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Search of Power
(2013-03-30 - 2013-04-01)
No description.
All who have been approved by the Fluorgis office and Archades have been shuttled to the grand city of Archades. High in the clouds. The floating city looms over the section of Lower Archades. Here buildings stretch high into the sky as magicite flows through connectors to power the massive city.

Shuttle cars float in the sky and buses alike, including even some small airships from time to time. People walk the streets both high and low. It was here that the adventure begins for so many, yet this is not where the adventure will take them.

Once the papers are double checked and triple checked. People are then moved into the docking area of the Archadia's military section. The Imperial Soldiers stand in a perfect line and Judges keep the mercenaries, hired, help, and those willing to take the mark moving. They are all moved to load upon one of the Shiva's that is waiting in the dock. The 8th fleet's symbol branded onto her metal haul and bright against the white paint.

Gabranth stands on one side of the docking platform. Watching as each person boards. His amber eyes scanning over each that enter. His one hand resting on the hilt of the highway star as he gives a soft nod to a few that board with his helm. Expecting that each Judge or Judge Magister to do the same.

Once everyone has boarded, Gabranth motions with his hand for the Imperial soldiers coming along to then board and then he waits for the other Judges to also board, before he follows in, just as the Shiva starts to rise upward and close the metal door.

Once inside, the Judge Magister walks over to a table in the center. His hand glides over the controls as he activates the chart map. "Greetings everyone." The Judge Magister says with his voice echoing in the helm. "Archades thanks you all for joining us on this mission assignment. As you may been informed, this mission is a dangerous one and has been classified up to this point." He then moves his hand over the magicite projected image to pull up an image of a floating island, with waterfalls raining down from the sides of it. "This ladies and gentlemen is where we are heading. This island has been unaccessible until this point thanks to some intel."

He then motions his hand, which the image then changes to a map. "We will be landing at this point," He places his finger on the map, before he trails it along what looks like a road to a building in the middle of the jungle. "and our destination which we must walk is here. We only have twenty four hours to complete this mission. Maybe less by this point."

The Judge Magister then closes the image with a slash of his hand through it. Those hidden eyes glance over all who are here. "We do not know the level of danger we will be facing, but I assure you. The pay will be high and all medical will be covered by our best within Archades."

The Judge Magister then glances over to Zargabaath, then Riku, before Cirra, then to others present. "I am the one who is in charge, after me is Judge Magister Zargabaath, Judge Riku, the Judge Constantine." He would explain to her later why she was not after Zargabaath. House ruling and all.

"Please follow our instructions during this mission. Thank you." Then Gabranth turns before he walks into the section of the airship where the pilots and other Imperial soldiers are. It was actually a rather nice airship. Plenty of leg room, head room, there was even a place to get some water! In the back there was even a rec room, including a locked armory.
Zargabaath Flanking Judge Magister Gabranth from the gangplank on into the airship itself is another Judge Magister--Zargabaath, the Judge of Reason. He remains silent for the duration of the briefing, his stance unwavering and at parade-rest with his hands folded at the small of his back under his cloak.

Only when Judge Magister Gabranth steps away does he shift forwards. "Please take this opportunity to relax and prepare, if you have not already," he adds, his ram-like helm slowly turning to regard the room and those in it. Some people he has met before, but others are new faces. "But it is expected that all shall be ready to move by the time we land."
Aerith Aerith had been on one of these airships before. Not like this one, though. The last one she'd been on was the Alexander with the man who'd just spoken earlier. She owed him a debt of course, he'd helped defend Manhattan the first time. Naturally then, she felt she owed him a debt. Gabranth, she wasn't so sure about. She knew nothing about him besides his name and status as a Judge Magister, and she probably wouldn't have any real chances to find out.

Not during this, anyway.

But that was for later. Aerith was here now, and she'd be here until the job was done. The money could go to somewhere else, she just wanted to be square with Zargabaath.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart has boarded the airship along with the others, catching a ride to the cloud city, and then back down to the new desctination. She has found a place to sit down and listen to the debriefing. Adventure huh? That sounds interesting, uncharted areas, and a good pay. Although, needless danger is not exactly what she wants to go for, she also believes in strength in numbers, and there's plenty of volunteers here. So she's confident enough about this.

She lifts a hand as she has a question "Anything that we actually KNOW about where we're going, or is it purely uncharted? Like anything we need to worry about, watch for, are we gonna get wet or anything the like?" She has to wonder of course. Surely they aren't sending people competely unprepared for what's going to happen there, right?
Kaydin Kaydin comes aboard, black cloak fluttering about him, hood covering most of his face as he boards. The chain wrapped about his sword rattles with each step as he held the wrapped weapon. He glances to those about him and just takes a breath. When Aerith and Tifa comes he moves towards them, as if a part of them.
Souji Murasame Souji Murasame is present, after some... quiet negotiations with the Archadian military. The Murasame Family needs to establish some ties. Build some bridges. And the way that happens, is by going out and doing someone's dirty work for them. Kill those rats. Do those fetch quests. That's how it works out here.

This is why the Murasame Heir is present upon the Shiva. He looks over the systems, nodding to himself, before hisgaze is arrested by the imposing figure of the Judge Magister. He smiles to himself as he sees the technology being used. Excellent. High technology is expensive. Good profit margins. Souji has not gotten where he has by ignoring potential markets.

The Magister gives the mission overview. He nods, thinking about the potential dangers. He is quiet, keeping his opinions to himself as he considers the ongoing situation. He marks the chain of command.

Once complete, Souji nods to the others. "Do you wish to tell us what the goal of this mission is? What the expected dangers are? Will we have access to the ship? Resources? Backup?" There is a decided lack of solid information here and it is causing him some concern.
Shadow The motives of the assassin/ninja/doglover Shadow are simple. There was work being offered that is high risk, high pay. He signed up for it. Even Interceptor, who has been a bit on the fiesty side of 'goody' lately didnt protest this time around. At most he paws over the doggy helmet he wears as if trying to get the thing off. It irrates the fur.

The dark clad man arrives on time to the majestic city and the initial RZ. Its possible Shadow arrived earlier, but he wasn't making his presense intentionally known. Papers are then checked. Lines are then stepped into. Shuffle shuffle stand wait into a new area. It does not bother him-- cool eyes being impassive to the usual level of 'preorg' efforts in expeditions or missions. He doesnt give the Judges any eye contact when being scanned over-- eyes fixed straight ahead of him as if disconnected from where his mind and body are.

Once boarded, the figure stands and listens. Shadow is very still as the brief begins-- though Interceptor is busy scratching behind his ear with a paw. When the informative announcement is complete-- he move away without much more notice. Whether it is a ship on water on in the air, the shrouded one wanders until there is a place for him to stand over a balcony and quietly wait for time to pass. Interceptor, however, is getting that wanderlust look in his eyes. There are people here. One might pet him. Woof.
Kim Possible Arriving along with Tifa and Aerith is Kim Possible. She rode in on the airship herself, not wanting to risk getting lost while using her swift secret agent methods of travelling fast. As well as Wade suggesting she do so because... well, he thought she might get lost! Either way, Kim listens to the debriefing with her eyes wide open, listening intently. Unlike Tifa, Kim doesn't say anything for the time being.
Aerith Aerith glanced toward the dog and knelt as he headed her way. She grinned and petted his head. "Awww... you're such a sweetie, aren't you? Wish I had something for you."
Cirra Constantine Cirra Constantine, sometimes known as the Judge of Wrath stood waiting at the docks, then boarded the craft and stood at attention for the entire briefing... then she gets told something by radio that makes her back go even straighter, if that was at all possible.
r The helmeted head of the Judge turns to look at Riku, then looks away. It seems she has no other comment to add and stays silent.

Like she doesn't get enough flack from the rest of the military, now she's getting it from Gabranth, putting a /cadet/ in command over her.

That's the bitter taste of insult.
Evja Evja, meanwhile, had nearly missed the trip! A combination of some Archadian smiths not quite caring to hurry up on armor for a Viera, and actually having to take a moment to pad the armor a bit with cloth because it was still too big for the Viera in most fashions. Which meant the Viera had picked up the rear of the pack when he finally made it after some quick hops through the city and testing the armor he had.
Landing with a resounding thud, Evja approached the Judge Magisters to have a quick word with them about something then slipped into the Shiva itself along with the rest when the time came. Then the mission briefing came and it made him wonder.

"This... object." Evja states softly, "And this land we go to... it does not seem natural. In fact, I cannot help but feel there may be a heavy concentration of natural magicite there in some fashion keeping the island afloat. Do you know if there is going to be any heavy concentrations of unnaturally agitated Mist?"
As the Judge spoke, his voice was a bit different than with his old armor. It was deeper, more echoey, like most Archadian Judges tended to be. But, that was the effect of effectively borrowing armor.
Arkham Fisher She's been here before, you know. Not /here/ here, of course, but it's always the same tension before a skirmish. Quietly, seated against a bulkhead, Arkie inventories her medical supplies, packs and repacks for ease of access.

An itinerant healer, she volunteered for the expedition without much thought; every squad needs a medic, after all, and Archades is as much her home as anywhere. She looks up to the Judge Magisters as Tifa requests clarification of their objectives. She'll want to know, herself, she supposes. Her own duties will be the same whatever the case, of course, but...

Inexorably, her eyes are drawn to the next querent. ~Viera~. H-- /his/ question is valid, too, but it looks like she's perhaps a bit more interested in the man who asked it. Absently she continues reassembling her kit.
Shadow Interceptor barks happily as Aerith gives him a little pat. He pants-- tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth and grinning like only a dog can grin. The large dog circles himself as if chasing his own tail-- then lays down and rolls onto his back to have his tummy petted in replacement of a doggie treat.

Shadow is not far off-- his eyes sliding to his peripheral view to see the uncharacteristic conduct of his dog. Ever since he arrived his mutt has been-- friendly. Reasonably friendly. He hasn't eatten children, despite biting a couple. Maybe his dog was always friendly but never had a chance to show it. A single black gloved hand comes to the ninja's face as he shakes his head.
Aerith Aerith chuckled and rubbed the dog's tummy. "I bet you're a really good bodyguard, huh? Yes you are!" She stood after a few moments, fists on her hips. "A shame I can't keep you. You belong to someone after all. Next time, I'll give you something, okay?" Might seem silly, her talking out loud to a pet that seemingly does not understand... but she does have a way with animals.
Montag Montag has appeared on and off the world stage but Montag's never hung around for long. Prehaps due to his employer or it just keeps them busy. Or prehaps he doesn't end up haning out near team heroe a lot it could be any of these but he's out in the field the Shinra has been trying to send out some feelers towards Archades and Montag given his having two brain cells to rub together along side experiance with them he's been picked fo rthis.

"So one these ops? I see."

He checks his gear for a moment he doesn't seem put off by bonus pay at all maybe he can get himself a Hardy Daytona of his own finally.

"Understood your Judge."
Kaydin The cloaked and hooded figure watches the goings on though Aerith and the dog get most of his attention. When the dog barks he tightens his grip on the weapon wrapped in chains. The questions and talking doesnt seem to get any reaction out of him and he just remains close to the group who came with Aerith
Riku Riku stands with his hands loosely behind clasped behind him with the other judges, hair bound up out of the way and an Archadian saber bound over his shoulder underneath a cloak that was tied at one shoulder. The cloak had the archadian symbol upon it and it lay draped over his adventuring gear.

He drew in a long, steadying breath and let it out very slowly. The teenager was trying very earnestly to pretend he belonged here and was not actually able to convince himself entirely so his aura of calm was troubled by threads of doubt and anxiety that he had a difficult time suppressing.

He made himself look at everyone, trying to meet the eyes of judges and mercenaries and imperial soldier. He forced himself to draw in one breath in front of the other and let the nigh-hysterical sense of absolute /wrong/ flutter along in the background without it reaching his face. He was not used to things being done this way. Adventuring is freeform and.. somehow much less nerve wracking than this.

He almost loses his nerve entirely when Cirra glances at him but instead of relent, this actually catalyzes his anger. His golden eyes narrow slightly as he grits his teeth. The House had certainly gone out of it's blessed way to make his life difficult.

Well. Not as if he was unused to that.

Riku looks over to Souji, sizing him up as the anger in his eyes goes away, shielded as if behind frosted glass as he determines NOT to be looked at as weak or unsuitable right now, no matter what. How was he going to phrase this? He parses out the words /very/ carefully in his head. " If I may, your honors?" he says this to them and then just barrels on without regard to the answer. He was going to get this right. "According to intel, an artifact with magical properties lies at our destination." stick with what you know. Stick with what makes sense. "It's a dangerous trek there and back, and it must be done quickly because the area is swept frequently by waves of energy that mess with some technological and magical abilities and effects."

Riku gestures minutely while he talks. "So the ship will remain grounded in case of a sudden surge that might strand us, and we must leave before the greater waves sweep through the area. As for threats on the ground, we have to assume any and all things." The younge judge shrugs. "You are looking at the entire expedition. What we have here is what we have to work with."
Emi Dennou A pair of Dennous have volunteered for this operation. They are doing this for MONEY. It takes a fair bit of dough to take care of six people and the TDA isn't exactly generous with moolah. Of course there's another reason--namely to see more of Archades in action. Emi's heard a lot about their nature on both sides, but not much in the ways of definitive proof of intent. Besides, Zargabaath seems like a nice guy. And of course, she recently found out ONE certain secret regarding Riku.

The two Dennous present today seems to be Umi and Emi. They have, totally coincidentally, been hanging by near Arkham. The latter looks over the kit with curiousity.

"Hello," She murmurs. "The Network introduces themselves as Emi and Umi Dennou. We look forward to working with you."
Aerith Aerith stood after a few moments after the tummy rubs, hands on her hips. "Shame I can't keep you. I'll bring you something next time, okay?" She headed back toward Kim and Tifa. "He's so adorable." It was then that she noticed Kaydin, only giving him a nod. Not much time to talk at the moment, it was almost time to depart.
Shadow It is hard to imagine Interceptor as harmless, though he is doing a good job of it as he squirms and whines from a tummy rub. Snapping up to an at attention, he replies to Aerith with a solid, "Woof!" of confirmation to his abilities of a bodyguard. Best dog bodyguard around! Probably. The large dog then sits, mouth closed and listens to Aerith's promise. A simple, "Woof," comes from the dog as if agreeing to this promise. He even produces a single paw to shake on it.
Aerith Aerith blinked for a moment, then chuckled as she knelt and shook his paw. "I'll have treats for you next time, on my honor." Huh, strange... it was almost as if they really were talking. Almost suggested she had an affinity for this kind of thing.
Emi Dennou A pair of Dennous have volunteered for this operation. They are doing this for MONEY. It takes a fair bit of dough to take care of six people and the TDA isn't exactly generous with moolah. Of course there's another reason--namely to see more of Archades in action. Emi's heard a lot about their nature on both sides, but not much in the ways of definitive proof of intent. Besides, Zargabaath seems like a nice guy. And of course, she recently found out ONE certain secret regarding Riku.

The two Dennous present today seems to be Umi and Emi. They have, totally coincidentally, been hanging by near Arkham. The latter looks over the kit with curiousity.

"Hello," She murmurs. "The Network introduces themselves as Emi and Umi Dennou. We look forward to working with you."
The Shiva continues to fly through the skies. Its white haul and gold trim dancing in the sunlight, as it banks gently, leaving a gentle contrail in the air behind it. Within the haul no one will even feel the bank, unless someone is brave enough to peer out the windows.

The windows would show the world outside the Shiva. The Ocean below them and the waters sparkling the bright sun high above. Soon though the massive island could be seen coming into view. Including some birds that the Shiva passes by with simple ease not disturbing their own flight in the air.

Gabranth however was not available for answering any question. He had moved himself up there with the pilot and co-pilot. Keeping an eye on the readings and watching the instruments as much as the pilots were. His amber eyes scheme up to the island, before he inhales deeply.

So far. So good.

The Shiva starts to bank around once more, though however a little shake is given to the ship as gentle energy wake passes through the air. Thankfully it doesn't seem to mess with the systems any, beyond maybe cause the internal lights to flicker a bit at that moment.

Yet some may pick up the sound of the magicite thrusters starting to slow down as the Shiva moves in for descent. To land on the island. It would be soon now...

Soon Gabranth walks back out where everyone is. He sadly didn't hear Riku give the explanation. Alas. Though it would not be he who judged Riku's performance when this was done. "Everyone, we will be arriving soon. Just remember to stay close and do not, by any circumstance, roam off on your own. There will be no search party to locate you if you go missing." The Judge Magister inhales deeply. "Regarding the ruin building we will be entering. We have no information on it. We do not know what lies within, beyond the fact our mission objective is inside, which is an ancient artifact. There also may be a chance of high level of Magicite mist within the structure."

"Mist, as some of you may or may not know. Is highly dangerous when to much of it is inhaled, yet the effects of its danger take time. So long as you don't inhale to much mist, you will be fine from its more dangerous effects." His eyes trail over to Evja. "For the Viera, it can cause them to go into rage anger, perhaps then eventual death, for us humes, it can mess with our minds, cause trouble breathing, and then kill us. If you starting to fall under the effects of mist, you will know it by the simple fact of your concentration levels will begin to drop, it will become hard to focus. Eventually this can lead too extreme emotions. Then due to your mental instability, you start to breath in deeper, taking in more mist, which eventually leads to lack of oxygen in the system. In time of this, even if you are able to keep yourself together, you will eventually pass out, and if nothing is done to remove the poison from the system, you will due." He pauses, "Mind you, only under extreme circumstances does someone die from Mist poisoning."

Gabranth lets that sink in before he speaks again. "If you believe you are falling under the effects of mist poisoning, try to focus. Keep your mind locked on an objective and do not let your mind stray from the objective. Even if that person is the objective. Do not let your mind stray from it." Yes, that maybe even means sing a song to yourself too, so long as it doesn't piss the Viera beside you.

