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Meraxa last won the day on February 8

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  1. Canon Post! (Swear, I'm working on a proper followup, this is just to give something that can be worked off outside of this thread) The Official Summary of His Majesty's Imperial Government: It is surmised that a primary cause for the declaration of independence by the City of Dougton - response pending review - was the self-appointed crusade hereby dubbed the 'Wyrm's Bane', which upon investigation - compiling material evidence and eyewitness testimony - appears to have intended to remove the woeful influence of the enrele hivemind Aleth from the continent. This group proceeded to enter the city of Dougton by way of road and air travel, in which it is claimed they encountered the rogue 'deity' Meryam, before smuggling themselves inside the newly declared city-state's border. Once there, it would seem they were quickly discovered by subjects of the hivemind's manipulation, which appears to have included no less than the legendary Jason of the Lions himself. After a battle in which the hero of ages past was freed from the hivemind, the afflicted citizenry rose in open revolt against the city, their fellow man, and basic decency itself. In the ensuing chaos, it seems that the group, via myriad paths, made for the granary, in which the physical hivemind - possessing the corpse of the 'deity' Cancer, alternatively known as 'Old Man Ptolemy' - had evidently embedded itself. Its apparent plan was to exercise its host entity's particular material traits to channel its unconscious psychic mass into an active, loci-esque phenomena, allowing it to alter the physical laws of the realm around it to its favour. Had this plan succeeded, it might have held theological and existential implications best not considered. But, it seems, the plan did not succeed. To our awareness, the Aleth entity has, if not subsided, potentially been eliminated; this is subject to further investigation and verification. What follows is but one tale the locals now tell, of what happened that day... Minor Summary (supernal edited): The Wyrm's Bane (Argi, Aya, Dauner, Gozen, Emile, Shishi, the Mistress, Elizabeth, Caeceila) set off from Casper to take their fight to the hivemind Aleth, who was on the verge of attaining loci-like powers. In so doing the Bane triggers the hivemind's endgame. Although the worst possible outcome is avoided, millions of citizens are rendered comatose and Dougton has become unincorporated territory following the regent's questionable attempt at secession. [C] The city of Dougton, though nominally independent, has a questionable legitimacy behind it, and will be struggling to rebuild in the aftermath of the incident. [C / O: supernal] Dougton infrastructure has been abandoned by Empire, the threat of the Enrele menace looming too large. Vetted, healthy citizens (those conscious citizens who did not agree with Jenkins's decree) are evacuated to where their skills match the labor market (Aspyn, Chesterfield, etc). Plans have been in flight for years which have incrementally removed Dougton as a choke point for Empire's agricultural needs (one example is the food gardens encouraged in many cities and towns) and the Aleth incident provided incentive to finalize these initiatives. [C] As a result of whatever happened in Dougton, the Aleth hivemind's grip on the populace at large has broken. While this has eliminated the threat posed by one of the largest enrele hiveminds, the manner in which it was done has left millions of people effectively comatose, until trained psychics - of which there are simply not enough for a timely resolution - can ease out their consciousnesses. [C / O: supernal] The comatose citizens are being express ferried to Hell's Gate via privileged MagVac where they will be stored in managed subterranean chambers. Major Carbon Metireal is leading a psychic vanguard program which aims to lift citizens out of their affliction. [C: supernal edit] The men and women of the Wyrm's Bane are, whether in celebration of their apparent success, or damnation of their reckless actions and dismissive of any supposed success, increasingly known to the people of the continent. Are they heroes, villains, or hapless fools? Theatrical performances opening near you soon! [C] Jason of the Lions has a face, OMG. [O] The future of Dougton is up for grabs. Help it step out from the yoke of Odin's dominion, or ease it back into the fold? Rebuild it to what it once was, or invigorate it with new purpose? The path is there, but must be seized! [O] Millions of people have been 'saved' from Aleth's grasp, but the sheer backlog of those needing to be recovered means people might be desperate for 'private' services, if the contents of a given mind are of exceeding concern. [O] One has to wonder how the other hiveminds might act in light of this... an investigation of the wider threat might be in order. [O] If you were one of those to have gained notoriety from this event... one has to also wonder what trouble - or luck - you might walk into on being recognised.
  2. Yeah, sorry, things got derailed a bit elsewhere. I might mull a canon post just to have something affirmed. To my annoyance, I closed chrome not long after booting up today which closed the tabs I'd kept open for a while.
