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|Seifer Almasy|| Sapphire Avenue is a bit...crowded...at the moment.
It's that sort of crowd you always see when police business is about on any world - the gaggle of lookie-loos, bystanders, would-be newshounds, and actual reporters that inevitably clusers around the black-and-yellow do-not-cross tape. The only difference between Ul'Dah and countless other cities is that most other cities don't include midgets, giant lion-men, lizard-men, bunny-girls, cat-girls, and Very Very Large Welsh People in said crowds. It makes getting through the swarm a bit more difficult to see what's actually going on (aside from those Lalafels and children lucky enough to know or be related to a Roegadyn or Hrothgar, in which case, they get a shoulder ride and an easy view).
What's going on is that the Brass Blades have cordoned off a section of the street. Red-shouldered guards in chainmail stand behind long red-rope 'fencing'; a very tall woman with a flattened nose and a long cape is shouting orders; there's smoke pouring out of a warehouse. The sign above the door proclaims it to be the SILVER SANDS TRADING COMPANY.
A lizard-man aide runs up through the crowd and hands the tall woman a smoking drink. She practically snatches it out of his hands and downs it with the efficiency of someone who probably has bags under her eyes, if one could see her eyes behind the typical facemask the Brass Blades all wear.
The woman's fingers rub up her nose. "Damn," she repeats in a flat, dull tone. "Damn that that man has to be right all the time."
"Yes, ma'am," the lizard-man repeats in a similar tone, "Lord Lolorito's 'insight,' once again. Truly an oracle of the modern era, our Lord Lolorito."
The woman looks over at him, lips a thin line. "Be careful how you're talking, Daito."
"I speak only the truth, ma'am," Daito replies blankly, "He doesn't pay me well enough to speak falsehoods."
The woman bursts into laughter. "Ain't that the bloody truth. Alright, well, since we're not making any bloody progress..."
"I'm sure the adventurers who are about to arrive will be more than happy to help us push more than ten damned ilms through the door!"
"Yes, Commander," Daito replies in that same dead tone, "And a cut of the profit, too."
"At this point we're racking up nothing but losses, so I'm all too happy to pass a cut along. Better than getting a cut taken out of all our hides, wouldn't you say?"
|Revali||Crowds of curious bystanders only pose a problem to those that are landbound (or that haven't been keeping up with their aether currents).
The diverse crowd becomes a little bit more diverse - if only slightly - by the arrival of a blue bird person, who lands neatly and lightly next to the people who seem to be in charge here. He sets down from the sudden drop from the sky with the same amount of ease that a normal person displays when stepping off the sidewalk onto the street.
"Paladins," he says shortly as an introduction.
"... Also Champion of the Rito, Legendary Archer, Lolorito's favorite gladiator who is *not* answering any questions about any rumors, and future grand champion of the Bloodsands," he adds at length as a second introduction.
"So why's the..." He tries to recall what he knows about the city, and fails. "The... warehouse, why is it on fire? Is anyone inside?"
|S6|| 'Dress casually' was the advice given. 'Blend in with the humans' they had said. 'A uniform is more than a little intimidating' was the comment.
What presses through the crowd of onlookers is a willowy silver-haired woman in a black dress and tall boots and long gloves. Her eyes are as ever concealed by the distinctive FANTOM combat visor, but gone are the usual insignias and patches of the paramilitary organization the android belongs to. Unfortunately the person who crosses that tape bears more in common with a fashion model than a soldier; her true nature only belied by the paired swords floating just behind her shoulder.
"Striker Six, Model 18A. S6 will suffice." The introduction is directed to the woman who appears to be in charge, and is followed by a curt, "Situation details are requested. Were this an ordinary fire, Paladin assistance would likely be overkill."
Her gaze shifts to the boxy drone floating beside her, "POD, scanning mode."
-ACKNOWLEDGED. OBTAINING FLOOR PLAN.- The droid extends a small cylendrical antenna as it speaks in its mechanical voice, -OBJECTIVE TRACKING ENABLED. AWAITING INPUT.-
|Tony Stark||"Don't your people have some situation control?" Cuts through the crowd, though the owner takes a moment to muscle through the crowd of bulky welshmen and enormous lionfathers.
"Or is the spectacle part of the operation in Ul'Dah? It'd make sense: Teledji loves it here."
Tony Stark pushes around the wall of beefy forearms, gingerly pushing a Roegadyn man with a child-or-Lalafel shoulder-rider out of the way with the clear deference that Tony shows to the potential that he can't really tell the difference between the two yet.
"Well, I'm one to talk. Any event I show up for is a press release these days. So, what's putting you in the red, 'Commander'?"
|Seifer Almasy|| "Commander Twilight Lily of the Brass Blades," the Roegadyn woman replies, apparently taking the blue bird in stride. Daito, meanwhile, produces an autograph book with a dry resignation, offering a quill to Revali. Tony gets...well, it's probably a Look. Considering both of the Blades are wearing masks, it's hard to tell. Daito, however, dutifully presents the autograph book once again.
"They don't pay us enough for more than this," Twilight Lily replies smoothly, "But it's as controlled as it's going to get, under the circumstances."
