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No title.
(2013-04-02 - 2013-04-03)
No description.
Royce The great holy city of Mullonde lies sprawled across the rugged plains at the southwestern end of the western continent, its towering cathedral visible for miles in all directions as a symbol of protection and comfort to those of the Ajoran faith. Over the years several small hamlets and villages have grown from the influx of pilgrims and merchants come to pay their respects to their faith or take advantage of the crowds to hawk their wares and among many of these settlement smaller but no less grand churches have been constructed to see to the daily spiritual needs of their flock.

The further one gets from the city itself the more spartan and sparse the land becomes, turning from verdant plains to rolling hills and finally to jagged jutting mountains that reach high into the clouds. Patrols of the mighty Templars in their resplendent armor become harder to find; bandits and monsters less so. The thick forests at the base of the Sabil mountains provide ample cover for cutthroats and creatures of all sorts to lay ambush and only the bravest or most heavily armed dare the journey along the winding dirt roads that lead into the heart of the peaks themselves.

However, even here the signs of human habitation can be found. The occasional shack or hunting lodge defiantly stands among the trees, most empty save for the season when the local game is ripe for the picking. A lone settlement, if it can even be called that, lies clustered around the dusty path as it emerges from the forest. A collection of age-worn homes and an inn are all that compose the nameless town built within the mighty walls of what have must once been a grand fortress.

The bones of broken hollow towers and dilapidated walls protrude from the ground like rocky teeth. Here and there an intact building can be found but the majority of the structure is beyond salvaging. The symbols of Ajoran faith lies scattered but recognizable all about the broken and crumbling walls. A steeple still juts proudly above the tree tops but most of the stained glass that once filled its windows with beautiful imagery has been either broken or removed. The church that lies beneath it is the one thing that appears to have been mostly preserved and, in comparison to the moss-covered ruins, it remains clean and shows signs of fresh use.

This place is little more than a rest stop for travelers and merchants now. A handful of people can be see wandering about their homes doing daily chores but the majority of those that stay here either permanently or in passing can be found at the inn or the church. Very little of value or worth is likely to be found in such a place beyond the odd trinket or bauble, but it is what might lie dormant and forgotten inside this ruined cathedral that makes it important.
Serah Farron Being a stop for traveller is precisely why there's a pink-haierd girl at the village. Sitting atop a railing, legs kicking up a bit for balance, she's watching the caravans going back and forth. Her own transport had to make a forced stop here, due toa broken wheel, and it would take some time to repair. So here she is, waiting.

Of course, she vastly clashes with the looks of town, so she clearly looks like an outsider, a tourist at limit. She looks like she's lost in thoughts meanwhile though, what else is there to do? She doesn't even have a book, or any schoolwork left, after what happened to her.

She doesn't look like much of a fighter either, although she has a sheathed dagger in her back, for some reason. Perhaps a token of protection?
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom is not an Ajoran, even though he might technically work for one of the Church's more focused branches. Being a mercenary means that you have quite a bit of leeway to operate outside of such things as 'regular patrol routes.' This is not the only reason that Artyom is out in the mountains.

Artyom is out in the mountains because Artyom has been suffering a slight bout of homesickness, and, while Sabil pales in comparison to the slopes of the First Earth, it's certainly better than a shot in the foot.

And so, he is in the town! Technically, in that he is within town-limits. Artyom rests in a relatively inconspicuous alleyway between the local inn and a small storage shed. His arms are wrapped about his rather colossal stone sword, using it as a makeshift prop to ensure he doesn't topple over onto anything important.

Somewhere in town, there might be a Glabados patrol missing its mercenary escort. There might also be a Burmecian wandering about. It doesn't matter at the moment- they aren't exactly scheduled to move on any time soon, and Artyom is taking the opportunity to relax.

His window of rest may not be open for very much longer.
Clayton When Clayton goes out on an expedition, it's usually to find and kill something and then pose for the cameras in front of the carcass. He has been furiously braving everything the interconnected worlds have to offer, as if driven by a hunger for new dangers to meet and conquer. He has extolled the virtues of civilization and humankind to those that he has met, talked about the science of phrenology and Imperial rule over tea, and bedded more than a few ladies. Still, he seems dissatisfied. Frustrated.
When he heard of a great treasure lurking in this commoner's hellhole, he immediately set forth with his trusty shotgun. He approaches the village with a few hired manservants, three in fact, two of them from Mullonde. He has connections. He pauses, pulling down the hood that is part of his traveller's cloak - he is wearing the fashions of the land right now, but it's unmistakeably what a hunter would wear. He sniffs the air, eyes darting around the ruined settlement and the large church. "If I were to hide something wondrous, this would be the place," he remarks to himself.
He claps his hands, and his manservants follow him into the settlement, Clayton stridingly confidently.
Avira From first inception, it was the purpose of Avira's group to get out and explore-well, amongst other purposes that had been dominating their activities as of late. But with Manhattan restored, now a whole lot more time had opened up for the scarred woman from Earth. Since then, considerable amounts of that time had been following up on rumors and marks, doing just about anything she could to get out of Traverse Town. -out of Traverse Town and /away/ from certain individuals that would not be named.

This particular city had only been a pit stop on Avira's journey through the desert towards Mullonde. It was only through conversation with the locals that she learned about the old church, built atop ruins, that resided in the city. It's more than enough to pique her interests as she has dealt with mysterious catacombs and vaults beneath the church in Traverse Town-which had contained treasure! (But also children in peril blocking that treasure.)

Cheerfully, the scarred woman makes her way to the church, slowing abruptly when she spies Clayton from behind, surrounded by his rogues. "...that man is...familiar." she mutters uneasily, mentally digging through where she's encountered him before.
Ramza Beoulve The soft susurrus of his cloak and the crunching of his leather boots upon the broken gravel like stone was the only mark of his arrival. The young man was taking no real measures to disguise his identity, as the cowl of his cloak was down. He'd come to this place alongside Artemis, as he'd followed lingering trail that the Dark Knight had left behind to mark his passing from Fluorgis onward to the Sabil Mountain Range.

He hadn't been so eager to return here, the Church had discovered him with an ease that defied description when he'd tried to pass by last time, and sent a literal army his way. While he'd been more careful up to this point, he saw no purpose in trying to deceive such a large group of seasoned adventurers.

He'd stand there for a time, observing the shadows of past glory that encompassed the fallen fortress.

The church is what galled him the most. Not because it existed, but because it jutted out in the landscape as a sort of peculiar paradox. There was more than met the eye to it, and amongst the scavengers, travelers, and merchants Ramza wasn't quite certain what to make of it. It felt as if something more drew them to it, and he didn't like that his instincts told him otherwise.

Bending over, Ramza picked up a shard of stained glass depicting a sliver of one of the houses of the night sky, Virgo. He knew the depiction all too well, where this Cathedral in its full glory, it'd have had an array of all twelve symbols around a symbol of a silver-blue sun, depicting Holy Faram.

He wondered if Faram felt it as much a mockery of the truth as he did. History had been rewritten by the Church, and buried by the Lucavi. He'd turn it Artemis' way, his expression grave, as if to indicate his thoughts on the subject.

While he saw Avira, he didn't greet her. The two were acquainted, and he didn't want her to be declared a heretic by familiarity with himself alone. Still, he remained tense and on guard, as he had a feeling that his presence would hardly go unnoticed by any agents of the Church that might be in the area.
Cressida In a world where Glabados church had reduced power and territory than what they were once used to, news of a mysterious and ancient church that might belong to them is bound to attract their attention, even in this small, back road town.

Could it be an ancient Ajoran temple full of unknown secrets..Or just some old, run-down building of some unknown faith? Whatever it is, it warrants investigating, and so the church has sent three of its order to do just that.

Templar knight Cressida Merune takes the lead of the small investigating party, moving directly towards the Ajoran ruins, frowning softly as she peers intently at the familiar symbols. The fact that the church itself is the only thing that is still intact is also of interest. "Well..This is definitely the place." She murmurs to her companions, aware that this place has garnered the attention of other parties, although she has not yet spotted Ramza and his allies. "Let's look around some.."
Lumeria Lumeria heard about the cathedral as well. Maybe there was treasure or ancient knowledge that could be found inside. Of course there was so much walking involved in getting there, she's already a bit wary by the time arrives. She really needs to learn how to teleport.

The girl takes a deep breath as she looks at the growing crowd. That would make it difficult to claim it for herself. On the other hand, at least she has plenty of people to shield her from what might be lurking inside.
Faruja Senra Beside his fellow Templar, Faruja is indeed wandering about, or more accurately wandering onto the scene! Freshly healed from his encounter with a certain Heretic nad his impromptu allies, the Burmecian is looking far better than he was previously.

A short nod to the woman. "Agreed. And may the Lord protect this holy place. May it still be so." A temple, amid this ruined place, intact and freshly used? Either someone is coopting the Church's former place of worship, or something far more sinister is going on.

Plus, there are guests. "Let us greet our 'friends', hmm?"

No truly one for subtlety, especially in what is technically their lands, the ratling yells out. "Hail to ye, travelers!"
Will Sherman Will actually came with Ramza's group, he hasn't been traveling TOO terribly long with them, but he seems to come and go into his group. Mostly to mooch food, but also because immediately after, the group benifits from a bit of luck. Sometimes, he sticks around to help, Tonight he is helping, hands behind head as he walks slowly with Artemis and Ramza.

He waves to Avira, and gives her a smile. "Hm. I sense a lot of sadness here. Tradgedy." he says, shaking his head. "Fortune seems to have abandoned this place...or maybe it was driven out by what happened here." Will says mysteriously. "Very sad." He comments, and continues on, looking around with the fate sight. Where did the fate sight direct him, if anywhere? It isn't always reliable.
Artemis Eurus If Artemis wanted to be incognito, it would be fairly easy. Remove mask, change clothes, tada! As that didn't seem to be part of the plan, she does not bother. If Ramza is going to walk around without even trying to hide his identity, than Artemis isn't going to either. She arrives by his side in her blue and gold armor, her hair braided for battle, her hand resting upon the hilt of her blade. Her hawklike gaze is always roaming between Ramza and their surroundings.

Being so close to Mullonde /again/ seems like suicide, but there was nothing she could say to dissuade Ramza from this course of action. Bloody man. "Please Ramza, do not do anything to make my job more difficult," she says quietly, giving him a look. Truly, she is asking politely! Maybe that would work better than threats of violence.

Artemis glances back toward Will, a recent addition to their company, at least for a time. She nods to him, frowning gently. She will be quiet for now, her senses attuned for trouble.

She hears the voice of Faruja then and winces slightly. "Wonderful."
Morrighan Alazne Investigating old chapels.


Morrighan trailed along behind the church's investigation party, a considerably sour expression on her face. She hadn't even been with these people that long and already she was hating the church. Bah! "Perhaps if the 'lord' sees fit to spare a small measure of blessings to protect us out of his no doubt busy schedule of collecting tithes and judging heretics." The dark elf grumbled sarcastically.

Hearing Faruja yell out to those ahead, she just sighed and shook her head. "It would do you well to exercise a bit more caution. Who knows just what they may be up to now." Logic. "But then, it is really not my concern now." Yes. Not her concern. Despite being in the investigation party. It made perfect sense.

Those present were spared no attention from the healer, so familiar faces went unnoticed for now.
Niklas Dragonius Niklas Dragonius has no idea where he and Serah are, but it is pretty awesome.

"Ruins are basically Grade A for Adventure. That is, they're A+, awesome. Uh, they're A...for...amazing? Dang, all of those start with A, don't they. Um...they're...A+ places when it comes to...ah, you know what I mean." Nik waves his hand to the side as he sits down next to Serah, kicking his feet outwards.

If *Serah* clashes with the ruins, then Nik looks right at home. The handsome, scarred young man's school uniform is still visible...under a layer of dead monster furs and skins that seem to be both protective clothing and patchwork for his old ones. He's tossed his shirt over his shoulder, probably to let it dry for a little while after washing it upstream (it still drips a bit), so he's currently going for the shirtless barbarian thing, which, again, works pretty well in the ruins. His hands are still wrapped in bandages, as are his feet, and the torn ends of his pants betray that he is in fact not wearing any socks or shoes, probably because shoes are for people who don't kick people frequently. Or suckers. They might possibly be for suckers.

Nik swings his guitar over his shoulder after a moment, setting it on his lap. He tunes it for a moment, then starts playing. The search for Serah's boyfriend (booooo) and sister (potentially yeaaaaaah) has left him little time to think about playing music lately. It was nice to get a break, and the cliff *was* a nice view.

Nik sings a few bars. He's pretty good; the words are sort of meaningless noise, just testing his own range a little, but he's pretty good at making it sound good.
Clayton Clayton pauses to rest, looking at the other travellers and warriors that are here today. His gaze flits past Avira, not recognizing her, but his attention is grabbed by the rat-man knight thing. He heard about these Burmecians, but to see one up close...fascinating. He wondered if they ate cheese. What if he threw a piece of cheese at his feet, would they eat it? He decides to talk to it, at least, because he DOES recognize the markings of the Church of Glabados.
"Hail," he returns. "I see you are a man of the Church of these lands. Allow me to introduce myself: I am John Clayton, of Earth circa 1881. Let me say I respect what your fellows do to keep order in these lands. Keep up the good work, eh old chap?" He looks back at his servants, who nod enthusiastically. Grinning broadly, he turns his head slowly...and notices Morrigan. You can HEAR that grin deflate.
Oriane Guado True scientific research sometimes requires the scientist in charge to leave the safety of their laboratory and venture forth to test their hypothesis against the unknown. A scientist must also go forth and observe the work of one's peers so as to better understand their own body of work. For these reasons, Lady Oriane Guado has travelled to the hostile lands of the Ajoran faith to conduct a little investigation of her own. Every Church has its secrets and Oriane was most interested in uncovering the ones present at this most desolate location.

The Priestess of Yevon would be forced to travel 'incognito' as her pursuits when it came to magical knowledge were deemed 'heretical' by many within her church and outside of it. 'Incognito' is apparently wearing an elaborate high-necked and long-sleeved crimson bodied dress that carries an impressive black skirt that juts out from her person thanks to a concealed cage hoop. The green-haired and green-eyed Guado also wears a hooded travelling cloak over her dress that is of the same color palette as the rest of her clothes. In short, Oriane Guado was not putting much effort in not trying to draw attention to herself and nor did she truly care if she did.

The Yevon Priestess walks with only one companion, a tall and imposing ronso dressed in servant's finery with even a monocle to complete his sneaky disguise. Oriane was doing her best to play the part of the privileged and insufferable noble and was casting appropriate disdainful glances towards some of the company present. Enemy Templars, mercenaries, 'Heretics', and others. It seems that Oriane should perhaps have dressed in beggar's motley to truly play her role in this mummer's farce. But this cannot be helped now and the Priestess must simply move on with her most 'holy' mission despite her current appearance.
Serah Farron Serah Farron looks over to Nik. He's been a good help, even if he wasn't constantly by her side... Which is a good thing too, considering his personality. But hey, he kept his hands off her, its a good thing.

