1100/The Forest of Einnashe

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The Forest of Einnashe
Date of Scene: 07 December 2014
Location: Misaki Town <MT>
Synopsis: In which various people fight a vampire forest and Yuuki is completely normal.
Cast of Characters: 253, 518, Zero Kiryu, 560, 570, 591, Lezard Valeth, 614, 617, 643

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    MISATO CITY, North-East Japan.

    A small town, despite the name, located on unexceptional leylines and that belongs to a nobody clan of magi. The briefing said 'meet me at the southern gate of the town', which is very easy to find. Unfortunately things are absolutely not how they are supposed to look.

    To those who did their homework, Misato is a small town with about thirty thousand residents. It is modern, but fairly rural in design, like most remote towns in Japan compared to cities like Tokyo. One would have expected a nice quiet place, with a weird forest nearby that absolutely is not on the map at all.

    What you find is not a tranquil town. From the outside, there is a strong (trivially resisted by Elites) mental interference field. It offers two choices: IGNORE THIS CITY, or DISARM YOURSELF AND HEAD INSIDE. At the southern gate is Aoko, hands in her pockets and waiting. She seems agitated. That's because when people walk near the gate, they enter the bounded field itself, and the deserted cityscape is replaced by a dark forest.

    Dark red and black trees have overgrown and crushed most buildings; there are still bodies hanging from some of the branches, dripping blood. The concrete and cement of the town has been replaced by muddy soil, which stains shoes a deep red. The sun is barely visible through the cover of the branches, which almost seem to form a ceiling over the city. This place reeks of blood, of death, and all of it is fresh, maybe a hour at most.

    It's everywhere.

    Every tree feels like it's watching.

    The slightest touch can bruise skin-- and aggressively drains blood. But at least, the trees aren't attacking for the time being.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Additionally, the Forest of Einnashe appears to be siphoning ambient magic. Anyone whose powers rely on external magic instead of their own will find them harder, but not impossible, to use, mostly because there's a huge shortage of it. On the other hand, the trees feel fairly magical and could probably be drained. Magic Circuits don't seem to want to cooperate a whole lot, but you could force it.

Helena Celba (643) has posed:
    Helena comes, a contact with the Syndicate. Helena is not sure WHY the call was made, but she figured it was time to explore things outside of Gallandia...this perfectly normal town in a perfectly normal city did not catch her initial interest...until the faintest bit of magic and compulsion hit her mind. Helena did not learn the secrets she knows because she was weak of will, the influence is dismissed out of hand as she looks around...her eyes seem to make out the field, before she steps in.

    And there is a mysterious red head...and a bloody grove of trees grown over the now revealed town. Everything is bloody, gross, and positively....really drull. Perhaps some being finds such things 'horrific' and 'scary' but Helena finds herself not impressed with the work...

    Now the TREES themselves...THAT was interesting! The drain on her magical reserves is also noted...the trees seem to be draining the ambient magic. Luckily, she has her own sources, her own internal batteries. She spends a bit of this magic to try and better understand the magic flowing in the air...she has a specialty in the necromatic arts, and tries to understand just how this spell is weaved...or at least what can point her along the way.

    "Pleasant day for a stroll." She says towards Aoko, "Prime realestate for a summer home, am I right?"

Assassin (614) has posed:
     Where do people go when they die?

     The question has weighed heavily on the mind of Aoko Aozaki's Servant for longer than it has had a mind. Always it has wondered; always it has dreamt of drawing back that veil and understanding the great mystery that is the human soul. It is a tantalizing thing, a mystery, even to something that is only human in the most distant manner.

     But, at the moment, the Ultmate Question has a modifier.

     'Where do people go when they die if the Grim Reaper isn't there to help them get there?'

     Oh, Assassin's been assured repeatedly that someone is covering its shift. And, oh, of course, the Grail War doesn't defy Death, it just produces a copy, so it's not like Assassin isn't present still. But what if it isn't? What if it isn't still there to offer a guiding hand to the dead and dying, to the countless lost souls who cry out in need? Countless lost souls like those caught in this horrible place? What if...what if!

     Assassin never wondered over what ifs before. It simply did its job. In a way, it yearns for that simple comfort - that simple peace and quiet.

     But...what it stands to gain, at the end of this Grail War, is too great! The chance is too great to ignore to simply surrender now!

     It might get to live!

     And so it is that Assassin's worries and fears continue as it lurks, undetectable to all senses mortal or otherwise, just out of sight. But where Aoko Aozaki goes, Death - or at least, Death's most famous personifications - is sure to follow. Assassin must be here SOMEWHERE.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Emiya Shirou is always disarmed and armed at once! The boy is a blacksmith hero who produces his own gear, after all. But he has the magic resistance of your average drunken bear when things operate on this scale, so he's a bit dazed when he finally winds his way through the strange warp gate he appears to be in a daze.

    Such is the fate of magi with such weak circuits when faced with crazy magics of this scale.

    On the good side, as he goes strolling past Aoko, he manages to walk straight into a power pole with a THUD and clops himself hard on the forehead. "G-gah!"

    The redheaded magus drops to a crouch, rubbing his head and shaking it fiercely, only then struggling to get as much prana as he can generated through his circuits to fend off this interference. "Wh-what's up with this place?" He breathlessly rises... and HURRIES over to Aoko for 'safety.' Safety, yeah, right. But this place has his whole body trembling...

Psyber (253) has posed:
    Psyber is here by virtue of multiple reasons. The chiefmost being that a deadly forest is something precisely in his wheelhouse to deal with. As a paranormal investigator and whatever other titles he bears, he feels right at home helping out with this job.

    One of the more secondary reasons is because Aoko is here and she can talk him into helping with nearly anything.

    Which is why he's lingering nearby her, one hand in his jacket and the other holding a lit cigarette. Helena is a new face, and gets a nod, but she's talking to Aoko and he won't interrupt her. Instead, he simply takes a drag from the cigarette.

    "Don't look so fretful. You'll get wrinkles," He says to the redhead next to him.

Kimiko Shinobu (570) has posed:
    Shinobu Kimiko arrives as a silver-haired knight in half-plate, stepping through and into the bounded field with a look of worried concern. She's able to resist the impulse to disarm in part because the only way for her to do so would be literal suicide. For related reasons, she won't be having any problems with a lack of ambient energy. Everything she has to bring to bear comes from within.

    Once through, she makes a conscious effort to calm herself, not made easier by what she sees now. Yet, she succeeds, returning to outward ease, resting a hand against the hilt of a sword that's suddenly belted to her waist, only the smallest flash of magic heralding its summoning. It might be, however, that an axe would be a better weapon, when faced with a foe of this kind.

    To Aoko and Psyber, Kimiko nods. To Shirou--a more curious, concerned look. Is he really alright? Helena gets a sidelong glance, unrecognized.

Chloe von Einzbern (617) has posed:
That sister of Shirou's. Chloe? Cute girl.

Nasty habit of just showing up.

Like right now.

No seriously, right now.

The pink-haired girl is simply just there, now, when Shirou arrives, showing up just off his side when the youth rushes to Aoko. "Oh huh, a bounded field. Nifty trick, but." There's always a but isn't there? "Well the decorations are kind of bleak. Also all the prana getting sapped out of the air kind of sucks."

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    Approaching the gate in her winter coat with a fluffy trim is Yuuki Kuran, who seems rather chipper. On closer inspection, though, that's just her normal state of being, and the thought of handling this place becomes more forboding by the minute. As she draws closer to the place, every instinct within her begins to rouse, muttering darkly in her head that this place is no place for her. Another, even darker part of her, whispers sweet nothings about what lays within - a bounty of wonder, a sanguine banquet of...

