5681/Chasing The Sun (1)

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Chasing The Sun (1)
Date of Scene: 03 February 2018
Location: Lumiere
Synopsis: Investigators follow up on reports of missing Elites.
Cast of Characters: 974, Karian Icefang, 385, Staren, 1102, 1143, Rebecca Chambers, Tanya Degurechaff
Tinyplot: Return To Escher

Carna (974) has posed:
    The entry method for Lumiere is the same as usual for old hands. A journey to the Cavern of Death in the Four Caverns region, dodging or fighting through Undead, until reachin a huge pit in the ground surrounded by mounds of bones. Jumping, flying, or otherwise entering the pit induces a magically slow and lengthy fall down to an infinite black marble plane with a pair of large gates. They look the same aside from their coloration. One black, the other red. They have skeletons carved into the frames and on the doors themselves, either seeming to be trying to pull the doors open, or hold them closed.

    The grey seem the less menacing of the two, and opening them produces the same effect as a naturally-forming warp gate, allowing travel to one of many destinations, that appear in the mind as though camera snap shots seen through a watery film. One of them seems to be of a church, and a town surrounding it. Many of the others look... Less hospitable. If a local community leader is going to be calling for a meeting somewhere, it's probably that church or town. The Paladins, at least, know the leader is a priestess. But even someone not tapped into that detail might think to check a place like that might harbor the injured or the sick to see if they might be there.

    And for someone from the Concord, who has been involved for awhile, or the Watch, who may have heard rumor of Lumiere from their own members, if not actually read the reports, that about three out of four of the people missing have either visited or been actively involved in the place might be a clue that those used to working with limited intel could follow up on readily, with the same general conclusion that starting at a population center is more sensible than just jumping into the middle of the underworld.

    The Church is a very death-themed locale, though peaceful in its own way. Those unfamiliar with Lumiere might be startled by just how DARK it is. There are no stars in the sky. If there's a moon, it can't be located, and there's no evidence there's ever going to be a sunrise in this place. It smells like dust and ashes and ancient decay and stale air. Actually, since they're apparently in an underworld-like location, is what they're breathing even 'air'? Better not to dwell too long on that.

    There are some scattered lights. Electric lights powered by modern-looking and clearly non-native generators, candles with blue flames, and so on, but beyond a ramshackle collection of falling apart homes and businesses surrounding the church, and a high wall closing off any view of what lies beyond, what they have to look at when they emerge as glowing figures resolving into their own bodies and form around some sort of... Shrine in the shape of a cathedral's peak on the ground, whether they arrived invididually or in groups, is just the murky town and this one church that seems slightly better lit, and mildly more peaceful. Even if there's a pretty expansive graveyard, and the chapel itself.

    A graveyard in the underworld?

    'What the dead bury' is probably also not something to think about too long or too carefully.

Karian Icefang has posed:
    The undead were definately an unexpected little bit of exersize for the Space Wolves to encounter, but they do what they were made for, and break through. Taking the leap, so to speak, was likewise something Karian did not plan for, but he made it anyway. (if player misses anything, please forgive, migraine still slightly raging) Upon finding the church, he grimmaces under his helmet. "Worshippers of death.....not the best first contact."

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
If Yuna had known what she was getting herself into here, she might not have volunteered to investigate as quickly as she did.

But William didn't mention *where* Leyanne went missing, except for providing rough coordinates for where Tiny last reported in from. Or Finna. Or Dorian, or even Empty Tidings (one name which Yuna *doesn't* recognize terribly well). Any one of the familiar names would have been enough on its own to make Yuna want to go make sure her friends were all right - and if it was something where Leyanne, Finna, *and* Dorian all got caught up in something that was over their heads, then practical concerns like 'what were they investigating' or 'what do we know about the hazards in those parts' are on the back burner - finding the missing doesn't just take priority, it *IS* the priority. Finding out what happened to them, and trying to resolve the situation they were involved in, are either secondary or something to work on en route to the rescue.

... and that's roughly what Yuna is still reminding herself as she comes through the gate with Karian. She'd rather have familiar company when she's in unfamiliar territory - that is, in addition to the Matrix of Light. The downright creepy surroundings of the world of the (un)dead leave the battlesuited blonde girl clutching the Matrix Divider tightly, if carefully. "Keep monitoring channels, Elner," she instructs her robo-faerie companion. "Any traffic, *especially* distress calls. And make sure whether we've got contact with the rest of the Multiverse."

She did promise to check in within 24 hours, and if something keeps her from doing that, her last request to her fellows in the Watch was to send in the cavalry, as heavy as they could. Sometimes she forgets it's not the Union ... but it's what she has, even if she still tries to keep the connection under wraps.

Staren has posed:
    Staren beams down to the hole and makes his way to the church, stopping to explain Lumiere to newbies he encounters. Such as Karian: "This entire realm is a sort of afterlife. Everyone here is dead, aside from us... The cycle that allows them to reincarnate has been broken, so they're trapped here. I'd be careful about investigating alone..." He snaps his fingers. "Damn, Asterios was vital to our plan for exploration, too! Anyway... absent other ideas, the Priestess might know if anything weird's been going on here. We should try to get in touch with Enark too..."

Kotone Shiomi (1102) has posed:
Most of those names are strangers to Kotone, but they're missing and may need help, and that's reason enough to pitch in. The Japanese high schooler follows the coordinates and seems somewhat unsettled by her surroundings, despite her time in the multiverse by now growing long, she still hasn't experienced too many places beyond home. "This place gives me the creeps." She mentions, then waves to the others. "Hey."

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
It was Touta Konoe's first time in Lumiere. That being said he had no issues with the setting or the plethora of Undead that lingered in the properly named Cavern of Death. The young man being a vampire probably would have fit in as a denizen of the night, even if his outward appearence of a teenage kid with a katana said otherwise. Though that was the least of his concerns. He was bolting as fast as he could, uninterested in the zombies seeing that some had already been handled. An indication that others had at the very least come through this way before he had. Whether that meant it was a sign of those of who had gone missing or others had beaten him here he wasn't sure.

