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The Asterian Adventure: Murder After The Parade (Act III)

Nov 14th, 2019
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  1.  
  2. Rackham grins, giggling softly, then louder, at the bickering before him.
  3.  
  4. Ryx nods his head at Lyndee.
  5.  
  6. Zackery frowns harshly at her Prince, if only for a moment, before governing her features once more.
  7.  
  8. Tahquil Maris, Hedgehog of the Valley says in a light, youthful voice, "WE were friends once, but you turned from the church, started avoiding me."
  9.  
  10. Rackham says, "How easy it is, turning nobles on eachothers throats....."
  11.  
  12. *******************
  13. || A C T I I I ||
  14. *******************
  15.  
  16. Stheno casts Rackham a sharp look, taking her place by Zackery and Keorin.
  17.  
  18. What little colour was once in Zackery's marble pale cheeks seems to drain.
  19.  
  20. Tahquil Maris, Hedgehog of the Valley says in a light, youthful voice, "But this. I cannot condone. Castomira, how much gold were you to give his family for his life? Was it the same amount found in the handkerchief?"
  21.  
  22. Ellodin watches Rackham curiously.
  23.  
  24. Lyndee stares at Rackham, her brow furrowed. "What are you saying, Prince?"
  25.  
  26. Rackham draws himself to height, his appearance as Mycale fading. "Indeed, the murder stands right before you! Not Mycale as I was hoping so much for you to believe...."
  27.  
  28. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  29.  
  30. Jocindi blinks.
  31.  
  32. Ryx tilts his head curiously.
  33.  
  34. Rackham says, "The Coiled Cobra Cult has had just about enough of this oppression towards our fellow Serpents...."
  35.  
  36. Zackery Aristata, as Castomira Brangwin accusingly asks Rackham in a lilting voice, "My Prince, surely you know not what you're saying. Did someone slip something into my sweet Mycale's glass?"
  37.  
  38. Rackham says, "And now, with a royal feast emptying the halls of any opposition, I think it's time to be rid of you all, leaving our little puppet prince the only standing ruler!"
  39.  
  40. Tahquil flings herself backwards towards Ryx, stumbling over the train of her dress as she seeks shelter from the serpentlord.
  41.  
  42. Rackham says, "He sleeps soundly in his chambers, safe and sound from what's to come...."
  43.  
  44. Zackery's eyes widen. She steps away from Rackham's side.
  45.  
  46. Ryx assumes a battle stance, covering Catarin from potential attacks, watching "Mycale" closely.
  47.  
  48. Rackham declares loudly, "Cult! It's time! Take the princess! Slaughter the rest!"
  49.  
  50. Azazell opens his eyes wide with shock.
  51.  
  52. Some of the servants in the hall draw gleaming dirks from within aprons and robes, turning on their surprised and shocked fellows in blurs of motion.
  53.  
  54. Ellodin slowly pulls an oxidised silver sword inlaid with ruby from a dragonbone scabbard, gripping it tightly.
  55.  
  56. Darrod draws a hidden blade from behind his back as he kicks the chair behind him over and starts to pace away from the table.
  57. Ser Darrod, Honour-Guard to Castomira says maniacally in a pontifical voice, "The Cult of the Coild Cobra will see you ALL like that dead brat over there!"
  58.  
  59. An armoured guard gasps and chokes as a Serpentlord materialises behind him, pulling his whip tight around his throat in a merciless garrote.
  60.  
  61. Jocindi gives a horrified gasp.
  62.  
  63. Heldurk lifts his sword, moving swiftly forward.
  64.  
  65. The air ripples and shifts, abruptly revealing a handful of cloaked Serpentlords standing throughout the chamber in what once appeared to be empty space.
  66.  
  67. Laughing to herself, Jurixe draws her own dirk from a hidden sheath and leaps forward to bury it in an unsuspecting guard's throat.
  68.  
  69. Zackery gathers her skirts franctically in a mad rush toward the locked doors to the hall.
  70.  
  71. Alphonso, the tailor who mildly resembles Azazell says in an eccentric, lilting voice, "Guards! Anyone! General, please!"
  72.  
  73. The great hall erupts into pandemonium as fighting breaks out all over the room, the clash of steel on steel interspersed with panicked screams for help and the choked gurgles of dying men.
  74.  
  75. Heldurk ruthlessly slips his blade through the back of a guard's neck before moving on toward the cowering guests.
  76.  
  77. Screaming servants flee towards the large doors, only to find them barred from the outside by something heavy. No amount of desperate pounding and shoving yields any result, and those too slow to run are cut down by opportunistic Serpentlords.
  78.  
  79. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "Charen, Frances! Make sure the princess does not come to harm!"
  80.  
  81. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  82.  
  83. Tahquil's eyes are wide with terror as she cowers behind Lord Grandir without either weapon or shield.
  84.  
  85. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "...Alphonso too, I mean."
  86.  
  87. Stheno continues to assert herself between Castomira and harm, sweeping the fleeing Zackery away from the false Prince and his retinue of snakes.
  88.  
  89. Azazell cowers in a corner, whimpering.
  90.  
  91. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says firmly in a commanding voice, "Assemble! We must fight, not turn and be stabbed in the back!"
  92.  
  93. Tahquil Maris, Hedgehog of the Valley says in a loud voice, "Bernie! Riana! Run!"
  94.  
  95. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says menacingly in a low, silken voice, "You have nowhere to run, bastard royals."
  96.  
  97. Frances stands at the ready, her back against Tahquil as she draws her sword.
  98.  
  99. Darrod parries a blade aimed at his chest with a deft maneuver. Following the momentum, he spins and drives his blade into the guard's chest before the soldier slumps to the floor.
  100.  
  101. Siduri begins to wield Thoth's fang in her left hand.
  102.  