    Her smile begins to wither as she approaches the gate, looking to her companion worriedly. "I-I'll be okay, but, um, if you don't want to come...?" She asks, before, well, the pair arrive.

    She has already slid on a pair of tinted sunglasses by the time she gives a weak little wave to Aoko, the bloody marsh of the ground causing a squelching under her thick winter boots and making her gorge rise.

    "E-erm... S-sorry, I didn't know this place was going to be like this. I don't know how much help I'll b-be." She stammers, holding a hand over her mouth and nose and trying not to gag horribly.

    Helena gets a specific, almost horrified glance. "T-trust me. I have a summer home - this is the last place I'd put one."

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Death calls to Death. Even with the power of bounded fields, such things cannot evade notice forever. Hiding from the eyes of the mortal realm and the weak-minded of the magical world is not truly hiding.

It's improving your clientele.

Despite the call that has gone out, another has arrived who might not have been... /entirely intended/. There is a soft touch on the edge of the bounded field, the faintest of hums as /something/ reaches out to attempt to probe deeper, with all the delicacy of a dentist hunting for a cavity.

There is then a soft turn, a slightly twisting of the field as a hole is made for a small moment. The air shimmers, parting. Nothing comes through it... directly. It is but a conduit. A conduit for...

"Well, well, well..." A circle forms, gleaming light rotating around as the energy inscribes itself into the ground with runes of transportation. There is a flash, and Lezard Valeth, the Necromancer (or Sorceror or Alchemist, depending on who you're talking to) of Midgard arrives. His expression is almost... eager as he looks over the landscape within the field. "This is the most fascinating place I have seen in some time." For politeness' sake, he has arrived within visual range of the others. How long he stays there depends on the proceedings.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
The Hunter can smell it before he gets anywhere close. It reeks to high heaven even at a great distance, and the feel of it is like the blip of a particularly unsubtle and bulky plane staggering its way across the skies. ZERO KIRIYU had started acting abnormally long before he and his companion were in eyeshot of their destination, pulling a simple paper packet of pills out of his pocket and swallowing them like a small child indulges in an excess of pez. By the time they get there, he can be seen swallowing down the last of them and stuffing the paper container into a coat pocket.

For the moment, he's managed to look normal.

A rather scathing looks is cast towards Yuuki when she questions his desire -- or perhaps ability -- to be present. A light shake of the head is his initial answer. "Don't take me so lightly. This is something that I can handle just fine. Worry about yourself, if you're going to worry at all." He adds a moment after, though in truth he is internally fighting some fairly bestial instincts.

It's something he's used to, though... and something that he is certain Yuuki isn't. Between the two of them, who is more likely to get in trouble, he wonders? Wading through a great sea of blood can't be good for her, but...

Zero makes a vaguely aggravated noise.

"Just stay close. Artemis is your best tool in these circumstances." Zero advises Yuuki, trying to keep the irritation out of his tone for the moment. What he's REALLY thinking is, 'If I tell you to stay here and you do, your useless ass will wander in afterwards and need to be rescued.'

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    "I'm fretting because while we're in it, I can't shoot lasers. And we have to hurt its heart to really leave a mark, so I can't do that from the outside," Aoko admits to Psyber, frowning. She's a laser gun without ammo, of course it's stressing her out. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say she'd have to actually TRY to do anything, and that's enough to bother her.

    She shakes her head to Yuuki. "Sorry, I didn't know either. The Church said it was sleeping. This isn't asleep at all. But that's reason enough to put a bit more effort into clonking it out."

    She pats Shirou. "Hey, hey, chin up. You too, choco-Illya. Your magecraft style relies more on your reserves, you'll be fine! Just apply swords to our problems until they go away."

    The red-headed magus looks at Helena and Lezard; she likes their lightheartedness, that's for sure. "I can think of a few nicer places to be! This forest would be really interesting if we hadn't caught it right after a meal. That's just my luck, though."

    She sighs, and then looks into the town. Well... what's left of it. "So... basically, we need to get to the forest's heart. I don't know what it looks like. What I do know is that this entire forest is a vampire, so if you have special weapons or tools that are conceptually effective, it's going to keep us that much safer. Once we make our first move against it, it probably won't stay still and keep watching. Each of those bodies is probably a potential ghoul, and... I don't know what the deal with the individual trees is. Maybe they're ghouls. Maybe they're full-blown Dead Apostles. Maybe they're a part of the Dead Apostle Ancestor only."

    She shrugs.

    "So! Let's get to it."

    Aoko leads on, into the thick of the forest. After about two dozen feet, the sunlight is sufficiently blotted that things start getting pretty dark. The tree branches rustle in the shadows, sometimes sounding like they are right next to you. From the corner of your eyes you can see them moving, creeping, reaching out, only to disappear when stared at directly.

    The eyes of the forest are on everyone, and there isn't a road. Trees have to be avoided-- sometimes it's bodies hanging from the branches, bumped into due to the darkness. The tiniest prick from a loose branch can draw and drink blood, and that's probably what the trees really want right now.

    "We need a way to see, and a way not to get lost."

    Yuuki Kuran, specifically, hears unwordly whispers from within the forest. The source changes-- wherever she looks, the whispers come from behind instead. Though vague, they seem to be trying to tempt her. 'Reach the heart.' 'Eat the fruit.' 'The Fruit of Einnashe ends bloodlust.' 'Your bloodlust.' 'You can end it.' 'Seek the Throne.' 'Eat the Fruit.'

Psyber (253) has posed:
    Psyber claps a hand on Aoko's shoulder and gives it a hard squeeze, "Yeah well, it's okay. We've got a lot of people here, so we can more than compensate for a third-rate magus of no notability." Psyber notes in a comforting and playful tone, parroting her own standard introduction back at her.

    Psyber stops for a moment as they come into the thick of the forest. Despite the reassurances he gave Aoko, the half-angel himself is unhappy to be moving into uncertain territory and surrounding himself with a predator. The half-angel takes out a handgun from his side and checks the clip, grateful he was mindful enough to bring any of his usual specialty rounds.

    He shuts his eyes briefly and tries to focus, letting them adjust to the terrain and territory. He's hoping the forest itself won't dampen their supernatural qualities and allow him to properly track his prey. But in a forest like this, supernaturally sensitive eyesight might be as much a hinderance as a help.

Helena Celba (643) has posed:
    Helena looks at the trees a bit more throughly...and then towards the ground. There is a thoughtful look in her eyes, as she gets serious.

    "Oh, dear, this is a place where I shine like a diamond...unfortinately, many people seem to be put off by this. Reguardless..." She shrugs...this isn't going to be easy, she realizes. This PLACE is a vampire...this is...a being who has displaced it's conciousness to such an extreme that it is litterally covering an area...

    Helena has heard of the magical theories...but this isn't so far removed from Odin, though the roots are different, she imagines... Helena briefly wonders if she could command such an undead? She imagines, that the heart would be the place she would need to even attempt this. It is more out of curiosity than actual desire to command it.

    Helena nods briefly to Psyber, and points forward, "I would be careful, it is going to be more dangerous going forward...and we're already in danger. I would avoid touching anything.." And to that, she can't protect everyone, but she CAN protect herself. A field of negitive energy warps around her body...should the forest try and steal her energy, the barrier will attempt to drain it right back.

    Helena grins towards Yuuki, "I was being sarcastic...this isn't a very lively place, now isn't it? Morbid Necromancers maybe...I am hardly your standard stock." She says, running a hand through her hair and getting ready to walk. Though her eyes pull towards Chloe, and she smiles...she watches the forest for the magic...but not the trees or the bodies. Lezard, similarly elects a smile from her lips. A man with a common interest...

