1139/Sanctus Espiritus

From Multiverse Crisis MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Sanctus Espiritus
Date of Scene: 13 December 2014
Location: Fuyuki Zero <FZ>
Synopsis: A job to retrieve a stolen summoning incantation in New York City becomes much messier and much more dangerous than expected.
Cast of Characters: Maya, Theo Morrison, 560, 591, Lezard Valeth, 603, 614, 618, 635

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Manhattan, New York City, New York. A skyscraper, on a stormy day. It's a multi-purpose structure, with everything from office space to apartments to a mini-mall. The bottom third is even a hotel. It's a REALLY big building, with countless windows all over its exterior, that currently reflect only the moody skies above - clouds of greys and blacks, with faint illumination beyond, that gradually fades even as thunder rumbles, threatening a deluge.

On one of the upper floors, there's a man in a large rented space, with a balcony, presently gazing down on the city below. He has short, blonde-streaked hair, with a small piece in back called a 'tail'. It's a hair style that has been OUT of style since New Kids on The Block disbanded, sometime this year (this year being 1994). His name is Dimitri Vladistok, and he is a really shitty magus, from a long line of magi. Not all of his ancestors have been good. There's a bit of dementia that runs in the family. The kind that gets them to think trafficking with demons is a good idea and binding ghosts is a cool alternative to correcting their personal shortcomings. He is not even the eldest son of his family, so he can not inherit the family's magic crest.

He has a great many issues.

As he stands there in an open red silk shirt, and white designer pants, and leather boots, blue eyes staring down into the canyon of steel and glass, as the wind shrieks and whistles, he tries to imagine what it will all look like in about an hour, when he finally proves himself to be a powerful magus. All those cars below... Will they be burning? Will the people below be screaming? Or will they all have long since drowned in the river of red that will flow the streets? Dimitri curls his lip in something between a sneer and a scowl. A 'snowl', if you will. No one will look down on him ever again. They will either admit to his greatness, or they will be dead.

That's what he believes, at least. It's what he has convinced himself of ever since he stole that ancient parchment, with its incomplete incantation. His delusions of grandeur that have warred with his sense of inferiority have gone to an all new level since then. And now, as he turns back to the huge, empty living space he has rented with stolen funds, he gazes upon the circle of blood that spans nearly the entire marble floor. A few other stolen articles (on top of being not a great magus, he is also a huge thief. He steals a lot) from his family's archives lie in a corner. References on spirit-binding and demon summoning, and stuff that is very much out of his league, and yet he has gathered just enough bits and pieces of to attempt (badly), have allowed him to piece together his 'own version' of the incantation.

He looks upon the parchment that flutters as wind tugs at its edges, pinned down by a book currently open to a section describing the correct method to sacrifice infants. The pages flutter and turn in those same air currents, however, so who knows what he was really using it for beyond a paper weight.

Yes, all will be as he plans. Soon.

Meanwhile, the owner of the incantation wants it back, and has put out a job to various 'contractors' for the Mage Association (and possibly other groups) who may be able to get it back. And thanks to some information provided by Emiya Kiritsugu, who has tracked the rogue magus down, those who may wish to collect - or simply save lives - know almost exactly where to find Vladistok. Somewhere in that building.

Kiritsugu himself is currently waiting in the hotel lobby, on the ground floor, for 'back up'. Even if they are more likely to be able to do somethign than Kiritsugu himself if in comes to a fight.

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    Get paid, save some people in the process. This sounded like a pretty good job. Quentyn noted down the coordinates, which brings him now to the lobby. He hesitates upon seeing the other man there, hand brushing against his PDW briefly. That couldn't be the guy they're after, right? "Hey umm... sir? Are you the client?" the white mage calls out to Kiritsugu.

Theo Morrison has posed:
Theo heard something about people being in danger during one of his visits to the Heaven or Hell offices. He hasn't done anything related to his new job with them, and... well, maybe a little extra cash for Christmas couldn't hurt. Besides, with the kinds of people who show up to places like this, he'll have /plenty/ of backup, right?

So there he is, wandering into the lobby, his backpack slung over his shoulder while he scans his surroundings. Theo spots the White Mage and the sketchy-looking Kiritsugu, slowing his approach while he goes over the vague details in his head. That isn't the guy, right? He's too... at ease, to be the one causing problems. He wishes he brought someone with him to back him up.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Shirou doesn't want payment for any bloody jobs. He's only interested in saving people. If there's money at stake he'll donate most of it to efforts in Dun Realtai anyways. But money doesn't bring him here.

    In another world, he made a promise to the man waiting in this hotel lobby.

    'If you're too old to be a hero, then I'll do it for you!'

    And he's just the kind of empty person to take such a promise seriously, even as the much-older him has come to realize how silly that was.

    Silly, that is, if there weren't actual need of a Hero of Justice in the Multiverse.

    Emiya Shirou's wearing his normal clothing and an unzippered white jacket when he strolls in. The hood's downand his expression's grim and solemn. He seeks out Kiritsugu with both hands in his pockets. "This is the place, Kiritsugu?"

    APparently he's gotten comfortable with using his name instead of 'old man' in the last monmth or so. But he still speaks quietly so nobody can overhear them.

    And the occasionally blockheaded crappy magus is even more out-of-place looking than the assassin...

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Getting paid for this sort of stuff is what Aoko does for a living! So here she is, no ceremony. The Mage's Association in this world doesn't quite know her yet! It's amazing.

    The red-headed magus in a red coat (because it's raining) over a white t-shirt and boring jeans walks in somewhere behind Theo, whistling the tune of Dead Man's Party. She only pauses long enough to say: "Hey Azzy, be handsome at six! That suit and tie, you'll look great. Being invisible's boring."

    Then she surges up from behind and pats Shirou on the shoulder.
    "Shirou! My favorite sword-magus!"

Perfect Grace (618) has posed:
Perfect Grace thinks this might be a good opportunity as a first job in this sector. That's what she's told herself, at least. At the asking price for a good mercenary crew, the reward for this job is basically charity. So, that said, it's only her and her side-arm: an old and worn, if not well-maintained, handgun. The pegasus walks in briskly, ignoring the stares she's obviously going to get as she walks in. She's gotten used to that, even if it makes her a bit uncomfortable. She glances around for the contractor, and sees that that's a bit of a small group gathering, so she head over. "I take it you're the one issuing the job offer? A... Mr. Kiritsugu?" She extends a hand to him, to shake. She also glances to the others gathering around, to see what she'll be working with.

Maya has posed:
Maya was not looking so good as she arrived here in New York, not so good at all she seemd a bit pale here and well she had a duffle bag over her shoulder. The bag was lined to keep it from being scanned for hte most part but really she was looking to be on edge and not sure she should be here but she needed to get out of the medical bay that much was certain. She knows he's in the building somewhere but can't go in guns out like she was back home on Septerra where it was normal for anyone traveling to be armed.

"...I'm here hopefully we can get this done."

She's more here to protect people the money would likely find it's way quietly to any victems of this magus.

Assassin (614) has posed:
     What does it mean 'to be alive'?

     It's a question that frequently crosses the mind of Assassin, who has many names that are all fake. Ironically, though it believed it had a fairly good handle on the concept of 'to be alive' - that is, it was capable of identifying that which was 'alive' and that which was not 'alive' - its experiences have slowly begun to warp that understanding in new and unexpected ways. The presence of its Master, Aoko, brings it what it is told is called happiness by analysis of its feelings towards games. The presence of Ripper brings it refreshing familiarity, which Assassin understands to be 'comfort'. These are part of that mysterious state, 'to be alive', according to those who live.

     But that cannot be all there is. 'Happiness' and 'comfort' are not 'living'. They are no more the state of 'to be alive' than Assassin's 'compassion'. Even before Assassin was given intellect, it had 'compassion' - 'compassion' for those who pass on, who are taken from the world to give their lives the beautiful, crystal meaning that they hold in death. So 'compassion' and 'happiness' and 'comfort' cannot be all there is to the state of 'being alive'.

     But then, this is what Aoko has promised it: an understanding of being alive.

     So Assassin follows her frequently. Sometimes, it simply follows her to protect her. Sometimes, it follows her to observe her. She is a curious person, and that, too, makes it 'happy', for an ordinary Magus, an ordinary person, may not have been able to teach it all the strange vagaries that go into 'life'.

     But sometimes, she requests Assassin's presence. Like today.

     Assassin simply uncloaks itself as Aoko arrives and greets Shirou. The change is instantaneous - one minute, to all observations, there is nothing at all. The next, there is a man nearly seven feet tall, in a black, full-tie tuxedo. His hair is grey with a shock of black through the middle. His eyes are the color of the endless void, and are just about as filled with emotions as that nonsense realm of nothingness. His smile is gentle and peaceful, comforting despite the sternness of his appearance, but it's an alien comfort, an alien smile, the smile of one who wears it for the benefit of others and happens to be very good at it. His fingers, like his body, are long and slender, and he gives the impression of being a lanky, beanpole thing whose clothes happen to exist around him rather than fit him.

     "Master." The voice is a dulcet baritone, firmly masculine, but musical all the same. It says nothing else.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Word goes out on the street. This has some interesting effects, becuse sometimes people hear things you don't intend to.

For example, the man who happens to be riding a horrible, twisted bird-creature as it screeches through the night towards the side of the skyscraper.

There is a small gout of flame as the window is blown out (as well as a part of the wall, and the bird-beast settles down, depositing Lezard Valeth within the building.

He looks over the surroundings of the hotel room. Whether it is occupied or not is irrelevant to him, he simply is checking the area. He looks up towards the ceiling, adjusting his glasses ominously, and walks forward, his magic attempting to open the doors for him as he moves.

If they do not move, they will explode.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Kiritsugu is not smoking, because the lobby is a non-smoking area. But he has to do something with his time, so he has a cellphone out - a fancier one from a more modern time, and a gift from Saber. It somehow gives him coverage even in 1994. He is doing something with it, though what is unclear, when Quetyn walks in and calls out to him. Kiritsugu's empty gaze remains fixed on the screen, and he does not look up immediately, perhaps indicating he did not hear or that he is not the right person after all. Or maybe he is playing Flappy Bird and can't stop right now. However, after several seconds he lifts his head and focuses on Quentyn. "No," he answers, once there is some space around them, so they are less likely to be overheard. He is standing in front of a column that is either critical structural support or decorative, and also completely out of view of the hotel's security cameras. "I'm coordinating with those who are here on the job, however."

He nods to the suspicious-looking Theo (suspicious-looking, as in Theo is looking at him with suspicion), and just gestures Shirou over after taking another look at the screen on his cellphone. Some greeting. "I'm locating his exact floor now," he answers. Well, time is of the essence and all. Maybe he just doesn't have time for 'hello' right now.

The energetic Aoko pops up behind Shirou, and then some manner of humanoid pegasus approaches and greets him as well. Kiritsugu looks around himself, wondering how he can possibly stand out that much. He isn't dressed too differently than anyone else who might be here on a business trip. Maybe it's the fact so many other people are clearly gathered around him. He sighs, and closes his cellphone. Whatever he was doing on it is put away for the time being. He does not accept the offered hand, though he does, acknowledge Perfect Grace and attempt to explain once more.

