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Lirrey Lines

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Agony successfully defended Sasha and impaled the Admiral with Oathripper yet found blood tendrils attempting to force him toward the pool. Their strength was noticeable as he found himself sliding toward the pool even as he began to resist. Obtenebra rippled violently in fear of watching its host succumb to the sudden spike of power attempting to latch out to anything it possibly could, even moving to latch on to Karuna’s hand where it would try to snake its way around her fingers and practically plead for her to use her own strength to pull to help Agony resist. This strength did not produce any fear within Agony at this time, however, the ancient being’s intrigue leaving him receptive to whatever plot the Admiral had to baptize him. The prospect of enduring more pain no matter the avenue pleased Agony but Obtenebra would not have any of it.

 

The black ichor dug hard into the ground beneath him, dug into the flesh of the bodies nearby, clung to whatever it could to protect Agony which was an oddity many would not realize given how complacent it had been to everything Agony involved himself in the past few months. Perhaps it no longer trusted that its host could not properly discern the level of dangers present within this world or perhaps it was simply still reeling from the betrayal only weeks prior. None would know nor could fathom the labyrinthine consciousness of this primordial symbiote.

 

In any case, the power that had started to drag Agony closer seemed to diminish and Obtenebra would recede back into the black knight guise it favored. The condensed ball that hovered nearby and had temporarily replaced Lunara proved enough of a distraction to have Agony veer himself toward that position and frantically search for the diminutive fairy. When it was clear that the spherical object housed his usually jovial companion, Agony narrowed that potent crimson gaze but just stood there and allowed the transformation to occur. He could feel the compressed power before him. When the silhouette of her frame returned, an odd sense of relief fell upon Agony that he would never admit to though the stinging realization nearly overwhelmed him. This concoction comprised of worry, dread, arrogance, annoyance, and anger had the black knight’s gauntlets subconsciously balled up into fists as Agony dealt with the flurry of varying emotion. He knew deep down that he had caused whatever was occurring before him to happen. That he had paved the way for this transfer of power into the fairy. He did not enjoy being forced to wait in such uncertainty. He found himself turning his head to look at the large monstrosity that filled this room with a seething anger. God or not, if it did anything to corrupt the purity of his fae companion, he was ready to avenge and spend all of his power doing so.

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The viscous substance that entered the fae’s body passed as visions through her mind, as if she was literally drinking knowledge. But the visions were broken, wounded, just like Lirrey Star in its incomplete form; discontinuous and disturbing. There were memories of an epic battle that took place in this very land. A clash of gods and devourer of worlds. It was hard to make out any details, the sounds and visions screeching by so fast that it made Lunara’s head pound. She had no eyes, so there was nothing to squeeze shut against the images that assaulted her. No mouth to scream her pain. A mounting fear that she was to be trapped here forever, with no body, and thus no mortality. An eternal torture. Lirrey was a trap..

But through the horribly disjointed scenes that Lunara was forced to witness, a Truth emerged, etched into her mind. It wasn’t a fact that she deduced from the visions, but truth with a capital T, indisputable and cast in stone. When the remaining droplets from the pool of blood had fused into her, and she was set down gently onto the ground, glowing with power, a name was upon her tongue.

“Velemibor,” she voiced, and all the villagers, including the massive tentacled creature above them, almost seemed to tremble. “The Eater of Stars - he will return. The Order of the White Hand must be eliminated.”

The light that suffused the faerie subsided, allowing the rest to take a good look at her. Ancient symbols snaked down her left arm, dark red tattoos resembling the pattern that Dr Xeyal’s pet had painstakingly arranged on the cave wall. Agony, being accustomed to the tiny faerie’s magical signature, would sense a shift to those powers. It was augmented with something unfamiliar, something perhaps even more ancient than Fae magic itself.

Lunara’s gaze shot towards the Admiral, the former Herald’s inelegant manifestation of Lirrey’s gift plain for all to see. “Your services are no longer necessary,” the faerie said. With a finesse that eluded the former Herald, Lunara threw her left hand outward, and a dark red tentacle uncoiled from her arm, lashing out at the Admiral. She tried to counter the fae’s attack with her own tentacles, but it was obvious that she was outmatched in speed and strength. Lunara plunged her newfound weapon through her target’s chest, drawing out a horrific scream from the Admiral that ended in a gurgle. She burst apart into a pool of blood, splattering them all with gore, most of it unfortunately ending up on Agony.