  3. Could be part of an ongoing investigation to establish the official account of what the hell happened, so that the diplomatic end of things can act accordingly. Could maybe have it already in session - or just wrapping up - as the theoretical thread begins, so characters can act off its conclusions
  4. Sorry it's very short on your end @Vaudevillian and @Zashiii but the thrust of the drama seems to be between you two atm. That said, all the same, posted! If the others turn up they can chime in as well, but given we've a month, let's progress as we can
  5. SofĂ­a lay against the wall where Joshua's kick had sent her, blade holding her hands together. One tepid wing batted at her shoulder, as if trying to pull away, but no partner formed to join it, nor a torso to connect the two. More than merely tired or exhausted, it was... as though she herself had been drained. Or perhaps what 'fuel' she had, had been spent, owing to the particular circumstances in which she found herself. Much like the man she had drawn from, she was burnt and charred. Unlike him, she wasn't willing to continue standing in spite of such. Even to draw breath seemed to take an exacting toll, and to release it was to simply let that action release, not to drive its counterpart. "I-If... I... I offer you... something..." She parted her lips slowly, carefully, flakes of blackened flesh falling from them, in order to speak. "W-Will you... spare me?" Elisha laughed, so hard that her aged lungs seemed to strain from doing so, though her general stance, and how it held Peldun in place between the pillars of stone, remained firm. "Ahhhh, questions asked when I have already given the answer, but before you were here to ask them. I would not wish to completely retread what has already been said, so I suppose I should rephrase..." Elisha, still holding the place of her hands as they were, planted her foot and spun it on the balls of her feet, leaving it to rest perpendicular to the other, which remained held forward, naturally so. The earth and stone before her nudged up slightly. "If the pretenders wish to play, let them. If any among them bring forth either a true return for Zengi, or an heir, then let them show their face! Our aim is not his return, but to strike down those that banished us from our homes! That cast us down into the abyss, faithful and sinner alike! We will destroy what we need and take what we need as required for that task - anything else comes after!" The foot slid forward, the stone nudged higher. "Perhaps then, this is a test of my convictions. Watch then, devil, and any powers that might consider whether to stand with and against me! Even you, Gaia!" The foot came forward in a shunt, and so with it did the stone leap forward, as though it had a life of its own. "It's astonishing, really." Elisha monologued as the wave of stone rose through and swept across the chamber, ramming right against the trapped Peldun's mass, while she clearly hoped to bludgeon Shishi aside. "As my bond is with the earth, and not magic infused in it, I am not bound by the limits placed by the loci. Maybe I have been unkind towards Gaia that her blessing remains..." Finally, she released the lock of her hands, swinging both down low, so that the 'wave' became a geyser when she subsequent threw them high above her head, sending foundations of the floor up against the ceiling! "Or perhaps that is proof she was never to receive credit for it at all!" "Don't... care..." "...what?" Elisha asked, her hands having drawn back down, funnelling the stone 'geyser' back into the foundations from which it had drawn, and restoring what sag had slowly set into the floor of the chamber. There was, where Peldun should have impacted the ceiling, a great big hole, revealing an opening into another chamber, above the throne room. "DON'T CARE!" Argi's voice grew louder just as his automaton's blade struck the ceiling - the floor, from his perspective - above Elisha, forcing her to slide back and avoid being crushed, whether by the falling stone, or by Peldun itself as it came down. "You threaten home! You not stop! So I... we will stop you!" Elisha shook her head with a sigh. "Alas, I don't even know who you are."
  6. Oh man oh man But yeah, that in-turn is why I think the diplomatic fallout would be interesting to explore. There'll be a lot of pressure from differing angles on what result to get out of it, or at least, one would hopefully be able to show that
  7. Quite. There's a lot of room for in-universe debate on the handling of the situation, but also, I hope, framing for how those outside of the event viewed it.
  8. So, while I'm working to bring the thread that caused it to a close, something to consider in the long-term as a potential project is the reintegration of Dougton, which could involve some diplomatic shenanigans. Would anyone be interested in that?
  9. "God of... Seiikishima?" The centaur skipped words in his echoing of Aya's answer, eyes blinking as he seemed to process them. "But that is... half a world away. You are well beyond their domain. So why..." The Priestess continued her explanation, and laid out her suspicions, all of which seemed to catch Cancer further and further on the wrong foot. Yet they also seemed to stir something. Those blinking eyes also darted about, as if charting the course that had led him to this place. "I was... I think, driven away. Or... I fled. Either way, I thought... to the safety of an old... I do not know if I could call him friend. He was... no, he was... an enemy?" The centaur's head went down, then up again, as he asked the question. Yet his body language - a fervent yet narrow shaking of the head - suggested he had some understanding of the truth. "No... no, he would never. Not by his own will. There had to be something... something else..." Fingers crept up to rub at the temples of his head, eyes easing shut. "Tell me... tell me the truth, as you would understand it, however simple or complex. Whatever you feel I need know. For if I am in a place between life and death, then it is... unusual that you should find me within it." The centaur's breathing has softened, and the twitches of his body - the nerves that frayed his mind - grew fewer. His eyes opened air, soft and full of light, settling upon Aya. "You have come here with cause. I would wish to know it."