  103. Lyndee tightens his grip on his longsword, moving toward a nearby Serpentlord. "The DISHONOUR!" he cries, lunging and slashing his sword through him.
  104.  
  105. Siduri ceases to wield Thoth's fang in her left hand.
  106.  
  107. Siduri begins to wield a small brazen hair dagger in her left hand.
  108.  
  109. Heldurk shield bashes a cowering servant aside as he moves silently toward Lyndee's back.
  110.  
  111. Siduri steps towards Catarin, leaning in to whisper something in the Princess' ear. Her other hand gives her friend's shoulder and neck a delicate stroke. "Thank you from bringing my trinket back", she whispers with a corner smile, fang gleaming in the corner of her lip. She draws a small brazen hair dagger from Catarin's hair, and stabs into the Princess' shoulder suddenly.
  112.  
  113. Keorin snags a nearby chair, attempting to use it as an unwieldy weapon to fend off any attacks as she attempts to follow Stheno.
  114.  
  115. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale exclaims in a firm voice, "Form ranks! Remember your swordplay, your training!"
  116.  
  117. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace exclaims in a deep voice, "Catarin!"
  118.  
  119. Rackham cackles maniacally, removing a hidden blade from the sleeves of his doublet.
  120.  
  121. Letting out a sharp cry, Alasiel launches herself at Berenice, knocking over a chair as she passes.
  122.  
  123. Ryx instinctively brings his sword down upon Siduri.
  124.  
  125. Advisor Charen Lietz, who looks a bit like Frances exclaims with a posh Seleucarian accent, "Princess!"
  126.  
  127. Realising the doors will not give, Zackery turns back to the hall. Her eyes steel and she reaches under her skirts, pulling a dagger from her garter.
  128.  
  129. Chairs go flying as an armoured guard barrels through the hall, swiping his blade at a nimbly dodging Serpentlord.
  130.  
  131. Stheno feints in front of Keorin, drawing a mostly ceremonial sword from its scabbard. She disarms a lunging Serpentlord and sends the dirk spinning across the floor.
  132.  
  133. Zackery rushes to Stheno's side, her dagger drawn and ready to fight alongside her Duke.
  134.  
  135. Siduri steps back, letting Catarin go as she brandishes and points her blade at the approaching Riana and Orin, swinging it menacingly.
  136.  
  137. Tahquil gasps sharply as she blade is thrust between the bones oh her shoulder. With no words she stares at Siduri with confusion as she sinks to the floor, her pristine white dress soaking sanguine.
  138.  
  139. Some of the guards respond to Ellodin's call, converging around Catarin and Castomira.
  140.  
  141. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  142.  
  143. Lyndee stares in horror at Catarin, before he recovers and makes a swift stride toward Rackham, his longsword gleaming in the air as he brings it in a wide arc downwards upon him.
  144.  
  145. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale whispers to Zackery in a firm voice, "Stay away, my Lady. It isn't safe."
  146.  
  147. Azazell runs around the room in a panic.
  148.  
  149. Ryx parries the priestess' blows with accurate, but feeble, movements.
  150.  
  151. Heldurk trips an unsuspecting guard, aiming his blade toward Lyndee as he continues to advance into the group.
  152.  
  153. Frances rushes towards Tahquil, beginning the process of tending to her wound. "My lady, stay with me ..."
  154.  
  155. Ellodin pivots away from a piercing dirk and delivers an effective riposte, driving back a Serpentlord. He yells a rallying cry.
  156.  
  157. A sword clangs to the ground as a dying guard topples over, shot in the back by a sneering Serpentlord.
  158.  
  159. You see Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal yell, "Let's bash some CCCs!"
  160.  
  161. Keorin parries aside a lunging blade with the leg of a chair as she works her way close to a wall, as if hoping to use it to guard her back.
  162.  
  163. Zackery pivots around as the guards converge on her and Tahquil, her dagger raised with deadly intent.
  164.  
  165. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "Charen, take care of the princess!"
  166.  
  167. Advisor Charen Lietz, who looks a bit like Frances says with a posh Seleucarian accent, "Yes, sir!"
  168.  
  169. Darrod sidesteps a guard's clumsy attempt at an overhead swing before sending the man sprawling forward with a well placed kick.
  170.  
  171. Two Serpentlords weave around madly slashing guards and slip straight towards Catarin, intent on their target.
  172.  
  173. Alasiel kneels next to Catarin, letting the General deal with the priestess for the moment.
  174.  
  175. Ryx goes for a blow to the wrists, in an attempt to disarm the priestess.
  176.  
  177. Rackham sidesteps Damen's advance disappearing into the commotion and leaving several Serpentlords to handle the would-be attacker.
  178.  
  179. Screaming battle cries, a guard runs a blonde Serpentlord through with his sword.
  180.  
  181. Tahquil eyes dart between Alasiel and you as her hands shoot out to grasp at her childhood friend.
  182.  
  183. Siduri uses her heavy cloak to parry the oncoming guards, stabbing at an overeager boy rapidly in the ribs, and again.
  184.  
  185. An expensive vase shatters over a Serpentlord's head with a resounding crash, broken pieces clattering to the floor as he crumples at the feet of a panting, wild-eyed servant boy.
  186.  
  187. Rackham shouts, "Brothers and sisters of the fang! Now is the time for our glorious future!"
  188.  
  189. A swirling vortex of colour springs into existence right above the dining table, spitting out Serpentlord after Serpentlord as they plunge through from parts unseen.
  190.  
  191. Heldurk slips toward Siduri's side, opportunely stabbing a servant boy in the neck as he passes.
  192.  
  193. Keorin winces back as a serpentlord's arrow lodges itself into her shoulder, whatever soldier's training the Count seems to posses allowing her to keep a steady defensive stance.
