6230/The Minstrel's Ballad: Gaius's Ambition(2)

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The Minstrel's Ballad: Gaius's Ambition(2)
Date of Scene: 26 December 2018
Location: Shrine of Adversity
Synopsis: The Minstrel's Ballad focuses now on the Ascian Lahabrea, and the Light's intervention in his defeat
Cast of Characters: 6843, N'raha Tia, 1149, Athela Valemore, Tomoe

Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
Once more, at the Shrine of Adversity, at a spot set aside perfectly for this kind of setting.  Once more, standing in the center of attention was a middle age normal looking man.  In his hands was a lute, being strum slowly as he prepares a tune.  Just like last time, a crowd as formed, drink is served to those who listen.  

"Come my friends, gather around for a tale of a would-be crown.  
When our hero, protector of the realm
On the cusp of victory he seeks
Is now confronted with the darkness that reeks
All so that one man's ambition...
May finally find fruition."

"On the cusp of victory most well earned
When our heroes, burned by wind, fire, and earth most stern
Are suddenly interrupted by a man most stern
And in whose heart most burns
Much like our heroes, who do not cower
But at this moment, he assumes this is his hour..."

"But with him, darkness most grim
Who's very soul dims the star's light
And whose actions bring upon Hyldalyn's blight.
Who the Warrior's of Light
Must do battle, or all will be the eternal night."

As the words string you along, as the beautiful tale is weaved, the song seems to draw you in.  It's almost like you yourselves were there, in that spot, facing down the three Primals.  You had just struck the decisive blow, as Garuda the bird-like Primal of Wind, Ifrit the demonic-like Primal of Fire, and Titan the Mountain like Primal of Earth.  They had nearly fallen to their wounds, apparently fighting with the Warrior of light to their last, and here was Garuda's final gambit.

However, as the finishing blows would come, something over the horizon comes.  Technology that seems highly out of place in Eorzia is seen, flying over a sinister contraption.  The large entity, quadruped, large, and with the same dark steel look that most Garlean machines are built with lands.  It's body coming to life.  The machine crashes in front of the Primals.  However, unlike before, the Primals continue to draw power from the prayer and crystals around.  

"Is that all?  Oh lady Garuda, oh lady of the Vortex!  The most terrible of the primals, I ask again...IS THAT ALL!?" He bellows towards the Primal.  From inside the machine.  

However, before anyone can actually interfere with this...a rift in space and time itself tears open in front of the heroes, the warriors of light.  From it, a masked and robed man appears, hovering off of the ground.  Though only one of you has actually seen him before, the power of the play has brought to you his name.  


Those who look on the ground notice one thing.  This man casts no shadow.  His presence is, FEELS wrong.  Something etherial clings to him, as his masked face seems to consider the rest of the group.  As he speaks, his voice appears to come from all around you, as well as from him, and its tone is simply not natural.  Also highly annoying.  

"Ah, Warriors of light.  We can not have you interfering with this moment.  While I know you can not help but run needlessly into danger, at this point I can not allow you to stop this.  After all, for the birth of the one true god to return, you must needs die here."

His hands come out on either side of him, as a dark aura seems to build around him.  "Come then, Warrior of Light.  Today, your light will flicker, and be extinguished!"

N'raha Tia has posed:
    And once again, Raha, who had been here once more to try and correct the record that The Minstrel seems hellsbent on ruining each and every time he ells a tale or sings a song... finds himself pulled into the tale again.

    And once again, he find himself, wrapped head to toe in that Ironworks Armor, the heft and weight of Bravura easily shifting in his hands. Once again, he's struck down the false gods of the Beastmen, the Primal's power guttered and ruined and- Wait no. They're not dead. The never did die, not right then, did they? No.

    The visor opens on the mask, and Raha points at the floating Ascian. "Lahabrea! I can't let you contnue this madness! You do nothing but sow chaos and discord! If you won't end this, then I will END IT FOR YOU." The axe head glows, his mask snaps shut, his tail /flicks/ with a snap that's just as decisive as his next step.

    There's a BLAST of aether from his legs and feet as he skates forward, leaping up to engage with the Ascian. The speaker on the helmet crackles. "COME, AND FACE THE LIGHT OF HYDAELYN!"

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Having heard, rather extensively, the praises of the Wandering Minstrel, one Misa Takayama has made her way to the Shrine of Adversity to see this man in action. Officer of the guild D.D.D and an accomplished Bard herself, though for different reasons, Misa was 'encouraged' by her Lord to visit the man and hear his tales first-hand. Thus, Misa stands amidst the growing crowd, her arms crossed as she waits with some impatience for the act to begin.

    Of course, with each second that passes, Misa thinks about the so-called 'role' of a Bard that her Lord has often spoke about. She only took the class due to its support abilities. The lore behind it is irrelevant. Just because her Lord likes to take these things just a little too far, doesn't mean she has to as well!

    Just as things are about to start, Misa's annoyance at her Lord finally reaches the tipping point and she turns to the person next to her, saying with some rather loud conviction, "No matter what he says, I will NOT sing."


