Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:29 pm

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They weren't winning. But at the same time, they weren't losing. Not exactly. Was it because Kata couldn't step forwards though, or because she wanted to wait and see what would come? He really couldn't tell, and the lingering doubt in his own power was almost enough to make his concentration lapse and his next shot slide off its mark. "Have you forgotten who you're fighting?" Sovar asked suddenly from over Nir'weis shoulder, making him jolt on the spot and the tendrils of fear and uncertainty shiver. "There is no margin for error." In that moment, none of it mattered. Even as the doubt, the fear, the imminent defeat washed over him in waves so deep they threatened to drown him; the tightness in his chest that made it hard to breathe and his head swim. Sovar's spirit-form stood at his back, still able to loom over his half-wolf transformed state with relative ease. "You can only keep moving forwards."

His wolves felt the same impact. Their own manifestations of fear, anger, sadness and guilt bubbling to the surface, each tailored to their own experiences - each playing on the darkest parts of their past and personality. Some weathered them easier than others. Sovar easiest of all, which allowed his Conduit to assist the others. Though their attacks had spread wide and pushed where they could seize an advantage, it seemed they simply couldn't deal enough damage, even between all of them attacking at once. Even concurrently. Even unified. "Return." They repealed back into spirit form just as Varlum charged forwards to launch everything at his disposal at Kata instead. Should he have added his weight to it? ... Would it have made any difference? Despite the bow belonging to Karem, it seemed it simply couldn't pierce her hide. Much like Syroa's.

"She has to have a weakness, right. Something to do with how she gained all this power; a way to return it again from where it came, even if that place is ashes now." In case Varlum's massive explosion failed, in case Syroa wasn't bested in open combat. "Syroa doesn't have any vital organs... wait." Cassion wasn't using a sword, or an axe, or a hammer, or anything else remotely similar. Nothing but the blunt power of his bare fists could pulverize her flesh into mincemeat. He'd also mentioned burning it off to expose her. That meant... oh. "Grab everything you can and start tearing. Vabina, take her from behind. Gore her."

The Zephyrus did exactly that. Lowering her horn and charging straight into Syroa at the same time as Greyhide, Cold, Myrth, Squeak, Castile and Kin turned their attentions to her and her alone, the pack abandoned their offensive on Kata to make room for Varlum to take over, sinking their teeth into whatever exposed flesh they could take and tearing it away in chunks. It was these spots that Nir'wei targeted next. Not with his bow. With fireballs, conjured by Gaddwin into his palms. He'd throw them, but he wasn't a good aim, and he needed to make them count - so briefly abandoning his ranged stance and with Greyhide and Sovar acting as a spare pair of eyes and a personal living shield, he launched forwards to join Oram, Daia and Cassion in a handful of steps, where he could press the flaming ball directly into the opening wounds.
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Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Cail Qy'Jihai
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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Tue Sep 14, 2021 5:30 am


Cail Qy'Jihai


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Cail looked and listened closely as both of them seemed to dismiss her idea at first. She did not know who made up the other groups or how many had been left behind on their previous tasks. But sending word could help not only Faldrun but the other immortals as well. The woman was glad to see that other Immortals had come to the aid of the group even if they could not or would not kill each other. All the others needed was for them to be weak enough for a killing blow from their blades.

The young Biqaj was still a healer in training with the Order so she did not want to see anyone hurt, but there comes a time when all that would be understood was the clash of swords. It appeared that time had arrived. Cail took a deep breath and focused on Faldrun when he explained that the bodies at their power drained out of them and transferred to Kata. Picking up the arm, the woman looked at the shackles more closely trying to figure out if there was a way to remove them and use them to siphon the power away from her again. Cail did not know what would happen to the power if it was taken from kata with no place to go. But it had to be better than allowing her to keep it and rule everything.

“Faldrun, I was not sent on this task to kill anyone. Yes, it was an understood danger that may occur. But I was asked to keep you from finding an artifact below the streets of Yaralon. If you cannot send a direct message yourself because you are weakened then I understand. But we have to figure out some way to communicate with others. Is there a way to use the power of the ascension to take the power away from her like it took the powers from these Immortals?” Cail asked and jerked around watching the chaos of battle glad to not be in the thick of it.

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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:39 am

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Aukari agents were dying, and as they died, Faldrun started to recover. The process was slow, however, and it was clear to any who noticed that he would not recover enough to be of huge help in the fight. However, as the battle raged, thing started to turn in the heroes favor. Fire Defiance, Varlum's rage, and Faldrun's Blessing were an extremely potent mix, and he threw every ounce of power he had at Kata. His Defiance told him which Kata was real and he got his grab, pulling the empowered Immortal of Ruin into the earth. Her bones broke and started to heal, but she was taking more damage in a higher concentration than she had for the whole fight prior. She attacked back, but the earth hindered her movements and the defenses granted by Taithir were holding strong. Then he dropped fire on them and Kata screamed in pain, shock, and fury as her flesh burned. They had left a hole above them, and so when he called Solar Purge, it dropped right down onto them, burning her even more, though Varlum was immune to the suns fury.

While that was going on, the fight up above was still raging. Fire was falling all around, though Falkia used her unique Champion power to absorb flames that would have fallen on the good guys, or Cad. Oram charged Syroa, his flame wreathed spear held before him. Seeing this, Daia and Cassion moved as one, Daia pinning the Immortal of Fury to the wall by the arms while Cassion held her legs. They couldn't hold her long, but they held her long enoug for Oram to sink his spear deep into her, the fire spreading from the wound as Syroa shreaked in rage. Then Daia and Cassion looked up, and both lept away, Cassion grabbing Oram as he did so. A split second later, the reason for their retreat became clear as one of the falling fire balls landed right on top of the Immortal of Transformation.