Then she turned to face the sinners. “Now repent,” she pointed at the three who had arrived with her. The villagers chanted after their new leader and ringed them in, cutting off their way to the newly-opened portal. Repent. Repent. Repent. Lunara flew over to them slowly, a gleam in her eye.

Then she stopped and stroked her chin. “I guess, since you’re already bathed in blood now, you can just… say sorry?”

She grinned.

Edited by jaistlyn

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Sasha is horrendously confused.  Everyone was fighting.  Then they weren't.  Then they were fighting again?  Then they weren't?  What was going on?  The Forbidden Snack felt different now.  Wrong.  The same kind of Wrong that surrounded them and pervaded this town at its very core.  The mob's stance seemed directly reflected by the flighty creature's mercurial mood.  Yet her mood, her aura now seemed tapped into the terrifying monstrosity.  It would be best if they all just left now during this brief opportunity.  But the Flesh Dancer was trapped in a haze of survival instinct, the Metal Dancer seemed enthralled by the creeping demise that awaited them within Yh'mi, and the Forbidden Snack's actions were as wild and unpredictable as her motives.  The only thing Sasha could think to do in this situation is to relent to Lunara's request.

A flurry of physical and mental anguish descend upon them as if a plague of locusts were assaulting their auditory senses.  A comprehensible and incomprehensible string of syllables melds together through the air in a concussive cacophony of chaos.  If staring into Lirrey Star's true form was an impossibly maddening feat, then listening to this was the equivalent incarnate of ill conceived ideas.  The word blasphemous is not strong enough to encapsulate the profane and paradoxical nature of the sounds this monstrosity ushered forth.

"Sorry," the little shadow girl replied, at Lunara's request. 

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Frantic for the next enemy to approach her, the odd sensation of tendrils grasping Karuna's hand snapped her attention to Dolor who was being dragged towards the pool of blood. Her first reaction was to strike, but at second glance, she realized her ally needed help and it was then she began to find some sense of composure. With a mind still not fully comprehending what was going on, she ran towards Dolor with the intention of assisting in some way,garbing on to dolor's waist, but by then everything went slack.

He may be able to feel the tremble of her adrenaline filled palms  as she slowly came down from the high. 

Those she had slain, were back to their feet. the blood that soaked her was gone, but she could still feel her guilt looming over her but there was little time to process these feelings. As the orb of blood flowed midair, and then condensed into the form of Lunara, Karuna remained at Dolor's side, unknowingly holding his arm.

The fluctuation of power shifting in the room gave Karuna to focus on, as Lunara took form, an uneasiness befell her. Still it was a relief to see her okay, more or less. 

She could feel the power in the Fae girl and as she approached, she honestly did not know how to feel. Should she leave? respond? Apologize? She inevitably decided to remain still as Lunara approached, and a quick joke was enough to ease her nerves. She took a heavy breath, still trying to compose herself.

Just as she felt calm, the horrendous sound of the talking shadow creature brought her immediately to 100 as both fists engulfed in orbs of purple magic were pointed at the sound. Realizing who it was, she just fell to her knees groaning, defeated. 

"I don't know...how much more I can take!" She chuckled nervously attempting to ease her own nerves, but she was still on edge.

"Are we done here? We can talk about what happened AFTER we leave this place?"

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Obtenebra had dug hard into the corpses nearby as well as the ground in a desperate attempt to prevent it’s host from subjecting itself to whatever machinations the Lirrey Star held for those who were judged and convicted by standards that were devoid of Terran law and morality. Agony himself, fearless as he had been pulled close to the pool of blood, fixated upon the sight of Lunara becoming imbued with a power that was ancient in nature and measured high during Agony’s unforgiving discernment as he neared her. His obsession was so acute that Agony had barely noticed Karuna’s attempt to prevent the success of the Admiral’s pull until the tremble and sense of the witch’s depletion caught Obtenebra’s attentions. Obtenebra, gluttonous as ever, rippled along the area that the woman touched as she feebly attempted to place her arms around Agony’s massive frame until things significantly calmed down and both witnessed the fairy’s elimination of their current threat.

 

The spray of blood fell upon Agony and Obtenebra wasted no time consuming the blood out of pure feverish hunger and curiousity. The dark liquid would seep into Agony as if the massive knight was absorbing it. Bright red seared through his helm and toward Lunara who pointed their way and asked them to repent. Lunara’s approach and grin were met with a narrowed gaze as he no longer sensed the energy signature that he had learned to discern from the fairy but instead felt something new. Obtenebra rippled violently now as the absorbed blood began prying against its own separate will. A compulsion arose to comply with the comical request of this new avatar which showed as tendrils formed out of what had originally been tough armor and lurched toward the fairy hungrily but Agony remained silent.