The Shiva begins to slowly descend now. It lands down onto the ground upon some old roadway stones surrounded by old ruins that have crumbled down over time. It look like it was once a structure made for airship landing and departures actually. By how the beams are laid out and what remains of it. The building structure itself seemed to be made of stone and metal.

The Shiva's door then opens and a ramp extends out for people to disembark, giving closer inspecting to the old ruins that lay waste here. Off to the north, northeast though is the massive jungle before them and out a bit beyond that, the top of the ruin building the need to make it too.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath nods his helm in acknowledgement to those who are asking for further clarification, his stance unchanging. He turns his body only so slightly to acknowledge Riku as the boy steps forward to answer the queries, and maintains his silence throughout the explaination that follows not only from the Judge-in-Training, but from His Honor Gabranth as well.

Already he is gauging and evaluating--not only Riku, but the other persons who have answered Archades' call. Call it a force of habit.

He returns to being silent, as both Gabranth and Riku have explanations well in hand. Instead, he leaves the front of the room and circles around the outer wall towards the ramp as the Shiva comes in for a landing, his armor barely making a sound as he moves.

As soon as the doors open, the Judge of Reason is the first to disembark, helm already turning from side-to-side to gauge any signs of danger. He will be waiting at the ground, making sure none decide to catch a case of wanderlust so soon after arriving.
Aerith Aerith is one of the first to leave after the judge, her staff already materializing in her right hand. She uses it as a walking stick for now, a seemingly unassuming six foot long wooden pole. Of course she's ready to use it as a weapon at a moment's notice, and with a place this dangerous, it's no exception. She glances behind her to make sure Tifa and Kim are following.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart takes that in. Waves of energies, most of magical and technological stuff getting knocked out... sounds like a work for a brawling barmaid if things get to the worse point at least.

She hops off the airship once they have a touchdown, looking around the ruins. She reaches up for a watch that she prepared just in case, pulling it out of hiding, and tapping it "So, let's say 18 hours to be safe here..." She sets the time "So by tomorrow 10 am we need to be out of here, from what I understand. Otherwise, the airship might be stranded? Or we might be left here alone if they can't wait."

She looks over to the judges, making sure that Aerith and Kim are near her. Sure, she knows Kaydin and Evja are nearby too... There's plenty of people she knows here at least, and most she can trust.
Arkham Fisher The medic looks up, blinking, at the far-too-similar girls, and scrounges up a smile from somewhere. "Working, working with me, ah? Are you healers?" Working blind for a moment, she attempts to stow two tonics in the same pocket. Clink. "Blow. One moment." Arkham sorts the last of her potions away, and dumps the gauze unceremoniously in an outside pocket.

Having done, she collects her sword and shield, shoulders her bag, and stands; she's just about even with Emi. She straps the shield to her right arm, and hangs the sword from her sash.

"Freelancers..." Since, well, the Dennous obviously aren't army regulars. But nobody here is, really. Must not be worth their time. She rides out the descent without comment, and watches as the gangway opens and the Judge Magister strides forth. "Well, you, you can stick with me if you want; I'm not taking, taking point, though." She makes her way towards the ramp, and waits for a few more of the vanguard to head out before joining the column.
Evja The resident Viera takes a deep breath, though it may not be obvious he is just that at the moment given he was in full plate and had his helm on. Watching Zargabaath and the rest begin to leave, Evja approaches Gabranth and looks towards him quietly for a moment as if saying something, but nothing audible to the others is able to be heard. Possibly some kind of in-helm radio or something of the sort.

Of course, after a moment he sighed softly and nodded before turning to wander out of the Shiva, cape flaring behind the armored Judge just a bit. Upon getting to the ground he reached behind him and pulled out a long silver whistle and blows on it for several seconds.

No sound came though.

Then a portal flickered open briefly and a large yellow Chocobo stepped through before it immediately closed, the Chocobo barded up like a Judges mount. And, indeed, it was. Evja stepped over and gave it a pat before hopping up onto the top of the bird and waiting to see just what else was going to happen this moment.

Hopefully no reason came that he'd have to bolt somewhere with his steed, but if need be, then need be. "If anyone has a weak constitution and cannot make this trip on foot, I can carry one more upon my Chocobo." he offers towards the group, just in case.
Kim Possible Kim follows Aerith and Tifa carefully, looking between the two of them. "Don't worry, we can do this," She says with a reassuring smile to her BFFs. "It may seem tough, but I've been through worse." She glances around a little, taking in the general appearance of the island.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart nods to Kim "We were in Manhattan, and its restoration, I don't think there's much that can even GET close to that." She shudders a bit even. Straight into the darkness itself, and don't set a foot outside the path, that was not a nice experience.

At least, she was there, Aerith had missed it due to other engagements, that might just be as important down the road after all. There are more worlds out there that are in similar situations after all.
Shadow Danger danger everywhere-- and thats par for the course for Shadow and Interceptor. They give the information a brief consideration before pulling out the tidbits necessary to survival. The thought of an emotional ninja is too difficult to fathom. Best not dwell on it.

The man and his dog are also among some of the first to leave the ship. Shadow nor his large dog make any offer to take a particular point in the party. They just know not to 'wander off' which is going to be something they want to do by default. They disembark quietly, side by side, best of friends.
Montag Montag is just making himself comfortable on the ship it's quite the airship to be sure. The shinra had some air power but he'd neer got to travel in more than their transport choppers. This was quite the change for him as they get ready to deploy. The Shinra Ranger seems to be paying quite a bit of attention to Gabranth with what he's saying.

"Bio hazard right."

he pulls a gas mask of some sort out of his pack and puts it on fully hiding his face under his combat helmet and this.

"Nasty work i should have brought mosre masks."

it might not work but it could very well help and when they land he heads out rifle no longer slung over his shoulder but at the read as he moves.
Emi Dennou "I meant more generally rather than specifically in the same aspects, but The Network can..." She looks towards Umi for several moments. "--The Network has some methods that could be described as healing."

Gilligan Cut to Emi electrocuting someone to cauterize their wounds.

Back here however she adds, "That is fine with us. It would allow us to have good eyes for what's going on, if it is neccessary Umi can take the front for this one."

"Haha," Umi laughs. "This one has brought a gun!" She shoulders her assault rifle. "It's pretty loud, ha ha!"

"Do you have air filters, then?" Emi asks, checking her bags.
Souji Murasame Souji appears to be calm. Unflappable. But eyes are the window to the soul, Does Riku see anything through them? Only he would know. Souji's eyes are cold and calculating, but lacking in the cruelty that might mark some of Riku's past associates.

Riku, however, provides the information. "So you want to secure the object. Avoid the waves of energy, use minimal technology and magic to avoid them being affected." Souji pulls off his Moogle Glasses and slips them into a pocket. Seems they're not corrective lenses.

He looks over the rest of the group, and nods. "All right. We know what we're working with. I an prepared."

The warnings about Mist cause Souji to nod. "Noted." He says, simply. Mist, huh... Once the Shiva lands, Souji turns, prepating to disembark. He's going to follow their lead.
Riku Riku clams up again almost immediately, taking a small steadying breath because he doesn't really think he can talk anymore without his voice quavering.

The implications of the mist poisoning and the personal requests of the house and the judge magisters has just sunken in with the force of a siege train, just running him down and he feels suddenly unsteady on his feet. The situation just swirling down and down out of his control as the words echo back and forth in his head.

Mist poisoning.

Sure he'd read the information, but now he had a feeling like he was standing on the very edge of an abyss.. and somebody was just waiting for him to fall off.

The young man regained his composure, clawing himself back to calm and exits the airship along with the other judges and imperial soldiers, some of which are staying behind to make sure they had a secure route back to the Shiva when they returned from their expedition. The Judge Magisters begin to filter towards the back of the party which Riku notes with another moment of crushing alarm.

He stands in the middle of the room, isolated and shellshocked, not sure what to say or do in this instance because the Judge Magisters, from their silence, are not giving him any cues to work from. (Also hard to do that through a helmet. Damn them and their armor. He needed his own right now.) Riku took another steadying breath.

"Judge Constantine." he inquires politely. "Will you join me at the head of this expedition?" he then raises his voice to address the group. "For the sake of /any/ sort of sense, stay together please. We don't know what's out here and I think it's better that we find out as a group than alone. "

he has serious doubts about the good sense of some of these people. ESPECIALLY scarf wearing types who shall remain nameless, but while his eyes scan the imperial soldiers securing the area and the territory, he starts looking for a good trail for them to travel across.

The jungle around them is oddly quiet. There is not much in the way of sound of any animal life beyond the rustling of the leaves from the cool breeze that moves through the area. As they start to travel, the ruins have no markings on them at all that they can find. There is no idication that struggle of any sort happened here. It's just beaten down from wind, rain and the singly roiling heat of this thick jungle. The island is high enough that clouds skid underneath it with a wide angle of the ocean stretching out far, far below.

The final preparations are made and still the magisters say nothing. Riku swallows his anxiety and the trek has begun.
Cirra Constantine Cirra is one of the first oens down the ramp, having found the space onboard the Shiva unusually stuffy for her. She marches out on to the soil and towards the jungle with the ruined building. She considers it her job to blaze the trail for other's safety.

When Riku asks her to join him, she turns to look at the Judge Cadet. "Of course." she says neutrally, and falls into step beside Riku.
Arkham Fisher She's one of the nameless scarf-wearing types now. Any fool knows that a few layers of cotton aren't going to help much against the mist, but it's all she's got. That should serve as answer enough to Emi, unfortunately. She eyes the other Dennou warily; she has a /vague/ idea what that is the girl is wielding. She hasn't seen many, and she isn't eager to. "I'll... just stay behind you I think." That's safest, isn't it?

And onward, into desolation. "...I've seen places, places like this, you know," she remarks, kinda generally. "Even if you, if you just leave a house empty for a few years in a forest, it'll swallow it right back, back up." Reminded of forests and swallowing, she checks the draw on her shortsword, nervously.
Reize Seatlan "Waaaaahooooooo!!!"

If there is one adventurer who is happy to be out exploring, it is Reize. Give that the airship operations requires adventurers, Reize Seatlan was on the case. Even better, this is unexplored territory.

It is the Boy with the Long Yellow Scarf, also known as Reize Seatlan, the leader of the Shard Seekers. It is likely that with the group heading to explore through the thick jungle, Reize is already withdrwaing both boomerangs. "Great! It's time for an expedition~!"

Reize may or may not be traveling with someone who could be lagging a bit.
Aerith Aerith glanced around as a woman explained she'd been in places like this before. She wondered if there were areas that were filled with a toxic cloud everywhere you went. But never mind, that didn't register a response. Aerith did however take a look around, and it certainly did look like nature was taking back everything stolen from it.

The solemn air was broken by a familiar voice however, and it made her smile. "Oh hi there, Reize," She muttered.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart looks over to Arkham, nodding a bit "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, returning to roots, nature claiming back its rightful place, yadda yadda." Of course, this isn't quite natural though. She rather stay on the move without going too far ahead right now... And then a Reize appears. Well, that surely will put more life into the caravan alright.

"So uhm... anyone has a song?" She tries to keep the spirits up as she always do, not really knowing how long they have to travel right now. They did ask for some more information, but didn't get the exact location either.
Evja Not really having anyone take him up on the offer for a free ride, Evja takes this opportunity to simply head out behind those leading the group on his Chocobo at a lazy enough pace. Sure, he had questions to ask some here, primarily Riku... like /YOU'RE STILL ALIVE?!/, but that can wait until a more opportune time.
Montag Montag pauses for a moment and ajusts his helmet turning of any of it's addtional systems and setin the lenses to basicall standard opeation. See in, see out basically and he hopes that's enough he's sure as heck not taking off his gas mask though.

"Had to deal with contimate before."

He checks his rifle once more as he moves. He's ready for firing if they tget jumped.
Kim Possible "Depends on what kind of music you like," Kim replies with a slight smirk. "Although honestly, it's kinda hard to focus on things like that in a place like this." She then looks to Reize as he arrives and gives him a nod before looking to Tifa and Aerith again.
Emi Dennou Emi slides on a small, primitive air filter and hands one off to Umi. "Yes, do not be in front of Umi as she fires the assault rifle." Emi agrees. "And you might wish to cover your ears as well, The Network admits, but ideally we will not need to make much use of our backup weapon."


The Network has obviously recognized that Arkham has a bit of a vocal tic. They do not draw attention to it.

But Emi does say, "I suppose that's fair. After all, it's just akin to taking it back, yes? The Network gets philisophical."

Reize appears. Emi gives the young man a small nod. "Reize. Fancy meeting you here. How goes your journey?" She looks back to Arkie for a moment, then back to Reize, then to Arkie again. "This one is Emi Dennou. And that is Reize." She gives a small nod to him. "...The Network inquires as to your identity."
Shadow Not a whole lot going on over in Shadow-land. There are plenty of people present-- but he keeps in step with where-ever it is they may be venturing to. Interceptor remains at the ninja's heel.
Riku The path was not exactly a game trail but rather a hiking path deeply rutted into the soil by the passage of crude wheels and many feet. That worn smooth time of passage has also long since abandoned since creepers of vine and fallen logs.

Ethereal puffs of irridescent pollen bubble up from clearings in the jungle interior, shining brightly like handfuls of stardust as they catch and reflect the sunlight. They snake upwards on columns and drifting tendrils in the fitful winds full of the smell of wet and growing things.

It is a melange of the many trees, ferns and low bushes in the multiply layered caopy. This jungle is old, with patches of new growth and rotting husks periodically throughout. There is still a general silence that hangs over the area like a shroud. The sound of leaves and wind, yes.. but only faint signs of life.

Some distance down the overgrown trail in another clearing punctuated this time by glittering water choked with pale white mangrove trees and thick clusters of waterplants with vibrant yellow and blue blossoms is a crystaline shape sticking up from the water. The shining stardust made solid, the shimmering crystal jutting up from the earth has been worn down by the passage of time. Rain and weather has made the former shape of the slightly twisted lump of crystal indistuinguishable.

Eventually, the trail winds around the shores of the choked lake to a larger ruined structure that takes up one entire side of the lakefront clearing. The jungle has started to reclaim this worn and ancient structure, glass and metal glittering like teeth from the muddy ground.

Riku cracks his knuckles, taking in another breath and letting it out in a huff. He makes sure they have everybody and looks extremely fidgety for a moment before smoothing his mottled green duster and cloak, checking the coordinates given so they knew this was the right place and the remaining imperial soldiers beginning to secure the entrance area and explore the immediate surroundings for other entrances and for signs of life. There are none.
The Judge Magister stayed in the back, along with the Judge Magister Zargabaath. Those amber eyes glancing across the calm jungle. No sound. No life. Very still. Very quiet beyond the breeze. Yet the breeze should carry sounds of wildlife, yet there was none.

It was strange. Very strange. Almost unnerving to be honest.

Yet Gabranth motions to Zargabaath to follow along as the group starts to move. Giving a motion to the crew on the Shiva, which as he does, the ship goes to lock up its doors once more. He leans over to Zargabaath about then, "The jungle is quiet. Not with this much life should it be like this." His hand goes to rest on the Highway star. He was lingering back from the main group, his eyes now scanning over everything as they walk. "Riku should be safe in the front with Cirra." He murmurs down lowly.

His eyes then glance over at the crystal structures in the water. He furrows his brows behind the helm. Unsure of what to make of it. Magicite? Maybe. He was not sure what laid here on this island. Thankfully there was no hint of mist yet.

Once they arrive at the structure. Gabranth's eyes scan it over The metal. The glass. The stone. This place was, once a modern structure?! This catches the Judge Magister off guard as he starts to make his way to the front once everyone catches up. His eyes scanning over the building before he looks over to Riku, then back to everyone else.

He then starts to make his way forward, seeming to take the lead once more. His eyes scanning over what remains of the door and only peering into the darkness of the ruin beyond the door. Before his eyes gaze down to the side where the other door had been, perhaps, blasted off its hinges. "..This is indeed the place.." He looks back into the darkness expecting something to look right back at him really.

Yet thanks to the armor, he seems extremely calm.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart looks around herself "... Not even wild animals, this is eerie... what about monsters?" She wonders, there are absolutely no signs of current life, even if there's plenty of ruined structures to look at "Is it all because of the mist?" She has lots of questions, but there aren't that many answers yet it seems. There was nothing like this in her world after all.

She stops by a log that fell through the path, taking a moment to lift it and push it into the wild beside the road, jsut so it doesn't slow anyone else or trip them. "At least it doesn't look like anyone's been here in a long time..."

She approaches the modern structure as they reach it, looking around the corner it "... Nature really has claimed its place back here..."
Souji Murasame Ruins and jungle. Souji continues moving with the rest of the group, not commenting or joining in the banter among them. Reize's appearance, however, immediately causes Souji twitch slightly. Just under the left eye.

Whether Reize is going to survive this trip is yet to be seen.

"This is not a game. Pay /attention/."

Souji studies the pollen intently as they pass, but keeps a wide berth. The effects of pollen inhalation can be... unpleasant for some. The natural, yet alien beauty of this place manfest in the crystal formation is passed by. The young man seems more intent on the surroundings as a source of danger than of beauty.

But nothing comes after them. Nothing comes for them. Perhaps this Mist they speak of is the reason. Is it so anathemic to life? Souji is not sure. His eyes flick to one side. Oh, that's it. He's trying to listen to the Judges. The Archadeans seem loath to outsource... Who knows what could happen here. A little 'accident' on the way out, the entire party lost but for the Judges...

It certainly wouldn't be the last time that story was told.

Souji looks up at the building, the overgrown structure. He froens at it. This is not how it is supposed to be. Once, perhaps, this was majestic. What could have happened here?
Aerith Aerith nodded. "I don't think I'm so happy to see that though... people use to live here. What made this place so desolate?" Part of her does not want to know. Regardless, they trek forward, ever closer to their destination, unsure of what lies within.
Evja "Not to mention I am thankful there seems to be no Jagd within sight. However, this does leave me to wonder about things." Evja's attention goes to Gabranth, then Zargabaath, looking at them intently as if trying to discern something. Something does not seem natural. They must know more than they are putting on, or else they would be at the front.

