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Haunted Hearts
(2013-01-15 - 2013-01-22)
No description.
Katyna Traverse Town Church. This little inconspicuous building has been in Traverse for a long time, although not many people knew when it originated or even what religion was worshipped here. Indeed, it seemed that many different people from all walks of faith and life came here to pray, seeking peace of mind, comfort or safety from the many dangers of the heartless infested world.

However, not even the church was safe these days..

The rumours had started slowly, a disappearance here, a missing person there. Sounds of screaming, bizarre sightings..And then the first death. The priest of the church, father Isaac was horrified as many of his congregation started to drop. There was SOMETHING here, be it ghost, heartless or demon, and it was preying on the increasing number of mourners who came to respect their dead in the columbarium deep underneath the church.

VALKYRI had been contacted to investigate, as the closest group in the vicinity. The people had temporarily evacuated the building although the priest had warned that there were still many missing and unaccounted for.

As church folk crowd outside the church, VALKYRI and their allies step into action!

"Alright.." Katyna is first to arrive, having placed the pearl rosary around her neck now that Faruja had returned it to her. She seemed to regard the church with a strange reverence and solemnity as she stepped into the main lobby, unusual for the often casual, sarcastic Kat who didnt really seem to care about anything.. "I guess we'd better investigate these hauntings. How very sad, so much death in this place..."
Avira Something was clearly haunting the church of Traverse Town. Avira had heard all the rumors and frankly felt preying upon the weak was very unacceptable!

It's actually a bit of a surprise to see the crowd gathered outside the church when Avira and the rest of the VALKYRI arrive. "Wow, word's spread really quickly, hasn't it?" She says, noting Katyna's behavior with interest. Avira's come to expect the sort of cocky and irreverant attitude that Kat has-seeing her behave otherwise was very interesting. Perhaps she's been really religious all this time.

"Tell me about it. How awful for churchgoers of all people to be picked on." Avira shakes her head sadly. "Well. We'll get to the bottom of this."
Aerith Ghosts. Spirits. Restless spectres from the beyond.

Strange as it may have been, Aerith was drawn to this place more often than not these days, and maybe this was the reason why. The very air around this place was tense, and that was without the rumors going on about disappearances. She wouldn't call them deaths until she confirmed it herself, but as far as restless spirits, the flower girl was uniquely qualified to investigate. And so it was that she followed Katyna inside, no real response from her as she made her best attempt to discern the nature of these hauntings.
Hati While Hati might not be a member of VALKYRI, she had come to traverse town originally with the intent of asking if any of their number had seen her brother. Upon arrival, well... other things seemed to take precident. Namely, she'd caught up with Katyna just as the girl was leaving. It seemed like a bad time to go asking her own questions when there were more pressing matters. Skoll is an Unlimited, afterall. He couldn't be killed, right? At least, that's what the wolf tells herself so to dissuade herself from worry.

So, Hati follows along in the wake of the others, probably trailing a few feet from Katyna as th eknight works her way towards the church. The wolf still has a nice dark bruise from her run in with Reize, which stands out against her otherwise pale skin. When Avira arrives, though, it seems to remind her that she has something else for the mostly female group of adventurers. "Avira." Hati raises her voice, trying to get the former-mutate's attention. Hopefully the VALKYRI leader has good reflexes, because a certain dark crystal is being tossed in her direction.

"I had my people check it out. It's safe enough." Gasp. The wolf is returning loot? It can't be. That said, Hati turns her attention back to the air around them, sniffing at it. "This is going to smell terrible, isn't it?" The last time she'd gone along on a romp with this group, she'd ended up nearly losing her lunch, then her life. "Can't you pick some places that smell /nice/ to investigate?" She's giving Katyna a look, but then rubs her nose.

"So what are the stories?" She asks, looking up and down the walls.
Faervel Tathren
People were gathering outside the church in Traverse Town and there had been reports of very strange things taking place at this church as well. Though Uthar, Faervel's dragon advised going into such a place, Faervel however had other things in mind.

If people were indeed dieing there, if there was indeed a haunting going on. It needed to be looked into. Though he was warned that he go alone, but Uthar would wait for him to come back out.. in hopefully not a bad condition.

Not like the dragon wouldn't know about it anyhow, thanks to the very mystics that bonded them together.

So the elf, not looking like much, moves toward the church. He was a lanky looking guy. More of agility then of strength by glance. He did have a spear that was holstered over his backside and a few pouches on the side of his belt. Most interesting thing about this elf was also the fact he had some very interesting gauntlets, that if anyone was sensitive to magic may pick up.

"Your investigating?" A voice spoke up right outside the doors of the Church as Katyna said her part, "I-- would like to help if I may." The young adult elf said with a mild meek smile on his face. "I've heard of things happening here and I'll be glad to be of service for the people."
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart had been in Traverse for business, so when Aerith told her about some kind of ghost hunting, she didn't have much of a reason to not join in with her friend. She has a folder of pictures under her arm, probably from said business, as she walks up toward the church, hmming.

"I know you're all about ghosts and spirits Aerith, but I'm not sure this is my place." She's never been much religious, her hometown didn't even have a church, and the only 'divinity' people seemed to praise was Shinra.

She has a bit of tensing as she thinks about that too.

She waves to the others present. She knows a few of them after all. She's met most of them at the bar as well.
Maira Maira is well known to speak to spirits. At least to those that believe her. Many assume she is simply insane. Not that she isn't a little wacky, but her gift for seeing the spirits of the dead is /not/ a symptom. Those who know her well have perhaps even seen Uist, or at least the effects his presence has. The two are a team, sharing a truly unique bond that defies any explanation thus far.

Of course, Maira has come with Valkyrie. Katyna had mentioned this as of particular interest to Maira, as she is likely to be able to get down to the business of finding out what happened here. Her eyes are wide as she looks around the crowd, but she smiles to all the faces she recognizes, and greets more than a few of them. Maira has lived in Traverse for more than a year, she knows people and they know her, even if most think she's a little...odd.

Maira moves her way to the front with Avira, Katyna and the others, looking to her side to speak to Uist. "Are you ready for this? Yes...mmhmm. Got it," she says to him, then takes her place and looks over the crowd.

There are more faces she recognizes--Aerith! Maira grins and waves happily. "Hey Aerith! Great, you are here too! Excellent," she says, then greets the others. "Hello! Who's this, Avira?" she asks, looking to Hati.
Gesandte Well, moving towards the church and obviously people gathered there is the Giant Man, trudging slowly but surely to the church. Having heard of things not being right there he has shown up to assist the dead and those seeking peace and rest to be able to enjoy that rest.

But being a church, he raises a hand to his large book and mutters quietly to himself offering prayers for those that are gone, and those that are now suffering under the problems that currently have arisen. Keeping his eyes opened for anything that would disturb anymore and prevent him from keeping his duties.
Faruja Senra If there's a way to earn the Church's ire, it's by defiling the halls of the hallowed dead. The arrival of Faruja, to any who would know him here, would likely not be a surprise at all. What /may/ be a surprise is that fact he's brought friends.

A small gaggle of Church warriors, mostly lower-ranking ones given the lack of gold in their armor, flank the scarred ratling and an older, red-robed human woman.

"...are to capture the Witch alive, and bring them to me for questioning. Don't risk lives, however, these ones show promise. And for the love of the Saint, Faruja, try to keep yourself in one piece this time. Clear?" Comes the woman's voice, vaguel filtering through the crowd. They stop on the outside of the Church.

"Crystal, Lady Inquisitor. If I may..." Faruja responds to the woman. She nods. Raising his voice, he glances to the would-be Church-goers.

"Ahem! Lord's blessings upon you all. I must ask you all to depart, for your own safety. Move along, please. Thank you, thank you! Worry not, the Office of Holy Inquisition shall see this matter brought to light! In Ajora's name, amen!"

Motioning to the Squires, they'll spread out and try to get everyone in the general direction of /not/ near the murder-filled Church. Gently at first, they'll break out staves if there's too much resistance.

Blink. Faruja's red eye catches a bevy of familiar faces! Katyna, and her rather reverant look upon her face catches the rat by surprise. Avira has him grinning with pleasure, and most of all, relief! Assaulting a Judge is serious business. Maira, of course, has him all smiles as well. Indeed, while the ratling thinks the world of the woman, he's convinced she's missing a few screws. In a good way.

"Lady Inquisitor, if I may suggest a change in plans. If I am not mistaken, I do believe I recognize several of these fine people. Here to investigate as well. Mayhap we use this to our advantage?"

The Inquisitor smiles. "Friends, Faruja? Go with my blessings, Child, if you trust them. Squires! Ensure none enter, and none but Ser Senra and his companions leave, hmm?" Several salutes, and 'Lady Inquisitors' are given in acknowledgement. Stopping as he works his way through the crowd, that now is slowly being dispersed, Faruja makes his way up to the group; pausing only to kneel before the church and cross his chest in a quiet prayer.

The group of investigators get a bow. "My, my, my what an auspicious gathering of individuals! Lord bless you all, my friends! Mayhap you all have come to investigate this Church's troubles? Care for one more?" Each and every one of them get a smile, and nod. Faervel and Ges too, even if he doesn't know them.

Hati, however, finally catches his attention. Slowly, he stares at the wolf-woman. Curiously, his face pinkens slightly. "...Lady Hati. Good eve. I...had not expected to see you here. Lord bless." Color him surprised!
Minerva Minerva was curious about what had happened here she'd heard tell of a ghsot really and had come to to see just what was going on. There could be something foul here with the death. Something was not right and on some level she had some possible suspects in mind but it's likely not as such. Still here the monk is her abilities would at least be usful she nods once to Katyna for a moment as she gives them the heads up.

"It happens, death's an ulgy thing but part of existing. Still there's been far too much unatural death from the cretures that devourred my world and so many others."
Palom Palom has no particular association with the Church. However, he has started to explore traverse town. When he hears of someplace that's haunted... well, that's _strange_, but this whole _place_ is strange, so he doesn't pay it particular mind.

When he hears that people have been _disappearing_, however, the Genius of Mysidia decides that it is his duty to do some ghostbusting and rescue those people. The young mage _may_ have summoned up a little magic energy to make his cape billow behind hiom dramatically as he approaches... until he sees all the people here, even a couple he recognizes. "Maira! Mouse guy!" he hurries over to them. "You're here to blow up some ghosts too?"
Katyna Katyna sighs, clutching her precious rosary and genuflects before the altar. "Of course. A lot of people love this little old church. It's a source of hope and salvation for many people. But such peaceful and gentle people are not very war-loving folk. Since it's VALKYRI's city too, a lot of people are hopeful to see you here Avira. You're their hope..No..WE are their hope, so let's not let 'em down, hey? What a strange thing to say, given her secretive stance on hope. But that's another story.."

She glances over her shoulder at Minerva and Avira, tossing them that usual cocky grin of hers, although her eyes still seem slightly sad. "Even so, let's not forget that the many souls of the departed rest here. If there are ghosts here, then I'm certain that at least some of them are benevolent."

She pauses a moment as she spies the familiar form of Hati, and grins at her. "Hey you, having fun without me?" The wolfgirl is tossed an impish wink and nod towards the bruise. She'll have to ask about that later however. "Dont worry, I hear this old church is full of ancient treasure, lost within the catacombs underneath. People usually only use a small part of the basement to visit the dead in the columbarium, but there are numerous other rooms that contain all sorts of mysteries..And treasure.." Naturally her eyes gleam at that word but she says no more.

Then Maira arrives and she nods and smiles at her. "Hey..I wonder.." But no, now's not the time to bring up her own personal requests for the ghost whisperer. "Oh.." She draws a breath, glancing towards Hati. "This is Hati, a good friend of mine. Hati, this is Maira, another VALKYRI member. She can see ghosts."

A few other people come, some familiar faces like Faru whom she smiles and nods at, others less familiar like Aerith, Tifa, Palom, Gesandte and Faervel. It is the elf who catches her attention the longest, as she is somehow reminded of Fiell when looking at him.

"Sure, the more the merrier. Just be prepared.." And with that dubious message, she strides towards the back of the church, pausing at the 'out of service' sign the leads towards the elevator. "Well darn, guess we'll have to take the long route around. It's down here!" And she heads for the staircase that leads to the very basement of the church.

Outside, at the request of the assorted inquisitors and Templar knights of Glabados, the crowds part, watching in awed reverance. Honestly, this small church had no such grand guard, but the priest is already formulating ideas in his mind..
Avira With no method of her own for reall conversing with spirits, Avira's presence here is mostly for the sake of muscle. Who knows what interdimensional horror was responsible for these disappearances? If there was something in need of slaying, Avira was here to take the case.

Though Hati might not be a member of VALKYRI, Avira had noticed the wolf's presence at a number of their "missions" as of late. She hasn't noticed how much that seemed to overlap with Katyna being around quite yet. Nonetheless, she's pleasantly surprised to see Hati already here, waiting with Kat. "Hello again." Avira greets when Hati addresses her by name.

Hati tosses something at her and Avira catches it in one hand. Frowning, she opens her clenched fist to find a dark crystal sitting within it. "This...OH. From that giant monkey Heartless." The huntress seems...shocked, actually, and gives Hati a thoughtful look. Interseting. She'll have to talk to Hati about this a little later. "This is Hati, Maira. She's been around to help with a mission or two recently."

An elf joins them. Avira shrugs, "I have no problem with you coming to help us." He has a dragon so Avira figures he's probably useful.