  194.  
  195. Alasiel clasps Catarin's hands, casting a quick glance at the crimson patch spreading on the princess's dress.
  196.  
  197. Azazell picks up a yellow handkerchief tied into a bundle.
  198.  
  199. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  200.  
  201. In the heat of the battle, Ellodin begins to make his way towards Siduri. A passing cut from a dirk causes his progress to cease as his muscles freeze up. Sneering, he manages to bite down on a bloodroot leaf before yelling another command.
  202.  
  203. Ryx sweats nervously as the serpents pile into the room.
  204.  
  205. Jurixe laughs savagely as the Serpentlords materialise, showing white fangs as she evades around a kicked chair and flings a dagger at an oncoming guard.
  206.  
  207. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a commanding voice, "They must have got in through a wormhole! Find it and close it!"
  208.  
  209. Lyndee dives into the crowd after Rackham, grunting loudly with sword and armour clanging as he swings and lunges for Coiled Cobra Cult serpentlords as they begin to emerge.
  210.  
  211. Darrod spies Siduri and Heldruk in the commotion before fighting his way over, opportunistically stabbing an unaware guard in the back with a satisfied grin.
  212.  
  213. Azazell runs to the princess Catarin's side, a hankerchief in hand.
  214.  
  215. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says exultantly in a low, silken voice, "My brothers, sisters! So glad you could join us."
  216.  
  217. Shrugging off her cloak, an Atavian Serpentlord flaps her white wings and soars into the air, drawing her darkbow and picking off Seleucarian guards one by one with deadly, poison-tipped arrows.
  218.  
  219. Heldurk barely misses Lyndee's head with the edge of his shield as he attempts to bash her.
  220.  
  221. Ryx searches for the wormhole, and attempts to attack it!
  222.  
  223. Ryx closes his eyes briefly.
  224.  
  225. Keorin carefully backs her way into a corner of the room, still nursing her injured shoulder, as she attempts to make herself as un-tempting of a target as possible.
  226.  
  227. Stheno grits her teeth as the arrow sinks into Keorin's shoulder, then presses her lips together. She corrals her guests towards a less bloody corner of the room, covering them for a moment, before her eyes dart to the vortex of colours.
  228.  
  229. Tahquil glances behind herself as the vortex opens and more serpentlords swarm the room like a locusts. "Quick.." she grunts out, her voice laden with pain as unceremoniously shuffles backwards, tangled in the long skirts of her dress in an attempt to take shelter underneath the table.
  230.  
  231. Watching Ryx approach the wormhole, a Serpentlord materialises from thin air and takes aim with his bow at Ryx's back.
  232.  
  233. Zackery ducks as the arrows fly. Hatred rising in her eyes as they lock on Ryx, rushes toward him.
  234.  
  235. Siduri's features shift in a flash, the glamour wearing thin after such a long dinner. She presses her back against Heldurk's, dodging one of the arrows with a swift weave of her body, before lunging towards Damen meaningfully.
  236.  
  237. Ellodin's eyes boggle at the sheer volume and variety of Serpentlords before making his way over to Ryx. He knocks the intruder out of the way with a shoulder tackle.
  238.  
  239. Frances darts to Ryx, readying her blade in defense.
  240.  
  241. Ryx spins around, then immediately ducks.
  242.  
  243. Alphonso, the tailor who mildly resembles Azazell says in an eccentric, lilting voice, "Hoo, stand back! I'll try to tend to her wounds. I'm one of the most experienced tailors in all of Seleucar!"
  244.  
  245. Rackham moves deliberately through the maelstrom, fiendishly stabbing whatever guards are too preoccupied to retaliate as he closes the distance towards Catarin.
  246.  
  247. Two robed Serpentlords vengefully topple the ice sculpture over onto a guard duelling another Serpentlord, disorienting him long enough for a banded snake to sink its fangs deep into his thigh. His yell of pain soon turns into a choked gurgle as he begins to foam at the mouth.
  248.  
  249. Azazell holds up the hankerchief.
  250.  
  251. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  252.  
  253. Stheno locks eyes with the wormhole and seems to glaze over, standing frozen in place.
  254.  
  255. Alasiel looks up at Rackham as he approaches, her arms tightening around Catarin.
  256.  
  257. A guard yells, "Protect Lord Lucius! He's destroying the wormhole!"
  258.  
  259. Heldurk grins briefly toward Siduri before stabbing another guard from behind.
  260.  
  261. Ryx nods to Charen and Ellodin, then resumes attacking the wormhole.
  262.  
  263. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a commanding voice, "Cowardly venoms! Don't let yourself be cut,
  264. they have a venom without antidote!"
  265.  
  266. Zackery rushes to Stheno's side, holding her dagger out threateningly toward any attackers.
  267.  
  268. At the shout, more Serpentlords look up. Snarling, they begin to swarm towards the swirling vortex.
  269.  
  270. Loud crashes and muffled shouting are heard beyond the doors.
  271.  
  272. Darrod dives to the floor in a roll and is back onto his feat just as quickly. Placing his back to
  273. his companions, he squares off with a guard as their blades strike out metallic notes into the air.
  274.  
  275. Azazell examines Catarin's wounds, before hastily trying to suture her wounds.
  276.  
  277. A muffled voice shouts, "Princess! Prince! What is the meaning of this barricade!"
  278.  
  279. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a commanding voice, "Fight! Fight as if your life depends---your life depends on it!"
  280.  
  281. Failing to stifle out a groan Keorin pulls free the arrow from her shoulder. She glances about the room, before seemingly mustering what bravery she has, and running forward, chair held out as a ram, to try and reach Errikale's side.
  282.  
  283. A muffled voice shouts, "What's happening in there?!"
  284.  
  285. Frances swats at the incoming serpents, her movements precise and deft in avoiding incoming slashes.
  286.  
