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No title.
(2014-02-11 - 2014-02-11)
No description.
Garland In the Dalmascan Sandsea is a shadow. It is a massive, sweeping shadow, cast across an impossible distance. It is a cold, soulless shadow, and nothing living dares go within a mile of it without truly excellent reason. The monsters of the Sandsea know that that way lies death. The adventurers who brave that shadow eventually reach its base and its source - the Tower of Mirage, a miles-high fortress thrusting through the clouds to make its presence known. None, it is said, have seen the top of Mirage Tower since the Light Warriors. Only a very few know even a very few of its secrets, and all of them have been invited by the Master of the Tower in some fashion or another.

Neither Soan Saggitarius nor Kamon Lionward have been invited into the Tower of Mirage. Their means of egress was far more...eccentric. An accident...though whether that accident was joyous or regretful remains to be seen. The wild thrashing of the Convulsing Chaos, Shinryuu, sent them hurling through the Corridor of Darkness that had been opened by the Tower's Master.

Now, their fates will unfold.

The young heroes are awakened. Both heroes are roused by Chaos - in this place, evil reigns supreme, the taint a palpable presence that pours from the walls like water from a river. It hangs in the air like moisture, soaking into every pore, clinging even to the young men full of virtue and will. This is no mere place of Evil - this place *is* Evil, soaked and basted in the stuff until the room and the Evil are indistinguishable from one another.

They would soon find that they are laid out on uncomfortable stone slabs. As the boys come into waking, they find themselves unrestrained, unrestricted. They can freely move, stand, sit up, and look around. Even a cursory glance would reveal them to be in some sort of medical room, though what these walls are normally for - what these walls are meant to contain - can only be speculated upon...with great bravery and terrible imagination.

Probably best not to.

At the far edge of the room is a massive figure, clad entirely in armor. If Soan and Kamon had the presence of mind to recall him from the battle...well, it shouldn't be hard. In Soan's eyes, he is a gaping darkness, a pit of despair and evil that outstrips the foulest of Chaos-tainted Soan has ever seen the same way the sun outstrips a candle. In Kamon's eyes, he moves like a warrior with lifetimes of experience, his heavy armor silent and graceful as he walks between strange stone screens displaying vital signs. The armor still looks rusted, and the cape is still fraying at the edges, but nonetheless, there is a sense of imperiousness about the monster, a sense of dark and foreboding power plain even to mundane eyes.

The figure does not turn to face them, nor speak. Nor, they might notice with bit of observation...breathe.

There is a door near the edge of the room.
Kamon Lionward Kamon and Soan came through the Corridor at high speed, hit a wall, and promptly lost consciousness. On the one hand, that's going to hurt like a bitch when they come to. On the other, it means they weren't exposed to the corrupting influence of the Corridor for more than a few brief moments. On the third, gripping hand, is... well, this /whole place/.


Awakening in a place with an unfamiliar ceiling is a time-honored tradition for Odynar warriors fighting evil alongside unlikely allies. Awakening in one where the aforementioned evil is more pervasive than the oxygen they're breathing, and on a slab of stone, is less so. Kamon opens his eyes, starts to move, and immediately regrets it. Every muscle in his body rebels all at once, forming an impressive Kamon-sized knot of tension that is only alleviated by the fact that he's not also covered in open wounds.

Kamon spends a few seconds taking stock of himself with soft, probing touches, checking both his injuries and his (now-normalized) equipment. He turns, glancing at Soan, and lifting his head enough to take in their surroundings. It does not take more than a cursory glance at the armored figure across the room to figure out that they /really/ don't want to be here.