Looking beyond Faervel, she notices the distinctly-garbed group of Church-affiliated warriors approaching, easily able to recognize the likes of Faruja amongst them. Avira's smile widens, "Ahh, I should have guessed he would be investigating this. Ser Faruja! Nice to see you!" Faruja's presence immediately puts faith in her...because she knows he kicks righteous amounts of ass.

Upon following Katyna in, she's struck, again, by her words. Her pride immediately swells a little when Katyna insists that those gathered outside are uplifted by the fact VALKYRI is looking into this issue. "Oh, I'm certain we won't let them down. Not with all uf us here."

A nod follows and Avira looks over to Maira. With Uist's help, Avira's certain they would make some contact with the departed.
Aerith Aerith gives Maira a smile and a wave to Tifa, but does nothing more than that as she turns to face this girl she'd never met before. Naturally, she wouldn't ask anything until this was over, but... for now she'd follow her lead, all the while opening her senses to full bore, spreading her presence out to the four walls, and eventually the stairwell. Basically, she's practically a beacon to whatever might speak to her... or at least, she hopes so.
Maira There are new faces, quite a few of them. More really, than she can keep track of at the moment! Still, she looks toward the elf man as he asks if he might help investigate as well. She smiles lightly to him and waves. "Hello, I don't see why not...have to be careful, it's going to be dangerous!" she says, as if she looks like someone who should be wandering into deadly situations...pssht.

Upon hearing her name, she turns to greet Palom, her smile wide as she extends a hand toward him for a high-five. "Hey there Palom! Glad to see you!" seriously, this kid is one tiny cannon of destruction--they're two of a kind!

Then Faruja, come with an escort of church-folk. Now, Maira doesn't really know much about religion. It isn't her thing. She doesn't really care either way--but people disappearing, /that/ she cares about, and of course she believes in the spirits of the dead. Her best friend (er...unliving best friend!) is one of them. "Faruuuujaaa!" she calls, waving and smiling brightly toward him. She's always happy to see Faruja.

No time to chat now though! Maira looks back to Katyna, smiling to Hati, "Nice to meet you, Hati! Well, that's great, you should totally join VALKYRI! We're going to need a bigger building pretty soon--Oh--looks like we should head in--juuust a moment I need to go talk to Aerith," she says, and the ADD fire mage seer of ghosts wanders over to Aerith.

"Big group, huh? Really glad you are here Aerith, so I won't be the only one talking to people no one else can see," she says with a warm smile.

Then, she is ready to go in. She follows Katyna down to the basement, sticking close and keeping her senses open. Despite being a ghost, Uist is noticeably uncomfortable here, his mouth sit in a thin line as he follows, keeping a cool, ghostly hand on Maira's shoulder.
Hati While the wolf might listen to Katyna's words about hope and all the people depending on them, Hati is one of those who might have a better idea of the girl's true feelings. Never-the-less, Hati doesn't say a word in regards to it. Many of those who are gathered here know that the wolf has those ties to darkness, but many also know that lately... she hasn't been acting much like a Shadow Lord. "Fun? I suppose you could call it that."

Speaking of fun, one furry ear twitches at the sound of someone speaking in the formalities of the Church. Not this church, but the voice of a particular temple knight is all too familiar to the wolf-girl. Since he's still speaking with the inquisitor though, so her attention is more focused on those around her. There are more than a few she recognises, but some that she does not. Luckily, most of those who are here have seen the better side of her, rather than the part that comes with fangs and claws. She can't help but tilt her head at the presence of a ... child, but she's learned not to judge people on appearances alone.

While Maira might not recognise Hati, the wolf certainly remembers a certain cold-bearing fire-flinger. "You seem like you're feeling better." She offers, chuckling to herself. "I was afraid one wrong sneeze and you'd light my tail on fire, last time." She inclines her head, with the others taking care of the introductions neatly enough. "A connection to the spirits should be useful."

When the Burmecian finally joins them, the wolf watches him with a long, intense sort of gaze. "Someone had told me about protecting things I care about." A flick of her eyes takes in both Katyna and Avira, but that might just be a matter of happenstance that her gaze fell on them in particular. "Come with us. I'd like to see how you fight." Oh, there's definitely something in the wolf's voice, and the faintest of grins as she falls into step not far from the church mouse.
Palom Given Palom's height it's more of a low-five. "There are a lot of people here... We all had the same idea, huh?" He starts looking around at the others, curious.
Gesandte The Giant just watches them all, noting a few here and there that seem to have some power in to them, not worried they have all noticed him afterall it's not hard to be noticed when you dwarf everyone around you but that's besides the point. He listens to conversations, trying to gather as much information as he can about what anyone has to say about this place, having no idea of anything other then bad stuffs going on and well it's a church of some peoples belief system.

He eyes all of the fancy religious warriors, pondering if they can fight as well as they appear to be dressed, he shall have to see for himself then soon enough if things go bad. He shall follow the group, when they go, and provide the rear wall incase any spooky things try and sneak up on them.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart points to Aerith "Well if you need connection with the spirits, we got the best voice-hearer you can find, at least I believe." She pokes Aerith with her elbow as she walks more closely to the group "Hey Faruja, should have known you'd be close by anything related to a church." She giggles a bit, playfully, looking for a place where she can leave the picture folder she's holding. She doesn't think it'd survive intact now...
Faervel Tathren
Faervel gives a nod, though he does raise a brow when he is given a long stare by the one he asked if he may join them. He should get use to such looks, but he still doesn't. After all, with Elfhiem gone now...

Faervel snaps his attention back to the task and gives a nod of his head, his bangs moving slightly with the nod. "Right." He then goes to join the others and smiles to Maira as she addresses him. "I am sure whatever may be causing the problem will be quickly removed from here. A Church is, after all, no place for fowl deeds."

He does glance as he notices others coming but hrms softly, before he wonders if he should have brought his cape and hood. Though he didn't so no hiding any features now.

He walks over to where the steps are and looks down in the direction they will soon have to trouble. Though he gets a random dead-pan look on his face as a voice enters his mind.

oO"Sir, you seem to have the gathering. I do expect your will be indeed alright so long as you do not trip over your own feet!"Oo

Faervel then sighs softly, before he glances once more at the odd group. Noting a talking wolf, a giant, a rat-man; He believed he has heard of their race before...

Faervel then glances over to Kat and Maira once more, "Forgive my rudeness as well." He then does a mild bow, "My name is Faervel."
Faruja Senra "Nay, the pleasure is entirely mine, Lady Avira, to see you in good health." His voice drops, practically whispering to her.

"I am glad naught has befallen you." The rat's gotten a grey fur or two thanks to you, Miss Adventuress!

Upon being waved at by Maira, the Templar gives a bow and a wink. He'd hug the woman, but they're in polite company. "Ahh, but it warms my heart to see you, Lady Maira! Your friendship and skills both shall be most welcome." Once more, his voice drops, head shaking. "Much better than a pack of barely-trained Squires." Sigh. So hard to get good help. As her passes by Maira to get closer to Katyna, who's looking to be the leader here, the Fire Lady gets a friendly ruffle of the hair by his tail. Uist, as usual, doesn't seem to exist to the rat.

Ahh, Palom. Faruja /grins/. "My, my, my Young Master! It has been quite some time, you look in good health and spirits. Lord bless you young Ser." One ear tilts, and he scratches his head awkwardly. "...While I would not quite put it in those terms, yes, I am here to assist with driving out what evil plagues this holy place. Knowing how my luck usually runs, though, you may be closer to the mark than either of us may like. Ahh, do be careful, hmm? These catacombs can be dank, yet are occasionally flammable if one misdirects their flames. Ice and Lightning, or Holy magics would serve us better." He advises the young man. Faruja doesn't give the same to Maira, more than trusting her accuracy and skill with fire. The young mage, while powerful, tends to go a bit overboard at times in his experience.

"Excellent, 'tis settled then Lady Katyna! My blade is at your service." Following along behind, he perks an ear towards a certain barmaiden. Ahem.

"Squire Pendelton! Take the Lady's folder please, thank you." Tifa will be greeted by a Squire, who will hold onto her folder if she wishes!

A hand goes to his chest. "Ahh, but am I so predictable, Lady Lockhart?" he says in a mock-wounded voice, smiling warmly. "I hear you are opening a Tavern here as well. When we emerge victorious by the grace of the Lord, the rounds shall be on me." Or on the Inquisitor, as the case may be.

To the giant of a man, Minerva, and his fellow dragon-knight, they're all offered bows. "Well met, Sers and Dame. Temple Knight Faruja Senra, of the Holy Church of Saint Ajora Glabados. Your bravery in coming here is commendable, and speaks volumes of your piety. Be careful, Sers. Enough death abounds, hmm?" A nod of respect to the pair.

Ahh, Hati. Slowly, the rat smiles. "Mmm. Have they now? Then I shall bear witness to thy guardianship, M'Lady...nay, Dame Hati." His own eye turns to the pair of Kat and Avira. Good job, Ladies.

"Well then! Hardly shall I turn down such an opportunity. I must admit your own is rather intriguing. Let us not dissappoint one another. Lord guide us to victory." He lets her walk in step with him, the Burmecian already letting light filter off of his spear to help visibility in the catacombs.
Katyna "Hey guys, thanks for helping us out! My name is Katyna, by the way. Nice t'meet y'all!" Kat responds cheerfully to the newcomers, pausing a moment to glance at the little boy, and at the giant with equal curiosity. "Wow, we sure do get some..Unique heroes in Traverse Town, dont we?"

Katyna looks away then, falling into silence as she murmurs something into her communicator before glancing back at Hati and smiling, although it seems a confused smile that rests upon Hati for the briefest of moments. Yes, it would be 'fun' to recruit her into VALKYRIE, but where would that leave Kat? Even now, she is uncertain of her own destiny, her own future. There had been tiny cracks in her stubborn resolve. She..Was starting to regret her actions, starting to question the Shadow Lords. But again, that was a story for another day..

Focus, Kat!

"Ooh.." She nearly trips on a rocky step as she continues to descend, falling into an unusual quietness, unusual for Kat that is. The stairs seem to go on forever, winding down, down, down..Soon, the artificial lighting does not shine here anymore, and only sparsely spaced sconces full of torches add light the way with flickering flames that dance and jump on the walls and ceilings, casting eerie shadows.

A few old creaks and groans can be heard, which can be attributed to the crumbling stone staircase, the ancient building that seems to be in a bit of disrepair..Or something else. Something more..Sinister. Furthermore, the air is growing ever colder the further down they go. That shouldn't be too surprising as they're descending into the basement, but it's growing unbelievably cold, moreso than is 'natural'.

When they reach the bottom step, it is almost pitch black down here, with only a torch along the wall for every hundred meters or so. Kat pauses at the bottom, peering into the darkness, waiting for the others to join. From the little light down here, they seem to be in some sort of maze. Black stone corridors branch out in every direction, many leading into darkness, or dead ends, or who knows what else. It seems the stairs are rarely used when the elevator is out of service, a very recent thing in itself that is most likely attributed to the sudden deaths..

"O-oh, w-w-which way d-do we g-go?" Her teeth chatter as she peers around. Kat really hates the cold, and darnit, it's getting so cold that ice surprisingly starts to form on the walls, pockets of freezing air forming in front of everyone when they breathe. How odd, that ice wasn't there a moment ago..
Minerva Minerva has notices hati has been about quite a bit really she bobs her head a little bit. " She seems to be trying to sense for the darknes she touches it with her martial arts style but she's never dug too deep into it. She however can sense it's presence and that's what she's looking for, Heartless smell of it quite strongly after all. She keeps her head about her as she looks about grimacing or a moment. "Splitting up would be very unwise in a situation like this ma'lady."
Aerith Aerith, having come down here just behind Kat, was only half as cold, having brought a jacket. And really... it shouldn't be this cold down here, especially with the torches. Something is already out of place, and she didn't even have to-

She stops in her tracks. Something was there... just in front of her. And it was asking for her help. Those behind her might want to watch out. The Voice buzzed in her head, only this time it was clear, defined, and female. The spectre before her, no one else could probably see, save for one.

"We're not alone down here." Her voice echoed along the walls, meaning that everyone could hear it. She took in a breath. Might as well try. "Can you tell me what happened here?"
Maira Maira nods her head to Faervel, extending her hand to shake. "I'm Maira, this is Uist--er, well--nevermind that. I need to concentrate," she says, then looks away, keeping her eyes out ahead of her.

It is time to get serious. The atmosphere is rapidly changing as they sink down in the crypts. The hairs on the back of her neck stand on end, giving her a shiver as she moves forward, knowing there is something ahead.

Then, there before them is a beautiful woman with long dark hair and a flowing dress--a lady from a fairy tale, it looks to Maira. She reaches down and takes Uist's hand, which likely looks rather odd to those who cannot see him.

"We are here to help you...what can we do? What happened to the children?" Maira asks the ghostly woman, walking slowly toward her with Uist at her side.

Maira never shivers, even in close contact with a ghost she radiates heat.
Palom The girl with the big sword takes the lead, and Palom follows along with the rest, subconsciously keeping close to Maira and Faruja. "Do these stairs ever stop? Aren't we there yet?" Palom protests after they've gone down, down, down and there are yet more. When the artificial light mostly stops, Palom conjures a flame in his hand to project light. "It's cold down here!" the boy complains, before the fire flares up a little to warm him.

At the question of where to go next, Palom gives the obvious answer: "Which way did the people who disappeared go? We need to find them!" "...Children?" he looks between Maira and Kat curiously.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart wraps her arms around herself to keep some warmth... Well, this is VERY cold. Is that because of the spirits? It doesn't seem like there's much snow or ice in traverse, so it has to be something magic related. She brrs, shivering a bit. Maira's fire wouldn't be refused right now, she thinks.

