3579/The Scouring of the Valley

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The Scouring of the Valley
Date of Scene: 28 December 2015
Location: Great Painting of Ariamis <PoA>
Synopsis: A motley group of adventurers from across the Multiverse have assembled in Lordran in order to engage in psychopathi- RIGHTEOUS, I MEAN RIGHTEOUS murder for the benefit of all living beings. Because drakes suck. Oh right, we might be building a sewer system for Blight Town too or something whatever, kill more drakes.
Cast of Characters: Kirito, Staren, Priscilla, Lezard Valeth, 687, Sanary Rondel, 803, 908, Janine Liberi, 928

Priscilla has posed:
    It doesn't exactly take much finding to get where the Fangs of Nidhogg are going. After all, Lezard already knows the way, even if it has been mercifully skipped several times for everyone involved. The so called 'Valley of Drakes' is not so much a valley as a unfathomably deep crevasse, sandwiched between sheer, vertical cliff walls that must be miles tall to either side; so tall and straight that the sun fails to reach the bottom of the divide, leaving the stone walls simply plunging down into total blackness. The result is that the area perpetually cast into semi-shade, and all but completely bereft of wind or harsh precipitation, making for a dim, cool and quiet place, hidden from above and below, and thus an ideal resting place for just about any creature, and an ideal spot for the thick, verdant grasses and mosses that can be seen coating seemingly every surface that isn't a straight, ninety degree angle, drowning the surroundings in green.

    The cliff walls are chased by various long but narrow shelves where pieces of the natural rock have fallen away in thin sheets over the ages, leaving for very flat, stable and usable walkways, though they are perhaps a little too cramped to be comfortable. Gaping holes have been drilled into the cliffside here and there by the elements, burrowing claws, and human tools, one of which obviously leads to Blighttown, and is thus best left alone, with two or three others likewise actually leading somewhere else rather than just being dens for oversized reptiles. Midway into the 'valley', the cliff walls have been broken up on purpose to allow space for a pair of commensurately gargantuan towers of artificial make, flanking a drawn gate and bridge large enough to push a battleship through, thousands of tons of iron door held wide open from the previous draining of the city of New Londo on the other side, now weakly visible in the partial sunlight, and (mostly) bereft of ghosts, corpses, and ambulatory piles of said corpses.

    Of course the only thing that lives here are previously mentioned drakes. They're all over the place, to the point of being impossible to miss. Fearing nothing, they make no efforts to blend into their environment, standing out as a stark variety of blue, green, and rarely red hues, the size of a human adult standing up at the smallest, up to the size of a large passenger jet. They are uniformly hideous; traditionally draconic, or technically wyverian, but bristling with twisted spines, thorns, and various growths of scale and bone, jutting out as part, or simply through, their own skin. Their hissing, snarling and screeching can be heard for a significant distance in the current environment, as well as the constant pounding of their wings and the grinding of rock.

    It's clear this is more of a roost or an aviary than anything else, as their sheer density coupled with the lack of anything to actually hunt attests, but they've settled even into the crenellations and towers of human design. The valley itself curves a couple of times, making for a few distinct areas that are beyond the initial view, but otherwise it is not a complicated affair. The group has but one companion on this journey, seemingly well trusted enough for Priscilla to leave alone for now; a solitary knight in bright, shining gold armour, sculpted with excessive, ornate detail from head to toe, and wearing the mask of a snarling lion, affixed with a red plume. It also bears mentioning that he is something like nine feet tall, and standing around like more like a stoic background NPC than a steward.

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     Following the bulletins from the Union was impossible until one actually arrived.

     As such, it took Momoyo some time to wander through the New Londo side, not just because of getting lost, but because it was completely surreal to her. The rusty old gate she made her way through was sticking, but had long since been unlocked... she kicked it down and sent it fluttering down into the chasm when she lost patience with the rust. Stepping out into the breeze, she was dressed in her jean slacks and chipmunk t-shirt for the decent weather. The lack of rock climbing gear for such narrow pathways didn't bother the woman as much as it should have either, but she made her way gradually toward the gathering of various auras closer to the nearby rickety rope bridge. "Huh." she muses, peering down into the chasm. For the time being, she didn't yet notice any drakes like the bulletin stated, but the errant stench of long-rotting corpses passed her nose every so often, causing her to turn a bit green. In many ways, she was still just a high school student.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine has concluded that the Multivere is filled with goddamn weirdos. That ad about the 'Fangs of Nidhogg' (how pretentious can you get?) had drawn her attention. And now this talk of cleaning up a ruined kingdom? Why not just go elsewhere?

    But ultimately, she needs to be better, stronger, to deal with the Forest. And it's like those games her younger cousins always play. You get stronger by murdering wildlife. So here she is. Probably blending in better than the drakes with her drab clothing and mussed hair. Only her stark white sling might stand out against the drab walls of the crevasse.

    She has her sword ready of course, but not the antique gifted to her, but the new one gifted to her by resident vacant-eyes weirdo Gudako. It's sheathed and hanging from her body, down by her lower back via a repurposed cream scarf that looks terribly expensive. Her right hand rests in it at all times, her eyes flicking towards each tunnel the group passes.

    When the drakes finally come into view, Janine has a comment ready. "Look at these sketches from the back of my fifth cousin's school books," she remarks in a tired tone of voice, eyes sliding along their spikes, scales and talons. She looks towards the knight sent by Priscilla and asks, "Anything we should know about 'em, Tall, Gold and Probably Ugly Under That Helmet?"

Lezard Valeth has posed:
There were many opportunities for those who have the foresight to take advantage of them in Lordran. This is mostly a matter of being willing to think outside the box a bit.

Or rather, be willing to punch holes in the box so you can get some breathing room. Speaking of breathing room, Lezard Valeth stands at one end of the valley next to a horrible dank tunnel. A rickety blank bridge spans the thin crevasse in this location to the other side, leading to a jail-like bar door that may or may not be open depending on if someone unlocked it. Lezard sure doesn't have the key.

The important thing is that the tunnel he's next to runs back into Blight Town, the cesspit of ages for Lordran. He appears to had a table placed down, allowing him to scribe on parchment as he does some mathematics. There are a number of handheld tools as well, a compass, a sextant-like device, and other things.

As he does this, he speaks to the others present. Magic carries his voice over the Fangs comm-nexus as well as to the local communications systems of those present. "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming to this expeditionary operation into the Valley of Drakes. We have a couple of basic objectives here."

He pauses to allow people to digest this. "First, we need to remove hostile wildlife from the area. Anything you kill, you get to use for whatever your pet projects are. You may donate carcasses, interesting objects, or live captures to the Fangs of Nidhogg storage facilities or to the smiths of Anor Londo if you do not wish to make use of them yourself. I am sure, as our good associate may explain, that they can find... uses for them." He gestures to the silent, lion-masked man for those who can see him.

"Second, which is pursuant to the first, we will require the use of extensive architectural and excavation work as we survey the area to prepare it to accept an outflow drain for Blight Town's filth to finally gain some method of exit to a place where it will not accumulate. Those with flight abilities should examine the high cliffs and potentially site for windmill-based power systems. This area seems appropriate for such a thing once one gains enough height to get out of the lull. Once an outflow location is located we will begin excavation work and drive a shaft into the side of the cliff."

He pauses again, to allow all of THIS to sink in. "You may choose to assist how you will. These efforts are for the direct benefit of both the Fangs of Nidhogg and Lordran itself, and will gain commensurate recognition. Are there any questions?"

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     With all the horrible burning and near-immolations Sanary's gone through in her past encounters with dragons, she's not taking any chances tonight in this place practically named for... Well, Drakes are close enough to dragons, right? Right. She arrives in her lighter Lagombi armor with a large oval shield strapped to her back, a riot shield strapped to her left arm, another kite shield held in the right hand, and a Physic staff held in the left hand.

     In retrospect, it probably would have made more sense to wear the heavy armor instead. Then again, it'd be easier to fly without all that extra weight, but... It's too late to worry about what-ifs now, though, and the cleric refocuses her efforts on just looking around the valley to try and gauge potential problem areas.

     All those ledges, for example. Spotting a few unfamiliar faces, she peers at the three for a moment before raising a hand towards them in a lazy wave. "Hey there! You here for the job, too?" She sounds fairly friendly about the it all, all things considered, although there's definitely a hint of wariness. Whether it's because of the golden knight, clearly-not-regular-civilians, or potential dragons in general is not clear.

     "I can go wherever I'm needed more. Wouldn't mind fighting, but if we don't have anyone else that wants to fly up there..." She shrugs at Lezard and leaves it at that. "Just give me the word."

Staren has posed:
    Dangerous animals need to be eliminated to make room for civilization? Even if Lezard is involved, Staren can be on board with this. It is, finally, a problem he sounds equipped to solve.

    Blight town seems to be presenting a lot of those.

    Staren's machine walks up to the end of the valley near where Lezard is, leaning down to look at the mage... well, Staren might be curious, but the machine is expressionless. "So... We're not just glassing the valley with indiscriminate firepower? Huh. I was kind of hoping to see a problem solved so directly for once... I mean, that's an /awful/ lot of drakes to fight individually or try to live capture... there must be thousands of them, maybe even tens of thousands..."

Kirito has posed:
    Any proper investigation of Blighttown and cleanup needs to involve draining all that toxic SLUDGE and clearing that ecosystem. That's why Kirito's here, even if.. ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE in the effort is not his idea of a party.

    The Spriggan 's flying smoothly above the valley, keeping some distance from the gaggles of drakes and wyverns and weird things that call it home. He's listening to Lezard's message but..

    The Spriggan doesn't slow down or stop to listen. With the radio message playing in his ears he just keeps surveyindg the area for points of interest.

    Held aloft on translucent black wings, he swoops through the skies with his weapons still sheathed. "No point counting them. We've got a horde of dragonlings to deal with."

Ark Line (687) has posed:
Sometimes magic is the answer. In fact, with the Fangs of Nidhogg being involved, magic is /usually/ the answer. In the case of getting from point A to point B, though...

A steel-grey vehicle descends towards the 'valley,' into the crevasse that makes it up. It looks a bit like a wheelless pickup truck scaled upwards, or a flying boat, but with sleeker lines and a more military aesthetic. The back is a wide open deck, with solid walls easily usable as cover for any human beings who might have to duck behind one. The 'cab' seems to be an enclosed space with monitors and a few instrument consoles, but no actual method of flying it.

"Take us down, nice and slow," Ark says. He's listening to Lezard's explanation remotely. The console chimes quietly, the onboard AI accepting the command and beginning to carefully maneuver into the crevasse. Heavy weapons mounted along the front and underneath the craft swivel to track any drakes that get too close. The Liners learned that their only real enemy isn't vulnerable to much lighter than assault weapons, so it doesn't mount weapons classed as 'anti-personnel' so much as 'anti-armor,' despite the other side not actually having any.

Caster of Steel, the older man in the suit, stands on the deck and looks over plans on a clipboard. He's got his own radio, so he speaks into it while examining the cliffs on the way down. "We will be conducting a survey of the upper regions of the valley shortly after our rendezvous at your position, Mr. Valeth. We have a means of transport available." Caster shoots a look at the cabin, his voice going flat. "Ark didn't want to climb."

Ark ignores his Servant's sass, just this once. Instead, he waits for the vehicle to get low enough, and kicks a ladder over the side for anyone already waiting on the ground. All aboard!

Steve (803) has posed:
    Blending in a bit better than he normally might, perhaps, the miner turned thaumaturgist Steve is currently clothed in silk, purple robes edged in gold, with a long, oak staff at his back. The valley is trudged through on horseback, his steed a brown stallion clad in iron plates, rather than the pig he might opt for on a more leisurely journey. No stranger to journeying through places where the sun rarely touches, he has also prepared a bundle of torches, should they be required in this land, alongside a more exotic, light-yielding creation. The latter, Nitor, a vaporous concotion, glows from where he has it stowed in a pouch next to the saddle; though it appears to be a flame, it does not seem to be directly burning anything, thankfully for Steve and the horse.

    The cast light in the environment prompts Steve to draw back the hood of his robe, revealing a somewhat grizzled-looking, young-middle-aged man, whom scratches his beard stubble in thought. "This would be a perfectly defensible place," he figures, "Or a death trap. Guess it depends on your perspective, huh?" Then he catches sight of the actual drakes further ahead. That's enough to give him pause, his horse trotting to a stop while the rider gives a rub at his forehead. Unheard to anyone else, a thundering pounding momentarily accompanies a clouding of his peripheral vision. This is a bad time to experience those kinds of symptoms! In his mind's eye, a creature much like they are glides through a black sky, unnaturally dense with stars. "Ugh, I hate deja vu," he mutters under his breath, before filling his chest with the stagnant air, and seeming to regain his resolve.

    Keeping his distance for the time being, he withdraws a device from his inventory; a golden hexagonal trinket, that appears to have a glass window in its center, flanked by colorful gems, representing the basest aspects of essentia. He directs it at one of the drakes, attempting to scan its aspects. Regardless of the result or efficacy, however, he pauses again, this time to listen to Lezard's in-depth explanations of their little trip here, as well as what is expected of them. Once their chief finishes, he gets an enthusiastic grin on his face, "I was hoping you'd say that. An actual batch of samples of these things might have use to me." As he dismounts his horse, he pauses to give Staren's mech an odd look, and not just because it's a mech. "There's somebody in there? There's no doubt we could just obliterate everything, but the thing about opportunity is you have to be a bit more careful with it, pal."