    Far from the Shrine of Adversity, sitting at a desk within his small office, Krusty sneezes. He pauses in his work for a moment, idly wondering, "I wonder if I'm coming down with something."

    Sitting on the couch nearby, Rieze casually flips over the page of the book she's reading, eyes never leaving its words as she replies, "It was probably just Misa talking about you." Krusty mmmms in agreement, before returning to work.


    Annoyance briefly sated, Misa returns her attention to the Minstrel as today's tale begins. She finds herself swept up in his words, somewhat begrudgingly admitting his skill. In her mind she can see the story, feeling herself being pulled in. She's actually there herself, though wearing a long ornate coat with far more fancy in its design than she normally would. However, while one might normally expect to find a bow in the hands of such a warrior songstress, Misa instead holds her scythe. A menacing weapon that literally seeps with darkness in this exaggerated tale.

    Misa faces down the strange shadowless figure with grim determination.

Athela Valemore has posed:
Bards were not an unfamiliar concept to Athela. They were a fairly common occurance in Bayern, often performing on streets accompanied by Jigglypuff or Kirlia to sing and dance along, telling tales of old through their musical skills.

The Minstrel however was on an entirely different level than she had expected. She had come to listen to stories of the past so she could learn more about why Raha's world was in the state it was. She had not expected it to be so vividly real, to the point it feels as if she was actually standing amongst the heroes of that world at a most harrowing time. Taken aback, but the Spirit of Justice does not back down easily. Athela goes to draw her weapon, ignoring the sting in the movements from her lingering wounds. "I... am not certain if I should be impressed, or concerned, at this." Resolute Blade is at least a reassuring feel in her grasp, enough to help steady her composure.

She watchs as Raha rushes in against the dark figure, and tightens her grip. "So be it. Onward!" She follows the Warrior of Light's lead, sprinting a few steps and then using her version of Aqua Jet to launch herself into the air briefly and then back down towards their foe with a thrusting jab of her weapon.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is here with Raha again to face what the Bard has to show them she knows it will be quite hard to deal with and at least on par with the Skull Reaper, a thing that did factually kill her so long ago. She took a deep breath and while she was in no true danger that feeling of fear was there. She draws her blade which is burning with holy fire. She looks up at this being for a moment and she frowns for a moment.

"Let's go, big man."

With that Tomoe pops several tank buffs and falls upon the enemy, keeping an eye out for anything strange after what happened last time? She wants to be far more alert as even if this is embellished? It teaches how dangerous some oft he ruinous powers of N'Raha's homeworld are.

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    The battle quickly starts, N'Raha launching himself at the strange Lahabrea. Misa does not join him though, holding her ground some distance away. Holding her scythe in one hand, she raises the other to her chest as she concentrates. Musical notes formed from light begin to float around her, a melodic tune echoing from them. An aura then bursts up around Misa and all the other heroes that are fighting. They will find the magic boosting their skill with their chosen weapon, improving their striking power against Lahabrea.

Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
"The Light of Hydaelyn?  It pales in comparison to the light of the one true god," He says, as the axe aims for the robed figure, and right off the rip he aims to start combat.  The axe comes in, but the Ascian is a tad faster than expected.  Magical defenses weaken the swing of the axe, which only touches the chest of the shadowless man.  This, however, does more to get the attention of the man of shadows.

Athela comes down, swinging her weapon, aiming to end the man's dangerous reign in this world.  However, as she swings down, he notices her.  Before she could find purchase, the man seems to recede into darkness again, as a new rift forms, and he comes out of it...effectively teleporting out of her strike.  

However, the careful Tomoe swings, and good thing they were so careful!  Their patience pays off, as the weapon collides with the Ascian, throwing him off balance and causing a grunt of pain and some frustration from him.  The glow of shadow, in response, gets darker.

However, Misa joins the fray as well, but this time the darkness provides him some benefit, deadening the blow against him right at the last moment, causing a less than solid blow, but still damage nonetheless.    Staggering, but not quite as injured as the group might have wanted, he rises.  

The darkness swells around the Ascian, as in all directions to follow up their attacks, he releases a dangerous wall of darkness.  It received out, striking at all.  It is much like any other explosion, though it's passing leaves you feeling cold and tired, as opposed to on fire, exploded, or lashed with other elemental properties.  It is a creepy feeling, but not especially bad.

Just creepy.  

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    There's nothing Misa can do to defend herself against the wave of darkness, simpy holding her arm up on instinct as it washes over her. She stumbles back as it hits her, gritting her teeth at the pain. But soon enough it has passed and Misa recovers, stepping forward once more.
    As the aura of her song continues to work on herself and her allies, Misa shifts her scythe into both hands as she prepares to engage Lahabrea herself. She dashes forward, long coat billowing out behind her as she closes the distance to their foe. Once she gets into scythe range, she demonstrates the skill of one worthy enough of the title: Sword Saint.