They are too proper to lead from behind. Or so the Viera thinks. Sitting still atop his chocobo as the other Judges and soldiers fan out to scout the area, Evja simply looks up at the sky and stays that way for some time, staring, lost in thought.
Kim Possible "This whole place is totally uncool," Kim comments to Tifa. "Definitely warrants investigating if you ask me though. Any traps that they might have in there will be no match for me!" She grins her grin, almost like she's getting a bit ahead of herself for those who don't know her. For those that do know her, they'll know that it's just the way Kim is.
Arkham Fisher "Ah... Sister Fisher, may it please you." Sister Fisher is busy keeping her eye on the jungle, but she spares a glance at the boy that Emi introduced. "...Ser," she nods. It's good to know someone here; other than the Judges. She only knows /of/ them, in any case.

The group spreads, a bit, but faithful to her role, Arkham remains with the mass. She can't know who might need help, so she'll do best to remain central. She studies the crystal efflorescence for some moments... no, if she recognizes it she doesn't recall. She hurries to catch up to Reize and Umi and the--

She gives Kim a sharp look as she draws within earshot. Well. Add her to the watchlist. She's smiling, faintly, if Kim happens to catch her staring.
Reize Seatlan Reize lets his eyes wander towards the wildlife with awe. He sniffs the air and coughs abit towards the strong scent of the wet and growing plant life. He does glance over the melange of trees, fern, and other plant life around the area. Yet, this overgown trail has Reize curious, even if a bit cautious. However, the glittering water and the clearing itself has Reize's eyes flled with awe "Whoooaa..."

Reize is even moving forward as to go out to touch and perhaps hold the crystal.

A glance is given towards Aerith and Tifa, who earn a cheerful wave from the boy, and then his eyes drift towards Emi, "Of course! I'm an adventurer and this is adventure!" As Emi introduces him to Arkie, the boy waves a hand her way, "Oooi! Pleased to meet you!" Pause, "Uhh.... Sister Fisher." He sighs, then he rubs the back of his head,"Huh! A bit like Faruja!"

Souji's harsh coment, however, earns a frown. His antenna hair flops slightly while he rubs his forehead, "Mada mada! An adventure is an adventure! You have to seize the day and face any challenges brought your way! If you let yourself become blinded towards just the goal, you miss out on the rest of the place!" He furrows his eyebrows, "Adventurers and explorers never let exploring new places go to waste!"
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath stays towards the back of the group while His Honor Gabranth moves to join the Judges at the front. He intends to ensure the rear of the formation (such as it is) is clear for a hasty retreat if needed, but the quiet seems to indicate such may not be nessisary.

So far, all seems well... but the unnatural silence is admittedly unnerving. There should be some signs of life in the general area, even distant monsters within the Mist. But nothing... nothing but plant life and crystals.

His gauntleted hands rest on his hips, a ready stance despite seeming to have no weapons on his person. He makes no indication to his thoughts, but he is clearly being very cautious.
Montag Montag looks about keeping the rifle ready, his laser sight on it is off, he'll be scoping with the wespons sight or even without that. He keeps moving and doesn't like this plac ebut well nothing worth doing was simple right? He nods to the judge as he moves.

"Then something really bad went down ot it's just radio active."

Souji's comment to Reize gets a grim smile under his gas mask this was not the time for games as far as he was cocnerned.

"There might be information on what happened in the ruin. Keep your eyes open for anything."
Cirra Constantine Cirra steps out into the clearing next to Riku and steps aside, letting the imeperial troops do their job. She watches them do their work, and scans over the others that came with them. She still doens't know why Archades invited so many... outsiders.

he entire situation is starting to rub her the wrong way. But then she gets a call from Gabranth, and turns on her heel marchign over to the Magister and salutes, "Your Honor."
Shadow The dark clad ninja walks through the path in a disconnected kind of grace. Shadow wastes little energy in his movement-- making his steps very soft against the earthen path. Interceptor clearly wants to stop and sniff at a lot of things, but his discipline shows in keeping pace with his shady friend. Neither of them have anything to say-- preferring to keep quiet if this place is as dangerous as was mentioned before.

Shadow filters out a lot of the noise from the party. Conversation keeps most people comfortable, but not a guy like Shadow. Its that quiet-- the lack of wildlife chirping or rustling in bushes that has him looking for the cause. It is not going to just jump out and announce itself-- well it could but he is doubtful of it. Instead he plays the card of the 'quiet and observant' in this deck of characters. Interceptor, however, barks a welcome to Reize.
Riku Riku looks back and starts to frown slightly at Souji but he's got too many worries on his plate to focus on anything but what he should be doing. Great Desert Adventurer was going to have to fend for himself. Of course, he starts to smile as Reize begins to indulge in his favorite pastime of shooting off his mouth in a cheerful way. "Reize." he says with a sigh, but nothing other than that. He would like to catch up later, with him and with Evja, whom he gives a chagrined smile to.

He feels greatly unnerved by the 'ancient' structure and it's lack of occupation. He closes his eyes for a moment, rubbing the back of his neck and turning his head back and forth with eyes closed as if stretching it out.

"Well. I hope so." he says to Kim as he opens his eyes and smiles towards her. "Traps don't need people there anymore to work them." he moves back to where Zargabaath is stationed, inclining his head and taking up a position there as he tries not to fidget and look greatly unnerved.
Emi Dennou "...Sister Fisher?" Emi nods once. "Understood." Pause. "Sister Fisher." Pause. The word 'SIster' tends to have a bit more meaning to her than most people, even if it is a totally different kind of Sister, but it's just a bit of a jar. She glances to Kim, who seems confident. She nods back to Reize as he starts gabbing.

"Hm--well, not quite like Faruja. Faruja isn't a Sister." She politely informs Reize. "Though we have thought about tying a bow in his tail before."

"Haha, we get weird ideas!" Umi adds.
Gabranth Judge of Ambition; Gabranth gives Cirra a nod as she joins his side. His words are quiet to her as he shuffles through a pouch at his hip. "We will talk further later on the situation with Riku when we do not have so many ears." He grunts gently. "The senate has-- interesting choices when it comes to missions."
Gabranth glances down into the dark ruin, before he takes out several small orbs. He then tosses the orbs into the building structure. One at different distances that light up the area. His eyes gaze over the inside structure of metal and some rock. It was so modern looking from what he was expecting.

Once he was sure things looked alright, he motioned to everyone to follow and pointed over to Cirra Constantine to come right on over with him. It seems she was now going to be hanging out with Gabranth instead of Riku.

The Judge then went to move instead the massive structure, as soon as he stepped foot inside the area suddenly lit up inside. Which caused him to pause. Lights above flickered to life with magical energy along with lines that run along the side of the walls.

Once he was sure nothing else was going to happen, he continued on, drawing out his Highway Star Saber to be on the cautious side. Yet his foot steps were calm as ever. One by one he moved across the floor. Pushing aside some broken glass with his foot. Looking down the rows of corridors that had collapsed over time and were not allowing any access beyond them.

Markings were carved into he walls. Markings there were not longer legible to read, even some pictures as well. Yet nothing could be made out.
Cirra Constantine Getting constantly moved around wasn't helping her figure out whats going here, if anything it's making i harder to supress her iritation. But she manages by directing it away from Gabranth, and she recognizes that a lot of it doesn't belong on him anyways, so that makes it easy.

"Sir, the Senate--" she lowers her voice, "Thinks very lowely of me, they know what I am."

She follows after Gabranth as he enters the ruins and reaches for her own scythe from her back.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart doesn't know much about ruins, she's there to offer support. She doesn't think her expertise at making drinks is going to help inside old ruins.

But if anyone gets thirsty, maybe ~_~

But she can at least try to keep her eyes open, wether its for monsters, or for something out of the ordinary... although that's vastly subjective considering ruins of a pretty modern city. It seems somewhat beyond hers, since Midgar was mostly metal, not glass and plastic. "Wonder if we'll at least find bodies or something... that we find NOTHING is even worse."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath nods once to Riku in acknowledgement of the youth joining him at the back of the group and motions towards the left in apparent silence. He himself shifts towards the right, his hands slipping under his cape to clasp at the small of his back almost as if returning to a mobile parade-rest.

His stance, though relaxed, clearly does not indicate anything but precision. Every step is calm and measured, every cant of the head taking in their surroundings. Sure, it is silent, but entering an unknown and eerily modern abandoned structure strikes high on the 'danger' meter.

He is one of the last ones to enter the building, making sure none get left behind in the transition indoors and to ensure that the outdoors is, in fact, devoid of apparent animal/monster life... and not just a trick of 'Oh, they're gone now'.
Aerith Aerith is in silent agreement with Tifa. Instead she takes note of the images and inscriptions on the walls. "If we had more time, I'd try to read these. Too bad we might not be coming back here." She sighed and headed forward again.
Arkham Fisher Arkham blinks, twice. "You know, know Ser Senra?" Small world. She regards the boy speculatively. "But, but, yes. I'm no Templar, though." She'd have more armor, otherwise. She listens to Tifa's musing, and shudders, drawing closer to her current companions unconsciously.

"How do you, you know him? Is he well?" From the tone of her question it sounds like he often isn't.
Kim Possible "It's just as well," Kim comments to Aerith. "Who knows what kind of language this stuff is in? And who knows if anyone can actually read it?" She shrugs before following the others forwards. "My gadgets are ready in case we need 'em..."
Reize Seatlan As Inteceptor barks his way, Reize turns his head over to wave at the dog, "Ooii! Interceptor! Shadow! It's good to see you again!" The boy kneels down, reaching into his pocket to pull out a beef jerky. Make good with the dog, and he won't bite you when you try to pet him! Emi's comment earns a frown, "I--Uhh... I mean... I meant, the whole 'Ser' thing!" He exhales a sigh.

At Riku's greeting, Reize smiles, "Riku!" The young adventurer moves over near the teenager to pat him on the back.

Thankfully, Riku is spared of this as Reize's eyes catch the presence of the structure. "Whooaa..." The young teenager lifts his gaze, gazing at everything around the lace. And then, he starts to move forward. This dark ruin is very strange. It's metal and a little more modern than he expected.

"Looks like the place activated when we stepped in." Pause. "... Either this place is expecting company, or... it can sense anyone who steps into the place." He furrows his eyebrows, sliding his boot along the glass to knock it away. Catching his attention are the markings. The boy glances at the wall to try to look at the marking and he even goes to record them in his journal.

He does take the moment to answer Arkham, "Oh! Faruja is with the Shard Seekers!" He brightes happily, "He's our loyal knight and great friend!" He rubs the back of his head, "I'm the leader of the group." Of course, the boy may not look like much, but hey.
Montag Montag is keeping his head about him as he's concerned about traps and the like. he's taking it slow and he's also letting a bit more eager and hopefully skilled people go ahead he's had to turn his imaging systems off so he's not so good at finding traps and the like. He eyeballs the pictures for a moment but the'e nothing he could make out.

"We should have brought an Archologist with us from the looks of things."
Emi Dennou "Faruja?" Emi asks. "Have not seen him in some time, The Network admits. If you mean if Reize is 'well', then I assure you that he is of relatively sound mind."

"The Network requests you do not ask for clarification as to why we used the term 'relatively'." Umi jokes.
Shadow Interceptor barks to Reize's wave-- and one more when there is promise of some beef jerky. Those beady eyes of his require tribute of the dried meat kind!

Shadow cants his head to Reize-- familiar with him and with the potential mauling that is always just a step behind them. With the light-up, the ninja's eyes slide over towards the structure. He doesn't share the same enthusiasm-- at the end of the trip he is getting paid either way. Most of his energy goes towards 'Ok, so where are the traps?'.
Riku Riku also keeps a weapon to hand when the dormant overtaken structure starts to light up again. He had a distinct dislike for this situation and it's continued bag of surprises. He clears another bit of broken glass from the path, listening to it tink across the floor and impact the wall. He occasionally murmurs something under his breath and keeps a look out. At one point, he visibly makes an effort to relax and rocks back on his heels for a minute.

He looks at the chamber lights then around, staying at the rear with Judge Magister Zargabaath and keeping an eye out for something lurching out of the jungle behind them as the building hums softly to life.

Riku smiles in rueful chagrin at Reize, waving in greeting and squinting at the markings on the walls, reaching out a hand to scrape some of the dust off them very lightly and try and make out some of the pictures. "I'm beginning to wonder that myself. There's.. nothing here. No weapons. No bones. Nothing."
Souji Murasame Souji's eyes narrow at Reize's objections. "I am glad that most adventurers and explorers I know are nothing like you... Though you do remind me of Dragonius." He sighs, eyerolling to himself. If this one and Niklas ever met... Well, they wouldnt' get anything done, at least. Par for the course. "Be thankful our patrons are allowing you along."

He looks away, folding his arms with an irritated look on his face. He can't let Reize distract him, he needs to pay attention to his surroundings. "Ugh. I wish Soan were here." He mutters... And then winces, as if he can't believe he just said that.

He moves forward, wondering if they're going to have Reize go first. To check for traps, you see.
Constantine speaks her mind and Gabranth glances only to her over his shoulder. He gives only a small nod to what she had to say. This wasn't the time or place to really be getting into personal details. That was for when they were either heading back or when they were not around so many.

Yet there was sneaky ways to discuss without people hearing things. Thanks to methods taught.

As he continues to move forward, he tries to take in everything. Including ignoring the creaking of the ground under his feet. That was starting to bother him just a bit. Yet that is the curse of when you take front. Bad things were bound to happen to you. He does look over his shoulder to Reize, "Aye. This place may have still working sensors. It perhaps run on a form of Magicite, much like Archades runs on both Magicite and Nethicite. The crystals can power things for a long time."

Gabranth catches something in the corner of his vision. A crystal like structure sticking out from the rubble. He tilts his head looking at it, before he looks at the stairwell that will be leading them further down. It also seems there is something written down the stairwell in images really, they were in much better shape. Also down the stair well, just a bit down was a thin layer, a very thin layer, of fog. An almost yellowish green color really.

He narrows his eyes at that, before he starts to make his way over to the crystal like structure sticking out, motioning to Cirra to stay put. As he moves in closer he takes notice of it in details, careful where he steps as the ground begins the creak again. "..Is that.." He then pauses at it. "..a hand..?" However the ground then shakes under him before it gives way.

There was a Judge Magister there. He just went down the hole. A very, very deep hole, including what sounded like a level or two crumbling under impact.

Thankfully, that hole doesn't spread, but gives an idea of just how unstable this place has become.
Cirra Constantine Cirra holds back, but her grip on her scythe flexes as she listens then looks at the statue, "A hand?"

Then the floor gives way, and Cirra dives forward, sliding across the ground on her front to try and grab Gabranth on his way down.

But dispite all her tuned up reflexes and senses, she barely manages to graze her fingers along the Magister's fluttering cape, "Shhii." she hisses through her teeth and gets up on all fours, moving around the outside of the hole.

"Your honor! Magister Gabranth!" she shouts.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath catches sight of His Honor Gabranth leaving the group to investigate something in particular. He also watches as Gabranth immediately disappears as a hole opens up under him.

Let this be a lesson, folks. Don't wander away from the group.

"Everyone, stand back!" He barks sharply, sweeping through the group and weaving around individuals without needing to push anyone out of his way nor break his long stride. "Stay together and watch your step, lest you end up the same!"

With Judge Constantine trying to call for Gabranth through the hole, the Judge of Reason surveys the area with a low, dangerous rumble as he lifts one hand to the side of his helm, over the flat side of one of the horns. They can't stay on this level if it's so unstable...
Aerith Aerith felt the ground shudder beneath her feet. Okay, not good. "I don't think we can stick around for too long..." She glanced back at Kim. "You might wanna get those gadgets ready just in case."
Emi Dennou "Judge Magister...!" Umi shouts. She leaps into the air and tries to bound down the hole after him, but she ends up bouncing into an invisible wall. She pauses, presses her hand against the wall, and then raps her fist against it a few times. "...DArn it! I hate it when this happens, The Network supposes we'll have to find another way around, likely filled with random encounters."
Reize Seatlan Souji is regarded with a blink. Then, his cheeks puff up as he sticks out his tongue for a raspberry. *TTTHHHHRRRPPP!!!*

"Is that so...?" Reize questions, listening to Gabranth. He places his hand along his chin, thinking over the situation. "Running on Magicite and Nethicite gives it a prolonged life. I wonder what else would lie here that's powered by them."

Though, what gives way is the fact that something is catchin Gabranth's attention, "Huh? Ooii! What are you seeing there?"

Pause. "...A hand?"


That is when Gabranth falls down the hole.

"Judge Magister!!" He yelps, then he runs over towards the hole, until Zargabaath steps in to warn everyone to stay together. Reize grimaces, then he frowns.

Reize looks at Emi, and then he grunts, "I hate running into those."
Souji Murasame And this is why Souji was thinking they should send in Reize first. Clearly he's the best suited to 'check' for 'traps'. "Tch." Souji says as he sees one of the expedition leaders meet a rather uncertain fate. "This building is unstable. We need to keep moving." Souji steps up, and taps the end of his sheathed blade against the barrier. "Sealed. Probably some kind of integrity preservation field. He'll need to find his own way up." He looks away. "We don't have time to deal with this..."

Seatlan raspberries him. "Be thankful I am here on business, Seatlan. Otherwise I would teach you manners to use before your betters."
Kim Possible "Ready? Are you kidding?" Kim looks to Aerith and grins. "They're always ready. In fact, they're always ready to be used at the right moment. It's how us secret agents are!"
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart jumps to the side as the ground seems to give away "... This place is really in shambles. There's a way down over there? I'm not sure if I want to get UNDER this ground if its about to give in though..." But is there really other options right now?

She misses anything about the hand, but the fog is getting more suspicious in her opinion... She slides a hankerchief that she tied around her neck, sliding it up from her neck to in front of her mouth, serving as a bit of a mask against the fumes. Maybe it won't help any though... but its not like she knows anything about what's going on here either.
Emi Dennou "I'm Umi." Umi says helpfully.