  287. You see Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal yell, "CCCs! Break it!"
  288.  
  289. Muffled gasps of horror are heard beyond as groaning and pounding is audible on the other side, evidence of attempts to shift the barricade.
  290.  
  291. Azazell dabs Catarin's bloody shoulder in an attempt to clean her wound and stop the bleeding.
  292.  
  293. Tahquil stares up at Alasiel, gripping her friend's hand tightly at Azazell examines her wounds. "I-I didn't mean for it to be quite this exciting for you."
  294.  
  295. Shrieking in terror, a young servant girl pelts a leering Serpentlord with rolls of hard bread as she desperately tries to escape his advances.
  296.  
  297. The vortex flickers as Stheno exerts her will, holding very still while the battle rages around her.
  298.  
  299. A Serpentlord slips behind Frances and strings her whip up against her neck in an attempted garrote.
  300.  
  301. Lyndee lifts himself out of the battle with great effort to stares in disappointment at his former squire dashes by. Kephry lifts his longsword and drives it deeply toward Heldurk. Though the squire's armour absorbs the brunt of the impact, the elder Knight sets the turncoat off balance, bringing him crashing to the floor. "You will answer for this," he seethes.
  302.  
  303. Siduri sidesteps her assaliants, desperately trying to make her way towards Lucius and the Wormhole, bloody dagger dripping on the floor.
  304.  
  305. Frances grabs at the whip around her throat, barely gagging out, "Any day now,
  306. General!"
  307.  
  308. Azazell gives a horrified gasp.
  309.  
  310. Alphonso, the tailor who mildly resembles Azazell says in an eccentric, lilting voice, "Charen! Behind you!"
  311.  
  312. Ellodin manages to escape an attempt to yank his balance away with a whip, but he loses his balance for a moment on the floor slick with blood and sweat.
  313.  
  314. Heldurk steps between Siduri and her pursuers, silently taunting them with a flick of blood from his blade.
  315.  
  316. With another SLAM, the doors to the hall fly open. This time, it is a fresh contingent of Seleucarian guards who stream in, dressed in full battle regalia with swords brandished.
  317.  
  318. Catching sight of a serpent aiming a bow towards Errikale and Castomira, Keorin heaves her chair wildly at them, before finding another to ram with her uninjured shoulder.
  319.  
  320. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  321.  
  322. As a serpentlord lunges toward Stheno, Zackery ducks toward the serpent and jabs him in the gut, with blinding speed, defending the Duke as he deals with the vortex.
  323.  
  324. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a rallying voice, "To me!"
  325.  
  326. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a rallying voice, "Guard the Duke!"
  327.  
  328. Ryx looks at Charen, then the wormhole, then Charen... and continues to attack the wormhole, hoping Alphonso can help her out!
  329.  
  330. (Damen's Group): Lyndee, as Lord Damen Kephry says, "Your treachery!"
  331.  
  332. Yelling battle cries, the guards race towards Ellodin's side, forming a shield around him with their armoured bodies as they hack wildly at any cloaked figures.
  333.  
  334. (Damen's Group): Lyndee, as Lord Damen Kephry says, "You filthy little serpent weasel. You will pay for this!"
  335.  
  336. (Damen's Group): Heldurk, Squire of Damen says, "Perhaps it is more that I know what true power is, and it is most emphatically not you and your precious puppet prince."
  337.  
  338. Frances jabs her elbow backwards, wildly aiming for the serpent, as her face loses normal colour, giving way to blue.
  339.  
  340. A Serpentlord hisses, "No! Kill them before too many come!"
  341.  
  342. The elbow connects and the Serpentlord doubles up in pain, clutching his gut.
  343.  
  344. Ellodin directs the soldiers into formation and they pack tightly around Stheno, leaving few gaps for stray arrows.
  345.  
  346. Heldurk backhands a stumbling guard with his shield, stabbing over the falling body toward another guard.
  347.  
  348. Tahquil eyes glance about the chaos she can see from her prone position behind the tables. The crash of the main doors is unmistakable, alongside the clattering of armour and weapons of the guards. She braces herself, sucking in a deep breath before shouting as loud as she can.
  349.  
  350. Relief floods Alasiel's face as the guards pour into the room.
  351.  
  352. Shouting incoherently, a brave guard slashes downwards twice in Darrod's direction.
  353.  
  354. Frances gasps for breath, stabbing backwards with her blade.
  355.  
  356. Azazell musters up the little amount of bravery he has in his soul, and wildly runs forth toward Charen's assailent, sewing needles in hand.
  357.  
  358. Zackery continues to fight by the soldiers' side, even as her gown is torn and bloodied in the fray.
  359.  
  360. Stheno moves a gloved hand through the air as though pulling the colours apart. Her eyes strain to stay focused on the wormhole and nothing else, ignoring Serpentlord and ally alike as the guards pour in, until they surround her.
  361.  
  362. Keorin barely manages to retrieve a serving dish from the floor in time to parry an envenomed blade, managing a kick to a rather dishonourable place as she tries to fend off more serpents from reaching Stheno.
  363.  
  364. You see Tahquil Maris, Hedgehog of the Valley yell, "FOR SELEUCLAR!!"
  365.  
  366. (Damen's Group): Heldurk, Squire of Damen mockingly says, "Thank you so much for the excuse to be here properly armed and armoured."
  367.  
  368. Siduri presses her dagger under Lucius Errikale's chin, "You will stop this nonsense now."
  369.  
  370. Ellodin takes up Catarin deSangre's rallying cry.
  371.  
  372. You see Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal yell, "For Seleucar!"
  373.  
  374. You see Zackery Aristata, as Castomira Brangwin yell, "FOR THE EMPIRE!"
  375.  
