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No title.
(2013-10-23 - 2013-10-24)
No description.
Rakassa The recent acquisition of Maira had bothered some, and enraged others, to the effect that some people had boldly decided to assemble some kind of effort to infiltrate Vector in order to rescue the woman who'd been wrongly imprisoned. However, 'one does not just walk into Vector', because its black gates are guarded by more than just elites-- there was evil that did not sleep, at least, not in the conventional sense! The Guardian needed to be recharged now and again, but it could be plugged in while still in full operation; beyond the fact that it didn't ever need slumber, this monstrocity had a power level rivaling that of Goddess, Doom, and Poltergeist themselves, which canonly could allow it to bar the path of Gestahl's most hardy masters of war, like General Leo. Crafted with superior materials to enable it to withstand undivine firepower, this abomination was a testament to Vector's ingenuity; the main entrance was not host to hundreds of Mtek Mechs, Sky Armors, and ground-infantry, all it needed was Guardian.... and Guardian could repel the likes of all which most of the World of Balance could've ever hoped to've thrown at it.

The World of Ruin was a different animal, obviously, but even when the Heartless had engulfed the majority of the Balanced world, either they'd voluntarily left Gestahl's city alone, or somehow, all their efforts had been deflected, despite the fact that the Heartless weren't content to leave intact Maranda, Tzen, or Albrook, which could lead one to wonder if The Guardian had been primarily responsible in showing down the hordes of stygian insidiousness that had otherwise swallowed everything else in their path? Beyond the grand threshold of Vector Palace, there were adjacent openings, one of which was foolishly left relatively unguarded because the narrator cannot fathom what Squaresoft's script-writers were thinking when they put the plot together.... and isn't going to even attempt it! This fissure was the shaft into which mine carts trekked slowly, and steadily, transporting precious minerals that were pivotal to the assembly lines deep within the bowels of the Mtek Factory.

Ex-Huntsman, and retired Vector Army Scout James Cardigan had been hired as a scout, who was a conscientious objector to the ongoings of his city's activities, and was given some leeway in helping the unit to penetrate the Magitek Factory to help reclaim their friend, before some unspeakable foulness was done to her, provided it hasn't already occured! One can hope for the best but with Vector at the helm, suspect the worst. The plan was for the protagonists to sneak through the rather large tunnels and work their way into the inner sanctum of the Mtek Factory, where the sinister Arch-Admiral Rakassa had designated work to be done on the poor Princess of Heart. In the same location, it was rumored that there were also other life-forms abound, that were held captive, and being drained of their essence! Presumably, consolidation was part of the military mind-set, and Maira would be amongst them, thus, easier to locate, at least according to the venerable Ex-Scout.
Ariel "I dun' like the looka dis--"

"Then why did you-- INSIST on coming--" Ariel shoves shut the flap of the messenger bag that she's carrying... which is full of some prepared healing and buffing potions... and one, complaining crab. She doesn't exactly have the stealthiest abilities but, she at least isn't tripping over her own feet anymore. Today she's accompanying as an alchemist, to help her friends, and hope it's all going to be for the best.

She smiles up as she makes sure the flap of her bag is still shut. The crab is muffled for the time being, his further complaints less than audible.
Aerith Among the intrepid adventurers was a woman with a denim jacket and dark blue jeans, her chestnut brown hair done up in the usual braid, her brown boots treading the path toward Vector. Her face bore a mask of dispassionate calm... but it wasn't like she wasn't angry. It was quite simply a manner of not letting it register on an emotional level. After all, if the enemy saw your anger, they would use it.

She would focus it into the fight, making her best attempts to maintain her tranquility. She would use it to rescue her friend... who she hadn't seen in some time, honestly, Aerith had to rectify that after this was over.

And then Sebastian began to speak, which broke the Cetra from her inner musings. She allowed herself a smile as Ariel stuffed him back into his hidey hole. "You know, you didn't have to come either." She looked over her right shoulder. "This isn't your fight. But I am glad you decided to help."
Arthur Drover A more senior alchemist stands behind the princess. His outfit is more formal than usual, perhaps travelling clothes: long blue coat, same soft cap but in blue with gold trim. Arthur has a large closed case across his back - his bow case, recently refurbished. He had laid down the bow for almost a month now. It was not a pleasant circumstance to have to take it up. His body is arrayed with pouches and potions, lengths of wire and shining stones on gold strings. He has a belt knife cool in its sheath, of some almost-insubstantial material, like polished glass. Even the hilt is of that material, making it quite hard to see without squinting. It didn't often leave the door above his shop, but this was a special occasion.

The rucksack on his back hangs heavy. Every now and then, the older smith pauses to rap his knuckles against the ground, tie his shoe - something which leads to him bending down.

Extremely close inspection would reveal a small red stone being pressed between cobbles, pushed into gaps in gates.

Perhaps most dangerously, a silver flute is tied to his waist. Its reed is stoppered with a complex metal seal that goes down the mouth of the instrument.

He breathes deeply, adopting the air of doddering shopkeep and protractedly removing his cap to wipe his bald spot. Old adventurers didn't get that way by being the first in the castle gates.
Avira When a best friend is on the line, be prepared to face the full brunt of Avira's investigative fury. She's only visited Vector once before but upon discovering the origin of the staff left behind and getting a few admissions drawn out via interrrogation of the soldier she captured...well... she had to find things out. And boy did she find things out.

Turns out Vector and it's associated Empire is /pretty awful/. She hadn't bought into the whole 'all empires are evil' thing before but this sort of makes it rather hard.

Avira has lead the way through the tunnels below into the military facility. She's also been very quiet and oddly serious for the usual plucky adventurer. It's pretty obvious that Avira is damned worried.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr has come with the group.

The mood is quiet, around him. He does not crack jokes, he does not say words, he keeps the group moving forward and doesn't take any lip or sass. His eyes are focused, determined, and full of anger. The Darkness, however, does not engulf him at is perfectly calm, he keeps it honed like a knife, ready to deploy and unleash at a moment's notice...but those who know him best know exactly the fire storm of emotion that wait for be unleashed...and probably cringe to know what will befall the mastermind of who kidnaped his charge from him.

He is worried, but he does not show weakness now...exploding into rage is such a weakness, so is lashing out at others. No, he keeps himself perfectly focused.

Those sensitive to emotion can read it very loudly though. He's going to explode, it's not a matter of if, but when.
Merlock There are stealthy, sneaky people and creatures who scout and spy and gather information. There is also information that simply happens into the possession of those with the will to act upon it. Sometimes these happenstances occur due to association, sometimes it is by mere accident. Whatever the explanation, knowledge that a Princess of Heart has been abducted and where she is (at least in a general sense) has found its way to Merlock, and that is reason enough for him to get involvede. The mysterious and ancient sorcerer practiced at remaining out of the lime light until it is the proper time to act has taken on the form of a cave spider, and as the intrepid heroes make their way through the tunnels and into the military facility, he finds the time to hitch a ride.

Oh, don't mind a tiny spider. The fact it has a moustache and beard probably is in no way indicatory of it being anything but a completely innocent arachnid, doing whatever an arachnid can. Which mostly seems to be keeping an eye on these people. Whomever Merlock winds up hanging onto, he tries to stay out of sight, and away from any annoying animal companions more likely to spot him than humans/mermaids/ancients/whatevers who tend to dismiss tiny things out of hand.

Thankfully Dijon did not accompany the sorcerer. Merlock considered ordering him to offer his services as a guide, but Dijon would be painfully out-of-place and this isn't a tour. It's a secret sneaking mission. Maybe good is dumb, but there is a certain line to be drawn about which complete strangers to trust when trying to rescue a friend. Also Dijon is stupid and would screw it up.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart heard about some machinations going on, mostly through the rumor mill at the bar. But to actually come see it in person, there was a step she didn't want to take lightly. But there she is. There's a reason of course.

Aerith had 'drafted' her, or rather volunteered her. Its not like Tifa would have ignored a friend in need either, but when Aerith came in and told her 'come and save Maira', everyone's mind was already set pretty much. So who was she to ignore that?

Well, she's not. And her heavy boots stomp along the road, as she holds a backpack in front of her chest, rummaging through it a bit. She's making sure she's carrying different kinds of potions and remedies, just in case. Never know what they are going to run into. "Ariel can defend herself, I've seen her fight before. But I'm not sure what to expect here either. I heard stories of their mechanical devices and other bad stories. Rumors, but there's no smoke withoure fire either."
Shadow Although he has come with the group, the dark clad ninja has not said a word since showing a writ that he was hired to accompany them. Someone paid quite a price to have him there-- but as to who this person is or why they hired a 'questionably reliable' ally is anyone's guess. Little of what he does shows that he is acting in the group's interest-- and he is voted most likely to betray people and have them all thrown in prison or worse.

The dog looks reliable though.

As the group navigates through Vector, Shadow does seem to have a firm grasp on where to go. How to avoid patrols-- what paths to take. It looks like he has become a bit of a ninja tour guide-- silently pointing here and there before moving on.
Deelel Deelel had been busy and Maira was good friend, she wasn't as close to her as Avira was? Still it took only telling Deelel what was going on to get her to come. So here she is prepared to fight she's still carrying a bit more hardware than she normally does given what might happen. She has no idea what to expect in Vector she's heard of the magi-tek empire sure but it was some strange alien hybrid of science and magic that confused her some what. It be like somehow combining a basic and a user more so than the ISOs were.

She follows Avira down the tunnel and is quite quiet as she moves silently awaiting what might befall them next, she has no idea just what's happening next. Still she's not planning on giving the ones that did this slack, no slack at all. This was a rather binary issue, they are bringing everything that's coming to them and Vector due to their own actions. Rescuing Maira was the most important thing after all, but Deelel suspects they are going to have to make it detrimental to this empire to keep hold of her.
Ariel "My friends are involved, so... it's my fight." Ariel smiles a little bit. "Plus, I... brought potions," she says, gesturing to the bag over her shoulder. "I... make them now. I thought it might help."

Still, she seems a little shy about it. The other alchemist may be better. But she'll do her best.

This place is super-spooky, she thinks, looking around... as Sebastian peeks out through a little hole in her bag's zipper. He happens to catch a glimpse of Shadow's dog at that moment and wishes he had not looked out.
Aerith While sneaking in secret tunnels was all good, talking was not necessarily the best way to maintain one's imperceptibility. So from that point, Aerith remained silent, spreading her aura to the furthest walls. Better to detect potential hazards that way.

Oh yes, she could feel the emotions of the others, and it was perfectly understandable. Admirable of some to put a muzzle and reins on it, which was precisely what was needed. But anger was very much like a powder keg in the fact that the smallest spark could light it.

That couldn't happen here.