    After fetching a quick scan of a few more objects, and people, in the gathered vicinity, he places his thaumometer away, instead fetching a ruby red bauble from a hip pouch and twisting it onto the end of his staff, "I'm all set, here. When I'm not frying these drakes, I'm going to do a bit of exploratory diggin', if that's alright." Never know when you might encounter a chance, exotic mineral vein.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Ever in her white and black clothes, with dead eyes and her typical 8D on her face, Gudako is present, naturally, being the one who suggested this trip in the first place. From her perspective, this isn't genocide, or purging, or anything so evil-sounding. It's mats farming, plain and simple. Dragon scales, organs, fangs-- it all fetches extremely high prices, and as her Caster would remind her, all of it is extremely useful in assorted magical rituals. A good master wouldn't need to think about this for more than five seconds.

    Perhaps of only note is the fact the Fangs' logo has been patched onto one of her shirt's shoulders, rendering the outfit asymmetrical. What a horrible fate.

    She immediatly answers Staren, as if emerging from her dead-eyed torpor. "If you glass this place I'll be collecting your organs instead of theirs!" she says cheerily, probably way too happy to let the threat out of her system. "Glassing would destroy our loot! That's the worst waste of time. Aah! Mister Valeth, I'll have Berserker and Caster handling the wildlife while I stay back here."

    Establishing her position by drawing her newly upgraded cellphone out, Gudako proceeds to... resume playing her Idolmaster game. Yeah don't mind her. Caster is still incorporeal, while Berserker forms out of blue wisps of magic to her master's side when prompted. The red-robed, pink-haired foxgirl with cat mittens and boots nyas, and then glances into the deeper valley with a wide grin. "I've never played with drakes before! Big birds! I bet it's like hunting big birds! Master, master, just watch me, I'll bring you one back!"

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine stares at Lezard when he speaks, chiming in when he's done with, "Oh hey, you're the Creepy Nerdlinger Who's Totally A Doctor from the radio." Her lip curls a little as she says it. "Well, if you're involved, I guess I know why it's called Fangs of Nidhogg. You freaking nerd." She rolls her eyes and runs her right hand through her hair.

    Now she begins taking notice of who actually bothered to show up. Sanary gets less than a half-hearted (quarter-hearted?) nod of the head, while Momoyo gets an eyebrow quirked at her. Someone who looks literally more normal and out of place than herself?

    Staren's suit gets stared at, and when his voice comes out of it, she recognizes it. "Oh, it's the Obstinate Nerdy Show-off. And it looks like he's spent so much time shoved in a locker he just tricked one out and stays in it." Another shrug. Ark and Caster of Steel get a look of recognition. "Aw, what's the matter? If someone like me can hoof it, surely you can climb, you Tacticool OC Donut Steel."

    Steve just gets a long look, Janine looking from he to Lezard. "Goddamn, do you two shop at the same store? Robe and Wizard Hat Junction or something?" And the Gudako, someone not entirely trustworthy, but... dependable. Janine smirks at the trio of Master and Servants, flicking her hand towards Berserker's hair, but pulling short just in time.

    "Anyway. I don't know much about wind power or anything. But if you want these things alive for gross experiments, or because you have terrible taste in pets, I can make it easier for you. I wanna be paid for it though."

Priscilla has posed:
    Unfortunately, wandering through the side of New Londo is not much more pleasant than the side of Blighttown. I might have been once, but being deliberately flooded without evacuating the population leaves some nasty things behind, especially after the near-release of the Abyss creeping up from beneath it. There's a good reason that people settle close to the sun, rather than deep beneath the earth. There's no telling how many tragedies have happened so far down that simply no one knows of them. Even approaching from a distance, anyone attuned to the immaterial can sense the aura of death that washes off of that place, and the lingering grudges connected to it.

    The drakes themselves aren't hard to spot once one draws into the more central portion of the crevasse. The convenient shelves and verdant greenery stops fairly abruptly as one wanders further to the north and south where the winds can scour straight through, and so the drakes have stopped bothering there as well. The population in that sense, is thankfully nowhere near tens of thousands, though it would be were it extrapolated for the whole length of the miles of cliffside beyond. The most basic setup seems to be that the lower levels are host to the smaller, scragglier ones, mostly using the winding walkways and landings on foot, whereas the loftier positions are commanded by the bigger, meaner ones, in typical pecking order. Every one in three of the various holes in the walls are harbour to eggs; especially numerous the further one goes down.

    The traffic in and out of the area is minimal, as it seems once something manages to take flight above the crest of the cliffs, the vicious wind outside snatches it up very quickly. Not even they want to go anywhere near Blighttown or inside New Londo, and so those two areas are relatively safe, but venturing beyond, the drakes will grow very aggressive, very fast.

Priscilla has posed:
    Kirito and Caster will have to fly either relatively low or at the far ends of the chasm if they want to avoid attracting attention, though the number of beasties actually in the air as opposed to roosting is very minimal. It seems like they leave the area and glide on the slipstream for miles to find things to go hunting, which probably explains how they keep getting into all of the abandoned civil areas in the nearby countryside, as natural apex predators atop of anything that isn't old and scary enough to have a name, or that hasn't come up from deeper underground than they. There are likely a few more aviaries like this around the country, but none are so annoyingly placed as this one, placing most of human settlement on Lordran within its 'territory'.

Priscilla has posed:
    What Steve reads from the drakes themselves is immediately easy to pick out, as true to the expectations of the mages amongst the group, the things are saturated in natural magical potential, all throughout their being. Aspects such as Aer, Motus, Potentia, Tempestas, Bestia, Volatus, and those having to do with various breath weapons are easy enough to find, but oddly enough, /nothing/ comes up as Victus, though there's plenty of Corpus, and some Spiritas flying around here and there. In fact, very faintly, the compass may actually lead him to a distant trace of Perditio/Tempus, somewhere up above.

Ark Line (687) has posed:
Ark leans on the edge of the craft, watching the people who have gathered up with interest. He's familiar with a few, but not with everyone. Caster seems to be doing book-keeping and talking to the onboard AI, which is keeping him occupied, but Ark is mostly just waiting for this show to get on the road.

His waiting is interrupted by someone being really sour. He looks down, and then puts a hand on the rail, vaulting over it and dropping to the ground. The Liner walks unhurriedly, hands under his poncho somewhere, and comes to a stop at the edge of Janine's personal space. He just looks at her for a moment, a thoughtful expression on his face.

"Are you Union?" Ark asks, seemingly out of left field.

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     Walking slowly down the path of the rickety rope bridge, the tall girl glares down the chasm with one hand to her forehead. She could see the others gathering, but with as pent up as she was, she didn't stop to converse very long once the instructions were given out. She springs into the air, moving along the cliff-face walls to get a better view of the various angles... but even she had enough experience flying without armor that she could tell the slipstream would quickly throw her far away from anywhere familiar if she went up too far.

     Zipping along the cliff-faces, she's high enough in the air to attract the attention of any drakes, but she does at least spend some time scouting the various cliffsides. She'd probably be the worst indicator for any architectural data simply due to a lack of education, but she was at least capable of gathering it. Unfortunately, flight wasn't something she announced to many of those gathering nearby. She simply didn't do it in her home world because it pointlessly attracted attention, but out here in Lordran was like running out in the wilderness. Plus, being up higher moved her away from the stench of the larger piles of corpses.

    "Tch." she mutters under her breath. The aura levels of the drakes individually were formidable, but even she could tell she'd be overwhelmed trying to fight more than two at a time.

     She drops down on the other end of the rope bridge connecting the cliffs to New Londo and Blighttown, brushing her hands a bit from clinging to various rocks on the cliffside. Without paying much attention she stood in front of one of the many nearby black holes once she was satisfied with scouting. "Well then... I guess it'll be something to say I was fighting alongside knights." she mutters, running her fingers through her hair. Notably she just didn't spend much time socializing with the rest of those gathered about.

Priscilla has posed:
    The figure in gold reaches for an equally blinding weapon embedded in the stone beside him; a gigantic ranseur with a head that looks fit for deep mining rather than actual combat, yanked out of several feet of solid rock with barely a second thought. Gudako, and perhaps Lezard, may recognize it as a high-tier holy weapon, a step between one that has been blessed by a divinity and one actually wielded by one. "They are the distant kin of dragons. Though they are undeveloped imitators, some are closer to them than others. The lesser are little more than beasts worthy of no more than their head mounted upon a plaque; sturdy, vicious, thirsty for blood, but otherwise unremarkable. The larger of their kind are closer to immortality, but only to the point where they may mend their own wounds, and survive normally fatal damage. Those are most easily felled by lightning, though beasts as they are, even the mundane should suffice in lieu of the lightning of the gods. Strike repeatedly and without pause, for a single wound is unlikely to end them at once. Remain away from the head. Stay out from just beneath them, but inside the reach of their tail barbs. The only good drake is a dead one."

Steve (803) has posed:
    There is just a brief pause, as he overhears, and then Steve erupts into genuine, joyous laughter at Janine's take on his robe. "Shop? Nah. This is all my handiwork." It's worth noting that it isn't a perfect blend, either; as he turns, the flourish of the garment reveals that he still has his conspicuously modern, cyan blue t-shirt and dark blue pants on beneath. Good enough for work here, though. "It's all woven and magicked from the ground up," he further explains, "Anyhow, Lezard's level of talent is something I can't match, yet, so I'll take it as a compliment." Oh, great. Not only is he cosplaying, but he even makes his own costumes. Confirmed manchild nerd. At least it does look like he even lifts; those arms are beefy.

    Once he's done with that merriment, though, he takes another moment to ponder the canyon of doom stretching before him, as well as what he'd seen through the lens of his thaumometer. No Victus. It sort of reminds him of the undead back on the Flat Earth, most of which still have remnants of Humanus within them, but also being filled with Exanimis or Mortuus. It all fits with the bits and pieces he'd heard of this world. "These look a fair piece meaner than the zombies and skeletons I'm used to," he factors, with another beard stubble scratch, "But it should work out the same, in the end." He resecures his robe, which he has stitched the Fangs emblem onto the back of, and begins making his way down and into the valley proper. The horse that he rode in on remains back at 'base camp', such as it is, its reigns secured. It manages glances at a few others, its eyes almost seeming bored, or judgemental. Sanary would recognize that look, as it's similar to the ones most animals of Flat Earth give.

    That strange signal coming from elsewhere is also curious, certainly. He'll save that tidbit for later, to maybe get more of an explanation. For now, he'll keep those words he overheard on his way down in mind, "Lightning, huh? Guess I'll switch up, first." Blessed be the modular wand focii. "Time to hunt for spare parts! I bet those eggs will be interesting to study, too, so try not to crack all of them!"

Staren has posed:
    "I suppose that's a good point." Staren's voice replies when Lezard points out they'd be wasting useful materials. Staren sighs with the mic off at Lezard's praise. At Janine's comment, he replies: "I didn't go to high school. But if that's your reaction to a forty foot tall war machine... I dunno if you're crazy or just ballsy." After she puts down everyone else too, though, he adds, "Or maybe you're such a big jerk that this robot seems small by comparison.

    At the knight's advice, Staren replies, "Some of them are much tougher than they look. Got it." The giant robot walks along the edge of the valley as the dragon-hunting party sets out.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Gudako does not seem to pay attention to Janine. This is probably a good thing, although given the way she carries herself she might not even react if she were paying attention. She has ample faith that Berserker, if she felt threatened, would in react FOR her.

    The foxcatgirl, meanwhile, does react even to the fake-out. She turns to look at Janine-- and then plunges at her, but not with any hostility. The Servant is absurdly fast, though, in that typical 'blink and you miss it' way. Her arms wrap around the teenager, squeeze like she's hugging her-- oh, Berserker is purring.

    That's a thing.

    "Hunting partner, nya! COME ON, WE'RE NOT GETTING YOUNGER!"

    With what seems to be trivial effort, the Servant lifts Janine up and carries her under one arm. And before objections can be voiced, she LEAPS far ahead and up with her. Sufficiently up, in fact, that the red-robed pink-haired Servant stops just shy of passing a drake in its mid-flight.

    Which she sets Janine upon.

    "It's a race! Whoever kills the most or hits the ground first! I'll catch you if you fall, nya! READYSETGO!"

    Without regards to the hostility of the drake she just landed on with Janine, Berserker leaps off again, and attempts to pounce another drake. Sufficiently hard that it is probably going to hit the cliffside with Berserker, if she succeeds. THIS SERVANT IS COMPLETELY SANE. Don't you feel safe, Janine?

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     "Lightning... Good to know." Sanary grins slightly as she reaches for her gunaxe, only now realizing that carrying so many things at once has made it rather difficult to get a good hold on that weapon. It takes her quite some time just to tie the staff to her belt and draw the axe, and there's a sigh of both relief and frustration when she realizes that a Lightning shell is already loaded inside it.

     At least she doesn't have to go through more of a hassle actually unloading and reloading it. The cleric doesn't even bother switching it out with the Physic staff before starting to float upwards slowly, her feet wobbling beneath her awkwardly as she watches Janine and the Berserker taking off towards some of those drakes.

     "Alright... Better not fall behind, I guess!" Pumping more magic into those anklets, the cleric takes off! She goes higher and higher while keeping those shields ready, trying to get a better vantage point to find potential spots for the turbines as well as scouting out potential threats.

     Maybe even draw them out, too, with her luck, but she's got those shields! Maybe those could help.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine gives Ark a sidealong glance, and then a dismissive snort. "Bunch of do-gooders trying to maintain the status quo? No way. Syndicate only. At least they're honest about being selfish." Her hand grips the handle of her sabre tightly, the corners of her mouth tensing.