"If Mairead's book is right the pit should be here!"

Not having as vast amount of resources at his display like the factions, Touta can only use what he had been given by those he had met in the universe to help him. Mairead Sandiland's books concerning the Multiverse were coming in handy in this endeavor to navigate through uncharted territory for him. Though his efforts proved fruitful as he sees the chasm in the distance, and without restraint jumps in! Though instead of falling it feels more like he's floating to the bottom. Slowly. Too slowly.

Only receiving the information that people were missing by accident, overhearing a report that Mairead had received through her comms. There was a disappearence of several individuals three of which Touta knew all too well. Dorian the Necromancer who had helped him return to his world, Tomoe the Lady of Darkness who he helped along with the rest of her friends, and Caster or Hime-chan as he nicknamed her. Another friend who had been nice enough to welcome him into his home, and whom he promised to show the same hospitality to some day. All were missing in Lumiere. He didn't even have to think about it, he was going to find them.

The free fall into the pit was likely slow to keep others from falling to their death, but that wasn't an issue for Touta. His issue was that he didn't know where his friends were and the longer it took for him to find them, the worse off they might be. He couldn't accept that.

"100,000 FOLD!"

It's hard to say if this magic bringing him down would be altered by simply altering his weight, but he was going to try anyway. Messing with the dial on his sword the weight of the blade had altered from it's original weight to 100,000 times the norm, Touta's attempt to increase the speed of his free fall into the abyss and probably making more of a ruckus upon his landing than the others who had arrived before him.

After landing it was difficult to say whether or not Touta would have chosen the right path, but it appears there were other's who had made it here before him. Some who he was familiar with like Yuna, and Kotone who had bothed helped him as well along with Dorian before.

"Hey! You guys came too?"

Then there were others who he wasn't as familiar with such as Karian and Staren, but Staren seemed more informed about Lumiere than the rest so while he was glad to see the others he takes a moment to make sure he's listening to Staren.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Undead. Not a problem for Rebecca.

Jumping down a pit? That's another story, especially since Rebecca forgot to bring a rappelling cable or something similar. But then she sees others going down and slowly descending because of magic or something, and Rebecca shrugs and jumps into the pit herself as well. "Where am I? Wonderland?" Rebecca says to nobody in particular as she slowly descends. However, her casual attitude disappears as she sees where they've arrived, and her demeanor turns into a firm one once again.

Holstering her Beretta, Rebecca goes for her Magnum instead and slaps a clip into it. "Looks like an incarnation of hell or something," She whispers to herself. Even when she sees the church, she still seems a bit uneasy. "Almost ironic, seeing a place like THAT here..."

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Asterios is missing.

    With an intense frown, Major Tanya von Degurechaff sails right over the swarm of undead protecting the entrance to Lumiere. Eyes aglow and blue, the gemstone of her flight unit mirroring the light in her displeased expression. One might assume the young Major is concerned for the well being of her Servant. And to an extent, that might be true, but it's not emotional attachment that drives her.

    His capability as a bodyguard makes him more useful alive than not.

    Eyes narrow as she sights the Space Wolf unit up ahead, ascending slightly on her approach to avoid an accidental shooting, though she does check her rifle briefly as she does so. The absent thought crosses her mind that her fellow Hand is also missing. Count Kord. Though... that's less motivating than further safety for her own life. After all, in a sense, isn't that just competition for advancement?

    Above the entrance, as it had been reported, Tanya pulls up, looping into a dive through the center of the hole leading into Lumiere.

    On the other side, the miniature Major brings herself to a stop floating above and to one side of Staren. Her hands absently work the action of her rifle, slotting a round into place, "I don't intend to spend too much time in a place that only welcomes the dead. Logic dictates they'd be far too interested in making the living fit in, and I intend to live a very long life."

Staren has posed:
    Staren nods to the other newcomers. "It's not like that." He explains to Tanya. "The regular dead are just trying to survive. Thing is, there's these dead who've lost all their memories -- the unlit -- and they're something of a rampaging zombie horde that even the other dead are afraid of. This city should be pretty safe, though."

Carna (974) has posed:
    No zombie hordes meet their arrival. No one attacks them out of nowhere. But Lumiere is rarely so open about its hostilities. It likes to wait. To let people step into the lair of danger just a liiiitle bit further... And then a little more... And another step, until they're just far enough away from the exit that when something finally pounces upon them, their desperately reaching fingers will fall just short of the safety before they are dragged into the darkness. But this, as Staren says, is one of the safest places in an overwhelmingly unsafe world.

    The priestess mentioned emerges shortly after they arrive, noticing the light of so many people appearing. She is wearing some sort of unfamiliar religious garb. Though the addition of an opaque veil over her eyes, connected to a coller by golden chains along the bottom edge of said veil, giving the lower half of her face a 'caged' appearance, is pretty distinctive (and unusual, but what isn't unusual about this place?).

    "Oh, thank mighty Urizen you arrived!" She hurries out, holding her skirts in her hands and coming down the steps from the chapel. "Staren the Builder. It is good to see you again. And fortuitous that you brought allies." She makes some sort of ritualistic gesture with her hands to the others while bowing her head. "I am Peacemaker Longita, caretaker of the Church of Bleak Mercy, and representative of the Order of the Light here in Barrowville. I have sent out a petition for aid. Many of those I have contacted have failed to respond, and I did not know who else to reach out to."

    For those with the senses for it, this woman, Longita, is definitely Dead. A ghost. Or a physically incarnated soul, since this is a sort of afterlife, and ghosts tend to be insubtantial or ethereal mainly in the living world. Otherwise, based purely on visual appearances, she seems as 'normal' and 'alive' as they are likely to find in a world like this.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
"I don't really want to stick around for long either," Rebecca comments to Tanya as well. "Feels to me like someone is trying to draw us into hell unknowingly." She sighs. "Hopefully that's just my being paranoid." Sighing, she reaches to her belt and pulls out her canteen, taking a swig of water before closing it up and returning it to her belt again. "Gotta stay focused, Becky."