"Building's not on fire, it's smoke paper. Lord Lolorito was generous enough to furnish us with some newfangled magic from off-world and by the Twelve we're going to use it. Blocks line of sight."
"As for who's in there, well, first, there's four of my men holding the line with bows, arrows; there's someone calling herself a *Machinist*, whatever the hells that is, from *Ishgard*, of all place; and there's about a dozen men in there my folks are swearing up and down turned into godsdamned vouivres."
Twilight Lily taps her chin. "Lord Lolorito said the Silver Sands were involved in some dirty smuggling, after all, but we didn't think it was something like...this."
S6 shows up and introduces herself. Again, the Roegadyn has a no-nonsense, nonplussed attitude to her that speaks of exceptional professionalism, while Daito simply produces the autograph book again, citing offhandedly that 'on the chance it becomes worth it some day to have an autograph I should rather have the investment on the ground floor.'
The droid goes to obtain the floor plan. It's a warehouse with an office space above it and more warehouse below it; big, open rooms, perfect for big, open brawls. It also has some annoyingly twisty hallways for people to hide in and strike from.
"We figured it would be an in-and-out job, maybe trading with the Beast Men, no problem, we'd get to test out the smoke paper and some of these so-called wards," Twilight Lily continues, "But here we bloody well are like it's the Garlean Front, dug in behind some boxes, can't take an ilm."
"And we are under time pressure," Daito says idly, "President Gelulu Gelgululu is, after all, a wanted man, and it's extremely likely that he has escape tunnels installed like most sensible businessfolk."
"Stands to reason."
The POD agrees after a second sweep - there's some tunnels at the bottom that appear to just lead out of the city. In fact there's a *lot* of those in a *lot* of warehouses here.
Must be common.
|Revali||Revali signs the autograph book, and then returns his attention to the scene.
"Sounds like your people have the front line held..."
He reaches behind himself and feels the arrows in his quiver, seperating out a few of them by feel of the markings on their shafts.
"Okay, so... cleared the first room, might be in the second... we'll breach on about the third or fourth."
And then he takes off, getting some altitude, and then picking out a spot... one that's in his best estimation about three or four rooms into the warehouse. The rito spins around once, using the motion to dislodge his bow and his chosen arrows from his back, and then draws and aims...
Three ice arrows *thunk* into a triangle pattern around the spot chosen, spreading a magical freezing effect outwards from their impacts... and then a moment later, three bomb arrows, impacting in a tighter triangle radius.
If done right, the first barrage should make the roof brittle and easier to crack, and the second should make a neat little weak point for someone to break through!
|S6|| The android woman nods once in understanding; the presence of smoke had simply resulted in the wrong conclusion. So, this is a raid, not a disaster response. Her shielded gaze shifts to the structure itself, while the POD's findings scrawl across her visor's interior. That is until Daito inserts himself into her line of sight. Briefly shocked, she leans back from the offered autograph pad and quill.
After some consideration, she accepts the quill, looking it over. When nib touches to paper, she scrawls quickly and precisely-- producing not a signature, but a string of numbers and letters in perfect Courior font.
Seems S6 misunderstood and just printed her serial number.
The quill is returned and she steps past Daito, "So the objective is to seize contraband and apprehend the criminal element inside. Understood." Her gaze lifts to Revali's maneuver through the sky. After a moment, she nods, "I concur. A multi-pronged approach."
As S6 leaves the main line, she...almost seems to meander, rather than move with a purpose. The larger of the two swords she carries unhooks itself, swinging forward and floating tip-down. When at last she stops, she thrusts her hand downward-- and the sword reacts by burying itself into the street up to the hilt. With a horrendous grinding sound and a scattering of heated stone, the sword carves a perfect circle around the woman's feet, then wrenches itself free.
S6 crouches, then leaps several meters straight up. With a burst of blue-tinted magical light, she quickly doubles that height in a second, midair jump. When she descends, she tucks her feet together, slamming into the weakened roadway like a spear-- disappearing in a plume of powdered stone.
|Tony Stark||Tony looks down at the autograph book, and with a practiced fourish takes quill and signs... 'Iron Man', taking the time to sketch a little helmet out while Revali flies off. He acts like he has every hour in the day, not scant seconds to join the Champion of the Rito.
"Do you want it made out like a check, or a fan? Is it the same, around here?" Tony jokes, adding some action fire to the surrounds of his helmet doodle.
"Friday, what's on the agenda?" He asks the air, and his large-framed plastic glasses light up with obvious heads-up display.
From his watch, a female voice speaks. "Making contact now. I was busy looking up the root of 'vouivre'."
Tony cants his head. "It's French, right? Buy that section of roof?"
His watch beeps. "Negotiations are pending. Solve it with a big bag labelled 'money', boss."
Tony looks offended. "I was already going to. Commander?" A quirked brow is turned to Twilight Lily. "As a complete aside, you've confirmed I am in fact not a Garlean, yes?"
He raises both hands, turning at the wrist to show both fronts and back of hands, before dropping them to his chest and loosening his tie.
ABOVE THE BUILDING:
A red-and-gold flying armor, more like a missile than a man, roars out of the sky and with a loud afterburner-exhaust blast, brakes next to the archer.
