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No title.
(2013-09-28 - 2013-09-29)
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Arthur Drover The Necrohol of Nabudis has been explored by the mix of mercenary, artisanal, and VALKYRI troops who have set up shop in the jungle above. This exploration however is not thorough. The outskirts of the city, on the edge of the lake, has been a focus of examination. Both last time, as they fled amid flame and the moaning of the dead, and this time as an expedition has been planned by Arthur and Avira into the darkness.

The cave mouth that forms their access has long rope ladders, belay ropes to tie around one's waist, and enough room for flight or levitation. A wooden structure that goes all the way down is too much at risk of damage from some flying undead thing, or sabotage. Each member of an expedition tends to check their own rope and securing equipment, and in a pinch air magic CAN be employed. But the descent is nonetheless harrowing and not for the faint hearted.

The area at the bottom of the cliff was stocked during an earlier expedition - a well fortified wooden bunker has been formed up, and the steep uphill path is dappled with holy water traps. But the city is too big for this to be employed anywhere but a very limited space around the entrance the camp followers were using.

The mission tonight is simple enough. A small pack train, with a few archers as guards, has made its way to the cave mouth. Arthur Drover sits in the back of a wagon, a delicate bundle in a sturdy backpack open on his lap. Inside is the Runestone. A while back, a cave slide inside of the Necrohol - caused by their incursion into the jungle, and its disastrous battle with an Ochu, no doubt - had damaged a runestone set in a holy sealing altar. This had been keeping some aspect of the undead in check, Arthur and Avira had been able to see as much when they investigated.

The older artisan made its restoration his project, but they needed a priest. Oriane Guado stepped up, lending a flash of curative magic and the formal blessing of Yevon to the mix. Only then could the recalcitrant energies inside the orb allow its repair. The specific mode of repair has been to seal the cracks in the stone with an eerie diamantine paste -a shimmering blue resin with flecks of gold throughout. The cracks are clearly visible, but Arthur had insisted at length that a broken thing repaired this way shines more proudly for being broken. He considers this decision now, but as he runs fingers over the smooth surface of the stone, feels in his gut that he has it right.

His hand, recently badly broken, has completed its healing -accelerated under protest with magic. The glove on it is thick, not his usual archer's gloves. It has steel reinforcements to keep the wrist straight, with enough padding to let it do delicate work. His toolbelt is decked out. And the path winds.

As the caravan comes to a halt and a few guards begin to strike camp, the cave mouth is examined.

"I sent someone by earlier to make sure we had the dead warded out, but they're restless again despite Lady Oriane's best efforts. We're going to have to work hard. If anyone has questions, now is the time."

His bow is across his shoulders in its case, and the pack gets strapped to one leg then lashed about with tight leather buckles. Arrows glisten with unknowable poisons.

Below, the dead mill. The Necrohol is wroth with them - there is no way to ever be free of undead presence here. Purple malboros, liches, dark forces that congeal on invaders like antibodies trying to kick something out of the body. This entire cave wants to eat everyone there, and the darkness is conveying this message loud and clear to every hindbrain that dares look at it funny.
Serah Farron While not a priest, Serah does have a dose of Holy magic. That's what earned her a spot on the team, especially since they were expecting some run ins with ghosts or other kinds of undead. Curative magic is always nice too of course, keeps teammates from turning into ghosts themselves at least. Some monsters around here are also more alive than dead, so who knows what might happen there.

She's followed on the expedition, looking a bit tired, but she's seen worse too. Compared to heartless, its almost a respite. She looks at the giant cave opening, letting out a sigh, mumbling something about how its always in dark creepy place, and never at some fun and bright place like a theme park. Although, a theme park could also be seen as bad, but either way, there's work to be done here.

She turns to the bowman, hands in her back, leaning forward just a bit for balance "So we're just here for some ghost hunting right? I hope that's all there is to it." These expeditions are never that simple in her experience.
Hati Somewhere amongst the VALKYRI guards, Hati stands, picking her teeth with a particularly impressive looking bit of bone. Luckily, it's a little too clean to have been scavanged from any member of the undead, but it's enough to get her a few second glanes as she tosses it over her shoulder. It's probably not human, then again, that's all they need... undead chickens running around.

The wolf doesn't seem to be thinking about it, though. She stalks forward, peeking into the darkness of the cave, her nose twitching and then screwing up with distaste. "Why does it always seem to be places that smell bad." She mutters to herself. Somehow, Hati has the bad luck to miss escapades into candy-land game worlds and seems to always end up on the adventures that required sewers, or underground places crawling with undead.

Tail swishing, the wolf glances across at Sarah, head tilted. "I would doubt it's quite that simple." Hati rubs a bit of the soil from the ground between her fingers, then shakes her head. Her mismatched lupine eyes are looking for Avira. Since finally joining up with the adventuring group, the werewolf has tended to look to her as 'alpha', which may or may not be a good thing.
Alexis Belerang A Few Hours Ago

"Oh man, oh man, oh man!" From the darkness they appear...

"Oh man, oh man...!" Running through the jungle.

"Why did you have to shoot an arrow at it!?" A young boy's voice pipes up amidst the jungle, sounding a little tired.

"It looked at me funny!" A prissy girl's voice answers, even more tired.

Running through the jungle, Alexis and her young blacksmith compatriot Sygg storm through Golmore Jungle, running away from zombies.

Seconds later... the jungle is filled with further screams. "Oh god traps!?"

"Why are there traps!?"



A little later

A haggard looking Alexis and Sygg arrive at the camp, behind them: an entire line of sprung traps. There's a net hanging from Sygg's shoe, Alexis looks like a mess, there's an arrow sticking out of her hair, and there's a beartrap clamped onto Sygg's head - who is almost crying. They just managed to step into /every single trap/ on the way to camp.


"Why are we doing this again?" Alexis asks Sygg as they stand near Arthur at the mound of the cave. "Because we ruined all of their traps, Princess. It's only natural we must pay them back. It's the honor of adventurers on the line here!" The boy pounds his chest. Alexis hangs her head for a moment, and then raises it again. "This kind of mission is unbecoming of someone like me, young knight. But if this is so important to you, then I will help."
Avira Careful, careful planning has been involved this time. Avira knows the volume of undead inhabiting this cursed city and the previous expedition down here had left with their object of desire just barely in one piece. It'd be far too easy to be overrun down here. Could undead recognize repeat offenders? Maybe it didn't really matter since the creatures ravenously assaulted anyone that came in anyway!

Prior to their descent she had helped Arthur every step of the way, setting up holy water traps and readying rope ladders. Everything had to be in place in case of undead rush. Furthermore, helping with the manual labor taught Avira the proper way to set these things. She'd be prepared to repeat the efforts in the future, naturally.

Speaking of experience, Avira and VALKYRI and anyone who has stayed at this camp has received a significant amount of it in the realm of undead fighting. If there was an undead extermination certification, they all would have earned it. Those cheeky can feel free to make such a thing up and attach it to their resumes.

Avira travels through the middle of the caravan, likely next to Mercade. Every now and then she'll murmur something to the detective, followed by smirking or laughter. She almost seems kind of distracted but this is hardly the case. She's come to know this section of forest very well. She knows when the undead or some dangerous animal is coming. Her weapon remains sheathed for now and her small buckler shield stays attached to the small of her back. The pouches around her waist are stuffed with all sorts of consumables, ranging from the gummi grenades to the myriad of potions needed for such a trip.

"Well I have no questions. If I did right now, I suppose that would be a bad sign since I planned this with you~" Avira shouts out cheekily.
Oriane Guado Ever since the capture of their most honoured "guest", Oriane has scarcely been seen outside her impromptu lab. Her utter infatuation with her research continued on until Arthur's expedition into Nabudis was declared. Recent developments now require Oriane to seek answers and perhaps solutions elsewhere. What she was doing could be considered dangerous, but one can never attain true progress with sacrifice.

Thus Lady Oriane Guado dons her finest travelling garments in order to join with little foray into danger. With a sly smile on her face, the researcher trods gingerly in her heeled travelling boots, cyan trousers with blue piping, a matching long-sleeved blouse, and a pair of long gloves that cover her pale hands completely. She carries no weapons as per usual, but there is something a bit 'off' about Oriane. Something about her presence, her aura, has changed slightly since her reappearance from her long hours within her lab.

"I must express my absolute and complete state of giddiness over this expedition. I am on the precipice of a considerable breakthrough and I daresay I may ascertain the knowledge required to complete my research during this expedition." Oriane says to Arthur as her smile widens perceptively, displaying a fine set of unnaturally white teeth.

The Priestess now pauses to examine her....ahem....-the- current entourage. A motley crew of adventurers as always, but that was actually preferable to what they were about to do. Adventurers were rather skilled at undead killing and ruin exploration afterall.
Mercade Alexander "I'm going to hate every second of this, aren't I." Mercade says, looking down from the cliff. Mercade has limits on how much undead he wants to deal with in a week. Usually that limit is 'zero', but Avira is very persuasive. While Avira's been enjoying herself on the trip, Mercade has been... pensive. Something about the area puts him off... And his resistance eventually crumbled in the face of Avira's insistence.