Shadow, she'd met before, as well as his pet. The spy, she wasn't so sure about, but she had an understanding with his dog. In fact, she felt much safer with him around.
Maira Days passed. Could it have been weeks? The girl with the red-gold hair had lost track of time. That in itself is not a new sensation. When she was younger and suffered from fevers often, she would be in and out of fever dreams, often unable to tell what was real and what a figment of her her fiery unconscious. The tubes, needles and beeping mahcine are not new either, though being used to them doesn't make her feel any better. It only serves to remind her of her childhood, alone besides Uist, her ghostly protector. Now, he's gone too.

The only faces she has seen this past week or two have been various scientists--the ones who hurt her. Them, and one other. Rakassa. Shadow Lord. It was her who was behind all this, surely. She couldn't help but show herself to Maira. To gloat; to promise and to threaten.

In the end though, it is the pain and the loneliness she will remember most--a haze of pain and despair.

But there was always hope.

"They'll come for me," she continued to say with such conviction. Every day those words became harder to speak; every day it was more important to say them. It is easy to hope in the beginning. It does not take much heart. It is much harder to continue to hope as time marches onward, seemingly uncaring, completely merciless.

Maira still hoped. She knew they would come. It might take them a bit of time to locate her, but they would come.

The young princess of Heart floats is encapsulated in a thick glass tube in a (obviously non-flamable) liquid substance, curled up with her knees toward her chest. Many wires and tubes are hooked into her flesh, the lines extending outward toward the top of the capsule, where they are attached to machines that bleep and boop and buzz. There are other capsules in the room, several of them filled, though those remain shrouded in darkness.

A scientist stands by the machines with a clipboard, his pen tapping incessantly against the clipboard as he analyzes vital signs and whatever else they seem to be looking for. Tap. Tap. Tap tap tap.

He is about to have a very, very bad day.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart smiles to Ariel, watching the long haired girl she's been meeting around often. "It doesn't matter the way you fight or how much effective you are when you do, but the feelings and meaning behind it. Lots of people fight without good reason, just to prove they are strong." She shakes her head "Aerith knows about that too. Soemtimes strength alone isn't enough either."

She slings her backpack over back again, after making sure of its contents "I hope Maira is okay at least."
Rakassa Hallways filled with railcars, tracks, as well as the occasional patrol of lightly armed soldiers are passed by quickly enough. Even with Angantyr's anger, a complaining crab, and a certain barmaiden's boots being far too loud, the guidance of one James Cardigan and Shadow manage to get the group along the shaft without being spotted. It's a trek involving quite a bit of dust and rock-bits getting on everyone's clothes though. Hope everyone has a good dry cleaner on speed dial!

The Scout's job ends, however, as they finally make it to the entrance of the Magitek Factory proper. Strangely enough, the doors in aren't guarded. James gives a salute, and fades into the shadow, before nodding to the Ninja. The scout likes that guy. He seems legit. The ninja is also given directions into the area where Maira is most likely held, if he doesn't know them already.

An entry, that may just seem slightly less guarded than one might think to the trained eye. Within the facility itself, amid it's gleaming metal, churning gears, and various Magitek Armors being created along the many conveyer belts and cranes in the building, the guards make regular patrols and even some stalk the halls with great hulking magitek armors. Yet, with some creative direction changing, they're all too easily slipped by. It's not a drastic change from the norm, but it's certainly not what one might expect from such a valuable place.

The area where Maira is being held is a simple metal room: uncomfortable, but very spacious, it's filled with scientific equipment, scientists, and of course the glass tube in which Maira is floating.

There's several others in the room, of the non-scientific variety as well. Rakassa, Shadow Lord and Admiral of Vector, stands with a smile as she looks in on their 'guest'. Dressed in black leathers over a uniform today, she's tall, with pointed ears and blue-tinged skin. Tapping on the glass with one sharp fingernail, she laughs.

"Gooooood morning, my sweet! The Lady of the Hour, in fact! How are you? Comfortable? Should I get you a pillow in there? Or a smoke?" Mocks the woman, her grin shark-like.

"You don't know just /how/ much you've advanced science, and magic. And you won't. Because when you're all used up, well...unlike /those/ ones, your corpse is useless." She motions towards a container of various crystals: all once Espers, now Crystals for the use of the Empire.

Outside, the door's unlocked, and unguarded.
Merlock Oh, shi--It's a dog! And not even a NORMAL dog like Goofy or the Beagle Boys, but one of those freaky OTHER WORLD DOGS who don't even have normal person bodies. They are bad and they should feel bad. Merlock just feels he should keep out of sight even more than usual, and thus he can only listen to the conversation -- what there is of it -- from the safety of Arthur's hat.
Arthur Drover "She would be glad you are here, miss." Addressed to the red head, the comment is terse but not unkind.

Drover turns his eyes toward Avira then, but he doesn't speak to her - they are somewhere beyond words now. Somewhere beyond rage. But there is an important mask to be kept up. He wasn't allowed to take too many risks, he wasn't allowed to be the same kind of person he could be when adventuring alone. And that girl was in trouble. "When we are done here, I think she should recuperate in the Camp. She built those hot springs, she ought to reap the benefit..." He seems to say it to no one, apropos of nothing.

But already, the artisan has designed a system of traps and defenses. And the entirety of VALKYRI would have no problem sitting up over her bed, when all was done - there would be no place safer, after this. Arthur himself reaches into his bow case, the tunnel is not unpleasant, but he is nervous underground.

The arrow he pulls from his bag is sharp. The end is curved like a bird's talon, and purple-white smoke beads off it onto the ground. He considers nocking it now, to vent his anger onto the first hostile thing rounding a corner. The smith suppresses the impulse, they might need it. And then they arrive.

Pausing at the gate, as the scout takes his leave, Arthur bends down and spends some time pouring a liquid from the doorposts up and across the lintel. He blows gently on it and it sings with silver light which fades in moments.

Every now and then as they walk, he does this, using it as an excuse to take up the rear and prepare to mark the way back. He is engrossed in his work and does not notice the spider. It would only be one bug among many anyway...
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr continues to to walk through the back ways of Vector.

Angnatyr was angry, but he was no fool...though he was a giant man made of muscle and armor. The facility comes into view, and their guide leaves...which becomes time to leave him. He frowns...this certainly won't come back to bite them on the ass...but whatever. He doesn't have time to care about the Genre savvyness he has. He'll brute force it.

The walk through the facility is little different, magitek armor is everywhere, in various states of completion, and Shadow manages to keep them from detection thanks to his Ninja info Cards.

However, the doors that provide access to the place where Miara come into view. And then Angantyr, wordlessly lets it rip. His eyes narrow, and a large amount of darkness pours out of him, draining from the wellspring that was his existance, and wrapping around him like smog. It merges with his armor, the ratty looking platemail becoming Abyssal plate, looking into it seemed to be staring into forever itself...and the eyes where the helmet would rest only show a crimson red.

And then the door gets kicked right in the door part. In one hand the keyblade rests, the Tyrant Breaker, ready to start cleaving through anyone dumb enough to get in his way.
Ariel Ariel nods to Arthur, but falls quiet immediately as they're getting close to the point of no-return. She isn't going to be the one standing in front. So, holding her bag of poitions (and crab) tight, she braces herself. The bag seems to be rattling a little from shaking inside.

But no time for fear! The door is already kicked! She has a moment of fussing around, but then starts handing out potions. "...Here," she says, passing some to Tifa, and Aerith, and Dee, since she's not too far. She'll just have to keep handing them out. "I guess we're... rescuing right now!"
Shadow Interceptor barks quietly at Aerith. He wags his little tail-- being all puppy around the right people. The large creature whines-- ears perking to a disturbance as he heads away. Does it sense a Merlock. Sniff. Sniff. Distraction! The large mutt heads to the ninja as they reach the factory proper.

With the Scout gone, Shadow tilts his head in a light cant to the man as he leaves. They don't need a lot of words for the mutual respect of a job done cleanly. Speaking of work to do, he looks out to the group of rescuers. Just a look-- then he turns and guides the group further into the factory.

It is loud here-- and there are plenty of misleading paths, traps, and patrols that need careful avoidance. The ninja goes through them as if he had done in dozens of times before. Who knows-- maybe he has. The trick now is doing it with a group of people and not getting caught before they reach the prisoner.

Rounding a corner they hear the heavy steps of a guard. They cant come back the way they came. It doesn't look good. The ninja takes out a small paper talisman and puts it onto the ground. His hands fold together and he focuses. The guard walks past them-- somehow not noticing the large group of heros.

The paper fades to ash and dust as the ninja opens his eyes again. Shadow cants his head to the group as they go where the guard once came from. Then they are there-- or at least outside of it. He stops taking point now-- letting the others rush in. It is usually about this time the ninja might vanish-- but his plans won't go as intended once again.
Deelel Deelel was not happy, if she could see how Maira was the program would be pleased at all, it hark back to nightmares she's had herself of certain things. However she's not aware right now, she has however if anyone is noticing a good half dozen if not more things attached to her legs which look like hockey pucks she was reaching for one until Ang did this thing.

"Once we find Maira? I have some presents to leave for the Imperials Ang."

She keeps moving now and she does have a staff out, she's been making use of the light staff as bit as of lat it has it's use after all and she has to take note of all this non digital technology was impressive but the use it's been pit to is very dark ends.

The program was already running certain process at rates a human mind would not be able to cope she's also mapping their route and she follows Ang in, ready for likely a fight sooner or later. She'll restrain herself on living human grunts and the like but anything else well now? She understands soldiers have their function but if the system admin have gone crazy like CLU has well now? you got to go after them.
Arthur Drover Arthur pauses next to the program, watching the door get kicked in. Oh well. Stealth isn't happening. Even as the rush happens, he pauses in place - the smith does not run, for anything.

From one pocket, he draws a tiny silver flask, as opposed to the often retrieved gold one. This gets opened, and a long draught of the liquor-cut-with-potion is drawn past his lips. Vigor floods his old limbs, and the man passes the flask around to those nearest for the sake of courage and health.

"One drink before, one after."

The other hand smears the light-potion along the walls. Not for him the frenzied charge, he doesn't have Angantyr's legendary strength or fortitude. He just brought the refreshments.
Avira Just the faintest bit of smouldering rage resides in Avira's brown eyes. Angantyr here will easily feel all the fury for her. For now she struggles to keep her head clear and thinking straight in case things go really south-or if they have to sneak past a staggering amount of guards.

"I agree." she says quietly to Arthur, happy to have a similarily sane head here with her.

Her sneaking is immpeccable, though certainly not as good as the bonafide ninja amongst their ranks. Her appreciation for his services goes unvoiced...but not unpaid in his case. Avira paid this guy up front.

Silently, she withdraws her weapon once she spies Angantyr slowly growing into that darkness-covered 'demon' she's come to expect from him.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart takes Ariel's potion with a smile, putting it down into a front pocket for later. She watches the door knocking, whistling to herself. Well, nice power there. That door looked sturdy, she didn't want to try knocking it down herself at least. She might have done it, but it might have been painful too. At least there are strong people to help out.