"Champion Revali. It will be a pleasure working alongside you." Friday comments, from the armor, before flying down through the roof access and landing in a superhero pose that transitions into a left-fist and right-palm aimed battle stance. "Any last-minute surrenders will be accepted now."
Tony slides off his glasses, pressing them into Daito's autograph book. "Hold onto those for me, will you?" He requests. "I'll need the back!" he adds, walking in after S6.
|Seifer Almasy|| Daito, with the air of a salaryman stowing away business cards, disappears the autograph book into a pocket somewhere on his uniform. "There's practically no difference, sir, save that no one defaults on an autograph."
"Lord Lolorito has informed us," Twilight Lily says, "That you are not Garleans, and has given us a brief description of the Multiversals he's aware of. Lord Teledji has done the same, though a great deal more animated, and with pictures, and references."
Revali goes up, up, up. Three arrows come down, down, down. They hit the roof in a perfect triangle. Frost bursts out across them - a sight rare enough in Ul'Dah to elict a loud 'ooooo' from the crowd. Then the bomb arrows come down and send the ice flying, and the 'oooo' becomes an 'aaaaaah'. Ul'Dah citizens know better than to turn down free entertainment.
The roof opens up. There's no smoke pouring out, so it is indeed not a fire that's been set or some arbitrary explosive problem the Brass Blades have been having trouble dealing with. They do appear to be pinned down, however, from blasts of lightning just hurtling out of the hallway, bursts of powerful, magical electricity exploding past the crates. One of the Blades lies wounded against a makeshift barricade; one of them is tending to her with some bandages and a field kit; one of them is blocking shots with a big shield; one of them is firing arrows over the shoulder of the shield-wielder.
The Ishgardian, meanwhile, is a blonde Elf-looking woman in chainmail, with white shouldpads, blue gauntlets, and a crossed-out symbol of three spears over top of each other on her chest. She's wielding a huge oversized blunderbuss and firing over the barricade, reloading every so often with a grunt of frustration.
Friday hits the ground in the superhero pose directly behind the barricade.
"Fury take me," the Ishgardian says as the roof collapses around her, sparing a moment to look up, "Reinforcements don't usually come through the ceiling, you know!" Her accent has a lilting French quality to it, though her tone is rough and aggressive. "Not that I am not grateful!"
The Vouivre peeks its head briefly out of the hallway. Indeed it is a wyvern, a big, horrifying wyvern, all teeth and horns and eyes full of malicious, and unpleasantly human, intelligence. It spits a ball of lightning up at the ceiling's chunks, followed by actual *bolts* therein. The vouivre ducks back into the hallway, and another one immediately pops out to shoot another blast. They're rotating. Squad tactics. One's probably covering the back, too, just in case. Damn.
They're not just smart, they're well-trained. Friday can see that there's more down the hallway, choking it with their big forms. Why they've chosen to hole up in a hallway when they have wings-
Oh, of course. Friday can figure that out instantly.
Because they're just the vanguard, and if they need to escape, they can just fly out through the windows. There's probably some more down below...
|Seifer Almasy|| S6 goes straight down through the roadway. Twilight Lily groans and rubs her nose. "I'm not paying for that," she and Daito both say simultaneously as chunks of road go blasting upwards. The crowd scatters, because if there's one thing Ul'Dahns value as much as spectacle, it's making sure they're alive to pay for more spectacle tomorrow.
S6 finds herself carving down into one of the tunnels. It's deeper than it looked, and it hurts more than it should. The stone here is dense and sturdy. It's probably why Ul'Dah was built where it is, and why there's so many tunnels beneath its surface - it's *fortified* even if you're going through them.
Still, stone won't stop android for too long, and the sheer force of her blade and her drop are enough to push her way inside.
It's sheer dumb luck that she doesn't come down on the occupants, though whether her dumb luck or the other's is hard to tell.
The elven man is dressed in a purple robe. In one hand he carries a book; in the other, a lance. Around his neck he wears a snowflake emblem.
The lance whirls around for S6 immediately. There's no preamble, no hesitation. The book pops open at the same time, the man reading off something in a language S6 does not understand.
Behind him, a small, spectral dragon forms. It begins firing blasts of energy at the android in perfect time with the man's one-handed spear technique.
"Some assistance would not be unappreciated," the Elezan says to someone around the corner.
|Revali||"It's faster than just *walking* inside!" calls Revali from the roof. "And I was hoping to drop in on our foes."
He pokes his head inside. "Might well still - goddesses!"
He quickly takes back off, getting clear of the ball of lightning and the literal aftershocks.
A moment later, as soon as the attack clears, he dives - angling his whole body downwards, nearly perpendicular to the ground, going through the hole in the roof at speed-
- time slows to a near stop. Not literally, but it might as well have stopped as Revali works his hyperfocus senses. The rito champion, only a few feet above the ground, adjusts his course. And to do that, he must first adjust his body.
He twists about - his greatest enemy being his own musculature, his own inexorable physicality and his presence in the material world, followed shortly by the physical laws of air resistance as its vile cohort. Inch by inch, degree by degree, he turns, making a slow somersault and twist in midair - slow for him, blindingly fast to any observer. He gets oriented right, with inches of momentum-laden falling to spare, with his feet towards the ground and his face towards the target.