 

Karuna would feel the odd texture of the supposed armor she held latch on to her skin a bit until the witch snapped her arms away and toward Sasha in her fear. Still a small extension of Obtenebra would not allow Karuna to detach herself, clinging to some of the woman’s wrist even through the conjuring of purple energy on her hand, lapping on the vibrant energy she wielded and scrutinizing its potential as sustenance. As all of this occurred Agony had been deep in contemplation regarding what had just occurred. Logic would count this as victory but something else did not allow him to accept a win. His head turned to regard the larger creature in the distance with burgeoning contempt and suspicion. The creature’s physical size and the power that was felt did not deter Agony any. Were he bound by the emotions and inclinations he held as well as Obtenebra’s then what had just occurred may have only been a prelude to a much more difficult battle for dominance here.

 

He had heard the words that had been spoken by the diminutive fairy earlier concerning the Eater of Stars and the Order of the White Hand. While he was beginning to agree with the latter, he knew little of the former and it was this ignorance that annoyed him the most. The sensation that the fairy had allowed herself to be submerged within powers she knew little about filled Agony with a sense he had forgotten for centuries.

 

Dread.

 

Forceful baritone erupted from an unseen orifice to address Lunara now, Obtenebra still clinging to Karuna as if attempting to console the witch after she was clearly overwhelmed even while it felt briefly compelled by the blood it had ingested. “Am I absolved of the debt I owed you? Did you get what you wanted?” Emphasis decorated many of the words he had just spoken as if he was angry at something…or someone. Agony didn’t know why his words were delivered in this fashion but they felt right…especially when everything else just felt…wrong.

Edited by Dolor Aeternum

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Sasha’s apology reverberated off the walls of the cave like a barrage of dark energy, similar but also different from the nature of power in Yh’mi. The townspeople wailed in Terror and stepped away from the shadow girl, holding their heads as if in pain. Even Lirrey Star’s tentacles seemed to shift along the walls. Lunara was immediately reminded of the deafening screams in the weird echo chamber they had crossed on their way here. She winced. That was not a sensation she appreciated experiencing again. Now the faerie knew why the pet kept silent the whole time, and it was obvious that the cretin was far more intelligent than she gave it credit for.

“Okay, okay, you’re forgiven for your sin,” she said quickly to Sasha. She stole a glance at Lirrey Star to see if there was a response. This new Avatar role was something she hadn’t yet grasped the boundaries of. The sprawling creature showed no signs of movement, and so she shrugged and continued. The witch’s nervous chuckle was dismissed for the moment when Agony spoke, with more emotion in his voice than Lunara had ever heard before. In fact, he sounded like a spoiled child who had been forced to do something that he didn’t like. It irritated Lunara. “What, are you jealous because you haven’t been chosen to receive the power? Yes, you are free from the debt, but I thought your reason for coming along would be more than that. Perhaps it was just me being naïve, thinking that you are no longer the selfish person you once were. Well, you’re free to go now.” 

With a wave of her tiny hand, the townspeople of Lirrey dispersed and headed back out in an orderly fashion, no doubt either resuming their sigil in the church, or back to their perfectly routine lives. Lunara pointed at Karuna. “You haven’t apologized, but you’re forgiven if you teach me the spell you promised to when you almost killed me. But since you prefer it, we can do that outside.” She spun around, then flew back through the way they came, up the winding staircase that led to the nave, and out the doors of the church. On her way out, she stole a glance at the third painting on the wall, the one that remained blurry. A part of the puzzle had been revealed to her though, and it was in the form of the background, depicting a busy harbour. She had seen it in Lirrey’s visions, and she knew immediately that it lay far south in Yh’mi, within unexplored territory.

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For-given?  Sasha expressionlessly tilted her head to one side.  Well, whatever the meaning that lay locked behind those words, the Forbidden One appeared satisfied.  As did the townsfolk walking away with stark normalcy, as if church had just concluded for the day.  The girl of shadows couldn't say whether the Monster was satisfied as well, but she could say she didn't want to know.

Her attention diverts to Karuna, fists of purple flame prepared to strike down the offensive beast.  It wasn't pitchforks and torches, but it was a familiar fear that Sasha saw etched into the flesh dancer's face.  The look faded into one of exhaustion, which was a relief to the fiend of darkness.  There was no telling how poorly things would turn out if they were forced to turn upon one another.  A tragic ending considering their mission had been a success, at least as far as she had been instructed.

