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No title.
(2013-02-14 - 2013-02-14)
No description.
Morrighan Alazne It has been several days now since the southern continent began to feel the gradual pull of magic energy being transferred across the land, in the direction of the Iifa tree. Anyone brave enough to attempt to survey the situation were made short work of by the heartless and any aerial and land vehicles were promptly destroyed and shot out of the sky. Thus, the mystery continued...

Until now.

Quite fed up with the lack of answers as the land's magical energy continued to be drained away, postings were made in Junon, Goug, Traverse Town, Rabanastre, Fluorgis, Baron, basically any major city worth talking about. And they all requested the same thing; go to the southern continent and ascertain just what exactly is happening on the southeastern end of the continent.

It was also made clear that this would not be an easy job and information was scarce as any attempts at surveillance was thwarted. The only thing to be seen in all of this, was a thick white mist slowly billowing outwards...

Meanwhile, the mastermind behind all of this; one Morrighan Alazne, stood some distance before the massive Iifa Tree. Her choice of apparel had changed at some point, forgoing her usual white ensemble for a rather fancy black dress. Arguably unfit for prancing around in. It was quite a change, but somehow, it suited her far more. Below her feet was a rather large network of magical glyphs marking the ground. Each of them intertwined within one another and revolving at a slow pace. Their reach extended across the entirety of the Iifa Tree's grounds and it was plain to see the magical energy flowing into them from the ground before it, some wisps of magic escaping from the ground and floating through the air lazily.

Furthering this sinister looking setup were heartless of all shapes and sizes. Shadows, Soldiers, Invisibles, and Darkballs lined the far outer perimeter of the magic ritual, forming a defensive line to any would be intruders. Far outside the general area where several round, metal spheres, lazily floating through the air. Their blue 'eyes' scanning for untowards signs of life. And anything they saw, Morrighan saw in her mind's eye. So far, nothing was there. Finally within the grounds of the ritual and near by the dark elven mistress was a tall figure. Standing at around ten feet and decked out in full armor. A large deer skull helmet obscured their face, thus leaving their identity a mystery to all but Morrighan herself. He must have been a bodyguard.

Well now, she really was not playing around this time. Whatever she was planning to do, she intended for it to happen without any interruptions. Having been focused on the ritual, the dark elf's eyes had been closed for some time now. In her hands, which were clasped together to her chest, was a dark purple crystal with glowed with an ominous light...the same color of light as the magic glyphs so clearly emblazoned on the ground.

Eventually though, her eyes opened and the stone's glow lessened somewhat. In that time, she turned her head a bit, giving her mysterious bodyguard a look. "I expect that we will have brave heroes coming to prove themselves very soon. All that I require you do is to keep them busy. I will be focused on continuing the ritual, thus I cannot immediately assist you."

A dark smile found it's way onto the equally dark mistress' face then and she added. "...But then, I hardly believe you require it, no?"

Apparently that was a rhetorical question as she had turned away from the man, her eyes closing again as the stone's glow intensified once more.

The ritual continued, and mist could be seen expelling from the Iifa Tree at a bit of a faster rate...
Count Valos In all fairness, the armored individual was not ten feet tall innately, the antlers of his helmet added a good two and a half feet to his stature, but those prongs were sharp enough that they still presented a threat to anyone would might think to carelessly intercept a head-butt coming from his end. Silent, and catatonic, the massive drow kept a vigil about him, being mindful of his environment. He could hear vibrations emanating from afar, and knew that something was approaching- what was approaching was not something he could altogether foresee, yet.... he imagined it was nothing other than what Morrighan forecasted; interlopers.

"I challenge the notion that those who arrive will be heroic, and that they will prove very much about themselves that is worthy of any merit, Miss Alazne. For beginners, 'hero' insinuates that these persons possess intentions that altruistic; their actions will no doubt be self-serving. Secondly, if they happen to win the day.... what does this demonstrate? That chance decided to favor them on this particular day? None who exist came into being by their own will, and thus, none will exit by the same token- any power they believe they hold is but a delusion of grandeur. If they had any true degree of control, they would have predicted this charade and prevented it long before it even began. But.... surely we can discuss this at a later time, if both of us are not dead before the opportunity emerges...."

Gidarch Valos had a pact with Morrighan- she had prolonged his life for at least the course of a few months, by having yanked him from the quicksand from which he found himself unable to escape. In exchange for this service, he had promised her a favor that would 'not exceed the value of his life'. Prior to assisting the endeavor that is to transpire, he'd sought assurances that the results of her deed would not surpass the worth of his existence- which was to be defined as the impediment of his mental faculties. With the confirmation that 'inhibited' intellect was not a possible outcome, the nobleman deigned that their contract was not void; if it was to be that he would perish through the advocation of her scheme, be it mass extinction of life the world over, or simply on a continental level, then he would feel no regret, for his terms were not for the preclusion of the 'abolition' of his cognitive processes, but merely the impairment thereof.

The logic was congruent, and thus, here he is, operating as the shorter elf's bodyguard while she performs her ritual, in the hopes that he can hypothetically prevent, or at least mitigate any interruptions. The dark goliath had no reservations on this day, for he wasn't the nosy sort, and therefore had yet to receive a legitimate giving reason to question her motives, since it was already decreed that the one thing he treasured would be completely sustained or else destroyed in the wake of her arcane conjuration; his ability to argue a point, with the stipulation that it would have the potential to include sound reason! A mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste, whereas the perpetuation of life in of itself is entirely inconsequential.
Garland The Iifa Tree is one of the most brilliant inventions in the history of the planet Gaia, though only the most depraved and maddened souls would appreciate its true purpose, and only one creature alive - for charitable definitions of the word 'alive' - knows that purpose today. Fewer still would call it the genius it deserves; even the maddest of men would look askance if they knew the darkness that lurks at the heart of it, the blackness that tree is meant for. Most simply know it as a colossal, magical tree. The dwarves call it the Sanctuary, and scribe their names on the tree after their weddings; their love and respect is innocent, the naivete of creatures who cannot possibly conceive of the nightmare they walk so near.

The person utilizing the Iifa Tree now is most certainly not innocent. Morrighan Alazne is no innocent in love, no kind woman seeking the tree's blessing; she steals power, meddling with the great tree itself for her dark designs.

But what she steals from, and what she meddles with, she cannot begin to truly comprehend.


On the hidden world of Terra, high in the sky of the World of Ruin, blocked from prying eyes by magic and technology alike, there is a control room. Within that control room, a single entity sits, an ancient machine designed to keep watch over Gaia in case of even the slightest change. Great flickerng monitors - many of which have gone white with static since the World Crash - beam information into the optical centers of this creature constantly, allowing it to process with incredible speed, far more than the organic watchdogs that once were stationed there. And within that control room, as Morrighan Alazne begins her work, the alarms begin to blare. The ancient mechanical creature lurches from its informational reverie, scanning the monitor rapidly before reaching for a communication device. Its master must be made aware of this.

It might as well not have bothered. Its master already knew. And he is furious.


Perhaps 'furious' is not an accurate descriptor. The shadows tremble as Garland steps from one of the Corridors of Darkness, tearing reality asunder and setting his great armored feet upon the base of the Iifa Tree once again.

For most of those who had met Garland before, the difference is immediate. Normally, Garland is cold, emotionless; he is so calculated, so black-hearted, so fiercely controlled, so tightly bound, that every action he takes is built for some dark and terrible design. For those who had met Garland before this moment, the absolute mastery of self that he normally exudes, the utter and complete confidence born of millenia of training and work, is a given.

For those who have never met Garland before, they could not possibly realize the difference, for they see Garland as he truly is, without the masks of civility and self-control. They see the Ironclad Nightmare for what he is, for what he has always been - a beast made of rage and fury and anger and all the dark emotions of hatred for the world, let loose from his chains to bring sorrow and despair to the one who has roused this terrible beast from his tightly-woven, self-imposed prison.

The difference between the Garland who channels this hatred into a tightly-focused beam and the Garland who stands before them now, raging at the heavens and the Earth and all that live between, letting his power flow outwards without care, is likely staggering and probably more than a little terrifying.
Garland The roar of absolute hatred that escapes Garland's helmet echoes not only through the air, but through the darkness itself; it shakes the shadows and the flesh of those who channel the darkness, making the displeasure of the Ironclad Nightmare well known to all those who wield shadow as their weapon. Garland's fist slams down into the earth, vanishing into the darkness of the Iifa Tree's shade; he rips forth his colossal blade, trailing shadow in its wake like blood, and begins stalking towards the impudent little girl who has dared affront him, has dared to steal from him, has dared to reach into /his/ place of power and steal /his/ magic and /his/ souls for /her/ arrogance. He does not mask his steps with his usual silent skill; he clangs, clangs, clangs down the roots of his glorious tree, pureborn Heartless gathering behind him like servants to a king's cape, their great big yellow eyes appearing from the rippling obsidian wake trailing behind him. They gather behind the Champion of Chaos, drawn to him by the force of his overwhelming hatred being cut loose from its bindings to rage outwards at the world, drawn to this place by the power of his unfettered black heart screaming its anger to the void. Garland calls, and they shudder; Garland walks, and they fall into step beside him.

"You," Garland's black voice intones, and that single word is filled with all the thousand thousand vengeances he promises Morrighan, all the thousand thousand ways he can hurt her, can make her suffer, can extract his pound of flesh for her theft both metaphorically and terrifyingly physically, images conjured to life by merely the violence in his intonation, the raw and bubbling disdain in his cadence, "Have made a grave error, impudent child, in daring to steal from Garland."

The Incarnation Of Chaos hefts his massive blade over his shoulder as he stops atop one of the 'roots', and the Heartless swarming behind him come to a halt, grabbing at his cape like little children clutching at the hem of a robe; his helmet inclines downwards. The meaning is clearer than the light of day - Garland is on the war path.

"Any who dare stand in defense of this child, who feel it /necessary/ to stand up and prevent me from taking my vengeance on this girl out of some misguided belief in kindness, light, justice, love, redemption, or whatever else it is that your insigificant souls hold up as your creeds - know that if you do so, you accept her crime as your own in my eyes, and that I shall from this day forth pour all the power in my possession into making certain that all that you love, all that you care for, all that you have ever held in your hearts, suffers her fate until the end of time itself."

Garland swings his blade off his shoulder as the Heartless scuttle away from the shadow, fanning out behind the Ironclad Nightmare. They know what is about to happen; they know what is about to come, what is about to descend upon this place, and they know far better than to get in the way of Garland's desires. They hang back, wary, as Garland roars, "Consider this single mercy the final shred of kindness I shall offer to any this night! For I shall have the blood I am owed, and none shall stand in my way!"
Avira There is a MYSTERY afoot!

Avira has become privy to this unusual activity through both her VALKYRI contacts and the Twilight Detective Agency (presumably). A sudden unbalance of magical power followed by reports that nobody has come back after investigating do get her attention. With nobody coming forward and the stakes being raised by official investigations being levied, Avira was too happy to take the case.

So to speak.

Naturally, given the danger level portrayed, Avira has certainly brought some of VALKYRI along with her. Angantyr was informed as well, though he had disappeared mysteriously in transit. Therefore, getting here went rather smoothly, any Heartless rising to challenge them are made short work. For direction finding, Avira falls back to her more magically inclined friends, such as Maira, to lead them to this magical drain though as they closed in on the tree, even Avira could see the magical whisps flying through the air.

Avira arrives well after Garland, slowing as she sees the embodiment of chaos baring down on Morrighan and her mysterious bodyguard. Though she has encountered Garland and "fought" with him before, it's seeing him as this now that makes her realize that she has not seen him anywhere near his full power or full wrath.

"...actually I came here to investigate." Avira offers, resting her hands on her hips. "And I would be thwarting Morrighan but...perhaps you have that handled." Curiously, she looks to the skull-headed man (it seems like a man) with her that most certainly is not Kaydin, then beyond to Morrighan herself who seems to have given her outfit an upgrade.

"Controlling Heartless now, huh?" Avira calls out to her, "So you're a full-blown Shadow Lord?"
Angantyr Vespar Moments ago...

Angantyr was getting a job, about to coordinate his efforts with members of Valkyri. That was until his head snapped up, his eyes widened in both fear and concern...and then he turned, a dark corridor appearing around him, before he was simply gone. The thing closes behind him rapidly, baring anyone from following him.

Typically, it takes Ang more than one jump to get close to places he need to be, but... Garland was like a lighthouse, he could easily focus in on him, he could return to the Tower from almost everywhere...but right now, it was like he was more than a lighthouse in the darkness... it was beyond that. Angantyr could /feel/ it deep into his soul. Appearing next to his master's side he looks around himself.

"What in the nine hells...?" he asks, spotting Valos and giving him littel concern, turning his gaze on Morrighan. "...Oh you just <GOOSEHONK>ed up." he says, mace comes out and starts advancing towards Morrighan. "Nothing will save you today, witch." he continues.
Katyna Katyna was mostly curious about the rumours of magical energy being drawn en-mass to one particular focal point, and the accompanying heartless that had gathered there. To be honest, Kat's not a very magical type person herself, although her magical sword - the Fireheart- often seems to react to magic, and even moreso to the massive battery of magical power that resides within the roots of the Iifa tree.

And so she had arrived along with Avira's backup, along with Maira, more a curious bystander, than a righteous hero, determined to see what the fuss was all about. "Avira, I'm here! I've got yer back!" she greets her fellow VALKYRIE cheerfully.

When she arrives, Kat notes Garland's familiar form, although she's never met him but heard plenty about him. And then there's Morrighan who seems to be at the heart of the problem. And...

"Ooh, hey, Valos is that you? whatcha doin'?" Of course, unless she gets direct orders from Avira, Kat's not exactly gonna go all heroic and try and 'save the world' or anything. 'Sides, it looks like Garland's got this one covered. She's keen on seeing what Garland is like in action..

And then there's the arrival of Angantyr, appearing right next to his 'master', and that's got Kat scratching her head again, once more, wondering whose side he's really on..
Maira When the world calls for heroes, for maidens (okay and some men) of battle, VALKYRI answers the call. Maira arrives with Avira and company, trying to ignore the stone that sits heavy in her stomach, its weight growing monumentally the closer they come to the grand tree, the ritual taking place, and the inevitable appearance of Garland. For that is what he is; inevitable.

The energy of the place sends chills up her spine--which is a significant event for one as attuned to the brilliant warmth of flame as Maira. Her amber eyes are wide and terrified, focusing on her breathing as she tilts her head to the side, focused on the air beside her, listening to her unseen companion.