    Helena starts moving, aiming to guide those who follow.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Shirou almost jumps away when Chloe's suddenly THERE. he definitely straightens twitchily. "Chloe! A little warning would help... will you be alright here?!" After hearing what's going on, he's got good reason to be worried about her.

    "Trace, on...!"

    There's considerable resistance, but power does flow from his palms and outwards. Some of it's drained away before it can properly form, but Shirou just pumps extra prana into the effort. His circuits sizzle from the strain, but KANSHOU AND BAKUYA form quickly enough.

    He's sticking close to the group, and keeping his eyes wide open. It's hard enough to just keep his circuits pumping prana through his body to resist the effects of this place, though... "Would the heart of it be in the center then? I'd guess that..."

Lezard Valeth has posed:
"If it attempted to be any more 'interesting' I do not know how I would /contain/ myself." Replies Lezard to Aoko, adjusting his glasses ominously, and withdrawing a ruby-tipped scepter from within his cloak. "It is a quite hungry entity, is it not?" His cynicism-tinged joviality aside, he does seem to be on his guard here.

The magus moves among the trees, carefully picking his way forward. It seems that he is choosing to remain conservative for the moment. This does not prevent him from bumping into a tree, however. The tree takes its due immediately, leaving a nasty bruise across Lezard's face from where it began to draw blood through his flesh.

He looks /considerably/ less pleased, but he refrains from taking a direct response yet. He moves in closer to the others, perhaps hanging near Helena, who seems to have a similar taste in pasttimes. "A fascinating location, but like this..."

Kimiko Shinobu (570) has posed:
    Yuuki and Zero get another nod from Kimiko, as they arrive. Perhaps not quite acquaintances, she's at least seen them take part in difficult encounters, before. Lezard gets a warier look, despite being more familiar, in a sense. She still knows little but that he's a magic-user of some classical persuasion.

    Though the sword at her belt remains, another blade appears in Kimiko's right hand. A falcata, it's most easily thought of as forward-curving machete. Not quite an axe, but it delivers force in much the same way. So armed, she still avoids the trees entirely if at all possible, only employing her weapon if they appear to be pushing forward such that she's left no choice. Her eyes dart from one tree to another, the impression of each coming forward when not looked at somewhat maddening. Fortunate, then, she has some experience with locales of madness--not that she's particularly resistant, so much as--

    At Yuuki's words, Kimiko, with a moderate level of subtlety, repositions herself in the procession so as to cover one side of the girl, in case of either her or the forest trying to more quickly meet.

    While difficult to do at the same time as keeping her eyes on the trees, Kimiko also pays attention to what her Soul Gem is telling her. Which way to the /source/? She might get nothing, or she might be able to tell whether they're traveling closer to or farther from the deepest part of the Bounded Field.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
"Understood." Zero replies to Aoko, and pointedly does not reach for his weapon just yet. It would probably provoke a reaction, at a guess. Bloody Rose itself is hidden beneath his jacket in a shoulder harness, a gun that looks no different than any other on the surface... at least, when it's visible. Those with a sense of such things might find that it has a feel not unlike the forest around them, though it is far more benign. Helpful, even. In its current state, as little more than a regular firearm, it doesn't have too much of a signature... especially with the incredibly oppressive feel of the forest bearing down on all of them. His movement through the forest is very peculiar and precise, and he seems to have no trouble seeing. The dark of it is no difficulty or stranger to him at all. He is, after all, a nocturnal being himself. The peculiar movement is because he's getting out of the way of the branches trying to inch in on him.

Though he can't watch them directly, his senses are fine-tuned to deal with beings like this, and he's paying close attention. The forest will have to make a special, directed effort to entrap or drink even a little bit of his blood.

A glance is cast towards Helena and Yuuki as they converse. A small noise of dissent is followed by a grumpy, "Excepting the homes she's shared with me, all of hers are just as bad as this place. They reek and cover up the scent of blood with false pretenses of warmth."

This guy is a jerk. Doesn't he have anything nice to say?

Nope. Not right now.

Zero falls back and assumes a position at Yuuki's side, having advanced forward a little too quickly, and attempts to tune his senses to something more significant than the ambient feel of the forest and its sub-components. Is there anything out there that feels stronger? More like the primary body? Or is it really just a hive-entity...?

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Psyber's (and others' if applicable) hunter senses reveal first that the whole of the Forest of Einnashe is a single entity-- but that it has instincts, like any other predator. There doesn't seem to be an intelligence behind it, but it's possible it's just hiding for now. The trees as extensions of the entity, although they're crammed with enough magic and blood that it wouldn't be hard at all to consider them something else altogether.

    Helena's sight capitalizes on the network of roots and veins under the forest. Every drop of blood, of life, that the forest has taken, flows through all of it. There's a pulsing in the air, like the entire place is just one big organ. With the way everything shimmers a dark red and drips blood, it's believable.

    There is a heart, which is where most of the blood flows to. It doesn't seem to be underground; at a feel, from a distance, it seems that the roots eventually reach a single location and then... well, who knows? The blood isn't being stored in the earth, though. Or even, in the system as a whole.

    Aoko nods to Lezard. "It eats once or twice every half a century. It probably has to overdo it to survive. The more powerful a vampire the more blood they need to keep doing what they do. This is... thirty thousand people just here. That's the price of immortality, every half a century."

    The actual number is higher, but her point still gets made.

    Kimiko and Zero get a clearer sense of where to go; Helena and Psyber can see what is happening, Kimiko and Zero can see roughly where to go. It's not too far deeper now, straight ahead. The problem is getting there alive, without getting lost. Fortunately everyone's working together as they can, so that shouldn't happen.

    Zero is right though. To press into the forest, to appear threatening to it-- it is having an effect. He can sense his status as a Hunter is starting to be picked up on. The smell, feeling, of a predator that knows ITS predator is in the area. The trees become louder. The wind stops passing between the branches, as does sunlight entirely.

    The shadows surge out. Hands claw out of the bloody soil. There's dozens of ghouls, all rising from their slumber to grab at people's feet. Their bodies are almost completely drained of blood, which makes them weaker, but hungrier.

    Shirou, Psyber and Zero, who are either at the top of the food chain, or have outright drawn weapons, get a more personal welcome from the forest. Tree branches from numerous directions, sharp like swords and with the suction of a vacuum if they should piece into people. There's too many to count, some small, some large enough to bisect a human.

    The entire Forest of Einnashe howls like a hungry beast.
    It's not quite like any other wild animal you've heard before.

    But Yuuki, Yuuki isn't threatened. Yuuki is too yummy to just kill like that. The whispers continue taunting her. A path in the forest to the side might catch the corner of her eyes, and the whispers come from there now. 'Immortality free of drawbacks.' 'Know no hunger.' 'No weakness.' 'A meal of blood ten thousand strong.' 'The Fruit of my labors.' 'Come. All of it awaits.' 'A millennia of bloodshed.' 'One bite.'

Assassin (614) has posed:
     The forest is an uncomfortable place for mortals. It's like a great internal organ made external, a corpse's heart that still beats despite being separated from the corpse. No, it's worse; it's like looking into the blood vessels of a human body, laid out as a horrible mockery in the shape of a forest.

     For humans, it is awful. For Servants...for Servants, it is like a thousand leeches are attached to the skin. It is a tingling, unpleasant, irritating sensation, and it is the first such sensation Assassin has ever truly known. What has Assassin had to be irritated by? What has Assassin had to dislike? Such things are meaningless to the Grim Reaper - except here and now, where something is actively preying on its very nature. Without Aoko around, Assassin would be useless.

     So Assassin repays her in kind.

