7085/LI0: Black Swan, Yellow Hands (White Shrine)

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LI0: Black Swan, Yellow Hands (White Shrine)
Date of Scene: 14 February 2020
Location: Last Illusion
Synopsis: A team of adventurers rush the White Tigers Shrine to try to empower the Relic so it can be used. Mordred stands in their way.
Cast of Characters: Lezard Valeth, 7187, Shigure, John Rizzo, 7197
Tinyplot: Loop Zero
Tinyplot2: Last Illusion

Lezard Valeth has posed:
The White Tigers Shrine normally is a well-maintained place of worship for the Royal Family of Pradia. However, that has changed with the kidnapping of the Princess. The halls of the Shrine are filled with monsters, the Princess held deep past the twisting and turning descent. The walls feature tiger motifs prominently, with several puzzles involving metallic weights being placed upon pressure plates.

    Once you get to the Shrine itself, the great metallic White Tiger Spirit statue rears back, rendered perfectly in silvery gleaming metal. The Princess is there, going through walk motions in place while held prisoner by the Evil Knight Mordred.

    This is going to be a thing.

Raphael Cousteau (7187) has posed:
    Raphael Cousteau turns out to be remarkably useful for block-pushing puzzles.
LOGIC: Hold up. No. Visual Calculus, lay out where we need to put all of these. We can't afford to waste time on mistakes.
VISUAL CALCULUS: I...I can't. I'm sorry. This is too complicated. We're in too much of a rush, and I can't..
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Fuck -that- noise! Didn't the other guy just say we're in a hurry? Grab some of those fuckin' menthol ciggies and get to it, my man! Lung cancer isn't even real! I read it once!

Sure, it's damaging now, and he might pay someday, but right now, the Inspector is remarkably useful. All the way up until the statue and the Evil Knight Mordred. There, he pulls out a gun, aiming it directly at the man. "Revachol Citizen's Militia. I know you're not going to surrender, but we've got to follow *protocol* around here, don't we. Hands up, Mordred!"

Shigure has posed:
    Shigure grips her hands into tight fists as she's dropped off at the shrine. Her rigging forms into place on her back and thighs. "All hands, general quarters. Repeat, all hands general quarters. Duty crew to your stations." She goes on high alert right from the off, glancing at her companions, before looking at the unpowered Relic in it's pouch. "Lets get this done... this world is counting on us... an so are the others." She looks back into the shrine entrance. "They're all fighting now too... we cannot let them down."

    She steps forward, then breaks into a run as her backpack gimbals out into a pair of tonfa-pattern weapons for her to grab onto. She follows Raphael, helping move the things to where he directs. She's pretty strong, after all. Once the central chamber is breached, she comes up, leveling her tonfa cannons at Mordred. "Stand down and disable all weapons. We do not want to fight you, but we will if we must."

John Rizzo has posed:
     "Weights," mutters Rizzo to himself, figuring out the weights with Raphael and Shigure. "Can't wait. Long wait. Long shot... behind the eight ball. Eight ball... eight ball in the corner pocket." He points, then pushes one into the corner. Click. That worked.

     He has no quarrel with Mordred--he knows this is all an act. Still, he has to play his part. His Sphere. The others have said their piece, but the Private Detective has nothing to say to the Evil Knight. In fact, he doesn't even draw a weapon. It might even seem like he isn't going to fight at all--but the observant eye will notice that he's lowered his posture slightly, and dug in his heels.

Mordred (7197) has posed:
After hearing about the plot devised by the designated heroes to save the world from the clutches of the Evil God Haseo, Mordred's found herself sent to the White Tigers Shrine in order to halt their progress at best and delay them from enacting their plan at worst. It's a convenient excuse to go there, and the Evil Knight stand-in is all too ready to show off her improved prowess after her last showing against the previous Evil Knight.

While the Princess is left to her own walk cycle, the Evil Knight can be seen by anyone facing the entrance to the Shrine directly. Mordred is not hiding, but staring right back through the Evil Knight's Helmet as if waiting for them.

