Scene Listing || Scene Schedule || Scene Schedule RSS
No title.
(2013-09-06 - Now)
No description.
Royce For the better part of a month word has spread like a fanned wildfire throughout the bars, taverns, and undercities of the world - anywhere that adventurers, mercenaries, and low-life thugs willing to exchange muscle for coin can be assumed to patron. Tales circulate of a mysterious figure in hooded black robes wearing a mask of polished steel who came seeking out heroes and glory-hunters, offering the promise of fantastical reward at the risk of terrible danger. These stories seem to have sprung up at roughly the same time in every land, so this figure is either well connected or possessed of some strange ability to be in many places at once.

You are among those who have gathered to answer the call. The handful of brave or foolish souls that have chosen to pit themselves against this challenge have assembled at the gates of the desert city, either through blind luck or the simple fact that Rabanastre is the final bastion of civilization before setting out into the perilous wasteland, where the crudely drawn map indicates is the meeting point for this clandestine encounter.

It was not difficult to discover the others, the typical boasting and drinking that preludes such adventures making them the center of attention for the last few hours in the Sandsea, a rather well established watering hole known to be frequented by sky pirates. After stocking up on the necessary supplies, most of which consisted of water and preserved rations, you made your way along with the others to the edge of the city as the cheers and laughter of your fellows vanished into the distance.

Now that you have a few moments to take account of yourselves, you finally get a good look at your fellow traveling companions, the most obvious of which is a grungy looking bangaa, whose excessive boasting and matching odour made him difficult to miss. A massive warhammer easily large enough to crush a man with a single swing rests easily on his shoulders. He stares at the lot of you with a devilish grin on his scar-riddled snout.

Next in line is an elegant looking young man, somewhere in his mid-twenties if you were to hazard a guess. His attire is clearly a cut above what is typically expected from adventurers and he sweeps a condescending gaze through a pair of small round spectacles while a another well-dressed, but much older, man loads parcels onto an already heavily laden pack chocobo. A master and his servant by the looks of them and completely out of place for a rough and tumble sort of adventure.

A pair of identical twins round out the roster of your small entourage, sporting heavily tousled hair and wearing almost as much dirt as they are clothing. These two youthful girls are obviously street urchins or lowborn sorts. One of them is practically garbed in an assortment of leather straps, each holding a long slender blade against her skin, while the other carries a worn bow and a matching quiver of ratty leather.

Though the sun still hangs low in the sky, it will not be long afore the terrible heat of the desert presses down on you in earnest. It may be best to be on your way soon; you've a long way to go and the journey will not be easy.
Jenna Sprinting through the desert after the group, apparently a bit of a latecomer is Jenna. "Heeeeeeeeey!" she says as she catches up, then starts panting as she applies a cartridge to her forehead that seems to... Wait, have a bit of -frost- on it? Must have ice magic stored in it. Inhaling a bit then saying, "OK, I'm good." and putting away the cartridge. "Sorry I'm late." she says, "Got a bit distracted preparing for the trip."
Artemis Eurus It is something of a mystery as to why Artemis and Ramza are here, and if anyone asks her about it (which is fairly unlikely anyway) the blonde would simply shrug it off as means of response. She and Ramza had kept to themselves while at the Sandsea, sipping only a cup of tea she appears to have brought herself. One does not drink before a mission. The statuesque woman stands at 6'1, fully armored in deep blue with golden lacquered accents, the mask she wears over the upper portion of her face matches perfectly. She wears her long blonde hair braided tightly, a katana at her hip her only visible weapon.

As they move along their way, Artemis looks over each of her companions, scrutinizing, sizing them up, attempting to discern their strengths and weaknesses in order to strategize appropriately. A call for heroes would no doubt be dangerous, and though she did not know most of these people, she would do her best to assure that all of them came out of this in one piece.

Artemis looks to Ramza, her mouth quirking in the semblance of a smile as they prepare to find out what this was all about. She does not have to tell him to be careful, or anything else really. He knows.
Kyra Hyral 'Or they could be different people' would be Kyra's conclusion for the mysterious masked figure. They're masked! That or whoever it was commanded use of the corridors of darkness-an ability she's seen demonstrated in person previously.

Of course, Kyra had questions. This wasn't an adventure she would embark upon alone. She had to be promised that there would be other adventurers of /some/ repute with her since she couldn't grab any of the other Alexander Academy students in time. Some of the people here looked alright, but that bangaa...well.

When attention was not on her, Kyra quietly slipped one of her more virulent agents beneath her right sleeve, held at the ready in case she needed to deploy it against an unscrupulous mercenary or two. She holds onto this the whole time, even as the heat starts to bare down on their little party.
Ramza Beoulve The real reason as to why Ramza and Artemis were there is not altogether all that complicated.

Between paying bar tabs, Marlowe's gambling and philandering habits(That tended to make up roughly 30% of the budget), and inn bills. The New Zodiac Braves were verging on being dead broke.

So they paid a visit to the local inn, took a look at the job board for various mercenary work, and sent most of the competent members of the band on their merry way with a promise to meet up again within the fortnight with their coffers filled once more. It's how things were done on his world with mercenary companies that actually had enough principles that they wouldn't just take /any/ job.

Of course he'd have to listen to each one talk about their adventurers in turn, and they had down the reporting back part to such a science that they all sounded like cardboard cutouts on their return. He didn't mind listening, so long as everything was finished with no casualties.

He'd worry about that later though. Right now there was plenty of tea, and the desert sun baking down upon them. He looked at each member of the group that had gathered in turn. Each member of the rougher mercenaries and adventurers got a brief glance that told him all that he needed to know of each. His gaze... lingered on Kyra for more than a few moments, before he shook off the feeling that he knew her from elsewhere(he suspected he'd remember that Moogle Hoodie after all, if he did!), and went back to quietly waiting.
Royce While the last of the supplies are loaded aboard the lone pack animal, the motley crew of adventurers turn their attention to the new arrivals. The bangaa, Rhi'do as you recall he called himself, grunts in amusement at the group in general, dropping his heavy hammer to the ground with a solid whump and leaning on its towering shaft nonchalantly.