Especially since he /knows/ he's suited for the job. He grumbles to himself and folds his arms, looking to Hati. Huh. He waves to her in greeting. "I know, I feel the same way... And you probably have it worse than I do." He wrinkles his nose. "This is promising to be moderately gross."

Sarah's hopeful comment causes Mercade to sigh. "I /wish/ it would be that easy, but I get the feeling this is going to be a slog. A messy, nasty slog."

He then , looking to Avira. "Are you /sure/ we need to go down there?" He asks Avira, Pirate Adventuress and Kickassian.
Edison Reece Among the faceless soldiers, a strangely unarmed young man stood, watching the procedures and occasionally helping with something or another.One would think Edison Reece was someone with a deathwish, refusing basic things such as a weapon or an armor, and volunteering to walk into a den of the undead. Well, the den of undead part is pretty much a dead ringer of the sanity of the wanderer.

"The air itself reeks," he mutters, "what a wretched place. Then again, if they're left ot their own devices... right." He had spent the last weeks eating wild beasts and killing enemy monsters... or was it the other way around? It didn't matter. After all, he never spend more than a few days in any town, usually doing the odd request to earn enough for the next leg of his aimless journey. And that is his history so far, going with a bunch of people to an undead-infested place just to have a place to sleep.

He's not right on the head, that's for sure.
Minerva Minerva is looking at Mercade for a moment and tilts her head somewhat at him.

"Come on, your quite the fighter, do not sell your self short my friend."

Minerva does not seem too pasued about having to deal with the undead. She really doesn't seem bothered, given how long she's been on the job here. Can one really fault her? She's more than got used to dealing with them on almost a daily basis given how things had been at the camp.

"So Avira shall we get to work I have no real questions at this point. Don't worry we're ready."

She seem to be confident as she keeps moving keeping up with her friends, he's also parcking several pouches and such on top of her normal fighting outfit, she's came prepared clearly...
Arthur Drover "Not ghosts. Beasts from hell, corporeal and ready." Drover turns to Serah, sweeping his eye over her long enough to remember her face, then turning back toward the cave entrance. Arthur points to the steep cliff. "Some of you I know, some I'm meeting for the first time. We're paying you all, room board and protection, but those who mind the dark or the danger are allowed to stay here and guard the entrance. I'll think no less of you. Except Mercade. He has to come." The smith sends out his jibe, a happy grin in Avira's direction at her boisterousness. "Far below us is a city, we know nothing of its history. It is a damned place. Everything that goes bump in the night feels right at home. Some dark energy hangs over it, gets into the very water. Gets into you, if you let it. We can't hope to fight it, but it notices us whether we want it to or not. Avira and I know the shortest route - you just follow the scorch marks. Thanks be to Maira-girl for her help last time."

He pulls a hammer out of his belt, and drives a fresh piton into the rock far from the way down. Arthur spends some time working with rope, getting things secure. "It is a long slide. Mind you use a belay hook, that way if you slip your handhold won't slide too far down the rope. In a pinch, we can save someone who falls. But it will be noisy, so let us be careful. The trip up is easier because of Avira's great beast."

Arthur here gestures to the caravan in general. "Or the pack beasts, if he's busy warding off an attack. Alright. From the bottom we begin our assault as quietly as possible."

He points into the distance - the city is visible in the cave, some sickly purple light pervades it, intrusive and "wrong" to the eyes. "See where the big stalactite has fallen on that squarish building near the outskirts, east side of the lake? That's our target." He pats the pouch at his side. "We head toward that site. As quickly and quietly as we can. Those of you unfamiliar with silent execution techniques, stay behind us. If we face something, Avira and her betrothed are the best for that kind of thing quick and quiet-" A nod at Avira and Mercade to acknowledge them. "-followed by me. Only take shots you're sure about. Lady Oriane is in charge of undead retrieval, if she picks a target, do your damnedest to leave some part of it alive. This is dangerous, so the chain of command is in order of seniority in this city. That means Avira, me second, Lady Oriane third." He runs fingers over the long mithril belt knife which has replaced his usual chasing and skinning knife. "Remove their head and roll it into the lake if a stab through the brain does not do it. Avoid ichor."

His gloved hand wraps around a rope, and the other takes up beneath it. Arthur approaches the ledge backwards and carefully, but pauses before going down. "Good luck. Remember, purple is the color of traps. If you see a painted blazon in purple, it is my mark. Avoid it, or lead something through it."

He stops to consider Mercade's question to Avira, smirking - and she even chimes in with something cheeky. "There will be a test, Avira-girl! Everything is a test."

In the dark of the cave, red eyes can be seen moving, but somewhat aimlessly. They sometimes turn toward the group, sometimes away. They groan, but the groans sound distant and hollow, or perhaps numerous. The water is absolutely still, there are no natural currents running into this cave. Given that fact, the number of ripples should unsettle anyone with a brain.

A final bow toward Minerva when she steps forward - he ties his hat on, and Arthur drops out of sight into the dark. It is a long time of kicking off rock before his feet hit dirt and he waits for company.
Sanel One other individual is showing up in the midst of the travel within the Necrohol. However, it is likely an unexpected guest. After all, who would let a little boy wander alone? It's unknown when Sanel left the Hyral residence. Were they asleep? Were they gone? It was unknown, as something called for the amnesiac to wander in.

And so he does.

However, as the boy idly wanders his way through the midst of it all, he has the look as if he had been wandering aimlessly for a long while now. His clothes are a bit torn and dirty and his face looks about dirty as well.

Sanel takes many steps forward, looking ahead to the group.

And then he pads over towards none other than the Kickassian.

...And likely moves to pick her up.

"Avvy~!" exclaims the boy.

Meet Sanel, The Wild Card.
Avira "Absolutely! It's the only way to shut off this undead tide for good, Mercade. We need to replace the runestone." Avira beams but her smile soon fades as she looks at Mercade with a thoughtful expression on her face, "You really don't like the undead." She notes, "I mean, most people don't, granted, but you seem to have a certain bone to pick with them that seems a bit beyond the usual 'ew undead' thing." A pause. Smirking, she leans over and nudges him with her elbow.

"Hee hee, get it? Bone to pick?"

She straightens, "You've been practicing, though, right? You should be fine." Speaking of fine...this is officially the best mood that Avira has seen Oriane in ever since the Yevon Priestess showed up at their camp. On one hand, it's a little scary. On the other had, she's really happy for Oriane!

Beyond that, Avira's a little wary about the new faces here. Inwardly, she does think that Alexis pretty right-this kind of mission is kind of unbecoming of her! And let's not get into that guy that looks totally unarmed. "...did Arthur invite you three?" she asks, between Sygg, Alexis, and Edison. "You all know what you're getting into, right?"

Poor Herbie though. Left behind again as a living anchor! Then again, how would they get him back up? Herbie's shell is solid and he has no wings.

For now, Avira nods along with Arthur's pre-mission briefing, reacting visibly when Arthur refers to Mercade as her 'betrothed.' She points a finger at Arthur over that one, but doesn't interrupt.

About to go join Arthur in the descent, Avira's suddenly interrupted by SANEL! He scoops her up, which is ridiculously easy to do because she's pretty petite and he's incredibly strong. "Sanel! Hello again." She gasps, wiggling after a few moments. "Sanel, we are going on a mission! Please put me down so we may continue."
Hati With the entryway sniffed out and confirmed to be vile, Hati pushes herself to her feet, dusting her hands as she tries to brush off the foul earth. She walks towards Mercade and Avira, tail tucked low and ears at half-mast. "I'm getting used to it by now." She murmurs, reaching into the pocket of her jacket to fish out what looks to be a jumble of dark colored bandanas. The plus side, it probably helps with the stench, though it does leave her looking like someone who might mug you on a dark New York street. "Here." She offers one out to Mercade.

The 'Princess' is given a wary look. After months of hunting down Princesses of Heart, the title draws her lupine ears towards the pair of young people. "If you truely feel you're above such an adventure, we could always leave you here..." The wolf curls her lip, flashing a hint of fangs at the girl. "The traps should keep you safe... oh wait, you destroyed them." The wolf rolls her eyes. Looking at Sygg, she points towards his pant leg, "How in the world did you end up with a mouse-trap attached to you, too?" These two were trouble.

She spares Sanel a brief glance, but isn't too familiar with his antics. Then again, the wolf-girl has that whole 'fluffy' thing going on. Follow the cute puppy into danger and possibly certain death!