And then with the last of his focus, he bunches up his leg muscles, keeping them loose enough to absorb the shock of impact, but taught enough to then immediate push off and-
- to the casual observer, Revali just dives straight down at unsafe speeds, sort of pinballs off the floor, and zooms at the target, bow drawn and firing!
|S6|| The sturdiness of the stone wasn't unexpected. The depth might be. But what surprises S6 is that she drops into larger area than she had expected, hitting the floor amidst a shower of stone and dust. Her recovery is immediate, which is fortunate since she's already on her guard when the lance swings her way. Steel strikes steel, and she guides the initial blow over and past her; into the wall on her left. Shifting her footing, she presses the attack--only to get pushed back by the dragon familiar's magical bolts.
Her footing shifts again, both swords engaged in defense from both projectiles and the lancer priest. Her eyes remain hidden, her jaw set in determination, even as her POD's readouts indicate no openings to take advantage of without greatly risking herself.
|Tony Stark||UP ABOVE:
The lightning blast tracks out from down the hallway, crackling and curling down to connect with Friday's Iron Man terminal, blasting the red armor a step back as the AI struggles to bring up the readied forearm. As the spikes fwip-zip in after them, a tower-shield like crescent of pale blue-white energy flashes into life, the spines plinking harmlessly off the suit's energy barrier.
"I'm going to take that as a refusal of terms." Friday announces, one of the eyes of the suit flickering as residual sparks work over the shoulder, the vocoder sounding far more tinny and robotic than before.
Jet-boots lift into life as Revali begins his attack, the metal slab of 'muscle' following up arrow strikes with jet kicks and repulsor-boosted punches. Revali's lightning-fast assault is brought up by the solidity of the latest Iron Man platform!
"I am also not paying for this." Tony two-finger salutes, before dropping in after the combat Android, landing in a half-crouch and balancing with his hands, as S6 pushes forward.
"Alright, Bookdalf the Snow-White." Tony calls down the hallway. "I'm not here for you: But I'll bring you in at my going rate. Let's try out the backup suit."
Unbuttoning his jacket, he reveals the more substantial belt around his waist - a three-inch disc plate set into the center glowing a dim blue. Tapping his watchface, the heavy wristwatch and belt apparatus begin unfolding into hexagonal microplates that machine themselves over his body in a solid brushed chrome-silver. His left hand - with the watch - finishes first, repulsor charging with a 'bweeen!' to fire directly at the Arcanist's book.
|Seifer Almasy|| Revali goes blasting forward. His indoor fly-by attack peppers the hallway with arrows, very fast arrows going faster thanks to his pinball bounce. One of the vouivre, a big dark beast with a white stripe over one eye, seeing an opportunity, gets out of the way; a second, lighter-colored one with blue streaks down its back, spreads big, armored wings to shield the third from the hail of weaponsfire.
The white-stripe vouivre goes to meet Revali. The bursts of lightning are targetted and calculated - force him out of the arena and up back into the sky, where the vouivre (imagines it) will have air superiority. More importantly, it will reduce the number of problems for the other vouivres by precisely one.
Which, to be fair, is one fewer problems than they had a moment ago.
Upon seeing Friday move and rain down blasts, the second vouivre roars out what sounds like some kind of order. The third vouivre makes a noise of protest, the second vouivre roars again, and the third vouivre, reluctantly, bails down the corridor. The second vouivre, Blue Streaks, launches out of the corridor to meet Friday and join its White-Stripe companion in pushing Friday and Revali into an aerial battle. They're outgunned now, so the only thing they can hope to do is reduce the number of attackers they have to deal with and give themselves some range to retreat if necessary.
The 'Machinist', meanwhile, goes over the barricade. "Hold them for me, would you?" She calls up, a two-finger salute from her forehead at Revali before she disappears down the corridor after the other vouivre.
The purple-clad man with his spear is indeed formidable. A perfect double-offense hammers against S6, spear and spell meeting together. What few strikes S6 *can* pull off, which is not many, the man barks out spells to heal himself through.
Tony, however, draws his attention for a brief instant. "What-"
The book bursts into flames. The purple-clad man drops the book in surprise. The dragon, also, bursts into flames, smoldering down with the fragments of paper. "Saint protect me. Garlean backup. They have Garlean backup."
"The sooner the better, if you please. Else I might have to-"
"Keep your damn shirt on, Mitaux," a gruff voice says, "I had to secure the little bastard."
Around the corner comes a large Au Ra. The lizardman's horns, however, look wrong. The tail looks wrong. The scales look wrong. There's something dark, something *off*, about them. They're an off-color purple. There's spikes along his tail and his back. And his eyes are white, without irises. He's wearing odd purple armor with what look like metal streamers coming off the shoulders.
Tony can *immediately* tell that the armor is a restraint, and that the streamers are attack arms, and that there are no weapons on this thing save the lizardman's own massive claws.
Mitaux smacks his spear on the ground. It collapses into a short blade. His other hand curls into a fist, and he lunges at S6, punching rapidly at her as he uses the short blade to parry aside her blows. "Handle the Garlean, then, Khada."