"Dis be the sort that answer da call ov' adventure dese days?" He spits on the ground and grins, flashing sharp rows of slender teeth, minus the odd one here or there. "Best go back to yer fancy homes and comfy beds. Da desert is no place for kiddies and powder puffs."

The well-dressed man visibly bristles at the commentary, especially when the bangaa's head swings in his direction with a snort, but he quickly reigns in whatever rebuttal he had been about to make and simply frowns. The twins, oddly enough, just grin in unison, their matching dirty brown hair fluttering across their eyes in the rough wind.

"We's just as tough as yer sort!"

"Yeah, that treasure is gonna be ours!"

Rhi'do lets out a harsh guttural bark of laughter and pats the nearest of them on the head. "Aye, I'm sure ya are. Dats why I'll be makin sure ta boil ya real nice so's the meat is good an' /tender/ when ya get gutted by some beastie."

Turning away from the others, the lizardman hefts a large pack up over his shoulder and heads for the waiting expanse of the dunes. "Come along den, children. Dere be plenty o chances for ya ta see what real work is like."
The Cloud King A voice suddenly sounds off from behind where Artemis and Ramza were. From just behind and slightly above. Though there had likely been none behind them a moment before, suddenly there was a long pink-haired fellow in a stark white suit standing on the air itself as if there were a step. Standing, and soon sitting, one leg crossed over the other while he brought a hand to thoughtfully rub at his chin. "That one really does need to bathe more often. Powder Puffs at least smell nicer."

Not that he was directly talking about said regarded puff, but seemed to be talking about some object. Of course, as much as he was talking about such, he was talking to nothing at all, or everyone. Or no one perhaps. He wasn't exactly looking towards those he was closest too, simply remarking to the air. Perhaps it was the air that was so offended by that Bangaa's odor. "Ah well, off to adventure." And out goes his hand, a large almost comical looking leaf on a stem being held above his head to block out the sun as he stepped down onto the ground itself and began to walk without a care in the world.

Good luck figuring that one out.
Artemis Eurus Artemis listens to the bangaa in action, being sure not to stand downwind of him. Has the creature never heard of soap? As he goes on to insult the rest of them, Artemis' expression remains impassive, though her green eyes sport a tinge of amusement. "Unprofessional," she comments quietly to Ramza, though she does not really care if the bangaa overhears.

The desert is most certainly not her favorite place in the world, but she knows that she can survive here. She had done so just to make sure that she could and was glad of it. Always be prepared when you must be on the run. If the bangaa wishes to take the lead, she will let him, for it is most likely he that any monsters will spot (or rather, smell,) first.

Artemis follows, staying close by Ramza's side as she leans in to speak quietly to him. "I had thought this was a cooperative mission, but it seems others have different plans. We'll try to take the treasure and distribute appropriately, I assume?" the samurai asks. Even if the Braves were broke, Artemis and Ramza are not the cheating type.
Ramza Beoulve The more rough and tumble members of the group, including the Bangaa get a neutral look from Ramza, inwardly he was bemused, but he tried not to show it. When Artemis comments on his unprofessionalism, he simply murmurs back, "Quite."

Likewise, the desert wasn't his favorite place but he had had the obligatory desert adventures before, especially as of late within Fluorgis, thus he also knew how to survive. He doesn't say much more openly which would draw attention to them, except responding to Artemis by stating, "We'll see that everyone gets their due, and that's that. Braggarts not withstanding."

The Cloud King appears nearby, and the fellow with the pink hair and white suit gets spared an errant glance, he thinks he recognized him from elsewhere, and offered a nod to him before returning his focus back to the matter at hand.
Kyra Hyral Yep, definitely need to keep an eye on the Bangaa. Kyra can tell he'll be trouble. "Well, sure, I can go right on home. But where would you be then? Let me tell you: without a healer. That is a terrible position to be in for any adventuring party."

Kyra smiles thinly.

That vial is still kept close on hand, though Kyra is starting to get the feeling she wouldn't need to be using it for a while. Her eyes roam over the twins as she tries to figure out just how old they are. Being called a kid herself doesn't bother her THAT much. The technical term would be 'teenager'.
Niklas Dragonius Niklas Dragonius just sort of wanders through the world. He's the very archetype of the Unfettered; a martial arts master with a guitar slung over his back, in well-worn clothes with sewn-on patches, walking the worlds to better himself.

And find hot chicks.

Niklas arrives a little bit later than everybody else to the party - in no small part because he was busy getting something to drink. Sure, he's only seventeen, but he comes off as incredibly worldly (for a lot of reasons, notably the slight beard that's started growing across his face - he hasn't had the inclination to shave) that very few people really ask him about his age.

"Hey, hey," Nik observes at the Bangaa, "You guys got room for one more? Don't worry; I can handle myself pretty good."

"Hey~, Kyra~. How's it going?" Kyra is the only person Nik knows here, after all. "Lookin' good as always."
Jenna "Oh, come on!" Jenna says, "Can we please not end this trip before it's begun? Honestly, I can't believe we're arguing already." she then folds her arms and huffs, "Let's just calm down, OK?" she asks.
Deelel Deelel had been following one rumour or another as of later. So here she was having fallen in with everyone else on this job. She listens to their employer for a moment. She shrugs a little bit and tilts her head. "I can say I will not be a problem, with harsh environments."

She doesn't mind about ti she can get them trying to scare away those who?d' be more of a problem. She'd known at least two of the people here she nods a bit and looks to the others.

"Greetings, the name is Deelel."

To those that had not met her before they might notice an odd digital warble to her voice but that's about the only really odd things about the woman in the strange body suit. Well okay aside from her clothes. Anyhow Deelel seems ready and raring to go.

"Lets just get ready to roll shall we?"
Royce Despite the insulting subtext behind the bangaa's commentary, the two girls seem to be even more determined than before, scampering off in the large lizard's wake like a pair of excited puppies. A final annoyed 'pah!' echoes back as Nik calls out to him and he continues on his way without pausing.