  376. A bearded guard roughly smashes Siduri away with his shield, standing in front of Lucius to protect him.
  377.  
  378. Stheno narrows her eyes on Siduri, her pupils thinning at such close range. She steps back behind the guard and looks fiercely to the vortex.
  379.  
  380. A bearded guard snarls, "Do not touch the Duke, filthy Serpentlord scum!"
  381.  
  382. Lyndee catches swings of blades and arrows bouncing off of his fullplate, the man gasping as he stands up, again and again, trying to keep the torrent of serpents away from the wormhole attackers. "FOR SELEUCAR!" he gasps, landing a rough, heavy swing on Heldurk's back for good measure as the treasonous former squire slithers by.
  383.  
  384. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a complimentary voice, "Good one, Olaf!"
  385.  
  386. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  387.  
  388. As the number of bodies begins to mount, the guards begin to outnumber the Serpentlords.
  389.  
  390. Heldurk winces slightly at Lyndee's blade bounces off his mail, laughing toward his former Lord as he whirls toward the guard by Siduri.
  391.  
  392. As the guards draw in closer, Keorin quickly does her best to back her way towards Errikale, doing her best to insinuate herself in with the wall of guards.
  393.  
  394. Siduri falls to her rump after being smashed away, her head spinning and her face seeming to glaze over like a smudged painting.
  395.  
  396. Ellodin's attention turns to the Serpentlord formerly posing as Mycale deSangre. His nostrils dilate at the unexpected scent of musk on the battlefield, but still, he charges into the fray.
  397.  
  398. Many of the Serpentlords in the room are displaying signs of serious injury, though there are still enough of them to pose a threat.
  399.  
  400. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says to Rackham in a taunting voice, "Duel me, scum!"
  401.  
  402. Without warning, an explosion of colour bursts in the room as the wormhole collapses in on itself.
  403.  
  404. Azazell grabs at Charen's assailant, engaging a grapple to hold the Serpentlord for the Advisor. "Get him! Get him!"
  405.  
  406. Stheno exhales raggedly.
  407.  
  408. Ryx rushes to Catarin.
  409.  
  410. Zackery rushes from her lace with the guards to Stheno's side.
  411.  
  412. Zackery Aristata, as Castomira Brangwin asks Stheno in a lilting voice, "My Duke, are you alright?"
  413.  
  414. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "Princess! Are you okay?!"
  415.  
  416. "No!" shouts a golden-haired Serpentlord.
  417.  
  418. You see Sister Berenice, by Siduri yell, "The Princess! Kill the Princess -now-."
  419.  
  420. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  421.  
  422. Ellodin reaches into his trousers and finds an aged ivory war horn banded with onyx.
  423.  
  424. The air itself vibrates as a fell tone echoes amongst your surroundings, the deep basso call heralding imminent conflict.
  425.  
  426. Stheno clutches at Castomira, holding her face in her hands and checking for undue injury. She lets go swiftly and nods, regaining her composure despite the sweat beading on her brow.
  427.  
  428. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale concernedly asks Zackery in a firm voice, "Yes, and you?"
  429.  
  430. Lyndee uses the colourburst of the wormhole exploding as a distraction, lunging in front of the Princess and slamming his sword into first one, and then another Serpentlord within his reach.
  431.  
  432. You see Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal yell, "Their wormhole is broken! Bar the doors, let no intruder escape - or live!"
  433.  
  434. Some of the Serpentlords draw dirks and stream towards the Princess, but an equally great number seem to have lost their nerve, sprinting for the doors.
  435.  
  436. Alasiel's eyes widen at the cry, positioning herself to shield Catarin with her body.
  437.  
  438. Heldurk pulls his arm back to throw his sword toward Princess Catarin's chest.
  439.  
  440. Zackery Aristata, as Castomira Brangwin says coyly to Stheno in a lilting voice, "I'm made of more than you think, my darling Duke."
  441.  
  442. Siduri growls menacingly.
  443.  
  444. Tahquil glances past Alasiel, spotting Zackery's deadly dance alongside the guards. Her nose curls into a grimace as she tries to raise herself into a sit. Her determination not to be out done be her rival fails and falters as she falls back once more, a new gush of blood throughly soaking the top
  445. half of her dress and those supporting her.
  446.  
  447. Keorin bashes a serpent over the head with her serving-tray, pausing to catch her breath as she finds guards between her and most of the nearby serpents, while backing up beside Castomira and Errikale.
  448.  
  449. Azazell grunts and wrestles with the Serpentlord, drawing a needle to poke holes in him.
  450.  
  451. Lyndee heaves himself up, sending his body lunging toward Heldurk, sword first. "NO!" He growls, twisting the blade as he rushes.
  452.  
  453. Heldurk hurls his sword in a powerful throw at Princess Catarin's body.
  454.  
  455. Quickly, guards rush to the doors, managing to slam them closed after a handful of Serpentlords have slipped through.
  456.  
  457. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace exclaims in a deep voice, "Catarin!"
  458.  
  459. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  460.  
  461. Tahquil Maris, Hedgehog of the Valley says in a fading voice, "Orin..."
  462.  
  463. The remaining Serpentlords, finding their way barred, turn on the guards in desperate ferocity. Sword meets dirk and lash meets shield as deadly duels begin.
  464.  
  465. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "This is not the end for you! You still have much to do!"
  466.  
  467. The sword hurtles towards the air, the hilt striking Catarin's head with a powerful 'crack'.
  468.  
  469. Siduri crawls desperately on the floor towards the Princess, slitted, alien eyes the only thing visible on her ghostly expression.
  470.  
  471. Stheno accepts Zackery's reassurance with some relief, before realising Catarin's predicament. She whips her head around to watch some of the Serpentlords slip away, the majority sealed inside.
  472.  
