6991/CT4: A World of Darkness

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CT4: A World of Darkness
Date of Scene: 14 January 2020
Location: Eorzea
Synopsis: Heroes invade the Void in order to prevent the Emperor of Allag from marshalling his forces to destroy the world.
Cast of Characters: Lezard Valeth, N'raha Tia, Alruna Greengate, 7201, Tomoe, 7180, 7206, Inga, Staren, Empty Tidings, 7141

Lezard Valeth has posed:

    The heroes make use of a daring and experimental technique to try to brute force a path into the Tower and find themselves trapped in the inner workings of the Crystal Tower. After strenuously experiencing a face to face situation with Allagan architecture and leaving Glasya Labolas Forever Alone, they confront Lezard and Staren just before the summit. Lezard provides a distraction in the form of dozens of clones of G'raha Tia, forcing them to slay the image of their friend. Unfortunately, one of them happened to be Goro Majima in disguise, and a massive battle ensued while Lezard and Staren moved to try to secure the soul of the Allagan Emperor to gain true dominion of the Tower.

    The heroes eventually won free after a great deal of pain and struggle, and found Lezard in the process of extracting the Emperor's soul. Through their interference, they interrupted the ritual. Xande fled to the Void, opening a great portal into the darkness while Lezard, incensed, fled with Staren.


    Returning to the top of the Crystal Tower proves to be simpler than last time. The doors are open. Glasya Labolas is nowhere to be found. Nero has everything set up on the top of the Tower, so after enough time for everyone to prep and click on anything interesting, it's off you guys go into that gaping hole of black and violet hanging over the empty throne of the Allagan Emperor.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-M-aN1cFdo

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    The transition is much like falling into the ocean, if the ocean was made of shadow and want. After a seemingly infinite time hanging in the blackness, the world resolves around you: Endless swirling night, shattered rocks and earth hanging there with no rhyme or reason. Curling aurorae seethe through the endless night while high above, a burning sphere shines darkly, an gaping wound of antilight pulsing with crimson, an endlessly hungry maw that seems to draw aether around it in a swirling incandscent disk of indigo, providing the secondary source of light for this abyssal hell.

    The primary source are wild growths of lightning-aspected aether crystals, shining in a distinctive purple hue as they crackle and slowly ablate energy into the ionosphere that surrounds everything. The party lands on a wide, ornate rock-hewn platform, clear signs of a civilization of some kind. But whatever it might have been, it has long fallen. The void seems to be full of this detritus, spanning a long winding thread through the umbral reaches like it was extruded out of whatever the Void has swallowed over the aeons.

    Ahead of the party, veritable flocks of voidsent mill about, imps perking as the sense of fresh, clean, potent aether begins to spread through the land. Great mutated chimerical beasts prowl, and ahriman sweep through the night, their baleful eyes sweeping down to fixate upon you. This is going to be quite a hike. The creatures begin attacking as soon as anyone draws near to them, fighting to the death.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    If someone were to ask Raha right now what his least favorite sensation was, this would rank up there in terms of 'blugh'. The air is wrong. The aehter is wrong. The place is wrong. The fact that there's Stuff in here just tells him that Mhach had some sort of garbage to do with this alongside the Allagans and... yeah this is butts.

    That said, he's dutifully striding alongside the rest of his fellow Warriors of Light. For once, not in front. Today he's letting Alruna take up that mantle, as it were. One tank ought to be enough here. Hopefully. Bravura rests over his shoulder, and he strides forward, to meet the scattered voidkin, sweeping his axe out in wide arcs to either shoo them off or send them on their way, if they're not smart enough to stay clear of the Roving Pack of Adventurers.

Alruna Greengate has posed:
Alruna has spent her prep time in communion, again, a pale blue soul crystal clenched tightly in her hand while she kneels in front of the throne, singing some kind of song to herself. When she stands up, replacing the crystal in the choker about her neck, she looks focused. Intense. When Nero finally gives them the go ahead, she draws her sword and charges into oblivion.

Oblivion is about as welcoming as she thought. The shadows reach /towards/ them, instead of away. This world is hostile to life as they know it; no wonder the Voidsent seem so inimical to the sunlit world. Her soul crystal begins to glow, bathing herself and anyone nearby in a faint - very faint - but comforting light. "Lets not tarry." she says, staring up at the creatures homing in on them.

And with that she sets off, lighting the party's way.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
Potions: PREPPED.
Curvy blade: SHARPENED.
Enhancement-granting jewelry: SHINED.
It's go time.

"I can't say I've ever been to a plane of darkness before..." Arkae mentions as she looks around, taking in the sights and wondering if she should invest in one of those 'camera' things next time she's on a high-tech world.

"Neat," she adds as she stops to examine one of the purple-y aether crystals. "Yeah." She stops to chip some loose and store them in her reagent bag if possible.

It's while she's examining a different outcropping that the party comes into aggro range of the dungeon trash. She's a little slow on the draw, but once she realizes what's going on she draws forth her ridiculous curved sword and charges into battle!

Tomoe has posed:
It has been a while since the confrontation with Lezard at the top of the Crystal Tower. Tomoe is here again as ready as she can be, the idea of the void bringing back memories of a very early adventure in her life in the multiverse. She's nervous, to say the least given who knows what this void will be like as she comes up to the portal she will take a moment to breathe deeply.

"So I have no idea what's behind this portal but we can't leave the Emperor to run lose who knows what he could do to your world let along with any others. Things like him have a habit of spilling on to other worlds if left alone."

Tomoe will then leap through the portal after muttering a prayer.

Once she's through the portal she will take a moment for her sense to adjust to this place, she scans around at this seemingly mad place in this strange night place infested with void sent and who knows what else is crawling around here.

She has Caliburn in hand as she keeps pace alongside Alruna. The holy blade burns with white light as she'll move to engage anything upfront with Alruna following the light she's leaving in her wake. She will use a mix of sword workd and spells on anything she engages.

Amelris Belthrone (7180) has posed:
     Amelris Belthrone had a very good day, before all this. He had a nice, uplifting, light lunch and breakfast. His equipment was repaired, he mended some of his materia on his weapons, he had put a few new feathers on his hat to replace old ones.

     This, however, can ruin about anyone's day even if you came here to be a hero to stop a megalomaniac ancient Emperor-Sorcerer from possibly swallowing the entire Eorzean World into an endless night. 'night'. It's probably gonna be WAY colder than any night here.

     "Tch." Amelris lets out, tightening his cape around himself to be more covering, shaking his head. "I'm pretty glad that I've had a pretty light meal or else that'd go on the floor, right the hell now."

     The Red Mage straightens, looking up and around, following the Paladin and the Warrior. "Keep your eyes open and ears sharp. They know we are here."

Liumi Atma (7206) has posed:
    Liumi did not brave the Crystal Tower to get here, nor did she jump into any fancy holy over a throne. The green-haired Viera, instead, can be found sitting on one of the floating rocks by the entryway of the darkened realm, eyes gazing down through her tinted glasses at the contents of a green grimoire, ornate with golden lining and with half as many bookmarks as there are pages.

    She was never without it; that was true the last time any of them met, and the ones before, and the ones that'll come.

    It shuts close with a dramatic thump as the group cycles in and upsets the local wildlife. "Right on time but still incapable of entering without breaking, I see. T'was getting lonely, anyway, these aren't much for conversation. And you brought friends, how fortuitous!"

    Liumi leaps down to join the arrivals, addressing none of them in particular. The raking claws of a succubus form around her, tainted black like everything else here. They strike at a nearby imp, mostly making a show of the fact the summoner is protected.

    A polite bow follows.

    "Liumi Atma, at your service. Warrior of etc. etc. and savior of all that is and so forth. I was never one for the titles or the fame."

Inga has posed:
Inga has returned as well, hoping perhaps that she can manage to /not/ die this time. It's a low bar, but it's important to set oneself achievable goals isn't it?

She'd come with N'Raha, after reminding him what they'd talked about in regard to the Odin-fury. She's feeling more level-headed today as well. Calm, if not serene. Impossible to be serene with the sort of aether and sense of wrongness of the void. It raises goosebumps on her arms, but she merely tightens her grip on her walking stick as the runes carved along it's length light with a soft, golden glow.

She's dressed more or less as usual, a long skirt and blouse, belt around her waist from which hang all manner of charms, a small knife, and a leather pouch. A knit shawl is clasped around her shoulders. You know, in case the Void is drafty.

Inga looks up toward the Viera, blinking. "Good day," she greets. "Inga Freyjasdottir. A pleasure to meet you."

Staren has posed:
    They need to go into the Void and stop the Emperor.

    The Void. A plane of darkness filled with demons. Possibly this world's counterpart to a sort of hell or dyval.

    But perhaps not as inimical to life as the cave full of magic radiation, or the bottom of the abyssal seas in the underworld.

    Given that noone else seems to be taken any precautions at all, the /mere/ precautions of a heavily-armed-and-armored, environmentally-sealed suit should suffice.

    Staren awakes with a harness around his armor, secured to a cable leading back to the portal. It was a simple enough precaution to add. He can always remove it if it's a problem.

    Staren stands. "Now, if I were an emperor who wanted to destroy the world, where would I go first...?"

    Alruna has her own ideas about where to go. Staren deploys a couple of drones to watch the portal home, and then follows. For now, he doesn't pick a fight but monsters that accost the party are met with his arm-mounted particle beams.

Empty Tidings has posed:
The pitiless void is not quite as empty as advertised.

What looks like a worked stone ampitheatre, peeled off the surface of a planet and hurled into this endless blackness, drifts between spires of violet crystal not far ahead. The sounds of some kind of cacophony drift through what passes for air here, distant shrieks and howls coming ever closer as the volume sporadically grows.

It turns out that what is taken initially as sounds of torment are, in fact, attempts at music. The shrieks are the torture of stringed instruments, bows put to them by a group of ahriman whose singular eyes are narrowed in concentration. Diminuitive imps attempt to play enormous brass pieces and dark-colored woodwinds as loudly as possible. A few sprites comprised of floating crystals and sparks of violet lightning occasionally ram into surfaces ostensibly meant for percussive purposes with mixed results.

