5287/The Warp Iris: Confrontation

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The Warp Iris: Confrontation
Date of Scene: 01 June 2017
Location: Scorched Earth
Synopsis: Poor communication kills.
Cast of Characters: Eryl Fairfax, Staren, 385, 325, 215, Inga, August Kohler, 1108, Kotone Yamakawa

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    It begins again on Eryl's home world.

    After the first time, the nearest residents and the local military who were called out to defend the perimeter were tested for evidence of psychohazard exposure, and turned up clean. From this, it was surmised that Loci Iris' influence had a maximum range. Thus, it was deemed safe to conduct the second meeting in the same way. Again, everyone congregates upon a vast, dusty plain with nothing between them and the horizon. It's still today, so there's no debris being kicked up by stray winds to sting at exposed skin.

    Once again, tables are loaded up with various forms of media, such as paper folders, books, and portable data storage. This time, the whole area has been thoroughly swept for any anomalies to avoid repeats of the "surprises" that occurred last time.

    As everyone arrives, he goes over the plan with them once more. "Our goal is to communicate to Loci Iris that its presence is a danger, and hopefully have a productive discussion on the matter. To facilitate this, Yuna Kagurazaka has volunteered to allow Loci Iris to probe her mind for information on 'love' and 'friendship' to grant it greater understanding." It would take an emotionless cyborg like Eryl to drop that sentence with a straight face.

    There are probably objections, but he ignores those for now and regards Yuna herself. "Are you certain you still wish to do this? You can back out now, and none will hold it against you."

Staren has posed:
    Amongst the gathered military stands the Star Hawk. The 40-foot-tall mecha hopefully makes people feel more secure. Staren just brought it because if he has to fight a universe he cannot afford to pull punches (people who notice that sort of thing might notice he has all the old missile pods equipped this time, unlike when he showed up in SAO-1 Tokyo, indicating he's willing to use the expensive ordnance. It's only partially because he expects the Concord and Paladins would reimburse him.)

    He's concerned for Yuna, but this is her decision, and she's been around the Multiverse long enough to know what she's doing and probably be able to survive it.

    Staren wonders if the book he threw at it last time will have any effect. There's no logical guaruntee, but if the Warp Iris is as people-friendly as some hope, it might. Well, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, right? That's why he brought a mecha and tons of missiles.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
'Are you certain you still wish to do this?'

Yuna has heard variants of that question from a lot of different people since that meeting; many of them are friends from her native universe, while some have been friends she's met since her world Unified. But she draws herself up to her full (unimpressive) height and nods to the Paladins' leader. "I'm certain, yes. I may be scared," she admits, "but - if I don't do this, who will?"

Which is, as best she's been able to figure out, a *lot* of what it means to be the Savior of Light. It's not just that she *is* scared (which she is, and the subtle signs are there for those who know what to look for), but she has to set her fear aside and focus on doing what only she can do. She's in the same uniform-like dress she was wearing at the meeting, and Elner is hovering behind and to one side of the blonde-haired young woman.

The rest of the Matrix of Light is here too: Jiina of the Earth, Marina of the Sea, and Erina of the Sky all standing where they can lend assistance as needed, whether that assistance means catching Yuna if (or when) she collapses, pulling her to safety, or simply opening fire on Loci Iris if push comes to shove. But for the time being, Yuna will be handling this mostly on her own; she's made it clear to her android 'doubles' that she'll be REALLY unhappy if anyone starts shooting while she's still on her feet.

Yuna takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly, and tries to re-center herself. "So what do you need me to do?" she asks Eryl.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    And right there, not more than two steps away from Yuna Kagurazaka, is Rhapsody Mizzet. After the round table to discuss how to deal with Iris, and Yuna's offer to provide herself to the entity for educational purposes, there was no way the Guildmaster was going to not be present to support her friend and close ally.

    The plan is simple enough, and hopefully it would work. There was nothing like a little experimentation to make the blood start rushing, especially when explosions (or in this case, danger) were involved. Clad in her trademark coat with both spellblades tucked away inside, it was clear she hoped for the best but had prepared for the worst. "If things go bad, Yuna, give any kind of sign. A hand motion, a word, anything, and I'll get you out of there, if I can. By blade or otherwise. I like to think we're all here to keep you safe first, and deal with Iris, if needed, second.

Iria (215) has posed:
Also gathered here is Iria, wearing a red cape around most of her body, leaving her head and her silver boots visible. Underneath, she has numerous weapons ready to be used if the need should arise, but Iria's hoping that's not going to be the case. Granted, they don't know entirely what they're up against here, and anything can happen, but it's more of a precaution on Iria's part than anything.

Iria's not just here for protection, but also because she's a friend of Yuna's and wants to be there for her, both as a friend and as a comrade. She knows that Yuna's scared and that this is a dangerous thing, but Iria believes Yuna can do it. Iria can feel it in her heart.

Normally, there'd be a scowl on her face in a situation like this, but the scowl is somewhat lightened, and there's a smile on her face as well. If Yuna looks at Iria, she'll see Iria's special way of subliminally saying to her, "You got this, don't worry! I'm behind you all the way!"

Inga has posed:
Inga has come again as well, and has brought with her a small camp stool to sit on. She rests with her staff across her legs, her hands loosely resting on the carved oak wood. She is dressed in her usual antiquated clothing, looking as though she'd be right at home on the set of a viking age period piece--once that has a costume designed who knew what they were bloody doing anyway. Horned helmets, nonsense!

Inga has given what information she had in regard to the possible futures she saw, now, she is here to witness what comes next. The future is ever changing, she can merely glimpse the shifting possibilities and make a judgement based on what is before her. She hopes that Yuna can teach the loci about love and friendship, but she is concerned for Yuna's well being. She is also concerned for the loci, for no one's life has been all roses, and indeed it should not be. Without a variety of experiences, everything loses perspective. She hopes the loci will understand on a deeper lever. She hopes it has the ability to actually emotionall process what it learns. For if it does not, this could be a catastrophe.

"Gods watch over you Yuna," she says. Inga certainly would.