With Arthur heading in, the werewolf isn't too far behind. Her thief skills come in handy with things like repelling from high places into dark dungeons, and in stealth. Getting down should be easy, going anywhere unnoticed by the undead will be harder. The darkness down there will be trouble for her, but she's familiar enough with darkness.
Serah Farron Serah Farron hmms as she listens to the explanations. Well, climbing. That's something she's never done before either, but she can learn and take the explanations at least. She secures herself with the rope carefully. She doesn't want to drop down, even if she survived the fall, its not exactly... friendly looking down there either. She shakes her head, trying not to think about it either.

"I'm not sure if its better to beat up living creatures... but I guess its easier to know if they are dead and won't come back... But then there's ghosts... ugh..." Basically, it doesn't seem like anything can be gone 'forever', doesn't it? Oh well, gotta do what you can, and hopefully stay alive too. "Traps, purple marks, alright... If you don't mind, I'll leave the hunting to you all, I don't have a good weapon and I think my magic is a bit too flashy for this... But I'll make sure you stay healed." She offers up, helpfully.
Alexis Belerang Sygg and Alexis are quiet - really quiet - throughout Arthur's entire explaination. Avira, who has been paying attention, will probably notice how Alexis' face goes sheet white. Sygg on the other hand, has a very resolved look on his face. The idea of descending into a nest of the undead. The possibility of... of not even dying - but worse.

Yet when Avira asks, Alexis tilts her head up and tries to look as righteous as she can. "Of course we do." She declares with certainty. Which gets her a bit of a confused and startled look from Sygg. The Princess, dressed in clothing not suited for combat in the least, reaches for her back and pulls out a 'slightly' sturdy looking bow.

"Princess... you can stay behind if you~" Sygg begins. Alexis immediately cuts him off. "Stop that sentence right there, knight. I am your princess, and you will heed my words!" Sygg immediately shuts down and lowers his head.

Alexis slowly tilts her head back towards Avira, her hands trembling. Clearly, she isn't ready at all. She doesn't know what she is getting herself into. "We can do this. I have trust in my knight." The power of friendship.

Hati's comment has Alexis blushing and biting her bottom lip a little too cutely, tilting her head down while glancing at her. "S... shut up. We can do this."

Sygg in the meantime, is a little embarassed by Alexis' behavior. Luckily for him, Hati gives him a distraction. "What, where?" He asks, glancing back at his pants. "A mouse-trap? W..." He reaches down and grabs it, pulling it off of his pants, and then holds it up towards Arthur.

"Were you expecting undead mice?" This is followed by him trowing it away over his shoulder.

It might snap shut on someone else.
Mercade Alexander Mercade is grumpy, but attentive. He just listens to Arthur as he describes the plan in detail and gives the necessary warnings, half of which he's sure everyone is going to ignore in the next 5 minutes.

When Arthur gets to 'bethrothed', though, Mercade flushes red, muttering to himself... But does not raise loud objections. It doesn't matter anyway. He's learned if he does object, people will just insist on it anyway.

Avira's point causes him to shrug. "Just something about undead makes me groan inside. And not like a zombie. But yeah... I've been practicing. I won't be holding you guys back."

He can't hold them back. He can't let himself fail here, there's too much on the line. Hati approaches him and offers a bandana. Mercade blinks at the offering. "Well... Thank you." He smiles, and takes the cloth, wrapping it around his lower face to help filter the air a little bit. Without another word, he hooks himself to one of the lines and drops down after the others, sliding quickly.
Edison Reece Edison listens, and listens well. Keeping in mind the morsels of information for the inevitable conflict, he thinks, even as he prepares to descend. Once upon a time, this cliff would be nothing for him... but things changed, and he now must descend through the old way. Oh, the memories, when things seemed clear and he only complained about not being able to stay five more minutes in bed... there days are long gone now.

Silently, he finds support for his feet and starts his descent into some kind of Hell.
Arthur Drover A few things happen before Avira reaches the ground.

When he hit earth, surprisingly quietly for a bumbling shopkeep, Drover dropped in to a low crouch as soon as he landed and spent some time looking for the dead. There are absolutely none around their landing site. Good fortune!

He stands up slowly, the movement makes no sound, even with his backpack and pouches. He moves to the barricades, walking on the fronts of his feet to disturb as little of the horrible silt on the ground as possible. There are supplies in the little bunker - potions, coarse salted rations and meat, and racks of rope and wood. Everything it would take to get out if they had to use another route. But it won't be used today. At least it is unlikely to be stolen. The area has consecrated wood crisscrossing down the paths, no doubt put in place with the help of the local white mages. But it goes all of five feet.

Avira arrives, and Arthur makes an exaggerated show of his creaking bones keeping him from rising quickly. "There - Avira, there are no dead on the road."

There is a scorch mark, a huge burnt "scar" through the streets, leading right to the east side. Maira unleashed is a scary thing, and she had help. No undead touch it. No undead come near it. In fact, though they could see distant zombies while they were above, it is now impossible to spot anything. Even ripples in the water seem to have stopped. "No one say it." is all Arthur announces, before beginning to pick his way forward, making sure enough people have made it down. "No. One. Say. It." There are no undead visible anywhere.

At first a few gentle steps, then he begins moving at a rapid pace toward the point where the stalactite fell, counting on Avira to follow.

He's not keeping up his facade, he moves surprisingly quickly, darting with uncanny agility for a little old man from barricade to barricade. There is no time to keep up the mask. A smile plays across his features as he rushes into the Necrohol. A dangerous place for anything as innocent as a smile to play. The room where the stone is to be housed is about five minutes away, along The Scorch. And still nothing shows itself.
Sanel Sanel is happy to have Avira in his arms! The boy is not even five foot tall. However, the herculean child is more than happy to carry Big Sis around since she is a familiar face. He does set ther down gently. Sanel has been learning to be gentle with people!

"Mission? Sanel is not fam---"


Then, Sanel sees the wolf-girl.

0Target Acquired: 0Hati

A dangerous gleam comes out of that single, visible eye. It is a starry look on top of that. ...Is that a bit of drool on the side of his mouth?

And right where Sanel was? He was gone.

Why? Well, Sanel is slowly creeping over towards the wolf girl, as if ready to pounce.

And the boy leaps! Arms widen and ready to nab her to a hug.

Annd it looks like that sme people may be off to the path and Sanel may have to catch up.

...After he finishes kidnapping Hati.
Minerva Minerva looks at Dover for a moment thinking about his words as she contiunes to keep moving. She's intending to earn her pay on this one, but who knows what could be lurking. Even with their experience so far? The world kept throwing new and worse horrors at them as if it was testing them. She seemed to be ready at a moments notice to burst into a fight however as she is suggested to use the hook. It's a good idea so she gets ready to do so, no free climbing today for her. She makes note of where she's going to be going. Arthur was certainly prepared for this she had to give him that.

Then comes Sanel and she just kind has this feeling to cringe for some reason and she's not sure why.

Minerva tries to not say it and she somehow does as things just gives Mercade a look and she tilts her head a bit.

"True tis rude when someone does not remain in their grave."

She now hooks herself up and down she goes with the others!
Alexis Belerang Alexis moves up to the rope along with Sygg, and pulls her bow over it. Moments later, she's zipping down the line with Sygg right in front of her, using a proper method to get down below. A little girlish screetch follows, a tumble of a boy... and the Princess lands right on top of Sygg after a fairly unsuccesful landing.

The Princess moves her hands to her tiara and adjusts it, patting her hand down at Sygg. "Oh, a soft landing." She declares, followed by a groan. "Princess... if you might get off of me." "Oh!" Alexis is quick to get off of him.

"But hey, look. There's no undead!" She declares. Followed by Sygg; "Man, no undead? That's a relief."

"Yeah, there's no way this can go wrong anymore. It's completely safe." Alexis adds to this.

"It'll be a walk in the park." Sygg adds.

"Easiest mission ever." Alexis agrees, recovering her bow and putting it on her back, and takes out a brush to try and get her hair to look 'proper' again, even bothering to take out a mirror for this very purpose. Only the mirror is broken.

"I wonder if that's a bad sign..." Alexis mumbles.
Avira Avira is released from the iron grasp of Sanel as his attention quickly shifts to that of the werewolf VALKYRI present. Having experienced firsthand Sanel's 'affinity' for animals, Avira winces prior to him seizing Hati. Afterwards she seizes the opportunity to slide down the available rope and land not far behind Arthur. Privately, a few words are exchanged about what must be done down here and...

...well, seems like she might not be fighting? Despite suddenly being in the belly of the Necrohol, she doesn't withdraw her weapon. Nonetheless, she takes point, moving Arthur behind her. She squints around into the darkness.

"You're right." she says quietly as she swiftly moves along the scortched path present. "Say wha-oh, right."

Avira's gaze darkens. "That."

0Avira's genre savviness has leveled up!

Immediately she starts cringing as Alexis continues to talk. "Maybe she really should have stayed behind." she mutters.
Hati Hati is standing right there at the edge of the cavern, checking her safety gear, oblivious to the fact that she'd just been locked onto by Sanel-radar. The downside of not knowing him that well is that his presence doesn't put her on high alert. She's just about ready to ease herself down when she gets slammed into.