    The curved blade of Misa's scythe cuts towards Lahabrea multiple times as she spins the weapon around, a trail of darkness following behind it. As the blade strikes its foe, it leaves behind its taint that continues to eat at Lahabrea for a while longer.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    The catman is fully expecting this level of nonsense from the Ascian, watching the Dark Shadow do Shadow-y things, like teleporting out of attacks and shifting back nad forth out of this plane of reality. Just the sort of thing someone so soaked in the Void would be able to do, the wretch.
    The wave of darkness washes over his armor, soaking through it and slaking across the catman's bones, seeping away some of that exhuberant energy of his... but he's not about to stop. Not now. Not when they've already come so far. The end of the road is still so far, isn't it?

    Bravura comes around again, the eyeslits on Raha's armor glowing red for a moment as he builds up energy, his arms glowing with the light of the world. "Well, I've yet to meet your True God, Ascian. Perhaps I'll do that... and end them like I ended the Primals." That axe come around again, though not in a chopping motion. He swings the flat of it against Lahabrea's chest, aiming to stun and disorient the dark creature.

Athela Valemore has posed:
There's an audible *whunk* as Resolute Blade only strikes the ground where the Ascian once stood. As soon as her own feet hit the ground after Athela grunts and yanks the tip free, flipping the elaborate weapon just enough to put it back into a proper grip. "I see what he meant," she mutters under her breath, recalling the warning about being tricky. She turns on her heels, using the sounds of the others' more successful attacks to hone in on their opponent's new location... Just in time to see him unleashing a wave of dark energy. Well here we go.

Athela grits her teeth, digs in and grabs her weapon in both hands to hold it before her defensively. The divine nature of the ancient sword provides an additional effort to the defensive stance, a visible ripple of energy along it's length as the cold shadows flow over them, soles skidding softly on the ground before armored boots dug back in. Shivers of cold tingles through her body but Athela promptly shoved it into the recesses of her mind as she had done many a time before. That stung but she refused to let it waver her resolve.

Here she was, not even her own world, yet once again caught in a fight between heroes and corrupt deities. Destiny be what it is.

She wound back a bit with her weapon, watery ripples caressing the blade briefly. "Your corruption shall be washed from these lands." As she swung her sword the elemental energy released, causing a swirling vortex of water to churn to life around the Ascian's feet, in an attempt to use the drawing effect of it's current to keep him from being so swift moving.

Tomoe has posed:
The fight is well underway now against these things as the thing brings up about the light of Hydaelyn for a moment she will have to ask later but for now she fights. She's able to score a hit on the Ascian and does not rest as she knows a counter attack is coming her way soon and she'll attempt to block it. She fails the attack gets in past her guard and scored a notable hit on her, there's part of her armour and body that transition into a strange red wireframe like appearance for a moment as it struggles to retain her's proper appearance and then there's more coming at them to worry about as well.

She's also feeling cold and tired after that hit just what was that she'll keep moving to circle and did another opening well attempt to with how this ascian seems to be moving they could always throw her off after all. Once she thinks she has it she'll move in with her blade again attempting rapid combos of strikes.

Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
The Scythe cuts through the air in multiple directions, as it's revealed that Lahabrea is no slouch.  The aura of darkness, otherwise might as well be known as the bulwark of shadow, extends out.  While she can find purchase on the man, Misa will find that it does not cut as deep...and it really should.  He leans in, even as the body bleeds, the mouth which is the only thing visible under the mask grins at her.  

"Ha, as if you could do that, warrior of light," he says towards Raha as he pushes against Misa, before he releases, and fades back.  The Axe comes for him, as the Warrior is undaunted.  The man's hand reaches up, trying to hold back the powerful weight of the mighty swing.  However, this time, despite the defense of the awaiting bulwark, the axe does find purchase...though not as much as Raha would have wanted.  Infact, as the axe aims to main, and DOES so...the body of the creature starts restructuring itself, undoing the hindering he had hoped to do.  

"Corruption?  Child, I would suggest you do more than look at appearances.  /WE/ are saving this land from corruption.  The corruption that HIS goddess represents.  Hydaelyn is like a parasite, and must be burned out so the world may continue to live!" He counters towards Athela.  Even as the swirl of water aimed to overtake his feet, he just barely manages to escape the worst of it, the force of the water still hard pressing him, both hands used to brace against the attack.  

Repeated combos come from the silent Tomoe.  However, the two seem to go around and around, the Ascian moving JUST fast enough to avoid the worst of the blows, but still not fast enough to avoid them altogether.  That bulwark of shadow protects him from direct strikes, or so it seems.

The Ascian throws his hands up, channeling a bigger spell.  A ball of dark fire burns in his hands, as it grows wider and wider.  Before too long, it explodes in all directions.  Aiming to enlighten each and every one of you, making it difficult to deal with.

Worse than that, however, pools of darkness start to form under each person.  They will start to follow you, however.  There might be a trick to them...but how do you attempt to figure it out?