August Kohler has posed:
August has vocally not been in support of this. He wants to kill the Warp Iris (sure they call it the Loci Iris, but he hasn't changed his terminology). But he's been overruled. Therefore, he's here as backup, with a gun and a knife at his side, and a jewel case CD as a mirror in one of his hands, never leaving his line of sight. August doesn't say anything. His words are pointless here.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A featureless, dusty plain makes it difficult to arrive without anyone noticing. As it turns out, however, nobody here but August and Yuna themselves have actually seen a certain someone's face, or even heard their voice, which leaves a total unknown present, dressed in a thick, concealing cloak given to them by Genji not long ago.

    They stand well away from the crowd, like a bored and humourless spy avoiding having to dance at a club they're meant to be surveying, responding to no one, and making no overtures towards Yuna; not even answering to the question asked of her. It's impossible to really tell if they're armed.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Eryl gives a nod to Yuna. "Very well. We all thank you for your service. When the Warp Iris opens, just go up to it and offer what you have on those subjects. Loci Iris is voracious, so they should accept immediately. It will be a bad experience for you, but please try to hold on."

    He look around at everyone. There are many here with their own reasons for being here. Some are here to support Yuna, some are here to kill Loci Iris. Should things go south, the former group would likely lump in with the latter. But there are some here who are only here to support the sentient universe, so hopefully he'll have some backup if things go that way. All he can do is hope this level of forethought becomes unnecessary.

    "It's beginning."

    The black warpgate is opening, at a faster, steadier rate than before. A wave of existential dread rolls out like a flood of molasses, sinking its teeth into the minds of those present. Many many tendrils and polyps extend from it and make a quick meal of what has been set on the table. Print ripped from the pages, data storage devices wiped clean... and then it speaks. Not in peoples minds, but with actual words that travel through the air.

    "Hel l l o everyone. G o o oo o d to see you a a again. Thank you f o o o o r the m eeee al," says Loci Iris, in a wet, schlorping voice. It seems that it has been practicing verbal speech in the time between meetings.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
The aura of dread rolls over Yuna, and she does her damnedest NOT to cringe or wince or draw back. The hair on the back of her neck is standing on end even before she looks at the Warp Iris, and actually looking makes most of the rest of her hair try really hard to follow suit; if so much of her hair wasn't tied back into her usual ponytail, there's no telling what it'd look like after about five seconds of that.

The fact that Eryl just reiterated that it's going to be a 'bad experience' (which HAS to be record understatement, given what Yuna's heard about Loci Iris's prior 'victims') does the exact opposite of setting her at ease. There's one thing which keeps Yuna from backing out or otherwise embarassing herself, though ...

It boils down to 'she'd never forgive herself if she didn't go through with this'.

Yes, it's a terrifying horror from beyond the familiar forms of space-time. But Yuna's befriended other putative monsters: Princess Mirage, Ayako, Nine ... heck, way back when, she even tried to make friends with the Queen of Darkness, up until it turned out that 'friendship' in that context meant 'Yuna would be mind-controlled into destroying everything she cared about'. That, and the Queen of Darkness apparently killed Lia out of hand when she tried to fight the Queen.

Yuna takes another deep breath, letting it out slowly, and tries not to think about how terrifying Loci Iris is to look at as she walks forward, pushing bowel-emptying terror out of her mind with the kind of discipline she'd spent hours practicing under a waterfall with Ryudia watching nearby. "Hello, Loci Iris," Yuna says, offering a smile - kind of tremulous, but she's being deliberately hopeful."I offered to teach you about friendship. I hope we can be friends." She lifts her hands a bit, in front of her and angled to her sides, while focusing on all the good things she knows about friendship. There'll be some bad mixed in, probably, but she wants to focus heavily on the *good* at least to start with.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is very wary of this whole mess but Eryl and Yuna had also made a good plea to this. So she was sitting back waiting but the fact they had to take this chance about it. OR well they'f fall prety to some of the worst things in the multiverse fear and intolerance not tht kotone was innocent of that, she was far from it, she simply now had to wit and see how this turned out her hopes and prayers were going with yuna, but she was ready for the worse.

August Kohler has posed:
As the Loci Iris appears and that aura of existential dread rolls over, August's hand moves to his gun and his hold on the mirror tightens. He doesn't draw it, but it's clear that he's tense. He stares up at the monstrosity, frowning tightly, but doesn't take any hostile actions. Or say anything.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    With her two cents offered to Yuna, Rhapsody takes a few steps back and waits. As Iris starts to form, and the waves crash out from the appearence of the Iris, it takes every fiber of her will power to not shift and fly -right- out of the area. This was on par with a very -recent- event that she would rather NOT think about at the moment.

    Looking mainly down, away, but with enough of a side glance to keep an eye on Yuna, the Guildmaster focuses on more positive memories. Memories like a shooting star coming down from the heavens. It helps keep the dreadful feelings at bay. At least for now..

Staren has posed:
    Staren's hands tighten on the armrests as he feels that dread wash over him, and tries to ignore it. "You've learned to talk. Well done." Staren replies, over the speakers. "Are you... interested, in friendship?" he asks, following Yuna's words.

Iria (215) has posed:
Iria, meanwhile, puts on a brave face and narrows her eyes a little. She knows that this must be difficult for Yuna, and she can get a feel for how Yuna must be feeling right now. Yet under the cape, Iria clenches her fists and whispers words of encouragement to Yuna. "You can do it, Yuna! I know you can!"

It may seem strange that Iria's literally talking to herself, but people do strange things when they're under stress. Then again, the stress from this seems trivial a few moments later when Iris starts to form, and her eyes widen with disbelief and shock, almost like this wasn't entirely what she expected. After a moment, she shakes her head and regains her composure.

"It seems you know how to talk," Iria says in a calm voice. "That's a good thing. We're not hostile in any way. We want to be peaceful, all right? We mean no harm."

Inga has posed:
Inga watches and waits. The wave of dread rolls over her, her heart rate quickening in response to the sense of this thing. It is alien. It is Outside with a capitol O. But it is speaking, trying. Can it understand? Can Yuna not only give it what she knows of friendship, but the frame of reference to understand it?

