4527/At the Edge of Ruin

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At the Edge of Ruin
Date of Scene: 08 September 2016
Location: City of Ravnica <Rav>
Synopsis: Those looking for Yunomi finally find her....
Cast of Characters: 272, 325, 482, 300
Tinyplot: 34 - Moeru

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    There's a memory... of how we used to be -- that I can see through the flames.

    There was a section of ruins that has been burned out, firebombed into near oblivion. The stones here crackle and are blackened with soot, trees and any other growth twisted for want of sustenence.

    Life does not thrive here, and it was here that a figure clad in a dark brown hooded cloak emerges from the dark from some secreted away tunnel. The Izzet Access tunnels go deep and travel long. Plain, brown leather boots thump along the ground quietly as ears shift beneath the hood, listening for any sign of scavengers or spiders...

    ... of any variety.

    Meanwhile, at Nivix, as soon as Yunomi emerges from the dark, the newly repaired Pidge lights up, brilliant azure and scarlet lights flashing as he goes to orbit the Guildmaster, beeping and blipping excitedly, trying to make that connection to the goggles around Yunomi's neck. Yu glances up from where she was repairing a pocket watch, and squeaks excitedly into a radio: "GUILDMASTER! Guildmaster, Pidge just lit up like /CHRISTMAS/. She must be above ground!"

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    Ever since Yuna had visited and sang to the Guildmaster, she had slipped into a sleep that she had simply not awoken from until right about now. The sounds of Pidge being exited, and Yu calling out into the radio is enough set the dragon stirring, "... Eh? Wha? ... You're in the aer- ... where?" she asks, only realizing that it was her Comm-Crystal speaking, and not anyone in the lair. After taking a few moments to process, the dragon realizes what was said. Yunomi has revealed herself. Truly? After hiding so long, why now? It was not the way Rhapsody had expected this to happen. She, instead, had expected sly words from a forked tounge coming from the crystal instead. This was... unexpected.

    In a flash, the dragon is back to her 'normal,' familiar form. A glance around the room reminds her of a rampage days earlier. A few moments are taken to collect a spellblade, then the other, then an Izzet Signet which she stares at for a long moment, then with a sigh, tosses the signet into the hoard. Off to one side of the room, she rummages through a closet in the wall. Rather than the vivid blue and red colors she typically wears, a drab, grey, colorless coat is instead pulled over her arms and shoulders before she starts toward the doors.

        It was going to be another very long day.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Coordinates were given; no matter his task at the moment, Sir Bedivere of Dun Realtai needed no further encouragement to go. It's rare for him to leave a task unfinished, but for this, he would give it no second thought.

  So it is that Bedivere arrives at the coordinates in question, frowning at the desolation of the earth. It reminds him of Dun Realtai before Yunomi worked her literal magic, with ash instead of green, scorched earth crackling underfoot.

  He takes its condition in for a long moment, mulling over the scent of ash and soot even as he keeps an ear out. The others here know best how to handle this; he intends to defer to their lead.

  Instead, he considers the ruins with some interest. Old things like this interest him; he had always been curious about the stories those ancient Roman ruins in Camelot's lands had to tell.

  For now, the knight is alone, wearing his full plate armour and his mantled white cloak.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    The knight is alone, wearing full plate armor and a mantled white cloak.

    And from behind him steps a figure, clad in dark brown, the edges of the cloak in taggers from inumerable snags and catches in the dark. The wind whispers, caressing along the ruins like the hands of a bone-handed lover, catching upon ashes and sending them up to the gray sky. Lightning crackles, and rain threatens in the pregnant clouds above.

    The figure stares long and hard at that white mantled cloak, unknowing that overhead a brightly beeping Izzet drone has honed in on the signal from her goggles, and is closing in at a fast clip -- eager to be reunited, eager to reunite Rhapsody with the offworld guardian.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    While Rhapsody was on her way from Nivix to the coordinates Pidge had gone to, Beidvere and Yunomi would have a few moments alone. The dragon wanted to come as quietly as possible, which required a pretty long walk. Well it was probably a run at this point amidst a thunderstorm of turmoil in her head, hoping against hope that a Certain Someone wasn't going to show up at the same time. "Please.. just allow me a moment alone with her.. Just a moment," she pleads, glancing skyward at the only star she could see. The second was still missing...

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Bedivere is a master at knowing when he's being watched. Even if he doesn't see his observer, he's learned to hone that suspicious little sense; that twinge when one feels another's eyes upon them. It was a survival skill for him, once upon a time, and a hard one to shake.

  So when someone suddenly appears on the road behind him, the knight is in the air; turning, sword ripping from its scabbard and pointing straight at Yunomi's head--

  "Lady Stadler." Bedivere's greeting is an explosive breath, both of relief and worry. "Please do not come upon me from behind. It is... dangerous." Another glance is cast to make sure they're still alone; that nobody's watching. Such as creeps like Ijiwaru. Once he's satisfied, the knight bows his head in relief, even though his expression is one of worry. "Ah... I am so relieved to see that you are safe. I had worried."

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    Yunomi watches. She flinches when Bedivere draws his weapon, but stands her ground. At least if she were to die to Bedivere, Ijiwaru would not get the pleasure.