"I didn't know you played music." She knows nothing about music herself, not an artist whatsoever... Maybe she should try to draw though, if she found the time to learn about it more.
Avira As Clayton continues to speak, she's suddenly struck with recognition. She knew only one human that was THAT painfully British. When he glances her way, she cringes, though realizes that the hunter does not recognize her-fortunate! Though at the same time, it made sense. She hadn't engaged Clayton directly in that skirmish.

Now Morrighan, who had just showed up following after Faruja, is another story. She actually double-takes, seeing her there and in the Burmecian's company. Rage sparks in the back of her mind for the last time she saw this dark elf, she was helping Seith drag her to the Underworld.

Her eyes linger upon Ramza for a brief moment, the barest hint of acknowledgement given to the youth before she turns away and gives Will a wave.

Putting her current sources of rage out of her mind, she steps past Clayton and his crew while the hunter gawks at Faruja and heads into the church. "/Priorities/." she mutters to herself.
Minerva Minerva had come to teh holy city with some trepedation not about the Church but there may be those there who know her for who and what she really is. To be honest she's happy with her life now and doesn't wish to return to what was. Still here she is, to see just what is happening here and she's just a moment behind Minerva and she looks over to Cylaton for a moment before turnin her head back to her friend's and she looks over to Faruja for a moment before she enters.
Royce The first signs of trouble begin with the smell. An odor not unlike that of rotten meat that has been left to dry and fester in the open for weeks combined with a decidedly rank putresence usually found in the fetid waters of deep swampland is carried in on the gentle breeze that flows down from the mountain peaks. It is subtle at first in the way that might have the various villagers and travelers eyeing each other for the cause but it quickly begins to build to the point of being nearly overwhelming and those of a lighter constitution quickly empty the contents of their dinner onto the ground.

The pungent smell is quickly joined by a low grumbling chorus of pitiful moans. The sound is almost as overwhelming as the smell, seeming to spill from a hundred sources in every direction in a staggered but repeating chorus of pain. Rustling of underbrush and cracking of fallen branches joins the sudden cacophany as something moves among the forest, clearly drawing nearer by the moment.

The first of the men steps from the sheltering cover of the wild shrubbery that encircles the fallen fortress, shambling boldly into the open without any pretense of stealth or subterfuge. Decked from head to toe in metal armor, it is immediately apparent that while this was once a human being, he should have been dead long ago. Rotten flesh hangs in wet clumps from his face. Bleached bone and withered tendons are visible along one side of his jaw and the jutting jagged remains of teeth glisten in a lipless sneer. Pale red fire burns in the empty eye-socket alongside a useless and atrophied white orb and its gaze drifts across the ruins as dozens more of its kind break through the hedges.

The creatures, all in various states of decay and rot, still wield their knightly armaments in boney or bloated hands. The swords and maces look old and rusted from exposure but their edges are just as deadly and their bludgeons just as heavy. The host of zombies gives a haunting wail in unison as they find fresh victims awaiting their terrible wrath, unholy hunger driving them into a frenzy.

With no warning or remorse the monsters lurch to life, shuffling slowly but inexorably into the settlement in a thick tide of ruined bodies. They make no distinction between adventurer or civilian, slashing and cutting and biting at all who get in their way.
Ramza Beoulve The young man had appreciated Will's presence. The two were acquainted from a previous meeting and he tended to trust the man's advice. He didn't know anything of his nature, but he realized there was more to him than met the eye. He was no simple transient. Ramza considered him something of a wandering prophet, and tended to take his advice to heart.

When Will spoke of how fate had abandoned this place, he'd nod his head. "There is an ill wind in the air. Whatever tragedy befell this place..." He'd look up at the chapel, his lips creasing into a thin frown. "...I fear it will not be the last."

He'd stand up as the party of Templars, casually casting the shard of stained glass aside and placing a hand upon Artemis' shoulder. He actually had to reach upward, as the woman was nearly half a head taller than him. "I shan't, but let us not raise arms unless there is no other option. Perhaps reason will prevail."

The guitar playing broke him from his somber attitude, and the man actually managed a smile, crossing his arms as he watched Faruja's party approach. He was standing straight up, and there was little chance they would miss him. And yet he didn't hail him. Instead he'd turn, and walk towards the church with the rest.

The point he was trying to make was obvious to him, that they had far greater concerns than some heretic and while he thought that the Templars might show a little reason here, he saw no reason to exacerbate tensions by speaking to them.

When the first of the Undead emerge, the man would cease in his step, watching it with wide eyes. And then he'd tear off into the settlement, unsheathing his Cinqueda, and motioning for the civilian merchants, traders, and scavengers to flee frantically with his blade. "You must away! Quickly!"

Parrying a blow with the short blade of an armored zombie that was after one of the civilians, he'd riposte with a blow that clattered off its armor. Taking a leap back, he'd raise his offhand, shouting out an incantation that he put over himself and Artemis. He'd then place a hand upon her shoulder, focusing his chi on her to open the chakra gate closest to both their hearts, increasing their bodys' capacity to heal itself to its ultimate extent.
Niklas Dragonius "I do a lotta things!" Nik replies cheerily over the strumming of his guitar. "Some of them I even do well." He laughs, running his fingers across the chords again; those fingers aren't light or delicate, not the soft hands of a musician. Those fingers can and have broken rocks. Those are *kung fu* fingers, strong and flexible to grip someone's throat or punch them through a wall.

"I can teach ya, if you want. I heard from somebody a while ago that teaching is the true path to mastery." Nik pauses.

"...because teaching will give you the patience to carry on to the top while you endure your student sucking," he recalls, then frowns. "Uh, pretend like I didn't say that."

As people start entering the church down below, Nik considers the situation. On the one hand, he didn't know *any* of these people. On the other hand, adventure. On the same hand, there were some pretty cute girls in that caravan. On the original hand...nope, other hand wins!

"Hey, I'm gonna go down there and check that out! If you wanna follow me, keep up, okay?" Nik slings his guitar back over his shoulder, then hops off the cliff like it's absolutely no big deal.


Nik lands! He holds up his hand at Ramza. "Hi there! Looks like a ruins adventure, huh? Dang, you lucked out! Adventuring with such high-quality girls...lucky! I-"


As the zombies rise, Nik reacts...absoutely not at all. One of the zombies comes running at him, slashing him across the chest; there's a moment of blurr where Nik's fist snaps out, a flash of red around it, and sends the zombie flying.

"Sorry about that! Where was I? Oh yeah, I'm Niklas Dragonius. Just call me Nik, huh?" Nik grins, his hand going to the back of his head.

He apparently doesn't really care about the bloody claw marks on his chest. Then again, from what little can be seen of his chest, he's *covered* in scars...
Cressida "Well well, seems that this little village has acquired quite some attention.." Murmurs Cressida as she too, approaches the villagers, curious to learn what they are doing setting up shop so casually in such a sacred place as a church..

Glancing out of the corner of her eye, she also notices the familiar Heretic Ramza, whom she's no doubt seen from all the wanted posters. Of course he is not alone either, and Cressida can only guess that the others are somehow allied with him, one way or the other.

"Faruja, Morrigan, over there.." And she nods towards Ramza and his companions..But it seems they have other things to worry about right now, as the field is suddenly filled with the sight and stench of undead warriors, who seem to climb out of the woodwork, heading directly for the settlement.

Without another word, Cressida leaps in front of the civilians, trying her best to bar the further advancement of the zombies as she pulls back her spear, and hurls it like a glowing javelin through the army of undead. It seems to shimmer and fly with a life of its own, and she leaps after it, catching it mid-air before rushing at various creatures with rapid stabs and strikes with her spear, which continues to glint with a strange silver light with each strike.

Hopefully her companions have followed suit, doing their best to keep the fiends at bay.
Serah Farron Nik seems to forget that she was also interested in archeology and history, so when he suddenly just 'drops down' like that, she tries to follow... but not using the same path. Instead she uses the long way down the hole.

And when she arrives, she's holding her nose "What's with the sm-OH GOD WHAT ARE THOSE!?!" She exclaims, still holding her nose but literally reeling back at their repulsive looks. These... kinda look like humans, but they definitely lost everytime that made them 'alive' along the way. She doesn't have a way to attack yet... well she has that dagger Soan gave her, but she rather stand in the back right now... Instead, she tries to recall what she did whens he met heartless a few days ago... She was able to summon some kind of magic after all. But... something feels different. When she extends a hand to try to shoot some fire, nothing comes out. Instead, what she feels is a more soothing warmth. She looks at her hand for a second... and then turns it toward Nik, instead sending out a small ball of green energies to surround him, creating a sort of shimmering shield in front of him "... Okay, well I can do SOMETHING at least! Let me help out!" She doesn't want to just be sitting around after all. She sends another ball of green at Nik, this time surging under him like a large red clock.
Will Sherman Will is surprised...zombies EVERYWHERE?

The dead have no was really the best way to get the drop on him. Ties of magic are there...but it isn't enough to follow or reconize immediately. He is thankfully not directly in harm's way. Will jumps back...frowning at Nik falls in right into them, getting clawed, and giving no fucks. Will raises a brow, and grins, "Nice to meet you then Nik. Will Sherman, king of the Hobos. Hold on a sec, alright?" he says, and grabs the strings of Ramza, himself, and Artemis. They become slightly visible for a brief moment, as he does...SOMETHING...a golden light covers the strings, making the fate more...SOLID somehow. More is not quite normal, and those who know magic know that it he just channeled it without any evocation, like he did it by pure will.

Jumping back, Will gets ready to defend himself, "Sorry about that. Nice to meetcha."
Avira Mentally shutting out the others around her, Avira lifts a hand to the old church's doors, ready to let herself in until an odor slips into her nose that brings instant hesitation. Her first instinct is to retch and her body prepares to comply, the acidic tang of bile bubbling in the back of her throat. That lifted hand drops to instead cover her mouth. Her eyes water as one might in the proximity of a freshly sliced onion.

Recognition dawns. She had smelled this odor before, though at the time the effect was tenfold since her sense of smell had been vastly superior to that of a human's. She'd caught this scent while travelling through the New Orleans Bayou-or rather, fleeing through it. It wasn't long after smelling it that the undead rose from the slimy depths of the swamp.

"Undead!" she blurts out, muffled by her own hand. Frantically, she works a hand over to the hilt of her Spine and tears it free of its sheath. She gets but seconds to react before a rotted knight brings his rusting mace down upon her. The blow is barely rendered non-lethal against her by a combination of deflection and the armoring she wears. Immediately, she counters, swinging the Spine out in front of her with such force that the resultant wave of air cast from it rends her attacker neatly in two.

She backs away afterwards, trying to manuver into a more advantageous position.
Faruja Senra "These lands belong to /us/, Lady Alazne. I shan't sneak about within them!" Counters Faruja, choosing authority over common sense, the male gazing over the rather large group. In retrospect, he may regret the decision.

One man pipes up, and introduces himself, the ratling focusing on the hunter and his servants. "Well met. Templar Faruja Senra of Burmecia. Speak ye correctly, Ser, and thank you. Not as much as we would like, however. What is thy business here?"

Turning to regard the rest of the group, at first spying a few persons he knows, before his gaze lands upon Ramza. Almost immediately, he draws his blade. "BEOULVE!!!" bellows the Templar. Which devolves into a coughing fit, thanks to the horrific odor. Swiftly enough, before the rat has chance to do much more, there are a horde of zombies!

Leaping into the air as he's very nearly bowled over, the ratling lands on one of the dessicated creatures. "AVIRA, SER SHERMAN! Be gone from here! That man and that woman are wanted murderers, and worse, judging by /this/!" Snarling, the ratling starts to stab and wheel about with his glowing spear, already blaming the Heretic for the sudden onrushing hordes, even as he leaps into the frey alongside his fellow Templar.

"Quite! For Faram! First the greater sin, then the lesser."
Clayton It takes all of Clayton's self-control not to start shooting Morrigan in the face, which is why when the zombies start shuffling out of the woodwork, he reacts too late to see two of them lunge at him. He kicks the first, but takes a sword swipe across the chest from another. "Rgh!" It's a shallow cut, but too close. He'll have to get checked for tetanus after that, judging by the rust. He turns to see a zombie chomp on the neck of one manservant. "Aaaaah!" The unfortunate fellow screams. "Help me!"
Clayton raises his shotgun and shoots the servant in the head. Better that way than getting munched to death or beaten by a mace. The other two are attempting to fight back as Clayton readies the shotgun. "Alright you primitive tosspots, listen up!" he shouts to the undead. "YOU SEE THIS? THIS....IS MY 'BOOMSTICK!'"
He starts blasting loudly at any zombie he says just then with a manic look in his eye, like he's going to enjoy a spot of the ol' ultraviolence.
Artyom W. Valodjn There's something to be said for zombies. They can be very persistant. They can also be extremely awful to catch a whiff of. Artyom stirs slowly from his nap as the awful, putrid scent of the walking dead filters through his corridor. His nose rankles and his lungs seize. Artyom rises, eyes opening wearily as he rises, lumbering out of the alleyway--

And right into a zombie's falling axe!

The weapon digs into his forearm, but doesn't drive further than the bone. Artyom's gaze tightens as pain shoots through up his shoulder. Tellurian force bellows out of his injured hand, blasting the shambling corpse back several meters. "Well," Artyom rumbles, clearly annoyed at the horde of zombies that just so happened to pick Artyom's R&R time to invade this particular hamlet. "This is a pleasant wakeup call."

Ripples of crystallizing force pours across the undead horde from Artyom's outstretched hand. Armor and rotting flesh are layered with enervating, crystalline virdigris. He mutters a soundless spell as he clenches his hand to his chest. Stone and earth pour up Artyom's legs, ensconcing his body in a suit of stone, soil and scattered geode formations. As the armor creeps up his neck, Artyom's hand tightens about his stone blade, loosing the long, cloth bindings that conceal the weapon beneath.

"Undead," Artyom sighs, tired. Over his injured arm, a layer of crystal and earth surrounds and knits over his fresh wound. "Honestly. There's always something, isn't it? Always some wannabe who picks the /best/ time to attack the local backwater hamlet."

He glances in Niklas' general direction, then at Faruja's. "Oh," he mouths, "Support." Artyom takes a lazy step forward, resting his weapon over his shoulder. "Suppose I can take my time, then."

Lumeria The undead? This was going to quickly get messy. Still Lumeria's pretty well equipped to handle them, if they're the typical undead. Still, she doesn't want get smacked or stabbed with rusty weapons. Even if she can heal herself. "You think a church would deter the undead. She casts several spells in succession trying to shrink the zombies and barrage them with holy energy.
Artemis Eurus Artemis becomes aware of the smell and doesn't so much as wrinkle her nose. She does, however, frown with concern. That is the smell of death. Death and dank water and rot.

Artemis draws her blade, her eyes drawn toward the source of the smell and the noise that soon follows. "Undead," she states, moving forward then and looking down toward Ramze as he casts his magic. Artemis grins, feeling it surge through her--the world becomes brighter, her body lighter, stronger. "Civilians first," she agrees with Ramza, compromising. She knew he'd just be stupid with people around that needed protecting anyway, best to just help him get them out.

Artemis moves to cover some of the fleeing people, readying herself for battle, her mind moving into the cool and focused meditation--for now.

When Will casts...whatever he just did, Artemis straightens some, looking toward him. For a moment she sees what appears to be a shimmering thread attached to Will and Ramza...well /that/ is interest. What a strange feeling! One she would have to give more thought to later.

