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Tyler

The Long Road Home

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@Dolor Aeternum @jaistlyn

The faintest rays of sunlight filtered through the thick forest canopy as the odd trio trudged onward toward the great mountain range that separated the Dark Forest from the vast, central Terran savannas. Many miles behind them lie the Anima Imperium, site of their organization's first great failure, and where they had left behind a madness-inducing entity that had been released during their stay there. While the sequence of events that had unfolded there could certainly have gone far worse, there was no doubt that the result was disastrous nonetheless.

The focus of their mission, Gabriela DuGrace, Queen of Orisia, had been retaken by her consorts, while their supposed ally in Marigold Ravenspire had betrayed them in a deluge of sentimental weakness. One of their fellow Abbadon members, Nines, had vanished the night before, Rodan's potential recruit in Immie Gladstone had likewise disappeared in the chaos of the following day, and their secondary prisoner Arashi Sato had been turned over to Marigold, who no doubt still had possession of her, presuming he still lived. And as if all these losses had not been enough, the Abbadon Triumvirate was now known to the ruler of the Carmine Empire, and not in a good way. But if he delayed in seeking revenge upon them, then his rival Roen may just beat him to the punch. The Crimson King had played host to the Triumvirate prior to the events involving the Orisian Queen, allowing them to house their main base of operations in his city of Patia. It was far less certain if Roen now held the same animosity for Abbadon as Rafael did, but the risk was certainly there.

As the days had gone, the few conversations held between the three had mostly been relaying to one-another all that they had encountered and experienced during the course of the mission, thus allowing them to get a clear picture of what had happened and what went wrong. But the topic was soon to turn to the matter of where to go from here. And with the security of their main base, if not entire organization, now in question, that was to be an important topic indeed.

Edited by Tyler

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The faerie was unusually quiet on their journey away from the Imperium. The last encounter with the laughing entity had shaken her. She felt violated - throughout the days that followed, there had been several times where she felt as if she had lost control of herself. It had been scarier than any other threat she had ever faced, the awful feeling when you were screaming in your head, but your body didn’t respond. She would probably have became a face among those creepy laughing heads if Agony had not intervened.

And somehow she was mad at him for it. 

Through it all, the blob never told them what his aim was. He worked alone, as he always did. As a result, his partners didn’t know how to back him up. 

“What was the point?” she said quietly at first, then stopped in her tracks, raising her voice. “What was the point of it all?” she shouted, tearfully. “Why, what exactly did you want, Agony? Is this what you wanted? We failed, but I don’t even know what we failed at! How were we to know what to do when you never even told us anything?!“

Edited by jaistlyn

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It was not uncommon for anyone traveling with this ancient being to endure long bouts of silence where one remains ignored for the entirety of the trip but something within Agony’s rushed gait and demeanor spoke volumes to those observant or concerned enough to see. Distancing themselves from the Anima Imperium and maneuvering through the forest with hasty stealth tactics to avoid being followed, Agony could do nothing other than focus on extracting these two from a predicament he had placed them in. It was clear to him that in the end he had saved them from an unknown but likely worse fate but there was no solace found in this realization. His calculating mind struggled to scrape any benefit from this venture and while he did not house the entirety of the blame for its failure, it seemed that he wished to shoulder it. Agony had confronted an Elder, a devil, and a vampyre queen to attain power only to escape with new enemies and new factors that could be a detriment to his ascension.

 

The thirst for power had narrowed his focus into the myopic and now they all suffered for it. Uncertainty now stained what had been stable and betrayal made him question whether he could trust anyone. Anyone other than these two individuals who should have abandoned him miles before should they have adopted his logic and not their own. Agony had wished for this silence between them all to persist after they had expressed their account of the events but naturally the faerie would not allow him to get his way. Her quiet question thundered into his mind and the questions that followed resounded more forcefully against his mind. He was no empath but he could feel the force of Lunara’s emotion and was now overwhelmed with a sensation that was foreign to him. He had maneuvered her small frame into a position where someone else of considerable power had violated her. Though he knew such pain and hardship would furnish strength, he could not escape this damning feeling. Was this regret?

 

As the faerie’s emotions were laid bare, Agony stopped immediately, his back facing her. It would not be known whether he was considering ignoring her questions or simply had trouble formulating a response for it would take a likely agonizing minute before that deep baritone he chose to communicate in shot out of his form.

 

“Power! That queen strung those two fools even in her own weakness. I wished to break her…to force her into relinquishing what little power she held and then bargain with the Elder for more. They were mere stepping stones to my ascension…”

 

Instead they had become stumbling blocks to whatever profitable thing that had been accomplished by this organization already.

 

“I….failed…as soon as I involved you all”

 

This might have come out as a rude pivot of blame but he continued.

 

“Risking our affiliation and the anonymity we hold was foolish…”

 

Agony carefully chose his words, his delivery honest to a fault perhaps but the time for subterfuge or duplicity has long past when it comes to these two individuals. They had earned this right.