  10. Okay, so, anyone mind if I post again exclusively as Cancer so that Aya can have a bit more to play with? Since it'll otherwise be a fairly short update for that section
  11. Alright, @Dabi @Vaudevillian @Zashiii @Priestess @danzilla3 after way, way too much delay... posted As a quick summary: Gozen rescued Argi, who's now on Gozen's back (Gozen in dragon form), and has elected they pick up Shelly so that they have that last bit of muscle going into the final fight Lance knight is defeated due to some really bad luck with guns. Floating knight is defeated. Shield knight washed away by the river waters that Aleth pulled in because Dauner slicing their building brain hurt and now it's noticed the group close to the granary. Invisible sword knight is still able to fight, though their parasite is injured. Freezing fist knight has lost one of their gauntlets after being blown back in fisticuffs with the Mistress, but once the water came in, is trying to finish what they started. So missing gauntlet of dlarun, shield with solabernite, head of a lance made of ercaniron, and a bunch of bola weights made out of nith (formerly Nth) metal are around the area in the granary if someone wants to use them. Emile has found an old golem, yay! Unfortunately it's a very old Golem and so is missing most of the parts, boo! The reactor's still there though, if you can think of something to use it for. Cancer's trip down memory lane has quickly fallen apart, now he wants to make sense of his particular existential crisis
  12. The great weapon was drawn, nocked, and ready to loose. Argi saw this, struggling to rise to even a single knee. He saw it, and for a moment, let go, Then Gozen came crashing down from the heavens, his foot lit with fire to match his passion, and driving the weapon down into splinters beneath his heel. Then Gozen leapt across the field of battle, drawing away from the enemy, and towards his fallen ally. Then Gozen took the form of a dragon - yet another, and different still from all those Argi had come to witness in these last few weeks - encircling his fallen comrade in a sea of flame to keep back a foe that, however mighty it might make its host, was still flesh, and thus, wary of the dance of fire. Argi saw this, and felt ashamed. He had led them here. All of them, on this folly of his making. A reckless man from the mountains that knew nothing of the outside world. Stepped into some conflict that could determine the fate of the continent, and dared to say to them that they should fight for it. Peldun's foot found the floor, and pushed upward. He owed it to them. To ensure that his folly didn't become theirs. That the efforts they had made were not for nought. If the likes of Gozen was still willing to fight, then so should he, to repay what they - Gozen, and all the others - had expended on his behalf. Peldun's other foot, having risen, came down, driving with force as to propel the automaton into the air, and atop the great dragon's back. "FLY!" Argi urged as much as he might have commanded, finding strength he did not entirely know himself to possess - and truthfully, that he did not, a faint black glow flashing upon his figure and that of Peldun - so as to wrench the hand of Peldun free of the bolt that had pinned it, and then, grab the weapon itself for the construct's own end. It came free from the chest, forcing a gasp as it drew wind from the Menjen. But while there was a hole in Peldun, there was none in Argi, and thus he recovered quickly. "Higher, higher!" He urged Gozen onward, before flipping the bolt that had flew from the giant crossbow, and tossed it himself towards another such weapon that sought to fire upon the dragon. He had already lost one, he need not lose another. Suddenly, a rush of wind formed behind them. Strange, given its lack of direction in any way to directly affect the battle. For a moment, Argi's view was towards the granary. They had rushed, and they had separated. He needed to re-gather what he could, for this final push. Given as well Gozen's newly revealed scale and speed... "Whoever that is, get them! Then, we fight!" Argi yelled to Gozen through Peldun, turned towards the seeming source of the gale hoping they could spare a few moments more, for whatever was coming. The lanced knight's reaction to witnessing an explosion at the point of his weapon's contact was one of amusement, vocalised by a boisterous laughter. When the spears of light flung forth to fill the gap left as Shishi retreated to gather her bearings, the knight's answer to was to swing his weapon in a set of wide arcs to meet them. The results were... quite mixed. At times, the constructs simply explode, yes, collapsing in on themselves until the density grew too great, and they erupted outward. Sometimes, they fell apart in totally the opposite fashion; unwound like clothing on which one has pulled a string for too long. Others still simply shifted direction in flight, and one... turned to iron outright, though at a distinctly smaller size than what the equivalent in light had been - barely bigger than a pencil, at that. No doubt about it, the assessment of Ercaniron was correct. But her response was most certainly a risky one, of that she had to know. The knight, not at all unfamiliar with the weapon, leapt in, taking those precious seconds in which Shishi would take to enchant her attack, to simply attack itself. The creature that held itself to the knight perhaps thought it knew, in turn, what would would come if it should place the tip of its