Just because there's no zombie hordes or attacks doesn't mean Rebecca is feeling at ease at all. In fact, she's extremely on edge right now, but she doesn't go for her Magnum either, since she knows that the priestess wouldn't like it if she approached with a weapon drawn.

"I'll trust your judgement," Rebecca says to Staren. "But don't lower your guard either. Anything can change at any moment no matter where you are." Her voice is firm but also understanding of Staren's words, meaning she's not reminding him to keep his guard up but rather just a reminder that you can feel at ease but not too at ease.

When the priestess finally arrives, Rebecca breathes a sigh of relief and smiles a little, not despite the fact her wardrobe seems a little bizarre. Given where they are, seeing someone wearing something like that is pretty tame compared to what Rebecca fears might be waiting for them. Indeed, this place may be unusual, but there are different levels of unusualness.

Once Longita introduces herself, Rebecca comes to attention and salutes respectfully. "Officer Rebecca Chambers of the Paladins." She lowers her hand but continues to speak. "It is good to see you, Peacemaker Longita. We are hoping that we can offer aid in any way we can." Some might sense that she's Dead, but Rebecca definitely doesn't. Even if she did, though, Rebecca wouldn't mind because she knows not all of the Dead are bad. Or at least this one wouldn't seem that bad.

Staren has posed:
    Staren's eyes widen slightly behind his visor at the greeting. Despite running around the Multiverse helping people, he's not used to being greeted so eagerly. "Good to see you too! Um... A number of our other allies, who've previously helped with Lumiere, seem to be missing. What's going on that you're seeking aid with?"

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
An afterlife. A very physical afterlife, at that. This explains why Yuna gets the creeps from being here - and a piece of her wonders whether she needs to worry about being 'polluted' spiritually from spending time in a realm of the dead. Still, they don't LOOK terribly undead - not like ghosts or zombies or anything that would normally stand out as Wrong in the normal Multiverse - so Yuna can mostly push that to the back of her mind. At least for now, and while they're in something akin to safe territory. She just ... kind of has to remember where they are.

This will be a lot easier all the way around if she doesn't have to spend half of her time either freaking out, or actively struggling NOT to freak out.

While Yuna bows to the priestess, the name of her church doesn't exactly put Yuna at ease. And the town is called Barrowville? ... thank the heavens that there are so many familiar faces here. Not just KArian and Staren, but Kotone and Touta and Rebecca; she may not know Tanya, but she waves to the miniscule major all the same when she spots the little blonde girl. Staren seems to know her, so *that's* something.

"It's good to meet you, Peacemaker Longita," Yuna says with a relatively friendly smile. "It's not related to your Order, probably, but I'm the Savior of Light back where I'm from; my name's Yuna Kagurazaka. Anyway, I wish the circumstances of our coming were happier ... and yes," she nods, "like Staren says, we're looking for friends of ours who went missing around here. A lot of them in a fairly short span of time. Maybe that's related to the reasons for your petition ... *did* you call Leyanne or Dorian or Finna for aid about this situation? And, well, what can you tell us about what happened, what's been going on lately?"

Staren has posed:
    "Wait, they're missing too?" Staren turns his head to Yuna, surprised.

Kotone Shiomi (1102) has posed:
Kotone bows to the priestess, "Chevalier Kotone Shiomi of the Paladins, here to help if I can." She introduces herself, then takes a step back to allow those who are more familiar with this world to take the lead. She's keeping an eye out on the surroundings, trying to ensure that there's nothing ... interesting going on while they're talking to this priestess.

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
While Touta may be a vampire, he doesn't exactly have supernatural senses that tell him what is and what isn't dead. He was once living with a roommate for quite some time without even knowing the guy was a Revenant. Granted they weren't always hanging out but the point still stands.

It seemed like everyone at this point was just giving introductions. So it's at this point that he walks towards the front of the group to introduce himself as well. To those who haven't met him before, he honestly looked like a kid in his early teens. The only person who probably seemed younger than him was Tanya, who he stares at for a moment sorta surprised to see someone that young carrying a gun. Though he turns his attention back towards the priestess as he takes the moment to introduce himself as well.

"UQ Holder #7, Touta Konoe. I'm not part of any of the factions but I heard that a few of my friends had disappeared all at once so I came to find them. But if you're looking for help too than you can definitely count on me as well."

That being said while he couldn't sense she was dead, if Longita was a bit more aware of monsters and creatures of the darkness perhaps she would pick up on something being slightly concerning with the young man before her. He couldn't really be considered...Mortal.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Glowing blue eyes swing towards Touta when he stares at her. Despite her age, that is undeniably a military combat uniform..! Those eyes narrow slightly before she swings her withering gaze away from him, towards Staren, "I will remain cautious all the same."

    A priestess calling for assistance assaults her attention, now. With a sigh, Tanya lifts her rifle up and points it skyward, resting against her shoulder. Using her thumb, she flips the safety back on, "Asterios. Large man. Horns. The most visually distinctive member of our orgnaization who has been working here." Eyes half-close in thought, "Probably closer to what you are than I am, now that I think about it. When was he last seen?"

    Her posture shifts in midair, and the little girl leans forward in a slightly overbearing way, "Because I find it hard to believe you've managed to lose someone that large."

Carna (974) has posed:
    Longita bows her head briefly at each introduction. "I attempted to contact them and was unable to. That others beyond those whom I contacted may have also become drawn into this situation though..." She chews her lower lip a bit, the nervousness she is displaying in contrast to an otherwise calm and serene demeanor that Staren has seen previously. "It might not be possible to avoid it anymore." That is very cryptic and does not answer any questions. "Perhaps you can help with the problem instead." Even more cryptic and now not even addressing the missing people! "I have not seen any of those I sought to contact since the last time they were here. I can not say when they disappeared, only that it may have been around the same time as the issue that now needs resolution." She pauses, and then adds on, "Which may be tied to their disappearances, for that matter."