Turning back to Soan, Kamon lifts his hands and makes a couple of quick signs for 'enemy' and 'exit' while the armored figure's back remains turned. He points at the obvious warrior and the doorway, and then shifts how he lays, ready to swing his legs over the side and roll himself down to the floor the instant Soan does. He won't be utterly silent about it -- he's no thief -- but he didn't do terribly in Escape Artistry 101, either.
Soan Sagittarius Soan's mind is rather fuzzy on the things that happened after the last charge Kamon and he delivered upon Shinryuu. It was part of the chaos of battle, as well as the fury he felt inside, welling outside like an outburst of power. Perhaps that is what his Senior Dragoons feels when they grow in power, become more in commune with the Dragons, their elemental fury and strength. Whatever it was, it made things hard to remember at first.

The surroundings, however, does not help making it a soft awakening. It is similar from awkening from a terrible headache, sore all over, to the lovely sound of a marching band rampaging through the countryside, followed by stench that attacks his sense of smells immediatedly. Unlike most people, Soan does not react with yelling, yelping or cowering at the sight of all of this.

This sobers him up immediatedly as he takes inventory of his own body, even with his every senses is being flayed alive by all the overwhelming corruption around him. He's whole. Good. Healed. Likely by medecine. Kamon is there? Good, Kamon is there, whole as well, at a first glance anyway. Now, beyond the screaming Chaos around them, what is that--

Soan does not stare all too long at the yawning madness of Chaos that he sees. It is not a time for pride and challenging it. Various questions goes through his mind at the moment, notably if /it/ was the thing that healed them, notably /why/. He's tense, slowly raising himself up as he get his senses into control. It's always the first contact that is more paralysing, than anything else. Then, you never forget the stench you smelled.

Soan gives Kamon a brief nod, motioning with his hands toward the exit. He powers through the soreness of his muscles, motioning that, no, no they do not want to tangle with this thing, displaying perhaps one of the few times Soan demonstrates some slight level of not quite panic, but very close. He slides himself off the slab along, far more silently than Kamon do, helping him along with movements and providing him an example on how to sneak out more silently.
Garland The two young men slide silently off the stones, onto the cold, unforgiving stone floor. Soan is absolutely silent as he creeps towards the door. Kamon...Kamon is less so, but he's still pretty good for a man who has no training and large quantities of metal in his body. They make it all the way to the door.

The door has no handle. It has no panel. It is as stone as the rest of the room, a shape cut out of the wall - but undoubtedly a door. The method of entry and exit is probably some form of panel - a few critical moments of exploration reveal one. Soan is talented, and Kamon is sharp-eyed, and between the two of them they are a highly skilled team.

The door opens with a loud *shunk*, sliding to the side like something out of science fiction, or a high-tech Ramuha building. The corridor beyond is as stone as the rest of it - there is no telling how high up they are. It seems peaceful, but, as before, the overwhelming feeling of Evil dangles palpably in the air.

"Leaving, so soon?"

The voice undoubtedly came from the terrible figure in the corner. It is deep and booming, echoing from within the armor as it rings out through the room. There is no kindness in that voice, not even in the trace and cursory statement. There is no love, no joy, no hope - that voice, like its owner, is a vacuum, devoid of such light-hearted emotions. It is a black and terrible *thing* belonging to a black and terrible *thing*, and like its owner, the voice rings in the ears with the same taint of Chaos.

"Do they no longer teach children manners? I am...disappointed."

Unless they look back, it's impossible to tell how far away the figure is. There is no sound of movement...and that alone is probably highly unnerving, given the rusty platemail.

"And after all the hospitality I have shown you." Now does joy tinge that bleak and heartless voice - dark amusement, a mocking, parodical entertainment, as though they danced like puppets to an unheard tune, or as though its owner just predicted a twist in a play with grim satisfaction.
Kamon Lionward Kamon follows Soan's example. He gets off the slab, landing quietly but not silently, and starts for the door. They get there without incident, and even figure out how to open it pretty quickly. It looks like they're home free... or, well, at least a step closer to leaving evil's heart with all their parts intact.