"Uist...go then...I can't leave, but I will not make you stay. you have to go," she tells him. Uist can be assumed to be putting up and argument, for it takes Maira quite a bit of convincing to make him go. "I'm here with friends...we'll protect each other. Uist...go," she says finally, and her almost constant companion flees.

Maira sticks close to Avira, reaching up to hug herself. She's cold. So cold. Truly alarming. "Something is very, very wrong here Avira..."

Maira looks over as Angantyr appears by Garland, her look growing even more troubled if that was possible. No...she trusts him.
Isaac Hanlon ELSEWHERE

Isaac Hanlon, one of the most talented wizards (sorcerers...?) of this new and crazy world, very carefully picks up his glass, takes a drink of delicious caffeinated beverage, and almost immediately spit-takes the entire mouthful into the air directly in front of him.

"Wh-what the hell was that?" he coughs. He staggers to his feet, putting one hand to his temple and looking around as if seeking the man who threw the nonexistent rock. He clears his throat and glances around at the other inhabitants of the bar. "I think -- I think I just felt a genuine disturbance in the Force. Holy crap."

Without pause, Isaac grabs his coat and runs for the door. He'll make calls on the way out. No time to lose.

He thinks.


Isaac has absolutely no idea who any of these people are, except by reputation. That frightens him somewhat, but he doesn't let any of it show on his face.

"Well," Isaac calls, standing a distance from Garland and the ritual site with his hands in his coat pockets, "if you feel it /necessary/ to kick around this 'child' without explaining what it is she's doing wrong, then I guess I'm calling myself a criminal. Because y'know, I've heard all those threats and promises before from another guy in way less poetic terms."

Isaac pulls his tablet from his pocket. He rises a step off the ground. A glimmer of bright orange flame gathers in front of him, swirling lazily amidst the wind and the mist.

"And you, pal -- you ain't no Ophiuchus."

> taunt button
Sarafina Carenze Sarafina isn't sure she gives a shit if Garland beats the hell out of Morrighan. She doesn't even know who Garland really is, except apparently affiliated with Angantyr?, and honestly doesn't even know what the purpose of this tree is. Sarafina doesn't see herself as 'heroic' anyway. Practical, perhaps, not full of super evil to the point that she is a sociopath, certainly, but to a certain extent she is perfectly fine with being 'self serving', especially when it comes to people messing around with giant doom trees for unknown purposes and has personally nearly killed her and serves Baron despite, honestly, probably knowing better. But if she knew Valos's story, which she doesn't (and frankly it's a mystery whether she cares to), she would say his own behavior is particularly self serving. So self serving, in fact, that he is only assisting Morrighan because she had done him a favor. A purely mercantile relationship whereas Morrighan's power grab--it surely is that--stopping it may be selfish, but not entirely so.

Isaac dragged her along. Possibly because chainsaws tend to be useful in these situations. She gives Garland a look over. He looks strong. Tough, too. Could she handle him? She doesn't know for certain. She surely could not handle him, Morrighan, and her bodyguard at the same time and she is highly doubtful Morrighan won't just shoot her in the back if she DID move to help her and even the most altruistic of people would be cautious in such circumstances lest they be deemed fools.

"Well Isaac... he might just explain it well at that." She gazes up at Garland. "Would you, sir?" Though he has the Heartless on his side. Normally that would tell her just fine that she should be helping Morrighan, except she knows damn well that Morrighan would be just fine using the Heartless too.

"Either way, though..." She murmurs to Isaac. "I don't like our options here. You think of a third one?"
Deidra Deidra had been hanging out Isaac as of late, he's been helping her make a iTome of her own and finally it was operationaal and she's just been going through it. Heck she'd put a few of her MP3's on it but then he'd well? Started to depart at some disturbance in the force while not as powerful as Isaac she did feel something strange herself and so away she goes folloing him right out the door.

"Hey wait up!"

now she's keeping up with Isaac and Garland is here. She suddenly has an idea of what it's like to meet Darth Vader and /then/ some. She looks at Isaac's reactiona nd is going to stick with him.

"So we got someone trying to plug into the firehose lovely."

She's got the tablet out of her own jacket pocket and brings up several pages.

"Well Isaac I did need to test this thing out."

The Gartyole wings fan out and her tail shifts about as she gets a better balance she seems not narky but pretty focused. "MORRIGAN! I TOLD YOU ID FIND YOU AFTER MANHATTAN! YOU ARE NOT GETTING AWAY!"
TRON TRON had armored up and followed Avira to investigate the situation brewing in the World of Ruin. Having little to no experience with this world, he has primarily remained silent and has battered back Heartless while they make their way to the source of the disturbance.

He hesitates upon seeing the scene at the base of the Ilfa Tree, every bit and byte of his core screaming to stay away. He has never met Garland, but this scene--right here--is a warning to /never/ give him a reason to. He faintly recognizes Angantyr standing at Garland's side, having only met the Dark Knight once. The apparent cause of all this is beyond his understanding right now, and a building conflict between Garland and anyone who stands between him and the spellcaster seems inevitable indeed.

He twirls his staff in one hand, silently eyeing the Heartless all around but making no move to attack nor interfere. Still, he notices Maira's distress and reaches out to place a gauntleted hand on her shoulder.
Royce Far and away, Royce had come to find that she preferred to be within the massive amalgamation of realities and dimensions that have collectively come to be known as the World of Ruin. It was an apt title, one that spoke volumes about the source of its creation as well as the mindset of many of the various nations and kingdoms who had been thrust upon one another's doorsteps. Dark magic flows freely here. It seeps from the very land itself like the polluted bile of a cancerous wound in the planet itself, carrying with it the promises of power and lore unlike anything she could have ever imagined in the land of her origins.

War was a constant thing here as well. Humanity and its various demi-human offshoots all vied for supremacy; over resources, over each other, over the monsters that inhabited the untamed wilds, and even over the land itself in some places. Nations clashed, adventurers overstepped their bounds, ancient horrors roamed. She could practically feel the constant touch of death on her skin like the folds of cloak wrapped tightly about her body. This world was ripe for the harvest.

As it so happens, the girl was in the midst of sorting the spoils of one such desolate battlefield. Various bits of flesh and bone lay on a table before her in assorted states of decay and dismemberment. The sands and the desert heat had done an admirable job of preserving their integrity and she was keen to see what kind of results such a bounty could produce.

0Ah such marvelous specimens. I shall have to dig deep into my lore to find an appropriate use for these parts. We shant let them go to waste. Though it would seem we have little need to worry about our supplies being limit--what was that?"

Royce's head lifts from her task, turning to stare up into the empty space above as if trying to spot the source of the disturbance. "I don't sense anything."

0Quiet girl! I... yes! Such... overwhelming power! Quickly, we must go and investigate this.

"But the experiment..."

0...will keep until we get back! Stop arguing and GO. I will not allow this chance to slip through our fingers.

Gathering up her weapon from its resting place, the witch lifts her hood and makes a dash for the exit of the elaborate Victorian-style mansion in which she currently resides. The door swings open and bright light fills her view for a few moments. When it clears away she is standing in the basement of the church at the edge of Traverse Town. The door behind her is gone.

As she steps into the world proper once more the overwhelming surge of darkness hits her sharply and her knees buckle, almost forcing her to the ground. "Yes... yes, I feel it now." Royce dashes quickly and quietly out the back entrance where prying eyes will not spy her, vanishing swiftly into the portal between worlds.

She follows the currents of magic, not particularly surprised that they are leading her towards the epicenter of the massive arcane build-up that has been surging at the edges of her senses for the past several days. Another familiar portal of darkness swirls and tears open at the edge of the Iifa Tree and the girl steps out to survey the unfolding scene of confrontation.
LEXUS There is a flash of digital light in the area as an entity rezzes into existence. Wireframe forms into a fully rendered representation of an older man in a suit, his lines etched with the weight of hard choices.

"Morrighan." LEXUS says, an edge of regret in his voice. "Please, you must cease this procedure immediately. You are doing harm to one who would be an ally to you. Please, beg ignorance, Morrigan. Beg anything. This is not worth the gamble. I'm sure Garland would show a vague hint of mercy if you ceased."
Seymour Guado A small troup of Yevonites lead by a guado, though his features seem diluted giving him a more human appearence, apart from the long horn like hair and plant like vascular veins on his forehead and eyes.
They travelled for ages and his companions seemed to be showing signs of tiring, The Guado did not he seemed cool and collected as he marched through the mist enhaling the smell of the deceased, this place drew him there the pull of magical energies could be felt all the way in Spira's cities and now he had arrived.

Seeing and hearing a gathering of sorts he could only bow and perform the prayer of Yevon, then in a commanding voice he would announce himself "I am Maester Seymour Guado. Maester of Yevon. I'm not here to fight but I shall defend myself if given just cause to!"

Taking a rest he would choose his words carefully for his reasons to being there "I am here to investigate matters transpiring here, and if possible gain knowledge beneficial to Yevon and all Spiran life."
Seymour could feel the rising tension in magic all around him, it was like electric daring to spark his skin should he move. He had never felt such power before of course his curiousity and want of such power began to grow in him but he knew little of the rituals required. It was simply there a blazing well of power teasing him with the fact there was now rope and bucket to lower down and drink from it.
Morrighan Alazne "A compelling argument you present. However, if I know the people that I know...they will be more than willing to prove themselves champions of light and justice, merely for the sole purpose that they can." The dark elf lightly shook her head then, orbital blades shifting as she did so. "But then, I am also expecting foolish mercenaries out for coin and those otherwise who would take issue with my plans. Nevertheless, it is up to you." A faint giggle is given then as Morrighan gave a moment of forethought to who she imagined would show up.

It was then that Garland appeared, stepping through a dorridor of darkness with all the fury of a raging typhoon. The way the heartless did not even attack him, his very presence itself. She did not even have to think twice about who this was.

"Me." She responded, perhaps a bit snarkily, if the smile edging onto her face was any indication. And then he proceeded to speak of vengeance for crimes done. And that any who stood in her defense would siffer the same. "Oh my. Does this fancy tree belong to you then?" The dark mistress inquired casually. His display of power was certainly foreboding. And perhaps she should have been worried for her life, but... A glance is given towards Valos then, seemingly writing off the Ironclad Nightmare.

"You know what to do with him."

Angantyr's typically profane remarks are given little heed as she closed her eyes, proceeding to continue with the ritual, right in front of the one whom this very tree belonged to. Avira's voice is heard in the meantime, but she does not move to look. "Shadow Lord? Baron? Good? Evil? Light? Dark?" The elven woman laid out several terms questioningly, and rhetorically, as she continued on regardless, speaking with her eyes closed. "What are these but useless titles readily thrown out by people in order to justify the things that they do? The things they plan to do? And the thing that they have done in the past."

She can feel several more people coming as the seconds tick by. A call from an inconsequential gargoyle from time long past is given no heed whatsoever, piled with with the rest of the 'inconsequentials' in her mind. This ritual was more important than petty taunts. Really now, she expected that this would happen eventually. It was a wonder she got as far into this ritual that she had before interference came sooner. The appearance of LEXUS gave the woman pause only for a moment, at least causing her to open her eyes. "...Mercy? I am not looking for mercy. Nor am I begging ignorance. I know what I am doing and it will be done." A dark smile found it's way onto Morrighan's face then as she continued the ritual.

More mist funneled out from the depths of the Iifa Tree and the glow of the magic glyphs revolving along the ground intensify. One can clearly hear the 'hum' of magic circulating through the circles now. Whatever she has planned, it is nearing fruition...
Count Valos
The gargantuan in silver mail waves an arm to the 'protagonists' assembled, in order to garner their attention, after which he bows respectfully, which is a custom he'd recently assimilated from his time spent amongst humankind. Once he's done that, he twists his head from side to side to take in the visage of those before him, and speaks in an outdoor voice, "Attention everyone!" He tries to flag them all down, in the event some of them have their focus directed elsewhere, "First off, I would like to proclaim that I have to some extent, picked some of your brains before you arrived, and can assure you that I will perform an exquisite job for both you and Miss Alazne today, as far as quality control is concerned; by the by, that is in fact my purpose here today."

He nods his head, as if to affirm that his words are earnest, then he continues with his little speech, "I am extending you the courtesy of informing you what kind of endeavors will, and will not waste both your time, and my time. Non-forceful verbal resistance, such as crying, or trying to coerce me into reneging on my deal with Miss Alazne will be a futile pursuit, because I would then surely invalidate the legitimacy of your belief systems if we delved into a comprehensive debate; all I need achieve this is the exposure of a mutually agreed-upon premise, followed by the proving of your subsequent arguments as hypocritical. Forceful verbal resistance, such as yelling or screaming will also not deter me, because you can in no way frighten me; my conviction is absolute. Non-forceful physical resistance, such as retreat, will not result in preventing me from carrying out my duties, which doesn't even account for the fact that it would be discordant, since you were compelled to come here for a reason- Miss Alazne's arguably foreboding actions have caused you to experience some degree of fear, hate, or curiosity; this being the case unless you are in fact, strictly here on business, in which case you would be obligated to remain regardless of personal opinion, lest you violate any contracts you might have. With these pieces of information under your belt, you may now rest assured that forceful physical resistance is the only viable hope you have of negating my labors, so you ultimately have no choice but to either subdue me, or exterminate me."

Gidarch then raises a finger, pointedly, punctuating the importance of the concession he's about to grant, "If, for the lapse of our altercation, you have questions, concerns, criticisms, or compliments regarding the degree of professionalism that I exhibit, you will obviously need to address me properly.... thus, out of respect to the efficient nature inherent to civil discourse, I shall provide you with my name; it is Count Gidarch Sherana Valos. You may refer to me as Count, lord, or Mister Valos; seeing that I am not emotionally attached to any of you personally, it would be totally inappropriate to be calling one another by something other than our surnames, after all." He then glances over to Katyna, "Please remember to include a title or honoric when addressing me, if you would be so charitable?"