Indeed, when the heroes make their appearance, Mordred rises with the massiev silver blade shouldered on one side and swings one arm sideways to make sure there's a sufficiently dramatic flourish of her cape as she begins and the Evil Knight's theme starts building.

"You've done well coming here, heroes. To obtain all the relics and divide your forces... Your strategy is a bold one, but I suppose it was the only way you had any chance of opposing the God of Chaos in time. Still..." Another dramatic pause as Mordred lowers that outstretched hand, turning to Shigure and Raphael first. "You know as well as I what must happen here. We fight for mutually exclusive goals. We ain-" She coughs once. "We cannot compromise on such a basic fact."

Noticing that Rizzo has't drawn his weapon yet, Mordred turns her helmeted gaze towards him next. "The time for negotiations has passed. Now, all that is left is for our bodies and wills to clash, and to see who is destined to leave here alive!" The Evil Knight's music rises in volume as the fight begins with a massive fireball appearing in front of Mordred. The Evil Knight rears a hand back, then punches it to send out a horizontal wave of identical flames at the heroes with alarming speed!

Shigure has posed:
    Shigure brings her cannon tonfa up to block the attack... but Fire is surprisingly effective against a ship. The flames lick past her defense and catch in one of the tonfa. Smoke belches from the openings in the armour plate and Shigure grunts as her fairies go into damage control mode. "Spread out, do not allow her to strike us all at the same time!" she says to the others, and darts away, heading left to flank around. "Loading High Explosive."

    She brings her cannons to bear, smoke finally stopping after a few moments as her fairies get it under control for the time being. Barrels then belch forth more smoke and flame, lobbing shells at the Evil Knight. They detonate on impact with the first thing they strike. She follows this up with a volley of smaller shells and tracer fire from her secondaries, strafing the Knight with scaled 25mm and 40mm autocannon slugs.

Raphael Cousteau (7187) has posed:
HALF-LIGHT: Fire! Fire!
HAND-EYE COORDINATION: At the fireballs? With bullets? What?

The flames wash over the Inspector, and he drops to one knee, smacking himself to put the residual burns out.
PAIN THRESHOLD: Refreshing. It frankly probably cleaned some of the dirt off. Get up.

And so he does, and makes his way forward to Mordred. It's...it's not an all-out run, it's a jog, but he's still closing in.
PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT: Okay! Start this up basic, alright? Nothing fancy yet. Build up to it. You've got to outlast.
REACTION SPEED: I think we can make this work.

Mordred undoubtedly sees the gun. All sorts of projectile-blocking techniques likely come to mind. But who would expect the sudden pistol whip from the pale old man in the disco pants and the green blazer?

John Rizzo has posed:
     "It has," says Rizzo, agreeing with Mordred--but he doesn't say it with that same gung-ho certainty. It sounds more like sadness. He knows it's a story, but stories can have sad moments, can't they?

     "The Lord is my savior, and I shall not fear what man shall do unto me." The air seems alive with energy as the words leave his mouth. He removes his hand from his pocket and extends it, mirroring Mordred's action. Rather than a closed fist, however, he extends an open palm. When Mordred's flames head for him, they slam against a barrier of his faith made manifest. Brilliant white light flashes. Some of the attack creeps past, and the convection from the flames sears his hand, leaving a grisly-looking burn. His unnatural healing struggles to compensate for the injury.

     Outwardly, he is calm. Inwardly, however, he is at war. The Beast thrashes against the prison he's constructed for it. A month ago, he would have lost control immediately--but here, after learning of his Sphere, of the peace and certainty that it brings, he's able to stave it off. For now.

     Raphael makes his move, going for a pistol whip. Shigure says to spread out. He heads right, to form a pincer motion with his allies. While she's enduring Shigure's cannons and attempting to engage Raphael, Rizzo moves for a slow, plodding attack. Namely, he takes cover behind one of the metal weights in the room--one off by itself and uncessesary to the puzzle, likely put there as a kind of decoy.