    As the golden knight speaks of the drakes and their capabilities, Janine listens close. "So they're big and scary. Alright, let's put a kibosh on that." The sabre is drawn, the blade having been polished to a mirror shine, the Italian peering deep into it. "Come, Biancabella." In a blue flash, Janine now has a giant woman hovering behind her, clad in a rose petal-themed dress, her face bandaged and bloody, her arms ending in knotted sleeve and dripping stumps.

    The scent of sweet rot begins to fill the air as Janine keeps peering into the blade, preparing something. She only offers distant replies to Steve and Staren. "The Nerdlinger is actually a big deal huh? And that's a pretty good one, dork."

    And suddenly? Berserker.

    That rotting smell fades as Janine loses concentration, the woman flying after her as the young woman actually lets out a surprised shriek. Upon being deposited on a drake's back, she clings to a spine, staring at the Servant with widening eyes. As she jumps away, she is chased by words screamed in Italian that may not be all that polite.

    "You got this... you're gonna die eventually, so live hard while you can. If you can do this, the Forest will be easy. This still isn't as scary as the Wolf..." she mutters, a string of disconnected assurances. Back onto her feet, she draws her sabre, and begins running along the drake's back. Surprisingly fast for a schoolgirl, her blade flashes out to slice at the wings of her ride! All while letting out a constant stream of panicked Italian cusses.

    But that's not all. Once she's run out of back, she jumps, still screaming! Biancabella conjures mighty gusts, both to give her more air, and to push the drake down towards a path, so it can be harvested!

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Janine's sassery causes Lezard to glance over to the woman. For several seconds, it seems like he watches her intently, as if looking for something, or measuring something.

And then he smiles. "Fascinating. Do you greet all your potential employers that way?" There is a lot chuckle emitted from the Necromancer of Midgard as he reaches into his cloak and pulls out...

An ingot of solid gold. It thuds onto the table next to him solidly. "Will this be sufficient? Naturally, you will also recieve rights to any physical components you wish from any drakes you slay, or recompense equivalent should you choose to donate the remains to our organization." He pauses for a moment. "You have heard of us, of course... And my ... other offer still stands, naturally." Lezard then waves pleasantly as the Persona-User is catnapped by Nyaazerker.

In the meantime, Lezard turns back to the table, continuing his calculations. He taps the side of his chin, and then looks up suddenly. "Caster of Steel, you were a peerless man of knowledge, were you not? I would appreciate your input on the potential designs thus far."

Kirito has posed:
    Well, after flying around a while, attracting attention is a good idea. Kirito's seen enough to know that these numbers HAVE to be thinned. Having a few around is fine. Thousands? Not cool.

    Vox Unitas is drawn from its scabbard with quite a raspy noise of metal on metal... just as he's coming around towards one of the flying drakes!

    "Alright, let's see what these things can DO!"

    BOth his wings shift position instantly, flattening down along his back and tightening thrust. As a result he ROCKETS forward several times faster than before, a SHOCKWAVE flung off his body and rippling through the air! He's not bothering with fancy moves.

    Just aiming to IMPALE a drake and drive it into a cliff face! See how much these take to DIE.

Ark Line (687) has posed:
Ark nods, slowly. This close, it's almost impossible to miss the flicker of restrained violence that crosses his face. He remains mostly thoughtful, but there's a sort of tension there that one normally associates with a predator about to pounce. The fact that he looks like he could be about Janine's age has nothing to do with what he actually is and does.

Fortunately(?) for her, Catzerker is on the case. Ark takes a step by when the person he was speaking to is abruptly tackled off to go... somewhere. Ark is left to stand there, staring at empty space, teeth clenched and hands balled into tight fists. He forces himself to breathe slowly and steadily, in and out, and focus on nothing in particular for a minute.

Caster of Steel, meanwhile, takes the ladder off the aircraft. He walks over to Lezard's planning table and takes a look at what's there. "I was, during my principle time on Earth." Caster doesn't like to be reminded he's out of his time, but then, he's kind of an odd case when it comes to Servants. "Let me see that." He moves a sheet, squinting down at it.

"Here. We can modify this... like so..." Caster produces writing instruments and starts making light marks to show where he means in the tunnel setup. "...to provide constant outflow pressure, so nothing settles in the tunnel. Powering it would be simple if the cliffs above it were cleared." He sketches a rough design for where they could run lines without exposing them. "Steve could get that dug, if it were stable, I'm sure."

"Speaking of which." He looks up. "Ark, I have to handle this, could you --"

"Yeah," Ark says, sharply. He heads for the waiting hovercraft and climbs back aboard, heading for the controls.

Priscilla has posed:
    Though there aren't terribly many drakes airborne at the given moment, invading their airspace is a great way to get them on one's tail; but then such is the idea anyways. The first to draw a reaction are predictably Gudako's Berserker and the accidentally complicit Janine, thrown into the air right through the busiest section of the chasm. Landing on a drake's back is an exercise in extreme acrobatic precision and a little bit of dumb luck with the number of lengthy, twisted spines that bristle from them, as if deliberately placed there to deter larger, flying predators.

    The one Berserker accosts crashes alongside her immediately, screeching like a nest of pissed-off eagles all vying for time with a poorly tuned amplifier, shattering the more delicate outcroppings with its scaley bulk and tumbling to the nearest walkway below, not actually all that agile of a flier. As soon as it has its talons on the ground however, it responds like the several hundred pounds of big, angry, muscular animal that it is, thrashing, kicking and biting in her grasp in such a way that rakes great furrows through the stone under it, flexing its length neck to try and get behind itself and crush her head its its jaws, lined with grotesquely oversized and misshapen fangs.

    Janine is much less forceful in her introduction however, and so she manages a relatively straight run of the larger drake's back. Tearing through its wings feels like trying to cut through sheets of boiled leather with a box cutter, but the intended effect of driving it to ground is accomplished. She jumps, she actually scores in sticking another landing, but the first one isn't dead from just an impact like that, crunching heavily onto the path that bars Staren and Steve from proceeding. Seemingly keen to respond to any and all intrusions equally, or perhaps just attacking whatever gets closest to it, it rears its serpentine neck back, spines clattering like a bamboo forest in the wind, and looses a torrent of fire down the narrow path that is alarming in its sheer size; neither a short ranged flamethrower or a jet of burning liquid, it is a vastly oversized wall of advancing flames that continues on and on for the length of an arrowshot, stupidly disproportionate for a the typical draconic enemy of this size.

Priscilla has posed:
    Momoyo and Sanary are next in the air, but the less offensive of the bunch, and so draw the lesser amount of attention. Only after Sanar ascends past a sort of minimum 'floor' do the smaller drakes come crawling out of the stonework, a squad of four all launching themselves upward like ungainly sparrows to chase her back down, loosing eruptions of fire tinged toxic green upwards at her as she climbs. Momoyo is instead pursued by a pair of larger ones diving from the upper cliffs; stark, royal blue; hissing like king cobras before spitting coruscating sprays of crackling electricity more like a cloud of conductive material constantly circulating an insanely high voltage rather than an actually focused bolt or arc. It seems they really love using their breath weapons first and foremost to teeth and claws, which is all well and good since they're extremely impressive by generic multiversal comparison.

    Kirito is one of the few that straight up out-flies them however, both in terms of speed and agility, and so diving on one like a peregrine falcon is a trivial task, nailing the human-sized monster to an unforgiving cliff face by both of this swords. Despite the fact that they should be straight through its heart however, or at least its lungs, that doesn't seem to have been quite enough to kill it, despite the severe amount of blood immediately pouring from its open wound and into the yawning gorge. It kicks out with its hind legs like a scrapping tiger, trying to shred him with strokes of its frankly disproportionate talons.

Priscilla has posed:
    Maybe a little unsurprisingly, a basic analysis of the area indicates that Lezard's and Caster's plans are indeed entirely viable. A proper outflow dug from Blighttown could let gravity do most of the work of cycling the natural rainwater through it, rather than becoming a stagnant bog, and the surrounding winds are high and fierce, though their shrieking is a dull rumble when sheltered by the cliffs, unsuitable for lighter construction or small birds. Steve predictably finds the thaumometer giving him higher readings from the older, bigger drakes, split between three specific kinds of breath weapon and resulting colouration, but the odd and faint signal is further off, near the very top of the cliffs. The giant knight in gold seems to make that way as a matter of habit, perhaps even familiar with this particular area from old hunts, leaping off the cliffside in the same sense that an arrow 'leaps off' a bowstring, soaring hundreds of feet into the air to catch the next walkway, and then repeating the motion. He'll be out of sight pretty shortly.

Staren has posed:
    Oh, the hunt is on! Staren watches the drakes' reactions to the others -- when one breathes weird magic fire Staren jumps it -- he doesn't want to find out how much damage that will do to his machine. Berserker drops one to the ground, if she's not in the way he'll spray it with the gatling railgun to see how long it takes to make it stop moving. Otherwise... he raises the mecha's arm to the sky, picks a drake, and then sends a stream of hypersonic metal its way to get its attention. Probably too much to hope for that he can kill them outright with a single long burst, though...

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     That's what Sanary was looking for: Some action! Between the shield on her back and the ones on her arms, she does manage to avoid the worst of the drakes' flaming breath and getting immolated. She can still feel the heat quite easily, however, and the fact that she's not wearing the most fire-resistant of armor does hive her a very good reason to continue not getting hit directly by those green fires.

     Clearly, the best way to do that is to charge right at them. Or dive, rather, as she halts her ascent and swings herself to face those drakes like a human torpedo.

     Another burst of magic into the anklets, and she quite literally becomes one as she hurtles right towards them, holding one shield in front of her to try and crush one of those drakes between herself and the cliff face. As she does that, she also projects magical energy into her gunaxe while holding it out, trying to side-swipe another drake with a lightning infused blade.

Steve (803) has posed:
    The miner is a relatively easygoing guy, at least in social matters. It would be really difficult to rattle or offend him; he's more likely to laugh it off, such as that last case. As the last of those bits of knowledge about the drakes filter into his head, though, less carefree is that throbbing pulsing inside his cranium. It for a moment almost makes him seem like he'd lose his grip, but thankfully it's just a momentary hiccup, in his otherwise uneventful movement down into the lower reaches. It's a little bit open for his liking, though, and he is firmly on their turf. He takes a moment more, seemingly sizing up how he might be able to turn this situation into something more advantageous, by terraforming things a bit.

    Unfortunately for him, encounters in the multiverse are seldom as predictable as he is used to back on Flat Earth. A thunderous slam reverberates through the turf under his feet, and a gust of forced air blusters past, causing his robe to waft around. He got a bit closer than expected at this early juncture, to one larger than he was planning to challenge. "Well, I guess that settles when to engage!" As the critter starts up the movement to let loose its breath weapon, Steve instinctively dives to the ground, beneath some stony clutter! The bulk of it washes over him, but as he peeks his head up after it seems to clear, his scorched robes slowly mend themselves, even while the lightly burnt marks on his skin don't. "Ugh, this isn't like the dragon I remember!"

    With his staff in hand, he affixes a different, silvery blue bauble to the end of it. Lightning, right. "Eviction notice, drakes!" With this, he stands up from behind cover and releases a series of bolts of arcing electricity, hopefully before the drake can recover for a second salvo, especially with Staren's behemoth of a machine further running interference. He also takes a moment to call to Sanary over local communicator, since he knows she's the healer type, despite her front liner appearance, "Sustained some burns. Nothing I haven't gotten before, but just lettin' medics know to have something ready."

Janine Liberi has posed:
    In a distant part of her mind not currently enveloped in panic over her current situation, Janine notes how hard it is to overcome years of habit. In competitive fencing, you stop once you score a touch. But here, she absolutely needs to follow through on every swing so the blade can bite through the drake's tough skin.

    Upon becoming airborne, she spreads her limbs as much as she can to slow her descent, heart hammering in her chest and her pupils dilated from panic. But Biancabella guides her descent with buffets of winds, allowing her to land clumsily on another drake, spines marking her clothes and skin with scratches.

    "Jesus Christ I can't believe what I just did..." she murmurs, clinging on for dear life as she gets back to her feet. The drake she got first is still thrashing about though, so she comes up with a plan B. Rose petals begin to cascade from Biancabella's bloody stumps once more, swirling in the air around the drake. Should they not prove to be resistant to such things, it may become sluggish, it's strength and defences lowering.

    And then Janine does something a little less crazy, but no less foolhardy.

    With her sabre clutched in her teeth, she begins to inch her way along the drake's neck, clinging on to spines in order to get close to its head. At which point, she attempts to drive the point of her blade through its eye and maybe even into its brain!

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     Left with no choice on the narrow cliffs, Momoyo grits her teeth as the breath attacks come in. Pinning herself against the rock, she maneuvers to avoid the worst of the breath attacks. "Ghhhhh!" Quickly, she hops up the side of the cliff to gain some altitude. She was quite a bit more nimble than most present, which meant she could a little faster against the larger ones.

    Being the cunning fighter she was, she ignored the advice to stay away from the head. Waiting until the two drakes were near one another, she leaps into the air for a brief acrobatic somersault. Coming down toward one of the drakes' heads, she sets about landing on it's neck so she can bait the other into attacking.

    "Musou Seikenzuki!"

    Her cry echoes down the chasm, blunted only by the wind as she aims to smash the head of the first one into the ground and bait the second toward it's sibling's neck using her momentum from the air. Her punch wouldn't stop her target for long, but it didn't need to if she could use the narrow space properly.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Lezard nods in response to Caster of Steel's proposals. "That will do nicely. I believe the others are doing an excellent job of being proactive with removing wildlife that would get in the way." He looks out over the carnage happening across the Valley, and chuckles. "Amazing what some will do when they have the proper motivation." He looks back to Caster of Steel, and nods in response. "The craft you brought should be able to withstand the winds that high. Magus Ark can do some initial scouting along with the others who feel prepared for this kind of work. Steve's unusual excavation skills will prove to be highly useful."