The Network does not protest using Reize for checking for traps.
Shadow And there is the trap. At least-- a trap. Its a shame Shadow didn't see it in time-- though it could have been a structural defect. The ninja just stands impassively and watches the event unfold whereas the dog shields his eyes with a paw in shame. His eyes slide around the around to look for other mechanisms-- ones that might cause further harm. Nothing. Press on-- he doesnt appear any more or less nervous than five minutes ago. "Agreed," the ninja finally says something-- this one to Souji, "Mind your nerves."
Arkham Fisher Aaaaaaand, there it is~

In the face of the Judge-Magister's disappearance, Arkham shows admirable calm; she stops in her tracks, and makes an abortive grab for Umi, but misses. Well, she still isn't moving until they determine whether any more floor is going to quit on them. She watches the girl bounce off of... something, and frowns.

The right thing for her to do now is wait for orders; while she waits, she prods at the deckplates with a toe, and looks around for a /planned/ path downwards. "Don't you go following him," she cautions Emi, her voice significantly firmer than before.
Riku Riku whips around at the sound of cracking, collapsing stone and lunges forwards muscling his way towards the hole. "Gabranth!" but he's pulled up short by Zargabaath's words, crashing to a halt a few steps away and glaring a hole into the silent visor of the Judge Magister for a count of three before looking down at the hole then around at the chamber. He slams a hand into a curled fist several times in agitation.

The teenager takes a few deep breaths and takes stock of the situation again. Riku cautiously moves around the chamber to the stairs leading downwards. He peers speculatively at the thin layer of..something. "We've got word that his honor Judge Magister Gabranth is alright." he spits out those words as if he's chewing stones, shaking with unreleased tension as he struggles to leave things to Zargabaath for a moment and handle something else that needs to be taken care of.

"He's just a few levels below us. We'll have to see if these stairs lead down to join him. We're also going to start running into mist it looks like so if you have spells or equipment to filter your air. Now is a REALLY good time to use them and... and watch the walls as well as your footing."
Montag Montag hears some wise words from Zargabaath as it's too late to do anything for Gabranth, he curses his luck here. He can't get to the hole in time and there's nuch much else we can do. "Right, we need to find out way. We got a medic or a white mage with us? He might need it from a fall like that. Also I do got a grapple trust me i'll take point if it comes to unsafe terrain I got experiance from that, hunting terrorists before the fall."
Due Emi's thumping and Riku's won fist punches, the ceiling above where the hole was made starts to break apart and suddenly at first small rocks come down, as the first warning, but soon the ceiling starts to cave in right there. Crushing that crystal hand that was reaching out and caving in the hole that was just there.

Some invisible wall huh kids? Seems to perhaps be a trap, within a trap!

However that now leaves the only way down, which is the steps themselves. One way down and who knows what awaits them below. Only the illumination from above, the pictures that line the stairway wall seeming to be telling some kinda story to be told and a now missing Judge Magister that will be, hopefully, still alive by the time they make it to the bottom of this spiraling stairwell.

The only downside of the Stairwell, a very, very thin layer of mist. Nothing dangerous, thankfully, but perhaps a warning as to what is to come.
Zargabaath A little time has passed since Judge Magister Gabranth fell through the floor into a much deeper area of the abandoned structure. Masks, breathing apparatuses, and spells are handed out and/or cast upon the group, all to lower the progression of Mist Poisoning.

Even Judge Magister Zargabaath had removed his helm long enough to prepare himself accordingly, and though his expression is neutral, his eyes are narrowed and almost glint with a steeled focus.

Once the signal is given that all is ready, the Judge of Reason slips his helm onto his head and clears his throat to gain everyone's attention. "Everyone, listen closely." His voice is calm but carries very well, the deep resonance of the helm only boosting the volume and effect. He rests his hands on his hips, his fingers tight on the metalwork. "Judge Magister Gabranth survived the fall, but he is in an area of very thick Mist--most likely our ultimate destination. Time is of the essence from this point on. Do not wander and be careful, but do your best to memorize anything you find that could possibly be of import. I will be requesting reports once we evacuate from the area."

He indicates the stairwell leading downwards. "I shall take point." He points to the two Judges. "Judge Constantine, take the left flank. Judge Riku, you have the right. Judge Errant Evja, I would appreciate your assistance if you would watch the rear." His implied gaze sweeps over the group, lingering especially hard on those he knows would be susceptible to the effects of Mist. "I will not tolerate those who attempt to fight signs of Mist Poisoning. If you feel you are about to be overwhelmed by the effects described earlier, evacuate back to this point at your best speed."

He turns towards the staircase and begins to descend, cape sweeping behind him as he pulls his weapons free from his back. "Let us make haste."
Aerith Aerith made her way downstairs... and took note of something that perhaps no one else saw. Oh they probably saw the drawings, the markings... but as she headed further down, her eyes narrowed. "These are... connected." She glanced a bit further back, then followed the carvings to her current point. "They *are* connected. I think this might be important..."
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart has puta hankerchief tied around her neck as a makeshift ask against the mist. Even if its not dangerous yet, she rather not breath too much of it without knowing what it might do.

Following the others down, since there's no choice left with the collapse of the upper floor, she slows downa bit so she can get her eyes to get used to the darkness better. Well, if there aren't any lights, which she doubts considering how old the ruins are. "Do we have any lights with us?" She wonders aloud to her companions, as she takes along look around the place, following her friends, but mostly acting as a bodyguard for the moment, keeping her eyes open for any potential danger.

She does notice the pictures lined along the walls though... some kind of story, she's not sure what it talks about exactly though, but it seems like it might be related to this place. But why draw it on the walls? "Its like a story." She points to Aerith, showing the order of the pictures. "There's a progression between them, but I'm not sure what they mean."

She looks over to Zarg, nodding "Good to know he's safe at least..." She doesn't want to wait until the symptoms show up either... judging from the state of this place, she wonders if the mist is not the one responsible for this abandon.
Evja When Gabranth suddenly fell due to the collapse of the ground beneath him and Cirra attempting to catch him(and failing), Evja let out a small curse but stayed where he was. At least for the moment. After all, Gabranth had made it a point to mention before to stay with the group, so no reason to ignore him now.

That, and Gabranth was capable of taking care of himself. Something such as this likely wouldn't do him in.

As far as Evja's preparations go for the Mist it was as simple as taking off his cloak and physically ripping off a piece to stuff into the helm and further shield around the Viera's face. As Zargabaath was like to know, mostly because Evja made the point in private - it isn't necessarily breathing it in that causes a Viera to crumble. If the Mist gets bad enough suddenly, it matters little their breathing - they are susceptible in general.

"Yes, Judge Magister." Evja remarks simply and slips to the back of the unit before stepping off his Chocobo and patting it on the neck. "Hey, while we're in here go trot around and see if you cannot find something useful, alright? But stay safe foremost." And once the rest go into it, he follows after.
The slight sound of clinks of metal on stone come from him as he looks along the pictographs on the walls idly, not truly scouring them. They did seem... a bit like a story, however.
Riku Riku has very much tried to keep his expression neutral, but when Zargabaath takes his helmet off breathly, he aims a stricken look at the Judge Magister for several seconds before turning away and attending to his own preparations.

Riku bears down on the handle of the saber, leather gloves squeaking against the handle as he takes his position while the group descends. He pointedly does not look at the Judge Magister however when he gives his warning about Mist exposure.

He might have listened before, but he wasn't retreating until they found Judge Magister Gabranth. He glances at the walls when people start to point out that they might actually be depicting something but he looks away almost immediately, forcing himself to focus and be calm as they descend.
Kim Possible Kim takes a look at the markings, not paying much attention to the mist for the time being. At first she doesn't quite get what the markings mean, but then something inside her clicks. "This isn't just a message," Kim comments. "They're telling about the research that happened here. It was some kind of unusual material that had both military and medical usage. It doesn't say what specifically happened, but they did gain something and it brought them into... A..." She frowns a little, trying to figure out the final part. "A Golden Age or something?" She smirks. "Now that sounds totally cool!"
Emi Dennou Umi was the one who bonked up against an invisible wall. Gosh.

Nevertheless, Umi takes a moment to point towards her eyes and then towards Evja, then to her own eyes, then to Evja again. Of course, Evja probably won't betray the Judges even though Evja is basically the worst judge ever by her reckoning. She only stops when Emi thwaps her lightly upside the head. This prevents them from commenting on super special pictures because they're busy engaging in Dennou antics.

Umi does keep giving Evja the stink eye but she does, at least, stop pointing at her eyes and then at Evja.

"She's just going to ignore you, or maybe cry." Emi tells Umi.

"So what?"

Emi sighs. "A true action hero does not make people cry, The Network informs blatantly."

Umi kicks her foot across the ground. "I guess so, The Network must admit that bullying is strictly against action hero code."

"Yes, so perhaps--"

They get into a discussion about the virtues of apologizing even when you don't really mean it for a few moments before Kim starts talking about research.

"It is unlikely it was too 'Golden', considering its current state. Of course, some would say all Empires meet such fates as this, The Network admits that that is getting a bit literary rather than literal."
Aerith Aerith nodded. "I figured so... but the question is, what happened down here to cause it all to go to pieces?" She certainly hoped it wasn't due to all this mist they walked through... because if that were the case, there was nothing they could have done to stop it.
Violet The first thing that they were told not to do is roam off on their own. So of course that's the first thing that Reize does, leaving the poor girl that is his fellow Shard Seeker with the rest of the group.

And with no search parties, Violet can only hope he'll wander back somehow. He was rather exuberant when he took off. The pale blonde headed girl sighs softly to herself, but she kept herself alert when they went through the jungle, keeping quiet and eyes open the whole while. A hand on the hilt of the sword at her side. And then the building they had entered. Markings etched on the walls... The Judge Gabranth disappearing down a hole... and the fact that Reize got himself lost. All weren't good signs. Not at all.

Narrowing her crystal blue eyes, she follows the rest of the group in silence as they follow the stairway downwards, tightening the grip on the top of her sword.
The stairs continue to spiral down, lights flicker on ahead of them each step down, as if somehow something here knows they are moving perhaps through the area, giving light along the way. The area is very quiet. Not a whisper in the stale area and then the thin layer of mist kicks up with there steps that hasn't been disturbed in no how longs.

More pictures now line the other wall and the stairwell continues to spiral down. There was break off points but the directions have been cut off by the area falling down around them. Old doors crushed, look like shards of glass here and there.

Thankfully it seemed the mist wasn't getting much higher as they continued down, but it was slowly starting to get thicker. There was also a pipe somewhere dripping down water on the stairs below. Someone may get a few stair kisses!
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath leads the way as they descend down the stairs, his steps cautious but still moving at a steady clip. He is listening to the observations of those behind him, but makes no indication that he is taking note of the wall murals himself.

He only pauses once in a while to check collapsed entryways as they pass and occassionally seems to look over the edge downwards as if trying to see the bottom. The swirling of Mist around their ankles as they move is of no concern, but the slightly increasing opaqueness of said Mist the further down they go has already been noted. As long as it stays down around the knee or ankle range, however, they should still be safe.

He does get water dripped on his armor as they pass under the leaking pipe hidden in some indeterminable point above their heads. The Judge of Reason gives no reaction, not even to brush off the droplets that remain, and continues the descent.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart noticed that the mist is getting thicker, but between the spells and the makeshift mask... its not too worrying yet, but she becomes more wary of it still...

She keeps looking at the pictures as she moves down the stairs. "I'm not sure what the story means yet... something is odd. If they drawn that story to explain what happened, while leaving, wouldn't the story start from the bottom and end on top?" Maybe they were reading it in reverse?"
Aerith Aerith's eyes widen as the tale told by the pictures begins to unfold. The longer she looks at them, the more she seems to understand. "They used whatever they found to capture the essence of the beasts that threatened them, and then transferred this energy to people in order to use them for power. They could do a lot with this stuff, cure diseases, build cities, become stronger or faster..." She was hooked on this now. "There's gotta be more of this."
Kim Possible "I don't understand it either," Kim says to Aerith and Tifa as well. "It's like the story is going on, but it doesn't tell us any more." She doesn't seem to notice the mist right away. "It's totally cool, though, that's for sure!"
Emi Dennou "Before the end." Emi suggests, so far there isn't much in these images that she couldn't have already surmised. She half expects the Mist to BE that power but she doesn't want to jump to conclusions just yet. So she remains in WALKY mode.
Riku "That sounds like what we're looking for." Riku looks around and sees Dennou antics in process. He looks between the legionettes and adds.

"And whatever it is, it didn't help whoever these people were." He raises the saber slightly, frowning at the yellowish green mist roiling across his hiking boots. He raises his hand, readjusting the rebreather and forcing himself to take several steadying breaths through it while his eyes were constantly scanning the gloom.

His gaze never rests on anything for long. He twitches slightly as the water drips onto him from further up the stairway, reaching up a hand to smooth back his hair and mutter something under his breath.

He runs a hand along the wall, craning his head over to listen to what the others have discovered and finally peering at the wall himself for a moment as he tries to take things in. "At least not in the end."
Arkham Fisher Arkham trails behind the body of the expedition, absorbed in the story playing out on the walls of the stairwell; she has no frame of reference, nothing with which to fill the all-too-frequent gaps, so she hasn't got much to contribute. "We... what if, if this is what they made?"

She kicks her foot, stirring up an illustrative tendril of Mist. "It's getting deeper, deeper as we do." She tightens her scarf, muffling her voice further, and hurries to catch up with a Dennou.
Evja Evja had mostly been paying attention to the walls, though hearing the conversation of those close to him was unfortunately easy. To the effect of 'ignore or cry', Evja looks at the two before saying simply, "Please focus on the mission at hand." then goes back to looking towards the walls as if looking for something idly.

Instead, his attention wanders down towards the floor, towards the Mist, the shards of glass and caved in entrances. Something about this place didn't feel right, and it was beginnig to nag at him. The mist, most likely, but he knew what it felt like to be thrown into a rage from the mist. This... wasn't it. It was that nagging feeling that he had while wandering Archades, that itch, that feeling that things weren't natural here.
"If possible you all should be careful to avoid slipping into this mist further. And do not cast magics freely - sometimes the Mist can have strange effects on such. But I am sure you all recall such." Evja reminds aloud for those that are listening.
Violet "Or maybe the story is purposefully leading us down the stairs..." Violet says softly in reply to Tifa, ominous. Her bright eyes glance towards Aerith as she begins to explain what she sees through the paintings, which do make sense in a way.

The further they descend, the more the girl keeps her gaze on the haze that lingers on the floor. She wouldn't want to be caught up in that. "I wonder what the mist is made from..."
Soon the next hall comes as the stairs level out. The fog here is thick on the ground, but not in the air. Yet any quick movements could change this very rapidly. Some of the mist though in some places is much thinner, following what looks like cracks in the very floor. Some rubble could be seen over from the corner, where there is a hole in the ceiling above right above with a few more rubble keeping anyone from climbing back up.

Seems to be the location where Gabranth impacted and continued on down.

There were no pictures here, only three corridors really. One going off to the left that ran into a dead-end, and the other one leading to a room, but the room had also caved in. Yet the door here was still hinged and from the looks of it, something made massive claw marks into the door. There was also what looked like a locket near the door on the ground of some kind.

Could be a trap!

The last corridor which was ahead lead to another set of stairs, which was once more descending down into the depths below.

Sudden there was a rumble from below them. A slight vibration at there feet. Something was moved under them perhaps? Or maybe it was the foundation of this place giving a gentle warning? One may never know.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart ste[CLAWMARKS] (in FF7's text style) do get her attention, and not in a good way. Immediately she gets in a more defensive pose, looking around and carefully walking around the hole Gabranth left, making sure nothing will hop out of the different hallways here...
Kim Possible Kim steps to the side of Tifa, assuming her martial arts style pose, just in case something tries to strike her. If it catches Tifa off-guard, Kim will catch it off-guard! She does sneak a look at the hole, just to be safe though...
Aerith Aerith knelt to look at one of the blast marks... taking note of the ever increasing amount of mist in the area. This definitely did not look good. Sadly she couldn't glean much from the blast marks as she ran her finger along one of them. "These are old, very much so. Some kind of fire spell or explosion. Can't tell what made it, but whatever it was, it's not here anymore."
Emi Dennou Emi's eyes are naturally drawn towards the suspicious locket. Of course, she doesn't expect trouble for picking it up. All this has happened ages ago, after all, it's not likely the locket was waiting there FOREVER for someone to come jump someone looking for treasure. She is more concerned that the locket itself may be trapped but after she fumbles with it a bit she pops it open and looks inside. What she finds more or less confirms her hypothesis on this area and she closes it up shortly after.

"Zargabaath." She says after a moment. "This power you're looking for. If it did this to this area, are you certain it is safe to use?, The Network inquires."

"You should show him the locket." Umi tells her.

"Well," She says. "I'll note that this item from long ago notes there is only one 'shard' left. Considering the time that has passed, whatever that is may be long gone as well." She stuffs the locket in a pocket and turns back to stay close to Arkham. "Sorry for moving on ahead, The Network apologizes."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath noticeably pauses as they reach the bottom of the stairs, taking a long look around. "Be careful. The Mist is thick here, but it has settled and is thus not dangerous. Fast movements may stir it into the air and make it into a hazard."

He cautiously steps forwards, surveying the area and the corridors in turn, his movements cautious yet precise. "The ground seems unstable, so walk carefully. I doubt anyone would wish to follow Gabranth's example at this stage." The rumble of the ground beneath them causes the Judge of Reason to freeze, his helm canting downwards as it proves his point for him.

He then regards the ladies who have been focusing on the wall mural as he heads for the corridor that seems to lead to more downward stairs. "Mist is... a natural phenomenon, at least in Ivalice. Perhaps not dissimilar to Mako, for example." Yes, Judge Magister Zargabaath has been looking into other worlds and how they once worked. "It is only a danger if too much is concentrated in one place, and magicks can indeed cause... interesting effects."