     Rizzo pushes with all his might, gradually building up speed from a glacial pace to a brisk jog. The large, heavy weight is thrust towards the Evil Knight, attempting to pin her against the nearest wall while she's trying to fend off his allies.

Mordred (7197) has posed:
The battle is on, and Mordred's more than ready to play the role of the villain here. It's not as though acting so bombastically isn't entertaining, anyway, and...

Best not to get distracted here. As Shigure calls out that strategy, the Evil Knight glances around to see where each of her three opponents are going. She chuckles briefly as that sword comes down, braced in front of Mordred more to maintain that menacing posture rather than truly holding a proper defense. Shigure's shells are the first thing she reacts to as they come flying straight for the Evil Knight.

Instead of blocking them all, however, Mordred is caught off guard paying so much attention to it that the charge of the disco man goes unnoticed until it's too late. The butt of the pistol finds purchase against the Evil Knight's helmet, making a satisfying bashing noise on impact. Before Mordred can retaliate, though, Shigure's continued shelling staggers the Evil Knight temp, and that has her attention split between two!

"You only delay the inevitable. Each second you waste is one spent not stopping the God of Chaos. Now stand an-" While Mordred is busy delivering more banter, John comes in from behind with that previously unnoticed piece of scenery. It slams into Mordred and pushes her back a good couple of yards before she regains her balance, swerving around it and stabbing that sword into the ground.

"That's more like it... Line up, and despair for the final moments of your lives!" Raphael and John each get swung at first, the Evil Knight executing a blinding flurry of slashes towards the pair of them seemingly at the same time despite aiming in two completely different directions. A moment later, the Evil Knight disappears, then reappears before Shigure before doing a complete 180 to use that same flurry of swings against her as well!

And then Mordred teleports back to where she was standing moments before the trio pushed her out of position. There has to be /some/ sort of order to this madness.

Shigure has posed:
    Shigure thinks she's far enough away to not be struck. She finds out she is very wrong as Mordred appears in front of her and swings that sword faster than the eye can track. She jumps backward reflexively, but still gets cut up pretty badly. Her left arm falls limp, the tonfa clattering to the ground as black ichor leaks from a large gash cut into her steel-like skin. A team of fairies drop down on guy ropes and slap a large 'bandaid' over it a moment later, but the arm remains limp. "Damage report, Y-turret disabled." she lets the other tonfa go, allowing it to grab onto the gimbal arm and ratchet back onto her back. In the next motion, she snatches a quartet of torpedoes from her right thigh holder, and flicks them like throwing knives at Mordred, before running up to follow her attack up with a slash from her hidden wakizashi.

Raphael Cousteau (7187) has posed:
    There is absolutely nothing Raphael has to deflect against a variety of sword slashes, except his arms. And each blow of that sword--it's a massive sword, it's basically a club, each one is blocked, but it's merely flesh and bone and fabric. He's a man. This is not a swordfighter. He is a man with a very, very strange brain. That's all he's got going for him, and he slams on the floor again, gripping his heart.

INLAND EMPIRE: To escape is to leave nothing behind, in this world or the next.
VOLITION: ...Alright, you're out of your depth here, but that's never stopped you before. You were out of your depth when you woke up from the bender.

He grabs a few pills from his pocket, looking at them over. White, yellow, and red. Gel capsules.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: That's it. Those three'll do it. You'll be fine. I'm totally Pain Tolerance, you can trust me.
PAIN TOLERANCE: He's not. But he's not wrong. Do you know what this hurts like? It hurts like falling down on gravel. That's all. And you're about to take pills to undo that.

The pills are swallowed, and Raphael Cousteau's back on his feet. "...Nah. That's not gonna happen. We got a *world* to save from the *void*." He raises his gun. His arm's shaking. This is a terrible idea.
HAND-EYE COORDINATION: ...Wait. They're staying in one spot. Maybe...

He closes one eye, takes a breath, and fires. The metal gleams on the pistol as two slugs fire. It's a double-barrelled gun. It's almost like a sawed-off shotgun in power. This is not designed for protracted gunfights. This is designed to bring people down.