    But the cut never comes. The tanuki's dark eyes open when he says her name, and immediately fights between embracing him and disappearing, and she gives a loud breath outward, her eyes on that armor, the white mantle catching what little light there is.

    Her voice wavers, grinding against itself as if she hadn't spoken in days, the softness and clear notes from it gone as she harshly hisses: "You shouldn't have come here, Bedivere."

    And it was the sole reply made to her steadfast friend before she strikes.

    Yunomi's right hand lights up green as she focuses mana, and draws backwards from the knight, grambles reaching up for his legs, thorns trying to ensnare the armor to hold him still!

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
        "What are you doing?!"

    The one voice Yunomi may want to hear, and not want to hear, at the same time. The guildmaster's run slows to a skidding halt, eyes wide as Yunomi actually attacks Bedivere. They had worked together so much! Was Ijiwaru actually -right-? The one question that has been on Rhapsody's mind since presentation day comes thundering out of her as if she were in her true form.


    How is it one word can ask for -so- much..?

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  The point of the sword dips until it nearly drags in the dust. He remembers to return it to his scabbard, but no sooner is that done than a monstrous bramble is reaching for him with deadly intent. Very pointed intent, anyway. Thorns and all. See what we did there?

  Bedivere leaps backward, but the plant has already caught him; it fouls his footing and keeps him in close to the tanuki.


  The blade tears from its scabbard and whirls a full circle, glittering silver as he brings it up and then down on a section of vine in a vicious headsman's chop; the only stroke strong enough to sever such a tough cord. If he can sever it. He'll settle for deterring it.

  "What are you doing?" Oops, it's got his leg. Bedivere's expression shifts to one of annoyance as he feels thorns prick at him at the gaps between armour pieces. That actually kinda hurts. "Stop this foolishness. And put up some preconceived notion of sparing or protecting me, or the others who wish to assist you; we act because we /choose/ to."

  Bedivere thins his lips, looking down a moment to set a hand to a particularly enthusiastic vine and try to pull it away, before its grip grows strong enough for thorns to puncture steel. That would be very very painful. "Now call off your attack-dog vines, and we may discuss this like civil folk."

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    What /is/ she doing? The mage keeps drawing backwards, the vines continuing to draw upwards. She's not putting effort into make it punch through his armor, though the ocasional prick of a thorn finding its way is unavoidable. If she wanted, she could crush him between trees. She hears Rhapsody's voice above her, and Pidge's frantic, questioning beeping.

    Pidge brought them here... and she gives a soft hiss, reaching up and feeling the warmth of her activated goggles. She overlooked that.

    "There is nothing civil about War, Bedivere, R-Guildmaster." she states cooly, and she makes another vine grow from her left hand.

    This shifts, turning into a long, twisting, black naginata, and she spreads her arms, the tattered cloak whipping up in the wind, and it's plain to see the armor was blood red beneath... and blue...

    And black.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
"War? What damn war?! Wars are fought by ARMIES, not by single people!" Rhapsody yells, moving to take another step, but stopping cold when the Naginata is brought forward. What makes the dragon truly stagger, however, are the colors. Red and blue are fine, but if you add black? Well, that could cause any of the three Mizzet kits to freeze in their tracks. Those were the colors of a dragon that wanted nothing more than death and carnage across the entire city, and beyond.

    "...Answer me..." it's soft, but stern, like water coming to a boil slowly..

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Those vines could have easily become coils like steel, crushing him to a pulp between the thorns. Why is she holding back? Either she wants to send a message, or she's being watched. Or, he reasons, even as he gauges how tightly the vines grab him, she thinks /Rhapsody/ is being watched.

  He had caught that flicker of hesitation in her. He's reasonably certain she wouldn't be engaged in this foolishness without good reason. Perhaps, he reasons, something is going so far as to pressure her into defying the Ravnican Guild?

  There comes an exasperated sound as the vine becomes a sword. Yunomi gives her philosophical explanation, and the knight...

  The knight just sighs. The sword flicks up so he's holding it upright with both hands, clearly a defensive posture. Despite that, he doesn't strike out.

  "I really suggest that you answer Miss Rhapsody, first, rather than spend your effort trying to put me down." Bedivere points this out quite politely. "As for the latter, you are simply wasting your effort. One of my greatest talent as a soldier was the ability to hold a line, you know. Perhaps I will not put you down, for I have no desire to strike at you... but you will not put me down, either. Not without significant effort; a Pyrrhic victory, really. Do you really want to waste what I am certain is limited time with that pointless goal? We would be much better off talking our way through this."

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    "Wars are fought by numbers, by those in positions of power, and the inside of ourselves. Some over months, some over centuries, some never quite burn out." Yunomi replies in a soft hiss, and she tears the goggles from around her, snapping the quick-release at their side, and throwing them towards Rhapsody. "I offered you a chance for your freedom and you chained yourself. Your war has just begun, Guildmaster. His..."

    Yunomi turns, and for the briefest of moments her eyes are seen in the shadow of the hood. She's terrified, in pain. She raises her left hand, showing the massive scar forming of boiled and burned skin on her left arm, cauterized against infection. Her eyes lay on Bedivere, and there was conflict,

    "Is soon to be at an end."