In the middle of the ampitheatre, standing on a disk of scarred stone that might have once held some royal seal of another, a figure stands. She's a little below average height for a young lady, wearing a scarlet robe decorated with diagonal golden designs in odd and sometimes outright impossible geometric shapes. Tiny brass bells hang in her long black hair. Her hands are up, apparently making an attempt at conducting this Voidsent orchestra.

Whatever they were attempting draws to a shuddering close a moment later. She sighs. "Rest, if you must," Empty Tidings says, voice raised to reach them all and tinged with a distinct note of disappointment. "We will continue until either they arrive, or you learn to act in harmony."

"Or I grow weary of this exercise and kill you all," she adds, sotto voce.

Linehart (7141) has posed:
     The guy in almost ten feet of pitch-black armor isn't the weird part. Nor is the cloak of smoke wrapped around his shoulders, an imperious and flowing mantle. Nor is the red-cross scar visor, glowing with a malevolent and ominous light. Nor, even, is the massive spear, dripping with red energy, carved with ominous-looking runes. No, none of that is the weird part.

     The weird part is that just *emerging* out of one of Arkae's jewels.

     One moment, there's nothing. The next, the ten-foot Evil Knight is just. He's just standing next to her. He quite clearly emerged from the reflective surface, but it's hard to wrap one's head around *how* he did it - he sort of...bent?...space? Like a sprite unfolding or something.

     He says nothing for a moment. Then, a textbox pops up in the air, as ominous, terrible music fills the air. It's the low introduction to a boss, the low, orchestral introduction that will inevitably turn pitched and fast-beat. The textbox appears with a 'bwip.' I am Linehart, the Mirror Knight. My Sphere is Evil Knight.

     The textbox disappears with a 'bwip.' He 'says' nothing else.

     He starts walking. There is the sense that Linehart is the type to start walking and not stop, a giant, overwhelming figure followed by that ominous music wheresoever he walks. This is a place he has not seen the like of, but he is one who was born to be wicked. This is wickedness itself. He can understand that.

     He pauses at Tidings' orchestra.

     His red-scar visor stares, blankly.

     Then, A fair attempt, my lady. But monsters will be monsters.

     With that, he goes walking again, regardless of if the rest of the party is keeping up.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
Arkae pauses and stares for a moment.

She looks down at the jewel on her charm bracelet that Linehart just merged out of.

Just to be safe, she pulls it off of her bracelet, stows it in her bag, and then replaces it with a seemingly identical jewel a moment later.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    This is in fact a horrible place for anyone in general. This is not a place that bears life. The entire place feels... dead. There is no movement of life here, the rich aether of Hydaelyn missing in this place. The people present practically radiate light themselves compared to the null-space that this area is.

Some of that light slowly drifts off into the nothingness towards that dark sun.

Being here too long is probably not good for one's health. Weirdly, it's not cold... Probably owing to Ice Aether /also/ being pulled into the Void. Still, chipping off some crystal is relatively harmless, even if it does release a potent zap of electricity as Arkae does so. blasting up into the darkness in a blazing multicolored aurora. It is breathtakingly beautiful, but one cannot help but notice that it weaves in the direction of the black sun. Gained: 1X Lightning Crystal! Why some of them are floating around is probably more a trait of the environment and not the crystals themselves. Staren checks the way out. It seems to be stable enough, but leaving the door open continues to risk things /slipping out/ which is the reason why you lot are here in the first place.

This place is said to be the source of the Voidsent and the place sure seems to bear that theory out. There's an almost innumberable number of varying familiar shapes and sizes... And also unfamiliar ones, ones that have never been seen before. Alruna and Tomoe lead the way, the durable adventurers doing their job to take the brunt of the attack and give the others the freedom to act. Arkae finds that she has plenty of opportunity to use flanking attacks to gain those needed pluses.

It takes some time, but the group effortfully murders their way along the ruins, passing strange and unusual machines that pulse with gravitational distortions, bouncing from platform to platform on platforms that are Allagan-/like/ but seem to have some subtle differences, running along walkways forged of aetherial light. They come across Empty on the way as the numberless horrors valiantly fail at creating something approximating noise that appeals to Tidings. Whether they stop to pick up the Exalt or attempt to avoid her aggression range is up to those present.

    One way or the other, it is only a matter of time before the group launch themselves onto a massive platform. There, a dark replica of the Emperor's Throne rests, the massive Emperor resting his head on his knuckles. At his feet, a huge feral-looking augmented canine rests, covered in glowing scrollwork armor as three heads rumble with power. His other hand strokes along the creature's neck absently, as if the horror was its pet.

    Perhaps it is.

    "So, you hound me even to the ends of existence. Very well." The Emperor rumbles. "If you did not, the end would be hounding you in return. Regardless... You are all fools." He straightens, rising from his throne. "I bear an ancient covenant with the Dark. It bends to my will, and it shall devour you all. Once you are gone, we shall rise again, and rule over a world of endless night!"

    He chuckles. "Alternatively, you may join me. Yield, and swear fealty to me, and I will allow you to serve the Emperor in the new world to come. Make your choice."

Inga has posed:
When they approach Empty Tidings, Inga looks curious as to what she's trying to do, but greets her with a bow. "Greetings. It would be a comfort to know you will be joining us against the Emperor. I do hope that is your intention," she says to her. Linehart gets a very puzzled look from the Seer, who actually can't read what he's saying. That's a bit frustrating. The trick with the music though...she likes.

The party doesn't dally long however, and Inga must try to keep pace (already a struggle).

The Emperor. So, that's him, is it? She'd sort of died before she could get a glimpse of him last time they were here. He's very...tall. "Greetings, Emperor. I'm afraid we will not be joining you," she says, the glow of runes on her staff growing gradually brighter. She reaches for the knife at her belt, ready to begin with some wards.

Alruna Greengate has posed:
Discordant music tries to set the tone for their mission, but only really succeeds in making Alruna wince. She takes a raking slash across her armour from an Ahriman behind her for being distracted. THANKS EMPTY TIDINGS.

She slashes, a slice of blue aether erupting from her sword as she dispatches the monster and attracts even more to herself. The paladin is a candle that draws horrid abyssal moths to its flame, but that's her job. Linehart's arrival is a welcome sight - she recognises him, but Liumi is a new face to her. N'raha can vouch for her, that's just fine as far as Alruna is concerned.

The paladin does not want to recruit Empty Tidings.

Through a hard, constant slog, they fight their way to a larger ruin. Alruna lands heavily on the edge of the arena after being propelled by one of those bizarre machines across the gap. She ambles forwards, giving herself some time to get her breath back and flick her sword, scattering a line of putrescent Voidsent ichor across the eroded stones.

"You truly expect any of us will bow knee to you?" she calls out, steadily approaching the Emperor and his pet. She seems incredulous. The white-haired paladin tenses herself and casts her shield with a wide, dramatic gesture of her arm. The black kite shield spinning in a boomerang-like arc to strike the towering Emperor's face as she charges forward with a warcry.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    Xande is giving his pitch, giving his speech, and N'raha is just... carefully keeping an eye on the 'arena' as it were. Empty Tidings gets a confused look for her attempts at merry making, and... well. Okay.

    Alruna is already stepping in as other party members make their... commentary on whether or not to join Xande. That seems as good a response as any to N'raha. The catman grunts, slams the visor down on his helmet, and charges in right after that shield, aiming to skid to Xande's side and start in with the heavy swings of that ax. No need for words. Not with this creature.

Staren has posed:
    Ruins? Machines? "If this is just... the place voidsent come from, why are there ruined buildings here? The voidsent don't seem like they built it." Staren records a cursory examination as he passes them, but he doesn't tarry behind the group.

    And they find the emperor... sitting on a dark throne. "Wow.I gotta say, this is seriously impressive. Well done." He says with his actual mouth. His radio transmits to the others, <Guys, we need a way to ...disconnect him from the darkness.>

    "Well... it's an interesting proposal... but no."

    He joins in with the others, firing his beams.

Linehart (7141) has posed:
     Linehart spares a few glances at the place. It's not largely his concern - he's here to put a stop to whatever Lezard Valeth's plan is, because that's the sort of thing he's Supposed To Do. That's what Heroes are supposed to do. Thwart the Evil Wizard. Or the Evil Knight.

     Something something, not so different.

     His heavy armor does not make footfalls. Not a single 'clang'. Not a single 'click.' He's not even audibly *breathing*. The only noise that echoes from him is his music - slightly trepidacious, but not fearful, just...a bit slower. He's not stupid. He's seen that he's no longer the most powerful thing around. This is unfamiliar territory, and it's dangerous, and he's human. He's not some sort of unflappable god-monster. At the same time, his resolve is steeled. His heart is hardened. He looks upon the void and sees himself, and that is enough.

     The Voidsent that come at him aren't even given the benefit of his magic. They're simply crushed. One hand comes out to dig into giant swollen eyes, crushing them to bits. One fist smashes into a passing imp. He grabs a passing Voidsent on the way to attack another party member and drives it into the ground so hard it bursts. The crystalline ground cracks.

     He is as strong as his enormously oversized spear suggests.

     Finally, after a long journey, they stand before the Emperor of Allag. The red-cross visor bears nothing. His music remains resolute.

     And then it gets *loud*.

     KAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! This is indeed the highest comedy!

     The armored shoulders shake with laughter. No sound comes out but the 'bwip' of the text and the 'bwip' of its disappearing.

     I had sought merely Lezard Valeth, for reasons all mine own. But I am not the sort to ignore the prattle of meaningless ghosts from times long-gone. Begone with you, old ghost, unless you yearn for the heel of my boot against your back. You, who seek to build a new world, shall know me now, and tremble.

     And then he raises his hand.

