1/27 Warden Thing

Baizon Apr 26th, 2019 294 Never
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  1. [18:41] Rituals. That's something Ohtli at least -knows- she can do. All manner of rites and ceremonies. Though this one is admittedly a little different.
  3. All the same, The Drakan is ready to do some heathenry in the presence of the pristine, well-adorned members of Huangzhou's elite. Her, her trusty ceremonial knife, and her drab poncho are a stark contrast in just how dull and primitive they are.
  5. "I can make the portal. But Angelo, you will need to make sure it's attuned to the proper location," she explains as she draws the old serrated mythril blade from her back. "If you can do that much, we should have little trouble getting passage to where we need to go."
  7. In shamanic tradition she begins by making a circle, taking dried, sweetly scented herbs from a pouch in her poncho and creating a barrier around their motely little crew.
  9. And, as with all -great- Gehennan rituals, there is one key ingredient that matters most. Ohtli has no issue whatsoever with turning up her good forearm, drawing her sword across it, and letting the blood coat the blade in a clash of red.
  11. It doesn't stay red for long, however. Flickering tongues of blue energy travel up the sword and encompass the ritualist in an aura of azure mist. She holds the weapon up and calls out aloud.
  13. "Quetzalcoatl! Ryuujin! I beseech you both to lend your wisdom and protection! My comrades and I have need to travel through the realm of the Spirits. We ask for your blessing so that our righteous work can be done and the balance restored. Please allow us safe passage so the deed may be done."
  15. While it is the Serpent she follows, the spirits tend to be Ryuujin's sphere of influence. It only feels fair to ask permission from him too.
  17. In a single slash that leaves a stripe of energy in its wake, Ohtli makes a vertical slice in the air. A portal, a passageway perhaps, waiting to be directed and widened.
  19. The ritualist looks expectantly towards Angelo.
  21. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  22. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  24. [18:55] Making sure it was attuned to the proper location. Angelo was more than able to do this, perhaps; Given the group at hand, he was by far the one that mostly studied about these, except likely for Ohtli. But the mastery and experience over the Arcane that guided him since the days he was twenty four allowed for some sensitivity that most wouldn't have.
  26. The soothing chime establishes itself around him, before the breeze moves to the portal. It seems that the blood moves around, and it is carefully manipulated to swirl into its very otherworldly essence. Angelo's movements are careful and calculated.
  28. And if something was worth anything...
  30. It was his intent.
  32. He imagined, not what Vanaheim or Joruheim looked like, but instead relied on the feeling that these inspired on him. To Vanaheim, their goal, Angelo mentalized whatever came to his mind regarding that in the end. The good intents, the realm of the Exalted; All the stories, focused into a myriad of concepts that flooded his mind.
  34. And through it, a single cosmic shimmer left his fingers, pointing towards the slit in the air that led to the spirit world. Angelo whispered a few, magical words, and moved his arms around. Perhaps it was an attempt more than anything, but...
  36. If it wouldn't land them right at the nigh impenetrable barriers that stopped the advance of evil, he was unsure what would.
  37. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  38. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  40. [19:04] Blood ritual wasn't one he was fan of, though utilizing one's own crimson wasn't particularly something to frown upon, either. Regardless, he'd merely take a single, smaller step backwards, watching as the scarlet takes shape, only for Angelo to direct-- to connect the realms afterwards.
  42. Once enlarged, there's a brief sigh, and eyes settle close for just a moment there. Presence of Arcane does shroud along his own for, benevolent, and soothing all the same before he'd finally offer a nod.
  44. "Our best bet, probably. Let's get moving."
  46. It's mumbled outwards, and with his eyes still drifted close, he'd take further steps in the portal's direction. There was no hesitation that embraced his mind, really. Just a soft, quiet calm, and stream's blessing before the light embraces ice magus' form.
  48. His first attempt at walking into such, though he trusted both his comrades-- they knew whatthey were doing.
  49. (Zeriel Heifang)
  50. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  52. [19:05] Once more, the group of order aligned magi across Agartha had joined together, lacking a few members but such hadn't hindered their resolve in the slightest. A trip to the Spirit Realm was in order to further their goal.
  54. Standing back, Hayashi watched pensively as the portal was open with methods he wasn't quite proud of but would have to accept nonetheless. Eagleheart as well as Ohtli were the stars of the show for now, considering that Taro hadn't been around and they seemed to be a fine job with attempts to bring the group to their destination.
  56. One could only hope, at least.
  58. Looking at the entrance to the spirit realm, the Shogun turned to the others, a few words were spoken. "...I'm not really sure how this sort of thing works, perhaps we should all enter simultaneously?" He'd ask before redirecting those jade eyes of his to the entrance once more.
  60. Regardless of if the others decided to go at the same time or not, Hayashi bravely took steps towards the portal and walked in.
  61. (Hayashi Guren)
  62. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  64. [19:05] Rikona knew little in the way of rituals, as well as the spirit realm in general. Her knowledge of wardens was also minimal, as her worries and focus tended to be more so on her people. Despite this, she had to assist the other Arcane magi, as the Nethradin posed a serious threat to the rest of Agartha.
  66. The offering of blood brought a momentary frown to her countenance. Her own beloved was a blood magi, but she remained uneasy about the idea of using it to enter the realm of the dead.
  68. The Lieutenant remained silent for the most part, only offering nods and watching their craft. Upon Eagleheart's display, her eyes would widen. Learning through observation, should she ever need to do something similar in the future.
  70. Whatever might lie in their path, they had to find answers. It would be required in order to face the coming darkness, even if it meant putting their own lives at risk.
  72. She followed Zeriel, hoping whatever the others had done was a success.
  73. (Rikona Heifang)
  74. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  76. [19:24] {NARRATION} Getting to a place like the Spirit Realm was never easy, much less to a specific part of it. One had to avoid places such as Helheim, or Ifraheim, or Uraheim. Very little could support life, and still less of that was welcoming of it.
  78. After all... This was a place for the dead to begin with.
  80. The portal began to open, guided by two magi capable of it. Guided to where? Presumably, hopefully, Joruheim. A safe realm, a place where the spiritual Wardens might be able to aid them...
  82. Your senses twisted as a hundred sensations burned over. Boiling, freezing, suffocating, snuggled tight in a warm embrace, a lovers caress, the first sweet of your life - on and on, was this what it was like for someone to die?
  84. The horrid stench of sulfur filled your mouths, hacking at your throats like a meat cleaver. The sky was murky and shimmered like diseased water, the ground felt fleshy, with pustules popping underfoot. On and on it stretched...
  86. This was assuredly not Joruheim.
  87. [19:30] The Drakan naturally followed her comrades through the portal, still wielding the blade and with the gentle aura of blue mist that surrounded her.
  89. As much as she has contact with the spiritual, as many rites as she's performed and members of the departed she's had contact with, she has never been across the border between the mortal plane and that which lies beyond.
  91. If this is what it feels like to pass through every time, she's not sure she wants to repeat it. A veritable rollercoaster of sensations passes over her and leaves her stunned and reeling when she emerges onto the other side.
  93. And into a place that looks like some of her more recent nightmares. She coughs, sputters, and scans around in narrowly restrained disbelief.
  95. Was it her work that somehow brought them to this hellscape? To this impure place of disease, pestilence, and sulfur?...
  97. Had her pleas gone unanswered? Perhaps even...revoked?
  99. The sighs, the sounds, the smells all envelop her, followed by a crushing sense of guilt straight on its heels.
  101. "Oh...oh, Spirits above and below."
  102. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  103. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  105. [19:32] Stepping into the portal, the Guren began to feel a myriad of strange feelings however throughout all of them attempts were made to remain calm. Boiling, freezing, suffocating, a warm embrace, and everything inbetween were felt and taken with little more than a few grunts, and shivers.
  107. When all was over, Hayashi found himself within an unknown area, one with air that was clearly not meant for a human to be breathing. Coughing a bit, he'd look around in shock at the murky sky. Both legs rose and descended back to the ground one after the other a few times, he was feeling out the texture of it.
  109. "...Where..." Cough, cough. "--are we?"
  110. (Hayashi Guren)
  111. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  113. [19:32] As the others entered, so did she. It was a surreal experience, entering another realm entirely. She wasn't sure if the same laws that applied to their world would apply here as well.
  115. Upon entering, however, she would soon realize that this was not the home of the righteous Wardens they had intended on visiting. So much hateful experiences mixed with goods ones as well.
  117. Rikona is stunned at first, unable to get a firm grasp on her surroundings. It's the other's voices that break her out of her daze. A place of suffering, almost as if she had taken a mouthful of sulfur before entering.