"With pleasure." Khada starts walking towards Tony, his head tilted to the side. "Although I feel ought to tell you, Mitaux. That's not a Garlean."
"That's Iron Man."
"Ah. Multiversals." Mitaux's lips purse. "Well then."
Khada lunges forward. One palm is open, aimed to grab Tony's head and *shove* it against the wall with all strength. His roar is loud enough - and strong enough - to shake the hall so severely that crumbling chunks of street come falling downwards.
|S6|| "Thank you," S6 states in Tony's direction when the dragon familiar ignites. Although this seems to push Mitaux into a more aggressive stance, when she swipes his weapon aside, his fist slams into her chest. Immediately it's obvious she isn't human; it's like punching someone in plate armor, despite her only clothing being a dress. She does, however, still slide back from the impact, a pained twist to her lips for a moment.
She stops herself by driving her swords into the walls on either side, but is quickly forced to abandon them, skipping a few paces further down the tunnel. To cover the maneuver, her Pod's casing splits open, extending a small-calibur gatling gun, peppering the robed warrior with gunfire.
|Revali||If the vouivre's try to push Revali out into an open air battle above the warehouse, maneuvering to get him to retreat back out through the opening he made earlier, they can. It's just a matter of keeping the pressure on him and herding him that way.
He bursts back into the sky, regrouping, getting ready to head back in... he's honestly shocked when they *pursue*, joining him in the air.
"Do... do they really not know who I am?"
He twists, turns, barrel rolls, and weaves through the sky - trying to establish aerial superiority one flap of his wings at a time, making sure to stay far from their tails...
|Lilian Rook|| Now on the scene, when things are well underway, Lilian unexpectedly arrives, fashionably late.
Except, Lilian Rook never arrives late to anything. It's five minutes early to almost every single thing. Always.
Not inside the building with the firefight though. At the cordon without. A comfortable distance. The one where all the supervisors are and such. "I like the masks." is what the says in place of a proper introduction. "They have that 'classique' kind of fellowship look about them. I'd say brotherhood, but I wouldn't want to be mistaken." she adds. Her eyes pretty quickly wander over to the smoking building, the Elites having just recently broken in, and redoubled the noise and lights of the ongoing raid in stalemate. "The Silver Sands though. How much *are* you being paid for this one? Especially at Lolorito's behest, is it?"
|Seifer Almasy|| As Lilian arrives, Daito produces the autograph book once again and holds it out in her direction. He does not have the simpering air of a fanboy, merely the cold businesslike demeanor of a professional looking to make some money on the side.
Twilight Lily chuckles. "I didn't pick the uniforms. Way I understand it, they were chosen years ago in order to make us the faceless arms of Ul'Dah. The Flames need to have faces so they can scare the shite out of our enemies with their battle cries; the Blades need to be faceless because 'justice is universal.'" She airquotes.
Even she doesn't believe that.
"A lot, and you're right. It was Lord Lolorito's 'insight' that something was wrong with the Sands, and, lo and behold, here we are, fighting bloody Ishgard's war for it." Twilight Lily shakes her head again. "Most of the money's going to wind up covering expenses, I've no doubt. And you lot, assuming you'll be wanting a cut."
She holds out a hand to Lilian on the side. "Commander Twilight Lily. This is my assistant, Daito."
"I'm her assistant, Daito," the tall lizardman repeats, "My job is to be concerned about things on her behalf."
"My job is to do concerning things to keep him employed," Twilight Lily says.
"And thank the Twelve for that. It's the steadiest paycheck I've ever earned."
|Tony Stark||Friday is sympathetic the wrist plate on the platform's arm reveals armor-piercing rockets. "I'm sure they know who you are, Revali. They think Mister Stark and I are Garleans. You, on the other hand, are unique."
The roar of the heavy ordinance tears off Iron Man's forearm and drills towards a vouivre's belly explosively as they make flight.
The 'Machinist' gets a turn of the helmet. "You are fairly calm for this situation. Do you often fight dragons with handguns?"
But she's gone before Friday can finish. The power armor shrugs. "I suppose we'll 'hold them here'."
Tony, in the 'backup suit', has the all-chrome unit's helmet click around his chin, the faceplate dropping over his face and eyes flaring to life. "Little bastard, hmm gentleman? It was my understanding that that sort of slur is financially unsound around here. I'll tell you what: You can slide your hostage this way and fly off with your dragon wings, and we'll call this one even. Sound fair?"
The response seems to be to palm thrust his head into a wall.
The 'k-THUN-umbleee' of palm connecting with head, head connecting with wall, and the thick pebbles displaced from the wall echoes around the basement.
Tony, wincing inside the helmet, audibly smirks; a digitally recreated snort escaping his suit's vocoder. "At least you've heard of me. I had to explain it to the help outside."