"I'm not offering the job, but I am helping those who interested in it. Who gets paid is of no consequence to me, as long as the job gets done. That's why I offered the information on the magus's location." He glances towards Shirou briefly, and then away as Maya arrives. He remembers her from his first Union encounter. In that small town, that had an infestation of carrion birds. She seems slightly off, however. Finishing his thought, he murmurs, "The result is the most important thing." The appearance of a Servant in their midst, has Kiritsugu's gaze travelling to the towering man, though whether he was already aware of the presence or not is unclear. He may not be the best magus himself, but he picks up on things sometimes.

Things like how Shirou addressed him. He hasn't heard from the boy since he sent that Christmas present. He had started to think maybe that was for the best. He would be less of a disappointment to Shirou that way. Given they are all clustered together in an extremely noticeable group, there's not much point in trying to be subtle. He starts to explain about the target, "Dimitri Vladistok is-" Then there is a distant noise, high above, that could almost be missed in the noise of the city, if people outside hadn't started crying out in fear and surprise.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Moments later, the fire alarm goes off, as a certain flying beast's flame breath triggers the smoke detectors. Kiritsugu flips open his cellphone again quickly and started keying through something apparently relevant to the situation. From his view, it's the security system for the building, which he has apparently hacked into and rerouted the feed to pass through him. He has the lobby cameras viewing looped footage, so the group probably hasn't been noticed yet by hotel security, or any of the other seperate security offices in the building, but it won't last. Especially with what's going on up above.

Kiritsugu gives a slight grunt under his breath, almost a sigh, when he finally finds a hallway where a bespectacled man in a cape is walking through rooms, locked doors exploding, unlocked ones swinging open. From his research, he recognizes the face.

"...At least he saved me the trouble of triggering the alarm myself." As people begin to evacuate the building, Kiritsugu focuses on the group assembled. "We don't have a lot of time. Someone else is in the building above us, a Confederate, and I suspect he's after the same thing we are - if for other reasons. This building has several Bounded Fields in place, and possibly other defenses. Vladistok is not a skilled magus, but he has suddenly accelerated his rate of growth at magecraft recently. Expect trouble." He doesn't mention that his original plan was to evacuate the building, use a certain signal, amplified by the cars down in the parking garage, and then demolish the entire building with shaped charges. Thankfully, he has at least a couple back up plans. "Aozaki," he says as he looks to Aoko. "I assume your companion is unwilling to simply go find Vladistok and end his life the way that 'he' can, and that you are unwilling to 'ask' such. Can you at least have him stall Lezard Valeth for us, until we are able to get up there ourselves? I believe his abilities would let him travel faster. The rest of us may wish to find our way. Quickly."

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Meanwhile, on Lezard's end, there are signs of magecraft in his environment if he can detect it. Fields of energy that seem meant to keep normal people out, or to muffle sound from the outside. Circles hidden in certain rooms, which have prana bound into them. One of the doors he opens does so onto an endless void, and the air shrieks past the wizard as that gaping abyss attempts to suck him inside as well. Closing the door again might be a good idea, if Lezard can manage it, but dispelling or sealing the dimensional anomaly itself might be better.

Meanwhile, even higher up, there the tremor that passes through the building has Dimitri looking down in surprise at the ground beneath his feet. "Eh?" And then the fire alarm sounds. "What?" he asks of no one. He lets out a half-chuckle, as though he can't believe this is happening. "What is this? Some kind of trick?" He turns and runs back to the balcony as something occurs to him, and he sees people flooding out of the building and onto the street far below. "No. No!" He'll have to accelerate his plans. He KNEW he should have figured out the spell for sealing entrances shut!

Perfect Grace (618) has posed:
Letting out a sigh as the sprinklers come on, Grace checks her pistol to make sure the water-resistant coating is working properly. The electro-magnetics involved with the bullet propulsion don't particularly get along with water. She holds a wing over her own head like a makeshift umbrella, and looks about as annoyed as a wet cat. "... Great. I'm talking to a middle-man, then. Please, please tell me that's not actually a fire setting that off. Please tell me you did that."

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    The familiarity of others with Kiritsugu puts Quentyn at ease, save for a brief start when Assassin appears. But the being doesn't attack them, so Quentyn relaxes again. "Yah, um, I guess close enough..." The white mage flashes a helpless smile. He spends a little time looking over everyone, seemingly committing them to memory. And then the fire alarm triggers, in turn triggering the white mage to look around quickly. Can't hurt to be careful.

    A confederate... he murmurs under his breath to himself, "...I guess I have to treat them as enemies now..." Then, mostly to Kiritsugu but to the group as a whole as well, "Um... who's going to be in front going in?"

    Whoever volunteers themself gets a few (well two) shield spells from the mage: The first a blue-white, angular one that fades after a few seconds, and the second a dark green elliptical shield that also fades after a few seconds. But if any recipients are mages or similarly sensitive, they'll notice the presence remains even after visibility fades.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    With such an unusual brigade of people coming in, Shirou seems increasingly unsettled. There is a PEGASUS in here after all, and... that's bound to cause rumors.

    Maya's presence is met with a look of slight concern too. Is she fit for duty?

    He doesn't get a chance to question her though because AOKO!

    "Hyyyygh--" His words are in a quiet hiss, "Not that word in public, geeze--" And then Assassin simply appears. He just hopes nobody was looking. Not that anyone would believe people yammering about someone appearing out of thin air, most would just rub their eyes, but still!

    "Yo, Assa....grim...?" Assagrim? Is that another name for him?

    But then the alarm goes off, and all HELL breaks loose. Shirou visibly bunches up as if to avoid the crowd blasting past them and out the doors... "I'll head up if you can tell me what floor!" Lezard Valeth again? Is he friend or foe this time? Jerk either way, but hopefully not a foe for right now...

    "Geeze, they're just doing whatever they want with no regard for hiding..." Grumble, grumble.

    Shirou has to try and be responsible enough to cover for Aoko right now, who seems bad at that. He can't possibly manage Lezard too!

    "...Trace... on!" But his own circuits flare to life and start generating excess prana. It sure as heck isn't much, but it's all he needs...

Theo Morrison has posed:
Theo recognizes a few people here -- or, well, a few entities here, as one of them is Assassin. "Hi, Azzy," he greets, when the tall, dark and not-quite-right man materializes. He'd recognize that creepily musical tone anywhere. He nods back at Kiritsugu, and then jerks his head in an upwards greeting-motion in Shirou and Aoko's ways. Recognition, but not much familiarity. Still should've brought backup.

"Hookay, well, if we're it --" Perfect Grace gets a weird look. Maybe he's still not wholly used to obvious non-humans. She's pretty clearly broken any hope they may have had about doing this quietly, though. Theo points at a spot on the floor next to him, gathering mana with ease. "Myr Servitor."

There's a flicker, a wisp of misty aether, and the small bird-robot materializes. "Yo, Kickotron." He unslungs his pack and unhooks what looks like a tray table, handing it to the robot, who dutifully places it on it's head. Theo adds an emblem-like object with a blue crystal hemisphere to it, and then fishes out one of his decks. Card games? Now?

He draws seven off the top, glances at it, and starts putting cards down. "Seachrome Coast." The room takes on a more metallic sheen. The lobby adapts to the strange land, getting a metal fountain that looks like some kind of chrome-colored beach in miniature. Theo taps that, and drops another, older-looking card. As soon as it touches the surface, he turns his hand palm-up. "Sol Ring."

The room gets much more well-lit as a band of what looks like sunfire materializes in Theo's hand. He slips it on, shedding light but apparently not heat. Mana practically rolls off of the artifact in waves. He examines his hand a little more. "Mmm... yeah, alright." He taps the card. The ring brightens momentarily, generating mana. "Hot Soup!"


There's an enormous black iron cauldron full of cloudy greenish liquid in the middle of the lobby. It's steaming, and it smells /delicious/.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Lezard appears to be working his way through the area with little subtlety or finesse. Or care for collateral damage. This almost backfires on him when a door opens and Lezard finds himself staring into a gaping void. With a swift motion, He turns his scepter sideways, and it sticks in the doorway as he gets dragged across the floor. "Very.... CLEVER." Lezard says with some asperity, his Ruby Scepter creaking as he struggles to wrench the door shut. It takes some time, but the door finally closes and latches, the Sorceror of Midgard dropping to the floor and sighing. This cost him valuable time.

He turns away, flipping his cloak as he grates his teeth, attempting to follow the patterns back to the source. Once he does so, Dmitri will be getting a very direct visitor...

Maya has posed:
To those who could sense Magic? Maya was normally like starinbg at a leyline or a nexus point. Right now? Nothing at all about as much as someone might need to be alive in a world with magic and nothing else. She listens now for a moment as she tilts her head for a moment.

"Fair enough, we should try to watch for civilians in the way..."

Maya trails off as things something is going down now. Someone's set off the alarm and that's likely a good thing as it's going to clear a lot o people out at this point she pulls the duffle off her back then opens it. The zipper is pulled down and an Imperium of Man Bolter can be seen as she pulls it out giving it a check over before moving make the weapon ready, The pack is zipped up and back on her back in short order.

"Right, I have something lower powered if we need it."

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    "I dunno," Aoko grins at Kiritsugu.

    She turns to Azzy. "You wanna go on ahead and stall whoever's being a jerk? I'll be right along, I'll take the stairs," she requests of her Servant, if he fees like it. Maybe he doesn't! That's totally okay.

    The red-headed magus stretches her arms far above her head, and then heads for THE DREADED STAIRS. She catches the elevators from the corner of her eyes.

    She wanders over there instead and presses the up button.
    She resumes whistling Dead Man's Party.

Assassin (614) has posed:
     Assassin's stare is utterly without humanity. The simple traces that people have, the little facial twitches, the motions of their chest rising and falling at regular intervals through natural instinct, the subtle *life*ness of a human being; these things just aren't present in Assassin. It's very easy to tell that he's not a person. It returns the greetings with a passive, distant nod, like it's not quite sure how to actually respond, and a dulcet "I give you greetings, as the night rises in the sky."

     It's much harder to tell where he is when he doesn't want to be seen, however.

     Assassin simply vanishes at Aoko's request. It disappears utterly, completely, erasing all traces of its presence on every conceivable level as it resumes its Presence Concealment. It may be an awful fighter, but it's very good at hiding itself.

     When it reappears, it is still in the tuxedo. But it reappears behind Lezard Valeth, standing in the hallway behind him. It watches him for a moment, as though curious to see if he'll react to the presence of the inhuman "man".

     "You are Lezard Valeth?" Assassin's dulcet tone inquires.

     "If you are Lezard Valeth, I have been asked to stall you. However, my Master has left it up to me how to stall. As I am an unskilled warrior, I therefore propose an alternative means of stalling you that is infinitely more..." It searches for a word, visibly, its eyes darting back and forth.

     "...pleasant? Displeasing? Satisfying," it finally desires.

     "I would like to have a conversation with you."

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Lezard is still working on locating Dmitri through his magic when he freezes. Death is not a hunter unbeknownst to its prey, but that does not mean that one can simply ignore its /presence/ when it chooses to be felt.

There is a swift intake of breath as Assassin appears, and he pauses, listening to Assassin. He closes his eyes, and then exhales, turning to face the Reaper. "Fascinating." His hand flicks, opening and closing as if grasping the air as he smiles faintly. "There is a familiar feel to you, though I suppose you do share a portfolio with her in a way. But what would you have to say to me? You have no hold over me, dark spirit, and I have little to say to you."

