though sweat still makes her hands slick, her fingers tighten around the keyblade, eyes flashing red as she hisses towards the Heartless.

There is only a nod towards the smaller gargoyle and her beast, then Zia is moving forward, pulling the attention of the Heartless with her. Courage and bravery sometimes involve doing brash and stupid things by any normal definition. "Ah'll be alright." She says, though in truth, she has no way to be sure. For a moment, the images of her friends show in her mind, and though her eyes close for a fraction of a second, the decision isn't hard to make.

Her keyblade moves through the lesser Heartless easily enough, but if it weren't for the others, she certainly would find herself overwhelmed. The garogyles swoop in around her, grabbing Heartless or firing blasts of blue energy into their midsts, giving her a path to the doors. The sight of them is a wonder, as they look nothing at all like the other ruins down here. Then again, many worlds have fragments of other worlds within them.

She tries to make her way towards the nearer of the two doors, knowing that she can likely only close one at a time, needing the other hand to continue fending off the Heartless with the Keyblade. It's a test to her limited skills with a weapon. While her training with her friends had helped, she's still a novice, and often has to resort back to gusts of wind or slashing claws to fend off ones that get too close.
Oathkeeper The truth of the matter regarding these mysterious doors is one that eludes Zia for right now, although the assumption that they could be from another world isn't a very odd one to make. Having seen so many pieces stranded left and right, it certainly does leave an impression. But perhaps she might realize in a moment that with the fact that the golden helm depicted carries the same imagery as the helmet she wears on her head at this very moment - that there must be a link between this room and her family.

The closer she gets to the door, the harder things get. But there's two factors that manage to work in her favor, the first is that the heartless are light and easily defeaten, the second is that /because they are light/, they are easily lifted from the ground and away from her. After a particularly good blast of wind, she sends a whole swarm of shadows bowling into a group of soldiers behind them, giving the Gargoyle access to the single piece of the door that stands open.

After that push from her wind-magic, Zia has a good moment of time to press the door shut. But darkness continues to loom near her in the form of both heartless and a room without a light. The only source of true light is her keyblade, shining a pale thrumming light.
Zia At first, the doors don't seem all that remarkable, other than the fact that they seem from some other world. Then again, the similarities between the door and the helmet she now wears aren't lost on her, either. The connection between Atlantis and her own world was clear enough from the crystal that dangles at her neck, but surely this door couldn't have been here, hidden under ground, for thousands of years. It just doesn't seem to fit in fit in with the rest of the ruins down her.

As with before, there's little time to really think through these strange threads of connection. Instead, her hand is quick to grab the door as she gets close, only pausing a moment before pulling it shut. She has to trust that the gargoyles on the other side can handle the rest of the Heartless and seal the door shut.

As the door is shut, the sounds of movement beyond are muffled into dull thuds and scraping claws. Everything is dark. The only lights that remain are the faint glow from her Keyblade and the light from the blue crystal at her throat, casting her in a strange blue-ish glow which reflects off of the armored headpiece.

Her heart thrums loudly in her ears. Louder still are the sounds of the Heartless moving around her in the darkness. Her breaths come fast. Now that she's here, this all seems like a very, very bad idea. "Alright lass, think. If they found a way in, there has te be a way out." Her words are barely a whisper, but it's obvious that the Heartless know where she is. Maybe they're biding their time, waiting to amass more forces to surround her.

For now, Zia does what any sane person would do... she runs. It forces the Heartless into chasing her through the tunnels, and leads them away from the doorway. At the very least, a gargoyle's night-vision can help her navigate, but in the near blackness of this underground, it's going to be a rough journey.
Oathkeeper Pulling the door shut takes a great deal of her strength. It's a good thing that she is a Gargoyle. But in the end, the Gargoyles that are with her end up helping her the first bit of the way. A heavy stone door like this certainly isn't easily closed. But with their help - slowly but surely, it closes before her... until finally it shuts with a loud grinding noise.

Leaving her indeed in the darkness amidst the yellow gaze of the Heartless, all trained upon her position. Almost as if they are waiting for the cutscene of her closing the door to end. When it finally closes, the heartless move right upon her! Luckily, Zia is smart enough to go into a sprint. Shadows and Soldiers follow her, but they are most certainly slower than her. The problem is that there are so many of them. She continues to run and run through the near blackness, capable of doing this without accident only because of her improved dark sight and the light of both keyblade and pendant. This doesn't mean that she doesn't have to carve through at times. Shadows pop out of the floor before her now and again, requiring a good beating with her blade, or a blast of wind.