One moment, her feet are on the ground, the next, she's toppling through the air, arms instinctively grabbing onto Sanel to keep him from falling. There's an agonizing moment before she gets caught, the force of the jolt knocking the breath out of her. "Oof." Looking down, the wolf has come to a stop maybe a few feet from the end of the line.

Setting her feet down, the wolf-girl releases Sanel, "You should be more careful." She grumbles, her tone half-indulgant and half annoyed. Hati has a soft spot for younger people, usually. "I don't want to end up street pizza, alright?"

Hati starts trying to disentangle herself from the safties, so long as Sanel doesn't get in the way too much. Her ears catch bits of conversation, enough to have her look from Alexis to Avira, "I have a spare bandana... I can always gag her." ... She's probably joking... okay, maybe not.
Serah Farron Serah Farron isn't sure what she's not supposed to say... So instead she says nothing. She just follows. Simpler that way.

She slides down from the rope, almost forgetting to untie herself after touchdown, because she's just glad to be on firm ground once again.

Oh, Alexis said it. THAT's what she was supposed to not say. Okay. She wouldn't have said it anyway, because she's never sure until she's safe back home with a cup of hot chocolate. Something that hasn't happened in a long time either, really.

She puts a hand on the sheathed dagger that she carries around, as simple protection since she's nto really good at using it, as she prefers to use spells most of the time. She readies the first spells, mumbling it to herself mostly, preparing it in case she needs to use it.
Arthur Drover Alexis will be severely reprimanded. The girl says it. This happens just as Arthur steps into the Rune Room. It was once beautiful, it was once ornate. The moment he sets inside, the girl says the words, a lot of words. And all hell breaks loose. Whether the room or the words precipitated this, the worst has begun.

Ooze, thought to just be purple lakeside silt, rises up. Then fire ignites on it. It is not wet after all, but dry - crispy in fact. Who knows where it came from - maybe someone threw it away, or it grew here in the darkness out of some kind of morphic symphony with a beast from elsewhere. A terrifying red-eyed face glares down the building, and rears up in a familiar pudding shape Floating inside of it are zombies, liches, even an ogre. It is huge. Building size huge. And it has eaten most of the other undead in the area. It looks smug. Like the cat that ate the zombie canary.

Drover is too focused on the task, with Avira right behind him. "We're going to need to get this done."


A circle of purple light surrounds the square of the rune building and the Flan wobbles toward it. The stone is gingerly placed on the altar, and Arthur gets out a chisel and a pot of paste. He begins gathering chips of rocks right away, to find the right ones to set it in place and re-empower the area.

"Avira, get a roof over this thing, and get a rope around the stalactite, we'll pull it out last!" His bow has been thrown to the corner of the room. "Good luck out there, everyone!"

The creature belches a plume of oily flame toward the others as they reach the area. A huge thudding sound booms from behind it. It apparently brought friends.
Edison Reece The first thing Edison hears as he finishes his descent is the words 'no undead'. He groans. Chances were, they jinxed it, if such a thing existed in this world. "Please, don't-"

Whatever he had to say, however, was drowned by the newcomer. A creature of... "What in the darkness of Hel is that?" he asks, frowning. The air around him starts crackling, reacting to some yet-unseen force, and small wisps of blue-white light are seen before a sharp, dry crack.
This is why Edison did not bring any weapons or armor with him. He is his own shield and sword... or gun. A full body armored suit and a pair of handguns are his weapon, the prelude to a whole new journey. Raising his weapons with steady hands, he is ready for battle.
Sanel As Hati tries to keep him from falling, Sanel is clinging ono her. He is actually oblivious of the impending painful impact with the ground. Then again, even if he landed, he would not care. He has Hati in his arms.

<3 <3 <3 <3

As she lands and settles on her feet, Sanel is clinging onto the woman.

"Okay! Sanel likes wolfy girl! o/` Sanel now has a wolf girl!" And the boy is about to pick her up

And then, hell breaks loose. The boy furrowsh is eyebrows at the sight of the undead. The boy frowns slightly, "...Sanel does not like---"


Only to him, he can hear the echo of a finger snap. The boy stands up in full attention. The boy's body posture tenses...

In fact, Sanel's hand reaches towards his chest. It's as if he is clutching onto his heart tightly. The color in his eye fades as he takes several deep breaths.

"...Undead." His voice is now lowered and hushed.

Alexis Belerang "G... gag me!? That would not be becoming of a princess of my stature!" Alexis heard Hati, it appears. Sygg quickly gets in front of Alexis and spreads his arms outwards. "You won't lay a hand on the princess." He bravely declares - while looking a little nervous. He glances back at Alexis.

"Mpppfff." The princess stores away the brush and mirror and turns her head away, crossing her arm. "Fine." What she is saying 'fine' to, is unknown. What follows is the shadow of the massive Flan rising over her. The girl swallows hard, as does Sygg... and they both slowly crane their heads about.

"Look, no time to keep bickering." Sygg steps forwards, moving one hand out to indicate Alexis should remain behind him.

"Don't order me around!" Alexis answers the youth and fletches her bow. "We can do this. You and me, Sygg!" Annoyances they are. But there's still something...

Infective about their behavior.
Avira Alexis will need a thorough training montage before embarking on adventures like this in the future, Avira feels. Maybe she can employ the one she did on Mercade that one time. Then again, doing so might be too forward. She doesn't even know this girl! Mercade, she's...well...


Yes, Avira does a lot of moving along. She's moved on ahead enough that she doesn't really catch sight of the undead pudding (black pudding?) that rises from the lake. Avira steps into the rune room not long after Arthur, looking around carefully and quickly nods. The roof, well...

The air in the rune room becomes colder as Avira goes about shaping thick ice meant to secure the ceiling above the altar, if temporarily, so Arthur's work is not disturbed. A coil of rope is then around from Avira's waist, meant for the stalactite.

Outside, at their backs, as the ooze makes its appearance, red eyes peer from rooftops. Just barely, short, squat silhouettes can be seen-and this will be the only warning they really get before a psychic assault suddenly tears through the minds of everyone in the streets. The brief flash that follows illuminates the undead creatures gathered there like vultures.

Illithids. Mindflayers. Their normally pure white skin has become grey and mottled. Flesh hangs off their bones, leaving their face-tentacles a shredded mess. Mysteriously, their robes look oddly well-kept.
Hati Just what Hati needs. The wolf is still fiddling with the safety straps when the giant pudding-like creature seems to show itself. With a grunt, she reaches for her daggers and slices at the ropes, pulling herself free. At the very least, Sanel doesn't /actually/ try to pick her up. The two blades are held firmly in her hands as she turns towards the monster, instinctually taking a step forward in front of the boy.

She can't hear his murmuring over the sounds of Sygg and Alexis arguing, but her ears flatten none the less, growling a warning - as if that will do much. Her dagger is moved through the air, etching a series of dark lines that fade into runes.

Energy forms beneath her feat and Sanel's, as if she had just casted haste.

Mercade moves forward through the Scorch, frowning at the devastation. "Remind me to never make Maira mad." He comments to the side. He follows along, cringing as Alexis says those fatal words. "Did you really have to do that?" He calls back to the Princess. "Seriously." He might not be super genre-savvy, but that's the oldest trope in the book.

He stomps on, irritated. "Look, let's just get moving." He looks back to Hati, arching an eyebrow as he sees her almost fall. "Uh... Are you going to be all right?"


Mercade approaches the building with the Rune Room and looks around, frowning at the environment. "Well, if I was a horrible undead monstrosity..." He trails off, and then oh look, horrible undead monstrosities. The psychic assault hits next, and Mercade staggers, his hand going to his head. "All right. You guys want to play rough? Let's go." He holds out his hand, calling on the power in his Heart, and the Twilight Seeker Keyblade answers, forming in his hand with a flash. "Don't you guys have somewhere to be? Seriously." He inverts the Keyblade, whipping it around as he charges forward. "If you want them... You need to get through me first!" He yells, holy power explode outwards as he pulls a shotgun from beneath his coat, dual-wielding Keyblade and gun as he spins through the undead assault, unleashing a relentless barrage of brilliant explosions.
Minerva So things have become a King of t eh hell so far as things are, this is something she can deal with while her allies gets to work, she's got her plans. which is to fight like heck against he strange creatures she slams her fists together which burst into flame she knows just what she's got to do here. as she now moves get into the mix of things.

"Aye Princess, focus on the task at hand, there is no shame in learning from someone more experienced. It will only help to make you a far better ruler when your time to rule comes!"

So she looks from the Flan to the Mind Flayers. The latter get her attention as hew lunges at them they tend to use magic and she can truly ruin their days as she strikes, fire ten a whole lot of ice? Oh yes her fist keep cycling through elements as she strikes.
Arthur Drover The giant flaming flan barfs very slowly. What comes out of it is a congealed katamari worth of messy pudding, all on fire. Undead are slowly burning to death inside of it, but the flames are purple and don't fully destroy anything. Instead angry zombies are flailing from a ball of burning, fetid fat - it is grotesque.