N'raha Tia has posed:
    There's some mild suprise from N'raha at the ferocity of that attack, and he tries to brace himself through it, but can only feel worse and worse as the energy rips at his soul, tearing at his armor in an attempt to scald him to thecore. Well, that darkness lingers and clings, and the catman just... well. Has to power through it.

    He can feel that dark energy coiling up underneath him, and he's only got a few moments. He takes a long, slow breath, and utters a short inward prayer, centering his aether and forcing out that horrible energy... before he starts to move.
    His helmet crackles again. "Keep moving! draw the energy away from Lahabrea or else we won't be able to get close to him!" Raha keeps moving, stopping only long enough to swat out an irritating bolt of aether at the Ascian with a sweep of his axe. Gotta avoid this or else you're done!

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Misa backs off after her initial scything at Lahabrea, watching as he counters the others just as readily as he did her. Expecting the other three fighters to be at about the same strength as herself, Misa finds it concerning that their foe is proving this powerful.

    There's no more time to examine the situation though as another blast of darkness is unleashed by Lahabrea. This time a wall of dark fire. Once more, Misa can do nothing but endure it. The flames burn at Misa in a way that feels wrong, leaving behind embers on her clothes. And unfortunately there is the pool of darkness appearing below her. A boss mechanic. Misa tries to move out of its radius, but it follows her, leaving her uncertain how to counter it. But then she hears N'Raha's words and so runs, quickly moving to get away from Lahabrea.

    Only once Misa is quite some distance away does turn her focus to retaliating. Even as the flames continue to chip away at her health, Misa raises her scythe into the air as she prepares her next strike. More musical notes of various colours appear, this time dancing around the weapon in her hand. They quickly blast off as beams of light, each echoing a musical tone as they streak through the air to slam down on Lahabrea from above.

Athela Valemore has posed:
"Every zealot tells the same story," is the only response Athela has to the claims of the Ascian. She's heard the same kind of claims from the Team Golem cultists, and doesn't believe a word of any of it. While she could go into a triad of her own on how such views are shortsighted and often misleading by the very entity they're following, she knows it would be upon deaf ears and doesn't waste the breath. Besides, in middle of a climatic battle was not the place for debating rhetorics.

As the barrage of dark fireballs is released Athela leaps into action. Literally, as she jumps over one and side-steps another; though as she's twisting from that maneuver two more pass on either side of her, neither directly hitting but both burning into her trapped between. Taking a step back she closed her eyes for a moment to draw on her Tide Caller heritage once more. This time focusing on the cleansing essence Water carries in it, letting it flow through her and flush the burning darkness from her being. It will take more than that to burn away this Champion's spirit.

Then she snapped back to the battle at hand at Raha's advice. Keep away from him to keep the energy away from him? Very well then.

Instead of charging into the fray directly Athela instead takes a leap backwards to keep her distance from the Ascian. This however doesn't necesarily limit her options for offensive either. As she lands from the tactical backup Athela channels more of her elemental power through Resolute Blade. Then swings the weapon as she normally would, resulting in the surge of elemental energy streaming off the weapon to reach across the distance like some manner of watery whip-sword.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is not going to be silent this time.

"You have a funny way of talking about Corruption but I will give you this. Your one of the first to ever claim you were trying to save the world. You seem to be deluded, however."

The strange being is downright dangerous maybe more so that the memories of the Primals she faced earlier the last time she was here. She feel something wrong something is very wrong as she's caught by the energy, something isn't right here.

N'Raha gives a good warning she starts to move, and not sit still as she'll dart in and about rather than in her normal tank and spank formation, she'll keep moving about and once she gets far enough away she'll start to chant in badly accented Norse and bolts of light will launch at the Asican as she gets on the move again not wanting to keep still as she tries to draw energy away from their enemy. Well, she trusting full on in N'raha here too from the looks of it.

Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
The blade of Aether cuts through the air towards Lahabrea, his hand comes out to block the blade with his hand.  However, too quick it was and it cuts through the veil of shadow, cutting into the body that was the host of the Ascian.  Gritting his teeth and letting out a hiss as the Warrior figures out his attack.

Forceful blasts of musical light fire towards the Ascian, like before the armor of darkness surrounds it, and he strengthens said barrier, as opposed to avoiding it.  To his credit, that was definitely the right move, as this time the beam was FAR too accurate.  Struggling against the attack, he manages to push through it, much like before getting a more haggard, painful grunt.  

To Athela's words, he chuckles, giving the woman a smile, "Your words ring with truth, my lady.  However, that sword cuts both ways...or have you never thought to see that your words could be applied to him...as they could to me.  I care not that you support him, but do remove the hypocrisy in your voice and have the bravery to face me without deluding yourself into thinking that his mistress is simply preferable because she has pretty light at her beck and call." he rumbles.

"The light is hollow and sterile," he comments, before the blade is charged and swung the Ascian, as water surges for the man.  Barrier meets water, as the two collide.  Once more, he is forced to defend, forced to push through the attack.  It still stings, it still hurts...but it does not strike him critically.  The body starts to ware, starting to be pushed back.