They're just about to step out the door when he speaks. Kamon winces, gritting his teeth and stopping mid-step at the threshold of the door as soon as the figure speaks. He puts his foot back down, casting a glance at Soan, and slowly straightens from his crouch. There is no way, he thinks, this is going to go anything but poorly.

"We, uh..." He starts to turn around, searching for the right words. If Nik was here, he'd know what to say. Then again, everyone is better at this than he is. "...didn't want to impose on you any more than we already did. Sorry." Kamon has a knack for sounding genuinely apologetic. This might be because he usually is.
Soan Sagittarius In hindsight, Soan is not too sure what convinced him that he could sneak away from a terrifingly potent Chaos being right beneath his nose. He winces similarly to Kamon, shaking his head Ah well, that was the first thing that came to his mind, they're busted, now they have to at least start assuming for it. Soan closes his eyes after he peered through the corridor, flicking then a glance at Kamon, nodding at him briefly. Looks like 'daring escape' is postponed, for the moment.

Soan calmly turns around, after straightening up from operating the panel. He didn't see technology like this before... at least, not the kind that just bleed Chaos. Becoming more and more accostumed, insulated from his senses being overwhelmed, the Thief faces the massive pulse of Chaos.

It's not helping him.

"If you are the one that healed us, then you have our thanks." Soan picks up after Kamon, keeping up civil. No need to go raging and snarling for now, especially since he's being... polite and helpfull, admittedly for reasons he don't fully understands yet. He do start to have an idea... "It was quite rude of us to not at least offer them to you, I apologise."
Garland "Do not insult me, boy, with such an obvious lie. You lie to a Lord of Liars." The armored figure was practically right behind them when Kamon turned. Menacing red pinpricks of light shine from within the depths of that helmet - if either boy is wise, they will not stare too deeply into it, lest they see exactly what they expect and nothing that they wish to see. So when Kamon finally turns, he is quite literally being loomed over by the giant, rusty suit of armor.

The armor tilts its head towards Soan, a nod. "Better. So, there is hope for the latest generation." Again, that grim amusement, that cold and terrible entertainment at some private joke. "I have many names, but the most relevant to you is Garland."

"Come. Let us walk. I would have words with you before you make your egress."

The massive figure waves its spiked gauntlet, and the wall unfolds before it, the corridor widening at its motion. Garland starts walking, heedless of whether the boys actually follow him or not - should they attempt to find some alternate means out of the Tower, that is perfectly possible. It does, after all, spiral downwards.

Should they choose to follow Garland, however, they will notice two key features of the Tower: a ludicrously lethal assortment of mechanical traps, and complex stone-and-steel robotic monsters. Both traps and robots bow as Garland passes reflexively, though they eye the boys with a terrible, cold, metallic hunger, like an empty gas tank waiting for gas.
Kamon Lionward Kamon finds himself looking at a giant, rusty suit of armor. He looks up at the helmet for a few seconds, and then occupies himself with examining the suit's design and construction in the event he has to, I dunno, hit it with something. Besides, maybe it'll give him a clue as to it's origins. "...sorry," he mutters again. He just figured it'd be more polite than 'we figured you were going to kill and eat us anyway.'

Casting another glance at Soan -- this one with slightly widened eyes -- and then steps aside for Garland to make his exit. He waits for him to walk a few steps down the hall, observing the statues begin to bow.

It looks like it wouldn't have been so easy to get out of here anyway, especially in the shape they're in. They'll heal, but without a proper White Mage, Kamon would have to break out the emergency potion stash to be in fighting condition. This definitely qualifies.

Taking a breath, Kamon falls into step behind the iron-clad man(?), following him higher into the tower. He lets Soan handle the talking for the moment.
Soan Sagittarius Soan does not like it. For the moment. He tries to not look too hard into theses terrible red eyes. He's seeing, smelling enough as it is, no need to add on it. The Thief takes a deep breath, then nod, simply, watching the armoured figure walking away. The name does not add any more terror or dread in his heart -- he's see already all he really care to see.