They will see. She knows others are poised to attack, namely August. Inga appears calm however, watching Yuna and the Iris. She has nothing else to say just yet.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    Existential dread. An old companion of almost A2's entire life. Less the fear of non-existence, in her case; closer to the gnawing fear that the emptiness had already happened, and she just hadn't noticed, or at least pretended not to. She feels sick to her stomach watching the thing devour the contents of the table, wiping the media clean and robbing it of all meaning, leaving it as blank and useless as the gut feeling rising into her chest.

    <//*"We . . . /chose/ to be here . . . Thank you . . . for giving my-"*//>

    It's all in her head, but she can hear her clear as day anyways. Her body starts moving before she wills it to, trudging forward, towards the black warpgate, to cut off her thoughts, so that she doesn't have to hear the end of the words bubbling up from her memories. The obscuring cloak swirls around her legs, revealing only the brisk, steady step of high heels.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Loci Iris seems to consider Yuna for a long moment. It doesn't have visible eyes, but all its stuff that hangs from the Warp Iris turns to kind of point at the girl. "I a mmm ver y innn nn n terested in anythi iiiiiiii ng you have to shhhhhh are." And then its mental influence clamps down on Yuna's mind like a vice. Moments with her friends, times she reached out to be friends with others. Times friends fight, time friends laugh, times friendships fall apart and are rebuilt... all of these generated thoughts are drained from her mind, consumed by the otherworldly thing.

    Loci Iris is still very conversational though, even as it puts the magical girl through hell. "Sooo ooo many peeeeee ople to sssssssee me. Many frrrrriends of this giii rl. So this is fri end ship..." A couple of tendrils 'look around' and find Staren. "Oh, you ga veeee me that thing a t ttt the last m o m e n t last time. Very i n form ative. It taught me more a bou t myseeeeelf."

    It continues to speak, its words actually improving as it speaks. Is it also sampling from Yuna's vocabulary to improve itself? Indeed, the girl would find the flashes of friendship intertwined with randomly drawn vocabulary and times she was simply speaking. "This maan, Aristotle, posits thaat the most ethicaal path for a creeature of reason is to pursure iiintellectual goals. As a creature who consumes knowledge, does that not make me a highly ethical being? Is what I do noot something I should continue doing as a moral imperative?"

    It finishes with Yuna now, the clamp on her mind releasing. "Hmmm Iiinteresting. I need to mull on this for a moment."

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    And then that really long moment comes to be. As Iris turns, and likely starts to rut around in the mindscape of Yuna's own making, the dragon can't help it when her grip tightens on one of her blades. When it suddenly seems to improve, and 'mull', Rhapsody is quick to -try- to get past that dread and move for Yuna, "Yuna...? Are you alright?"

Inga has posed:
A2 is moving. Inga doesn't need to know her thoughts or her wyrd to read her body language. Something is wrong.

Inga reaches out toward A2 as she passes, trying to halt her. "A2," she cautions. "What are you doing?" she asks quietly.

The iris has had its way with Yuna's mind. The sense of dread has only grown for Inga. She does not think the future has changed.

Iria (215) has posed:
At first, Iria wants to check on Yuna, make sure she's all right, but then she spots A2 advancing, and she gets a bad feeling about it. "Hey! Stop!" She calls out, stepping towards A2 quickly. "What do you think you're doing?" Iria asks, being both shocked and confused by A2's sudden actions.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
No. No, she is not all right. At least it doesn't feel like it to her.

It took pretty much *all* of Yuna's willpower not to run away screaming before she was grasped, and she doesn't have anything left to try and maintain even a semblance of composure as her mind gets rummaged through. It hurts; it hurts more than anything Yuna's endured in the past, physically or emotionally, and it strikes deeper than ANYTHING she's encountered in the past save her own regrets for those she couldn't find a way to save (more on that momentarily). Naturally enough, she's screaming her lungs out, body twisting despite what remains of her will *NOT* to pull away or break free.

Her instructions to the Matrix of Light, Elner included, were simple: 'Don't interfere unless I'm in immediate physical danger.' Simple, straightforward, and absolute; as long as Loci Iris doesn't physically endanger Yuna, and nobody else does either, they won't interfere.

As for what Loci Iris is actually *getting* out of this ... ?

Yuna likes making friends, and has been at it pretty much ever since she was old enough to interact with others. She's also kind of stubborn about it - sharing the happy times, reassuring each other when they're sad, encouraging in the face of fear. Sometimes friends get mad at each other, and Yuna's had her share of arguments, even fights, with people she knows. But those are the kinds of fights friends make up after, and friendships don't suffer much as a result.

Then there are the times it went wrong.

One girl is VERY prominent in Yuna's memories, a twin-tailed android girl named Ayako. She showed up on Earth and started hurting Yuna's friends; one of Yuna's friends hurt Ayako back and the android girl freaked out. But Yuna didn't see a monster who'd been hurting people for shits and giggles; she saw somebody who had been hurt and was crying, and didn't even transform before running into the growing plasma storm. One slap later to get Ayako's attention, Yuna hugged her, and a new friendship was forged despite the warnings of Yuna's more knowledgeable acquaintances.

Ayako was one of three sisters. The middle sister tried to take over a starship's planet-cracking main gun; Yuna wanted to stop her without hurting her, but the decision was taken out of her hands. The eldest sister, on the other hand, simply started destroying the city and would have done the same to the whole planet. Ayako herself confronted her big sister, tried to stop her ...

And was murdered right in front of Yuna's eyes, literally dying in the blonde's arms.

There are times when friendship hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot. And the scar left on Yuna's soul by Ayako's death has NEVER faded, no matter how she hides it from others.

There's no way Loci Iris WON'T learn that in the course of studying Yuna's knowledge of friendship. Ironically, that was the one thing Yuna most wanted to hold back - to shelter the alien being from learning, as it were.

And when the Warp Iris finally releases Yuna, she simply collapses limply to the ground, shuddering fitfully. At least she's not screaming any more.

Staren has posed:
    Staren winces and grits his teeth at Yuna's screaming. He wasn't sure what to expect, but this isn't /un/-expected. Besides, they have Flamel to let them know if it's going too far.

    By the time he realizes Flamel isn't here this time, it's over. Staren lets out a breath he didn't realize he was holding, after it speaks of friendship. And it believed the book did apply to itself. This is... good news. For whatever reason, it seems willing to accept that acting virtuous is a worthy goal in and of itself. On the radio, he asks if Yuna's alright.