Bringing his knee up, his knee whirrs with actuators as he thrusts Khada off his chest and face with his foot that bursts out with flare of flight energy. Righting himself, he follows up, planting both feet heavily before taking a boxer's full-power right hook into Khada's face.
|Seifer Almasy|| Clearly the vouivre have not heard of Revali, but it doesn't stop them from doing their damnedest to tie him up. White Stripe is a formidable flier - a very formidable flier for his bulk, in fact, able to pull off maneuvers Revali simply *wouldn't've* expected from something that size, including one where it simply ascends above him and stalls on purpose to drop past him - but Revali is a better flier by far. It becomes apparent very very rapidly between the exchanges of arrows and lightning that that's the case - Revali can fly circles around the big transformed heretic with ease.
Still, White Stripe is buying time for whatever is going on in the tunnels.
And it doesn't help that he's wounded - Friday's explosive blasts have slowed him down for sure despite his best attempt to tank them with his back, the missiles having shredded part of his wing. It's great that he's doing such a good job up there but he's doing the aerial equivalent of ballet with a limp compared to Revali's Olympic-tier figure skating - the odds aren't in his favor.
Blue Streaks, meanwhile, gets right up in Friday's face. The vouivre is very, very big, and very, very fast, lumbering forward to just *crash* into her with its head and knock her through the barricade. The Brass Blades with her do their damnedest to mitigate the impact and help her out rather than bailing - perhaps surprising, considering most peoples' reactions to Multiversals fighting - but the vouivre just knocks them aside as it plows towards her. Those horns, those scales, are big and mean.
|Seifer Almasy|| "Lady's na-"
Mitaux's reaction is not, despite expectations, to block the bullets with some sort of display of superhuman skill and agility. This is probably because he has no idea what he's *looking* at, but it is perhaps also because blocking bullets is very hard. Instead, Mitaux's reaction is to get shot in the shoulder, then throw himself forward and roll under S6's legs. As he does so, his foot whips out for hers - hooking, rather than striking directly, so as not to hurt himself on the android's iron-plated body. The damage to his knuckles from his brief assault is somewhat obvious. He's strong but he's not 'punch an android freely' strong, clearly.
He also rolls out of the way of her just falling on him, for obvious reasons. He juggles his collapsed spear over to his bruised hand and opens his palm to start using soft force instead. "Khada, try to hold them for a minute. I have to fetch the thing."
"Fine!" Khada roars, "Get your damned treasaure! But be quick about it! The Iron Man's no joke, and I'm sure the android's not either!"
Tony shoves Khada backwards and punches him in the face. It knocks Khada to the side, towards S6 - a motion the big Au Ra uses to the fullest. The metallic ribbons lash out to grab her and her pod like arms, to whirl them around into Tony as bludgeoning weapons.
"I pay attention, Iron Man," Khada says, "You pay attention to the strong. When things change in the world, you learn what's changed. Only a fool or a god chooses to remain blind and trust in his own strength, and since I'm neither, I have to make do with my brain."
"And my god. But that's a different story."
Another echoing roar. The armor *bulges*, straining to contain massive muscles.
Huge claws rake forward, big enough and sharp enough to cut through solid stone. And...is that a glint of metal or a trick of the light?
Mitaux, meanwhile, is high-tailing it down the corridor. He's got something he needs, and he's not about to stop till he gets it.
|Lilian Rook|| "Oh, no, I wouldn't dream of asking." Lilian says to Twilight Lily, shaking her hand at the air first, then shaking her hand with the woman's. "After all, this is all just fine by me." she says. "Actually, I was making certain the Brass Blades weren't being shortchanged for their hard work. We all know just how much cleaning up this city *really* needs. And honestly, who can blame anyone for not caring enough to do it? It's either far over their heads, or it's a drain on the purse for not much more than warm feelings. Nobody benefits *quite* enough to make it all worth it. So I appreciate your hard work."
She appreciates it in the form of a fat bag of gil. Possibly the same one as she'd dropped on an excessively fancy desk not long ago. "Consider it a moral bonus." she says. "Because if you want those to matter, then you'd better make them worth the while." There isn't even a rhetorical question appended to it. She goes and signs the autograph at a kind of disgusting speed, practically looking like she'd just wiped the pen tip over it, before handing it back over. "Smart lad." she says.
"So what are you doing with them after you empty this place out? Curiosity, of course."
|Revali||Revali goes to fly a little harder, a little faster...
... If the vouivre are seeking to buy time, it's being sold. Revali's focused on the fight, and nothing but the fight. In his mind, the aerial duel in the skies above the warehouse, where he's getting to show off how sharply he can turn, how quickly and accurately he can fire, is important - no, it's the MOST important part of this entire battle.
He's Revali - how can the part of the fight he's in be anything but the most important part? Anything else is just... asinine.
Still, important or distraction, the rito is giving much better than he's getting - he's been shocked a few times, sure, but he's fast and his aim is true.
|S6|| Tripping up S6 has an unusual result; when she pitches forward, she immediately transitions it into a roll, coming up on all fours scarcely two paces from where she started. Golden runes materialize around the hilts of her discarded swords, which wrench from the walls as if pulled by unseen warriors.
"VRCS Engaged," the android intones, damage indicators sliding to the side of her vision.