He looks back out over the Valley, and taps his chin. "And perhaps Staren as well. I believe the pair of them will be able to drive the shafts with the required precision. All we need to do at this point is to clear and prepare the area, and we can have the foundation of this project established in short order."

He turns and steps out from the mouth of the tunnel to Blight Town, and claps his hands in amusement as he sees massive amounts of anti-drake violence. "Hmm." He narrows his eyes as he looks out over towards Momoyo. "That's someone I haven't seen before. Did they recently arrive?" He asides to the nearby Casters.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Berserker crashes into a cliffside with a drake!
    And then they crash onto a walkway below.

    Credit to the Servant, for what seems to be a very wild and rogue foxcatgirl (catfoxgirl? foxgirlcat? catgirlfox?), she has pretty tight acrobatic skills. And incredible strength too! She does not let go of her quarry (and thus is in Staren's way), not for one second; latching onto the spikes of the drake, trying to gain control of its neck, she remains in dangerously close range, dancing awkwardly between the clawswipes and thrashing bites of the beast.

    Just when it seems to be getting a good bite in, both of Berserker's hands-- well, paws-- zip forward and grab the beast's upper and lower jaw. She considers if she could just snap the head in two like that, but sparks of blue light behind her make her pause.

    "I'll take over, go pin another one down," Caster says, the blue-robed twin of the Berserker appearing, already surrounded by a dozen glowing paper slips.
    "You just want to impress master on your own!" Berserker huffs.
    "Maybe~. But also we need it alive for this next step. Please, Berserker, go find a new one and bring it back here too~." Caster answers, before she suddenly extends her arms fully to either sides. Her ofuda lash out, forming a large circle around the drake. Before it can gain the upper hand on Berserker, the paper slips attempt to form a painful, disabling prison of electricity and raw magic around the beast. And if it works, Caster starts draining it. She's noticed that it lacks 'life', but all of its other facets will be a good harvest too. Dragons, even minor ones, always yield good magical essence.

    Berserker will release the drake if the prison can trap it, and then jump up onto the cliff wall. She will bounce off, probably shattering the stone with a thunderous impact, and launch herself at another drake. This one, she will try immediatly grabbing it by the neck and piledriving it to the ground below.

Priscilla has posed:
    Staren has ample opportunity to draw beads on multiple drakes as they begin launching out of hiding, though unlike the cesspit of Blighttown, only the smaller ones seem to be predisposed towards any kind of communal defense, and even then only some of them, as others simply leave and wait to come back later (a poor decision), or stay inside their caves to guard their eggs (an even poorer decision). They aren't all easily agitated at once and prone to swarming, and some of them seem all too happy to let the other, competing breeds be killed.

    Those of them, primarily blue, small enough that they could conceivably curl up tight in the Star Hawk's cockpit are fairly easily dispatched with a few dozen rounds in center mass, actually seemingly easier to kill with mass physical trauma than pinpoint vital shots, but the hide of the larger ones gets to the point of being too thick, and too tangled with multiple layers of spikes that function as crude ablatives, for ballistics to be nearly as deadly. Between glances at the ammo counter, he'll be able to estimate that he has enough slugs to wipe out a goodly portion of the smaller ones on his own if he's fairly conservative. Unfortunately, the extremely loud sound of the railgun spewing out metal seems to draw a number of them straight to him, flocking around him in a loose sphere and dousing him with that high voltage chaff from every direction, crackling into the joints and seams of the mecha, and leaving him no real angle of retreat that doesn't go straight through them.

    The green ones Sanary is left to deal with are less immediately difficult, as their breath weapons seem to terminate less impressively than the others, in exchange for leaving a thick miasma of undoubtedly toxic gas behind as the combustion reaction completes, limiting where she can fly without worrying about being exposed to it. Pinning one with her shield gets her the same, reflexive, clawing reaction as Berserker, but the one she hits with her gunaxe drops immediately, the lightning seeming to explode inside of its scales and blowing a smoking gouge in its torso, dropping it screeching out of the air like a rock, only to call two more with its death cry.

Ark Line (687) has posed:
"Quite." Caster of Steel has, by this point, produced and lit a cigarette. When he's on the job, he smokes like a chimney. Lezard has best get used to it. "The more noble-sounding a cause, the more blood one is willing to spill in the name of it. I suppose it helps that these creatures look like obstacles instead of people."

Caster looks back down at the plans, nodding. "He can get it done. Most of the time he's in the field it's for things like this. Lonely work." He adds a couple of details, and starts doing calculations longhand on another sheet. His handwriting is very fluid, almost artistic when it comes to this sort of thing. "We'll need to setup something more permanent to protect any power stations we put out here." He glances up at Lezard. "Did you mean to setup a base here?"

His glance goes higher. He straightens, frowning and squinting into the distance to watch Momoyo work. "Hmm. I don't know her." He bends back to the table, resuming his work.

Ark, meanwhile, flies. He doesn't go far, at first; he's watching the fighting in the distance, and letting the AI take atmospheric readings so it doesn't crash him into the cliffside. "Change of plans. That way." Ark points -- up towards the drakes Momoyo is currently engaging.

The craft moves smoothly through the air. Ark taps a few buttons on one of the consoles, bringing up the weapon controls. One of the railcannons on the front lights up, whining briefly with a charge. It twists, the weapon pod rotating around while he gets a clear view of it. He doesn't think she actually needs any help, but damn if he isn't going to give it anyway.

"Correct Future," Ark utters.

He fires. There's a 'BOOM' when the cannon goes off, a projectile trailing motes of amber cutting the air. It homes in on one of the drakes Momoyo is facing down, the slug twisting in the air seemingly impossibly. It's entirely likely that she's got that all wrapped up, and that Ark is stealing one of her kills. He'll apologize later.


Priscilla has posed:
    Steve likewise has the right idea, as creeping tendrils of lightning all arc towards the same, amply sized target, and crack open portions of its shell like high explosive rounds, or technically more accurately, like a bolt of lightning striking a straight up rock rather than something made of watery flesh. It recoils instantly, clumsily backing up several spaces along the path under the influence of Janine's persona, clearly struggling to move properly, before the unfortunately small walkway starts to give under it, causing it to slide, teeter, and then plunge ungracefully into the abyss, screaming out behind it as it crashes and tumbles from rock to rock, its useless wings beating and battering against the unforgiving cliffs. The smaller specimen she has a hold of makes a dive for one of the cliffs itself to try and roll her off of it by smashing her face first into the stones, only to have her saber driven straight through its beady little eyesocket, spiralling out of the sky with her still clutched atop its back. Despite having several feet of metal through its brain, it seems to be taking a surprising amount of time to actually /die/, and so she likely has a little while longer to make another jump before needing to be rescued. Two for two so far, technically.

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     A warrior with finesse would have probably evaded those lingering poison clouds while lashing out at those drakes to fell them efficiently one by one! Sanary is not. Instead, her flight path just took her right through the gas to get to the first drake as quickly as possible. Apparently, the cleric's idea of strategy here is to value speed over personal safety and relying on her own magical healing to mitigate the damage caused by the gas and the thrashing drake beneath her shield tearing at her legs and sides.

     At least it's not make her puke up her lungs into the chasm below. Then again, it's not like that would matter much once their work is done here. Noting the second drake's reaction to her lightning-imbued fly-by, the healer brings that axe around to hack away at the drake under her shield. It takes her a few more moments just to close up those wounds from its claws, not turning to face the new drakes until after she's not visibly bleeding any more.

     "There we go... Alright, come on down and make this easier for everyone!" She braces her shield in front of her as she finds her footing again, aiming her gunaxe's barrel carefully at another drake and firing off multiple blasts of lightning at it. Or as carefully as she can, anyway, considering the lack of depth perception and just how far it is. But shot quantity has to count for something, right?

Priscilla has posed:
    Momoyo may be surprised not to feel the drake's skull outright shattering under her fist. They're basically animals, but dear god they are built like flying tanks, that much credit can be given to them if nothing else; likely a trait that is absolutely required for any sort of predator to be successful in these lands. The two of them don't seem to be any sort of actual siblings however, or even in the same 'pack' or whatever social structures the things form, if they even can, because it comes scrabbling right over its stunned and partially crippled peer, climbing across its back if necessary to try and sink its teeth into Momoyo's ribs like a frenzied mamba.

    For all of the 'ambient' power the things have passively soaked into their bodies however, Caster will find that the drakes are a far cry from the common idea of draconic creatures as beings of magic. It seems to have no particular resistance to her spell, natural or otherwise, that would allow it to break free of her cage, and it doesn't seem to be clever enough to figure out a means to do so other than slamming against the walls until it gets sick and tired of electrocuting itself, staggering wearily as the draining effect starts to kick in. True to her expectations, even if it bizarrely doesn't seem to possess enough 'life energy' to be noticeable, it has more than enough workable prana to be siphoned off, though doing so seems to degrade its physical functions anyways, slowly throwing it into a torpor. Berserker will be basically having the time of her life though. Drakes are only aerial hunters in that they strafe things from the sky. They're not exactly swift little swallows when it comes to her superhuman, feline-esque pouncing. Grabbing by the neck yields better results, being only a mean bite on the forearm before something more fragile than bone tears and it loses the ability to turn its head to face her.

Steve (803) has posed:
    Somehow, Steve himself had never managed quite that amount of carnage, from his lightning focus. He won't carry on about that outwardly, of course, but he does take just a moment to blink. "Hmm. Looks like that guy in the fancy armor knew what was up." Between his robes' self repair and that good dose of zapping, he glances down at his staff to take a quick mental measure of its current vis stocks, as well as muttering about the loss of material as things are sliding further into the deep, rocky crevasse. "If we're going to keep these, we need some kind of safety net, at this rate."

    He will not be denied, however! With that immediate threat, and obstacle, cleared away, he carefully approaches the spot where it made its last stand, inching forward to avoid meeting a similar fate. He's looking toward finding more of those holes in the canyon walls, where the less humongous ones dwell. Pointedly, he's aiming to dispatch their desperate residents, and if any remain intact, to help himself to some of their egg clutch, before ruthlessly destroying the remainder. This is a purge, pure and simple. If there is a lick of guilt in him, it isn't visible. Instead, he's trying to keep it as systematic as possible. "Should've packed another staff," he thinks, belatedly, "Had no idea there'd be this many." Thankfully, the rest of the crew, and some other contractors, are helping deal with the bulk.

    For every den cleared, he will plop a torch at the entrance to mark it thus.

Staren has posed:
    Staren honestly didn't expect some to just /fly away/. Huh.

    The bigger ones become a problem, though. Aaand now they're surrounding him. That's not good! The left forearm manifests a sort of beam shield, but it does not provide coverage against all-around attacks. If the drakes are close enough, plasma 'blades' project from the wrist and Staren swings at them, the attacks supplemented by some kind of homing energy beams from the leg packs. But... it probably isn't enough. As Staren sees damage ratings starting to climb, he at last resorts to having his mecha transform and try to fly away. He can then re-approach and... try another approach.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Berserker is bitten on the arm. This is unpleasant, and probably a testament to the fact the drakes aren't nobodies. It's too bad this is followed immediatly by a seismic slam into the ground which probably results in a very broken neck. Luckily, Berserker wanted the drake alive, so it's going to get to suffer just a bit longer as the catzerker pauses, sits on the ground, and starts licking her injury.

    Groom groom wipe away the embarassement of getting hit. What a terrible world. Now she's all dirty and bloody, and naturally she's not thinking of just sealing the wound with magic. Is cat, and all that.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The sound of her sabre destroying the eye, grinding against bone to penetrate the brain... it sends a rush of revulsion through Janine. Up until now, she just killed Shadows. Weird, abstract entities, not of flesh and blood.

    But she swallows hard, suppressing the bitter, hot sensation rising up into her chest and throat as the drake plummets. Biancabella is called once more, the winds channelled to launch her back into the air. Thus far, she has one dashed against the ground below, one with the brain destroyed...

    She's already gone this far, and might die anyway. Time to see if she can get a clean kill.

    Another drake flying below her. These things are like tanks, but even tanks can't be armoured all over... maybe the scales on their underside are thinner? "Biancabella!" The horrific womansomehow looks exhausted, but another whirlwind is conjured around the target, to try and force it to turn upside-down in midair! One more burst of air to launch herself towards it, and another to cushion the landing!

    Finally, she runs along the drake's belly towards their neck, pirouetting to put as much force behind the next swing, aiming to slash it wide open!

Priscilla has posed:
    Steve's visits into the caves are eventful to say the least. Predictably, a great number have been vacated already, either evacuated by the fleeing monsters who've decided that they can just lay another clutch next year, or who haven't actually found mates yet, or temporarily abandoned by those leaping into the fray with the other Elites. As such, they don't typically have much in the way of eggs. Those that do are host to at least one or two drakes, but obviously they tend to be the smaller, less aggressive, and less combat capable ones. One on one, defensively holed up in their caves, they aren't too much of a challenge against their pseudo-elemental weakness, turning into a pretty simple cover shooting segment of 'ducking outside the cave mouth when they fire back and zapping them when they take a breath', though he can likely expect to be charged at least once by one of the bigger, angrier ones. The eggs vary in size from the dimensions of a softball to a basketball, and are uniformly slate, stony and speckled, abnormally heavy and cold for what they're supposed to be.