He kneels next to one of the claw-marks that happen to be near the exit, touching it and testing the depth of the gashes. "These markings... They are also old, a beast's claws. It seems somewhat draconian in nature, perhaps a wyvern or a basilisk?" He stands and shakes his helm, exhaling deeply. Perhaps he'd been holding his breath while kneeling? "I cannot say for certain."

Emi's voice draws his attention in that direction next, and he shakes his helm in reply. "We are not certain about its nature to begin with. Whether it is safe or not is yet to be seen, as is its continued existance in light of what we have learned so far." His helm cants downwards. "And there is still the matter of finding His Honor Gabranth as well."
Arkham Fisher Arkham shakes her head. "No, that, that's okay... what do you mean, one shard?" Nothing good comes in shards. Shards are what you get when you smash things. She's reminded of the crystal forms they've passed on their way down here, and nothing good is coming to her mind.

"...why do you think they're concerned about, about 'safe', anyways?" She asks Emi quietly; well, quietly as she can. She has to speak up a bit to be heard through her scarf.

Waiting for an answer, she returns to the walls to see if she can make any better sense of things with her new information.
Riku Riku feels the reminder grinding a path through his patience like sandpaper but he knows it's his own anxiety that is dropping his opinion of Evja's words farther than he ought to.

He was concerned but he couldn't push the pace when they didn't know what was ahead of them. Just thinking himself around in a circle wasn't going to do any good to anyone. He looks at the hole in the ceiling, frowning as he tracks the rubble to another hole where the Judge Magister continued the fall.

He continues to stare at that hole for a few moments too long before he wrenched his gaze away to examine the massive claw marks on the door, keeping an eye on those going after the locket while the ground rumbled underneath his feet. He sinks into a defensive stance, trying to watch the group and the chamber around them in case whatever made those clawsmarks was still lingering. "Well that, at least, is good to know." he murmurs in Aerith's direction.

As for the legionettes, the idea of 'forgiveness before permission' crosses his mind briefly as he frowns at them. He didn't want to entertain the idea that they had come here for nothing.
Evja "That is not for us to concern ourselves with." Evja notes softly towards the Dennou's, mostly in response after she mentions the question towards Zargabaath. "Our mission and job is to obtain this item for the Archadian Empire." In time the Judges attention wanders towards Aerith and Tifa, then towards Zargabaath as if thinking about something. Indeed, monsters spawned of Mist were a common enough thing within Jylland. But to think that it may no longer be here...

"Also we should be careful regarding monsters. Beasts are sometimes spawned and mutated of Mist. Unlike humes they can be empowered or changed by it." Then something shifted down below and the Viera stopped, and stared at the floor. Was that... the foundation moving? "All, please halt a moment." And with that Evja steps forward towards to a place where the Mist looks thin and reaches up to remove his helm. Beneath the helm was a simple enough veil that was worn. Kneeling down, Evja leaned down towards the mist and the crack, ears twitching a bit as he listened for something.



"Damn. I cannot tell what that was, though... it came from below." Standing, Evja looks towards Zargabaath to see how he would respond, though he was working towards putting the helm back on.
Souji Murasame Souji has been quiet thus far. thankfully, there have been no more altercations with Reize. He has had no issues simply observing the situation, recording the events and knowledge in his mind, The discussion of the ongoing nature of the place and the story causes him to smile. "This appears to be a repeating tale. People who strive for greatness, achieve it for a time, and then fail because they reached a little too far. The result?"

He looks over the ruins. "Destruction. Annihilation..." He pauses, his eyes narrowing. "Chaos." Souji looks down the corridors and notes that the area is unable to be teaversed in two of the three paths. The clawmarks on the door cause him to narrow his eyes. The creature who made those must be fierce indeed...

He turns, looking to the remaining path and putting his back to Riku. That judge seems to have an idea of the situation they're in. He looks up at the ceiling. Perhaps he is examining it for more signs of instability. Or maybe he's just looking to see if something horrible is about to fall on their heads. People rarely look /up/. Evja's words just cause Souji to smile thinly. Not mockingly, but perhaps in amusement at something else...
Violet The blast marks, the claw marks, and the locket spied on the floor... it drew the attention of individuals in the group. Even Violet. She pauses just a bit longer at the sight of the locket, her bright blue eyes glancing to Emi as she moves towards it and reaches out to pick it up. And open it in the process. If anything had happened, Violet didn't see it.

With a small breath she shifts her gaze to the claw marks. "Clearly something was chasing after someone. Maybe this energy that had been harnessed, it could have been used through some sort of conflict that had taken place here."
Silence was now before them, beyond the dripping water. No more rumbles. No more sign of structure that may fall upon them. All was quiet. Only way was either back up, or to continue downward, which seem to have more pictures to be researched still in highly good shape at that.

The stairwell has much thicker mist as it descends downward. It is slowly starting to head into the air. This could get bad further down.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath rumbles softly as he waits by the remaining passageway for everyone to gather back together now that their exploration options exhausted. "Very well. Let's continue on."

He turns and approaches the next stairwell heading downwards, but stops at the top before he actually begins the descent. The Mist is noticeably thicker and reaching about chest-level now at the highest. "The Mist is rising, and may get worse still. Ensure your method of air filtration is firmly in place before progressing."

He himself readjusts his helm briefly before he begins walking down the stairs, picking up his pace just a little. He takes no notice of any wall murals, more interested in maintaining watch and leading the way forwards.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart keeps moving down as everyone did their thing on this floor... She follows after the others. At least nothing lept at them from the shadows. Yet.

She keeps looking at the story on the wall on the way down. She looks at Aerith "Shards with power? Doesn't that sound a bit like Materia?" She wonders about that. She knows Aerith is attuned with magic, so maybe she can make more sense of it too.

She loosk behind her at the others following. She's squeezed in the middle, so not too much danger there. But she tightens her mask a bit more, as the mist gets thicker...
Kim Possible Kim now puts a small gas mask on over her nose and mouth, although it's hard to tell it's there. She shakes her head as the mist gets into her eyes a little, and while she's fine, she loses track of where she was on the markings. "I dunno what they're talking about," Kim says as she tries to regain where she was reading.
Aerith Aerith took a closer look at the pictures as they went further down the stairs. "Hey... says here that there was something wrong roundabout when they started putting this power into shards. They started fighting over them, and some even started to side with the very monsters from which they got this energy." She shook her head. "I think I know where this is headed..."
Emi Dennou Emi nods to Zargabaath. She doesn't answer Evja. A man chooses, a slave obeys, and a Dennou thinks. If they didn't want the Dennous to use their brains they should have perhaps not hired them. She already has a locket she could probably sell for a fair chunk of change. Well, she supposes she oughta see if she can find whom it is meant for too. She leaves it in her pocket too but she isn't having very high hopes regarding this.

"I don't know." Emi admits. "But I suspect this 'shard' is what is being sought after."

Arkie does bring up a good question, why does she think the Judges are concerned about safety? "Well," She answers. "The Network suspects they would not want this to happen to them."

Still she's not really against mad science. Souji mentions Chaos and Destruction.

"Well, one does not neccessarily have to give up in order to learn from the past. Perhaps today we will learn something from this past."

She looks around at the pictures. Indeed, Emi seems mostly interested in solving mysteries than in obtaining artifacts of power. She's like that.
Riku Riku snorts at Souji but doesn't respond, examining the wall pictures for a few moments but it's only continuing what others have already said and he looks away, focusing on making sure his rebreather was set properly because the mist was going to get thicker now and he has a very distinct dislike for the roiling yellowish substance.

"Everybody try not to talk too much when we go down these stairs. We need to conserve as much safety as we can." Especially since if those clawmarks are not as old as the rest of what ancient battle happened here, then they were going to have company.

He focuses on what he was told to do, free hand slowly clenching and unclenching as they made their way downwards.
Arkham Fisher Shards of power. There were several, it seems; Aerith is quicker on the uptake, and Arkham reasons no further on the content of the mural. The flower girl is right; the conclusion is becoming clear, and it's becoming just as clear that nobody here is going to like it. What they're going to learn will be that they should've let the forest finish eating this place.

The thickening Mist gives Arkie pause; her scarf won't cut it if it gets much heavier. Pausing, she closes her eyes in concentration, sketches a sign in the air in front of her face, and claps once. A soft breeze stirs around her, blowing down and out and away, and she loosens the scarf from her face, breathing deeply in relief. She looks a little paler, though. Nudging Emi, gently, she attempts to convey via gesture that she'd like to see the locket.
Evja The Viera for his part does something quite simple. He pulls out several spears and lances from nowhere, really(though he did reach beneath his cloak), eventually leaving the many spears resting three and three in each hand. Just in case the Mist further down was going to cause issues with his normal methods of doing things...

No point in taking a chance.

Though he did shiver heavily upon entering the mist, as if suddenly it got very cold for him. This much mist... it just wasn't a good thing to wander into. Hopefully it would not be a length of time he is here, though. And unlike the time at the Mist Plains...

Evja is fully armored and prepared.
Violet Violet lifts her bright eyes up at the Judge as he pulls everyone's attention to him, urging the team forward down another descending stairway. Following his instructions, she lifts her left hand to the piece of cloth that had been knotted around her neck and pulls it up over her face, securing the makeshift mask over her nose and mouth and double checking that there were no accidental holes for the mist to seep through.

With a light breath Violet braces herself and follows the others down the stairs, her crystal blue eyes glancing briefly over the paintings but unable to make up what they are, what story they unveil. Its Aerith that fills in the blanks, earning a small and curious glance from the girl while she listens. Not surprising, considering what they had seen in the room just before.

So following Riku's advice, she merely says nothing. The right hand resting on the hilt of her sword shifting to readjust her grip on it every now and then.
Shadow During this time Shadow has been with the group. He has a mask underneath his mask (aka yo dawg, I heard you liked masks), but otherwise afixes a small scroll to the top of Interceptor's dog helmet that gives him a bubble around his face. Dog astronaught, Interceptor.

The shrouded man follows quietly-- making observations of the writing, the mists, and the destination. Shadow is not much of an archeologist or much to theorize over things. Go to a place-- survive-- complete the objective. It is very cut and dry for him. At least the request to remain 'quiet' are easily done with him-- and mitigating the effects of the Mist.
Souji Murasame "Crystals have the ability to store power. The higher the quality of crystal, the more power it can hold." Souji replies.

Emi makes a salient point. Souji shakes his head. "You are perceptive. We can learn from their mistakes." Does Souji understand the tales being told by the wall? He doesn't indicate either way.

HE does, however, stop speaking as they head down. Riku was right, he needed to conserve his breath and he can't just use his air control to clear the area.
The stairwells continue to spiral down. The Pictures continue to tell some story until about the end, where they have become worn down and torn at.

At the bottom of the stair there was a light orb glowing through the heavy mist. Seems someone left them a gift, including what looked like to be a line of them. The room they would find at the bottom of the stairwell was rather massive and the ceiling maybe about fifteen feet up in the air. Massive pillars supported the roof structure above. There was no light in the ceiling but instead around the wall of the room and the pillars themselves, yet thanks to the level of mist it was making the light hard to make out giving the room a rather dark feel.

Some of the light orbs have also been dropped near four unique crystalline statues that seem to had been carved frozen in place. One that looked like a small dragon, another a Coeurl, the next a Basilisk, and the last an Antlion. There was a much brighter light ahead including a moving figure in what looked to be a smaller chamber, messing with something glowing red. There was a 'beep' heard that echoed through the room, before the red seem to vanish around what looked like a glowing object of green light. The mist was making it far to hard to tell just what was going on.
Emi Dennou Emi is nudged by Arkham. She is electing that not breathing in poison mist is a good idea, hench why she has the filter, but it's not exactly modern so she better be cautious all the same. She doesn't seem to be having trouble with the Mist. Maybe it's because she is already a science experiment.

Nevertheless, she reaches into her pocket and shows Arkie the locket. She is keeping a good grip on it and keeps it close to her body, but it shouldn't be tough to see it. The reason why she's being cautious may just be that she's accustomed to being stolen from or it's because the locket is gold and has diamonds in it. It's not exactly a cheap locket by appearances. She pops it open after a moment to show the note inside which says, 'Ja'marah, if you find this locket, things have gone so wrong. We have all gone so wrong. There is only one remaining shard left. It is the only one left. What have we done...'.

She snaps it back closed after a moment and elects to approach the green light, giving Souji a small nod as well. She's had a good teacher.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart frowns as she story seems to come to an end, looking over to Aerith "Well, apparently they never got this far... or been around long enough to draw it..."

Then her attention turns to the statues. She doesn't investigate them too closely, but she does nothing how thick the mist is around here... She looks around "... Where did Gabranth go?" She doesn't see anymore hole in the ground, so she'd assume that he stopped here... although maybe she just doesn't see the hole either.
Kim Possible That gas mask may be small, but it does the trick, since Kim isn't affected by the strange looking mist. She still doesn't like the whole thing one bit, and the markings are still puzzling her. "I hope we can find what we need to soon, because I'm starting to not like this place after all..."
Aerith Aerith on the other hand does not have an protection against the Mist what so ever... and she ends up coughing a few times to show for it. "I think this stuff is getting to me... we might have to find a way out of here before long."
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath reaches the bottom of the staircase and shifts out of the way to let the others join him. He notices the light orb near the stairwell, then slowly advances forwards to follow the trail of light orbs into the room.

"I believe..." He ahems to clear his throat, his helm turning to regard as much of the room as he can see through the thick Mist, "...this is where His Honor ended up." Everything matches what Gabranth had described earlier--the large square room, the pillars with monster statues capping their heights...

The concentration of Mist, however, was far greater than he'd expected and it seeps into his helm even despite the steps he'd taken to insulate it. Already he can feel the edges of his focus softening, a cough tickling the back of his throat... No, you know better than that, Judge of Reason.

With a firm shake of his helm and a rub at his throat, he continues forwards. He follows the trail of light orbs past the statues and pillars towards the moving figure and the beeps. If the Judge of Ambition has not evacuated the area, it is likely the only place he would have gone, but he conserves what little air he has and does not call out to the one who may be his missing comrade.
Riku Riku descends into the mist and almost immediately draws a burning draft of air into his lungs. His body seizes for a moment, trying to panic as suddenly there is nothing in his lungs but pins and needles. Nothing but ghostly fire burning him up.

The young judge growls very softly, eyes gleaming solid yellow for a moment as he pushes back against the impulse to double over and start coughing. He closed his eyes, focusing hard as he keeps his face turned away from the rest of the party.

He raises a hand to his face and dug his fingers into the rebreather that he crushes across his face. The next deep, steady breath of air is real air again. Slightly stale but not like trying to breath needles and fire.

Riku opens his eyes again and blinks several times, peering around to take stock of the situation now that he doesn't feel like he's going to start choking again. He glares at Tifa and Aerith for a moment too long, then wrenches his gaze away to start making his way towards the glimpses of movement, following Zargabaath while throwing a wary glance at the statues as he moves carefully.
Arkham Fisher What a... /fascinating/ thing to inscribe in a locket. It inspires no confidence in Arkham whatsoever. She catches at Emi's sleeve, fruitlessly, and then follows. "/Stop,/" she hisses, and points at the locket, and then at the crystal statue, and then at the billowing mist.

"You don't, don't want that!" For her own part, she keeps as far from the statues as she can, and keeps an eye on the pointmen. A fast response is vital when dealing with Mist poisoning.
Shadow The mist is thick. Shadow's mask is not elaborate-- little more than extra cloth around his face-- but it does well enough to reduce the biological warfare going on in the air. If he is showing any effects, the ninja does not say anything about it nor does he show any symptoms. Interceptor is equally fending off the effect.

The duo continues on with the group as observations are made, mist is breathed in, and the search continues. Perhaps by not spending extra energy in looking for the Judge or the environment he is stilling his body against the danger in the air.
%TInterceptor veers away-- padding over to Aerith and giving her a concerned bark. At least one of them cares. Its not a burning building, but the threat is just the same.
Violet Violet moves through the mist towards the glow, lifting her eyes up towards the tall ceiling and back down again over the pillars. As for the statues, Violet is drawn quickly towards the dragon that looks so lifelike that she thinks it might come to life at any moment, but never does. She smiles to beneath the mask, lifting a hand out to touch the surface though her fingers pause on it when she sees the mist gently roll from it. Was this where the mist was coming from?

The girl gently frowns to herself with thought before pulling her hand away, blinking her crystal blue eyes up at the brighter light, spying the hint of movement from another room and the red glow of something else entirely. What was going on?

Firming her jaw, metal slides against the inside of her sheath as Violet withdraws her sword and marches across the floor, heading in the direction of the red light before it had blinked from existence.
The statues are rather impressive with there carved detail. Someone did some excellent work with the details of these monsters. Perhaps they were placed here as a symbol of the monsters that helped the people talked about in the stories?

Yet the mist seemed to flow off these very statues, like they were magicite themselves and if anyone was shard suave, and knew there magical crystals, that is exactly what they were. Magicite statues that someone decided to decorate up. Probably because they knew they would create lethal mist and keep intruders out most likely, right?

There were also no bones here and no sign of conflict that ever reached this room. Seemed rather in pristine shape actually.

As for the figure in the smaller chamber, it was becoming obvious as the walked around which was the artifact that it was indeed Gabranth, yet his movements were a little sluggish and slightly off. His hands then go to carefully reach out for the crystal floating upon the platform. Its gold metal lines that run through it with the stone itself gently pulsating. It was actually a rather beautiful thing to behold.

He doesn't even seem to be aware of the group yet, as he gently lifts up the shard in his hands, there was a soft pause as he did this, as if expecting something to happen. Yet-- nothing does. Then as he walks around, he tucks the shard under his arm, keeping it close to him. Then he could be heard coughing, almost to the point where he about goes down to his knee, yet forces himself back up.

Yeah. He wasn't in good shape.

Gabranth then glances up then as he starts to exit the chamber seeing everyone else coming his way. This seems to cause him to pause, almost step back. He stands there for a moment, before he makes a soft hand gesture and motions. One could figure this was some form of Military Archadian sign language; which it was.