    Yunomi's fingertips have a slight blue glow on her right, but the left still carries green. She raises her hands, and the barbs grow a little more steel, instead of a finger's width, they have that of a man's wrist as they errupt from the ground, creating a mass of broken earth with intent to bury the knight alive.

    Words, may echo in both Bedivere and Rhapsody's heads, imprints, not quite a voice:


Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    "Who am I talking to?! Umehana Odanuki who may have went to war with those Magic-Eaters and possibly killed people, or Yunomi Stadler who is a proud daughter to Richard Stadler and the most prominent Izzet League apprentence that was picked by NIV-MIZZET HIMSELF?!" the dragon roars out thanks to her brother. It was easily one of her brother's stranger theories, but at this point, she was just hoping to remind an ally, a family member, a dear friend, just who she IS, and not who she WAS.

    The words smash into her head like a load of bricks. She isn't sure where they came from, or why, but the guildmaster takes it into consideration long enough to erupt into her true, draconic form, once again. With a roar, the dragon goes -charging- across the ground between them, wings spreading, front limbs looking to tear Bedivere away from the collapsing ground while her tail thrashes out in her wake, looking to knock the tanuki aside.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Bedivere only tilts his head as he studies Yunomi, something approaching puzzlement flickering through his grim expression. What is this nonsense about war she's spouting? It doesn't make a lot of sense to him, at least as far as she hasn't seemed to reach a point yet.

  In fact, he doesn't have time to do more than tilt his head before the earth erupts beneath him. A chasm yawns opens underfoot, one deep enough that he has no illusions about his survivability if he falls into it.

  Bedivere doesn't even have time to call for help. He only manages a strangled, wordless yell of alarm.

  And then he is tackled by a dragon.

  There's a thud of impact as Rhapsody charge-tackles him away from the crumbling earth. With one hand he clings like death to the claws that hold him; with the other, he makes sure not to lose his sword.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    The blue light fades from Yunomi's fingertips, replaced by green when --

    Oh, there's a wing!

    WHUMP! Yunomi takes the wing to pretty much her everything, sending skidding along the dirt and ash, sent tumbling to the side. She had been expecting spell blades or lightning coming at her.


    It was a miscalculation, and she draws herself up, the brambles turning further into ash as she pulls her hood further down over her face. She grasps another stone, shifting it from its natural form to another twisted naginata, and she sails upwards.

    Just like fighting the Kaiju. Big creatures don't move fast, she reminds herself, and her hand glows green for a second time.

    "I am who I have always been." is her only vocal response, before vines rise up, the ground rumbling, rupturing, curling up and around, trying to take the wings of the dragon, her tail, her hind legs!

    And with it, retrain a grasp on Bedivere!

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
"ANSWER THE QUESTION!" Rhapsody roars out, trying to throw Bedivere clear of the vines before feeling the same vines latching onto her scaleless hide, causing her to careen downward in an arc rather suddenly before her form crashes into the ground. Hard.

    A loud groan comes from Rhapsody. She wasn't very accustomed to being her trueself. Actually being -hurt- in the same form was foreign to her. Feeling places hurt she never felt before. It was -odd- but at the same time right. "Why won't you answer me," she growls, pulling at the vines a moment before, instead, using the breath weapon she's always had. Not fire, just raw white energy... possibly mana! Hard to tell with dragonsfire. "All I have had is puzzle pieces, and I'm tired of missing some of them! -ANSWER MY QUESTION-!"

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  No sooner has he been tackled off his feet than the knight is bodily hurled aside to avoid the grasping tendrils of the vines. He hits the ground with a stomach-turning crunch, a sound that can't possibly be just steel. Hopefully it was just some kind of reinforcing material in his armour, and not something important.

  Flung into the ash and dust, he rolls a few times before coming to rest in a vague heap of tangled limbs, and somewhere in all that, an old, polished sword. Something in the midst of the heap spasms; Bedivere coughs, throwing up a plume of ash.

  He remembers himself almost too late, rolling back to his feet with a grunt, though his expression looks about as grey as the ash underfoot. Something important got either broken or sprained; he tests his arm carefully, wincing and keeping half his eye on the unfolding duel.

  Bedivere, perhaps wisely, elects not to say anything. Maybe he can avoid attracting Yunomi's attention again while he tests his limbs and makes sure everything's in mostly working order.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    Pidge, meanwhile, considers it /wise/ to not be orbiting either Yunomi or Rhapsody at this moment, and instead worriedly orbits Bedivere, beeping in concern.<<This way is up!>> it seems to say in its cheerful beeps.

    "You keep asking the question, but I keep giving you the answer! I am who I have always been, who I will always be!"

    A dog. A creature. A protector. A murderer.

    A Monster.

        A Guardian.

    The green light fades from the tanuki's hands, and she braces herself, eyes narrowed beneath the hood. Oh, but her chest hurts, a burning, searing pain. She circles around in the air, armor caked with ash and dirt. Some wound has opened on her right arm, and it's trailing blood down to her elbow, where it drips off.

    "You're Mizzet. You're /good/ at figuring this stuff out. Or can't you beleive the words I've ever said?"