Assassin (614) has posed:
     "I hold sway over nothing. I claim no dominion. I am not a lord of anything," Assassin corrects politely as it watches Lezard Valeth's reaction with the distant apathy of a machine taking a picture. It scans over him, eyes flicking across his body as it draws back its memories of Lezard's reactions to it last time they met. Last time...

     Last time, Assassin has been feminine. Lezard mentioned a /her/.

     Assassin steps forward, and it becomes female. Its chest swells and fills out; its hair falls down its shoulders like black water, then like white water. Its face becomes slender and lovely, its smile mothering and gentle. Its hips widen, its legs curve; in the span of an instant, it changes, as it draws upon one of its panoply of Noble Phatasms: AZRAEL ~ COMPASSION OF THE REAPING ANGEL.

     "But I would like to talk to you, Lezard Valeth" Assassin replies, its musical voice now bright and joyous, like the choir of a mechanical angel, "I am very curious about many things. I know little of the world I have been forced into."

     "I have many questions to ask you. You are a strange existence to me, one that my Master has not told me much of. I would like to learn more about you."

     "However," Assassin continues, Thanatos falling into its hand as if from nowhere; it/she shoulders the blade, still gazing at Lezard's eyes with those distant black eyes of her wn, "If you would prefer a battle, I have been asked to stall you, so I will battle you. One way or another, you will be stalled. You will be forced to consume resources to restrain me, meaning that my Master will have time to reach her objective."

     "A conversation will not force you to consume resources. Ergo, it is preferable to you, as a means of reaching the end - the point at which I am no longer stalling you. Is that incorrect reasoning?"

     "I am still very new." Assassin lays a hand on its chest.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Kiritsugu shakes his head at Grace, and says, "No, but I intended to. The fewer casualties the better. However, unlike my intentions, I believe there may be an actual fire." At Quentyn's inquiry, and use of his magic, Kiritsugu focuses upon the stranger and says, "Elevators are generally a bad place to be during an emergency, especially with panicked people trying to use them. On the other hand, a lot of other people will be using the stairs, as they are supposed to. Neither avenue is really ideal. However, unless there are alternate methods of travel available to any of you..." Elevators in this year are not super sophisticated, but Kiritsugu knows a few tricks. He rushes over to where Aoko is. Not being clustered together would likely be a good idea. One trap with an area of effect could kill all of them at once, whereas if they are spaced further apart, possibly taking multiple other routes, at least a few of them might make it up there. However, again: Dimitri sucks at being a magus, with even the new stuff he has picked up being barely understood. There's at least a dozen things that should have gone off on Lezard by now, but didn't, because they were made wrong. Even if they had gone off, they might not have done so in an effective manner.

Kiritsugu calls out to Shirou as one of the multiple redheads present activates his magic circuits. "If you can pry this open, I can rig the elevator to come straight here, no matter who else calls it. I'll stay down here and try to locate Valeth by camera." The alternative to people being spaced out is apparently to cram as many of them as possible into a single elevator while Kiritsugu stays behind, in safety.

Most people would probably find that suspicious as hell if they even a little bit about the magus-slayer. Whatever Theo is doing is unknown to Kiritsugu, as he gazes towards the summoner. Displays of magecraft of unknown purpose that probably could have waited until they moved OUT of the lobby, and into an area less public. Is it some kind of fortification? Something to keep the building from coming down if things go badly? Maybe Theo just likes making soup. His clarification that it is a dangerous weapon does not really convince the assassin.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Perfect Grace has wings, and Kiritsugu turns to her for a moment as he considers something. "I assume you're capable of flight. Are you able to carry someone other than yourself?" He may be able to get one or two people to the top of the building faster than the elevator that is even now descending to this floor, thanks to a timely button push by Aoko that is JUST in time to keep some ass who wears sunglasses indoors from getting in the elevator himself. He stands there, several floors up, pressing the button repeatedly as though that will expediate the elevator's arrival on his floor. He shoved an old woman to get to the elevator before her, so he deserves this small amount of suffering.

When Assassin does his/its work by going to distract Lezard, Dimitri staggers somewhat as he feels a sudden PULSE of a powerful presence in the area. "Wh-what was that?" he asks nervously, terror creeping through his bones as he senses a Servant - a sensation unknown to him, but still something to take note of. He stands before his circle, one hand held out before him, the other bracing it with his forearm. "Tch!" He puts all else aside and starts to chant. "Fill, fill, fill, fill, fill! Repeat it five times. As each is fullfilled, so they must it be destroyed!" He has generating prana now as well, and those who can sense such may be able to track him more easily. It certainly helps Kiritsugu identify which floor he's on with his phone, and let the others know.

"A black sun shining over a blood sea! A dark land, spent by the foolishness of the living!" Below, the walls in some of the building's rooms begin to bleed. Life force starts to be steadily drained from those in the area of the magic circles, feeding the effect. Plaster cracks, and more blood spills forth. The old lady who was knocked down, and the sunglasses-wearing-jerk both start choking and sinking to the floor.

The blood circle starts to steam. Many more smaller circles below were meant to be activating right now. Many of those that do, do so upon empty floors that have already been evacuated. But some people remain, and it is they who are suffering.

Maya is nodded to by Kiritsugu. "If you have any healing magecraft, using it on those you encounter above may be necessary. But getting to the source right now, and ending him, is faster. If you see him, shoot to kill."

Perfect Grace (618) has posed:
Perfect Grace eyes that cauldron for a moment, before she shrugs with her statement of 'might as well'. She slips a hand towards the bowl, though something very... Odd happens. The flesh, muscles, and blood vessels strip away, flowing up to her wrist, and the bones of her hand deform into the shape of a small bowl. She scoops up some of the soup in said bowl, before turning her head to Kiritsugu. "I can fly pretty well, yes, but I don't think I can hold more than one other person. Actually... I probably could hold two if I shifted muscle mass to my shoulders and made my wingspan larger. ... I could also fit through the vents." She gives a grin at that. "I really like vents."

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    Quentyn breaths in and breaths out. He's getting used to the multiverse. Whole room changing, really just like a dungeon thing, right? ...But sudden cauldron of soup, however, gets a good long stare from Quentyn. He reaches into his bag, fishes out a notebook with a pencil jammed in the binding, and starts taking notes. Oh, and another talking madpony... or not-mad pony. The mage chatters into his radio briefly, then cocks his head in a way that he seems to listen for a reply. More scratching of the pencil against paper. "pe... ga... sus," the student murmurs as he writes. Then he slides the pencil back into the binding, and the notebook back into his bag.

    Quentyn just stares at the elevator, both as Aoko calls it and Kiritsugu gets behind the panel. "Anyone, um, wanna take the stairs with me..?" There's more than one person that doesn't like the idea of getting trapped in a small box with an angry, murderous mage about... He starts to take tentative steps in that direction. Doesn't look like the boy wants to be the first one through (or go alone), however, so he's looking for others that might not want to trust the elevator. Especially in a building on fire. But he looks ready to run if someone else leads the way.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    "E-Eh?! That's just a panel..." Still, Shirou shuffles over to the panel and puts a hand on it. Those sensitive to mana and actively paying attention might feel tiny amounts flowing from him into the machine and back, similar to an ultrasound in concept. He's scoping out the structure. Then... it's only a tiny amount, but his power flows into the panel very precisely.

    There's only one way to strengthen something. There are hundreds of ways to do it wrong and break it. he's gotten VERY good at bungling strengthening.

    So by forcing prana into the structure of the fairly thin panel, he easily succeeds in cleanly shattering it without harming the inner wiring! "You taught me to use Strengthening but can't use it yourself?!"

    Oh well, either way, the panel is dealt with in a hurry.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Lezard tilts his head, watching Assassin change form without comment, though his breathing does quicken. "Forced to take the souls of the fallen and yet doomed to not understand the world they live in. Truly I pity you." He says this, a hand running over his face as he composes himself in the face of Death. "But my pity is short-lived in this instance, as I have demands upon my time and interests. Your logic is correct that I could speak with you and expend nothing, but I would lose out on my objective. I could battle you and expend resources, and yet you would still forestall me."

There is an adjustment of his glasses however, the lenses gaining an ominous sheen as the ritual begins.

"Your logic is only flawed in one respect: That you have not considered that I have other resources at hand." He holds out his staff, and incants, his voice resonating throughout the building:

"I am he who hath entrusted his soul to the eternal vortex of time. Ye know me! And if ye do not, ye shall be made to know me. It shall be engraved on thy very soul; Lezard Valeth! If ye shall accept the brand of Hel upon thee, thy sanctions shall in turn be lowered. I shall grant thee the deliverance of thy soul, and ye shall come now before me!"

All over the building, gaps open, rents in timespace as Lezard draws up the undead into the building through gleaming magical circles. Zombies, minor vampires, ghosts, harpies, and others appear, immediately attacking anything they see without regard for tactics or self-preservation. Some of them might even inadvertantly speed up the whole murder-ritual. Before Assassin, two great hulking skeletons in armor with dragon headsand flowing manes of flame appear, blocking the path.

"I do not have to fight or speak with you. I can simply leave." He holds out a hand, and begins invoking his teleportation magic, a circle beginning to form below him. It takes time, however. Time that can be capitalized on by others.

Maya has posed:
Maya says "I'm afraid I have no magic. I did however bring other healing supplies however."

She admit it's like admitting to you lost a sense and a limb at the same time she moves to keep with the rest she's got the bolter ready and is going ot be heading to follow up the rear with the others.

Assassin (614) has posed:
     Assassin considers Lezard's quickened breathing thoughtfully. That was interesting. If Assassin was capable of understanding human tics, it might even understand that. It listens to him carefully, thoughtfully. It does not really understand 'pity', after all. Such a term isn't one it's ever heard before. "You 'pity' me? Why? What does that mean?" comes the lilting, musical sound.

     Then Lezard Valeth conjures. Assassin looks between the skeletons with the clinical detachment of one who is far away, perhaps watching the events unfold on television. It/she has a curious, intrigued look upon her lovely face, pursing its/her lips because it/she's seen Aoko do it before when Aoko was watching something Aoko thought was interesting.

     "I see. This is technically correct. You are capable of simply leaving." Assassin does not frown or inflect as it observes this. "However, I am also possessed of numberous additional resources, of which you have not taken into account, either, Lezard Valeth. And my Master has demanded that I stall you."

     Assassin's eyes flare with a single burst of emotion. Devotion? Affection? It's impossible to tell. "I will not permit you to force me into a situation where my Master would be disappointed. Charon."



     The word hangs in the air with a life of its own. In the distance, there's the sound of a horse's cry, a terrible, cold cry like the distance of the grave. It's audible throughout the whole of the area, as Assassin dumps prana into its Noble Phantasm immediately. Aoko is overflowing with prana. She'll restore more.

     It is at that moment that, on the twentieth floor of the hotel, where Lezard Valeth has summoned two massive skeletons, something far more improbable occurs.

     The glass shatters as a hearse comes bursting through the window. Assassin throws itself backwards with impossible, perfect grace, sliding off the wall and slipping through the crack in the window as though it as actually large enough to fit a woman seven feet tall. It falls into the driver's seat, the lights of the hearse blazing to life.

     Assassin honks the horn.

     A funeral bell tolls loudly as Assassin's hand depresses the wheel. It barely covers up the squeal of the tires.

     Assassin intends to run Lezard Valeth over with a magical hearse.