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     In one moment, Momoyo had just about baited her two opponents to where she wanted them, in order to finish testing their durability and make them fight each other instead of her.

     Unfortunately, she realized something was being fired at her. She dodged, of course, given her reflexes, but it sort of didn't matter. The drake she was punching was now probably missing half it's teeth from having it's skull bashed into the ground by her cannon-like punches.

    "Son of a... BITCH!" her vulgarities echo throughout the valley. You see, that railgun wasn't going to hurt her, but now she was covered in dragon gray matter, eyeballs and bits of skull. Considering she wasn't armored either, this was suddenly very gross even to a hardened fighter like her. "Uuuuggggghhh!!!!" she clung to the cliffside with one hand, trying to wipe off her face to see just who had shot that at her.

Priscilla has posed:
    Sanary has partly clued into the good old strategy of 'screw the consequences and heal a bunch afterwards' that often is the only real option around here, trading blow for blow and coming out the victor for it as the hefty, mechanical, lightning imbued axe makes pretty short work of her foe's natural armour, though it takes repeated, grievous wounding to actually get them to stop moving all at once. While they thrash and struggle under her shield, they offer no real thought of defending themselves, and so the brief, bloody brawls are over quickly, if painfully. Unfortunately, the toxic compounds released by their breath's combustion don't seem to be the type that acidically burn the skin, but get right into the bloodstream and savagely tax the body for a long (though relatively short by realistic animal standards) period of pain, compounding the more she flies straight through them. The drakes themselves are large and not terribly agile targets, mitigating some of her rookie accuracy, but she can't quite drop them faster than they turn to anger; the prolonged combat and increasing noise drawing out more and more of the less hair-trigger beasts.

Priscilla has posed:
    Janine has a good idea. It's usually even the right idea. Unfortunately however, it does not really prove to be the case this time. Her Persona's blast of wind catches the third drake by the underwing, momentarily disorienting it with the reversal of its facing, and providing a slightly more spike-free surface for its owner to land on, however it becomes gut-droppingly apparent from the first swing that there is no soft underbelly to be found here. The thing's ribs seem to be almost fused into a solid plate, providing no real purchase for a blade, whereas the vertebrae of its neck and spine seen centrally oriented rather than rear supporting. It makes sense now why knights would want an armour piercing spike of a weapon even for fighting them from underneath.

    The third attempt goes pear shaped as she reaches the neck, the monster giving up on flying, knowing it has plenty of room to fall, and simply lunging at her like a snake, snapping hold of her sabre in its mouth with total disregard for its sharpness, snagging it in its massively oversized teeth and attempting to wrench it free. If she manages to hold on, she'll be pulled off its stomach, and left hanging as it rights itself again.

Kirito has posed:
    "That wasn't enough?!" Kirito finds this hard to believe. Getting splattered with blood is also not at all his idea of fun. But he didn't come here for fun. Or to leave his swords embedded deep in a creature. Reacting on reflex the Spriggan swerves his body around, but it's no good! Those talons dig into his gut and slash into a leg. Glowing red marks denote the strike and his health drops in turn.

    With a grunt he slams his feet against the creature despite all the slashing and uses them and his madly vibrating weapons for extra force! Both weapons are yanked loose and Kirito executes a loop-de-loop to bring him swooping DOWNARDS on the creature in almost the same second.


    WHAM! It's a double slash from above, but aimed to split the thing into thirds!

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     The good news for Sanary is that her strategy does seem to be working to an extent. Her healing magic is doing a fairly decent job at keeping her alive despite the bruises and bleeding caused by the claws of the drakes, and its even keeping her insides from melting from all that poison going through her. The bad news is that her healing magic is barely able to keep up with all of that as is in addition to the additional energy tax from her flight, and she's forced to land just to avoid emptying herself out too soon.

     "I think I've got a good number of 'em drawn out over here.. Uh. How's everyone else holding up?" Her voice chimes in over the radio, cutting herself off at the sound of the shield on her back clanking against a wall behind her.

     Trying to fly through them probably won't do her any favors, of course, so it's time to shift gears. Swapping the gunaxe for the shield on her back, the healer now has the two smaller shields on one arm and the larger on the other! She starts howling loudly to try and make as much noise as she can while backing herself up further against the wall, apparently trying to turtle up and draw more of the drakes closer to the shrinking target.

Priscilla has posed:
    To Staren's credit, the beam shield is perfectly adequate for deflecting breath weapon attacks. The sheer size of the mecha compared to the amount of area the drakes can spray at once means fairly adequate coverage from a couple of them at a time, and it doesn't seem to be about to pierce shields designed to deal with energy weapons anyways. Unfortunately, said size means that far too many of them can flock him at once, and from all directions simultaneously. They don't seem to be keeping much of a distance; after all, why should they normally?; and so all it takes is a little bit of booster work to have them right in lunging range of those plasma blades, which slice apart the blue drakes with ridiculous effectiveness, likely their trade off for absorbing the lightning element. The homing beams scatter the handful around his charge, leaving him a decently sized hole to bust through and round on them as a cohesive mob in only one direction. The Star Hawk is certainly faster than them.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Things are moving right along. Lezard stands casually near the entrance to Blight Town, not really pushing deeper into the valley. He doesn't see the need to crowd up an already difficult situation with more cooks being in the pot. However, when he sights a Drake escaping, there is a low sizzle in the air. "LIGHTNING BOLT." Lezard calls out, a thunderous crack of electricity surging clear across the Valley. It outright curves around his allies, scorching towards his chosen target. Maybe it will die. Maybe it won't. The important thing is that the animals learn their place: Not here.

<<Does anyone require assistance? I am prepared to render it if necessary.>> States the Necromancer over the local commlinks.

Steve (803) has posed:
    Systematic things are what Steve is good at. After a while, dare it be said, he even begins to settle into a rhythm, except for the nasty surprise of a bit larger one here and there, or a completely empty nest. Those that do have eggs would see their contents confiscated, perhaps right before the still-dying drake guardians' eyes, secreting them away into his inventory. Once he has a sizeable load of them, though, he simply begins to destroy them, instead. "How on earth can something not even alive lay eggs, anyway," he asks one drake, as he engages it in explosive, electrically charged combat, almost as though it could answer him? "That's absurd!" And yet, here he is, scoping out the resulting corpse for spare parts, or anything that dropped.

    He's about to complete the purge on his sector, just a few more of these retched dens to go. He casually strolls into another notch in the cliff like he owns the place, by this point, and levels the bauble-laden length of mystic wood again. It begins to fire up, then fizzles, as he realizes the lengthy assignment has taken its toll on his vis reserves. The same reserves that also power his robe's wards and self-repair, right when it's one of the slightly bigger ones that emerges from the darker corners. "Aw, nether. Gimme a sec." He begins desperately dancing around its breath weapon, thanking any local deities that may exist that noone can see him in this moment. It's all to buy him time to withdraw an emergency potion from his inventory: He never got the hang of the traditional brewing, himself, but sometimes dungeon loot affords him this. Every drop is precious.

    Normally he would engage in an odd swigging animation when it comes to a potion, but instead he arches his head back and takes a long draught, almost as though it were a natural thing to this world. It does take the edge off some of the scratches, claws and burns he'd accumulated to this point, but it won't do a lick for his lack of vis. "Looks like we're doing this the hard way, then," pocketing the empty bottle for re-use, before withdrawing his pickaxe and charging in, aiming to slam it right into the creature's spined cranium. Rock, bone, it's on the same continuum, right?

Ark Line (687) has posed:
To Ark's credit, it was a good shot.

He should have expected the gore-splattering, though. Usually he doesn't get close enough to his enemies to have to deal with that, or at least doesn't hit them so hard they burst like dropped melons. That gun hardly slows down the A-RAYS he shoots with it, unless he juices it up. Honestly, Ark was overestimating the drakes or underestimating the person fighting them.

With a little whistle, the hovercraft floats over underneath the cliff Momoyo is clinging to. Ark looks up at her from below, one hand on his waist and the other shielding his eyes. He really needs to get a new hat. "Sorry about the mess," he calls. "It looked like you needed a hand! Didn't expect them to go down so easy!"

There's a brief pause. "Need a ride?" he yells. Well, she /is/ doing this the hard way. Might as well offer. A second after that, he goes, "Or a... towel?"

Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine's heart somehow finds room to fall further as her blade scrapes against the thick scales on the drake's underside. She swings again, looking for some gap between them, and a third time when that doesn't work. Only for her blade to be grabbed and easily ripped away!

    "You son of a who-" she begins, only for the dragon to flip right-side up, dislodging her! She falls, and should probably do something about that. But no. First things first. Let it never be said that a Liberi does not value the gifts they receive, even if they come from vacant-gazed weirdos. This thing took one such gift away, and that will not stand.

    "BIANCABELLA!" And then... nothing. In the rush of it all, Janine has forgotten the most important thing. She needs her reflection to maintain the Persona's presence, and with her sword gone, she has no such thing. Now she's falling, and has no way to save herself.

    "Oh God Jesus and the Holy Spirit please help me" she begins to mutter, before yelling into the radio. <<Could use some help over here!>>

Priscilla has posed:
    The drake Kirito struggles with, significantly larger than he, manages to take pretty noticeable chunks out of his life bar with its physical attacks, but not so much as to be alarming. It's big, it's strong, it deals a fair bit of damage, but that's to be expected. His return attack is much more effective, highlighting the subtle weirdness in the thing's physiology where a pinpoint, high powered strike doesn't seem to have done the job, but mad, full body slashing tears it to ribbons pretty quickly, the additional strikes severing its flesh from its bones and its spikes from its scales, collapsing it to the walkway in a silent, bleeding heap. Really, in a lot of ways, it might remind him of fighting enemies in SAO, using a very simplified damage model.

Staren has posed:
    It seems that a giant death robot is not a bad choice for drake-fighting, as long as Staren can keep from getting swarmed again. He's not sure how much of their breath his armor can take -- he's simply encountered nothing like it before! So he'll try to keep his distance now.

    The Star Hawk flies off in plane mode, and starts to loop around, transforming to hybrid mode for more control -- the plane-with-arms-and-legs rounds on the cloud of drakes and, from a distance, sprays it with railgun fire and a couple of salvos of missiles which explode in 30ft-wide plasma fireballs.

    It's probably not the method that produces the most usable corpses, but there are /so many drakes/ and Blight town needs the help now. Besides, Staren figures, the others, and some of his own weapons, will surely produce plenty of corpses they can use for... whatever it is you use drake corpses for.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Berserker eventually finishes licking her wounds.

    She grabs her downed drake by the throat, and then proceeds to leap back towards Caster with it in tow. This probably looks very silly, in the sense a foxgirl is now hauling a disabled drake around like it's a bag of groceries.

    Draining her own drake until it dies, Caster will release the prison spell upon the corpse and then move on to the next one being brought, to repeat the process. Rather than absorbing the magic from it, she's crystalizing it outright. One drake probably doesn't produce a crystal larger than a marble, and that's very generous. If she piles the bodies up, it might eventually be something ALMOST worth experimenting with later.

    Upon hearing Janine's cry, Berserker lives up to her word, leaving Caster's presence with a powerful leap. Predictably, she swoops Janine out of the air like a princess, and then lands where the leap takes her. Unfortunately this turns out to be a cluster of grounded drakes, whether nesting or from Lezard's thunderbolts. It's probably not a good thing either way.

    Berserker seems unpreoccupied, though. "Nya, told you! Caught you, caught you, Berserker is a good Servant~." She pauses, and pales. "AH! OH NO! I forgot the contest! I hit the ground first! NO NO NO!" She becomes furious.

    She takes it out on the drakes. There is no technique or sparing intent here, just a furious Servant enhanced by mad rage, whose traits actually turn slightly more animalistic in the blur of her attacks, which are largely delivered with her claws now. With enough force to treat all those rock surfaces like they're butter.

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     "Ugh, if that's how you're going to-" her sharp eyes manage to catch two people in need of help. Without thinking, she darts from her current location through the air. Leaping off of the cliff, she quickly jumps around Staren's robot situation toward Kirito.

    "KAWAKAMI-HAAAAAA!!!" she tosses a large beam of ki at the drake bludgeoning him. She needed to get underneath it and help the overwhelmed fighter, but without angering it first it was impossible.

    "I'm right here!" she seethes, pummelling it from above at a reasonable angle to buy him an opening. Her chipmunk shirt was sticky with dragon's blood and stuck to her skin, but she couldn't very well spare time to chew out Ark.

Ark Line (687) has posed:
Ark's attempt at being somewhere between apologetic and helpful is drowned out by the sheer amount of drakes that they've managed to stir up. He sighs, marching back over to the control cabin. "Take us up. Target the winged lifeforms like the one we just hit. Ignore any other mutants contacts until I say otherwise." The computer beeps.

The vehicle ascends. The second railcannon comes online, accompanied by a pair of micro-missile batteries. It rotates, heading for the swarmed Star Hawk's position, where the majority of the nearest cluster seems to be. The AI-guided gunship fires evenly-spaced slugs into the horde, using its advanced targeting system to place shots instead of relying on Ark's Knight Arm to guide them. He's less worried about hitting a giant robot than he is splattering a martial artist of some kind.

Ark himself walks out onto the middle of the gunship's open-air deck, draws the closed bone war fan that is his Knight Arm, and waits.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    As Janine plummets, she attempts to sort out the tangled feelings she has towards her impending death. After she lost her arm, part of her would have welcomed it. But upon confronting the Wolf... well, she ran, didn't she? Hid, cowered, and tried to live as long as possible. So clearly, she doesn't /want/ to die. And yet...