"Quite the foul one, that brute," the dapper young man says as he takes the lead. Turning to Ramza and Artemis and ignoring everyone else for the moment, he adjusts his fancy spectacles with a slight push of his finger and inclines his head in their direction. "Adelwin Valder. And this is my man, Geoffry." He sweeps a hand out to indicate the butler, who is now leading the chocobo forward by its reigns.

"A pleasure," the old man says, pausing long enough to bow. "Shall we be off, sir?"

"Indeed. Come then. Let us see what this grand call to adventure is all about, shall we?"

Adelwin heads after the steadily vanishing Rhi'do and his new-found tagalongs, making sure to keep far enough away that his particularly unpleasant bouquet remains out of reach while keeping the bangaa, who clearly seems to atleast know where he is going, in sight.
Artemis Eurus Artemis nods in response, showing a faint smile before she looks over to the others, eyes settling on Kyra as she speaks. "Never piss off the healer," she replies, nodding respectfully to Kyra. Artemis' mother had been a healer, tough as any warrior and two times as stubborn. Artemis quite clearly has priority two now on her radar. Always protect the healer.

Artemis turns her eyes toward the man and his servant as they are addressed. A brow rises beneath her mask, but she nods her head in greeting and gives her name; "Artemis. A pleasure I hope, sirs," she replies.

The woman reaches for some of her the water in her waterskin, takes a small sip, then passes it to Ramza. Stay hydrated, ya'll.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza watches as Kyra mention there would be a lack of a healer, he listens as Artemis reiterates.

He gets an image in his head of a woman in White Mage Robes smacking a gaudily dressed man into orbit with a comically oversized hammer.

Then after an anime sweatdrop forms he states, "I would never even deign to annoy the healer."

And then come the more pleasant introductions from the the upper class gentleman and his manservant. Ramza politely replies in turn, "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sers. The name is Ramza." What can Ramza say? He's a pretty terrible liar, yo. His bluff score is entirely just from charisma points. At least he didn't offer his surname too.

He takes a sip from the waterskin because you know what? Refusing water in a desert is just foolish, pride or not, as he follows along with the others.

And then he sees Niklas, and that gives him pause. That was the young Monk that was flirting with everyone, including the villainous necromancer during their last encounter wasn't he? Well... he did get the job done! Ramza gives him that much credit at least, so he bobs his head his way as well.
Kyra Hyral "Nik! Hey!" The tension in Kyra's stance vanishes immediately when she sees the familiar (unshaven) face show up. "Well it's stupid hot out here and we basically just set out on this adventure. good so far. Nobody's died yet!"

Kyra grins widely, then gives Deelel a wave seeing as she had come across the Program before. Her 'weirdness' doesn't phase Kyra at all.

The rest of the adventuring party seems to take off faster as if they're making a concentrated effort to ditch them. Kyra will not allow this and quickly heads after them.
Jenna Blink. Blinkblink. Seems like Deelel has caught Jenna's attention, with her somewhat mechanical appearance and voice. A yellow glass eyepiece sliding over one of her eyes, she tilts her head at Deelel. "...Hm." she says, flicking it as she attempts to get it to work, "...That's weird." as it slides away again. Shrugging she then says, "Oh well." and glances about the group as they walk on.
Niklas Dragonius Nik unslings his guitar and starts playing as they walk. He's got nothing better to do; he might as well practice. Contrary to the opinion of certain parties (SOUJI MURASAME), he's actually pretty good; he's not mind-blowing or amazing but he's got a nice voice and a nice style.

Nik holds up his hand at Ramza as Ramza nods at him. His attention is clearly focused on the ladies more than the guys, but hey, he's not completely blind! In fact, Nik is extremely aware of his surroundings in the way that most martial arts masters tend to be - on a more fundamental, primordial level than sight or hearing, the 'awareness of killing instinct' that comes up in movies and stuff all the time.

"It is kinda hot, isn't it?" Nik asks, looking from Kyra to Jenna to Deelel to Artemis. "It's kinda crazy hot around here." The (slightly unshaven) Nik grins.

"Definitely the right choice."
Royce Surprisingly, the first leg of your journey passes with relative ease, the main antagonist being the sun as it rises steadily into the sky until the oppressive heat of midday glares down relentlessly from above. Even more surprisingly, the young twins manage to keep up with the aggressive pace that Rhi'do sets, his stout constitution allowing him to walk seemingly without the need for rest with their youthful enthusiasm making up the difference.

Only the occasional patch of shade that is afforded by sand-worn boulders jutting up from beneath the dunes causes the bangaa to stall in his march, taking solace from the heat for the few minutes it requires to down some water and regain his strength. If there are any oasises or camps to be found out among the Dalmascan sands, they fail to manifest along the path which the map indicates.

Despite the size of the convoy, the initial stage of the march is free from monsters or bandits, a fact which seems to have the well-traveled mercenary on edge. At the most recent stop he actually takes the time to come over and speak with the rest of the group, his unique aroma presaging the massive creature with the twins hot on his heels.

"Should be sometin' out here come lookin' fer a free meal by now. This emptiness don't bode well at'all."
Artemis Eurus And stay hydrated Artemis does, making sure that Ramza does as well. She must be quiet warm inside that armor of hers, but she does not appear to be suffering. She rest when everyone else does, then keeps up when everyone moves, her eyes scanning the dunes, all senses attuned for trouble.

When the bangaa remarks about the absence of life here, Artemis nods her agreement. They should have seen something by now. She communicates her misgivings to Ramza with a glance, then keeps moving, eyes roaming to Nik. Ah, the one who hits on everyone. Tch, there was a time she would have played that game with him, but no longer. The music is pleasant though.
Deelel Deelel is moving along with the rest of the group for a moment she has to admit they are an interesting hire. She looks over to Artemis and smiles a bit. She also notices Ramza and recalls what he did for Faruja so she's in good company or so she thinks. Jenna is looks over for a moment and grins a little bit at her.