     The ghouls arrive. They calmber and claw, surging out of bloody soil. But those around Aoko - those immediately closest to her - are simply sliced apart by a flashing silver blade. The blade whirls through the air, a crescent moon, batting away tree roots and ghoul hands with impossible speed and agility - speed and agility that surpass even the greatest of mortals, even the strongest of warriors. This is what it means to be a Servant: To be larger than life. To be greater than human. To be Heroic.

     The figure that looms behind Aoko Aozaki is not terribly heroic. It is nearly eight feet tall, clad in a robe as dark as night, whose ends fade away before they reach the feet and simply transform into mist. Its face is not visible, except for the lower part, the slender jawline of a young androgynous human, pale and lovely even in the terrible background. Blonde hair spills out from under the hood, beautiful and regal and perfect as it tapirs away into the shadows of the robe. Great white wings spread from its back as the scythe flashes in its pale and slender fingers, darting left and right with speeds almost too great to keep up with. For however unsuited to war it may be, it is still a Servant, and that cannot be forgotten.

     The Angel of Death stands behind Aoko Aozaki, a grim reminder of what fate awaits the people who fall in this darkness...but a powerful reminder of what lies on their side even here.

Helena Celba (643) has posed:
    Helena is grabbed by the SUDDEN ARRIVAL of GHOULS that try to A) Drag her down and B) try and pull themselves up. Helena's barrier procs, draining whatever energy that might be animating them.

    "Excellent...just what I needed." The energy gathered, ALSO allows her to better understand the source of the undead. Her eyes flash, and a crackle of darkness flows through her body. She stands in the flow of darkness, unfraid of the things it whispers, the sights inside...darkness does not make her fear...there are worse things than the dark. She has seen just but a glimpse of these horrible truths.

    "I, who stand in the depths of hades, who stands in judgement of the stolen lives of the recently deceased..."

    The spell continues, as she allows her PRESENCE to be felt...the undead, things that are dead and SHOULD NOT BE, but are can feel the power in her command, her words...the force of will is palpable to them. She litterally uses the power to overwhelm their thoughts, their desires...the newly ingrained instincts.

    "I /command/ you...in the name of Helena Celba to..." She continues the spell, weaving it from her own internal reserves, made fresh by the sacrifice of those that touched her... "OBEY!"

    The command fueled by magic is given, the order to supress their own undead will and to tie it slavishly to her own. The darkness fades after a moment, the spell complete as she stares forward. Already testing her mental commands over what is, hopefully, her new weapons.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
Zero's hand plunges into his jacket a moment before he senses danger. Having not taken hostile action initially is probably what bought him the time to get to Bloody Rose in time, and quite fortunately there's very little in the way of weaponry that could be better-suited to this situation. If it were merely a weapon specialized in fighting vampires then that would be one thing, but in particular it is a weapon that sucks the blood of other beings. From the handgun a vast quantity of tendril-esque vines begins to sprout, spreading up the vampire hunter's arm and underneath his jacket. What these vines are doing and what their purpose is remain to be seen, but the rest spread out in a pattern that act to defend the young man, even as he raises the gun portion of the weapon in preparation to fire it.

It comes clear what is happening beneath his clothing when the branches surrounding Zero begin to make contact. A great many of them meet the metallic vines coiled around their master's body, protecting him like a suit of armor. Those that actually find flesh find themselves in a far more precarious position than those that merely glance off. No blood issues from the wounds that are inflicted along his arms and shoulders, owing to the suction carrying them immediately into the trees, but...

Such contact is dangerous, and Bloody Rose is a vampiric weapon itself. It isn't possible to attack Zero in such a way without risking retaliation, and any of the branches that make contact are immediately subject to a counter-attack that is identical to the Forest's own powers in effect -- an attempted grab and hold that will result in the draining of blood. The lash of Bloody Rose is also specially painful to other vampires -- it'll take an awfully long time to heal any wounds inflicted by it, even for a being so gorged on blood as this forest.

The Vampire Hunter stands stock still, blood beginning to seep from the wounds partially drained by the surrounding forest. He looks down at the ground, a feeling of cold numbness spreading where he had been struck.

"Bloody Rose. This whole place is a vampire."

"Eat it." He commands.

The vines from the firearm identified as Bloody Rose begin to grow rapidly at that command. They do not carry out the order immediately, but the threat is incredibly obvious.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    "G-ghagh!" Shirou's adept enough at keeping away from the randomly roving branches.

    Not so much when they come spearing for him. The first two he mostly evades, taking a few grazes. The third he chops at with Kanshou, and the forh he just rolls away from. Bad enough there's Ghouls about, but ATTACKING TREE LIMBS!

    "Bad! Leave me ALONE!" Slash slash thunk!

    Unlike ASSASSIN over there, Shirou lacks grace with these weapons. His strikes are a crude but effective imitation of moves he saw Chloe using. But for whatever reason this stance is proving very useful, as he manages to roll, dodge, leap and bat away branches while only getting grazed here and there. It's still a losing fight though if nothing's done!

    "Anyone have ideas?!"

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    The voices torment Yuuki, and she suffers quietly. She takes a moment to quietly plug her fingers into her ears, and after a moment of figuring out that it doesn't stop them, sighs and continues on. She has enough inner voices telling her to do HORRIBLE THINGS that it all sorts of blends in.

    It's all in her head. It's all in her head. You know what she is right now? Hungry. Parched, even! She gently rubs her neck as she walks, carefully, through the horrible vampire tree forest. It takes most of her concentration to trudge along, arms kept close by her side, looking around warily and trying to... Well, not breathe. She can smell the blood, or she can taste the blood, so basically she holds her breath. It makes talking hard.

    To Kimiko, who gave her a nod, a wave is returned, glad to have someone else to potentially bodyguard for her.

    She feels miserable, and alive at the same time, the darkness as clear as daytime for her. "This is not a good place." She grumbles, taking a sharp, quick breath before returning to going purple in the face. It's not... precisely becoming.

    Zero, as he falls in near her, has but a moment with her, before the attacks come, and she ducks down, clutching her hands over her head and looking left and right. Escape! She needs to escape, she needs to...

    A pathway, a clear place, an alluring escape for her. So she bolts, while others are caught up defending themselves, down the path. Even though everything was going to hell around her, it never occurred to her that the vampire was the forest itself. Vampires were people, not things. And so she tumbled through the bloody murk and off...

    Well, towards the source of the voices. The human part of her wanted to escape.

    The vampire part of her wanted THE TASTY THING.

    So, much like a shojo Toucan Sam, she followed her nose through the forest.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
The Necromancer of Midgard knows how these things work. He's got exprience.

He /also/ knows the kind of bonds a magical being can put together on their home turf. Whe the fest begins at attack, Lezard chooses not to attempt to engage in a battle of supremacy for the undead, immediately leaping backwards to try to avoid the initial assault. Instead the Ruby Scepter flares, Lezard spending some of his personal magical power to create eruptions of flame. "FIRE BLAST!" Lezard announces, explosions of fire seeking so shatter or envelop groups of enemies. Lezard is playing his cards conservatively, timing his actions to gain the most for their expenditure. He is not sure how the altered magical environment will affect his ability to replenish his magical power.

More importantly, Lezard notices the appearance of Death itself. Such a being has purchase even in the mind of a man such as he. The snarl of irritation freezes for a moment like ice, his scepter almost swiveling towards Assassin... But control prevails against the momentary panic and revelation of Death among the undead. His grip hardens upon the scepter, and it creaks, the sorceror clenching his teeth for a moment as he turns away, his cape billowing in the flames he had set.