  473. Heldurk attempts to block Lyndee's incoming sword, as his blade hurtles toward Princess Catarin.
  474.  
  475. Azazell gives a horrified gasp.
  476.  
  477. With one sly grin to Stheno, Zackery turns immediately back to the fray. A lash finds her arm, slicing at her gown, but she quickly twists her arm, pulling the serpent toward her by his own weapon. She buries her dagger deep in the serpent's gut with a satisfied smirk.
  478.  
  479. Lyndee manages to catch Heldurk just as he flings the sword, and now, his target weaponless, he drives his own blade between two pieces of armoured mail into the distracted body of his former Squire. "Honourless Filth," he gasps, twisting the sword with a groan.
  480.  
  481. Jocindi peers from her hiding spot behind draperies.
  482.  
  483. Jocindi removes a steel hairpin resembling a budding fireflower.
  484.  
  485. Ryx parries Heldurk with his own blade.
  486.  
  487. Jocindi begins to wield a steel hairpin resembling a budding fireflower in her left hand.
  488.  
  489. (Damen's Group): Heldurk, Squire of Damen says, "What is amusing is you think that winning this might mean victoreeeee...."
  490.  
  491. Ellodin manages to leap onto Siduri's back, landing on her spine heavily with a knee.
  492.  
  493. The false Sister Berenice, by Siduri exclaims in a soft, reserved voice, "Urgk!"
  494.  
  495. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a rallying voice, "I need a weapon! Someone, finish her!"
  496.  
  497. (Damen's Group): Lyndee, as Lord Damen Kephry says, "Die, you filthy idiot. Like the rest of your scaly, scummy brethren."
  498.  
  499. Heldurk gasps as he feels the steel blade sliding through his body, falling backward as his eyes witness the sword hilt striking Princess Catarin's skull.
  500.  
  501. Jurixe hurtles towards Stheno with a snarl, sending her whip towards her with a sharp 'crack'.
  502.  
  503. Azazell removes a black leather belt with a silver clasp.
  504.  
  505. Lyndee tosses a nimble, double-edged longsword to Ellodin, and he catches it nimbly.
  506.  
  507. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  508.  
  509. Azazell begins to wield a black leather belt sewn with silver in his left hand.
  510.  
  511. Zackery's eyes fix on Darrod in the crowd. "You betrayed me," her voice carries, high-pitched, but clear.
  512.  
  513. 'CRACK' Tahquil's head snaps backwards as she is struck in the temple. Her eyes dim as sentience is knocked from her gaze and a silver tiara set with topaz goes skittering across the floor. Immediately, her once golden locks begin to slick with rivers of blood.
  514.  
  515. Retrieving a dirk left aside by one of the fallen serpents, Keorin charges towards Siduri, trying to plunge the small blade into her neck with her uninjured arm.
  516.  
  517. Lyndee flings his sword to Ellodin, still coated in Heldurk's blood, before drawing another.
  518.  
  519. (Damen's Group): Heldurk, Squire of Damen says, "Thissss....isn't..death but an....interlude...fool."
  520.  
  521. Lyndee begins to wield a nimble, double-edged longsword in her left hand.
  522.  
  523. Azazell's eyes repeatedly shut as he tries to stay awake.
  524.  
  525. Stheno catches Jurixe with a fierce snarl, snatching up her wrists with superhuman speed. She reverses their positions, throwing the slim Serpentlord into the wall and then grimly lunging in with her ceremonial blade.
  526.  
  527. Ellodin fumbles a nimble, double-edged longsword momentarily, but the blade happens to land on one of Siduri's arms, wounding it heavily.
  528.  
  529. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale whispers quietly to Jurixe in a firm voice, "This wasn't the way."
  530.  
  531. Jurixe chokes as the blade slides through her ribs, blood dribbling from the corner of her mouth.
  532.  
  533. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar whispers to Stheno in a low, silken voice, "Traitor to the cause..."
  534.  
  535. Siduri struggles to try and squirm under the weight of the Guard Captain, but her dagger slips out of her grasp. The hit from Keorin causing an abundant gush of blood to spray from her neck. The last of her life drains away, and the serpent takes the appearance of... a perfect stranger.
  536.  
  537. Jurixe's eyes roll back in her head as she slumps, lifeless.
  538.  
  539. Stheno drives the blade deeply into Jurixe's body, silencing her for good.
  540.  
  541. Heldurk collapses to the floor as bloody froth begins to bubble from his lips.
  542.  
  543. Alasiel's breath hisses out through her teeth sharply as she watches her friend lose consciousness. Tearing a length of cloth from her skirt, she presses it to Catarin's temple, attempting to stanch the flow of blood.
  544.  
  545. Lyndee drives his clean blade into Heldurk, offering a mercy at the end that the squire does not deserve, before he turns to assess Catarin and the rest of the crowd.
  546.  
  547. Azazell's eyes repeatedly shut as he tries to stay awake.
  548.  
  549. Her eyes blazing with unmitigated fury, Zackery lunges toward Darrod from behind, sinking her dagger deep into his back.
  550.  
  551. The slaughter goes on for a few minutes more until finally, the Serpentlords all lie on the floor in various methods of death.
  552.  
  553. Stheno flicks the blood off the steel as she withdraws. Quick footwork returns her to Castomira's side, though the Duchess is capably handling herself.
  554.  
  555. As the last Serpent expires, the guards look around warily, some exhaling relieved breaths.
  556.  
  557. Panting heavily, Ellodin takes up Damen's longsword and rises to his feet. He glances at the last remaining Serpentlord, who dies under Castomira's dagger.
  558.  
  559. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  560.  
  561. A guard whispers to another guard, "Is that..Princess Catarin? Is she alive?"
  562.  
  563. Alasiel, as Riana Galford, friend of Catarin says in a panicked voice, "I think she's badly hurt."
  564.  