Soan turn a glance aside at Kamon, nodding again at him, flicking his glance at the corridor, before calmly following suite. Right now, the professionalism that he's cultivated over the years at school, as his brand of thief, is helping him imensely at keeping calm. He briefly thinks about heading down, removing that option for the moment. If Garland took the 'effort' to heal them, if they are truly healed at all and this is not a trick of some kind, then he'll make sure they can't get out immediatedly. So, instead, careful Soan keeps a sharp eye to what he sees around him, stoicaly staring back at the various robotic monsters, taking note of how traps are done, patterns, on the way there.

Soan don't add much in term of words. There's not much more to say beyond trying to work out plans, alternatives in his mind... beyond steeling himself for whatever might be said by Garland. This will be the tricky part.
Garland Garland makes no move to check whether they're following him or not. He just walks through the spiralling corridor purposefully, speaking slowly as he walks.

"Better," he repeats at Kamon's apology.

Garland stops in front of a seemingly random wall. He waves his hand again, and the stone parts, opening into what is unmistakably a throne room. Garland slowly walks up the dais and seats himself upon the massive stone-and-iron throne, turning to look at the boys. A pair of stone chairs rise up opposite him. It is impossible to tell whether those chairs were always there, or formed of Garland's will. The Iron Tyrant shifts on the throne a bit, the armor already looking cleaner, less rusty, the cape beginning to knot itself back together.

The armor resembles something out of ancient mythology. It looks a great deal like traditional depictions of Chaos's head, or Diabolos's.

"Sit. Refreshments will be brought to you. They will not be poisoned. I considered it," he adds offhandedly, like it's something he does every day, a casual cruelty peppered into the words, "But Garland is no coward, and will not slay children in such a manner. Not, of course, that I have any desire to slay you. No, you have yet to do any wrong to me worth such personal attention."

A robot-monster spindles its way in with a tray on it. Clay mugs and plates are presented to the boys, the mugs full of what smells like warm cocoa, the plates simple sandwhiches - some meat, some bread, some vegetables. The robot pours the food, then leaves it between the two stone chairs. It bows to Garland and scampers out as the stone door slams behind it.

"No, if Garland sought your death, you would not be treated to such...hospitality." He rolls the word around like it's an unpleasant slur or a foul-tasting thing on the tip of his (likely nonexistant) tongue. "No...instead, I wish to give you aid."
Soan Sagittarius Soan enters the room, his eyes darting around as they usually are to do. Garland is being hospitable, but this could change. It's not a reason to be complacent. The cloud of his senses being overwhelmed is now gone, returning his natural logic, memorising the most he can of what he sees. He doubt that this is a place that many mortals gets to see, even less while not being maimed by everything that 'lives' in it.

The thief sit as he gives the room his usual circular glances, spotting what he need to spot, what seems, feels interesting to know. The more he remembers, the more chances there will be that it might be revelent, if not immediatedly. His gaze turn to the mugs and plate as they are presented, setting them down on his lap, not immediatedly eating out of them just yet. He's hungry, for sure, even if some of that is hampered by the constant smell of the place. His appetite will suffer for the moment. Cursory analysis of it is done, mostly by reflex. You always watch what you eat. It's just a survival thing.

Besides, talking with a mouth full is terribly unpolite.

"Aid? What kind of aid?" He asks, "Is this about the Dragon?" Soan pauses, furrowing his brows. "Or is this more what the Dragon has done and means?"
Kamon Lionward If the aura of palpable evil didn't give it away, the depictions of Chaos and perhaps Diabolos certainly do. Garland is either a Chaos cultist or something even worse, that much Kamon can put together with relative ease. With the tower being so tainted, though, so /wrong/ that even /he/ can feel it...