     Darkness gathers in Linehart's hand. No, not gathers. He *grabs* the Darkness, physically, forcing it into his palm. It *writhes* in his hand. It hates him. It fears him. His music reaches the pitched and heated part, the fast-moving indicator of a battle joined. I am Linehart, the Mirror Knight. My Sphere is Evil Knight.

     Look upon the terror of the end of the world!

     The Darkness, clutched tight in his hand, begins to coil around it. The shadows that lurk on the edge of consciousness - Tenebris!

     His hand opens.

     The Darkness leaps into the sky. Above, the black sun ripples.

     And like the fist of an angry god it comes down upon the Emperor, a black solar flare that hits the ground and ripples across the field and-

     -damages absolutely nothing but its targets.


     That's weird.

     Linehart tilts his head at Liumi. She said to hit him with More Dark. Best plan anybody else has had!

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe would find all sorts of Voidsent before her, ones she's seen before. Others she's never even though were things that could exist, she does not think too hard she cuts the path ahead alongside Alruna. Yet they are always more and they have to find where the Emperor went. The man behind the Allagan Empire. It does not take as long as she'd thought it would. Once bouncy pad later she will make her way.

"I will not serve you. I'd throw away everything I am if I were to do such a thing."

Tomoe has he blade out the Mourning Wall with its ever flickering names across its surface.

She has made her choice she will chant golden runes dancing about her body, her sword flares up with holy magic burning bright white and then she'll close in on the emperor to get to melee and strike out with the blazing sword.

Liumi Atma (7206) has posed:
    "Miss Freyjasdottir," Liumi extends her bow, not missing a beat to repeat the name correctly. Politely, she grees all those who greet her. And helpfully, she provides her familiar's claws to their climb, never faltering.

    Reaching the throne and the massive Allagan man, Liumi listens to him, waiting for the offer. Tempting! And yet her idea tempts her more.

    He'll either burst, or put on a spectacle that'll justify the trip entirely. Win/win.

    "I must sincerely apologize for my companions' rudeness. Of course, you'll understand I too must decline. This is a little bit too... homely for my tastes. Yes, let's go with that word."

    She taps into the ambient aether.

    "Now then, let us begin."

    Three massive maws rise around the platform. Tall, fixed, without teeth, and in their mouths, voids of their own. They begin sucking in the air and the aether, with such force that the ground chips and breaks in places, and the wind almost seems sharp enough it could cut the emperor and his pet in passing.

Amelris Belthrone (7180) has posed:
     The World of Darkness is a lot more populated than Amelris ever figured that it would be. Of course, it's mostly voidsents and some sort of... Far Eastern-dressed woman playing symphony with a bunch of Imps and a Summoner they know that's /already/ here ahead of them but, HEY. Them the breaks. It's a little suspicious, is all. So is Linhart's apperance, coming straight out of a polished gem... which, you know, make sense considering what he is. "Impressive trick." Amelris comments, stepping up along.

     The Red Mage adjust some things in his pocket. It's just some Aetheric readers and recorders, like hell they'd miss a chance to record some of this place's data. It probably will result in some corrupted data but what the hey, it's worth having it around just to see how it's gonna do.

     More impressive and downright worrying is of course the replica of the Dark Throne, with the big, strange three-headed dog... and the Emperor himself.

     "A mighty generous offer, your majesty." Amelris comments, facing the Emperor, cape draped over his arm, facing the Voidsent Allagan. A flash of light manifests his rapier, the gem floating up to dance on top of his knucles of his hidden arm. "But I'm going to have to refuse as well."

     The Miqo'te grabs his gem tightly, energy tightly condensing from his body into the instrument, thrusting his rapier out and connecting it to the guard, unloading out a spread of purple red energy at the Emperor, then taking a flourish, spinning on himself like a dance-step forward, unleashing another.

     "I will certainly not allow another Calamity to be brought by your damn insanity!"

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
+1 Electric Aether Crystal! Arkae will have to look at this later.

As the Emperor talks, Arkae reaches down and pulls a pair of her faintly glowing potions from her belt, uncorks one, and chugs it. The other one is tossed underhand to Staren.

Should he drink it (and presumably he does), he'll find that his outer layer of skin is quite a bit tougher. Quite a bit. He could probably try to hammer a nail through his thigh, and the nail would break first. (Presumably he does not do that, at least not, now, but it's a cool party trick to keep in mind for later.) Curiously, for how much more durable the potion would make him feel... it doesn't seem to feel any less flexible.

Magic. It Just Does (trademark pending).

The effects of what Arkae took aren't immediately clear. "How about no," she says as she draws her ridiculous curvy sword. "You got beaten back here once before, and you're relying on... whatever darkness thing is going on here. Whatever power you have to lend out is clearly not your own."

"Besides..." she adds as she crouches. "I'm on a job."

And then the Tengu leaps across the distance, closing in with a speed and a jump length that shouldn't really be possible, and then swinging her sword on the way down before landing neatly without breaking any bones (Magic: It Just Does (trademark pending)).

Empty Tidings has posed:
Tidings turns away from the orchestra. The 'musicians' are milling about, talking to one another and generally looking exhausted from the experience. They have probably been here for a very long time, doing exactly one thing. None of them look like they want to try to make a break for it, or join the hordes of fodder throwing themselves at the intruders. They stay precisely where they are.

She watches the procession move past her. Linehart gets a long look as his ominous self strides deeper into this realm of darkness and foreboding. Her expression is thoughtful, and there's a tiny hint of a smirk to go with it. She eyes each of them in turn, inclining her head minutely to each she recognizes -- even people like Staren, whom has on more than one occasion been a thorn in her side.

"The Emperor is... a contentious figure," Tidings allows. "I would be quite pleased to join you, but I am afraid I have a prior obligation to attend to." She bows to Inga, seemingly apologetic. "Good fortune to you, though. I expect you'll need it."

The heroes du jour pass her. Tidings straightens, idly smooths a bit of wrinkled cloth, and starts to follow them. The Voidsent start to disperse, and she whips around, arm extended. "Practice," she commands. They settle, clearly nervous, and the noise starts to rise again.

Tidings ends up in the back line of the group of heroes. She looks around for a moment, considering. She sighs. Tidings reaches back and gathers her hair into a tail, the bells chiming gently as they end up looped in a helical pattern around it. Flashes of might and magic appear ahead. They do not move her. After a moment, she lowers her hand, takes a deep breath --

There is a sensation like throbbing bass, a sudden pulse, a heartbeat amidst the roiling darkness. An aura of bruised color rises around her. Obsidian-black chains materialize, draped around Tidings' shoulders like a mantle. She raises her right hand, and the Darkness seems to char her skin to smooth black stone.

"Emperor!" Tidings cries. "Please, allow this humble servant of Darkness to fulfill the obligations so owed to thee!"

An eruption of black flame begins to manifest, centered on Empty Tidings, presently sitting in the back line of the group of heroic adventurers. Inga is closest to her, and the waves of ink-colored fire leech heat and sensation as they roll towards her like sea-foam striking the shore.

Tidings isn't looking at the seer, though. She's staring at one of the people charging right in, practically at the Emperor's feet, with eyes like cold chips of flint.

Inga has posed:
Inga nods to Empty Tidings before they move on, a slight frown furrowing her brow. Something is not right here. If Empty Tidings isn't here to help them...but what reason would she have to help him? Is she simply here to observe? Inga doubts that very much.

She's still puzzling through her words when Empty seems to prepare for battle, and suddenly Inga is being set on fire. Dark fire.

She hisses with surprise, taking her knife to her arm with a quick slice, she flicks a ward around herself. She is about to ask Empty precisely what the fuck, when she notices her eyes are not on Inga but...

Inga follows her gaze. "Honestly," she says, exasperated. "What is this about?" she asks Empty, throwing another blood ward accross the room to N'Raha. He'll know the familiar feeling by now. Warm, invigorating.

Inga looks back to Tidings. "Whatever this is, could it not be settled at some other time?!" she asks, flicking her blood out again while the wound is still open--this time, offensively. A spray of blood that appears to be, well, acid.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    "It behooves an Emperor to allow his lessers to show wisdom, especially when they might be of use. But it is unfortunate that you lack the vision required." Xande rumbles back to Inga and Alruna. Unfortunately for Inga, while the Emperor does not aggress on her, the massive dog does, the huge thing unleashing a howl before it lunges, charging and snapping at her with a massive triple-bite!

    Alruna, however, gets right to the point, not only defying the Emperor but opening with a classic Tank Combo. The shield smashes into the massive man, driving him backwards a foot with a grunt before he hauls off and unleashes a devastating fist strike that crashes down upon the Paladin with a bloom of dark energy.

    N'raha has axe, will travel. The mighty berserker catte launches forward with his axe and cleaves right into the Emperor, opening a wound along his side. It would be a lethal strike on anything else, the blood flowing freely... But the Emperor does not seem dissuaded. He raises a hand and sweeps it in N'raha's direction. Nothing seems to happen immediately... However, the counterattack doesn't come from the Emperor.

    It comes from the side of the battlefield, a massive purple beam blasting across the field and vaporizing anything in its path. The path of the doom swathe rips up the ground, atomizing the ground in exploding waves. The source? A massive figure that looms out of the Void, a female figure of jaundiced, alien yellow withe dark, dead eyes. The energies of the Void pulse, swirling around it as it exhales deadly Dark. "The Cloud of Darkness." Xande intones. "Ever-hungry being of the Darkness, and my servant. Behold my true might, and despair."

    But there's more beams on the field, and Staren has plenty. He unleashes a barrage of blasts upon the Emperor, the energy strikes burning Xande. He rallies immediately. "FOOL!" He yells at the science cat, and slams his fist downwards. There is a glowing wave of purple beneath him for a moment before it spikes upward, repeatedly blasting up into his position and chasing him across the battlefield.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    Linehart makes a dramatic appearance! Something seems odd, looking between the Emperor and the Evil Knight, almost as if they might share some kind of distant kinship in some metatextual fashion. But the moment is lost, and the Emperor and his hound of Hell are blasted by the power of Dark, the Emperor seething with crackling energies as they cascade off of him. Cerebrus fares a bit less well, the creature's flesh having been seared by it. "You proclaim yourself to be the terror at the end of the world? HAH! Perish before the might of true power!" At that, he pulls a hand back and simply unleashes a burning line of deadly burning destruction directly at the enemy knight. "I, XANDE, WILL CAST YOU DOWN!"