"Child, stop talking about things you have no clue about.  I have lived longer than you, your parents, your great-grandparents, at least several generations back.  You call me deluded, yet you wallow in your ignorance.  Truly, the world shall not miss your passing," he rumbles.  Humor starting to leave his voice.  

However, the drain spell strikes, trying to sap Lahabrea of life force.  It is...to say the least not very effective.  There is no LIFE, per se...it's now apparent to Tomoe: this is a corpse.  Something is animating it, because of how it responds.  However...something starts to flood back.

He laughs and then appearing in the center between each person who ran away from him.  There are four beams of light that follow, each one aiming to blast with a powerful beam of light in each direction.  "YOU HAVE METTLED ENOUGH!"

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    So much talk from the enemy. Misa tunes it out. It's a distraction from the real goal. Winning the battle.

    A beam of light is unleashed in her direction and this time Misa does actively try to defend against it. She spins her scythe in front of her repeatedly, blocking the beam. But not for very long. It breaks through, smashing into Misa and sending her flying.

    As she flies through the air, Misa twists herself to land on her feet. She skids to a halt and glances around. The fight doesn't appear to be going too well. Neither for herself nor her allies. She needs to help relieve the pressure, if only just a little. Standing her ground some distance away from Lahabrea, Misa brings her scythe around in front of her and plants its end into the ground. More musical notes appear in the air, floating around her.

    The faded aura of light that had been surrounding the other three heroes up until now fades away. They will feel the boost to their martial skill fade with it, returning them to their normal levels. But shortly after, a new aura flares up around them and Misa. Its green colour engulfs them, before fading once more but leaving behind motes of light that sparkle around them. They will then begin to feel their injuries beginning to slowly heal over time.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    There. There it is. There's his in. Raha snarls, turning to plant his feet against the massive beam of energy, and- it thwacks into his frame like a turnip carriage, his ears planting back against his head, and a rather... well. Something in his tail just broke, or cooked, or something, because half of it just went limp and lifeless. He'll... he'll have to get that looked at.

    But the steady stance is just the start. He howls a battle cry in the darkness, bolstered by the presence of Miss Misa, and his allies, and everyone. Everyone. That's who's waiting for the catman to do his duty. To fulfill his Destiny. This creature of Darkness must needs be repelled by the Light, by any means necessary.

    An explosion of aether overtakes the Miqo'te, as Raha's charge takes him clear across the battlefield, and directly into Lahabrea. "FALL." And his axe comes straight down, aiming to expell the Thing from its Shell.

Athela Valemore has posed:
When the enemy appears directly near her Athela reacts as much on reflex and instict as anything else as she brings Resolute Blade defensively in front of her. Despite being a beam of energy from the Ascian's attack there is somehow an audible ring as it slams into the blade, impact shoving the young knight backwards as light splays around her. The energy rays still sting mightly but once again her own divine weapon manages to diffuse it from being much worse. Afterward she exhales slowly and shakes her head a bit to keep it clear.

She's starting to feel the exhaustion but she's not going to back down because of it. With a grunt she regrips her weapon, drawing reassurance and focus from the embodiment of what she and her Patron fight for.

"Mayhaps you should be careful with your own presumptions." She's neither agreeing or not at this point, just simple acknowledgement of what has been said. If anything the Ascian at least has some reason into his choice, regardless of where it lies in being right or wrong, rather than the blind devotion she's seen in cultists before. But that is about the only acknowledgement she is going to give.

There Naha charges once more. Seeing a potentional oppritunity she drives herself into action as well. Putting her own agility to use, a swell of whater launching her across the field of combat once more.

This time however Athela does not aim her lunge directly at the Ascian. Instead she lands just behind and a bit of an angle from what Naha is charging. That's when she thrusts, attempting to catch the dark figure as he's recoiling from the Mi'quote's assault.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe spell fires off, however, it doesn't feel right

"You ... do not liv... AHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

Okay that didn't work very well that didn't work very well at all for Tomoe, whatever this thing. She recovers a bit from what's happened she does manage a reply.

"I know the world won't miss me. I'm just someone who crawled out of the grinder and refused to just lay down and die. I doubt anyone will mourn your end as well."

She's still not feeling good from an earlier attack which still causing havoc for her body as the battle rages on.

Tomoe is now trying to dance back for a moment as she rethinks her own the beam also does connect with her even as she moves and it's just a bad time all around for her.

"Not ... done yet."

she notes before she'll break into a high-speed dash for the enemy, and this time she's going to use a far heavier sword art as she attempts pt pin him down in a serious of slashes and stabs, trying to just keep him on her to give the rest of the party a chance to go to town on him.

Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
Misa retreats from Lahabrea, instead of advancing on him.  Rather or not this was a good idea, or not remains to be seen.  However, her beams of musical light flare at the Ascian once more...but this time the shadow was properly bolstered.  Shadow strikes light, and as the attack ends...the ascian looks little worn for ware.  