    There's a problem now, though: It's in danger of deciding on a deontology supporting the consumption of knowledge. A laudable goal in principle, but given how it has to go about it.

    He takes another deep breath, and speaks: "Aristotle also writes that an essential part of the path to virtue is moderation. Learning is good. But to put it before everything else... Not caring if you hurt others as long as you learn, for example, or neglecting all other aspects of your growth, such as friendship... It would be as bad as neglecting to learn at all. We call this 'too much of a good thing'. You must have learning, and friendship, and..."

    Inside the cockpit, he's frantically reviewing a summary of Nicomachean Ethics. This is what he gets for outsourcing an alien's philosophical growth.

    "...and you need to find happiness without depriving others of their own chance to seek virtue. Right now, something about you... if you are around anyone else for too long, it hurts you. We are willing to endure some pain, in order to give us a chance to find a way to coexist with you, so that we can find greater happiness together."

    "We're willing to work with you on this. Is there any way for you to stop radiating this... mental sense of dread, and negative emotions? If not, we may have to find something that can dampen it, that you could carry with you. We're open to any ideas you may have, as well."

    He's so busy talking to it, he doesn't notice A2 heading towards it.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is just watching Loci and yuna noe she takes a deep breath and watches she doe snot act she waits for a moment. She does see it's words improving and She looks to Yuna with concern to see if she's all right. She doesn'tmove yet she does keep an eye on everyone else though as who knows how this is going to pending the others talking to it. Staren for once in her view is making a fairly emotional plea.

She waits she watches and prays honestly she's not sure if the god she thinks exists is listen but it can't hurt right? Then comes the scream and she watches as yuna goes down. She however gets up and movws to wards Yuna for the moment to check on her and she may indeed miss A2.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2 strides right past Inga, neither stopping nor slowing, so automatic are her motions. A gloved hand appears to swat the wisewoman's out of the way, as her legs carry her forward of their own volition. She doesn't so much as turn to look

    <//*"Not right . . . number two . . . we're all . . .*//>"

    Nobody has paid attention to the cloaked stranger up until now; the one who hasn't said a word since everything started. Her gait speeds up, slowly but surely, as the sick, churning sensation builds up inside her like boiling tar. The first thing she utters all day, all month, as it would have it, is a single word.

    "Move." she says to iria, before she rips off the cloak and throws it into the woman's face, blinding her field of view with heavy cloth.

    It's too late to stop now. Too late to stop her. Too late to stop herself. White hair spills out as her hood tears free, billowing behind her as her walk turns into a run. The tapestry of ugly burns and abrasions all over her body comes into focus for a split second, before her feet carry her forward too fast to look at them. Aristotle. Ethics. Virtue. Coexistence and happiness. Living in peace with others. All she can hear is the broken, staticy voice in her memory unit, drowning out even Yuna's screams.

    <//*"What are you doing?! You can't just leave her to-"*//>"

    There's a flash of matte silver, a streak of violent motion, faster than blinking, and a hideous, bloody noise. A2 is directly in front of the Iris at a distance suitable for an intimate embrace, her hair whipping past her with the force of her sudden stop, and a single-edged straight sword with a complex, two-part grip in her hand. It's buried up to the hilt in the creature's 'eye.

August Kohler has posed:
August's been waiting for this, expecting this. Others can probably tell, if they look at him as it happens; there's no shock on his face as A2 moves and strikes the Loci Iris, stabbing it in its eye. Instead, he's quickly drawing the smartgun, moving to shoot straight at it. And only gets a click of the trigger, because smartlock! "Oh, fuck you." There's a growl on his face, as he looks into the mirror and shouts out the words. "PERSONA!"

As the Tin Soldier manifests, August is frowning sharply. Yuna's already been hurt, they weren't fast enough. The Tin Soldier silently postures, jutting forward as it mimes a roar and charges, bullets firing wildly out of that gun leg at the Loci Iris's body, as August physically moves away from the Paladins so he can't be immediately tazed again. "Alright, let's send this damn thing to hell."

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Loci Iris seems to consider its words for a long moment. Staren has some words for it that it mulls over for a long moment. "Hurt others? Noo that seems incorrect. Does 'harm' not imply conscious effort on my part to do that? I have no illl intentions, so what I do to you all cannot really be 'harm.'" It's learning to debate fast, but it's holding firm to the point of view that supports its actions. It really is like a child in that sense.

    "The thinggs this girl Yuna showed me... they don't entirely mesh with what I have seen. I have been observing people, and many do not act and ffeel as she does. Some are... unkind, I suppose. Unfeeling. Unwilling to be ff-AAGH!" Its train of thought is cut off by a blade in the eye. Its tentacles writhe and polyps discharge some kind of disgusting substance. "This is not a friendly approach!!" it cries out, trying to grab at A2 and throw her off.

    Bullets from the Tin Soldier hammer into it, severing tendrils and causing the stumps to leak ichor. "This is... is thiss deceptions? Were you hoping that teaching me of friendship would make me vulnerable?" In this moment, the Warp Iris is becoming aware of its own mortality. That aura of dread it generates only sharpens, deepens, clutches at the mind and the heart like a vice. It's not attacking, but it is becoming more dangerous.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    For a moment, Rhapsody is trying to tend to Yuna considering her collapse, but as both A2 and August turn to attack Iris, she can't help but yell out, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" Where in the hell did this new person come from anyway? Why didn't anyone intercept? "AUGUST! You didn't even give it a chance! STOP!"

    This is the point where Rhapsody puts herself between Yuna, hopefully the Iris, and the pair attacking it. Both spellblades are drawn, and to say she looks furious is beside the point, "I don't give a -damn- who you are or what you think but you -agreed- to this experiment! And you!" A glare is sent toward A2, "I just don't like you," she snarls before swinging for the sword that stabbed at Iris. "If she lashes out at all of us because of you two's actions, it is on YOU!"

    The fury is drowning out the dread, at least for the moment. How long that's going to last is anyone's guess.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
"To inflict harm does not require intent, or even knowledge," Elner points out.