The ball just sort of rolls toward Alexis, her sidekick, Hati, and Serah. It seems drawn to princess magic and beauty. It seems to hate them a lot.

The Flan isn't done though, it leaps on top of the ball with strange grace and precision, and slides along it like a giant greased fireball.

It is all up in the adventurers' barbecue grills. Illithids can be seen raising their hands in a silent chant and clapping in punctuated rings of loud soundlessness. They have given it a 4.5 out of 5. Of course, it doesn't get the chance to do more than lightly singe them because Mercade and Minerva strike.

It barrels down the road toward all of the assembled adventurers, turning on Hati as speedy energy ignites beneath the bestial warrior. The Flan has not yet noticed the threat Sanel is about to pose, its loss. But it notices Mercade. Bullets hit it, and the thing wobbles in the arcs of light as it suffers - it steams wherever that power touches, and lets out a keening sound. Mercade didn't use a cutting weapon, so it can't divide. This fight rages outside, and the beast sets its flaming sights on the Wielder. Minerva whooshes past and the wind of her passing fans its flames as she heads for the Illithids.

0MEANWHILE INSIDE...Arthur whistles to Avira, oblivious to hell moving in outside: "Now come watch. I know you people think I'm being sentimental, but you need to respect your materials. Holy magic is a bit - finicky. Treat it with respect or it'll get mad. And you have to beat dark magic up before it'll even listen. Watch." He pours holy water into the depression before placing the stones -and a simple bonding putty- around the central rune. Light dapples over his fingers, but it is coming from the materials rather than the smith.

"People who can cast magic tend to get this part wrong, you don't put any of yourself into it. You don't try to tell it what to be, you let it be. Feeling all that power there, for the taking. If I knew how to channel it I might be tempted to, anyone might. And then you've reduced your creation. Let it be greater than you, work in between breaths."

And he does, a sculpting knife comes to hand and he begins levering and cutting, chipping and placing. "See the pillars around us? Get those lined up and throw a proper roof over it. Your magic won't hold past the hour, besides, we don't need it, I can survive a few rumbles from the tussle in the street."

At this exact moment, there is a tinkling sound, and the small rock knife falls from his gloved hand.

Drover's eyes are wide as a largish rock smacks into the back of his head, and he tumbles forward spitting. His glasses shatter against the stone and he blinks in pain. This just got complicated a bit. He fumbles for his tools.
Alexis Belerang Mindflayers! The sudden psychic assault hits the blacksmith and her compatriot at the same time. Both of them cringe and stumble back. It's very clear that they are indeed new at this whole mess. It's actually Minerva's comment that snaps Alexis out of the moment.

"O... of course I will be a better ruler!" She suddenly stands up firm and fires a single shot from her arrow at the Mindflayers, before she swats over Sygg's head. This apparently allows him to resist too! "Wha, hey! What was that for!?" He asks.

This is followed by the rolling of a flan-ball-thing, straight towards the pairing.

"Baddies! Get on it my brave knight." Alexis demands. "Right!" The youth answers her.

Sygg grabs for his backpack and pulls out a massive Axe that is way too big for him. How did that fit in there anyhow!? He wobbles left and right a bit, and the flan-clump bowls right into him. He ends up flattened for a moment... and then pops right back up and tries to punt the thing away with the flat of his axe!

"I'll help!" Alexis calls out, aiming her arrow into the air all of the sudden, and firing a single shot. Suddenly, there's a beautiful rainfall of white light from the arrow, sparkling down onto the group and healing wounds.
Avira Mercade pulls both keyblade and shotgun, two wildly different weapons that manage to work together in harmony in his hands. Light explodes throughout the rooftops, withering anything unholy that happens to be too close to the blasts. Mercade can just barely make out one such illithid melting on the spot.

But another yet waves a gaunt hand in front of him and Mercade finds his blast neatly deflected off into the darkness. That particular mindflayer leaps down from the rooftop, his descent slowed by telekinetic power. In fact, it still seems to be floating when it reaches the ground, not touching the defiled earth with its feet. This particular flayer homes in on the detective, casting out a ground-rending blast of dark magic before it.

Minerva jumps bravely into the fray of mindflayyers, punching down upon one as she does so, beating it to the ground. It does not rise, its body melting into putrid slime. The other mindflayers seem unconcerned about the state of their colleague and immediately turn on Minerva. In melee range, they try to grab her and hold her down so the biggest mindflayer of the bunch can spread its tentacles out on her face. Anyone familiar with mindflayers knows this is a very, very bad thing.

The other mindflayers descend from the rooftops, moving like swift, brain-eating greyhounds. Another attempted mind-stun ripples through everyone's psyches.
Sanel "..."

Sanel(?) turns to face the Flan as it makes its assesment in striking him down. Sanel furrows his eyebrows as the creature releases its barf and the undead flail about. The creatures that flail around are noticed and the boy's movements are slow.

At least, until the creatures lunge towards him and the flan is barreling towards his path.

Sanel is gone.

Only to reappear behind the monster, "...Worthless."

A hand lifts up, manifesting a chilly glow.

The hand extends out towards the monstrosity, focusing before something erupts from the ground beneath the Flan and the burning undead.

Pillars. Those black pillars erupt from the ground, covered in ice. The dark pillars tear from the earth to rip into the creature, even seeking to bind them all.

Hati If a giant Flan filled with undead wasn't bad enough... a katamari of undead on /fire/ is just ridiculous. She manages to escape being run over by the thing as it rolls at her, but that doesn't mean that she gets away completely unscathed. Her leg ends up burnt, the wolf quickly crouching to try to extinguish the fire. It leaves a nasty set of red marks on her leg.

The injury doesn't last long underneath the 'sparklies' of Alexis' magic. She glances upward, squints, then glances towards the Princess. "Seems you are useful." Which is as close to praise as you can expect from Hati right now. The burn fades, and the wolf is left with a strange fashion statement with one leg of her pants half-missing.

The wolf tends to have the worst luck in this human form, but wolfing out in front of a number of people who have never seen her like that could prove disasterous. For now, she'll stick to her own physical prowess without the werewolf might.

Her daggers are shifted as she draws another series of marks, but her motions stop half-way as the mindflayers lash out again, making her whimper audibly. Tail tucked, the wolf shakes her head, trying to rip free of the effect and finish her spell. It's the surprise of seeing what looks like darker powers being used by Sanel that startles her free. Her runes ignite, but this time they don't effect her. Instead, the power wells up underneath the evil greasy looking flan. Darkness given form lashes out like physical tendrils, trying to grasp and hold, draining strength where it can.
Serah Farron Burning flans. She feels there should be some kind of joke in there, some odd delicacies? Well she rather not be meal to something that could be a meal in another world at least. And apparently this was made into the 'princess squad' too, and flans don't like the glitter. Or absence of? She can't be sure, and she's going going to ask it either!

While she's not eaten, the flan does give it a good attempt, and almost clamps down on her leg as she tries to move away, before she gets BBQed. "Hey, I don't want to be the main course to a dessert!" She's not too pleased, but at least she got allies to support her. She had some spells ready, so its time to unleash them too. She spreads out a curtain of red, boosting the attack power and speed for Mercade and Hati, who seems to be the front liners in this case. She readies up healing spells for the next turn, as she feels its going to take a few attacks to take it down either way.
Edison Reece Reece flinches as he feels the impact of the Mindflayer attack. And after the mental assault, comes the Ranger's fury, as he sees heads with too many tentacles on them, even if half of them are rotting. He sees them advancing as an oncoming wave of bad innuendo and poor taxidermy efforts, animated by whatever dark power... animates them.

"You wretched... agh!" He is defenceless against the oncoming swarm... being tossed into the air by the swarm before he could fully react. However, as the effects of the mind assault recede, Edison springs into action, twisting himself to land on his feet, aiming right at the Mindflayers. "You will return to the ashes... one way or another." he mutters, right as he squeezes the triggers.
Arthur Drover Hati slices the Flan in half. The negative energy seems to mend the halves quicker, and it is two undead Flans that exist then.

They seem to meet, their blazing eyes staring lovingly at one another, like brothers reunited. They begin bouncing randomly around the area, and their bounces are so forceful that littls flans fly off of the larger ones and begin scuttling, and burning, around the legs of the invading heroes.

Hati's tendrils DO hold the thing still long enough for Sanel to use something more effective. The ground binds the pudding, mixing with it and making it a slurry instead of a jelly. Neither of the two is too bogged down by this, flames already eating at their binds. They begin bouncing in place.

But they are restrained, so this just makes them shake a little. Then they bounce again, like a superball on a string. And again - the speed increases. Eventually, they shake apart, bits of Flan flying between the earth bonds and the dark bonds. They become too small to hold! Hundreds of flans mill around, tiny and insistent, burning ankles and trying to climb up people's clothing or backs to burn truly terribly. The streets run red with fire and dessert, and Serah may be a meal after all as she is selected as one of the targets of the thronging many.