  119. "Where are we?"
  121. The Lieutenant's tone was soft, barely audible. She spoke more so to herself than the others, trying to match up the little she knew about the spirit realm with their current surroundings.
  123. Rikona failed, at a loss. She had no idea where they had ended up.
  124. (Rikona Heifang)
  125. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  127. [19:32] The comforting outskirts of Vanaheim weren't what they were greeted with. Not even close, truth be told-- the sensations to follow were twisted, disturbing, and neigh unbearable all the while. Whether it be pyres that made him think of Land of Flame, or the frost that only brought the thoughts of Uraheim.
  129. Nonetheless, the stench of death was ever-present, and touch of sulfur almost suffocating. A single step is taken, and then another before he'd allow his eyes to squeeze shut, a single hand brought to his own lips, in an attempt to block out the pungent scent.
  131. "This-- this doesn't resemble anything."
  133. He went over Angelo's tome quite a couple different times, and other sources of knowledge, and yet...
  135. This truly didn't resemble anything he knew of, to say the least. Not the peaceful calm of outermost realms, and not the blazes of Ifraheim-- this was different. This was rotting.
  137. "Don't-- utilize any sort of fire. Sulfur's strong here."
  139. It's mumbled outwards, and a brief glance is spared in Angelo's direction now, head tilted over to the side.
  141. "The only thing that comes to mind is Helheim in itself, but... surely that can't be the case, right? Do we keep on moving?"
  142. (Zeriel Heifang)
  143. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  145. [19:41] Angelo seemed surprised, to say the least. The place they were in wasn't the one that he aimed for. It wasn't the one that he visualized, the one that he seemed to think they would redirect themselves to. Furrowing down his eyebrows, Angelo pulled onto the mask, fastening it to his face with the same soothing chime of always.
  147. The breeze expanded forth, looking for anything that he could look. It was a terrible omen, before his faux gaze settled on top of Ohtli. Almost as if looking for some sort of confirmation, the elder Order magi started to speak a few words.
  149. "We're... Helheim. Definitely." Nevertheless, he seemed to search for something else. Something... Different. The lifestream still flowed in this place, and it still redirected towards the very tree that they aimed.
  151. "The place we're looking for is near Yggdrasil. The spirit realm flows to that place,entirely... We should aim for it. I think that's where we'll find what we aim. Or... Perhaps we can push a distress call through the lifestream." There were options, after all -- They were all Order Magi.
  153. "The best option isn't staying still, so... Let's see where we can move towards." And then, he searched for anything that could guide them towards the tree itself. If anything, that'd work as the lighthouse that they were seeking in this desperate environment.
  154. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  155. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  157. [19:42] Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "I don't know where else it could be. The realm of the Lost...Helheim indeed."
  158. [19:43] Zeriel only nods a tad, merely allowing the presence of Arcane to expand before taking those slow, small steps himself. Senses remain sharpened, though, eyes peeled, and lifestream ever-present, searching through.
  159. (Zeriel Heifang)
  160. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  162. [19:51] {NARRATION} The land itself certainly didn't give you any clues. Vile magics permeated the air, giving an otherworldly feeling that blotted your vision. In the distance, the ground rumbled. Creatures stirred. The remnants of your portal faded, leaving you well and truly alone here.
  164. Perhaps another ritual could take you home, or perhaps not. Perhaps it'd leave you further stranded.
  166. In the distance, a tower that wasn't there suddenly was. It was close, the ground around it exploded and frozen in time, as good a point as any to head towards. Your intuitions led there, and besides...
  168. It had to be better than walking endlessly anywhere else.
  170. A small voice prodded at the backs of your heads even as you did walk.
  172. "Why?"
  173. [19:56] "Why?"
  175. It's already a question Ohtli is asking herself, only assisted by the voice in her head. Why here? Why this place? Had something gone wrong? Did the Spirits not answer, or is this where they needed to be?
  177. The appearance of the lone tower on the horizon, the torn earth around it still as if a great battle had been put on pause, is the only thing that stounds out in the bleak scape all around.
  179. "If we have to pick a place to go...we may as well go somewhere obvious," she remarks while still in sullen contemplation. Unless the others come up with a better notion of what to do, that's where she begins trekking with bloodied sword in hand.
  180. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  181. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  183. [19:58] It certainly didn't seem like the place which righteous spirits would reside. Wardens of lore, heroes who had been blessed and given strength to fight the Nethradin. No, this wasn't that at all.
  185. Rikona's attunement flared, trying to get some sort of reading on their location, using her blessing by the lifestream in doing so. In tandem with her Arcane abilities, looking for the right path, even if failing in doing so.
  187. "Eagleheart is right, we should keep moving."
  189. With that, her sight was set on the tower in the distance. It had appeared from nowhere, though would surely provide answers. Hopefully.
  191. Even if she felt doubt, a voice tugging at the back of her mind, she persevered and pushed forward. Alongside the others, she made her way towards the tower. Unless they protested that, though.
  192. (Rikona Heifang)
  193. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  195. [20:00] In a time like this, there wasn't much Hayashi could do other than look towards Eagleheart and Ohtli for guidance, those two at least had experience presumably, and if not then they certainly had more knowledge on the Spirit Realm than he did.
  197. Within an unfamiliar area with seemingly no way of return as well as no guidance towards Yggdrasil which was spoken of earlier, he as well as the others took note of the tower within the distance.
  199. Why?
  201. Presumably a question of why they had come. "...Because this is the only lead we have..." He'd mutter in a hardly audible tone before pressing on towards the tower.
  202. (Hayashi Guren)
  203. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  205. [20:01] Expanding, aiming to search for any pathway, direction that could possibly lead them-- to pick out any creatures that lurked about, closer than he'd prefer them to be. The presence of Arcane never once left his surroundings, focused, and attuned to his senses all the while.
  207. And certainly did it search through for the source of voice that quietly reverberates, echoing their senses. Sight of the tower is certainly there, and though his steps aren't hesitant, they were small nonetheless.
  209. Who is it? What are you implying?
  211. The words found the back of his head, so it was only natural he'd offer thoughts in response. Though, he didn't expect any answer. A nod is given in Ohtli's direction, and just as quietly would he continue to make his way closer and closer to the tower there.
  213. Senses remain sharp, nonetheless.
  215. "Just... keep your eyes peeled, guys. No idea what'd be waiting for us."
  216. (Zeriel Heifang)
  217. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  219. [20:03] Angelo's expressionless face simply moved to face the Castlevania that happened. He seemed to allow his own influence to expand some, before finally letting out a sigh. There was no other way for them to go, was there? It wasn't only what his ears betrayed to him...
  221. But everything else.
  223. They were already there, and the only way back was forwards. To ensure a location, to make sure they could stay there for at least a while, and then... Propel back. Without a single word, Angelo removed the hammer from his back.
  225. Using his own shoulder as support, the crusader started walking towards the tower.
  226. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  227. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  229. [20:14] {NARRATION} "Why?" Another question thrown at you, and strangely...
  231. It seemed actually asked. There was very real confusion in the tone, one that wasn't yours.
  233. "Why did you come here? Why? WHY?" The voice grew stronger as you approached the tower, the crunching of six sets of footsteps getting closer.
  235. "It looks like we'll need to jump up there." He said simply, pointing a robed finger up at the first of the several exploded pieces of debris that led like a stairway. "If we want to get in the tower, that is." With that, the man jumped, kicking off the diseased ground with ease.
  236. [20:18] Six. Six sets of foot-steps...Wait- wait a second. Ohtli does another head count. Five Order magi, then...
  238. A man? A robed man? The Drakan does a doubletake, beyond perplexed at the sudden arrival of the sixth member (?) of their party.
  240. "Excuse me, but who are you?"
  242. She's understandably wary about following the advice of stranger. Especially if this place is Helheim.
  243. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  244. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  246. [20:18] you all got the big gay
  247. (The Warden)
  248. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  250. [20:19] "Oh, okay. So we just have to--" Wait a second, he'd pause, realizing said voice belonged not to one of his comrades.
  252. Turning towards the robed figure with a slight tilt of his head, he'd await it's answer seeing as how Ohtli had already asked the important question.
  253. (Hayashi Guren)
  254. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  256. [20:22] Angelo was about to suggest just that. When the sixth figure joined them, he simply tilted his head slightly to the side, although still not even close to facing it. After all, Angelo was -blind- above anything else! He simply decided to...
  258. Wait for Ohtli's answer, after all. A slight shrug, before he simply asked a more important question even. Perhaps his innocence was something that often got in the way, but now, there was a very important thing to ask.