    Her train of thought is derailed as Berserker swoops in to snatch her up bridal style. She had asked for help, but it was so sudden that the Italian just stares dumbly at her saviour. Until she notices where they landed.

    "You id-" And then Berserker lives up to her class. Janine immediately gets low to stay out her way, crawling to the edge to peer down below. Her sabre has fallen completely out of sight by now.


Kirito has posed:
    With Momoyo butting in just as Kirito's slicing up the monster, he has very little time to think on this weird sensation and occurence. But a few seconds are all he really needs anyways. The Spriggan reacts without thinking - he flies STRAIGHT BACKWARDS as a wave of Ki comes in at the drake he'd been dicing up - to great success, too. Seems there won't be much of a corpse left!

    This just leaves him looking up at the woman who managed to DO such a thing. And, well... gaping, in no uncertain terms. The expression shifts to a rather mischevious grin. "Nice shot! A bit on the overkill side though. We are trying to make things out of their hides." The Spriggan tries to remind her, clearly a little amused at this turn of events.

    He's already glancing about left and right at the other drakes strewn throughout the valley. Some likely target...

    "We're gonna be at this for a while... this hide's great. I wonder if it could be made into something like an armored undershirt..." He starts mumbling to himself.

    But he's also thinking on other things. Like how that first assault wasn't terribly effective at KILLING the thing. "Oh well. If they don't have vitals... decapitation?"

    Briefly he turns Momoyo's way. "That flashy fighting style's won my attention! And... you're a new sight on these operations. I'm Kirito."

    Just then, his wings snap down to his back and thrum to full speed. With a chime-whoosh sound effect and a shockwave of rippling air he's OFF at a nearby drake.

    "This one I'll end in ONE STRIKE!" And he means it. As he drops, his black sword glows a brilliant blue the instant he raises it up in a striking position. It's a very difficult thing to activate a Sword Skill while flying, but somehow he manages it. 'Vertical' charges up and is unleashed just in time, and Kirito puts all of his strength and spirit into one single surprise chop towards another drake's neck.

    Many players simply let the System Assist do all the work for their sword skills... thinking that's the point. Kirito, though, puts in extra effort to accelerate Vertal to its limit for extra force and damage, using his wings for extra momentum!


Priscilla has posed:
    Such an ignominious fate, for a mighty (read, widely hated) drake to be hauled off by an oversized cat like an equally oversized bird, but that's what it gets for biting her. The injury is rather painful, and looks nasty, but isn't quite as bad as would be expected; still instantly fatal to an ordinary human being, but not a terrible wound to a Servant of at least mediocre Endurance. Caster finds that the amount of power she can draw out of one of these is fairly substantial, roughly equivalent to what she might get out of a fairly powerful but non-Elite grade modern magus from her own world, though likely not much more than that. It's a trade off between density and quantity. The biggest drakes up top could yield much more, but then would be much more difficult to kill, being sort of a sliding scale of mythical beasthood, while their massed cousins are still fairly rewarding for the comparative swiftness through which Berserker can go through them, and, in fact, /is/ going through them.

    These are quite thoroughly the 'aerial bomber wyvern' trope, and at close range, on the ground, against a fast and aggressive, physically powerful opponent, they don't do so well. Even mobbed by them, Berserker isn't likely to be hit by their snapping jaws or lashing tails, more in danger from the odd beast smart enough to blindly spray a sizable wall of fire, electricity or gas in her way. A flurry of punches or swipes is sufficient to bring them down one at a time at a quick, methodical pace, shattering scales and spines and dislocating and fracturing bones. Her claws especially seem useful in making them simply bleed out. Working on the opposite side of Steve, there will hardly be any nested small fry left in a short enough time.

Priscilla has posed:
    The same continuum? More than Steve realizes here. The intensity of the fire swirling around the cave soon makes it difficult to breathe, consuming all of the oxygen available in the closed space until it sputters out, and leaves a few seconds of semi-vacuum before the canyon air outside cycles in again. It lunges for him as he does, seemingly unperturbed by the brief lack of breathable atmosphere, shrieking like an oversized falcon, only to have its striking head batted away at the last second by the crude, blunt force application of a pickaxe, splitting straight through its scales and cracking the skull underneath. Learning nothing, it reattempts twice, oozing blood from its head, until the third successive strike seems to crack through and put it out of its misery, dropping it to the ground with a thunderous crunch.

    Out from the gash pops a handful of flakes of something much like he'd successfully mined a trace ore, variegating downwards from proper bone white into hues of dark brown and granite grey, layered and textures in odd, rough, strangely primitive patterns, as if unable to make up its mind whether it's made of calcium or whether it's a geode. Picking apart the corpses is mostly an exercise in the obvious; the wings having properties relating to air and flight, the blood carrying its beastly and corporeal essence, and a very small and underdeveloped set of internal organs of questionable design carrying properties related to energy and elemental prowess, but those bones seem to resonate faintly with Perditio rather than Mortuus, and the eggs yield Vacuos in addition to the outward aspects of life without its inner essence.

    Wherever the Spiritus is kept only becomes apparent a short while after its death, where a ghastly white mist starts to seep from its wounds and coalesce into a shimmering, soundless, heatless flame; the same thing that the golden knight seems to be accumulating in great numbers as he briefly comes into sight again, ascending the cliffs outside. Anyone can easily tell that these are enemies, or rather, prey, that he has fought a million times before, by his natural and easy motions around them, anticipating their movements and skewering them with the massive ranseur mid-attack, an infusion of divine lightning in the weapon cleaving them apart with a single, specialized hit. His goal seems to be the very top, probably to find something large and dangerous.

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     "I'm Momoyo Kawakami! You're pretty good yourself!" she calls back to Kirito. She's left with no choice but to get out of his way though, those wide slashes were not very condusive to contuing a conversation.

    Turning around, she starts to focus on sending Killer Fireflies at the smaller drakes on the ground before they overwhelm those below. Unfortunately, such wild explosions cause a lot of smoke, and while they aren't at risk of causing any avalanches, the energy balls are nicking stray eggs in the unfortunate instance they're clustered closer to the ground or on the walls the smaller aggressive ones are crawling on. This left her hanging in mid-air between the two cliffs, just past the rope bridge before the area curves further inward toward the ancient gates to New Londo and it's associated bridge with most of the nests.

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    The mauling catgirl engine is kind of like a tornado of drake guts, scales and blood right now. But between kills, she can be hit-- teeth sink into her skin through her robes, claws draw blood, and fire, electricity and gas do their thing-- well, the gas a bit less. It seems this Berserker is easy to wound. Her endurance IS superhuman, but it's on the very lowest end as Servants go. She's not supposed to be getting hit, but she kind of walked into that one.

    Bloodied and covered in injuries, she pauses the slaughter to turn back and look at Janine. She tilts her head, wondering what she was about to say. It's odd, because due to the effects of Monstrous Strength, the foxcatgirl has lost a fair chunk of her human appearance, looking a bit... feral? Definitely out of control.

    She doesn't actually address Janine but the question of what's up is definitely there! Caster will wait until Berserker and Steve are done cleaning house and just do what she can with the entire pileup of corpses... eventually.

Priscilla has posed:
    Being a top tier, offense specced, archetype setting 'black mage', Lezard has little difficult putting down an intermediate drake with a single stroke of lightning, sending the smoking corpse crashing down near Momoyo, now drake-free herself as a total lack of copyright infringement blasts away a third monsters, seemingly somewhat less resilient to pure, typeless energy than they are to being punched in the face as evidenced by the way that even killer fireflies minces through their ranks; it's almost insultingly easy from sitting at a table across the canyon. Luckily for Janine, Staren swooping back down in the Hawk pretty quickly clears out the monster still hoarding her saber, the beast critically wounded as it is riddled with hails of railgun fire and blasted out of the air with plasma missiles, along with a large handful of it's blue and green (though not red) kin, spiralling into a cliff shelf and crashing there in such a position that its rear half hangs from the ledge, steaming and bleeding.

    Continued full-auto blazing more or less clears the skies of the little ones, and then scythes straight through the dense cluster drawn together by Sanary, their bodies littering the walkways around where the assorted Elites have carved up the medium ranks. Those that slip through with only minor injuries are taken out one after the other by the computerized fire from Ark's gunship, taking two or three slugs apiece without his personal intervention, but making methodical work of them regardless. Another, heftier prize is dropped essentially at Caster's feet as Kirito puts a double-sword power attack, boosted by what may as well be magic, straight through its neck, spraying a veritable fountain of harshly splattering blood from its severed throat.

    Suffice to say that as the gathered Elites get used to their foes, the going becomes easier. As their numbers thin through fight and flight, it gives those assembled time to catch up on the matter of attrition, healing their wounds (especially with Sanary freed) and replenishing their stocks. It's nasty, bloody, tiring work; excessively hard for something that can be termed an extermination, and likely something people would pass up if pasted on a job board unless it offered a king's ransom; but as with all things, there's a certain zone that most people here can slide into where it goes by faster. An unfortunate number of drakes are blown to bits or dropped miles into the earth, but more than enough are left to pick over; enough for personal use as well as that of the Fangs of Nidhogg. Ammo and mana may be running near an unpleasantly low extreme by the end, but eventually, a couple of more massive wingbeats sound out as corresponding gigantic shadows leave the valley, and one, ear-shattering roar echoes over the bloodstained cliffs, hot on the tail of the golden knight plunging from the uppermost cliffs with his ranseur plunged through the spinal column of a dead monster the size of a plane, likely to be its mate, and likely the bare minimum of trophy he had been hunting for all this time.

Steve (803) has posed:
    In the end, the drake still put up a fight. Thankfully it happens fast enough to avoid suffocation, but the wind being taken out of his sails, so to speak, causes Steve to hesitate, just for a moment, on the first swing of his pickaxe. Having no breathable atmosphere will do that. Thankfully, he'd experienced similar conditions before, in the depths of his world's chasms, so he shrugs it off in time to find the blunt instrument cracking the creature's husk of an exterior, and it appears to expose still-meaty bits below. "Haha, so you do crack open just like rock," he laughs, in between coughs as the singed smoke from cooked debris is still filtering out of the cavern. It's about then that he also takes a moment to notice a bit of blood pooling from several deep lacerations, from the drakes' spines raking across his flesh. The robe, having an incomplete vis profile to draw from, did nothing to stop it.

    When another desperate lunge comes his way, this time, there is no hesitation, and it's possible he might not have been able to afford it. Two more solid strikes finally brings it down for good, and Steve leans against the cavern wall, perilously close to having been porcupined by the beast's bulk, as it finally comes to a stop. He still bats at it with a toe, for a moment, before seeing that strange vapor rise from it, "Hmmm?" The presence of mind of a researcher overrides the pain in his system, for the moment, as he withdraws his thaumometer to scan the mist; spiritus. "Its soul, huh?" Spiritus is rare to obtain in its pure form; he usually has to laboriously boil shed zombie flesh or bones to extract the tiniest amounts. To see this amount wafting in front of him is unprecedented. 'I need some way to gather this,' he reasons, 'Maybe the natives know.' There is little to be done about it for now, however, so he plunks one more torch down, while he emerges holding the bloody tatters of his shirt.

    That is, after he chips off more of that particular drake's former trappings, and bottles some of its oozing lifeblood. This particular mix of properties is rare, and should be interesting to study.

Staren has posed:
    Yeah. It's kinda like grinding in a videogame. Staren knows the pattern now and not to get massed. After a time, he only has so much ammo... but there are also only so many drakes. At last it seems done, but then comes a great roar -- the Star Hawk lands at the edge of the ravine in humanoid form and turns towards the knight. "Need some help?" He's poised to riddle the drake with railgun fire, but in this situation he figures he'll at least ask first. Knights can be weird about honor and stuff.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    A tired sigh slips from Janine's lips. Not just the disappointment at losing the sword, but also... well, using a Persona is exhausting, and that little display required several pinpoint applications of an attack spell outside of its intended purpose.

    When Berserker wordlessly asks what the matter is, Janine starts with, "My sword. It was the one the va-" A long stare. Considering Berserker's state, maybe talking trash about Gudako might not be a good idea. "-the one that Gudako got me. And I lost it." Another sigh. "Probably no chance of finding it now. I'll just borrow one from the others. But, uh... thanks for the save. And since you wiped all these ones out, I think it's your win." So, she can be gracious when she wants to be. That just makes all those other times worse.

    And so, she does. From whomever is offering, she takes any kind of one-handed sword that can give a reflection, and gets to work. No high-flying acrobatics this time, she keeps both feet on the ground, hanging back to weaken the drakes with debuffs, or blowing those who come too close to the edge all the way off. Considering how dinky her sword is, she's not willing to risk getting close anymore.

    By the end, she's absolutely exhausted, somehow more pallid than usual, hair slick with sweat. And then the big drake rolls up. "Are you KIDDING ME WITH THIS NONSENSE?!"

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     Sanary takes a moment to catch her breath and wait for the noise to die down before peeking out from her self-made shield bunker, pushing one of the drake corpses off of her and glancing around slowly. "That was... Uh. That worked." The cleric chuckles lightly as she lets more of that healing magic work its... Magic on her, then brings out the Physic Staff. It's time for the healer to actually do her job!

     "If I miss you, holler or something so I know you still need a pick-me-up!" She raises that Physic staff and channels enough of her own magic into it to trigger its long-range healing spells. It comes as a sudden burst of healing magic for Berserker, Steve, Kirito, and Janine first. Once they're taken care of (and she gets close enough), she'll switch to using her own healing magic to provide a steadier regenerating (both for health and mana!) for everyone!

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    She lost her sword! Berserker doesn't seem in a talking mood right now, but it doesn't seem to be out of malice. It's more that she looks like her intelligence took a hit? It wasn't very high to start with.