"Why is it always a maze? Couldn't it be a nice, simple straight path to the goal?" ~_~
Hati The prospect of being outright asked to join VALKYRI has Hati canting her head to the side, but honestly, she doesn't take the firey woman all that seriously at the moment. "We'll see." Is about as much commitment as one can expect from someone who still spends much of her time around Hollow Bastian and probably couldn't be considered a hero even at a stretch. Her eyes meet Katyna's in that brief moment afterwards. Without saying a word, it's easy to read her expression: She's here to watch the Ember Knight's back. The rest can wait.

She does share a similar look towards Avira, one that tells clearly enough that there is more to talk about than just the crystal she's returning. Clearly there is a reason she came to see them today, but right now it takes a back seat to this investigation.

Her tail sways slightly back and forth, taking in the names of the others. More than likely, she'll forget most of them - not because she doesn't care, but simply that there are far too many new faces here to sort out in one meeting. With a movement that implies boredom, Hati takes out one of her daggers, flipping it around and catching it by the handle. Alas for Minerva, that Darkness radar she seems to be using probably lights up like the evil version of Christmas. The wolf-girl practically drips iwth the stuff, although sometimes that alone isn't enough to prove a person for good or evil.

As they decend, the wolf's breath begins to hang in the air, and even with her coat, there is still the feeling of gooseflesh beneath. "This... isn't natural c-cold." It catches in her own voice, and she growls slightly, rubbing at her arms. The cold reminds her far too much of that night, lying on the snow... No. She pulls her mind back, refusing to return to /that/ memory. "I've heard spirits can pull warmth from around them." Her ears twitch, trying to keep track of what is being said by the two seers.

At the same time, her nose twitches, sniffing in the directions that the maze seems to go. No doubt it will smell foul down here, but not much can be worse than the sewers. "It's a little disconcerting to see people talking to nothing." Her tail tucks, the feeling of this place making the wolf in her feel uneasy. Animals do tend to respond to hauntings more-so than humans at times. Trying to dissuade her unease, Hati turns a question to Faruja for now, "What's the difference between a Lady and a Dame?"
Faervel Tathren
Faervel gives a nod to Maira, taking her hand for a shake. He would give it a kiss, but no time for such honorable acts; Instead he carefully follows in behind. His steps were cautious and his eyes gazing over all details he could gather. Though the colder it got, the more his eyes started to narrow a bit. The darker it became, the more he started to get a feeling of minor concern.

In such darkness, many things could move around and not be seen. This was no place for such people with no light.

However maira seems to speak with a ghost, which catches Faervel's attention suddenly. "..." he goes to speak, but nothing comes out, mostly cause he quickly forces himself to go silent for a bit. At which he just watches, wondering about asking someone to snag a torch.

He glances over then to Kat, speaking up at last. "That is--- a very good question. We need more light down here however." He then glances toward the torches, before looking to Maira. "..Unless Maira's new friend there can give advice." Was he scared of ghosts? Just a little. Though he wasn't going to show his fear just yet.
Gesandte Giant man, scrunches down to make sure there is plenty of room in the stairs for him to get down to the bottom. Noticing his breath changing, he looks around into the darkness, icy isn't such a good sign. He mutters softly and to no one in particular, "Leave, foul evil. This is no a place for you. Leave those that have passed alone, and stop their suffering." breathing as he talks, holding a hand to the wall and trying to keep focused on the task.
Avira "I'm wondering if I can annex the building next to us, now that you mention it." Avira says to Maira. "See, when I went looking for this place I didn't expect to have there." That is, of course, a reference to the recently moved-in Angantyr. Avira built walls around that guy's bed.

Avira seems to say nothing of recruitment though. Nothing aloud at least.

Faruja murmurs something to her and, recalling the concerned note he sent her, she nods, "Thank you. It was a misunderstanding, you see. It was Garland that attacked me in the marketplace, not an ordinary judge. I've been relieved of my 'crimes' but at the same time, once again, Angantyr has sacrificed himself for me, so to speak." A small sigh of annoyance escapes her.

Avira falls silent after that. If Maira or Aerith were to commune with ghosts, Avira did not want to interrupt. Following down after them, the crystal on her necklace lights up the darkness just slightly. The brightness of it had not changed-it's just more noticable in the catacombs.

"Maira...does Uist see or hear anything? Anything that may point the way?"
Katyna Katyna nods to Minerva. "You're right, we should stick together. I hear the catacombs here are massive, who knows how deep they descend into the ground or how far out they reach?" She sighs, "I guess they're just a small, poor church community. They dont have the money to explore the depths down here with all the potential dangers. I hear they have booby traps too. Alright.."

Kat frowns as she steps closer to the torch for warmth. "We need to find the columbarium, it should be on the other side of the building. I brought a map with me from the church's archives. It should help us a little, although it's a bit faded. Still, according to this, we should head that way!" She points towards the eastern corridor.

She nods to Faervel and grins, drawing her sword, Fireheart, which bursts into brilliant flame, adding much needed light and warmth to the room. "No prob. How's this? Just keep close!" She listens thoughtfully as Avira speaks of Angantyr sacrificing himself for her again, and sighs softly, hands clenched into tight fists. "One of these days, he wont be so lucky.." She murmurs, remembering all the people who sacrificed themselves for her sake..And died for their efforts. "But it must be nice, to have someone willing to protect you at any cost like that. Guess there is some light under all that darkness..." Kat flashes a quick, almost mysterious smile Avira's way but says no more on the subject...She'll ponder it later..

Quit letting your mind wander, Kat!

Gesandte speaks of evil spirits and Hati of ghosts that draw warmth from around them and she frowns. "Huh, I guess it could be..But I hope it's not a malevolent one.." A quick and curious glance at Faruja, "I wonder, did they ever teach you how to deal with malevolent spirits? I guess..My faith was never strong enough, but sometimes I wish it was..."

Then Aerith and Maira start talking about ghosts. Once, Kat might not have listenned to them, might have even laughed..But she had come to respect Maira, although she didn't really know Aerith but..Seeing what Uist was capable of in battle left no doubt in her mind. Perhaps this other girl was the same as Maira?

"What is it? Is there a ghost there?" she glances around but sees nothing. "Can she tell us about the resting place of the departed? The Columbarium? That's where the disturbance is supposedly located."
Faruja Senra Avira's words get a small frown. "...That man is dangerous, Avira. He is a demon." As for Ang? There's no words, only conflicting mixtures of concern and righteous indignity.

"Come now, Young Master, exercise is important for any student of arts martial, magical included. Blasted dragon and her cooking." Grumble! Faruja's had to double his training regimine to keep himself fighting-fit!

Lord in heaven it's cold. Faruja's glad for all the fur, though finds himself wishing he hadn't been quite so up on his trimming. Shiver shiver!

Aerith and Maira both get long glances. Faruja's ear perks as Avira mentions Uist! Slowly, oh-so-slowly, comprehension dawns. Could Maira /not/ be crazy? Observing his friend, and then the Flower Girl, he feels all the colder for not having believed her. He'll have to apologize, and investigate, later.

Perk. Faruja glances to Gesandte. "With all due respect, Ser, I would not rush to judgement. It may well be that these are hallowed spirits seeking the good Ladies' aid. If you've senses, however, may Holy Faram guide you to the root of this place's suffering."

Perk. Faruja sucks it up, and removes his robes, soon offering it to Hati. "This should help. My fur and armor shall keep me warm enough." A tail shivers. Someone's being a knight here, even as he uses his spear to see.

"A general term for either a female Knight, much like Ser is for a male, or a female warrior. It seemed appropriate, you hold yourself with the manner of one. Lady is typically reserved for a respected woman in general, yet, depending on one's status as a student of the Knightly and soldierly ways, can be insulting when used. 'Tis a touch complicated at times."

Turning to Katyna, Faruja nods. "Yes, to a point. I know a White Magic spell or two that might do the trick, yet I admit banishing of spirits through magery is not my forte. 'Tis usually the Lady Inquisitor's job. Should they have corporeal form, or mayhap even if one can direct me to the spirit, the Church's Holy Spear techniques shall be most effective in banishing them."

A pause, and smile to the woman. "'Tis never too late to regain it, Lady Redsvaren." Faruja offers, amid teeth-chattering.
Aerith Without warning, Aerith grabbed onto Katyna's right shoulder. "Um... bad choice of direction. I'll take point." Aerith turned and made her way after the spirit, confidence in her stride. This was her area of expertise, after all. "Follow me, stay close, and whatever you do, don't stray. Anywhere else is going to get you lost, killed, or worse."
Maira Suddenly, Maira turns toward Katyna and raises her voice to be heard. Though it is not much above a whisper, it carries easily. "Katyna, stop! Not that way. Please, wait a moment...there is a woman here. She needs our help. Her children are lost in the catacombs..."

Maira looks to Avira then, nodding to her. They know the drill. Uist, being incredibly mistrustful of most everyone, is cautious of the woman, deciding to check if that way really is trapped.

Turning her gaze back to the woman, she nods, frowning softly. "We'll find them. Please, lead the way...can you tell us anything about this monster? So we can defeat it?"

Of course, Aerith heard the same thing. Heh. Maira nods and lets Aerith go first, waiting for Uist to return to her.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart isn't going to argue that. She should have brought something warmer though... "Alright. You have any idea what those ghosts want? And why do they like cold so much?" She rubs her upper arms a bit, looking around the place. "... why is there a maze under a church anyway?"
Faervel Tathren
Faervel gives a soft nod to Kat as she tells him to stay close and grins at the sword that ignites. "Impressive weapon, m'lady." He says before pondering just what Maira may be hearing. "And let us hope that map is right and no collapses have happened since its time. I've heard old places like these.." his voice trails as he realized where that thought process is going.

"Oh, nevermind. I am sure this place is still as strong as ever. After all with the events happening here, perhaps bandits or something.. been using this place as a hideout." Faervel quickly states trying to keep his mind positive. Its amazing how such a place can start to warp ones mind.

However Maira calls out and Faervel raises a brow. "Children? Lost?" He then tilts his head a bit. "..why would children even.." he glances to the young made, stopping himself in mid sentence. "..Nevermind." He sighs softly, those eyes looking in the directions around them. Including furrowing his brows a few times as he tries to pick up on any odd sounds.
Gesandte The Giant looks down towards Faruja, "If it where not evil, then we would not be here to need to cast it out to save those that need be saving. Clearly, whatever is here, wishes harm upon the innocence of those that rest here, and wish harm to their souls." stated as factly as one can, wether it's true or not is not his concern, mearly that he is sure evil is a foot and it must be removed before rest can be had again for those here.

He looks over towards their torch bearer and continues to ensure they are going forward, keeping an occasional glance behind and to the sides to make sure nothing sensible is following or about to leap out and have a hero sandwhich. But not so fast as he can't stop as the stop is yelled, but continue his watch, and deciding to wait to see what happens.
Palom With all the fire-users here, it's soon plenty warm. "Onward!" Palom starts to hurry off when Katya points the way, but... apparently we're stopping to talk to ghosts. He gives Maira a confused look. "I don't see anyone... are you sure?" He peers at the invisible ghost as if maybe there's something to see.
Hati The light from Katyna's sword has Hati's eyes adjusting, the pupils enlarging to take in more light. As a wolf, she has a bit better low-light vision than the others, but not by much. Perhaps in her full wolf form, she might have been better off, both for the fur and for the vision, but it seems cramped enough in these tunnels without a six foot wall of canine muscle prowling around.

The fact that there are spirits here at all unsettles the wolf, making her hair stand on end and her tail puff up as if she'd stuck her finger in an electric socket. Everyone, even tough-as-nails beasts have to have some fears, and this place has a bit too many of them in one place. Still, Hati grits her teeth, looking left and right as she takes in the scents around her, ears perked for any sign of trouble.

What surprises her, though, is the robes from the mouse. With her head tilted, she regards him for a long moment. Chivalry is something she only knows from storybooks, and even those memories are long faded. There's also a healthy bit of pride there, too. In the end, though, if she is to show some willingness to and trust, then she should not dismiss the gift. With a nod, Hati accepts the robes and slips into them. In human form, she's not much different in size from the mouse.

She asks no more questions about the wording, not quite sure which one would be the preferred title, if any at all. For now, the wolf just draws out her daggers, falling into step after whomever it is that finally decides to take 'point'. "I don't like this place." She admits. It's a far cry from distant woodlands and open skies. "Something must be keeping these spirits from moving on, and it makes my hair stand on end." And likely brush against people as her tail moves, whoops.
Avira "I know." Avira says quietly. "But, well..." She whispers something to Faruja before changing the subject back to Angantyr. "One of these days he's going to let me solve my own problems." Avira mutters, likely in response to Katyna's comment on him. Of course, Avira has no idea that it was Kat that nearly died on her account at Angantyr's hands.

Due to the cold, Avira scoots a bit closer to Maira, both urged by her to do so and knowing that the mage is a bit warmer than the average person.

Avira jumps suddenly as she feels something in the darkness brush up against her. Whirling with her hand on her weapon, she's quick to realize...that it was just Hati's tail. "..bah."
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart punches her open fist at that, nodding to Faruja "No worries there, I wouldn't let anything hurt Aerith. But I dunno how effective my punches would be against those either." She scratches her cheek a bit, thinking about that. How would they hurt us if they can't touch us either. Maybe she doesn't know that much about ghosts either.
Katyna Kat is about to rush off in one direction when Aerith grabs her arm and Maira calls out a warning. "What now? C'mon, we dont have all d----" Suddenly massive sharp spikes, 1 meter tall spring from the ground a few inches from where Kat stood. "Ahh! How'd you know? What the heck, this place IS booby trapped!" She doesn't hesitate or argue with Aerith but just nods silently.