Kimiko Shinobu (570) has posed:
    Kimiko's first instinct is to lift her foot, even as she's grabbed, and stomp on the head of the first enemy to come her way. Operating by reflex, she follows her instinct, and does exactly that, powering through the grappling attempt bringing her armored heel back down with a bone-crushing force seemingly at odds with her small frame. Then comes the blade in her right hand, chopping like an axe, slashing as a sword, cleaving everything that reaches for her, whether dessicated flesh or vampiric wood. She is very good at this.

    When Yuuki runs by, however, she's shocked out of her rhythm. A ghoul bears down and tries to bite through her arm, the armor over which holds long enough for her to bisect its body. Tree limbs with a sharpness no normal plant has any business with stab at her, puncturing the outer layer of her solid defenses in half a dozen places. Getting away from that is a more hurried motion, and again the axe-like sword falls with blinding speed.

    It becomes even worse as she runs, getting away from the group for the sake of going after Yuuki, not knowing what's going on with her and momentarily not caring whether this is a good or bad idea, overall. Now she's rushing straight into the thick of it, with nothing to cover her back but chain and plate.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    The ghouls are not sufficiently superhuman that anyone here getting serious can't shred them apart; and that's what the Heroic Spirit that is 'Death' proves with its first appearance here. The scythe cuts through flesh and what passes for the remnant of a will in those shambling zombies. He idles behind Aoko then, and she smiles at him. "Thank you Azzy~."

    Helena's command pieces through the Forest. The trees ignore it. The ghouls, however, can't. A Dead Apostle, Ancestor or otherwise, has only so much control over its walking dead and its ghouls, and it isn't really that great. They are mindless, for most purposes. Helena inserting her will in there, that's not very hard. There's too many around to get all of them, but she can still get a good dozen. More importantly this means the ones immediatly gunning for her, no longer are. They are now loyal, if weakened and hungry, minions.

    Zero's weapon gives the Forest an ironic twist; it tears and lashes at the branches, and Bloody Rose drinks the Forest's blood. It's probably delicious, given its status as an Ancestor. Not to mention, it is crippling. Under normal circumstances the damaged trees and branches would grow back, as if time itself were being wound back for them. They don't. This agitates the Forest GREATLY.

    Shirou may lack grace, but he's still wielding weapons that specialize in killing monsters. Even as copies, they're effective. Keeping the trees at bay seems to inflict obvious wounds to the environment, blood pouring from every cut branch that doesn't immediatly grow back.

    Flames are good as swords and conceptual weapons here. Lezard sprays the ghouls and even some of the forest with destructive magic, burning bodies to ashes and preventing regeneration or reabsorbtion. The fire doesn't spread too far though, the large quantities of blood everywhere making it hard to just burn the forest down.

    Kimiko puts up enough of a fight that can she knock the ghouls off her and take off after Yuuki. This is pretty obvious now that the fight is dying down-- and to anyone using their senses to feel the correct way, it would seem that Yuuki has found it.

    As Yuuki and Kimiko run off, the trees uproot themselves and attempt to bar access to the path they used. More ghouls rise, and more tree branches lance about, whipping, cutting and piercing, this time at everyone. Zero is being focused on the hardest, setting the Forest's survival instincts off big time. Roots even surge out of the ground, trying to lock him in place, to squeeze the life out of him. Eating him has become secondary to just killing him. It can detect those with the ability to kill it-- and so it doesn't lose any more time.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Yuuki (and behind her Kimiko) run through the forest. Why the trees and shadows don't try to stop them is a mystery. They come upon a clearing; there is a massive tree in the center, and the loud, omnipresent beating of a massive heart. The tree pulses with life with every sound made. Hanging from its single, lowest branch, is a large blood red fruit, shaped like a human heart. The flow of blood of the entire forest-- this is where it ends up. The tree is the Forest of Einnashe's heart. The Fruit of Einnashe, its best lure-- and ten thousand meals condensed into one fist-sized fruit. It promises immortality, and an end to bloodlust. But it also promises the intruders death.

    As the way closes up behind them (at least for now), the corpses of bears, wolves, humans and horrors not made of a single body all rise and stir, surrounding them. The tree branches lance out like spears and swords, trying to skewer them.

    Yuuki was too tempting a meal; the Forest wanted to eat her at its heart to gain the most nourishment, so that's what it's doing now.

Helena Celba (643) has posed:
    Helena grins as she takes control of about a dozen ghouls...all hungry, and greedily drained of blood.

    However, right now she notices two things...part of the forest growing rapidly, trying to keep them out, and two girls going that direction...followed by one of them saying they have found it! Oh happy day, a end to this cursed place...

    Helena turns her ghoul group towards the branches and what not trying to bar their path...and as blood and life flows through the very trees... "My minions...feed." She commands them directing them to the branches that block their way themselves, aiming to drain the path, and MUSCLE her way through.

Assassin (614) has posed:
     Assassin takes a distant, clinical note of Lezard Valeth's interest. It is, after all, a thing beyond humanity, a Heroic Spirit of a thing that has never really existed; its senses, like everything else about it, are simply superhuman. The beautiful figure of the Angel of Death is far more concerned with its Master, however; it nods in affirmation and lays a slender hand comfortingly on her shoulder. This lasts all of an instant before Assassin is back to being her solemn shield and solemn blade. The trees and ghouls whip and pierce, but they are merely trees and bodies. Unnatural though they may be, they simply won't stand up to Assassin. Each ghoul Assassin kills is given a sad, wistful smile from the Angel of Death, a final, parting gift for the poor, tormented souls.

     But it is Zero who draws his eye once Aoko is safe. The Forest seems to want Zero very dead, for some very specific reason. Assassin is quite capable of sussing out at least the very basics - after all, most creatures react with a similar instinct to death. Overwhelming fear. If Zero is capable of such a thing, defending him will clear the Forest faster, and thus protect Aoko. What was it Assassin was commanded? To mak his own decisions?

     "Excuse me, Master," Assassin declares. And then it's gone from in front of her.

     The huge, white wings unfurl behind Zero. The silver scythe slashes defensively, blocking the shots from the trees so Zero can focus on attacking. Assassin even takes a few hits it would've been easily able to dodge under normal circumstances, the tree punching through its cloak and the mysterious shifting body below.

     Protecting this person will allow them to kill the forest faster.

     That will protect Aoko.

     That is Assassin's only goal.

Kimiko Shinobu (570) has posed:
    Kimiko is surprised to find nothing attempting to kill her as she goes after Yuuki. It's just letting them in? Why?

    Finding an ambush at the end of the road doesn't explain it, since she's unaware that the forest has any reason to bring something to its heart for feeding. It does, on the other hand, somewhat vindicate the impulse that had sent her speeding after Yuuki. The Dead Apostle will now attempt to kill them, and it is her role to prevent that from happening.

    First thing's first. They're here, but that's no reason to expect that Yuuki is out from under whatever curse has taken her good sense. In fact, she's still going for the heart--or else, the fruit, the forest's lure. Without pausing once since the ambush sprung, Kimiko makes a tackling leap toward the Perfectly Normal Girl, trying to first bring her down, and if not that, at least squeeze as close to her as possible. That's going to become important a moment later.

    Assuming she does get into Yuuki's space and then plant her feet on the ground, a magic circle will appear below their feet, spinning rapidly for a quarter-second before erupting in multiple, roughly spherical layers of gleaming, worked steel, a modest defensive wall that should hold back the terrors for a moment. With a slight delay, a larger magic circle will create the second layer, taller than the first. Another delay, and the third circle will sprout spears and swords, thrusting upward from the ground and outward from the walls.