Finally, he levels his hefty axe, and adopts a defensive stance, "Now then... let us not stall, for it is out of purely unwavering empathy that I plan to end your lives as quickly as possible, just as it would be in your best interest to dispatch me as efficiently as you are able, if you are in fact as much a compassionate a person as I am; although, I sincerely doubt this is the case!" It might also be noteworthy to mention that his deadpan quality of voice infers that he isn't at all facetious regarding his last presumption that those assembled are less generous than himself.... On another note, despite Garland's grand entrance and his declarations of impending eternal suffering for those who interfere, Gidarch seems indifferent- it's not that he doubts that the large warrior is incapable of inflicting harm on him, but the lofty dark elf has already accepted the fact that Garland's presence, in his view, is irrelevant to the contingent of his eternal torment coming to pass, if it is to be; he is every ounce the fatalist. For anyone who can sense chi, it is at this point that an overwhelming vibrance radiates from Gidarch; he has charged himself up for this event! Nodding to Morrighan, who bids him handle Garland, Valos initially enchants himself by cloaking himself in a defensive barrier.
Garland There is a brief, unmentionable silence as Garland surveys the area, the iron tyrant gazing over the soon-to-be-battlefield not with the grim certainty of a military commander polished to perfection, of an ancient and brilliant warrior surveying a tactical landscape, but of a beast, a great steel predator with great steel claws and great steel anger ready to feed on all the blood it can possibly consume. It is a silence that falls around him and him alone, as the Heartless scurry out of his way, eager not to be caught underfoot but equally eager to feed on the bloodshed in his wake; they are like the scavenger fish that swim behind a great shark, feeding and feeding and feeding off the offpouring of his violence. They scurry and they scuttle, little pureborn black things not so much under his control as aware of the true nature behind him and eager (if such a word can truly be applied to the mindless) to take advantage of it.

Then Isaac speaks, and Sarafina in turn. That helmet swings downwards to look at them, look through them, the darkness pouring off of Garland as physical a force as the sound of a space shuttle launching or the light of a supernova exploding. There's a snarling quality to his voice as he speaks, as if he isn't really a man, but the great steel beast that he seems; it echoes over the battlefield as if amplified by magic, to make certain that ALL who wish to hear of her crimes know.

"You wish to know her crimes." Garland echoes slowly, "Very well. Then you shall know her crimes. She has plundered my property, reached into the heart of my place of power and ripped forth that which belongs to me to further her schemes. She has dared, in her arrogance, to reach into the sun, and like a child she will be burned, and that may be punishment enough for you - but I will teach her and this little whelp that dares to stand beside her that those who steal from Garland will *suffer* my wrath. There is no escape, no peace, no shield, no defender, that will protect this girl. There is no plea that will grant her a mercy greater than a swift and relatively painless death; should she admit her ignorance and release this ritual she has begun, I may - /perhaps/ - find some kindness in the depths of my soul and allow her to walk away."

"But you, child, should look at this place - look at this girl, look carefully at what she wields, at what she is attempting to bring together - and tell me. Do you think it is in your best interests to stand /in front of me/, and allow her to finish it? Or do you think it is in your best interests to /aid me/, and *break* her spell before it is completed?"

Morrighan speaks. She unveils her arrogance, her raw, naked stupidity. She unveils her disdain, her insolence, her sheer /ignorance/ of the world around her, and Garland's fury is staggered for all of a moment not by shock or surprise or entertainment, but by the level of absolute stupidity. "Do you think there is no such thing as evil, child? Do you think that there is no such thing as morality, as good and evil, as the just and the injust? Do you think that you are somehow exempt, somehow greater?"
Garland The laughter that peels out of him as he advances down the slope of the Iifa Tree is terrifying in its apathy. His laughter is horrible; if there is compassion in one's heart, if there is kindness in one's soul, it must surely remind them of their darkest nightmares, of the things that lurk in their dreams in the dead of night and draw forth those memories into the waking world. The Mist parts around Garland; it is as if the terrible thing that is the Iifa tree truly knows who its master is, and indeed, it does; it reacts to his presence, shudders in his wake, its roots moving downwards to let him walk with ease towards Valos and Morrighan. He laughs, and he laughs, and he laughs, and he laughs.

He does not speak but one phrase, as the horde of heartless begin to descend with him, marching like tin soldiers to his terrible, evil beat. He does not speak bu one, single phrase, and it echoes out to the whole of the area, magnified by his presence to his place of power.

"Do not kill either of them. I want them both /alive/."
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr looks towards Valos, he gives him a long stare...

"You...have no idea what you are dealing with, do you? You...seriously just..." he looks oddly, "This..." he just shakes his head, and laughs uncontrolably. He laughs helplessly, even as LEXUS tries to use convince on Morrighan, and she not only talked back to him...but to Garland as well. "You fool, do you not see that she is only going to lead you to your destruction? I am not talking about just dying either...oh god, I am sure you'll WISH for death in a little bit.." he looks at Morrighan, "She will too, I imagine." he says, laughing again.

"You seriously think I will call you anything but 'Dead Man walking?'" And then Valos keeps talking...and talking...and talking...and talking.

And then Morrighan talks...

He just laughs again.

And then Valos keeps talking...

"Alright that's it. You talk /TOO DAMN MUCH! ANGANTYR SMASH!" Angantyr says, before he runs up right towards Valos, his right hand snapping out, aiming to lead the way as he tries to smash it, right into him. The fist, burning with dark fire, aims to light Valos on fire, but also, find any enchantments on him...and BREAK them.
Deidra Deidra listens at Morrigahn just goes off on at tehsm she listens at least she was just about had enough her home is gone in part thanks to Morrighan. She alsio realises how dangerous it is taping this much power could end up being for everyone else. Given her mind set, the Gartyole just wnats to stop her at this point. She istrns as she gets all subjective. That is the largest load of <Goosehonk> she's heard in a while but the Dark Elf has made her choice and Deidra has made her, her eyes are turning solid red at this point as she snarts a little. As Count Valos also starts talking and talking she's flipping through pagers of her iTome to get the spell she needs. She starts chanting in latin and she's glowing a bit as does the iTome. She's clearling preparing her spell and now she unleases it upon the Count. It does no physical harm but it's intentd to magically sap her victem and play havoce with their connection to the world itself. Magic could effect them differently or he might even be weaken but even as she casts Garlands worlds just scare the hell out of the young Gargyole. This is not a man whom to mess with lightly on a 'good' day. Then she casts following up Angantyr's attacks.
Avira Avira turns to slowly stare at Isaac who dares to try and insert himself between Garland and Morrighan. She swallows uncomfortably and quickly starts murmuring into...her phone? Yes, her phone, at a time like this, with all this madness swirling around her. Yet this was important. Avira liked Isaac. Isaac was a member of her Hades Cup team. If Garland destroyed him, Avira would be incredibly sad.

"Useless titles? Justification? That's rather high and mighty coming from you, Morrighan, who has aimlessly following for so long. These titles give purpose, which you have been lacking. It's strange, given how reasonable you seemed to the people around you!"

The scarred woman steps closer, loathing in her eyes, "You stood before me and practically begged me to kill you. But what I see before me now isn't that aimless elf lazily waiting for someone to lead her. Why?"

She pauses, glancing over at Valos as he impressively pontificates about his current arrangement with Morrighan and his alleged role in this alteraction today. After a long period of silence, Avira rolls her eyes, then turns to look back at Morrighan. "Now as I was saying."

She points at Morrighan, "What prompted this change for you to act on your own, Morrighan!? Why do you do this?"
Sarafina Carenze Sarafina raises her chainsaw.

And Valos talks. And he talks. And he talks. And then he talks some more. And then he keeps talking. And then he's still talking. And eventually, she wonders, is Valos going to just talk at them to stop them? That would certainly be a way to prevent them from stopping him, if they actually stopped to listen to him. Sarafina is not going to do this, of course, but as she comes to this resolution Valos has said another ten things and Sarafina, who considers herself fairly intelligent--an engineer for chrissshakes--deems Valos's monologue as unneccessarily obtuse. And she's read some of Cid's manuals. Morrighan, for all her faults, makes things pretty darn simple. Garland makes things a little simpler himself, but it's awfully hyperbolic and dramatic and thus not as helpful as she was hoping. She was thinking something that was less a metaphor and more a fact. Isaac helpfully supplies the answer 'probably not summoning cupcakes, unless they are evil cupcakes, because one generally does not use evil trees to summon good cupcakes'.

She breathes out. Valos is still talking. He just said 'Now then...let us not stall'.

"No, I am not as compassionate as you." Sarafina interrupts finally. "If you were a child, I would have smacked you and told you to watch your motormouth."

She ignites her jetpack, and is flung forward at rapid speeds for Valos's body. "Nor do I recognize Dark Elf titles! You will be Valos, nothing more until you prove yourself worthy of titles!" She throws a fist for Valos's face. And then more fists for Valos's face. Basically, she assumes that after all that talking, Valos is hungry and all she has left in the Carenze Cafe is knuckle sandwiches.

They pack quite a punch!
LEXUS The response causes LEXUS to sigh. There is nothing he can do here. Not anymore. She has chosen her fate. The speech from Valos causesLEXUS to lock up for a moment as he assimilates the long-winded speech, before he breaks out of it to simply store the conversation for later perusal. "This saddens me. You are forcing my hand, Morrigan. I did not want to be brought to this."

He produces his Disc, the lines flaring as he runs defensive progreams. Hexagonal barriers appear around him, as he prepares to make his choice known.
Maira Maira is aware that she is potentially throwing herself into a maelstrom of forces she does not, perhaps cannot, understand. That said, her friends are here, and she will protect them, even when....even when it is /complicated/.

Maira is particular worried about Angantyr, for that verbose knight with the stag horns looks rather imposing and seems awfully sure of himself. Still...Garland. Who could ever hope to stand up to Garland? no, she thinks, aware of despair as it tries to creep into her mind and grow roots. No helpless thoughts. That way lies ruin.

She won't bother to speak to Morrighan. She doesn't know her, not like Avira does. Maira simply waits, because she knows everything is going to descend into madness and she is going to have to try hard to keep the light going.
Seymour Guado Seymour would politely await Count Valos to finish his list of endeavors that would and would not work, he was after all a Maester listening to a man with some resembelence of power rant was something he did quite alot. His eyes however were on the tree itself an odd beauty to it making him think of home to Guadosalam, soon quashing the fond memories as Valos began finishing up "Alright then Lord Valos, I'm afraid I cannot just standfast and allow things to transpire here. But still I do not fully understand matters, both individuals who claim ownership to this tree seem rather... Robust in their own ways.."

Seeming to close his eyes for a quiet moment then opening them with a fierce look in his blue eyes, he would reveal his staff and and begin silently focusing raising it into the air as he spoke again "I will be defending myself, and I won't be standing by.... Lord Valos."
TRON TRON takes the time with Valos' long-winded speech to note who has gathered here, taking a few steps forward. His gaze focuses squarely on LEXUS as the Virus activates his Disc, but he only shifts to a defensive stance with his staff moving to a ready hold in front of himself.

LEXUS adds an unknown factor to this. Will the Virus come after him, or will the mage at the core of all this be his enemy? TRON cannot tell.

He glances back over his shoulder at Maira, offering a faint smile. "It'll be alright, Maira."

His eyes glow for a moment as energy keys up in preparation for an inenvitable fight. His gaze returns forwards, keeping an eye on both Valos and LEXUS, ready to respond to an attack from either one.
Royce Royce's metal clad boots impact roughly on the gnarled mossy roots of the great tree. Her head tilts backwards, a lone burning red eye traveling up from its base to follow the twisting mass of thorns and branches that rise up into unimaginable heights. There is no hint of emotion visible on her face, no trace of an expression beyond dull abject apathy, but despite this mask of calm she trembles slightly at the sheer magnitude of what stands before her.

Raw magical power fills the very air around them in such quantities that she cannot help but feel overwhelmed. A clawed hand reaches up to rest on the green surface of a twisted root and the energy contained within practically seethes under her fingers. It was as if she were standing beneath the boughs of the great World Tree of legends itself.

The girl's fingers suddenly press down against the rough bark, dragging the mailed talons across its surface to see if she can dislodge any of the wooden chunks. However, her efforts are met with nothing, just... nothing at all. The tree's unmarred skin lays under her hand as she pulls it away with not even the slightest hint of a scratch.

0Impressive. I had hoped we might take a sample for research but this... this is truly extraordinary. Whoever created this must possess power of a magnitude far beyond anything we have ever seen.

Royce listens with mild interest to the rumbling voice in the back of her mind. She already understood that what they were dealing with here was something unprecedented. The red ember of the girl's gaze swivels in its socket to take in the many faces and forms that lay scattered among the roots. Their power was difficult to detect here with so much interference but the fact that they stood face to face with the sheer overwhelming darkness of the figure clad in metal and rage and did not shy away spoke volumes on its own.

"It's him... he's the one I felt..."

0Hrmmm... indeed. His presence is difficult to miss. Ah but look, it seems we have wandered in on a conflict. Let us observe for now and see what comes of it. Perhaps we shall have prizes to carry away from this place afterall.
Katyna "Wut.....?" She blinks and grins, nodding to Valos as he corrects her. "Heh, sorry 'bout that...'Count' Valos! So like, I dont really have any intentions of interfering, unless my boss here gives me the order, although if you attack any of my allies, you'll leave me no choice but to interfere..I'm also curious to know what will happen to you, after you repay this debt."

Not that she expects to convince him to step down, or even expects he will. But she is STILL insanely curious! But...Kat's not sure if she wants to get in between Garland and Morrighan. She glances over at Avira curiously, awaiting some sort of order. "You want us to attack Morrighan, or..?"

Another glance is given towards the tree. Trying to get answers out of Valos is tricky, but what about Morrighan? "Uh, so, Morrighan, what exactly do you plan to get out of this..Drawing magic from that tree? All that magic in one person might just..Blow you up, y'know? And, looks like it's Garland's property. Who knows, might backfire on you."

She shrugs, "Not like I plan to interfere unless I know what the heck's goin' on here!" Well now, that's a thought. Either way, Kat goes on the defensive, just incase she gets caught in the crossfire. A curious glance is given Maira too, as she sees her arguing with Uist, telling him to stay away.

"Maira..What is it? Why is it dangerous for Uist? I dont get it.."
Isaac Hanlon Garland turns. Isaac winces, very slightly, almost imperceptibly. He listens, but he doesn't particularly want to. Garland has that kind of effect on people. Isaac possesses supreme mental fortitude, but holy crap, that is one /vile/ voice. He feels like his stomach is trying to chew its way out of his midsection and run for the hills, while his heart simultaneously stops and abandons ship in a different direction.

Isaac recovers a second later with a quiet cough. He covers his mouth with his free hand.

"Right. We'll figure out why the obvious force of darkness and despair wants to stop the evil summoning ritual at the base of the tree of dark souls or something equally ominous /later/," Isaac mutters. He eyes Valos in the distance, getting some more air and murmuring into the earpiece that functions as a comm device. Definitely not good cupcakes or anything.

"I've received a request from the audience," Isaac announces, "and I will do my best to facilitate it." He clears his throat and raises one hand as if holding an unseen conductor's baton. Vaguely box-shaped images flicker into sight all around this space near the tree. There is a quiet whine.