Theo Morrison has posed:
Theo feels like someone just walked over his grave. It has nothing to do with the fact that Grace just morphed her hand into a creepy bone bowl thing or anything, either, but rest assured he's creeped out at that, too.

"That was weird..." He checks it on the radio. His ecto is affixed to his arm, stretched out to provide a sort of wrist-comm. "/Zombie-Douchebag/," he utters. Theo grabs the next card off his deck in /mild fury/... and then moves over to the stairs before he does anything else. He plays another land, muttering, "Ancient Den," while shouldering the door to the stairwell open. Kickotron follows dutifully.

"Semblance Anvil, imprinting Chariot of Victory." There's another *CLANG* as an anvil abruptly appears, its surface gleaming metal and reflecting the aforementioned chariot. "Annnd... Brass Squire!" Another myr appears, this one apparently made of, well, brass. Theo points, and it runs out of the stairwell, going and picking up the cauldron of soup. It could /fit/ in the cauldrom. It moves it, though awkwardly, the contents sloshing around as it hauls it back. It doesn't spill.

They start going up the stairs in a hurry. Blood starts to drip down the walls and the stairs all the way down here. Theo hurries his ascent, the summoned machines in tow.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Kiritsugu nods and gives an affirmative noise to Grace. "In a moment, I need you to fly Quentyn and I up to the roof. We can work our way down from there. I don't recommend attempting to engage him ourselves or land where he is. While he may be unskilled, his room is probably the most well-defended. One wrong move, and we're the ones who go falling to the street below." When Shirou pops open the panel, Kiritsugu is swift to rewire it, sticking his hand and expertly changing how things work inside. He has done this before. Whether it's pure skill or a tiny bit of magecraft is unclear. He does not bother to answer Shirou while he works at it. In a matter of moments, the elevator has not only arrived, but will no longer respond to button pushes not on the floor that the elevator is on. How he managed that isn't certain, since it seems like he'd need to alter the wiring on all the other floors too.

Magi. Kiritsugu may not be a great one, but he knows some tricks.

He turns to Shirou and says, "I can. I'm just not as good at is as you are." Then he focuses on Quentyn. "The stairs are what everyone else is trying to use to get DOWN from the upper floors." As if in direct response to this statement, just as Theo and his robots are heading into the stairwell, the door leading to the stairs slams open, and a flood of people start to spill forth. Kiritsugu grabs Theo by the nearest appendage and pulls him back to avoid being crushed. Whether his robots are as lucky is unknown. The elevator is open, and people can board and make their way up. "Soup is not what's needed right now. But it may prove useful when you get up there."

Then zombies and ghouls and monsters start appearing everywhere, and Aoko gets to buy them time to get to their destination by -lasering the shit out of them-. Every time more appear, they get to eat a face full of lasers.

Lezard reveals some of his resources, and Assassin reveals some of 'hers'.

And above, Dimitri continues is chant, with great difficulty, because he is having a hell of a time just controlling this much prana. "Arise, pale death! Ride again! Reveal the crack of law within this broken world, and CLEAVE IT RIGHT AGAIN!"

The irony of Dimitri calling upon death when the Grim Reaper is riding a hearse lower in the building is lost upon the magus. But the halls of the building start to rush with a sourceless wind, and a great many wordless whispers. Foot prints appear in the carpets, matching the feet of children, adults, and THINGS that are not quite human.

All the glass in the entire building fogs over as the air temperature drops noticeably.

As the remaining civilians are attacked by monsters, Kiritsugu turns to Grace and says, "We should go now."

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
The fact Maya has lost her magic is an unpleasant bit of information, but valuable. At least the group will not be relying on that. But she still has weapons, and she still has shooting skill, and she still has the will to fight. She is valuable, and should stick with them - and take any monsters she sees along the way.

Perfect Grace (618) has posed:
Perfect Grace nods and gulps down the soup that Theo made, then reforms her hand without bothering to clean the bones off. She'll just absorb the nutrients. She nods at Kiritsugu, and is about to call over to Quentyn when her spine begins to crawl. Not literally this time, at least. Every animal part of her is now screaming that something is horribly, horribly wrong, and that she should not be here. She fights it back, letting out a gutteral growl that should not come from the throat of an equine to reassure herself that she's in control. She yells out, "Quentyn! Outside, now!" In the traditional Command Voice, barked out with a firm, authorative tone. She heads for the door, and her shoulders grow larger as she goes, wings spreading out, at the cost of her arms and her torso shortening up. It's... Not a pleasant sight, but it'll get the job done. If she CAN get outside right now, she'll be finished shifting by the time she's outside.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
"Because, madam Death, it makes you less of a huntsman." Lezard replies. He is, however, taken aback as Assassin summons up Charon. The Noble Phantasm roars down the hall, and with a gesture,he commands the Undead to raw together to block the way.

But Charon can fit through anything. The hearse rushes between the pair and slams into Lezard. The impact sends him flying through the air, the teleportation circle dissipating as it is interrupted. The two Dragon-Tooth Warriors turn, both immediately attempting to strike at the car if it cannot swiftly escape.

Meanwhile, Lezard smashes into the wall at the end of the hall, shattering through it with impressive force and arcing out into the stormy sky beyond with a bloody roostertail lashing outwards from his wounds. He begins to fall, though he twists, emitting a shrill whistle. A Harpy whips through the air, and Lezard catches onto the abhorrent creature, swinging up and sitting atop of it, blood beginning to soak the front of his shirt. "I DENY YOU, DEATH!" LEzard shrieks. "BEGONE FROM THIS PLACE!" He turns, and sends the harpy flying upwards, attempting to simply crash through the window to the room Dmitri is residing within.

Meanwhile, the minor undead are not hard to dispatch for anyone who attempts to do so, they're simply numerous and very intent on murdering things.

Maya has posed:
Maya also has a good deal of healing supplies with her she can still make use of upon the injured and yes she's not keeling over at all as they start moving. She gets people are trying to get down and she's not going to hold back. With that Maya's going to start for the elevator to get going hopefully they can put it to use and get there. At least she's not showing up like a super nova to the mage's sense.

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    Crowded or not, Quentyn just doesn't look like he like the idea of going into an elevator in the current situation. And something new just makes him shiver. But he perks up, if looks a little anxious, at the proposal of being flown up. He gives Kiritsugu and Perfect Grace a thumbs up... or starts to, anyway. When the boy's eyes land on Grace, he suddenly freezes/hesitates for a split second. Then he completes the motion.

    That tone actually works pretty well on the student. Quentyn quickly/obediently follows the madpo-- pegasus outside. The kid can't help but watch the transformation with some level of fascination and, from looking at his hands, he's probably itching to get that notebook of his out again. But the white mage doesn't, instead simply casting the Protect and Shell shielding spells (same as earlier) on Grace and then waiting to follow any more instructions she gives.

Assassin (614) has posed:
     If Assassin could take joy in hitting people with heavy objects, Assassin would take joy in hitting Lezard Valeth with a heavy object. Unfortunately, Assassin does not, because it *cannot*. These are the orders of its Master. These are the duties of a Servant. It feels nothing but grim satisfaction for doing its job well - but then Lezard flees. Lezard flitters out the window, and Assassin cannot follow him. Assassin *cannot* follow him, as Assassin cannot fly.

     But Assassin *can* race him.

     With a mighty and noble tolling bell, Charon prepares to head up the stairs. Unfortunately, Charon - and Assassin - didn't account fully for the skeletons. The massive things bring their hands down on the Noble Phantasm, and it lets out a scream of pain and suffering as the wind howls and ghosts and demons come swirling towards the filling cup. The scream is like a broken bell, and it echoes through the halls of the hotel.

     Assassin abandons Charon, dismissing it with a wave of her hand. She has no choice but to move. The elevator is too slow; the stairs are too slow; all things are too slow but the most direct route.

     Assassin is a spiritual entity. To allow ghosts and demons into the ritual, there must be a gap in the barrier. Therefore...

     Therefore, Assassin sheds its corporeal form. It rides on the winds of the ghosts and demons, on the summoning circle, an irregular Heroic Spirit in the form of a wraith. It soars upwards, upwards through the floor, upwards through the ceilings, upwards through all the barriers...but will it be able to soar through the barrier of the mad magus? Will it be able to enter the Magus's stronghold, riding the wings of his own invocation?

     And worse - what else might be joining it?

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    "N-No magic?!" Shirou's a bit shocked when he fumbles into the elevator with the others. Who knows where Kiritsugu got so good with gadgetry, but maybe he should ask him sometime! "Like I'm good at strengthening." No, strengthening is not his specialty. But while they're all in the elevator and zombies are appearing outside he starts panicking. Just a bit. Will the people be alright?! Well, stopping the problem at the source is the only way to end this... blast it.

    As bile rises in his gut from the inability to save everyone, he channels anger into his magic circuits. He needs a weapon. Nothing grand or ostentatious or demanding. Something practical.

    With a growly exclamation he extends his hands. Greenish light flares wildly from his palms, shifts golden as it congeals and forms into KANSHOU AND BAKUYA, his favored paired weapons. "Hurry...!!"

Theo Morrison has posed:
Theo gets yoinked away before he gets trampled TO DEATH. That might get him to the upper floors faster, though.

(That was a joke, Azzy.)

"Ack, uh, right, sorry, didn't even think about it," he says, rapid-fire. Theo nabs another card, looking kind of embarassed -- and then perks up when he sees Shirou summon up his weapons of choice. Meanwhile, the two myr pile in after them, the three-foot bird robots hauling soup and a small lap-table. It's getting crowded, but at least it smells good.

The Brass Squire leaves the soup in a corner. Theo remarks to Shirou, "That's a good idea." He taps his lands and the ring, the band of sun-fire on his finger brightening as it radiates colorless mana. Theo puts down the card he just drew. "Tatsumasa, the Dragon's Fang!"

A katana appears in his outstretched hand. It's a beautiful weapon, worked with gold and etched with what might be some kind of poem or something. There's an image of a serpentine dragon along the blade, and there's a certain power to the image...

Theo taps the Brass Squire card. The myr takes the sword from him and lays it across its shoulders in a confident manner. It watches the door keenly, apparently waiting for... something.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Kiritsugu, Quentyn, and Grace all exit the building along with everyone else rushing to do so, though some shriek in terror when confronted with the display Grace is putting on. It would be disturbing to normal people in most cases. With monsters attacking, and disturbing presences in the halls. However, this actually works in their favor. Even in this panic, it clears a path for the pegasus, who is then able to grab hold of Kiritsugu and Quentyn and fly them up. For Kiritsugu's part, he does not react to the spectacle of Grace's transformations. He has seen some stuff, man.

Maya, Shirou, and Theo board the elevator, and while (quite literally) hellish noises can be heard all around, with every floor they pass - the sounds of struggles, of screams, or less-easily-described horrors, some easy listening muzak plays over the elevator speakers.

Among the cheery ding-dings and ping-pongs and other noises, the sounds of violence, dying, and things of not of this world echo outside. The sound of thumping and desperate pleading can be heard on one floor, as someone fights to force their way through the elevator doors. Then 'No! NOOOO! AAAAAGGHHH!' and blood squirts through the seal of the elevator and leaks all over the floor from whatever liquification of a human being just happened there.

The music keeps playing.


Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Lezard and his harpy crash into a 10-layer bounded field as they attempt to smash through the window. Lasers streak by inches away from Lezard's face, just below the first layer. It looks like there might be hungry ghosts bound into the layer below that. Thankfully, he does not penetrate the first, and falls safely to the balcony right outside. The Bounded Fields, though sufficient to stop a physical impact, are otherwise amateurish, and full of holes. Lezard, even if he doesn't have familiarity with this world's magecraft, can tear them apart in moments with his own power. And whenever he does so, bone charms planted all around the apartment, blood circles painted on the walls, all erupt in blue flames and dissolve. And he will find himself looking upon a room that suddenly isn't hiding what's inside from the outside world.

The circle that spans most of the floor has risen up off the ground, and begun to swirl around, a small tempest of blood, that is taking the appearance of many faces - some tormented, some grinning. Imaginary Demons in this world are disruptions in the natural order, created from the imaginations of humans and their beliefs. There are natural occurring demons too, but they are not necessarily evil. These things, these MONSTERS, certainly register as such to most.

And Assassin is riding among them. It may not know much about being alive. It may know quite a bit about its area of expertise. But how much does it know, truly, about the evil that the living can bring into existence? Creatures that are not a part of the pattern. That hold no life or death, and are truly abominations that exist only because some twisted soul wanted them to badly enough?

Because there are those. Some of them still only conceptual in this torrent of darkness that the Servant is among. Though Death is actually travelling quite fast, penetrating the defenses in mere moments, it may feel like quite a bit longer as it is buried among countless faces and wicked thoughts given psuedo-form. There are the dead who should have been released into Death's care. The dead who have been held for so long, tortured and used by magi, some of them not even understanding that they're dead - not knowing what is happening to them, or why they suffer, and not even being able to ask.

Fear is not something the Reaper has known in its existence. But perhaps, there could be sadness. And if there is not, perhaps it can be learned.

Just like the meaning of 'pity' might be learned right now.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
In a rush of black winds, in a cacophony of collapsing barriers, in a torrent of whispers, and things Other that should not exist this side of reality in ANY universe, Assassin will be able to press right up against the dome of law that keeps all this badness from flooding through, and attempt to fill the empty space left for all of this Badness and Wrongness and Otherness. Assassin itself is alien in many ways. But it at least cares about people.

These things that are being brought here are either being forced to, without comprehension of their circumstances, or out of a desire born purely of malice.

Who will emerge into Dimitri's room first as he struggles to speak the final line? Lezard? Or Assassin?

And will the elevator and those flying upwards make it in time if a three-way stand off happens!?

Well, the elevator music is still going, but eventually they'll be able to spill out into the frigid hallway on floor 80, where shadows move and writhe in tentacular manners, independent of anything to cast them. Silhouettes on the walls move in a macabre, marionette-like manner - a limp, lifeless dance of a mockery of a human form.

Two such silhouettes take the form of a mother and child, as the mother tries to comfort her little one as they prepare to leave. Then the tendrils rise up behind the pair, the shadows of things that aren't even there slowly moving into position, and like in a horror movie where you know what's about to happen, and can't stop it, even if you yell to the victims, the tendrils shoot forward, impaling the shadows of mother and child all over. Seeing them move straight through torsos, arms, and heads, is bad enough. As is what follows after, as the bodies are literally torn apart.

Then the shadows recede from the darkened hallway, and there is quiet, hollow laughter somewhere distant, as something bloody is glimpsed at the far end of the hallway.

It may be best not to look at it, for those coming onto this tableau.

It may be best to also not linger in the halls, and move towards where all that terrible power is coming from.

Where, hopefully, Assassin and Lezard have stopped the ritual.

Perfect Grace (618) has posed:
Perfect Grace takes flight with a powerful stroke from wings that are about the length of two cars, each. The resulting down-draft pushes her into the air, while the two she's carrying hold onto handlebars made of bone... Thankfully bone clean of any fluids or flesh. That'd just be disgusting, and she wouldn't want that! They launch up into the air. The problem is the harpies, which Grace might have been able to fight off had she not been carrying two people at once. As it is, she has to be mindful of them, and not make too many sudden movements, lest they fall off. At the height they're already at, it would be fatal barring a miracle. She yells over the radio.

Perfect Grace (618) has posed:
Perfect Grace takes flight with a powerful stroke from wings that are about the length of two cars, each. The resulting down-draft pushes her into the air and knocks over several bystanders, while the two she's carrying hold onto handlebars made of bone... Thankfully bone clean of any fluids or flesh. That'd just be disgusting, and she wouldn't want that! They launch up into the air. The problem is the harpies, which Grace might have been able to fight off had she not been carrying two people at once. As it is, she has to be mindful of them, and not make too many sudden movements, lest they fall off. At the height they're already at, it would be fatal barring a miracle. She yells over the radio. "I need covering fire! Get these things off me!" Whether they help immediately or not, she's forced to bob and weave, and jink around the attacking beasts, which is likely not making this a smooth ride!

Assassin (614) has posed:
     Time is meaningless to Assassin. It is a creature so old, so ancient, so vast, that it hasn't understood /time/ in all of its existence except as something that happens to people. It is not people. It is the Grim Reaper, Enma-Daioh, Azrael, Thanatos. It is a dozen faces and names, more than a dozen, given to a thing that doesn't exist in order to make human beings more comfortable with their inevitable fates. Day in, day out, it has given of itself to make them happy, to bring them peace, to bring them comfort. Though it may not truly exist, there can be no doubt that the Grim Reaper's existence is that of a true Heroic Spirit.

     Emotions, too, are nearly meaningless. Those emotions it has struggled to understand are experienced through a mind that humans simply can't comprehend. It's fundamentally human, but it's so basic, so innocent, so lacking in all the things that make it human, it's functionally an alien thing in the shape of a human being. It may know 'sadness', but not be capable of expressing 'sadness'.

     But it does mourn.

     That is its function, after all. It mourns them. It mourns the hundred and fifty thousand who die each day. It weeps for them when they will not be wept for. It joins the grieving families in their grief. It helps them move on, and in doing so, it touches the final moment of their lives in a way most humans could never understand. Some are angry. Some are hurt. Some are comforted. But all of them move on.


     These tortured souls have not yet moved on. As Assassin rides the wave of souls, fears sink in. This is not its world, of course, but could a similar thing happen on its world? Could the countless dead be lost and lonely? Could they be wailing, crying out for someone to take their hands, to give them peace, to show them the way?

     It is the first pain Assassin has ever felt. The pain of that realization - that there might be loneliness in death without it. That people might be trapped. That...that...

     That it misses its duty so terribly.

     Nonetheless, Assassin is as fast as a thought. It experiences this for all of a moment, even if that moment is for eternity as far as the Reaper is concerned.

     Formless, flowing, and impossible, Assassin stretches broadly throughout the area. It brushes up against the laws of magecraft and it does something that no other Servant ever could - for they are bound by definition, by truth, by a record in the Throne of Heroes that gives them a "true form".

     But Assassin is not. So it fills, fills, fills, fills, fills the space, denying entry, denying access - and as it does so, in the spectral plane, it reaches outwards with its tendrils, its mind, its thoughts, to encompass all the lost ones that rush to join it. It reaches outwards.

     In a space that none can see, that no one can comprehend, that neither exists in this world or the next, the tortured, lost souls are enfolded in a massive black cloak, and soft arms wrap around them.

     Through the hotel, a voice like a funeral bell begins to sing. It is calm, comforting, and sweet; it sings a lullaby in words that do not make sense, that do not exist in any language and never have and never will. It sings a song to calm the departed, for though it has no mystic power over them, no magic might, no ability to manipulate or affect them, the Grim Reaper has never needed such things to lull the dead to rest.

     It has always had its compassion.

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    Curiously enough, touching bone is one thing Quentyn doesn't have qualms about. All aboard! But once launched, he keeps a pretty good hold on, wrapping one hand entirely around. The other hand tucks away his eyeglasses.

    "On it!" Quentyn calls back through his own radio and draws his weapon with his free hand. Sight, track... The Gunner starts firing short bursts at the closest harpies; fortunately, even without his glasses and clinging to Perfect Grace he's a pretty good shot, as long as he can just aim for the center and the harpies are close enough to be attacking. If the harpies attack Perfect Grace, the white mage will stop long enough to cast Regen on her.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Cue the Elevator Ride from hell.

    Shirou can ALMOST tolerate the screaming. Tolerate as in steeling himself further to stop this as soon as he can, as it's all he can do.

    BLOOD seeping past the door, however... his knuckles and fingers all turn white, he trembles, and rage seeths up. He's not seeing it, but he can imagine what's happening out there. It's a scene he vowed to do everything he could to avoid seeing ever again.

    Nope. Nothing he could've done differently to stop it.

    That single fact alone kicks him in the gut something fierce. He totters slightly, stance shifting to catch his weight.

    In all of these awful operations he's participated in, Emiya Shirou has rarely shown terror. Never, EVER, has he seemed scared for his own life. Even as the group piles out of the elevator and he runs straight for the distant horror scene only to drop to his knees when he ends up being too late... fear for his own life is nowhere to be seen in his eyes.

    Even though these things from beyond could likely eviscerate him almost as easily.

    Only the suffering of others truly hurts him. "Sto--... stop...!"

    Who should stop? What should stop?

    Angrily, the boy rises to his feet... "UuuuuuOOOOOOAAAAAARHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"

    And CHARGES in a blind rage. Whatever just did that is going to feel the sting of twin anti-monster weapons... it and whoever summoned it!

Maya has posed:
Maya is riding the elevator up and they now exit upon floor 80, the Bolter comes up as Maya falls in and she starts to look about. She wonder were those people? She can't tell, but maya's view on Magus is very telling she does not like them they often tend to go too far. There are ones who do not but she's dealing with the underbelly of the magical world here.

She looks way not wnating to watch the end of the horror bit. She moves ahead looking for only the target the rounds are loaded as she moves ahead. She is more than a little disturb ed she understands what some ofd the space marines and Imperial guard feelings a lot on magic and such. They got the short end of the stick with that she opens up on the horrors trying to give grade ant the Bolter Rounds are fairly powerful muntions which hopefully should do something.

"...We are going to put an end to this!"

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Of course he's prepared for such a thing. Lezard rebounds off of the field. The harpy is not so lucky, as it gets vaporized in the flash of light. Lezard himself hits the ground roughly, and looks over the field. His hand slowly touches the Bounded Field, a caress that causes a ripple to roll out through it like a stone dropped into water.

"Hmph." He says, and puts his hand forward, touching the field. A large magical circle manifests across the surface of the field.

Cut towithin, as there is a massive, rampant series of explosions as Lezard collapses each field swiftly, messily, and brutally. The power washes out into the cityscape as the window shatters, revealing Lezard standing there standing on the balcony with blue flames erupting around the edges of the shattered glass, wisps of screaming ghosts, sparkling light and worse writhing in the air around him like heat shimmer.

The sky cracks, lightning flashing dramatically to punctuate as Lezard adjusts his glasses, the light sheening off of the surface as he looks over what is within.

"Sir Magus. You will work with me if you wish to live." He states, addressing Dmitri. "I would like to assist you. Others have come to kill you, though I have no interest in your death." He doesn't even wait for the man to speak to him. The man reaches out towards the ritual, attempting to access its power.