    She seems not surprised in the slightest by the disparate natures and apperances of those here. But considering she's basically blind folded, can she even see them? "Staren the Builder, you are familiar with that odious place known as Escher, yes?" She seems to trust he will explain it to the others, because she proceeds to address a specific aspect of it. "It is said that it was taken over by monsters and isolated from the rest of Lumiere long ago. However, all sorts of information is there. If you have a group this strong, you might be able to fight your way through and search for anything concerning this matter. I have heard it said by our High Matron that there are other Lumieres out there, like this one, but different. It may be possible that they have found themselves in another Lumiere, and unable to return. I recommend investigating anything by the name of 'Emblem' as well."

    She gestures to Tanya. "It is unfortunate that your friend is missing, but if he is as strong as you believe, he may yet be found." She bows to the others. "The same for all of you as well. They are all capable souls, I am sure. I may not have personally met them all, but..."

    She goes on like that for a little bit. She sure does seem to have some detailed knowledge of a place she has only ever heard of in rumor, and further a phenomenon she has only heard of second-hand, and seems quite assured the Elites are there for no apparent reason, and can even offer a name of what to search for, and also seems to be unaware that Elites have already BEEN to Escher and gained access to its library.

Staren has posed:
    Staren staaarts to show signs of impatience as Longita beats around the bush. Hands on his hips, just starting to tap his foot, when she adresses him. "Huh? Oh. Yeah, we... You've never talked to Enark?" Staren looks like he starting to think back and check logs, then shakes his head. "Anyway, yeah, we fought our way through the frikking mimics and found Enark and the Library of Murdered Knowledge. It's been flooded and there's some kind of demon fishmen-things in the deep, though, so we've been planning how to more safely find things there. I'll let Enark know... wait, he's not responding to radio either." He stomps a foot. "Dammit!"

    Staren starts pacing. "That library is quite possibly infinitely big. How are we going to find the information we need without our librarian?"

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
While Rebecca knows little to nothing about how Longita attempted to contact the others, she knows nonetheless that the inability to do so is not a good thing at all. Although she, too, wishes Longita would stop beating around the bush and just get to the point already. Rebecca knows nothing about Escher, but she has a feeling that's all about to change very soon.

"I would like to hope so," Rebecca replies to Longita in response to the comment about those who are missing being 'capable souls.' Although, Rebecca's having a bit of difficulty speaking with confidence at this point, since there's so little that she understands about this whole thing and wonders if those who are missing know any more than she does.

Despite standing attentively, Rebecca's eyes start to wander a little as she's getting a bit tired of listening to this whole thing. "Are they gonna tell us about Escher?" Rebecca mutters to herself. When Staren asks about the library, Rebecca turns to him and says, "If we don't have our librarian, then the only thing we can do is try to look for it ourselves."

Staren has posed:
    Staren after a moment thinks to clarify, "The library of murdered knowledge is where anything that was ever known to the world of the living has ended up... I guess it'd normally be any knowledge forgotten or somehow killed, but with no living people left, that's everything... And then there's books that are knowledge that was never discovered in the first place. They're weird..."

    He looks to Rebecca. "Oh right... I guess there was more than the library there. Like there was this really deep pit full of unlit... It's just, space was warped like crazy, and connected by doors that make no sense... it's like what's left of the Citadel. So we haven't really explored what's there besides the Library."

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    "He is my Servant," Tanya corrects the Priestess. There's just a bit of an annoyed edge to her tone, though she's clearly trying to keep her voice level. Probably at how much time is wasted with the explanation. Closing her eyes, the girl shifts her rifle and removes the magazine, then ejects the unfired round. This is thumbed back into the clip, and the cleared rifle is slung back over her shoulder as it's become clear she won't be needing it right this moment.

    As she works, she speaks.

    "Something about this world has consumed my fellow Hand, my Servant, and several of my subordinates. I fail to see how sending us on an errand to a library containing ancient knowledge will assist us in finding the locations of these assets that disappeared within the past few days."

    An eye opens, focusing on Longita directly with that glowing blue iris, "I don't appreciate my time being wasted on pointless errands that have nothing to do with why I am here." At least the small officer shifts to a more relaxed posture, resting one hand on the strap of her rifle, the other on the grip of the pistol at her hip, "So I'd appreciate it if you'd provide actually relevant information instead of scattering the seeds of a wild goose chase."

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Touta's still not entirely sure what's going on. Talk of magical libraries is cool and all but it still leaves the group with more questions than answers. To the extent that the blonde-haired girl seems to be implying something that he really hopes a kid her age wouldn't actually imply. Actually, he's heard this voice before. Isn't she always on the comms? Well that could be asked later. For now, Touta takes the moment to step in between Tanya and her line of fire towards Longita. There's no need for threats yet right?

"Hey, so I'm still sorta new to this stuff but if there just in another part of the Multiverse, why couldn't we just have one of the factions trace their location? I mean, I get they aren't picking up their comms but I've seen plenty of science and magical people in the Multiverse already. Even if we can't contact them anymore someone could probably find where they were last or something an easier way? That'd be alot quicker than having to take a detour to this library you're talking about wouldn't it?"

He's sure if it was that easy someone would have done it already, but he figures he should at least ask. It also be nice to know why the comms werent' working anymore either but he's hoping that if he gives Longita some time to explain herself this time, she'll do so.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
"So we have to ..." Yuna trails off, thinking over what little they know so far. "... hopefully there's a card catalog or something, a way to find where books are by subject or whatever." Having something like this to work her mind around makes it easier to not dwell on her being in an afterlife. Tanya's attitude, on the other hand - well, the 'dead' can apparently be killed again here.

"I don't know who you are or where you're from originally," Yuna says to the blonde girl who's littler than *she* is, "but if she knew where our missing friends were, I'm pretty sure she'd already want to help us find them. They've already been helping Lumiere's people out, from the sound of things. Maybe we'll find some of them if we go to this Escher place, library or whatever it turns out to be, and if not, we might at least find out where they're *going*, or trying to get to."