"Avira, alright, now touch it as little as possible, get it into place, I'm going to go tug the stones off the pile." The sad remains of Arthur's glasses have been put away, the most difficult task is now left to fledgling stonesmith Avira to work on. Why does it never go smooth?
Mercade Alexander Mercade is already having a bad day.

It's just about to get worse. Mercade yells as he tries to defend himself from the onslaught. The impact of the dark magic sizzles across his body, leaving painful scorches. Were he not protected as he was by the Keyblade, he might be dead right now. Or worse. Even so, at the same time the massive flaming fat hammers into him, leaving Mercade in a puddle of burning slime.

"... Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh." He says, nauseated. He looks up, irritated as he pulls his Keyblade up and around, holy power flaring as he lashes out with a line of burning white light, encircling the Mindflayer who attacked him and pulling him in closer. "Get over here!" Mercade yells, before he leaps, slashing out with a lunging strike... Just like how Avira taught him!
Avira Meanwhile, Avira loops rope around the big stalacite and leaves it there, prepared for later when they'll have to remove it. Swinging back down to the floor of the chamber, she walks over to observe Arthur at his work. She knows about the battle raging on outside since she definitely isn't so absorbed in this work that she would forsake attention to her surroundings.

"Well I know it won't hold but..." Avira looks at the pillars then at the nonexistant roof. Dangit, she was a mercenary, not a carpenter!

Then Arthur takes an unexpected spill. With a cry, she moves to steady him, cringing as she sees his glasses. "Hold on, I'll get those-" she's quickly helping his hands find his tools again before she'll step off to pillar rearranging and roof building.
Sanel Hati is, oddly enough, ignored. If one was to get a look at Sanel, it would appear that no one really existed to the boy at this point. The single eye shows a lost, darkened gaze. The smiling child is gone and is replaced with that haunting presence of the strange user of the darkness.

The flans that managed to bounce gain and shake away from the bond, the hundreds of flans mill about and they tart climbing towards the boy. Or at least, they would until the young boy starts leaping away rfom their presence.

He lands on top of a pillar and then he furrows his eyebrows. "...Monsters everywhere.." However, his gaze locks onto the mindflayer. The target will have to be dealt with in a bit. After all, the other creatures stand in his way first.

The boy then takes a step away from where he originally was...

And another Sanel is in place.

And then the other Sanel moves.

A third Sanel appears.

There are three Sanels now.
Alexis Belerang "Of course I'm useful. Pffff... the nerve!" Alexis complains.

Then within moments, there's Flans everywhere!




Sygg looks back at Alexis, as the girl starts to freak out.

"EW EW EW THEY'RE FLANS! THEY'RE FLANS!" The starts to kick at them left and right as they try to climb up her legs. "IEEEEEE!" Sygg quickly rushes in for the rescue, but is delayed when the Mindflayers once again release their psychic calls upon the area.

"All icky! And SLIMEY! EW EW EW EW!"

He winces and falls to his knees for a moment. A dire moment, in which the Flans try to roll over him. Alexis is far too busy freaking out about there /being flans/ to worry about Mindflayers trying to eat her brains from a distance.

"Sygg! My knight! Protect me!"

Sygg snaps out of it again, flails about and gets his ass up in order to help her punt some Flans, and gets into a defensive pose in front of her, swiping that massive axe at any more flans that dare get near his princess!
Hati Ever have one of those moments when you feel as if you're cursed? Even with the bolstering spells of Alexis, Serah, and her own powers, Hati still seems to struggle. When the Flan bursts appart, she ends up with a huge glob of it covering the upper part of her body, making the poor werewolf look as if she's someone's idea of a party favor. An irritated look follows as she reaches up to extinguish her hair. You know how the smell of wet dog is gross? Try burnt dog.

"I am starting to really dislike this thing." She mutters, and kicks a bit of flaming Flan. Sanel's actions don't seem strange at all to her, but then again... she's a user of darkness, herself. At her side, two large wolves appear, seemingly made out of the same purple-ish flame as her runes.

"Get rid of some of those..." She mutters, and the wolves streak out, trying to /eat/ the smaller bits of flaming Flan. They aren't real animals so it can't hurt them, hopefully.
Hati, on the other hand, seems to try to target the largest of the Flan-pieces, launching with her daggers for a more direct assault.
Serah Farron Serah Farron finds that its the perfect time to use her accumulated magic. She had planned on it. And since the L'Cie's power giving is on a different level than the normal human she appears to be, even rather frail in many ways, she manages to jump straight out of reach of the many many little flans exploding and tossing fire around her.

While in midair, she releases the healing magic, aiming the green sparkles of light as a rain toward Hati, Alexis and Mercade, covering all three in beneficial, warm magic to mend their wounds, landing close to them as the magic affects them.
Arthur Drover The bits of Flan can't stay corporeal when the flame wolves eat them, they lose their connection with the main "mass". Still, the dark energy gradually reduces the potency of the wolves, and they might disappear after making a dent in the Flan. It begins to systematically recorporate - all of the tiny flan stream together in between the heroes. It balloons up comically, or it would be comical if one didn't consider that when the Flan split, it also split all those undead into bits, and now instead of whole zombies, individual parts float in the purple burning mess. This is a bad place. This is not a good place to raise a kid.

The Flan senses the healing magic from Serah and Alexis, and it is very mad that Hati's wolves ate part of it. Jets of flame shoot out of it - one from each eye, one from the mouth. Each aimed for one of the ladies. The jets are shaped like little flaming skulls. Oh, wait, no, those are zombie skulls being ejected along with the fire. And the flames are oily and clinging. Healers are the tastiest. It licks its lips in between gouts of horrible burning, even as all the little flans zoom together, wrapping around the legs of the three unlucky adventurers as it streams together.

Arthur has his tools, with Avira's hel"Damn my eyes, why the hell did they build an ornate stone shrine in the middle of a death trap, no one will ever see it, they were insane and suicidal!", if they dinnae say that, we failed!"

Working by touch, the synthesist gets the stone seated and spends time carving his artisan's mark, a small heart segmented with a cross, into the altar well away from the runes.
Minerva Minerva is now in pretty nasty close combat with the Mind Flayers and things are getting dicey with them as she launches herself against them. She manages to beat it to the ground she turns away to see the other and now feels them trying to get a hold of her, her own face she struggles as it tries ti latch on and does.. However? She attempts to spin and knock the mind Flayer away before he can get his hands on her if that works she's going to then cup her hands together and fire a burst of energy to knock them the heck back down.
Avira By gosh, it works, Mercade! It works out very well! Were Avira around she'd make a comment about Mercade using the light lasso again to wrangle an undead. The fiesty illithid comes flying in at Mercade and quite neatly splatters against the keyblade as Mercade lunges in with his strike! Splatters may not be the correct term for it since it's moreso that the holy energy crumbles away any flesh it touches, leaving a gaping spreading hole in the undead.

The re-slain illithid drops to the ground in front of Mercade. This easily gets the attention of three others and they quickly close in on Mercade, reaching forth with psychic power to crush him from all sides. They clearly find him a dire threat.

Edison, who turns out to be armed after all, quickly finds himself earning attention as the bullets he fires fail to really stop a shambling illithid as it reaches out toward him. He can feel the psychic pressure upon his brain increase dramatically now.

Mindflayers are bowled over like dice in Minerva's vicinity. They float back upright and charge again, now all twice as angry!
Sanel All three of the Sanels are standing on a separate pillar now. They all cast their gaze at the flan bits. The zombies, the mess, all of it. All three of the strange boys cast their gze below. While the jets of flames shoot out, the three finally start to prepare their negation of the presence.

The air becomes cold. Slowly, but surely, the temperature rapidly decreases as the presence becomes suffocating. As the chilly air comes forth, the air releases a chilly presence to rest along the flans.

The icicles drop down, releasing the powerful burst of energy to freze them in place.
Avira "Do you have this? Do you need my help right here still? Or should I get back to moving the pillars and building the roof?" Avira seems anxious, not only because of the fight ouside, but because everything seems to be going wrong right this second. "I can be your hands if you need me to."

She seems almost desperate to help.
Hati Fwoom. The blast of fire sends Hati flying backwards in typical heroic style, sending her into one of the nearby walls. Maybe she's been hanging around Faruja too much and has simply inherited his weakness to fire. Whatever it is, the werewolf seems to be having no luck whatsoever right now.

Her eyes roll back slightly, teeth gritted, one arm slipped across her side. Luckily, she just so happened to have expected her run of terrible luck to continue, and the wolf reaches into her scorched jacket, pulling out a potion and chugging the thing down. This is going to hurt like hell in the morning, healers or no, but at least it means she isn't completely out of the fight. ... yet.