John Rizzo has posed:
     John stops pushing the weight--it slides off uselessly into the wall, once Mordred wheels around it. It takes him a moment to regain his own balance, having put so much momentum into that attack. His particular vampiric lineage makes him decently suited to enduring blows from enemies, but completely ill-equipped to deal with extremely fast opponents.

     Mordred's flurry of blows strikes true, sloughing off ribbons of crimson. He doesn't lift his arms to protect himself--only to try in vain to grasp her weapon and exhaust her. His wounds seal, faster than those from her fiery blasts, but not fast enough to keep up with her swordsmanship. Despite the grievous injury she seems to have inflicted, his mind seems to be elsewhere. It's strange, too--becuase there is absolutely a look of determination on his face.

     Back. Get back. Between her strikes, he speaks another verse. "God... will not..." One of the blows strikes him with enough force to lift him off his feet. He hits the ground hard, but gets up with that same elsewhere-determination. "Suffer you to be tempted..."

     Slash, slash. He just has to hold out--he has to drive the Beast back. There is fire in his eyes. The Beast is almost defeated--but the Evil Knight is far from it. Raphael levels his gun. Shigure throws her explosives. His opening...

     It's there.

     "...ABOVE THAT WHICH YE ARE ABLE!" With supernatural speed, John breaks into a graceful sprint. As the smoke clears from Raphael's double-barrel blast and Shigure's torpedos--as she makes the attack with her wakizashi--John's motion shifts from human to animal, running on all fours. He leaps, inhuman strength in his legs propelling him through the air, over and behind Mordred. He's incredibly open to attack. But that's fine.

     Rizzo attempts to trap the Evil Knight Mordred in a bear hug.

Mordred (7197) has posed:
Those are almost all reactions to getting slashed Mordred legitimately hasn't seen before. Probably the least surprising one is John's attempt to stop the weapon with his hands directly, but Shigure's fairy minions? Raphael's pill popping?

Something seems off about all of that, but she's not even sure where to start.

The torpedoes thrown by the shipgirl are deflected! Or at least, that's what the Evil Knight is hoping for as she backhands the shells to try slapping them into a wall, but instead they just sort of explode all over the knight, denting that armor and banging and bruising her up inside of it.

Raphael's shots come out of left field, too, as Mordred tries to swing her blade right down the middle to cleave what should only be one bullet, but only succeeds in threading the needle and slicing the air between those twin-barreled shots completely! Each of those shots punch right into her armor, staggering back just far enough that Rizzo's able to catch the temp from behind with that mighty bear hug, holding her still long enough for Shigure's short blade to strike true and draw blood.

The Evil Knight remains still, then starts laughing. "... This is what I was expecting. Those that seek to save this world from Chaos should be capable of at least this much." The Evil Knight's music begins to swell again as she disappears abruptly, reappearing a short distance away and pacing back and forth slowly while blood drips from multiple exit wounds and cuts exacerbated by the bear hug tearing those wounds open further.

"But this is only the beginning of your doom! Face the true might of the Treacherous Knight of Evil Rebellion!" All at once, flames and lightning surround Mordred's blade as she starts dashing around the Shrine, not with teleportation, but sheer speed while bounding in random directions around the trio. She comes in for multiple slashes in passing, some of them even smashing the ground below them with explosions of stone and gravel as Mordred seems intent on tearing the place up!

Raphael Cousteau (7187) has posed:
Raphael is by no means a brilliant tactician. He's not really meant for this work. He's in no position to even do more than hold steady as he's assaulted on all sides by sword and gravel, and once again, without fail, he falls to his knees, a fist slamming into the ground.
> This is crazy. I don't *want* to be a Paladin anymore.
VOLITION: What? No. Chin up. Weird fact time, friend. You're doing fine. You've actually got control of this. You know how I know? Because look at the heavily armed *boat ghost*.