He glanced around again, before he stepped out very carefully, and as he did the chamber he was in started to close off once more. The door way sliding back in from the wall and the rumbling could be heard that was like the one they heard when they were above. Gabranth only spins around to watch, stepping backwards a few times, before turning to face everyone once more.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath hesitates for a moment as soon as he gets close enough to recognize the form in the chamber. In fact, he holds out an arm to the side, indicating for anyone following to halt, and watches as the Judge of Ambition removes what appears to be a dark stone with gold lines throughout it.

At Judge Magister Gabranth's hand motions, he only nods once. He knows what that means.

"Everyone!" The volume carries his voice throughout the room, but his voice sounds raspy, as if he'd inhaled smoke--a clear sign of inhaling Mist, given the situation. "We have what we came for. Fall back!" He hesitates for a moment longer to study Gabranth's condition, ignoring his own for now. The Judge of Ambition has been down here far longer than himself, after all.
Aerith Aerith shook her head, since the fog at the edges of her eyes started to show up... and when she opened her eyes, the cough was gone and her vision cleared. Of course now the problem was they had to get out of town, and she was more than happy to do so. "Agreed! Let's get moving!" She's one of the first to head upstairs, hoping not to get that nasty little mist cough anymore.
Kim Possible "I'm for that, let's go," Kim says to Aerith with a nod. "The sooner we get out of this place, the better." Suddenly, her once eager to experience things attitude has been replaced. And most likely with good cause too.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart is fine with leaving this place, really. She coughs just a bit as the air is still still more rare and stale, but her mask is still protecting her well at least. She looks over to Aerith, and offers her some support "If we're done here, let's get out hten, I arther not wait on seeing what effect that mist will have on everyone here..."

But what she was worried about is pretty much appening with Gabranth there. "... I think we'll have to drag him back, something doesn't feel right..." She moves up the stairs, Zargabaath was already there to help the other Judge after all. Let's just hope he didn't lose this sanity or something...
Shadow That is all Shadow needs to hear. The objective is secured. Time to move out. He glances to see where Interceptor went off to in the small crowd. Being over by Aerith doesnt change anything for the shrouded man. When her condition clears up, the large dog is back by the ninja's side.

The two head up the stairs just behind Aerith. March march march. Sooner they are out of the mist, the better it is for everyone.
Souji Murasame Souji travels down the stairs, the air growing thick and terrible. He frowns, considering what this means. The Mist... He shakes his head. He doesn't seem to feel the effects of the Mist so far. So far so good.

But that might change in time. He looks up at the tableau before them, considering what he can see. What could it be?

HE can't see enough of it to really tell from this distance...

And then Judge Magister Gabranth makes his appearance. Souji narrows his eyes, looking over the situation. This is unpleasant, but what would he say? They're the ones who hired him... But is he all right? Souji begins walking forward, moving towards the Judge with a definite motion. "Judge..." He pauses, looking back over his shoulder at the others, and then back to him. "You seem to have obtained the objective." He pauses... And then looks around. If something was going to engage defenses to stop them, now would be the time. Down here, deep, with all of this Mist... "Quickly, we need to go." Before everything goes to hell.
Emi Dennou Emi wills top when she's gabbed onto. Arkham is a medical professional after all. Or something akin to that, she doesn't actually know. But she isn't going to go on ahead when she's told not to by someone who seems to have a good head on their shoulders. Well. Okay. Maybe she can't even be sure there's a good head on those shoulders, but she has a soft spot for people who talk weirdly, okay?

"Alright, The Network ceases former operation." Pause. "In either event, falling back--The Network can get behind that."

She'll grab Umi and keep her close after putting away the locket.
Evja Evja, upon hearing Zargabaaths order and upon seeing the state of things, stayed right where he was for the moment. He did turn to look towards Tifa, about to ask the woman he trusted to guard the front of the pack for the retreat, but it seems she was already doing something close enough to that effect. And she had a healer with her too.

"Judge Magister, earlier I heard this same rumbling. I do not like the sound of it. I shall accompany you all out behind the object we came for, failure is not an option and... I fear we may not be alone." And thankfully, somehow, Evja has as of yet been unaffected by the mist.

How even the Viera didn't know. Thankfully it was just that cold, sinking feeling. It hadn't progressed to anything more ... dangerous. And thus, the sentinel of a Judge stood there, waiting, watching, letting the others make their escape and making sure that the Judge Magisters did not get left behind or fall behind too far - the objective was first, after all, they had said so themselves.
Arkham Fisher You don't have to tell Arkham twice. Er, well... in this case you actually do. She is the medical support for this expedition, and Judge-Magister Gabranth looks like he needs some immediate attention. Leaving Emi's side, she approaches Zargabaath, and comes to attention beside him.

"Permission to, to render aid?" She's already got her kit open, and is fishing in the antidotes for something applicable.
Violet Upon discovering the Judge Gabranth with the red light, the artifact, Violet blinks her bright eyes at him once with some surprise before shaking it off, quick to move towards him when he tries to exit. The coughing and stumbling didn't bode well with her, and the girl tries to pull his arm over her to help support some of his weight. If he was struggling, she was going to help him.

The door rumbles as it slides closed, earning a glance from Violet as a stone hardens in her stomach. Not good at all. Who knows what else could have been triggered with the removal of the artifact. She blinks her crystal blue eyes up at Judge Zargabaath at the command to fall back, silently agreeing with him. "Lets try to get out off here, okay?" she says softly to Judge Gabranth, the gentle smile under her cloth mask apparent for a moment. With his strength combined with hers, Violet tries to help him up the staircase. Even stumbling herself a few times."
Riku Riku doesn't wait. He starts backtracking quickly towards the stairs, pulling along anybody who seems to be slowing down.

He bolts up the stairs, taking them multiple steps at a time. So he is amongst the first to see that the stairs that they came up the first time have been cut off. A giant slab of stone has blocked their egress.

Those still in the chamber are the first to see the defenses finally activate. There is a pulse and a shimmer of light as the basilisk slithers from the platform with a sinuous ripple of awakening crystal.

Mist pours off them in thick streamers as they snarl and snap, crystal fangs bared as they advance on those in the chamber.

Those in the stairwell can hear a sinuous hissssssssss coming up from below.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart doesn't even get to see the monster! Phooey. Ah, well, still a good thing. She rather not have to deal with something slowing them down when they want to get out of the mist. Aerith breathed a good deal of it after all, she doesn't want to see ill happen to her friend. Most of the others look in good shape at least, although she is a tad worried about Gabranth... but the others are checking on him at least. So for now, she'll just handle taking Aerith and leading the others back up the stairs as fast as possible.
Aerith Okay... this is not good.

Aerith finds that the stairwell, after the first few steps, is now blocked. "Wonderful! I figured this was too easy!" She turned, her teeth clenched. "And it sounds like we have company... let's get moving, back to the statue chamber!"
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart was paying too much attention to the way up to notice the blocked staircase before she's almost right into it.

"... Well, that isn't good. Think there's another way out? Instead of the statue room, I think we should check the next level... the one with the clawmarks. I think the statue room was pretty much a dead end. The other floor had hallways."
Arkham Fisher Here it comes! Monsters aren't what she was expecting, exactly, but she was definitely expecting something horrible to happen. She manages to get her shield up as the crystal lizards rush in, and takes the brunt of a claw-strike on it, knocking her to the ground.

She scrambles backwards, keeping her shield up, until she runs into the Viera knight's legs, and squeaks.
Kim Possible "I can do anything," Kim comments after helping to take care of the monster. "So now that I've done what I have to, let's see what else there is?" She looks to Tifa with a little unease at the mention of the statue chamber. "Although, weren't we getting out of here?"
Evja To that effect, at least, Evja was able to be useful! Immediately, anyways! If there's one thing Judge Bunny is good for - that's taking up damage and loads of it. Which is why when the statue suddenly came to life, Evja had already started to respond by the time it go to Arkham. Not fast enough, sadly, but luckily there was that shield. When she scrambled back close enough Evja brought his spears down between her and the Basalisk and curled his arms around the woman and her shield partly to protect her as he grunted faintly from the attack over his arms as it passed by them, even if he did stand firm.

"Go, get to the stairs. Leave the fighting to us." came a soft mumble towards her, breath trying to be reserved for the moments when necessary. Too much mist! "Stand and run now!"
Souji Murasame Just as expected. Souji looks back and sees the crystal begin to animate. "They're coming! Prepare yourselves!" The basilisk begins to strike after them, but Souji turns, letting the others pass as he lays a hand on the hilt of his weapon.

He has no taunt. There is simply a swift movement as Souji draws his blade, streaking forward with a thunderous motion. Mist explodes outwards around him, billowing as he strikes past the basilisk in a single blow. There is a flash of black and crimson, an arc of gleaming light that resonates outwards, shattering straight through the animate statue. Souji's weapon is already sheathed as he stops, the iaijutsu stance sompleted impeccably.
Shadow As a part of the Sierra team, aka Team Stairwell, Shadow heads up with Aerith, Tifa, and Riku. Interceptor is with them as well, whining about the combat nearby. The chaos of the large group leaves him nonplussed-- simply looking upwards to where Riku points out that the stairwell is closed off. He looks at it a moment-- looking for possible hinges or bolts to ninja off. Finding none, he slips to the side and for another way out calmly.

"An alternate path is preferred if we lack the tools to remove the blockade," the ninja finally speaks-- to Tifa in a way of agreeing with her plan to find a different way out. If this door is shut-- find another door. He is already heading that way-- appearing in no rush. Notably he is just in no rush to watch anyone get worked up and get a lung full of mist.
Violet The basilisk, as it aims to snap at Violet, misses. Striking near her feet. Shifting her weight to lean the judge into the closest wall, the girl is quick to spin around, sword out to defend herself with a counterstrike. The whip of the blade slashes back at the beast, but doesn't manage to get even a hit in. In either case, Violet stands her ground, protecting herself, the others, and the judge she stands in front of.
Emi Dennou "Sister!" Emi shouts as Arkham takes a blow.
"Yes?" Umi asks.
"No, /Sister/."
"No I mean..." Emi is exasperated. "The Sister--we are a hive mind stop pretending you don't know what I'm referring to."

Umi is so pumped to get involved in the fight but--uh--well okay, it seems the others have this handled. That's fine! They fall back with Evja and Arkie, intending to protect the medic.

Because you know, that's never a bad strategy.
Riku Riku thumps a fist into the stone trapping them in the lower reaches where the mist is still very thick before turning on a heel and racing down the steps at the sound of the hiss.

The arc of black and crimson is absorbed by the crystal basilisk as it hisses at him and tries to take a bite out of the swordsman. It is far too little too late as the basilisk crumbles along the edges and then explodes with that same released flash of black and red that it absorbed.

Shards of crystal strike the sides and floor. There is another shimmering pulse of light that is also accompanied with a much larger rumbling. Several of the light orbs flicker and picks of rubble fall from the ceiling

The antlion statue animates, pincers scything through the air as it shakes itself awake. The scuttling legs turn to face the group, letting out a resonate crystalline shriek that booms through the entire chamber.
Aerith The screech is nearly deafening to just about everyone in the room. Aerith however seems to have a plan about that, because as soon as he takes in that breath of air, she starts whirling her staff at high speed. The weapon begins to glow with a pale green light as she whirls it, and pretty soon it's clear what she's doing as it gives off a subtle hum. The sound waves are canceled out quite nicely, and she executes a lunge with her weapon afterward, the glow still permeating the wood.
Evja "Watch out, they might all come to life in turn! I have no idea what shall happen when the last comes to life and is felled! There may be more!" And, as if on cue, Evja looks towards the Ant Lion that suddenly sprung to life. Grabbing Arkham and shuffling her back out of the way, Evja leaps up and throws some spears down into the path of the Ant Lion while fully planning on diverting it away. What he did next, though...

May come as a surprise to the others.

Instead of focusing down the Ant Lion, instead, Evja pulls out a large translucent crystally sword and lunges towards the Dragon statue. This sword of his - several had seen it before. It was the one meant to sunder defenses, meant to slice /through/ things and though leaving living tissue and the likes unharmed, it had the ability to crack armor if it hit just right, and at other points simply slice straight through any defenses things had.
Who knows if it might work on these statues though.
Kim Possible Kim is caught off-guard by the screeching, and finds herself struggling to keep her eyes open as she grits her teeth. "This is totally uncool!" Kim screams. "What kind of a thing is this?!" She yells out, crouching down and taking out what looks like a lipstick, only to have it fire a single shot of energy at the Ant Lion.
Shadow This explains the claw marks. Shadow descends back to where the group is with a gentle paced jog. Even amongst mist, angry lizardcrystals, and now an animated statue-- his body language remains disconnected from the psychological effects of chaotic battle and danger. Interceptor, despite his more animated personality, handles it similarily-- though with far more growling.

And then there is the sonic boom. Ahem. Sonic screech. Instead of crazy acrobatics you might expect from a ninja, he stands still. Both of his hands clap together in front of his face and slice down to cut the waves so that they redirect around him. Interceptor, smart mutt that he is, stands behind Shadow so that the vibrations ignore him. "An animation," the ninja quietly responds to Kim.
Souji Murasame "It never stood a chance." Souji says, letting the basilisk detonate behind him. As expected, another statue animates. Souji raises his arms to defend against the shriek, but it's not enough. He stumbles, knocked backwards, and crashes against the stairs. "Tch..." He says, his face betraying anger. "You think you're going to get me?" He says, hands going back to the hilt of his blade. With a cry, Souji draws the blade, unleashing a deadly wave of pressure that cuts through the Mist, and then following it up with a thunderous shockwave blast. "DIE!" Souji demands. "I'm going to break all of you!"
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart more monsters... she didn't get to see the basilisk, but she can certainly see the other ones as she goes back down. Aerith is the first to strike, but the barmaid is right behind "Alright, beasties, maybe you killed the people around here, but you're not getting us." Well, she assumes its what killed everyone. It matches the ClawMarks... although it still doesn't quite explain the burn traces yet. Maybe it was what weapont hey used against them?

Either way, fighting to defend is what the barmaid does best, and she moves into range of the antlion, striking it right after Aerith does, to disrupt any counter attack that may come her way.
Arkham Fisher Arkham scrambles to her feet with Evja's assistance, and squares off against the statues, drawing her shortsword. "I'm fine." She says nothing more, communicating her intent to stand her ground by doing so.

The antlion's screech is indeed horrifying, but no worse than the screech of Archadean shelling; it doesn't phase her. Even as it fills the air, she sketches another symbol in the air with her blade, ending with an upward thrust.

From beneath the antlion, a spike of stone thrusts upwards, crackling with energy, and Arkham pales further.
Violet The antlion strikes at her this time, but just like the basilisk it strikes at only open air. The corner of her lips tugs with a slight smirk as Violet twirls the sword smoothly with a twirl of her wrist, scattering a few snowflakes in its wake.

Keeping herself in front of Judge Gabranth, she takes a step. "My turn." Not even a breath of a moment after she strikes, three slashes, either at the Antlion or the next beast that suddenly springs to life. With each slash is another scatter of frost that glitters in the air.
Emi Dennou Emi uses this opportunity--

--to let Umi do the hard work. Umi, of course, draws out her rifle and starts shooting at the statues. She has no real faith in using electrical attacks against stone when bullets seem a bit more effective by her understanding.

"Was that some magic you did there? The Network inquires." Emi adds to Arkham dispassionately.
Gabranth had been protected by several during the insanity. The mist being kicked up and flickered around as the combat takes place. Magic being cast, weapons being swung. Crystal monster exploding. He would thank those who were trying to help him earlier, but everything went crazy thanks to the artifact he held in his arms. Holding so close and protecting.

As the Antlion comes in, the Judge Magister decides to take a theory. His eyes burn bright gold, gold enough they pierce the darkness of his helm. Probably breaking away from Zargabaath's hold, the Judge Magister starts to run before he whistles, "You want this, you bloody beast!" He says holding up the artifact in the air toward the Antlion. "Come and get it!"

The Antlion screeches, snapping its pincers, the attacks come for it. Some attacks ram into it, shattering some crystal structure over its body, before it regrows. It turns its attention toward Gabranth, before it starts to try and rush toward him. It was enough of a distraction. The combined forces of those of Aerith, Shadow, Tifa, and Emi's wild shots pierce through that crystal hide, shattering it into pieces. Mist spewing forth with wisps of massive explosions of magic around the areas, causing the chamber to rumble in protest.

The lights flickering brightly, almost in a blinding white flash due to the magical energy being charged out from the dieing beast, before it shatters into several shards.

The crystal however Gabranth holds as he starts to move it close to his body once more, starts to suddenly glow brightly. His gold eyes starting to dim down glance down at the artifact in his arms. It was that sudden realization; a realization to late. The Crystal Artifact suddenly shatters. All the shards flying directly outward before they split off into wisps of light before they hint anyone. The worst of it imploding right back at Gabranth by virtue of how he was holding it. The sheer force throwing him back across the ground. The armor plating however seeming to do its job in protecting him.

The Judge Magister slowly starts to rise again, the armor dented up from the explosion and maybe some cuts along his arms and side. A few of them seeming rather nasty. It would seem leather doesn't do as well as armor. The scattered shatter remains on the ground slowly turning into wisps, expect for one large piece left, which Gabranth picks up quickly.

Gabranth though did mutter to himself, it was almost audible. Mostly acknowledging that was a /very/ stupid idea and now not only is he bleeding, but combine that with the mist poison and now only just a 'sliver' of the artifact. He was going to probably get an earful from the Senate when the was over.%r However though things get quiet, there was a soft feline growl, before suddenly a loud cat like roar. The Coeurl statue comes to life. Its whip whiskers stretching out and moving around much like one you would find in the wild as it gently paws around the group. Those gold eyes glowing brightly against the green crystal body.