This is when Khada's ribbons wrap around her. She immediately reassesses her targets; Mitaux is fleeing, but the more pressing concern is what Khada is doing. The larger of her paired swords hurls after the fleeing Dragoon-candidate heretic, spinning end over end as it flies, carving divots in stone walls as it flies. She retasks the smaller weapon to freeing herself even as she and her POD are swung about, a dancing saber slashing at the ribbon-limb's stem even while her body is weaponized against Iron Man.
|Seifer Almasy|| Twilight Lily raises an eyebrow. "That's damned communal of you, ma'am. Damned neighborly."
"Thank you for your donation."
She looks at the warehouse, one hand on her hip. "Blades'll seize it for a while until an offer gets made, then sell. Standard operating procedure. If nobody buys then we'll sit on it for a while, and if still nobody buys it then we'll probably lease it to someone for a killing." She shrugs. "I wish we could just go straight to the leasing but there's theoretically procedures that ought to be followed."
Daito stows the autograph book away again. "More than likely I'll have to handle the negotiations, so I would appreciate if your curiosity was willing to speed things along towards what I imagine all three of us are fully aware of, and perhaps pay a small premium for the privilege of cutting in line and letting me take care of the paperwork in advance rather than in three weeks after a tedious auction and a great deal of rezoning, madam."
|Tony Stark||Blue Streaks barrels in, heaving Friday's platform up and then bearing down, smashing the armor into the ground with a dull crunch and a more worrying squealing whine.
A speartip-like horn buried through the chest plate of the empty platform Friday 'rides' in.
Rather than quip or complain, the heavy left elbow comes up and down, audibly tensing and untensing the synthetic actuators that drive the elbow down into the dragon's skull repeatedly, before both hands grip the sides of the dragon's neck firmly--
And with a body twist, suddenly hyperextend the dragon's neck in a pretzel.
"Mister Stark is not going to appreciate the bill..." She laments.
|Seifer Almasy|| Revali is, indeed, giving better than he's getting. After an absolute hailstorm of arrows, one of them finally finds its mark directly in White Stripe's eye. The vouivre screeches in pain and plummets straight down, crashing against the roof with a *thump*. Slowly, the scales melt away, leaving a human behind - a human with blood pouring out of his eye (around which is a white tattoo), though he has no arrow in it. He's clutching something in one hand like his life depended on it.
Friday's elbow slams against the vouivre's head over and over and over. It roars, blasting lightning directly at the ground in an attempt to disrupt what it either now recognizes is a machine or believes to be a ghost. Bursts of lightning go off in time to Friday's hammering as if she was *beating* the electricity out of the creature. Finally, however, as she drags and twists the neck outwards, the vouivre lets out a similar screech, falls to the ground, and turns into a blue-haired Elezan woman with a wedding ring. She is also clutching something as though her life depended on it. Her neck is thoroughly broken.
The Brass Blades inside let up a loud cheer. The medic hefts the wounded and runs them out into the street, where Twilight Lily starts barking for the crowd to make way. The crowd, obligingly, does, and Lilian (and Revali, and Friday) get to see just how professional the Brass Blades really are - which is to say about as much as you'd expect from people being paid a lot of money to be a private police force.
Very. Because being less than very professional means you *don't get paid as much*.
|Tony Stark||"Look, I really appreciate it." Tony gripes, as he blocks the swing directed his way by S6's body that she transitions into a roll, an alert popping up in the corner of his eye. "And I'm glad we can make introductions." Tony grunts, weaving his armored head between one of the tendril-stabs and transitioning into a shoulder-check that leaves a tangible blast of force in a horizontal column to either end of the reserve Iron Man platform. "You can't win this one. And I'm not sure you can buy enough time either!"
The pair trade blows, Tony bringing up armor-sheathed forearms to clash with the stone-ripping claws, the still-prominent watch on his wrist projecting a more limited bracer-shield of projected energy.
In his helmet, alerts begin complaining more pointedly. "Friday, honey, what are you doing to the forty-four?" Tony asks sweetly. "I kind of need the real deal to seal the deal."
Up above, if Friday could sweat she would. She cannot, because she is an AI in an empty suit with a dragon's head-deelies occupying the chest cavity.
"I'm a bit pinned down right now, Boss. I'll be a minute."
Back with Tony, who transitions from a boosted punch into an open palm force-blast to get Khada off a claw-clinch with him, the Iron Man is not having His Best Day.
"Look, love to stay and chat--" He quips, cocking back his left fist, repulsor-shield still in place. "But I'm pretty sure I'm on a time crunch."
He shoves the shield-fist forward, driving the hard wall of force into the behemoth of a man's neck.
|Seifer Almasy|| The huge sword comes shooting towards Mitaux. He's fast enough to fling himself to the side and *only* take a cut along the shoulder - the same shoulder she already shot. Mitaux is leaking blood at an alarming rate as he rounds the corner. Still, he's booking it for *something*.
Khada is definitely not equipped to fight Iron Man, S6, S6's Sword, S6's POD, and whatever else might be coming for him on his own, and he knows it. Something starts glowing on his shoulder. "You're right. I can't buy enough time without dying, and I doubt I could win even with. Fighting you, fighting the Paladins, here and now, without preparation, is suicide."
"And I am not prepared to die for Gelgululu's secrets."
Khada takes the shield-fist directly in the face. He skids backwards, blood pouring out of his nose. S6's blades cut one of the ribbon-arms in half as they find themselves suddenly drawn taut, freeing the android. Khada purses his lips.