Artemis is of course aware of the Church faithful, the hunters of heretics. She gives them a glance and a small salute with her sword.

Ramza Beoulve He'd been about to take Nik's hand. "Well met, Ser.. I think your priorities are a touch.." And then the zombies would emerge. "Ramza Beoulve. See to the civilians first!"

When Will grabs the strings of his fate, he isn't certain exactly what happened, he just attributes it to some eccentric magic of the man. "Thank you Ser!"

When Faruja bellows at him and for his allies to begone, he'd wouldn't even look at the Burmecian Templar. "If you can't see that there's great evil at work here, Ser Senra, then there's no hope for you. And while you're embroiled in a battle against me, it will laugh at the great jape of you dancing to its tune. Now see to the civilians! Or will you let their innocent blood stain your hands for a chance at my head?"

And indeed, Ramza was sorely beset inside, trying to fend off the Zombie horde, giving the civilians a chance to escape.
Morrighan Alazne Clayton's look is met with a mocking smile before the undead began to swarm in. Which caused her to sigh heavily. "I knew this was a terrible idea."

Morrighan luckily seemed to have gone unnoticed by the undead. Not wanting to risk drawing attention to herself, she began to step back. Of course by the the smell alone was enough to make her gag, but alas, that just meant that they needed to clear this up quickly!

She would not be attacking though. Not this time anyway. Instead, she just stood out of the way and let the actual fighters do the actual fighting. Which essentually meant she had no plans of getting her hands dirty. It didn't matter if it was the church, horrible heretics, gorilla VALKRI leaders, or hobo detetives.

Typical Morrighan.
Oriane Guado Oriane Guado had not anticipated an outright undead horde nipping at her heels. This makes her decision to wear a fancy, full-length dress on this outting that much more irksome. There was no way she was going to be outrun them in what she was wearing. It seems that she would be forced to fight. But first, Oriane turns towards her Ronso companion. "Leave now for I do not desire to have to select and train a new servant so soon. Your death here would be rather undesireable for us both as I have thus succinctly illustrated."

Her monocole wearing servant takes a deep bow and offers Lady Oriane a purple crystal that crackles with energy before he departs quickly from the scene, bowling over a nearby zombie with his immense physical strength.

One of the Zombies bears quickly down on Oriane and swings at her with its sword. The weapon's arc is true and nicks the Guado on the arm, slicing both fabric and skin in one quick strike. Oriane staggers back and levels the most horrible gaze she can muster on the attacking zombie. "Filthy creature! I shall strike you down quickly as I shall not be vanquished by the product of some Dark Wizard's 'amateur hour'! "

The Necromancer in red holds aloft the crystal that was offered by her servant and then points it straight at the offensive undead before her. The air around the magicite crystal ripples with building energy until an explosion of small black wisps shoot out towards the zombies with a combination of malevolent fireballs being shot out afterwards.
Minerva Minerva sees the undead and stares for a moment "The dead that walk, they have no place in the world of the living any longer! Who disturbed their rest and defield them so?" She grimaces at the state of affairs. She looks about for a moment at the things before them and she grimaces the creatures come and well she will make them burn shortlty.

"Dark Magicks!"

She launches herself into their ranks her fists bursting into flame!

"We must contiun this horde!"
Royce The horde of foul creatures that spills forth from the forest seems monstrous in size. The press of bodies is such that there few gaps among their ranks giving their victims precious little space to manuever or attempt to flee. Only a handful of the villagers are outside when the attack comes. Being simple forest folk, they are unprepared for the sight and smells that assail them and two of the unfortunate souls disappear in a wash of red and screams.

Ramza's quick action saves another from a similar fate and the man turns and scrambles past the heretical warrior towards the church, joining the swelling crowd as they scream and stumble against each other in their hurry to escape the terrible fate of being eaten alive. In their haste they knock each other down, clamber over one another, and otherwise make a bloody mess of the situation as panicked crowds tend to do.

The heroes and adventurers respond with great swiftness and the initial surge is stalled as weapons and magic tear into their ranks. Cressida and Faruja unleash their holy lances upon the foul undead and before the might of the divine the creatures melt and crumble into piles of goo-stained armor and bone. The explosive force of Clayton's shotgun makes bloody mincemeat of those that attempt to bring the hunter down, their archaic weapons no match for his trusty boomstick. Light and dark magic rain doom upon the horde, blasting them apart in bursts of white and black fire as Minerva throws herself into the fray with flaming fists.

Dozens fall in as many seconds, but still they come, a seemingly endless tide. As if reacting to the magic, several of the zombies erupt into pillars of flame and this blaze quickly spreads among their number. However, instead of withering under the heat, the dark creatures give furious howls and throw themselves even harder into the defenses arrayed against them. Several leap bodily at the heroes, seeking to crush them under sheer weight and smother them with flames. Others rip chunks of their flesh free and toss them like bombs, the putrid gasses within their rotten meat detonating in small but violent explosions. Those not caught up in the wildfire continue to slash and hack away with reckless abandon, seeming not to care how many of their number fall.
Royce From a perch in the branches of one of the mighty trees, Royce watches the battle begin to unfold below. Her lone crimson eye glimmers with a faint but steady neon red light beneath the dark cowl that obscures her face. There are more people here than she anticipated and far more of them that can put up resistance than she cares for. This would complicate things.

Two options stand before her: she can throw herself into battle and seek to overcome them with sheer power. A likely outcome but not a certain one. Brute force is the recourse only of the unelegant and the dull witted. No, their deaths are not her goal today and these forces would be sufficient to keep the interlopers at bay.

Her gaze sweeps over the broken walls of the fortress. There must be another way in. It does not take her long to locate just such a place. A crack splits the surface of the cathedral on the far wall, not large but enough for a slender person such as herself to slip inside.

Royce drops from her crow's nest and dashes through the trees, circling around the outer edge of the walls behind her horde of monstrous creatures. It seems rather strange to be sending these former knights and warriors, protectors of their realms and gallant heroes, to destroy that which they once died to defend. But such sentiments were useless - she needs their power and so she uses it, it is as simple as that.

Her black-clad form vanishes into the opening within a few moments. It is a tight fit but she manages, emerging into some storage closet or pantry. Light spills out from under the doorway and as it swings open, she finds herself staring into the quickly filling chapel of the main cathedral. A wonderful place to begin her search.

The witch strides out into the open and her wicked armor and glowering eye immediately cows the mass of people seeking refuge from the onslaught. She glances around, looking for the religious leader, finding him easily by way of his holy raiments. Her clawed hand reaches out and digs into the folds of his robe, drawing him closer until their faces are nearly touching. She allows herself a dark smile, a fake bit of emotion meant to cow the man into submission.

"Tell me where I may find the place that important treasures are kept or were once kept here and you may yet walk away with your life."
Niklas Dragonius The clock wraps around Nik, ticking quickly; however, Nik doesn't...seem to move at all. In fact, he's just calmly standing there, like he's *not* being surrounded by tons of zombies. His breathing is regular, calm, and controlled; his motions are slow and precise, everything he does perfectly controlled.

"Hey Frank!" Nik holds up his hand as Frank shows up. Then Faruja comes plowing in, shouting at Ramza about heresy or something like that.

Whatever, boring. Hey, is that a dark elf chick with the rat-guy? "Hey, Serah, I'll be right back - this guy's Ramza, apparently! Stay here, okay? I'm, uh, scouting."

Nik wanders through the zombie horde, knocking them out of the way as Faruja goes plowing past him (and he goes the other way). He pretty much couldn't care less about the zombies right now. He has a one-track mind, after all, and it's not like his body needs his mind to operate on reflex or anything! See, look, he just punched another zombie right there. He's not even paying attention.

Nik casually bats aside another zombie, then holds up his hand at Morrighan. "Hi there."

He stands there for a moment. "Sooooooooooooo...are those real?"

He would probably clarify what he's talking about, but there are also zombies *everywhere*. His fist knocks to he side of the room.

And then the scantily clad witch appears, and Nik whistles. "Wow, this place is *filled* with gorgeous chicks, huh?"

He looks between Morrighan and Royce thoughtfully, sizing up both of them; his thumbs go together, and he holds his fingers up in front of his face like an artist framing a picture, closing one eye. He eyes up Morrighan, then he eyes up Royce, then he eyes up Morrighan again.

"The dark skin is really exotic...and the pointy ears and hair are really hot! But then she's pretty cute, too..."

"Well, I guess I might as well start here!" He points at Morrighan. "Wanna get lunch after this?"

Then he shouts at Royce, "WANNA GET DINNER AFTER THIS?"

You have to say this for Nik - he knows how to hedge his bets.
Clayton Clayton fires again and again on the zombies. Ah, the thrill of killing someone without the guilt of extinguishing a life. The feeling hits Clayton suddenly and without warning, like a strong drink. That was odd, he didn't expect to feel this...GOOD about being in combat again. It was much like stalking his favorite prey, when you cut out the waiting part and got to the execution. Running on this and his adrenaline, he kicks open the doors to the chapel.
He looks on as Royce accosts a priest. Well! This was a surprise. "Cheerio!" he greets, mouth in a toothy grin. His eyes are decidedly not humorous, though. He raises the shotgun at her. "Brutalizing the clergy? Now that's a naughty little thing to do. No treasure for you, little girl!" he wags his finger tauntingly. He doesn't say he wants the treasure for himself, but Royce can probably guess that's why he's here anyway. He immediately fires at her, his aim sufficient enough that the priest won't have to worry about collateral bullet damage.
Cressida Cressida seems to be mostly ignoring the heretics for now. Of course they are a problem, but whether or not they are responsible for the sudden outbreak of zombies has yet to be determined.

Judging by the look of surprise on their faces and their willingness to help combat them, Cressida can only guess that this sudden undead horde had another, more mysterious origin. "Faruja, I believe something other than the Heretics is amiss here..

They seem just as surprised as us, at this sudden attack.." She frowns as she glances around, seeing that the church is joined not only by the heretics, but by a number of other individual who seem to be able to hold their own quite well enough.

The Valkyrie continues to cleave through hordes of undead, when a swift movement from above catches her eye. How strange, that the dark clad witch seems to come from the direction of the zombies, totally unconcerned by them as she heads towards...The church?

"Faruja, can you hold your own here? Morrighan, come with me. That woman may just be connected to this, somehow.." And she propels herself skyward once more, flying towards the church and the woman.

"You there, hold it!" she points her glaive at the mysterious woman, "Put that man down!" Without hesitation, she hurls her spear towards the woman, attempting to knock her away from the priest.
Morrighan Alazne Blink.

"Excuse me?" Morrighan asked incredulously, frowning at the /boy/ that had seemingly plowed through a horde of zombies to ask something so incredibly inane. "...You realize that we are in the middle of a minor crisis here, yes?" Despite this, she smirked. "Of course, you are not incorrect in your assessment of my form, but...time and place."

That said, she huffed haughtily and moved past him, following Cressida as asked. Sure, she could have levitated and made it easier to follow, but...despite the situation, she was in no clear rush to be a hero. Making her way after the templar on foot, the dark elf eventually arrived a small distance behind.

"....If you are trying to liberate a hostage, so I not believe that attacking the assailant would be conducive to that cause." Snark, snark, snark. And no, Morrighan still hadn't lifted a finger to wield any sort of magical might. Nope. She was going to leave the theatrics to her colleague.
Faruja Senra Twitch. Faruja stabs, thrusts, and generally tries to make himself a target for the zombies as civilians become involved. "Of /course/ I see that! These accursed beings shan't feast upon these innocent souls tonight! I shall deal with thee later, Beoulve!" There's a glare sent Artemis' way for the mocking salute, and some motions with his tail that may just be a bit rude.

"I shall M'Lady! Lord be with you! I...DAMNIT! 'Tis /her/!" Faruja's sudden outlet of cursing is drowned in zombies, the Burmecian generally lambasted by the undead, the Templar striking back just as hard! Holy lightning swords rise up beneath several of the unholy beings!
Avira Faruja calls out the name of the scarred woman. Avira looks up only briefly from the zombie she's engaging to spy the Burmecian. "HERETICS? WHERE?" she calls out, seemingly unaware that Ramza is this horrible heretic that Faruja speaks of! It's an easy mistake to make, right? Because right now Ramza and his female companion are resembling very upstanding citizens right now, protecting civillians and the like. Very un-heretic. "DO YOU MEAN THE ZOMBIES?" Avira calls out, almost obnoxiously, "HEY DO YOU KNOW TURN UNDEAD? THAT WOULD BE VERY USEFUL RIGHT NOW!!"

She bashes the handle of the Spine into the face of a zombie before weaving her way through the panicked townsfolk rushing into the church with reckless abandon, eager to find safety. Her weaving only works for a few seconds before she's swept along and all too soon, pushed with them. She keeps up, out of fear of being dragged down beneath the mob and trampled to death.

Along with several others, to include the Great British Hunter, she stumbles through the halls, sighting the vicious-looking witch harassing the follower of St. Ajora. Recognition dawns upon her and Avira finds herself suppressing a shiver. That witch. That EYE.

Keeping her distance, she opts to take potshots at the mysterious witch with her ice magic. "Don't hit her face!" she blurts out, a twinge of fear in her tone. Would anyone listen? She had to try.
Artyom W. Valodjn Zombies. There are always zombies. Hordes and swarms and deadly, roiling waves. Of zombies. No matter what world he finds himself in, there's always someone, somewhere, raising the dead to do their bidding.

Artyom watches as the witch responsible leaps in. He also watches as Nik immediately starts hitting on the two most obviously hit-on-able ladies in the immediate area- including the aforementioned witch. "Really, Dragonius?" Artyom sighs as he wades into a sea of zombified soldiers. They claw and rake at his earthen armor, digging down to scratch at his unprotected flesh underneath.

Painful, he thinks. Also, feverish. Damn zombies.

"We'll speak later," the Titanic grunts. He hefts his colossal weapon with a muffled grunt, and then lunges forward, pivoting at the last moment to cleave a colossal arc into the zombified ranks. His blade thunders through the air with the sound of a landslide. When it strikes, it does so with the force of one, too.

Again, he swings his weapon, this time unleashing a tide of stone spikes. And once more, unleashing a flash of crystallizing light. He catches a glimpse of a certain Burmecian, rushing into the zombified host nearby. "Faruja," Artyom rumbles over the din of 'BRAAAAAAIIIINNNNS.' "Perhaps we aught to stick together?"

He may be drowned out by the sound of /lightning./
Will Sherman Will's eyes look up at the last second...Royce's familar form catches his attention, and he curses, "Ramza! I know the source!" he says, and then immediately runs off. There was so much going on... "Man, you totally left me hanging too, <GOOSEHONK>." he mutters at Nik. Whatever, he's gota move...Faruja was talked down, and that's good, and Cressida cut her off at the pass...okay...

He can't hold back.

Will's power /changes/. Before it was like a stream, now it is like a raging rapid. As the power, some DEEP connection to Loki itself is made manifest, and Loki's power gushes out. His voice modulates, Will's mostly dominate, but the voice of Loki is still heard. His hands glow bright red, fate shifting and breaking around it, as he dives for Royce!

His hands punch, once, twice, and then a third time, aiming to repeatedly strike at her form.