Very abruptly, the space around the tree -- and around Morrighan in particular -- gets /cacophonous/. It fills with music, deafening enough around the ritualist and her lackey to seriously bother concentration. The air around Valos shakes with waves of sudden crushing force, and amidst it all, Isaac makes a little tiny tweak and tries to do the exact opposite and cancel the sound around Valos's head.

> mute button

Morrighan might be safe from immediate annihilation this second, but she's gonna /work/ for that summoning.

Morrighan Alazne Morrighan, for all the talking everyone is doing does not break her concentration any further. Her eyes remain firmly closed as she performs the ritual still. Her hands are clasped together, clutching a dark purple stone to her chest which continued to radiate magical light. Garland's speech is given nothing but a smirk. Release the ritual? Hah! Nonsense. She had come too far to just 'stop'. No, this had to finish or else all would be for naught.

Angantyr's continually barbaric remarks are not even afforded a change of facial expression. It must have been so easy to be that simple. Never having to 'think'. It was only when Avira spoke that the dark elf finally opened her mouth to speak, once again not moving to look. "You would certainly love to know that, would you not?" Another rhetorical question. Morrighan seemed to be full of these today as she did not allow Avira the time to respond. "Nevertheless, that is for me to know and for you to wonder about. Do turn around and go on your merry way before he does horrible things to you."

Of course, she had absolutely no expectation that /anyone/ here would actually do such a thing. But hey, better to say than to not say. "You may not understand now, but you will see what effect the results of my actions will have eventually. If you still wish to stop me. Do go ahead and try. I will not hold it against you at this juncture." She said towards LEXUS, eyes remaining closed in order to focus the magical power.

Contary to what Katyna thought, Morrighan was not /absorbing/ the magic power. Rather, she was...repurposing it. No matter how you put it though, it was still an affront to Garland's property. And it seemed that she did not care in the slightest right now.

How suicidal.

Ritual Completion: 8%
Count Valos
Overhearing Garland's diatribe, Valos squints at him through his skull-mask, trying to calculate the man's approximate size at which point he raises a brow beneath his helm, befuddled by the warrior's comment; Garland was calling him a 'little' whelp, which he had no objections to as far as negative connotations were concerned, but Valos was actually slightly larger than Garland, from what the dark elf could tell, and he wondered inwardly if the man carrying the massive sword is visually impaired. Dismissing it as unimportant for the time being, he keeps a tally of what is going on..... Angantyr shouts at him randomly, causing the drow to wince- he's practically immune to most types of pain, though noise is one thing that still causes him such discomfort that it is difficult to ignore; as a matter of fact, that blast of fire which does /actual/ damage is less significant to him compared to the yelling. The burst of flame causes a light scalding on Gidarch, and he looks down at his bare-skinned arm, comprised of stone, and sees little harm has been done; Angantyr has now been designated as an enemy. Deidra's attack finds less purchase, but by virtue of the fact that she 'attempted' to cause him injury demanded that he include her amongst his list of adversaries. "To watch my motormouth, assuming that you are defining my facial muscles as a motor, would require me to look in a mirror, which you have not offered upon the issuing of your statement; suffice to say, you do not appear to be a child, either, so I fail to see the pertinence of your statement.", is how he replies to Sarafina- no, she's not the only one who finds him annoying, Morrighan herself could barely tolerate the nobleman, but she didn't need to tolerate him.... she just needed to exploit him.

Lunging forward, Sara slugs him in the face, which currently is protected by a metal helmet- causing him to stumble back slightly from the force of her blow, unbalancing him.... the metal of the helmet buckles ever so slightly, bending inwards from the attack, but he makes not a single peep signifying that he is experiencing pain. Rather than arguing that titles have nothing to do with one's value in the case of the latter honorific he offered, 'mister', he silently decides that Sarafina is somehow mentally challenged, and sees fit to disregard most of any further words she might direct at him, until /she/ proves that her perception is not faulty. To Seymour, Gidarch nods, and remarks, "Your comprehension of this situation is admirable, sir. I wish you luck in killing me, just as I surmise you surely reciprocate these sentiments..... upon the registry of any upcoming attacks on your behalf, I will be certain to retaliate, but until then, you may loiter as you please." To Katyna, Valos confirms that he's heard her clearly, and yields to her a token of his gratitude, "Apologies accepted, miss Redsvaren. I am ignorant as to the identities of your allies, but there is a large statistical probability that I will attack one, so it would be in your best interest to make preparations to accost me." Advice that she most likely implements, as she applies a boosting to herself- but her second question receives less cooperativeness, "That is a tangential query. Please approach me at a future time if you wish to bear witness to said activities- I am not a prognosticator."

Now.... /HERE/ is something Gidarch wouldn't have anticipated; Isaac conjures a barrage of sound that could only be described as deafening,.... and for a being who's heavily geared towards thess types of wavelengths.... well! The first verification of Gidarch's vulnerability announces itself in the form of a shudder, as the dark elf cringes, not quite to the degree of doubling over- but it echoes through his armor and his cranium enough to warrant actual emissions proving that he can, in fact, feel pain..... sometimes. Vengefulness would be out of the question due to its lack of rational legitimacy, it goes without saying.... but that doesn't mean that even this nigh-void of emotion manifested in an organic body is incapable of feeling /some/ resentment towards Isaac for that traumatizing experience he just evoked.... The Count starts struggling internally not to take that last attack personally.... and tries to concentrate on his targets thus far. Stretching a hand out shakily, trying to regain composure, the gigas of a dark elf causes the soil itself to erupt, and boulders to spew upwards, then surge towards the following entities: Garland, Angantyr, Deidra, Sarafina, and Isaac..... though, these are relatively minuscule by contrast of what he could potentially be hurling at them!
LEXUS The situation goes from bad to worse. LEXUS observes as ultimatums are levied and thrats begin to be followed up on. "Believe me." LEXUS responds to Morrighan. "I place much more weight in the ire of Garland, than I do with your nonspecific promises."

The Disc launches, striking out between Valos and Morrighan, firing bright green launces of corruptive data injection systems.
Maira Maira glances toward Katyna, shaking her head. "I don't know. Something just....horrified him. I can feel it too. It's terrible," she breathes.

The young mage in pink looks toward Tron as he gives her words of encouragement, summoning a small smile for his effort. She's never seen him fight, but to be in VALKYRI you have to be tough--Maira is pretty sure Avira made an exception for her.

Not only is Angantyr down there, but Sarafina as well! Oh no...Maira chews her lip anxiously.

Are the choices really only attack either side? She doesn't want to do either. It is like choosing how you want to die.

Maira takes a deep breath, then begins to summon her magic. There is one, small thing she can do right now, and that is help protect the people she cares for who are putting themselves in direct danger. The air around her heats up as she concentrates on Sarafina and Angantyr down below, her magic traveling to surround them with an aura of warmth and comfort that will hopefully lift their spirits and keep damage at bay.
Sarafina Carenze It rankles at Sarafina to be forced into battle against a bodyguard like this, it rankles at her more that Garland is expecting her to keep them alive. She might, but it won't be at his behest. Frankly in a fight like this, she can't afford to hold back. If they live or not, it'll be on them. Sarafina doesn't seem concerned about the perceptions of the person she's presently attempting to punching the snout in. Hail Berin. Even when she's no longer with Baron. (mispelling intentional). Nevertheless, his decision to not talk to Sarafina is welcome though, honestly, with the mute button it would be rather difficult to hear him anyway.

She stays on full offensive. Rocks batter against her armor, doing negligible damage. She punches Valos in the face once more.

"Isaac! Can you shut down his magic?!" She shouts at her...comrade? And then hse promptly throws another punch for Valos's face. She's sure throwing a lot of punches. Not even using her weapon so far. That is, until Maira unleashes her own magic upon her.

She breathes it in. Okay, even she's gotta admit, having magic on your side is sometimes nice. Even if she kind of is 'ehh' on magic in general. "Maira..." Sarafina says, "Sorry if this gets messy."

She then snaps her hand up, drawing her chainsaw and aiming to use IT as a club--not on just yet--upside Valos's other hand. Despite its obvious weight--this thing looks like it could cut through BOATS--she carries it like it's just another sword of which he's likely seen many. Noise seems to weaken the Dark Elf, but she doubts she can hit the proper frequencies. Instead she revs her chainsaw up and flits up higher into the air before slamming it down for Valos's body, intending to carve a swath through his body!
Avira "This is me giving you a chance to explain yourself, Morrighan! Unless this is another obtuse method of trying to commit suicide by doing something so obviously reprehensible, mind you, I will once again refuse to grant your desire!" Avira calls back, growing gradually irritated. "And given that Garland has decided he wanted you alive, I think you should consider this goal also pre-thwarted."

Oddly enough, she still hasn't drawn her weapon yet. Possibly because Valos hasn't come to deal with her personally quite yet, though also because she recalls him saying that the only way of confronting him at the moment was with physical violence. Therefore, eschewing physical violence at the moment seemed the best way to sidestep the issue.

"Are you trying to make some sort of point about those that have come to stop you? -no, that couldn't be the case, you are far too selfish to set up something so elaborate to teach others a lesson. There's something else, isn't there?" Avira's eyes narrow further and she steps closer, steeling herself as even she can feel the magic here.

Part of her continues to listen. There were those here more magically sensitive that could perhaps identify what, precisely, was going on.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr uses his mace to defend against the flying debries. Smacking some pieces away, but others manage to get through causing some pain as they pierce his armor. Angantyr grunts, and looks towards Maira as her magic washes over him, reenforcing his armor...and he nods to her. "Thanks." he says, focusing on Valos. He stops even trying to talk to the two of was pointless...instead, he digs deep into himself.

The darkness in his body rests deep within him, something...NATURAL in him, not in his heart, but inside the man himself. He has mastered it to some degree...and then tears the darkness out, wrapping it around himself like armor, before it transforms into armor. Darkness becomes dark metal plates, transforming his own natural armor. The shadow armor clapses over every part of him, obscuring his face as the remaining darkness seems to wrap around his back like a cloak, his right hand burning in dark flames as he looks towards Valos and Morrighan.

"I am going to shatter your magics."
Katyna Katyna blinks and rubs her ear as *someone* talks loudly into her mabelle on the *other* channel...And flinches. Her? Siding with Morrighan? No way! Still, she doesn't like how this...Tree is upsetting Maira, but, she has 'higher' orders, it seems. "Guh..Fine. Let's do this then!"

Katyna glances back at Maira only briefly, somewhat concerned for her ally, but...It seems Garland has some..Other plans for this tree. Either way, she has a feeling she's siding either with the devil or the deep blue sea on this. *brr* what a thought.

She glances sidelong at Maira from time to time, frowning softly at her words. Indeed, it does seem like there is no 'winning' in this. She's not even sure what Garland's up to, even though she knows he' kinda her boss too, however..Perhaps Morrighan has something even worse planned.

"I think, we need to stop Morrgihan and Valos. Afterall, no matter what, they're disrupting the balance.." Katyna no longer hesitates for some reason, grinning at Valos as she steps forward, drawing her flaming sword. "Alright, Count Valos! I'm lookin' forward to seeing how well you do in battle..Should be fun!"

And with that, Katyna launches herself at Valos with a mighty battle cry, slashing this way and that with her sword which unleashes blasts of fire with each strike!
TRON LEXUS' Disk flies, though not aimed at TRON himself. That is the only signal the armored Security Program needs.

His arm snaps up, unhooking his silver Disc from its spindle at his back, and he lets it fly with a snap of his wrist. The Frisbee-like Disc arcs through the air like a blue comet, arcing upwards at Valos' solar plexus before changing direction in midair to swoop around him much like an annoying fly.

TRON maintains his distance for now, staff still held defensively ready as he stands between Maira and the battle.
Garland Valos talks. And talks. And talks. And talks. And as he talks, Garland walks, and walks, and walks, and walks, the tree rolling past him, shaking and shuddering under his weight. Valos keeps talking; Garland is not listening. Garland is so far beyond listening now, so far beyond reason, beyond anything resembling the mercies of humanity. Garland's walk begins to turn into a run; his careful pace begins to turn into a brisk stride, then a jog, then a full out run, running in that monstrously huge armor as if it were nothing to him. His sword is slung over one shoulder; his clawed fingers hang at his side, his arm outstretched, readying to rip Valos apart in a very personal manner. The armored god-being has no interest in the ritual itself; whatever Morrighan is planning can be solved by tearing her hide open and letting her blood feed the great Iifa Tree itself. He has no interest in stopping her. Let the would-be heroes stop her, let the would-be just and the dearly-wish do-gooders get in her way. He would take what he wanted from her one way or another, if he had to carve through every single human being in this area to do it.

The Pure-strain Heartless crash against Morrighan's Heartless; perhaps they sense the foolishness of the battle, but if they do, they do not care. Garland's presence, Garland's overwhelming evil, Garland's all-consuming bloodlust, has promised to them that they will feed well at the end of this battle, and they do not intend to share it with their Emblem cousins. The battle will be fierce, but it will likely even out both groups of Heartless into easily-dispatched non-factors.

Which means that Garland's army is little more than a check and a balance. So all Morrighan and Valos need to worry about is Garland.


Garland comes in swinging, and swinging hard, and swinging fierce. That massive sword slashes around, trailing darkness in its wake as it transforms mid-swing into a huge axe; the axe comes slashing upwards, hard, backed by the force of the ancient piece of an even more primal god, backed by a will more dark than the foulest of nights, slashing through the ground as if it were nothing. It swings upwards; at the last minute, Garland grabs it with both hands, moving to knock Valos into the sky.

% That will not save him. That is not a mercy. Garland's weapon snaps outwards at the arc of the swing, and suddenly, the axe-head lances out towards Valos not by magic but by skill, not by shadows but by sheer mastery. The chain spirals towards Valos like a drill, spinning and spinning and spinning; at the last instant, Garland jerks it backwards, moving to rip and tear and slash instead of simply pierce. The blade comes snapping back down into his hand, and Garland lets out another of those horrible, primal roars.