Syroa writhed in agony, but managed to dislodge the spear and escape from the flame, very clearly horribly injured. Before she could do anything, though, Nir'wei's wolves were upon her, tearing at her burned flesh and ripping it away from her, literally tearing her to pieces. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a problem for Syroa, but she was horribly injured. Then Nir'wei rushed forward and pushed a pair of fireballs into the open wound that Oram's spear had left. It was too much, Syroa was too badly injured, and the flames consumed her from the inside out. With a final shriek of agony, rage, and despair, Syroa was fully immolated and lived no more.

Zoro meanwhile, had thought about Syroa, about who and what she was, and he had called on Xiur. The Immortal of Stars granted him sight, and more, he granted him an ally, a constellation shaped like a Dragon. In fact, if anyone chose to compare the constellation with the earlier vision, it would be shaped exactly like the Dragon that Ethelynda and Luesco had spoken to on the shores of what had become Iulure Isles. And then, he saw her, for he had been correct in his assessment of Audrae. She was sneaking up on Oram and Nir'wei, looking to take them out of the fight. She was facing away from him, but he could see that she still hadn't healed the damage that he and Oram had caused.

Zoro attacked, and as he did, the constellation that Xiur had loaned him charged with him. They crashed into the Immortal of fear, and Zoro felt his blade sink into her as the star-Dragon tore at her body and the fairy stabbed at her. The wound they inflicted were severe, but in the end, it was Zoro's sword that had lodged in her heart, and Zoro who had struck the final blow. The Immortal of Deception fell back on her side, caughing up blood, then looked up at Zoro with a glare full of hatred. "My daughters will take my place, and they will see me avenged." she said, her voice faint. Then her head fell back and Audrae perished, taking her malice and evil with her.

Meanwhile, Cad absorbed what his powers had taught him and Cail studied the Ascension. Cail voiced a possible way to weaken Faldrun, and Cad made a choice that would perhaps set his course for the rest of his Mortalborn life. Both, however, made a critical mistake. Cail neglected to take Valtharn into account when she made the suggestion, and Cad failed to take into account that he didn't know Valtharn's strengths. Certianly, Valtharn was cruel and largely apathetic, but she was also highly intelligent and had been a capable general before her exile. Moreover, she was the Mortalborn of Murder, and thus could sense murderous intent.

However, both had failed to take in Valtharn's opportunism. When she heard Cail's suggestion and felt Cad's murderous intent, she nodded to herself. "Yeah, that could work." she said, her tone decisive. Faldrun turned to look at her, but before he could say anything, Valtharn whirled and struck him full in the face, pushing him back into the blade of Cad's axe. Faldrun had yet to fully heal, and with the help of Valtharn's strike, his blade bit cleanly through his neck. There would be no final battle with him, no great war to bring an end to Faldrun's evil. In the end, there was only the treachery of two of his servants. Without a sound or a cry, the Immortal of Fire, the enemy of so many of Idalos's people, died.

Valtharn, who's hair and eyes were glowing a slight red, took no time to revel in Faldrun's murder. Instead, she grabbed Cail by the shoulder and drove a hand into point near the small of her back. It was a pressure point, and it knocked out Cail's legs, sending the poor woman to the ground and unable to regain her footing. "Sorry. I do appreciate the idea, so I'm not goin' to really hurt you, but I can't be havin' you interfere." she said as she stepped up onto the Ascension. Her hair and eyes glowed bright crimson red for a moment, and then she poured a crimson red energy that literally screamed as it passed through the air into the Ascension, which began to hum back to life. Valtharn's power was taken from the death and suffering of others, and it was death that she poured into the machine, the deaths of hundreds of innocent people she had tortured and killed over the past decade. With them, she powered the Ascension, and with it, she searched for a death she knew was coming, the death that would grant her the greatest power boost she had ever taken.

Underground, as the time on Varlum's boost ran out, there was a split second where Kata was distracted, as she felt the near simultaneous deaths of the three Immortals above them. That split second was all that was needed as Valtharn filled the hole they were in with Magma. Kata shrieked with agony and loosed her powers, launching the pair of them out of the hole. Varlum landed next to Falkia, his body badly injured by the sheer fury that Kata unleashed. A deep gouge ran up the left side of his face, taking out that eye, while deep burns and lacerations peppered his body, and one of his legs had broken in the unleashed onslaught. Fortunately, Kata could not finish him off.

The empowered Immortal of Ruin landed only a few feet from him, her body horrifically burned and melted. Her eyes, nose, and ears were completely gone, and she wheezed in short, pained breaths that struggled to fill her lungs with air. "D-damn...you..." she said, her voice barely above a whisper. Kata, who for a brief time had been the strongest Immortal to ever live, wheezed her last and died, brought low by the very people she had called to do her dirty work for her. Yet, despite all this, despite the monster that had been slain, their victory was not complete. The Ascension was now powered by death, and it was Kata's death it fed upon, drawing not only her own powers, but the powers she had stolen, into its new wielder.

Power flowed into Valtharn and the Mortalborn started to lift off the ground from the sheer might entering her body. Then, crimson energy flowed out of her, filling the air with screams of agony as a sound like the cracking of the earth itself echoed around her. Above them, the sky turned the same crimson red as Valtharn's powers and the very air around them took on a reddish tinge. Then, all of Valtharn's power flowed back into her and she lowered to the ground, brimming with a power that was as great as Kata's had been, if not greater.

Seven Immortals had died that day in Anox's Folly, but now a new Immortal was born. Valtharn, the Immortal of Ruin, opened her eyes and grinned widely at the people who had, in their attempts to save the world, given her a power beyond measure.

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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:36 pm




It was working, better than he knew it would. Better than he had ever anticipated. Kata was held in his grip, and despite the stabs and slashes she swung at him, he held on as she scorched. As seconds went by it seemed all the assault was working. There was hope. Deep under the ground, even in his burning rage, he knew there was hope.