"Humm what's weird, is something wrong?"

Niklas meanwhile gets a bit of a look over and Deelel nods to him for a moment.

"The heat can be an issue yes. Seems most of the party came prepared for it."
Ramza Beoulve The sun. Always their mortal enemy. He found himself agreeing with Kyra and Niklas on the crazy hot part. He moved along without any sort of complaint, on occasion taking the time to wipe the sweat from his brow but little else, he didn't even speak most of the time, it was time to conserve his energy, not banter.

The convoy was large and well-defended, and they weren't harried. After some time, the massive Bangaa speaks up on the emptiness. Ramza has another anime sweatdrop moment, "I would not call attention to it, Ser. That is typically when your foes will strike, without fail."

He'd prefer to avoid the dreaded RANDOM ENCOUNTERS that happened to his party all the time if he could help it.
Jenna "So, if we want water to appear we say, 'How could things get any worse?' I mean, that's always when it starts raining, right?" Jenna asks, "...Or would that just cause a sandstorm? I mean, it'd get worse at that point and rain in a desert would be helpful..."
Niklas Dragonius Nik shrugs. He's actually pretty used to both walking and heat; in fact, Nik is pretty used to a lot of crazy things. That's part of what being unfettered entails; he just goes where he wants, does what he wants, and deals with crazy weather however he feels he needs to. At the moment, the answer to that is water; Nik carries a couple canteens with him everywhere in his backpack. You never know when you're gonna need it in this line

"You want some water?" Nik asks Jenna, a broad grin on his face. "I"m willing to negotiate."
Royce Rhi'do snorts at the blonde noble, giving him a blast of his warmth breath, which turns out to be no more pleasant than his body odour.

"If'n yer too scared ta tussel wit a beastie or two, boy, perhaps ya should turn round an' head back to yer nursemaid's skirts. Or didja bring her along wit ya ta save yerself tha trip?"

The bangaa smirks at Artemis before turning around to head back towards his gear, gathering up the pack and hammer and setting out once again. The urchins gives a slightly less disturbing mockery of his grin towards the others before they dart off to follow the guide once again.

The trio hardly get a few dozen feet beyond the shelter of the rocks before the earth itself seems to heave, plumes of sand erupting into the air as a deep bellow reverberations through the area. Rhi'do reacts with the grace of an accomplished warrior, dropping his pack and bringing his weapon to bear with impressive alacrity for his size. His enlongated snout whips back and forth, beady eyes searching for the source of the racket while the twins huddle with their own weapons drawn at his back.

Before any of them can find something to focus their aggression on, the sands beneath their feet gives way, sinking downwards with alarming speed into a deep depression that stretches nearly fifty feet across. All three vanish into the crater, shrill cries of alarm mixed with gutteral curses that are audible even over the groaning of the earth.

As you approach, the first thing you notice is the massive insectoid creature that takes up the majority of the newly created depression. Clattering scythe-like mandibles stretch out from its face, easily twice the length of any blade carried by a man. Smaller but no less deadly looking claws attached to multi-segmented limbs jut upwards from the sand, though beyond this only the thing's head is visible. The second is that the creature appears to be tainted somehow, it's brown carapace mottled and stained with splotches of sickly green and black.

Half-buried in the sands that continously pull them downwards, Rhi'do struggles against the fate that has already befallen the two small girls. Only the sight of a single small hand protruding upwards from the quicksand indicates their presence and the dark red stains that adorn several of the creature's claws bode ill for their chances. Fortunately for the bangaa, his strength and the hammering blows of his weapon seem to be keeping the insect at bay but the odds are not in his favor unless he receives help.
Jenna "What the-?" Jenna says before she frowns and looks about as the recticle slides over her eye again. "Alright, who's..." then notices the depression. jumping away at first, she loosk at the pit below and says, "No..." as she notices the twins having fallen already. "No sense in having that happen to me, though!" she says as motes of green light swirl around her, accelerating her healing rate as she jumps down into the depression.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza stares Rhi'do as he /breathes/ at him, then gives him a statement that's more swagger than substance. He looks entirely unperturbed. How many similar mercenary personalities has he had to deal with? Giving the Bangaa a bland look, he responds, "It is a touch of superstitious caution I grant you. The last few times a member of my company stated that, we had to deal with far more than we bargained for." The insults he lets slide off his back, like water off a duck. He doesn't feel the need to justify himself otherwise.

And then.. that happens. A tainted antlion attacks out of a depression that threatens to swallow them up. Time seems to slow down for Ramza as he assesses the situation. Two dead already, and there was nothing to be done for them. The Bangaa was sorely pressed. The smart thing would be to regroup, and deal with it from a distance. But that would leave the Bangaa to his doom, so as always he chooses the less intelligent, gallant thing that seems to plague him.

Sliding down into the depression on lighter feet than most would give him credit for in his armored form, he raises a hand, incanting several spells on the way down. "Precious light be our armor and protect us. Silent Light shield us from all iniquity."

He then touches the area closest to his heart, forcing the Chakra point to regulate flow better, raising his body's healing capacity to its ultimate extent. He comes up just behind Rhi'do, the harried Bangaa in a fighting pose, drawing his Cinqueda, ready for what was to come. He keeps moving, to try and prevent himself from sinking further into the sandy depression.

Artemis was going to kill him later. He just knows it.
Niklas Dragonius Nik doesn't take stuff like this lying down.

The young martial artist slings his guitar back into his backpack as he takes off running towards the insectoid creatures. Nimbleness is a problem right now - he doesn't have a lot of room to work, so he can't exactly do what he normally does and just cut loose. That's not too much of a problem, though.

Nik turns around in mid-run in an incredible display of flexibility and skill; he flips backwards - winking at Jenna and Kyra as he does so - in a handstand, and continues wheeling backwards, picking up more and more strength.