And the Shroud of Death is in the way. "Quickly!" He looks to Dmitri. "Gather your belongings. You are running out of time!" He looks back, and withdraws his Ruby Sceptre. "You have interrupted me for the last time, Death..." He hisses, as he begins to gather Power, a Circle forming under him as he begins drawing upon immense energies. The light dims around him, wind churning upwards around him from the sheer volume of magic being drawn upon as he prepares his next move.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    For the last however long, one AOKO AOZAKI has been handling zombies. First in the lobby, where there are no witnesses. Trails of blue fire and light fires to and from her, decimating bodies and carving paths through the walls. And then, no elevator after all. It was up the stairs. Floor by floor.

    A blocked escape door is reduced to slag, and an old woman is helped down the stairs. A zombie's head is blown right off, as the magus grins and makes pew pew noises and finger guns at things. Occasionally there's a bigger beam, or a jet of blue fire, or even exploding orbs. Aoko is NOT helping the fire department in the slightest, but she is helping civilians get out.

    By the time she is done, she senses the gathering of magic far above. She cracks her knuckles, and her Magic Circuits hum to life. A blue shimmer coats her body, and she darts up the stairs, and then barrels through a wall like it's paper.

    The room behind the magus, behind the Reaper, and in front of Lezard rumbles, and the rear wall disappears in a flash of blue light, literally melting to the floor below. This is very unsafe, engineers and architects would argue.

    Aoko hops into the room, hands in her pockets.

    "Aww yeah. Sup Azzy. Mister. Other mister."

    She casually walks in front of Assassin, putting herself between the necromancer and the Servant. Her first word seems to carry incredible magical weight, but not the rest. "Sphere. So! So. Soooooooo. What's up?" Her body hums, like an idle jet engine. That is absolutely not normal, and anyone with magic vision can tell Aoko is bleeding an unholy amount of power right now. But where is it going?

    Perhaps in the face of the energy HE is gathering, and the light of his own circle and spell, he might miss that the bright blue spotlight behind him is not, in fact, his own. Right there behind the necromancer is a blue sun, solar winds roaring unstably on its surface. It is about six feet in diameter, just enough to eat a person. It's just kind of there, though! Aoko continues smiling like an idiot.

    "You boys playing nice with each other?"

Theo Morrison has posed:
Shirou gets angry. Theo gets scared.

He wants to tell himself that he's dealt with worse. He wants to say that, compared to the Eldrazi, this is nothing. That this is just a terrible person doing terrible things. That feeling of helplessness, though, that all-pervasive primal terror that comes from /knowing/ something is out there, but not being able to name it, or face it, or /fight/ it...

Theo recoils from the blood and gore that comes under the door. The machines with him don't even seem to notice. When they finally arrive, his back is against the wall as the mother and child are ripped to pieces. He can't summon up any words to warn them. He presses a fist to his mouth, fighting the urge to get sick all over the car. The smell of the vat of soup does not help matters.

Then he hears the singing. It's... a sort of comfort. It isn't meant for him; that sort of song isn't directed at the living. Still, it calms him enough to act. He needs to do /something/. Now he might have an idea what.

"Puresteel Paladin," Theo croaks. A man appears in the hall in front of him, just as Shirou and Maya head down it. He's oddly armored in what looks like silver and gold, with a curving shield and a heavy sword. "Shield of Kaldra." Theo's arm is weighed down by a heater shield with a gap in the bottom, apparently made of a large triangular metal plate with smaller strips overlapping and curving down and around like insectile mandibles.

"Metalcraft triggers. Equip the Shield to the Paladin for free..." The shield Theo carries replaces the one the Paladin had. The summoned knight holds it reverently for a moment, bowing his head over the legendary artifact, and then marches down the hall. "...and the soup to the Squire." The Brass Squire follows. The vat of soup sloshes on it's hunched back. There's a sense that you generally don't want to get in it's way.

Theo stands amidst his vanguard, an indestructible knight on one side and a katana-wielding, soup-hauling bird-robot on the other. The summoned creatures do not look like they will suffer a zombie to live.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
The dead throughout the entire building, who are being pulled from where they should be going and sent somewhere else. Those in the process of dying, fatal wounds with no last second miraculous healing to save them. The living who are successfully escaping, and those trapped in their rooms or other hiding places, with terribly things clawing at the doors, sniffing the air for their blood, listening for their sobs. The brave heroes who even now charge forth to stop all this. The villains who wish to continue it or make it worse.

Everyone hears Death's singing.

And in the case of the dead and dying, at least, there is some comfort.

And in the case of those trapped, the Heroic Spirit summoned as Assassin accepts all those dead that are being called forth, and show them the way home again.

Shirou, Maya, and Theo make the torturously slow ride up, and they come across the terrible reenactment of what may have literally just happened only a minute or two before they got there. And they push forward. The shadows twist up off the ground, slither off the walls, and change where the dim, storm-cloud-blocked light falls, in a vertigo inducing manner as Shirou charges, with weapons drawn. The shadows hiss as they drip down from the ceiling - but Shirou's anti-monster weapons give him an edge (literally), and if he attacks the darkness, lines of red appear where the blades strike. He cuts the darkness and makes it bleed.

Theo and his crew are confronted with more of the shadow, whether a different one or part of the same whole, that reaches out with blades and claws and teeth of utter pitch to try to assault them. However, the paladin is basically indestructible, and the others seem prepared to smite the hell out of the darkness.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Maya may not have magic right now, but this actually works to her advantage in this instance. As the darkness seethes and tries to consume Shirou, as it moves to confront Theo and his minions, it misses the relatively meager presence of a - for now - non-supernova-of-magic that is Maya. And so, as Aoko makes the walls melt and shows the way directly into the room where Dimitri is, her power thrumming and more than enough to draw the attention of this darkness-monster, Maya can draw a bead on what appears to be a squirming larva-like insect at the center of the swelling mass, and shoot it freaking dead. If she does, well, after that, no more of the ebon monster appears. Shirou and Theo can whittle down their own opponents until there is nothing left, zombies have nowhere to hide or attack from before this determined front once the shadows are taken away.

And still, the Reaper's song fills the halls, possibly bringing comfort to them all. And there will be no more shadow-puppet re-enactments of what transpired here.

Meanwhile, as Quentyn grants healing magic and shoots down the filthy bird-things, Kiritsugu has his Calico out, trying not to make too much violent movement as they are attacked by harpies, and he does his part. He shoots them with parabellum rounds at a blistering rate, sending their bloody, feathered remains to fall towards the street below - if they don't vaporize or something.

Aoko took care of most of the enemies in the building itself. Many of those who were trapped and waiting rescue were saved by her intervention. Now she is up there, in the room with Dimitri and Lezard, and completely impossible to ignore. The brilliant ball of energy behind Lezard is significantly powerful as far as Kiritsugu can tell.

And as Grace works to get him and Quentyn to that exact location where the others are, he looks up at the pegasus-woman. "Get Quentyn to his destination. And sorry in advance about this."

<<Time Alter: Double Accel!>> Kiritsugu chants in his mind. His body begins moving and reacting at double its normal rate, as he swings himself up and out of Grace's grip, leaving afterimages of his movements, and using the momentum gained to fling himself through the air, even as damage is suffered to his body internally and continuously from the very moment he activated one of the only forms of magecraft he is really skilled with...

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
About a minute before all this, Dimitri's defenses were shattered by some new magus who claimed not to want to kill him, but to help him survive against the others coming for him. Dimitri Vladistok is so drained he can't even speak the final line of his incantation. When Assassin takes the place of what he was trying to summon, that is more or less the end of that. The ritual is over. His ambitions have come to naught. Damn them. Damn them, all!

He is crazy, amateurish, reaching for power that is beyond him, but surviving is something he wants to do. Very much.

He rises and prepares to go with Lezard. Then Aoko arrives, and his stomach, heart, guts, and every other vital organ feel like they dropped down into his toes. What the hell IS she!? Is she... She just appeared where...

Dimitri looks hopeful for a moment, all the arrogance and malice and fear and insanity displaced, as he dares to ask, with almost child-like naivety on his face, "...Are you... What I summoned?"

He thinks Aoko is the 'Servant' he called upon.

Kiritsugu, still moving quite fast, has his Thompson Contender drawn as he shoots the window he is about to smash through, and then smashes through it. It's not like in the movies. It hurts. He probably broke some stuff.

But pain is part of being a magus. And he pulls out of his roll, still accelerated, and still dying with every moment he stays this way, and he pulls a round out of his coat, and he loads it into his gun.

A very special round.

The long barreled gun is aimed at Lezard.

And an Origin Bullet is fired at him, with all that magic energy gathered, and Aoko's powerful Sphere right behind him.

Perfect Grace (618) has posed:
Perfect Grace stops dead in her ascent when she sees that flaming mass, and when Kiritsugu launches himself off of her, she immediately pulls away and back from the blaze! She... Well, she needs to get the white mage in there, but she's NOT going near that thing. It's taking a lot of self-control not to freak out with this kid in tow. She suddenly, and probably terrifyingly to the poor guy, whips herself up, tossing Quentin into the air, so that she can remake her form. Less emphasis on wings. Streamline her body. Make her more aerodynamic, add thick bone plating on her head... Brain goes into her belly. She zips up, doing a loop-de-loop to catch Quentyn out of the air. "Hold on!" She suddenly jinks to the left, zipping away from the sky-scraper, the harpies streaming after her. She does a wing-over to quickly and violently switch directions, hoping the G-force doesn't knock the poor mage out. "Shield yourself! NOW!" She heading straight for the side of the skyscraper that is to the left of the side the blazing orb is on.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
The energy around Lezard rises, becoming a shrieking fever pitch as he draws upon every mote of power he can. This single strike is intended to obliterate not just Assassin, but likely half of the building. Lezard's voice resonates as he incants, forming the power and beginning a Great Magic.


Great spheres of light appear, silhouetting the room as they shine like tiny stars, competing with Aoko's own blast. They begin to coelasce, forming into a great beam...


The Origin Bullet fires. Kiritsugu wasts no time in playing his trump card at this very moment, when Lezard is vulnerable despite his position, thanks to the Double Accel. The blast strikes Lezard, and the great beam fires... Before warping and simply crashing into the tiny sun created by Aoko harmlessly as the magical flow sputters out and meets superior firepower.

But the power around Lezard does not fade. The circle does not stop. "What... What is this?" Lezard says, his Ruby Scepter flaring and detonating with a thundercrack, shattering not just the gem but the entire scepter in a violent conflagaration. His body shakes, and there is a low crack as his arms shatter. The Necromancer's body distends horribly, his body shifting as blood begins running from his nose and eyes. "It burns... IT BURNS! NO! I CANNOT ACCEPT THIS!" Lezard howls, gurgling...

And then there is a dull thud as all that power is turned inward, collapsing upon itself in a massive implosion. A shockwave rolls outwards from Lezard's position, a red mist sweeping outwards as walls buckle and grumble from the magical force being redirected in all directions..

All that remains are faint sparkles of light that seem to flicker and hang in the air.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:

    Shirou is in a raging fury right now. Is he even properly aware? That's hard to say, but...

    Sometimes you don't need to be fully consciously aware to do the heroic thing.

    The boy moves almost as if in a trance, guided by the weapons he summond. His motions are a blitz of efficient strikes and parries, sidesteps and carefully calculated motions that expose every tendril and freakish thing that comes at him. Any openings are ruthlessly and beautifully exploited. A copy of Kanshou or its mate shatters after seven or eight hits and is replaced almost instantly with a bright flare of prana and plenty of wild emerald streams crackling about from his hands. Only rarely does something nick him, drawing blood, but it DOESN'T slow him down at all.