But everything went wrong.

Despite all he had done and dropped on Kata. Despite the screams she had let out and the pain he had caused her, it was not his victory. In the last moment of movement it all changed. Something launched him and as he fell, the pain sunk in, the ability of Faldrun running out and leaving him fatigued and weak as he slammed into the floor, his left eye removed and his body aching all over. Everything was a blur as his shattered leg and gouged eye bled, looking to his side to see Falkia in the daze, before his eyes glanced around the room, head barely able to move.

In that moment he saw it all, the chaos that had erupted. From the floor he saw the corpse of Faldrun, as Kata and Valtharn spoke, the Mortalborn ending Kata's life. Syroa had died. Audrae had died. But the one that shocked him most was his father. The man he had despised but protected, the father he had fought for Arcs, trying to find and kill. But now, seeing the body as it was, gave him no satisfaction. No pleasure. There was nothing but spite, as Varlum's burning body remained ablaze thanks to the champion power of Faldrun.

As Valtharn erupted with power the Ithecal looked on, a small tear falling out of his remaining eye. She'd taken it all. Absorbed Kata and undone their work, the fatigued Ithecal hardly able to move on the floor as he watched her change to something new, glowing with power as Kata had been, a new enemy. His body shook and dread ran through him, his tear hitting the floor as he lowered his head and grit his teeth. They'd been betrayed. Somebody working alongside them had killed Faldrun, had allowed this to happen. Fury flooded through his veins due to the power Faldrun's abilities still gave him, yet sadness mixed in, unable to hold back the tears that overwhelmed him.

After a moment of silence, Varlum used one elbow to push his head and arms up, looking to Faldrun's body through the thick tears. Despite everything he had endured, all of the pain that he had been through at the hands of Faldrun's creations and schemes, he felt a deep sadness. This had been no way to die. What could have been redemption, a chance to save Idalos, had led to his death. A knife in the back, ending his life with no fight, no chance for better. Through his grit teeth, he lowered his head, focusing on his father, deep regret flooding his features. "I forgive you" he muttered quietly, loud enough that only Falkia would hear it. "You were so close. I'm sorry" he hissed in pain, all he could spare before his eyes looked up to Valtharn.

Summoning a golden tower shield of Ethelynda in his left arm, Varlum called on his Second Wind, giving him enough strength for his final stand, even if he was still weak and injured. Snarling through the pain that shot through his body, he used the shield to support his weight, pushing up with one arm until he was standing on one leg, the tower shield helping him stand up straight. At his side came two Spirits, a serpent of Ethelynda and the hellhound that Faldrun's mark had granted him, both standing beside the Ithecal as he looked to his new enemy, body shaking. Invisible to all those but him and others that could see spirits came a bear of Ralaith, stood behind him, granting him more Strength and Endurance for the next moments. Floating over his shoulder was his Diri of Lovalus, the draconic Ivarn wrapping comfortingly around Varlum's shoulder, looking to the Ithecal with a reassuring nod.

One deep breath, his lungs aching from the fighting he had been doing, one last inhale to prepare. As he took the breath his head focused on one face - Faldrun. A prayer went through his head to the dead Immortal, the son of Faldrun rising to his feet and his glowing eye staring forward defiantly. He pleaded in his mind for Faldrun's help, one last time. For his power, whatever it took. If Valtharn could ascend, he could too. If he had to absorb the energy of his father, so be it. If that was what it took to save the world. So he reached deep inside of himself for a domain. Remnants. While it had allowed him to wrap himself in the spirit of a dragon before, now it was different. He pushed his Mortalborn energy, attempting to call on the Remnant of his father.

Because he had been wrong. Claiming he didn't fight for Idalos. All he had ever done was fight, no matter how hard he had ignored it. Taking a spear to the leg from a Flameborn, to save people he didn't know. Being thrown through a building by a hone mage to protect an Aukari from harm. Even when he had failed, as people had died along the way, he fought for their memory to this day. The Smith that had been killed, who made the axe he still used. Civilians that he had failed to save. Auya, who had died despite his promises of saving her.

Then there came the others. All of the friends still left to fight for. Hart, the friend that he'd so much lost with, but it had never stopped them from doing what was right. Prae, the battles the two had fought against foes bigger than them. Elisabeth, who had sat with him in a dark night when he needed someone. Vivian, his sister, who had trained him to be all he was now. Faith and Padraig, the two that took him under their wing when things were dark. Vega and Arlo. Two names that stung to think of, as he accepted this might be his last trial. That he might never get to hear himself being called Uncle Varlum again. The life he wished he'd had.

Once he finished his inhale, and stood as strong as he could, he summoned a fireball in his hand. "I fight for Idalos" he snarled across the room, his voice weak and his body shaking, yet his eyes unmoving from Valtharn as she emitted energy. In saying those words he called on Nobility's Endurance, buffing the Endurance of all those that stood with him, any that would fight at his side. Next to him the hellhound snarled with ferocity, the serpent moving in front of Varlum and hissing, head rising up to shield Varlum's front. Wanting all of her attention, he called upon Serpent's Hood, making himself seem a bigger threat than he was. Enough life had been snuffed out this trial. If anyone else had to go, it would be him. Nobody else.

"No matter who threatens it" he growled deeply, as Cauterize took effect, healing minor and moderate injuries slowly across his body, turning one major wound into a moderate one, attempting to heal his leg. There wasn't enough time to enjoy the full effects, as it required rest. But any small piece helped. He knew it was suicide, that he would likely die where he stood. But that was the cost now. They had not given in to Kata, they had not bowed down and let her take the world for herself. They were the heroes of Idalos. That was who they had to be, no matter what it took. No matter what it cost. As one final stand, he called upon Inspire, pushing away the fears and doubts of his allies in the room. There was no way he could fight her now, nothing he could do to harm her. But all he had to do was hold her off. If the other heroes fought, as they had so far, they could win.