Yuna is no longer lying where she initially collapsed; with A2 rushing in to stab Loci Iris in the eye, Elner took action - specifically, teleporting Yuna's crumpled form further away from the incipient melee (which makes more room for Rhapsody getting into position to protect Yuna). There's a dome of golden light currently surrounding both Yuna and the hovering robo-faerie, just in case anything goes in a direction which could harm the defenseless girl.

Elner continues, "Yuna was willing to suffer harm to herself in the hopes that you would learn to understand friendship - to understand why she sought peaceful coexistence, with you and with others. That doesn't make it any less harmful to her. What matters is that you try to avoid doing harm, and that when you do make someone else suffer, you also do whatever you can to make amends."

It's entirely possible, with A2 and August opening combat like they did, that there's no reason for Elner to make a further case - the situation is no longer under either Yuna's or Elner's control. But .... well, Yuna's rubbed off on Elner some, apparently. At least enough for Elner to *try* to complete what Yuna was hoping to accomplish.

Inga has posed:
Inga's hand is slapped away. There's no doubt that A2 can physically shove her aside like a ragdoll if she choose to. Inga could make things more difficult for her with magic, but there simply wasn't the time. It all happened so quickly. So decisively. It was the moment August had been waiting for, and soon he is fueling the violence with his own. August's motivations she understands at least a little of, A2? She can only guess.

Well, she /could/ do more than guess, but she isn't sure that is the best use of her time just now. "Odin's bones," she breathes a curse under her breath, pulling her knife from the sheath at her belt. It is only herself she attacks with it however, drawing enough blood on the opposite arm to ward those who will need it most. Wether or not it was the right thing to do or not is not currently her focus. It doesn't matter. It is happening. Better to play damage control. Blood wards start flying from Inga to those present, covering those that seem more vulnerable to attack from the Iris first.

Staren has posed:
    "Harm can be done by accident or by neglect--What are you doing?!" The Star Hawk leaps into action too late, trying to bat and kick A2 and the Tin Soldier away with its giant robot hands and feet.

    "No. It is as you said, not all people feel as Yuna does. Some are not willing to give you a chance, and are here to fight if we fail to negotiate peace! It seems some weren't even willing to wait for us! Believe me, if we wanted to hurt you, we'd all be hitting you with everything we've got!" The increased dread just makes him feel more desperate and urgent. They've got to fix this quickly, before things get worse!

Iria (215) has posed:
Iria can only scowl with disbelief as both August and A2 suddenly go on the offensive, and Iria shakes her head with a fierce scowl unlike before. "Stop it! What are you doing? We're supposed to be making this a peaceful resolution, remember?" She grips her weapons underneath her cape, but then stops suddenly, realizing she could be in big trouble if she opened fire on her own people, or she could hit Iris too.

Thinking quickly, Iria attempts to rush towards where the fighting is happening. "Break it up! Come on! This isn't the answer!" She shouts out with frustration and anger.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa gets up from Yuna, there is no words from Kotone, she contacs her superiors and hes herorders. She moves to act the mysterious woman is being intercpoted by staren.

<<Go for the woman I'll handle August.>>

Is theonly thing she says over the short comm burst she gave him. August would find Kotone just stalking right at her. She also looks at Inga for a moment. "Stand down Igna i know your not past reason."

No Kotone is not happy, not happy at all here as she moves toards August.

"Kohler halt."

She'll also move to get into the line of fire so he's going to have to shoot through her and sadly she's banking on him hestating he likely will not.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2, at last, speaks to the Iris, in that burnt and critically weary voice of hers, as if perpetually on the verge of giving up on something important. She stares into the blackness, violet eyes of her own only half-open, focused on something far in the distance past her victim.

    "Just drop dead."

    Her wrist twists the blade violently in the thing's inky 'flesh' as its tentacles reach out for her, with the kind of angle that would cause a person to collapse on the spot in agonizing pain. Seeing Rhapsody coming for her out of the corner of her eye, A2's finger depresses the trigger in her sword's hilt, and a searing blast of coruscating electro-magical energy discharges straight into the Iris through her sword, kicking up a wall of hammering wind and sphere of crackling lightning all around her. Crossing blades at that instant would be both difficult, and a really bad idea.

    Staren getting involved as well forces her to wrench her weapon free, pulling it upward and sideways through the black gate to cause as much damage as physically possible, assuming it's even still alive. Twisting on one heel (why is she still wearing those?), she locks eyes with the Star Hawk's giant fist, and then she disappears in a flicker of gold-black static, leaving behind a crowd of ghostly images dodging away in every direction, as if he'd just punched a hologram.

    One of the potential evasive maneuvers must have been real, because A2 reappears where one of the ghosts had dove between the Star Hawk's legs, standing behind the giant mecha where she can stare down Rhapsody alongside it, with those deadened, cynical eyes. "And?" A2 lets that one sit, until she looks askance at Iria. "It's on you that she was hurt in the first place. Don't make yourselves my problem." Her sword whips around in her grip, completing a figure eight spin and snapping straight to point at the two of them in the bat of an eye. "I won't think twice if you side with that thing."

August Kohler has posed:
And here comes the expected reactions. Anger, violence, an unwillingness to do what's /right/. August sighed, but steeled himself. He'd have to fight them, even if he sees some of them as friends or allies. He's already gone this far, he's not backing down. "I remember agreeing to helping kill if it was a danger. Guess what? It's always been a danger, so I'm doing my civic duty. If it lashes out, that just proves a point, doesn't it?" His tone is almost wry, as the redhead's eyes jump towards Inga, but move away as it turns out she's not actively casting to wards her. Instead, the Star Hawk tries to bat the Tin Soldier away, and as it strikes, the Tin Soldier braces, skidding backwards, but forcing itself to stop. It fires a click of its gun, but nothing visible happens, because it's casting a strength buff on itself.