Pushing herself up, Hati moves one arm, etching the rune to summon more of those dark wolves. A small pack of them seems to move around her. "We may only have one more chance at this..." The wolves seem to respond to her will, or perhaps that is simply part of the spell. However it works, the wolf girl leaps forward towards the heart of the Flan, her un-charred hand swinging her blade as the wolves leap in to latch on with teeth and claws.
Serah Farron Serah Farron is very tasty, and even better when fried and with a side-dish of pastas and sauce.


Even healers have limits, and flamethrowing flans apparently is faster than she is. Or, rather, a moment of hesitation cost her the moment she needed to move away, and instead ended up caught in the middle of the fires, int he worst possible place. That doesn't really forgive either.

She's scorched, but standing at least. And as long as the healer is standing, she can pick herself back up and keep on going. And that's what she does now. More healing sounds like a good idea, and Hati is not faring much better than she is, so time for that extra healing power to kick in for the two of them. More sparkles, even if it angers the flans, so be it. They are still better with more energy than trying to keep up without!
Alexis Belerang Things are indeed getting much worse. The flan is pulling itself together, and there's pieces of zombie falling out. "Ew ew ew!" Alexis squirms and backs off from the disgusting thing. "Get behind me, Princess." Sygg bravely requests, whilst Serah's magic falls over them. They're surprisingly lively for how much the flan had been harassing the two.

Sygg holds up his massive axe mightily, the jets of flames burning past him.

"Sygg!" Alexis calls out. "This is nothing! My fathers' forges were hotter than this!" The youth answers the Princess. He quickly glances away, and notices how the werewolf that has been courageously helping them, is hurting quite badly right now. "Alexis!"

"I know, we have to get this over with!"

The two of them suddenly turn their gaze on the Flan. "Go Sygg, my knight!" Alexis calls out.

Sygg runs forwards and comes to run side-by-side with the wolves Hati sends in, slapping skull by skull out of the way, making way for them while Alexis grabs her bow in the background and pulls on the string, twirling once... twice... trice in place.

"FALCON POWER!" She calls out, and a bright white light forms on her bow, an arrow of brilliant holy power appearing. A falcon suddenly descends from the hole that leads into Nabudis, as her shoulder-falcon (not to be confused with a shoulder dragon) comes to her aid.

"Guide my arrow!" The brightness ramps up more and more, just as Sygg arrives and pummels into the Flan, trying to halt its movements.


With a flash of bright white light, the arrow is loosened and splashes straight towards the Flan, with enough holy power to make priests take notes. The Falcon flies straight within the arrow's wake, trying to envelop itself in its holy power, and tries to pierce through the flan after the arrow!
Edison Reece This time, Edison is prepared. Gritting his teeth against the mental assault, he decided to take his attack strategy one step further: If using gun doesn't work... use more gun. But first things first.

Mindflayers like heads. Edison gives the lead one some fist, before charging forward, intent on slamming the enemy with his arm. Then he uses some gun. It's not more gun, but the beating should do it.
Mercade Alexander Mercade takes one mindflayer down and in come three more. Even Serah's healing and augmentation magic only helps so much when you're dodnging psychic waves of pain. Mercade struggles, his body heavy as he tries to power through the force... But it forces him downwards, driving him to one knee. "Gggh!" He didn't even have time to celebrate taking out one of them. Not that he had time, this is a hell of a brawl. He looks over at his allies... They are all fighting as hard as he is, trying to keep them away from the central point. They have to succeed. They have to live.

"It's not... going to be... like that!" Mercade grates, struggling as he raises his Keyblade. With a scream, he drives it into the accursed ground, the weapon flaring with bright power.

Power that explodes outwards, searing and scorching as a rolling nova of multicolored energy washes out in a blinding blaze.
Arthur Drover Arthur breathes deeply. "No... It's done." He stands up and points to the altar. Sparkling in the middle of a field of stones, set correctly, as he has seen the altar in his dreams - the runestone is restored. His eyes are still closed. "But I'm blind as a bat, you'll have to lead me out of here." The smith moves to the stalactite and grabs the rope. "Come on."

He begins walking out the front door with the rope, retrieving his bow from the corner.

A faint gold-ish cloud spreads from the runestone. Maybe this is what it is always supposed to do - maybe this is just because it was put back and bears some of the essence of the unicorn horns and phoenix down Arthur soaked the pieces in.

The light /billows/ and washes over the creatures outside. The Flan freezes mid-barf, and stops spouting flame. It freezes like a deer in the headlights. It begins to glow from within.

Luckily, its friends are there to give it a sharp return to its senses!

Ice pins the motionless creature to the ground, Sanel's strike turns it rigid. Rigid flan is easily shattered by the arrow. The arrow sticks in it. Alexis' blow burns it from the inside out - the perfect spot, a meaningless round core of congealed tissue floating in the jell-o mess is pierced and begins to burn. The Flan lets out a wet sound. It is quiet. It is a whimper. Some pain is too bad for screaming. Some pain can only be expressed with desperate sobs.

the arrow is sticking out of the Flan, a thing of light and majesty half-buried in its most sensitive spot.

Hati's wolves somehow know to 0headbutt the arrow, knocking it further in with hammer force. To a human this would be cruel. To a beast who wobbles with every strike, like free punches on a gelatin practice dummy - it's still kind of cruel, but you have to be cruel to be kind sometimes.

The arrow shatters and the beast falls over, a smouldering mess.

There is one tiny flan left. It looks up with the saddest eyes in all the world. It begins to glow faintly - like the last ember of a dying fire.

Arthur emerges from the shrine, squinting, just in time to see an incandescent nuclear fireball centered on the three who last struck it - Hati, Sanel, Alexis, and Alexis' boytoy/knight/poor bystander.

This is going to hurt.

Drover takes a long swig from his flask, then hurls the rope, tied to a rock, in the general direction of the east side of the explosion.

Siiiip. Whatever the impact of the explosion, it yanks the fine dwarven rope so hard that the stalactite part is tugged into the lake.

And then all is whiteness.
Hati Today is not Hati's day. There's that brief moment when the fireball is coming her way. Her ears tuck back, her eyes go wide, and then... Fwoosh. The wolf is left standing there, completely blacked out, like some cartoon character. Her eyes blink once, twice. "Ow." The werewolf takes a single step forward, as if she might still have some strength in her, and then her eyes roll back and she face-plants forward.

One werewolf, cooked well done. Order up.
Minerva Minerva is knocking the flayers about like bowling pins and does not seem to mind doing that at all. She's smirking or she was until the huge attack comes after her. They want her spicy brains and she'll have none of this. Minerva however can't get away unharmed, it causes a good deal of pain to her from the attack. It's not the normal sort either she growls at the flayers.

"No more games vermin, your time is over."

Minerva's fists burst into holy flames and she lunges for them striking out without mercy again and again intending to just bring them to their end. The last one she goes after she?ll go for the head to gab it by the face and not let go.

"Your days of preying upon the innocent are over. BURN!"
Avira Unneded to be that hands on, Avira instead quickly busys herself with roof repair and column-moving. Though acting with some haste, she does a decent job, especially with the roof as she takes advantage of other fallen stalagcites to rework the structure with stone rafters.

Edison is a brave, brave man as he closes the distance with the flayers and slams against one, bowling it over with a vicious clothesline. It doesn't get the chance to right itself before Edison puts enough beatings and bullets upon the fallen creature that it doesn't get back up. Only problem is this puts him in a bad position, surrounded by flayers. Within grasping range, they try to do just that. They won't even bother trying to hold him down. They'll just try to pull him apart!

The mindflayers around Mercade all unleash a simultaneous, unsettling cackle. The mental pressure increases on him and to Mercade it will feel as if claws are trying to dig into his mind. When he unleashes a blast of power all around him, he experiences some merciful relief. Unfortunately for him, that relief is short lived. He finds himself surrounded by almost all the remaining illithids that were not vaporized by the keyblade's power. They reach for him, hands and tentacles alike, and before they can touch him, working together they try to trap Mercade's mind in a vivid nightmare.

This nightmare is, quite mysteriously, the same one he experienced in his 'Future' during his quest for his keyblade.

Minerva grabs a mindflayer by the face. The face slides off in Minerva's hands, leaving her holding a slimy pile of flesh and skin. The skinless, fleshless creature continues to reach for Minerva!

Then white light, originating from the newly repaired stone altar, flashes outwards. All at once, the illithids start grabbing and clutching their heads, their terrible psychic assault dying down quickly, sparing Edison, Mercade, and Minerva eaten brains. The noises they make as this happen don't sound the least bit human. They all seem especially vulnerable.

Now Avira rises to the occasion, gently taking Arthur by the forearm (of the arm that does not have the recently-broken hand) and leads the mighty stonesmith from the temple. Now she finally has the spine out in the other hand of hers, ready just in case. As she emerges she spies Hati faceplanting nto the ground, "SOMEONE GET HER BACK UP!"
Alexis Belerang The wolf girl! Sygg looks behind him when Hati is overwhelmed by the flames! His eyes go wide. Even Alexis has a look of fierce fear in her eyes when the wolfgirl goes down. "Wolf-girl!" She calls out! "He... h... HEY! You! You... You get up now, you hear!? I command you, as a Princess! Get up!"