"Hi book! Ready for round two!?"
Niklas Dragonius Nik turns back to Morrighan. "Sorry about that. I like to hedge my bets, you know? So....lunch later? Or dinner, or breakfast, I'm not really picky." His everpresent grin does not change. He just...he either has no sense of timing, or he', he just has no sense of timing. That's clearly what it is, it's not like the guy has no sense of self-preservation.

The proof is in the pudding, after all. The...blood-colored zombie pudding. As he's standing there flirting with Morrighan (and distantly flirting with Royce), his body is still in perfect motion; most of the zombies are just casually flung away, knocked off to the side like nothing, reflex and instinct taking hold. It's like seeing an empty mind technique in action.

That is in fact exactly what it is, except the empty mind is busy being empty-minded and thinking...with a different brain...

Somehow that's probably not what the technique is for.

But, inevitably, fighting distracted gets you hurt. One of the claws rakes across his back, and Nik stumbles forward, biting his lip. Now he has blood pouring from both his front and his back; there's a throbbing pain in his side, and he's pretty sure he might've gotten gored there, too.

"Sorry, hold on. You're gorgeous and all, but I need like two seconds."

Nik whirls around, his fist snapping outwards. There's a flash of motion as...a train...?...nah, that's probably just someone's imagination. ...right?


Nik's hands smash outwards, and suddenly, any belief that that was IMAGINATION is completely dispelled. From his palms emerges an enormous serpent - a great creature the size of the battlefield, smashing through the zombies in his path. Or perhaps his palms are the serpent? It would certainly explain how, when the serpent disappears, he's there, his hand slashing forward; a flash of holy light suddenly explodes from a karate chop, a massive spectral blade whirling through his motions!

But the last one is the most spectacular.

Nik lands, bringing his hands together. Then, he thrusts outwards again.

The roar of the samurai's horse is deafening as it charges through the field. It bats aside zombies like flies, shining with a glorious glow; within the spectral figure is Nik, darting from rank to rank, his fists and feet snapping outwards at each opportunity.

When the figure finally clears, Nik exhales.

He turns back to-, awww, what, she's running off?

"HEY AT LEAST TELL ME YOUR NAME, BEAUTIFUL!" Nik shouts at Morrighan as she disappears.

"...sorry, dude. I saw a window!" He shrugs at Will.
Ramza Beoulve "What do you mean by the source, Will.." And then the Witch appeared, asking for treasures. Well that answered that. "Try to hold her off! I'll keep them away from the civilians!"

And so Ramza's blade clattered again on the horde of Zombies, as they began to close in around him. He recalled this very circumstance occurring in Traverse town when Negaduck attacked, where he was surrounded, and suddenly an idea occurred to him. Once the civilians were clear, he'd raise a fist, cut it horizontally, then raise four fingers.

Ramza Beoulve may have been reckless coming here, but he wasn't stupid. On a nearby hill, watching with a spyglass was a man in a dragoon helm, another gaudily dressed man also holding a spyglass and a woman in summoner's garb beside him. The gaudily dressed man would whistle lecherously. "For a witch she's certainly well-endowed." The woman would glare at him, lifting her chin haughtily. And the man would hastily alter his statement. "..With.. magic, that is." The woman would speak emphatically. "Why is he holding us back again?"

The gaudily dressed man would grin at her. "He didn't want the church rat to try to plant his spear in your bosom again. Fie on the Burmecian, who uses a pigsticker when a face will do?"


And now the man was nursing his cheek, but grinning and laughing all the same. The man in the Dragoon helm wasn't paying attention to this. Instead when Ramza gave the signal, he'd raise a fist, then make a cutting motion horizontally, then hold up four fingers. The woman would scoff at him. "What, you're reading it false, why would he..." The helmed man would just look at her in bemusement.

The woman would grimace, then raise her hands. "Fine! Don't blame me when the Undead tear Artemis and him to pieces!"

"Kupo! Round and round you go, moogle!"

Summoning runes would rise around her, and a moment later, there was a large cloud of smoke in the enemy ranks. A demonic creature with horns would step out of its midst, grinning terribly. Opening its mouth, it would breath fire, scathing the zombie horde. Rising into the air, it would then tuck in its arms, and focusing, it would suddenly jut them out, causing an explosion amongst them.
Serah Farron Serah Farron would have listend to Nik, but she doesn't like leaving him alone either.. neither being left alone in the horde of zombies. Well there are other people around them, but she doesn't know them either. So she runs after him, getting scratched by the zombies as she runs past them. At least she can run and dodge, her l'Cie status seem to have increased her physical attributes quite a bit (but in the attributes that Nik would admire, probably).

(Not in pictures anyway.)

(Not that she'd let him).

ANYWAY, she's right behind him... and then smacks him upside the head at what he's saying "FOCUS Nik, there's alot of bad things that requires more attention than girls!" She hasn't been around him for long and she already knows the type he is. And this is when her 'meanie Ms. Farron' comes out most, when people don't focus on the task at hand.

She pulls out her knife, turning around to defend herself against other zombies, just staying in Nik's shadow for the moment, while preparing some new spells to help him out. "Beside, I think she's the one controlling them, she's not getting attacked." She means Royce of course. And she has enough attention span to notice, unlike Nik it would seem. Meanwhile, she readies spells to back him up some more... Looks like Nik is going to need it. <.<
Minerva Whatever else may be here she's got a horde of undead to conbat she sets many of them on fire but come they still. They forces of the night seem to have no end in their number as she recall something disturbing her master mentioned once on the undead. To keep in mind there are more dead than there are alive right now and to respect those who came before. In her own way this is respect giving them back their lost rest.

She pauses spotting Serah and Nik in this mess but can't make to them but there is RTamza not that she knows that.

"I see Ser."

She's not clicked to just whom he is just yet and it's prehaps for the best right now the attack is ice her first freeze and she strikes over and over again she may end up freezing some of these things as she goes hopefully to leave them vunrable to her allies attacks.
Oriane Guado Now that the zombies near her were either incinerated or racked with dehabilitating poison, Oriane Guado is free to move as she pleases. The Guado's first moves over towards Morrighan. "Lady Morrighan, what a pleasant surprise to see you away from the company of those Baron fools! Please take care, it seems the local population has developed a sudden barbaric desire to spontaneously decompose and attempt to kill all those who do not share their preference in permanent atrophy." The Guado politely curtseys before gingerly making her way to where the 'witch' has revealed herself.
5rThis movement takes her quite close to a certain members of an opposing church who seems to be having a bit of a zombie problem. "Worry not, I shall be so kind sure to bring some flowers to the Farplane on your behalf," calls out the Yevon Priestess towards Faruja and company.

Her real objective was simple. Killing the necromancer behind an undead outbreak was step one in preventing the zombie apocalypse. Oriane's only hope that she would be able to learn something from this witch before either one of them succumbs to the fighting. But first, she must get the other necromancer's attention.

A pale white hand is held up in the direction of Royce. At the same time, her magicite crystal which she had carried in her left hand was not floating around her in a small circle. Dark magic is being conjured and focused in a piercing beam when a loud braggart distracts the Guado's attention. Oriane levies a death-glare towards the boisterous man as he leaps to and fro. Perhaps she should attack -him- instead? How would anyone know that this dark magic was conjured by her and not this dark witch? A cruel smile finds its way onto Oriane's lips as she shifts a hand towards Nik.

But then, some female mage protects the brigand with powerful protective magics. Oh bother! It would be a waste to attack him now. With a small sigh, Oriane drops her hands to her side and begins weaving an aura around herself. It seems she is gathering her magic for some foul attack that will be revealed soon enough...oh yes...soon enough.
Lumeria Thankfully Lumeria goes unnoticed by Niklas, there's no telling what she might do if flirted with. Especially when surrounded by zombies. At this point she just wants to get whatever treasure might be present and get out of here, of course it's never that simple. More holy energy flows through the air as does her best to defend herself.
Artemis Eurus The masked samurai looks up toward Royce as she senses her movement, watching curiously as she enters the Church. It seemed quite a few were deciding to follow her. Ramza and herself however, would stay out here to protect the civilians and face down a hoard of undead. She preferred less smelly foes, but preference so rarely enters into what one must do.

As a group of zombies catch flame and then try to tackle her, Artemis zips between then with her katana ablaze, a blur of speed and cutting blade. Pieces fall. Limbs. Every limb down is one less limb the undead could attack people with. The blonde's sword whirls, a tempest of steel as rotting flesh flies.

"Tch...undead," she says, giving her black a flick to rid it of ichor before she turns toward the next group, ready to defend. "Not enough blood for my taste," she finishes, somehow now standing beside Ramza once more. She blinks toward the summoned being now tearing through the hoard and smiles. Ah, but it is good to have back it. She had forgotten.

Artemis looks then back toward Faruja, who is all but spitting venom in his anger that they dare be here helping them protect people. The poor thing, he seemed an honorable sort. Ah, and Artyom! She smiles to the titanic being, saluting briefly with her sword before she dashes back into the fray.
Niklas Dragonius "OKAY THE ZOMBIES ARE DEAD, WANNA GO TO LUNCH NOW?" Nik shouts at Morrighan.
Morrighan Alazne "GET A LIFE" Morrighan shouted back at Nik with an obvious tone of irritation present in her voice.
Niklas Dragonius Nik shrugs. Oh well, whatever. Other fish in the sea.

"So. Zombies!" He offers to Serah. "You okay?"


Artyom W. Valodjn "THAT SENTENCE DIDN'T EVEN MAKE SENSE," Artyom shouts from the middle of the zombie-carnage.
Niklas Dragonius "I DON'T WANNA *DATE* HER, I JUST WANNA SLEEP WITH HER! I'M NOT REALLY INTO THAT WHOLE RELATIONSHIP THING!" Nik corrects cheerfully as he punches a zombie corpse. There's a burst of light around his hand, and it starts smoldering. "IT'S KINDA RESTRICTIVE, YOU KNOW?"
Ramza Beoulve Ramza would only give Artemis a blank stare. Were all of these people around them insane?
Artyom W. Valodjn "YOU'RE A LETCH, MISTER DRAGONIUS," Artyom notes, loudly, as he runs his sword through a zombie's torso.
Serah Farron The sound of a hand smacking Nik upside the head is heard again "ENOUGH!" ~_~
Artemis Eurus Artemis looks to Ramza, shrugging her shoulders slightly. She is smiling however. Covered in carnage and smiling.

Artemis glances toward Nik slowly, giving him what might be an interested sort of look--hard to tell with the mask.
Minerva Minerva calls out "Stop worrying about having a roll in the hay while we are fighting! Saint in heaven you are ruled by your base drives!" She also punches out another zombie setting it on ice.
Niklas Dragonius Nik gets slapped upside the head, so he misses Artemis's look. He just stumbles a bit. "Ow, hey, I'm focused! Haven't you ever heard of Empty Mind? Act On Instinct? Feeling out a fight? C'mon, it's not like I can't multitask."
Morrighan Alazne "GOOD BECAUSE I DO NOT WANT TO DATE YOU EITHER. HUMANS ARE TERRIBLE FOR LONG TERM RELATIONSHIPS." Morrighan shouts back into the fray. Avaiding actual combat because. ...She never said no to the sleeping part, did she?
Ramza Beoulve And as she gives Niklas that look, Ramza would literally run a hand across his face, then stroke his eyes with his fingers. Yes, they were all definitely insane. He was just insane for different reasons.
Serah Farron Serah Farron puts her hands on her sides "You ever heard of waiting until you're not undead-appetizers before trying to drag girls in your bed?" No, she had never heard it either before now, but that's the entire point here.
Avira "DON'T DO IT, MAN!!" Avira suddenly blurts out, aghast she's even electing to participate in this conversation, "THAT DARK ELF WILL TURN YOU INTO HER BUTLER OR SOMETHING WITH A TERRIBLE AND HUMILIATING COSTUME AND YOU'LL BE STUCK LIKE THAT FOREVER!!!"
Ramza Beoulve In the distance, a gaudily dressed man had his spyglass focused on Morrighan's chest. While he couldn't hear the conversation, he had to admit that the Dark Elf chick had a great rack.
Artyom W. Valodjn "I'M PRETTY SURE DRAGONIUS IS INTO THAT." Artyom roars as he punches a zombie's face in. "I ONLY SAY THIS BECAUSE I'M NOT SURE THERE ARE THINGS HE'S NOT INTO."
Minerva Minerva says "SHE'S RIGHT ABOUT YOU YOU ELVIN HUSSY!" And zombie loses it's pelvis region to a brutal kick.
Niklas Dragonius "I CAN TOTALLY WEAR A BUTLER COSTUME," Nik calls.


"...I can multitask," he repeats to Serah.
Artyom W. Valodjn "IT'S TRUE," Artyom gestures his sword in Nik's general direction. He clubs a zombie's skull in in the process, "HE DOES CUT AN IMPRESSIVE FIGURE IN COATTAILS."

Wingman quota fufilled.
Faruja Senra Amidst the zombie-squishing, Faruja pauses as Morri speaks. "...AVIRA, WORRY NAUGHT, I ACCEPT THEE NO MATTER HOW THY HEART FLUTTERS WITHIN THY MAID'S DRESS!"
Ramza Beoulve The gaudily dressed man on the hill in the distance was about to turn the spyglass on Avira's chest, the maid conversation making his lecher sense tingle, despite being deaf to her words when suddenly the man in the Dragoon helm snatches it out of his hand with a glare. DENIED!
Niklas Dragonius Nik flashes Frank a thumbs-up. "Thanks dude, I owe you one."
Artyom W. Valodjn Artyom thumbs up right back. A walking corpse falls into a chasm that wasn't there a couple seconds ago, "Just doing my duty."
Clayton Clayton, hearing all the shouting while he looks for a place to take brief cover, pictures Jane Porter back in Africa in a maid outfit. He nods, then shakes himself out of his male reverie, however brief.
Morrighan Alazne Morrighan glared at Minerva and pointed. "WHO ARE YOU EVEN? I DO NOT BELIEVE I HAVE HAD THE PLEASURE OF HUMILATING YOU YET." And then the butler subject came back. "OH? WELL PERHAPS WE MAY BE ABLE TO WORK SOMETHING OUT THEN."
Artemis Eurus Artemis looks toward Ramza, smiling. "You know what is just the thing after battle, don't you..." No. No he doesn't. Silly man.
Serah Farron Somewhere in the corner of her mind, she crosses Nik off a theoritical list of 'Snow Replacements'.
Lumeria Lumeria remains quiet through all of this, she almost wants the zombies to win so she doesn't have to listen anymore of this. Except she then would have to do all the fighting by herself, or simply run away.
Avira "OVER MY DEAD BODY YOU TWO-FACED, STUBBORN, -OLD HARPY-!!" Avira howls back over her shoulder, sending a small group of refugees cowering away from her. She forces herself to calm down a little, her face bright red at this point, "THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTE OF CONFIDENCE, FARUJA. I THINK."
Royce The zombies hiss and roar through the crackling flames that burn but do not consume them. Their blades and rotten flesh score many wounds but the sheer power of the counter attack is much worse.

Artyom's massive stone blade smashes through the dessicated corpses like they were driftwood, shattering zombies with sickening crunches and cleaving their limbs apart with sheer force. Deadly knives of stone erupt from the earth as the geomancer swings his unorthodox weapon once more and another wave of the zombies are impaled, their arms thrashing wildly in an effort to reach the large man even as the dark magic binding them to life leaks away.