"Slaying monsters. What are /you/ doing, Staren?" There's too many people in the way, opposing him. August moves closer to the Loci Iris, but Kotone gets in his way, and he stares her in the eyes, as the Tin Soldier pulls back towards him. "I'd brace for damage, Yamakawa. Or get out of my way. Either one works." And then, there's a radio message sent to everyone, as fire begins to circle around the Tin Soldier's gun-leg. <<"A2. Incoming.>"

With a lashing out of its arms, the Tin Soldier fires, causing a massive circle of flame to spew forward and attempt to burn through everyone in August's path. It's telegraphed enough to dodge if you're fast enough, but is flying straight for the Loci Iris, going through anyone who gets in the way with scorching flames. As it fires, August is open, but he's also more attentive than last time. Taking him down in one shot likely won't be possible.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Eryl is watching as events unfold. He's very upset, but you wouldn't know it just from looking at him. His face is as calm and placid as ever as he analyzes the events, a hand on his chin.

    Loci Iris, being a higher dimensional being, is still able to answer Elner and Staren even as it copes with the pain of having its eye gouged with a sword. "I cannot help that. I don't mean to do it, but it happens. How can I be held accountable for something I have no control over? To do what I want to do, I cause harm. Where is the fairness in judging me for it?" It's the old question; can you blame a beast for killing and eating another beast, when that is all it knows?

    It also responds to Staren. "So there is a mix of those who would accept me and those who won't? Then... AGH!" It cries out and flails again as A2 pulls the trigger on her blade, sending a pulse of energy through the eye. And then August's wave of flames wash over it, causing the air to fill with the disgusting stench of its cooked flesh. It's parts slump, before suddenly flailing in a pained frenzy, slapping at defenders and attackers alike. "Ithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurtsithurts" echoes through the air and through everyone's minds in a rancor, like they're all right next to the speakers at a black metal concert.

    And now, Eryl begins to move. He walks past Yuna, tossing Elner his cloak to put on her as a blanket. His eyes are fixed squarely on August and A2 as he strides towards them, but he's not bearing any weapons. He has A Look in his eyes, but it's neither violent nor peaceful. Simply intent.

Inga has posed:
Whatever else is happening, there's someone down and Inga will tend to her. She leans on her staff and gets to her feet, ambling toward Yuna and her guardians. If August lights her on fire, well, she hopes he feels badly about when he's no longer in a hot-headed rage. Inga only moves so quickly, leaning on her staff to help her limping gait. If Iria would like to go ahead of her and make sure Inga doesn't become collateral damage, she welcomes it with a polite, "thank you".

"Let me through and I will see if I can help her," she says to Elner. "I'm a healer," she adds.

Her feelings on this all are complicated. Too complicated to explore fully. But she /is/ angry with how it is being executed. With decisions made on both sides. Ah, but she is angry with herself as well. She got involved. She looked into the wyrd and shared what she saw. There are always consequences.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
Elner's barrier flickers twice - once for Inga's ward to reach Yuna, once for Eryl's cloak to settle over Yuna. The second lapse in that dome of light lasts longer - long enough for Jiina and Marina to help drape the cloak more like a blanket about Yuna's shuddering form, less like a tarp over a corpse. Yuna's not dead, after all, just thoroughly disabled.

Once the cloak-turned-blanket is arranged, though, the barrier snaps back into existence - just in time, as the Warp Iris begins lashing out physically and psychically. The cloak mostly conceals a flare of light as the Light Suit is finally activated; it's massively after the fact, but the less Yuna's mind can be traumatized further, the better. Additionally, the three combat members of the Matrix of Light produce their weapons and take to the air, spreading out in a flattened arch with Yuna at its center. They should be a more difficult target now - which is vital, because with Yuna down, none of them can individually put up much of a fight - and they should be able to open fire on the Warp Iris, if that's what becomes necessary.

If the targets they need to shoot at would be A2 and August, though ... that's a more thorny problem. Elner knows that August is still one of the people Yuna actively considers a friend, disagreements notwithstanding. A2 is in more of a gray area due to lack of time to actually make friends with the battle gynoid. It's probably going to come down to whether either August or A2 actually try to take a shot at Yuna - hopefully they'll be too focused on the Warp Iris, or on the others who are standing against them.

The barrier flickers once again - not simply going down, but being projected anew so that Inga is inside it with Yuna. "Do the best you can," Elner says to Inga, the robo-faerie's attention still primarily on the situation outside.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa says "You have made your choice then."

Kotone says nothing else she's got her job to do she does think the iris is a threat but it needs to have a chance. She thinks of an old union command officer whose species is inately /evil/ and he over came that nature. She wonder how the dragon and the dragonborn from that world are fairing now but now is not the time. She would not hestate to deal with the Iris but it needs to be gien that chance to learn and to overcome it. She will give it that chance but if it fails well she's got a job to do as well, it's also proven that Augst can not be trusted on certain matters any longer either and that hursts the moment for kotone.

"I knew of a Dragon once, who ... was an officerof the old union. His kind was evil but ... over time he overcame his nature even to the."

kotone is caught by the lashing out as she hears it in pain but it's almost overwhelming. She's not getting out of August's way but she's shakeing from just what she hit with. Her look is pretty intense but there's no words left to be said. if she's going to get shot she's going to get shot it looks like.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    The Star Hawk is hunkered down to block the fire. A2 has warning in advance. She seizes the moment without hesitation. Once the wave of flames thunders towards her from behind, she crouches, and then launches herself into the air on top of an explosive wave of pressure, flying clear of the flames, and well over even the forty foot defender.

    When the black tentacles surge towards her, thrashing about in agony, A2's sword flickers and streaks between them, slicing them to pieces the instant they come within arm's reach like an impenetrable barrier of slashing wind. Their writhing bulk leaves her with a plethora of maneuvering points, kicking from one to the other until she vaults over one that thrusts straight towards her, and then bolts down its length, impossibly balancing on the twisting tendril in those heels as she breaks into a superhuman sprint downwards.

    Her sword sweeps downwards, splitting the tentacle lengthwise as she charges down it, until a last bloody flourish launches her clear again. A low, electric burning sound turns into a blaze of golden sparks in her opposite hand, and then an utterly massive, high-tech executioner's sword, the length and breadth of a small car. Twisting herself into a blurring spin, she brings the gargantuan blade straight down like a guillotine on the Iris' central body, causing an explosion of pure wind pressure from the impact, to go along with the second explosion of energy that rips through it when she depresses pulls the trigger on the still-fully charged weapon.