Aether overtakes Raha, who charges across the field of battle towards the Ascian.  However, announcing his presence like that causes the cagey Ascian to take notice of him.  Shadow strikes at light, as the two collide.  The ground around them shakes and quivers, as beams of plasma seem to shoot from their struggle...the very aether around them groans as the two floods the area with the absence of both.  

However, the Ascian is not deterred, while injured, the bulwark of darkness was not shattered.  More of the body is injured, but he is far from destroyed, far from banished from this body.  He pushes back against the warrior, smiling.  "This is where your tale ends, Warrior.."

However, before he could follow it up, Athela dives in, aiming to take advantage of his strike.  The blow is true, cutting through the bulwark of darkness, and getting a line of red through the Ascian's dark robes.  Making a grimace, he turns to look at her.  

"The words ring far more hallow, my lady," Oddly, it is not mocking but a statement of fact.  However, Tomoe swings the sword RIGHT towards the Ascian, this time, the armor of Darkness is able to thicken, weakening the strike and absorbing the blow, but it still cuts true.  Through perseverance, the Ascian is still standing.  Though he is starting to become far more heavily injured.  

Laughing, however, there is a look of smugness on his face.  As he starts channeling another spell...and all around him that dark burst washes out again.  Aiming to throw anything near him back.  And anything farther away back slightly.  This means that...

Everyone near Lahabrea who charged straight for him after dropping the darkness on the ground...will be thrown into it.  Misa, however, stopped on the far side of the darkness and instead is pushed away from it. The darkness bursts like an explosion, aiming to leave a feeling of weakness to those who touch it.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    Raha is shoved back into that puddle of ick, and the flames of the Void wash over him once more. And once more he can feel the touch of the darkness licking at his soul, seeping into his bones, coiling against his very essence. And once more, he gets up to his feet, hefts his axe, and starts walking for Lahabrea again. "Is that ALL, ASCIAN?"
    Another flare of energy ripples from the Warrior, as N'Raha's stance changes, from a defenseive one to an offensive one. The Thrill of Battle is upon him, and those slitted eyes narrow, as red energy overtakes him.

    The head of Bravura flashes over, aether pouring from the curved blade, casting a ring of light around the Miqo'te as he plants his feet, and swings at the Ascian.
    There is no finesse.
    There is no style.
    There is nothing but the axe.
    There is nothing but the swing.
    And nothing but Lahabrea.

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Misa can only watch as her allies charge in on Lahabrea and are caught in his darkness. Misa herself is caught on the edge and thrown away from it, hitting the ground. She picks herself up to see the others recover from the assault. It doesn't look good, a couple of them roughed up by the explosive attack.

    Looking at Lahabrea on the other hand, you'd think he was unbeatable. But Misa doesn't believe in such a concept. She narrows her eyes at the Ascian and suddenly she's off in a dash.

    Beginning to close the distance, Misa starts her assault early. The blade of her scythe begins to glow with light and she twirls it in front of her, a distortion appear just beyond the weapon. Misa then plants her foot into the ground and spins herself, smashing the distortion with the weapon and sending a sonic blast screaming towards Lahabrea.

Athela Valemore has posed:
"Actions will always speak louder."

With that said Athela expends no more energy than necessary to make her attack and draw back a bit. The glimps of red is noticed, but she is not one to revel in the drawing of blood. It is simply a matter of combat. She's more focused on their foe as a whole, and knowing some manner of counterattack is inevitable already preparing herself.

Which comes in the form of a dark explosion of some kind radiating outwards from the Ascian, and there's no debating that she's too close to the epicenter to leap away in time. She buckles down and raises her weapon before her, bracing herself against the assault, refusing to back down even in the face of such overwhelming adversity.

But as Resolute Blade is held in her defense it's divine nature shields her from the darkness, splitting the shockwave passing around her. There's a tingling left in its wake, faintly gnawing in sensation, but by this point she's too focused and already too wore out to register it as more than just being there.

Hoping the Ascian won't expect her to still be standing there after the attack Athela quickly snaps back into motion, swinging briefly up with the weapon, and then bringing it crashing back down while releasing more of her watery force through it.

Tomoe has posed:
The fight is quite intense here and thing is as always getting more and more dangerous to deal with. She can only guess at what other horrors await them all as the story goes onward. She keeps on the moves as she moves to strike them. There's no mocking that tone which is odd to her. Still, she scores a hit, even if it weakens it a bit. She gets through finally, it's not enough as now another attack comes and tomoe pops a tank ability massively bolstering her defences now and she needed it even with that ability? She's been hit very damn hard. The blast washes over her forcing her back.

Tomoe's been hurt pretty damn bad but she's not out of the fight yet, she's grunts and moves around again trying to fight off the building weakness she's feeling from the hit, and she'll move to make another round of attacks but this time she hangs back and chants, spell runes dance about her body. Then comes the fire and flames as she directs several bolts of flame at the strange man in black. The bolts keep coming. For this time she's working to keep her distance from the enemy.

Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
"Your prattling is getting old, warrior!" Lahabrea says, knowing that Raha is likely being pushed to his limits.  However, a cornered rat is still dangerous, and the Ascian is not likely to underestimate a champion of his enemy.  The blade swings, and light flies at him.  His hand comes up, catching the slash, trying to block it with his own magic.  