    Like a mad avenger he refuses to so much as give a bit of ground. Teeth grit, breath heaving from effort and arms moving at speeds rarely seen before.

    He'll tire eventually if this doesn't stop though... anyone watching him can see that as the 'kill' count racks over twenty strange creatures from the black lagoon, Kanshou and Bakuya's durability per projection is going down and he's taking more and more bloody grazes. One nasty mistake is all it will take...!

Maya has posed:
Maya now finds they see what's happened she's not happy magic or not this ends, she's very much intending to end this but a thought hits her. This is just the sympton the issues at hand is the culture of the world's magic users that's what needs to change she thinks hte htought passes now. She look at the insect like thing and lines up the shot. A moment later the Bolter opens fire on the larva like thing, it has no place in this world, no place at all. The bolter rounds are nastyy and will detonate on impact or shortly after the shell casings go flying and might have some questions to be asked given the production stamps on the brass.

Theo Morrison has posed:
Theo isn't thinking too clearly right now. He's got visions of death and dismemberment in his eyes and can't make them go away. The shadows start to close...

...but the Paladin is there. The man's strength doesn't match the well-armed myr next to him, but his resolve and the power of that shield are more than enough to turn them back. The Paladin hacks at shadow as it closes, intercepting it unerringly with the shield. He keeps it from ever reaching the summoner, while the myr uses that gleaming katana to slash through the dead like their bones were made of tissue. The blade practically thrums, hungry for mana and battle.

Theo plays through without thinking, the motions familiar and comforting. "Stoneforge Mystic," he says, voice low as he plays the creature. A woman with bone-white hair and skin appears, clad in dark brown and with her forearms wrapped in red bands. She sits in the lotus position at a bend in the hall, and an enormous stone seems to fade into sight with her. It levitates, heat blooming from inside --

("Search for the Sword of Kaldra." Theo goes through his deck, reveals it, taps the Sol Ring and puts it down immediately.)

-- and then it splits, revealing a curved sword, like a scimitar forged from a mix of golden and silver metals. She levitates it into her hand, taking hold of it with the same reverence the shield was borne.

"Equipping the Sword to the Paladin." The Paladin takes it up. It's a matching set with the shield, and the blade sings with every stroke. Shadow is banished, severed neatly despite the intangibility of it, and the hungry dead that still remain simply fall apart and reduce to dust when they're struck by it.

They move forward, ever onward, slaughtering the monsters that still reside in the halls. Theo hopes beyond hope that they find someone, anyone alive -- but if it's the one who did this they find...

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    Quentyn considers himself a precision shooter. Even being flown through the air, even without his glasses, even using a full auto weapon-- Quentyn doesn't just spray. He doesn't fire at all, unless he's sure he'll get a few hits and the bullets won't end up going towards the ground where civilians are. Calm, relatively.

    But when he's suddenly tumbling through the air, that's where Quentyn goes wide-eyed and panicked looking. Nearly loses his grip on his weapon. Even when Grace picks him up again, the sudden, violent maneuvering only leaves the little mage hanging on for dear life, even closing his eyes for most of the way.

    Shields? Something about that word reaches the student-adventurer through his terror, and aether visibly begins to gather around him. He touches Perfect Grace, and momentarily she will feel her skin turn and look stony, before-- like his other shields-- it simply fades out of existence and everything seems normal. Unless she resists the spell anyway.

    Except, if Perfect Grace goes crashing through the side of the building, she'll notice some things. That blue-white shield, absorbing a certain percentage of the impact of whatever she rams through. And what makes it through that... the Stoneskin spell will absorb entirely until fails. Grace may still be pretty injured in the end, but it would be a lot worse without those.

    And if she's just throwing the white mage through... she'll notice the same effects on Quentyn. Already shielded himself as much as he can, it seems.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Aoko seems as ready as she can be when Lezard powers up. She doesn't need her MAGE-O-VISION to tell this is about to get very, very ugly, but things take a very odd turn when Lezard is shot and-- well that sure isn't a side-effect of being shot. That's a side effect of 'holy shit that looks painful'. Aoko winces a bit. She does not even slightly press the attack, although when the partial Great Magic slams into the miniature sun, it seems to destabilize it.

    She steps onto the balcony with a sigh, as the residual energy of the necromancer's apparent implosion lingers in the air. She glances back towards the magus, shrugging.

    "Psht. I'm just a boring old magus. But, if I were you, I would take a hint and give up magic right about now, or else this might happen to you~." She points a finger up. The massive orb suddenly rockets far above the hotel into the sky.

    And then it detonates, into a bright blue and red nova of colors. It's beyond fireworks, it's a genuine nova, colorful, intensely bright, although significantly smaller and much more harmless than a real nova. It's okay, the news will just say it was an aurora.

    It was totally an aurora.
    Shut up.

    "Azzy! You okay?"

Assassin (614) has posed:
     In the world of wraiths and spirits, Assassin does its job. It sends them onwards to their destinies, to their peaceful end.

     And then everything goes mad at once. Aoko arrives; Lezard prepares a Grand Magic; Kiritsugu shoots his Origin Bullet; everything explodes.

     It mentally informs Aoko that yes, it is perfectly alright, but it is investigating a curious thing. The ritual is gone, the souls are dispersed; there shouldn't be anything else here. And yet...

     And yet, there are little pieces of soul everywhere. Assassin, still spiritual, still disembodied, 'floats' over to examine one of them.

     Curiouser and curiouser.

     A spectral, skeletal hand closes around a piece of Lezard Valeth.

     Surely this will have no repercussions whatsoever.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
The monsters, whether Lezard's or Dimitri's, are either dead or simply gone now. The ritual is ruined, and no more of the terrible presences in the building exist. There will likely be Church agents here to make sure nothing survives. The Mage Association might send some people to alter memories or eliminate witnesses of the gore-stained halls. But with Aoko Aozaki here, she may be able to persuade them to screw off and not kill anyone, by virtue of who she is.

Shirou, Theo, and Maya have finished their battles and can make their way to where everyone else is. Quentyn and Perfect Grace are in questionable status, but the big ball of pyrophobia is gone now at least! Up into the sky. Where it explodes.

Kiritsugu chants silently in his head, and cancels his Time Alter. Pain floods him, there are cracks in his bones, blood vessels have burst, and he is gasping for breath as Lezard's spectacular death happens in a way that he was... Not expecting. That isn't what usually happens when he shoots a magic user. Maybe a difference between universes. He gets up off the broken glass and moves towards Dimitri, even as Aoko warns him to give up magic.

Dimitri bites down his angry retort - and on his lower lip, drawing blood (and a lot of it) - in his mad fury. He looks up, directly into the barrel of Kiritsugu's Calico. And then, unless he is stopped, he shoots Dimitri in the head with a short burst. It'll be easier to find the stolen incantation without worrying about this little psycho pulling something. Still, something doesn't sit right about the situation, no matter what happens. Assassin's words on the radio... The unusual reaction to the Origin Bullet...

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Assassin's hand closes on one of the sparkles. There are sparkles like this throughout the entire room at this point. It's kind of pretty, really.

And then there is a rushing noise as a shimmering hand reaches out and grapples for Assassin's neck. "DO NOT TOUCH ME YOU DAMNED SPIRIT!" A familiar voice screams, the rest of the sparkles pulling together. A wispy, translucent form begins to take shape as it bears down upon Assassin. "YOU CANNOT TAKE ME! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE DOING? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU HAVE /DONE/?"

Lightning erupts from his hands as he wrestles with Assassin, driving him straight towards a window with desperate force. The lightning probably helps. "I WILL CRUSH YOU! BREAK YOU INTO PIECES AND SCATTER YOU ACROSS THE LAND, WHERE ALL SHALL TREAD UPON YOU AND THE INSECTS WILL FEAST UPON YOUR REMAINS!"

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    For better or worse Aoko does not pay attention to the remnants of Lezard or Assassin's interaction with them; he is the Reaper, after all. He knows what he's doing. Right? RIGHT? On the other hand, if he's taking example on his master a lot...

    Oh, well, you can't prove Aoko isn't completely responsible!

    It's when Kiritsugu finally settles down, and approaches the magus, that Aoko actually pays attention again. The Calico lets loose a short autofire burst. There isn't anything human that could possibly stop that.

    But that's not what the gust of wind that suddenly makes Kiritsugu's absolutely awesome coat flap indoors has to say about that. In the fraction of a second it took for even the second bullet to leave that barrel, Aoko was not standing on the balcony anymore, but by Dimitri.

    Her hand is extended, in front of the magus' face.

    She grinds into dust whatever she's clenching.

    Metallic powder is all that's left of the bullets.

    Her blue eyes lock onto Kiritsugu-- she's frowning. But she doesn't have time to say anything before Lezard essentially suckerpunches Assassin into the building from quite literally beyond the grave. She turns to face THAT situation, although she gives Dimitri a 'try to run and I won't stop the magus-killer a second time' glare.

    "Okay, I gotta admit, that's a cool trick. I wish he wasn't using it to punch my Servant, but that's a cool trick."

Assassin (614) has posed:
     Lezard Valeth becomes angry. Assassin is fast, but Lezard is faster still. Fingers close about nothing but coat, but the coat is all that needs to be closed about - AZRAEL is as much a symbol of Assassin as it is a part of Assassin. The grasp is brutal and swift; Assassin may vastly outclass Lezard in the real world, as it's a Heroic Spirit, but Lezard vastly outclasses Assassin in the spirit world, as he's a master of Spirits. Lezard slams Assassin through the window, and the two pass through it harmlessly, incorporeal spirits in an incorporeal world. Lightning pours through Assassin's body, and it makes a horrible, unearthly noise like a scream - a musical, mechanical scream of intense and terrible pain, pain such as Assassin has never felt before. Not even the Black Forest did this to Assassin.

     And, as long as Assassin is close to Lezard, nobody can use their big destruction attacks without hitting it. Spirit magic is, after all, difficult to target.

     Assassin makes a decision.


     Assassin's hood falls away. What is left is darkness - the comfortable darkness of a moonlit night, the warm and loving darkness of a shoulder during a tight hug, the compassionate darkness of the familiar and beloved. Darkness, and a gentle, loving, unshakeable smile, disembodied, neither male nor female, neither old nor young. It is a compassionate smile, full of love and wisdom and peace and joy.

     And Lezard, as he strangles Assassin, finds Assassin moving to break free with a sudden surge of strength. Assassin cannot win this battle, not in this form. But Assassin can allow others to win for it.

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    With the artificial sun thing gone, maybe, just maybe, Grace doesn't need to slam a new hole in the building after all? But whether it's by that or a balcony landing, Quentyn finally, finally makes it into the room. He's still trembling a little bit from the aerial antics, and completely misses Lezard taking Assassin out the window. Instead he's looking over all those present for signs of injuries... and there's that guy holding the gun with Aoko standing between him and another guy.

    Bursting blood vessels, among other things? You don't exactly need to cast diagnostic spells to immediately tell something's wrong (but the mage tries to cast one anyway). Quentyn quickly pads over to Kiritsugu. He rests a hand on the arm holding the gun, if Kiritsugu lets him. "Um... " The white mage looks up to the man and gives a tentative smile in an attempt to be comforting. "You need attention, like um, now..." Fishing out his spectacles to slide them on again and looking around at the others, "Anyone else, um, take a hit?"