    The whole thing happens in the space of a heartbeat. For looking like a super model who crawled out of a plane crash minutes ago, A2 was not playing herself up when she told Inga that she was built to fight. Actually, if one has the time to look, she ever-so-faintly looks like she might be enjoying it.

Iria (215) has posed:
Realizing that Yuna is down and in serious danger, Iria realizes that she could be dangerously vulnerable. Even though there's a blanket atop Yuna, she's still not fully protected. Iria hears Inga saying she's going to help Yuna, and Iria nods to her. "Go, I'll be right behind you!"

As soon as Iria makes this statement to Inga, she reaches under her cape and pulls out her assault rifle, loading a fresh clip into it. "I didn't want it to come to this, but I suppose there's no other choice."

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    Seeing those flames come rushing for Iris, the guildmaster realizes its a bit to late to prevent the attack. It helps that she's a dragon, but she'd rather not test her resistance to fire at the moment. Instead, "August you -idiot-! OF course it'll lash out, you're ATTACKING it! Any living thing is going to fight back and defend itself!" is roared out before she actually charges the man. She doesn't slice at him, instead feigning to slash before just trying to shoulder-check him.

    And along the way? .oO(That's it. I'm gonna get fired... god -damnit-)

Staren has posed:
    The Star Hawk kneels in the way of the flames, deploying its beam shield. "I'm siding with YUNA, you idiots! She wants PEACE! All you're doing by jumping the gun is hurting our chances at peace, and hurting our chances of taking it down later if it DOES refuse to cooperate!"

    Unfortunately, the weird circling nature of the attack makes him misjudge how best to block it. The shield glows ominously where fire does hit it, though, and some scorches the mecha.

    Part of him wonders if he'd act like A2 if it was Twilight, not Yuna. ...No. He would grab her and teleport out of here, even then.

    There just isn't time. Tentacles slam the Star Hawk, although without a coordinated attack it isn't as damaging as it could be. He tries to think through the... the mental noise. He sees only one chance, that may not even be a chance.

    The Star Hawk turns to face the Iris again, and spreads its arms. "Read my mind! And then go, we'll call you when it's safe!" he shouts over the speakers, and the cockpit opens.

    Staren does his best to focus on three mental images in sequence:

    First, of Seras Victoria, the vampire that needs to drink blood to survive... and how she can survive fine on donated or maybe even one day synthetic blood.

    Second, of the future where the Warp Iris cooperates with them. It explores the multiverse and discusses its ideas with scholars from all over.

    Third and finally, the future where it rejects coexistance. Where it fights them. This last mental image is to show the difference between what's happening now, and how they'd TRULY behave if they decided it needed to die -- all the ordnance that would deploy from the Star Hawk and the gathered military vehicles. He's willing to give up the advantage of surprise, in the hope of peace.

    He sure hopes this works. This once, he'll bank on his immortality working if it all goes (more) wrong. And then that will be Future Staren's problem, because he won't remember this.

August Kohler has posed:
Flames wash through and burn over everything in August's path, though it's met with an expected counterattack, as a tentacle slams into the Tin Soldier and sends it flying backwards into August. He's knocked back with a thud and some marks that'll likely turn into serious bruising, but he forces himself back up, groaning as he attempts to steady himself. This gives Rhapsody time to close in, moving to strike at him with her sword. He moves to brace the Tin Soldier to block the slash, but she feints and instead her shoulder slams into August's chest, sending him onto his rear.

"Lash out at everyone? Try and attack all of you, not just the threats? That sounds more like an animal." With a sweep of his foot, August moves to kick Rhapsody in the leg as he pulls himself up, grabbing the smart-machete at his side and solidifying the blade. His eyes glance up at A2 doing the fighting, and instead he focuses on those opposing him. Serving as a distraction, as he shouts to Eryl. "Fairfax, this is insane. Just give them the damn kill-order already! Are you really going to side with this /thing/ over actually protecting people?" The machete blade is swung, being aimed at Rhapsody's arm, the one holding the sword. August is far from a skilled swordsman, but at the least, she'll be focused on his blade instead of striking straight at him or moving to stop A2. "Peace with this thing is a goddamn myth. You can't befriend eldritch abominations. You can't befriend /nightmares/! You put them down for the better of everyone else, for the people who are /still suffering from this thing/, who might never get better! You're all picking the wrong hill to die on."

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Loci Iris continues to flail, even as A2 slices up her tentacles. More and more of them emerge from the Warp Iris, twitching and lashing around. As a being who has had nothing hurt it for its entire long existence, this amount of pain all at once may have caused it to lose its mind.

    Meanwhile, as August swings at Rhapsody, he feels his blade hit home. But it does not meet scale, but flesh, and bites through it. There Eryl stands, the machete having carved through his chest and found itself between his ribs. "This is what you are doing, August Kohler," he says as blood begins to issue from his mouth. "Pointless violence borne of your own teenage angst and then labelled as 'the right thing.' It's easy to convince yourself of this when your target is monstrous. But what about now, when it has a human face attached?" He bends down and clutches the blade, keeping it in place. "Do you still feel as if you're in the right?"

    Staren feels his mind attacked by a vicelike grip. Loci Iris, in its rage, still heard him and listened , pulling at the images he feeds it. In this frenzied state, it's an even worse experience than before. "Oh," says the universe, lucidity returning right before A2 strikes. The massive hardlight blade sends a cutting wave through the Warp Iris, cleaving the eye and the body behind it in twain. A flood of ichor issues from the black warpgate, soaking the dust and sand below with its fetid odour. All the tentacles slump again, and lay still. Did she actually do it?

    There is another cutting sound from the Warp Iris, and something begins to emerge from the opposite side as it widens to accommodate it. A vast amount of tissue, looking almost like a giant tumor is shoved it, splashing more of that disgusting blood all about. It's been cleaved in two, and is about the size of a city block once its all out and pools on the ground in no apparent shape.

    "Leaving all that to rot may have been bad, so I cut it free," speaks Loci Iris. "As I was going to say before I was interrupted... I will go, peacefully. It is apparent that there are those among you who would oppose me no matter what. So the solution is simple. I will outlive you, and return another time, hopefully to a warmer welcome. Perhaps in 1000 years or so. Many of you I may not see again. Thank you for all you have taught me, and I include my attackers in that also. Goodbye, and I apologize for the mess."