The two collide, but the power of the Axe is mighty, and this time cuts through the defense.  Even though most of the force of the blow was deflected away, it still cuts...he was being pushed back, and he knows it.  If he could just gather a little more aether...

The sonic blast screams at the shadowless man.  Forced to take her attack seriously, he braces too.  Once more shadow washes over him, trying to force the attack aside, trying to shield himself from it.  However, the force was too much, and he is forced to fly back.  However, despite that, he manages to just BARELY hold his own.  Breathing heavily as he stares balefully towards the woman.

The force of water surges through the sword, once more aiming to strike the Ascian down.  Growls, deciding that going on the offense is the only way to win this.  No longer using the shadow to defend himself, it surges through him like a heat haze.  Even as the water cuts into him, even as more of his body is crushed by the water.  He stands, his wounds threatening to force him back.

Several blasts of flame rush towards the Ascian from Tomoe.   They smash against the Ascian, but the Aether building around him, while not an active defense, does serve to weaken the magical attacks.  It appears the ascian is no simple magician.  

"No...I shall not lose.  I will NOT be defeated by the likes of you," he starts and then chuckles.  "MAY THE ABYSS TAKE YOU ALL!"

And with that, a powerful spell is released, as tendrils of darkness wash out in every direction.  They do more than strike, they hit in such a way that threatens to snuff out life in a single strike, and should that be avoided, the damage they leave behind is not insignificant.  The spell is devastating, and easily a spell designed as a counter to life itself.  


Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
Darkness threatens to overtake each and every one of you...life force starts to feel like you are drifting away.  Death becomes apparent...nothing can save you from it.

'However, in their direst of moments, when all hope seemed lost...
A voice in their back of their minds, a sweet voice beckon
'Tis not your time, warriors of light, to fight off the dark...
You must look towards the light!'

As each of your bodies hit the ground...something happens.  Light surges through the battlefield, washing the dark aether away from the land, causing the Ascian to rear back in pain, and surprise.  The gentle warmth washes through each and every one of you.

'Mark, not the dark one's words,' a gentle voice can be heard, 'To banish dark...one must cleanse with light.'

You feel your strength returned, your power restored.  

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Misa is already charging as Lahabrea unleashes his spell. Tendrils launch themselves towards her and the others. Misa moves fast, trying to dodge around the fast moving darkness. But, they're too difficult to avoid! Misa winces at the pain and finally succumbs to the damage she's received. Her legs give out and she collapses to the ground... The familiar feeling of death embraces her...

    ... But it's not quite the same. This time, it's different. Misa hears a voice in the back of her mind. Both familiar, and yet not.

    Light washes over her and Misa can feel her strength returning. Feeling renewed, she slowly gets to her feet. Settling her eyes on Lahabrea, she finally speaks, "It's not over."

    Misa dashes towards Lahabrea once more, solid determination in her eyes that bely her recent 'death'. As she runs, the ground beneath her feet begins to glow with each step, small notes of light floating up from each. A swelling orchestra begins to fade in for those who listen, the chorus rising up as Misa launches herself into the air in a spin, raising her scythe up above her head. Light collects at its very tip.

    Finally Misa arcs down towards Lahabrea, swinging her scythe from straight above, trying to strike the tip at his head. The phantom orchestra hits its peak as the blade connects, the gathered light exploding to brighten the battle site for just a moment.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    There was nothing N'Raha could do. Nothing at all. He was point blank. He was right there when that Anti-Life snakes out of Lahabrea, and as much as he wanted to, wanted to crush the life out of this monster, the Dark Spirit had the upper hand on him. And that energy lances right through that fancy armor of his, barely pausing to slam though his heart, out the other side, and leave him a cumpled heap on the dirt of this Nowhere Space.

    And then it happens. Mother Crystal herself, rising up to defend and rescue her willing souls, her Warriors of Light. The Light of Hydaelyn washes over the miqo'te, lifting him back up from the brink of death. He shakes off the cobwebs, his tail flicks back out straight, and he takes... a breath.

    And in that moment, his Inner Beast rages out, pushed forth by the power of the Light. "There is no where you can hide, Ascian. We will find you. We will end your twisted schemes, and we will drive back the Darkness." A breath...

    When did he leap? There was barely any motion. Legs tense, and then in an instant Raha's high above Lahabrea, that axe flaring over with light. Those red eyes burn with Divine Rage, Perfect Fury, and with a sigh, he falls, cleaving stright down, aiming right for that glowing mask.

Athela Valemore has posed:
What is it with beings like this throwing tantrums when they're on the cusp of defeat? Athela attempts her best at dodging and parrying the dark tendrils, but there's just too many of them at the same time for even her blessed reflexes to keep up with. All it takes is one getting through and slamming directly into her chest, hurtling the young woman backwards as its touch felt as if tearing into her very being beyond the physical injury.

There was Darkness... And then there was Light.