  260. "Jump up where?" He spoke, before the breeze moved towards the tower. Obviously, Angelo was having the problem that only someone like him could have.
  262. Pointing to things just didn't work.
  263. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  264. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  266. [20:23] A voice she didn't recognize, coming from a robed man she had no recollection of meeting. A trick, perhaps? No. That couldn't be it. This wasn't an illusion, nor something which she had hallucinated herself.
  268. The man was very real, as the others all addressed him. She merely watched, stupefied, as the man leapt up and atop the stairs of debris. He had come and gone, without leaving a major impact on the group.
  270. How long had he been following them? Since the beginning? Since she had doubted herself?
  272. Shaking her head, Rikona's icy irises scanned over the others in the group, before giving them a nod. She had no idea who the man is, but there was only one way to find out.
  274. The Lieutenant awaited an answer, should he not have left in a hasty fashion.
  275. (Rikona Heifang)
  276. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  278. [20:24] There's a blink, and the confusion embraces along his senses once a concealed, sixth figure echoes through, acting as though it was part of their group to begin with, leading the charge, and guiding them all the while. Though no questions escape once his lips do part.
  280. "Spirit?"
  282. Mumbled outwards mostly to himself than anything else, and the younger Heifang follows along regardless, taking those slow, small steps-- careful. Could very well be a trap-- but it was the only lead they had, after all.
  284. Though he'd wait, and not particularly propel himself to follow along, Zeriel would make sure to keep an eye on the... form, if anything. To chase behind should it actually disappear into the towers.
  285. (Zeriel Heifang)
  286. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  288. [20:29] {NARRATION} Without so much as missing a beat, the man turned to face Ohtli. He looked young, not even to his twentieth year, without a weapon or hint of magic about him. Despite the fact that he'd already kicked off the ground, he still spoke.
  290. "Who are you?" Upside down he flew to the first platform, throwing a stone towards Eagleheart to give a general direction.
  292. "I've always been here, you're the one breaking into someone elses house, though I guess this one isn't mine either. Uhh, I'm not sure you could even pronounce my name. How does Che sound? Simple, right?"
  294. How the hell could you even hear him?
  295. [20:31] Introductions. Not something she expected to be making.
  297. Not in Helheim, anyhow.
  299. "Ohtli Tezcacoatl. We weren't meant to be trespassing," she clarifies, looking from 'Che' to her traveling compatriots.
  301. "We hadn't even meant to end up here. We're looking for Joruheim."
  303. Just as she was wary of the spirit, or whatever this Che might be, she's wary of just where he, or it, might be leading them in the first place. Things are not always as they seem- in the mortal world and no doubt doubly so in places like these."
  304. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  305. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  307. [20:34] Breaking into someone else's house?
  309. That meant that whoever this guy was-- he was from the Spirit Realm at the very least. Trusting strangers didn't exactly seem like the best option, however...
  311. Well, they didn't have very many options to begin with, the group was planning to head towards the tower anyway so for all intents and purposes, their goals matched up. At least for now.
  313. Giving a shrug, the Shogun wrapped himself with a thin blanket of holy mana, it's purpose was none other than to aid with the leap to the first platform. Bending his knees a bit, Hayashi would jump, propelling himself upwards towards the tower-- a feat which proved to be slightly more difficult giving how mushy the ground was, but possible nonetheless.
  314. (Hayashi Guren)
  315. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  317. [20:35] This time around, he'd merely quirk a single eyebrow upwards. A frosted, vapory mist accompanies the mages as he'd find himself propelled upwards this time around, using the debris as foothold to find the first platform-- nothing further. Not just yet.
  319. "Zeriel Heifang. Che does sound simply, don't worry."
  321. Words are mumbled outwards, and weight shifts from one foot to another. If anything, a soothing presence of Arcane is ever-present, shrouding along his own form.
  323. "We're... looking to find our way to the Joruheim, yes. Looking for a warden or so, to be exact-- apologies, we never meant to disturb the peace, or trespass into your 'house', really."
  325. There's a slower, softer pause.
  327. "What place is this, by the way? By the looks of it, only realm that comes to mind would be Helheim, honestly."
  328. (Zeriel Heifang)
  329. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  331. [20:36] Everything about the man was odd, from the way he spoke, his presence, and the way he carried himself. Despite this, Rikona did not answer him, merely watching cautiously. She figured it would be best to allow the ones more experienced and aged to speak, to lead.
  333. Her arms crossed one another, as she looked at the tower and man skeptically. Considering their lack of options, it seemed to be the logical choice to explore.
  335. From legends and lore, she had heard the Spirit Realm could be a tricky place, but not something like this. She could only hope that Che was a friend rather than a foe.
  337. Upon watching the Shogun move, she makes a leap after him, using ice to propel herself forwards.
  338. (Rikona Heifang)
  339. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  341. [20:38] Stone! Now he could follow. Without much of a question, Angelo follows the thrown one, daftly pushing it to the side as he floats. Obviously, movement was easy for him to see -- But he didn't seem to hesitate regarding to that.
  343. "Names are overrated." Or just, overall, more powerful than anything else. Curses often were related to names, and this meant that sharing his own? It was probably far worse than what they already were here for.
  345. Nevertheless, the blind order magi continued to follow after. He was growing old, yes; But he wasn't even close to growing stale. He could still move as fast as twenty years ago, if not faster.
  347. "But what's in there? Since we're burling partners."
  348. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  349. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  351. [20:41] {NARRATION} "I dunno, that's a good question mister overrated." 'Che' said happily as he leaped from stone to stone with speed and precision that placed him as... Definitely not a non-magi. "Probably the same thing that junted you here, it keeps calling to me like some kind of signal." He circled his temple with a finger.
  353. "Glad to see you lot aren't stupid though, this place definitely isn't Joruheim! You're in Helheim, and it's not a fun place! Lots of things want to kill you here if you're not careful, or you might just get really, really depressed from all the damned that can't escape their fates." Again, he shot closer to the tower, always throwing a rock towards Eagleheart to help guide him.
  355. "If you're looking for a Warden, I'm sure I could help though, I mean, I am here on official business, breaking this tower."
  356. [20:44] The others had already begun to follow. In for a penny, in for a pound. Ohtli follows after, taking wing rather than hopping along behind the strange apparition.
  358. "Official business? From where?" she asks, minding the path behind the others and keeping a wary eye open. Che, for his credit, was right. In Helheim nothing was going to be kind to them, which makes her all the more wary of their guide's sudden arrival.
  360. "And to break this tower? What does that entail?"
  361. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  362. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  364. [20:46] Helheim, as they had expected. She knew the general terms, as well as what they were broadly. Wardens were unfamiliar to her though, having only heard of the great spirits in legends. Certainly this happy-go-lucky young man couldn't be...?
  366. Rikona shook her head, listening to his words. Even if he were, it would be good for them. Perhaps he could help in their endeavors.
  368. "I see."
  370. It was all she said, her icy personality rising to the surface. Such a soothing warmth surrounding her form, yet her exterior in clear juxtaposition with this fact.
  372. The Lieutenant propelled herself forward once more, following along with the stranger.
  373. (Rikona Heifang)
  374. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  376. [20:47] A Warden? What luck! Things were beginning to look up for Hayashi as well as the others. Of course, whether or not this was actually a Warden or not wasn't something which the Shogun would be able to tell, perhaps his cohorts would be able to?
  378. Regardless, he followed along, taking leaps after the Warden did as they made their way up the tower.
  380. Once more, the good questions had been stolen by Ohtli and so all that was left was to listen keenly, awaiting an answer.
  381. (Hayashi Guren)
  382. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  384. [20:48] "Great."
  386. It's hushed outwards, alongside yet another vapory sigh at the mention of Helheim. Though he wouldn't particularly wait this time around either before following after, propelling himself forward, and using the same debris and platforms to keep pace with the... thing. Spirit. Person.
  388. "Nethradin aren't the loveliest, most charming spirits, yes. Suppose we've experienced that much firsthand..."
  390. Though his features remain blank, the words to escape are somewhat casual, even with that dull voice. Even then, he appeared to be quite careful-- leaving little openings his stance. They were in Helheim, after all. Nothing was to be blindly trusted.
  392. "Know a way to find the Wardens, then, I take? Unless you are one yourself..."
  394. A slower pause, then, and eyebrows lift themselves yet once again.
  396. "Why a random tower, though? Pretty sure this thing wasn'teven there when we first arrived-- appeared out of nowhere, honestly."
  397. (Zeriel Heifang)
  398. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  400. [20:55] Angelo seemed to be rather enthused on this. While others had their own questions, they mostly covered what the elder one had to offer; After all, he was too busy following thrown rocks left and right more than anything else.