The darkness around him reverberates with the roar, the physical force of his evil shaking the shadows once more, and for a brief instant, all the Heartless stop fighting and look at him. Then they go back to tearing each other apart, limb from limb.
Seymour Guado The Guado could only smile at the noble man's reply smiling Seymour could only reply "I too wish you luck, and a swift painless death."
Seymour couldn't help but notice all the strange armours some forged out of darkness, others glowing with a strange glow he had only seen in old ruin technology he stood there admist the chaos of the fighting an anomily. Closing his eyes he chose a side saying "My apoligies Count Valos, but I shall be involving myself it seems such a pity.."
Opening his eyes as he raised his staff focusing his magics on him he could only smile as he wishes to end this chaos as quickly as possible and be done with this tree, and to do that he first made a circular motion with his staff to summon water around the Count, he would then focus on another element ice, unleashing sudden careful blasts of ice to try and encase the Count.
Deidra Deidra has to like the musical choice that Isaac picks it's a pretty classic tune. She seems to be moving to the beat as she evade the incoming spell. She fires off a spell of her own and this time she's pretty sure it is doing something. She's prpearing another spell as she looks at the strange elf who'd she realised really could be a hipster that would totally fit in back in Protland if it hadn't been eaten by the darkness. That's bside the point she preparesd more spells just intentind to well? Contiun to try to sap him she's not a hugely powerful mage but this sort of thing she's pretty good at honestly and again comes the latin and away she goes. Once the spell is cast, "The the problem you get playing with fire your going to get burned."
Isaac Hanlon Isaac discovers someone who is actually vulnerable to the kind of stuff he's throwing out there.


Rocks rip themselves up and fly at him. Isaac's little ball of fire expands and intercepts them, solidifying into a solid plane and deflecting the largest of the stones. Smaller chunks pepper him, and though he might have some bruises later, he's largely unharmed. Compared to, say, getting his head crushed or something.

"I'm working on it!" Isaac calls. He waves one hand in front of him and focuses, reaching out with his wizard's senses -- such as they are -- to get a feel for the magic being worked in the immediate area.

This proves to be a /horrible mistake/. Isaac does the equivalent of opening the door to the soundproof room without knowing what's on the other side first. Sometimes the room is totally empty, or only possesses a single person practicing their lines. Sometimes it has the metal band, shrieking into a microphone and abusing instruments as much as they can. Sometimes it has a symphony orchestra, with everything in tune -- or, like now, it has an orchestra where everyone is playing a different song and all of them are slightly off-key.

Isaac winces, shaking his head and clearing his throat to suppress a curse. He follows the spells around Valos and Morrighan, trying not to 'look' too closely at Garland while he's at it. Blue light coalesces in his outstretched hand, radiating a pure and untouched shine, and he strikes out with the mana-born lash to cut through enchantments and leave him weakened for the next array of spells. It will feel an awful lot like an intense heat, and then an immediate cold spot where it passed. Uncomfortable, to be sure.
Maira To Angantyr and Sarafina she nods, acknowledging their thanks, then winces as Katyna goes charging in to join the fray. Another friend to watch out for, throwing herself into chaos. Maira can't know that chaos is a with a capitol C.

Maira looks to Tron, who she can't help but notice is putting himself between her and the action. She smiles, appreciatively. No use pretending she's good at taking hits. She's not. "Thank you," she tells him, then looks to Avira, deeply worried, but she won't speak yet. Perhaps Avira can get through to Morrighan, if it were at all possible.

Sighing quietly, Maira directs her magic once more, sending it forth to brush over Katyna and Tron, in case he did indeed happen to take damage on her behalf.

"Everyone be careful..." she calls, though that sounds woefully inadequate a warning to her ears.
Royce Words and blows are exchanged. Mostly words. Royce listens to Valos' strange form of logic with an impassive expression but she quietly nods once at the end of his interpretation of their situation and the options available to them. Several hundred years ago the girl had awoken, alone and bereft of memories or a sense of her own self. No sense of attachment to tradition or social expectations guided her thoughts, no emotions rose up to tell her right from wrong. And so she turned to logic and reason to sort out the mess.

The Count's dialouge hits Royce's ears like the overly-complex exposition of a lawyer and she assimilates its meaning as one similarly versed in such thought processes might, extracting the core of his message and distilling it down to a base form. 'Fighting is the only option you have.'

Stoically, she stands on her perch of gargantuan thorns and interwoven branches, observing the battle below like a silent audience member of a great colliseum battle. A single monster thrown against several gladiators. Who would be the victor? And what was the prize at stake here? That was still rather unclear though it was obvious that something sinister was brewing behind the chanted ritual of the dark-skinned woman. As something of an expert on dark magic, that much atleast, she could ascertain.

And now the dreadful armored titan himself has entered the fray. Garland's cries of rage and hatred reverberate through her down to the soul and the girl shudders again despite herself. How wonderful it would be to have such power at her command. But why? What would she even need with all that power? What purpose could possibly require such immense dominion over the very fabric of the world itself?

"...I want to speak with him."

Ah... I don't know if you've noticed but now may not be the most prudent moment to approach this man. Perhaps, if you wish to garner his favor, we should lend our aid to stopping the ritual. Though he seems to be of the mind to cut it off at the source rather than dally with counter spells. Let us burn the wick at both ends, shall we?}

Nodding, seemingly to herself, Royce steps up to the edge of her perch and merely drops off the side. Her slender figure slides roughly down the wet moss that coats the entirity of the tree, providing a reasonablely safe if not pleasant manner in which to reach the battlefield proper. She hits the ground at a run, her long legs already carrying her over to the nearest of the magical symbols burning brightly on the dirty ground.

Reaching around behind her, Royce draws forth the massive gun hanging about her shoulders and plants it barrel-down in the soft soil, pushing until the flat surface of the stock is level with her chest. Chains fall away as the great dark tome bound there is released of their own accord. The book floats into the air and hovers ominiously before the girl. It flips open and the pages flutter madly, as if some invisible ghost were desperately seeking the correct one, finally settling on a diagram filled with profane symbols.

Royce holds her arms out to each side, slowly raising them upwards as she begins to read from the dark magical incanation. Tendrils of black energy seep out of her fingers, slithering about in the air as they seek out the leylines and foci of Morrighan's ritual. They burrow into these points, sending patches of blackness spreading throughout the shimmering runes as she takes the battle to the mage herself in an indirect manner.
Morrighan Alazne "I'm hurt." Morrighan deadpanned at LEXUS, flinching as the green energy lances into her. But she does not falter, instead continuing to focus on the ritual. It had to be completed. No matter what. Avira's words are heard and she calmly responded in kind. "Giving me a chance to explain? How generous of you. Really, I'm touched." Which is to say that no, she wasn't touched at all.

"Even if there is something else, I will not bother to elaborate on the possibility for your sake." And that was all Avira was going to get. Angantyr's statement of 'destroying her magics' is met with a scoff. "Please, do try then." Was all the dark elf had to say to him. His fancy armot transformation went completely unseen as her eyes were firmly shut. If she had seen it now, she probably would have laughed.

But for now, there was another problem. She could feel outside magics interfering with the magic glyphs. Two round metal spheres immediately sped throughout the area, searching for the culprit. Eventually they spotted the figure of Royce channeling dark tendrils into the ground.

"There you are." Morrighan mumbled to herself, imperceptible to those without enhanced hearing. "...Take care of her." She spoke to someone. Clearly not Valos in any case. It soon became clear what exactly was being ordered when the two bits surveying Royce began to light up before firing a single beam of light at her each!

Ritual Completion: 12%
Count Valos And then.... LEXUS enters the fray, by unleashing some manner of green holographic(?) disc, by way of whatever craft of magic the 'entity' posseses- though Valos is quite durable, and even though his sensory abilities have been briefly compromised, he raises a hand and simply /slaps/ the thing off into another direction, as though it were mere child's play; on this particular occasion, evidently, it was.... on the next? Who knows. When Katyna mentions the 'stopping' of 'Valos', nothing is said by the latter individual to lecture her- she did not direct her comment /at/ him, so she did not have to accommodate the regulations of proper discourse; for Gidarch, etiquette was important, and Katyna has shown some attempt to comply. Garland is the most immediate threat, being comparable in size to Valos, and also equipped with heavy mail, adding to the potential force of impact; not to judge people by their size, and discount the others' labors, but Valos could sense Garland's physical weight through the vibrations of the ground as he walked, and taking a hit from him would at least seem like it'd do more harm than whatever else was being tossed his way.

Valos crouched low to the ground to give himself some anchorage, and was ultimately plowed into by the other giant within this foresty enclosure; this actually knocked him upwards while simultaneously creating a great fissure in Gidarch's armor where the dark lord slashed him.... it wasn't quite enough to actually pierce the stoney flesh beneath, and even so, it created a weak point that might be exploitable later on by Valos' opponents. Katyna's strike administers poison, which hastily introduces itself into Gidarch's system- the fire-based aspect also takes root, which will ultimately assist the ultimate goal of bringing down the nihilistic drow. TRON's attack is no more useful than LEXUS', bouncing right off of Valos as the dark elf's body is angled just right so as to catch the incoming bombardment at one of its ineffective points. This isn't to dismiss the punch to the face Sara delivered before Garland got to him; cumulative damage is racking up on that metallic mask of the nobleman's, and there are obvious dents in it at this time! As he finally comes to the ground, he overhears Seymour's remark, and shakes his head, "Your wish for me to experience a swift death is appreciated; whether or not it is painless is a minor technicality, as any pain I might feel I am responsible for handling." Which is his way of saying that if he suffers, it's because he didn't do a good enough job using his willpower to redirect his attention away from the agony that he underwent; but without that explanation, people might be wondering what the heck he's talking about. The ice blast comes Valos' way, but again.... this abomination is composed of not mere sinew, but mineral overlapped by metal, and he swats it away without too much difficulty- in defiance of the negation of damage, his gauntlet now has frost coating the surface.

Deidra's debilitating incantation is absorbed by Gidarch.... and by absorbed, it works its way into his system, compromising his abilities and causing him to have a hard time focusing, when in conjunction with all the other adverse effects placed on him. The strange sensation he experiences from Isaac's second onslaught is less considerably excruciating than the first one, which involved decibels that were beyond stinging, to Valos' ears- and he doesn't show much indication that it hurt him.... it did cause a little damage, but overall, besides the odd feeling he got from it, which he can bypass fairly simply, it's trivial. Deciding to take the intimidators a bit more seriously, he unleashes an impossibly dense mass of black energy, which expands outwards then emanates tendrils which aim to siphon the life force out of his opposition, while also pulverizing them with intense tonnage mayhap rivaling or surpassing that which they have encountered before!
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr completes the transformation...

Tendrils smash into Angantyr's body, draining at his energy, sucking out the life force...but there was a problem. His eyes snap right towards Valos, he starts growling as he starts to step forward, tearing the things from his body. Dark energy explodes out from all around him, as he starts to take a step towards the pair of them. Dark Energy channeling around his weapon as he raises it up.

"That was a mistake!" he shouts, before he dives straight up....and then falls right down into the ritual itself. He cares little for what is going on, his dark entropic power aiming to not just shatter the ritual, aiming to corrupt it, before the dark force rolls out in all directions, dark energy aiming to stab right into both Valos and Morrighan, aiming to siphon life from them, and drain it back into his own life force.

And then he swings the mace down, aiming to release a second burst of pure entropic energy...just looking to simply obliterate them all.
Avira Avira sighs inwardly.

"Then let the record state that I tried to get through to you. But much like my previous offer, you turned it down." Unlike Morrighan, Avira actually sounds sad about this. Disappointed, even, that her repeated attempts for outreach have been spurned every time. "So anything from this point on thrown back in my face will be as disregarded as the rambling words of your new guardian." With a heavy heart (and a heart that appears to be attracting the stray glance of the pureblood Heartless smashing against each other every so often), Avira withdraws the Spine. "Speaking of..."

The scarred huntress turns towards the elf in the horned helm, now busily engaging all of those who have also chosen to stand against Morrighan's unexplained plan. She seems about to offer some kind of consolation. 'No hard feelings, Count.' perhaps would make a good straight line. However, the element of surprise was far more preferable in this situation, even though Valos is consumed with fighting multiple opponents at once.

Unlike the others here, Avira could not admit to years of combat experience. She needed every advantage she could get, especially when falling back onto her swordsmanship alone. She steps in with a lunge, whirling away shortly afterwards and striking again and again, each blow precisely aimed to slam into the joints and seams where his armor is the weakest. Each blow is fierce, the exertion of moving so quickly apparent on her face as sweat quickly breaks out across her forehead.
Maira She's watching, her eyes darting about like minnows as she tries to follow the action; the warriors with their weapons clashing is a sight to behold, a kind of brutal beauty.

As the stag-crowned man lashes out, Maira reaches up to cover her gasp, those dark tendrils clinging to those who are fighting and drawing their life from them. Maira tries to keep her concentration as she sees Angantyr get a particularly nasty attack, and while she sees him shrugging it off, she knows he's hurt badly. Others are as well, but there is only so much she can do, only so many people she can heal at a time....and without Uist to protect her? She has to keep herself alive as well, and that means taking care of the one who is protecting her.

"Please...let this be a balm to your wounds...keep fighting!" she whispers, then sets her magic free, the brightness of it swirling outwards with warm and comfort to heal.

There is also likely sparkles involved.

Then Avira bursts forward to join the fray and Maira feels her heart leap into her throat. Is there anyone else who can heal them!? She wishes very much for Faruja right now.
Garland "You are not hurt yet," Garland growls, "But I assure you, little girl - when the life finally escapes your broken lips, as your prayers to whatever non-existant god you believe in are granted and the sweet release of death takes you from my hands, you will know pain."

The contempt in his voice - not just for Morrighan and Valos, but for the very idea of life itself, for the very idea of good and light and happiness - is stunning. The sheer loathing the man wields as a very very physical weapon is just...staggering. That unrestrained hatred for everything that exists is Garland's absolute sword and absolute shield...and he wields it well.

He would use darkness against Garland. The arrogance, the sheer /stupidity/ of it, is hilarious. Shadows flare up as the black hole opens around him; they flare up, pouring into the darkness, not feeding it but worming into it, not offering him sustenance but counteracting it. Garland's armor begins to twist at the outside; his arms stretch outwards as his armor bends under the pressure. A few chunks of the armor even begin to crack before the shadows bite into the black hole and rip it to shreds in a physics-defying show.

Garland is not his armor. Garland is not even a little bit of his armor.

What Garland is is rage. Pure, unrelenting, unadulterated rage. And he is in his place of power, his place of absolute and certain rulership, or at least one of several such places - and certainly the most powerful. Anywhere else, Garland's power is ancient and staggering; at the Iifa Tree, it is overwhelming. That power gathers around Garland now, the Mist suddenly swarming into that armor as Garland's terrible voice echoes through the field of battle once more. Garland does not cast magic, not really - Morrighan, Isaac, and everyone else who is even passingly familiar with magic would see that what Garland is doing is not magic, but rather physically reaching out and grabbing the Mist from the air, crushing it into the form he wishes, and releasing it in one gigantic burst.