Kamon steps into the throne room. He slows in his step for a span of seconds, looking to his sides and taking in the huge, vaulted chamber. He looks at the throne, examining its construction and comparing the styles. Is this place older than Garland, or is Garland older than it? He frowns a little bit to himself, but he takes a seat even still.

"Uh... thanks." Kamon sticks to being polite. Let Soan talk, he thinks; he'll figure out what he wants to help them with.

When the robot appears with the food, Kamon's stomach immediately lets him know how hungry he is. Going from a knock-down drag-out fight with a huge dragon right into a hospital, uh, slab, tends to run up your appetite. He carefully takes one of the sandwiches and dares a bite. Maybe Garland will be less likely to kill them if they've broken bread with him, so to speak.
Garland The sandwhiches are servicable. They're certainly not high culinary art or super-delicious ultra-tempting juicy. The meat is somewhat dry, the bread is somewhat stale, and the greens are somewhat soggy, but it's food. Clearly, Garland has very little use for his larder. It also doesn't appear to be evil. The cocoa is hot cocoa. You can't mess up hot chocolate.

It may be slightly sinister.

It is impossible to tell whether the Tower predates Garland, or vice versa. He seems so at home here, so natural, that it could have been made by him. At the same time, the machinery clearly does not *run* on Pure Liquid Evil, and the taint is probably the result of the long, long, LONG occupation of the Ironclad Nightmare.

"Nothing so simplistic," Garland rumbles. "No, call investment. An investment in my own experience."

"You fancy yourselves heroes, I assume. I doubt you were simple bystanders at the battle. Bystanders do not, as a rule, make a habit of leaping into a batte between titans. They usually run. Or die." Garland shifts a bit, without a rustle of cape or a clank of armor, his terrible red gaze simple staring ahead. He seems aware that he shouldn't be meeting their eyes.

"In my very long lifespan, I have learned that it is often those who style themselves heroes that determine much of the worlds' course. Oppression leads to demagogues leads to uprisings, slaughter leads to guardians and vengeance-hunters lead to have undoubtedly heard or said some variation of it before." Garland's massive, clawed gauntlet lowers to the stone.

"It is a cycle. Kismet. Samsara. Evil cannot exist without Good to define itself, even as Good destroys Evil or Evil destroys Good. Nightmares cannot rise without kind dreams to devour or be banished by. So too is it with much of history. Heroes, singularly important people with the will and the spark to do something Great, stand up against similarly singularly important monsters with the same will and the same spark turned inside-out." Garland speaks like a professor, a detached and clinical professor, but even in this resting state, Kamon at the least can tell that Garland's voice contains barely-restrained rage, barely-concealed hatred.

"I have learned, in my life, that it is usually better to bet on the heroes to solve my problems for me. After problems are usually the problems of heroes, regardless. Aiding you expedites solutions, solutions you would pursue regardless. It is what your kind," Garland practically spits the word, "Does."
Soan Sagittarius Being in school for so long, Soan knows when a lecture is coming up, lectures that is generally unwise to interrupt. It is then, only then, that he allows himself to take a bite out of the sandwich, only a small bite, the minimum to say he didn't wasted the food. Despite being rather ravenous, his appetite is not being helped by the oppressive smell he feels. He hoped a bit of food would help.

It didn't really.

Soan listens to the speech. He's far older than he imagined, altought it is not hard for an immortal being to look at events of history in such detached factioids. They may seem that way to someone that's lived throught countless eons. Or to see such cynicism from a Chaos-spawns -- no, this is bigger than a beast, far bigger. The dragon smelled very differently, it's own filth, even if it had a similar level of... intensity.

"If this is what our 'kind', as you put it, do," Soan says after swallowing his small bite. He'll want a real meal later, when he's out of here. The sooner, the better. "Then we'd do it anyway. Which means you wish to expidite something, or make sure something that benefits you happens. An investment means that you desire something out of... whatever aid you wish to offer us to 'keep doing what we do'. What do you profit from this?"