  402. "This tower is probably magical. You saw how it appeared, yes? It could be... The home of some Nethradin, or something like that." He continued to speak, although obviously more concentrated on the very movements he had to make to jump into the tower. So, he started taking assumptions.
  404. "If this is true, then, I understand everyone here knows why we should destroy it. I mean... The voice behind our head probably doesn't help a lot, in the end. It seemed angry at us being here. So, I'd say this tower belongs here."
  405. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  406. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  408. [20:57] {NARRATION} "Well sure the tower was here, you just weren't looking for it. Really, that you saw it at all before I pointed it out was a miracle." Or perhaps the fact that you were all capable of harnassing the power of the Arcane to one degree or another...
  410. "And, well, destroying the tower should be easy. I just have to kill whatever's in charge of it, and it'll be easy after that. Then I'll answer whatever you need." He looked towards Ohtli, remembering another question. "Oh, right, Joruheim sent me. I mean, isn't it obvious? How else would I help you about Warden stuff?"
  411. [20:59] Ohtli, over time, has learned many things. But chief among them has been cynicism. Skepticism.
  413. "Obvious to some, perhaps. But to those who aren't familiar to this place it's more difficult to tell. Nor have I personally ever met a Warden."
  415. She is positively buzzing with questions, yet holds them at bay as she flaps along at the rear of the group. Perhaps the others can field some of their own.
  416. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  417. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  419. [21:02] Something was in control of the tower? Certainly a Nethradin, if they were truly in Helheim. It was all so new to Rikona, who had only heard of this stuff in fairytales.
  421. "I imagine we will assist you in your endeavor, then. Nethradin are currently plaguing the northern part of our continent in the realm of the living. Agartha."
  423. She spoke softly once more, addressing the stranger, before focusing on navigating the makeshift stairs. Surely it was fate that brought them together, this tower must be an obstacle.
  425. Rikona had little more to offer or add, merely following along.
  426. (Rikona Heifang)
  427. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  429. [21:02] Hayashi had no questions, at least not for now. All they had to do was go into the tower and beat up whoever was in charge? Well, that sounded like a pretty sweet deal to him.
  431. --But...He also realized that in situations like this, caution was to be taken indeed. This was a different realm entirely than what he was used to and taking things at base value likely wasn't the safest option.
  433. Rather than act, he'd wait for what the others had to say, specifically Zeriel and Eagleheart. Those two seemed to at least be in a better mindset than he were for the whole thing.
  434. (Hayashi Guren)
  435. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  437. [21:05] A slow, quiet nod is offered this time around, and the Heifang merely continues to keep pace with the one with younger appearance. Arms remain tucked underneath the frosted cloak, and hands somewhat shoved into his pockets all the while.
  439. "Sounds simple-- and dangerous. The fact that you were... sent here should be more than enough to say that you're capable, but let us help in any way in any way we can, yeah?"
  441. His words remain casual as presence of Arcane expands yet once again-- if only to watch out for any assault, or presence of corrupted spirits. A brief glance is spared in Rikona's direction, and he'd nod yet once again.
  443. "That'd be true... the reason as to why we're looking for a Warden at first place. To find some answers regarding the Nethradin, perhaps, and some guidance... to save our continent from the swarms."
  445. Though, perhaps the news of rift already managed to spread across the Spirit World-- it wasn't often a portal was opened connecting Helheim to the continents.
  446. (Zeriel Heifang)
  447. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  449. [21:08] "Not like we have much of a choice." Obviously, Angelo wasn't about to allow himself to not help; They seemed to be getting it mostly right. After all, he used the arcane as a guiding method for years on end, and if it didn't betray any sort of chaotic aura from this one...
  451. ... Then it surely meant he, at least, wasn't the worst. Perhaps it was something that he had taught Zeriel, to trust others in most cases when they couldn't prove or even suspect they were wrong; To always have the best of others in mind.
  453. "Agartha is being swarmed. I had-- A plan. To close off the portals, and stop any other rifts from opening through, but... That got cut off short by lack of support from others." Perhaps a bit more help could be in order. "Now, we are needing outside assistance."
  454. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  455. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  457. [21:17] {NARRATION} A single finger pointed off to the distant sky, where a vast scar could be seen carved across it. It looked ragged and ill-stitched, ready to be torn open again at a moments notice.
  459. Clearly, the rift had a presence in both Hel and Agartha.
  461. "Well, it's simple then. You wait out here, and I'll go in and kill the Nethradin and we can talk." When had you reached the base of the tower? In a flash, the Warden was gone, or rather, had burst through the wall faster than you could track, leaving a sizeable hole behind and you alone.
  463. Rude.
  464. [21:20] "I wouldn't be surprised if he died." Angelo spoke, but nevertheless, decided that they were out of choices. The soothing chime expanded around, and soon enough, he seemed to scout through the rift equally open on this side of the realm.
  466. "We need something with a lot of power to close this from the inside. It'd probably be easier than from the outside, but also easier for them to remove by themselves..." Angelo seems to think about it, before the chime scouts the surrounding terrain for a simple thing.
  468. Places to hide, in case things went south.
  469. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  470. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  472. [21:22] Ohtli slowly nods agreement with Angelo. Rarely ever did the course of these things run smooth.
  474. "Alternatively...We could pursue and try to help him. If he is as he says, a Warden, he is our best lead to solve this problem. Once and for all."
  476. She looks between the others and the ominous hole in the tower that led within its confines.
  478. "I'm not content to wait either way, and it seems ill advised."
  479. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  480. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  482. [21:24] Pale hues drift upwards, and his eyes would only widen a fraction at the sight of the sealed rift there. Stitched, as it appeared... much more defined than the portal in their own realm, but--
  484. "Great."
  486. Word is hushed outwards yet once again, and though before he even had a chance to glance in the figure's direction, it vanished back into the tower-- leaving an opening for them, at least. There's a blink, and Angelo's words do grace his ears.
  488. "...wouldn't be great if he died. We're in Helheim, and don't particularly know how to even get out of here, but-- never mind the fact that he's supposed to help us eventually."
  490. Another, slower pause, and he'd take small steps in the direction of the hole in question-- though waiting for others to follow along before he'd enter.
  492. "I say we follow him, and... as for the rift, uh... if we do try to close it from the inside, I'm pretty sure a swarm of Nethradin would surround us sooner or later, anyway. Wouldn't want that."
  494. Not unless they had a proper plan-- and knowledge, alongside resources.
  496. "...anyhow, let's go before he's far out of reach... no idea how big of a maze it is in there, anyway."
  497. (Zeriel Heifang)
  498. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  500. [21:24] "I think we should follow after as well."
  502. Rikona agreed with Ohtli, her gaze set upon the tower itself. Surely the Warden could help them afterwards, should they assist him with his own endeavor.
  504. The golden light surrounding her form flared brighter than ever, as her gaze shifted between each of the people in her group. They were all capable, Arcane magi, those who had taken the path of righteousness and order.
  506. Surely they could handle whatever this place might throw at them.
  508. The Lieutenant nodded at Zeriel as well, before moving in the direction the Warden had prior. Into the tower they would go, it seems.
  509. (Rikona Heifang)
  510. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  512. [21:24] . . .Well that was strange. Such reckless action-- was this truly a Warden? He mentioned going to kill a Nethradin as well and if it were anything like the one Malentine had brought forth well...such wouldn't be possible with their forces alone.
  514. Still, Hayashi was willing to try.
  516. "...It won't be easy but, let's try helping him." He'd say in agreement with Ohtli as well as Zeriel, following along.
  517. (Hayashi Guren)
  518. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  520. [21:28] "I don't think it'd be best." Of course, Angelo had been on the supposed Warden's side many times. And every single time, he regretted it. The first assumption didn't make him very comfortable, but he had to follow one of these. Either the man was a warden...
  522. Or he wasn't.
  524. "We are much more vulnerable in this place than he is. If he's a warden, we're just hostages waiting to be taken. If we go inside... We should make our best to not be captured, or to not even be seen by him. Trail the same path, if possible; But move away slightly."
  526. "Of course, if he isn't..." The very thought made him slightly sad; But the calm voice continued on, nearly unaffected.
  528. "Then that's likely a trap in there."
  529. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  530. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  532. [21:31] Zeriel Heifang says, "Don't think simply barging in his path would be helpful, either... if he truly is warden-- though, suppose we'd be able to lend a hand in case things do get south. Our only lead, anyway."
  533. [21:31] Zeriel Heifang says, "...but, agreed. Let's maintain our distance-- and follow the trail. Eyes peeled open, though."