She moves over on the side of the knocked door, taking a look inside. Everyone seems to be ready to power their way through, so she decides to toss her lot into it as well, using her haste magic on a few of the companions.
Maira More tapping. It echoes annoyingly. She feels like a fish in too small of a tank, tapped on by bratty children at a pet store. She should pretend to be asleep--pretend she didn't hear. But instead, Maira's eyes open and turn toward Rakassa.

Though she has been drugged and suspended in liquid, unable to use her fire magic, the amber of her eyes seem to glow with the stifled magic inside of her, flicking with rage and the promise of retribution.

Maira then slowly, silently, raises her middle finger in Rakassa's direction at just about the time Angantyr decides it is time to kick down the door.

Maira smiles.

Aerith Aerith nodded and stood as the dark knight rammed the doors open with his foot. Simple, effective, and very, very brutal. She could feel the anger radiating off of him now, in full, brute force. Without looking, she takes the potion and drinks it in one shot, then takes a good look into the room...

...And almost loses her composure.

Flashes of memory plague her mind. The tubes, the chambers full of fluid, the drone of machinery... her eyes narrowed, hands clenched into fists. It was the same as in the Tower. She'd been treated this way too, like some kind of lab rat, only good for one purpose.

It lasted a few brief moments, but it was enough.

This was why they had to be stopped, all of them.

Still, best not to let this get too much out of control. She wasn't the one to take point just yet, let Angantyr handle that. She did however summon forth a mote of pale green light, only to close her right hand around it. With a flash, her Spirit Staff comes into view, glowing with a white sheen.

The time for subtlety was over.
Rakassa The flood of pure Darkness as Angan dons his Abyssal Armor sets the Shadow Lord (Lady?) within to a Cheshire grin. She licks her lips. The hatred, the anger, the lust for was /delicious/! Shivering with delight, she looks away from the poor woman she's had used as fodder for an experiment for the last week or so.

Fire, retribution, and a single finger. Rakassa tilts her head. "Good to know there's some life left in you. And some fire for that matter. Makes your magic all the more useful. That's right. Cling to hope, faith, hatred for me...whatever you want. It's useless. We've already won, after all."

Cue the metal door thrust by Angantyr's foot. Luckily, both tube and Admiral are built to the /side/ of the room rather than the center. Unfortunately, Angantyr's kick is a little bit off today; while it's kicked off it's metal hinges, it goes wide. Wham! Sparks fly as it embeds itself into a bit of machinery. Just to the right of the door-made-indent, there's a big red button. It reads 'Alarm'.

Rakassa turns, raising her arms towards the group with that same grin that could belong to a salesman, or some carnivorous animal. "What EXCELLENT timing! Welcome, welcome! Friends of the girl? Oooh...and I like /YOU/! Haaaah! Such Darkness within! Such bravery, really, I'm touched by you all. Making it past all of those guards, too...I wonder...oh? Oh!" Her gaze turns to Shadow.

"...Mmm. I see, I see. Regardless! You've all done well, and therefore, I must reward you!" Her hands motion to the girl in the tube.

"Take her. Go on, take her for yourselves. But! You have one more trial to pass, my intrepid, oh-so-idiotic wastes of breath that this pathetic...if useful...girl has managed to make!"

Turning, she motions to two others in the room, who are very much /not/ scientists. One, a knight, the other, a fallen samurai.

"My beautiful, lovely knight...kill them. Show me the progress you've made."

With that, the woman stalks towards a door opposite of the one that the others came in, on the other side of the room. "Oh. Retainer. Help our new friend out. Make sure they don't swarm them, hmm? Try that little trick you showed me earlier." With that, she's out the door, mechanical whirring of an elevator quickly following. A quick look above, and behind what may just be bullet proof glass, Rakassa waits and observes.

Unfortunately, thanks to a loudspeaker installed, they can still hear her voice. "Now fight to the death! Come on! Entertain me, now!" She cackles, the loudspeaker in the room driving static across the room.
Queegmaa One should never assume that an individual who'd arisen to the rank of Shadow Lordship was shortsighted, unless only physically so; metaphorically speaking, the good admiral didn't have all her eggs in one basket, and possessed quite an array of underlings who did her bidding. Really, Queegmaa was Rakassa's most useful, if not also her most craven minion-- in spite of this, she considered her top lieutenant to be Captain Vohstra(the fallen samurai), who the Admiral was trying to shape into a suitable Shadow Lord in his own right, someday. At one time, Rakassa had managed to groom a warrior into a perfect disciple, until he was proven imperfect when he'd been put to the test; Vohstra struck down this pupil of Rakassa's, unbeknownst to the now-captain that this masterpiece was to help Rakassa slowly conquer Vector from within. Far tougher in body and in emotional discipline than in actual intellectualism, Vohstra won the admiral's favor by having smote her most powerful creation, and now he was unwittingly being molded into her next Rembrandt, in order to replace the proto-type who'd succumbed to total ruination.

Vohstra was approximately six feet and some inches, with a robotic left arm that looked to be outfitted with sinister claws, nonetheless, this was not his weapon of choice! The captain appeared on the scene with a yari(spear) which was retractable, and easily drawn from its holster, while his attire likened itself to a mixture between traditional Imperial garb, plus the eastern Domese retainer gear, demonstrating that some foreign influences had taken root in his psyche, while he'd been stationed off-shore from the Southern Continent, back in the World of Balance(hitherto be referred to as the WoB). His hair was long, and sky blue in color(for that matter, most of his ensemble was comprised of dark or light blues, whites, and silvers), while his face was youthful and fair, but his body was definitely masculine, if on the lean side, like that of a quarterback. The good captain also had a freshly-healed scar across his neck, transparently signifying that he'd recently eluded what could've been a tragic end! (To anyone who can sense elemental affinities, his is water/ice)

He was decked out in his armor, since he was on the clock, and as if to further convey his eccentric nature, he had installed into his mechanical arm two watches that were separately wound, but synchronized, simultaneous to housing three watches on his right wrist which each told approximately the same time, and were unified in their testimony to chronology's passage. Vohstra was very punctual.... he didn't like to be late or early, and when he was not on the clock.... he would not spend a second longer acting the part of the imperial, for even if he was a 'patriot', his nationalism wasn't as deeply ingrained as the alleged jingoist ideology Rakassa professed so profusely, which was actually false, in her case-- for he was sincerely serving the empire, to the letter, whereas the admiral's front was that of an absolute loyalist in conviction, while in actuality, she was working under Malificent..... or more importantly, for herself!

For the time being, it seemed the laboratory was under seige, and being given the command to attack the enemies, Vohstra clenched his fists together, drawing forth an incantation that mandated nearly the entirety of his concentration, as he forged a frost golem equalling his own stature, looking much like a double of himself....! It, being made of solid ice, was physically durable, and capable of taking much more punishment than Vohstra himself, even if the water-maned cyborg was hardly what one would call a 'squishy' mage! Following this, Vohstra points his spear at Shadow, but no speech erupts from him.... the captain's larynx is still in recovery, thanks to Rohy's foul influences. Evidently, this is a challenge; he needs to show Shadow that this time, he's not some damsel in distress needing rescue. He's going to earn Shadow's respect, whatever it takes-- let's just hope Shadow relinquishes a means of acknowledgement, since neither of the two of these fellows is going to be inclined to speak, on this day. Grasping his pole-arm firmly, the Magitek-Sojutsu practitioner leaps into the air, emulating dragoons of other worlds, or Cadence Rhiannis, a Magitek Lancer with whom Vohstra trained many years.
(OOC: Summary, Vohstra appears, makes ice monster, then offers to duel Shadow by pointing spear at him, then jumps into the air like a lancer. Future poses of mine won't be this large)
Ariel Did Ariel hear 'fight to the death' right? She swallows. She should have expected it of course, but... there's that big monster!

Tifa's surge of magic helps her feel a little more confident on what's about to happen. As long as everyone is here, and works together, they can do it.

She queues up some more potions, but these are a little different. She gives one to herself too in case things get dangerous for her, too. She's not drawing too much attention to herself yet but isn't sure what to expect.
Pumpkinhead A lovely knight walks out through the door. It's just a woman in a standard Vector uniform, with long red hair. The helmet covers most of her face. She looks around the room for a few moments, getting a feel for the room. It's quiet. The woman in the standard uniform reaches forward with a hand--

--and a sword of flame erupts out of it. She grips her hand tightly, her hand unharmed by the fires.

She smiles at the flames, twistedly--and then dashes forward. Unlike her masters, she hasn't been cackling or taunting. She just moves in for the attack. Just that smile--a pleased one.

"There's a lot of them here." She says. "I'm not really sure this plan was thought all the way through."

But like certain bowler hatted minions, she dives in with the sword of fire. She doesn't single out anybody in particular, darting in quickly and lashing out at several heroes with her fire-blade.

"Ah well." She said. "It's a good way to test the limits of this new power..."

She doesn't seem to recognize anybody present either.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr doesn't even bother with banter, this is how irritated he is. As Rakassa speaches, he advances, /THROUGH/people if they get into his way.

He stops near Maira's tank, and taps the Keyblade against it a few times, aiming to open it...and then looking up towards the observitory where Rakassa thinks she is safe.

A corridor of darkness opens, leaving Maira in Avira's Care, and steps through...appearing in the upper area.

"If you think this armor is the only thing I learned for Garland's mentoring, you are mistaken. There is /nowhere/ for you to run now...time to die."
Shadow Among the sea of colorful emotions, Shadow is a wonderful backdrop of stillness. It gives personality to himself and the people around him by having such mild reactions. His pale eyes go to the General as she speaks. Yes. The ninja stands on this side of the engagement today. All those wonderful little secrets in a shroud of black ninja garb. They just exchange a gaze for now. The gaze follows as there is that retreat to an observatory. Tense stares. Tense.

Interceptor howls. Lets get ready to rumbbblleeee!

The ninja shifts his stance-- noticing the focus and conjuration of the golem not far from him. Icy winds billow against him, but it is that spear pointed at him that marks where his fight will be. Shadow looks from Voh to Maira, and once the heros have accomplished the primary objective, his eyes go back to Voh. There are no words between them-- nor are none needed. In a slow motion he draws his blade-- pointing it evenly towards the samurai and his polearm. They don't fight to the death as Rakassa wants. They don't fight for money. They fight for something else-- and the chaos around them is just the backdrop for the fight. He waits, like an assassin would be expected to, as it starts with that jump. One in the air. One on the ground. A set of well concealed shurikens plan on making that descent a worthy challenge.

All we need now is a strike of lightning. The flickering of industrial lighting will have to do.
Avira "Who the <GOOSEHONK> do you think you are!?" Avira suddenly bellows, "How DARE you simply -take- an upstanding member of VALKYRI like this! You think it's just alright to just up and steal people for your sick experiments like this!?" The incredulous fury upon Avira's face is pretty evident. "Were you dropped on your head as a child? WHO THE HELL EVEN DOES THIS?"