They at least had to try.

With one look to Falkia, a look of expectation, his head turned to his enemy - the anger flowing through him. She'd undone it all. All of the fighting, everything he'd thrown at Kata gone. Heavy breaths filled his lungs as he felt the fire inside of him spark brighter, the look of sadness he'd felt earlier turning to rage, to hatred. So he roared a Dragon's Cry, one final moment of defiance, the refusal to stay down as his roar echoed across the room, his gaze never breaking. If Valtharn wanted him dead, she would have to come and kill him herself.

Slowly, he limped forward, the three familiars at his side preparing to defend him should they have to.
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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:48 pm

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Timestamp: 35th of Saun, 721
Location: Somewhere Spooky
In the years to come, when scholars looked back on the day that Faldrun died, what would they think Cad was feeling in that moment? Would they think he felt righteous anger at having avenged the millions who had suffered by a tyrant’s will? Or that he cackled with malicious glee at the audactiyy of his betrayal? Perhaps they would think that he was ruled by the fear of Kata right up until the very end?

They would be wrong. The one and only emotion Cad felt at the moment his axe sunk into Faldrun's neck was surprise.

Because it was in that very same moment that Valtharn stole the show. And hats off to her, she did a marvelous job of it. Sure she was one hell of a tough mortalborn, but in a battleground fielding several Immortals all geared up and primed for war she had hardly been considered a noteworthy power. It had seemed pretty clear-cut that Kata was most likely to win the day at that point, with only a small chance that those who stood against her would be able to force her to retreat. Yet within that seemingly hopeless situation only Valtharn had spotted her opportunity to be the ultimate victor.

And what a fleeting opportunity it had been. Had she not been close enough to hear Cail's explanation of what the ascension did, or been quick enough to react to Cad's trechery, or even had she not stored up the power drawn from decades of malice, then none of this could have worked. Yet she pulled it off. In one swift, brilliant masterstroke Valtharn put herself in the perfect position to snatch away the combined power of seven Immortals. And so for the third time that day Cad found himself frozen in awe as his perception of just how overwhelmingly powerful one creature could be was yet again blown out of the water. Feeling Faldrun in his mind had been like being face-to-face with the sun. Meeting Kata had been like seeing that sun face off against a supernova. And now standing before Valtharn felt like seeing them both be swallowed up by a black hole.

Cad's borrowed axe fell limply at his side, the severed head of Faldrun largely ignored in favour of staring at the newly ascended Valtharn. Within his head Cad's brain worked in overtime, furiously connecting his scattered thoughts together into something resembling a plan. Yes, this development had one he wouldn't have seen coming in a million years, and he didn't need to be a doomsayer to see that his life depended on the way he reacted to this situation. Mentally he tallied up everything he'd learned about Valtharn since they'd met earlier that day.

First and foremost he knew she was cruel. If his own powers hadn't been enough to confirm that, then her easy betrayal of Faldrun had. She was tough, a warrior, a killer; not surprising given her mother was Raskalarn. She seemed prone to informality and a mercenary attitude, but had an iron confidence and self-belief. Her service to Faldrun had clearly not been based on any particular affinity to him, though nor did she seem to hate him either. If anything she'd been disinterested. If she didn't have any strong feelings for Faldrun then it was likely she didn't have any strong feelings towards Cad either. She'd be pleased by the assistance he'd offered in attacking Faldrun, but Cad was under no delusions that she'd think his actions were especially vital, and she clearly wasn't above smiting him on the spot on a whim if he annoyed her. Nor however had she planned for her ascension to happen, so did likely didn't have a particular plan for what she was going to do next. In conclusion her next moves against pretty much everyone here would be based upon the next things they said and did. So what did one say to a super-duper-death-god who could kill them with a wave of their hand?

Whatever they wanted to hear.

In that moment Cad felt himself arriving at a crossroads in destiny. For so, so achingly long he had felt the desire to prove his strength to the world gnawing away in his chest. Perhaps the almighty being who stood here before him was more than a threat, but an opportunity? Perhaps in the service of the newly risen goddess of ruin he would find the path that lead to his destiny?

With a beckoning gesture Cad bid the shambling corpse of Mastes return to his side. As it arrived by his side both magician and thrall fell to one knee and bowed lowed before the new goddess floating merely a few feet away, and with a voice that shook ever-so-slightly with fear Cad exclaimed his thoughts aloud.

"A- All hail Valtharn. Slayer of the Seven, Goddess of Ruin, and Queen of the Immortals."

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Oram Mednix
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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:57 pm

Grapes of extreme annoyance

Oram could only feel awe. Four Immortals were dead in the space of fewer than four bits. While the hunter had always been ambivalent about Immortals, and while the ones who had died were ones hostile to mortals like himself, there was still a sense of outrage to it all. This wasn’t supposed to happen. It wasn’t something he would have ever expected, or wanted, to see.

And no sooner had they gotten rid of what he thought were all the enemies, a new one emerged from among their allies. Another enemy they would need to destroy before Idalos was destroyed. Had *all* the Immortals gone mad? he wondered, glancing anxiously over to Cassion and Daia. Would any of them betray the world of mortals for a chance at ascension? How many more Immortals would have to die, to keep all the mortals from dying?

The traveler didn’t know. All he could do was keep fighting, with all he had, for as long as he could. As he numbly retrieved his spear from the wreckage of what had been Syroa, Oram, after a quick nod of acknowledgment to Zoro, looked at what was left of Varlum, shambling grimly forward for one last fight. The hulking ithecal was clearly at strength’s end, and likely death’s door as well.