Faruja's bravery is rewarded with pain. Dozens of zombies come for him as if the light burning within his soul were something hateful to the undead minions. He disappears beneath their onslaught for a moment but the eruption of thunderous magical blades sends his assailants flying into the air and clears him some breathing room.

Niklas' display of martail power easily dominates the battlefield as he calls upon the gods of his realm to unleash their power through is mighty fists. The massive serpent slithers through the ranks of the undead, crushing them as if they were ants beneath its fury and carving an incredible gap into the army. Spectral blades erupt from his hands and scythe through the remaining stragglers, cutting them into various smaller chunks, some of which continue to crawl along the ground in a show of tenacity that only the mindless servants of darkness can display. His final attack unleashes a mighty steed and its rider cuts down zombies aplenty before fading into the realm from whence it came, leaving a good half of the aggressing force completely decimated by his hands alone.

Ramza's call for aid does not go unnoticed and soon the eldritch fire that flows through the zombie ranks turns to demon fire, which seems to be far more effective at burning them to cinders. The combination of icy magic that flows from Minerva's chi causes the dark monstrocities to burst and crack from the swiftly altering temperature extremes. Lumeria's holy magic weaves into the swiftly dwindling ranks but falls mostly upon already defeated bodies.

The final blow comes as Artemis throws aside her attacks with blinding speed, dashing among the remainder of the unholy forces and cutting them down with elegant strokes that erupt in geysers of putrid ichor moments later. The last zombie falls with a grunt and it seems the danger has passed.

But it is not to be so. The sound of haunting laughter echoes through the trees and the blood-stained courtyard. Black winds swirl about in a sudden frenzy and the earth begins to rumble and crack. The shaking persists ominously for several moments before the first hand erupts from the earth, boney fingers clutching at the ankles of the stalwart heroes. More swiftly follow, claws and putrid flesh rising from the ground below.

This was once a fortress and a holy place. Battles were fought, death was sown, and bodies buried for loved ones to have peace. But there is no peace in death. Only the endless slumber as they wait for the siren call of the darker powers that lurk in the world.
Ramza Beoulve Oblivious as always to the context of the question, he'd give Artemis a strange look. "Another bath in the stream mayhaps?"

And then realizing what he said after a few moments, his cheeks would flush bright red. "W-What I meant to say was..."

Mercifully, the next wave of Undead come, which allows the young man to recover from his awkward stammering. As one of them nearly slams into him, he'd chop off thrust his sword into its neck.

Running forward, he'd reach into a pouch, tossing an orb amongst them, it bursts amongst them, coating them in Rime. He'd repeatedly punch the first one that came his way, trying to shatter it utterly, before he'd leap back, raising a hand. "Strike the ground with glittering blades!"

A rumble, then a crack of thunder as a lightning bolt tore through the ranks of the armored Undead, causing them to spasm under the assault as rotted muscles are forced into rigorous contractions.
Niklas Dragonius "BULL!" Nik shouts as dead guys start crawling out of the ground again, "BUUUUULLLLLLL!"


Nik takes a blow to the face for his irritation; he's got another scar to add to the collection, and he rolls along the ground, thumping up against the feet of another zombie. As the zombie looms over him, Nik suddenly somersaults back up, kicking it in the face with another little flash of red light; he springboards back to his feet, moving hand t hand.

"That is totally unfair. Oh well, at least she didn't say no," Nik mutters to himself as he inhales, centering his breathing once again. Breathing is the key to the Hamo-

Wrong series, sorry. But breathing *is* the key to qi.
Faruja Senra Siiigh. It seems Avira is unaware of Ramza's actions, and reputation! Faruja would facepalm if he wasn't trying to die. "M'Lady, for the love of all that is holy, I shall be sending thee a stack of handbills after this! For now, let us slay the unholy creatures, then see to destroying the Witch!"

Artyom steps up, and finally the rat has a reason to smile. "Quite! Forward, Ser, and let us reduce these corpses to dust!"

At last, the zombies fall, and already the Templar moves to begin chasing after Royce. It isn't to be, however, as Zombies claw their way forth! "Faram curse that witch! Fah, at this rate the entire place shall have to be leveled and scoured after this."

Having had quite enough of zombies by now, the Templar leaps into the air, holy energy gathering around his body to form angelic wings. Spinning in the air, he begins to fall, landing with explosive force in the largest pack of zombies!
Serah Farron Serah Farron eeps as the undeads rise again "..." She agrees with Nik on that one. They should be STAYING DOWN! But Nik's in a bit of a bad shape right now, and she knows it. She channels her newfound powers through her hands, placing them against his back, 'pushing' the energy into him to help him out "We're not done, keep your focus Nik, nothing to worry while I'm here, right? You can't go down because who else would protect me?"

Yeah, she's hitting his ego to pump him up even more there. She's learned enough of him to take a guess that it might work.

Girls CAN be manipulative sometimes, in a good way.
Artemis Eurus Amusing interlude now at an end, Artemis shakes her head as more zombies begin to rise from the earth. " disturb the honored dead," she comments lowly, narrowing her eyes. She would like very much to go in and deal with the witch that was responsible for this abomination. Ah, well. Heroes, have at it.

Artemis looks to Ramza, laughing lightly. "I'll get us a tub if it is a bath you desire!" she replies, then dances back from a hand that reaches to grab her ankle, turning into a graceful leap to give her added force as she brings down her katana to cut off the hand that just tried to grasp her.

She moves on then, taking limbs as she goes, though she always keeps Ramza's presence at the back of her mind.

Artemis spots an ancient, rusted blade swinging toward a nearby defender. It just so happens to be Faruja. Well, this ought to put him in tizzy. The air makes a sound like a muted thunderclap as Artemis charges forward and disappears, reappearing a split second later nearly twenty feet away to slam hard into the zombie that was about to bring its blade down on the rat-knight. She knocks the thing clear and runs it through with her blade, spilling the putrid bowels then kicking the corpse so hard the spine may snap.

Artemis turns toward Faruja then, bows, then runs back toward Ramza.
Lumeria "Idiots! The zombies recovered while you were blattering." Lumeria doesn't sounds too happy about having to deal with more zombies. This is taking a lot of out of her. Still she figures she should try and keep them alive at least. It was in her best interest to do so for now.
Artyom W. Valodjn Zombies. Zombies never change. When you strike down the first wave, there's always a second waiting in the wings. It's like zombies never show up anywhere there isn't an entire mound of corpses buried underground. Claws and awful, rusted weapons cut into his petrified armor, raking at his flesh, dragging at his skin!

"You know what," Artyom rumbles, raising his sword high. "You know what, no. I'm tired of zombies. Zombies are cheating. It's a good thing necromancers always seem to forget that raising the dead leaves cavities underground."

He roars, and then... Rams his sword-tip into the earth. It impales a zombie.

"It's a good thing. Because that means I can cheat, too." Artyom mutters words of ancient Titanic magic. The land underneath his feet begins to rumble and crack, splitting in spiderweb chasms that seem to be weaving a strange, massive arcane circle into the ground currently blighted by the terrible undead.

He twists his sword.

The circle roars with thunder and golden light.

And then, Artyom twists, pulling his weapon from the soil. Suddenly, zombies would find themselves being drawn back down into their graves, crushed by the growth of suddenly very hostile earth. Artyom roars, "Father Mountain, return these walking husks to the dust from whence they came!"

He lunges, striking at the land itself. Tremors shake the mountain and the buildings that stand upon it. Under the zombies, the world seems to... Flip. It inverts, and then swallows them up again.

Artyom dislikes Zombies.
Cressida Cressida continues to focus upon Royce, even as she is aware that the zombie horde is thinning out..Then suddenly it is refreshed by more monsters?! She frowns, glaring back at Royce. "What manner of dark magic is this?" Cold eyes narrow upon her, pointing her spear at the witch even as her last attack seemed to do little to shake her off.

"Call them off now, or your end shall be swift!" She pauses only briefly as Avira warns her about the eyes, and arches a brow. "Hmm? What about her eyes...?" Then she starts talking about Morrighan turning people into butlers, and Cressida peers coldly at Morrighan. So far she seems pretty useless in battle and she snorts. "Hmph. Parlour tricks, is that all you are good for? Hurry and make yourself useful."
Royce The holy man sputters as he is drawn towards the evil glowing flame of the witch's gaze, trying his best not to soil himself at the sheer darkness she extrudes like an aura. Her lone eye seems to burn straight through any measure of resolve he tries to gather and his hand weakly lifts, pointing towards a weathered door at the far side of the altar. A tall bookcase conceals its presence but the conspicuous gap at its rear is all she needs to see to know the truth.

A loud call her way draws Royce's gaze and she stares with blank neutrality at the young man and his bizarre request. Even if she were to deign to answer such a fool, Clayton's sudden dynamic entrance into the cathedral cuts any such plans short. Her eye narrows ever so slighlty as he raises his weapon at her and she tosses the cleric aside just as the first boom rings out.

Her hand comes up and the clawed-metal gauntlets protect Royce's face from the worst of the scattershot, though ragged chunks are torn into her unprotected sides. Plumes of red light erupt from the wounds and spray against the wall like blood though it glows with a neon luminescence that quick evaporates and fades to nothing.

Chains clatter as the massive cannon on her back is unleashed and she reaches around to snatch it up, unleashing a swift burst of dark fire into the charging templar even as her spear digs into her leg. A great gouge marrs Royce's thigh and more blood-light shoots forth as if held inside under great pressure.

Avira's ice magic strikes true, slamming the woman heavily backwards under the combined assault. She staggers a few steps as one of the larger crystals embeds itself in her chest but shows no signs of pain or duress upon being assaulted. Her free hand comes up and wrenches the offending sliver free, illciting another burst of light from the gaping hole even as Will's strange fate powers strike at her from another angle.

0'The boy!', the voice hisses into her mind. 0'Do not let him work his magics! He will be the death of you if our bonds are severed.'

Royce turns to level her callous stare at Will, though her eye burns with a dark intensity as she waves her hand, slamming him down with invisible magic force. "You know not what you, child. Stand aside or be cast into a pit of darkness." Her weapon comes up and brilliant scarlet fire explodes from its gaping mouth, brimstone and burning sulfur filling the cathedral like the breath of an angry dragon. Heavy chains shoot from the flesh at her back and snake through the air, slashing away at all those who would strike her down with wicked curved barbs.

"All of you, stand aside or I shall show you nightmares which you cannot begin to imagine."
Morrighan Alazne "HOW DARE YOU CALL ME OLD!? I AM STILL YOUNG BY HUMAN STANDARDS, YOU SCARRED APE!" Morrighan yelled over to Avira angrily stomping a foot in frustration. Old? OLD? Grah, there was no time for her now though. Royce was the target here. Oriane is met with a more genuine smile...just a bit. "Ah, is that you, Oriane? It is a shame that we must meet under such...abhorrent circumstances. But alas, it is nice to see you regardless."

And then Royce happened. Literally. Erecting a magic shield, Morrighan defended herself from the witch's furious attacks and staved off the worst of the damage. "Hrm...It would seem that I can no longer just watch as you all kill each other." Sigh. She was really looking forward to that too. At least it didn't seem like she was the main target here. That was good!

But the time to remain idle seemed to have passed. Raising a hand slightly, a dark glyph formed above her open palm, pulsating ominously. Like a sickened heartbeat. After a few pulses, the glyph shattered, sending several dark rays bursting into the air and arcing around to strike Royce. It was not actually an offensive spell, but rather, dark curse.

Well, it was a step up from doing nothing. Barely.
Clayton Clayton knows how Royce fights. He rolls to avoid her first shot, taking cover behind a pillar to avoid those chains while he reloads his shotgun. "Nightmares, she says!" he loudly scoffs. "I'll take your nightmares and slap you in the face with them, you trollop! Steel your hearts, gents, and send her SCREAMING TO THE GRAVE!" Say what you will about Clayton, he is an accomplished bellower.
After psyching himself up, he smoothly moves from the pillar and aims a couple more shots at Royce, going for a quick one followed by a couple harder ones aimed at her chest and face.
Will Sherman "No." Will says towards her. Will steps forward...eyes narrowing. The time for silly is over, the time for serious is now. The Barbs CUT into the Hobo lad, causing him no small amount of pain as he tries to push forward, his right hand aiming to try and sever the resistances to magic. However, it seems to do little, as more chains fire down, digging into his flesh...but shrugs off the pain. He has to keep going...Will's relitively fleshy body can't take this sort of pain...

But his hands grip the chains, throwing them off, and he jumps in, almost like a hop, as he aims to close the distance to Royce...both hansd moving in a specific stance to try and STRIKE her solidly in the chest...aiming to grip onto the fate strings. AND HOLD.

Will attempts to seal the woman, before he steps back...and LAUNCHES forward again, the hands movely to strike at the strings of the book that have it's hold on both Loki and Will pour their power into the strike.

Cressida Cressida grits her teeth, flinching as fire magic washes over her. "Ugh..." She seems pretty powerful, and just oozing with dark magic. If they can stop her, then hopefully the undead army will fall back too, but..what's she looking for here, anyways?

Cold eyes narrow, following her trajectory once she recovers, and she hurls her spear at her again, leaping after her. "Oh no you dont!"
Oriane Guado Oriane immediately and forever regrets not taking the opportunity to hit Niklas with a wave of dark magic a few moments before when she was considering it. She also is realizing that perhaps the isolationist faction among her own people had some valid points in their race's interactions with the outside world.

The verbal barbs and taunts sent out by the priestess go largely ignored, but it seemed her pleasantries towards Morrighan made it through. Green eyes focus on her fellow pointy eared mage. "Agreed. I applaud you on being able to stomach such company without being prone to extreme violence towards them." She remarks with a coy grin on her face.

It seems that Oriane was still subject to the random zombie attack and blast of dark magic despite her own very similar magics going unnoticed. The latest attack from the other necromancer forces the green-haired Guado to raise a barrier of magic around herself. Despite her defenses against the dark arts, Oriane's shield can only absorb so much punishment before being destroyed.

With a sigh, the Yevon Priestess surveys the field of battle with those unnatural green eyes of hers. Oriane was not going to learn anything from participating so directly in this battle. There was only really one course of action for her to take and that was to withdraw from the battle.

"I wish you the best of luck, Lady Alazne. Please be sure to inform me if death humbles the necromancer. Tis' a topic close to my own heart." Oriane muses before curtseying before the elf. The dark sorceress then turns and uses her magical prowess to open a dark corridor for her to step through. Open only long enough for her to step through, Oriane disappears through the other side and off to wherever that may lead.
Royce The surge of fresh bodies pull themselves free of their earthy graves and launch into a renewed assault, driving by the dark power to seek out and destroy all life. Ramza's attempts to wrestle free of the undead are met with limited success. The orb is smashed aside before it lands, sailing away harmlessly to shatter against a nearby wall where it's alchemical power is of no good. The thunder strikes land amid the zombies but only one or two of the undead are struck and they spasm helplessly for a few moments before shaking it off.