Her free hand wildly gestures at the tube that poor Maira is held in. "You must have the death wish to end all death wishes to pull a stunt like this! Angantyr-!" she leaves the inevitable meltdown to him and instead moves across the floor, completely ignoring the nameless flunkies that this obnoxious Vector woman has summoned to fight them. She doesn't even let the flames thrown forward by the sword hold her back, painful as they are to her. She's well across the room when Angantyr liberates Maira, putting Avira in a good position to scoop up her friend to her with one arm.

The other sticks the point of the spine into the floor so her hand can be freed to work free some potions for Maira. "Hey, it's gonna be alright, we'll get you out of here."
Merlock After spending the entire trip hiding in a hat, the sudden commotion of a door being kicked in is enough for Merlock to peek his arachnid head out. Machinery, medical equipment, a glass tube off to the side with a girl in it... Ah-hah. That must be the princess. Well, seeing as our intrepid heroes are getting ready to fight, presumably to rescue the Princess of Heart, it seems like a good idea to prevent their overcoming all odds to save their friend, both for Merlock's own self-interest, and because his... Associates would like to be in possession of Maira. Princesses of Heart are not exactly easy to come by, after all.

Suddenly, there's a flare of crackling green light from Arthur's hat, and what was once a spider becomes something much, much, much... Much... Much larger. Something huge, and dark of scale, broad of wing, with draconic features and gleaming purple eyes, long tail, and dragon's whiskers atop its snout because, hey, it's an actual dragon! Green magical bolts continue to crackle up and down Merlock the Dragon for several seconds after his transformation completes.

Then the dragon roars, unleashing a wave of dark energy from his mouth, and announces, "0SHE REMAINS HERE."
Ariel Ariel straightens up her shoulder bag and turns her attention to the ice golem. That thing is ... going to be trouble. But maybe some lightning will slow it down. That tends to work sometimes against watery creatures! Except for the times fire works best, but never mind that now. That's one thing she can't do.

She starts to build up an attack... clasping her hands, then sending down a bolt of lightning! It's gotten a little more intuitive to cast spells like this.

The fire sword comes really close to her, but, she lets out a scream and dodges it, just as her spell crackles through the air! She gets a little seperated from her friends, but... it will have to work itself out for now. She can still support them! At least these cooridors are kind of wide; there's not a lot of places to get lost. Of course that means there's not much cover either!
Aerith Aerith was first in line for the incoming knight. She didn't even look at her as she stepped back just enough to evade the weapon... then made to ram the back quarter of her staff into the woman's face. "You want a test? Fine. I'll test you." Now facing her, Aerith unleashed a series of rapid-fire thrusts, her weapon's light blazing all the while.
Avira This feels very familiar.

Now that there's a freaking DRAGON here demanding her best friend, Avira responds by holding onto Maira a little bit tighter and moving to put herself between the dragon and the best friend. "NO WAY! YOU CAN'T HAVE HER!"
Deelel Deelel is a bit on the short side and does look a bit strange from the looks of her she seems human enough but the strange tattoos or are they even such are glowing visably in her exposed arm as she moves in with the rest of the group hint perhaps to something more about her true nature. The staff vanishes shrinking back into a baton which s put back on Deelel's leg. She goes for the disc on her back and it snap hisses to life with an energy field about the edge. The force of the magic that has fallen upon her is having her code maintain itself and is getting her perhaps running better than ever or at the very least above her normal levels of system integrity.

It was time to fight, she doesn't banter much either as she moves in and and she now moves to follow up Ang and she finally speaks, to the two Imperials her voice would sound strange, perhaps distorted.

"I have seen what you done to her."

She doesn't say anything more as by her user its a dragon, why does she keep running into evil dragons who know magic? Seriously it keeps happening! Deelel's answer is going to be simple enough. Well it was. There's someone else coming to play the strange woman is coming for them and she sees the fire blade out of the corner of her eye. This is what saves Deelel from one being set on fire, two being stabbed.

She turns to face them and throws her disc at them trying to get a feel for them as she prepares for full out combat. Who the heck was this new arrival? Also her powers? Fire magic?
Arthur Drover Flames scorch the side of Arthur Drover's face. He doesn't have time to move out of the way, but the swordswoman isn't cutting for him directly. Almost reflexively, a jet of caustic potion zooms for the woman - it boils off into the air, hissing evaporated as flames wash back. Drat.

The warrior-smith takes a moment to compose himself. Eyes close, there in that place he can feel the air currents, the movement of heat and wind. The artisan is calm and composed. He reaches for his belt pouch to grab a series of potions and do something really quite impressive.

And then there is a dragon on his head. In a sudden cascade of limbs and with a thud, what was once a tiny spider is now a hat that is much too big. Simply much too big.

SLAM. Arthur falls to the floor in a cloud of dust, his hips and back straining. He screeches in pain, and there is a sickening crack - but no snap. He might make it out. He is flat to the floor, there is no way to get the creature off of him. His upper body is free, as the beast above him rears in purple flame. Mortal terror flows over the face of the hatless man, his bald spot plainly visible.

But mortal terror has focused a mind that is already fairly quick.

The belt knife leaves its sheath -a splinter of brightness on the dusty floor. Even laying on his back, he has some range of motion. It is silvery, and gives the impression of speed even as it stands still. He draws it across his hand, leaving a thin red gash. Then he carves in the flagstones. Something silvery runs in lines where the smith's blade passes.

When he slams the hand down on it, he speaks.

"Before every battle, I imbibe a series of potions. My blood is a catalyst. You are an obstacle."

His eyes are still closed, they didn't open even when the dragon touched down on him. He is pinned, he wouldn't normally do something like this in front of Avira. He has spent their entire relationship avoiding this kind of maneuver.

The blood in his lower body is being cut off from circulation. "When I finish speaking, nothing not its own self will be able to exist in this room. No form will be stable." His hand lays on the sigil, and a yellow field rises to try and confine the dragon. He's not casting a spell, Arthur has no magic. Instead he is using the materials to hand, including his own will, pressing back against the beast on his chest - using what breath he can draw through compacted lungs.

The fire-wielding warrior is nearby, but his eyes stay closed. He might be in trouble, but the dragon is the biggest problem. "When I turn loose seal, the things that hold you together will forget what they are connected to. I can see that you're not just one thing - what will it must take to be the same thing. Haven't you considered being something else for a while? Like not on my chest?"

And he drives the bloodied hand into the sign. The yellow light becomes white, and the flagstones - which he is using as part of the synthesis- smoke ominously. There is a smell of burnt hair and his eyes stay closed.

"In the middle of the seesaw is the bit that doesn't move." He is going to get such a talking to later. He tastes copper when the force leaves his body, travelling through him instead. And there is still a fiery warrior in stabbing distance.
Maira Maira's eyes widen, the smile that appears shining now with all the hope she'd been holding. No one has ever, in the course of all history, been so very happy to see a very large man in armor as black as death, red gaze glowing murderously. "Angan!" she burbles, reaching out her hand to press it against the glass as she taps his keyblade above her, breaking it. This glass is strong. It has stood against her every attempt to escape. But Maira has nevery been particularly physical. There isn't glass strong enough to withstand the anger of Angantyr and Tyrantbreaker.

The glass shatters, the liquid splashing to the floor followed by Maira, caught just in time by Avira. The many IV's that had been fueling her with drugs to keep her sedated and repress her magic rip painfully from her skin. Machines bleep and blare loudly in protest as the drugs drip from the needles to the floor. Maira looks up toward Avira, smiling brightly through the haze. "Knew you'd come," she says quietly, holding on as best she can until she can get her legs beneath her. Having been in a tube for more than a week, kept constantly drugged and drained of her magic, that just might take a while.

"Avira, set me down in a corner that can--can be defended. You c-can't fight holding m-me," she says. At least not fight at her best, and with a new surprise DRAGON THING!? Avira is going to need to fight at her best.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart moves on Aerith's side rapidly. She moves past the flaming sword, feeling the burn of it even though she's not directly touched by it. Enough to leave some marks too. She winces, but it'll take more than a few flames too. She moves in for her attacks, the fiery warrior receiving her strong punch, the first one toward the stomach, followed by a high roundhouse, aimed for the neck, a merciless attack aiming to disable the knight out. Not to kill, but that would knock one out. Hopefully "I'll take the front Aerith!"
Rakassa Avira's yelling. Apparently, Rakassa can hear her up there. "Who am I!? I AM ADMIRAL RAKASSA OF VECTOR! That's who! And the one who's advancing both science and magic, you ignorant little twit! Behold, the fruits of our labors! She's pretty, isn't she? Mmm...much better than your little strumpet there. And a lot less defiant. Ahh...but I'll miss her, that little friend of yours. Those /HOURS/ of prodding her with medical should have heard her /scream/! Delightful, really, you peasants. Hope we didn't break her too much for you~" Taunts the horrible Admiral.

There's a dragon. A dragon /helping/ her. She's not quite sure what the hell just happened, but the Admiral has learned to roll with things. "Go! Go my beautiful dragon! Eat them for breakfast! Come on, you /know/ you want Do-Gooder! They're tasty, trust me!"

Arthur's strange magics gets Rakassa's attention. "Hey! You! As fellow scholars, and intellects of the highest regard...what are you doing, hmm? Come on, show me! Haven't seen that sort of magic before. Oh, and try not to get eaten~"

Deel speaks up. Rakassa chuckles. "...Seen? You haven't seen half of it. And you won't. Because she's going to kill you!"

Then, there's a very big, very scary man in the observatory with her. She turns away, smelling the familiar scent of a Darkness Corridor. Like crimson and brimstone and pain.

"...I guess the knight's armor isn't so shining. A little crude, but hey, so was this whole thing. Looks like it worked out. Shame...not going to play with my little puppet down there? Mmm. Oh well."

Reaching into her leathers, she draws out a pair of knives. They look like little more than butterfly knives, yet they drip a foul black liquid. Getting into a fighting stance, the blue skinned woman laughs.

"I could use a little exercise anyway. And you /are/ so intriguing! Come on, big guy! I want YOU more than HER anyway! Haaaah!"

With that, she steps forward, the athletic woman quick and strong despite her size. And those blades cut far too deep; some foul mixture of her own Shadow Lord magicks and Vectorian MagiTek of the worst kind. And she didn't even bring her /good/ weapons today.

"Just hope it isn't your friends down there that die while you're up here, big boy!" Two vertical slices, aimed for the neck of Angantyr.

Down below, the Ice Golem reaches back with one of it's large icey fists. As Tifa goes to roundhouse kick the woman, in goes the creature, trying to knock her block off with blocky fists!

Up above, Rakassa's sure to hit a button. A sign lights up in the observatory. 'Recording' in big red letters flashes on. She calls down to the fighters.

"Heeeeey! Pretty girl! Ohhhh, dear lovely knight of mine! Don't let the numbers fool you! Don't let me down! For the glory of Vector, and our errant Emperor, show these INTRUDERS the superiority of Vectorian science, magic, and pure grit! No retreat! KILL 'EM ALL! I WANT BLOOD! GALLONS! RIVERS OF IT!"