Oram caught up with Varlum as he limped towards Valtharn. Reaching into a pouch, he pulled out a bunch of special grapes he hadFears! A small bunch of 10 grapes. Each one is wonderfully sweet - eating 1 grape will heal you of minor injuries. This is cuts and bruises, scrapes and grazes etc. If you have moderate injuries (deeper cuts etc) then it will take 3 grapes. Major injuries take 6 grapes and someone can be brought back from a critical condition with 9 grapes. Please note, though - if you gave (for example) 1 grape to someone with moderate injuries, it would do nothing. You have an all-or-nothing grape situation., handing all ten over. ”Take as many as you need,” he told the ithecal. ”Eat all of them, if you have to; they should restore you.” Then he peeled away and turned toward the now-kneeling, treacherous lunatic.

Cad Revel deserved death. Oram Mednix was willing and able to give it to him. Now. All it would take was a spear-thrust between the shoulder blades. Another unmourned necromancer no one would miss stabbed in the back, leaving behind a stilled menace and a better world. Remembering how he had held his spear, then, he adjusted his grip on the weapon to match that memory.

No. Something itched on Oram’s chest; it may or may not have been the Ezere mark that covered it. Whether that was the case or not, the hunter knew as soon as he felt it that he would not kill this man. He lowered his spear, and instead walked over to where Cad knelt, along with his grotesque husk, and knelt next to them. He spoke soothing words to the man, words Ziell might approve ofCalm Before the Storm ability:

”You have done plenty, friend,” he said quietly. ”More than enough to earn whatever reward Valtharn might grant you.” He placed his hand over the one in which Cad still held the ax. ”Why don’t you and your friend here sit the remainder of this fight out. Rest. Let me take this weapon and lay it at the feet of Valtharn for you.” He would tug on the ax, gently at first, but more firmly if need beCompetent Strength.

If Cad proved recalcitrant, he could always use the Chill Finger ability as a last resort to get the ax away from the man. This carried a risk, for while it would certainly take Cad out of the fight, it might provoke him to loose his husk on the group. For now he would avoid doing that.

If he got the ax away from the (hopefully) becalmed Cad, he would then rise and toss it into the pit from which Varlum and Kata had emerged. He would then appraise what to do next.
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Zoro Astrian
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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:53 pm

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Zoro was flabbergasted by the kinetic burst of action that seemed to sweep through the place. Time slowed. Syroa was dispatched by Oram and Nir’wei with the help of Cassion and Daia. Zoro had, with the great help of a constellation shaped like a dragon which had been granted by Xiur and his faithful diri Maureen, he had bested Audrae.

Zoro was appalled by the squelching suckiness that he felt from pulling his sword from Audrae’s body, this was the first person that he had killed and he was numb, not knowing quite what to feel. It came as a strange relief in a way when he witnessed the murder of Faldrun, and the dreadful attack on the pretty biqaj girl by the person he did not know, because now he knew what he felt. “You don’t treat people like that!” Zoro exclaimed. After all, she could have been one of his sisters Zena or Zara. Indignant, Zoro charged at this interloper who seemed to be taking power from the carnage and death. He danced towards the figure suspended in the air and taking his lead from Oram he told the story of her death.

“The great Immortals Cassion and Daia struck at the vile creature who had attacked that innocent girl!” Would it work? Zoro didn’t know but he’d seen it do so more than once. “They wrested the stolen power from her, just as the mighty star dragon of Xiur tore out her throat and the great ithecal that had bested Kata rejoined the fight with renewed vigor!” To Nir’wei, who had been so impressive in the fight, he called. “Cry havoc and let slip the wolves of war!” He had heard the phrase in one of his Uncle Zeb’s stories and it seemed apropos.

Zoro Astrian hoped that his words had the power that he had seen Cassion’s and Oram’s words have before. But he would not rely on words. As he spoke his final phrase, he turned and swung his fairy-light-covered-cutlass with all his might and took full advantage of every action which had increased his skills. He did not aim for Valtharn, though.

He aimed for the item which she had picked up with the aim of shattering it. He did not know it was called an Ascension Device. He did not know she was called Valtharn. He just knew that he’d be damned if he stood by and allowed this Doomsday machine to work, no matter whose hands held it.


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Nir'wei
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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:41 pm

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The attack on Syroa was something borne from a moment of opportunity; an unintentional moment of perfect alignment between allies, nothing more, but when it ended he could still feel Syroa's blood in their jaws, staring at the spot that she had been a moment ago. Was she really dead? Somehow he really doubted it, especially if what Tio had spoken of was true. There was something different about today, though. The grievous wounds to Faldrun hadn't healed instantly like the others. The charred corpses of the other Immortals hadn't puffed into ash, or vanished into smoke. It all felt a little too surreal, like a waking dream that just kept going, no matter how close the ground he was falling towards appeared.

Audrae, gone. Syroa, gone. Aelig, Belaera, Mastes, gone. He turned back around in time to see Varlum flung back from a force unleashed by a new arrival he didn't recognise in black armour, likely another one of the worshippers of the already-fallen in some way - and Kata breathe her last. That made six, he counted... until he looked behind the new woman and noticed the decapitated body of the Fracture-scarred Immortal of Flame. Seven. When had...

He saw it all far too late, piecing together events from the blood on the blade Valtharn wielded and the deep, roaring buzz of energy flowing back out and into a new vessel. Of course there would be another; there was always another. One could never depose a great power without creating a vacuum in which new power could rise. One could never remove strength without acquiring strength. He could only stand and stare as her body was filled with unimaginable energy, tapped from the geysers they had all formed in the room and left untended. He should have known. He should have prepared better, done something different, found another way. He should have killed Faldrun right at the beginning, when Kata had offered him that choice. Promising Faldrun that choice, promising Qylios that duty, swearing to himself day after day and trial after gruesome trial, he'd fixated upon it so thoroughly that now it was gone, despite the fact he'd technically accomplished exactly what he set out to do... he felt sad.