"As I suspected."
He touches his ear as the light on his shoulder grows brighter. "Mitaux, I'm leaving. Either you're done, or you're dead."
Khada simply...disappears into a burst of light. His body just shatters and blips out, as if it wasn't ever there.
Mitaux has similarly vanished. Whatever he took from the cluttered underground warehouse is impossible to determine - other than the trail of blood leading to a crate with a deep imprint in the packing material, an imprint in the shape of a-
From there it's trivial to secure Gelgululu; the rest of the vouivres have all fled out the escape tunnels, and Gelgululu himself has been left dangling upside-down from a chandelier. They find Claire sitting under him with a smile on her face.
"The first time I have seen the blood rush to *that* head on a Lalafel," she says cheerfully before she tosses a snowflake pendant at Tony.
It's stained with blood.
There's the body of another woman with a wedding ring laying off to the side. A hole has been blown in her head.
|Lilian Rook|| Lilian glances sideways to Daito again as he opens his mouth once more. She holds a stare on him for a few moments, little saccades flickering up and down just slightly, but no further than between his neck and forehead. "You have a premium subordinate. I like him. Sharp." she says. "Doesn't say anything unless it's good to say."
She turns back to Lily. "Indeed, it seems I've arrived at a fortunate time. If it's not too sudden, I'd like the paperwork at your earliest convenience. I don't mind a surcharge for expedited service. Everyone gets one day shipping anyways."
|Seifer Almasy|| "Yes, ma'am. I'm paid by the word, but charged by the sentence." Daito's tone remains completely flat. Twilight Lily laughs.
"Daito'll see to it. I'll just say that the deed was lost in the damage."
Oh yeah. Twilight Lily has done this song and dance before.
|S6|| Once freed, S6 tumbles, coming to a stop on all fours, limbs splayed out like a spider to arrest the remainder of her momentum. She snaps up to her feet, sword flitting back to her hands, in which she assumes an offensive stance with the POD floating nearby.
Khada's response to this and Iron Man's presence is to disappear rather than continue fighting. S6's posture loosens slightly, and then she starts moving with quick, curt steps.
"POD, locate Mitaux." Her sword leaves her hand, floating up and resuming its position behind her back. Her larger sword wrenches itself from the wall, soon joining its partner.
-TRACKING.- the POD chimes, -TARGET OUT OF RANGE. PLOTTING POSSIBLE VECTORS. UNKNOWN.-
The entire time the drone talks, S6 pursues the trail of blood produced by the fleeing heretic's wounds, right up until it disappears. She frowns, standing over the emptied crate and its packaging. The POD floats up beside her, scanning the box and the empty depression, flipping through probable shapes in a corner of her vision.
-SHAPE IS CONSISTENT WITH CRYSTALLINE PRISMS.-
-THEORY: THE CONTENTS OF THIS CRATE WERE THE TARGET'S OBJECTIVE.-
|Tony Stark||"Sometimes it's frustrating to be *too* right." Tony laments, dropping to a knee and, once Khada is clearly gone-and-not-cheekily-returning, deactivating the 'backup' suit. The helmet segments and retracts, plates retreating down his back and into his heavy watch and large belt-buckle. "Nice work, S6." He breathes, adjusting the seating of his watch and tightening his tie. "Need to get my glasses back."
Heaving himself up out of the hole, he catches the bloodstained amulet, wearing a 'thanks! I hate it!' expression. "Well. Happy to be of help with the dysfunctions of verticality." Tony deadpans, bowing to the lalafel businessman. "I'm sure someone will love the invoice. Who were they? Is it normal for dragons and the French to..." He gestures meaninglessly. "... maruad about the place?"
|Seifer Almasy|| "Ishgardian," Claire replies to Tony, "Non, it is not typical for heretics to be this far afield of Coerthas. As for me, I am here to demonstrate the latest work of House Haillenarte on the Bloodsands - the arena. An attempt to draw funding for more war machines. We are desperate at the moment." She hefts the blunderbuss over her shoulder.
"I see that we are sorely outmatched by the Multiverse, of course, but I am not surprised by this at all."
|Tony Stark||"I like your dynamo purse." Tony quips back, (unusually) warm about the 'machinist' and her help. "But I believe I have a patent on 'Arc Reactor Blue' for use in combat armaments. I had to beat Lockeed and Boeing with a stick, so I hope House Haillenarte has a good legal defense fund." He continues to joke, the lightness and overall cheer of his tone clear--
--When Friday floats in with the 'Forty-Four', causing Tony to practically shriek.
"You did all but wrap it around a tree! I'm going to have to rethink letting you drive the mustang, young lady."
The suit hangs its head.
|S6|| After securing several photos of the container and its surroundings through her POD, S6 leaves the storeroom. Some few minutes after Tony climbs his way out, the android walljumps her way back to street level, performing a somersault at the apex before landing nimbly at street level in spite of her damage-- with various patches of skin torn and showing hints of the mechanism underneath.
It's starting to repair itself, but that'll take a while. With the threats routed, her weapons disappear in showers of golden sparks, the POD floating placidly beside her.