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    "I want to hear it from YOU!" The dragon roars out. "Why would you so suddenly throw away everything? You've had! The past can stay in the past, you are what you are -NOW-! That's why I want you to answer the question!" The words have taking a sort of pleading tone despite the fact Rhapsody has, instinctively, taken up a dragon's defensive stance. Side to her, wings half open, tail flicking about behind, still facing the tanuki. She says a single thing she heard a few years ago, and she finds it prudent to say even now. It was at the bottom of the message, after all.

                    "Don't you understand?!"
                      "WE CAN DO ANYTHING."
                "WE CAN EVEN MAKE THE WORLD STOP!"

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  After a moment Bedivere manages to sort himself out, picking himself up to his feet with a strangled sound of pain. Yes hello that hurts pretty badly. It's probably not a break, though, or at least not a serious one. Or not as serious as it could be.

  It might hurt like the dickens, but at least all the moving parts are still generally able to move... more or less.

  Grunting, Bedivere tests his sword arm, eyeing the battle from his vantage point. A vantage point is good. It means not getting fried by a dragon's breath. White or orange or red, it doesn't much matter; fire is fire. He'd prefer to keep a safe distance. An absurdly safe distance.

  Cowardly? Maybe. But Bedivere is also incredibly practical. He can't parlay with Yunomi if he's a charcoal briquette, can he?

  "Can you speak?" he asks of the little machine, reaching up as though to give it a place to land. Then, with a quick glance at the battle of the titans over there, he shakes his head. "What should I do?"

  He could get involved, but those two far outclass him in terms of supernatural muscle... and in Rhapsody's case, literal muscle.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    The little orb burbles to itself happily in its own mechanical tongue, beeping, flashing lights, and generally being adorable as it orbits worriedly around Bedivere, pausing one moment as Bedivere asks a question, and then the orb drops down, thumping its mizzium shell into Bedivere's hand, and gives a sad little beep, and a soft 'whrrrr' of its gears.

    "You wouldn't understand. Why throw away everything I worked for? Everything I clamoured, and scraped, and burried myself in?" she snarls. The more I fight, the more I work -- the more I dig into the dirt.

    Yunomi's green mana leaches away, and turns red. She draws herself slightly upwards, floating in air as she breathes out.

    "Give up everything /I Loved/... why do you think I would throw it all away, Rhapsody Mizzet? What would make me kill my friend and mentor, so horrible as to make your /father/ turn away from me?" she asks, and she forces her lips into a wicked grin.

    "Maybe someone offered me a better deal."

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    That earns a long, hard, stare from the dragon. "You're lying," are the first words that come out of the dragons muzzle. "Whoever this is? They aren't offering you friends, family, a place to belong, relationships you can't have anywhere else. I don't think anyone gave you a better deal at -all-. I think you're either not yourself or you are protecting me from something. What could anyone else possibly offer?"

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Alas, it is a no. It is, however, the most adorable no in the history of nos. Bedivere almost feels bad about asking. He hefts the mizzium sphere, turning it this way and that, studying the thing even as he keeps half his attention on the battle. No speech doesn't help him much, but maybe it's better to let this play out as it was meant to be... however that may be.

  He's listening to the battle even as he does, hefting the sphere thoughtfully. "Hm. While it may be wise to intervene, I do not think that is the wisest course, at the moment." He frowns, sheathing his sword with a trembling hand. Yep, still excruciatingly painful. "Whatever answer Miss Rhapsody seeks, she must hear it from Lady Stadler..."

  He lowers himself into a crouch, watching the two warily. So far, he seems to have escaped notice. That's good. He doesn't have any magic words to get Yunomi to stop; and anyway, it seems as though she wouldn't listen to anything right now. She's like a horse that's taken the bit in its teeth. All you can do is let it run itself out.

  Bedivere makes an exasperated sound. That doesn't mean it's pleasant to watch, though.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    "How would you know? What have I said to you that's been true? That I would never /dreaam/ of taking the reigns from you? That I would follow you to the ends of the multiverse?" Yunomi gives a cold laugh, her head shaking.

    The burn in her chest is unbearable. "Or when I said that I didn't want to follow you, that someone offered a deal that I just couldn't pass up fi I turned the Izzet over to them? Izzet so hard to beleive, Rhapsody Mizzet, that someone who fought and killed for so long would possibly have an ulterior motive?" she questions, "Or are you living in denial because you /love/ me?"

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
"I'm living this way because of words YOU wrote and then proceeded to hide from EVERYONE!" The dragon roars. "You've been looking for a way to bring him back! About accessing a place only he could have hoped to go! I know why you built the Nexus, I know why you are doing -all- of it. JUST BE HONEST DAMNIT! STOP HIDING! Whatever you are trying to do we can do it -together- because I want him back just as much as you do, all three of us do! You don't have to do it alone!" It is possible that Rhapsody was talking about the notebooks they had found, but... perhaps for reasons, she's being a little vague about it. Just cause she couldn't see a snake didn't mean it wasn't there.

    "I'll answer one of the questions for you. Right now. 'Will I even see you alive?' OF COURSE YOU WILL. HE WAS RIGHT THERE. HE IS RIGHT THERE. HE WILL -ALWAYS- BE RIGHT THERE WAITING FOR US TO BRING HIM HOME!"