    Draining, but likely effective in giving time for the others to reach their position.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
The Vampire Hunter is slowed by the weight of his weapon. By the time the Forest has the opportunity to counter-attack with great force the great mass of metallic vines has nearly enveloped Zero... and the means by which the forest attacks is not very compatible with finding purchase against him. It does, in limited doses, but it has no choice but to pay for it. Finding a gap in the armor requires coming into near-unavoidable attack range and being assaulted in turn. Ordinarily he would be focused on killing the forest and being done with it, and yet... and yet, the young man, ensconced in a vampiric armor that simultaneously laps at the blood of the forest while denying him his own, has focused exclusively on Yuuki Kuran. Staying near to the group was preferable and desired, but she hadn't done that. Her protector follows after her at a glacial pace, a whirlwind of vines whipping around him to both attack and defend.

Blood seeps from beneath the armor where the forest has found purchase in places. Blood from the land trickles in through Bloody Rose, offering a restorative that is easily missed beneath the great mass of vines surrounding him.

Slow, creaky steps are taken in the direction Yuuki fled towards. Assassin is acknowledged by Zero with a glance over his shoulder, and the tiniest of nods. It could be missed easily, mistaken for a simply glance to see what is defending him. Trying to slow him down further than he already is, however, seems a counterproductive effort. Roots grasp and are attacked in turn, giving the hunter an additional avenue of attack through the mere act of defense. The armor of vines begins to assume a recognizable shape, the vines around the hunter's head slowly twisting into a shape somewhere between draconic and canine.

The portion of Bloody Rose that still resembles a gun is raised, threateningly, towards a nearby tree. It is not, as of yet, fired.

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    The pulsing heart-shaped fruit, the Lure, promising a thousand-thousand meals, the end to bloodlust, causes Yuuki's own heart to quicken, even as horrible brambles and beasts arranged themselves around her, closing of all pathways, both forward and back.

    Her breath comes harder now, and without pausing or holding like she was doing before. She pants, and breathes in the air around her, and takes a few stumbling steps forward.

    Inside her head a war wages, and it's not one that can precisely be called a win or a loss on either side. Both sides agree - they want that THING. That bloody jewel upon the tree!

    But Kimiko has caught up to her first, and erects her concentric wall of spears and shields, a barrier that locks her in as surely as it locks out the oncoming monsters and encroaching forest. She... is trapped.

    "N-no!" She breathes, pressing against the castle walls with her hands. "I need to get out! I need to eat that thing, and then... I won't have any more problems! Please, just let me out. I'll be fine, I promise... I'm always fine, and I'll be more fine once I eat the fruit!" She pleads, panting and raving against the inside. For now, it is... Rather muted, feeble. She hasn't truly come to a decision on her motive, and her latent powers remain... latent.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
As long as the area is clear around Lezard, it's enough for him. The trees are simply an outgrowth of the central issue. He moves to interpose others in the way of the incoming attacks, instinctively attempting to remain in the 'back row' as it were. He uses more blasts of fire as necessary to clear the path and deal with swarm issues. He has nothing special he needs to accomplish at this juncture, and as such he bides his time.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Effective indeed. Shirou didn't quite expect this quality to apply, but once he sees how good it is, he uses the blades for more parries and slashes until the number of branches in his immediate vicinity's cleared enough for him to start HURLING copies of the weapons at trees. That might not be too smart, but he's able to trace three copies of the swords before landing on a fourth set, and then he's not throwing any more.

    Using his magic circuits here is NOT easy. They're unstable, and every projection is like fire racing down his arms. No need to go all out here...

    And with THAT in mind? He's tailing right after Aozaki and Assassin, hoping to benefit from the Servant's skill...

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Helena sends the ghouls to feed upon a Dead Apostle Ancestor. It is a slaughter-- but sometimes, even the undead can be lucky. Especially if she supports them. The first three or four shamble into the grinder of branches and leaves, reduced to paste and limbs scattered in every direction. The next two or three, manage to grab onto branches and tear them off. They are shredded not moments later, but that isn't what matters.

    It's the severed branches, full of blood, gushing like delicious, fresh corpses. The remaiming six ghouls feast on them, and rather visibly gain strength and speed as a result. A meal as high class as that would almost be enough to skip straight from being a measly walking dead to being a Dead Apostle, but these people don't seem to have the magical potential for it. They're still rather superhuman now though, and put on a pretty terrifying fight from here onward.

    Assassin moves to defend Zero; the scythe does what scythes were known best for, cutting vegetation and absolutely not being a weapon (which is silly, this is an anime world). For as fast as the Forest produces branches to skewer people, 'Death' can keep up, and it looms ever closer to it.

    The Forest fears, but it isn't human fear.
    It's the fear of a prey, mindless, and purely instincts.

    Zero lets all of hell loose, turning a large zone around himself into a chainsaw. He walks through the path Yuuki took. The Forest tries its best to continue blocking him, raising thicker and thicker walls of wood and blood, but this only results in more of it splattering in every direction.

    Lezard may be playing back row but a fireball is a fireball. It is plenty helpful to keep the path ahead and around Zero clear, allowing the Hunter to press on faster if he wishes.

    Shirou keeps making SWORDS, and they are MONSTER SLAYING swords, so that's actually working out pretty well. Aoko is just kind of walking behind the ground now, smiling with her hands behind her back. This is working out pretty well, she thinks!

    "See, Shirou? Nothing to worry about. Walk in the park! The horrible, bloody, vampiric park. But that's a detail! Try not to die."

    The group, eventually, makes it past the unending waves of branches and ghouls-- reaching the Throne of Einnashe, the massive tree in the clearing-- and obviously, Yuuki and Kimiko.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    In the clearing, Kimiko shields Yuuki. The assault is absolutely relentless, the Ancestor bringing down the mightiest of its blows. Entire trees seem to uproot themselves and take the shape of spears that fling and shatter against the Puella Magi's armor; wolves attempt to bite into her, bears attempt to maul her, ghouls shamble in the mess, and everything that falls, seeps away into the earth, and resurfaces near the massive tree.

    It is there that every body part, every corpse, every tree, is assembling itself into an immense, humanoid form, flesh, wood, bone, mud and teeth mingling together to make a horribly mismatched and disgusting giant. And the faster Kimiko kills things, the faster the giant takes form.

    The Fruit of Einnashe lay there, on its low-hanging branch, still calling out to Yuuki. 'Abandon that safety.' 'Once you eat it you will not need protection.' 'Just a few meters.' 'COME.'

    In that zeal to reach the prize, if Yuuki abandons Kimiko's safety, she might not notice that every blade of grass under the central tree is like a sword, gleaming, bloody, and awaiting for someone to step on to suddenly shoot up and skewer like a spiky bed. But if she could bypass that, the Fruit is right there.

Helena Celba (643) has posed:
    Helena grins...she was only expecting THREE to get that much power! A half dozen is more than she hoped! Her grin is brilliant as others help break their way through, including the dreaded power of ZERO. As others tear through the path, Helena boosts her own undead, and they get REALLY strong...really bloated with blood. Helena couldn't help for anything more! As they approach the center...Helena smiles.

    "See, I love this part...when the anchient evil realizes they /fucked up/ so badly they are trying to overcompensate and bring their full power to bear..." She grins...

    "I have taken enough time to find out how you work...and now.."

    She moves her fingers out, aiming for three of her undead minions. Without effort, they EXPLODE... explode and spread their embodied and stolen mana, saturating the air with ambiant mana again... "My friends, I suggest you TAKE ADVANTAGE and use ALL OF YOUR POWER, right now, to completely /MURDER THIS THING/." Helena says, litterally empowering everyone, but especially people who require ambient mana to function.

    Helena explodes the other set of ghouls, drawing their power into herself.