weapon to the barrel of Shishi's. Chaos upon chaos. Doubtless, then, the result would be more chaos. It did not understand that sometimes, sheer improbability could still be in one's favour. One bullet exploded in the barrel, to be sure, and would be not at all a fun time for anyone involved. But... there was another before it. One that had unwound, like a string upon clothing, into so tiny pricks of light. Arcing ways they would most likely not have. Carried still by the enchantment that, by most conventional odds, would have been broken by this stage. Against all odds, reforming right at the nape of the neck, when the eye of a beast could look and wonder: How? Before it was crushed into pulp by the projectile, and the so the knight and his lance fell to the floor, though the tip had itself been broken away by the blast. The knight of the frozen fist made a curious sound as they saw, where their hit had otherwise landed true and began to freeze the Mistress' flesh, an eruption of molten rock to fight the frigid air. Seeming to recognise what would come of this, the knight threw across their other hand, clenched too, to meet the Mistress' response. Where their fists met each other, a burst of steam erupted, alongside the force that sent the two of them flying. With her immediate visage obscured, the Mistress and her blade nevertheless did well to strike the airborne bolas, cutting and swatting them aside before returning to its wielder's side. Or, so it would seem. What occurred would be somewhat confusing, for having apparently not caught the last pair of bolas at just the right angle, the projects had, rather than be sliced apart - for the blade had not truly sliced across the weapon - coiled around it instead. So while it travelled still to its master's side, it came in a little... high, at risk at taking more than an inch off the top, to put it in terms familiar to a barbershop. Given this then, one might have thought her opponent to seize the moment. But... Something Dauner did got a reaction. It wasn't the seeming touch of his blade through the nape of the swordsman, or the peculiar nature of the attack with which he had, in a sense, cut the knight with the bolas, who was indeed struck by the attack, and sent flying for it, their legs outstretched before them while their torso itself stretched back. No, it was most certainly where he had aimed his blade after that, cutting through the flesh that clung to the ceiling and floor above him. The instant - the immediate moment - after the strike, there was a screech, vocal and mental, that might well have been heard, in some fashion or another, in every corner of the realm. Pain. It wasn't even so much that specific thought, as it was the very experience of the sensation, and the reaction to it, echoing out all at once. Then... like there was an open window into this creature's soul, or perhaps an open wound through which its feelings and thoughts bled out - certainly, at this proximity - there was... realisation. That it had been... deceived. Distracted. That the challenge it rose to was to draw its attention away from the little things. The bipeds, scurrying about, challenging it not as a power and order of its own, or their own in turn, but as creatures of flesh and blood and the blade. That sought to... to... To kill it. The river rose, its mass swelling with the anger - the indignation - that swelled from its new master. Hapless, lesser beings pleaded to forces that dared not listen as they found themselves caught in or before this mass, which then surged towards the granary. Above the garrison, over the walls, down them too, and then with the rage of the flood, against the building in its path. Glass creaked, cracked, and shattered, exploding out briefly only to itself be swept away in the deluge that in filled the hall. This mass, hard and sharp and fast, was most clearly aimed at the young swordsman himself, but the others would be threatened by it too - such as the knight of the shield who bore much of the brunt - and would need to act accordingly. Indeed, between this, and what had been done by a certain swordsman moments prior - his weapon severing support from the weight it was meant to carry - that corner of the building would shudder, moan, and then begin to slip, dragging down a great institution of the once great city of Dougton. For those that escaped the immediate carnage, whether by fleeing far enough to another corner, from the building entirely, or some other means available through their particular abilities, they would, once the great cloud of dust and debris cleared, behold their enemy. It was as Elizabeth had foreseen. The centaur was of such a size that only a building as the great store of the granary might have hidden it from view. Even then, it could easily be seen that within the store's walls, there was a pit. A pit in which this foul thing had hidden itself, desecrating the corpse it now inhabited until it had subsumed not only the flesh or the mind, but the very essence of it as well. Where others would feel that presence, the great sensation that would strike the Mistress was one of disgust; all the souls inside of her saw their kin defiled, and their instinctive reaction was to reject it. Were it within their power, then from reality itself. Alas, such was not. Thankfully, this was also true of the Aleth entity as yet, though there was a mounting pressure. More water rushed from the river, gathering at the giant creature's raised palm. For a moment, the water seemed as though it would