The Crystal Coeurl slowly paces around, before it seems to focus its sights on the individuals it desires. It charges over others and leaps over some, before it takes a swipe at Violet, critical striking with its claws, then pounce right over to Emi right into the air with its paws before swiping them back down to the ground with what would be appear to be a critical blow.
Reize Seatlan Where has Reize been?

He's been around! In fact, he has been moving ahead to deal with the traps so that the folks did not have to do too much involving that. Outside of that, he had been a bit more quiet. In fact, he has been background. Why?

Reize is in the midst of dealing with the surroudnings. Monsters are all around. How is it that the boy is not noticable?

Well, Reize had been planning. Planning for his strike. Somewhere----just go with it.

As the crystal coerul moves towards Emi with he pounce.....

Reize is dropping down from the ceiling. "WAAAAAHOOOOO!!!" The young boy leaps down at th creature's back, now extending both hands to cover its eyes. "Oh no you don't!"

Why was Reize up there earlier? His ever so awesome hookshot got him on the ceiling.

Ceiling Reize attacks!!!
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath gets overwhelmed by the chaos of the traps being sprung and by his Mist poisoning, kneeling on one knee as he chokes back as much coughing as he can get away with. He also takes the opportunity to try and readjust the cloth within his helm that is supposed to keep the Mist out, for all the good it would do him.

In that moment of his weakness, Judge Magister Gabranth breaks away with the crystal and distracts the crystalline Mist monster long enough for the rest of the group to deal with it accordingly. Almost immediately after that, the crystal shatters in Gabranth's arms. The force disturbs the Mist around Gabranth, though no shard in flight seem to persist long enough to hit anyone else, and the Judge of Ambition is left wounded from the explosion.

Focus suddenly sharpens Judge Magister Zargabaath's mind, directed completely towards the crystal coeurl that comes to life immediately afterwards. He roars wordless defiance at the surroundings, at the Mist, at the crystalline Mist monsters, and it seems to clear his throat and lungs alike of the inhaled Mist.

As Reize drops towards the coeurl's back out of nowhere, the Judge of Reason charges at the crystalline feline with swords bared. He lands heavily on one foot the instant he reaches proper range, slicing upwards with his long sword, then spins and stabs with the short blade before pinwheeling the long sword back downwards.
Aerith Aerith slipped beneath a claw swipe aimed for her general direction before taking aim with her right hand, a basketball-sized sphere of spirit energy coalescing in a split second before firing toward the crystalline cat in an attempt to take a good-sized chunk out of him. Hopefully Reize wouldn't be in the blast radius!
Shadow The next (third?) crystal creature to appear is met with limited excitement from Shadow. Limited in the sense that when it appears he chucks a trio of sharp shurikens at the eyes and tentacle-whiskers. The ninja remains a somber-- keeping his breathing as slight as he can. As a result he has yet to be poisonified by the Mist. It could be a bit of luck, as well.
Tifa Lockhart Coeurls are bad news. They have some rather nasty magical/psycokinesis attacks that hurt or confuse. She rather not see one standing around too long, there's enough of the mist right now as a danger for their minds after all.

She goes for a sprint, sliding right in front of it, and sending it flying with a two legged kick as she moved underneath it. She's hoping to shatter the crystal down with gravity as much as her strong impacts, maybe that will be more effective than simply punches at least.
Evja And where had Evja been throughout all of this? Why, the Viera had attempted to attack the Dragon Statue! Upon impacting an invisible barrier of magic around the statue Evja had been blown backwards and cracked into the wall nearby where the Antlion happened to be, and when it finally was destroyed, Evja was way too close for his own safety.

Hot mist poured from the Antlion outwards, exploded from the downed corpse, and the prone Judge didn't have time to react before it surrounded him and seeped into his very core.

Those around the room who were listening, able to hear such, might hear the sound of a tiny growl. Metal scratching against rock, against metal, armor creaking and sounding like something was wrong before it became apparent what had happened.
The resident Viera was seemingly berserk as he abandoned all convention of wisdom and logic in combat and instead vanished from sight. A magical circle appeared on the ground where he was before he reappeared right next to the Courel and leapt into the air before crashing down onto the back of it with all the strength and might of a berserked Viera with his spear only to do it again, and again, and again, trying in blind furor to shatter the damned thing.
Evja Though, for all it was worth - in his rage, he forgot the main thing... the spear.
Riku Riku has been lingering near Zargabaath and Gabranth attempting to do something simple like breathe air through his lungs instead of fire.

He's slowly getting up from his knees and staggers forwards a bit. This has been something that he has been having more and more trouble with, especially running up the blocked stairs and back down them and defending against the crystalline creatures. He rushes to the side of Judge Magister Gabranth without regard for the Crystal Coeurl. Right now, the others were handling it well enough. He glares downwards and offers them a hand up, and it doesn't look like he's going to brook any argument.

"Your honor.." his voice is muffled slightly by the rebreather.
Kim Possible Kim utilizes her speed to avoid the attacks completely, moving away briefly before stepping back into position. "This is really getting more uncool than before!" Kim then fires her grappling hook at a nearby object on the ceiling and attempts to utilize it to do a swinging kick attack on the Ant Lion while moving to another spot.
Montag Montag has been well not very promiate for the moment he'd been hanging back doing what he could to support the rest of the group. Trying to keep his head about him in all the chaos. He's managed to help with some of the draps and he's shorly behind. He seems to be trying to do his best to not lose it but he's got the rebrather on.

"Easy your honor.."

Oh this was a bit of a FUBAR situation today.
Violet Violet barely gets a glimpse over her shoulder at Judge Gabranth before the artifact he holds in his arms shatters It was enough of a force to knock her off balance from such the close distance between them. Huffing a short breath, the pale-headed girl returns her attention forward as a new statue comes to life, the Coerul beings prowling purposefully, calculating its first victim.

Unfortunately, it sets its sights on Violet. Its claws landing a critical strike, throwing her a few feet even. Wincing to herself for a moment, she tries to mentally push away the effects and focus her thoughts, gritting her teeth together and tightening the grip on her sword. More frost gathers on the surface of the blade as she moves to strike again.

Reize should have gotten off the stupid thing.
Arkham Fisher There are important demands on Arkie's attention right now, Emi, but her question is pertinent. She draws a breath to reply, and gets a full lungful of Mist. Blast, she must have lost her wind-wall when she made her attack. Coughing, she retreats behind Evja and the Dennous, and chokes out a 'Ye--'

She doesn't manage to articulate anything, but she sees the coeurl dive for Emi and brings her sword-hand up again in a sweeping arc, summoning a strong crosswind in an attempt to deflect it.
Cirra Constantine It's unclear what happened to Cirra Cosntantine after the expidition went to look for Judge Gabaranth. At soem point she was seperated from the others. Lost, she wandered, out of link pearl range, her trails saw her battered against monsters, foes, magics and machines. But those are stories for another time.

Right now she slumps against a stone breathing heavily certain that she can hear something through the cold stone. She wonders if it's just dimentia from exhuastion, but then the linkpearl works again.

Bloody fingers drag Cirra back up and she presses her ear to the stone, a slab of stone in the way? The silver haired woman stands back and looks at the huge thing in her way and balls up her fist.

*Thonk* they can hear on the other side, dust shifts from the cracks in the stone, it hardly seems enough to move it.


The banging gets louder but it all seems so useless. Surely no human could move this stone or break it, it would take something...

On the other side, Cirra *CRAAAAAACK*

The stone splits under the pulse of energy, the stuff between stars focused on a single point, and that single point starts to melt through as power is focused like a blow torch, slowly spreading into an opening hole, with one Judge of Wrath standing on the otherside, hand outstretched as she chants runic magic under her breath.

Not and itch in her viens, but a furious fire.
The Crystal Coeurl doesn't expect a Cieling Reize! The boy gets on its back and covers the crystal beasts eyes. It howls in protest and starts to run around a bit, almost wildly in annoyance from not being able to see. Hissing and spitting all the way.

Zargabaath comes in, however by the speed of the creature, it is able to get a momentary peek, where it quickly avoids out of the way. This however leads it into Aerith's sphere energy ball, which slams into the Coeurl, knocking it right through one of the pillars. The area trembles after the heavy impact, shards of the creature shattering off and not repairing.

The Coeurl knocks off Reize (maybe) by this point, at least enough to see the three tossed bladed weapons of Ninja doom coming for it. It waves around them before it howls in pain as the damage from Aerith starts to splinter the side of its body more.

The Coeurl quickly side steps around Tifa's attack hissing at her as those whiskers flip into the air in agitation. Then suddenly berserk Veira! The Coeurl looks up, and then leaps out of the way, with the Viera almost clipping part of the Coeurl with its Beserker fist? Feet? Veira Fighter go! Yet as the Coeurl tries to loop around for another attack, there is Kim Possible suddenly grappling in and slamming her feet into the face of Coeurl and knocking a whisker right off it, which shatters to the ground. The creature almost screams in pain.

It shakes its head and then quickly avoids the parry move back by Arkham, which leaves it open for Violet's rushes of revenge. The Coeul has no time to recover. The Frozen sword slams through its neck and right through the other side, making a clean cut. The head falls toward the ground and shatters into pieces, before the body tumbles over and shatters into the ground.


Gabranth staggers around a bit until Riku walks up to him. He stares at the youths hand, before he takes Riku's hand, and then just automatically leans slightly on the youth, placing his trust for once in another person. He motions for Montag to come over and give Riku also a hand, as he places the remaining piece of the artifact into a pouch. "...I just need.. fresh air.."

The blood was still dripping down from his arms and also along his side. It wasn't a heavy bleeding but it would have to be something to be stitched up once they got back to the ship. /If/ they got back to the ship.

Back to the action!

Then the room starts to shake. Tremble really. The Pillars start to crack and the ground also starts to gain small cracks through it as well. The place was suddenly threatening to fall apart. The last Statue starts to come to life now. Those claws stretching out after a long frozen sleep. Those red eyes starting to glow against its crystal form, before the dragon stretches down on all fours and lets out a massive roar which only shakes the foundation further.

The Dragon seems to have some kinda seal around it which glows around its body. A magical seal which can be seen as pieces of rubble from above crashing down upon the shield, causing it to flicker on impact, not even getting close to the dragon. It slowly turns its head to look at the group.

Then it lets out another roar. This would be about the time you should all run and thanks to Cirra, there is the way out! Run! Run! Run!
Reize Seatlan And the boy is on the back! Reize holds onto the coeurl for his dear life. "Waaaahooooo!!!" The boy waves a hand into the air, fist pumping while he is on the back of he beast! As the creature howls and gives off its protest, this distracts it long enough to become assaulted.

By the time that the group start attacking, Reize is quick to roll off and he sucks in a breath. "Whoa!" The creature shatters.

The room shakes. It trembles, and everything starts falling apart.

"Wh-what?!" He loooks over at everyone. "What is going on?!" When the dragon comes to life, Reize looks over at the creature. "...Errr...." It now roars.

And Cirra is even MORE scarier.

Reize decides it is the best time to actually flee. "Okay! We better retreat!" Reize quickly turns tail to reach for Violet's hand. "Let's go!"
Shadow Running. This is something Shadow excels at. Really its one of his most defining features. Now that there is a way out-- the slow-and-simple pace changes to that of 'Escape' for himself and his dog. He kicks up and ahead-- dodging debris that crumbles near him like a bad action movie.

One particular ninja dodge has Shadow in the air-- and he gets a good look at the dragon over the crowds and the chaos. Yes-- it wouldn't be wise to fight that thing. Not here at least. Two small orbs are produced-- one for each hand. One is grey. One is red. Both rocket towards the roaring creature's face to blind it with a mixture of smoke and haze. That should reduce its ability to do eye lasers or paw swipe. Of course it might just decide to lay down and roll over to flatline most of them. That would not be good.

The ninja doesnt look back nor confirm that other people are making it out okay. The debuff is as far as his contribution goes-- the rest is to just get out of this place before it falls to bits. With his dog, of course.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath straightens, leaping back from the coeurl as everyone else pummels it into shards. Evja's clear Viera rage catches his attention, his grip tightening on his swords before he combines the two blades into a double-edge polearm.

His options narrow drastically by the reawakening of the dragon, and his helm tilts up and back slightly as he notes its appearance. Its claws. Its shield. They can't defeat it, not down here, not like this. So that is what made those claw and burn marks, or so he shall assume.

"Fall back! FALL BACK!" He roars even above the dragon's challenge. "The path is clear! FLEE! Return to the surface!"

A Judge card appears in his hand and he holds it aloft, the picture of chains on its face aimed at the berserk Judge Errant. "BIND!" The card glows and immediately disappears in a spray of light, ghostly chains wrapping around the Viera Judge's form and keeping him still. The Judge of Reason immediately grabs Evja, slinging the Viera over both of his shoulders along with his double-bladed spear, and makes a run for the staircase himself.
Aerith Aerith grimaced as the dragon statue came to life. Right, not fun at all. She heard the call to retreat, but she wouldn't do it without a way to slow this thing down! Aerith took in a breath, put the tips of her pointerfingers and thumbs together, and called up more energy than the last attack she'd used... then within an instant, she fired a bolt of energy twice the size of her previous attack! It shot toward the dragon's left wing, aiming to tear a hole in it, or take it off altogether. Should it connect, it would explode on impact, doing some severe damage... or at least, slowing it down.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart is running alright! She makes sure not to leave Aerith and Kim behind, she's sure the others can handle their own, not to be mean to them or anything. "If the path is clear, we are GONE." She declares, as she moves up the stairs again. That's what they tried to do not too long ago too, but this time is the right one.

She doesn't want to stick around for the dragon to claw through them either.

Seeing that Aerith isn't following, she instead grabs her by the red vest and pulls her along "LETS. GO. NOW."
Riku Riku slings the judge's arm around his shoulders, taking a deep breath from his rebreather as he helps the Judge Magister. Then there is a sudden occurance of dragon and a very, very twisted chuckle starts to bubble up from his throat. His hand spasms on Gabranth's though and he starts coughing, grumbling under his breath as he shakes his head to clear it.

He closes one fist so tightly it begins to shake, closing his eyes for a moment as he plunges forwards, dragging the Judge Magister along if he doesn't keep up (and seeming not to notice he's doing it).

He throws a glare around at the dragon and a faint rippling twitch goes through him as he considers Evja. When he's bound by Zargabaath though there is a moment of relief followed by pain as the roar seems to reverberate inside of his head and the next breath of air stabs him as if with a knife.

He doesn't attempt to impede the dragon. He just keeps going, eyes focused straight in front of him.
Violet The slash was quick, snowflakes scattering from the sword's wake just before the head fall free from the body, only to shatter upon impact with the ground. The corner of her lips tugs with some satisfaction at defeating an enemy. Her first in this new world. And she was able to prove her competence for the first time too.

More than just a pretty face.

The room itself begins to tremble, pillars and the floor gaining several cracks that only hinted of the coming life that flows into the remaining statue. The Dragon. The one that she had touched with fascination if but briefly.

Reize moves before she does, catching her free hand and making the girl blink with some surprise as he pulls her into retreat. This time, Violet probably has to agree. She tightens her hand inside of his and pushes to quicken her pace out.
Evja What?! Another challenger has appeared?!

Evja turns and roars back at the dragon, ready to pounce before the Judge is hit with a binding spell and winds up trapped in place for the moment, completely frozen and unable to respond. Perhaps that's a good thing, because a Viera cannot outroar a dragon.
Emi Dennou Emi is saved from getting STONED by Arkham which, really, is probably a horrible name to have? But then again, it's not like The Network hasn't had worse (Legion anyone?).

Still, Emi bites at her lip faintly as she observes Arkie's aid and though she has gotten no answer (Sure sure she isn't injured who cares there's a mystery!), she endeavours to accept matters for the moment in gratitude.

She nods her thanks to Arkham but it seems it's time to run run run. The room is shaking?! Good idea to depart, Emi and Umi turn to depart, but they're going to make sure Arkie gets out first. They're not ungrateful.
Montag Montag has avoided being posioned for now and he's got his rifle at the ready as tjhey start falling back he fires shots as he does so starting to flee he knows whwn an operation is fubar. He does however slam a fresh clip of high explosive rounds into his rifle as he snaps off shots. He's not about to go without a fight or at the least giving his comrades today cover.

"Move it people!"
Souji Murasame Souji, meanwhile, has been staggering to one side. His vision blurs, his heart beating fast. Is this... Is this what it's like? He looks up, his mind darting and whirling as the air rushes around him, threatening to go out of control. With clenched teeth, he sees the antlion and coeurl be dispatched... And then the appearance of the dragon. While he would consider fighting such a beast... not here. Not like this. He's not in the proper condition. "Focus..." He hisses to himself, clamping his mind on the path that has been revealed. "Come on!" Souji yells. "We need to go!" He begins making his way out of there... Though he will pause long enough to help someone should the need be there. He forces himself along, even as his body seethes.
Kim Possible Kim doesn't need to be told to move. "Let's go!" Kim yells as she follows Aerith and Tifa out of the area, glad that being a cheerleader means that agility and speed are a big part of being skilled at such a position.
Arkham Fisher Arkham is definitely getting out now, she's been told twice /and/ gotten a faceful of the nasty. Still coughing, still pale, she backs toward the egress route until she clears the edge of the statue chamber. There she pauses, braced against a crumbling wall, to wait for Legion to join her. You've noticed she goes by Sister Fisher, right?

There's no real sure alchemical antidote to Mist poisoning, not that she knows of, but she can at least keep herself on her feet until they reach the airship; she fishes in her pack for an antidote and... eyedrops??, checks the labels, and then downs them both. Ugh, that must have tasted horrid. Here's hoping it works.
Cirra Constantine 5r Cirra rleases her spells and reaches a hand through the hole she just made, grasping the Judge Magister, and Riku. "Out. Now." she doesn't even care that Gabaranth is higher ranked, or tha tRikuw as technically 'in charge' over her.
The Dragon roars once more, before it starts to 'stomp' it way toward the group. The magical debuff balls from Shadow strikes the barrier around it. It shimmers brightly as the magical effect moves around it. Cracking the barrier only slightly.