He tilts his head. "More importantly, why tell us?"
Kamon Lionward Kamon takes the condition of the food as indicative of how necessary it is for Garland to eat. He eats it, though, make no mistake. Sustenance is sustenance, and Kamon doesn't want to have to fight his way out of here on an empty stomach.

Garland philosophizes. Kamon understands. He's heard things like this before, though his father was ambivalent on it being part of his education. Learning to think is as important as learning to fight, his great grandfather would say. He doesn't often hear it from this perspective, though. He holds the mug of slightly-sinister cocoa with both hands. One is still gauntleted in red and gold, a sharp contrast to the dark tones of the chamber.

He casts a quick, wordless glance at Soan, and then at Garland. He's a little more tense, now. That hatred, and rage... He holds a question on the tip of his tongue, waiting for the explanation he's sure is coming.
Garland "You will do what I need you to do through the course of your own actions. I have no need to ask or demand anything of you. Demanding things of you would tell you when you were helping me...which may lead you to attempt to second-guess me, or interfere in some way, shape, or form. No, it is much easier to simply provide you with aid, then leave you to your own devices. My problems will be sorted out in time. And I am a patient man." Indeed, the way Garland says it it is practically an inevitability.

Garland slowly drums his iron claw against the stone. It tap-tap-tap-tap-taps, slowly, ringing out through the chamber. It is a tactic, and a calculated one - meant to move in time with their hearts and steadily speed up. "I tell you this because it is much easier for you to trust that I have an agenda. You would not accept mysterious, shadowy aid from a dark and terrible ironclad mystery in an ancient Tower as simple beneficence. You would be stupid to do so. I do not believe either of you are stupid. You are, after all, still sitting there, instead of demanding I accede to your petty ideals of honor or justice through force." Garland tilts his head downwards.

"That alone implies that you are smarter than many who have made it to this room uninvited."

He shifts again, the tapping abruptly cutting itself off as the iron gauntlet rests against his head. "It is not, after all, as if you can say no to the aid I can provide."

"You could, perhaps, I suppose. You may mistrust my gifts, or believe them tainted, or cursed, or twisted. However, once you have paused to reflect on it, you will realize that it benefits me not at all to seed you with such objects, as anything I required dispersed I obviously have the resources to do myself. And the power, training, and equipment I can offer you more than likely far outstrips anything you have access of contract or obligation."

Garland pauses, as though pursing nonexistant lips. "Heroes are always unpleasant about contracts and obligations. They believe that anything good must come with strings. Tiresome."
Soan Sagittarius Soan listens to theses words, keeping his features as stoic as he possibly can considering the circumstances. It is not often he gets to talk with a being like this -- usually, it starts by attacking them with his spear -- but he does know this kind of discussion. Coming up with perfectly resonable bits of helps, no, no, it's nothing, all I'll require evantually is something that'll happen anyway and that you'll be sure to make happen, it's inevitable, so just make things easy on us all.

Perhaps there's some truth in what he says, that it's free of taint, corruption or similar foul adjectives. Still, there is other ways to 'taint' other than sheer Chaos influence. There's far more mundane ways to go at it... like influencing you to think in a certain way to feel something is inevitable.

You have to weight your words when you talk with powerful manipulators. Lies are not only falsehoods. Sometime, they can have truths, in them. He has no reason to fully take to the word he gives, either.

"Contracts tend to have unforseen consequences." Soan replies, forcing a small smile from the corner of his face, even sly. "Unless precisely worded. I presume you were the source of the energy surge we've all had during the fight against the Dragon."

Soan takes a small breath, thinking this. No, of course not, they cannot accept. Which brings to another question. "Beyond looking like fools to you, what if we refuse?"
Kamon Lionward If they were going to be corrupted, Kamon thinks, all it would take was being stuck in this tower for much longer. Fortunately, they won't be staying much longer.