The form Garland wishes?


The spell that gathers in Garland's hand is roastingly hot even from a fair distance away. It sizzles wood (though not, mysteriously, the Iifa Tree); it heats metal, it burns flesh. Garland's massive fist closes around it, and the light disappears.

Then he thrusts his fist into Count Valos's face, and the NUKE erupts all too fiercely, the sound of the thing briefly blotting out all other noise. Garland does not care. Garland is too angry to care.

Garland is too angry to hold back, and the two people who very much should care right now don't.
Isaac Hanlon Isaac's senses fill with an acrid scent not unlike burning a popsicle, and a sight kind of like when you turn light inside-out and shove it through a rotary cheese grater.

It is about as horrible as it sounds.

Isaac squeezes his eyes shut and forces himself to concentrate on the rapidly-diminishing strains of the music he conjured up. He breaks his own concentration and shuts out the feeling of dark magic, shuddering in disgust and doing his level best not to hurl. He's seen worse, but not... not lately.

"This is not a place we want to stand for much longer," Isaac calls, largely to Sarafina and Avira but to basically anyone willing to listen. "We gotta either shut this down before she pulls in enough power that /stopping/ her is the /worse/ result, or nuke it from orbit." He sounds very slightly unsettled, but otherwise confident.

"Nothing personal, pal. Surrender and I'll give you a break." Isaac changes the music again. He attacks Valos in the same way he did before, hammering him with sound, but this time without bothering trying to mute him. He doesn't know why it was more effective, and frankly, he doesn't really care right now. He'll investigate that once there is not a huge-ass summoning ritual going on.

The song this time shakes the earth. The quake is minor, but the noise is palpable enough to reach out and touch it. It rattles teeth and shakes you down to your core, threatening to crush anyone near the epicenter in a crushing cascade of musical terror. On the bright side, at least it's /good/ music, so the people engaging Valos in melee will only have to complain about /nearly/ suffering from friendly fire, since it isn't really suffering at all.

Seymour Guado The Guado staggered back back after the spell hit him, soon glaring at Valos he would calm himself still holding himself back for now as he once again began focusing his magic his motions much softer and serene.
Waving his hand first upon himself and then directing the motion towards the two armored beings, aiming to assist them both from his position.
Seymour seemed to biding his time assisting the others for now as he studied the weaknesses of Valos as he seemed to have deflected his magics quite well something he had not expected and instead of throwing more at him he decided to bulster up the forces he was assisting. Letting a translucent shell rise around the two fighters in close range while he would glow with a healing light for a moment, then fade as he continued to appraise the situation.
TRON TRON's armor glows as Maira's defensive spells take effect and braces himself as the black tendrils lash out at all in their path. However, neither his guard nor his armor turns out to be sufficient. The dark tendrils stab through his form like spears through glass, shards of voxels scattering as energy is siphoned from his wounds.

He takes one step back, one hand moving over his stomach where one hole had nearly drilled straight through him, the other driving his staff into the ground temporarily before catching his Disc as it returns to him. Maira's spells take effect, lessening the extent of the wounds but not closing them completely.

He exhales slightly, removing the chackram-like white Disc from its spindle, then throws both Discs. The silver Disc arcs upwards, aiming once again at Valos' midsection, and the white Disc aims at the helm itself. The two Discs spiral away for a moment before reconverging upon Valos for one final strike before returning to TRON's hands.
Royce The words that spill into the air via Royce's unusually deep contralto voice practically crackle with energy and sinister intent. The tenebreous mass of writhing black tendrils begin to glow with a red nimbus of evil energy, siphoning away the power of the ritual itself rather than the magic fueling it. She has no intention of appearing to be yet another thief infringing on Garland's property. While countless mages and monsters have thrown themselves against her in the past half-millenium, she has no doubt a being capable of creating something like the Iifa Tree could crush her without batting an eye and she has no intention of forfeiting her life for such a pathetic reason as mistaken intent.

Fell incantations continue to flow for several moments uninterrupted as the battle rages on. However, it seems her interference has not gone unnoticed. Caught up in her own counter-ritual, Royce is left completely exposed when the floating orbs unleash their shining fury upon her from above.

The twin lasers tear into her body savagely. Royce's spell dies out as the impact of the first against her shoulder sets her spinning about, the dark energies evaporating with a sharp hiss that almost sounds like ghostly sighs. The next crashes into the girl's midriff with equal ferocity and a plume of brilliant neon red light erupts from the wound like a geyser.

As if struck by a massive hammer, the witch sails backwards through the air, her body skipping across the overgrowth and kicking up a storm of moss and leaves until she finally slams against an up-turned root with a sickening crunch. Royce lies motionless for a few moments but swiftly pushes back to her feet, drawing back the hood over her head with casual disregard for how badly she just got slammed.

However, despite ragdolling across the forest, the girl looks completely whole. The impact points of the lasers are devoid of noticable wounds and even the presence of countless jutting rocks and wicked thorns in the vegetation has left no mark.

Well, it would seem we won't have the liberty of trying that avenue. Perhaps tis best to merely join in on the fray. The faster this is over the sooner you can ask your questions.

"Very well."

Rushing over to where her weapon lies buried in the dirt, Royce snatches it up in passing and tears off towards the fight against the seemingly unyielding guardian. She vaults the many barbs and branches that block her path, leaping high over a final massive stone into the field of view of the others. The giant cannon is already leveled as she crests the rock, bright hellish red light building within its depths and as the form of Count Valos comes into its sights she unleashes the raw magical power in series of hammering bursts of force puncuated by a final eruption of flaming brimstone.
Sarafina Carenze Isaac says he is working on it. That's about the best she can hope for. Valos seems tough enough that he isn't going to go down too quickly. Must be that defensive magic he put up before. Still, the mist emboldens Sarafina rather than givesr her that sense of wrongness. Her wings...the eyes in those wings glow a vibrant red even as Valos summons draintacles out at her. Why is it always some manner of dark voodoo? And why is it often tentacles? Nevertheless, with a swipe from her chainsaw, the lashing out tentacles are dissipitated, in the nick of time, Sarafina barely avoiding their deadly touch. Maira's aid may have played a part in her making it through that spell with naught a scratch.

"I..." Sarafina murmurs, then shouts! "I am Sarafina Carenze! My title is Captain! But those who know of my exploits call me Sarafina The Western Wind! Because the Western Sea is that which I defended for years. Against pirates, against other nations, you are but one elf...I have commanded armies! The might of Baron is in my arms, however corrupted! Words mean nothing compared to duty...and my duty marks you as menace! Face Wingclipper...if you dare!"

Sarafina bursts into the air once more, power flowing into her body, the Power Gauntlet glows a vibrant red as Sarafina's already incredible strength is emboldened further.

She grabs the chainsaw in both hands, pulling a string as it VRRRRRRRRRRMS to life! The blades spin rapidly, perfect for carving through steel, wood, or just about anything. There is very little Sarafina cannot cleave.

The Chainsaw slams forward, swiping once, twice, and then a third time as Sarafina flits behind Valos. The Chainsaw whirrs angrilly as she comes to a stop, landing there.

"No matter the personal circumstances, let evil never be done! I sacrificed my home! You are easy!"
Katyna "Thanks, Maira!" Kat nods and smiles to Maira when she showers her in protective magic, moments before Valos attempts to hit her with a powerful attack. With the shield and her own armour, Kat's able to deflect the attack, smirking at Valos. "You're gonna have to try harder than that!" Seems she's enjoying this a little bit too much.

Still, she hasnt' forgotten Morrighan over there. "Did she tell you anything about what she's planning here? Anything at all?" She smirks, "Or is it a secret? Really, I'm dying to know!"

Kat glances over to Avira thoughtfully when she tries to reason with Morrighan, but Kat's already decided that's gonna get them nowhere, except to buy Morrighan more time.

She rushes at Valos again with more bursts of flame, attempting to sap energy off him this time.
Deidra Deidra comes under assault from some terrible dark magic it's sucking luife force from her. She can feel it, she's huring it's too much like that one fair folk did to her but she contiunes to attempt to focus and pull away she manages to create a barrie tha breaks the effect of the life drain. She's breathing hard but she's alive and she notice people like tron and Isaac, she knows Avira is in this mess somewhere as Isaac gives the elf a chance to cut and run she'd be more than willing to honor such an action but for now she's chanting again and this time? She's casting a spell chanting in latin once more and that's where the huge freaking tornado comes down upon the elf. Aiming to throw the elf into the skies.

Morrighan Alazne Angantyr goes flying into the air...and then coming back down! Whatever's he's doing certainly doesn't look good. And it's made clear the moment he impacted with the ground, The dark energy immediately rolled out, merging with the energies of the ritual and causing a strange change in the balance. Colors rapidly flickered in and out and things seemed to be thrown off track.

Of course the impact of the attack caused Morrighan to go flying back someone, hitting the ground rather roughly. "Ugh! This dress is worth more than your life, you uncouth barbarian!" She yelled angrily, clutching the purple stone tightly. It was then that she noticed that there were several small cracks in the surface. Likely from Angantyr's attacks.

"....Ehehehe~" The dark mistress giggled for some reason. "Nevertheless...please, if you wish to continue in your barbaric ways, you will lose in the end." With that said, she stumbled back to her feet, brushing herself off. Avira's words are met with simple silence as she then turned away, resuming focusing on the ritual anew. Garland's threats are met only with a smile as the dark elf closed her eyes.

True, she would probably regret it later. But for now....The ritual took precedence.

In a matter of moments, the dissarray that the magic glyphs had been thrown into was mended, but it was a considerable waste of time in the grand scheme of things...

Ritual Completion: 15%

Stone Status: Cracked
Count Valos Angantyr takes it upon himself to return the favor, and sap stamina from Valos' body, which he inevitably will do to great effect, following his enraged condemnation of Gidarch's actions, who simply asks, "To what are you referring to, that you have deemed a mistake? Are you speaking to me?" Unsure what the dark knight is talking about, because Valos doesn't appraise his actions as a mistake in any sense of the word, but before he can ruminate on who the target of Angantyr's words are, he is predictably attacked, and the drow stumbles back a little bit; so far it's been one of the most devastating attacks he's endured.... but again, not the most painful- Isaac still lays claim to that honor! Avira's assault with numerous jabs is effective, and serves to weaken Valos' armor further, while causing some damage in the process. He moves to the side at the end of her flurry, in the hopes of minimizing whatever finale she had in store.... but apparently, there was none, and he just side-stepped for no apparent reason; being one who doesn't express emotion, he can't exactly evaluate what others feel very easily, and his failure to understand her passionate nature- or what seems to be passionate, given her perspiration-inducing blitz, has caused him to miscalculate, making him vulnerable to the following attack. Garland, furious over the audacity Morrighan displayed in pilfering his property, is not without a mild degree of empathy from the one who is with scant feelings; Gidarch still carries a slight belief in the institution of ownership, and thus he's tempted to question if Garland deserves what's happened....

But there is no time to contemplate, for an overwhelming blaze consumes his helmet, incinerating much of the bone of the deer-skull, and even warping the metal segments of the thing, exposing some of Valos' face, finally. What one sees between the gaps where the helmet was punctured, or burned.... is a standard-looking humanoid face, but with an empty expression inscribed upon it, with some redness to it, due to the magnitude of the heat that just licked it. However..... Garland might be tempted to wonder what sort of creature this is that stands in the face of such obscene radiation, without flinching, and only showing faint crimson upon his countenance! Does he feel pain? Does he feel pleasure? Does he feel anything?

Well.... as much as it might crush the ego of the black lord to stand testament to this, he is upstaged not in the damage factor of what succeeds his attack, not by a long shot.... but psychological effect- for Isaac's potent sounds ring through his ears, and he staggers, emitting once more a grunt emphasizing the suffering that he's undergoing as the music plays; immediately, he is discombobulated. Because he's in the process of stumbling around, Tron's attack totally misses its mark. Adding to the earlier conflagration that was caused by Garland, Gidarch's armor is melted slightly by the flames.... not by the same caliber as Nuke, but still enough to do considerable structural damage to Valos' mail.... which is starting to look worse for wear. Adding to all of this, the drow's equipment is besieged by a roaring chainsaw, which has such power that it actually tears through his silver armor.... a more malleable metal, and even causes some scratches against Valos' body. By now.... his armor is in shambles, and is about to fall right off of his body. Unfortunately for Katyna, even /if/ he'd conspired to leak information of Morrighan's plan, the strange magic that her attack inflicted induced a silencing effect- disabling him from relaying his thoughts to others; it wasn't like he expected to convince them to see his way anyhow.... so while they all cry out their warcries, resounding with great confidence, Gidarch remains silent, and unconcerned about whether he's 'badass' or 'weak'.

The cyclonic powers of Deidra manage to wrench Valos' cumbersome body skyward, while shredding the remainders of his armor, exposing his athletic body plainly. He's not nude, he has some clothing, but it's scant, leaving little to the imagination. The Count is still muddled courtesy of Isaac's little orchestral number, and when he hits the ground, he can't focus enough to really put his all into his next attack.... which is simple, he throws his axe through the air, and manually guides it around himself in a dervish-esque manner, magnetized by his odd powers, in the hopes of dicing his assailants. The power of the axe is tremendous under his guidance, but the accuracy-rating is so pathetic that there is simply no way he'll do more than glance most of his targets, if he hits them at all.....
Deidra There's a heck of a lot of magical power going around here she braces herself as another powerful spell is lanched at her she leaps trying to get clear of the incoming impact but there's no luck for her. Valos has well proven he can keep tossing it out but then comes nuke. She's never even seen a /spell/ like that.

She gets back to her feet and manages to quickly counter with another spell while she prepares for something larger, the chanting is longer than normal and there's a strange feeling on the air before a huge bolt of energy comes down from on high attempting to consume the Elf.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr grins, not that it can be seen beneath the withering metal plates. Angantyr tears through the attacks, even as Maira heals him...he does not have time to turn and thank her, he just focuses on powering through the Valos unleashes the magnets, he dives through it, swinging his fist through it, even as chunks of his armor are torn off, before he aims to send his fist right into the chest of the dark elf.

"Ha." he says, towards Valos, "Yes. You and her." he says simply. "You come here, tampering with things beyond your scope...and you both look down on others like you have dominion." He laughs again, "Well, I am here to inform you...that dominion is only such...if you can maintain it!" he says, before the dark energies flare up around him again. Darkness flares all around him, as if he were a font of the power itself. He does not merely channel darkness...he GENERATES it in a way should not happen.