Richard Stadler (300) has posed:
It had taking time. Richard had meant it when he said he was done dealing with Rhapsody, /couldn't/ deal with Rhapsody, despite whatever side she might have been on. She was comprimised, and that meant he had to manuever things himself. Granted... all it had taken was time. Once Pidge started orbiting, and Rhapsody started moving, it had been easy enough to track their general location. Then there was just a matter of narrowing it down for the drones.

Thorns, angry, thrashing dragons, and bright mana certainly helped in that regard.

But it led to shadows moving in the ruins, lurking on the sides. And one of them, a camoflauged, faceless sergeant in a guile suit, put his hand to an ear. Clicked his mic twice. Took a deep breath, and squeezed the trigger.

The sound might actually be well camoflauged; supressors weren't meant to keep things quiet; they were meant to keep things vague. It could have been lost in combat, though. What couldn't was a heavy round whizzing by Yunomi, sounding what could be terrifyingly close before it takes out a large chunk of rock in a wall along it's path.

And then there's a single man, walking out from behind a wall. He wasn't wearing a gas mask, even though that might have completed the look. But he was dressed in all back combat gear, rifle held in front of him, an attachment on the underbarrel running through to a kevlar lined hose to an armored tank on his back.

"Don't mind me." Richard says, his voice lacking afflection, his face a mask of granite. "I'm a scientist. Testing a theory. Please. Continue."

There were still shadows in the ruins, but they weren't exposing themselves to the group in combat. They're hugging the edges of the battle. Yunomi was Rick's daughter, and he would deal with her. But he wasn't his only enemy in this city.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    "Opening the rift again, who do you think I work for?" Yunomi questions, her voice a small hiss. A shining strand leads its way down along an ashy cheek.

    I deserve to die, and be forgotten about.

    And then the sound of a round, explosive kenetic energy -- but she couldn't hear from where. She hears the bullet whizz by her, and strike the wall, exploding a chunk of concrete and stone in a shower of sparks and chunks striking around them, and then...

    It takes every. Shred. of Will for Yunomi not to scream, to yell at them to get away. She exhales, and turns to the dragon, and then back to the man walking up.

    "Do you honestly all beleive in what you said? That I'm some poor soul who needs saving because I'm being controlled? I'm /FREE/. Namamura's fall ensured that, but it took my struggle to reclaim what I should have let die."

    "Speaking of dying..."

    Green mana rises up again, a massive amount swelling, heeding her call, far away from any forests, and then Yunomi turns her attention back to Rhapsody.

    "You should have stayed a more managable size..." she hisses, and the tries to FORCE a Polymorph on Rhapsody! Blue mana snakes around, whipping like tendrils to force the guildmaster into a smaller, more manageable -- human -- form.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Unable to intervene, all Bedivere can do is study Pidge, looking for some kind of switch, toggle, sensor, or /some/thing that might give him a clue as to what to do. His radio has toggles and switches on it, doesn't this thing? Right?

  Bedivere's lack of experience in more technologically advanced worlds is coming back to bite him real hard right about now.

  In the meantime, he doesn't interject into their argument, because making the angry tanuki and the angry dragon notice you're there is probably an unwise actio--


  The round might be suppressed, but that doesn't stop it from being noisy once it slams into a rock face. Bedivere jumps, nearly dropping Pidge, and his first instinct is to duck down.

  "Perhaps I'd better take you somewhere you're not going to be shot at," he murmurs, raising his head over the ruins just enough to watch -- somewhat worriedly -- what's happening.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    Pidge, meanwhile, gives a sad beep, and hops back into the air, orbiting Bedivere protectively.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    No Spellblades, no magic of her own, no nothing. As the massive amount of mana reaches up and wraps around the dragon, she panics. There's actually a quick call to ATTEMPT a counter spell, but with her trouble with mana, she only manages three blue, and not the four she'd actually need. The wisps of blue that had tried to fight against the polymorph spell find themselves overwhelmed and Rhapsody vanishes in a massive sphere of mana, a roar slowly turning to a scream that slowly fades away.

When the sphere vanishes, a human with a pale complexion is left behind. It is rather 'typical' as a human may go with the exception of the white hair. Blue eyes, a little extra weight, but nothing that indicates -dragon- to the world. It actually takes the guildmaster a long moment to realize what has happened. No hide, no scales, no coat, no tail... just skin?

        "Wh... what?"

Richard Stadler (300) has posed:
Stadler watches the conversation, the battle of magic... the sudden disappearance of a dragon in a sphere of blue that reveals something less lizardy and more... human. Naked, as well, but Stadler gives a passing glance to that. He had a job to do, and in the end, it wasn't the first time he's seen a woman naked. Sometimes zombies tore off their clothes too, and this, like then, he had a job to do that was more important. "Right now, that's not part of the experiment. Could be controlled, could be doing this from your own free will. Faked being my daughter, faked your devotion to your studies and your guildmaster, and mistress... it could be possible. And, I admit, I'm curious to see how this would turn out if I ordered that man I had to put a bullet through her head.

"It's possible, you know." He says, moving into his pocket, taking out a device, and striking a part of the underbarrel device with it. There's a few sparks that go off, bright in the night, before there's a small flame that appears at the end of it. "That'd be an interesting one. Maybe you could convince me that this is for the best, and we could end this now. Cut the head off the Izzet right here. That's something... but I think for another time. Tonight's experiment... what was it you said before? You're who you always were? Same goals, same motivations..."