In his own way, he mourned the man he'd wished death upon.

Then he set upon the next target. There was no longer any real thought on 'why' or 'how' anymore, just the next targets and the next strategies. Until Karem and Raskalarn arrived, he would hold the line by any means necessary. Until the power was exhausted and removed from this world, it could not be allowed to fall into the hands of any being, mortal, Immortal, in-between or otherwise. Until there was no more blood in his veins or breath in his lungs.

This time, though, it was different. As Valtharn grinned, Nir'wei attacked. There would be no long-range attacks of lightning barrages here. No comfortable distance, firing off shot after useless shot into her hide like target practice on a pincushion. He didn't speak. The mental channels were silent. There was just Nir'wei. A single mind, made of eleven, and a single body, shared between nine. It was the strange, serene clarity he knew when at his worst. He'd felt it on the boat in Rynmere, too.

Castile formed a smokescreen of Pack Mirage wolves as Nir'wei lunged forwards, still moving as fast as his transformed and enhanced body allowed. Cold and Myrth each lunged for Valtharn's throat, perfectly coordinated one after another; they, like every wolf and Nir'wei himself, carried every intention to kill, to maim, to cause as much damage as physically possible in the limited time they had left. He'd lost Sovar, who hovered at his back and watched over his shoulder, but as he drew close Vabina materialised between himself and Valtharn, her horn crackling with ambient electricity and her claws and sabre-teeth ready to crash down onto her skull and tear her apart. Greyhide formed and lunged as well, timing his attacks a split-second after Vabina's to try and capitalise on her distraction yet again. The last wolves Nir'wei held at his disposal arrived when he did. Squeak formed a second smokescreen of Pack Mirage behind the first. Kin attacked her sword-hand, aiming for the wrist. Castile sunk her teeth wherever she could find an opening made by the others, a frenzy of teeth and claws. Nir'wei himself channelled Cyshe. In addition to the armour she'd formed around him, a glittering blue sword appeared in both outstretched hands, that he thrust straight for her throat. It didn't matter if that didn't connect, though. Nir'wei was no swordsman, and it showed.

He was close enough now. He, and any wolf, any creature that had survived the onslaught that long tore into whatever they could find. Nir'weis jaws opened wide and tried to tear her throat apart then and there. And Sage's inky, near-liquid form pushed at the joints of her armour around her armpit, looking for an opening he could squirm through... a passage he could follow straight to her heart.

It was absolutely every ounce he could bring of himself. Throwing everything on the line, as he had always done. Though still, in that moment, there was a small and wordless plea to a pair of higher powers still an unknowable distance away. He hoped. He trusted. He believed. You knew I would not let you down. That I have never let you down. Nir'weis thoughts slowly settled. I know you will not let me down now.
word count: 967
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Cail Qy'Jihai
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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:52 am


Cail Qy'Jihai


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Cail looked back towards the fight as soon everything was turning into even more chaos. She had never seen fireballs rain from the sky, or so many Immortals dying around her. It was almost too much for the young healer to comprehend as water began to pool in her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she focused on what needed to be done. The woman looked back up at the Ascension starting to move to go towards it following the chains when everything went crazy. The woman jerked her head around when Faldrun was shoved forward and hit the blade Cad was using.

“No!” the woman shouted.

She looked over at the other woman when she grabbed her shoulder then hit something on her back. A gasp left her as she hit the ground unable to use her legs suddenly. Cail looked up at the woman as she said that she would not hurt the woman after giving her an idea. Confused the young Biqaj tried to piece together what kind of plan she would have come up with that quickly. The woman looked as Varlum and Kata ended up on the ground nearby. Kata was slowly dying while Varlum had lost one eye and did not look in the best of shape. The woman used her arms to try and at least sit up so that she could see everything that was going on.

“What did you do to my legs? Why can’t I walk?” Cail asked with a glare looking up at her.

The woman did not appreciate whatever had been done to her. When the craziest thing happened, Cail looked over and saw Cad kneel before the woman while praising her. Had the Biqaj ended up in Emea? Was she in some twisted dream that she couldn’t escape from? Then Oram knelt beside him as well though she could not hear what he was saying. Shaking her head, the woman turned back to look at the woman who had pretended to be on their side that now stood as their enemy instead. What could the young healer possibly do to help the others as she watched them all prepare to battle her as well.

Biqaj Female

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“Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care.”
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Basilisk
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Re: Ruin's Dawn: Ascension

Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:03 pm

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Valtharn lowered to the ground and looked around at the people, Mortals, Mortalborn, and Immortal alike, around her. Cassion and Daia were as shocked as the rest, but while Cassion was starting to prepare for a fight, Daia just looked confused. Valtharn, however, didn't make a single aggressive move. She didn't taunt anyone, or gloat about her triumph, or start showing off her power. Instead, she worked her neck like she had a kink in it, then shook her shoulders like she had to resettle her armor. "Oh, that's a whole new feelin'. I can see why Kata let it make so bloody stupid, with how much of a rush all that power is." she said, her tone more thoughtful than anything else.

Then she looked at Varlum as he hauled himself to his feet with his shield and his familiars and made his declaration about protecting Idalos, then roared out his defiance against any attack she might make. "Ow. Do you have to be so loud?" she asked, holding a hand to her head, before she shook herself slightly. "Nice declaration, by the way. I mean, it's very brave and all, but I'm not doin' anything to threaten Idalos. World destruction seems a might stupid, bein' that I live here too, and I haven't made a single attempt at world domination under my own power. I mean, yeah, I've worked for people who want to conquer the world, but they payed me well for it." she said, shrugging slightly as she spoke. "Of course, I guess I'm rather beyond the mercenary life now. I'll have to find somethin' new to do now." she said, before she looked the advancing Ithecal directly in the eye, her expression suddenly turning serious. "But you killed Kata. You gave me the chance to claim her power." she said, before bowing slightly to the injured Ithecal. "Thank you, Varlum Onarmus, for what you've done today. We may be enemies, but I owe you my rise, and I respect your courage even outside that." she said, her tone completely sincere. Valtharn was many, many things, but ungrateful was not one of them.