Suggesting they continue this outside, Lunara flew back up the staircase, but Sasha is more hesitant.  She looks back at the portal.  They were supposed to go through it when they created it in order to return home.  But Master had admittedly never said they had to go through right away.  She's certain this was the place he wanted it formed.  So theoretically they could take their time from here.  Not that there was much choice.  Lunara had already gone on ahead.  Reluctantly, Sasha follows after, ascending the staircase in a silent glide.

 

Life in Lirrey had reverted to normal.  The streets were a little bare, but those who they encountered always smiled and any they verbally greeted suggested they head to the harbor.  Though none called them strangers anymore.  Instead, there was a noticeable reverence in the presence of Lirrey's Herald.

Now in the heart of the village of Lirrey, there were numerous buildings to choose from, most of them obvious what they were.  They were bright and perfect: models of engineering worth replicating.  The type of building that influences architecture for centuries into the future, worthy of pride.  To Lunara at least, and Obtenebra to a lesser extent.  To the others, they would be as they were before.  Too perfect with a hyper-real quality juxtaposed with unsettling segments of decay and disuse.

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"Deal." Karuna chimed in, not entirely sure if Lunara was within earshot. She followed suit, looking back at the portal in blunt curiosity. were they suppose to go through that? Like, a victory to defeating the big bad boss? The thought was amusing, but it may very well be the case. 

Also what was up with Armor guy's response? Not that you particularly care or anything, but she most certainly heard a little emotion in his tone. As much as she would love to rub it in, she isn't too sure how he would react. And she's not exactly in a fighting mood right now.

 After a few flights of stairs, they were back out in a now, relatively safe Town square. Karuna forcibly smiled at a particular individual who greeted her, inquiring if she had gone to the harbor. She remembers slaying this one. She really isn't sure how she should feel about any of this to be honest. She murdered these people, do they even remember? What was gained from this?

 

She convinced herself that it was a valuable lesson, albeit one tainted in blood... that at the end of the day, she has unfinished business, and nothing was going to stand in the way of that. Not even her own morality. She was not sure how far down the rabbit hole she would go, but when the torrent of guilt, anguish, and remorse settles, she will most likely, never be the same; as are most people who travel this far in the plains. Perhaps not now, too soon to really process, but eventually she would come to terms with her 'selfish' desires to survive at least until she can resolve her unquenchable thirst for revenge. But for now, those emotions will be kept to herself. For now, it didn't happen. Repression. yes, that always leads to healthy results. Good thinking. She shook her head, realizing she took pause for a bit longer than she should. She looks back up at Lunara who was assumed to be watching Karuna expectantly.

"Sorry! Right. the spell. Um..." she ponders mumbling out loud.

" Well...Fae beings usually have an affinity for magic, but seeing as you has this newfound Eldritch power, I'm not really sure what spell to give you that wouldn't blow up in our faces immediately... Then again, I almost blew you up so..."

She paused for a moment her arms crossed in contemplation.

"I guess it would only be fitting to teach you that spell then huh?" She takes a few steps out in the open, still within earshot, but enough for her spell to be cast. She turned to Lunara, removing her robe, leaving only a burgundy crop top to cover her upper body. She tosses it between her, and the party.

"So the trick to this spell, is to focus on a particular location or object. The stronger the input of magic, and I'm assuming you understand how magic works since you can cast illusions, the larger the flame, but the more focused, the more deadly. Ensuring you properly pronounce the spell is important too. Mispronouncing can lead to...shenanigans... Keep your eyes focused, Know your intent. Do NOT take your eye off the target while pronouncing this spell I cannot stress this enough. a-nd..." 

She raises her hand towards her tossed robe. 

 

"Inferno!" Her voice echoed with the magic she imbued into the spell. the space the robe inhabited began to glow red before it combusted immediately into a torrent of flames. As if the air around it was the fuel to the controlled, yet deceptively wild flame, the flame did not relent, scorching the ground as the cape flopped wildly in the gusty fire. the flame immediately ceased the moment she lowered her hands. Though the area was scorched black, the robe remained without scorch, only sizzling along with the crackling earth around it.

"Give it a try. Your arsenal could use some offensive magic, I think."