The voice in the back of her mind was not the deity Athela normally heard but she opened to her in the same and accepted the guidance from the entity that knew this world and this Corruption that plagued it. The flow of Light through her drove back the darkness, bringing her back fromt he brink and leaving her feeling revigorated.

A soft thank you is whispered as Athela reclaimed her own divine weapon and refocused herself. "Now then." With a startling burst of speed Athela hurtled herself back at the dark figure. Light sheened across the blade of her sword, rippling visible with the power held within it, power drawn from the courage and determination of the Spirit of Justice.

All in one great swing towards the Ascian, refusing to allow him to triumph so easily.

Tomoe has posed:
Well Tomoe has a habit going after things outside her weight class, and this is one of those times she can endure a lot but something like this? She can hear the drive of this being, he's clearly got a cause he's behind, which makes him dangerous as he sounds like a beliver but thse thgoughts are mostly in the back of her mind as she pops another damage reducer it's not enough as she attmet to take it she's overhwelemd thoughts of the time she took the hit for one of her pary menber vers the Skull Reaper.

She hits the ground it seemed to be over, the magic brings an experience unlike anything she's felt before which

then something happens she hears a voice that it's not her time, some part of her, maybe that part that went kicking and screaming in the death game flares up she forces her battere and beaten body, to get back up.

"Not...done yet..."

Is all she manages to get out, and she first throws her shield like a boomerang at Asican then even as it's flying she launches into a powerful sword art her blade glows brightly as she attempts to launch into a powerful X slash then followed by a barrage of blows which at the end she'll catch her shield before pulling back.

Zenos yae Galvus (6843) has posed:
The Ascian, who had put everything into offense, who was NOT expecting this is caught off guard.  The powerful scythe cuts through him, the powerful Axe crushes his bones and leaves another painful gash.  A sword of light tears through his body, and then the boomerang cuts through what remains.  The Ascian, unable to keep going is forced back, dropped to a knee.

"Ugh...not like this." He says, cursing.  "The light...can not be allowed..." he says, before a rift opens, swallowing the Ascian again.  

However, on the outside of the Arena, the other battle had come to an end.  Ifrit throws himself at the strange weapon, you know it to be called Ultima Weapon.  It's hand moves to catch the claw of the Prima, lifting it up and slamming it in the chest with the other hand.  Slowly, it starts to fade into Aether, but the machine starts to SUCK that Aether into itself.  Seemingly empowered.

Titan slams in next, trying to take advantage of the possibly caught off guard Ultima Weapon, only to receive a punch to it' own gut...and then slowly lifted off of the ground with the hand still embedded in it.  The might of this weapon was overwhelming, as it leaned over, seemingly taking BITES out of the Primal, before it too was consumed.  

Finally, Garuda dives in, trying to do something...anything.  It was likely desperation.  However, she was grabbed by either claw.  

"NO...NO! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" she screams, before the machine mercilessly brings each hand down, cracking the back of the primal...before lifting it towards the 'face' if the ultima weapon.  Once more, consuming her and her aether.  

With that and a flash of power, the Ultima weapon starts glowing strangely, empowered by the three Primals it just consumed.  From the back of it, a man walks out, strolling slowly towards the Field of battle.  

However, the song comes to an end, as the bard finally brings this story to a close.  Because tonight was not about that man...not yet.  The next two Ballads were dedicated to him.

Krusty (1149) has posed:
    Misa gracefully lands after her strike, rising up and moving her scythe to rest on her shoulder. As she poses, the area around her darkens for a moment as three spotlights appear to shine down on her. Above her, a musical note writes out two words in sweeping letters of light: Grand Finale

    The after effects of Misa's Bard skill fades at about the same time as the tale ends, leaving the real Misa standing there back in her regular guild uniform, arms crossed, looking only somewhat impressed... That's a huge compliment from her! Kudos, Wandering Minstrel.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    N'raha is already pointing at the Minstrel in the real world. There's color in his cheeks, and he's slightly sauced. Or heated. Or exhausted. Really, he's always tired after one of these. "Oy. I... you..."
    His complaints just start to die off on his lips as he sits down again, adjusting the sweater he's wearing. "It's a good telling just... I don't remember Her stepping in quite like that."

Athela Valemore has posed:
The combination of blows strikes the Ascian down. Or at least the body it had been manipulating. To her credit Athela, despite having exhausted much of her revitalized energy on that blow, would of turned and gotten ready to fight the empowered warmachine inspite of it.

But it is apparently not time for that chapter yet.

She paused, blinked a little and rubbed her face with the back of an arm. By which the song has ended and things have gone back to normal. "Never have I experienced a bardic performance so... enthralling." That's the best she can come up with for phrasing the experience.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe watches as the Ascian finally goes down, she watches intently as he falls and it's strange he speaks of the light rather than screamin hate at them. Troubling if he has fellows with convictions like him. As for what comes next? Oh god the Priams are back but something else comes she look at the weapon staring as it just punks the Primals.


Then it ends for now talk about to be contiuned.