Kamon puts the sinister cocoa down. He feels like it is somehow lessening the impact of the conversation, sitting there and sipping cocoa in the presence of the clear force of evil in the room. He folds his hands on his lap, looking Garland in the helm but not the 'eye.' That would be a bad move all around.

"It wouldn't be very smart for us to fight something outside of our league with just the two of us," Kamon admits. /Forcing/ him to bow to their own ideals of honor and justice? Yeah, okay. He's thoughtful for a moment. That power was... certainly something.

"So... Do you know anything about that dragon, and what it wanted?" Kamon asks.
Garland "You are free to refuse. You will be ejected from my Tower into the Sandsea, and your survival will be upon your own heads and nothing else. I have no particular cause nor reason to slaughter you beyond my own amusement, and as it stands, I do not believe you would be particularly amusing to kill." Garland stares forward. "You would be giving up valuable resources, but otherwise..."

Garland shrugs. It is inaudible.

"It is called Shinryuu. It destroys all in its path because that is what Shinryuu does. It is as natural to Shinryuu to destroy as it is to breathe. It knows no other state of being."
Soan Sagittarius Soan can think of worse things than being thrown out of this tower into the Sandsea. It is a little worrying, of course, if only a little vaguely. He can survive it fine. He's not worried for Kamon either -- Odin is far worse, he'd wager. The name get mentally jolted down. Shinryuu is not a name he's familiar with, but the concept of a Chaos god manifesting in the shape of a all-devouring, destroying dragon is not unfamiliar to him.

The Thief thinks on this, furrowing his brows as he takes another bite out of the sandwich, losts in his thoughts.

After a few moments, he looks up. "Grandmaster used to tell us a story during training." He begins, giving a look around the 'throne' room, before resettling on Garland, as stoic as before. "Of a poor farmer that was the owner of an orchard. He lived the best he could, struggling to survive, thrive admist many other poor farmers around him. Then he started to hear rumors of other farmers, away from him, losing their land to two much richer farmers, merchants. He did not think much of it at first. Then things became hard. Prices went up, he could no longer sell as well as he could before. He started to take things into action."

Soan drums his fingers on his mug. "Until a man came to him, friendly, open with him. He was one of the large rich Orchard owners that he has heard about, offering him seed that were magical, that would produce the best apples that could be grown on trees, enough to gain a pretty coin, along with the promise that he would not stand against him -- and that this was all free, with no string attached.

The poor farmer eagerly agreed to theses terms and, indeed, to the man's word, his new trees grew wonderous golden apples. For a time, they were even more wonderful than the rich's man. However, as time passed, he noticed more and more of other poor farmers, like he was were not faring as well as he was. One by one, they went out of buisness, their families ran out of their homes... until he was the only one left. The benefit of the magical apples were quickly gone as he could not stand between the two giants until he, too, lost his land. The advantage he bought the rich man allowed him to win over the other one, leaving with everything, uncontested, to do as he well wickedly pleases."

Soan stops again, standing up. "I'm afraid I have to refuse, Garland."
Garland "So I expected," Garland replies. He shifts his gaze towards Kamon. "And you? Do you agree with him?"
Kamon Lionward "Would you tell me something first?" Kamon asks, hands still folded, the picture of politeness -- insofar as he can be, anyway. He resembles a soldier somewhere near attention more than a guest in someone's house.

"You're Chaos-spawn, aren't you?" he observes. "Or something like it. You don't move like a person, you don't breathe. I don't think you eat, either, if I had to guess."
Garland "I am not Chaos-spawn," Garland replies calmly, and honestly. "I was never spawned, like some foul creature from a pool, slurping its way through the mud. I am Garland. The darkness you feel in this room, in this tower, is mine. It was not granted to me by a higher power. I do not worship any gods."

"I slay gods, when they cross me. I enslave gods, when it suits my purpose. I conquer gods, when it is necessary. I am Garland, and I am no Spawn."
Kamon Lionward Kamon nods thoughtfully. He understands.