"Alright, lead on..I hope this ghost knows where she's going though!" she follows after the two girls, pausing as Faru speaks of Angan being dangerous and just nods slowly but says nothing. Y'dont know the least of it, Faru, she thinks. "Heh, I'd like to learn more about white magic. But then magic's not my forte. I just have this magic sword that Ser Kasrillen gave me...I wonder if I'll ever meet HIS ghost down here.." She sighs wistfully before following the others.

She just smirks at the giant's pondering of good and evil. "Sometimes the lines between good and evil are blurred. But..I 'm sure Aerith and Maira know what they're doing! Let's go.." She simply flashes a grin at the elf. "Heh, fire is my specialty..But I'm not quite as flashy as Maira there. Still, it'll light the way and keep us warm. I guess the ghosts really DO cause all this cold!"

The ghost leads them down many twists and turning corridors, some more darker than others for all Kat's fiery sword. In some places there are no torches at all and the darkness seems to almost absorb them, swallow them entirely. Lichen grows on the slippery walls and the cold does not cease. Still, it's an uneventful albeit long trip for the most part. It seems the ghost has led them the long way around, away from booby traps but it'll take longer to get there..

Eventually the long and narrow tunnel opens up into a large set of oak doors that are guilded in gold and seem somehow..Special, important.
Aerith Aerith smiled. "I trust her... so you should trust me." With that, the pathway began, winding this way and that... until Aerith held up her right hand in a fist, a signal to halt. "There's something behind this door that is, if you'll excuse the term, badass." She glanced over her left shoulder. "It refuses to die, is practically invisible, and incredibly mean. The only way we can really see him is via a light source."
Faruja Senra Ear-perk. Tifa gets the Holy Dragoon's attention. "'Tis a sign of this Church's age, Lady Lockhart, as well as a necessary precaution. There are those whom are both so callous and impious as to take what belongs to the dead, and thus often as the honored dead grow legion one expands a tomb in confusing, misleading ways to make it difficult for robbers to break in and perform their crimes." Someone's definitely going to be against looting here.

The giant man and Hati both get a nod. "Mmm. Quite, Ser. Quite." Definitely something evil at work.

Hati taking the robes has the Burmecian looking satisfied. His own fur is already nicely iced. Discretely he gets a touch closer to Maira, and her radiating heat, whereupon it begins to melt. Wet rat, soon enough.

"Nor I. These catacombs oft play tricks upon the mind in even the most holy of tombs. However, this chill does not bode well. Whatever chains them here, I fear is indeed both foul and powerful."

His eye turns to Maira and Aerith, the pair of women leading them off. "We must protect Lady Gainsborough and Lady Maira, given their skills. Else, we shall likely be laid to rest here as well." The last bit is meant for just about anyone with armor or sharp-pointy things.

Faruja pauses, stalling as spikes nearly turn poor Katyna into swiss-Knight-cheese! "Lord in heaven! That...even given that this is hallowed ground, 'tis a touch excessive!" Despite his words, Faruja sounds impressed. He'll have to send a few suggestions to his superiors on getting spikes installed in Mullonde's catacombs.

Frown. "Nay, I pray he is with the Lord instead of chained by some evil. 'Twould be a blasphemy most foul!" Passion floods his voice. No one defiles a Templar's grave!

The rat follows along until they arrive at the oak doors.

"...I do not suppose knocking would draw out the source of all of this." As for Tifa's words? She gets a nod. The barmaiden's always proved herself an able guardian1

Face grim, Aerith gets a nod. They're not lacking in light, between fire and Faruja's holy aura.
Faervel Tathren
As they move along. Faervel studies the walls, and doesn't falter when they are nearly swallowed by darkness itself. Instead he seems to only get more determined to keep moving. Though he does from time to time look behind him to check on the others.

However, the deeper her went, the less he could make contact mentally with Uthar, he could still the spirit of the beast outside, but it seemed so deep below, with such a presence as this place. Something was indeed messing with him.

Faervel speaks up on the walk to Kat as they walk. "Fire magic is an interesting source. I only know a bit of magic to be honest. A little of the dark arts to a little of the white. Most of my training was focused around the lance and raising a dragon."

The Elf then looks over to Faruja. "Perhaps if we knock loud enough we actually may get an answer." Faervel raises a brow, now examining him a bit closer. "What do you do again, sir?" It seems this was somehow missed on him. He caught the name, but he didn't catch the profession.
Palom Katyna helpfully demonstrates why not to step off the path! "Woah! Palom thinks about this. Traps are hard to blow up before they spring... so he guesses they have to follow the ghost, for now. In response to the increasing cold and darkness, the young boy concentrates, pouring more magic into the flame conjured in his hand. "Why do the ghosts have to make it so cold? Can you ask them to stop?"
Maira Well, as Katyna almost triggered that trap to her own demise, Uist can be sure that it is, indeed, trapped. He tells Maira so, and they move on.

Though it is supernaturally cold in the crypts, the space around Maira for a good five feet is noticeably warmer, the heat radiating from her body. When it grows especially dark and there are no torches to be found, Maira summons a few balls of light to hover around and help show them the way.

Her eyes are fixed on the mysterious woman, nodding to her. "Of course, the children are the priority. We will see that they get out and are taken care of...I promise you," she says to the ghost, turning to face the ominous doors ahead. She understands the ghost's warning, and nods to Aerith. "Well, we'll just have to make light," she replies as her whole body ignites, wreathing her in flame that dances upon her skin but does not burn her. Luckily, her clothes don't burn either. Thank you Ivo.

Maira looks toward the others, nodding. "Some kind of Heartless, she says....everyone, be careful."

Then, she reaches to push open the doors.
Hati Sometimes, having an appendage that moves of it's own volition can be troublesome, and Hati is quick to notice her tail causing a distraction. Moving in robes that aren't her own is trouble enough, but for now she tucks her tail in, ears drawn down apologetically. In some things, the wolf certainly is in her element, but not down here. She's still trying to get herself situated when Katyna nearly goes and turns herself into a human bbq skewer. With a faint growl, the wolf reaches a hand to her shoulder. "Careful." It is both plea and warning in one.

With the fire-benders managing to bring some warmth down into the tunnels, there is a brief moment where she considers returning the robes, but for now the wolf holds onto them. It's impossible to know what she's thinking, but if she does manage to get separated from the others, they might prove the difference between life and death with the chill down here. Still, in a place where the others seem to be speaking of light, the wolf's darkness certainly won't be of much help.

She ducks her head, pulling the robes about her, drawing herself closer to Katyna like some tiny, wolfish body-guard. The further they get into the tunnels, the more the wolf learns to move with the others. She's a wolf, and hunting as a pack comes naturally to her. At the same time, wandering underground tunnels does not. As they come to those doors, she lets out a low whistle, taking in the golden inlays. "Seems a bit of a waste for a door in the middle of a set of catacombs. Maybe the tomb of someone important?" The wolf hazards a guess.

Unlike Katyna, she isn't the 'ooh shinies' sort of wolf, contrary to popular belief. She doesn't even do the 'ooh squirrel!' thing. "Heartless." Hati catches that word, her hand gripping her dagger. Another one, someplace it shouldn't be. Could it be another one that was simply set loose without any guiding hand? Or is there some Shadow Lord who is responsible for these recent attacks, but is refusing to step forward?
Gesandte The Giant continues to follow the group, keeping his thoughts to himself rfor the most part as he ponders other things. Admiring the view or lack of as they walk through the dark halls, every so often offering up a small nearly inaudible prayer for the group, the spirits, or any other number of things. But maintains his ever vigil to protect everyone even if they do not feel they need as such.

He perks an ear at the mention of a heartless, yet more of these things that are trying to mess up the sanctity of things, shall it never end.
Avira Sticking close to Maira, Avira doesn't get the opportunity to get turned into shish-kabob since Maira is being a bit more cautious than usual. "I dunno, after that, I think I'm ready to put my trust in these ghosts. I don't think Uist would steer us wrong." But a bad spirit talking to Uist might! Hmm.

One quick explanation of who Ser Kasrillen was later, Avira's mood seems a little bit toned down. More reserved. The irritation over thinking about the Rabanastre situation was gone now, replaced with a sort of distantness as she considers Katyna's dead friend. Angantyr really could end up like that one day and it'd probably be her own damn fault.

The trek down is long and less cold thanks to Maira. When they finally reach the doors, Avira slowly places her hand upon her weapon, but she doesn't draw. "Go on, Maira. I've got your back."
Katyna Katyna smirks at Faruja. "Whoever designed these catacombs was smart. And obviously had something of value to protect, more than just the dead..." Ahh yes, she is only too eager to find that juicy treasure, but darnit, this route is so long and boring! "Aah, Aer, Maira. I hope this ghost knows where it's going!" She is silent when he speaks of Ser Kasrillen. To be honest the losss still pains her. She still blames herself for his death. If she were only stronger, it would never have happened.

When Faervel speaks of fire magic, she grins. "Heh it is very useful. Lights the way, keeps you warm and makes things go BOOM! Of course I'd love to control fire magic to the extent that Maira does and not just in this sword. STill, this sword has saved my life countless times.." Kat snorts though when they both suggest knocking on the door as they approach and she shakes her head. "Bah! Let's just barge in! You really wanna go knockin' on death's door? I'd rather catch 'em by surprise!" And with that in mind, she runs and kicks the door open!

The oak doors creak and groan, giving way easily. Beyond is a room that is full of treasure. brilliant golden jewelry, coins and sparkling gems. There is also a large pit at the back of the room with two large platforms suspended by cables. One platform contains a beautiful golden chalice that gleams with magic and power. The other one is surrounded by flames and from within the flames the sounds of screaming children can be heard. Both platforms are quickly and steadily descending into the spiked floor below..

Suddenly, a wall of fire bursts and rises up around most of the group. Maira, Aerith and Gesandte are separated on one side, Katyna and Avira on the side closest to the rising platforms and the rest of the party is stuck in the middle, trapped within the ring of fire. A swarm of heartless are quickly rising from the ground within the ring of fire, steadily approaching the party within.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart rather not try the traps either... but she's grateful for more warmth as well "I don't think places like this." She prides in her bar even though its in the middle of slums because she can work hard into making people smile. But catacombs is a place that even if people were visiting, would probably depress anyone out of getting any drinks.

Unless they were already drunk, but that's not good business either.

She sighs as she watches around, making sure to close up the group in case of a back attack. And making sure she doesn't take a step out of place either, following the rest of them. "... So sir Faruja, if you can explain a maze, how do you explain traps? People are deliberately trying to add on to the pile of corpses already here?
Aerith Aerith's eyes narrowed at the sound of screaming children. Well then, that was the obvious answer but... SUDDENLY FIRE! And she was separated from everyone else, too! What's worse, the prickling on the back of her neck and the whispers in the back of her head informed her that Heartless were afoot... a split second later, they appeared, intent on taking their hearts! "Here they come!"
Faruja Senra "I am a Holy Dragon Knight, Ser, by the blessings of Church and Lord." Dragon? The elf gets quite a bit more scrutiny. "We should speak some time, Ser. The family business was in raising wyverns." The elf will have to meet Arista some time!

"I admit, much to my shame Lady Lockhart, that I am quite mystified. Quite unusual for traps of such lethality. I do believe Lady Katyna may be more correct than she realizes."

Wince. Maira lights herself on fire. A hand goes to his burnt side reflexively, even taking a step back. He steels himself. It's /Maira/. Doors are pushed open, and the ratling mutters a prayer. Gripping his tri-pointed, silver spear, he walks in to take up Maira's flank.

"/Heartless/. Time to purge this abomination." The ratling squeak-snarls out, fur standing on end as his tail lashes violently. All of that same venom and hate that he'd originally favored Hati with, magnified by personal loss at the hands of such creatures fills the Burmecian's voice. The fact they're infesting a tomb doesn't help!

Fire! Screaming children! Heartless rising up! Frack. "To arms! We must save the children!" Of course, for that, they have to not get killed first. The ratling makes to defend himself, spear lashing out as the Heartless approach.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart wanted more warmth, but not under the shape of fiery death x.x "I wanted to complain about the cold, but this isn't what I'd wish for!" She slides into a fighting stance, as she spots the various heartless creeping out of the shadows. Well, what shadows you can find when surrounding by fire like that. "That's... not good, isn't it?" She stands, ready to kick the heartless out if they should try to get too close.
Faervel Tathren
The elf nods to Faruja, "A Holy Dragoon, hmm? Interesting.. and sure, I would be honored too."

Then Faervel shakes his head at Kat as she goes to kick the door down, "You seem to be a lady who likes too.." However with the sounds of screaming children, his attention is quickly drawn away from her and the gold, but to the direction of the screams.

"By the goddess.." He whispers softly. All the gold, Kat's words, everything goes right out the window as he charges forward. However the explosion of the fire, it shoves him back and the gauntlets on his hands. The gems that rest in on the forehead glow brightly.

His eyes almost glow bright blue for a moment as the magical energy moves through him. Heartless all over the place once more, just like it was way back when. "You dark creatures do not know when to give up do you?"

Then reaching for his spear he spins it around before he rises up his free hand skyward. Then with a flash of bright light, it spirals around him like a dragon's serpentine body, before that very light explodes outward. Where the elf stood, was now that same very man from head to toe in draconic, almost midnight blue armor with parts of the armor glowing a soft purple in energy. Only part of his face now in sight was the lower section, as everything was covered in this armor. Even the very lance had been transformed to a much finer weapon.