 

 

 

 

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This boiling sensation within depths yet unexplored by this ancient being augmented the intensity of his gaze upon Lunara. That burning crimson never left the fairy’s small form for even a second as he watched her respond and prove that once again she misunderstood his stance and what he aimed to convey. Blame, however, was not solely impressed upon her and this failure, as minor as it was, cemented Agony’s belief that this communication he had agreed to offer was going to be no trivial accomplishment. Truth was paramount and gone were the days where enigma covered his words. This did not mean he had an appropriate verbal response to the negative one provided to the fairy, however. Sasha’s reverberating voice almost became muffled as Agony lost himself in introspection.

 

The amorphous being chose to brood in silence for now, staring so intently at Lunara that his gaze might feel tangible to her tiny frame. There were no syllables he could currently tie together to convey what was brewing within him so rather than risk an outburst much like he had in Orisia during their escape from the capital city, Agony chose to bide his time. Lunara would find Agony remained close to her form at all times, no matter how fast she weaved or how elusive her movements were. Karuna would see his form towering behind the fairy as she tried to fashion an agreement with the witch. Actions tacitly explained what his own words couldn’t. Agony would never leave Lunara alone willingly.

 

Agony noticed Lunara peer at the paintings on the wall within the church, able to decipher that a revelation had come. It was only then that a few words slipped through.

 

“Is something wrong?”

 

The trio of words came out just smooth enough to signal actual concern though his current stance wouldn’t support that notion. Regardless of her response, the triumvir would continue maintaining his closeness even as Karuna started to speak and then removed her robe to fully reveal what she had been wearing underneath. Agony shifted his gaze during the demonstration upon the witch and then watches as she burns her robe. The volatility of the flame caused Obtenebra to shift slightly along his arm as if it wished to lap up the magical energy that was just expelled. Once Karuna motioned for Lunara to test if she could conjure that powerful spell, Agony stepped forward and stood directly near the burning robe before turning his gaze to Lunara.

 

“Use me as your focus….”

 

Obtenebra didn’t seem to enjoy Agony’s words then, the knight guise that he held nearly ceasing to exist before Agony willed it to return…at least for now. Was Lunara annoyed enough at him to comply? Was this a self-serving request or a legitimate attempt to aid the fairy? If only he could communicate well, Lunara and everyone nearby may not be forced to guess.

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Agony stared at her, with an indeterminate intention. It was not the stare of animosity, nor was it the hungry stare that so many different kinds of beings harboured when they looked at her. The ancient blob had a habit of using his gaze to convey to her different things, but whatever message he carried this time, Lunara pointedly ignored it and refused to meet his gaze. His relentless following made her feel uncomfortable and unresolved, but she said nothing until he spoke up.

”Is something wrong?”

It was so strange to hear such normal words coming from Agony that she shuddered. “N-nothing,” she blurted out. She opened her mouth to speak again, stealing another glance at the painting, but shook her head and moved onwards towards the church doors. Agony couldn’t see what she saw, it seemed. She didn’t trust her understanding of the situation enough yet to share what exactly had happened, and she didn’t see Agony as much of a confidante. He was coarse, insensitive, and unpredictable. “Perhaps later,” she murmured, barely audible.

The village was as beautiful as she remembered, and she felt a sort of familiarity and nostalgia to it, as if she was returning to a hometown that she had left behind long ago. Lost in her own thoughts, she didn’t notice Karuna’s pause. Her attention was drawn back, however, when the girl threw her cloak aside. It was true that Lunara could use some offensive magic. Unlike humans who made magic into a study, like mathematics or history, her kind had always relied on and expanded what came to them naturally. It was as ingrained into their existence as walking or flying, but it didn’t mean that they couldn’t train to run a marathon.

More than the incantation itself, Lunara  paid attention to the way the magic was channeled within and around Karuna as she cast her spell. The fire took both magic and air as fuel, and it was only by her skilled control that the cloak was left unharmed. The feat was impressive, and Lunara raised an eyebrow at the witch when she motioned for her to try it. She was either very confident in her skills, or didn’t care about the cloak at all. Well, then she wouldn’t worry too much about it either. Keeping her eyes on the cloak, she started to recall the flow of magic that Karuna had demonstrated, but her view was soon blocked by a very large and black obstacle.

”Use me as your focus…”

Glowing red eyes bore into the faerie, and she found herself abruptly at a loss. Agony was acting strange. What exactly was he trying to get across? But if he wanted it, then she would oblige. She highly doubted that he would be hurt anyway, in fact she hadn’t ever seen anything that resembled injury being inflicted on the blob before. “Alright, since you asked for it…” She shifted her focus to the being in the dark knight guise. The incantation that Karuna had used played in her head, until she felt she was as ready as she could be.