  534. [21:31] Angelo Sanguinis says, "Mmhm."
  535. [21:38]
  536. {LOAD GAME}
  538. [21:41] {NARRATION} Following him, you were given only one direction to go - up. Though you couldn't take the path he had. There was a hole in the ceiling, and the one above that, over and over to mark his path as easily as any other. Yet if you tried it, you'd find it restraining you somehow.
  540. The entire tower was dark, and made from that same, horrible organic matter as the rest of the landscape. There weren't even decorations, leading you to wonder what kind of tower this was supposed to be? There was a pulsing heartbeat, one that could be constantly heard with every motion...
  542. A set of stairs positioned themselves in front of you, leading up. Bodies of smaller, servial creatures littered the floor.
  543. [21:47] The sight of the organic matter, as well as the dead creatures, did not bother the Heifang. She had encountered far too much corruption in the past to let this little bit cloud her senses.
  545. Onwards she marched, following alongside the group. Up the stairs, cautiously watching her surroundings. She imagined that the Warden has immeasurable strength, certainly stronger than herself.
  547. The Warden would likely be able to handle the Nethradin himself, but they would provide assistance in the case he was bested. They had no idea how many lie in wait, be it one or many.
  549. "Continue on, I suppose."
  551. Rikona spoke to no one in particular. Her thoughts spoken allowed, more like.
  552. (Rikona Heifang)
  553. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  555. [21:49] The only means of travel seemed to be heading up and fortunately stairs were nearby to facilitate in their travels. Given that the tower was dark, Hayashi sought to at least bring forth some sort of illumination with an aura of Holy magic.
  557. The bodies which littered the ground didn't go unnoticed however their presence would be ignored for now. Hayashi intended to use the stairs...but would wait until everyone had come to a consensus on it.
  558. (Hayashi Guren)
  559. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  561. [21:50] Ohtli's first instinct is to naturally follow the way upward, through the ceiling, but for some reason...something doesn't seem right about that. The nature of the stairs doesn't make them any more appealing either however, yet it's the only way that's available to all of them.
  563. "With caution. Though I'm sure that's...obvious. The stairs, then."
  565. She keeps her sword white-knuckled in her prosthetic hand. Spirits, she's going to have a yarn to spin when she gets back.
  567. -If- she gets back, Ohtli reminds herself. Though if she were to die hear she's sure Windsor would never let her hear the end of it, even in the furthest reaches of Helheim.
  568. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  569. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  571. [21:50] The holes dotted a clear pathway, and yet... even as he tried to form pillars of ice underneath his own feet, and propel himself upwards-- somehow, something was there, restraining, resisting. Not one he could make heads or tails of, really, but...
  573. "Charming..."
  575. Was all that'd escape the magus at the sight of, well, corpses littered across the floor. Talk about unsettling.
  577. "Using fire's a bad idea, but ah..."
  579. No words escape before he'd dig into his pockets, shaking a vial of torchlight all the while-- magical potion, and no flames were involved. A safer alternative, to say the least, making the path somewhat clearer for them to follow. Slow steps are taken onwards, up the stairs-- their only option available.
  581. Though the presence of Arcane still shrouds him, it isn't expanded as much-- he didn't meant to alert... things that resided within.
  583. "Eyes peeled, like always..."
  584. (Zeriel Heifang)
  585. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  587. [21:53] Angelo has been attacked by the only thing that he hates. His only, most hidden weakness was right in front of him. And that weakness was, to say the least, very simple.
  589. Something that he couldn't sense in the least because it was too far away. To be honest, it was the first time in a while that he had to actually use his eyesight for something like this. Otherwise, he was simply locked in a nigh empty cylinder.
  591. One hand moved to Ohtli's shoulder, giving a soft squeeze. Perhaps he hoped to simply look and perhaps feel reassuring, while also getting some guidance on the subject of his own blindness at this moment. Been a while; But some things last.
  592. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  593. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  595. [22:02] {NARRATION} Up it continued to go. Each floor was utterly unique and alien. One appeared to be some giant kitchen, set up for the sole purpose of roasting a massive hunk of stone with an oven made out of meat.
  597. An armory for creatures that typically had no hands, much less a need for weapons beyond their claws. Libraries with books made from flesh, a massive music hall far too large to fit within the tower, with instruments of every type imagineable within...
  599. And still you climbed. The sounds of battle could be heard, crashing, the thunderous boom of lightning, the crack of earthen might. What could have been words were heard, in some utterly alien language, one that you had no hope of discerning.
  600. [22:07] Perhaps it was a mockery of the realm of the living, complete replicas of facilities that they'd use on a daily basis. However, there was a hellish twist to each appliance, each room and book.
  602. Surely they couldn't do anything productive with any of this, unless their anatomy and biological code was far different. Rikona knew too little of Nethradin to form an opinion, despite it posing such interesting questions.
  604. "I think we are close."
  606. The sound of battle is heard in the distance, as they continue up the stairs towards whatever might be lying in wait. Surely it was the sound of the Warden they had encountered prior.
  608. The Lieutenant could only hope that he would prove to be victorious against the Nethradin.
  609. (Rikona Heifang)
  610. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  612. [22:08] "You know... half convinced something's having real fun messing with us."
  614. Words are mumbled outwards, and a blink is offered in the direction of meat ovens prepared to roast literal stones. Though, he wouldn't particularly wait to examine just what in the world they were witnessing. No words escape at the armory to follow-- for crippled.
  616. Every next floor was weirder than the one before, and at this point he could simply frown, and wrinkle his nose at each and every one to follow, squinting all the same-- until the sounds of battle are audible, that is. Crashes, and magic being tossed around. He couldn't make out the words, but...
  618. "Well, we're close... let's not engage unless things truly are looking grim, or if we have a clear measurement of their strengths-- no idea if we'd be a liability or not, yeah?"
  620. Getting in the Warden's way wasn't something he wanted to do, really. Though upwards would he move, taking slower, quieter steps this time around-- somewhat sneaking, if anything.
  621. (Zeriel Heifang)
  622. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  624. [22:09] Ohtli glances back to Angelo, knowing full well what that squeeze might've meant.
  626. Namely a reminder that he was bat-blind and she was going to be a seeing eye bird. There are worse lots in life. She marches up the stairs slowly behind the others and leads the way for her sightless comrade.
  628. She gives the rooms passing quizzical glances, but otherwise presses on up the stairs.
  630. "Agreed," she replies, echoing Zeriel's sentiment.
  632. "But it might be best to hurry. I'd rather be early than late if it's a battle."
  633. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  634. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  636. [22:10] A nod was given-- there was certainly some sort of battle going on, and if the Warden had truly been sent on a mission to destroy the tower, then whoever had sent it likely knew that it was capable enough to do so.
  638. On the other hand...there was a chance that the Warden would fall in battle and be killed, then they'd be back to square one pretty much. It was a hard decision.
  640. "If we do wait around...there's a chance the Warden will be killed, leaving us no chance to get the answers we seek." Just something he wanted to put out there.
  642. "...With that being said-- I'm still not sure what the best course of action is."
  643. (Hayashi Guren)
  644. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  646. [22:11] They were getting close. Of course, at Zeriel's speech, Angelo couldn't help but nod slightly. "We don't need to engage unless it's to save him. We need to remain hidden; Unless we hear something suspicious. Or see, or sense. I don't think they'd send an incapable warden all the way here."
  648. But obviously, he was worried. If they truly found a warden, which seemed to be true so far, they couldn't risk losing him. Or at least, they couldn't risk doing so permanently; There were worse fates in this than death. They had the life of an entire continent up on their hands now.
  650. "If we get in at the middle of the battle, we're likely to only be a liability." The man's forces of the arcane moved around, as if merely peeping over the stairs to find something different. There were two possible outcomes from this,in his mind.
  652. One.
  654. The Nethradin would find them, and come rushing for them. "Might as well be ready if something comes for us."
  656. Two.
  658. He'd know if the Warden needed help."
  659. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  660. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  662. [22:14] Zeriel Heifang says, "Mmh... if the warden's on the losing end-- suppose we can jump in. Considering their abilities aren't light years superior than our own-- combined, that is."
  663. [22:20] Hayashi Guren says, "Che seemed confident at the very least, telling us to wait outside while he kills it."
  664. [22:23] Angelo Sanguinis says, "Distress calls are something that can be understood in any language."
  665. [22:23] Angelo Sanguinis says, "If he makes one, we'll understand."
  666. [22:23] {NARRATION} And so you waited, listening to the battle. It was hard to tell who was utilizing what magics, as you couldn't see it, you could only hear it. You didn't even know that it was a Nethradin at all that the Warden was fighting, if it was indeed a Warden. All you knew was that something dangerous was happening, and you were so close...