    "And this is the other part of my plan." She says, drawing that magic into herself. Her body glows, rumbles like a massive leyline for a brief moment...and then FORCES the magic out, converting it into her own source of negitive energy...the energy of pure entropy and destruction...pointing it right at the center of the forest, attempting to blast the newly formed creature...and hoping she manages to catch it's heart too.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
Underneath the metal and thorns, Zero Kiriyu is a great deal more mortal than many of the people present. True, most terrible injuries that do not damage his heart or head will not kill him quickly enough to outpace his healing, but he can't afford to charge ahead like many of the others present. Particularly, he can't afford to act as Yuuki has. His armor is necessary. Not stepping on fields of spike traps is also necessary. So as the others fight around him, they'll find themselves overtaking him rapidly. It is only at this point that he begins to fire his gun at essentially everything in sight that is not a "person", as he defines it.

The projectiles that issue from Bloody Rose are not bullets.

Shining pink bursts of energy issue forth in abundance, vaguely bearing the shape of a cross. They are ephemeral, after a fashion, and do not last long beyond contact with a target. Their effects on vampires, however, are terrible indeed. A single shot at this level of power is lethally threatening to almost any vampiric being, and even the mightiest of the Twenty Seven would not wish to be struck by it directly. It is a bane weapon most terrible. A lesser vampire could not endure even a grazing shot, and as for the ghouls and appendages of this forest...

That remains to be seen. But it is not likely to be pretty.

Because he's been so much slower though, Zero is in no place to attack the 'main body', or the heart that the Forest is attempting to assemble. Nor is he there to witness Yuuki's continued mad scramble. Implacable and determined, he continues his slow approach and careful clearing of the surroundings...

Kimiko Shinobu (570) has posed:
    Kimiko has two goals, now: Keeping herself and Yuuki alive, and preventing Yuuki from getting that fruit. She does not know what it is. She does not know what it does. She does not know what kind of effect it will have on Yuuki, should she reach it. She knows only that it was the Dead Apostle that told her to come here and to take it, and that, since the Dead Apostle wants them both killed, it would therefore be a Very Bad Idea to eat the thing. Yuuki's frantic wishes do not, in this instance, matter to her. She is used to Perfectly Normal people eagerly trying to kill themselves when touched by bizarre and horrific entities.

    Creating her defenses was taxing, and it will continue to tax her, as the relentless assault requires that she refresh those defenses constantly. Lancse skewer beasts, then break off and shimmer to nothing. The plate armor forming the walls is broken apart, and summoned anew. The entire outer ring is cave in at once, and all at once the inner ring rushes outward, expanding with menacing spikes, as a new inner ring rises around her. All the while, she is trying her hardest to Yuuki from advancing. Her walls help with that, though of course the spikes and traps will not.

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    Yuuki bangs her fists against the walls of Kimiko's castle moderately helplessly, perhaps dislodging some part of the bulwark around her, and the maddening voice calls to her, encourages her to strip away her defenses, to be free, to taste the fruit. Her hands claw at the inside of a shield, tearing deep rents in it. "Let me out!" she wails, but it is no use. She can't do it... before Helena's power washes over her, and she cries out renewed and empowered, before exploding in a cloud of bloody butterflies, the pile of bleeding familiars fluttering and squeezing and generally pressing out of the defenses' reach, the TOTALLY NORMAL WE SWEAR IGNORE THE BLOOD-FORMED BUTTERFLIES THAT SHE DISSOLVED INTO girl taking a step on a swiftly reforming leg, butterflies seamlessly becoming Yuuki anew, as she reaches out, her sunglasses sliding off her face and her mouth panting and open.

    Her eyes are a lambent, glowing red, and her mouth has a neat set of long, hungering fangs.

    She steps onto the sharp bladed grass without a care, and even as it shoots up into her in a thousand places in a bloody spray... She keeps going. Impossibly, as she loses far, far too much blood for a normal person in the forest of grass blades, a hand reaches out, and a single blood-dripping finger touches the pulsing fruit.

    Yuuki doggedly pulls herself up, her tongue reaching out, even as...

    Well she's basically SlapChopped(TM) by the forest's trap. That she walked right into. Just to eat that fruit. She's got a hand around it now! But she's having some trouble getting her mouth onto it. Something about godawful pain and getting eaten. By a forest.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Observing the capacities of those present is as much of a benefit as anything else. Lezard's eyes, however, widen as they finally break through to the central area. He sees the corpses, the central tree, and the great Fruit. His glasses gleam ominously for a moment as he considers the possibilities.

He then casually discards most of them as being tactically infeasable. "Enough of this." He states, simple. "I have lost entirely too much blood to this enterprise." It's going to be a while until all those wounds heal up. Damn vampiric forests.

It is at this point that he raises his scepter. "FIRE LANCE!" He calls out, sending out a blast of flaming spears into the horrid melee. But the power cycles, feeding back in a loop as he draws upon his own power as well as the power released by Helena. A circle of power appears beneath him, the flames' light around him dimming as he draws upon the area and invokes a Great Magic.


The air above the forest blossoms into a massive sphere of flame, an inferno erupting around them.


From the inferno, countless blasts of consuming flame roll out and rain down upon the area, crashing into the forest in an infernal rain. Patches of blasted flame are left in the aftermath, sticking to things like napalm.


At the height of the spell, the ruby shatters from the scepter, no longer able to handle the power channeled through it.

He /really/ needs to find a better scepter design, he mentally notes. The fact that Yuuki is totally trying to vampire ninja around certain death in order to eat a murderblood fruit is not really relevant to the necromancer right now, though he does applayd the sheer audacity. He can respect that kind of shenaniganry, especially since it's not inconveniencing him.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Things are getting extremely screwy here. If Yuuki going a bit nuts wasn't bad enough, now GHOULS ARE EXPLODING and the place is filling with mana. Enough that even Shirou can feel the strain on his circuits drastically lessened. "That's it...!" Up he stands, slashing away a branch that managed to penetrate his arm. The handful of wounds he's suffered aren't really bleeding too much, thanks to Avalon, but that's gonna HURT once he's off the Adrenaline Rush.

    Either way...

    "My body is made of swords." The youth chants. "A shell of steel with fire for blood."

    With a cry of immense effort, he focuses his mind and forge of a soul.

    The air FILLS with copies of Kanshou and Bakuya. They rapidly appear in small groups, and then FLING themselves at trees and branches, but especially for this strange beast that's forming out of the dead things!

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    The thunderous blast that Helena releases slams into the forming giant. As its shape reaches what could pass as 'completion', or at least formed enough it could now lumber forward and present itself as a credible threat, it is painfully impacted by the beam of magic, slamming into the central tree of the clearing. It stands its ground, slamming a foot down, and then slowly, slowly, pushing back against the magic, advancing. Layers of flesh and wood get torn right off and reform immediatly, over and over, as the Forest burns more and more of its inhabitants and its mindless minions into keeping the abomination standing.

    Zero fires his weapon after all this time threatening to do so; the cross-shaped blasts almost immediatly vaporize the ghouls and trees they come into contact with, starving the giant of further body parts to continue regenerating. Not only that, but every possible threat besides the giant is now too busy either dying or trying not to die at Zero's hands, meaning the group can focus on it.

    Kimiko's defenses hold, if only because there is no longer anything slamming into her. Zero has completely cleared the area, save the giant trying not to get blasted to shreds by Helena, the massive tree, and the fruit.

    This unfortunately means she is probably just in time to see Yuuki getting skewered hundreds of times for a human heart-shaped fruit hanging from the evil tree. The blades of grass gain in speed and intensity with every cut, the Forest of Einnashe rumbling and howling, like a dying beast celebrating finding a meal when it needs it most. But it did not count on Yuuki being able to survive that treatment; and the hand wrapped around the Fruit of Einnashe is able to pluck it, blood flowing from where it used to hang.
    Well that and all the blood from Yuuki herself.