“Inferno.” There was conviction in the incantation, and a ring of flames burst around Agony. However, it was more difficult to control the strands of magic than Lunara had intended. A seed of doubt sprang into her thoughts, breaking her focus briefly, and that was enough for nature’s natural order to wrench control from her. The flames swung wildly for a moment, its raging tongues licking Agony. In a flash, it consumed all the magical energy supplied to it, then went out with an audible pop. Lunara was jerked backwards like a suddenly-released rubber band. She tumbled through the air, cursing. Beating her wings frantically, she caught her balance close to the ground, then glanced towards Agony. The faerie was half guilty, half curious and half apprehensive of how he would react. 

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A few of the villagers that pass by the demonstration look vaguely uncomfortable despite their typical parroted response.  In other circumstances, they were supposed to take action against those who would sully and damage the great Lirrey.  A new Herald has signaled the overturning of the previous Avatar's priorities.  Some mild scorching of the streets would have to be overlooked?  Their instructions unclear, they would have to visit the nearby church and pray for more guidance in these confusing times when it came time for their habitual visit.  But so long as the Herald requires no action in regards to the servants who escorted her to the sacred Lirrey, then none would be taken.

 

The quiet and inconspicuous shadow monster felt much tension leave her upon the group's exit from the inner chambers of Lirrey.  Her unease didn't leave entirely.  She felt far too exposed in this surface world, incapable of sinking back into the comfort of the shadow world within the unnatural town limits.  Which meant bearing the insufferable rays of the noon sun directly for as long as necessary, the light even penetrating some of the natural shade cast by her cloak, granting vague glimpses of the black, void filled eyes hidden within.

Finding and staying behind the largest member to cast a shadow would remain a high priority for the creature, which largely meant silently trailing on Agony's heels, close enough that the natural chill that emanates from her form like an unholy aura can easily be felt.  When the group stops for Karuna's demonstration, Sasha shifts, emerging slightly, her curiosity enabling her to bear the evils of the light a little more than usual.  Her inquisitiveness immediately punishes her as the roaring cackle of fire bursts to life, bathing her in the mixed malevolence of sweet warmth and bitter light.  Shrinking back, she once more juxtaposed Agony between her and the scorching light.  This was much like it was with Dawen.  Always ending up with groups containing fire lovers... Master must be arranging this on purpose out of displeasure.  She would have to redouble her efforts to satisfy him.

Suddenly and without warning, the Metal Dancer moved forward to offer himself as the focus of Lunara's casting.  The little shadow girl stayed in place, or rather even backed up some meters to get a little more distance between her and the distasteful display of supernatural power.  Yet even so, a tendril of darkness emerged from Agony's shadow and wrapped around his hand to tug on it, trying to pull him away.  No force was being exerted to do so.  It was less a violent attempt and more a child's warning.  A warning of danger, that this was bad, to please move before it was too late.  The Metal Dancer would never actually move of course, fearless as he was.  And as the Forbidden One agreed and begun to channel, the tendril released its hold and sunk back into the darkness, slithering back into nothing.  The only reaction further garnered from the shadow beast was a flinch when the pixie's incomplete inferno took hold, representing either empathy or pain.

Edited by Reinholdt

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Agony stood in the middle of this fabricated land, surrounded by illusory constructs that were now governed by this diminutive fairy he considered his companion. This land oozed with power of which a sliver deposited itself into Lunara and bolstered her abilities. The ridiculous notion that envy or jealousy had motivated his response to such a thing only cemented this disconnect that just simply could not persist if everything they have accomplished thus far were to mean something. He would not see another ally fall to ruin nor would he allow Lunara to untether herself from him or those that remained. Agony’s gaze became all the more intense as these thoughts settled firmly in the ancient being’s mind as he waited for Lunara to execute the spell. The shadowy tug offered by Sasha was met with a fierce embrace between kindred darkness before he’d loosen his hold in preparation for his companion’s display.

 

“Inferno”

 

Obtenebra noticed the manipulation of magic around it long before the physical manifestation occurred and it trembled in anticipation. The sentient ooze undulated violently and gone was the guise of knight in lieu of an amorphous structure. The intense heat was nothing that Obtenebra had not faced before but that did not mean it was impervious to the pain inflicted by the burns that lingered along its surface. There was no painful cry or other sound offered. Flames clung to its surface and created a bubbling mass of liquid along what could be considered Agony’s midsection had he resembled anything remotely humanoid in this moment.