Raphael's head turns. Shigure is, in fact, in terrible shape. He's..comparatively fine. There's a quick snort of some sort of nasal spray, and he wobbily gets up to his feet. He dusts himself off. The worst part about this, in many ways, is that his *Expression* is unchanging. Mordred sees a man giving the most obnoxious, shit-eating grin, even after being blasted with rock and flaming, electrified sword. +1 MORALE
PAIN TOLERANCE: Let's talk about this. This pain you're feeling. I want you to imagine it as a ball. Hit them hard right now, absolutely, but...you're going to need to do something a little crazy here. Just swing for now, and then...stand still. Let the next strike hit you. I need to feel something.

LOGIC: Fucking *pardon*?
VOLITION: Whoa, what? What are you talking about?
PAIN TOLERANCE: I'm talking about *shut the fuck up* and let me do my job. Get ready, we're going to end this asshole. Swing for now, hold on, and get ready to rock his goddamn world.

Raphael Cousteau rolls up his sleeves, marching towards Mordred. "Hey! That all you *got*? I'm an alcoholic cop with a fuckin' disco blazer. You can't even break *me*, but you're talking like you're big shit. Show me something better!" For now, he delivers a single gutpunch. There's armor in the way. He doesn't care. The pain is only going to make him stronger.

Shigure has posed:
    Shigure dances, using her Abyssal Steel Blade to parry a few of those sword strikes. Each one buckles her guard as she dips away, pushing her back until she hits a wall... and then that sword finds true purchase. A slash across her middle spills oil like a waterfall, and the destroyer falls to her knees.

    A fairy leaps out of her rigging a moment later, and with an impossibly large number of tools, patches up the damage to a point where she can still fight. The wound is patched, the leak sealed, but the kanmusu's frame is badly damaged.

    Shigure slowly pushes herself back to her feet, gripping her blade with a white knuckled grasp. "Being able to corner me like this... well, whatever..." She watches Raphael take a swing at Mordred with a simple gutpunch. 'Don't think. Believe.' she tells herself, and runs back into the fray. She aims for where she expects Mordred to stagger to after the punch, leaping and bearing down with the tip of her blade aimed for the gaps in that heavy armour.

John Rizzo has posed:
     Rizzo's hands promptly grab air. His arms close upon nothing, as Mordred teleports free of his grasp. He turns to face the knight, standing ready. Again, his heels dig in.

     The Knight is faster than he can track, even with his enhanced senses. So, he doesn't try to track, or even to intercept any attacks. He stands, arms wide open, as shrapnel from the explosions pummels him.

     New wounds open, but where before the blood was running freely, now it is barely a trickle. They take longer to close, if they close at all. His attention is elsewhere, throughout even the fire and the lightning.

     John Rizzo is fighting two battles--but he's just won one of them. As Mordred's fire sears him through another of his protective barriers, The Beast is battered at last into submission.

     /Now./ The time wasn't right before, but at this point in the... it isn't a Book. Not like his. But it is a Story. At this point in the Story, the Private Detective should say something. Directly to the Alchoholic Cop, not a verse to keep his darker nature under control. It feels right. He's never felt more certain.

     "I'm feeling like the Evil Knight's running outta gas, flatfoot," he says after Raphael's gut punch. "Maybe I oughta put this business to bed..."

     He calmly reaches into his coat and procures a book. It's a simple, aged thing bound in black leather with gold leaf for the title. 'Book of Common Prayer.' It seems more real than real, the title and golden cross motif on the cover reflecting the dim light with brilliant intensity.

     "With a right cross." Rizzo swings the book at Mordred's head, his fist moving faster than most mortal men could muster. He strikes with the bridge of the book, attempting as usual to resolve things bloodlessly.

Mordred (7197) has posed:
As Mordred's zipping arund slows to a stop, she takes a moment to take stock of the situation. The shipgirl's having some trouble, the holy guy is still talking to himself, and Mr. Pills is way sturdier than she had given him credit for. Raphael's proclamation draws an amused snicker from Mordred, but she stops it abruptly once she remembers to get back into character.