    Tomoe also rejects the Emperor. "Your loss." He says simply, but even as Tomoe rushes in to cleave into the Emperor, adding another deep cut to his crystal-veined flesh, the Cerebrus muscles in and lashes out at her with a mighty tail swipe, apparently seeking to intervene in her attempt to commit regicide.

    Liumi calls up some rather... SETTING APPROPRIATE summoned monsters in order to attempt to strike out at Xande. The draw of aether is intense, beginning to cut Xande off from his sources of power. Even here, one must have aether, and to strike at his power is to strike at him. "You think to meddle in the power of the Void? BEGONE!" as he calls out, the looming massive Voidsent heeds his beckoning, burning beams slashing through the Atomos... And also Liumi's position for good measure.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    As one might expect by now, the Crimson Duelist has no master but his own heart... And fashion sense. The Red Mage unleashes overwhelming crimson force at the Emperor, blasting towards him... But he turns, swepping the massive beam of burning death into the magic and disspating it with raw force. "Foolish trickster, witness true power!" Even being near the beam hurts, as Amelris finds out from the scorching corona.

    Arkae is fast and danger. The tengu blurs past Xande in a classic technique, the strike cleaving through the Emperor and resulting in a florid and dramatic roostertail of blood from the painful blow. "Ugh!" He groans. "Perish in fire and death!" A cluster of yellow-green bursts of aether rushes up around Arkae, surging for several seconds before it promptly detonates in some kind of... MAGICALLY CHEMICAL fashion. Probably interesting! Probably painful.

    Empty Tidings, however, swears allegiance to the Dark. Xande laughs. "Excellent. There is /one/ of you with vision and ambition! Come, slay these interlopers beside your Emperor, and be richly rewarded!" Tidings, of course, goes unmolested by the menagerie.

Inga has posed:
Just her luck, she's being attacked by a dog as well. While she's focused on Tidings, the Emperors beast dashes in and leaps for her, taking a good bite of her shoulder. She gasps with surprise, turning to stab the beast with the knife in her hand, the first defensive motion that comes to mind. "A little help please!?" she calls to her allies, as she's being ganged up on and she is absolutely not of the sort of constitution to handle such things.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    The Tankbuster comes in, even if N'raha isn't the tank and... well. The Particle Beam SLAMS into the side of the cat, those blood wards ablating the damage more than a little, thankfully. The catman sets his feet, glares up at Xande, and then turns into the blast, his axe lifting up to SWIPE at the beam and deflect it further. The scorching attacks have blistered his armor, but... nothing too damaging just yet, apparently.
    But Empty Tidings is also stepping in, and.... bother. He glances over to the seer, sighs a quiet prayer, and then turns to charge the Cloud of Darkness.

    How one will fight a cloud of something is unknown, but Raha's done weirder.
    He snarls, steps into things, and then races across the arena, moving to... uh. Shoulder Check the cloud and then bash some aetheric energy into the damned thing with his ax. "Come on! That TICKLED. HIT ME LIKE YOU MEAN IT."

Liumi Atma (7206) has posed:
    "I will meddle if that is my wish, emperor, much as you have. Had we shared the same teacher, you might even see the method to my madness."

    Three maws, each feasting on the tainted aether of the Void. A lance of light shreds through one, leaving two, and forcing Liumi to hop back, prefering to let a sleeve be scorched than her entire body.

    "Your servant, is it? She seems more the master type. No matter! Aether is aether." Dark aether continues flowing. Some to Liumi - and it's quite flagrant, the purple-black glow sticking to her for seconds at a time, longer each time it does.

    The two remaining Atomos maws turn; one towards the Cloud, one towards Xande. Aether is being forcefully pulled from the former to the latter, the second maw spewing the aether (and plenty of large rocks) towards the emperor.

    But it does seem like Liumi is keeping some for herself.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
The Aetherochemical explosion is interesting! If Arkae was more of a scholarly type, she'd be taking data. As it is, she's simply taking damage.

She rolls back, patting the various chemicals, fires, and chemical fires out of her clothes. "Argh, you..."

The tengu rallies, selecting another potion from her belt... it gets uncorked with a flick of her thumb, and she raises it... only instead of chugging it, the sickly yellow substance gets viciously and viscously poured over Arkae's blade...

... and then she wastes no time in jumping back into the fray, swinging at Xande once again.

All she needs is a little nick of it to get into his system. The stuff on her blade goes by different names in different places, but 'Five Step Poison' is a pretty common description.

As in, the target won't get more than five steps.

Linehart (7141) has posed:
     Tidings breaks off to fight Inga. It's noted, but Linehart is preoccupied with Xande's force. The line of burning destruction comes in.

     Linehart's hand comes up to meet it.

     It's ridiculous. The enormous emperor's raw fire, here in his place of power. His overwhelming magic. His extraordinary strength.

     And it stops at Linehart's hand.

     The heat of the attack rolls around him. The fire licks at his night-black armor. It pushes him backwards against the ground as he braces himself. Sparks scrape along the purple platform, light cracking in the ephemeral darkness before it is utterly crushed. The fire roars.

     And then Linehart simply throws it aside.

     The fire hits the ground. It bursts. And the Evil Knight begins walking again, as a strange white number pops up over his head.


     The music kicks up louder. A second beat underlays itself underneath it - a second iteration of the introduction of the song, looping together to form a deep and dark undertone as he walks.

     I am inevitable.

     The Evil Knight grabs another handfull of Darkness, squeezing it into submission. As you struggle for meager gains, I wait at the end of the world. As you build, I wait at the end of the world. Your time ticks ever closer. Your tiny victories, your brief Darkness. None of it matters.

     For I am the rocks on the eternal shore! Crash against me, and be BROKEN!

     The Cloud of Darkness stirs anger. The music picks up a *third* beat, the fast bridge, turning the music to an ominous, angry clamor that sounds very little like the original. He violently twists the purple Darkness in his hand. The aether moves, being bent into shape by physical violence rather than mystic might. This is not mystic technique but raw force, raw power, like the hammer on the anvil, beating the power into submission.

     The writhing Darkness seems to scream in his grip. The Evil Knight walks forward, heedless of incoming attacks, heedless of templates and their attacks.

     The endless black beneath the broken earth - Umbra Terrae!

     Linehart smashes the Darkness down into the platform.

     The platform cracks. The cracks start to spread. They spread from the center outwards in five directions. They draw a pentagon around the field. And then, from the five points of it, darkness starts to pour, fountains of shadow in the shadow realm.

     Under Xande, the Darkness is a geyser. It spikes into the sky and spills against the roiling nothingness. It spills against the black sun. It spills against the Cloud of Darkness.

     And then it's gone again, and nothing has been hit at all.

     Again, that's weird. That's really weird.

Staren has posed:
    Staren looks at the potion. Arkae's a partner in the Concord, so he retracts his visor long enough to drink.

    And then Cloud of Darkness attacks. The void fire bursts up around him. He jumps out and the fire's there TOO. He jumps out and IT KEEPS HAPPENING! His armor is scorched all over, almost comedically.

    Amelris calls for concentrated fire on the Cloud of Darkness. Staren's not sure if that's really a good idea to let anything distract them from Xande, but... at least he can launch a few missiles without worrying about catching allies! They explode into great fireballs near Cloud!

Amelris Belthrone (7180) has posed:
     "I like to think of myself less as a trickster..." Amelris begins, sadly interrupted by the STREAM OF LARGE LASERS, the Miqo'te lifting his cape and sliding back to try to avoid getting blasted by most of it. Sadly, 'most' of it is about what he DID get blasted with, sliding back with most of his clothing scorched, his tail scruffed and one of his feline ears inside out. Look at that. He's even fluttering it annoyedly trying to get it back into it's ordinary shape!

     "And more of the a, shall we say, a person with /flair/."

     Amelris combines Gem and Rapier, snapping a finger and aimed in the direction of the Cloud of Darkness. A lot of this is VERY BIG TO TAKE IN and he'll probably have a bigger freak out reaction when he's not going to be here but right now, they need heroes. They need the Warriors of Light.

     Speaking of light, a spinning, wisp, yet very visible makr appears in the general vincinity of the Cloud of Darkness.

     ...Quicly followed by the Red Mage casting forth a flurry of a large fireball then thrown up a rain of sharp stones, aimed at the wispy tart in the back. If they can get rid of the artilery first...!

Alruna Greengate has posed:
Alruna just barely catches her shield again in time for Xande to drop a fist that's nearly as large as her on the paladin.

The rotted flagstones crack beneath Alruna as she's driven to one knee, and has the wind knocked out of her sails. And then disrespected with a backhanded swipe that hurls the paladin across the battlefield. She rolls to a halt, somehow missing the multiple antiparticle beams tha the Cloud of Darkness breathes across the arena. Alruna stabs her sword into a crack in the stones as she drags herself to her feet. Through the free action of comms, she understands that she needs to shift her focus to defend Inga from... the conductor? The battlefield is becoming a chaotic mess.

Inga feels a veil of light surround her as Alruna claps her hand on the wise woman's shoulder. "I'll protect you," Alruna promises, stepping forward to interject herself between Inga and Empty Tidings. Stand among /her/ casters, will you? Alruna surges towards her with a sweeping shield bash, her sword glowing again as she tries to nail Empty Tidings with a flurry of swings.

Tomoe has posed:
There is a level of appreciation for the Emperor he simply says your loss and accepts Tomoe said no. She also knows she's going to be in for a world of pain. That pain does not come from one of the ost ripped mages she's ever seen directly. No, it comes to form his ever-loyal three-headed hound. She's knocked back by the void sent dog, she bounced across the ground for a moment before she stops herself, rights herself and is on her feet again.