A moment later, the image of his god and Nik himself become one, a spinning, cartwheeling young man surrounded by water. He goes towards the monster currently attacking the other guy, heedless of potential trouble - Nik is, after all, incredibly hard to actually pin down, and he intends to springboard off the monster with his foot and get up to the trees.
Kyra Hyral Good ol' Nik, always providing the flirting and traveling music. Kyra does not, in fact, start to record this for later music shenanigans since she knows Nik isn't all that fond of it.

Kyra seems to hang close to Nik, not just because she likes the music, but because it is Nik and he's a pretty strong monk. As they make way across the sand again in pursuit of the rest of the adventurers, she jerks backwards suddenly as sand sprays into the air. From afar, Kyra gets a bit better idea of what is going on since there isn't sand immediately in her face. And she sees them sinking into the crater. "Oh <goosehonk>!" The White Mage takes off, only to stop abruptly at the edge of the crater when she spies the fact that the sand is clearly sinking inward. She'd call the creature an antlion but the species seemed pretty different.

More importantly, the twins are missing and the lizard is sinking. There is the distinct smell of blood in the air-just enough to make Kyra very, very angry.

"Nik, kill it. Kill it with the fury of Ifrit's afternoon sun." she hisses, the small vial she had slipped into her sleeve earlier sliding into her hand, then sliding into one of her specialized guns. She waits, only for a moment, so she can get a clear shot and make the monster's life even more miserable.
Deelel Deelel has an idea of what Nik was commenting on, she doesn't reply too much on it. He's not harming anything the man so long as he remains hands off won't get too much trouble out of the basic. she continues to think for a bit a she leaves Nik to offer Jenna something to drink. Her comment about things getting worse, could be tempting fate just a little bit.

"I have no issue with hostile wild life."

Deelel had some experience with hostile desert life and that may be what saves her as she pulls back without even thinking about it. She's just out of harms way.

"So not ... good."

She reaches for the disc on her back, the housing on it lets go an she pulls it away, the edge of the disc humming to life with some sort of white energy field. She watches Nik go in and make his attack however she's not moving to strike yet no she's preparing a few command lines as she boots up for combat hopefully it will make her life easier and her a bigger asset to her allies.

"Watch your footing!"
Artemis Eurus Artemis curses, ready to heave Ramza back with a shove, making sure he doesn't fall to his death into the maw of a giant sand beast. Like those poor girls just did. Damn it! The only consulation was that they were likely dead almost instantly. Not much of a happy thought.

Of course, when she moves to do this, Ramza is instead running ahead of her, down into the damn depression. Oh yes, she's going to kick his butt. Luckily, she knows he can get himself out of it if need be. "Flaming man, is your goddamn head full of wool?" she grumbles as she draws her blade in a flash. Since Ramza is apparently going in, Artemis will try to make sure the healer doesn't die. She looks to Kyra then, pursing her lips. "Well I hope you at least have the sense not to charge in," she sighs, then centers herself for combat, focusing as she watches the others and forms a plan of attack while also putting herself between the healer and the beast.
Kyra Hyral "Nik knows what he's doing, trust him." Kyra says in a clipped tone as she starts reloading her gun right away. "Don't worry about him. He'll rip that miserable thing to shreds. As for me."

She slots in the next vial with a loud click. The liquid within the glass appears to be an ominous black, "I can blow the <goosehonk> out of it back here just fine. Or keep you from not dying if needed."
Artemis Eurus Artemis nods to Kyra. "I have seen him work, he is a professional," she replies. "As for keeping me from dying, that would be appreciated but hopefully not necessary."
Royce Despite the weight of his oversized weapon, Rhi'do's blows do little more than knock aside the insect's diseased claws and mandibles as it tries to pull him below the sands, his lower body firmly entreched and preventing him from putting much leverage into the attacks. The sound of steel escaping its sheath gives him pause just long enough to glance over his shoulder and even that momentary lapse in conentration nearly costs him his life.

"You d'ere! Manchild! Beware da sands! If'n ya goes under, it be all over for ya!" Another sweeping slash forces him to pause, using the haft of his weapon as a shield. "Dem little ones learned dat da hard way," he adds with a growl.

Up above the ridge, Adelwin rushes up at the rear, his beast of burden causing the master and servant to trail at the rear of their group. Upon seeing the disaster unfolding before them, he frowns slightly, adjusting his glasses again.

"It would seem our good fortune has come to an end. Geoffry! My book."

The old man fishes a large tome from one of the side pouches on the chocobo's harness, handing it over with delicate care. Adelwin flips through the pages thoughtfully, seemingly in little hurry while the battle rages on, muttering something to himself.

Niklas' extrodinary acrobatics are met with the hard unyielding surface of the monster's thick chitin. Either through luck or some instinctive fighting reflex, it flicks its head upwards at the moment of impact, allowing the blow to slide harmlessly off the curved surface. Kyra has more luck, her poisoned shot finding purchase in one of the seams within the wide mandible, which causes the insect to reel in annoyance.

From beneath the sand, several more claws reach up to slash at the assailants that harry it up close. Rhi'do continues to stoically hold his ground but he's in no position to assist in the battle. Those that remain at the lip of the crater are met with a different sort of attack. Displaying its control over the terrain, the creature lets out a high-pitched shriek and geysers of sand erupt from beneath their feet, filling the air with grit and debris.
Artemis Eurus Gritting her teeth, Artemis holds her ground as creature's claw takes a swipe at her, merely bruising her beneath the scratch left upon her armor. She raises a brow beneath her mask as if to say 'what, is that all?' as she flicks her blade toward the claw swiftly as it retreats, but the katana does not connect.

Time to get into the melee then, as it seemed Kyra was perfectly sure she could take care of herself. Well then, time to move.

A clap of muted thunder rips through the air, the unique and echoing sound of a hole being torn through reality, reverberating oddly through time and space. Artemis disappears with a bit of misty void energy in her wake, reappearing above the head of the monster where Nik is perched, falling down upon it in a wickedly powerful charge, the steel of her blade on fire with the reflected light of the desert sun.