    She glances at the bodies around them. Well, historically, dragon teeth and fangs make good swords, don't they? In a bloody and messy process, the red-robed foxgirl starts tearing the largest claws and fangs and teeth she can find on the drakes, until she's holding the largest she could rip off. And she hands them to Janine! They're not swords, per se, but but it's better than nothing?

    Caster shows up to do her thing with the bodies, drain drain blah blah make a crystal out of all the delicious magical essence. The fact it's corpses probably diminishes the yield though. She does aside, to Janine: "I think Berserker is trying to say you should ask Steve or... ah, miss Masamune, in the Fangs, if they can make you a new sword out of those. We have good craftsmen around, may as well make use of them~."

    Eventually they depart, having dealt with the drakes. They don't go far, though, before Ornstein makes his entrance with a far more massive opponent. Berserker grins with glee, and Caster sighs, producing a set of paper talismans. "Well, I guess our job isn't done~."

    The paper slips are hurled at Janine!

    They provide HEALING and ASSORTED BUFFS. Strength up, speed up, a generic magical barrier, etc. It piles up on Sanary's own spells, because you can't ever have too much support.

    Berserker seems rather thankful for Sanary's heals, on that note, seeing as how she slides up to her side and then hugs her. Maybe a bit too tight. She's purring though, that's good, right?

Kirito has posed:
    Kirito's lived through much, much worse than constantly fighting fantastic creatures for hours on end.

    He's done it when his real life was on the line.

    The Black Swordsman displays a rather methodical approach to dealing with the drakes. Much as with evaluating a monster in a VRMMO, he's quick to deduce their instinctive reactions, best angles of approach, and ways to overwhelm them before they can put up a fight.

    The vast majority he swoops over top of and beheads, abusing his superior aerial manueverability and Sword Skills for maximum power straight to the vulnerable neck. CHOP CHOP CHOP!

    A few that end up assaulting him first end up diced apart differently, but...

    The fact is, he fights like a machine throughout the endeavor. As if maybe he's not thinking about it consciously after a point. Fighting on auto-pilot. Zoned out in a wave of executionary intent!

    Sure, there's some banter with others. Teamwork with Momoyo Kawakami on the larger ones.

    But then... the mother of all drakes roars into the zone loudly enough to shake Kirito out of his monster-murdering-spree. He shudders in midair... and reflexively swings his weapons to cast the blood off of them.

    He hates dealing with blood, honestly. Yui is taking shelter in his coat pocket for good reason.

    "He can't take that thing on alone! Why did he... damn it!" As before Kirito relies on his wings to propel him to full speed in a hurry!

    Sure, maybe the golden knight wants a one on one, but...

    Really smart to get over there and find out what's happening!

Lezard Valeth has posed:
Today is going to be a bad day for drakekind. There is a sizzling humming noise a Lezard looks up at the massive drake, and his eyes alight. "Ah, a worthy challenge. Come, let us gather our forces and scourge this beast from the land!" He declares, even as the Manus Catalyst shades into existence in his hand. He extends the catalyst, and begins to intone, drawing intense surges of power into a magical circle around him.

"HARK! Lightning that writhes within the ashen depths, descend now as a storm upon my foes!"

In response to his words, crackling points of intense electrical force form around the loose massive drake, forming a tetrahedral shape as lashing bolts of lightning crackle and link up. It begins to spin, purple and black force surging through the area as it both lashes the drake with electricity and crushes with intense gravitic forces, trying to pin it to the cliff or wall to make it an easy target.


Janine Liberi has posed:
    Janine had stared at the offered fangs for a long while, remembering how they looked as the drake snatched her sword... but she does take them, very carefully pocketing them for later.

    But, back to the present! Janine was seriously considering just making a break for it... but then, ALL THE HEALS. ALL THE BUFFS. She looks to Sanary and Gudako, body and mind back in peak condition. A couple of blinks, and then a quiet nod. Against something like this, they need all the help they can get. That's probably the only reason why they bothered.

    She stares deep into her reflection in the borrowed sword. "Let's finish this Biancabella." In a flash, the woman returns, looking as hale and hearty as a mutilated, eyeless thing can. She flies out, dancing around the pinned drake, gems cascading from her hair and rose petals flowing from her stumps.

    It's kind of beautiful, in a morbid way. But the effects on the drake probably include becoming weaker, scales potentially starting to rot, poison rushing through its system. No more high-risk aerial combat for Janine, she is working as a pure debuffer from now.

Steve (803) has posed:
    It's not a complete heal, but it's good enough that the deep furrows against his muscular frame stop their bleeding, as a dose of Sanary's healing filters its way to where he'd freshly emerged from his cave. "...mmm, I've gotta learn how to do that, sometime," as if that would ever happen. "Thanks, Sanny," he calls over the local communicator! Even so, it seems like their little operation hasn't gone unnoticed by more considerable forces. He begins making his way back through the canyon, past all the torches he'd set (bonfires, hah). That's when he sights 'it', that which is unmistakeable, as well as the knight that had finally drawn it out of hiding. "The boss shows itself, huh?" He's tapped out of vis, and most of his weapons wouldn't be effective at this range, so he goes to another old faithful fallback -- archery. His arrows are not magicked or special in any regard, dare it be said, primitive. But it's what he's got for this kind of situation, and he begins loosing a quiver full. Maybe they'll annoy the drake.

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     Continuing to chatter briefly with Kirito, it started to dawn on her that spell might not last more than a few seconds. With her aerial vantage point she'd kept for most of the battle, she was in the best position for this.

    The problem was if everyone wasn't out of the way she could bring the whole valley down on their heads. If they could get out the way it was worth the risk, but she wouldn't have time to think.

     <<<Attention Everyone In The Area! This is Momoyo! I'm about to use an attack that it can't dodge, but it's not safe if you're all trying to hack at it's head! You have about ten seconds to get back!>>>

    That was all the warning she was gonna provide. She was a fair bit more reckless than her compatriots she was arguing with after all. A massive surge of aura started to emit from her body, a surge the mages could immediately sense powerful enough to panic over given her aerial vantage point. Her hands cringed in the air as she started to focus it on a single point to create a massive beam... and if she were on the ground it would be quaking. All she had to do was dump enough to crush it's midsection and it would be easy pickings for the other offensively dedicated combatants.

    "...Kawakami Style, Star-Destroyer."

Priscilla has posed:
    It seems that Ornstein is actually returning from a two on one, having found a nesting pair of utterly massive hellkites and killed one, diving off the cliff atop its corpse to let gravity carry him away from the . . . ma- . . . fem- . . . other one? They all sort of look the same. The currently dead one smashes like several tons of bricks to the wide landing between the gate towers, covered in three foot deep gouges and manhole sized blast marks. The live one plunges over the rim and into the canyon after it; a veritable flying train of bright crimson spines, claws, talons and other wicked points, its head an almost sightless mass of teeth and horns, likely denoting its age. Ornstein turns his spear upwards, and the lightning of Gwyn coruscates up its length, discharging from a point as a bizarrely coherent bolt of jagged, almost solid electricity, and blowing half of the creature's cranial decoration/armor away with a single smoking impact. It responds by opening its maw and releasing hell on the landing below, the total output of a tactical bomb steadily spewing out over the cliffside, rolling down the catwalks, curling into the caves, crawling up the towers, and instantly incinerating the non-stone bridge, continuing on for what looks like half a mile into the dark abyss before sputtering out.

    The knight has been on that end of a breath weapon thousands of times before, and so is already nowhere to be seen, until a second bolt of lightning fires from Staren's side of the canyon as an incredibly blatant signal for the catboy to get on it. Mopping up drakes is hardly a pursuit of 'honour' after all, and legendary knight captain or not, Ornstein /has/ personally had his ass kicked by the Union, even if he did take a couple of them down as well, so he knows that anyone allowed to come here today is the real deal.

    With a target of that size, it's basically impossible for Staren to miss, even firing full auto with both triggers down until the ammo indicators hit zero and the capacitors click and spark without slugs to bridge the gap. The hailstorm of projectiles rips into the thing's hide, but those that hit at a poor angle outright rattle and bounce off like hailstones on a tin roof, suggesting that its scales aren't just correspondingly thicker with its size, but much, much harder. The remainder score dozens of bleeding wounds along its side, but don't seem to be enough to put it out of commission yet, and so it swerves sharply in mid-air and descends upon the Star Hawk, coming down with its claws to pin the armoured machine's shoulders in place with its crushing grip, and then blast scorching hell all over the cockpit.

    The latter part never quite materializes though, as Lezard intercepts it with his Gravity Blessing. The 'heavenly' bolt smites straight between its wings, blasting it off the catboy's mecha and straight down on the other side of the bridge, partially collapsing it from the shockwave. For a few moments, it seems completely pinned there, shuddering as errant jolts of lightning arc and crawl from its demolished back spines and along its limbs like a tesla ball, but then it begins to stir again, fighting against the crushing force of gravity to pull itself up into a four-point wyvern position and bellow its defiance. In fact, it is already visibly healing from its wounds, flesh and scales knitting back together slowly but surely, pushing out the buried slugs like pennies, until Biancabella hits its natural regeneration with so many debuffs it essentially freezes, barely breaking even.

Priscilla has posed:
    This makes it considerably easier for Steve to find places where his arrows will stick, simply snapping off in the dense foliage of spikes, but finding purchase here and there, stinging and drawing blood from the massive, outraged, and unfortunately outnumbered beast. It seems to ignore Momoyo in the air for the time being, focusing instead on those on the ground, charging down the walkway and straight towards Lezard, the wild lashing of its barbed tail, serrated wings, and sword-like teeth aimed to swat away those closest (Berserker, Janine, Sanary, Kirito) and wild blasts of unnaturally superhot fire every few /seconds/ descending upon those too far away (Caster, Staren, Steve, Ark).

Gudako Ordria (908) has posed:
    Whoa teeth! Berserker gets the hell out of dodge, which is smarter than she's been so far. She's been bitten ENOUGH, and this one looks like it could chomp her in half. No thank you! Cat likes being whole, even if cats traditionally disregard the laws of physics regardless.

    Caster, for her part, produces a magical barrier, which rushed as it is, can only barely manage to cover herself from the hot flames (which still manage to sear her lightly). She frowns, and tosses a buff talisman towards Berserker.

    "Berserker~. Let's stop playing around, master will get mad. Use your Noble Phantasm!" Caster intones.
    Berserker turns to glare at her and growls something that could probably be made out to mean 'YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, FAKE ME, RAWR RAWR RAWR'. In cat sounds. But, you know, that's not a bad idea, she is getting kind of sleepy.

    There's a massive, massive surge of magic around the red-robed, pink-haired foxgirl. She grins wide, and regains just enough clarity of mind to intone the name of it:

    "Bright Sunlit Nap!"

    And then she lunges, straight for the large creature.

    She claws, and mauls, and tears, and every strike is enhanced to the point even a regenerator would have difficulty sealing the wounds before large and unsafe quantities of blood leak out of them. In fact, that seems to be what the Noble Phantasm is made to do, absurd bleeding wounds and raw killing power in the form of ANGRY CAT.

    ... and then Berserker slams onto the ground, behind the hellkite, having quite possibly managed (GM's discretion) to tear INTO the creature and then out the other end. She slumps down... and then falls asleep. Zzzerker.

    Looks like the sleeping is healing her up too.

Steve (803) has posed:
    The arrows are well-aimed enough; Steve has considerable experience firing at things from higher ground. While the monster is enormous, however, finding actual spots where his arrows won't bounce off like they're striking a block of iron is considerably more difficult. Its momentary distraction with other, considerable forces provides that advantage. Something interrupts him, though; another throbbing in his head, as purple-eyes peer out from that unnaturally star-dense, inky black sky again, in his memories. "Yeah, that's it," he mutters, though it's doubtful anyone is in earshot, "I remember now, where I met that dragon before." In his own distraction, he narrowly has time to avoid an incoming blast of heat, which glasses over the rock and soil where he had been standing moments prior.

    "...ugh, this is no time to be thinking about that," the miner grunts, scooping himself up from where he'd tumbled down to evade. Instead, he runs as best he can along the narrow ledge, to avoid more firebursts, stopping whenever there is a slight opening to fire more arrows. It's then that he spots an opening of a different sort; an opportunity. Putting away his bow, he again withdraws his pickaxe, and shuffles his way over to one of the several narrow, rocky bridges which crisscross this rift in the Earth. A few mighty swings of his pickaxe later, and he's extracted a block of the native stone. Hoping to have his timing correct, he'll let the local physics take over, and send the rest crumbling at the drake below. Hopefully any allies will be tracking the threat enough to be clear of the rest giving way.

Staren has posed:
    Oh good, this is a sensible knight!

    Staren dumps all the railgun ammo into the drake -- ALL THE RAILGUN AMMO, GUYS -- and it's still up! As Staren's considering how to attack it without completely blowing it to pieces, it retaliates -- and it's on Staren's machine surprisingly fast! "Woah!" He struggles to move his arms, blasting it point-blank with the homing beams for what little good that does, but before he can think of a strategy, it's been knocked away by Lezard!

    A gravity /blessing/, indeed.

    After a moment, Staren asks, "...Is it dead?" No, it's... oh no it's REGENERATING! "Aww, c'mon!" Okay, no more caution. He gets a target lock on the thing's head, planning to blow its brains out, the Star Hawk drawing its rocket launcher pod as Staren mentally cycles through the various launch systems built into it.