Faruja has better luck this time by taking to the skies out of the reach of the festering claws and he comes down with a great burst of power amid their ranks, sending screeching skeletons and zombies flying in bits. Artemis' intervention saves him from a swift reprisal by via rusted blade to the back. Her own sword sinks into the wet flesh with ease and there is a hideous crack as its body folds in half the wrong way upon the application of her foot to its chest.

Artyom's geomantic fury is great and the earth surges up at his bidding in an attept to reclaim the dead to their rightful place. However, these particular corpses doesn't seem too keen on being buried again! The zombies thrash and wail at the earth, working together to smash down the gaping maws and unearth their buried comrades and in the end only a handful of the fell creatures fall prety to his trap, their hands and feet twitching as they stick comically out of the ground.

Now fully regrouped and organized, the zombies turn their burning eyes upon the heroes with renewed frenzy. Bright fire erupts from their bodies as they charge, throwing themselves like maddened berserkers among the defenders. Claws and ancient weapons swing in a storm of death and mayhem. Several of the creatures throw themselves amid the group and detonate violently, showering them with shards of bone and firey gore, spending their unlife freely in an effort to take the living with them.
Avira FINALLY, Avira manages to hit a nerve in Morrighan. She'll have to savor this small and petty victory sometime later.

Awkward shouting match concluded at last, Cress begs her attention with a question about the eyes. Avira shudders, "If you see them, don't look into them. They're...cursed. Some kind of foul, ancient magic that is painful to look into. Don't let it happen. Look away as soon as you can." Yet all of this doesn't seem to really stop Avira from engaging the witch. In fact, the woman is running at the intruder now-not head-on, mind you, since she knows better than to slip in front of that massive handcannon that Royce hauls around. She slips off to the side to approach the witches flank, batting away chains with the Spine while being tagged and slashed with the barbs of those she cannot fend off.

By the time she is in close quarters with Royce, Avira is bleeding and perhaps has added another scar or two to her hide (really, it depends on how fast she's healed after the fight). In close quarter, Avira jabs the Spine deeply into Royce's flank, channeling one of her ice spells directly through the blade and inside of the witch's body, should she get her way.

Twisting her weapon, she pulls it free so she can unload a flurry of strikes that are normally too fast to see. As she moves, the faintest trace of a silvery sort of aura clings to her form. Those that have fought alongside Avira may find this familiar...yet...before it was much grander. Much more pronounced.

The exertion is obvious on her face as she continues her assault, finally shooting in low to take out the woman's legs with a shoulder and haul her over her back onto the ground behind her.
Niklas Dragonius Nik exhales gently as Serah's healing power pours over him. He knew what white magic felt like, after all, although Serah's healing is *way* more gentle than Kyra's. Kyra...

Ehn, she was cute, but what a pain her healing could be. Serah was way more gentle. And...a lot less needle-y.

Also, potentially hot sister.

"Thanks. Look, this is just how I am, you know? I don't really worry about the day-to-day. Whatever happens, happens, deal with it then! Way easier. And less stressful. 'sjust the kind of guy that I am."

"And don't worry. I promised I was gonna protect you, and I always keep my promises, and I definitely don't let people beat up girls who haven't done anything wrong. Uh, or zombies or monsters. I don't let zombies, monsters, or people beat up girls who haven't done anything wrong."

"That sounded much more awesome in my head and not out loud, where it sounded lame."

Nik shakes his head. Hadn't people ever heard of battle calm? Seriously. He was composed! He was completely in control. He didn't get distracted - heck, he *couldn't* get distracted, distractions were for other people.



"BUT YOU'RE STILL PRETTY HOT SO IT ALMOST BALANCES OUT! I MEAN, YOU HAVE /AMAZING/ T-*hrgk*" He's suddenly clotheslined by one of the zombies; as he spins, Nik's feet latch around it, bringing it slamming to the ground. He groans for a really long moment; there's blood EVERYWHERE, spilling out of his head and his chest and his arms. But he stands back up, anger in his eyes.

"Okay," Nik mutters, "You wanna play hardball? Let's play hardball. No more Mister Nice Nik."

He grabs one of the zombies in hand as his eyes flash; his iron-strong handwraps around the thing, then leaps up into the sky, closing his other hand around it. He raises it above his head -

- or no. He's a great, massive black demon, and the zombie is wrapped in his claws?


Nik lets out a roaring kiai; the demon's jaws rip open, the kiai amplified, a monstrous shout that echoes through the battlefield.

Then the zombies goes down. Hard. Dark energy pours around it, gravitational fields warping from the sheer speed of its fall and the magic of the god Nik is currently wielding through physical form (you can see him inside Diabolos, if you look; he's bodyslamming the zombie). Other zombies in the area begin to compress, explosively so.

Then the zombie's corpse rises again.

It falls again.





Nik lands amidst a crater smashed into the dirt, dragged downwards by the mutual impact of the zombie and the massively heightened gravitational field. He exhales.


He liked Mr. Nice Nik.
Artyom W. Valodjn Zombies are basically the worst. Artyom frowns. He draws his weapon high, relaxing his shoulders. Arcane power spilled into the land draws in, spiralling about his damaged stoneplate. Beneath his feet, earth draws back up his legs, regenerating the armor covering his body. Tellurian essence drains into his musculature, pooling into the reserve of power burning in his chest.

Pallisade barriers of crystalline pikes rise in a ring around his ankles before shattering against the zombified swarm. As they break, motes of arcane light rushes out of their shattered shard, replenishing the power he had expended re-burying the corpses beneath the earth. The zombies throw themselves at him, breaking against his stone armor. Their blows bruise bone and cleave deep wounds into his body, even as healing magic works to knit shut his fresh wounds. Still, they drip with blood. They stain the earth red.

Even so- even through all the pain and the blood loss, arcane power begins to flood into his blade. It glows dangerously, like a low-hanging star of ill portent. His voice whispers, softly, defiantly, into the horde.

"I, who stands astride the mountain which breaks the sky--"

Minerva The undead are legion they contiune to strike, that's fine with Minerva that's fine with her. She will not yeild against them, not for a second they will have to kill her and force her to join their ranks. She is assauled and vanished under a pile of the things but there's an explosion shortly after a shock wavy ripping throught heir ranks and then comes the holy flame at Minerva's fists, she strikes brutally she grabs one and will slam it into the roudn and just keeps rampaging through their ranks, striking without compassion. There can be none for such as this and if there is? The Compassion is to give them their rest which they have lost.
Ramza Beoulve As the zombies surge forward, exploding showering him with shards of bone and fiery gore, he'd shore up his crystalline barriers. The crystalline shield would become opaque and purple momentarily, before the onslaught shattered them entirely. And then another Zombie would grab him, and he'd find himself flying backward once the creature exploded at point blank range. He'd land, hard, picking himself up shakily and raising a hand to the air. "Precious light, be our armor and protect us!"

A simple chi healing trick upon the chakra gate closest to his heart, and he'd find himself at least able to tolerate the pain a moment later. With his Cinqueda, he'd chop through the peaceknot of a Katana, sheathed within his Saya. With head bowed, and eyes closed, he'd speak to those fighting the zombie horde. "On my mark.. ..prepare to get down."

And then he'd place his hand upon the hilt.
Serah Farron Serah Farron hasn't figured out why her offensive powers are not working right now. She tried a few times to defend herself using her blizzard magic, but nothing comes out. Only more of the healing abilities she suddenly has. Maybe there's something else to it, but there's not much time to think about that either.

She uses the knife to try to parry the zombie attacks, but doesn't have much luck with it, they hit pretty hard in numbers like this!

She's tempted to slap Nik upside the head as he's flirting with the enemy this time... but she figures that wounded as he is, she might be the one to kill him at this point... so instead she cures ~_~ "Nik, stop it already!" She sounds pretty stern too, like a teacher would be "Either you stop or I won't pick you up with my healing once you fall down to Zombie-chowder."

At least she can DO something with this power for now.

Does she has a spell that can erase Nik's libido you think?
Faruja Senra A zombie goes flying, and Faruja turns to look at his saviour. Spying the masked murderess, he doesn't even get a chance yell at first, too busy with his ear ringing from her strange teleport. A bow, and then the woman is off to Ramza. The Templar is dumbfounded.

For all of three seconds. "DO YOU MOCK ME!? I...BLASTED HERETICS, I SHAN'T BE OUTDONE BY THEE!" The rat proceeds to zombie-stab all the harder, squeaking and snarling in a rage, muttering incoherent angry words as he goes to work.

Then Artyom seems to make the world itself move. Faruja very nearly drops his weapon in shock. The only words he has for the monumental power behind such a display are whispered into his linkshell.

Faruja manages to step aside a suicide-zombie, kicking it amidst its fellows. Kaboom! The explosion saves the rat from being smacked by more zombies. Given the reprieve, he begins to chant, sending healing waves towards some of his more injured compatriots: the healer woman Serah, and Artyom for the moment.

"Hold strong! These unholy creatures cannot withstand the fury of the righteous!"
Lumeria The zombies seem to just keep coming at them. At least they haven't reached Lumeria yet. The others seem to make good shields if nothing else. Still, they were taking. Her attention turns towards Minerva, it looks like she was taking the worst of it. "Hold still a moment." She fills the woman's body with light as she tends to her wounds. She also notices the other elfin present is hurt as well so she helps her too.
Artemis Eurus Artemis is temporarily buried in flaming zombies, rust weapons cutting, teeth gnashing, fire buring.

The warrior lets out a roar, throwing her hand outward to unleash a blast of force that sends half the zombies flying a good ten to twenty feet back through the air. She has been hurt, and she'll make them pay gravely for it.


Artemis turns to cut down the remainder of the zombies, her sword flashing in deadly arcs of steel and death.

When Ramza speaks and places his hand on his katana, she nods to him, and readies herself. She may know what is coming, but that does not mean she isn't going to take out as many of these undead as she can before she's done.

Again the air cracks with muffled thunder, then again, then again...Artemis is a blue and gold blur, old blood and rotted flesh flying in her wake as she dashes through the battlefield with her sword in hand.

Heads will roll.
Royce Morrighan's magical sleight is answered in kind. Royce points at finger at the dark elf and mutters a single word, bringing a dark curse down upon her. Her body will twist and transform, bones snapping painfully but harmlessly as they shift to accomodate the form of - a newt. Don't worry, she'll get better.

Clayton's continous volley of fire finds solid purchase in the witch's exposed flesh this time, blasting several holes clean through her body that fountain neon gore out of her back and stagger the young woman like fists to the gut. However, no matter how grevious the wounds, they seem to seal over almost instantly before the eyes of those assembled and she fights on as if nothing happened.

Will's attempt to sever the dark bonds that only he can see between Royce and her ancient master cause the first show of emotion on her seemingly unbreakable mask of neutrality. She grits her teeth and winces audibly, her limbs convulsing as the strange boy pulls at the forces of the universe, causing massive damage that cannot be seen.

Cressida's spear carves bloody wounds into the vulnerable woman's body with the same resulting sprays of bright magical blood. Her final strike bites deeply into Royce's left shoulder, severing a tendon and causing the limb to go limp as it hands be a few bloody strands of meat. Avira takes tactical advantage of their numbers and comes in from behind, her unusual weapon digging easily into Royce's flank and flooding her body with ice cold magic that crystalizes the flesh in a flash-freeze. Her follow-up strikes not only criss-cross the witch's body with wounds but shove her back and clear of the other assailants.

However, despite this massive flurry of pain, Royce manages to regain her balance at the last moment. When Avira ducks to take out her feet, she plants a hand on the girl's back and nimbly flips into the air. Her massive weapon swings ponderously around to point at the ground and another gout of flame billows into the floor. With no where left to go, it fans out in a circle to engulf everyone present in hellish flames and choking smoke.

The witch lands lightly and whirls around, placing a hand to her shoulder as the flesh fuses together under her touch. With the newly renewed arm she reaches up and pulls away the cloth covering her left eye, turning its baleful stare upon the foolish heroes. "Cower in fear as your soul burns away," she whispers.

Distorting unlight erupts from the shimmering gem where her eye should be, bending reality around them with madness and pain. Lightning bursts from thin air as the rules of the universe bend to accomodate the singularity of bad luck that rips through their bodies with utter disregard for defense or barriers. The only way to avoid it is to look away in time.
Avira Avira turns rapidly, ready to stomp down on what she hoped would be the fallen form of Royce. Unfortunately, the witch managed to flip up over the woman's back and land upright. A faint grumble escapes Avira, sweat beading off her forehead and dripping to the floor, a result of the massive amounts of exertion she expells with each move.

Though she's struck with the overwhelming urge to curl up and nap, she continues to push herself through. She sees the witch reaching up for that eyepatch and her eyes widen. "No!" she shouts, looking away.

She's almost too late. She can feel her mind being pulled into that eldrich morass of despair and destruction. Once her gaze is broken and turned from Royce, the effect fades, but the now cold sweat that covers her body remains. Keeping her face turned away, she sidesteps around Royce, getting behind her so she may chop the Spine down at the arm currently pulling the eyepatch away.

Yes. She wants to see that arm severed again. It may be the only way to spare everyone else the oncoming pain.
Will Sherman Will doesn't look away in time...but it is NOT the only way to avoid it.

At least, he could midigate it.

Luck fortunes the bold, as instead of completely hosing him, he rolls the same status effect twice, on a stat that is already redic low. Will nods approvingly at the combat system, it will do...

However, Will remembers that he was still STRUCK by lightning. That REALLY hurts, it forces him to a knee, nearly taking him low, but he grits his teeth. He forces himself least the book was hurting. He takes some solice in that...but he stands back up to his full height, eyes blazing.

"NOT YET!" he shouts.

Once more, he punches for the center of mass, aiming to strike out where the things strings were thickest...he doesn't know WHY...but he has to hit THERE.

"SHATTER!" he shouts again, the hands tearing through, or attempting to rip through, the strings.
Morrighan Alazne "Hmn?" Morrighan hummed to herself, feeling healing magic wash over her. Well, that certainly wasn't her. Who did that now? A cursory glance of the area placed Lumeria as the caster, which earned the light elf a nod of appreciation. They were too far apart to talk however. Perhaps later on then-- Wait a second...

...A prickling feeling entering her body. And not a good one. She turned her attention back over to Royce just as she had finished countering her curse. "You cannot be serious--" Crunch. Morrighan's form began to shrink rather painfully as she was reduced to the form of...a newt. A black newt with white speckles. "......!!" Since Newts are incapable of speech however, nothing came out when Morrighan attempted to complain.

Instead, all she could do now was flail around angrily. Or rather as angrily as a newt could anyway. But there was one thing that Royce should probably know; that being a newt didn't stunt her power any. Taking on a dark aura, Morrighan began to channel magic, scuttling out of the way of the witch's attacks before resuming.

Slamming a webbed forefoot onto the ground, she released the spell she was casting, causing a dark glyph to form under Royce's feet. The glyph expanded before glowing furiously as a surge of corrupting dark energy burst upwards, attempting to envelop the witch entirely.
Cressida "Ugh..She's powerful.." Cressida grits her teeth as more fire burns her skin and clouds her eyes, staggering back as she tries to remain conscious amid the pain. "D-damn..Losing focus.." She nods to Avira as she warns about the eyes, noticing how some of her allies are starting to falter as well.

"I will not back down, witch, not until I see you dead!"