He brings the rifle and it's device in front of him, angling it to the side, before pulling a trigger. In an instance, a stream of ignited napalm jets out of the nozzle, expertly painted in a line between Yunomi and himself. Nothing that had been too close... but the stone was still on fire.

"Same fears."

From the shadows of the ruins around them, there's a quick sound of boots, and suddenly there's a gas-masked soldier next to Bedivere. He's quickly unslinging a large anti-tank missile launcher, offering it by it's side mounted control unit to the knight. Though the knight might also note the assasult rifle slung in front of him has a bayonet affixed."

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Bedivere watches the transformation with narrowed eyes, not certain what to expect. Magic is not really his forte; foreign systems like this, even less. His hand is still settled on the hilt of his sword, but only as a defense. These people have more than enough power to kill him if they really wanted to, and these people are also incredibly emotional at the moment.

  He's really not in a good position right now, is he?

  Thankfully, he's chivalrous, and immediately averts his eyes when it becomes clear that Rhapsody doesn't have a stitch of clothing on her.

  Instinct prompts him to call for a javelin from Richard; some kind of spear-like weapon might serve him well, with more reach than his sword. A spear can also be thrown, in a pinch... and his skills with polearms put his skills with a longsword to shame.

  Richard Stadler makes good on Bedivere's request, and obediently hands him an anti-tank missile launcher.

  Bedivere, with good reason, looks completely dumbstruck by this development. He asked for a javelin, not this... this... whatever the hell this thing is.

  It has a bayonet on it and it looks like it can be removed. Good enough. Bedivere sets to removing it with a good sharp twist, and hands the firearm part back to Richard. Ew. He can keep that nastiness.

  Taking it in hand, he advances onto Rhapsody, keeping his eyes locked on Yunomi to make sure she doesn't advance. He keeps its point trained in her direction, sidling closer until he's standing beside Rhapsody. His cloak is unclasped, taken one-handed, and offered to Rhapsody without a word.

  He's staring at Yunomi, mostly, to see how she reacts.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    Pidge just kind of... freaks out at the suddenly /huge/ pull of blue mana. All of his lights suddenly light up as if to say "!!!" and then he /books/ it out of the good knight's arms and over to Rhapsody, protectively circling her and beeping angrily, all of the red lights coming on as he crackles with electricity.

    Yunomi, meanwhile, is still airborne. Stretching her fingers out, her scarred arm bearing red mana, the pregnant clouds begin to open up, rain falling down in the ruins, on the good and evil alike. Lightning flashes in the sky, thunder roars through the clouds as Yunomi turns her guildmaster into a weak, defenseless human.

    THere was a reason why Yunomi was sure Rhapsody wouldn't hurt her. Rhapsody was young, idealistic, she didn't beleive Yunomi was guilty even for an instant.

    Yunomi had thought that of Rick, her dad, the man she trusted with everything else int he world... and then he exposes her fear of fire. Her eyes go wide beneath the hood, and the rain breaks over her, roaring, and she draws her fingers up, red mana glowing before she takes a deep breath, and extinguishes the fire, taking control of it.

    "I. Am. DONE. With you all!" she snaps "You should have let me die when Frieza peirced me, when Vlrash nearly killed me in the Underdark, when the water nearly took me when I lost Namamura! Now..."

    The red mana crackles around her fingertips as she takes a deep breath, and she calls down the lightning.

    "You're /stuck with ME/."

    And lightnign crashes around the ruins, cascading in red-tinged electricity!

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    When Sir Bedivere offers his cloak, the young WOMAN takes it, wraps herself up in it, and then ends up getting soaked when the clouds part on everyone below them. At least the rain hides the tears that have started streaking down her face. Watching the scene unfold, Rhapsody's ideals are starting to break into pieces, one after another, like glass. All the energy she had is gone, her mind returning to the state it was right after Ijiwaru talked to her. Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she might even hope that one of those bolts drops right down ontop of her..

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Oh hey there goes Pidge.

  Without thinking, Bedivere lowers an arm, resting a bracing hand on Rhapsody's shoulder, once she's got the cloak over herself. It's a gesture meant to offer some kind of comfort, however scant it may be.

  Yunomi is still airborne; all Bedivere can do is close ranks in front of Rhapsody, keeping the spear pointed outward as though to ward the tanuki off. He's not actually going to hurt her, but he does intend to keep her from hurting anybody else.

  Bedivere's mouth twists into a grim line. "Pity for you that those of true loyalty are not so easy to sway. What sort of knight would I be if I abandoned those I considered friends so easily? Better still, what sort of friend would I be?"


  Oh, that's not good.

  Electricity is /bad/ when you're wearing plate mail. So, he tackles Rhapsody down to the ground, out of the way of the nearest bolt as best he can. His intent is to keep her from being struck; the lightning, unfortunately, is everywhere. Hopefully not lethal.

Richard Stadler (300) has posed:
The lightening that strikes around the ruins does an excellent job of keeping what the shadows hide at bay. Those stealthy shapes are hiding there are forced to find cover, under collapsing rubble and overhangs to protect them from lightening that's raining down. Through the cracks of it erupting across the ruins, she might hear the pained scream of someone hidden in there, getting his or her flesh burned with immense power, grunting to apply first aid. And get back into position.