"I'm not done yet."

She wants to go for the main target, yet she understands the issue of adds, with Empty Tidings joining on the side of the Emperor.

Things are about to get dicey, the group isn't all from one organization after all. Then Amelris Belthrone starts doing what Tomoe would call raid calling, this is a good sign to her.

With the adds coming in fast this fight got a lot more complicated, the basic plan is focus fire where possible and not die. Tomoe will race for Cerberus, she will leap and bound trying to get on the beast back and will drag he blad as she goes, making for the heads where she'll attempt to make a strike for the back of the neck, if she ven even parkour her way up there that is.

Empty Tidings has posed:
"It's quite simple, really," Tidings explains, while the menagerie comes out to say hello. "A slight upon my honor was perpetrated by your feline friend in Marama's Fell. Just this past season, my master has demanded I fulfill oaths of service made in his name."

Empty Tidings' casual explanation of why she's trying to murder people right now of all times is interrupted by part of her face being splattered by burning blood. She bites back most of a shriek, turning the sound to a harsh laugh. She wipes it off on the back of her blackened right hand. Ugly red marks are left behind, though her hand seems strangely unaffected by the acidic blood.

"A taste of the Primordial Sea, then!" She makes a flicking gesture of her own, the motion mirroring Inga's, casting a spray of what smells like salt-water at the witch. Hers burns like Inga's acidic blood does, but leaves an oily sheen of horrid poison along with it.

Then she gets run over by a knight in shining armor. Empty Tidings flinches away from the glowing shield as it comes into her peripheral vision, knocked a few steps back by the sudden aggressive swings. Unlike the caster she seems to be, she does not fold like wet cardboard: instead, she slides into a defensive poise, parrying swordstrokes with her blackened hand and turning deadly blows into grazing hits.

"I don't believe we've been properly introduced," Tidings asides to the newcomer. She shakes her right hand like she was getting something off of it. Flakes of burned flesh scatter. A surface like polished black stone is revealed, inlaid with intricate and beautiful brass filigree. "Please, allow me to-"

-punch you into next week. Tidings swings a telegraphed blow with her stone hand, easily blocked but not quite as easily evaded. A shockwave of sickly green follows the point of impact from both her bold step forward and where fist meets metal, mail or flesh. The force is disproportionate to the seeming power of the strike, threatening to toss Alruna like a rag-doll.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    The cat came back the very next round. Normally, one would think that after what he took he would be a goner, but he just wouldn't stay away! The Miqo'te, however, is separated from his favorite healer, which proves to be an issue, but not so much that he won't unleash a mighty shouldercheck into the massive Voidsent that is empowering Xande! The huge thing takes the hit, blasted backwards and disincorporating. However, even as it vanishes, the massive Cerebrus pounces upon N'raha, attempting to chomp down on the Warrior and slobber all kinds of unpleasant gastric juices onto him!

    Tomoe tries to interrupt the dinner chow time of the Cerebrus, but that isn't stopping much. The blade bites deep into one of the necks, and there is a howl of pain as ichor flows freely. In a paroxysm of pain and rage, the armored plating cracks and snaps off of it, shattering into aetheric fragments as it scatters over the battlefield. Now free, the huge thing shakes Tomoe, flinging her off into the puddle of nasty acidic slobber.

    Liumi, meanwhile, is taking full advantage of the situation. Despite it being the Void, the specific situation here is rich in rare forms of aether, and the Viera is not one to leave that opportunity unchecked. The Atomos do what they do best, being inhumanly powerful draws of matter and aether alike as the Cloud is diminished slowly, parts of itself being sucked away... but even as Xande is bombarded, he roars. "A fool that does not recognize when they are outmatched. You are not the only one hungry for aether in the Void!" As he speaks, the massive Voidsent reappears, beginning to inhale as well! Massive competition for the draws of aether in the area begins, conflicting forces culminating into powerful aetheric storms that wrack the battlefield!

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    Arkae, in the meantime, knows that there's more than one way to deal with a powerful foe. While not as flashy as the others, to ignore the Tengu is folly as Xande might find quickly. The blade bites into the Emperor, and the potent poison begins surging through his system with a grunt. While he might not die in five steps as reputed, it is clear from the coloration of his flesh that the poison is taking hold...

    Only for Arkae to be targeted by another blossom of purple energy that spears up through her position, chasing /her/ around the field now! Run, run, or you'll be well done!

    Linehart unleashes the power of villainy of the old waters. Xande looks to the Mirror Knight and scowls as his attack is stopped and turned aside. "I have never heard of a Mirror Knight. You are simply another adventurer, one with rude airs. You claim to wait at the end of the world, but here you lie, forestalling it. You are lies and hypocrisy, Evil Knight. Even as you proclaim your superiority, your world will crumble around you!" The massive dark earth rushes up around him, crushing at him... But he does not break. The Cloud is swept away, scattering... But it does not break. When the flood ends, they remain, damaged and bruised... But already, the damage heals before Linehart's eyes. "Witness the genius of Allag, fool! NOW BEGONE!" There is another spike of aetherochemical material that rushes up around Linehart, a catastrophic surging pool of power that erupts into a sizzling burst... And worse, seeping into his armor, attempting to scourge his flesh with a poison every bit as potent as Arkae uses.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    Staren, meanwhile, doesn't need complicated tactics or dramatic speeches. He has the power of Science and Anime on his side. He fires missiles into the massive inhaling thing, and fortunately for him, the surge of aetheric flow makes it easy to score a hit. Almost /too/ easy, as the detonations cause more ruptures in the flood of power, potentially dislodging him and drawing him in too!

    Amelris just can't be kept down. Even with the problem of his initial attack, he just deals with the problem in another way. Red Magic is nothing if not flexible. He focuses on attacking the Cloud, smashing the massive Voidsent with his magical powers. The rocks aren't helping to keep the entity intact, the rocks chunking through it and tearing it apart before the semi-ethereal entity reforms. As he does so, however, Amelris joins the others who are scathed by the atheric surges roiling across the battlefield. It's almost like she's charging up for something...

N'raha Tia has posed:
    Well this is NO GOOD. N'raha manages to disspate the cloud in front of him only to get CHOMPED and then some by this bloody great doggo monster thing. Three heads isn't better than one, no sir. He flails a bit, smashing at the beast to fend it away, but it's rather hard to do so when you're being bitten by like... many gnashing teeth.

    By the time he gets free, there's... there' sblood flowing and ichor getting into cuts and N'raha isn't feeling very good. At all. But he's not about to stop. Not with his partner tied up with... well, someone who's supposed to be a fellow Watch member, but... he'll sort that out later. When things aren't trying to eat him.

    There's people harrying the Cerberus, and N'raha's going to help. This is a tank swap, after all, and the tank snarls and turns in place, before swinging hard for the fences with the flat of his axe, laying down a FORBIDDEN TECHNIQUE!

Staren has posed:
    Holes are torn in the Cloud, but it bleeds darkness all over everyone! Staren's armor is eaten away at, starting to look like he got splashed by lava or something. "Aaagh!" He flails to try and shake the darkness off.

    "Fool! My assessment stands, that you've even reached this point means you've already failed! You should be off gathering power, not just throwing the same old stuff at us and hoping it works! You've never heard of a MIRROR KNIGHT? What ELSE don't you know? Fool..."

    The scathing tone is somewhat undercut by Staren running around flailing on darkfire. Staren readies his laser rifle and fires a triple-pulse burst of intense, burning energy at Xande!

    "Did you know light can be used as a weapon? And I don't even need magic to do it! Let's see what it does to one who's made themselves so close to darkness, shall we?"

Linehart (7141) has posed:
     The aetherochemical assault hits him hard. The poison tries to seep into his armor. Worse, he can't just grab it and stop it, or flick it aside. The Mirror Knight is doused in a poisonous, acidic spray, chewing at his armor.

     And then his foot comes down, silent.

     The poisonous spray erupts around him. It splatters across the ground. Though his armor drips with the stuff, none of it has made its way inside. He is, indeed, an older form of monster than Xande. Xande can be poisoned. Xande can have Vulnerability Stacks.

     There are no vulnerability stacks here. Poison doesn't work in the old school.


    You have never heard of a Mirror Knight. That is so. I am the only Mirror Knight.

    As you are the last Allag.

    Fear not. You shan't be for long.

     The mirror flash is all he needs. Just a single point of light in a dark world. A single reflection in the shadow. The spinning mirror in the sky. The glint of light from the Paladin's shine.

                               MIRROR KNIGHT                                

     The words appear above Linehart rather than in front of anyone else. It isn't a textbox. It's an attack pop-up.

     A second two-dimensional Linehart just kind of unfolds from the mirror.

     The second Linehart is in all ways identical. But the visor is on the wrong side. The smoke cape flows the wrong way.

                                  TRAHENIL                                   The Reversed Linehart catches the mirror in one hand.

     The other hand rises. Light gathers in the duplicate's palm. In the roiling darkness it churns with light, pulsing with power. The reversed Linehart squeezes down upon the light to grasp every bit of it in this corrupted world - from the Aether around him to the glimmer of the mirror, it all comes to him.


     The original Mirror Knight, meanwhile, grabs the Darkness once more. He strangles it. He chokes it into submission.


     Two textboxes pop up.

     The twilight that rises in the world's last dawning - MANE AD VESPERUM!

     The light and the darkness crash together.

     Above, the black sun sets. Waves of shadow pour across the field, hammering against Empty Tidings and Xande. Waves of light trickle from the edge of the sun, a glimmer of what it once was, what it once may have been, what it could be again in some long-distant future. It is a tidal wave of mingled shadow and glory, of an art no longer found in the waking world. There are no templates here. There is only missing, or destruction.

Inga has posed:
When she feels a hand on her shoulder, she turns to glance to Alruna, nodding to her, her lips pursed. "Appreciated," she says, looking relieved to have the Paladin lending her aid.