  668. Close enough to hear the rather even fight suddenly spike, to hear the pained cry as a sickeningly wet sound erupted, the sound of meat and gristle tearing.
  670. Arms, two of them, went flying down the hole in the ceiling, trailing blood as they went, with a muffled thump following. A roar, presumably of triumph, echoed out, one that interrupted in some kind of horrific hacking. Had it been injured, whatever had been fighting?
  672. It had ended so fast that you couldn't even intervene. A very faint magic, distinctly Arcane, distinctly aligned with Order, radiated.
  673. [22:30] The sounds of battle, the cries, and clashes of magic-- his eyes remain squeezes shut, and senses sharp as ever, if anything. The presence of arcane expanding, in order to grasp any call for help, or any flickers, yet...
  675. Arms. Two of them toppling their way down the holes up above, and crimson was more than apparent in their wake, and... the presence of white robes.
  677. "Okay, that's... that's not a good sign. Or anything remotely close to one."
  679. Words are murmured outwards, though a quick, albeit vapory breath escapes outwards at the... presence of Arcane-- and it wasn't a corrupted presence. Much similar to his own, or Rikona's, or that of anyone else in their group.
  681. Order.
  683. "Could still be alive-- probably is. Let's hurry up."
  685. Words are swift, and not a single moment is wasted before he's dash onwards. Was it a clever decision? He didn't know-- but waiting further wasn't a luxury they could afford really. Not with what they just witnessed-- and the presence of pure, benevolent magic was there. Surely, it couldn't be something a Nethradin radiated.
  687. If there was some hope left-- if they had any chance to save the Warden, he wanted to grasp it.
  688. (Zeriel Heifang)
  689. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  691. [22:31] The sight of the arms and the sounds of combat above make the Drakan's seasoned stomach do somersaults.
  693. Oh. Oh -that- can't be good. She looks quickly to the others and grabs her sword all the tighter.
  695. "We can't leave him up there alone. It's not right. There could be a chance we can help, that there's something left to save," Ohtli urges, keeping her voice low
  697. Thankfully Zeriel voices the rest of her thoughts before she can. There's the need for urgency as she prepares to charge up the steps and lead the blind Angelo along behind her.
  698. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  699. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  701. [22:32] Judging by the arms which fell, covered within white cloaks and dripping blood, the worst possible scenario had taken place.
  703. Che lost.
  705. There was a slight shudder before the blonde closed his eyes to reflect on the best possible action. Their only guide had fallen, and with one goal-- to destroy the tower. The group could try to follow in Che's footsteps and hope that whatever he fought was at least weakened enough to be defeated by the likes of them,
  707. or they could try to escape. Where would our heroes even go?
  709. "He...might still be alive." Optimism at it's finest. It seemed that Zeriel had thought the same, and just as how the Lieutenant had stood up to the Nethradin upon the snowy mountains of Baukdengrad, Hayashi watched as the Heifang once more seemed prepared to head face first into danger.
  711. "...Right, let's go then!" There it was again, despite being in a higher position than Zeriel, it was the ice magus which truly led when it came down to things.
  712. (Hayashi Guren)
  713. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  715. [22:32] Unfortunately, Rikona was quick to notice the robed arms falling down the hole in the ceiling. It seemed their Warden had lost its fight, even if he potentially still clung to life.
  717. Upon Zeriel's suggestion, she merely offered a nod, before preparing to move.
  719. "I agree. We simply can't turn tail now, after getting this far. We are mages of Order, it is our duty."
  721. Rikona nodded in agreement with Ohtli as well, a woman who she was still wholly unfamiliar with. Capable surely, considering the ritual she had performed to get them here in the first place.
  723. She knew the others would all have her back as well, as she prepared to follow behind.
  724. (Rikona Heifang)
  725. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  727. [22:38] There could be situations where it was worse. That was, in fact, what Angelo feared to sense. The distress call that he didn't want to sense or hear coming from anywhere. Perhaps in a hurry to make it amplified anywhere, the Order magi tried to not allow desperation to take over him. Of course, it meant that if he found out that it was a signal towards anywhere else...
  729. Angelo would replicate the same, acting as an amplifier. With Zeriel's initiative, the elder order magi's wings of cosmic energy fluttered into life. Of course, they weren't at the influence of the same stars or at least he wasn't in his full strength.
  731. But he still had plenty of cosmic mana to burn. If there was something he could do to stall the situation or delay the death, he would. Wing hitting against the stairs underneath, Eagleheart took flight to the room above.
  733. Hope, after all, was the basis of his attunement to the Arcane.
  734. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  735. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  737. [22:41] {NARRATION} The first to step up that stairwell would nearly be decapitated by a wildly swinging tentacle, the second fighting not to be impaled by a barrage of stone projectiles. Something was within, and it was not happy with intrusions.
  739. The entire floor was littered with battlescars, gouges torn from the walls, scorch marks, the tell-tale horrors of occultism and exorcism clashing. Against one wall in a pool of blood was the Warden, devoid of both arms, left leg gnawed off at the gnee.
  741. "G-Guess you were too impatient to wait for me..." It coughed, blood leaking from its mouth. Another tentacle slammed down atop him, or rather, where he was, impacting a barrier. "Could you... Tag in..."
  743. The Nethradin itself was hard to relate to any beast you'd seen. More like an entity, with tentacles, hands haphazardly placed about, horns. How it moved was beyond you - did it walk, float? A pair of wings flapped on the back, but they were angled in a way that should've made flight impossible.
  745. Without word, it came for you.
  746. [22:47] Well, it was a mess, if anything. Amidst the destroyed room, surrounded within torn, broken walls and floor underneath, a single sight graced him before anything else; that of the Warden laying across a pool of his own crimson, lacking both arms, and half a leg all the while.
  748. A quick, worried step is taken once the tentacle slams down-- though a barrier was there, it seemed. Much like the ones his fallen comrade once wielded, if not stronger. Pale hues then drift over in the NEthradin's direction, a halking beast shrouded within those tentacles and odd horns all the same. Flapping of those wings was more than audible, and he could only allow a vapory breath of icy hue to escape outwards in the moment.
  750. Then, the demon lunged, coming right at them. Well, saves them the trouble of distracting it from their warden in distress.
  752. "No need to ask, I suppose."
  754. Words are murmured outwards, and his tone remains surprisingly casual, quiet. Regardless, even if the demon was injured, this would be far, far from an easy victory. Hands grasp along the hilt of Aurora, and it's unsheated just as quickly.
  756. Well, then.
  758. "Tag."
  760. There it comes.
  761. (Zeriel Heifang)
  762. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  764. [22:49] Finally, it was time to do something Hayashi was actually good at-- fighting against evil. The holy aura which ebbed from the Shogun's body, flowing around within a radius around Hayashi began to flicker, growing more condensed and static-like as lightning mana was mixed with it.
  766. Holy Lightning
  768. The previously cheerful Warden which now laid near-death within a pile of blood with it's arms and half of a leg gone was a horrible sight, not any more horrible than the Nethradin which suddenly rushed towards the group however.
  770. Quickly drawing his blade, Hayashi leapt out of harm's way a veil of Arcane energy shimmering around his form all the while.
  772. "Well then, looks like it's time to go wild. You all know the drill-- take down whatever that beast is, and save the Warden!" He called out, before sending a bolt of lightning towards the winged-beast.
  773. (Hayashi Guren)
  774. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  776. [22:49] Bad timing to be the first one! Luckily, he ducked slightly to avoid the tentacle, but it still came crashing at the surrounding region. Nevertheless, they were all Order magi -- They were here to represent something in the end.
  778. Hope.
  780. "Worry not." The hammer came to his hand. After all, Angelo had faced death many times in the past; If this was another one of these, it didn't matter much. Cosmic energy coursed through his veins, allowing the wings to flutter behind him.
  782. The hammer hit the ground, in a loud sequence of noises. After all, he wanted to grab its attention; It was better for it to focus on the most resilient one than the others, after all. Even more potent than that, was his aura of Order. Perhaps due to simply being used to it, he tried to not only expand...
  784. But completely shroud the aura of his fellow Order magi with his own. "We're here."
  785. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  786. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  788. [22:50] To see a Warden in such disrepair was shocking. Che's words of confidence prior had led her to believe that his strength would be more than sufficient to handle the Nethradin. It seemed even Wardens would fall victim to overconfidence.
  790. She merely offered a nod to him, before her icy gaze set upon the form of the Nethradin. She had faced these creatures in the pasth, but this one was far different.