Then she looked at Cad as he bowed to her and gave her a little speech that was very long on praise and very short on accuracy. "I appreciate the compliment, but I've spent a long time making sure I don't fall prey to arrogance. I don't intend to throw that out the window because I got a power boost. I'm not Queen of the Immortals, I'm just a very powerful one now. And I only had a hand in killing one of the Immortals here. Oram and Nir'wei killed Syroa, Zoro killed Audrae, Kata killed Mastes, Aelig, and Belaera, Varlum killed Kata, and you and I killed Faldrun." she said, her laughing slightly as she spoke. Then she looked at Oram as he tried to get the axe away from Cad, after having given Varlum some berries she assumed healing powers. "I mean, I don't really have any reason or desire to fight any of you, you know. I don't hold grudges, and it's not like any of you have ever done anythin' to me regardless." she said, her tone clearly amused. Then she looked at Cail, and gave her a slightly apologetic smile. "There's some nerves there that take out the legs when hit right. It'll wear off in a few bits, no lastin' damage." she said, her tone sincere.

That was all she had time for, however, because then Nir'wei and Zoro had attacked. Falkia had started to, but then she had seen Faldrun's corpse and had collapsed as if she had been taken out at the knees. The Champion of Faldrun was mostly unharmed, but she was openly weeping at the site of her Lord's lifeless body. When he had needed her most, needed her to defend him, she had utterly failed him. Nir'wei and Zoro, however, were not incapacitated. Zoro's rallying cry got Cassion and Daia back into action, and they charged alongside the pair, both still ready for a fight. They were unable to wrest power from her, anymore than Varlum was able to claim his father's power by just reaching for it, even with his Remnants Domain. Meanwhile Nir'wei loosed his wolves and his Zephyrus and even Sage while arming himself with Brightgleam weapons and armor.

However, there was several key differences between Valtharn and the Immortals they had fought before. Neither Syroa nor Audrae had been direct fighters, and while Kata had been a capable warrior, she had spent centuries acting from the background. This had left all three of them with less than optimal condition for a direct fight. Valtharn had been a career soldier from a young age, and even after leaving the Empire, she had kept up the lifestyle as a mercenary. She was at her best in a direct fight. Moreover, she had the mindset of a soldier, and it showed in how she dealt with their attacks. Syroa, Audrae, and even Kata had all relied primarily on what amounted to displays of raw Immortal power to deal with attacks against them. Shapeshifting nonsense, pure healing ability, big waves of darkness to hide in, and raw physical strength to crush wolves and damage even the hardest natural armor.

Valtharn had spent decades without any such defenses, and she relied on a simpler, more practical defense. As they closed with her, she sharply jerked her head forwards and downwards, snapping the visor of her helmet shut as the first attacks met her preferred means of dealing hostile attacks: 4 millimeters of mastercrafted Malorite plate armor that been disguised by the black paint she had covered it with. Now their attacks scraped away that black paint, revealing the starlight metal beneath it. Malorite was proof against all but the most severe attacks, and what they had was enough to merely lightly scratch Valtharn's armor. In addition, while Nir'wei was an Exalted of Karem, Valtharn had faced Karem herself, a Karem intent on her death, and walked away fairly unscathed. She knew how to deal with the Velduris wolves.

Rather than try to shake them off, she used her left hand, her sword hand, to draw a long knife from her belt. Reversing her grip, she drove it into Kin's chest, right into the wolf's heart. Kin vanished on the spot and she reversed her grip on the blade, making a narrow cut across her body that opened up Vabina's belly and drove the blade into Myrth's spine before dropping it into her offhand as she lowered her swordhand to the hilt of her sword and pulled it from her scabbard. Valtharn's scabbard was a special design, with an open slit on the top that ran most of the length of scabbard, allowing her to free the weapon faster and bring into effect sooner, in this case striking Greyhide's back feet at the hocks and cutting through the muscle and tendons. His hind feet weren't severed, but he wasn't going to be able to stand on them until he recovered.

Now Valtharn was fully armed and had taken out Kin, Myrth, Vabina, and Greyhide in the span of a few seconds at most. Daia and Cassion both paused, shocked by the sheer efficiency of the new Immortal. Fortunately, they weren't the only Immortals now, and Karem grabbed Nir'wei as he approached Valtharn. "Back off!" she said, her tone a sharp command as she pulled him away from the Immortal of Ruin. The reason for her command became clear as a new combatant joined the fight. Raskalarn was wearing full plate armor now and the greatsword she wielded crashed against her daughter's shoulder as she started to pursue the retreating Karem. Valtharn hissed in anger under her helmet and thrust her knife at the eye sockets of Raskalarn's helmet. Raskalarn deflected it easily, knocking the knife from Valtharn's hands and taking another swing at her daughter. Valtharn dodged and the Empress's sword, with was glowing the power of her Devastation Domain, smashed into the pedestal of the Ascension.

The pedestal, which is what Valtharn had been holding, hadn't been affected by Zoro's cutlass, was shorn clean in two by Raskalarn's strike. Valtharn took a swing at her mother, but Raskalarn deflected the blade with some difficulty and took another swing at Valtharn. The Immortal of Ruin dodged, grabbing the shorn off part of the Ascension before she abruptly lept away from the Ascension, landing next to Cad Revel. "Sorry, I'm not dumb enough to risk this fight when there's nothin' here for me to gain." she said, her tone cheery. Raskalarn pursued her daughter and Karem raised her crossbow to fire, but Valtharn opened a portal into Emea, then tossed the pedestal part through it. Karem's fired at her and Raskalarn started to swing, but Valtharn grabbed Cad and pulled him through the portal with her, Mastes corpse just barely not making it in time before she closed the portal, Karem's arrow and Raskalarn's blade passing harmlessly through the space where she had been.