She too will try to land on the head of the thing and use her martial arts skills and impeccable balance to remain there and try to exploit every vulnerability she can find.
Niklas Dragonius Nik is way better than that. The martial artist ceases to be a wheel of water as he springboards off the creature mandibles; it attempts to slash at him, but his fingers press against the outside of its blades, balancing in an inhuman kung-fu act that really needs to be seen to be believed. Nik's hand-springs from the first claw to the second, his fist snapping outwards to bop the thing on the head; he springs off the next claw, landing both feet on the creature's back.

"Relax," Nik tells the men trapped in the quicksand, "I got this."

Nik kicks his way off the creature, going uPHOENIIIX FLAAAAAAARE!"

The fire dies, and Nik begins to descend. He crosses his arms over his chest, turning his head downwards towards the thing; a trail of rainbow streams behind him what looks very much like a tail of energy expands from him. Those savvy in the gods recognize the crystal on his head, and the adorable furry beast that silhouettes itself around him - the god Carbuncle. Nik/Carbuncle crashes back into the quicksand insect, smashing against it with all of his strength - he intends to strip it of all its defenses before he delivers the killing blow. And the killing blow he will deliver.
Jenna As the heartless lashes out at her, Jenna -tries- to dance out of the way and nearly does... But finds one of her feet slipping and stuck in the quicksand as the blow glances off of her. "Oh, come ON!" she says as she fires off a round infused with ice magic that... Almost hits, but not quite either. "Doesn't usually go this badly, I swear!" she calls out to the others.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza doesn't have rocks to throw here. So instead, he kicks sand into the Insectoid creatures corrupted multifaceted eyes just as the mandibles connect with him, giving him several minor wounds, including a bleeding laceration to his side. Ramza has to marvel at the Martial artist's distinct summoning flare to his abilities, even whistling because he's so impressed.

Keeping his distance from the Antlion, he continues to circle it on lighter feet than one would expect from the armored man. Lifting an arm, power thrums through his fingertips, as he incants, "Strike the ground with glittering blades!" A bolt of lightning arcs downward from the sky, striking the creature.

This is followed by him grasping an object from one of his belt pouches, and tossing it at the creature.

The blue orb sails towards it, as Ramza takes control of the winds in the area slashing a hand downwards to direct the orb towards the creature while further slashing it with razorsharp gusts and when the small orb bursts, it creates an area of superchilled Rime around the Antlion.
Kyra Hyral "...barely had time to do anything..." Kyra grumbles, "...hardly much younger than us..." She jerks backwards suddenly at the spray of sand, shielding her face successfully. Miraculously, her gun does not get infested with sand and, upon checking, can still fire perfectly. But another thought occurs to Kyra.

Now would be the perfect time to try what Helena's taught her. She could take these emotions and this anger...

Kyra holds her free hand out in front of her, palm facing upwards, and perhaps a little too easily darkness begins to race across her palm and gather. Suddenly, it forms itself into a tight, seething ball that hovers above her outstretched hand. Quickly, she flips her hand over as the energy begins to spark.

"HEADS UP!" She snarls as she unleashes the spell that seems to be the complete opposite of the holy power she's also been known to wield. The sphere quickly expands in size and homes in on the antlion.
Deelel Deelel has to keep her distance against something like this creature she's not sure what it is but has encountered she can't get in for close combat but she's still all right at range. She's keeping an eye on the old man along with his companion for half a second. Okay good he's all right, this might have been mistake as she's caught by the attack and it hurts a bit she let scout a cry but managed to keep away from getting worse things happening to her.

"...What is this thing?"

She asks to no one in particular as she throws her disc for the centre of it's mass, before trying to bound away, she's playing the long game at the moment and getting up close would be a very poor idea. It would end badly for her in that pit and she knows it, yet she may be forces to go in at some point, who can say for it looks like some of the others /are/ in trouble such as Jenna. If it's not one thing it's another it seems.
Royce "B-bloody hells, boy! Ya tryin ta send me ta'n early grave?!"

Rhi'do voices his displeasure as the frost bomb that assaults the insect is smashed aside by its lengthy blade-like mandibles, knocking the projectile into the sand at the bangaa's already entrenched feet. A layer of rime encases the lizardman and shivers despite the intense heat of the desert.

Fortunately, Niklas's blazing pyrotechnics quickly heat the situation back up again, balls of flame raining down like tiny meteors on the creature's exposed back even as Artemis falls from the sky to drive her blade through it's armored shell. A wave of needle-like quills erupt from the sand, showering the both of them with dozens of neuro-toxin laden projectiles that immediately begin to make them feel sluggish.

It doesn't save the creature from being skewered, however. Katana and god-fist slam down into the rot-stained head and it slams downwards against the sand with a shrill inhuman screech, even as the dark mass of energy washes over it, further corrupting its exoskeleton with veins of black decay. It clearly doesn't like what Kyra is cooking.

The disc of light whizzes through the air like a deadly frisbee, shearing clean through one of the waving blade-arms that menaces the group. The insect monster recoils again but manages to rally. Its remaining arms lash out and it thrashes back and forth, attempting to toss the unwanted passengers on its head into the reach of its snapping mandibles.

Those that remain out of its reach are beset once more by its strange control over the sand, massive whirlwinds springing to life all around them with such force that they press them into the ground even as their skin is shredded by razor-edge bits of grit and heaving dunes.
Artemis Eurus Sensing that she most certainly does not wish to be hit with those projectiles, Artemis holds out a hand, eyes narrowing as she creates a telekinetic forcefield, pushing outward to turn the projectiles away from her to harmlessly land in the sand.

Artemis looks to Nik, nodding to him. They've got this, yes? She cracks a smile, then begins a fury of sword strikes upon the beast beneath her feet, a blur of motion that is all sharp steel, strength and skill.
Jenna Finally getting herself free, Jenna stands up and jumps back a bit to an outer portion of the depression. "Alright you brute." she says, drawing her pistols once more... Before she's firing them off willy-nilly, apparently not caring just -where- she hits on the target so long as she actually hits it.
Niklas Dragonius Niklas Dragonius is good at not getting killed. Even as he gets completely hammered by those horrible mandibles and claws - even as the thing slices into his body and sends him spiralling away, knocking Nik off his perch against the tree - Nik is very good at not dying. Blood rolls out of the slashes across his chest; blood spills across his body as his torn jacket flutters down into the quicksand. Nik peels himself off the tree, falling to his knees.