After Amelris informs her Linehart needs a mirror (she's a witch, she's not even going to question this) she replies, then sheaths her knife for a moment to reach into her pouch. A moment of digging and she pulls out a small handmirror, the sort you get in a makeup compact. "Here!" she cries, and throws it toward Linehart. Its a decent enough throw. Hopefully, he can catch.

Inga turns her attention back to Tidings...and sighs heavily at her explaination. "I thought it must be. I cannot say I might not react similarly. Proper respect is important to me, and it never hurts to be polite. However, I'm afraid I can't let you hurt him," she replies, fierce protectiveness evident in her mien.

Tidings comes back with a burning liquid of her own. She brings her arm up to protect her face, and feels it sizzling through the fabric of her clothes, and even through her ward. It does more than burn. Inga knows she's also been poisoned. "Tch...a good technique," she says, then wets her fingers with the blood from her shoulder. She scrawls a quick rune upon her arm where the poison entered, chanting lowly as she draws the poision out and casts it aside with look of disgust.

She turns her attention back on Tidings, and begins to chant in a low, raspy tone, her eyes fixed on Tidings as malevolent energy gathers. "A curse, for your poison," she says, and flings her curse at Tidings.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
So Xande doesn't die in five steps. Arkae would call that false advertising if she wasn't the one who brewed that poison herself, so she simply decides not to tell anyone and to keep all that to herself.

But... it does work, at least a little. That means Xande is a mortal.

... Well, actually Arkae never really suspected otherwise, that Xande wasn't mortal or anything. But anyway.

If he's mortal, he can be poisoned. Arkae glances down into her bag, to see what she's got in store as far as poisons-

- and utterly fails to notice the purple fire about to spear up from beneath her until it's already happening. Once again, the tengu is on fire. She rolls to the side quickly, trying to get out, and then keeps rolling, desperately trying to put herself out. It's only somewhat successful.

Wisps of purple smoke drift upwards from the burnt tengu, her armor in tatters and her feathers not faring too much better. But she's alive, she's standing...

... And she's facing down someone susceptible to poison.

The substance she applies to her blade next is colorless. Odorless. Nearly indetectable, only glistening very faintly in the light. But once it's applied, Arkae handles her blade with considerably, considerably more care, with the same deference a soldier handles a live grenade.

She approaches Xande, trying to get past his notice while all the flashier attacks are going off. All she really, truly needs once again is one small nick.

It's possible Xande won't even feel it. The cut won't even sting.

... Yet.

Alruna Greengate has posed:
Alruna's response to being suckerpunched by Tidings is to do exactly what's expected and block the punch - with her gauntleted hand. The sickly green detonation meets a shockwave of golden light erupting out of Alruna, her soul crystal burning like a tiny, tombola-sized sun in the midst of the ever-present suffocating gloom that pervades the Void.

                              ACTIVE TIME MANEUVER                              

There's a sense of pressure in the air as the two forces vie. The paladin's eyes blaze - metaphorically, not literally - with Determination as her arm shakes, forcing Tiding's hand back. Sunlight radiates from Alruna, briefly forcing the shadows to flee past the limits of the arena, briefly turning back the Darkness long enough, briefly giving Linehart the light he needs to execute a tremendously powerful Mirror Knight technique.

The point of force bursts, throwing Alruna's hand back. She winces, shaking out her shield arm with an exhalation. "And now we /have/ been introduced." she replies to the Exalt, satisfied.

Then she attempts to run Tidings through with a sword thrust.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe has been trying to go for the thing's neck but it does not go as well as she'd hoped still it's done something as she crashes into the ground. Her backside which hit the ground is now a mess of red wireframes. She's also in a fair bit of pain too as she pushes to recover to her feet. She triggers several skills that cause her to glow with a faint green aura for a moment when they are activated. Still, there's a lot of magic, a lot of chaos and worse something seems to be charging up for something. The waring from Amelris is heeded, so she's going to get as far away from the face of the Cloud of Darkness as she can. It's not somewhere she wants to be even as Tomoe is fleeing from this? She will chant a spell firing bolts of light spells at Cerberus as he rampages about and the Emperor as well.

"This is just insane!"

She's fought powerful beings before, but three like this at once? That was very new to her.

Amelris Belthrone (7180) has posed:
     There's only so much someone can do when they are against such overwhelming odds. The Red Mage throws his cape up in a vain attempt to protect himself from the incoming aether disruption. It's not just because his cape is pretty good that he's doing it -- it IS magically reinforced to be a sort of flexible shield. Many of a Spellcaster's armor is in a similar way. It's not just as resilient as a big, heavy, metal suit of armor.

     "Shite!" Amelris snaps out, his body crackling with the haze of the darkness gathering around them, focused into the Cloud herself. "Get out of her face!" he cries out, spinning his Rapier Rod in his hand, pointing it at the very large Voidsent to swing at her, arcing himself to the side and leaps off his own swing.

     It's as bizzare as it sounds.

     The end result is Amelris sliding up in the air in a wide, deep arc, landing quite close to the edge into the eternal darkness. That was close but by the way he's keeping himself up, it was WELL CALCULATED and EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL!

Liumi Atma (7206) has posed:
    "You think me ignorant?" Liumi says towards Xande, watching the Cloud begin drawing aether in as well - and taking more than a small tax on her. That's not a contest of strength the Viera could win on a whim. But maybe with a distraction, before there starts to be more than just pain involved in the aether suckfest.

    "I am well aware of the /hunger/, emperor!"

    Her book snaps open, pages cycling through until she halts them midway through. A glance down, and the book shuts again.

    The glowing taint of the dark-aspected aether detaches from Liumi, taking the vaguest of humanoid shapes. It twirls a staff, sending a ball of darkness and fire straight towards the Cloud's open mouth.

    The twin Atomos maws reorient themselves in response, to fully contest the Cloud's claim to the aetheric clouds gathering.

    "You've secluded yourself in your tower for far too long, emperor. You cannot plan to fight what you do not know, no matter how overwhelming you think your powers are."

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    It is in fact NO GOOD. Cats don't look all that heroic when they're covered in acidic slobber, after all. N'raha is left kind of in the lurch at the moment. He feels really really bad... At least he isn't shrinking yet. Right? RIGHT? Still, the axe comes smashing in, trying to crash the Cerebrus out of the way... And the axe slams into the Hound From Hell, knocking it clean over in a Herculean impact! There is a triune howl of pain that hangs over the battlefield, a terrible ululation that evokes sensations of loneliness in those who listen too long...

But Staren isn't having any of it. He castigates Xande both with harsh truth bombs as well as laser beams. The triple-shot of energy blasts into Xande, causing his head to snap back and recoil visibly as he is blasted and put on the back foot with the potent strike. "If you think that your arrogant powers will overcome the infinite Void, you will be destroyed for it!"

Meanwhile, Linehart duplicates himself and shows that he is the key to the twilight. Light and darkness crash across the battlefield, blasting the Cloud, Xande, and Cerebrus among others. Cascades of damage number popups roll across them as the effects do, but the cumulative damage seems minimal compared to prior strikes. "Twilight is the domain of the Void as well. You will not destroy us in such a manner."

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    Arkae darts in, swift as a crane, silent as death. The blade nicks Xande, barely parting his flesh. It's enough. There is no immediate reaction. The Emperor doesn't even seem to notice what is happening yet, his attention elsewhere. Just a little bite from a mosquito, right? Nothing to worry about.

For now.

Tomoe is warned by the perceptive Amelris, and she gets back away from the Cloud. Will it be enough? Probably not with the scale of destruction being wrought here. Beams of light strike the fallen Cerebrus as she backs off, seemingly to safety as she adds a bit to the damage.

Amelris warns everyone. He sees it. He knows a tell when he sees it. There isn't much time to react. This is going to get ugly. Real ugly. He lands close to the edge, barely avoiding toppling off into the endless abyss! He can look over the edge and see it. It's pretty. But probably not so pretty that you want to be lost in it forever. He scores a quick strike on the Cloud as he goes by, very stylish!

Liumi continues the tug of war with Xande, fighting over the resources of the Void. She unleashes a dark power, striking at the Cloud and causing it to consume something that doesn't agree with it. There is a dull detonation, and the Cloud swells up....

And Xande laughs. "All will be destroyed in the Flood." A moment later, Xande, Empty Tidings, and Cerebrus vanish... Before the Cloud expels a massive wave of purple doom beams that refract and blast every inch of the battleground. The enemies fade back in afterwards to witness all the number popups.

Empty Tidings has posed:
The sucker-punch does not go as expected. Light rebuffs Darkness, the strength of the Paladin's soul withstanding such an underhanded strike. Empty Tidings rebounds, backpedaling another step and shaking her suddenly smoldering hand as if stung. She looks at Alruna with a contemptuous expression. "Yes. I suppose we have."

Everything happens at once. The sky turns to darkness and light, split and then fused together by the mirrored villains suddenly facing her. Empty Tidings looks up as it all comes crashing down, a tremendous outpouring of energy that sears the stone she stands on. Her right hand snatches at the descending darkness --

Blinding light consumes her.

The shroud of darkness, pulled around her like a blanket, burns away in an instant. The power of the combined forces drives her towards her knees -- but it does not force her there. She keeps herself standing through nothing less than sheer spite, roaring in hateful defiance against what befalls her.

The light vanishes. Darkness is cast aside, the hungry Void swallowing what's left. Empty Tidings, burned and battered, still yet stands. At that moment, Inga flings understanding and baleful curses back at her foe, and the Infernal...


A sword-thrust takes her in the side. Tidings staggers. She swats at something in the air with her flesh-and-blood hand, the malevolent energy of Inga's curse intercepted and sent flying towards the Mirror Knight, the imposition of a ruinous end approaching like an unerring missile. At the same time, Tidings grasps at the blade of the sword piercing her with her stone hand, tightly holding it and looking past the Paladin at her charge. She shrieks.