  792. Tentacles, a feeling of corruption emanating off of it. They couldn't afford to let it live, but she had the feeling it was stronger than the smaller ones they had face in the realm of the living.
  794. "Remain on guard."
  796. It's all she says, as her staff is drawn forwards. Balls of ice rotate around her form, as she prepares to take a defensive position.
  797. (Rikona Heifang)
  798. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  800. [22:52] The Quetzal's heart sinks to see the gore, then lifts to hear the Warden speak. Still alive and protected by the barrier which kept the Nethradin's strikes from crushing him to paste.
  802. All around there are signs of the struggle that must've happened moments before as the Warden faced off against the tower's Lord. Tongues of blue energy dance around her blade anew and her wings spread to their full span, a sourceless gust of wind flitting through her feathers.
  804. Worlds apart from her comrades of Huangzhou, but they all stood for the same thing at the day's end. Protection of the lifestream, which naturally this Nethradin stood in the way of.
  806. A call for battle rises up from all of them, words exchanged, but Ohtli has no words to give in return. She only has a battle-cry as she raps her fist against her chest and prepares to engage the oncoming enemy.
  807. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  808. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  810. [23:49] {NARRATION} The battle was fierce and horrific, with the Nethradin hurling its power around wantonly, having no desire but to kill these intruders. Each of you was forced to your limits within its realm, mere outsiders looking into a place that it called home. No wonder the Warden had failed, you were so close to failure yourselves...
  812. Poor Angelo, perhaps it wasn't a good idea to bring the elderly on such violent excursions. As the Nethradin shambled forward, a tentacle slammed into him, breaking bones, snapping vertibrae...
  814. Breaking his back and a portion of his spine. It was likely that without prosthetic aid, Angelo would never walk again.
  816. Ohtli was far less damaged, but still so, impaled by several spikes of occult-influenced rock, her torso riddled with minor wounds that began to stack up. She'd be coughing blood for quite some time...
  818. The rest were left wounded, but it was manageable. None of the wounds were as bad as the Wardens, which were almost certainly fatal. Even as the final blows were dealt to the Nethradin, you were left with the sudden realization that you only had but moments left with him.
  820. As the Nethradin fell, the tower began to fall apart, pieces of... Ore? Ore, raining down upon the party.
  822. Soulsteel.
  823. [23:50] {Item} You picked up Soulsteel..
  824. [23:50] {Item} You picked up Soulsteel..
  825. [23:55] The battle was grueling, and the Drakan is no longer any spring chicken. Nonetheless she fights valiantly, with blade and claw and spell, for all that she's worth.
  827. The Nethradin finally falls, but only just barely.
  829. Ohtli opens her mouth to let out a cry in exultation, in victory, only to have it become a cough as she expectorates blood with air. She looks down and the injuries which she'd been able to ignore in the rush of gruesome combat start to take their toll.
  831. And then she starts to notice the -other- injuries. Namely Angelo's, as he lies still on the ground after the bone-snapping slam of one of the Nethradin's tentacles.
  833. For a time it's hard to speak, to form words. Surely they'll already be on it, but the Spiritualist frantically gestures to her downed, blind comrade and the Warden.
  835. She's in pain, but she'll keep, sputtering and hacking.
  836. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  837. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  839. [00:00] Fierce, chaotic, and he could only imagine just how terrifying the Nethradin truly was at its best-- if it wasn't already weakened by the Warden. Icicles would explode from the grounds underneath, and yet they were no match for the lightning that zipped along, shattering the pristine with ease.
  841. From the corners of his eyes, he could certainly catch the sight of his own mentor being the subject of the beast's assault, tentacle slamming into his form, crushing. Constant, swift blows found Ohtli, slowly but surely leaving damage that'd last a while.
  843. Eventually the creature did fall nonetheless, and so did the trembling tower that shrouded them. Ores rained down, some into cloak, some littering the grounds underneath, though Zeriel would merely lift a single hand upwards, allowing energies of Arcane to shroud along the Warden's form-- acting as a bit of protective barrier, making sure that the telekinesis shield prevented any debris from finding the spirit, even if Che was more than capable on his own.
  845. They couldn't afford to take risks.
  847. "Lord Shogun-- make sure Angelo's situation doesn't get any worse!"
  849. It's exclaimed outwards, with Zeriel already wounded, even if superficial, and pre-occupied all the while.
  851. A mess.
  852. (Zeriel Heifang)
  853. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  855. [00:04] Hayashi fought with all that he had, pushing his body to the very limits against the Nethradin. The moment a battle had come into play, this was no longer an excursion or even a crusade, it had become more than that.
  857. His main goals had shifted to victory, survival, and returning home to his lovely wife and kids. Stabbing his blade into the ground, many crystals of varying colors began to come forth. "Everyone, I know that it's dark, but if you're able to see any then grab the crystals littered among the field-- they'll provide aid!"
  859. With that being said, it was time to focus on combat, being a fighter which kept away from his opponents, the Shogun would be seen generally at the back of the group, firing off bolts of lightning as well as shards of crystals towards the Nethradin-- should it dare approach, it would be pummeled with an adept force of Telekinesis.
  861. It went without saying that all wasn't well of Hayashi's end at least, while he collaborated healing efforts with Rikona, the Guren had still suffered some strikes from his opponent's magic.
  863. It was an arduous battle, long as well as unfortunate for some other members of the party, namely Ohtli and Eagleheart, but the group managed to pull through, doing what the lone Warden could not.
  865. He was hardly able to stand, let alone walk, however Hayashi made sure to pocket some of the falling ore from the tower. Next, he'd look towards Ohtli as well as Eagleheart and the Warden as well. Were they alright?
  867. Angelo sure didn't seem to be-- a stride was taken over to the elderly magi before the blonde would kneel beside him. "...My apologies, after all of these years I...still haven't learned much about medical appliances of magic, but the least I can do is attempt to lessen the pain." The crackling sparks of holy-infused lightning began to disperse, gone and replaced with small orbs of holy mana within the Guren's palms which would be placed towards the man's afflicted areas in an attempt to at least make his injury more bearable.
  868. (Hayashi Guren)
  869. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  871. [00:05] They were all Arcane magi, defenders of Order and paladins of righteousness. They held their own distinctive beliefs, cultures, but Order is what had brought them together.
  873. With the use of their collective telekinesis, the creature would be brought to heel, even if it was a tough battle. The eldest among them, Eaglheart, was rendered incapacitated near the end, while Ohtli had sustained a pretty nasty wound herself.
  875. Rikona left the fight with scrapes and gashes, nothing severe, but certainly would pain her for a long while. Nothing like the major injuries which both Eagleheart and Ohtli had sustained.
  877. The Lieutenant dodged the falling of the soulsteel, rolling to the side. She imagined it could be used in various projects, so picked up a few pieces, before her attention settled upon the fallen form of Eagleheart.
  879. He had helped you when she was injured, so it would only be proper for her to return the same favor.
  881. Rikona approached Eagleheart quickly, alongside Hayashi. She had little experience in the medical field, but knew that she could utilize the liflestream to offer at least some pain relief.
  883. "We will get you back in once piece."
  885. She spoke softly, kneeling down and extending the golden energy to flow around him as well. Her palms hovering above his form. She did this without getting in the way of the Shogun, before her gaze set upon Zeriel.
  887. "We can handle the injured, if you would check on the Warden."
  889. (Rikona Heifang)
  890. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  892. [00:06] The battle went on at its fiercest. Angelo was nearly knocked out mid-fight, but it was perhaps for the worst. Should that happen, he wouldn't feel the wrecking pain that came forth on his lower back. Spine severely damaged in a blow taken in the stead of someone else, it caused the hammer to fall down at a huge distance from him.
  894. A sharp yell came from his mouth, before the man tried to stand back up. Through the sheer might of his hands, perhaps in an attempt to ignore the pain and continue the fight, even if he was hurt. The hammer was still in his access, the very attunement they found to each other still evident.
  896. One hand rose to grab the hammer, coincidentally hitting the Nethradin directly on whatever gravitational mass it had. Angelo still held tight to the weapon, but couldn't voice anything much more other than that. He panted some, legs obviously not responding...
  898. One of them, already being a prosthetic, only made it all worse.
  900. But, after the adrenaline of the fight had waned, after his own conscience was allowed to settle down, the aura of the arcane spread to the sides. Towards the group, before he simply allowed himself to usher in desperation towards the Warden.
  902. Cosmic energy still fluttered, carrying him around; Arms were weak, but his mind was sound, even if he was perfectly broken. The sense of duty was what carried him forth. Before, now... It always had something that carried him forth.