    [Micro 17/26]
    [Plasma 7/6]
>[SFW 7/11]

    This is the perfect time to test those new munitions Zwei suggested. Seven little missiles, maybe a foot long and a few pounds each, launch and rocket across the valley on trails of smoke, curving to try and impact the drake's head from various angles.

    Staren's careful observation of how that plays out will have to wait for the replay, though -- right now, the Star Hawk has to run and jump on its side of the canyon, trying to dodge the dangerous breath weapon!

Momoyo Kawakami (928) has posed:
     For those that didn't sense the magical aura or notice the bright extra sun in the sky, they might assume an orbital laser cannon had fired down on Lordran.

     While she had to limit the width somewhat, the main threat from the ki beam was simple kinetic force. The beam that hits the massive drake slams like a shockwave in reverse, crushing it against the ground. Only the searing energy of the typeless ki came next, burning rapidly through a lot of the regenerative problems and creating a deep blast wound in the creature if not creating small scattered beams through it's plated underside.

    Unfortunately, the blast was several meters in radius, so anyone on top of the drake was at risk, and anyone underneath it that had ignored the warning was probably going to find themselves flat on their ass if they didn't take countermeasures. The sheer flashbang-like light of the attack itself was also a problem, but more than likely that was as much ki as the high schooler was going to put out for the time being. The rest of her attention would have to be on any stray drakes or hellkites that noticed her in the air before finding an opportunity to excuse herself to get a long, hot shower thanks to Ark.

    <<<Kirito, is everyone alright?>>>

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     Healing here, there, everywhere! Even the healthier looking people get healing because who knows? Maybe they just need some extra energy for their strongest attacks. Sanary's got it in... Well, not in spades, but there's others who can definitely use it better than she can with that giant drake in the way.

     Steve's nickname does draw an amused chuckle from the healer, though, despite the rather odd choice. "S-Sanny? Eh... Good enou-" That, of course, is interrupted by a Berserker to the face. It takes a great deal of concentration just for her not to squeak, but the cleric does manage to keep it in! She even flashes her a broad grin and gives a light pat on the head.

     "Hey, Berserker~ ... Uh." Her attention is grabbed rather easily by that warning from Momoyo, at least, and the beast going berserk is more than ample reason to get away from there. Letting go of Berserker to let her do her thing, the healer howls in pain as the tail smashes right into that shield in front of her. Instead of just trying to tough it out, however, the healer uses the impact from that force to give the AANS a boost in momentum to fly right out of there, trying to put enough distance between themselves and whatever it is Momoyo's got planned! And once she hits a wall? It's back to throwing the absolute last of her energy around to provide the rest of her allies with as much power as she possibly can!

Janine Liberi has posed:
    "OH GOD!" Of course it can breathe fire. Dragons in the fairy tales can always do that. The fact that the smaller ones didn't had the Persona user convinced that none of them would. As the flames come close, all she can do is counter it with more wind spells courtesy of Biancabella, creating a buffer of baking hot air around both of them. Better than being roasted.

    But then the combined attack comes into effect, the drake being harshly punished for the crime of being a drake. Janine looks a little depressed as she looks at the thing writhing under the effects of Lezard's spell, weakened by her own efforts. Being so harshly grounded, losing that sense of superiority...

    Well. She can understand that feeling.

    But they have a job to do, and she wants to get paid. And again, her little sword isn't going to do much against something that big. So she remains focussed on keeping the thing grounded. Every time it makes an effort to get back up? Binacabella is there, whipping up strong winds to push it back down further.

    But as Momoyo fires that beam, the woman vanishes. No way in hell does Janine want to feel that through her.

Kirito has posed:
    Kirito, being a full melee attacker, is at a disadvantage in this situation. Everyone else is using ranged attacks while he... has a sword.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, flying in to close that gap gives him time to observe just how TOUGH that hellkite really is. Seeing how much punishment it's taking doesn't fill him with confidence. He's probably not going to make a DENT in that thing without some serious tactics.

    Thankfully, he's got those. He's got those in spades.

    "Right there..." Vox Unitas, the black blade, is aimed forward like a spear to be thrust. As he nears the creature in the wake of a brigade of magical, technological, and spiritual assaults... he's aiming for the resultant GAPING weak points of BROKEN SCALES and existing wounds.

    "HUUUUUUUUOOOOOARGH!" Filled with a warrior's fury, Kirito executes a Sword Skill! The black blade shines a frosty light blue right before it's PLUNGED into the creature! Icy power flows through the blade on impact, bursting outwards into huge glacial shards and widening wounds. But it doesn't end there. 'Savage Fulcrum.' The blade is WRENCHED upwards and slashed sideways and around, leaving Kirito's back turned... but NOT for long.

    With nary a moment's pause, the crystal-blue blade in his OTHER hand erupts with flaming red light! Still unleashing ferocious yells at the top of his lungs the boy continues the barrage with explosive fury! The crystal blade is THRUST! THRUST! and THRUST again! About six times in under a second! Huge waves of fire fly from it. 'Star Quint Prominence.'

    But it ain't over yet. Once again Vox Unitas shines, this time with a windy green light. Kirito enters a swift swirling kata of strikes around the side he's assaulting from a few different angles, drawing glowing lines in the air in a roughly square shape. Vicious razor winds that are best not underestimated. 'Horizontal Square.'

    "It's over for you!" For Kirito's ended up with his crystal blue blade laying across his shoulders... and it glows with a gleaming whitish-blue. Holy element?

    "Seeeeeiiiiiyah!!" Three whirling strikes follow, shift into a backflip-strike and down into three final strikes for a grand total of seven shining blows! ... The Original Sword Skill, 'Seven Sins.'

    Every progression of strikes is meant to bite deeper and deeper, aggravate the wounds ranged attackers inflicted and thoroughly cut through the Hellkite's center of mass for maximum damage!

Lezard Valeth has posed:
All hell breaks loose as the greater drake proves powerful enough to not be simply roflpwned by an alpha strike. "Well then." Lezard adjusts his glasses. "I suppose if one strike is not enough, a second will be required." As a wave of flame rolls out towards them all, Lezard throws up his cloak. There is a flash of a mystic barrier as bursts of dragonfire scorch into and around him, searing the ledge black and leaving his cloak with burns.

But Lezard himself survives, albeit singed. "The desperation of the animal knows no bounds. I suppose it is something that can be respected." He states, but he does not move to attack again.

He sees what's going in for the creature. He judges it will be /plenty/.

Priscilla has posed:
    Lezard seems to have judged correctly. Though the monster before him, even wounded as it is, could probably flatten an entire brigade of soldiers in no time, even fairly depleted after a long day's work, the number of high profile and high power Elites assembled for the sole purpose of its destruction is just far too much. Berserker is straight in its face immediately, cutting off further blasts of fire as it finds itself preoccupied with the savage, psychopathic cat-fox-deity, chasing her with its teeth and tail, shifting back and forth at the foot of the bridge to try and throw her free, and rattling its spines at wherever it briefly catches sight of her, but she's simply too fast, it's simply too big, and there simply isn't enough space. It just about falls from the edge, claws scrabbling and scraping as its titanic bulk swings back from a long drop, its blood painting the cliffside up and down for dozens of meters and sleeting from just as many open wounds. It turns on her when the assault finally stops, staggering forward to finish her off while its wounds struggle to close, but is repeatedly buffeted back by the Persona's blasts of wind, snarling in frustration until the flash of firing missiles catches its attention.

    The beast throws one of its massive, house-sized wings in the way of the barrage to weather what appears to be only a handful of small projectiles, only to have the bizarre fusion between the RPG-7 design and a plasma collimator punch seven neat little holes through it and fire hypervelocity lances of superheated gas straight into its side, the temperature overcoming its natural resistance to fire and scorching a baker's half-dozen holes straight through its scales and into its internal organs, the blood vapourizing into pinkish steam. It wheels on the Star Hawk, readying another breath blast, and then the stonework overhead collapses straight on top of it, burying it under several tons of rock, flattening it completely after already being crushed by Lezard's earlier gravity spell, leaving it trashing and struggling to shift the weight off of itself, with only a few bricks sliding free at a time; a sitting duck for Kirito.%

Priscilla has posed:
    The dual legendary-tier swords have no trouble finding soft spots with how thoroughly Berserker and Staren have savaged its natural armour, and Steve's demolition job prevents it from even realistically fighting back. The off-twin blades rip into it over and over again, compounding the damage done by the Servant and worsening every injury with blasts of elemental energy, scoring it straight down to the bizarrely granite-like bone. Its strength wanes as its debuffed regeneration falls far behind the onslaught, leaving it barely able to do more than heave, shudder and bleed as the last of the rocks fall free, and thus completely unable to avoid the beam of Ki Momoyo unleashes from above, blasting straight through its blasted and battered spikes, past its spine, and through its chest cavity, resembling the effects of a rifle bullet going straight through a frozen watermelon.

    The thing collapses in a pool of its own blood, uttering a shriek pathetically reduced to a hiss by the air escaping its punctured lungs, and then is abruptly silenced by Ornstein hopping off the edge of his platform and driving the holy skewer through the base of its skull. His eyes already having been on the prize, he stops long enough to use the divine spear to scour free a section of hide behind its horns, wrenching something free with his superhuman strength, and then casually tossing them to the Elites gathered by the Blighttown hole up above. A trio of scales, obviously, but not the glossy, flashy crimson of the beast's natural hue; instead a steely, utterly monotone grey, tinged and textured as if they might be metal or stone, seemingly grown, but definitely not alive, or even organic. Steve's thaumometer can easily pin just those three scales as the source from earlier. Perditio. Vacuos. Tempus. Alienis. Gudko, Ark and Lezard can both tell that the magic concentrated in them is probably as much as the entire rest of the hellkite. Momoyo might sense similar, but less clearly.

Staren has posed:
    "Tch!" Staren worries the dragon has found a weakness in his design when it blocks with a wing -- only to see the holes burned straight through and into its hide a moment later. He makes sort of a pleased little gasp, grinning and eyes sparkling, at the effectiveness of his new weapon!

    And then the dragon prepares to return fire. "Bring it!" The Star Hawk stands with its beam shield ready, but... The others have it taken care of.

    But even with the drake lying there disabled and a whole bunch of elites beating on it, it /still/ takes its time to finally die. "Sheesh." Evolution or gods... whatever designed this beast, Staren mentally tips his hat to its sheer resiliance.

    The Star Hawk stands covered in clawmarks and with scorched, melted, and corroded splotches over its armor, with deep claw marks and warped shoulder armor where the king? queen? drake grabbed it, but it still stands.

    Once it's clear the beast /is/ dead, the Star Hawk flies over the gap and kneels, Staren climbing out to make sure he collects a sample of /this/ beast's flesh and hide to study its properties. He's not yet sure what he can do with them, but there /must/ be knowledge to be gained from this thing, right?

Sanary Rondel has posed:
     Skidding to a stop once her feet hit solid ground, Sanary staggers a bit before falling flat on her back. She's content to just lay there for the time being, letting her mana reserves build themselves back up before she even attempts to heal herself. She groans painfully upon sitting up, nursing that arm wound while looking towards where the dragon... Drake? Giant asshole had been.

     "Did we... Uh. Did we get it?" Her voice comes through the radio quietly at first, getting a little louder near the end as she lies back down on the grass beneath her. "Alright. I'm... Not too far away. If anyone needs fixing up, c'mere and I'll take care of ya."

     She'll look at those scales later. For now... She'll just let other people come to her for healing.

Janine Liberi has posed:
    The stink of drake flesh being cooked by gases overwhelms even the smell of Binacabella's poison, making Janine retch. But, the beast finally falls, and Janine does the same, slumping to her knees.

    "Damn..." Only now does the enormity of what happened strike her. She was once a normal schoolgirl, then a cripple schoolgirl. Now she's a crippled schoolgirl that helped clear out a massive valley of awful monsters. And part of it was done through ridiculous airborne acrobatics.

    In spite of it all, a crazed, tired giggle reaches her lips. "This is my life now..." she says. The borrowed sword is left on the ground for the owner to collect it. The gold brick Lezard left out for her is picked up (with no small amount of effort. Gold is dense!). And Janine makes her way to the warpgate.

    But... she makes sure to say goodbye to everyone who backed her up. For once.

Ark Line (687) has posed:
By this point, Ark's hovercraft is long out of just about every kind of ammunition he can think of. It looks like a couple of the smaller drakes exploded on contact with the front end of it, splattering it with gore. One of the engines is a little damaged, making it list a little to one side as the AI keeps it in the air. Something must have hit it pretty hard.

Ark himself is still standing in the middle of the deck. Correct Future is held in his left hand, the bone weapon clutched in a reverse grip like a flat-tipped long knife. The etchings and carvings in the handle glow with a hazy amber light, the poisonous Grain held inside the Ether Liner wielding it leaking out through the gaps. Motes drift away on the wind, bringing a slow death to the rugged plantlife that still clings to the upper walls of the crevasse.

In his right hand, a sleek automatic is held tightly, streaked with blood that drips off the barrel. The red stain goes up to his elbow, and one of the diving drakes is dead at his feet, large holes still smoking where the back of its head used to be. Ark stares down at it, an angry scowl still fixed on his face.

With a yell, he kicks the body. Correct Future flares with electric light of that same amber color the moment before he connects. There's a sound of something dense hitting a slab of meat, and the body tumbles off the gunship, the sudden lack of weight forcing the AI to correct its course.

Caster of Steel takes a step to the left from his perch on the rock shelf. The body lands where he was standing with a gory splatter, not five feet from where the first one Kirito nearly dropped on him lies. The Servant looks down at it, and then up at the aircraft. He shakes his head, and turns back to the plans, letting his Master rage at nothing at all.