 

Sasha’s ethereal chill suddenly became a balm for the symbiotic entity in that moment as it distracted from the magical burn inflicted by Lunara. Obtenebra refused to return to the knight guise and Agony obliged, maintaining what would be a slightly larger mass now that it did not have to confine itself to the rigid structure that it had used this entire journey. After a few seconds of silence, rumbling baritone moved to address Lunara.

 

“Impressive. Honing your newfound power is paramount. Together we will see your power benefits us all…”

 

A shadow tendril whipped out from behind him to cling to Sasha as the flames dissipated to allow the small creature the solace of the haven caused by his shadow. Obtenebra moved slowly along Agony’s surface area in a circular fashion as it recovered even though it looked undamaged on the exterior now. Crimson eyes never left their fixated spot upon Lunara either, Agony making it a point to never break gaze even though his eyes had shifted at an odd angle due to Obtenebra.

 

“Where do you wish to go now?”

 

This was a clear pivot from the emotional response he had given in front of the Lirrey Star earlier as even his tone seemed much more subdued and tranquil. Change was brewing but would it be enough?

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 Karuna was eager to see what would transpire.  She has never actually tried to teach someone any of her spells before, mostly due to her lack of proper training. There was no question her mana control was unparalleled, (not so much nowadays), but that was only because her father was an excelent teacher. He did not have enough time in this world to teach her spellcasting, though she spent years engraining the importance of control into her. In hindsight, she is certain it was due to the awareness of the struggles she would inevitably face in her later years. Of course, she would not tell lunara that, at least not right now.  So long as the fairy's focus remained on her robe, there should be no real detrimental hiccups; this was actually one of the more mild spells in her arsenal which certainly could use some refurbishing.

But just as one would think Agony would not become any edgier, the heavy-set warrior trenched his way in front of the target and insisted he be set aflame by the Avatar of lirrey.

"If you wanted to get roasted, you could have just asked me you know?" Karuna joked, insinuating both meanings of the term'. But after a moment of pause, on realizing he was being serious on being the test dummy,  she took a few steps to the side of the action.  What was once a test trial on a spot on the floor became 10x that size with live test subjects within seconds. Sure, Agony was a pretty sturdy...thing? But this spell is no joke. It relies on the focus of the user to pin point an area of effect. The air surrounding him will literally ignite, and depending how much magic is expended with the amount of focus involved  dictates how royally fucked the situation would be.

This all seemed strange and out of character to Karuna. Even for Agony, this seemed rediculously unreasonable. What did he benefit from? Even the creature of shadow did not seem too happy about it either, as it tugged Agony hoping to sway his decision but of course, he didn't. She felt bad for it, even though she was still not sue what 'It' was. That was a question for another day. 

She recalls the series of strange things Agony had been doing.  The uncomfortably closeness to lunara, asking if she was okay, the odd attentiveness towards...

And now volunteering to be her focus...

'No...' she thought to herself as her view shifted to Lunara, then to Agony.

'No fucking way...' 

He could not possibly have feelings for the fae could he?  If so this is by far the worst..and oddly the cutest way to do it when put into context. At the very least he is trying his best to be acknowledged by her..but the witch could think of a few ways to get someone's attention that involved less...ignition.

As if this stand off could not possibly get any stranger, the armor in which Karuna silently questioned in regards to its sentience, seemingly sprang to life to defend its wearer, but at a rather painful looking cause. Karuna was certainly taken aback and her eyes grew large for a moment, and then soft again as she realized she probably should have expected something like that to happen.

She took a breath and looked back at lunara who seemed further back than she was previously. She sight even notice when the fae girl slang shot herself back after suck a mighty spell. It was to be expected really. Sheer raw energy flowed within lunara, and along with her newfound powers, karuna questioned for a moment if teaching the fae spells was a wise idea. She shook it off and merely smiled as she reconveined with her party members. She snatched her cloak along the way, Dusting off the soot.

"That was both terrifying and amazing at the same time! I'm very impressed,  but in the future,  make sure you have...

She stopped.

Lunara?"

There was a moment of silence, poker faced and all, as she seemingly starred off in the distance.

"Do you know if there are any libraries here?" 

If any were to take a look in the direction Karuna was looking,   they would notice a hooded figure in black turning the corner rather swiftly. The figure was less important to Karuna than the book they were holding. 

Before anyone could give her a response, she bolted off in the figure' s direction. 