Yuna pauses, chewing over what Staren just said about the 'Library of Murdered Knowledge'. "You know, if we from the living world don't have any idea where our friends went missing, maybe THAT information is in Escher too? But we'll have to look it up fast, because once we know it it's not 'dead' knowledge any more ..." She looks around, shrugging. "It's the best lead *I* can think of that we have, okay?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren looks at Touta. "The easiest kind of tracking requires them to be using their radio... But in Lumiere, geography is... messed up, so even that might not be reliable. Without the Caverns of Prophecy, the use of scrying or the like requires seeking out a specialist elite with such a capability... It's faster to make at least some effort to look for them first, which is what we're here doing now. But it's certainly on the table."

    He looks to Yuna and shakes his head at the question about the card catalog, then oohs at the idea that 'where our friends are' could be in the library. "That's a really good idea!"

Carna (974) has posed:
    Longita smiles nervously as people start asking her questions and fingering their weapons. Staren mentioning details of the Library of Murdered Knowldedge makes her even more nervous. "You have... Already been to Escher? And there was some one still there?" So she was not only unaware that people had gone there, but also appeared to expect that everyone there was gone. "I do not know what else I can say to be of use," she tries to offer to Tanya apologetically. "I have not seen the missing individuals since before I tried to contact them. I am just... Directing you to where you might find help. I mean, information of use. Or so I have heard."

    Touta's question makes her even more flustered. "I... You could try that. I would know nothing of what is involved in such a search. Sadly, the Witches of Styx are no more, they were most adept at scrying distant locations and learning hidden truths. But whatever you wish to attempt is of course up to you."

    She smiles more brightly as Yuna speaks in favor of the search for information. "Yes, I can only encourage you to do that. That is the only advice I have at the moment." She hesitates, then turns and begins heading towards the chapel. "Please wait here, if you could! I think I need to consult with the High Matron for further instructions. That would be best." 'Further instructions'.

    So what she has told them so far, useless or no, was at the direction of another. And now that they are asking her question she can not answer or is not PERMITTED to answer, and have done things or are doing things she was not instructed on how to handle, all she can do is parrot the same advice and go running back to her handler.

    Was she or someone she works for responsible for the disappearances, perhaps? Or simply trying to cover them up? But then why send out a call for help in finding them?

    Even without knowing about all the history of this place, something is not adding up. The behavior is suspicious no matter how one looks at it.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    As Longita verbally backsteps, Tanya's eyes start to narrow. When she finally responds, though, it doesn't seem as if she's actually talking to the Priestess at all.

    "Lord, give me the strength to protect the Fatherland from the Faithless. Allow me to be the instrument of Your will, and spread Your golden truth throughout the shadows."

    As she speaks, the blue glow in the girl's eyes grows unstable, washing out to a vibrant, deific gold. The flight unit strapped to her waist shudders uncomfortably as its gemstone reacts to the change in her magical output.

    In a snap, the pistol is out of its holster, lifted, and fired. The shot goes intentionally wide-- over Longita's shoulder, where it detonates against the steps behind her. Moving too fast to create much 'backblast', it instead carves a cone several feet through the stone before the spell stops.

    She adjusts her aim immediately.

    "I am from a world where lies exist," Tanya states in response to Yuna, though her eyes do not take themselves off the unconvincing priestess, "A world where intimidation, misdirection, and subterfuge decides the fate of nations. If I have any reason to believe I am being manipulated," Her head tilts forward, casting her eyes in shadow-- but that burning golden glow remains, "I will act accordingly."

    "Now," she addresses Longita, "Tell me again exactly why sending us to an ancient library we have already been to, which nobody else has been able to visit since ancient times by your own admission aside from a person you did not know about-- and is also missing, is going to provide us with information relevant to finding various persons who disappeared /two days ago/."

    By her logic that isn't even enough time to write a book, let alone print it and distribute it. The girl's lips split into a rather predatory expression.

    "I've killed my fair share of enemy soldiers. But I've never killed someone who was already dead. I suggest you start talking before I start experiencing."

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
"Yes, ma'am," Rebecca replies respectfully to Longita as she heads off. However, as she starts to leave, Rebecca's expression starts to turn negative once again. "Hey, is it me," Rebecca says to no one in particular, "Or did she seems a little odd? I mean, she's telling us a lot of things, but didn't give us any information that we could actually utilize." The medic bites her lip briefly. "Honestly, if I didn't have a bad feeling before, I definitely do now."

As Tanya begins to pray or whatever, Rebecca takes notice and watches as Tanya's pistol suddenly draws and then fires, causing Rebecca to jump back a little, as she definitely wasn't expecting that. For a moment, Rebecca is too stunned to do anything but stare in disbelief at what Tanya has just done. "W-what are you..." Rebecca trails off as she realizes Tanya is not interested in listening to anyone but instead speaking to Longita.

There's a time for words and there's a time for actions as Rebecca's hand reaches for her holstered Magnum, but she doesn't draw it just yet. Instead, she's preparing herself in case the need for action does arise. Glancing between Longita and Tanya, Rebecca's mouth opens a little to show her gritted teeth while her eyes narrow a little.

Staren has posed:
    When Longita claims she has nothing else of use, Staren points out, "You could tell us how you know about these 'alternate Lumieres'... even if you don't know anything else about them, the context in which you heard of it could be a clue."

    But she's... walking off? "If you think the High Matron could tell us more, then perhaps we should see her directly. No sense wasting time playing telephone through you."

    Tanya gets threatening. "Woah woah woah, calm down. She's right that the library contains all knowledge." It hasn't even occured to him that Tanya is thinking in terms of published books. "It's just that searching it for the specific knowledge we need pretty much depends on luck. A more direct course of action would be preferable, but killing one of Lumiere's few friendly faces won't help us any."

    If Longita doesn't stop and give a hell of a logical reason they can't see the matron though, he'll just... follow her.

    Right behind her, so that it's hard for the others to shoot her.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
At the incantation and the magically-enhanced gunshot, Yuna is left staring at Tanya. Was that some kind of *holy* magic? Not like Yuna's own powers as the Savior of Light - she wants to think 'not even close,' but ...