The long hall winds and continues on, until she finally finds a rather unusual creature at the center of it all. A massive dark-blue creature with thick tendrils of hair and a hole in its chest looking like a heart. It is easily the size of a two story house, looking down at her with yellow eyes, and tries to grab for her with its two giant hands. This must be the source of the heartless here! An entity of great darkness, in the middle of a closed of hall. The floor is broken and it seems to be standing over a sizable hole with its too-small-to-keep-that-weight-upright legs.

There is some atmospheric blue light coming from within that hole, illuminating the room a little better.
Zia Thump - thump - thump. The sound of her heartbeat races with the sound of her feet until the two become almost indistinguishable in the darkness. It's hard not to go into full panic-mode. It's all too easy to look brave, but that doesn't mean you're fearless. "Come on... get me out of here." She murmurs under her breath, as if trying to will the star-shaped object to flare to life again. Of course, things couldn't be that simple.

She nearly trips over Heartless in the dark, slashing with her keyblade only when they get so close that their eyes look huge against the back-drop of black. Moments like these are the ones that show her lack of combat experience. Her ankles, tail, and hair get snagged, making her have to turn to blast or slice her way free, only to end up stumbling to head in the right direction again. For all she knows, she could be running around in circles, leading the Heartless on a merry chase like in one of those old black and white films.

Somehow, though, she ends up making her way forward. Maybe it's just a trick of her mind, but it almost seems like there's a light ahead. A way out?

Her feet race, trying to keep just ahead of the Heartless, moving closer and closer to the light. And then... like a camera shot from a movie, you can see the moment that she realizes what awaits her. Her expression sinks, eyes going wide, head tilting upwards, feet slowing. The Heartless behind her seem to stay back, watchful of the massive creature before them. Their writhing forms block the only way back, surrounding the circular chamber with a mass of dark bodies and yellow eyes.

Her chest heaves, trying to catch her breath, but there's no time for it. The Darkside reaches out with a massive hand, and she's forced to roll sideways, nearly ending up amongst the hoards of Heartless round her. Crouching, Zia launches herself up into the air, using the taller room and the expanse of her wings to her advantage. As the monster's arms sweep towards her, she weaves between them, striking back with her keyblade. Then, of course, it has to change things up. The Darkside draws it's hands together and charges up a well of darkness, which is then launched outwards.

There's no way to avoid this one, and Zia ends up knocked from the air only to land just at the edge of the stone floor, scrambling with her free hand to keep hold as she hangs precariously over the edge.
Oathkeeper Zia's efforts are impressive, but the room isn't big enough for a full fledged battle, and she's undoubtedly tired from fighting off heartless already. Fighting a Dark Side is an almost rediculous demand at this point. It's by sheer luck that Zia falls in that small area beneath the massive Heartless. It looks down upon her with those writhing hair-tendrils, staring at her with desire in those yellow eyes. It wants her heart. Her Light.

It reaches out sloppily with that massive hand and tries to grab at her. It lands hard on the float, causing tremmors throughout the floor, and the Gargoyle to lose her grip. There's that sick feeling of falling, her wings not quite working right... stone too close to her, yet too hard and slick to get a grip on. A jolt of pain is sent through her body; the sudden feeling of hitting cold water. Blue light surrounds her in a downwards water filled tunnel - coming off of runes on the walls. Her consciousness begins to fade as her body drifts down into the body of water.

She doesn't know this yet... but the spirits of the ancestors will protect her here... as she passes into the last stretch of her journey, into the closest realm...

The Realm of Dreams.
Zia When she'd left Fluorgis, it had already been late in the evening. Three trips to other worlds and two fights with the Heartless have left her drained. Even the power of the Atlantean crystal at her neck can't give endless energy. Her one hand hangs on to the stone just below the ledge, claws dug in. The keyblade in her hand vanishes, but she's unable to lift her arm up to get a better hand-hold. Everything in her tells her to fight, to survive... but sometimes the odds are just stacked against you.

The Darkside slams into the ground, causing her clawed fingers to slip. Panic sets in, claws scrambling without catching hold, wings flailing but only managing to make her decent that much more chaotic. A strangled cry is dragged from her lips as the last sight she sees it the Darkside, turning her direction, looking down into the chasm where she'd fallen.

Then, there is pain... cold. Air is forced from her lungs, and for a moment, her only thought is: . o O (I'm drowning. Well... at least it's better than becoming a Heartless.) It's only a small comfort as the darkness begins to close around her vision. There is an old saying: 'Gargoyles can no more stop protecting others than the air.' Maybe the two aren't far from one another.

It's with a silent apology to her friends that she slips under, believing that this is the end of her journey, even if it is only one more step onward.

This scene contained 14 poses. The players who were present were: Oathkeeper, Zia