Faervel's hand tightens on the lance as he grits his teeth. "Let the children go you bloody monsters! They are not yours to continue to take!" And soon Faervel joins in on the slashing and jumping on heartless that come to near.
Hati Ever seen a werewolf face-palm? Well, you have now. Hati's head sinks to her hand as Katyna decides to go 'kicking down death's door'. The Ember Knight does not understand the meaning of 'careful' it seems. She is so going to need to have a talk with that girl about not charging in head-first. For all any of them know, the door could be boobytrapped like the rest of the maze, or there could be something big and nasty waiting for them.

Then again, maybe it's Katyna's 'treasure radar' that has her charging boldly onward. Hati blinks looking into the room lit by flames that reflect across coins and jewels. Just as the wolf is about to make some commentary on someone's idea of 'taking it with you', flames lash at her feet, causing her to have to take a few steps backwards, possibly right into the path of a certain templar. It also separates her from those she had come here to protect.

With a growl, the wolf's eyes search the flames for any chance of getting through, to the extent that she actually sticks her fingers close, drawing them back and shaking them out with a snarl. "Damnit." The wolf within is already anxious due to the underground, the cold, and the ghosts, but add being trapped in a ring of fire and you've got someone who is about to go into all out fight or flight mode.

Luckily, there is something to fight! The heartless provide an outlet. Crouching, Hati flashes her two daggers, "Some of us can hold the Heartless. Do you think you can jump past the flames?" She's looking at Faruja now. Sure, it's a bit silly to assume that /all/ Burmecians can jump like dragoons, but... If any of the smaller Heartless get anywhere close, they are sure to meet the quick movements of her blades as she backs closer to the others trapped in the middle.
Maira ...only to have Katyna walk over and kick to door open. Well, so much for reverence!
Maira walks in, her eyes glancing at the treasure only briefly before she fixates on the pillar where the children are screaming. She begins to rush forward--a huge wall of flame has rushed up to separate them all. Maira stops, then wonders why. Wall of flame? This is a tactic she herself uses. She is already on fire. No wall of flame or Heartless are going to stand in her way.

As the Heartless creep in toward their now small group, Maira lashes out with magic flame of her own, blasting away at the Heartless so they cannot get close.

The ghostly woman who was guiding them speaks, alerting them to the glyph that is perhaps responsible for the fire. "Aerith,...other guy....can you get to the glyph? I'm going to try to--Oh...that...must be the monster...." she says as she suddenly sees the giant heartless rising up to protect the glyph.

Maira takes a deep breath, the fire the surrounds her being growing brighter as she takes off, running up the steps with her magic ready. "Get to the glyph! Save the kids!"

Gesandte Ges is stoped by the fire as it roars up, he takes a step back and studies what is going on, fire and heartless, seems like a rather interesting trap. But he ponders if the fire is really real or just a trick of the imagination, ponwdering if he should just try and ignore it to get to those inside the circle, where the danger trully is.

Hearing the sounds of the screaming children, but not being able to help them, does not a good thing make with Ges. He haunches down and starts focusing his power, they were going to have to fight and he was going to crush some heartless.

He growls out, "Demon beasts, be gone from here! Hurt not anyone, less you feel the wrath of the gods upon you!"

Although not one to be obsessed with raking in the rewards from quests and rolling around in them like Scrooge McDuck, giant mountains of gold and gems do get Avira's attention. Even she felt the urge to just leap on them and touch everything. But as her eyes take in the room, the piles of gold become secondary to the strange chalice and screaming children (?!) being lowered into spikes.

'I've got your back!' ...not really, apparently, as a wall of fire promptly separates Avira from Maira, corraling a large portion of the group, and isolating her with Katyna by the platforms. "Heartless!"

Though given who is trapped in the center, at least between Faruja and Hati, those Heartless are going to have a lot of pain in their future.

Her hand falls away from her weapon and Avira opts to call upon her ice magic, heading for the burning platform, aiming to extinguish it. Were there really children in there? Time to find out! "Maira! If Uist can get those spirits to bring back that cold, I think it'll help us out a lot!" But she stops, hearing, Maira shouting about a glyph. "Glyph? What glyph? Where?!"
Aerith Aerith immediately begins to execute her targets, her staff work paying off as she swings through one shadow after another, her expression impassive, almost neutral. Every now and then a spark of spirit energy raced along her weapon, slamming into the foe with such force, an audible crack sounded through the room. Anything next to it when it dissipated was knocked back a considerable distance... and she went after them in turn.

But it wasn't long before she saw the problem. No one else could see it... but she could, as could Maira. Aerith pointed toward the glyph... or rather, what was guarding it. "There he is! Everyone be careful!"
Faruja Senra It /had/ to be fire that blocks them from the children. The catacombs, thoughts of spirits, and even the Heartless all around them give the Templar not a single moment of pause. Simple fire, to the rat, is everything that scares him. Fear rolls off him, utterly transparent as he stares at the flames seperating him from the children. He nearly loses another eye due to a Heartless. It's slain. Screams, of both past and present beg the Templar to gather his courage.

"Life is short! Bury! Stasis Spear!" Taking Avira's idea into consideration, he thrusts his spear, a column of Holy Ice falling upon the flame wall. Spear then put upon his back, he gives a leap that would make any Dragoon proud. Seems Hati wasn't off!

"Lady Hati, pray tell me you brought burn ointment!" He calls back, voice trembling with terror even as he plunges above and likely /through/ fire. Landing upon the platform, he'll attempt to gather up as many children as he can in his arms before trying to Jump away to somewhat increased safety; trying to shield them from fire with his own body. All the while, he prays for strength and courage. Faram knows he needs it while surrounded by his second worst fear.
Katyna Katyna sees the treasure and...Suddenly nothing else matters. Yes. This is the only thing that matter to her. Power. Riches...The strength to stand on her own without anyone's help. With this, she could...She could rule the world or..!! The possibilities are endless! For a moment she ignores the flames that reach to the ceiling, making it impossible to leap over them and too powerful and searing to walk through. No, they'll need to activate that glyph first.

Initially the heartless that guards the glyph is invisible..Until the light of the elf's transformation briefly flashes over it, coupled with Maira's fire that renders it visible if only for a few moments. It's just small fry though, some sort of zombie heartless that rushes at Aerith and Maira and Gesandte with poisonous claws, snarling and growling at the!

Smaller soldier heartless rush at the heroes trapped in the fire wall, rushing at them with their dark swords that flash with energy draining magic should they cut into flesh. The're pretty small fry and somewhat weak but so numerous..

Avira's ice magic dims the fire a bit, but it still flares back to life as if by strong magic. Finally it's up to Kat and Avira. She blinks and focuses back to reality as she hears those screams, remembering when she was a screaming child seeking help from a savior. She hears Maira and Avira's words and she sighs. Remembers Kasrillen, and even Riku's words. She sighs. "I can do it...I have the potion. I'll get the kids. Avira..Use the pulley over there, you gotta stop the platforms from descending!" she's pretty stubborn as she downs the fire repellant potion, rushing towards the platforms..
Minerva Minerva is in the middle of the room and she's surrounded by a burning ring of fire and the flames seeme dto go higher. She's looking about now and isn't in the best state "So it seems they are here." She doens't really need to feel them. She eys the Chalice supicously it feels like a trap to her. She'll make ready heer arms and fist seeming to become covered in ice. "I will what I can after wards. Ser Faruja be wary I am not sure if these flames are fully natural!"
Palom "Why shouldn't we knock on death's door?" Palom asks, being young enough to remain ignorant of some idioms. But he isn't surprised when she decides to kick the door down -- he simply nods and gets ready to face monsters inside...

Instead of monsters, there's gold! Palom's eyes widen a bit, as he looks over the room, but... while he knows gold is valuable to adults, he doesn't see the big deal and doesn't know how much _this_ is. Now, if there were books or magic items... But there are! Two mysterious cups! "What are those?" He starts walking, with the party, towards them, only for fire to spring up around him. "Hey!" Well, the answer to _that_ is simple enough.

0Drifting breeze, come down with fury!

Palom's flame snuffs out as he calls down freezing air and ice, trying to break a hole in the fire here as he directs ice magic towards it with one arm, while the other directs freezing wind towards the Heartless, trying to knock them back into the hole!
Hati The wolf has just slashed through one of the weaker Heartless when Faruja calls out about 'burn ointment'. "Not with me. Maybe I'll show you a thing or two about the potions I can make afterwards, though." Hati smirks, and is not surprised to see the athleticism of the templar. Her approval of that strength lasts only a split second, as there is so much else going on around her.

There is Katyna, who is doing her best impression of Abu from the Cave of Wonders, a horde of Heartless, and one big enemy protecting some... glyph? This is one of those situations where the darkness helps. "I'll try to lead off these small ones. It'll give you time to focus on the others." With the tip of one dagger, the wolf draws her own sort of rune into the air, and the heads of some of the weaker Heartless turn towards her. It's like a siren song and the wolf has attached it... to herself.

Some might not consider it smart to go diving off into the maze with Heartless in tow behind her, but it's a sacrifice that she's willing to make in the hopes that the others can handle things here. There is no way she can reach either Avira or Katyna, but maybe she can buy them some time. So, like the pied piper of Heartless, Hati goes racing off, leading a little line of hopping Heartless behind her. The question remains, even if she manages to lead the Heartless off, will she survive the maze in the aftermath? Who knows.
Faervel Tathren
Faervel quickly lashes out at the heartless around him. Spinning his lance around him with simple ease to keep up an area of attack at all times. He even whirls a few up into the air with his own leap, before slashing at several of the Heartless and then slamming them all back down to the earth below, with a heavy blast wave that extends out around his impact point.

While others played Heroes, Faervel just kept up the pressure by attacks. If he had his dragon here, these flames would be no issue, however this place would even be cramped for his dragon; even if he wasn't massive in size. Uthar after all could only fit one rider and that was Faervel.
Avira Avira sees anything but a glyph here-nor does she see a heartless guarding it until it flashes into her field of vision. But it's only seen peripherally as she tries to concentrate on applying her ice magic. Unfortunately, her magic is not nearly strong enough to quench the magical flames. All she can manage to do is make them die down just slightly. At first she attempts to concentrate even more to see if it'll work.

It's quickly tiring her out though. Learning magic had been hard enough to begin with on her, given her background.

"...pulley, right, I can see that!" Avira seems relieved at this, starting to wonder for a few seconds if she was crazy. Abandoning her attempts at magic completely, Avira rushes to the pulley and grabs onto the ropes that kept the apparatus running. She hops upwards and yanks, pulling her entire body weight into her grip.

Being kind of tiny, it's not all that much. For a few seconds she actually kind of starts wishing for her mutate form again.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart doesn't allow the heartless to suround her either. Punches and kicks are thrown, even grapples as to toss the smaller heartless into other ones. Not that she's afraid about sizes, but smaller ones make for better projectiles.

"Leave the treasures alone until we're safe, wouldn't you!" She lets the others know her state of mind. She's surrounded by fire and heartless and the others are just going for shinies. This isn't how she wanted to spend her evening ~_~
Maira Wow, Aerith must have been training with Tifa a lot! Indeed, it really seems as though she could handle this bit herself. "I bet if you get to the glyph, the fire will disappear--but I can't wait. I'm going through," she tells her, then turns and runs back down the stairs in the direction of the platforms, charging right through the flames--they are not her magic, they will hurt her, but not nearly as much as they would hurt anyone else.

Hearing Avira, she isn't sure what she can do. The coldness is simply from the presence of the spirits, they have no real control over it. Maira though, perhaps...But first, the children.

Upon plunging out of the fire like the crazy girl she is, she spots Avira on the pulley, trying to stop the things from descending. Knowing she'd be of little use there, she sets it as a task for Uist. "Uist! Help Avira!" she cries. Uist is giving her a look though, displeased that she'll use her (and his) strength for something other than protecting herself /again/. Still, he does as he is asks as Maira runs toward the pit with the platforms.

Lucky Avira will got a nice blast of cool air as Uist comes up behind her, his form manifesting in in a hazy red mist that grows more and more solid as he reaches up to grab the pulley and help her pull, looking toward her with his flame red eyes.
Gesandte Ges is large but agile and of course strong, perhaps putting too much strength into his powers as he more then easily dispatches a few small heartless with far too much power indeed. He tries to keep the busy so the others can stop the overall problem, the glyph and it's caretaker. Not that he's afraid of some lowly undeserving demon spawn, but theres plenty to do and only so many fists to do it with.

All the while, even as he's dispatching the heartless he manages to give each one a prayer as they fly off into the mists of wherever they came from, dedication to ones duty to say the least. Though still avoiding the fire as he does, not wishing to be incinerated himself he has much left to do afterall.
Faruja Senra /Bloody fire/. Magic fire. Ow. It /burns/. "By Ajora's undergarments, I do believe I shall have need of them!" Comes a shout to the wolf, before he's concentrating on saving children and not becoming rat-al-flambe. There's copious amounts of curative spells directed at himself. Every now and then, as he lands, Faruja will neatly savage a Heartless with claws on his feet and hands, even employing teeth when he can't get to his weapon.

Leap! The ratling quickly realizes his efforts are mostly in vain, and so he does the next best thing; Faruja lets his downward momentum add to the weight of the pulley as he grabs on at the end of the Jump, a bullet slamming into the system.

"We can /do/ this Lady Avira!" Pulllll!
Katyna Katyna nods to Avira. "Thanks! I know you can do it, you're strong!" But is she strong enough? Kat has little time to figure that out as she downs Maira's fire resistant potion and leaps into the flames. Avira's ice had managed to weaken the flames at least a bit and Maira's potion helps her to resist the flames without getting burned to a crisp. However, the platform shakes and swerves when her weight hits it. "Avira!" She calls.