"Lies exist in worlds other than yours," Yuna says, her voice clear but firm. "And you'll gain us *nothing* if you kill the spokeswoman who's been our only willing contact here so far. Except for Staren, we're all strangers in an unfamiliar world down here, and we need all the help we can get if we're going to find our friends."

With that said, Yuna shifts her gaze to the Peacemaker. "It might be faster if your High Matron comes to speak with us, if she's able to. While I may disagree with the girl's attitude ... if our friends are missing and in danger, time *is* of the essence, and I would be extremely unhappy if delays *here* mean that any of our friends die before we can find them."

As Yuna speaks to Longita, the subtle, almost subliminal glow of the Light Suit brightens - not so that it's uncomfortable to look at, but its gleam is clearly not just a matter of catching whatever ambient light may be reflecting from its surface. It's not a great difference, either - just enough that the independent glow is noticeable.

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
As Longita decides to recede back into the confines of the chapel, Touta had wanted to simply just go inside of the chapel and talk to this Matron directly. But that idea is thrown out as he notices what Tanya does. While the words weren't in Latin, the way she spoke eerily similar to the chanting done in his world when a mage was casting a spell. If it was simply the fact she was in a military uniform and nothing else he probably would have no reason to believe she was some sort of mage, but the fact that she was floating, the glowing of her eyes, and now the chanting. He really wants to believe that this kid is bluffing. Even as she pulls out the pistol he can't help but feel she's overplaying it.

"Hey, I get your pissed but that isn't a to-"

She fires. She actually pulled the trigger. The shot was wide and clearly meant more to make a statement, but she's still not done as she now points the gun at Longita as she gives her speech. It's at this point Touta's forced to raise his sword as he once again stands in the line of fire between Tanya and Longita.

He's not sure if Tanya's bullet could kill Longita, or even the fact that standing in the way of the bullet might be meaningless for Longita, but that didn't mean that he was just going to let her shoot. That being said...He does give Tanya a certain look. It's not one of hostility, at least not yet.

He can sorta see where Tanya's coming from. Compared to Yuna and Staren who were willing to wait for the Matron's information, there's no guarantee that they wouldn't be left in the dark again. That being said if Longita was afraid enough to speak the truth there was probably a higher chance that they could get more unfiltered information. Though to say this was a drastic was of doing so was an understatement.

"Hey, I know I'm not a priest or anything here but I think you might want to take this time to confess before she decides to take that next shot..."

If Tanya's going to play bad cop, he can at least try to play the good cop. Though...If she did try to pull the trigger again, that'll be a whole different situation entirely.

Carna (974) has posed:
    Longita freezes in place when the shot goes over her shoulder. She turns away from the sight of destruction once the spell has done its work on the chapel steps, hands clasped together tightly in front of her chest. Throughout everything Tanya says, she is shaking her head back and forth frantically, even at the threat/promise of being shot to pieces if she doesn't talk. "I ca not!" she blurts out. Then more quietly, she whispers urgently, "She will know I spoke. She will find out!" Apparently more important than being tortured and maybe-killed, is not being caught saying something she shouldn't be. Which indicates she is scared of something worse than either of those things. Or perhaps she does not understand how serious the threat being made is?

    "You can not speak to her drectly. She is in Aetheir Cathedral, with the rest of our Order. I need to... To pray for guidance. She will choose whether to contact me at that time." She tries to offer to Yuna and Staren. The blindfold does not appear to protect her from the light shining off of the former. "You will find what you seek in Escher. That is all I was told. Please, I am not supposed to talk about it. It is forbidden. Do not ask me any more questions, I beg of you." She lowers her voice again. "It was a mistake to call for aid in finding them. I should not have done it."

    So she DID call for help in finding them. Meaning she knew they were missing. And now has been told to direct people to Escher against her own wishes. She looks over her shoulder, perhaps at the damaged stairs... Or perhaps inside the chapel, at the alter dimly visible at the far end of the aisle, looking very similar to the shrine they used to arrive here. She bites her lip again at Touta's words. She is willing to be hurt herself, or to risk 'dying', perhaps. But she is having a crisis of conscience. "One moment. Just give me one moment, please. I do not wish for... Any further damage to come to chapel. I should close the door before you... Do anything else." She turns to look pleadingly at Touta, Staren, Tanya, Rebecca, and then Yuna.

    "I might be able to... Better guide you... When I have some peace of mind concerning the chapel's safety. With the door closed. I have been attendint it for a very long time. To see such a precious place desecrated is surely interfering with my ability to adequately follow my instructions." Her very carefully enunciated words, the theatrical way she is speaking now... She turns her head towards the door, and then back to them. Then herks her head towards the door a few more times meaningfully in case people still do not get it.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Tanya finds a Touta in her line of fire. Immediately, the girl snaps, "Are you stupid or something?" though she does lift her luger up and away from him. Barrel discipline! Golden eyes shift to the Priestess' frantic denials. And the obvious fear. Her face sets in a tense mask, a rather serious frown.

    After a moment of tolerating Longita's defense and objections, though, Tanya's stern expression suddenly disappears into one of surprise and understanding. Even the sprig of hair sticking off her head seems to straighten, albeight briefly.

    Her eyes dart to Staren and she nods towards the door before her gaze returns to Longita. Apparently she's not willing to take her attention off the errant priestess for very long. That's what minions are for.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
It takes Yuna a moment to 'get it,' too - but then realization dawns on her face. "Staren, hang on. I think you're on the wrong track ..."

Tanya's already moving to the chapel door as well, so rather than hurrying over, Yuna just beckons Elner closer, whispering quickly - and then the robo-faerie disappears in a blip of light. Elner would reappear still outside the chapel, but as close to the altar as possible, and actively scanning for electronics or the like.

If Longita is worried about the altar spying on her, or the others .... well. It's admittedly not likely that they're doing so electronically, but that's one of the few things Elner can scan for. And it's about as much as Yuna can do with others already moving to deal with the chapel door.

Staren has posed:
    Staren has a lot to say, but even he can pick up on Longita's signalling. Fine. He approaches the door she indicates moves to go through it.

    Apparently he can't pick up on it, actually.