  904. "T-The warden! Make sure the Warden is alright!" Angelo couldn't stop but speak, before sending a shimmering holy light towards him. Nevertheless, it didn't matter, in the end.
  906. Angelo's magic was one of the last few efforts he was able to make before finally noticing that, in the end...
  908. Things were fine. They would survive.
  910. His purpose was done.
  912. A smile spread through his face, barely but still visible through the broken porcelain of the mask, and with one hand risen towards the Warden, the order magi Eagleheart finally allowed himself to have much-needed rest. Consciousness slowly waned away. He was still breathing, even if erratically so.
  914. But with his primary duty fulfilled, the duty of saving the others... He was perfectly happy with the outcome. All the speeches, all the talk, all the apologies and promises.
  916. Nothing that he could help but barely hear before allowing his body to finally notice it had been pushed further than its limit, fainting into unconsciousness.
  917. (Angelo Sanguinis)
  918. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  920. [00:22] {NARRATION} The Warden was taking his last breaths, coughing against the wall. "I'm missing almost all of my limbs..." He spoke softly, and more controlled than earlier. As if he'd accepted his situation. A light smile played on his lips.
  922. "You wanted help with the Nethradin, right? This... It was a beacon, I think it messed your portal up. You need to go, but I can help you." Spectral, shimmering arms formed from the stumps where his others should've been, clenching tightly. "They're... Connected, it's hard to explain... It's a single mind, spread across so many... You don't need to kill the army..." His hands began to glow with a brilliant light.
  924. "You need to cut the head off, and the body dies. I can feel what you have, it's the first step." His entire body shimmered, blindingly bright. When the light faded, the Warden was gone...
  926. A compacted crystal was left behind.
  927. [00:34] With Angelo in Rikona's and Hayashi's care, Zeriel would only nod in the former's direction before dashing onwards, making his way over to the fallen Warden all the while. Pulsating energies of Arcane tug along, shrouding the spirit's form in an attempt to limit the bleeding, to fasten the clotting process, and yet...
  929. ...he was no medic, and the wounds were certainly lethal. As words reach his senses, Zeriel could only allow faint, shallow breaths to escape outwards, listening, all while pouring down the healing arts in the moment.
  931. A frown embraces along, and eyebrows knit together by the time that blinding light illuminates their surroundings-- engulfing the one called Che, and drowning him away, yet...
  933. They didn't need to kill the army, but just cut the head off... even then, the explanation remained vague-- and quite a lot of darkness still embraced them. Slowly reaching out, he'd allow his digits to grasp along crystal left behind, clenching tight for just a moment before sliding it under his own cloak with frosted, vapory sigh.
  935. "What we have... is the first step."
  937. The pulsating heart, but--
  939. Turning around, he'd dig into the pristine coat yet once again, only to come up with a vial which is soon tossed in Ohtli's direction.
  941. "This should help out with your wounds, Lady Ohtli."
  943. They still needed to get out of the realm-- find a way, but...
  945. "Angelo's injured, we need to carry him, and... how do we make our way out? Another ritual?"
  947. Another glance is spared in the Drakantie's direction.
  948. (Zeriel Heifang)
  949. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  951. [00:34] {Item} You picked up Elixir Of Healing. Dropped by Zeriel Heifang. .
  952. [00:36] The Drakan looks reluctantly on the blue phial, clutching it and flicking out the glass stopper with her thumb. There's a moments hesitation, some wheezing, and she downs its contents. Already she can feel the familiar tincture working its literal magic on the holes in her torso.
  954. She takes a deep breath in which the rattling and sputtering vanishes halfway through.
  956. "Y...Yes. That should do. So long as it doesn't get us more lost. It sounds like the beacon was what drew us here instead of where we needed to go. With that gone, we should end up somewhere more reliable.
  958. "Say the word. I can try to take us back home again."
  959. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  960. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  962. [00:40] Hayashi Guren says, "I think heading home would be for the doesn't seem very wise to stick around any longer with Eagleheart in that condition."
  963. [00:40] It was a sad moment, watching as the Warden faded away. She knew that they were great, strong beings capable of holding their own. However, this was different, it was a young man, not the stoic statue of justice she had envisioned.
  965. Rikona continued to apply her soothing energy all the while, attempting to reduce Eagleheart's pain, even if he was unconscious.
  967. "I imagine if Hayashi and I use telekinesis, we could get him home safely. I'd rather we not manhandle him, as we don't yet know the extent of his damage. It'd be best to get a proper medic to look at it all."
  969. She spoke in a rushed tone, wanting to get the man back to safety. Even if they had a rocky start, he was still someone who had fought beside her twice now.
  971. "If you could make a ritual to return us, that would be best."
  972. (Rikona Heifang)
  973. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  975. [00:40] Zeriel Heifang says, "Mmh... a ritual would be the best option-- things are still vague, but we can't... afford to venture any further. Angelo's condition isn't looking well, either."
  976. [00:41] Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Of course, of course..."
  977. [00:49] Home it was, and the sooner the better. All the same a hasty mistake would be their undoing. She sweeps some of the Nethradin gore from her sword and starts the ritual in a similar fashion- rather than sprinkling herbs to make her circle she drags the tip of her blade to scratch into the floor.
  979. It's the same barbaric ritual that got them there. Now it's going to take them home. The people of Huangzhou can be as uneasy as they like about the blood, but the results are what matters. She draws a fresh slice across her arm to use her own life to make the way back to the mortal realm.
  981. And with that blood a fresh plea.
  983. "Great Quetzalcoatl and Ryuujin. Spirits of the hereafter and before. I call to you so that we might make our way back to where we belong. Our work here is done, all for a noble purpose..."
  985. Just as it had the first time the azure aura, as deep blue as her wings, suffuses her weapon and leaves behind an after image as she slices through the air. She makes the way and, with Angelo out of commission, tries to direct it.
  987. Intent guides many actions, intent and mental imagery. She imagines the bright sun beaming down above, the smell of lush, deep grass, a sense of peace and calm, and the distant sound of familiar voices. Her own impression of 'home'.
  988. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  989. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  991. [01:01] If it wasn't for the portal, he could only imagine just how... arduous the journey back home would be. Nonetheless, all five of them were embraced within superficial wounds, their outfits somewhat tattered, and an unconscious, clearly hurt Eagleheart levitating along-- held by the presence of lifestream in itself; Arcane.
  993. No words escape at first as a single arm lifts upwards, wiping along his own forehead as he'd let a frosted, vapory breath outwards all the while.
  995. "No medic in square, ah... let's take him to the clinic nonetheless-- he can get some rest, and we can find someone to heal the wounds in the meantime..."
  997. The voice is tired, and certainly exhausted-- even if their expedition was partially successful, they... were still left in a bit of dark, with only vague hints. But hints nonetheless.
  999. Pale hues turn, shifting over in Ohtli's direction.
  1001. "We... honestly wouldn't be able to do any of that without your help, Lady Ohtli. Thank you, greatly-- the journey was tiring, so please stay for as long as you'd like to, and do let us know if we can help out with anything."
  1003. There's a pause, and his hand would merely dig into the frosted cloak yet once again, only to reveal a single, compact crystal this time around.
  1005. "This is what all that the Warden left us with... and some words-- and I'm not quite sure what he meant exactly, but it seems like we don't need to deal with each Nethradin individually, at least... and the pulsating heart is the first step towards reaching their 'head' as Che put it."
  1007. A sigh, then. There was a lot to decipher...
  1009. "As soon as we figure anything out, I'll let you know the first thing. This is far from over, at the very least..."
  1010. (Zeriel Heifang)
  1011. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1013. [01:05] Towah says, "Thank you"
  1014. [01:05] Callen Star exclaims, "Thanks for the business!"
  1015. [01:06] It takes not only blood, but a force of will and mana to open and redirect the portal for all of them to enter. While her wounds are healed the Drakan is decidedly fatigued and bedraggled when she comes out the other side.
  1017. Far, far better than the alternative. All the same the aura vanishes and her wings droop.
  1019. "Such is my duty," she remarks with a dismissive wave.
  1021. "I'll rest here for now. I've heard talk about demons lately. The world is less and less of a safe place with each passing day."
  1023. Ohtli's tired eyes alight upon the crystal, examining it intently. Or as intently as she can while half-dead on her feet.
  1025. "If it is at all tied to the Nethradin, and it is the reason we were thrown off there a chance it might draw in the 'head' of the beast? So we can finish it?"
  1027. A thought, a passing one, but she offers it with a shrug.
  1029. "Research will prevail. We should perhaps talk soon."
  1030. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
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