Rick, admittedly, is fortunate. Or else he happened to be experienced enough with Yunomi's brief that he knew the right place to stand. There was a near miss, the nomex uniform singed and melted in some places... but he's not hurt. And neither, for the most part, is the team.

From Yunomi's left, there's a long burst of fire from an M27, established on a bipod in a rock-filled second floor. It's well aimed, but it's not meant to hit. Instead, it's meant to heard her to the right... just before there's a 'thunk' from a grenade laucher, and hot, white phosphourous erupts in a blinding white explosion just where she would have previously been.

And Rick could think that at least she didn't have a death wish. That was /something/.

"What we should have done isn't relevent, Yunomi. Rhapsody's the one that wants to talk. I'm done talking. That's a footnote. SOme dry text in the background brief. You know one was wrote up for this mission?" He says, raising his voice to be heard, while still under cover. He was letting his people do the work. "That's what you are, right now. Not my daughter. Not her student. Not his friend. You're a high-value target. Something that needs to be dealt with. And if the mission called for it, yes. I'd kill you."

He would, too. Wait for the shot, and fire a round from his pistol right into her temple. He'd thought about it, long into the dark nights of contingency planning. He always gave himself a week before he'd be doing the same thing to the other person with her last name."

"But that's not the mission."

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    You might have been able to hear the heartbreak. Yunomi is blinded by the grenade, left blinking, with gravity being her only guide to up or down... and she lands, shaking, trembling. This was the end. This was the /end/ and she would fail, but most importantly...

    So would Ijiwaru.

    She was a High Value Target. She was a /threat/. SHe's five feet tall, just called down the lightning -- was that Estano who called out? Would DeClere be there applying aid?

    Rhapsody was in good hands with Bedivere, Yunomi wouldn't attack the humanized Rhaps. She wouldn't attack Bedivere on her guard. She lands. She tries to wipe away the pain and blindness from her eyes as she retreats a few steps towards the hole she crawled out of.

    "Then illuminate me. What /was/ the mission." she snarls, her ears pinning back. She felt dizzy...

    This food run has gone all to hell. It was supposed to be 'get tacos, go home', but she forgot to take the damn goggles off.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    "To bring you home, and screw anyone that wanted anything else.." the voice sounded different. A little higher pitched, but only by a little. It was one of the only things Rhapsody could figure out to say. At this point, she had taken hold of the goggles that were tossed away earlier, clutching them to her chest. She can't help but glance up, looking over at Yunomi who seemed to be backing off. "Why won't you let us help you..?"

Richard Stadler (300) has posed:
Stadler looks for a long, long moment at Rhapsody. "Your mission. I told you, Rhapsody. I'm done with your mission. Because /Something/ happened." He says, and one can almost hear that upper case S.

The shadows from the room become distinct. There's 8 of them. Encircling the area. Some look like men, others like women, but, perhaps thankfully for Yunomi, none of them wore namestripes, and all of them were masked. One of the teams that she may have seen before under Stadler's command... closing the noose on her. Stadler himself stands, rifle slung in front of him, the flickering flame of the ignitor still dancing slightly in the wind.

"My mission is to take the High Value Target alive for the purpose of gathering intelligence. Because I am fucking /sick/ and /tired/ of fumbling around in the dark. Killing you would be the end of a gambit. Maybe it's yours. Maybe it's that slithery motherfucker. Maybe it's a 'gone as good as dead' red dragon playing a long con. I don't care for goddamn theories at this point. I've been dancing to someone else's tune for too long, and it /stops/, because /I will not be fucking played/. Not by them, because fuck them. And not by my daughter, because if this was her plan, it's an /inexcusably/ stupid one."

He approches her, now, rifle slung on it's sling, reaching behind him to withdraw the M29 shotgun in his gear. He's stepping forward quickly, and Yunomi has perhaps a second and a half before that weapon is in firing positon and he's gone past her hole.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Just because Yunomi might not attack doesn't mean that Bedivere is inclined to give up his defense. He keeps his weapon pointed, ready to strike if Yunomi does anything threatening. Honestly, he'd been talking about a /polearm/, and he'd be able to use it much better if it actually were that.

  What the hell /is/ this thing, anyway?

  The hand on Rhapsody's shoulder tightens, offering what little strength and comfort he can, even if it's just the knowledge that there's somebody physically there standing beside her. But Bedivere doesn't say anything. He merely waits, watching all three of the persons involved -- observation is chief among his strengths. That also means trying to keep an eye on all eight of Stadler's men. The knight's eyes are in constant motion, darting from one individual to another in rapid succession.

  Those eyes linger longest on Stadler, as though to silently plead with him not to do anything irreversibly (and emotionally) stupid.

  Yet still he does not speak.

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    Yunomi is glad for the hood. The hood keeps her face in shadow. It keeps her eyes from saying the Truth as she turns, and she exhales.
    It all hurt. The empty look in Rhapsody's eyes. the way her dad was speaking. Her eyes hurt. Her chest hurt. HEr hands were burning, her fingers curled and stiff as she exhales. She is a code on a briefing. She is an Enemy of the Izzet. She couldn't hurt them any more.

    And instead, she raises up her hands, and states "I surrender."