She still has a role to play here, and she can't corpse now that the heroes are about to have their moment.

"Perhaps heroes /can/ come from unlikely places. But if you truly think you can change your destiny with just-" Mordred leans into the punch with a loud grunt as she takes Raphael's punch head on, coughing a fair bit as the blow ripples through the armor. "... Just your hands, then you are sorely mistaken."

Shigure's prediction is on point as Mordred takes a step back, raising the blade and poised to bring it down on Raphael. Before she can, however, the destroyer is alraedy in position, stabbing that blade in again and actually drawing a pained grimacing noise from the bearer of the Evil Knight's armor. "That's right... Heroes should be willing to get their hands dirty. As knights, as rulers of their people... They cannot hold back in doing what must be done!"

And as expected from the teamwork previously displayed by this unlikely grouping, John's right on the money when Mordred is about to lash out at Shigure. The book sails just right that it deflects her arm just enough to narrowly miss the shipgirl's head, and the bash makes another one of those satisfying banging noises against the side of Mordred's helm as it knocks her off balance yet again.

It actually takes her a moment to think up something for that. "Or... Uh... Unconventional methods. All that matters is victory, no matter how it is attained!" Yep, that one felt pretty right. "Allow me to demonstrate an example... No. The extent of my resolv! My dedication to the God of Chaos!" Taking a deep breath, Mordred musters up enough energy for one last flashy maneuver.

She disappears with her sword. The teleportation is rapid, but it's easier to track than her straight up wall-bouncing from earlier. It looks like she's just maneuvering in confusing patterns at first, but the attack itself becomes clearer once Clarent goes sailing for the heroes.

The Evil Knight's maneuver: Throwing the flaming lightning sword, reappearing behind her targets, catching it, then repeating the process until she's made a few passes at each person. Once she's finished, she settles back into that same starting position with Clarent held behind her back, sliding dramatically against the armor on her shoulder until the cross-guard clicks dramatically on the shoulder plate. "To the void with all of you."

Raphael Cousteau (7187) has posed:
PAIN TOLERANCE: I said don't move. Focus.
Raphael listens to the voices in his head. Most people shouldn't do this, and even in his case some of them say the wrong thing. But he's going to trust pain tolerance, even as the first blade slashes through him. It's an RPG thing, right? So this merely hurts and burns and shocks and stings, a lot.
VOLITION: I really, really can't begin to treat this as a good idea. Maybe you should--
PAIN TOLERANCE: I said shut the fuck up and take it. The fire's going to cauterize the wounds anyway, and the electricity's going to fix up any residual nerve damage.
ENCYCLOPEDIA: Literally no medical science textbook you have ever read suggests that any of that is remotely--
PAIN THRESHOLD: Physical Instrument, back me up here. Taking the damage is *manly*.
AUTHORITY: ...Yes. We're showing her who's boss. Stand through it.

The blade passes by again and again, and Raphael acts as if he's frozen in time, until the last of the attack settles. And one, one last time, he...no. Never mind. He falls over.

ANCIENT REPTILIAN BRAIN: Wow. That's it, then, eh? Decided to go out all heroically, instead of a pathetic bender? That's fine, then. Come on. Abyss it is.
LIMBIC SYSTEM: Oh, no. No, no, no. He's not *dead*. The meat engine is still moving! The heart is still beating! Why!? Why won't he *ever* *STOP*?!

Inspector Ambrosius Raphael Cousteau, of the Revachol Citizens' Militia, stands up once more. Shigure is down. That's fine. He can be the last remaining *boat ghost* in this combat. As for John Rizzo, he's... well, no time to think about that now.
"I oppose the void. I oppose you, *actor*." He steps forward.
ELECTROCHEMISTRY: Whoa, okay, uh, I was gonna say grab some of the droumamine, but I just did a quick endorphin check and *hoo boy*.
INLAND EMPIRE: We are the sword against the void.