But it doesn't look like Hati is getting up.

"Get up! I demand it!" She calls out again. "Alexis! Get it together!" Sygg shouts at the Princess. The falcon returns to her side, and lands upon her shoulder. "See to her wounds. I'll take care of the Flan!" Sygg shouts at the girl.

The youth turns his gaze firmly on the remaining brighly burning flan, flashing his teeth. "I'll show you a real fire." He mumbles. He grabs for his pockets and takes hold of a little black pouch, and then runs forwards. Arthur may be blind, but he might recognize the scent coming from that little baggy - since he's somewhat nearby now.


Sygg runs in, his axe burning bright with fierce power. He smashes the axe down upon the Flan's position, throwing the gunpowder baggy in the way just before it comes down...

Followed by a explosion!
Edison Reece As the mindflayers advance like some boysband groupies, Edison is already preparing to make his way out of the adoring fa- errr... rotten monsters. He throws a roundhouse rick even as he leaps away from the danger, spinning on the balls of his feet as he lands to deliver some fire... including these odd tracer bullets that will do... something.
Sanel If one was to see the hidden darkness from the boy.

It is now.

As the flan continues to become a menace, the mysterious boy is left with watching the events unfold. That flan has made its way to become a nuclear fireball. That nuclear fireball has come to overtake many, particularly Hati.

However, as that nuclear fireball nears Sanel...

Slowly, the air around him becomes increasingly cold. The closer the fireball gets, the more it is withering away. It nears the boy ...until it becomes a mere speck of a flame. That hand lifts slightly, flicking that flame away like a 0There is a black aura emanating from the boy. This is not just darkness. This is Chaos. Everything that is wrong with the world, everything that is abhorrant in nature is radiating from the simple child.

The boy extends his hand into the air, manifesting a dark gate to cast underneath the flan. This time... the boy's voice echoes.

0"Worthless trash, may your body be shredded by a thousand frozen lances of death..."

Many icicles form around the boy as they rise from the earth. Those icicles become engulfed with a dark glow, aiming towards the flan. Those 'thousands' of icicles swoop towards the flan. Amidst of it all, a spectral figure is now appearing before Sanel. It is a visage of a ghastly being. A venerable being of the chaos. It releases a howl before a chilling laughter follows.

0"Perish! Lances of the Abyss!"

Those lances start tearing against the ground and all against that flan.

0Condemnating gates, open! GEHANNNA!

As those lances pierce the ground all around the creature, that dark aura beneath the flan ripples open. It releases a plume of chaotic energy to surround it. That rippling gate releases a violent purple plume of darkness to erupt against the monster.
Arthur Drover Arthur takes the time to follow Avira's lead carefully, his eyes are bleary from the knock to the head, quite absent from that place and achey too. But his eyes are closed.

One hand suddenly crosses over. "Gunpowder." He does identify it aloud. His previously injured hand then grasps Avira's arm tightly. "Wait."

Arthur knows when a blade is ready for its magical catalyst by taste. He deciphers illusions by looking at them sternly and insisting everything must be its own self for a while. He tastes Sanel's attack coming before the boy even speaks. Senses heightened and head bashed, Arthur is glimpsing the b-side.

He takes a few steadying breaths, perhaps staring into the abyss of ice as he does. He doesn't need eyes to see why kids love the great taste of their inner demons.

He goes unnaturally cold in sympathy though, and then steps forward far enough to place his hand on a nearby structure.

The Artisan feels the vibration of the impact, and manages to reconstruct what is happening.

First the Flan explodes - spread broadly, revealing that little core of congealed matter which Alexis shot so recently. It is like an open, festering wound - but the secret of these creatures is that they take a lot to destroy. They will eventually regenerate if left to their own horrible devices.

Then the energy becomes too much for it. It starts to grow, as if feeding on whatever Sanel is employing. It has a huge smile on its horrible face, bits of the purple matter re-form, and it grows almost to the size it was at before.

Then it becomes less a proper Flan shape, but more round. Its eyes begin to bulge, its smile becomes more unsure.

It bursts like an overripe balloon, the spears pierce it like one too. Do balloons ripen? Shut up.

The steaming jell-o does /not/ splatter on any bystanders. It freezes instantly under Sanel's icy regard, turns into needles, rains to the ground over the creature's "corpse".

Drover exhales icy breath and points wordlessly toward the exit, letting Avira be his eyes and hoping the others are far away from what just happened. His voice is more sure than he himself is, though hoarse: "The deed is done, it may take time to integrate, away fast, before we miss our chance!"
Mercade Alexander The psychic assault continues, even Mercade's desperation attack only pushing it back for a moment. The mental assault intrudes upon him, forcing up memories he'd rather keep hidden. He crumples forward, his eyes wide as he remembers the cool wind. The scent of coffee.

His heart races. Something ruptures inside his head, blood leaking from his nose as his vitals spike to dangerous levels.

And he sees the looks on their faces. The hurt. The pain. The accusations and creeping horror... And the knowledge that even a rejection does not prevent a terrifying future.

Mercade screams, collapsing forward...

Something in him gropes forward, trying to win free through the horrible visions.

She's waiting for him. His friends are falling. He hears the screams for Hati, who is suffering herself.

And if they fail, Arthur and Avira are going to get swarmed under. He can't be the one. He can't be the one who could have stopped them and failed. "Avira..." Struggling, he pulls up the Keyblade, and raises it. "You live on the suffering and pain of others. You have remained here in the face of horror and it hurt you. But it needs to stop."

The Twilight Seeker glows faintly, before rings of light wave out and sear towards the mindflayers, burning as the lock down, drawing them together.... And then the Keyblade comes down, driving into the ground with a coruscating blast of light that sears up towards the ceiling, trying to blast the dark power of the undead away with a pure torrent of energy and allow them to finally rest... And move on.

In the aftermath, Mercade hits the ground and slumps to the side, looking in shock towards Sanel. The dark power that he used... What was that? That was something far worse than any undead, but... He's just a kid. Right? "What the..."
Minerva Minerva has a lot of will power and that what keep the monk going through all the pain she's suffering from the mind flayers. She's already given all she's got on her previous attack but she finds enough force of will to carry on and launch a few more punches. She's not done yet, she leaves the speeches to Mercade for now. He's better than she is at it after all. She does however launch a few more punches just trying to make sure the flayers stay /down/.
Avira The stunned creatures are wide open, exposed to whatever ravages the fighting warriors heap upon them. Edison, with a series of fancy kicks and well-aimed bullets strikes down the creatures in droves. Mercade's keyblade comes in with a pulse of power that eminates from the striken ground. Much like before when Mercade had lunged at the single illithid, when this cuts them down-it is literally. They seem to be severed at the legs by the holy light and fumble forward. The power continues to eat away at it until there is little left to be a functional creature. Several nicely-preserved mindflayer heads are left in its wake.

Fittingly enough.

Avira catches this sight as she steps into the street and feels a swell of pride. The swell passes when she sees Sanel acting. That darkness...those words of his. That all felt nothing like Sanel at all! What was going on!? She stands there, rooted as Arthur tells her to wait, which gives her the opportunity to gape at his attack and him. "W..what is wrong with that kid...?" she murmurs, holding on to Arthur and giving the support he needs as he steadies himself.

"C'mon everyone! We're moving out! Now! Everyone comes, nobody is left behind! NObody!"
Alexis Belerang "Come on Alexis, we have to go!" Sygg is hurt from the explosion of the Gunpowder, and a bit of the wake of Sanel's attack. "I'm not done healing her yet!" - "I don't care! We have to go!" - "Then carry her!"

Sygg does as requested. He picks up Hati and carries her off right after Avira, while Alexis keeps sparkling at the fainted wolfgirl.

To safety!
Sanel The boy's attention soon turns towards the illithid that has fallen. Or at least, the severed heads. Sanel is starting to approach the severed heads, as if on a mission to obtain them. Each step is advancing towards the heads.

...However, the boy stops, clutching his head. It is then that the other two Sanels disappear.

"Ngghh...." Sanel looks to the left, and then to the right.

"...Where is Sanel?"

Only to see Sygg take the fallen wolfgirl.


Sanel is following! Why? He plans to kidnap the wolfgirl! "Waaaaiiiittt....!"
Arthur Drover The procession manages to make its way out, and the cave entrance can be properly closed off in addition to its warning signs.

Surely, never again would anyone need to enter, hear about, describe, examine, locate, or lick...


This scene contained 70 poses. The players who were present were: Mercade Alexander, Avira, Hati, Minerva, Oriane Guado, Sanel, Serah Farron, Alexis Belerang, Arthur Drover, Edison Reece