  565. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "I... I think so. Yes, she's still breathing... but she needs immediate medical attention."
  566.  
  567. Ellodin's brow furrows as coherent thought returns. He strides quickly to the doors, yelling that it is time to unbar them before relaying a few commands.
  568.  
  569. With a sibilant 'shhhiiiinnngggt!', Ryx smoothly sheathes a gilded, indigo broadsword.
  570.  
  571. Ryx picks up the unconscious princess in his arms, and stands up.
  572.  
  573. Darrod grins wickedly at Zackery as he gleefully taunts back, "It was all too easy, my Lady." His attention pans to a charging guard as he breathes heavily from effort. With exhaustion setting in, each parry and riposte comes a little slower and with his back turned towards Zackery - her blade finds purchase in the middle of his back before the atavian slumps to the floor.
  574.  
  575. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a commanding voice, "The imposter Mycale said that the real one is sleeping, safe and sound. Confirm this."
  576.  
  577. At the captain's words, the guards move out.
  578.  
  579. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "Where is the closest place I can bring the princess for medical aid?"
  580.  
  581. Stheno catches his breath and looks to the opening doors, hastening to join the guard.
  582.  
  583. Tahquil's small form is easily picked up, like a toy ragdoll but with oh so much more blood.
  584.  
  585. Seemingly deeming herself safe enough, Keorin slumps back against a wall, clutching at her shoulder as her white doublet slowly stains with blood.
  586.  
  587. Alphonso, the tailor who mildly resembles Azazell says in an eccentric, lilting voice, "Oh no, no no no... it is a head wound. Can't do much for that one, myself!"
  588.  
  589. As Stheno pauses on the threshold, her eyes sweep the injured crowd.
  590.  
  591. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "Everyone... this meeting is over."
  592.  
  593. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "We're leaving. Now."
  594.  
  595. Heldurk gurgles unexpectedly as his body twitches in death.
  596.  
  597. You see Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale yell, "The Prince deSangre! Ensure he still lives."
  598.  
  599. Frances scuttles behind Ryx, following him closely.
  600.  
  601. Ellodin nods appreciatively to the stronger voice of Duke Errikale.
  602.  
  603. Tahquil eyes twitch momentarily, coherency returning to her gaze as she gives a deep, pained groan.
  604.  
  605. Zackery Aristata, as Castomira Brangwin says icily to Ryx in a lilting voice, "Yes. We are. Before your incompetence gets one of us killed, General."
  606.  
  607. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says in a deep voice, "Do not struggle, princess."
  608.  
  609. Alasiel rises to her feet and makes her way toward Orin, worriedly watching Catarin.
  610.  
  611. Lyndee lowers his sword, chest heaving as he removes his helm breathlessly.
  612.  
  613. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  614.  
  615. Tahquil Maris, Hedgehog of the Valley says in a weak voice, "Riana? Bernie.. are they okay?"
  616.  
  617. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says to Zackery in a deep voice, "Enough of your backtalk, Castomira."
  618.  
  619. *******************
  620. || W R A P - U P ||
  621. *******************
  622.  
  623. Formerly appearing dead, Jurixe rises from her stretched out position, flashing a smile at all present.
  624.  
  625. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says in a low, silken voice, "And that is the end of our Asterian Adventure, ladies and gentlemen."
  626.  
  627. The primal scent of musk-scented perfume emanates from Rackham, making your blood race and your pulse pound.
  628.  
  629. Siduri gives up a round of applause.
  630.  
  631. Jocindi claps her hands together merrily.
  632.  
  633. Ryx claps his hands together merrily.
  634.  
  635. Rackham says, "Thank goodness, I can get rid of this awful cologne....."
  636.  
  637. Pandora's mouth turns up as Her face breaks into a smile.
  638.  
  639. Rackham removes musk-scented perfume.
  640. With a damp cloth, Rackham removes all trace of musk-scented perfume from his person.
  641.  
  642. Zackery brings his hands together in delighted applause, smiling to Jurixe and Ellodin.
  643.  
  644. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says in a low, silken voice, "Well done to you all. You performed marvellously."
  645.  
  646. Jocindi says, "You all were wonderful!"
  647.  
  648. Heldurk rises from the dead, applauding the gathered personages with a smile.
  649.  
  650. Alasiel follows suit, applauding enthusiastically.
  651.  
  652. Stheno grins, her fangs flashing white in her mouth for the first time tonight.
  653.  
  654. The corpse of the false Sister Berenice, by Siduri laughingly says in a soft, reserved voice, "That was awesome."
  655.  
  656. Lyndee bows very grandiosely, nearly falling over under the weight of her armour.
  657.  
  658. Zackery pulls a pair of black cage stiletto heels off with evident relief.
  659.  
  660. Jurixe wipes the blood off her lips, coughing once as she glances at the ruined hall.
  661.  
  662. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a quiet but clear voice, "Whew."
  663.  
  664. Frances beams broadly.
  665.  
  666. Tahquil grunts as she repeatedly clots, downing sips of mana in rapid succession.
  667.  
  668. Advisor Charen Lietz, who looks a bit like Frances says with a posh Seleucarian accent, "That was incredibly enjoyable!"
  669.  
  670. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says in a low, silken voice, "I hope you have enjoyed the experience, and I imagine it was certainly not what any expected."
  671.  
  672. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal smiles and says to Jurixe in a quiet but clear voice, "We'd better fix up this hall. And maybe make some other improvements to the Athenaeum while we're at it."
  673.  
  674. Alphonso, the tailor who mildly resembles Azazell says in an eccentric, lilting voice, "Hoo hoo! Ah..."
  675.  
  676. The corners of Heldurk's mouth turn up as he grins mischievously.
  677.  