Emptiness erupts from her eyes and mouth alongside a spatter of dark blood. A void-within-the-Void yawns open, a spear of blighted nothingness that swallows breath and annihilates life. Inga is poised on the receiving end of it. It is the manifestation of killing intent meant for someone who simply cannot die.

Empty Tidings coughs wetly. She lets her head loll for a second, eyes swiveling to find Alruna's. Her free hand gestures at the wound and the darkening cloth. She speaks slowly and deliberately, enunciating clearly: "I. /Just/. Got. This."

Baleful green radiance, the light of a foreign star, burns across the back of Tidings' black stone hand. Glyphs of flame form words of awful beauty, and the already-ruinous skein of fate shudders in terror. The sighted know what has happened, the words resounding in the minds of those attuned to Fate:

                              THE MONSTER IS HERE                              

She steps forward, tearing the blade out of her side with a puff of inky black smoke and a flash of emerald-green embers instead of a gout of blood. She's larger, standing taller, physically more imposing than she was a moment ago. She throws herself at the Paladin with a reckless shout, attacking her shield and using it to vault herself over it, intending to land behind her and duck under the expected counterattack. She seizes whatever she can: arms, legs, armor, weapons. Her fingers bend metal. Her hands rend steel.

Flesh and blood and bone are really no greater an obstacle, should she get her hands on them.

Liumi Atma (7206) has posed:
    "All shall be consumed, yes," Liumi agrees. "Including you!"

    It's a gambit. A reckless move unlike her. She doesn't usually put herself at risk. Never has. But something about this place just might be doing more than making her glow.

    The summoned 'Black Mage' as it were pulls back towards her. The two move together, and the gaping maws of the Atomos duo suddenly blink in and out of existence, to stand in front of the summoner and her smaller summon. The incoming blasts get sucked right into them - and the maws desintegrate, the aether flowing right into Liumi and the mage.

    With visible, obvious pain.
    And a laugh, however faint?

    "This should suffice. Revel before a TRUE lord of the Void, emperor! Take unto you all you can drink of the Void, 'til your flesh bursts and nourishes the beasts you call servants!"

    The black mage breaks apart and all of the aether gathers into one shape. A winged devil, sleek, black and red. Or the image of one, anyway. Deep red runes trace around the entire arena, before the image of Diabolos unleashes its destructive and malady-filled blast against Xande and his menagerie. The debuffs are awful and they're honestly not the worst part of it.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
Ow. Wave of darkness. Ow, ow, ow.

This is bad. It looked like Arkae got the Mosquito Bite poison into Xande's system... but if the whole group dies before Xande does... well, it'll all be kind of pointless.

... Well, technically they'll have dealt with the threat, but everyone dying will still kind of suck.

The tengu takes stock. She's low on health... low on prepared potions, too. But that Cloud of Darkness is hitting pretty much everything in the arena except itself.

Arkae pauses.

It's hitting everything in the arena except itself.

Except itself.

"Cloudwalk!" she shouts needlessly as she breaks into a run, grabbing her last prepared potion from her belt and then chugging it. She reaches the edge of the arena, and then she leaps-

- aiming to land and take cover on top of the Cloud of Darkness *itself*.

This is a good idea.

Amelris Belthrone (7180) has posed:
     Amelris saw it coming. It wasn't enough.

     The Miqo'te lets out a loud cry of pain at the enormous wave of darkness unleashed out at them, the purple doom washing all over the battlefield. It burns. It digs into the flesh, sapping at his Aether inside him. There is that searing, gripping primal fear that squeezes the heart. The very basic fear of darkness, a darkness deeper than the darkness night. Belthrone falls to one knee beneath the flood of darkness, gritting his teeth, his bright red colored outfits tainted by the purple of it all.

     Yet, a light deep within lingers. A that light sooths and warms. A light that fortifies. That bolsters.

     Amelris' body glows slightly as he pushes himself up, the crackling puff of darkness around his body sapping at his form, his blade glowing with an inner light. His yellow feline eyes glowing in the dark as he takes a staggering step forward.


     "I SWEAR ON IT, AS A CRIMSON DUELIST, IT SHALL NOT COME TO PASS!" Like a bright arrow, Amelris slides over the ground from the very edge of the abysses, slamming into the Emperor. He follows up with a wide, upper swing, leaving a trail of perfectly balanced mana cancelling itself out, throwing it's essence into the blow.

     He spins, take a step back then charges back in with a blinding flurry of thrusts, each blows like a comet before leaping upward, taking a wide, deep swing left, up and then right.

     This is Red Magic, to be certain. However, there is more at work, here.

N'raha Tia has posed:
    The Doggo is gone, but now there are lasers. Too many lasers. Too many... things. And There's still the matter of Inga being so far away for him to reach. That's... well. His blood is boiling, his hackles raising under the armor, but... he promised. He promised and he's not... dipping.

    But that Odin's Rage is RIGHT THERE and it's leaking out. Red flames, that dark awful Wrath starts to build up around him, glinting off his battered and scorched and busted armor. The catman plants his feet again, dashing back across the arena to chase down Xande and get closer ot the action with Empty and Alruna and dammit why is she even here doing this. He dumps his anger and his rage into his arms, his axe, wills the heavy blade to swing hard and swing true, as he leaps up and high and tries to drop the damn thing on Xande's head in a massive overhead arc.

Inga has posed:
The void-within-a-void opens and tries to suck out Inga's life. It is very nearly successful.

"This is REALLY a bit much, isn't it!?" she shouts. Tidings knows she can just kill her. She'll be out of the way for a little while. Even with Alruna, she doesn't think she can stop her.

Inga looks over toward N'raha. She draws her knife, opens a new wound, and flings a large burst of healing his way.


Staren has posed:
    "I don't have to overcome the infinite void. I only have to overcome as much as YOU can use at once!"

    Which turns out to be a tidal wave of darkness. "Oh COME ON!" Staren puts up his forcefield just in time to get swept off the battle arena!


    Staren flies up over the edge, on darkness fire, forcefield flickering, and armor plating cracked all over and falling off in places, brittle, blackened husks crumbling away. There's additional layers to the power armor, like the musculature and the sealing, though. Staren plinks the Emperor and Cloud with single laser pulses, just trying to keep the pressure up while he comes up with a strategy.

Tomoe has posed:
Well, things are getting very spicey at this point the Emperor is showing just how dangerous he is and somewhere in the back of Tomoe's mind? There is a sense of respect for the Emperor calling back up the moment the party showed up. Also some level of fear at how dangerous the backup is proving to be. Tomoe attempting to get clear does save her from being dropped by the full force of the attack. Not being in the middle of a wave motion spell, ups one's chances of survival quite a bit.

She's back on her feet she knows she's not got much left in the tank and she's going to have to put it all to use all she's got left. Tomoe is now breaking into a run, for the Emperor. She'll try to dart in and out as she goes, trying to deek past any of his allies to get to him. From her logic? Bringing the Emperor down should hinder his minions a lot, and she knows if she can't take much more? Her allies are not in the best state likely as well. She will vault banishing the Mourning wall to her inventory as she goes she takes Caliburn in a two-handed grip. Tomoe rapidly closes as Caliburn blazing with a holy fire still as she goes.

"We're not done yet, Emperor."

Tomoe's boots move across the ground then it happens she only has a few sections to act her wings flare to life shining a bright red light in the void a she makes for the emperor flying right at him and she's chanting as she goes. She only has a few seconds of flight and she's going to use them for all she can get out of them. If she gets to melee range, she will drive her blade into the ground causing a massive burst of holy magic to explode out from the point of the blade's impact if she's lucky she'll connect with the Emperor if she's not even if he's close the blast may still catch him and then she'll pull the blade back for a large swing forward and then and upper slash causing a wave of fire.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    Arkae Does The Mario. It's effective, but maybe less than Arkae would hope because she's a speedy tengubirb and not a fat Italian Plumber. It's a weird sensation to drop into the waving hair of the Cloud. It might be almost comfortable were it not totally alien.

    And if the back of the Cloud's head didn't yawn open and try to suck Arkae inside. That might be inconvenient. The Cloud's hair lashes about, attempting to batter the birdwoman into the all-consuming hole.

    Staren flies up high above the battlefield, using his science to keep out of the way as he peppers the battleground with blasts from his lasers. Suppression fire scorches and sizzles his targets, the damage adding up.

    The Crimson Duelist, meanwhile, survives the Flood through power or happenstance. He uses his magic, his craft to put all things in balance. He slashes up and down, cleaving a burning red line through Xande. He moves to try to throw the Red Mage back with a sweep of his fist, but the spry Miqo'te vaults over the strike, cleaving into him over and over and over again, slashing through him with enchanted blade strikes that quickly whittle down his incomparable defenses.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    "ENOUGH!" Xande roars. Around one hand, a set of Allagan symbols unfolds, and he gestures through the air. "Even the remnants of Allag will be enough for the likes of you! BEHOLD!"

    Outside, the Crystal Tower surges... And then darkens as a massive beam of energy fires into the Void. The blast of overwhelming aether strikes the battlefield, being soaked up rapidly by the Emperor and Cloud of Darkness. They surge, the Emperor glowing as the Cloud rises up. Ancient runes radiate out from Xande's position, beginning to make the platform heave and shudder....


    Xande's eyes widen. "What..!?" He hisses, his concentration faltering in a critical moment the same time his heart does. It is in that moment N'raha buries his axe into Xande's forehead, a fell cleave indeed. The impact cracks his head backwards, a sizzling fist rising as he seems to REFUSE TO JUST DIE no matter what horrifying damage is dealt.

    Tomoe charges, ready for one more defiance of the darkness. She leaps forward, plunging the blade down into the ground as the holy light erupts, blasting the Emperor and driving him to one knee, the man finally beginning to show signs of flagging.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
    But then Liumi does something... unexpected. The aether gathers, and the Summoner calls forth something altogether unlikely for someone in her business. The Lord of the Void, Diabolos rises, a potent manifestation of the being that unleashes a truly ruinious wave of Dark upon Xande. There, he reaches out, gasping, reaching to the sky. "No! NO! NOOOOOOOOO!"