Yet the Dragon continues to move, just now a bit more slowly as its focus shifts to Shadow who is already on the run, like several others here.

Aerith's attack fires and slams into the magical barrier as it continues to walk after them. The barrier just seems to absorb the magic strike from Aerith as it suddenly then starts to actually /run/ after them. That slow walk, suddenly went to a full out run. Incoming dragon!

Montag's shots don't even slow it down. The explosive rounds barraging its barrier, not even getting through. This was indeed perhaps the true guardian of this ruin.

Gabranth gets help from Riku and he does keep up with the youth, finding strength within himself to push on and keep up. He did cough once or twice, yet the Judge Magister keeps moving.

The there was Cirra who helps tug them along like the Judge she was. Honestly in times like these, rank meant little. It was all everyone together and survive.

Once everyone hits the middle floor, the Dragon can be heard thumping along the stairwell, its roar carries up the steps, before a massive claws stretches out, scaring up the hall as it forces itself out. Then with a hiss, and then a explosive force a massive mist rushes upward toward the group as another roar follows. The mist attempting to fill the room.

The very room that was also trying to give away as they ran. To the next flight of stairs. Go Go Go and better hold your breath!
Violet Yup! Running! Or in Violet's case, being dragged while she runs. Not the she complains. And she can't even risk looking back at the danger that follows after the group. For if she does, it might be all over.
Aerith Aerith's eyes widened as the dragon rushed them full-on. At that point, she didn't need to be dragged by Tifa, she actually kept pace with her, trying to outrun her at times! "Hey, at least I tried!" She shut her eyes as she charged ahead. "Forget not looking behind you, just don't look! Just run!"
Shadow Running running running. Doing lots of running. Shadow and his dog get quite a distance done when they are putting the energy to do it. Rubble in the way? Jump over it. Run along the wall. Flip over to the next stairwell and head on up without looking back. Interceptor only barks as his doggy paws skitter along the ground. As far as he is concerned, this is a big game of tag. The dragon is 'it'.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath holds his breath as he moves at his best pace, still carrying Evja over his shoulders, knowing what will happen once they reach the middle floor. And sure enough, Mist is thrown high into the air as it's disturbed (to put it mildly) and even more Mist blasts into the room from the lower stairwell as the dragon continues its chase after them.

The Judge of Reason hesitates only for a moment, readjusting his grip on weapon and Viera alike over his shoulders, to look back and ensure that nobody in the party is left behind. He will be the last one to scale the stairs to the ground-level floor, once everyone else has run past.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart wans't looking behind outside of making sure everyone was following, but Aerith and Kinm are doing fine at least. Tifa stays just a few steps behind, but not the last of the party either. She wasn't affected by the mist, so she's alright up to now. A few seconds more won't be a problem she hopes. And it seems like they got in and out in less than 20 hours at least, so that's a good thing to get off this place entirely.

Are we going to have to come back here for more investigations you think?"
Riku And hierarchy is about the last thing in Riku's mind. He just nods mechanically at Cirra, pushing himself forwards through the complex and up the stairs in the flickering, disorienting combination of light and darkness as the light panels seize and act up as the entire structure starts to come apart on top of them.

A piece of rubble crashes inches from his feet with a deafening bang of metal and stone, the super concentrated mist breathed up the stairs falling on him and seeming to slice straight through his rebreather.

Temporarily overwhelmed, Riku feels his lungs begin to seize up and spasm again. Unnoticed, red starts to leak from his gloved free hand onto the staircase, nails puncturing the leather and buried in the flesh of his hand from squeezing so hard.

Streamers of mist rise from the young judge, mostly indistuinguishable from the heavy, choking concentrations making the path in front of him shrouded and uncertain. A baking mirage aura cooks off his sliohuette as the viewpoint abruptly twists 180 and they are running, it seems to him, on the broken ceiling for about six steps before the view neatly inverts and they are just.. running and running through an endless staircase of burning ash.

Every footfall explodes another sinister cloud into their faces. Riku clings to the Judge Magister, for a moment being the one who needs to be held up as he struggles to breathe. He struggles not to give in and lash at the cursed dragon that spawned all this ashen mist and this artifact and pretty much anybody in his way to the Shiva that seems so distant right now. He staggers forwards a few more steps, turning solid yellow eyes on the ground. On each foot in front of him as the stairs waver and dance.
Kim Possible "If we do," Kim says as she continues alongside Tifa, "Let's make sure there are no other uncool beasts in there! Those things were not cool, and I'd hate to think what Ron would've done if he'd seen any of those." She rolls her eyes a little at that.
Montag Montag is falling back even as he shoots but he sees the thing just shurg off his rounds he's not going to stand there and fire like an idiot. He lowers his weapon and is now turning to pull back with everyon else. he holds his breath but he's also got teh rebrteather hopefully that will be of help as he pushes on with the rest of the group. This is just one of those days.
Souji Murasame Souji has no intentions to slow down. He /feels/ the Mist behind him, rushing, an essence of great interest to him... But what can be done with it? Souji grimaces, stumbling amidst the arrival of the Dragon aboce. He clenches his head with a free hand, his vision going bright for a moment, the path distorting before him. "Damn it!" Souji hisses to himself. "Focus!" He keeps repeating this like a mantra, before muttering some words to himself as he tries to recenter himself. He can't let himself fall here. That would be... a most ignominious end. "RUN! HURRY!" Souji yells to the others.
Evja "I... I can walk on my own..." comes a ragged grunt from the Viera suddenly towards Zargabaath, staggered words coming out after a deep breath. Now that he'd been given a chance to get out of the immediate area, Evja had a chance to try and gather his senses, wherever they had been. Of course, with how tense he seemed (and the hold spell), he couldn't really do much at the moment. "Focus on... getting yourself out. Do not weigh yourself down with me."
Emi Dennou Emi notices that Arkham seems to be having trouble breathing. She elects to help her should she start stalling, and upon noticing her pale face, reaches up and withdraws her filter from her own face and wraps it around her own, to hopefully help out her breathing a bit. She of course has little interest in fighting now otherwise and only stalls to help Fisher out a bit. SISTER FISHER. OR perhaps... TWISTED SISTER?
Cirra Constantine Cirra reaches over and picks Riku up under his arm as he stumbles, "Focus." She says, "Look forward and only forward." she lifts a hand over her mouth as the mist rolls in. "Don't look back."
Arkham Fisher That, that's not very nice, you know. Luckily Arkham is not privy to the internal monologue of Dennous. She fights momentarily against Emi shoving a respirator in her face, but she figures it out after a moment, and nods thanks. Her breathing is still shallow-- coughing in a mask sucks-- but she can quit worrying about exposure.

Her own exposure, at least. Emi's left herself apparently unprotected, but they're rapidly leaving the contaminated space anyways; she'll probably be alright. She'll be alright or she wouldn't have handed her mask over, right? They can talk about it back at the airship. Yeah.
Everyone is running and the dragon refuses to give up, by the time he makes it into the middle room, everyone is already going up the steps. It lets out a roar in frustration before starting to force its weight up the next flight of steps. Clawing, screeching, throwing a bit of a fit and for all its anger, it isn't helping the foundation out either.

The ground starts to crack more under there feet as they hit the top floor. The ceiling starting to crumble down, and several Imperial soldiers were still standing at the pathway, some of them already conjuring spells. They heard the roar, they knew what was coming.

Once everyone gets outside, the Imperial soldiers cast there spells into the entrance way, attempting to blast the dragon from a distance. Yet the Crystal Dragon comes, the magic not even phasing the shield as it tries to slam its way through. Just as it leaps outward, the very entrance of the structure crumbles down upon it. Pinning it there. Its massive claw extends out for the soldiers and the others, until the top part of the building crashes down, crushing what remained of the crystal guardian.

During the run, when Riku clings. Gabranth only glances over. He may not be doing well, but he knows the youth is in perhaps some trouble. There was no words spoken, just a supportive pull, trying to force himself to pull his own weight, speaking silent words unheard by others to Riku.

For a moment things seem alright. Gabranth who had been running with the others lets out a few nasty sounding coughs, before he almost wants to kneel down. His breathing is rough and he looks at everyone assembled. He then attempts to stand up tall, even if he knows it is very obvious his state of being. One of the soldiers walks over and pulls out a needle, they speak for a moment as the soldier then jabs it into Gabranth's armor. "Little adrenaline should hold you over, your honor." The solider remarks before removing the needle.

Gabranth inhales the clear air deeply, before he speaks, "..everyone.." He says, "..Good.."

However whatever he was about to say was quickly interrupted. The ground begins to quiver as suddenly massive cracks appear in the very ground they stand on. The ruin building starts to sink and the whole floating island begins to sink. Out in the distance trees in the jungle can be seen falling over, Then a massive fissure in view forms, before parts of the island on the other side start to fall off.

This floating rock was coming apart.

"Run!" Gabranth barks out, running perhaps now on adrenaline more then anything else, making sure Riku and Cirra move ahead of him, along with a few others before he moves along with them. Nice thing about adrenaline, it makes you forget what kinda shape you are in. Yet will make you pay for it later.
Shadow Running part 2: The Sequel. More running occurs from Shadow and Interceptor as the island does what the building before it did: Start to fall apart. The ninja and his dog make for the evac point.
Aerith Well, so much for that 'we made it' moment! Definitely time to head for the airship, and Aerith wasted no time in hauling ass. "This is really not the best place to vacation, is it?"
Kim Possible "I don't think I ever wanna come back here, now that I think about it!" Kim comments to Aerith. "It's so funny how things can change in an instant. It can be badical or uncool!"
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath ignores Evja for the time being as he races up the stairs and bolts for the exit past Archadian subordinates. Only when he is out in clear air does he lower Evja back to the ground and dispel the Judge Card's Bind, dropping his 'spear' and nearly wrenching off his helm from his head. Mist escapes from around the Judge of Reason's face and from within the helm itself, clearly revealing why. Only heaving breaths and occassional coughs reveal possible Mist Poisoning that probably hasn't been completely negated.

The momentary peace is shattered as the ground beneath them breaks apart, and Zargabaath barely has enough time to grab his helm and spear before either are claimed by the roiling ground. "MOVE!" He roars towards Archadean soldiers and hired help alike as he makes all haste for the Shiva's gangplank. Again, he will wait for all others to board before he does the same.
Emi Dennou The NEtwork can be so cruel sometimes. Maybe. In any event, whether she will be fine or simply has a death wish is uncertain but, well, if she's about to die from poison, she doesn't really indicate it. Nor does she explode or turn into a monster or grow a tentacle face! Which would be kind of metal.

But Dennous are not especially metal. This is a lot of running, at this point even Emi is running out of breath. Umi seems a bit winded too, but they'll continue they FLEEING MANEUVER but--again--they make sure Arkie gets out. Now that they're in better air, Emi--or rather Umi, who is speaking for Emi, feels fine enough to communicate vocally.

"The Network apologizes for forcing you." TWISTED SISTER.
Riku Riku coughs and nods sluggishly at Cirra. "Thanks." he mumbles, nodding to them with a ragged cough. He staggers out into the fresh air with a palpable sense of relief that is ultimately short lived because while the dragon behind them is pinned (temporarily at best) by the collapsing structure, the rest of the island is coming apart from underneath their feet. "No." he laughs harshly at Aerith's comment. "No, it's not."

Run: The sequel. Son of the return of Get In the Shiva, part 2. The Runnening.
Montag Montag says "We should just bomb this place into a smoking crater if you ask me!"

He's sitll pulling out aty this point Move? You don't have to ask him twice on that. He keeps with the group and has to wonder what the heck was that infernal thing? He can worry later once they are the heck out of danger. Because this Situation is so <Goosehonk>ed up.
Violet Once outisde, Violet feels overwhelming relief wash over her as her slender shoulders slump, giving Reize a brief glance to ensure that he's alright before looking at the rest of the group. Besides a bit of mist poison, everyone seems to be doing fine.

That is, until the ground beneath them begins to rumble. The floating island itself beginning to fall apart.

Not good at all.

She realizes this just as everyone else does and she tightens her grip on Reize's hand, only this time she's the one that drags him with her as they run towards the flying ship.
Evja Once sat down, Evja does the same as the rest and rips his helm off long enough to wheeze out to try and get some clean air. About this point Senra, his Chocobo, runs up and warks noisily next to him. "Yes, I know..." And after dragging himself onto the Chocobo, Senra takes off towards the ship along with the rest.
The Shiva's engines were already fired up as the island started to fall apart and the ramp was already back down. Two soldiers stood outside to help people get on board swiftly. There wasn't much time after all and as soon as the last person got on, the Shiva was going to book it away from here before the ground gave away under /it/. So far, they were fortunate this was not the case yet, but who knew how much longer that would last.

And when both Judge Magister's bark, the soldiers also do indeed move, and those two quickly go up the ramp, not even giving there two other team mates a second look. They instead were giving the pilots the heads up and another who was more medically inclined. Seems like the rec room may be turned into a medical bay. No fun and games on the ride home!

Gabranth waited for Riku and Cirra to get on-board, including the hired help. Yes he was still bleeding, yes he should /not/ be standing out here, but it seems thanks to that shot, he was back to his stubborn, no-hold-bars, self.

The Judge of Ambition then quickly got on, and the two soldiers who were outside did the same. They waited for Zargabaath to board before the started to close up the ramp once more. One of the soldiers glanced over everyone before they spoke. "..I really hope this is everyone."

Then another soldier spoke. "Everyone, please take a seat, this is going to be a emergency departure and these can be a bit rough."

Gabranth however starts to walk a bit as one of the soldiers comes over to him to help him to the rec room. The Judge seems to argue with them a bit before he suddenly realizes that is not such a smart idea and just surrenders to his body at last. Almost collapsing there and the two Imperial soldiers help him to the rec room where they shut the door behind them.

The Shiva then takes off, it was indeed a bit rough, because it actually pulled the nose up and went into reverser thrust as the island started to give away under it. Before it did a turn in the air from tail to nose, before taking off. In that small moment of turn, one could see the island breaking away, falling to pieces and crashing into the ocean below.

The insanity was over. They were safe now and all heading back to Archades for fun. It was about then one of the soldiers leaned out from the pilot area before giving a mild salute. "You guys couldn't cut It any closer, could you sirs and honors? By the way, the bar is free to use. There is drinks of many types under the cabinet. Enjoy! You all deserve it." Then he swings himself back into the room all the soldiers are hanging out in.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart hopped on the airship before the takeoff.. and watching the island crumbling, she states to noone else in particular "Well I guess that answers my question." She salutes the island and all of the treasures or secrets there could have been left on it. She leans against the railing of the airship, just watching as the island is growing smaller in the distance. "... Think we should come back to check on it later anyway? I mean, might be buried but it'd still be there, no?"
Cirra Constantine Cirra climbs on to the Shiva puling whoever is coming up behind her untill the last is aboard and the hatch closes behidn them. She props herself up against the wall and breathes heavily.
Riku Riku stumbles to a stop, leaning hard against the wall of the Shiva for a long minute or two, his eyes blearry and unfocused but normal again.

He slowly opens his hand watching a few drops of blood leak onto the deck. He looks semi fascinated by this as if he hadn't even noticed.

He shakes his head, eyes looking over the group. He nods at Evja and over at Reize before he staggers to his feet and into another compartment of the Shiva.
Zargabaath Once the Shiva is well on its way and everyone is situated, Judge Magister Zargabaath puts down his helm and weaponry onto the ground and takes a seat. He rests his arms on his thighs, folding his hands together and leaning forwards as he inhales deeply with even breaths. Occassionally, he coughs a bit as the settled Mist in his lungs loosens further, but he seems quite conscious and aware at least. He will deal with this later.

He lifts his head, a rueful smile crossing his face as he surveys the group. "Very good work, everyone." He chuckles softly. "Yes, refreshments for all, and medical attention if you have need of it. Consider it a celebration for a successful mission and a bonus for your hard work, if you wish."
Emi Dennou "When and where should we go to get our actual payment, The Network inquires." Emi says, because she sure loves getting paid for her work.
Montag Montag takes off his gas mask and nods once to Zargbaath for a moment "Food sounds good. I could eat an entire bucket of Kalm Fried Chocobo right now." He notes seeming to be a bit on the hungry side.
Shadow Mr. Ninjaman is also on board with his dog. Interceptor cant very well strap in, but he manages. Shadow himself rides out the-- well-- the ride. Once everything settles down, Shadow replies to Zarg, "I'll take the bonus in money, instead." Its not that it is even an option-- but thats what he prefers.
Zargabaath Judge Magister Zargabaath leans back in his seat, quirking an eyebrow at those who bring up money with an amused smile crossing his face. Mist particles seems to have settled on relatively new facial scars, causing them to seem lighter compared to his tanned complexion.

"Do not fear, we shall hold true to our promise of compensation. I do believe there shall be Judges ready and waiting to issue the previously-agreed upon amount." He leans his head back and closes his eyes, a faint wisp of Mist emitting from his lips as he exhales heavily. "Due to the nature of the actual mission, perhaps a /small/ monetary bonus could be arranged. All of you performed above and beyond, indeed."
Emi Dennou "Thank you," Emi says.

She knew Zargabaath was the best Judge ever.
Shadow Shadow takes this moment to lean back and relax as much as a man of few words can relax. The extra payment is fine with him. He will collect it and move on to the next paying job. And the next. And the next. It begs to wonder what the man does with all that money. Dog toys?
Souji Murasame Souji is among those who escaped. A long run outside of the Mist-choked ruins did him good. His mind is sharp again. He looks back, considering, with a drink in his hand, as he thinks about what he saw in the ruins, what it means.

And about the potential to be found there. Even if the island destroys itself, even if the Judges have taken what they want, the leavings have their own potential.

All it requires is a little research...

This scene contained 237 poses. The players who were present were: Reize Seatlan, Riku, Tifa Lockhart, Kaydin, Cirra Constantine, Aerith, Zargabaath, Emi Dennou, Kim Possible, Gabranth, Montag, Evja, Souji Murasame, Violet, Shadow, Arkham Fisher