If lunara did have the ability to know what goes on in the city, she would know that there were no libraries, at least those which Karuna was looking for. And citizens don't usually wander the streets reading. In fact if lunara could go beyond and sense who is influenced in the web that controls the people, she would see it was an independent.

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She had already known that Agony could feel pain, and he even welcomed it. However, he had never expressed any overt form of response to that particular sensation, and this time was not an exception. The blob did drop the knight’s disguise, though Lunara supposed it did not matter at this point. She doubted the other two would have too much of a response to it. The shadow pet itself had a nature that was unknown as well.

”Impressive. Honing your newfound power is paramount. Together we will see your power benefits us all…”

Admonishment, disappointment, anger were the emotions that Lunara would have expected. Once again, Agony’s reaction blew her away. This change that had suddenly come over him since she gained Lirrey Star’s favour was met with confusion. The faerie was at a loss for words - her usual sarcastic quips seemed inappropriate for the moment.

”Where do you wish to go now?

That was a question she hadn’t considered. She had accomplished her aim in Yh’mi, found the power that had been calling out to her, and now there was a sense of duty that she had to fulfill her mission as Lirrey’s Herald - to amass enough forces to take on the White Hand. The best way to do that was to pull her connections in Abbadon, help the organization grow and obtain power. Though honestly she wouldn’t have minded staying in this beautiful town, protecting it forever.. She shook her head against that train of thought. That had been the weakness of the last Herald.

“We should go to Weland,” she said. The status of their base in Patia was shaky since it was still unknown how well the Patian Lord had taken to their kidnapping of the Orisian Queen, and Rodan would probably need more hands to build whatever influence they already had in the outskirts of Weland.

”Lunara? Do you know if there are any libraries here?”

The answer was no, but an anomaly raised the hairs on the faerie’s neck. A stranger to Lirrey, but not just a visitor. Karuna bolted off, and Lunara followed close on her heels. “Intruder. Stop him!”

She needn’t have said that out loud. At the will of their Herald, the townspeople of Lirrey stopped whatever they were doing and spilled out onto the streets in front of the figure. They reached their hands out to grab at the cloaked person - but their attempts were met with a fiery explosion around the figure, not unlike what Karuna had just taught Lunara. Charred bodies hit the ground and promptly disappeared. The intruder was making progress through the crowd, even though it seemed there was no end to the townspeople streaming out of the houses.

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The monster of shadows doesn't understand.  Sasha doesn't understand.  Did... did Agony just hug her?  W-why?  Was he trying to crush her?  Then why did it feel... safe?  Warm?  No, not warm.  Not physically at least.

Maybe... Maybe there was no sense to be had in the creature who faced fire unafraid.  The one who transformed from a mass of metal to one of amorphous darkness.  A darkness that faced the searing nature of light unmoved and unshaken at his own request.  A darkness that spoke and walked freely without inciting hatred and terror.  Such a creature must surely be lost in the depths of madness.  N-nothing else could explain that sudden embrace.

Sasha remained at a loss for what was happening when Agony provided a tendril of his own to cast protective shade over her.  At the very least Agony must be unaware of the hideous abomination she was, undeserving of such basic kindness.  Sometimes adults would get confused and mistake her for a small normal girl to protect.  That only usually happened with first impressions however.  It was far beyond that point in time.  There must be something awful in this town driving everyone insane.  First Lunara, then Agony, now even Karuna, throwing out abnormal queries about berries.  Sasha couldn't blame them for leaving their sanity at the door.  This place was inherently awful, the village preventing her from reaching her home plane of shadows, friendly neighbors forming flash mobs, and that indescribable horror in the rotting church.  The sooner they all left, the better.

Which meant sticking with Karuna and Lunara as they zoomed after an unknown.  Lunara insisted they stop him, and it was a nice focus for the shadow girl.  Clear, obvious instructions.  She knew how to chase after and catch people... Normally.  With access to her better half.  Now she glides along at a reasonable pace, but nowhere near the speeds she could otherwise have reached outside of Lirrey.  Still, she held enough mastery to manipulate the shadows, even if she couldn't be possessed by them.  A blackened tendril, flat and sharp, shot forth to sever the tendons in the figure's legs with the alarming precision of someone who has performed this surgery dozens of times at least.

The figure's saving grace is their fire skills, the cut slowing them down but failing to get deep enough to accomplish the intended task before the tendril dissipated.  Why must everyone magically utilize the destroyer of darkness?  It was frustrating and the creature of shadows sank into a cold sulk, unable to do much more under these conditions except keep pace.

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