    Lezard ups the ante by bringing more deathbeams to the field-- or huge bursts of fire, rather. The flames wash over the whole of the forest, clearing the air and letting the sunlight through in places. The main tree catches on fire, and the giant is completely overpowered by Helena and Lezard's combined spell. It blasts apart.

    The swarm of blades have only one target to focus on: the Throne of Einnashe, the massive tree. They lodge themselves one after another into the Dead Apostle Ancestor's heart. Though they're not explicitely anti-vampire, they're good enough. Anti-monster is still better than regular steel. There's a piercing, shrilling scream through the whole of the forest.

    And then blood, absolutely everywhere. Most of the trees dissolve into a tidal wave of blood and organs that completely washes over the area. By the time it subsides-- and presumably, people either shield themselves or take a deep breath and get ready to swim-- the air, finally, starts smelling like air and not like corpses again.

    The Forest of Einnashe, wounded, has 'retreated'. Its essence seems to have seeped into the ground through the blood, leaving only the desolated town it consumed, the bloodstains on everyone and everything, and a few trees that lacked the magic to dissolve and withdraw, but still lightly resonate of blood and vampirism.

    That also means Yuuki finally stops getting stabbed, and has the Fruit in her hand as a prize. The biggest fuck you you could give the Ancestor without outright killing it.

Helena Celba (643) has posed:
    Helena is covered in blood.

    She does not look as good in red as she does in black, but luckily...

    Presdigitation solves this, cleaning the blood from her body, as she walks towards one of the remaining trees. Helena, while people are more focused on other things moves to procure something...a special part of the tree. A Sapling, if you will. This is necissary, for science.

    Once secure, she carefully makes sure it is sealed properly and placed into a bag to hold it until it could be more securely held.

    Turning towards the others, and the totally ordinary girl.

    "Well, it appears things have returned to normal." She says, frowning. Helena looks at the....destruction done by the horrific thing. She closes her eyes, There is...apart of her that aches at this, just slightly. She dismisses it, looking towards Aoka, "A truly...fun evening, you certainly know how to treat a lady." She winks.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Blood erupts throughout the area. With the breaking of the hold upon the area, Lezard sees no issue with using his powers once more as normal. The teleportation circle manifests beneath him as the blood washes towards him, and he vanishes moments before the bloodwave hits.

In the aftermath, Lezard reappears, but not with the group. He appears near some of the remaining trees. "You will make fine research material." Lezard says to the tree, and holds out his hands as he begins creating another teleportation circle around said trees. Looks like he's planning to get into the landscaping business.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Aoko sighs. Well, she is covered in blood this time. Too much of it, and not being able to trivially use magecraft. Splash! Now her clothes, face, skin and all match her hair! This is far more horrible visually than it sounds.

    "I need like, five showers. This didn't go as planned at all, I thought we'd be able to just waltz in and throw firepower at it until it said sorry uncle. This much damage... that'll probably make it recover for a long while," she answers Helena, before glancing towards Yuuki.

    And then Zero.

    "Is she... okay?"

    MEANWHILE: Lezard steals a bunch of trees.
    His reputation with Greenpeace goes down by 10.

Assassin (614) has posed:
     Suddenly, Aoko is wiped clean. It isn't magical cleaning power, however - it's just Assassin.

     Apparently, the Grim Reaper's robe...can also function as a towel for desperate Masters. Who knew?

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    Yuuki's body was torn apart and remade dozens if not hundreds of times, but as she falls onto her side, there isn't any more blood that falls out of her. Deathly pale, she clutches the fruit close, cupping the gently leaking fruit in her hands and staring into it. Her head is clear, now, as the giant demon vampire tree of horrible badness is gone.

    Well, she's covered in blood, and her clothes are totally ruined and scrapped, but she's... Alive!

    She is not really fine though. She stares into the object she had done so much in her cupped hands, and opens her mouth...

    And jams the fruit in her mouth.

    She doesn't bite down, or chew, she seems extremely conflicted. She looks, then at her hands, covered in other people's blood - and her own - and all the people around her, the people that tried to protect her as she did a terribly retarded thing.

    And she did it anyway. She could spit it out still, she could... she could share it, with Zero!

    She sits there, in a pile of her own blood, with a Vampire's superfruit in her mouth, just gently held there.

    Finally, she bites down, scything off half of the thing in one bite, and EMBRACING THE BAD CANDY.

    She looks at Zero, and raises up her cupped hands to him, half the fruit pulsating in her hands.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Greenpeace is welcome to register their complaints at the Tower of Lezard Valeth. He can always use more brainless zombies. He won't even need to do anything.

Zero Kiryu has posed:
The mass of thorny vines withdraw from Zero's form, and he resembles a regular human once more in short order. Beneath his 'suit' of armor he has suffered many deep cuts, though it looks from the size of the gashes in his clothing like he has been regenerating partially from each of them. Notably, he has many puncture marks that don't match up with what came from the surrounding forest. It looks like his own weapon takes some kind of toll from him. Probably blood, based on what it was doing to the surroundings. His eyes turn towards Lezard, speaking to the remaining vampire trees. If not for the fact that he has Yuuki to go and check on, he would have something to say about that. Later on, he might still have something to say about it.

"You have a twisted idea of 'fun'." He remarks in passing to Helena. "The smell of this place is repulsive."

The sights don't seem to bother him, though. Weirdo.

Approaching Yuuki is undertaken quickly and deliberately, but not before she does /some/thing that's outside of his visual field until he's right on top of her. At that point, she's already portioned the goddamn thing out and eaten half of it. The hunter stops, his grip on his weapon going briefly slack as he stares down at the freshly-regenerated young lady before him. An expression of shock registers on his face at the half-an-object she's holding in her hands. The shock doesn't last very long, and Yuuki at least can probably see it coming before anybody else.

His expression twists quickly into anger You can see it in his eyes more than any other part of him. Zero's grip on his weapon tightens again, and it may seem at first that he means to use it. Instead he returns it to its holster in his tattered jacket, rather carefully and deliberately. Next is the offered half-a-'fruit', which he takes from Yuuki with a great deal of care.

Into a pocket it goes.

Without another word or gesture to anyone, Zero turns about and walks away, leaving Yuuki sitting there alone amidst the blood and debris.

Helena Celba (643) has posed:
    Helena looks as Zero walks off, "That is a nice guy, the best person in the whole world." Helena says, without a bit of irony.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Well, that answers that. Yuuki is fine.
    And eating something she found off a Dead Apostle Ancestor.

    Aoko shrugs.
    It seems completely reasonable and responsible to her.

    She pats Assassin on the head and then looks at everyone, grinning despite the situation. "Right, right! So, the Church is probably already on its way. We're all getting paid a pretty nice sum for this. Thanks. You guys saved a lot of lives today, cheers! It's too bad we were a hour or two too late to save even more, but can't go worrying about that."

Yuuki Kuran (518) has posed:
    Zero gets a pleading look from Yuuki, before she hangs her head. She won't cry, and on some level, she was glad she had ruined everything so much that he took the fruit-half she had kept for him and simply walked off with it. And not done something... More rash.

    As Helena speaks, she simple nods, wiping her eyes. "Yes... He's too good to me." She breathes, checking her teeth to find they had fixed themselves, she's back to being TOTALLY NORMAL!

    "Sorry about that. I... uh..." She puts on a brave face and a weak smile. "It's good we saved lives. I... Need a shower." She mutters, licking her thumb as she nibbles on her nail.