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Thankfully, Touta isn't that stupid. Or well...This could have ended much worse if Tanya recalled who he was. For one reason or another though, Tanya does decide against shooting Longita. With her lowering her weapon, he can ease his shoulders and lower his own weapon as well. Though when she asks him that question he can't help but laugh a little, "I'm probably a little bit of both, honestly."

Still, it seemed that Longita wasn't a bad person. More like she was just in a bad spot. If she was telling the truth for trying to ask for help at least. It implied to a certain extent that she got in trouble for the actions she did, but her actions were not in alignment with this Matron's. If anything that made Touta want to hear what she had to say. Though anything they probably would try and do was probably going to be no good in getting her to talk to them about it honestly. Then he notices Tanya acting strange with Longita, did he miss something? Maybe he was stupid afterall, or just oblivious. Then he sees Staren start heading towards the door and seeing as he had been the most well informed, Touta follows him with that same line of thought. Though, when Yuna stops him there, he realizes how stupid he actually is. She wasn't urging them inside! She was urging them to shut the damn door!

"Mmmm, if that's the case let's not let a draft in..." With that he kicks the door shut leasurely waiting to hear the sound of it being shut thoroughly.

Carna (974) has posed:
    Longita waits until she is sure the door is closed, and then, though her dead lungs have no need for air, she lets out a shuddering breath she was holding merely out of habit, despite her long stay here. She calms herself as best as she can, clenching her hands in her skirts. She lets out all air again, except what is required to speak. "You may think this more useless information, but it is immediately and intensely relevant to the safety of those who have disappeared. It is also forbidden to speak of. There have been multiple rulers of Lostrata, this part of Lumiere we now stand. Between when the Eternal Prophet, Los, ruled, and when the noble dead took charge in the absence of any king, there was another ruler. I was not yet dead at the time. I did not expire until much later on. But this creature used the manipulation of dreams and memory, and wielded vast power fueled by humanity's own beliefs and fears. Humanity itself created and powered their own prison. However, eventually that being was sealed into a throne somehow, which the future King of Lostrata would sit upon and be corrupted by. It was supposed to have died when some of you outsiders destroyed that same throne recently. Somehow it was released instead."

    She waves a hand as if aware that this information may seem like more stalling or boring explanations. "It can not be at full strength yet. Not with so few native Dead left, and not with the recent destruction of its vessel. But it is probably trying to accelerate its return to power by trapping immensely powerful souls like yours, and your allies, in the same prison it used to confine Humanity once before. And the memory or nightmare of that prison, shared by so many, is probably located within Escher or can be accessed from there. I suspect that is why the High Matron wished for me to send you there. You will find what you are looking for there, but you will be in danger of falling victim to the same trap they did if you do not take precautions. Bring with you something from each of the missing. Something they can use as an anchor to this reality. And leave something of your own behind with someone who can serve as YOUR anchor, so that you can find your way back."

    She clasps her hands together tighter and lowers herself to her knees. "That is all that I know and all that I can say."

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    As soon as the door is closed, Tanya lowers her pistol. In a practiced series of motions, she ejects the magazine, clears the chamber, thumbs the round back into its slot on the magazine, re-inserts it, and safeties the luger. It's slid into her holster. This is all done while she listens to Longita's more detailed information, and it isn't until the priestess has sunk down that Tanya speaks up.

    "So you were charged with sending us to our doom. Your Matron is doubtless under this creature's control. This... Being Y, we'll call it for now, since it doesn't seem to have a name that you're aware of."

    Inwardly, she smirks. Yes. You're comparable to this scum crawling through the slime at the bottom of the afterlife, Being X. How does that revelation make you feel?

    "Knowing that it is a trap, we can use this to our advantage moving forward. And trap the trappers." With the gun holstered, Tanya props her hand on her hip, looming over Longita with all her tiny majesty, "You're afraid of them. We can protect you. Staren seems fond of you. I won't object to this. But you're afraid of the wrong person."

    Her head tilts forward again. With her eyes cast in shadow, the tiny Major's golden irises look all the more intense, "If you have to fear someone, you should fear /me/ and what /I/ will do if this is a double-cross."

    Lifting her gaze, she glances to Staren, then Yuna, then Touta in turn.

Staren has posed:
    Staren gives Touta a 'dude, what the hell?' look... but Longita starts speaking.

    Oh. Whatever's listening is on the OTHER side of the door.

    "Really? REALLY?!" Staren throws his hands up. "All that and we didn't even DESTROY it?! What's it fuckin' TAKE to actually END someone around here?!"

    He strides forward and points at Longina. "'Forbidden to speak of'. If I find out that your order KNEW the creature had survived and didn't tell us, endangering not only us but your world and the Multiverse as well... They're next." He throws up his hands again. "ALTHOUGH MAYBE THEY'LL SURVIVE ANYWAY, WHO KNOWS?" Then back to pointing at Longita. "Keeping things like this secret holds everyone back."

    He starts pacing around the room. "These 'anchors'. How do they work? How do they draw our allies, and how can we use them if we ourselves are trapped?"

Touta Konoe (1143) has posed:
Touta is receiving eye daggers from both Tanya AND Staren. If looks could kill...Well, he'd still be alright actually so that doesn't matter. His world is full of powerful lolis. Granted he hasn't seen one with a magical gun, but frankly his experiences make her stare seem less threatening than perhaps she would want it to be. Still he's glad he was right. Longita isn't some evil person. She's just in a bad spot. So as Tanya and Staren make their remarks he walks over to kneeling Longita and sits down beside her putting an arm on her shoulder.

"I believe you." The way she expelled her breath, the way she tightened her fist into her skirt, the fact she was practically falling to her knees in prayer. If she was truly lying now she was probably the best actor in the after life.

"Don't worry, we'll go to this Escher place or whatever get our friends back, and deal with this evil king too or whatever."

Still that didn't feel good enough for Touta. It was one thing to stop this king to get their friends back, but what about the people messing wit Longita. Weren't they more than just this king in Escher? He can't really assure the rest of the factions will help once they bring back the others, but at the very least...