That's not enough to kill him.

But he's going to demonstrate what's enough to kill...pretty much anything.

Nik takes a stance. His eyes flare with power as he gathers strength to himself; his muscles burst with power, and he begins moving through a very slow kata - taking on the movements of the gods, precisely.

For when he takes on their movements...he becomes them.

Nik's eyes flash as he lunges towards the Heartless. As he does so, the great god Raiden emerges around him; the samurai with his blade, riding uRAIDEN 0RAAAMPAAAAGE!"

The blade comes down, and Raiden disaRAGNAROK RIIIPPERRRRRR!"

As he lands, his hands droDIABOLOS DRIIIVERRRRR!"

Finally, the shadowy god falls apart; Nik spins away, landing off to the side of the quicksand pit, and covers his chest with his arm to attempt to staunch the bleeding - unsuccessfully. He might need some medical attention later.

Oh well.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza doesn't respond to the Bangaa. He could have hardly predicted the projectile would have been deflected, also the ice that covered the area would more than likely give the Bangaa some temporary footing.

And while he had a hand on the Saya of his Katana to follow through for another attack, his light-footedness had only carried him so far, unfortunately. He feels himself begin to slide /closer/ to the Antlion, as he grasps ahold of one of the aforementioned chunks of ice to try and steady himself. Already they were melting but they'd give him a quick means to carry himself out of the sand.

At least he hoped so, this would really be a terrible end for a series protagonist.
Kyra Hyral " worked! It worked /well/!" Kyra nearly jumps for joy as she spies the effects of her spells amongst the ice and pyrotechnics of the group. Just as she does, a gale-force windstorm of sand slams into her, sending her flying backwards into the air. Sand clogs her face and she gasps for air-inhaling more sand in the process. Her lungs burn.

But despite this, she hauls herself upwards and starts to aim her gun.

At that point she notices sand leaking out of it. A swear escapes her and instead she mentally forces herself to reach for the white magic she did know. Strangely, it still comes, drawn from the vast pool of magical energy available within Kyra. Slipping her gun back into one of three holsters on her, she clasps her hands together as if in prayer. Shortly afterwards, a brilliant white glow settles around Deelel. Nik was just TOO FAST for her! Speaking of-

Deelel Deelel has avoided this time the worst of the pain from the terrible bug thing? She's not sure just what it is as her allies show of powers that are surprising to her. Even with all her time and travel? She's still seeing new things has has just accepted Users are pretty crazy with what they can do. Nik notably has been surprising but the rest of the party has proven to be a bit of a surprise in one way or another. She has her disc in hand once more and then flips into the air throwing the disc for the beast it's not going to do much damage but she's aiming it to mess the thing up and leave an opening hopefully for her comrades to just wreck the heck out of it.
Deelel Deelel has avoided this time the worst of the pain from the terrible bug thing? She's not sure just what it is as her allies show of powers that are surprising to her. Even with all her time and travel? She's still seeing new things has has just accepted Users are pretty crazy with what they can do. Nik notably has been surprising but the rest of the party has proven to be a bit of a surprise in one way or another.

She has her disc in hand once more and then flips into the air throwing the disc for the beast it's not going to do much damage but she's aiming it to mess the thing up and leave an opening hopefully for her comrades to just wreck the heck out of it.

The beast strikes back but thanks to Deelel keeping her distance she has enough time to get out of her way, and she's thankful for whatever powers Kyra helped her with? It's likely why she didn't plastered now she thinks on it. She'll have to thank her later.
Royce Clamping down once it finds purchase in soft flesh, the insect brutally flings Niklas aside, quickly shifting its attention to others. The assault of katana slashes upon its already damaged head snatches its attention back to the deadly samurai woman, however, and it lets loose an angry wail at the harm being inflicted.

Jenna's bullets rattle off the undamaged sections of its carapace, doing little more than creating small spiderweb cracks along its already rotten surface. The monster turns to unleash retribution on the girl but is interrupted by a sudden application of god-like wrath.

Raiden's charge cuts through the air, slicing one of the lengthy mandibles apart as easily as parting paper. A far larger and more devastating weapon manifests moments later as Niklas flows between the forms of his unique art with practised ease, bringing Ragnarok down across the armored back of the creature. The thick carapace cracks and splits apart in places, thick streams of foul-smelling ichor leaking from within. Even as it turns once more, practically spinning in place at this point to find a target it can strike, the gravity manipulation engulfs the insect, lifting its massive bulk a few feet out of the sand and dribbling it like a bastketball with relentless fury.

Limbs twitching weakly, the monster slowly begins to retract its heavy bulk down into the sands, its one remaining mandible jutting straight upwards as it disappears beneath the dunes like a sinking ship. It would seem that even its incredible durability has limits. A thick trail of black goop stains the sands in its wake, whatever serves as its corrupted lifeblood seeping out from the many wounds it sustained.

Rhi'do brushes the last of the frost and sand from his scaley hide as the trembling dunes finally go still in the absence of the strange creature. He spits at the place where it's head once protruded vehemently but says nothing as he moves to gather up his pack.

"Aha, found it! Now I shall slay this fell beast where it... where did it go?"

Adelwin blinks through his spectacles at the site of the carnage and frowns slightly. "Well then. It seems the situtation is well in hand." He hands the tome back to his butler who bows and replaces it from whence it came. "Come along, Geoffry! We've expended a great deal of time and effort thanks to this debacle."
Kyra Hyral As the monster starts sinking into the sand, Kyra finally steps into the sloping crater. She seems to be running after it, "<GOOSEHONK!>" she shouts at it, "GET BACK HERE YOU PIECE OF <GOOSEHONK>!!" Angrily, she's reaching into her hoodie to grasp onto an entirely different vial. Napalm. Fortunately for everyone here, it doesn't get thrown.