    There is a flare of black power, surging to a cleansing white as the energy is released harmlessly, a soothing wave of warmth as the Cloud disincorporates and Cerebrus melts away into shadows... And Xande?

    Xande lies there on the floor, a spreading pool of blood beneath him. "If only..." He gasps. "If only Dalamud still hung in the sky, then..." Blood sprays from his mouth as he hisses, coughs, rattles... And then falls still.

The Emperor is dead.

Those present are given some precious moments to collect themselves, a kindness before a deep thrumming rumble begins rolling through the entire area. Oh, looks like that was a load-bearing Emperor.

Alruna Greengate has posed:
Alruna can admit to some trepidation as Empty Tidings treats the sword sticking out of her side as more of an annoyance than a real problem. She follows Tidings' leap overhead but can't turn in time to stop the Infernal from wrenching her arm back. Metal twists and shrieks, crumpling under Tidings' fingers.

Pain shoots down Alruna's arm. Her light flickers and weakens. That earlier burst drained her aether, and it's immensely more difficult to summon it a second time. Tidings exacts payment with a shuddering whimper of pain from Alruna as something cracks. She's already running on an adrenaline high from the fighting. Her armour is the only thing keeping her arm from bending the wrong way under Tidings' dreadful strength, and that will not serve as a barrier.

Alruna's sword clatters on the stones as she screams. Some pugilist's instinct kicks in as she resorts to the most desperate tactic she can think of, springing backwards to try and crush Empty Tidings under her own weight against the flagstones. At the very least it puts them both on the ground and into a grapple contest that ends with Alruna's breastplate torns away, exposing the leather buff jacket beneath, which is stained red with her blood from a raking slash the Infernal gave her. Alruna skids backwards after finally managing to disentangle herself, her shield arm hanging limply.

She stands up, breathing heavily, retrieved sword glimmering faintly with aether. She eyes Empty Tidings warily, while a more important battle's final blows play out behind them. "Linehart?" she asks, not taking her eyes off Empty Tidings. The Emperor screams his final denial of his fate. "Have we... are we done?"

Linehart (7141) has posed:
     The beams hit everywhere. And unlike Linehart's, this isn't just for show. It's real. It rakes across the stage.

     Linehart's hand comes up to meet it.

     His other hand meets the other.

     They fracture. They fractal. Lights around both Lineharts flicker and twist, splitting into countless beams. They grinds against it, standing their ground. It pushes against his armor. It glints off their forms, a light show in the darkness. It-

     -it completely irrelevant as Tidings crashes into him while his defenses are down. The double takes a massive hit. It's basically carved right through the duplicate. The duplicate ripples and fades out, but the damage is transferred over, the big numbers popping up over Linehart's head one after another. One, two, three. It's a staggering hit.

     But he stands back up anyway.

     There aren't any more words. This isn't the time for words. Instead, he turns his palm over. Light starts gathering again. More, and more, and more, and more. It's a radiant light hovering over his hand, a blazing, glowing aurora wrapped around his dark gauntlet. His red-cross visor flares with power. He's on his last legs, drawing straight from his own HP. He's going to stumble when this is done. But he will not present himself falsely. He will not show himself as anything less than what he claims to be. He is inevitable. Even pushed to this point, he will not break.

     The light burns bright enough to push back the darkness.

     The light that dictates the time of origin!

     The world disappears. The battlefield goes black. Not black as night, not black as shadow. It becomes nothingness. Darkness. Absolute, unending darkness. Everyone can still see each other, can still see the geometric maze that is the World of Darkness, but there is no light, not even a speck, no darkness, not even a shadow. No platform below them. Nothing at all but the infinite void before creation.

     Slowly, streaks of light start gathering around Empty Tidings. Slowly at first, but as they build, they build faster and faster, like entering a science-fiction hyperspace.

     They are compressed into one, a brilliant, tiny bulb of light near the center of each of the targets.

     Linehart crushes the light in his hand.

                                      FIAT LUX!                                  

     The world explodes into light. There is a deafening, impossible roar, a sound that blocks out sound itself, as much lightwaves as sound, as much radio as noise. It is a cosmic birth pang as stars burst into existence, as galaxies go whirling past, as suns are set alight careening on their promised paths. In the middle of it all is Tidings, in the middle of the whirling, overly-dramatic rendition of being hit with the creative energies of the Big Bang itself.

     And then it fades.

     And, again, nothing has been done to anything on the field.

     Okay, that's *trippy*.

Arkae Zellar (7201) has posed:
Arkae drops out of the disappearing cloud of darkness, quite a bit worse for wear.

"Well, at least it's over-"

The ground rumbles.

Oh, it's a load bearing final boss. Yeah, that's... not unusual in her line of work.


She leaps, pulling out two vials in midair, holding one in each hand, simply holding them shut with her thumbs as she shakes them up. There's no time for niceties like proper corks.


There's no time for niceties here, either. She simply shoves one of the potions of haste into his mouth while downing the other, and then takes off back the way she came.

Liumi Atma (7206) has posed:
    The specter of Diabolos remains not one second longer after its attack bathes the arena in dark flames. And with Xande dead, the realm rumbles. Liumi adjusts her coat and tie, brushing her hair back.

    How uncharacteristically savage and reckless.

    Good time, though. Solid 8 out of 10.

    Rather than escape with the rest of the party, she simply slips behind the massive throne as it begins crumbling and breaking; what's left of it, anyway. It's a pretty good parlor trick, because she's not there anymore by the time everything's collapsing.

Amelris Belthrone (7180) has posed:
     Amelris lands, staggering back on his feet, rubbing his head. Well, that was an onslaught, something that he about expected things to go out and be. Did they actually manage to do it? They did. They really /did/.

     "Yeeeeeeeeeeeep. We did." The Red Mage, reaching up to his ear and pop it back correctly, wriggling it and sheathing his rapier. "And it seems like that destroying the rulers of this realm of existence is clearly leaving us with one last present!"

     He adjusts his hat, pops his collar. "By which I mean: RUN."

     Turns out Miqo'tes can run fast. Must be that whole 'predator species' thing.

Tomoe has posed:
The Emperor goes down, hard, Atam summons som3thing that looks like it walked out of Her world's image of /hell/ and everyone else unloads with a great deal of power and the Emperor goes down. She doesn't have any time to enjoy her handy work. For it's time to get the hell out of here now. It seems the late Emperor was holding things up and now the whole place is about to come out She will turn about and move to leave back the way the entire party came.

"Let's get out of here."

N'raha Tia has posed:
    For his part? N'raha smiles as Xande goes down. A day's work is its own reward. Even though...

    He turns to spot Empty Tidings still rampaging out there in the middle of the field, having done seious damage to Linehart and Alruna and Inga and...
    And now is not the time to finish this. Rather, the cat Warrior growls, shoving down at the Odinsrage and charging across the field, racing to scoop up his Seer, and charge right past the Exalt. "We'll discuss this later."

Staren has posed:
    Xande falls. Staren lands on the platform and takes a few breaths, looking at the Emperor's body with the pool of blood slowly expanding under it, wordlessly.

    And then everything starts coming apart. Arka shoves a potion down his throat before he can explain that it's his armor that's damaged, he doesn't NEED healing-- oh. It was a haste potion.

    He picks up the end of his tether, singed off by Cloud's first attack, and offers it to anyone who needs help getting out. "Hold on tight!"

    Then it starts retracting, pulling back to the portal, and Staren runs alongside!

Empty Tidings has posed:
Empty Tidings flings a bolt of voracious emptiness at Inga, who complains about things being a bit much. In response, Tidings hits her a second time, and the witch ceases to be a problem in short order. It's really an inconvenience for Inga, and kind of spitefully satisfying for Tidings. They'll hash it out later, she's sure.

But first: the Paladin.

Tidings does her best impression of a thresher. Alruna gets thrashed, and, in return, puts up a hell of a struggle. Tidings is a rumpled and bloody mess afterwards, hunched forward with a monstrous gleam in her eyes. The heavy black chains she's lugging around shift, one end snaking into one hand --

The Big Bang explodes around her. Tidings shouts another terrible curse in the middle of it. The sound of glass breaking echoes around her. When the birth of a universe clears, she's obviously on fire, clothing smoldering and expression grim. She drags that chain out, violet light flickering down the length. She advances one step, then another, motes of starfire drizzling onto the stones beneath her feet and still eating away at the shadows that surround her.

Xande is felled. Tidings looks up. The chains fizzle and burst, fading into fragments that blow away on the wind.

Deep breath. In... out.

Empty Tidings stands straight, sighing. She fusses with her hair and her clothes for a quick moment, setting things as right as they can be under the circumstances. N'Raha charges past, and she flashes him a dazzling, red-toothed smile over her shoulder whilst he flees.

She turns back to her other foes and claps her hands together. "Obligation fulfilled," she announces. "I am officially off-duty, thank hell. That was miserable!" Empty Tidings rakes her fingers through her hair, shaking it out, her inexplicably intact bells chiming spritely. She produces reddish leather gloves from somewhere and pulls them on, offering her (left, flesh-and-blood) hand to the somewhat maimed Paladin she was just trying to take apart. "Come along; this whole space is about to close in. Do you need a hand getting to the exit?"

Mood whiplash, thy name is Tidings.

Linehart (7141) has posed:
     Tidings takes a step forward. Linehart is standing there. His cross-scar visor stares at her, light still flickering within it. He is spent, but will not say it.

     She stands down.

     The Mirror Knight turns and disappears through the shards of the mirror his duplicate dropped. He simply walks into it, the collapsing World of Darkness around him, and disappears in an instant. It is more than a little unsettling.

Alruna Greengate has posed:
Alruna stares blankly at Empty Tidings.

Her shield arm hangs loosely by her side. Her fingers are clenched around her sword in a deathgrip, shaking slightly.

She just Looks at Tidings. "/Hells/ no."

She takes to her heels, sheathing her sword and just running after the others at full pelt, to hell with the pain in her arm.