"And once we deal with him, if you want I'll go to that Aetheir Cathedral or what not and give that Matron a good piece of my mind too!" He was serious about this too. He fully intended to deal with not only getting his friends back, or even dealing with this evil entity, he was keeping to what he said before. If he could help her, he honestly would.

Carna (974) has posed:
    Longita seems aghast. "A trap? No, certainly not! You--or your allies you seek, at least, have been resolving the problems of Lumiere without being given direct information before. It would... it would interfere with the prophecy of saving Lumiere. We aren't supposed to do that. You are supposed to learn, explore, fight, and solve the issues yourself. If we tell you everything we know, we would alter destiny. Lumiere might NOT be saved. And... And I may have just caused that by speaking to you." She bows her head and prays quietly to herself.

    She shakes her head at the threat from Tanya. "There are worse things that suffering. Worse things than dying another time. You have no idea. I can not escape. I must stay here and provide guidance to the Lanterns. I still have a duty to perform, until I am no longer necessary."

    She looks up at Staren, eyes as hidden as ever. "The High Matron can see past, present, and future. She may have known the lord of fear would be freed, or not. You, all of you, are a factor that have altered fate many times already. The ripples you create with your actions are unanticipated. If it had been only Lanterns, they might have slain that thing as well. It is their function to destroy souls, a vestige of what they once were." She frowns.

    "I do not know the details. The more I tell you, the more I alter what should be. You are supposed to determine it for yourselves. But... I would venture they should be thinks with personal meaning to their owners. Objects with significant emotional context, or a long period of exposure to their presence. These entity uses dreams and memories, and is powered by fear. Positive emotions and possessions with strong memories are best as a result. They are already likely in a place of nightmares and forgetfulness. Please, you must do the rest yourselves. I may be dooming everyone, yourselves included, by using my information. It is even worse because my information is incomplete. If you make the wrong decision, or no decision, or the right decision for the wrong reasons, because you relied on information that was not explicit, it could result in losses for all of us."

    Her final words as Touta tries to comfort her, are, "The Order of the Light, and all of us Peacemakers at the Churches of Bleak Mercy, want what is best for the future of Lumiere. It is I who am wrong, and weak, for diverging from the High Matron's plan. Please do not blame her for my inadequacy. If I had done a better job, or not reached out before you came to investigate, this would not have happened. All I had to do was trust in her, but I..." Her voice quavers, and then says, "Just... Be certain that they return safely. That is hopefully what was meant to happen." She then falls silent. She seems to have no more to say, or be unwilling to say any more, even under threat. But now they know what to do. Roughly. Probably best to consult with their allies or coordinate with those who knew the missing. Family, friends, co-workers...

    This is shaping up to be a complicated rescue mission.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
Yuna is too busy listening and thinking to speak up, although she finds herself in profound agreement with Staren about not having been able to obliterate an evil spirit that *really* shouldn't have been hanging around so long after the death of its (his?) original mortal body. Normally, Yuna doesn't like to be a party to suffering or injury or death when they can be avoided ... but given what Longita is saying about the Tyrant of Dreams and Memory, or rather, the Lord of Fear? This is probably not something (or someone) which she would extend that much mercy towards.

More to the point, though, she's scraping her memory, trying to come up with suitable items or artifacts which could serve as beacons for the Watch's missing members. A quick query on the Watch's frequency elicits no responses; she'll just have to file a report and hope people who read it can answer - preferably before they set out to find that Throne and rescue their missing members. And all of the others who've gone missing.

Somebody - or something - who preys on the souls of others. *That* goes beyond even Yuna's ability to forgive, even setting the other factors aside.

"It's not the first time we've had to solve this kind of puzzle to protect our precious and irreplaceable friends," she says. "Thank you for what help you've been able to give us, Peacemaker Longita; I hope we'll be able to fulfill the prophecy, and I hope that your High Matron doesn't get angry at you for your decision to trust in us." Even if the trust was SLIGHTLY coerced ...

She pointedly avoids glaring at Tanya, much as a piece of her would like to. She focuses instead on the people here whom she knows - familiar faces, friendly faces, all people she's fought alongside before. Between them, and the captured souls, she's sure they'll find a way to win. And maybe, all together, they'll be able to obliterate the soul of that ancient tyrant where the prior attempt only shattered his vessel.

"I'll see what I can find out from my friends," she says to the rest of the group, "but - who else went missing, all told? I mentioned Leyanne, Finna, Dorian; I heard about someone called Empty Tidings, too ..."

Staren has posed:
    "Then we're already off the rails. So it won't matter if you DO tell us more. We never needed a prophecy to save a world before. Session 613 is gone, and we never got a chance to travel back in time and finish it, and yet, save it we apparently did. So even those rules, it seems, are not immutable. You want what is best for Lumiere?" He steps towards her. "In all the billions of years since the overworld died, was there any improvement here? No. Things have been falling apart and everyone's been waiting for some prophecy. And if WE waited for some procphecy instead of handling shit ourselves, that's where you'd STILL be."

    "You think we're some kind of special people, chosen by fate? We're not. It's true, not all have the opportunity to change things. Some people are held down until heroes come and save them. Some people are born into disease, and perish before they have a chance. But the people who DO get a chance? They can take it, or they can not. Yeah, I was born into a pretty sweet situation. And I coulda just sat back and enjoyed it. But I didn't. Because I had a sense of fairness. Because I read stories about heroes."

    "The only power a prophecy has... is the power everyone who believes in it gives it, by following it instead of doing something else."

    "This 'Being Y'? It clearly doesn't care about the prophecy like you do. It's not afraid to act. It saw a chance to take some of us out, and went for it. At least it actually DID something to accomplish its goals, instead of just waiting for someone else to hand it the future on a silver platter. The other me, despite not being a prophecied hero, made a plan to save not just Lumiere but the entire Multiverse. We need to find allies like THAT. What does your order care about more: Lumiere's real future? Or the Prophecy?"

    With that, he glares at Longita, turns in place, and walks back towards the shrine.