Energy courses through his body, before once more he smashes the mace into the ground, aiming to shatter and tear into the channeling spell, aiming to try and break it. The energy shatters out from there, aiming to tear through both Morrigan, but also aiming to tear through Valos...

And then..

Without swinging, dark slashes seem to tear out throughout the entire area all around him, aiming tear both Valos and Morrighan apart.
Garland "You."

Garland's voice shakes as he brings up his massive sword, sending his swinging against the axe; it glances off his armor, tearing off one of the already-damaged chunks, but not enough, not enough to draw Garland's coveted and vile blood. The axe goes spinning off.

"Dared." His hand shudders again as he draws more of his terrible black magic into his claw, forcing it into physical form with nothing more than his will. His hand smashes upwards, explosively, thrusting directly into Valos's face; once again, that untenable flame, that unbelievable heat, that scorching heat, that rage given form as Garland thrusts his hand into Valos's face and follows-up with his sword.

"Defy." Garland roars, swinging his blade around as hard as he can toward the man's chest, to pierce through the armor and break him into pieces.

"ME!" Garland rips the sword backwards, moving to begin advancing on Morrighan. "And now you will learn the price of defying me, little thief."
Avira There is no finisher, save for those delivered by her "comrades in arms." Avira lets her very presence serve as the distraction that exposes Valos to the others. Seeing his attention upon her, the woman offers a smirk and backs away, the Spine held at the ready. She doubts her weapon would be able to fend off his far larger axe unless she managed to dig down deep and pull out a miracle.

All too soon, his attention is once again consumed and Avira is well out of range by the time he resumes striking with his massive weapon. She herself is quite nimble, but the reach of the weapon fails to veer into her vicinity. This, no doubt, is comforting to Maira.

She is patient, waiting like a predator in the grass as she seeks the perfect moment to dart in again. Her opportunity comes swiftly and the petite woman darts in, slamming into the elf from behind seconds after Garland savages him. The spine slams downward, driven into the approximate location of his tailbone.

No words are offered to the dark elf that was elected as Morrighan's guardian. What was left to be said? He had explained his purpose well enough earlier so unlike Morrighan, Avira had no answers to demand from the Count.
Maira They appear to chipping large chunks from the large stag-horned bodyguard's defenses--and his armor. It had taken long enough. What was this man, that he could stand up to attacks like those her friends and...others...were throwing? The other mage seems to know the weakness, using music of all things to distract and weaken him. Thank Holy for that.

Even though the protector is wounded, the feeling of doom in her gut does not lessen. She will have nightmares about this place, she is sure of it. This needs to end soon. She knows in her marrow that Garland will do anything to lay waste to those who have caused him insult. If she were not resistant to fire that flame he'd channeled would have nearly burned her. He does not care about bystanders.

Maybe it is time to act. Maybe she can help end this quickly, maybe everyone will make it out of here if Morrighan and her protector fall....sometimes offense is the best defense, right?

There is so much dark energy in this ritual...everyone knows what dispels shadows.


Taking a deep breath, Maira ignites. The fire that surrounds her form is white hot and growing brighter by the moment. "Preserve life..." she breathes. "Holy!"

Then she unleashes that light, its aim Valos and Morrighan--and hopefully, the ritual.
Royce Royce's slender form sails gracefully over the gaggle of warriors as she unleashes her magical fusillade into the armored form of the dark elf. Blazing cinders rain down around them all, singeing any exposed flesh and burning tiny black scorch-marks into the damp moss of the forest floor. The majority of the assault engulfs Valos in a burst of hellfire, however, leaving the acrid scent of sulfur permeating the area.

Twisting like a cat, the witch lands in a three-point crouch several feet away and she whirls in place to bring her titanic weapon's business end back around to face him. The wildly spinning axe, however, meets her first.

Another gout of neon light flares along her chest, tracing the path the great blade carves across her unarmored torso. Royce staggers back from the whirling blade, though no hint of pain or suffering cracks her mask of casual indifference beyond a narrowing of the girl's eye. She takes a moment to get her bearings now that she has stepped into the actual battle, checking the positions of the combatants and the attacks they throw about with reckless abandon. Most seemed to be warriors of the blade, which made it easier for her to manuever. She just needed to avoid getting in their way.

Royce's gun comes up in a flash as she decides on a course of action. Throwing herself into motion to put distance between the axe's owner, the girl clears several dozen feet before she whirls around and leaps into the air. Shining white light erupts from the gaping maw of the ancient artifact, beams of purifying energy focused into deadly lances streaking through the air from the muzzle to Valos' now exposed body in the blink of an eye.

Two lasers flash before she hits the ground on her back, unleashing a final aimed shot at his head as she skids to a halt on the wet mossy carpet.
TRON TRON catches his Discs and spins to the side, avoiding a shard of flying metal without giving up his defensive stance protecting Maira. As Count Valos then throws his axe into the air and controls it much as he would control his Discs, the Security Program reacts instinctively. He drops to a defensive crouch, Discs rising like shields to cleanly and harmlessly deflect the axe's blade away from both him and his 'charge'.

He recombines his Discs into one as he pulls his staff up from its anchor point in the ground, preparing to return to a defensive stance when a burst of light and heat flares behind him. He spins around, his arm rising to block the blinding light and flame, and he realizes the origin is Maira herself!

"By my User..." TRON breathes, temporarily stunned in his surprise. But the awe does not last long, the shadowy tendrils of the tree's deep darkness and presence of Heartless clawing at the edges of his mind, and he immediately retakes his defensive stance in front of Maira.

He can be amazed at the powerful magic later.
Seymour Guado Seymour was staggered back by the suddenly axe flying across him, his eyes glaring at Valos and then the crowd of people fighting as he selected his spot.
Raising his staff into the air as he stared at Valos for a moment before closing his eyes and bringing the butt of his staff into the ground. Halting his actions as he soon saw the defeat of Valos, smiling he would need to flaunt his power another time it would seem he would soon feel the magical uprising, leaving him to shield himself and steel his body for what else was to come, all this new to him he had no idea what could happen next in this strange land.
Count Valos Deidra's energy bolt fails to have much effect, primarily because of some ingenuity on Valos' part- as his axe spins around through the air, he senses the buildup of ozone, and the weapon swirls above his head, intercepting the electrical jolt. Electrocuted, the axe itself suffers little damage save some warping of the metal, but after it plays the role of an umbrella, the drow simply grabs it again and prepares to use it, if instituting his axe during this round is tactically sound. Angantyr doesn't get any sort of verbal reply, since Gidarch is unable to speak, otherwise he would probably take the time to counter the dark knight's arguments; whether he'd do a good job refuting the accusations is to remain forever a mystery, though. The energy Angantyr launches blasts Valos, turning out to be quite a fruitful maneuver, but there is no sign of agony, even now that the armor that formerly embellished the dark elf is absent. A second volley of searing fire surges in Valos' direction, pelting his skin, and in turn causing him to gleam red as his body heat up; Gidarch had covered himself with his arms to try and deflect some of the damage, but his defense was not a flawless one.

Avira's thrashing via that peculiar blade(?) of her's is able to knock the heated creature of stone towards the ground, which causes some pieces of his body to chip off, like a boulder that's sustained severe punishment and now which is becoming more brittle. Royce's lasers' aim are true, and strike Valos in the head..... this shatters his concentration completely, and then his intrinsic nature takes over. Suddenly, overtaking the majority of his body is a strange sheathing that makes a crackling sound; both legs, the majority of his torso, and one arm transmute into a substance with such density that it will suffer no damage from whatever impacts against it, lest that instrument of harm be something beyond the capability of even most gods- composed mainly of adamantite, he can no longer act, but he can no further be damaged..... at least, not the portions that were fortified.

The rest of his body stiffens up enough so that moving becomes /almost/ impossible for him, and since he's silenced, he surely won't be able to speak- but with such immobilization besetting him, his speech might be too slow to follow, if he could. However.... finishing off the job is the Holy spell, which is so ludicrous in its incandescence, that it consumes Gidarch's form, forcing a full transformation into that strange molecularly compact substance.... until such time that he can regenerate!
Isaac Hanlon Isaac's sonic assault works /again/. Is it something about the 'Count' they're fighting? There is definitely something there. His firewall springs up again, turning aside the axe's edge, battering him again. Isaac spins back and throws his arms out behind him, steadying his perch in the air and wincing at the new mark. His arm is sore, even from the apparently minor strike. If he /hadn't/ deafened him with that...

"Okay lady, you've got about five seconds to surrender before I nuke you back into the Stone Age, which I realize /isn't that far to go/," Isaac shouts, pointing past Valos at Morrighan. The ritual is gathering steam, and he wants to cut it apart before it gets any worse. He starts to gather his /own/ power, calling up his own reserves and feeling around for the magic in the air around him. The mist is curious and definitely unhealthy, and he takes a trickle from the earth, filtering it through his own effortless shield.

Isaac's chant is long and loud, his voice ringing with power and authority. A hazy cyan aura ignites around him, an outline of carefully-controlled magical power. Isaac's spellcasting is curious, to those with the actual skill to notice -- he cloaks it in ritual, but it is closer to imposing his will on the world around him than the formalized rote that the mages of this world indulge themselves in.

The sorcerer wraps himself in the collected mana like it was a cloak. He dives forward when he feels the familiar surge of holy power from one of the people below -- he's too wrapped up in this to tell who -- and charges straight at the ritual site. He holds his tablet to his chest and his other hand out in a fist, still murmuring words of power and focusing on the task at hand. It may be to go straight at Morrighan and punch her directly in the soul.

As it turns out, that is /not/ the plan.

Isaac lands, skidding to a halt amidst the trappings of ritual and right next to the haughty (and at least partially blown up) dark elf. He throws out his light-shrouded hands and a ripple of pale gold light emerges from them, outlining the runes and ritualist. Isaac doesn't try to blow her up, or just nuke the ritual site off the map -- he tries to grab hold of the reins and keep it from going completely out of control, using his own skill and battery of energy to keep it from going nuclear or pulling something through. It's all he's got up his sleeve, now.

Admittedly, this may not have been the best course of action, but Isaac is not known for his wisdom in choosing of actions.
Sarafina Carenze Scientifically speaking malleable armor is really bad armor. Fantasy speaking, of course, OH MY GOD THAT ARMOR IS AMAZING. Sarafina being from Final Fantasy 4 thinks: 'That armor is almost as good as GOLD armor!'.

She does not finish off Valos, others are doing that just fine. It's over, more or less, unless something comes out of that stone. Whatever, Sarafina feels like she could cleave through a hundred men now. The eyes in the wings cry tears of blood but they don't seem sad, they might just be a little leaky from all the holy light flashing about. Sarafina ignores this.

She approaches the statue of Valos and spits into his stone eye. PTOOIE!

"Oi Isaac! Done here!"
Morrighan Alazne Angantyr's fierce attacks end up bowling Morrighan over yet again, sending her flying a ways away before landing on the ground quite roughly. Letting out a cry of pain, she just laid there, unable to bother healing herself as her focus was completely on the ritual. The stone that seemed to be controlling everything had fallen from her grasp, cracking even further under the pressure of the attack.

"...I grow incredibly...weary of barbarians such as you." She grumbled, taking the stone into her grasp and returning to her feet. There was not much more time for Morrighan to lament her misfortune any further before a blinding holy light enveloped her vision. She just barely managed to catch sight of the caster; Maira before everything went dark.

Thankfully this time the elven woman was spared from being tossed about again, instead just...crumpling to the ground. The radiant light meeting the purple stone was all that was needed to cause the corrupted object to shatter into dust. "Ehehehe....You just..." She giggled through her pain while remaining crumpled to the ground.

"...The artifact controlling this ritual was there is nothing to stop the magic from going out of control....fools." As the dark mistress mocked them for their efforts, the ground began to rumble ominously. The magic glyphs that had been channeling energy begin to ripple and fade in and out...and then FLASH! All the magic that had been gathered over the past few days explodes forth, being contained by Isaac's barrier for a few moments...and then the energy returns to the earth, causing the earthquake to quell.

...Did the radio mage do it? Did he really just save everyone?


Abruptly, the ground beneath him literally explodes as a giant skeletal hand comes forth, grasping the man around the waist and lifting him into the air, threatening the squeeze the life out of him. Following that, an otherworldly groan could be heard coming from beneath the earth as the ground exploded again in another area, producing a second giant, bony hand which then grasped the ground, as if pulling itelf up.

"'s here...Ahahahahahaha....good luck, you fools! ...." And then the elven woman lapses into unconsciousness. Right after that, the earthquake intensifies and SOMETHING bursts forth from the ground, it's body quickly and frighteningly towering over all present. Purple robes, horned helmet, ...skeletal body...

It was the Fiend of Earth; Lich

And upon his summoning, the earth from all around almost seemed to wither in his presence...

Let it be known that he is still grasping Isaac in one hand, high in the air.
Garland With Valos turned to stone, Garland simply ignores him, a cold growl rumbling in his armor. He waves his hand at Valos as he passes the statue, gesturing to Angantyr to deal with it. He had more important things to do, more important things to deal with - the witch who started the whole thing. Underlings too stupid to understand their place could be tortured on his time, to-

Garland suddenly freezes, and grabs his side, as though he has been physically wounded. Lich emerges from the ground, and Garland's voice roars, a mixture of pain and hatred redoubling so powerful that the heartless crumble in the wake of his voice. Garland's fury is unending; Garland's rage shakes the Iifa Tree, the entire area shuddering - a localized earthquake, seeing as the tree goes all the way down to the core of Gaia.

"You. Will. Not. Enjoy. Your. Life."

Garland sounds like he's struggling to get the words out as he moves to Morrighan's unconscious body. He crouches, reaching for her face with his massive, clawed hand; he has no intention of being gentle with her now. BEFORE, he might have considered mercy. BEFORE, he might have considered some kindness, perhaps, some release.


Now the witch has caused him *pain*. She has taken from his hatred and made him *angry*.

Now, no force in the cosmos can make him stop. They are welcome to try.
Isaac Hanlon Suddenly and without warning, Isaac hits the panic button.

Sarafina Carenze Sarafina Carenze looks at Isaac. She crosses her arms. In spite of the peril of an Earth Fiend, she's just kind of offended by the music. It seems totally inappropriate.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr looks up at...

That wasn't good.

"We need to leave! NOW!" he booms to the others here, He lifts the mace, turning it towards a place of emptiness. in the field...and creates a corridor of darkness. "EVERYONE INTO IT! It will take you somewhere safe! As we are now, we can not win this fight! Go!" he says, and then starts walking towards Liche.