weave around the fingertips in some fashion. But there was... a twitch, and the water that had descended to do so fell loose and free. "We're not done." Dauner would hear from behind, wherever he had settled. The knight with the nigh-invisible blade - the one that Dauner had perhaps thought vanquished in putting a sword through his neck - came from on high, hilt placed in such a way that made obvious his blade was beneath it, aimed in a plunging attack down on the young swordsman's head. Even if the weapon did not make its mark, he would extend hand to reach for the young man, see if he might simply strike their fist across their face. There was, in fact, a thin trail of blood running down the back of their neck. Dauner had made its mark, but... perhaps too precisely, at least for the moment. Meanwhile, the knight of the frozen fist - really, of dlarun - returned to the fray, having protected himself by punching some of the oncoming water, freezing an immediate wall around them. Once Aleth had drawn it away, they rushed for the Mistress, seeking to finish what they had started, though only their left hand remained usable, their right limp by their side, and blackened by the prior blast, the gauntlet it had once held... elsewhere. Free to be found, as was as the knight of the shield, who lay limp on the ground, as did the scattered balls of the bolas, which... floated here and there. Nith did that, after all. Emile had made his way into the base, and somewhat miraculously, avoided too much notice for it. Then again, having fallen aside a rider dragon and something akin to a golem, with the latter then rescued by an even greater dragon, perhaps he should not have been too surprised that he should slip by. The base was... perhaps unsurprisingly, largely occupied. Its garrison had emptied out, whether to fight to take the city, or save whatever might be left of it. So too, he would find, they had rather stripped the armour bare, of almost weapon from a meagre sword, to the great ballistae that had brought the soldier down from the heavens in the first place, and the fullerine missiles that had been flung their way. All that remained was... a lonely figure. One not entirely unlike Peldun, in its way; one might almost figure it a descendant, if these were things of flesh and blood, and not... well, one was a military design, at least. The last that Emile might have previously seen of the GL-17RX was... either in a textbook, or a museum. If anywhere on the continent still had these machines, it was because either someone had very passionately argued for their retention in particular instances, even knowing they could never be replaced thereafter, or... they were like this. It was pathetic. Little more than a skeleton and a shell encasing the chest. It had no grenades with which to counter magic or psionic abilities. No crossbow upon the right arm with which to fling the King's might upon his enemies. Damn thing didn't even had a head, just an empty gap between its raised collar. But there was... something. A faint green glow, settled inside the cavity of the chest. A humming sound, pulsing almost like a heartbeat. The cavity around the chest had been forced to an extent, wires ripped from inside and left dangling, but... whoever had done it, had hesitated. Whether out of remorse, or for fear of what they risked in such an affair. The work, whatever it was, left unfinished. And so it remained, along with a few scattered tools. The shapeless shadows... greeted Aya, maybe, but their words were garbled, as their image was, which only vaguely shifted in response to her. "She's a nice lady!" The little centaur chirped up to them as if its smile was reflected in another. "She helped me find... find..." Yet his smile as quickly faded, the creature's energy and enthusiasm drained away from its face as it looked around, somewhat befuddled. The surroundings - the woodland, with its trees of fluorescent bark and wavelike ascension - had vanished, reduced once more to the infinite void, white as snow, black as night. The little one's head rocked to and fro as they saw and tried to make sense of this, ignoring their companion as they trotted off... Only to emerge immediately behind her, now of equal stature, and of a greater, visible age. Something that, were he human, might have been in the late teens. "Excuse me, miss, would you be lost?" Their voice had deepened accordingly, as the centaur tilted their head of blonde hair, which sat just above the shoulder. The wings had grown in completely, full to the brim of fine feathers that- No, they were but bare bone. "...Wait, I know you, don't I?" He wondered suddenly as he got a better view of the priestess, circling about her. "We met a moment ago, when I was... a child..." Again, he quickly grew drained and befuddled, but now locked his gaze upon Aya, eyes wide, at once astonished, intrigued, and to some extent horrified by what her presence suggested. Such he questioned openly, asking, "What are you? Who are you how are you he-AH?!" He screamed as though he had been stabbed, and clutched at his head, fingers digging deep against the flesh, as if to tear it away. Several seconds were spent drawing in air - whether or not such actually existed here - before the figure looked to Aya once more, a dreadful certainty in his eye. "I... I shouldn't be here." He realised, a breathless sigh escaping his lip. "I... I have not passed. Yet I am not in the flesh? Why? What has happened to me?"
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