    The gate closes.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    A jaw clenches, a blade moves to protect her own arm, and then Eryl is over her.

    August had been succesful a moment earlier, knocking the dragon's legs out from under her, causing her to land in a wump on the ground. Eyes wide, she watches Eryl get stabbed rather than having a sword crash into hers.

    She hears what Eryl has to say as much as August likely does, but before she can react, the massive amount of ... strange noises behind her, gets Rhapsody to look back only to see Iris expel ... something... and then wink away. Once it's gone, she rises, simply -glaring- at August. "It was no danger, after all," she mutters before motioning for Inga, rapidly, hoping she can help Eryl.

Staren has posed:
    Staren's EXPECTING it, so there's a second or two of gritted teeth before he screams. When the Iris lets him go, he slumps in his seat, held in place by the safety straps. He's not unconscious, but he isn't much better, barely able to... anything. He sees it leave and then relaxes. Things will be alright... at least as alright as they can be, now. It's a few seconds before he even has the presense of mind to close the cockpit. Yuna still needs help, but he's in no state to provide it at the moment.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2 stands firm in the face of the overwhelming flood of inky gore, planting her giant sword with the flat side facing the torrential pooling, so she doesn't have to add anything potentially dangerous to the mess of battle damage all over her body. As soon as the rotten core of the beast is out, she twists it free, and then hearing the thing still talking, sends it ripping sideways through the bisected gate without a moment's hesitation; merely a sound of irritable frustration.

    The gate closes anyway, leaving her blade whooshing through empty air. She doesn't care to stop it, letting it spin loosely around her and grind to a stop in the dirt. Instead, A2 pauses, and then slowly leans back, tilting her head to stare up at the sky for several, dead silent seconds, breathing out so slowly it's almost trance-like.

    "I'll be around to kill you then. Don't worry." she says to the clouds. Both of her swords disperse into swarms of golden motes, and reform behind her back, held aloft by a floating ring of gold, grey and black holography a foot behind her shoulder. She turns on her heel and begins walking, straight through the group, with nothing to say to any of them. She exudes a palpable aura of 'back off'.

August Kohler has posed:
The blade doesn't impact with Rhapsody's sword like August is expecting. When it cuts through Eryl, his eyes widen, as he grimaces. He didn't want to actually hurt anyone here. But he knew what he was signing himself up for by doing this, that he would have to fight. "You think it's pointless. You've obviously never seen my world. Things like that? They shouldn't exist. Things that hurt people with their own presence. Teaching them is what's pointless." The redhead sighs, and stares Eryl straight in the eyes, biting his lip as he speaks.

"I've seen monsters wear human faces all the time. There's no reason to treat them differently." He doesn't clarify, though there's a few options on what he means: Shadows, the monsters of the Multiverse, or possibly himself, seeing as his mental profile is known. "I wasn't here to kill either you or Rhapsody." He lets go of the machete handle, not going to bother trying to keep a grip on it (he's going to avoid Staren tech, seeing the gun issue earlier), and then pulls the Tin Soldier in front of him as he watches the aftermath of the Loci Iris.

"In a thousand years, I hope people are smart enough to actually kill this thing." August begins moving backwards, shouting to A2. "Come on, let's get the hell out of here.", before he uses his Persona to kick up some sand and then dematerializes it. August begins to book it, moving for the warp gate.

Inga has posed:
Inga had been heading for Yuna, but Yuna appears to be at least stable and the wounds she has (assumably psychological ones) would be more difficult to deal with than Eryl's rather immediate, blood gushing wound.

Inga slices into her arm again, throwing her blood in Eryl's general direction before she can start over for some more dedicated healing. An aura of crimson would surround him, improving his own body's ability to heal. A wound like that might need a couple of spells before it fully closes, but it should slow the bleeding.

Inga learned a lot of things today. Many things she's still processing. One thing though, is that Eryl has impressed her.

Once she reaches him, she nods respectfully to him. "You'll be alright. I'll see to it," she offers.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is worn she's haggerd she's also ready for thngs to go badonc eway or another. Thens he sees something she does not expect as the WArp Irisirther is cut or was that the result of it's own actions?She's not sure? It does seem that A2 has done it and then something else happens. kotone for a moment slumps just from the stress she was after. She hers what august has said and she says nothing for a moment until Warp Iris moves to leave "...I will hope for the best upon it."

She looks to August for a moment then to A2 and she notes.

"I shall be here when that happens as well."

She however looks to August, either way Kotone isn't sure what to think of her new ... job with the Paladins other than she's tired.

Iria (215) has posed:
With Yuna apparently unconscious but alive, Iria nods to Elner. "She did the best she could, that's all we could ask for." She then scowls and turns away, before glaring at A2 and August. "Unfortunately, it seems our plans for peace did not go as planned." She hmmphs and straps her assault rifle to her back under her cape again, before scowling even more. "Shouldn't have been so optimistic I guess."

Flipping her hair with one hand, Iria looks back at Yuna and her expression softens. She kneels down beside Yuna and, despite her being in a coma, whispers in her ear, "You did great. We may not have had a peaceful ending like we hoped for, but you still did the best you could. I'm proud of you." A slight smile forms on her face, before it disappears and she turns again. "I'm heading back."

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
With the Warp Iris gone and the reason for fighting similarly absent, Elner disengages the defensive barrier, letting Inga turn her healing attention to Eryl and allowing Iria to kneel next to Yuna for a moment.

And even though she appears comatose, Yuna's shuddering seems to ease a bit at the bounty hunter's whisper.

The rest of the Matrix of Light put their weaponry away and prepare to move Yuna to somewhere that she can be properly cared for. Things got somewhat messy even without Yuna getting physically injured, and mending her psyche is going to take a specialist - such as Flamel Parsons, for instance. Maybe others.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    With Eryl being tended to, Yuna in good hands, and everything seemingly in order, the anxieties of a young guildmaster mixing with the thought she just attacked August? Blades are sheathed, Rhapsody backpedals from the group, and then after a few more moments, she could be seen flying out of the area after shifting to her draconic form. Maybe this was all a bad idea, after all.