Ariel's lightning bolt scores home, sending cracks and shutters down the form of the golem. The summoned creature doesn't slow it's attacks, however, seemingly immune to pain or thoughts of it's own well being.
Queegmaa Vohstra was not quite the same as Shadow in mentality-- he'd not spent quite as many years entrenched in the eastern world, where sheer discipline and honor rule their lifestyle, if they didn't want to spend their days living in utter shame. In this sense, there was still -some- money involved, since Vohstra was on the payroll of Vector, but that didn't mean he'd be unable to mix business and pleasure alike, for just as the ebony-wrapped assassin draws his shurikens, the retainer cascades from above, intent on skewering. He knows the ninja will yield if the ninja feels he's lost, and Vohstra himself, not a fully-fledged retainer, was willing to settle for 'defeat', unlike his brethren, who cherished an honorable death far more than a dishonorable life.

But there was still some worthiness and mettle to be had in a sparring match, and since neither were committed to slaying the other, Vohstra would not stain his soul if, at the climax of this fight, he had to relent.... and surrender to Shadow. True samurai could not fight this way..... but Vohstra, as spoken of prior, is a fallen samurai, a takeo, a dark retainer, he can play Shadow's game, and they can fight on equal terms, now that there were seemingly no interlopers.... the others were busy with their battle over the fate of the world, and that of good versus evil-- they had no time to concern themselves with the reputations of Shadow and Vohstra, that were now in question. The two silent killers were both doing something uncharacteristic; they'd made plans to spare each others' lives. A flurry of misty coldness curls around the ex-bushi's yari as he tilts the weapon so that one end is tucked neatly under his arm, with most of the haft trailing far behind him.

The other hand is choking up on the neck of the pike, as though he intends to get in close before striking, which would make it harder for the ninja to use his stars; on the other hand, that meant Vohstra had to time his maneuver just right, so that he could actually bridge the gap between them before administering whatever he had planned, if it would indeed make it harder for Shadow to counter with shuriken, mayhap forcing him to swap with a tanto, or wakizashi.... some short blade? Vohstra suspected Shadow wanted distance, and Shadow might've imagined that Vohstra wanted proximity-- so here it was, two different backgrounds meeting, with both of them lamenting their mistakes in life.... Vohstra, who'd descended from grace, and Shadow.....

Well, whatever pain he hid, he hid it well, because Vohstra didn't know, and the two people who could have told anybody, Baram, or Rohy..... were rotting in their graves.
Angantyr Vespar "You talk too much." Angantyr says, and as she swings the knives towards his neck, he steps forward, not /away/ from her. Darkness lashes out from him, as she stabs. The blades miss his neck by sheer virtue of armor, but they do bite down flesh...but the poison apparently needs to be a higher CR to effect Angantyr's Con score. The darkness aims to grab at her own neck, trying to choke the life out of her, while also leaving a burning darkness around her, that only seems to flare when his strikes hit.

Once more, the Tyrant Breaker, the Keyblade, swings to try and force her back, and forward he comes again. Angantyr is large, powerful...and unrelentingly fast in all the right ways. The blade swings with unrelenting fury as he repeatedly tries to strike her. One shot aiming to litterally tear the armor or leathers from her body, another moving to cut crossways, and a third swings upwards, carrying with it a massive wave of darkness that in itself seems clings to her worse than the first did, aiming to litterally devour her the longer she stayed in contact with him.

"I don't care what you think you were doing. You endangered my friend for you own selfish desires, for your own dark ends. I have no interest in petty women, nor do I have interest in homely ones either." He says, with a just felt goot to hurt her anyway he could.

"As for the knight part, I never claimed to be one. I destroy my enemies, I show compassion to the deserving...and you are hardly that."
Merlock Merlock the Dragon sneers and advances on Avira, only to have the person he is standing on -- barely even paying attention to while doing so -- unleash some sort of alchemical concoction. It burns his armored scales, scalds the flesh beneath, and while it's not lethal exactly it does hurt enough to turn huge, gaping jaws from the girl defending her friend to the rascal underfoot. The foot is lifted, freeing Arthur of the crushing weight! Only for the foot to come back down and unleash a shockwave of dark energy that spreads outwards on impact!


Shadow Chaos erupts around the ninja. You have dragons, alchemists, dark lords enraged, dragons, golems. And then you have the ninja-- staying still if not for the periodic shift to avoid shrapnel. Shadow remains that way, steeled, until the last seconds with his martial engagement with the airborn spearman. Thats when the action snaps like a whip between them.

As the spear comes down, Shadow steps back. His off hand rips in a clean swipe as a series of sharp shurikens pierce the air and towards the descended man. Where he once stood would not have been effective at all-- but that speed and reaction makes a sizeable gap to make a once safe gambit suddenly filled with peril and choice. It is enough to make those final moments one that truly test muscle memory and discretion.

The ninja's foot barely lands on the cold steel floor before the final 'shuriken' is released. It isn't a shuriken, though. It is a small orb of some kind. A vapor-- a smoke-- a marking of some kind. Its clear the kind of game the ninja plays now-- it is one of waiting and of timing. His blade comes out in a quick slice as he advances. None of these attacks are threatening in themselves, but to poorly judge one would to play into the older man's strategem-- a quiet, detached one as cold and unbiased as the Reaper himself.
Pumpkinhead A few of the people that the 'nameless soldier'--she has a name! She just hasn't bothered to give it out! Maybe you could ask her. Maybe she'd give it out! Maybe she wouldn't. Maybe she just wants to see the world burn. "Yeah," She says. "What should that mean to me?" She asks of Deelel. Deelel's disk rips across her body. Aerith bonks her with the staff, which seems to annoy her enough. Tifa roundhouses her across the head which jars the helmet considerably, but she doesn't seem to be anywhere near being knocked out. In fact, that wound from the disk? It's starting to close up as fire coalesces around the wound. Who used to do that sort of thing.

"It worked." She says, chuckling to herself. "The process worked!"

And with that she raises her foot up into the air and slams it down. The ground beneath her opponents shudders and bursts upward suddenly, the earth itself striking at her foes. Intending to take advantage of the unsteady ground, she spins and then swings both hands forward, air bursting free from her hands--intending to send them flying up into the air...where she unleashes a large wave of fire to catch them as they lose their grip with the solid earth.

It seems like she could care less if the others free Maira or not. To be fair, she has her power already. And really, in a sense, maybe she's disinclined to be so determined to allow others the same strength.

"Come on! Show me what you've got!"
Ariel Ariel seems to be dodging the blows of the ice golem pretty deftly, for a mermaid... she's finally got her, well, land legs. She has a few more good spells in her before she gives up on attacking it, so she rushes into it.

"Oh, you're not gonna---" a bit of a choking sound from her bag as she runs up the side of the golem... and kicks it in the head. That was kind of neat, right? Then she lowers her arms in a downward chop, and throws a burst of air at the beast for good measure. If this wasn't life or death, it would kind of be fun!
Avira "Are you nuts?" Avira still sounds incredulous, "I'm not just going to stash you in a corner like that-we need to get out of here!" She grinds her teeth, listening to Rakassa speak, officially placing Vector on VALKYRI's /List/. "Good Faram, not another one of you people. Haughty <goosehonk>s like you never learn, do they? Why don't you come down here and say all that to my face!"

Maira's going to be just fine, Avira's sure. She's dealt with worse mental anguish than this, she's surge. Physical...well, she will figure that out later.

Avira takes up that strange-looking weapon of hers again and lifts, putting herself resolutely between Maira and the advancing dragon. She doesn't move. Not even when it advances on her and unleashes a wave of shadowy force that seems to tear at her very soul.

" that it?" Avira grunts, lifting the Spine, which glows with the counter to that shadowy force. Silvery light wafts off the strange-looking weapon, mixing with the ice magic that Avira enchants upon her blade. "No more warnings! You are not getting Maira!"

With a grand gesture of the Spine, she unleashes a howling blast of ice mixed in with her light energy. Large icicles spring up from the ground beneath the dragon as well, attempting to box it in.
Arthur Drover "Not magic!" is all he has the energy to shout, when the dark equivalent to his artisanship begins shouting enthusiastically. Merlock scolds him for trying to interfere with his form, and Arthur admits: "It was worth a try."

A few drops of blood hit the floor and he steels himself for the attack. Rakassa sure WOULD like to know the secrets of Arthur's various small trump cards, but that information is somewhat secret. Still, he won't disobey her advice just to spite the woman, he does not intend to be killed. The Dragon is doing its best to prevent this. Dark energy tears over the man, who begins walking toward Avira and Maira in the corner to interpose between them and the evil creature they are fighting.

He smiles down at the newly rescued, no doubt harrowed fire mage. "Hey, Maira-girl~" the older man singsongs, despite the bloodied gash across his lip and the singemarks on his fine clothing.

A silver phial emerges from a pocket, and he chugs it down. The synthesist begins floating off the ground. He holds a little in his mouth. A second potion emerges, and when this one goes down, winds begin to swirl around him. A third - and green energy knits his wounds. The shimmering light of the potions condenses on his hands, and he splashes the dregs from each phial across them.

"Avira... hand me that sword for a second." His grin is wolfish. He can't fight, not like they can, but he can contribute. Thus far the smith has utterly resisted the urge to go see how the fire warrior does what she does, but he IS curious.

Normally people drink a potion and just let it happen. But the shimmering energy from drinking a potion just hovers around the synthesist, lilting playfully over his limbs - as if it were being prevented from finishing its animation.

The hat lies forgotten in a caustic pool.
Maira Rakassa called her a strumpet. A STRUMPET! ...What the hell is a strumpet? Maira isn't sure but from context its apparently bad. She'll ask Avira later. Rakassa is no doubt evil, a twisted corruption of a person that took such joy in her pain. Someday, when this place is behind her, maybe she will let go of that anger. Maybe she will forgive.

But not today. Today she wants to watch this whole place BURN.

Maira's gaze turns toward the red haired woman--the woman who is using HER power. The magic that was drawn from her, the life that was drained--right there, right in front of her, wielded by a woman who had, no doubt, gone mad from the process. Pity swells. She'd volunteered...but why? What could drive someone to do that?

Still, that is her power. Her LIFE. Maira wants it back.

Still soaking, Maira is actually cold to the touch. By now, she should be on fire. She tries to summon it up, expecting it to surge as it always did, to no avail. Nothing. It is still there, she can feel it. "A long as there is a spark..." she says to herself, trying to fan that spark inside of herself. Careful, so careful. She is too weak. The drugs are still in her system. Still, she cannot support her own weight.

"Avira you have to put me down! No one will get out of here if you don't," she pleads. Avira ought to know that if Maira could be helping her, she most certainly would be.

Maira looks around the room. So many people had come for her. She manages a smile for Arthur. "'re here. Be careful," she says to the older man. Despite his age and whatever he'd like them to believe, she knows he is remarkable. They all are in their own ways. Even Ariel is here! She's throwing /lightning/ around! Maira finds that she's feeling rather proud of her. Maybe she'd been an influence.