"And if you were not content with my hands bringing you back down into the *dust*, then perhaps *this* will do. Observe, fiend, my *FINAL TECHNIQUE!*

He breaks out into a weird jog. His *Expression* remains frozen. He storms forward, finally in an all out run. He hops. He skips. And then he *jumps and twists* in midair, one leg spinning around as one green leather-soled disco shoed foot comes straight around in a flying roundhouse kick to Mordred's helmeted head.


Shigure has posed:
    Shigure was hoping that would finish it... that they could end this and all remain standing afterward.

    She is, again, mistaken.

    The swords slash through her, punching holes and burning with the flames. She staggers, unable to even try to parry any of the strikes, before simply falling over, slamming down with enough force to crack the shrine floor. Her voice is distorted, like one might hear through an old Long Wave radio. "Looks like this is it for me..." before her eyes slide closed and she goes still.

John Rizzo has posed:
     Rizzo is battered and sliced repeatedly by the sword, his flesh burned by the blade and seared by the lightning. His wounds cease healing, and he looks even more imperiled than he usually does. His long-suffering coat is stuck to his body by a large, dark red patch. In places it is singed, and some of his wounds bear detritus from the rubble and shrapnel strewn about by Mordred's earlier assaults.

     Still, he's standing. Even when his coat catches fire and fills the room with the scent of burnt flesh. He removes it, struggling to stand, fighting to hold on. Even the Beast can't wrest control from him. He's starving, beaten, bloodied and burned. He's also smiling. Serenely.

     "Nothin' doin', pal," says Rizzo directly to the Evil Knight. The smile remains on his face as he falls backwards into Torpor. Why wouldn't it? He's played his part. The Story will benefit from it--he's sure. And he's beaten the Beast, against all odds. In the face of fire and lightning being thrown at him, he mastered his curse to protect his allies.


Mordred (7197) has posed:
There's one left standing. Mordred once again grips the silver blade and presses the point into the ground, standing firm as she watches Shigure and John go down. Her gaze turns to Raphael as he shows his resolve. As he denies the Evil Knight her victory.

As he becomes the hero needed in this Shrine to oppose the God of Chaos. "Come, then, Disco Hero. Show me that you can change this world's fate!" She bellows as she stands firm, grinning beneath the helmet as he announces his FINAL TECHNIQUE.

It's taking a bit not to start laughing. If she didn't know any better, maybe she'd think he really was drunk and insane. Alas, the Knight of Treachery knows the role she must play, and she doesn't bend. She awaits the attack, simply bracing for impact.

Part of her really wants to see just how much power he can pack into whatever it is he's doing anyway. Part of her won't admit that she doesn't really have enough gas in the tank to get out of the way. That same part of her won't admit that the maneuver comes at an angle she wasn't even expecting.

Really, she wasn't expecting him to have that kind of balance or flexibility. The roundhouse kick lands square on Mordred's jaw, the impact of boot on helmet echoing through the broken Shrine as the Evil Knight's stand-in staggers back several steps. She holds still for a moment, then staggers back a few more steps to back right up into the White Tiger Spirit statue before collapsing into a seated position against it on the floor.

"... You fought well, heroes. Perhaps it was my fate to be felled here." She coughs dramatically, propping Clarent up besides her to make sure she can rest one arm against it. "Or perhaps the world needs souls of your caliber to... To oppose my dark master. But whatever the case, your strength of will despite your stature-" She looks towards Shigure in particular there. "-your conviction despite these odds-" She looks towards Raphael for that. "-or your unwavering faith despite... Uh."

She's not really sure how to finish that one for John. She coughs again, then sneaks a rock into her hand. "But now... You have one final battle ahead of you. March onwards, warriors, and perhaps I can be at peace."

Mordred lets out a death rattle, then not-so-subtly flicks that rock at the ceiling to try and crack a hole in it to let some moonlight through before lowering her head and pretending to be dead.

Hopefully, nobody tries to move her after that.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
The Evil Knight is defeated after the incredible battle. As Mordred falls away, the Princess finally activates, looking to the party and smiling.

    Thank you all for saving me. Please, go forth and consult the White Tigers Spirit.