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    When Shirou does finally make it to the room everyone else has been dealing with the real threat in... he's not looking too good. Blood's coming from the conrners of his mouth, dripping from dozens of gashes that are slowly healing in plain sight... his breathing's ragged, he's only got Kanshou in his grasp...

    And the first thing he sees is Kiritsgu trying to execute the magus in charge of this mess.

    Perhaps startlingly, he feels neither offense at anyone finishing the guy off. He might've had to do that himself in the worst case, after all, ugly though the prospect would be when it came down to the wire. Nor does he feel frustration at Aozaki stopping it! He does, however, begin to yell for her to stop - untilo she seems utterly unharmed by the bullets anyways...

    "Sorry... that took so long..." He wants to cry. his voice is strained to the limit, and the look on his face is desperate and on the verge of tears.

    All of the effort, all of the ideals, all of the justice, and in the end... he could save nobody and help nobody.

    He's just in a room with a bunch of allies, facing a mad magus.

    ... Now what?

    He's close to tears, but his teeth are grit and he's still fired up. "This is the guy responsible for this atrocity?!"

Theo Morrison has posed:
Every time Theo thinks they're in the clear, there's always something else. He follows along, stepping through carpet soaked with blood and passing over the remains of the unfortunate who couldn't evacuate. He sees one man, his lower half dragged back down the hall while his upper clings to the windowframe. He must have been going for the fire escape.

Untap, upkep, draw, main one. He can hardly will himself to speak as he moves on. He can't /stop/ though; what if there's more? Did they get the mage, or is he still out there? There's a ringing in his ears, a noise accompanying the mind-bending horror of the place. "Helm of Kaldra," he mutters. He catches the oddly-shaped helmet, with it's back-swept curves and fins and tucks it under his arm. He'll do something with it, he supposes.

But the monsters have stopped coming. Theo can feel the horrible magic that permeates this place lessen, fading away. His creatures finally have a moment of rest. Even with all of this done, there's still the lingering discomfort, the disquiet sense of wrongness that fills the air from the profane ritual's results. Theo can't shake it.

He looks around. The Kor woman is breathing easier, but wary; the Paladin is scanning the area for more foes, while his back is covered by the heavily-armed myr. They don't let down their guard. The magic's going away, though. Maybe --

There's a sense of something happening, another surge of mana that does not match the rest quite right. He doesn't react rationally to the sensation. Theo panics, fumbling with his play-space.

"K-k-" He can't make himself say the name. He gives the order. "Kill it! Whatever it is, kill it /now/!"

The sword, shield and helm move away from their bearers. The others in the hall stop and watch, the Mirran man and woman staring in awe. There's an electric blue glow, leaping between the artifacts, the miniscule amount of mana poured into it by the Deckmaster amplified to an astounding amount. The summoning is perhaps more potent than anything he's done thus far.

The interior wall next to Assassin abruptly explodes.

There's no debris, once it clears the gap; it turns into metallic sand, or maybe dust, scattered along the floor. A figure, rendered in electric-blue lines of articulated armor and dense muscle, blurs across the room. It's translucent, a blueish spectre bearing a gleaming gold-and-silver scimitar, a strange, curving helm and a heavy shield, all of the same metal. The figure's presence seems similar to that of Assassin's, even. A Heroic Spirit?



    Legendary Creature - Avatar

    Indestructible, first strike, trample, haste.

    Whenever Kaldra deals damage to a creature,
    exile that <span style="color:reature.


Kaldra enters the fray with a precise sword-stroke, aimed to sever Lezard's wrists. He slides to a stop, interposing himself between Assassin and Lezard's vengeful shade, shoving aside the now-momentarily-visible Servant. Without a word, the avatar swings his all-too-solid shield into the regenerating figure in a vicious bash, and then follows him across the room with a final vertical strike, a severing blow that passes from brow to groin.

That's not quite right, though. He does have a word. A single utterance, monosyllabic and firm:


Assassin (614) has posed:
     Assassin was not expecting that sort of help. Assassin was expecting magical help, lasers from its redhead master or a shot from Kiritsugu or something. It was not expecting to be bodily removed from Lezard.

     Kaldra is forceful. Kaldra is strong, at least as strong as a Heroic Spirit. And, well, Assassin...

     ...piffs out of existence.

     Creatures damaged by Kaldra are exiled.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Thoughts race through Lezard's mind as he considers how best to make Assassin, the current target of his rage, suffer. The others will suffer as well in time, but Assassin, that's become /personal/. Just as he gets an idea...

The wall explodes, and the avatar confronts the spiritual sorceror. "What are you?" He says, as Assassin begins breaking free from his grip. And then Kaldra cleaves through his wrists. They separate from his body with a band of sparkles, his spiritual essence dissipating. "ACCURSED BEING!" Lezard screams. The scream cuts off when he gets shield bashed through the wall and floats in the air outside of the building.

Kaldra don't give a crap. It's probably like a spirit-kin with a honey badger. The avatar smashes right through the wall and cuts him in half vertically. Lezard simply screams as he departs, his spirit whipping through the air and vanishing Elsewhere.

Emiya Kiritsugu (603) has posed:
Kiritsugu is still breathing hard, even as he disciplines himself to control his own body. When Aoko crushes his bullets, and Dimitri crabwalks backwards in terror, Kiritsugu narrows his empty eyes, only half because of the sudden wind, completely seperate from the powerful gusts of stormy weather rushing past through the broken window and open door beside it. Quentyn comes forward to start examining Kiritsugu, and he lowers his arm, even if he keeps some of his attention on the wannabe death-bringer snivelling on the floor and leaking blood from his mouth.

The fire alarm has at least been shut off. That probably means that the fire department is here. That probably also means time is limited. Kiritsugu just focuses on regulating his heart rate - which speeds up again when his suspicion is confirmed and he hears Lezard's voice. He does not try to shoot Dimitri again. That would be stupid, and there are more critical matters to attend to.

He wasted an Origin Bullet on Lezard Valeth. And with him in some sort of incorporeal form, he can't do much else right now. It's up to a Servant now, and possibly his/her/its Master, to deal with this abominable wizard.

And it's up to Kiritsugu to search for that stolen incantation, which is what the job was supposedly about.

You know, putting aside ill-conceived summoning attempts and so on.

"I'll live. This isn't new," Kiritsugu offers. Diagnostic magic reveals not only the extent of the injuries but also that Kiritsugu is missing two ribs on each side of his rib cage, and has numerous other forms of damage, and a lot of it - like his ribs - is left overs from past injuries... Even the cracks in his skeleton seem to be things that have happened and healed before, multiple times.

He is probably in terrible pain, but he is focused on things that can not just be fixed later. He turns to answer Shirou, "Yes, though Lezard Valeth-" he pauses to watch as Theo's summon deals with both that persistent Lezard (who manages to yell some more and unleash a highly unpleasant scream) and, unfortunately, Assassin apparently. "-was also responsible." He eyes Theo, and while he doesn't try move away from Quentyn, intent on healing him - and probably Shirou too - Kiritsugu does look at Shirou, see the suffering in his face and body language, and give him something important to do. Even knowing he's in poor shape.

"If you're able, look around for an ancient parchment. It needs to be returned to its owner. All other texts here were used by Vladistok to teach him the magic he has used here, and in the hands of someone more competent, they could make what happened here today pale by comparison." Kiritsugu's expression is unchanging, as he says, "I'm in no condition to keep fighting, but you have the power to destroy his research material and tomes, and save countless lives."

What he says is true, but offering it to Shirou to do is a kindness. He knows how badly Shirou wants to help people. And this will help people. This will help him make sure nothing like this happens again. And unlike Kiritsugu, who killed his father to keep something like what happened to him from happening again, he won't ask Shirou to eliminate Dimitri to prevent the same. That isn't Shirou's way.

And Kiritsugu doesn't want it to BECOME Shirou's way.

The power wielded by Lezard, Theo, Aoko, and Assassin are all considerable. Kiritsugu honestly has nothing else to contribute. It was a 'team effort', but he has his limits. And they fall far short of those around him.

Theo Morrison has posed:
Theo is standing in the hole in the wall when all is said and done. Kaldra takes another sweep around and starts marching back out.

"I'm sorry I banished your Servant to the space between dimensions," Theo calls to Aoko awkwardly.

Maya has posed:
Maya is just not sure what to make with Lezard other than his reaction is strange almost reminding her of a legend she knew back home but she cna't quite place it and she's got other things to worry about she seems conerned for Kiritsugu she wishes she could do something and the tilts her head for a moment.

"So return the stolen texts and burn the reset."

She pauyses fr a moment looking over it. She'll move to help with the text destruction. This was far more protactive remove the tempation and all that. Though man she's cringing about how Nathan or Ainsley might react but time to wreck some forbiddon tomes.

Aoko Aozaki (591) has posed:
    Many things happen. Aoko seems confused for a moment, before things start being explained. Then she just smiles and scratches the back of her head, shaking her head at Theo. "No, no! It's okay. It sounds like he's comfortable there, and that... seems to have solved the problem? I mean, you can get him back out, right?"

    Then back to Kiritsugu and Dimitri. "Sorry, but... if you kill him, he won't learn his lesson or have a chance to repent for the lives he took. Life is sacred. He deserves a fair trial and a shot at getting better. If he won't take it, then you can do whatever you want with him."

    Then to Dimitri: "Step one of that, find the man his stolen text."

Quentyn Westwind (635) has posed:
    Shirou showing up *really* gets Quentyn's attention, far more than the combatant stuff. "U-Umm..." The white mage looks back to Kiritsugu and looks like he's about to disagree with 'I'll be fine.' But he looks back to Shirou. And even Dimitri (The one they were trying to stop?). For a moment, torn on how to prioritize. Aether gathers around Quentyn twice as he tries to first cast a regen on Shirou, then on Dimitri. That'll have to do for triaging. Then back to Kiritsugu.

    The boy will try to guide to Kiritsugu over somewhere to sit, and offer some painkillers from his medkit. Then Quentyn will start focusing Cure spells on the different wounds one by one... Or, well, damaged areas. Which seems to be about everywhere. It could take some time. Aether gathers around him again and again, and he'll probably gulp down a phial or several of something that presumably replenishes his magic.

Emiya Shirou (560) has posed:
    Hearing Lezard's shout and seeing Theo up to his usual antics, Shirou rubs at his head and stays on guard with an eye out for trouble. But with Lezard seemingly pushed away... he slightly relaxes. The tears are gone, replaced with a fierce look for the quivering Dimitri. Then at Aoko. "...yeah. Killing him won't solve anything." Slowly, he finds himself remembering words Kiritsugu once spoke to him. His, anyways, not this one.

    Are they really the same person? He has to wonder sometime. Sometimes, thinking about this Kiritsugu makes him want to glare... but at the same time...

    'Listen, Shirou. Superheroes can only save the people who survive.'

    So villains rarely will.

    And here, there's an opportunity to save more lives in the future, it's true. Shirou's eyes ave gone wide not from the offer, but from a sudden flare of inner turmoil.

    "... I couldn't save everyone because I'm not strong enough yet..." He mumbles all but inaudibly. Unspoken: He may never be that strong. But he will never stop trying.

    "Hold on a moment. The stolen text lead to this mess to begin with, didn't it? This wasn't really what it was supposed to do, was it?"