Avira's attempts help to steady the one platform with the kid on it, pulling it upwards. With Faruja's help, they manage to pull it all the way up. But the other platform with the treasure is starting to go down. "No!" Kat peers longingly at the treasure then back at the girl. Was the child worth this much? What would Kasrillen think?" Ugh, dammit.." she grits her teeth, leaping off the platform with the kid in tow.

"Avira, it's okay, I'm clear!" Still, Kat stares longingly at that golden grail and sets the crying kid on the ground as she rushes perhaps foolishly towards the grail. "No......"

The flames flare up still around the others. THe heartless continue to attack the small group although some of their attacks drive them back, reducing many of them to balls of munny. Still, there are quite a few left and the wall of fire is rapidly closing in on them. Faruja might find a space or two in the flames to leap over, to help the others. Hati manages to reduce the heartless numbers greatly as she draws a group of them away and down a maze corridor..

Meanwhile, Aerith and Maira manage to reach the glyph, unhampered by the heartless that guards it as Gesandte tackles it. Should they touch the glyph, it will shimmer and vanish, causing all the flames to abruptly vanish.
Katyna The wall of flames vanish, uniting the group once more, but remaining heartless still congregate on the heroes, lashing out with deadly claws, blades and dark magic. Ges's slightly larger heartless also corners him and attempts to strike him down.
Avira WAS Avira strong enough? Likely not, actually. She's struggling very hard just to hold it down, her own body weight working against her in this until she manages to find something to grab onto and anchor herself with one hand while the other remains on that rope.

When Kat jumps onto it, it feels like for a few seconds she's going to be torn apart! Gritting her teeth, she steels herself and continues to hold on. Ever so slightly, the platform is pulled upwards.

Then all the sudden Faruja descends, adding the momentum and weight of himself to her efforts. The platform is pulled up completely and Kat rescues the child. Once the pair are cleared, Avira gladly lets go.

Her muscles tremble as they unclench. As much as she would like to take a moment to recover, the large amount of heartless here prompt her to do otherwise. Wordlessly, she draws her "blade" and advances.
Aerith Aerith whirled her staff above her head and took a quick stance. No time for talking now, and no time for worrying about tall dark and ugly. It was time, for the moment, to do what she had to in order to make sure everyone she'd led here got out in one piece. And so with a rapid series of thrusts, she beat back one after another, putting her boot into those that got too close with a measure of authority. That whole training with Tifa thing worked out pretty well.
Faruja Senra Faruja lets go of the platform as the child and Katyna are free, sighing in relief. The rat's decently strong, but five feet and change of rat can only do so much! Thank Faram for Jump hacks.

That spear is unslung, and once again, the Burmecian leaps into the air! Landing beyond the flames, claws and jaws of Heartless lash out at him, scraping along armor and leaving him with a few shallow cuts across the face. For their efforts, he repays them with an incantation and a crackle of thunder as a sword of Lightning assaults the abominations.

Not content to stop until the demons that threaten his friends are quite deceased, he lays in with falling crescents of purple energy, weakening any heartless that survive. Shellburst Stab!
Palom Palom smiles as he sees his ice blow out the flame... then it /all/ goes out. And the Heartless just kee'Destruction of nature, gather in flame! Fira! And then there's an explosion amongst them, Palom trying to shatter the resulting statues of ice and stone!
Tifa Lockhart This hasn't been such a good day, between the heartless, the ring of fire, which came AFTER being nearly frozen to death, talk about wild temperatures. She's been fending off the wild heartless that decided to invade the middle of the ring of fire. At least, where it was if the fire is down, but no matter. Still too many things to work with "I'm not sure what's worse, the fire or the cold..."

Either way, she got her hands full with the jumping, annoying little black creatures. They don't have much in strength but they have numbers, and that can always be a problem. She closes her hand on the head of one of them, using it as a bowling ball as she tosses it into the rest of them, crashing the pile over.
Maira After leaping through the fire without much harm done, the young mage promptly takes a claw to the back from a pursuing Heartless. She stumbles forward, but manages to remain on her feet, wincing as she feels the blood well up and begin to trickle down her back.

Her eyes move toward the pulley, where the gathered group has managed to stop the platform with the child (children?) from descending with their combined effort. Katyna has rescued one of the children....but where is the other?

"Where is the other child? There should be two..." she says as she runs over to the group.

Heartless are still attacking, and Maira is still wreathed in flame. Those flames, at her will, snake out to lash at the Heartless that approach them, driving them back at least for a few moments.
Gesandte The giant continues to crush, maim, and destroy heartless, buying time for the others to. He becomes cornered by a larger one, he manages to manevour and deflect the creatures attack before it can do to much harm to him, and reels around to return the favor upon the creature and remove him from the path of their Righteous might, returning the favor with a hard right to the heartlesses face, cause why not even the most holy of men have to punch things sometimes to show their devotion.

While not the most dangerous or damaging of his attacks, it's should be enough to make the heartlesses think twice about being bad and a heartless anymore, and perhaps he should just give up and seek forgivness for his evil deeds of being a heartless. That, or just curl over and wait to get pummeled again, whatever works.
Minerva Minerva is looking about as the heartless are coming in at her and she lets out a war cry as she dives into them again. The monk soon becomes a flurry of punches and kicks. She seems to be in the mood for ice today as she contiunes to unleahs the force of ice agains the heartless.

"Do not show these things any quarter!"
Katyna The heartless are drawn back by the combined might of the heroes, yet some still remain although their numbers are greatly diminished. In the end, only two or three heartless remain, continuing to slash and bite at the heroes. When the little girl is rescued and released on the ground, Kat stands protectively in front of her, fending off heartless as they come..This may strike some who know her as odd perhaps, as she was never the defensive type.

Greedy carmine eyes continue to stare longingly at the cup, although even as she had taken a step towards the descending treasure that slowly vanishes into the spiked pit, it seems she is determined to protect the girl.

"Ugh..Dammit..Why'd you have to remind me of myself?" She murmurs, glancing sidelong at the girl. Suddenly she is in the place of Kasrillen, defending little Kityana. And again Riku's words come back to her..If he was watching right now, what would he think?

"Wait...Where's the other kid?"

Somewhere in a corner of the room, one slightly larger heartless seems to hover over a pile of crates for some reason..
Palom Palom smiles as his magic fells heartless left and right. "That's all? This is nothing for the Genius of Mysidia!" Palom looks around. "A few more? No 'Swirling bolts, gather and strike with power!' Despite there not being a cloud in the ceiling, lightning strikes down at the heartless. "You're a sickness upon the world, feel your own medicine!" And his magc tries to strike them ill, eat away at them...

And then, seeing a 'Destructionofnaturegatherinflame!' *FWOOSH*
Avira As Heartless advance upon her, Avira nimbly slips out of the way. Immediately afterwards, she rounds upon the creatures and strikes them down with a swift blow from the Spine. "Everyone alright?!" she calls out, looking around. "...Hati really booked it." Avira frowns. She'd be okay...right?

"I don't know." Avira looks around, "I didn't really get a chance to see if it ran off or not."

She does eventually spot that straggler Heartless and immediately starts advancing towards it. Until Palom starts shooting magic at it-to which Avira quickly backs off because she does not want to be caught up in it.
Maira Upon hearing another voice, she knows it is not of the living. How she can tell, she could not define--she simply knows. Maira whirls to look toward the ghostly paladin that has appeared, as well at the hulking Heartless that guards a pile of crates where she assumed the other child must be hiding. Hurry? Yes, she can do that and more.

"This way! The child must be hiding in those crates!" she says to her friends, then channels an Aero spell to launch herself at the Heartless by the crates, slamming into it like a human meteorite, all fire and arcane force.
Faruja Senra Faruja finds himself smiling as Katyna guards the child. She's proving herself quite the knight! As expected of an Akademy graduate! Concentrating, the ratling casts a protect spell upon the more needy party members; Aerith, Palom, Katyna, and Maira. Can't let the mages get hurt, or the one saving the kid!

One ear perks to Avira. "Keep her in your prayers, and the Lord shall see her through!" A Darkened girl in these dangerous catacombs certainly needs the prayers.

Turning as the Heartless fall thanks to Palom's magic, he nods to the boy. "Excellent work, Young Master." Then, he's off after Maira, who's Aero'ing the large Heartless. Leaping over, he lashes out with his spear and generally tries to take blows for her!
Aerith Aerith whirls her staff yet again and points it toward the crates. "Then we need to get that thing away from them! Tifa, Maira, you're with me! Let's see if we can't provide a distraction!" With that, she rammed her staff into the ground, spirit energy shunting through herself, Tifa, and Faruja, to repay him for the assistance.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart watches the fireworks that Palom creates, whistling a bit. Well, the kid got potential anyway, she can appreciate that even if she doesn't know much about magic either.

She runs over to Aerith, since it seems the way is clear now, receving a bit of extra protection as she's running over "What's next you think? We got heartless, but yet to see ghosts."
Palom "Maybe there will be heartless ghosts." Palom offers, hurrying over to the crates to see what everyone's looking for.
Gesandte Gesandte keeps his eyes on the watch, appearing mostly clear now but that could change at anytime, so less to not be prepared then to assume safety in anything. He remains in his battle form as he moves towards some of the others. He shall follow unto death and hell, for that is his place, to defend and fight for those that need be it. And this place surely must surely be some hellish place with all thats gone on so far.
Katyna The last heartless falls, and the aero spell sends crates flying, combined with various magic and sheer strength to bring down the final fiend. The crates reveal a cowering boy who bawls for his mommy, edging away from the heroes before he realizes that they came to save him. "waaah! I want my mommy!" he bawls, before he sees his sister, and they run towards each other.

Katyna blinks, letting go of the girl, watching them with a cautious smile as they hug one another..Again, she is reminded of her dear Razan, and she sighs softly turning away. "We've gotta hurry. That heartless monster is still down here somewhere. Those were just the small fry." A gold crystal appears in the corner, although this is no treasure. "Look, a teleport crystal. It'll heal their wounds and teleport them to the surface. We can go now..."

As if on cue, the sounds of frightenned screams, followed by the crashing and explosion of something hurling things around suddenly erupts from a nearby room!
Aerith Aerith grimaced. "I think that's our cue..." She turned and headed toward the source of the disturbance. "We're about to find out if those rumors are true or not!" Aerith made her way toward next room... and then held up a hand for everyone to stop. "This is the part where it gets interesting... everyone step where I step, or you're gonna end up limping home." With that, she cautiously made her way through the room, following a specific pattern...
Minerva Minerva seems to be intent to take the heartless out, after what the things did to her world? How can she not, she remains on her guard looking about there could be more problems waiting to pop out of the rood works however. She's very much a puchy sort however as she attempts to let those she sees as smarter than her pick out any nasty suprises.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart follows Aerith... barely a step behind her, making sure to match every move as close as possible "... dare I ask what would happen if we don't?" She's curious, but not enough to attempt it herself, really...

She, and other people no doubt, like those legs as they are.
Maira Well, crates and Heartless destroyed, the little boy rushes toward his sister. Maira stands and watches, her eyes sad as their mother, unseen to them, watches over them still. They don't know she is dead, do they? The poor children. More orphans in a world already full of them. More made every day by the Heartless and the those who control them.

Maira swallows hard and turns, nodding to the paladin ghost, then to Aerith as she takes the lead. One of them would have to do it, or else no one would know where to step. "Very important, the room is full of traps...there is a ghost helping us through, so make just like Aerith if you want to avoid them," she adds, then waits for a few to go first so she can keep an eye on them as they go.
Palom "Hey, there's somebody there!" Palom points out the obvious upon seeing the boy. He smiles, glad to see they rescued the kids... but when the brother and sister are reunited, something dampens his expression. He kind of wishes Porom were here too. He follows the careful exact steps as directed. "I thought spikes happen."
Avira "Whoah! Watch it with that stuff." Avira's eyes widen as the crates go flying from the magic and she spots the kid that had been hiding behind it, cowering in fear. That magic came really close to ending that kid!

About to proceed, she frowns at Aerith, then looks to Maira for an explanation. Fortunately, she delivers. "Ohhh. That...definitely explains about half the stuff you were talking about earlier, Maira."

She waits a few moments before following after Maira too.
Gesandte The giant Follows the group carefully, trying his best to stay on the pattern that is being layed out by their small leader, as best as he can that is. All to knowing the sound coming from the distant as not a very good sound and very dangerous at that.

Well, danger was his middle name! Ok, well maybe not, and maybe he didn't like danger, but his duty was to ensure those at rest stayed at rest and could enjoy their rest and these heartless where stoping that, and making him not enjoying things one darn bit.
Faruja Senra Time to play follow the Ladies, and by extension, Paladin Ghost. Sigh. Faruja shakes his head. "...Never would I have thought that I would be following about spirits to avoid my own evisceration." He mumbles, occasionally glancing over to Maira. If she wasn't working on getting them all through safe and sound, he'd beg her forgiveness for not believing her. Jaw settings, he concentrates on following behind the whiskey-haired woman precisely.
Katyna The next room is light brightly, with golden walls adorned in numerous beautiful tapestries. Mostly scenes of various heroes slaying a number of powerful fiends. It seems to tell a story, but with so many tapestries interwoven, it's hard to follow the story. The ground is also gold, adorned in numerous tiles with various pictures drawn on each tile. A rose, a tree, a black bird, various elemental symbols. Even a symbol for the heartless.