    The statue and altar await.

Raphael Cousteau (7187) has posed:
Raphael Cousteau is the last one left standing. This is on him. He dusts himself off, looking around. Right. There was a thing to do here, and Shigure was going to do it, right? He consults somewhat with the relevant broadbands.
INLAND EMPIRE: This is it. This is our chance to defeat the void. Take the relic from the sunken vessel, and place the relic vessel on the altar to be filled.
DRAMA: Doth anyone care if I might state, verily, that yon Evil Knight is not dead?
INLAND EMPIRE: Her role is dead. We only needed to end that, and we have.

Kim Kitsuragi told him once that Revachol Citizen's Militia officers are all given first aid training. It stands to reason that he should be able to provide something for his two allies before he does this.
INTERFACING: Reason fails you yet again, sucker. No idea how to do that.

So he'll have to save it for later. He rifles through Shigure's belongings with an almost disconcerting expertise. He has to resist the urge to remove Literally Everything From This Container, taking only the relevant item. It's a hard reflex to hold back, but he does it. He steps towards the altar, placing one fifth of the hope for the world upon it, looking up at the statue of a tiger.

"Hey." He says up to it. "This good enough for you? I don't know the appropriate *prayers*. But you saw what we just went through, and I'm hoping that's a good enough *trial*." Yes, he's talking to the statue. It's his whole thing, but you knew this.

Lezard Valeth has posed:
The great metallic statue's eyes glow white when the altar is interacted with.

    You have shown great wisdom in coming here, and defending the Royal Family. You have nothing to fear, your path is clear. Present the Relic, and gain the blessing of my power and knowledge.

    When the Relic is presented, there is a flash of light, the Relic being empowered with the energies of METAL. Using it, the bearer can manipulate and create elemental strikes of METAL, as well as augmenting their attacks with the power.

    At that point, the White Tigers Spirit speaks once more.

    Go forth and save this world against the encroaching chaos. The statue then grows dark.

Raphael Cousteau (7187) has posed:
Raphael has a problem, of course. He has a relic. It's powered up.
PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT: Chief, you ain't going to carry both of them. Not gonna happen.
INLAND EMPIRE: The Princess. She shall resolve your concerns. Simply inform her of your success.

He just knows things, sometimes. It makes his life easier. He swaggers on over. Frankly, he's not /nearly/ as beat up as he thought he'd be. He's lucky. The rescued damsel gets two fingerguns. "Hey, pretty lady. What's the chance of you doing some *healing sparkles* and getting us out of here?"

Lezard Valeth has posed:
After the Relic is empowered, the Princess has something else to say when she is spoken to.

    Excellent work. I will send you back to the safety of the town. Please accept this healing with my thanks. Pradia will remember you, always.

    Or at lease she will. The sages outside continue to be complete jackasses with the exception of the Renegade Sage.

John Rizzo has posed:
     As the Princess' healing magic washes over him, John awakens from Torpor. Confusion washes over his face, as his wounds seal--and, wonder of wonders, his blood is restored before the Beast can rouse itself.

     "The flames," he says, watching as his burns fade away. "'Nothin' doin', pal,'" he says. It's the same line as in the dream. Always, that line, and the flames.

     "I thought that was it..." He doesn't sound relieved, nor disappointed. He sounds just as confused as he looks, his brow furrowing as his mind races for an answer. He's never been able to see much of it, even though it's haunted him endlessly since he was first sired.

     "That wasn't it." Rizzo rises, picks up his bloodied, burnt trench coat and puts it back on. It lies upon him cut in several places that match up with cuts on his dress shirt. Putting it on is nearly pointless now that so much of it is torn, but he might as well. It's time to go, and the Private Detective would never leave his Coat.

Shigure has posed:
    Shigure's eyes snap open when the healing power washes over her. She bolts upright, grasping her chest and panic-breathing for a few moments.

    She looks confused, looking at her own hand as if it wasn't her own for a few moments, before everything settles and she just falls back over again, staring at the ceiling.