He's going to have to free Isaac, who is going to be important in stoping this thing. He dives towards Lich, his right arm turning into a claw, aiming to DIG it right into the hand of Liche, and starts repeatedly clawing at it, sanquine blades from his own blood tear up, aiming to and in the repeatedly clawing...

"LET HIM GO!" he booms, depanding...digging into the darkness and trying to command it...but he knows better, it won't work...but it might give him a slight pause.

"Get out of here! Through the corridor." he says to Isaac.
Katyna The gathered heroes manage to 'defeat' Valos..But it seems they're too late! The ground shakes beneath Kat's feet, and her eyes widen as she sees the fiend of darkness and earth arise from the mystical glyphs. Garland yells in her ear and she frowns, stepping back.

"Avira, Maira! We have to get out of here, now! It's too dangerous..." Dammit, running from a figh again? this is so not cool..She starts to head for the corridor, glancing only briefly over her shoulder to ensure the others follow..And one curious glance towards Garland..
Deidra Deidra is hurt but she's still in the fight she'll be fine after sleeping. She stares at Morrigahn for a moment "Seriously she's just a real..." She's cut off as Lich shows up and she stakes a step the hell back She's just about to panic ya this is a bad thing, Valos has been turned to stone and she looks away she doesn't want to think about it for a moment she's a Gargyole she tuns to stone when she sleeps. Then comes Garland's rage she is now getting freaked out here the rage of something beyond the her understanding is at work here and that scares the heck out of her. Every part of her is telling her to run but Isaac is in the things clutches he is her friend. She'd know she should go but she's got little option she's not leacing Isaac behind. She follows after Anng.

"GO we'll deal with Isaac!"

She doesn't use the darkent she attempts to make use of ice spells as she attempts to have them let Isaac go.
Maira Yes, Maira agrees. This is likely a good time for retreat, especially for those who are injured.

Maira is not yet injured however, and is still brimming with mana. There is no way she is leaving Angantyr and Isaac alone to cover their escape. "Go! I'll follow!" she shouts to those who would most certainly try to shuffle her toward the corridor of darkness Angantyr had created.

Nope, she makes a bee line toward Angantyr, determined to help him free Isaac. It is not in her to flee when someone is still in trouble. Thus, as she runs, she lets the flame erupt from her, sending several fireballs at Liche, hoping to make him drop Isaac--at which point she'd try to cushion his fall with a well placed Aero spell.
Avira Though Avira did consider herself a bitter rival, nay, enemy of Morrighan, it unfortunately did not weigh hard enough upon her that she would engage in such silly behavior as 'dibsing' the Dark Elf for herself. This is especially the case when the other person gunning for her happenes to be Garland.

It seems that they've stopped whatever weird ritual Morrighan was up to. For a few seconds. Even Avira's small magical skill enables her to feel that something has gone very, very wrong. The real ugly reveals itself as Morrighan laughs through the emergence of some huge skeleton that radiates a power that...reminds her an awful lot of Garland. She might avoid it, except that monster is clutching Isaac.

Love to retreat, she would, but not without him. "We're leaving alright, but we don't leave people behind!" she calls out to her fellow VALKYRI.

As she runs, that strange silvery ripple clings to her entire body, willpower urging her forward even in the face of this terrifying foe. This extension of will is expressed beyond the physical reach of her weapon, the mysteriously powerful and sharp blow levied against the forearm holding up the wizard in one efficient and cleaving strike.

The second she hits the ground, she's running again, unwilling to stay still and remain a target.
Katyna Katyna pauses, turns around and frowns. That guy, Isaac. They got him. Does he stand a chance? Katyna..Doesn't even know the guy and has no real reason to save him..Other than the fact that Avira had once saved her from a certain cursed gauntlet, rather than leave her to her own devices.

"R-right! I'll cover you!" She frowns as she peers up at the skeletal creature, still clutching Isaac, and adds her own fiery blades strikes to Avira's own, hoping to weaken the fiend's hold upon the hapless victim.
TRON Maira makes a break /towards/ the Lich, bolting past TRON before he could fully comprehend just what is going on NOW. Angantyr's yell and a glimpse that way shows a portal open and ready for evacuation.

He has no idea just /what/ Morganne has summoned, but it is BAD NEWS.

He runs after Maira, reconnecting his Disc back to its spindle, and catches up just as she casts her spells at the Lich. "My apologies in advance, Maira!" He scoops Maira up in one arm, leaping and bounding almost effortlessly along overturned earth and exposed roots despite the localized earthquake threatening his sense of balance. He angles towards the portal Angantyr had created, but can't quite make a direct path there.

He does not interfere with Maira's spellcasting, though. Just putting distance between them and that Fiend of Earth and getting as close to the portal as possible.
Sarafina Carenze Sarafina isn't going to stop Garland from taking the 'thieves'. Either one. AFter all, the only thing Sarafina would offer them is a swift execution. If there was even a faint whisper of remorse for their acts, she'd have decided otherwise, but they just summoned an archfiend for, as far as she can tell, lulz.

She says, "Isaac! Lets go!" She seems to be confident in Isaac's ability to get out of this mess. Or the five or so people trying to help him out. Sarafina'd just be in the way with her awkward giant ass weapon and she is not eager to strike at the fiend for any other reason but to help him escape. Since she sees no opening for that, well.
Royce Royce remains flat on her back in the grass for several seconds as her firepower, combined with the relentless assaults of the others, finally brings down the towering guardian. The transformation into stone causes her to hesitate and the gun remains leveled on his swiftly hardening body until Valos is completely immobile and out of the equation.

Now at the back of the formation, the witch slowly pushes to her feet and stares up at the fallen form of the dark elf ritualist. Morrighan's words only reinforce the concern that immediately strikes her upon seeing the dark crystal shattered. Nothing good ever came over having a ritual rudely interrupted. More often than not, the resulting wild backlash was worse than the intended effect of the magic itself. This seems to be one of those cases.

Royce steadies herself as the ground heaves to give way to the grasping boney hands but the reverberating roar of dark pain that bellows from Garland's armored shell is far more disturbing than the giant undead creature that is roused from beneath the earth. Her gaze travels over to where the Lord of Darkness' hands grasp his side, a reaction that coincides with the short earthquake and the rising demon. Was he somehow wounded by the unleashed magics?

The voice, however, seems far more keenly interested in the giant skeletal creature. Its laugh echoes like the tumbling of rocks in her head. Ha ha ha ha! Just look at that! What a wonderful specimen. Oh, I simply /must/ have a closer look. However... it would seem remaining here is not an option at this time. Flee while these fools rush to save their comrade, lest we find ourselves victims of this beast's foul mood.

Royce doesn't waste time arguing, though she laments the lost chance to speak with the man who possesses so much darkness. As always, she cannot find a real reason to give for wanting to understand the secrets of his powers, beyond the driving hunger of her curiosity. There will be other chances, however.

Instead of heading for the portal opened by the dark knight, the girl turns and runs in a different direction. She had no desire to get mixed up with these other people whom she knew nothing about. If it came to light they took offense to her particularly grim form of sorcery, she didn't want to be cooped up with half a dozen angry warriors. With a flick of her wrist and some intoned magical words, Royce creates her own dark wormwhole through reality, vanishing into the shadowy portal without a single glance back.
Seymour Guado The Half Guado stares at the Earth Lich blinking quietly, smiling slightly as he might have a chance to show off his true power after all as the adventurers all seem to be either taking flight, or trying to free their comrade. Raising his staff up high as he takes position this time he planned to go through with it, his eyes closed as the sky began to light up with glyphs forming a glowing circle.
From the center of that circle plunges a massive three pronged hook, colliding with the ground it dissapears into the earth as it seems to reach into the fiery depths.
Then dragging itself up in a pool of energy the earth itself began to quake and shake below as the hook dragged itself back from the ground taking something monsterous out of it.

Bound in chains and rapped in bandages this monsterous creature seemed to embody pain and agony itself, it head bandaged leaving only it's sharp vicious twisted teeth showing, and that one eye filled with pain and agony as it seems to almost bleed with terrible energy and magic.
The only redeemable feature is a beautiful statue worn around it's neck like a necklace of a womans bound almost like this creature was, Seymour would play the Hero atleast as he pointed forward giving the command to unleash a terrible bolt of Anima's pure agony at the Lich to help free the captured comrade.
Isaac Hanlon So yeah. That didn't really work out.

Isaac is suddenly /more/ airborne. He feels his ribs creak as the massive skeletal hand closes on him. He manages to keep one hand mostly free, the arm stuck between Lich's bony fingers. He is poking his tablet screen one-handed with a /fury/. It does not appear to be facilitating his release, at least in the immediate term. Neither does the fact that he cannot, apparently, breathe. He tries to get a lungful of air, but Lich keeps him held fast.

Everything else? That helps.

The radio mage shuts his eyes when he sees the fireballs start a-flyin'. Fire and ice in equal measure streak in, hammering into the huge arm. Applications of bloody claw and fiery blade and sudden wind slash hack at the bony limb, loosening the monster's grip. The horrifying summoned creature turns its baleful gaze to the creature, and the hand slackens to the point that Isaac can actually inhale. He sucks in a wheezing breath, opening his eyes wide and gathering his will --

--and all that stored-up mana, too.


With the utterance of a single word, all that gathered power turns into deadly force. A sudden eruption of pale gold light bursts from Isaac's clutched form, rushing outward in every direction. It threatens to engulf Lich and sweep the ground below like an expanding sphere of distressingly solid light, the blazing luminescence a spell of annihilation effective only against things unnatural and inhuman -- and when it touches the worst of them, it has a tendency to unmake them.

Like Lich.

And, say, Garland.

Isaac falls from the sky. A cushion of air keeps him from hitting the ground at unsafe speeds. He rolls over and staggers to his feet, pulling a potion out of his pocket and choking it down. He drops the bottle and looks around almost drunkenly, shooting the collected rescuers (and Sarafina, the lazeabout) a thumbs-up. He mutters something else, points at Morrighan, and then points at the portal.

Gravity changes which way 'down' is. Morrighan gets to experience rag-doll physics and curious cushioning all the way to the other side of the corridor. She'll survive, but get some new bruises out of the deal.

Isaac himself stumbles into a jog and then an unsteady run after her. "Owe you guys," he coughs out on the way. He's not about to forget that a bunch of people are keeping him from being a red smear.

(He'll think about it more when he's got some distance between himself and Garland.)
Morrighan Alazne The Fiend of Earth inclined his head downwards slightly, watching as Angantyr clawed away at the hand grasping Isaac. He was unmoved. Impassionate. Unimpressed. In fact the moment the dark knight even deigned to command /him/, a rumbling laughter began to echo outwards from the otherworldly creature, filled with unending amusement.

"You would dare? You sad, silly, pathetic man..."

Lich's grip on Isaac was not budging any. Deidra's ice spells just washed over him unflinchingly, Maira's fireballs have similar effect. Following that, Avira and Katyna's combined slashes impacted with the creature, only seeming to bounce off of the thing as power simply radiated from his form.

It almost seemed like there was not going to be a way to save Isaac...until Seymour's summoned creature; Anima, appeared. Seeming interested now, Isaac was unceremoniously dropped, allowing him to sail down to the ground without any sort of care for his well being. He then followed up, unleashing an equally destructive array of magic; thunderbolts in particular in order to clash with the burst of magic being sent at him.

It was now a battle between fiend and esper, and the others were caught in the middle.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr grins.

"I like to think I am crazy." Angantyr counters Lich, things weren't going according to plan...not at all..

Until the horrifying Fayth is called...Angantyr looks shocked by this for a moment..

"EVERYONE! OUT! GET TO THE CORRIDOR! NOW!" Angantyr shouts, moving to shove Isaac Along.

"This means you, Mage."
Sarafina Carenze Once Isaac is freed, Sarafina holds down the L /and/ R buttons until she flees.

She drops 523 gp!
Garland Garland is far too powerful to simply be unmade by such a spell. Lich likely is either - Garland doesn't care about Lich, at all. He's not going to hurt Garland; he physically cannot hurt Garland, for to hurt Garland was to hurt himself, to risk his own demise, and if Garland died, he would never come back. Moreover, he could never truly be free of Garland, for Garland was the one who chose whether Lich and the others lived or died.


The spell is cast. The magic smashes against him, peeling back layers of Garland's armor. Garland screams, the echo shaking the tower once again; he turns, agonizingly slowly, weighed down by magic, locked in a battle of unending willpower and absolute fury as he fights against two sources of pain and three sources of external magic.

Part of his armguard shatters, and darkness pours forth like blood from a wound. It oozes onto the ground, pouring out onto the Iifa Tree and rapidly lapped up as it does so. Garland's hands shake with anger as his armguard continues to crumble; there is no sign of flesh within, but nor can that all-consuming darkness be penetrated with normal gaze.

As Isaac escapes with Morrighan, Garland finally manages to turn. He looks upon Anima, blasting at Lich; he looks upon Isaac, retreating with the object of rage. He looks upon Valos, frozen in stone, a consolation prize to torment in the most creative ways he can imagine until he grows bored and allows the man to escape.

He is so, so, so, so very angry.
Maira Her attempt to charge to the rescue is foiled by TRON, who seems to recognize Maira is crazy for trying to get closer to Liche, and now Anima. Yes, things have gone downhill rather quickly. Not that...they were ever uphill, really.

Still, she struggles against hi as they make a run for the portal. "Let me go! We can't leave them!.... Don't you try to stay behind, Angantyr!" she yells, as the likelihood of her breaking free of TRON's grip is not good. Physically, she's kind of pathetic, strength-wise.
Seymour Guado Seymour stood steadfast as Anima screeched with each blast from its eye, it's blood still seeping like tears from that eye only to be soaked up by the by the bandages. Each blast seeming to meet a magical counter as Anima held it's place writhing in it's chains seeming to be focusing its attention on the fiend, it actually seeming to want to protect the fleeing adventurers as it would unleash blast after blast to connect with each thunderbolt and stray spell locking itself in a deadlock conflict with the monster, Seymour himself surprised at the fiends strength as Anima seems to be having troublee holding it at bay.

"This could be dangerous.." he seemed to speak to himself watching from a safe position behind his Aeon as the others began to flee, all Anima and him need to do was hold off till the others could escape to safety.

This scene contained 92 poses. The players who were present were: Deidra, Katyna, Sarafina Carenze, Avira, Maira, LEXUS, Morrighan Alazne, Angantyr Vespar, Garland, Count Valos, TRON, Isaac Hanlon, Seymour Guado, Royce