Aerith and Maira lead the group through a complex hopschotch over certain tiles as the ghost leads them onward, being careful to instruct them to avoid certain tiles and step on others. Some tiles require one to remain on only briefly, while others must be stepped on on one foot only.

After several nerve-wracking minutes, they eventually make it across the long corridoor and into the next room.

The next room is a wide open area full of hundreds of tombstones. There is no tiling here, only dirt and some sparse grass beneath one's feet. In addition to traditional tombstones, there are also numerous shelves along the walls containing urns that hold the ashes of many deceased.

The room seems to be in a disarray. Numerous tombstones are broken, burnt patches of grass are here and there. Lighting is sparse, only provided by scant few torches along the walls. There are quite a few dead bodies here, but there are also a lot of frightenned people, maybe six in all who cower in one corner as a massive shadowy figure towers over them, poised to slash them to ribbons..

Aerith and Maira may also note the presence of many many ghosts lurking here, many who have not passed on yet, but seem unable to, their rest clearly disturbed by the monstrous creature who torments and disturbs their home.
Aerith And Aerith couldn't help but take glances around here and there. The souls of the dead stared at her, specifically. No one else could see them, but they seemed to be looking right straight at her and Maira. Asking them to end this. Then she glanced toward the creature about to kill everyone else. Those other bodies were fresh... and definitely recent. Her eyes narrowed. "Enough of this."

Aerith charged forward, circling her staff several times before ramming it into the creature's back, a flash of spirit energy racing along the tool until the point of impact.

Result: Wham.
Palom Palom plays follow the leader simply enough. He doesn't want to get spiked. He's resummoned his flame for warmth.

And then... They enter a strange room. "How is there grass down here?" the boy wonders, before he sees...!

He sees... he's not sure what, actually! Some kind of shadow! "Hey you!" the pint-sized powerhouse pipes up, waving his staff. "Leave them alone! If you want someone to fight, fight us! The Genius of Mysidia is going to teach you not to kidnap helpless people!"

All this talking, and he forgets to throw any actual _attacks_...
Avira This room is COOL. "Whoaaaah...." Avira murmurs, looking at each tapestry in turn. She wants one of those! For their Headquarters! It'd be awesome! ...maybe she can comission one. That aside, Avira's pretty careful to only step on the right tiles, having been burned by traps in the past before. "Though this seems pretty odd to have in catacombs. Maybe a hall to a palace..."

Just by the look of the new room signals that there is definitely something amiss. Of course, Avira's attention is quickly stolen by the shadowy figure in the corner ready to fell a bunch of refugees.

Avira doesn't say a darn thing at this point. She does pause to give Faruja a look and smile at him for a second before racing off with her Spine drawn. She doesn't seem to bother with magic, but with each swipe she makes, there's a sort of silvery disturbance in the air.

Avira goes right for the hamstrings of the creature, should it have legs.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart is fine with not having to watch her step anymore. But not as pleased with the new threat either. A shadowy figure... after heartless, someone with no clear shape. This is getting better and better, isn't it?

Since Aerith takes the charge, she follows suit. As the flower girl's staff connects in, its a flying kick (BOOT2DAHEAD) that comes in, zooming right over Aerith to crash into the shadow. "Let's see you taking on someone your size for once." She doesn't think that demon thing does much more than picking on citizens.
Faruja Senra Truly, the hidden depths of the catacombs are dangerous, but beautiful. Faruja has little time to admire it, however, when they come across a group of people being menaced by a giant Heartless. He may not have the Power of Ghosts, but the ratling sure does know when something is about to kill innocents. As his companions charge in, the ratling hangs back for just a moment to allow their attacks to collide. As they do so, the ratling concentrates. Holy energy begins to form around the Holy Dragoon, illuminating the area. Then, he leaps upwards!

His spear is thrust even as he Jumps, intending to knock the thing into the air! With luck, even as that lovely little 'C' of charging hangs suspiciously by his head, his companions to help air juggle the thing.
Maira To say that hallway was nerve-wracking is quite the understatement, as even though she can see the spirit that guides them, the pure physical awkwardness of getting past all the traps is almost too much for Maira. Graceful, she is generally not. Plus, she is already injured. Not badly, but it is something, and Maira is growing fatigued.

When they reach the room of grass and tombstones, Maira thinks around the same things as Palom. How strange...and creepy, in a very cool way!

But this is the crux of it. The monster looms before them, terrifying a group of people, ready to strike...

Maira lashes out with her cleansing fire almost without thought, her circle of flame surrounding the people, the fire surging up to form a wall that would would not hard them, but would hopefully keep the monster at bay.

"You won't disturb the rest of these people, or make any more Heartless," she says to the monster, standing tall (comparitively...) and resolute in her purpose, burning like a candle of hope.
Gesandte Ges wearily makes it past all the traps, not so hard when you're praticaly the size of the room, and your feet not so dainty as a small ladies feet who can easily prounce around with ease, but he manages. But upon entering the room following the others, he doesn't even seem to appear to notice the monster at first only those suffering and in fear. He says an almost calm peacefull prayer for them, to help them in this time of need and fear. Only after that, does he slowly turn to face the monster that the others have begun assualting. His right hand raising to his book and placing his palm uponst it

"Demon, you have caused enough suffering and torment. Now you shall be judged, and you shall be found lacking. You will repent of your sins, and the gods may have mercy upon you!"

With that, he growls and launches himself at the monster, fists of fury going out. his left hand shoots out, air wiggling and weaving around it as it powers up for a colosoul smack into the monster's guts, with his right hand coming from below to follow up with a nice supreme undercut to the beasts jaw.
Katyna The footsteps of the small group of heroes reach the hears of the massive heartless, and it turns towards them with a snarl, appearing like a giant 15 foot tall humanoid thing of darkness. It snarls again, rushing at them with black fiery dark claws, hurling balls of flames at them.
Faruja Senra Faruja, even up in the air and lingering in that unnatural way that Dragoons of any stripe seem to be able to do, is still only slightly above the tall creature. The rat's climbing, after all. Balls of flame rush at him, quite neatly interrupting his charging of one of his more powerful ability, to which he's forced to duck aside. A squeak of pain, and the smell of burning fur and flesh signals the rat being hit. Even so, he's carried up in a nice arc. A little of being slammed into by his second worst fear isn't going to stop a textbook Jump once started!

Snarling in both fear and rage, a crescent of energy slams down upon the great beast, hopefully weakening its natural armor. Spying the exhausted Maira, and the rather hard hit Tifa, he begins casting. Curaga and esuna wash over the pair, the young Paladin-rat not at all trusting the beast's claws to not have some horrible disease on them. Or rabies, for that matter.
Maira But of course, talking to a Heartless is always pointless. The words are more for the benefit of herself and other than an intimidation attempt.

When the giant beast rushes forward, Maira finds that it is easy enough to sweep her relatively small self out of the way of the oncoming charge, slipping into a flanking position so she can put her fire on the offensive now that the people were protected by the Heartless' shift of attention.

First she throws a small, greenish spark, a poisoned flame that may make their job easier in the long run. Then, she takes a deep breath and centers herself, calling to Uist and strengthening their bond. "Uist...take my light and use it to protect these people," she says, and her companion obliges. Maira feels a certain tug, the familiar give and take of her bond with Uist as he pulls from her inner power to become a figure of light and mist, manifesting to a degree that all in the room should see him as he conjures a large warhammer and rushes toward the Heartless to unleash their combined rage.
Palom And then... the thing attacks! "Yi'Spirits in the ground, let's rock!' And with that a crack o'Let darkness turn against itself!' And some kind of force tries to 'Chilling breeze, entomb in cold!' And ice and snow blow forth, trying to freeze the spirit in ice!
Aerith Aerith recovered from her lunge, only to make her best attempt at following up on her assault. "Someone cover those people, make sure nothing reaches them!" She wasn't sure if other Heartless would converge here or not, but just in case, it'd be nice to have a second line.
Gesandte Ges gets rebounded after he nails the creature, the fire slashing through his tunic and his flesh, knocking him back a bit, but not off his feet. He grins as he regains his composure, smiling oddly, "You fight well demon, but you shall perish here, if not by my might then by those that fight alongside for the protection of those that cannot!"

He grabs his book and opens it, and begins reading passages from it towards the monster his left hand outstretched to him, "And behold he said unto thee, thou shall repent for thy sins, thou shalt not commit taboo's against others. Thou shall seek forgiveness from those that they have wronged!" The book seems to flutter as he reads out of it.
Avira Well that didn't work. Avira will just have to hit it HARDER.

When the Heartless turns, Avira's already ready to get out of the way, leaping backwards and leaving that strange silvery shimmer in her wake. "Come on." she taunts, giving the Heartless a vicious grin, "You'll have to try a lot /harder/ than that if you want to hit me. Come ON!" She starts backing away, keeping her eyes locked on the creature as she tries to lure it away from the people cowering in the corner.

Or at the very least, make it focus its attention on her while everyone else beats on it.
Faruja Senra He exists. By Ajora's underpants, he /exists/. Faruja feels his mind truly bending at the confirmation and undeniable proof that Maira, lovely, wonderful Maira, is not insane after all. Only maybe a little. "...Lord in heaven he /does/ exist." Hopefully Tifa has that bar up and running. He'll need a stiff one after this.

More importantly, time for group encouragement. "Stand strong, oh honored companions! Even the hallowed spirits of this place are at our side! Moved by the hand of the blessed Lord, no mere demon such as this can stand in our way! Amen!"

And Ges, too, seems one for the speeches. He leaves the rest to Gesandte as he preach-kills the demon with holy words. Templar approves. However, gravity reasserts itself. Falling, the rat unleashes a bevy of Holy Explosions, columns of light mercilessly lighting up the creature. Then, he'll fall upon it, seeking to pierce it in the eye with his tri-pointed, holy-gleaming spear!

"To the abyss with thee, oh foul abomination!"
Minerva Minerva has mad a friend, a very fiery friend she's now set on fire, she's not happy about it and part of her makes her wondering is he should invest in something a whee bit more covering even at the cost of moblity. That thoguht fades quickly she's going to punch fire with ice, it shouldn't like ice right?

"These things keep coming, foul beasts back to the darkness with you all. Your masters will join you in death soon enough!"
Tifa Lockhart Fire is not her friend! FIRE BAD! Even of the shadow kind. Apparently surprised by the counter attack, she didn't even have time to land down that she was thrown off, the dark fireballs crashing into her and singing her pretty badly.

She flips back on her feet, a handstand landing that gives her enough control to move herself back standing, boots slightly skidding along the stone floor.

She jumps back toward it, gritting teeth, fists flying as she takes her revenge on it. Well, kinda at least. She's not happy with the fire after all.
Katyna "I....WILL HAVE....YOUR SOULS!" The heartless roars in its monstrous voice as it continues to rip through the heroes, massive dark and fire tinged claws flashing as it swings and swirls and dances with incredible speed and power. The various civilians begin to scatter, altough some are too wounded to flee far. Kat also fights on in the background, pushed back at times, but continuing to valiantly press onward. "We can do this, it's not so tough!" That last strike hurt a lot though. Ow. And she staggers back, briefly dazed.
Aerith Aerith leaps over the first claw, ducks the second... and gets knocked away by the third, only recovering at the last moment to end up on her feet. Without a word, she launched herself toward the beast again, trying to deliver an appropriate response.
Faruja Senra At least the civilians are alright. Faruja's attack misses due to the fact claws are being thrown around, knocking him away and to the ground with quite a bit of fury. Wham! Faruja impacts the ground, only his armor saving him from broken ribs. Slowly, the rat gets back up, spear leveled as he tries to keep flames and claws from reaching Maira even as he works on healing the group.
Palom The fight's really getting going now! "Take that, stupid monster! Palom shouts. "So, was I right? Is this a heartless ghost?" he muses, before the ghost swings at everything, sending Palom tumbling across the room despite Faruja's protective magic! The boy comes to a stop against the wall, having bumped his head, which he rubs as he stands up. "That hurt! You... you _meanie_! I'm gonna show you who you're messing with!" There's a sudden surge of magic power that makes Palom's robes, cape and braid billow dramatically as he closes his eyes in concentration.

0'Darkness beyond twilight, crimson beyond blood that flows... Inscribe the power that decays the world in the very air, and let it burn away those who stand before me!'

Palom's eyes open, seeming to glow briefly as he glares at the monster.

0'The ultimate power of black magic! FLARE!'

Palom's considerable magic tears away at the Heartless and the very air around it, feeding on it to direct ever more energy inward in a magic meltdown! The crypt is lit, briefly, by the light of a miniature sun trying to engulf the creature, fierce hot winds blowing outward from the magical reaction!

As the light fades, Palom strains to see in the darkness. Was that enough...?
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart is burned! Again! Not as badly this time, but she's getting annoyed still.

"You're not getting my soul just yet, but how would you like... A KNUCKLE SANDWHICH." She jumps up toward the shadowy figure, sending a series of punches straight toward its head. But when you think the flurry is about to die down, the last punch comes in, glowing with the barmaid's energies, releasing the exploding fist at point blank range, before she falls back down to the ground, underneath the explosion and using the force of it to roll away rapidly, before it can toss more fire at her ;_;
Gesandte Ges doesn't even try to worry about the attack that's incoming as he reads scripture, the attack slicing through his skin, but ignoring the searing pain that comes through it. He closes his book and looks towards the monster, "You have forsaken my attempts for your atonement, you have ignored any repetence. What befalls you now is of your own doing, I am simply but the messenger, to bring forth the gods wrath upon you."