Her eyes keep looking, searching it would seem. Someone is missing. Someone she'd expected would be here. No time to think on it. She looks up to Merlock, her eyes locking onto him. "No, you are not taking me, and if you do you will regret it. Get out of here while you still can, because as soon as I find a spark, just a spark, this place will burn."
Rakassa The golem just got kicked in the head. By a (secret!) fish. Or a mammal. Are mermaids mammals? Either way, when Ariel kicks the creature's head, it dents quite nicely; the previous damage from the lightning bolt causing cracks to form. A few more blows, and it could well be headless!

Yet, it doesn't seem to particularly care. This time, that large fist aims for Ariel in large sweeping blows. So too, does it sweep towards Tifa with it's other arm, trying to grab the two women and bring them together in a violent clash!

Even as Angantyr speaks, the Admiral has an errant eye on the battle below every now and then. Even as there's darkness trying to strangle her to death, it's as though she doesn't mind the touch of such foulness. She looks more annoyed at it, even as it sizzles upon her skin. The dark-armor clad man might notice how the darkness seems reflected off of her...or perhaps met by darkness of her own to prevent it from sinking in too deep. Where Angantyr's darkness is of hate and rage, this one's darkness is of hunger, lust, and all-consuming greed.

"Just you wait one moment, feisty little girl! I'll be down in juuuust a minute. Auntie Rakassa will give you pie and cookies, promise~" Taunts Rakassa to Avira.

Her gaze goes back to Angantyr. "Kids these days, no respect for adults, you know?" Pause. Right. He was talking and trying to kill her. Oomph! The blade goes across her chest, and she's sent flying. Metal deforms as she hits the wall, slumping briefly. Coughing, she chuckles and has a small fit. "...Heh. A bruiser, huh? Damn, should've come prepared. Oh well." Slowly, she gets up, showing far too little damage for a woman thrown that hard. Being a Shadow Lord, and the twisted magics she wields, has benefits.

"That's right. I did. And you know what? It felt good. To hear her scream, cry watch her cling to a forlorn hope. That she'd...well, that's not forlorn. She'll get out of here. But you see, big boy, even if you somehow..and you won't, by the way, manage to kill me? It doesn't matter. Because I already have what I want. The hours of torturing the pretty little redhead helped. Nice stress relief. Should try it. You seem like the type! Now come on! Hit me harder, you little wimp! Give me MORE! I WANT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE, EVERYTHING YOU ARE, POUR IT ALL INTO ME. MINE!!!"

Even as she taunts and raves, her eye as turned to that blade. A keyblade, in the hands of such a seemingly dark person? Maleficent will have to hear about this. Maybe. If she can't use it herself. Those twin knives make circles in the air. Dark power gathers, and a beam of sickeningly green light rips into being, aimed straight for Angantyr's chest.
Deelel Deelel has no idea whom this but she is seeing as they are healing flat out from the injury her disc caused.

"I doubt little."

She has to wonder about just what has been done here. She does not know how this place works, she does not know how they drain creatures of magic or infuse others with their power. She just knows something strange is going on here.

"So who are you?"

Deelel shows the mysterious warrior what she has, she evades the attack just barely and lands on her feet she makes no hostile action for the moment as it appears she's preparing something, but just what is Deelel making ready for?

"Fine I'll show you just what I have."

Deelel is currenly running a few command lines as she makes ready for what she's about to do next.
Queegmaa When he can't torque his icy screwdriver attack properly, he internally scolds himself for failing, but doesn't focus on it too heavily, since guilt wouldn't get him through this fight-- his focus needed to be on what he could do, not what he couldn't do, and all he could do was improvise, now that Shadow had weaseled his way out of that last ordeal. The spontaneous jolt that surges through Shadow, allowing him to decisively dart out of the way of the retainer's spin-strike is a masterstroke, and Vohstra knows that he has found a worthy opponent; the fact that Vohstra was well into the six foot range in height, and moderately built in addition to Shadow being somewhat lanky mattered not, for true combat was about anticipation, and intuition. Indeed.... there were three types of speed, not one; perception, reaction, and then.... the physical action. Shadow trumped Vohstra in physical, but in terms of precognition, both were good at reading the other, thereby lending to them the capability to gracefully move whether decorated in mail or material of fabric.

The calculating assassin has honed his ways over many decades, aside from the fact that he had quantity of practice, he had quality; practice does not make perfect-- perfect practice, building proper habits instead of fallible ones, was what made perfect, and the ninja's maneuever is perfect... in deference to precision. As mentioned, the strike is not a threatening one, so when Vohstra raises his mechanical arm, he physically blocks the incoming slice with his bare-arm, in what would normally be a suicidal act, allowing one's own arm to be severed..... but it wards off the slice like a shield would, demonstrating that it'll take some strength to do the job, since Shadow would have to open Vohstra up twice. Initially, Shadow would have to bring Vohstra's armor into disrepair, and then open his body once his shell had been discarded; that would not be a trivial matter. Capitalizing on Shadow's closeness, Vohstra's bionic arm splays outwards, perfoming a similar whip to the kind seen in ninja, hoping to propel the ninja backwards, perchance it'd even buckle some of the ninja's mental reserves, his wits.

While the attack itself wasn't physically devastating, Vohstra had hoped he could send Shadow sailing, to enlighten him exactly against whom he was fighting, and what menace was housed in the might of the Mtek takeo! The tremor from the 'nameless soldier' does weigh in on him as he has to steady himself when he does this, of course, which further taxes the vigor at the helm, but Vohstra was still grateful for the presence of the fire-swordswoman, since it meant that he could, for the most part, combat the darkness-cloaked predator who had engaged him in solo! Now.... the thing was, this fight -would- have to end someday, and that would be this day, because somehow or other, more troops would be along to act as reinforcements. This was the very hub of Vector, practically, right smack-dab next to the palace, which was full of legions of crusaders eager to show their worth.

Rakassa had planned to use 'nameless soldier' to her own ends, as an experiment, but even the admiral was only in charge of /one/ division of Vector's forces. Vector had an army, an air force, and a navy; Rakassa being the maritime foreman. Eventually, other branches of the factory would start to notice the cacophony echoing through the door Anantyr had wrenched open with his foot, and just because Rakassa was having a field-day, didn't mean the other divisions of the Vectorite military could pretend to be deaf and/or blind to the shenanigans in the esper capsule chamber. There were essentially /three/ bodies strong that would ultimately come pouring into this room.... and end everybody's fun, so Vohstra had to do what he could while the doing was good. He had no idea if he'd ever see Shadow again, since the ninja came and went like the wind....
Ariel A big fist comes down on Ariel, and crashes toward her... bringing her and Tifa into a close encounter! She screams as her leg is caught, and then she's dropped to the ground! Walking isn't working so well anymore...

But she does have her bag. She looks to Tifa, and throws her a potion for curing herself. And she pulls one for herself out, too, pouring it on her leg. She feels a bit better now, though the golem is still there being meanacing.

She gets back to her feet, and gets ready, but Tifa can probably do more damage to it than she can!
Shadow Although the intent was to kick back and avoid the attack, Shadow did not manage to do it this time. Instead the attack land as the bionic whiping lashes at him. Going with the impact-- the ninja himself finds himself uninjured-- if not disadvantaged.

He draws out a pair of orbs in one hand as the ninja returns the projectiles towards his foe. Mixed between this are a set of metal stars.
Merlock Ice spears comes surging up from the ground, stabbing into Merdragon, and even if the wounds are a bit shallow, they still draw a roar of rage from his long, serpentine throat. The way that his reflexes seem to slow from the cold slightly makes this all the more frustrating. And in his frustration, he forces his transformed body to act beyond the piddly attacks he has levelled thus far. Purple flame bleeds from his wounds as he smashes the icicle spears to shards with the monumental muscle of a mythical monster. Charging forward, he attempts to smash Avira, Maira, and Arthur, being as conveniently grouped together as they are, with a single powerful claw strike. Shadows trail from the tips of his talons, as wings spread wide, threatening to damage the room itself if they strike something.

Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart, in all of her tanky dodgeness, manages to go toe to toe with the martial arts bending. A punch here, a kick there, meeting hit for hit with the elemental knight, attacks that are perfectly matched with the knight's own, nullifying their effect before it harms her. Which is a good thing in the state she's in. But of course that only lasts so long in the face of the next incoming strong attacks... which are akin to blue magic in some ways it seems, with those odd effects. Before she can get a counter attack in, she gets blown out clear out of the way, her entire body skidding along the metallic grounding, before she manages to get a boot down to stop herself, flipping back to her feet. Well, at least trying, that one clearly left deep gashes and poison marks over her, but she's still standing.

Ariel's healing is quite welconed too, nodding to her, and moving in for the next attack. Moving right under the knight's weapon, its a knee that connects right up under the helmed chin. In the same motion, her hands move to her shoulders, flipping overhead, into her back, and her grip tightening as she uses the momentum to THROW the armored foe into the nearest wall. Let's see how well that armor can take blunt impacts from its own weight!
Angantyr Vespar The shadow flames shoot towards Angantyr...

The light of the keyblade shines for a moment, as he swings it forward...and he just narrowly manages to become a rock in a stream of the green fire...oh he's encountered something like this before, he was on the wrong end of that.

Angantyr moves again, steping forward, never away, and swings his right hand towards the mouth of the Shadow Lord. "No, my darkness does not come from anger and hatred, fueled by it, truly, but it is not it's source. It's natural. Darkness is inherrantly apart of my being, does not mean I shun the light like you!" he says, and brings the Keyblade up...and it starts to brightly shine.

The two combine, darkness and light, as he swings in with a vicious swing. The swing moves to try and tear through the shadow lord, darkness pours out, drawling forth the blood spilled, and draw it back into the Dark Knight...and then....

he swings again, and again, aiming to repeatedly put the pressure on her before he pulls the Keyblade back...

"TYRANT..." he starts, as the light of the keyblade starts to build up. Darkness and light working together. The two create a sort of strange energy, as he thrusts the blade forward. A massive shockwave of energy pours out, aiming to drive it forward right into the Chest of Rakassa...

"BREAAAAAAAAAAKER!" and then suddenly there is a giant explosion from the observitory.
Aerith Aerith glanced toward Tifa from the corner of her right eye as she launched herself at the ice golem. Sure enough, her assault connected, and it wasn't long before Aerith aimed her right hand toward one of those cracks in the golem's hide. Soon, three bursts of energy explode toward it, all aimed at the same spot... with intent to take quite the chunk out of the golem.

Or they would have, if the knight did not land a clean hit on her first. Aerith noticed it just before it connected, but wouldn't exactly be able to do much about it. She skidded back some distance from the flames... and glared at the knight. "Right, my mistake."

She focused yet again... but this time it wasn't just a tiny shot. "I have to take care of you first."