Raskalarn swore violently as Valtharn vanished, then turned to look at the Ascension as it started to crack open, the cracks emitting a bright white light. Then the seven corpses of the Immortals started to do the same. "Time to go, now!" she said, nodding at the others. Karem, Daia, and Cassion all nodded and started moving. Cassion grabbed Oram and Cail before teleporting out with them, Daia did the same for Varlum and Falkia, while Karem collected Nir'wei and Zoro. Meanwhile, Raskalarn teleported back to her legions, who she and Karem had gone ahead of to try and stop Valtharn. Saoire, who had helped them get the legions to Anox's Folly so fast, had stayed behind and after a quick word from Raskalarn, opened a massive gateway that send the legions back to the Northern Reaches Fortress while she and Raskalarn joined the others.

Mere seconds after they vanished, the Ascension and the seven dead Immortals all Fractured, their collective destructions melding into a single force that violently tore open the fabric between Idalos and Emea in a new Grand Fracture that rapidly consumed the whole of what had been Anox's folly.



Cad's Manor, Almund

Valtharn and Cad appeared back in Cad's manor, in the very room that Faldrun had taken him from at the start of the adventure. Now, as they returned, Valtharn hissed in pain and rolled her shoulder, before she took off her helmet and set it on a table in the room. "You all right, there? Sorry for the abrupt exit, but I somehow doubt those folks would have been all that keen on your presence. Also sorry we had to leave your new thrall behind, but that's gonna Fracture any minute now." she said, looking out a window as she spoke. A few seconds later, the sky stopped cracking and returned to usual coloration, now absent of cracks. "Yeah, that checks out. Emea looks to be unbuggered now as well." she said, working her shoulder as she spoke.

Then she turned and picked up the piece of the Ascension she had thrown into the portal ahead of them and sheathed her sword. "Well, that was fun. Pretty rewardin' as well." she said, before she grinned at Cad. "Ah, but I'm gettin' ahead of myself. I believe you're owed triple what Faldrun promised you, as well as a bounty for killin' Faldrun, yes? Sure, you killed him, but I see no reason why you shouldn't get paid for the work you did. After all," she said, chuckling slightly. "You did help ensure that Kata won't be threatenin' anyone goin' forward." she said, taking a seat in a chair without asking. After all, what was Cad gonna do, threaten her? "Now, I'll see that your money is sent to you shortly. I don't have access to Faldrun's funds, so I'll have to pool it together myself, which'll take a few days. But we have another business matter to discuss." she said, grinning at Cad.

"You do good work, mister Revel. Good enough, in fact, that I have a proposition for you." she said, her grin widening. "You're an evil sort, Cad, and don't try to hide it from me. You and I are above tryin' to make excuses for what we are. So, how would you like to work for me on a more permanent basis? I can fund you quite well, and on top of that, I can give you power. After all, I'm an Immortal now and I do need people to give my Blessin' too." she said, her tone cheerful as she waited for his answer. Then she glanced at his chalkboard and frowned slightly in confusion. "I get the ferrets and the maid disguise, but what do you need that much latex for?" she asked, her tone genuinely curious.



Imperial Palace, Korlasir

The room they all arrived in was made of black stone, but despite that, it was well lit and comfortable, with windows opening out over the city below them and many comfortable chairs. All in all, it appeared to be an informal meeting room. Just after they all arrived, Varlum having been shrunk down to his normal size by Daia's touch, the sky outside returned to it's usual color. Just a second later, Raskalarn and Saoire joined them, the former looking out the window. "Looks like the Fracturing at Anox's Folly relieved the strain it put on Emea. We'll have to look into it later to see what happened." she said, getting a nod from the other four Immortals.

Cassion patted Karem on the shoulder, grinning slightly at the younger Immortal. "Good timing on that arrival. Valtharn would have killed someone if you two hadn't shown up." he said, his boisterous voice only somewhat subdued. Karem, however, just looked at him coldly for a moment before she went to go sit next to Daia and Nir'wei, the former of whom was looking rather distressed. "Still mad at me about the pup thing..." Cassion muttered, frowning slightly before he shrugged. "Well, at least she didn't yell at me this time." he said, before going over to sit next Saoire. Shortly after, Qylios, Ethelynda, U'frek, and Ilaren all arrived. Ilaren took a moment to frown at Falkia, who had buried her head in her hands, still crying silently, then shrugged at the presence of her greatest enemies Champion before going over to stand next to Raskalarn. Ethelynda sat next to Varlum, her expression clearly worried when she looked at the battered Ithecal, while Qylios went to sit next to Zoro and Oram, and U'frek sat next to Cassion and Saoire. "What happened?" Ethelynda asked, her tone somber. "Why does Faldrun's Champion look...broken, why is Daia trying not to have a breakdown, and what happened the other Immortals?" she asked, her tone serious.

Raskalarn, who was standing near the window shook her head. "My daughter in an Immortal now, with Kata's power. That's all I know." she said, before she looked at the Mortals and Mortalborn who had been fighting that day. "Would you all please explain what happened as best you can?" she asked, her tone as non-imperious as she could make it. Which, to be fair, still made it sound like she's having to make an effort not to give everyone there orders. Cassion nodded at the Mortals and Mortalborn, evidently choosing to save his part in things for later, while Daia barely looked up at all the talking, getting a concerned look from both Ethelynda and Karem.

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