With that, he reaches back with his left fist wihich explodes in a shockwave of energy and righteous fury and energy. He charges the monster, "Repetence is gone demon. Now face the wrath of the gods.. FEAR THE GIGAS PUNCH!" and he slams his fist home towards the demons maw, to either crush the demon or miss it and thus pondering the humility of his actions, who can say at the moment.
Avira "IT TALKS?!" This is...well, the /second/ time Avira has met a talking Heartless. In fact, this reminded her quite a bit of the dragon she fought in the arena months ago. The talking Heartless dragon.

The air continues to shimmer around her as if there was a heat illusion in effect and, as those claws swipe in, Avira just barely manages to get out of the way. She can feel the heat of the claws upon her skin, though the fire is not close enough to actually damage her.

"Nope!" Avira says cheerfully, slipping beneath the Heartless's arm. Blue magelight shimmers down the length of the spine and Avira stabs it upwards beneath the arm. A grin forms on her face and she pushes upwards, driving it even deeper before laying both hands upon the hilt of the Spine.

"BLIZARA!" Avira's magic isn't actually all that strong, being a months-old practitioner of the art. Somehow, right now, she manages to make it count, perhaps in defense of those cowering in the corner.
Maira It would seem that the Heartless managed to deflect Uist's blow with the hammer, causing Maira to shiver momentarily with a fear she must not allow to grab hold of her. Then the giant Heartless lashes out at her in retaliation and the girl goes flying, the sound of bones being crushed fills the chamber. She hits a tombstone hard. Can they beat this thing? Will she fail? Will she die, and lose everything she'd so recently gained? What would become of her friends?

The creeping fingers of terror that begin to curl around her heart are pulled away by the strength of her will. "Uist..." she whispers, and the ghostly presence seems to be pulled toward her, the apparition disappearing into her being.

Maira lowers her head for a moment, spreading her arms to the side as if walls were trying to close her in--then flaming wings sprout from her back as she seems to combine with Uist. Then she looks up, burning like a small sun, she summons a large fireball of her and Uist's combined powers, then charges forward to rush the creature, encasing her form in arcane force to use it as a battering ram. "You will NOT have anyone's souls!" they yell, the voice that comes from Maira's mouth, two-toned as she, along with everyone, gives this thing all they've got.
Minerva Minerva is just getting pounded on, she's shocked it's speaking. "You failed to digest it when you consumed my world beast! She however seems to be preparing or something far beigger as for her boast she's holding back but she seems to be focusing, charging herself up for something but just what is the monk up to. There is no grunting thankfully.
Faruja Senra Fire. /ALL OF THE FIRE/. Faruja is quite happy most of it's being directed /away/ from him as Palom's great magical mastery and Maira's massive ball of fire plus ghost-infused-ramming. So many strong individuals assault the great monster causing so much trouble for this Church. The burmecian does his best to keep everyone in fighting shape, especially Maira given how hard she hit. He /swears/ he heard bones break. Cure!
Katyna Amid the chaos, Katyna is again forced to cover the civilians as most everyone else goes on the offensive, much to her reluctance. More bolts of magic and flashes of steel fly around.

The heartless monster seems quite tough, but the heroes are slowly chipping away at its energy levels. But it too seems to be dealing quite a hefty blow to the heroes in turn. WIll they be able to survive its final blow?..It talked once, didn't it? Or was it just an echo of its former self? At any rate, it doesnt talk again, only makes horrible snarling, gutteral sounds that are barely comprehensible..

In the end, the combined might of the heroes is enough to bring the monster to its knees, but not before it manages to turn towards the civilians, and opens its dark mouth, unleashing a massive explosion as it activates its massive attack.

Fortunately, it manages to explode and burst into hundreds of munny before it can finish its attack. Unfortunately Katyna ends up taking the brunt of its attack, even as it is only partially completed, as her greedy eyes gleam for the munny. Ironically, it is not her desire to protect the civilians so much as her desire for the munny that catches her in the line of fire this time, saving those who have not yet fled.

With a scream she is launched into the air, slashed and sliced by the monster's final attack then hurled into a bloody, broken heap on the ground.
Aerith Aerith glanced toward empty space for a moment then toward Katyna. Realization dawned on her, but she said nothing as she headed toward her side and pulled out one of her potions. "Hey, stay with me! You're gonna be okay..." She glanced toward a seemingly random direction. "..I promise."
Faruja Senra Finally, the beast goes down, with a minimum of casualties. Faruja doesn't waste any time rushing to the fallen body of Katyna. "Lady Maira, Lady Gainsborough, assist me! And someone stop those civilians from running about and getting themselves skewered!" he yells out as he downs an ether, Curagas already flashing over the poor, beaten woman.
Maira "It's over. We've done it," Uist says to her, his voice inside her mind as they both release the tense bond for their normal state.

Maira turns, seeing Katyna has been hit and needs help, hearing the paladin ghost yell her name. Maira rushes toward Katyna with the others, preparing a healing spell which she quickly casts over her. With her, Faruja and Aerith all here, all with healing magic, Katyna should be just fine.

"'re alright. Heh...your friend is still watching over you..." she says, looking up and over toward the spirit of the paladin. She smiles lightly to him and nods her head to him as a gesture of respect and understanding.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart phews and pants as the shadow disapears. "Good job." She shakes her head, sliding back to her feet after rolling away from her own attack like that. She's been in worse shape. And now everyone is okay, the 'hostages' or whatever they were doing here are safe..

Yet the barmaid just stands guard, looking around in case more of them lurk around... Usually, heartless come in droves after all.
Avira Up in close, Avira sees what the Heartless is about to do by way of 'annihilating the civilians'. Not that it could get through that fire barrier but the gesture is enough to make Avira's blood boil. A shout escapes Avira's mouth and she stabs the Spine in deeper and deeper, eager to fell the Heartless before it can. As well in this position, she can see Kat really take one for the team. At least..Avira THINKS she's doing it to help the civillians.

Of course, she's wrong but she doesn't know that!

She moves to lead the civillians out, slowing for a moment when she hears Maira mention something-Kat's friend was still watching over him. Avira smiles as well, looking at the same spot Maira is...even though she can't see the ghost itself. It has to be there-they all do since she knows Maira and Aerith have not been guiding themselves all night.
Palom The ghost is purged by magic fire! Palom ... would rejoice, but that lady who wanted help in the first place just got hit! Bad! He hurries over to her, "Hey lady, are you...?" he starts to ask. Unsure what to say. There's nothing he can do! This is Porom's department!
Gesandte The Giant man looking around as the battle ends, as things settle. The injury of the comrade not passed on him, he does what any rational man would do. He looks towards the injured one and starts a soft prayer, for living, and getting better and various other things. He's not healer, and thus the best he can do is hope that his prayers will help others get better. Prayer and keeping guard, his best qualifies indeed.
Minerva Minerva was all powered up and ready go go but then comes Maira with the pain she lets the energy she was building just fade back to whence it came. Sghe seems happy enough though that the thing seems to be down. "Well done Maira, well done." She's not a healer but there's not much she can do other than falling back to guard the others.

"It talked, that is not ... normal."
Katyna Fortunately it seems most of the civilians have been spared too much injury after Maira created a protective fire barrier that managed to absorb most of the offensive attacked directed at them from the heartless. One or two stragglers peer curiously at Katyna, thankful for her help, still unknowing who she truly is.

Many still have some wounds from before the heroes come, and some of the children amongst them cry and whimper, still in shock. A few step forward and bashfully thank the various heroes, particularly Maira for her protective magics, but the others two for defeating the monster.

The restless spirits too, are grateful to be released from their long prison, and Maira and Aerith may now notice a gentle point of light rising from the ceiling which is where the many fallen ascend towards, peaceful smiles on their faces..

The paladin ghost however, remains and watches Katyna in particular..As if he were indeed watching over her.

"Huh..?" Kat blinks, coughing up a bit of blood, but no worse for wear, once the various healing spells and potions are administered to her. She glances around in surprise as people help her, and just..Smiles softly, nodding. "Thanks.." What a strange feeling that falls over her...rIs this...What it feels like to do good for others...? One eye still glances longingly towards the munny, until Maira speaks.

Wait a minute, 'Friend watching over her?' Kat stares back at Maira, scratching her head in confusion. "What? Who now? Where?" She glances around anxiously now, and oddly enough, the rosary around her neck begins to glow softly..
Aerith Aerith glanced toward Maira. "I wouldn't call him a friend, per se." She looked at Katyna. "I wouldn't talk if I were you. It'd be best to save talking for later when you're not half dead." Aerith administered another potion, then stood, brushing the dust off of her jeans. She headed toward the empty space next to Katyna. "But then if you're not a friend, that would mean you're something else."
Faruja Senra Good, she's alright (ish). Faruja nods in Aerith's direction. "I agree with Lady Gainsborough. Rest, Lady Redsvaren."

The rat's about to start a few Cure-ings of civilians and the rest of the group alike, when that cross glows. One of the rat's ears perk. Silently, he listens, pausing. Finally, it hits him. The Templar smiles, and throws a salute to empty air. "Well met, Ser. Well met."
Maira Maira simply smiles and casts another healing spell on Katyna, her eyes drawn toward the rosary around her neck. "Heh..." she says, and reaches out and gives it a little poke. Katyna has told VALKYRI the story, Maira has made the connection. "Yes, your friend. Sir Kasrillen," she says, looking toward the ghost. "At least, that is who I assume he is. Though, he called you Kityana..."
Avira Avira's pretty happy to receive thanks from the saved souls, living and dead alike. She also seems pretty anxious about getting out of here as soon as possible. Something about the dead around her, even if they were friendly, gave her chills. This is mitigated a little when she focuses on Maira and Katyna speaking of Ser Kasrillen. Avira's eyes fall upon the glowing rosary and she smiles.

"So he really is always with you." Avira says quietly, "Kityana, hmm."
Gesandte Welp, standing around, doing nothing cept watching for more possible trouble, and just not being of use. That's exactly what the giant does. Giant's are good at that, and for punching things, always with punching things, and preaching, preaching is a great thing.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart listens to the chatter on the way out, hmming a bit. She doesn't know who's that Kityana should be or means really, but anyway. As long as everyone's safe. "Let's all get out of here, and get a good bath or something to relax, shall we?" Maybe hotsprings would be nice too.
Faruja Senra A fuzzy brow rises. Faruja tilts his head slightly. "Kityana, hmm?" How odd. Had Katyna changed her name at some point?

One ear perks up, and Faruja smiles a touch. "Lady Lockhart, I could not agree more! These civilians need to rest as well. I cannot imagine the fright they have been through." /He'd/ be freaked out if left down here too long.
Tifa Lockhart One of the nuns who works at the church walks up to Faruja, smiling softly. "Ser, I can see that you are a man of the church. A noble templar if I am correct? We are most grateful to you and your friends for your help this night. If only we had such brave templars to protect this church from such fiends at all times, then we would all feel a little safer. I wonder if you might be able to offer the services of your templars to us in the future? We would all be very grateful to you and yours..

Others start crowding around the heroes, some offering them little gifts, mostly munny and food, some staring at awe at them. Most of these people are not warriors or fighters. Just peace loving people who wish to feel safe. They felt safe tonight, but will they ever have templars of their own to protect them always?

Katyna smiles at Palom. "I'll be alright. I'm tough!" She makes a face at all the fussing. Really, she hasnt' felt this since...Back then, before they were all slaughtered. Back at Hollow bastion, she's just a nuisance to some, and cannon fodder for others. But this..She sighs tiredly then, glancing up wards as a sudden flash of light catches her attention. There, in the briefest of moments, the ghostly figure of a proud and noble paladin smiles and bows to her and the others before leaving, vanishing into the light.

"Wait!!" She calls, "Sir Kasrillen...Dont go...Dont leave me all alone..." She whimpers, tears streaming down her face as she clutches her rosary, eyes closed for a moment as she loses conscioussnes..
Aerith Aerith turned to glance at... Kityana... and smiled as the girl passed out. "Oh trust me, he's still looking out for you..."
Maira Maira doesn't know what to make of it as people try to give her gifts, most of which she refuses (except the food. The food she takes. One never, ever turns down the offer of food.) She thanks them, tells them it is really not necessary, then goes back to fussing over Katyna.

Tears rise as if on call as soon as she sees Katyna's eyes grow misty--she calls for the ghost and Maira almost sobs. It is how she would feel if Uist had to leave. She would be crushed. She wouldn't know what to do with herself.

Maira leans down to hug Katyna close, even though she's passed out. Its still good to be held.

Then Maira eats a muffin. This is unrelated. But its pistachio, and seriously, it can't wait.
Faruja Senra Faruja watches as poor Katyna...kityana faints. Shaking his head, the Burmecian crosses his chest. "All go to the Lord's arms in time. He served well, and indeed, saved our lives this day. Ser Kasrillen is an example to all in the Order." He'll be damned if Kasrillen doesn't get promoted for this. Service beyond death is rare indeed.

Turning about, Faruja shakes his head at the praise. "'Tis naught but my duty, Sister. Thank these brave men and women moreso; they risked their lives for this place, all upon naught but their own conscience. While I am a but a humble servant, these events necessitate the presence of the Templar. I return to Mullonde shortly, I shall speak with my superiors and see what can be done. Before I leave I shall speak with the...local priest? Canoness? Whomever oversees this Church." The report on that had been rather iffy. But no doubt the rat shall get with them soon, and see about leveraging the heck out of this opportunity. Church conversion successful!

This scene contained 150 poses. The players who were present were: Faruja Senra, Tifa Lockhart, Katyna, Avira, Maira, Hati, Minerva, Aerith, Palom, Faervel Tathren, Gesandte