Probably the only good thing about this is watching Morrighan get turned into a newt. She cant help but wonder if she'd be more useful in that form.
Clayton Clayton feels whatever energies Royce commands flow through him...and then recoil OUT of him with a screech as he yells, throwing his arms out. "Stupid tricks, won't work on ME!" he declares, not knowing precisely why that happened. But he feels powerful. He advances on her again, ducking out of cover to fire a single powerful point-blank blast, followed by a lighter one, then going back into cover to rest a bit.
Royce It is clear that whatever Niklas may be: a fool, a shirtless man, a vicious flirt; he is not to be trifled with. Whatever gods fuel his rage they are great and terrible. As Nikablos raises the zombie into the air, dozens of them turn and rush at the sudden surge of power, unaware that they are flocking to their doom like a herd of lemmings rushing blindly over a cliff.

The gravitational disturbance warps the air, bending it in unpleasant ways as dark magic flattens everything for a dozen meters around him. Their weathered bodies are no match for such power and scores of them go down in one single moment as the demon hammers down over and over.

Minerva callously tears into the outer ranks of the horde, her fists flashing as they strike down enemy after enemy with reckless abandon. Her display of martial prowess is not quite as flashy but gets the job done, nonetheless. Scything arcs of steel flash throughout the undead, denoting the location of the swift samurai warrior as she tears apart their foes with blinding fury and methodical precision that only comes from mastering the blade. In short order the fresh horde has been reduced significantly once more but it is not out of the fight yet.

Roughly half their number remain and these surge forward with little regards to the danger posed by these heroes. The holy magics being thrown about draw their ire directly and they surge towards the sources with wicked malice in their eyes.
Ramza Beoulve As Faruja rants at Artemis, he would speak to him with his eyes closed, focusing mostly on what he was doing. Anyone looking at him would see a ghastly blue aura appear over his body. "Get over yourself Faruja! Put aside your pride, your ego! Does it matter if heretic's steel or your own ends the threat? I think not!"

His eyes would open all of a sudden. The blue aura would burst into ominous blue fire that lined his body, as though some inner flame burned within him. "Now get down, Ser Senra."

Rushing forward into the horde of the shambling dead he'd unsheathe the blade entirely. Instantly, it appeared as if the flames around his body were drawn into the blade, as its steel began to glow with eerie blue light, before igniting itself. Holding it over his head, he'd speak a simple incantation calmly. "Flame-devouring blade, consume all iniquity."

The surging Undead, would tear into him, and for a moment it seemed as if the young man would fall before the attack ever went off. Already, he was taking a knee as a zombie tried to tear into his neck with its teeth.


Increasing in intensity, the blade's glow would become blinding as they reached critical mass and exploding outward. The flames themselves would be a billowing cloud of destruction. As the flames touched the zombies, flesh and bone itself would melt, as the relentless holocaust would consume all it touched. Even after the explosion finished, each of the zombies would continue to burn, as the fires could not easily be quenched.
Artyom W. Valodjn 0-I, who stands astride the mountain which breaks the sky-

"--Call upon ye, whose coils writhe about the heart of the world." Artyom's voice rumbles as he lifts his weapon high. Zombies swarm at all sides, raking at him, striking at his stoneplate and the flesh underneath. Holy magic flows over his open wounds, knitting skin together and cleansing purpling bruises.

He's not down yet. Good.

One hand glows with tellurian power, sending ominous chasms racing upward across the surface of his stone sword. Magic flows out from the splintering edge, pulsing with a lazy, thunderous rhythm. Each thrum generates more cracks. Each crack quickens the pace.

People who are familiar with Artyom- his classmates, for instance- would probably remember that Artyom rarely ever uses proper magic. Most all the 'magic' he uses is geomancy! Except when it isn't. This is one of those times.

They would also remember that this is all because the only proper spells Artyom has mastered, outside the most basic cantrips, can be counted on one finger.

This is because that spell is less of a spell, and more of a key.

For his sword.

"You monsters have made a grave mistake! You have made me draw my sword!" Artyom roars as his hands tighten suddenly around his weaQUAKE./"

In his hands, the stone sword shatters, exploding with tectonic force. A cascade of concussive power blasts into the zombified horde, stone shards and clods of earth blasting into the swarm like shotgun pellets. Beneath the explosion, there is...

Another sword: grand, composed entirely out of crystal inlaid with lines of strange, arcane circuitry. Layers of brilliant geode flow over the surface of the weapon. Somehow, impossibly, it increases in length until it outstrips even its original size.

Artyom levels his weapon at his side, parallel with the land. He takes a step forward. With a dreadful roar, he swings his colossal blade, raking its cutting edge into the first walking corpse--

Approximately a second later, he appears on the other end of the undead horde, crystal blade at his side. Stone shards and mud clods whirl around his weapon, compressing it right back into its original form.

"I am Artyom--" the colossus rumbles. At his back, trembles, cracks, and then splits. A great, yawning chasm opens in the mountain, unleashing the all the terrible, kinetic power of a tectonic collision- vertically, into the undead swarm and further, scattering the clouds above.

"--The Blade that Splits the Sky."
Lumeria Lumeria watches as Morrighan is transfered into a newt. She cringes a bit, sympthizing with her. She would have tried to help her, but just the zombies finally managed to reach Lumeria. She does her best to fight them off, but gets attacked in the process. "Keep them off me!" She struggles a bit with them physically, trying to construct a magical barrier between them and herself.
Minerva Minerva does not object to the healing one little bit, it knits up many of her wounds as she rip s through the horde but there's still so manty of them and they keep coming yet? Her last attacks have taken a heck of a lot out of her but she contiunes to fight strike out attempting to set the Heartless on fire.
Niklas Dragonius "SERIOUSLY YOUR BODY IS PHENOMENAL," Nik shouts at Royce a final time, then settles his hands back in his pockets. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Also she was kind of super evil, so it was probably best not to pursue that line of thought.

Nik exhales for a moment, trying to regain some of his strength; it cost him a lot of power to just continually wield the greatest of his gods, a fact anyone could tell. The man was a weapon of mass destruction more than a sustained combatant; his true strength was in the burst, the single moments of pure divinity channeled through his incredible physical form. Yes, Nik could punch through a man's stomach with his bare hands, and if he wanted to, he could certainly sustain a fight with purely physical means...but that would cut his strength in half.

"Sorry, Serah."

"If it makes you feel better, you have a pretty awesome body, too." He's not flirting, it's a compliment, relax.

"Okay. I am realy tired of zombies now, so I will focus up for like ten minutes and kill all of them. EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE TOTALLY CHEATING. I'll be right back, Serah, don't go anywhere." Nik pushes his fingers together. Artyom does his thing, and Nik sees an opening.

"HEY FRANK BORROWING THIS THANKS!" Frank swings his sword upwards; before he can protest, Nik leaps, his foot planting against the edge of the blade. He starts running UP the sword as it falls; he keeps pace, balancing thoughtlessly on the edge of the colossal crystal weapon as it comes smashing down for the zombies below. Energy gathers around Nik's body; he bursts into light, shining like a beacon as he charges up the crystal blade.

The blade falls, gouging its crater in the ground; as it does so, Nik flings himself forward, his foot stretching out. All the light shining around him, all the strength hovering about him, suddenly flows directy into that foot.

Around him is the spectral image of a great glowing whale of light.


The holy kick collides with a zombie.


Holy light explodes outwards.

Nik backflips, landing next to Serah again. "ANYBODY THAT LAYS A HAND ON THE HOT PINK-HAIRED CHICK IS TOAST," Nik shouts.


Nik scratches the back of his head. ", the crowd's kinda dead."
Serah Farron Serah Farron would be impressed by Nik's balance, able to climb up that sword like that...

And then he ruins it by talking of course.

She sighs. She appreciates the compliment, but considering all of the nonsense that Nik spouted during this battle, she's not as receptive... PLUS THEY ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIGHT >_<

The zombie horde that piles upon her is far from pleasant, and she barely manages to push them back. She needs to work on her own acrobatics or something, this l'Cie power might be helpfing, but when the mind isn't up to speed with it yet, its counterproductive instead.

She looks around her for people that would need some help... and sends cures their way, trying to draw out the battle as much as she can. Nik seems to be doing okay for now at least...
Faruja Senra Faruja is being piled on by zombies as Ramza speaks, quickly performing some combination of duck and being bowled over by said unholy beings. Then Ramza uses his blade, and the world turns into flames.

The Templar blinks as holy light fills the area. What is a ratling to do while barely conscious, wounded, and nearly on fire? Yell at the Heretic.


Also, healing. As he struggles underneath the weight of crispy zombies, he gets to work.
Royce The terrible flow of raw suffering and malice pouring from the Eye in Royce's head demolishes the interior of the cathedral. Wood warps and cracks as termites spill forth from its ruined interior. Stone shifts and crumbles as mortar errodes and structural integrity seems to fail for no reason. Claps of thunder and bolts of lightning deal shattering blows to the collection of pews and holy dressings adorning the place and within moments the room is a ruined mess.

The soft cloth of the eyepatch is drawn back down to cover up the fell artifact but no sooner than she draws away her hand, Avira cleaves it clean off. The Spine's ragged edge saws viciously into the bicep and lifeless mass falls to the ground as a cascade of neon blood erupts from the stump like a fire hydrant having it's cap knocked off. Royce whirls and her weapon belches demonic balls of fire at the girl's feet, hammering her with concussive force and searing heat. She spins with the momentum and brings the hefty cannon around, slamming it into Will's outstretched hands. The spry hobo manages to divert the force into a less painful impact but his attack is foiled.

Clayton's bullets pepper her from behind, the near pointblank shot sending her crashing into the shattered remains of the altar. She fires back at him even as she sails through the air but her wild shots go wide, merely forcing him to retreat. Almost the moment she lands against the altar, dark energy erupts from below, shear away her lifeforce in a deadly torrent, siphoning it back to the tiny newt with strange pointy ears.

0'Get up, you fool girl! I shall not let us die in this wretched hole. Strike them down or we shall be forced to withdraw from this field of battle.'

Royce sits up, her body lookin a little worse for wear but the majority of her wounds have already been mended by whatever dark force lurks within. Her arm is noticably missing but the flow of blood-magic has ceased and no signs of pain register on her face. Her mouth begins to move, chanting profane words and the ground rumbles once more as the dead rise to her bidding. Instead of bodies, however, spears of bone dripping with putrid flesh shoot from the floors with deadly force.

Royce pushes to her feet with a hop and aims her weapon, unleashing spears of scintilating light that sear with deadly precision through each of the foes that fall beneath her gaze, burning holes into their spirits with each shot.
Morrighan Alazne Triumphant at her success, Morrighan smirked. ...Or rather she would have, if she wasn't a newt! Oh well. Not about to stick around and take the coming counterattack, Morrighan scuttled away, barely escaping the soul penetrating shots. Must have been the smaller body.


It was a shame that the others were not faring as well though. Will seemed to have fallen. Cressida looked to be not far behind... Well, there was only one thing to do now. Channeling healing magic rather than dark magic, Morrighan cast a healing spell on the templar. It was too late for Will, but not for Cressida.
Clayton Clayton trades shots with Royce between cover, grinning maniacally now. He's into this now - WAY into this. "All your fancy guns and magic won't help you know!" he yells. "I think I'll mount your head on my wall, or perhaps, turn your skin into a leather couch! AHAHAHAHA!" Man, just saying that stuff feels so liberating. He really shouldn't be so stiff so much, the back of his mind tells him. Nothing WRONG with such talk when you have a clearly vile person in your sights, after all.
He does wonder what her head WOULD look like as a trophy, though. No, too eery. It would have to be the bleached skull. Clayton makes a mental note to check into such practices later. Clayton steps into full view this time, dodging her bone spikes and energy shots with the quick energy of a man at the prime of his life, even though he is clearly an old gent. This also does not seem unusual to him. He loads his shotgun with some special slugs he picked up in his travels, which, upon entering the chambers, makes the entire gun erupt into magical fire that doesn't seem to hurt him. He aims, and...
A huge explosive shot is fired directly at her, which will explode upon entering her body. But Clayton ISN'T done yet! After this, he runs and leaps into the air, grabbing onto a hanging chandelier. "Burn in hell with the rest of the pagans, witch! ... and the sodomites too, for that matter!" he declares, before basically unloading multiple shots from his shotgun at her, almost like a machine gun. You might wonder how he does this, but some secrets are best left unsolved.
Royce The ghostly flames within the spirit of Ramza's blade have much darkness to feed upon as they expand outwards in a swirling mass of deadly flame. Zombies liquefy into foul smelling puddles that begin to sizzle and spit as the heat persists. Those that survived ground zero of the terrible destruction are set alight and they stagger about, flailing blindly as their eyes boils, until atleast their bodies are consumed and they fall to ash and ruin.

Artyom's display of earth magic causes techtonic rumbles that shake the already shakey foundations of the ancient structure. Zombies burst and cavitate from the flying shards of rock, going down in a hail of spikes even as he brings his collosal blade to bear upon them. The rotten sack of flesh are no match for the artifact's destructive power and scores die once more, returning to the soil from whence they came.

Minerva continues hopping from target to target, striking those that are unfortunate enough to be in her way with steely fists of flame. Niklas once again shows her up, however, stylishing riding the massive sword as he channels a great holy whale that makes a definate splash among the risen dead. Searing light melts them away into nothingness and by the time he calls out his rather weak joke, there's precious few left to hear it.

A few of the battered corpses manage a moan, though whether it's at the terrible pun or out of tenacious defiance is hard to tell. Either way, this battle is won.
Artemis Eurus The bodyguard returns to her charge in a blink. He looks as though he is about to fall. Well, that was that then. They had done their best. No doubt, they saved many lives this day. Now, it was time to go.

Artemis takes Ramza by the arm to place it over her, then bends down to place her shoulder to his chest and haul him up onto her shoulder before he falls.

Of course, no man gets left behind.

Artemis dashes through the remaining zombies, rushing inside to check for Will. She locates him, decides he looks fairly terrible as well, then throws him over her OTHER shoulder. "We're leaving," she informs him, if he is conscious.

Artemis Eurus then runs off into the sunset with a man slung over each shoulder.
Will Sherman Will's spirit not something easily hurt.

Will's fleshy body, is a different story, the magic flaying into his flesh as once more, he is struck down as if he were little consiquence. The hobo king start to bleed out, reverting to a more normal and less magical radiating form.

This is before Artemis picks him up and flees into the sunset with him over one shoulder.

Artemis is going to need a bath after this.
Ramza Beoulve Ramza Beoulve was in no condition to protest. And so he's unceremoniously carried away in the most emasculating way possible.

As soon as Artemis reached their rendezvous in the distance, a lady in White Mage robes would teleport in, beginning to work her healing magic on Will.

She also contemplates giving him a bath, while she's at it.
Cressida Cressida seems to be taking a serious beating as Royce continues to assault her with piercing magical damage. Again she staggers to one knee under the might of her evil powers...She is half tempted to shake off this seeming and release the beast within..But now was not the time..

Royce opens that eye and begins to destroy the church from within. It's an awful sight to behold, such a beautiful structure, destroyed before her very eyes. "You blasphemer, you will pay for this..In hell!"

But does she have any strength left to do this? Then the newted Morrighan actually does something useful, healing some of her wounds. The Templar smirks. Yes, definitely more useful than a newt. Still, she should probably turn her back..Eventually..