Disappointed, she turns away and starts to look for remains of the twins in the sand. Quite /pointedly/ she ignores the remaining and obviously quite useless mage.
Niklas Dragonius Nik frees himself from the quicksand with a little effort, swimming up towards the shore. He crawls onto land, heads up to Kyra, and grins.

"I love being me," he informs her.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza does not in fact say anything else, after he draws himself out of the quicksand. There are no words of triumph as the antlion withdraws. All he does is soundlessly begins to search for the bodies of the twin girls. Or what remains of their bodies.

There's nothing to be done for them now except to give them some measure of a proper burial. If anything at all is left.
Deelel Deelel watches as the monster falls back and is going to move to help whom she can now that things have settled down a bit. She doesn't seem to happy about the fatalties they have taken already however. She looks to Kyra noding a bit.

"We'll have to hunt it later...we can't let something like that roam."

Shes clearly not happy with how things are from the tone of her voice, at the very least. She however takes stock on whose left, she'll aid Ramza in the funeral duties if there are any remains to be found.
Royce Unfortunately, after a minute or so of searching it becomes quite evident that the bodies of the two young girls are unlikely to be found, atleast not without hours of digging through the shifting mass of sand.

"Leave em be," a gruff voice calls from the edge of the crater, Rhi'do's scowl leveled down at the two of them. "Dey's already buried and forgotten, same as anyone who falls in da sands."

Having regained his pack, which contains his own ration of water and, more importantly, the map, the bangaa turns without further discourse and begins to make the trek towards the next landmark. The affluent mage adjusts his glasses with a slight frown but says nothing to gainsay the remark, merely following along at his usual distance to remain free of the distasteful odour of their large companion.

Once again, several hours pass blissfully free of incident, the unwavering heat of the desert being the only foe that rises up to challenge them. Miles of sand disappear behind the group, pockmarked only here and there by stands of cactus or broken rock. Eventually, however, the bangaa comes to a halt and pauses to shield his eyes from the harsh glare.

"Dere she is," he says, once the others draw close enough to hear. "Da temple in da ruins."

A low valley drops away before Rhi'do at a gentle incline, dipping far enough down that the massive structure situated at its bottom is hidden from sight at a distance. Composed of ancient weathered stone, a castle-sized facility juts out from the sand, its once majestic walls half-buried in the golden dunes. No signs of life or movement can be seen from your perch here. Infact, if not for the ruined remains of several tents and pavillions on one side of the compound it would be easy to think that it's been dozens if not hundreds of years since feet last tread these grounds.

"Da map says we's supposed to meet our contact here." He shrugs, loosening the muscles in his shoulders. "Best ta get it over wit' an see what all da fuss is about."
Niklas Dragonius "Sounds good," Nik tells their guide. "Soooo, who's our contact, anyway?"
Royce Rhi'do shrugs again. "Don' nobody know. Word is some man in robes an' a mask what concealed his face t'was da one who be sending out dis call for aid. Some people like ta keep dere secrets, ya? Long as 'is coin is good, it don' matter none to me."
Kyra Hyral Kyra fumes, looking up from the sand. She could have sworn she saw a hand at one point, but. "Forgotten? Tch. No, no they won't."

Even though, Kyra realizes, she didn't even know their names.

As she climbs back up the side of the pit, Kyra unzips her hoodie and starts dumping the sand out of it. "Funny that /you/ are still here, bangaa." she adds, making it explicitly clear whose company she would rather have right now. Kyra remains surly for the rest of the trip, reacting to Rhi'do and the other mage with irritation.

"I think it's multiple men." Kyra mentions in an offhanded way.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza follows along in silence afterwards. Like Kyra, he didn't know their names, or anything about them, but no... he remembered rather keenly anyone who fell in the line of battle that he fought in. Even his enemies.

At this point he saw no reason to even say anything, the others are speaking the questions he would ask anyhow. He was vaguely annoyed at the irreverence of a few of them, and it might have shown just a little on his features, but he makes no comment on the matter.
Royce Either oblivious or uncaring towards the attitude of the others after his cold dismissal of their fallen comrades, Rhi'do takes the first stride into the valley, making his way carefully down the incline towards the ruins. It takes several minutes to reach the the valley floor and several more to cross into the outer perimeter of the ancient forgotten temple.

The bangaa hefts his weapon in both hands, clearly intent on being more alert this time around incase some sort of ambush is waiting for them. Adelwin and his entourage once more pull up the rear, the burdened chocobo having some trouble navigating down the slope with its heavy load.

All that awaits the group is the fluttering of canvas and tarps, remains of tents that can't have been put up too long ago. A few months at most. Long wicked tears bisect several of them in many places, almost as if something tore into the hastily erected structures. Regardless of what befell the former occupants, there is no sign of them now either living or dead.

Rhi'do moves past the tents and leads them up the main thoroughfare until the small group stands at last before the gaping maw of the temple's main doors. Only one of the heavy bronze fixtures remains in place, the other toppled hapzardly into the interior of the facility. The lizardman glances around warily.

"Dey should be here, somewheres."

"And so I am."

An odd metallic voice echoes throughout the area, puntuated by the unmistakable retort of footfalls against stone. From within the deep shadows of the temple a figure slowly takes shape, dark black heavy robes and a shimmering steel mask affixed upon their face. The loose garment completely conceals the shape of the person below, making it impossible to tell if they are man or woman or even human. A pair of hands raise from within the fold of the robe, clad in dark black metal gauntlets whose fingers end in wicked claws. The individual gestures at them and inclines its head.

"I bid you welcome. You who have braved the perils of the desert to reach this place." The mask distorts the voice, rendering that method of identifying their benefactor unusable as well. "Though it would seem not all of you were up for the task. A pity."

This scene contained 60 poses. The players who were present were: Deelel, Maira, Royce, Niklas Dragonius, Kyra Hyral, Ramza Beoulve, Artemis Eurus, The Cloud King, Jenna