Her right hand stretched outward, and within moments, a sphere of spirit force the size of a basketball formed just three inches in front of her.

Aerith let her attack fly, aiming to return the favor ten fold...
Queegmaa Vohstra had forced Shadow backwards some, which was his objective, but then.... he realizes his mistake. Showing off his incredible power had availed the ninja the very space needed for Shadow to barrage him with ninja stars and strange orbs, the latter bursting upon contact, causing him to inhale poisonous mist, dizzying him. His visin was now blurred from the effects of the toxins working their way into his system, even though the stars themselves caused him injury that was practically unnoticeable. He staggers, plucking the shuriken from his sinewy body, and tossing them thoughtlessly to the side, since they were but an after-thought, anyway.

Raising an arm, Vohstra squints as digits of ethereal matter begin to encircle his form, before a translucent clock materializes around him, as though he were submerged in the device, which subsequently siphons the surrounding digits into him. His magic was that of ice, and cessation of motion, which also meant time-magic was at his disposal. Consequently, this was ironically a 'Haste' spell, so that now the subtle shifts in his body as he swayed, a common practice for warmed-up fighters to stay moving.... were shadowy, as though he were moving astronomically quicker than previously.
Pumpkinhead The soldier who TOTALLY has a name is a bit perplexed as everybody just runs around her and starts whalloping on other monsters. This is proving to not be a very appropriate opportunity for her to show off her stuff. She turns towards Deelel, her only opponent at present.

"Thank you for asking. My name is--"

The noise of battle temporarily deafens the battlefield, particularly when Aerith SPIRIT BLASTS her off her feet and onto her back.

"--and don't you forget it!" She snarls. She steps forward and holding her blade into the air, and then swings it forward. Bright white blades rip through the sky towards Aerith and Deelel, stabbing into them from multiple angles--they don't leave wounds where they strike, instead the blow is to the spirit!

"Tch...! You're ruining my entrance!" She snarls at her own superiors. A small note from Cid indicated there MAY be a chance of slight mental instability from the procedure what with taking someone else's magical essence and shoving it into this person. You know, because it hadn't been done from humans before.
Rakassa Most people, with a much smaller sense of curiousity, greed, and far less recklessness than Rakassa would lean /away/ from the big man, and his fist, and shining weapon of darkness and light. Shadow Lord Rakassa leans towards it, eyes wide with amazement, and lust. "Well! I'll be. Maybe there's something to you after all. Heh heh...c'mon. Don't hold back~" It almost sounds like she wants to get hit.

Cue fist. Wham! The woman staggers back, rubbing her jaw. She'd twisted her head in just hte right way to prevent bone-breaking horror, like many experienced fighters. Swings of darkness and light tear at her, each one having her leap back, just out of reach. It's the final swing that hits her hard, right in the chest. Phlem exits her mouth, an explosion shattering the protective glass of the observatory. Rakassa meets iron wall. Iron wall loses. Like some kind of rag-doll, she's thrown through several walls, and out into the factory conveyer belt. Whump! There's now a lot of blood, and a Rakassa-shaped dent int the seat of a newly minted Magitek Armor. Coughing, sputtering, any other person would be dead. She gives a gurgling laugh as she takes the controls, the mtek armor leaping off even as soldiers and magitek armor rush by towards the source of the commotion.

Ang might notice a small glint; one of Rak's knives, thrown at the last minute before she was shunted towards the newly minted exit. The knife slams right into the alarm button very nearly hit by the door. The room goes red, and alarms blare as Rakassa makes her escape. The heroes, and remaining villains, will soon have friends.

As for our golem? Tifa's strikes finally do it in, Vohstra's creation shattering into shards of ice. Now, it's only the knight and dragon left.
Avira "Here!" Avira calls out, heeding Arthurs request. Though the moment she parts with the Spine, Avira instantly regrets it. It feels like a part of her had suddenly been taken away. She's not entirely defenseless and does have her ice magic to fall back on-but still, it felt...wrong.

"I DON'T GOT ALL DAY, WOMAN!" Avira shouts up at Rakassa, all too eager to get her hands on the Vectorian scientist.

But still she doesn't move. Without her weapon, all she can do is stand before Maira, shielding her injured and weakened friend from the strikes of the dragon. "No! It is YOU who will not pass! It is YOU who will not have Maira! I don't need to go anywhere! I just need to wait until your butt is kicked!"
Arthur Drover Arthur's palm runs over the Spine. It takes nothing more than a moment. He is wielding some small, shining stone. This whets the edges of the blade. The hilt is light in his hand, and the wind which was attached to his body moves to the weapon instead. The already-honed thing becomes more of a weapon - its impetus and speed enhanced, the ground beneath it seeming to bend, the hand that holds it appearing faraway.

Merlock's smash is deflected in one languid motion of the Smith's hand - the Spine responds to the artisan almost as well as it would its true wielder.

What is returned to Avira is the same blade, but moreso. "Call this one a freebie."

He pulls a tiny phial with a single drop of something in it, out of his pack - and thrusts it toward Maira. "This one too."

Then, falling silent, the smith succumbs to his wounds after pressing the Spine back upon Avira. She would have to fell the dragon, but now she'd have help.
Maira "We'll see about that. I don't think you understand at all," she replies to Merlock, clinging still to Avira since she refuses to put her down, despite Maira being nearly dead weight. The magic in her is weak, but the drugs are beginning to weaken as well. The haze between herself and her power grows thinner. That spark is there. It is enough.

There are ghosts in this place. Strong spirits that have been abused--beings that never should have been toyed with. The spirits are angry. All they needed was a spark, a gateway. Maira can be that spark; her heart can be that door. Now, those enrages spirits will touch the world again.

Maira takes in a breath. "I hear you...I know what you have suffered," she whispers, it is likely only Avira will hear her. Up in the observatory, the room explodes with Angantyr's power, and in the silence that follows a chorus of ghostly wails begins to rise. Ghosts take form, ethereal and uncanny, their foggy features and echo of life as their eyes blaze--there are humans, those who died in experiments--and more. Creatures, the beasts of legend. Espers. Drained and used for all they are worth.

But power like that leaves an impression on the fabric of the world. It is merely an echo of the power they once wielded, but even that echo can make a difference now. Once of the creatures, a large bird it would appear, turns its sights on Merlock. Then the specter flies straight at him. /through/ him, if he does not get out of the way, bearing holy energy remembered from a better time.

"The ghosts of this place...are very angry..." she says more loudly now, looking up toward where Rakassa is, if she survived.

Maira then looks toward the magitek knight with her powers, her eyes pleading. "You don't have to do this. It does not need to be this way. Whatever it is that made you do this, you have to know there is another choice. Don't let them turn you into another angry ghost in this place. Leave. Just GO!"
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr breaths deeply as Rakassa goes flying.

That /felt good/. So good.

However a knife hits a alarm. "Oh no, an alarm is tripped. I would have thought the massive amount of explosions, fighting, and various other fighting noises. I mean, seriously. Who even has alarms? Well, at least it wasn't a load baring boss..."

Angantyr starts channeling the darkness again, getting all Antores the Abysswalker in this joint as he looks towards the mysterious faceless mook who is attacking people.

His face is impassive, because it's a metal mask, that glows crimson. It seems to snort dismissively.

But he drops to the ground infront of her. "Now for my next trick...time to make a <GOOSEHONK> disappear!"
Ariel Ariel is grateful Tifa's attacks did the trick, meaning she can lean back and away for a second and check on her bag. Sebastian seems okay, but dizzy.

The alarms are blaring. Now might be the time to rescue Maira and leave. But... there's a few things still in the way.

Ariel runs over to back up Aerith. She could use another potion, but... she's running a little low. Maybe she could try something else.

She shuts her eyes for a moment.

"Ahriel, do you tink--"

"Shhhhh... Concentrating. I've got this... now!"

She opens up her eyes, and... woosh. Above the knight, a portal of sorts opens up, and, a flood begins to pour down. It's all water... and two distinct, large bubbles that splash into the air, and explode in juicy magical bursts. That should put out... something. It looks like she's momentarily tapped into the ocean itself to make it happen.
Merlock Merlock is not very pleased with how this is going. While he has self-control and all, and gives off an air of being refined and educated, he has a really, really, REALLY nasty temper when his anger is truly awoken. He sunk (a version of) Atlantis just because he couldn't get a reservation to the water resort. He caused (a version of) Mount Vesuvius to erupt just because the people of Pompeii aggravated him. He is all about disproportionate revenge for slights -- imagined or otherwise. And being injured and being unable to land a decisive blow against these fools who keep trying to keep the Princess from him basically calls for exactly that.

When Maira sends a bunch of ghosts tearing through him, ravaging his spirit and leaving a supernatural chill in his bones that drains his energy, that is the last straw. Intense heat begins to emanate from Merlock's fang-rimmed maw, along with an otherworldly purple glow. No more words are exchanged as he gathers all the power of this draconic body, practically seeing red as he decides quite simply that if he can't take the Princess of Heart captive, no one can.

Well, he does roar out one thing deafeningly as a tidal-wave of dragon's fire pours from his mouth and upon all those before him.

Deelel Deelel is a media program but it's going to take forever to even get anything scrubbed up. Even then she'll not be able to recover the mystery woman?s name. She's been doing pretty well at avoiding getting the heck beat out of her for the moment but she knows that can't last forever. She's fast she knows magic when it's happening.

The program is moving for all she's worth and just evading the strikes form the spell. She's not sure what the true nature of the attack is and it's force the best she does not. She can focus on the fight better not knowing to be honest.

Deelel keeps her disc in hand and launches it one last time she's trying to not got for major damage she's trying to distract the mysterious experimental subject to set her up for a follow up.

Aerith Aerith did not seem to mind being swung at by several shockwaves. In fact, she'd faced something like this down before.

And so, she did what she had last time.

Aerith moved where there wasn't a shockwave. Ten, fifteen, twenty of them rushed toward her, yet she seemed to be able to simply move to a space that wasn't occupied by whatever the magitek knight threw at her. At the end of it, nothing was destroyed, no carvings left in the floor or walls... and yet, she remained untouched. Aerith smiled. "Sorry. You just talk too much."

Her eyes narrowed. "Right, my turn." She advanced within a heartbeat, winding her staff in a tight spiral as she offered her response. At the last second, she delivered a heavy thrust, intending to ram the knight back with a combination of physical and spiritual force.
Avira If it's any consolation for Merlock, his behavior here pretty much guarentees that Avira won't recognize him in his reserved, normal form. Her grip loosens on Maira as she starts to talk about seeing ghosts and spirits. This even makes Avira wince because she's heard the rumors about what goes on in this facility. She's seen the tubes here. She's listened to that awful harpy rant about what she did to Maira.

It must be bad and Avira is thankful the rage of these spirits is focused upon this dangerous dragon.

Arthur expertly defends himself with the Spine and Avira would normally nod in appreciation of this but right now, she is tanking her own strike on behalf of her friend. It's that extra push to make sure Maira doesn't get hurt what ends up getting Avira a little hurt herself. She doesn't seem to mind this though and quite smoothly catches her now empowered weapon once more.