For now, she'd better finish off Royce first. Gathering all her strength, she lunges towards the witch, her body shimmering in silver energy as she flies like an arrow at her, slashing and slicing viciously with her spear.
Avira Ah yes. Serrated weapons aren't that good at cleaving, are they? Avira is going to try anyway. Anything to make the terrible power of that eye finally stop. She's forced to withdraw so the likes of everyone else can continue their assault. The last thing Avira wants to do is get between the witch and Clayton's gun.

She keeps herself mobile, which actually makes it impossible for Royce to get a good lock on to her. Maybe it's just that everyone else is so much more tempting a target that she is briefly overlooked. Avira does not mind. It gives her time.

Time to charge up her ice magic. Time to aim and unleash an enormous, snarling blast that slams into the witch and leaves a coating of ice in its wake.
Niklas Dragonius Nik exhales as the last of the zombies die. He pulls himself up, then turns to the church.

"Okay. Serious time. Serious time." Nik closes his eyes. "I can do serious time."

Artyom W. Valodjn The undead are vanquished, slaughtered to the last. Artyom is satisfied, but--

But there is still a witch to slay.

Artyom offers a swordsman's salute to his decidedly... unique schoolmate, before turning toward the witch still floating over the other half of the battlefield. She still lives. That means there is yet work to be done. Artyom exhales, gathering strength back into his limbs. One more strike- all that he will need.
Faruja Senra Faruja stands, dripping molten zombie goo. His every step has him vibrating, anger and rage on his face as he stops off to towards the greatly destroyed Cathedral. He's utterly livid, and casts his gaze back as Artemis is off with the Heretic.

"/Damnit/!" Curses the rat before heading on in, already settling healing magic on others as he heads on in.
Serah Farron Serah Farron rejoins with the others on what's left of the threat... that necromancer just flooded them with zombies after all. She doesn't have much of a weapon to attack, but she can still support the people here.
Royce Despite Niklas' constant attempts to draw the witch's attention, his shouted compliments seem to fall on deaf ears. It might have something to do with the group of people trying to kill her. Or the fact that she doesn't care. One of those. Maybe both.

Clayton's almost feral assault catches the pretty witch by surprise, the explosive round slamming into her side and embedding itself deep amid the swirling strange tattoos that encircle her stomach. It erupts with a horrendous burst of flesh and blood that nearly cores Royce's entire left half, leaving only ragged streamers of red light connecting her ribs to her waist. Shotgun shells empty with impossible speed and their compliment of buckshot adds painful shredded pockmarks about her body as she tries to ward them off with her armed hands, even as the damage reverses itself.

Cressida's heroic lunge is met with a clash of steel as her weapon is intercepted by the nozzle of the massive cannon, it's length driving down into the empty tube even as gout of magical flare erupts straight into her face. The distraction is enough to give the scarred mercenary another shot without fear of reprisal ,however. Her frigid magic takes the form of a snarling wolf and the icy teeth sink into Royce's back, though their maws are unable do more than leave circular bite marks as the chains protruding from the flesh slash and batter aside their attempts to gouge and tear.

Despite her collosal regenerative powers, Royce is fighting a losing battle. The damage inflicted by Clayton slowly begins to mend, flesh renewing as slender tendons of sticky red light grow and expand to replace the lost mass. But as those outside make short work of her minions, she realizes it's not going to be enough. Her search of this place will have to wait for another time, perhaps when fate fails to conspire against her by placing so many obstacles in her path.

"The day is yours," she says in a matter-of-fact tone. "But we shall meet again."

Royce waves her hand and intones a few words and the ground beneath her feet turns black and oily, forming a circular portal that she swiftly sinks into as if some invisible elevator were taking her down into the darkness. It closes moments after the last of her silver-white locks vanish into the murky pool, winking out as if it never was and leaving them all with one hell of a mess to clean up.
Niklas Dragonius Royce disappears. Nik frowns as she goes, then waves at Faruja. "Hey, thanks, mouse-guy!" Nik stretches up.

Then he wanders over to the newt and crouches down to stare at it.

"I am totally willing to wait until you're back to normal to discuss this butler thing," he observes helpfully. Then he stands back up and heads over to Serah. "Okay, business done! That was kinda fun. Where to next?"
Faruja Senra The witch escapes the Church's grasp, albeit barely. Faruja pauses as he surveys the blasted Cathedral. The Templar scowls. "...Twice now. 'Tis an embarrassment."

Already, Faruja is issuing reports over his linkshell. This witch's meddling has gone on for far too long as far as the rat's concerned. Already, he'll start to heal his comrades.
Serah Farron Serah Farron phews as the necromancer leaves... She sighs tiredly "I think I need a shower first of all. I still have zombie smell all over me.
Artyom W. Valodjn The witch flees. Artyom's muscles relax, his weapon resting again on his shoulder. Long strands of cloth snake out from about the (slightly damaged) town. He huffs, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Zombies. First-damned zombies." Artyom glances over the broken cathedral and the people within. He frowns, "Could have been worse, I suppose."
Morrighan Alazne With Royce gone, Morrighan was left free of danger...and still a newt. Next, she glared up at Niklas as he spoke to her, then watched as he walked off to Serah. Hmph! In any case, things looked like they were quite over.

Given that there was enough time to focus, she closed her eyes, channeling dark magic in order to break the curse. It was a couple minutes before she found the source of the curse in her. After that, all it took was to mentally grasp it...and then crush it.

Once that was done, Morrighan's form was restored in a flash of sickly purple light. "...Phew. Ergh, transformation curses are absolutely horrible." Guh, she could still feel the places where her bones were warped.
Niklas Dragonius "Coulda been. Hey, Frank; this is my friend, Serah. Serah, this is this guy I know from school, Frank. He's cool. He's from Titan, big mountain."


"Anyway, Titan. Seriously, huge. It is amazing." Nik holds up his hands. "Guys from there are also generally super-freaking huge, although Frank's like the tallest I know. Pretty sure they don't make them taller than Frank."

"Frank, Serah's looking for her boyfriend Snow and her sister Lightning. Either of those ring a bell, big guy?"
Minerva Minerva has suyrived she's looking well? Not to be in a very good mood but still it's a lot better than it could have been really she just kinda is still standing as best she can as well? Serah had been good enough to apply some healing magic to her that seemt to help her press on but otherwise? She's looking like she wants to find the nearest inn.
Artyom W. Valodjn Suddenly, Artyom is being introduced to small, pink-haired girls. Or rather, a specific pink-haired girl, who is only really small because Artyom is kind of colossal.

"Hello," Artyom inclines his head at the martial artist and his... Girlfriend? No. Lady has a boyfriend, apparantly. "I am Artyom, but many people call me Frank. I'm told this is because my name is hard to pronounce."

"Really, I'm not sure how anyone has trouble saying 'Artyom Wojciech.' Mmn."

"Anyway," he continues, settling down on a convenient mound of dirt. It wasn't there a second ago. "I haven't heard of either of these people. But I will be sure to keep an eye out."
Serah Farron Serah Farron waves to 'Frank', nodding "So he's from the same school you talked about?" She offers her hand, which is decidely small compared to the Titan guy "Titan... that was the land of mountains right? I guess he fits the bill there..."

And she's definitely not Nik's girlfriend, just hanging out with him because its safer. "I met with some guy from Ifrit as well, he gave me this dagger." She points at the sheathed one in her back. "Not my kind of weapon, but better than barehanded at least."
Cressida Cressida glances over at Faruja as he joins them, smirking a bit at the sight of Ramza and his heretical bunch. "So glad you could join us." Cold blue eyes slide back towards Faruja, holding his gaze the longest before glancing at his allies - for the time being, and the others gathered.

"Let's end this...Do not forget who are true enemy is, this day." Well for now at least it's not the heretics. SHe's about to unleash her most powerful assault upon Royce..When suddenly she...Disappears?

"...Oh." She frowns in disappointment. Well, now that that's out of the way, she should probably turn Morrighan back from a newt, even though she seems somehow more bearable as one.

Of course, someone else beats her to it. Oh well, so much for having fun. "...." Wordlessly, she scans the area, and moves towards the civilians who were no doubt wounded in the attack. "I am Cressida Merune, Templar from Glabados. Please, let me help you.." This might keep her busy for a while, and maybe when they get everything back in order she can start asking questions..

Occasionally she glances over at the others who gathered to aid against the monsters. Yes, even you, heretics...For now, at least. "I thank you all for your help. Does anyone else need healing?"
Niklas Dragonius "Hey, don't knock barehanded, I could teach you to fight barehanded if you wanted. Yeah, Frank's from Alexander Academy, too, and he doesn't seem to get that most normal people can't do that with their tongues on command. Artyom Wojciech isn't exactly a normal name, dude." Nik sticks out his hand. He doesn't really want to sit still, even especially with all the dead still here; he's walking around the area, hands in his pockets, poking at corpses with his foot as he does so. Just to make sure.

He looks up at Cressida for a moment, looking over her. "Actually, in all seriousness, I'm pretty sure I'm bleeding from like eight different places." Nik shucks off his coat; indeed, he is bleeding from like eight different scratches, bites, and bruises. Although they're almost lost amidst the literal latticework of horrible-looking scars that cover his otherwise-quite-muscular body.

"That wasn't /just/ an excuse to pop my shirt off for the hot chicks, I am seriously kind of bleeding horribly. Although you are pretty hot. Um, but please heal me, now that I'm not hitting things this kind of hurts."
Lumeria Lumeria nods in-agreement with Morrighan on that. She's certainly glad the zombies are gone. Of course they still have to actually go inside the church. Her attention turns towards Niklas, "Do you flirt with everything that's female and moves?" She can't believe the man's lack of tact.
Niklas Dragonius "Yes," Nik replies bluntly, "Why wouldn't I? A million girls who say no don't make the one who says yes less fun."
Serah Farron Serah Farron helps out by applying some of her healing magic to Nik while they chat. Hey, she figured out how to do this today, might as well use it at least. "You are bleeding, but you're getting healing, should be fine. Although I'm kinda knew at this..."
Artyom W. Valodjn "Mountain," Artyom idly corrects, "Singular. Large enough to be seen from anywhere in Galianda. It was my home, I miss it dearly. But that's not proper talk for this."

"You probably met Soan," the colossus rumbles, popping the vertibrae in his neck with a crane of his head. Though the sound is more of a 'crunch' than a 'pop.' Titans have rather tremendous bones when they are of the relatively large variety. "Soan's not a bad sort. Sticky-fingered, but not bad. I prefer a larger weapon."

'Larger' apparantly meaning 'kind of ridiculous.'

"And Artyom Wojciech is a perfectly normal name for a Valodjn! My grandfather's name was Wojciech," he frowns, harrumphing. Though his eyes do narrow at the sight of Niklas' wounds. His hand lifts, quite literally flinging mud fresh from the soil right into the gaping sores.

It is surprisingly comfortable.
Cressida Cressida eyes the obnoxious one (Niklas, who else) and just rolls her eyes at him when he pulls of his shirt, looking thoroughly unimpressed. "Don't get any ideas.." She murmurs dryly as she begins to work on healing his many wounds. With Serah's help, it shouldn't take too long.

"It might be wise for those who are badly injured to stay in town for a while longer.." It seems however, that the heretics have slipped off by this time. Unfortunately.

Seeing Morrighan looking more human (or Elfin as the case may be), she smiles and nods to her. "Good to see you back to normal, Miss Alanze." Pity she didn't stay a Newt though.
Morrighan Alazne "Hmph. I am sure you would love to have me continue staying a reptile." Morrighan muttered, brushing herself off and fixing her dress. With that little episode behind her, the dark elf moved off. "In any case, there is hardly any reason for me to remain here. You people do as you like. I will have no further part of it."

That said, Morrighan gestured a hand forward, causing a dark corridor to open up ahead of her. Once that was done, she simply stepped forward and though it, disappearing from sight. The portal closed after her, leaving the others to wonder just where she had gone.

...Or maybe not.
Niklas Dragonius "I'm from Ifrit," Nik adds helpfully. "Well, my blood's from Ifrit. I'm actually from Chocobo, our moon. Alexander Academy's on the moon, too - really huge." Nik stretches out his arms helpfully.

"We've actually got a lot of cities. Most of the world is city." Nik grunts as he's covered in mud, but Cressida and Serah's healing abilities at least make that a temporary problem at best. He sits down (he'd just wash it off later). "Like, a ton of city. Each continent is covered in cities. Except Bahamut. Nobody goes to Bahamut."
Serah Farron Serah Farron tries to say the name while she heals up Nik "Woz-chy-ek? Yeah, I'd need to practice to say that, but its good to be proud about your name too, really." She smiles kindly "Serah Farron is my name." She listens in the conversation a bit "... Then what's on Bahamut?"
Niklas Dragonius "Clouds, mostly. Clouds and dragons. There's one flying city, but except for that, everything is for the dragons to know, not for us." Nik shrugs. "I never really wondered about it. It's forbidden."
Serah Farron Serah Farron hms "Sounds it would be the place that has the most wonders and treasures then, wouldn't it?"
Artyom W. Valodjn "Dragons," Artyom explains. "And only Dragons. All those who're born from Bahamut are dragons. Nobody really... goes to Bahamut, unless they're only visiting one of the cities. The dragons do not take kindly to people so much as glancing at their floating islands."

"Sometimes, you can see them from Titan," he shrugs, "Sort of wonder what's up there. Wonder if it's still around. I doubt anything could have consumed Bahamut."
Niklas Dragonius "You don't mess with the dragons. It's a law. Like, everybody agrees that nobody messes with the dragons. The Dragoons train on those islands, I hear, but treasures and stuff? Nobody says anything about treasures, nobody even thinks twice about going to Bahamut's ground. Trust's probably not worth it." Nik shakes his head.

"The dragoons are their personal knights. They ride around on the dragons and do their will. So if fighting dragons wasn't enough, you're also fighting elite soldiers."
Serah Farron Serah Farron shrugs her shoulders a bit at that "Well, I suppose I won't plan my next vacation there then." She avoid mentionning that its on a world that she couldn't get to anyway... and even if she could, she's lots enough as it is in this new world. She finishes 'patching up' Nik with her spells "There, you'll need a new shirt though."
Niklas Dragonius "Ehn, I'll just kill a monster and make a new one," Nik replies with a shrug. "Besides, it's not like it's protecting me much. Plus this way you get to see my awesome muscles all day." He grins, then stretches out a bit, laying back onto the ground. Stupid mud.

"Yeah, well..."

He's glad it's gone.
Artyom W. Valodjn "He'll find one. Or make one." Artyom chuckles, rising from his little mound of dirt. Amazingly, none of it sticks to his pants! Earth magic is totally awesome when you're good at it. "Anyway, I aught to see about... All this," he gestures vaguely in the direction of the broken /everything./

"I do hope you'll get to see our world someday, Serah. It really was a beautiful place. Excuse me."

And then he goes, because there are cats to calm and a town to repair.

This scene contained 165 poses. The players who were present were: Faruja Senra, Will Sherman, Avira, Lumeria, Minerva, Morrighan Alazne, Oriane Guado, Clayton, Royce, Niklas Dragonius, Artyom W Valodjn, Ramza Beoulve, Serah Farron, Cressida, Artemis Eurus