     ... and then Yunomi casts. She doesn't forget her past, her heritage, and as she brings her hands up, there's suddenly a brilliant flash of light, like suddenly the sun has decided to appear around them, and in the pouring rain it creates a dazzling prismatic effect, rainbows everywhere, brilliant and shining and so pretty but for the /light/ in the darkness!

    And Yunomi tries to take advantage of the light-blinded everyone to try and disappear the hole she crawled out from, bolting as fast as her legs could carry her!

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    Two words. Two words bring far too much hope to a hole that needed it for far too long. "Finally.." Rhapsody actually goes to stand, but then she sees the spell as it starts to channel. It is a sudden spell, of course, but she could see it coming either way, "NO!" then light. Everything is washed out by a blazing white light. No Bedivere, no Stadler, no Yunomi, nothing, causing her to fall back into the position she was before, starting to -scream- the same word she just said. Repeatedly.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  Oh look at the pretty lights.

  Unfortunately, that's exactly what Bedivere does, because he happens to be looking in that direction when the spell itself goes off. He responds as a normal ordinary human might respond, and that is to shriek and drop his weapon, throwing his arm over his eyes; the other remains on Rhapsody's shoulder, clutching perhaps tightly enough to ache a little.



  All he can do is reel for a moment, though, effectively blind. It was an impressive display of colour, but now he can't see for beans. Seeing would be nice, but he has a feeling she's already gotten away by now, if she's pragmatic enough about it.

  Still... he can't help but wonder /why/. Something about this doesn't fit; doesn't feel right from what he knows of her, but there are too many pieces missing from the puzzle.

  It's an enigma, that's for sure. The question is, will they be able to put the pieces together before this escalates; before it's too late...?

Richard Stadler (300) has posed:
Stadler pauses, for a moment, in his advance, standing, his shotgun in front but not pointing at here. He sees her hands go up, hears her voice... and unlike her, his eyes were clear, and the look he gives her, combined with the inaction he takes, says something non-verbally he doesn't say out loud.

'No, you don't.'

His hand's up covering his eyes as the bright, blinding light of the sun, ignites around them. The masks themselves were polorized aganist flashbangs, but it would only work for a sudden flash, not the bright sudden light of the sun everywhere. It certainly is a pretty, and dazzling trick. Perhaps something not meant for what it was used for, but it was effective. By the time the light gone, the last thing that Rick sees is Yunomi dashing down that hole.

She got away. It was a setback, certainly, that she wasn't being dragged somewhere underground Maryland at the moment. But the end result was that, besides some wounds, none of them were dead.

"Don't both with the perimiter. She's too good for that, and we'd just waste time. We've got her goggles. That's a thread." He says to the men that start to arrange themselves around him. As a father, saying things like that hurt. Would hurt, badly, when he let himself thing about them. But not now. He was done dancing with feelings and emotions. This was the time for action.

He looks over to Bedivere, eyes dark, then Rhapsody. Then back to the knight. "Shut her up, get her home. Tell me if that can be fixed. I'll be by later to discuss our next move. Clear?"

Yunomi Stadler (272) has posed:
    Pidge circles RIchard Stadler, and makes an ugly 'blaaaaat' noise, at him, then draws over to orbit Rhapsody and Bedivere, making concerned beeps and burbles.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    It's some time after Rick speaks, and Yunomi's gone, that two simple words come out of the new human's mouth. Fitting, she'd be human, to say them for the first time rather than her actual self.

        "Fuck you, Rick."

Richard Stadler (300) has posed:
Stadler pauses for a moment, talking to one of his people, in a low tone, before looking over to Rhapsody, responding in the same emotional tone. "I wouldn't advise it. You wouldn't have a frame of reference, being human for five goddamn minutes, but you can do a /lot/ better. Corporal, I need Groom Lake. Get me their duty officer..." He says, trailing away slightly to make a more private radio call.

Sir Bedivere (482) has posed:
  The knight stays frozen where he is for a moment, arm still thrown over his eyes. Everything to do with seeing things is basically not working right now; so forgive his lack of answer, Stadler, because he's still trying to make sure there wasn't any /permanent/ damage. That was /bright/. Like staring at the sun. And it /hurt/.

  Rhapsody's shoulder gets a comforting pat, and for the moment he seems resolved to ignore Stadler and his soldier's contingencies and plans. No, now's not the time to plan anything. Now's the time to...

  Bedivere opens his eyes, experimentally. It draws a groan, but at least he can see very dim shapes. Suggestions of shapes, of light and dark. Arturia is going to fuss, and he himself is wondering what they've got on hand that would do something to soothe his eyes.

  "Come," he murmurs, softly, resettling the cloak over Rhapsody. "I will take you to Dun Realtai. A hot meal, and some proper clothing." Bedivere tries to blink, squinting first one eye and then the other. Owww, yes, that hurts. "I apologise in advance if I should stumble."

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    While Rhapsody goes utterly quiet in response to Stadler's comment, and Bedivere is easily able to guide Rhapsody to wherever, seeing as she is back to being even less of a shell than before, one other tiny thing happens that may happen fast enough no one will notice.

    A shadow of blue and black scales darts through the group, and straight down the same hole the tanuki vanished into. Somewhere down in those tunnels, she whispers..