White light spreads over Avira the moment those flames are unleashed. She leaps forward, through the flames, and comes out completely unarmed by the beast, protected by her strange power. That power, drawn right from the heart, stoked by her bonds of friendship with Maira and Arthur, give her speed and strength to her strikes. Each blow she inflicts upon the dragon seems to extend beyond the physical reach of the blade. Each swing blurrs with motion as she pushes herself to her absolute limit, throwing herself against the dragon with strike after strike.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart phews as she sends the Golem flying, but looks like that took what she had left out of her. Her balance seems qutie unsteady there, vision blurring as she tries to rub it out. There's still more fighting to do... but it looks like her body isn't able to take it right now. Perhaps too much elemental attacks. Perhaps there was something in the potions. Maybe its just the poisons taking full effect. Well, its a losing fight for her right now, and without a chance to even voice it, from standing on her knees, she slumps down limply face first on the ground, eyes unfocused, passed out like this. Might need to tend to those burns and poison marks over her visible skin.
Pumpkinhead The disk slams into the mysterious woman's forehead, stunning her long enough for Aerith to slam the night with her staff in the gut, sending her stumbling back. Snarling, she steps back a few feet and starts getting hotter. And hotter. Her uniform is starting to burn up, though she herself remains unharmed.

"What," She asks of Maira. "Do I have to be angry abou--SPLOOSH"

She doesn't say SPLOOSH. That's Ariel dumping a bunch of water on her. It puts out the fire and she slowly turns towards the not-a-mermaid. She steps forward when a bubble catches her from behind--

--and schlorps around her, leaving her trapped inside.

"Glub?!" She says as the bubble lightly drifts away. "GLUB!!!"

Surely that's the last you'll see of her!
Rakassa Outside the door, the whirring and slamming of metal feet on metal can be heard; the distinctive sounds of Magitek Armors stomping towards the group. So too is there sounds of stomping boots, as well as a few barks of dogs. From the sounds of things, the Vectorian army is rushing in. Our heroes may just want to leave.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr watches Ariel totally completely and forever beat the nameless boss mook. He nods once, "Good shot.." And then, he turns, appearing infront of Maira, protecting her from the dragon's fire. Angantyr becomes her shield, holding back the flames from her body, as his eyes narrow. "That was a mistake." he says, before aiming to PUNCH the dragon in the snout for it's bad breath. Suddenly the Keyblade is in hand again, as he takes a step forward. The Tyrant Breaker starts to radiate light again, getting more and more ready as Avira pushes herself forward with all her might...

"We're running out of lets make this quick. A minute is all the time I can spare on you." He says towards the dragon, "Avira, I am here! Down!" he says, and then swings the sword with it's massive force, aiming to once more direct the forces of light and dark to devistating effects right into the belly of the beast.
Maira Maira winces as Angantyr appears just in time to take the wrath of Merlock. Just like he always does. Ol' reliable Angantyr. Bet he'd never thought he'd be called /that/.

Then Avira and Arthur have an exchange, and Maira smiles proudly as the light of Avira's heart glows brightly, charging forward to protect her and bring the sorcerer down. They are getting out of here--and they are going to destroy this place if they can.

Maira looks back to Merlock, frowning. "Burn? That's /MY/ line," she informs him, just before the bird (could it be a version of Phoenix?) comes in for another attack, ghostly wings aflame.
Queegmaa As Vohstra is about to try and deliver a powerful blow to Shadow, something causes his body to vibrate and spasm, for just a mere instant-- his connection with his frost golem is severed, and he feels a drain on his system as part of his life force is now depleted. Slumping over for a moment, the dark samurai reclaims some of his vitality, and refocuses; he squints at Shadow as he tries to keep an eye on the pitch figure moving like greased electricity on medication for people with attention deficit disorder(speed, in other words!). The poison isn't helping; treacherous molecular fluids collide with his inner eco-system, taking away some of the grit that Vohstra had at the very beginning.... otherwise, save for discombobulation, his health is still nigh full-steam. The appearance of the spirits that Maira summons is a bit disconcerting, but Vohstra cannot be swayed from his chosen path, not now, not after all he's been through with that hellish Rohy, who'd stripped him of so much of his dignity.

The captain had to seize some of his self-respect back, by facing off against the one who'd assisted in the death of the demonic varg back in the woods..... that person was Shadow. If he could defeat, or stalemate the defeater of his dead victimizer, then maybe he wasn't devoid of hope to be a true warrior again. For a moment, he turns his gaze to fixate on Maira, watching her, acknowledging that she was now making a departure. He doesn't nod, or frown, scowl, narrow his eyes, or anything to show approval -or- disapproval.... he simply stares at her with a vacant expression, but expends zilch in toil to halt her escape. What could he have been thinking? Now with Rakassa gone, and the other Mtek knight out of commission, the captain was the ranking member.

With the arrival of the first wave of troops, Vohstra raises his hand, and some of them desist their rush, although more and more flood in, he doesn't grant them leave to strike Angantyr, Avira, Maira.... or anyone... or to aid the strange warlock who fought against the protagonists. However, it seems obvious that he wants the intruders to leave, even if he remains speechless; or maybe that's just what it /seems/ like what he wants, if there was anyone present among the protagonists who could sense auras, and emotions.....
Merlock Avira's weapon strikes painfully deep into Merlock's flesh, tearing open more flaming wounds, ripping free more glittering black scales, and enraging him even more. If only he had the Lamp! These insects would be no more than dust in the wind! Armored wings, thus far unused except for intimidating purposes, come down with rather amazing accuracy to deflect, turn-aside, or simply block Angantyr's attacks. Their power still resonates painfully through the appendages, but no damage is inflicted per se. Then, as Merlock prepares to attack once more, a ghostly phoenix thing comes around and tears through him AGAIN! His roar cracks the walls and ceiling, shatters any glass still intact in the area, and reverberates in such a way that it is probably painful to EVERYONE, not just those he is attacking.

But it is those he is attacking that face his wrath as he changes form. Green magic energy crackles over the dragon, transforming him from massive beast to something else.

Before the glow even fades, it is clear that whatever form Merlock has taken, it is much smaller. Infact, for those unaware he's shapeshifting instead of, say, teleporting or disintegrating into nothing, it appears as though he has vanished entirely.

Because he has transformed into an opaque black wasp, and he is getting out of here. It's just not worth it. Not worth it...

But he's still going to keep an eye on these people once they're gone. He will have his vengeance. Even if he has to carry out upon the descendants of the descendants of Maira's descendants. One of the perks of being immortal is that you can simply wait for the right opportunity.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr smirks, "Nice job ladies." he says, and turns towards a piece of equipment and smashes!

"Alright, everyone smash a random piece of important looking machines..." he says, opening a corridor up, "And out through there. Deelel, you know what to do." and Angantyr carries Maira through because he can.
Aerith She wasn't done yet. This was more than likely going to happen again, but there was nothing they could do about it now. "Well, I'd love to... but we need to go now." And lo, the guards and soldiers came, as well as something else. Something that sounded big, and mean. She glanced toward Maira for a brief moment, wondering when she'd ever get to see her again... then shook the thought off.

Of course they would. Just not soon enough.

Aerith turned toward Ariel and gave a nod. "We need to go, now! Help me with Tifa!"

It was thus that the three of them made their hasty retreat through the rift. Still... it was good to see Maira again. Not the best circumstances, but that would change with time.
Maira Just like that, after all that fighting, the enenmies are nuetralized. For now. The sounds of magitek armors and many soldiers are approaching, and they really cannot afford to stick around. Maira reaches up toward her neck, the sight of the ghostly phoenix reminding her of the gift she was given. Gone, of course. "<GOOSEHONK>, I am getting that back," she vows. She is sure she'll see Rakassa again.

"Time to go," she says, looking toward the man who was fighting Shadow. He wants them to go? Well, alright. Happy to oblige! Is there still a bit of a spark in her? Is there enough? Maira looks toward the glass capsules that still contain a couple of espers not quite yet drained of their power--she then focuses a blast of her light toward them, hoping to shatter them and let the espers escape or take out their anger on the oncoming soldiers, whatever they would prefer. She's not leaving anyone in this place.

Maira groans, sore and weak as Angantyr picks her up, though she aims a small blast of fire over her shoulder toward a shelf of chemicals, starting a fire that should be quite difficult to extinguish before they all make their exit.

"...I love... your portals," she informs Ang, then looks back to make sure everyone gets out of there.
Deelel Deelel watches as her foe falls back and she lets her run. Seeing she's got a moment, Deelel is stopping to pull the strange puck like items off her legs. Which make beeping noises as she twists them and starts attaching them to various points about the lab. She knows it won't bring the whole place down but this should do some damage. She's setting them on a timer to be certain and soon she's planted all the charges.

"Just about done here Ang, charges set and armed. We should be quick these should be enough to gut the lab and do some additional damage hopefully we can cost them more than they got out of this."

She scowls before she leaps into the portal once everyone else is through. Shortly after the others are all gone the charges will tick down and violently explode. The over all instlation would be fine if they go of but the lab would be toast. Deelel does not know what will happen when she's through.
Queegmaa Mentioned formerly, Vohstra is the Mtek knight of cessation of movement, of time-stopping.... coldness, things coming to a standstill. He's not so blunt-headed as to stand around doing nothing as Deelel began to set charges, and since Shadow had seemingly dropped out of the picture, Vohstra used whatever ice magics were in his employ, as well as the 'Stop' spell to freeze time entirely, isolating some locuses in order to prevent a few of the devices from going off. Whether he succeeded at this, or not, would be revealed minutes later, and Rakassa would have to deal with the fallout either way, but what was clear was that the combined efforts of the protagonists' amounted to some significant damage in the Mtek facility, specifically, the capsule-chambers where many an esper were contained, and leeched of their vitality. Vohstra was simply interested in damage control at the endgame, and though he may not have salvaged the whole room, his leadership qualities and fighting expertise did most certainly result in the recapture of at least some of the espers, as well as maintaining the structural integrity of some of the capsules in which they needed to be kept.

Taking Maira was costly..... perhaps it was a mistake. Honestly, the fallen samurai couldn't exactly put his finger on it, but this plan didn't have the true earmarks of Admiral Rakassa's blueprints; there must've been somebody else behind the scheme, or.... maybe Rakassa did carry out this deed all her own, after, and only after somebody else had planted the seeds of this whole conspiracy into her head, to germinate. Well, whatever the case, their new research would pave the way to revealing how they could infuse persons with essence not just from espers, but other creatures very close in kind to humans, and.... mayhap this would have good results, somewhere down the line?

This scene contained 84 poses. The players who were present were: Tifa Lockhart, Avira, Deelel, Pumpkinhead, Maira, Aerith, Angantyr Vespar, Ariel, Shadow, Merlock, Arthur Drover, Queegmaa, Rakassa