  678. Tahquil Maris, Hedgehog of the Valley says in a weak voice, "That was quite painful in the end."
  679.  
  680. General Orin Grandier, as played by Ryx Si'Talvace says to Rackham in a deep voice, "I loved your acting, how lazy you were."
  681.  
  682. Heldurk, Squire of Damen says in a slow, rumbling voice, "It was a lot of fun."
  683.  
  684. Jurixe nods her dark head sagely at Ellodin.
  685.  
  686. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale smiles and says in a firm voice, "Beautifully done."
  687.  
  688. Succumbing to utter exhaustion, Azazell falls into a deep sleep.
  689.  
  690. Rackham chuckles long and heartily.
  691.  
  692. Pandora, the Wayward Heir says, "I was hoping you'd make them all suffer trying to solve the mystery."
  693.  
  694. Lyndee laughs melodically at Azazell.
  695.  
  696. Pandora, the Wayward Heir says, "But this was an interesting turn, too."
  697.  
  698. Azazell opens his eyes and yawns mightily.
  699.  
  700. Azazell stands up.
  701.  
  702. Azazell closes his eyes, curls up into a ball and falls asleep.
  703.  
  704. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says amusedly to Pandora in a low, silken voice, "We might have been here for days yet if that was the case, Lady."
  705.  
  706. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar asks Pandora in a low, silken voice, "Who did You think it was?"
  707.  
  708. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a quiet but clear voice, "We mortals have far shorter lifespans to spare!"
  709.  
  710. Rackham laughingly says to Ryx, "It's quite offputting, playing such a scumbag."
  711.  
  712. Lyndee, as Lord Damen Kephry says in an unnaturally deep voice, "Azazell is the only one brave enough to do what the rest of us feel inside."
  713.  
  714. Lyndee pats Azazell in a friendly manner.
  715.  
  716. A small cry escapes the lips of the sleeping Azazell.
  717.  
  718. Pandora taps a finger against Her cheek in thought, the dual colours of Her skin rippling like water from each touch.
  719.  
  720. Heldurk wraps a comforting arm around Azazell.
  721.  
  722. Ryx chuckles long and heartily at Rackham.
  723.  
  724. Ser Darrod, Honour-Guard to Castomira frowns and says to Zackery with a gruff, drawling accent, "You killed me."
  725.  
  726. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale says to Darrod in a firm voice, "You had it coming."
  727.  
  728. Pandora, the Wayward Heir says, "I would need more concrete answers to say for sure, I think."
  729.  
  730. Ryx pats Azazell in a friendly manner.
  731.  
  732. Azazell opens his eyes and yawns mightily.
  733.  
  734. Azazell stands up.
  735.  
  736. Zackery Aristata, as Castomira Brangwin says outraged to Darrod in a lilting voice, "You betrayed me, Ser."
  737.  
  738. Ser Darrod, Honour-Guard to Castomira says agreeingly with a gruff, drawling accent, "I did have it coming."
  739.  
  740. Pandora, the Wayward Heir says, "Most evidence is circumstantial that I could gather."
  741.  
  742. Heldurk, Squire of Damen laughingly whispers to Lyndee in a slow, rumbling voice, "And I got soooo close."
  743.  
  744. Jurixe nods her dark head slightly.
  745.  
  746. Lyndee thumps Heldurk on the forehead.
  747.  
  748. You notice Azazell's eyelids are beginning to droop.
  749.  
  750. Tahquil uses the hem of a stately dancing dress of imperial styling to scrub at her face, removing the make-up and caking blood before pulling the sodden blonde wig from her scalp.
  751.  
  752. Stheno sweeps Zackery into her arms and dips him low in his elegant gown, then lets him up with another rakish grin.
  753.  
  754. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says in a low, silken voice, "That was the intent, though I am quite surprised that most pointed to Orin."
  755.  
  756. Ser Darrod, Honour-Guard to Castomira smiles impishly and says to Zackery with a gruff, drawling accent, "It's those terribly long hours and poor wages. You brought it on yourself, really."
  757.  
  758. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar smiles impishly and says to Ryx in a low, silken voice, "It means you were doing well."
  759.  
  760. Guard Captain Ellodin Rahal says in a quiet but clear voice, "The only time we can be sure of the answer is when it invades in droves through a wormhole."
  761.  
  762. Zackery Aristata, as Castomira Brangwin says to Stheno in a lilting voice, "My dashing Duke, you've swept me off my feet."
  763.  
  764. The corpse of the false Sister Berenice, by Siduri says in a soft, reserved voice, "Well, my kinky theory was obviously wrong!"
  765.  
  766. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale says wistfully to Zackery in a firm voice, "So long as you survive me."
  767.  
  768. Lyndee, as Lord Damen Kephry says in an unnaturally deep voice, "I really thought it was the Duke!"
  769.  
  770. Lyndee points accusingly at Stheno.
  771.  
  772. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale looks surprised and says to Lyndee in a firm voice, "I'm innocent."
  773.  
  774. Lyndee, as Lord Damen Kephry sadly says in an unnaturally deep voice, "I know."
  775.  
  776. Stheno Aristata, as Duke Lucius Errikale says in a firm voice, "An exemplary leader of the state."
  777.  
  778. Lyndee, as Lord Damen Kephry says in an unnaturally deep voice, "I was wrong."
  779.  
  780. Lyndee shuffles her feet uneasily.
  781.  
  782. Ryx chuckles long and heartily at Jurixe.
  783.  
  784. Stheno touches a hand to her chest in mock offence.
  785.  
  786. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says in a low, silken voice, "Now, we have one final task."
  787.  
  788. "I'm sorry!" Lyndee says to Stheno with a blush.
  789.  
  790. Lady Jurixe S. Nithilar says in a low, silken voice, "If you will all follow myself."
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