"Where I'm from," Kamon says carefully, "we destroy things like you as a matter of daily life. It's the only way to keep the plates, and the people on them, safe. If there are useful artifacts left behind when they're gone, or if the steel of their bones can be turned to something positive, then... that's the most good that will come of it."

"So... no. I don't think any good will come of this, strings or no." He rises from his seat. "Thank you for the hospitality all the same."
Soan Sagittarius Soan looks at Kamon. His training as a Dragoon is screaming at him, the dragon inside wishing to unleash his smiting on this insolent Chaos. However, he believes Garland when he describles himself not as a spawn, but as a greater part of Chaos itself. If it is true... then he cannot fight it alone. It would be suicide right now. This is no 'Chaos Spawn', if anything, this is something that /spawns/ the Chaos. Or so it claims.

He smiles, perhaps for the first real time since they are here, at his friends. He nods again.

"Indeed, thanks you for the hospitality and the sandwiches, as well as your healing, but I belive we've both taken our decision."
Garland A bit of rage spills forth into Garland's voice. "You have never destroyed something like me, child. You have destroyed pale imprints upon the fabric of the Universe. You have destroyed impressions left by the passing of things far greater than you can imagine, aftereffects and shockwaves that crawled forth from primordial darkness and left in their passing some taint, some slime, some ill-tempered ooze to blight your earth and poison your soul. No, Hero. You have never faced something like me. To believe you have is to delude yourself, for there is only one Garland, and only one thing like Garland in all the worlds."

Garland stands. His armor has knit itself back together completely, and gleams with a terrible menace. His pinprick eyes sweep over them both, cold and dark and terrible. "You are well within your rights to refuse. I will not stop you. Oppose me as you will. But know that, though my offer has no contracts nor wrath has no equal in all the worlds, and should you choose to stand against me, it will be to the peril of you and all those of your line, from your eldest ancestor to your final descendent. Remember this, if you remember nothing else."

Garland waves his hand, and the chairs vanish. The floor below Soan and Kamon turns into a circle. "Remember that, if nothing else. Garland's wrath cannot be stayed."

And then the circle rapidly descends, like it's dropping. Soan and Kamon would feel the lurch for an instant, but the ride is otherwise smooth, and Garland is as good as his word - they are deposited outside the bottom floor of the Tower of Mirage.

Should they look up, they may experience intense vertigo.
Kamon Lionward Garland's rage spills forth in a small amount. Kamon's lips press into a thin line. He mouths, 'never destroyed something like me' as if incredulous.

The floor changes. Kamon glances down, and then back up. He looks at Garland for just a second, a fleeting instant at the holes in his helm where there should be eyes. He whispers something, a one word response to the claim, to the apparently immutable fact that Garland's wrath cannot be stayed.


They end up outside a moment later. Kamon doesn't look up. He straightens his coat, nods at Soan, and starts walking out across the desert.

He'll call a ride once they're at a safe distance. There was no such guarantee for his friends.
Soan Sagittarius This takes a lot out of Soan to not jump at Garland this very moment. This sense of sheer rage, minutes of being stuck in this place stinking to all heck of Chaos, a stench he's never felt before, is gripping at the young Dragoon's senses, urging him to strike foward, to shove that creature's mouth and where it belongs.

Soan bites his lips inside of his mouth, the rage spilling to him as well. Threats like this will not be forgotten. The Thief does not add anything, for speaking right now would only result in the Dragoon inside of him to hurl righteous litany. He's intensely focused on that fact.

Once outside, Soan spits to the ground a glob of blood, lifting a sleeve to his mouth and wipe off his slightly bloodied lips from his careless, self-inflicted wound.

He glances around, nodding at Kamon in return, following him out toward the desert.

This scene contained 28 poses. The players who were present were: Garland, Kamon Lionward, Soan Sagittarius