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The events of the past few weeks had held many unique highs and lows for Rodan, as his involvement in the mission had been merely as an accessory. In the process, he had allowed himself to be entertained by concerns more immediate to himself rather than the overarching goal of the mission. Indeed, much like Lunara, he had never understood what the mission even was in the first place. Yes, it involved the brilliant kidnapping of the Orisian Queen, a feat that he and the faerie could share equal credit in achieving, but it seemed as though the plan beyond that point had either never been divulged, or perhaps never formed. Rodan had not pondered this greatly during the mission, however; as he had been distracted by both his efforts to recruit Immie, and his interest in replicating the powers of Arashi, both endeavors that ended in failure. Their short and disastrous stay at the Imperium had brought nothing but further frustration, as their host Marigold, though initially a man who showed some level of promise, proved himself to be just another weak, emotional fool. More unnerving to the Mutator had been the display of power by the Elder Vampyre, in the form of shadow beasts and blood magic, which left Rodan to more solidly realize how many beings existed in this world that were far more powerful than he could hope to be. Such a realization was humbling, especially to a man who had once fancied himself a god among men.

But, if there was a bright spot to this debacle, it was in his interactions with Gabriela DuGrace. Not so much because of any words that were exchanged, but rather for the moments when his hands were laid upon her body, allowing him to take-in all that there was to know about the prime vampyre specimen. He had learned much from her, and this knowledge would soon be used to improve his own mutant soldier designs. On the same token, he had considered it a great privilege to have been able to transform a noble. Not just a noble, but a queen; a leader of a nation. It was something he could not help but take pride in, even if he knew that it also made him a wanted man. And that was the point his amorphous colleague was now making, for they had now exposed much of their nature and operation to betrayers and enemies.

"We are in agreement, but the deed is already done." Rodan spoke, his demeanor calm and collected, as it almost always was.

The lack of emotion may be interpreted as apathy, but the Mutator simply viewed hysterics as pointless, especially when there was no imminent threat to life and limb. Agony and Lunara were free to squabble together like a married couple on their own time, but the fate of their organization may now be at stake. Level heads would be needed.

"We have learned something from this, which is the need for greater communication and deliberation in our actions. The impromptu nature of this operation was unbecoming of us, and we should take it as a lesson in what to avoid in the future. That said, what is important now is to learn just where we stand going forward. What has become of Nines? What will Lord Roen's next move be, if he takes any? And what of Dr. Marigold, should he still be alive, and anything he may have learned about us? We must be prepared for repercussions from multiple angles."

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Lunara glared daggers into Agony’s back. The blob stopped in his motion; obviously he had heard her words. There was a tension-filled silence between them as the faerie waited for an answer. The uncomfortableness was caused by him, and she wasn’t about to relieve it on his behalf. She had done enough things on his behalf.

”Power! That queen strung those two fools even in her own weakness. I wished to break her…to force her into relinquishing what little power she held and then bargain with the El der for more. They were mere stepping stones to my ascension…”

So that was why he had spent such a long time with Gabriela the moment they entered the Imperium. Lunara had felt the Queen’s fear when Gabriela attempted to escape. It was the same weakness that Agony talked about that held her back from running and losing them in the wilderness. Perhaps if that bastard doctor didn’t betray them, Agony would have succeeded in getting her to yield. Perhaps if she had known his plan and helped in persuading her-

“I….failed…as soon as I involved you a ll..”

What? Lunara bristled in anger, until Agony clarified that he shouldn’t have risked the identity of the Triumvirate members. The thought of Agony doing this alone, however, had never occurred to her. Would he have been able to accomplish the kidnapping of Gabriela by himself? Rodan and her had played no small role in that. Furthermore, what would have happened to Agony if he faced the wrath of Rafael and Roen alone, both immensely powerful entities? Somehow, the thought of Agony getting into trouble without her wasn’t a pleasant one, and it confused the heck out of the tiny faerie.

“I..-”

”We are in agreement, but the deed is already done."

How did Rodan manage to keep so calm all the time? 

”..What is important now is to learn just where we stand going forward. What has become of Nines? What will Lord Roen's next move be, if he takes any? And what of Dr. Marigold, should he still be alive, and anything he may have learned about us? We must be prepared for repercussions from multiple angles."

The words that Rodan chose signified that he, too, didn’t see a path where they didn’t work together. “Yes, we need to decide what to do next,” Lunara emphasized, looking to Agony to see if he had caught the point. 

“I didn’t mention the organization at any point, what about you all?” Lunara asked. “The Queen and those with her know that we are from Patia, and perhaps affiliated with Roen. Her and Rafael may even think we were sent by Roen. Marigold didn’t take samples of your blood, did he? Agony destroyed the vial containing mine, so the only thing he has on us are what he has seen and heard from us and Nines. Nines should have been smart enough to not give too much detail about us - she didn’t know we would end up at the Imperium, anyway.”

“Agony can shapeshift - it would be easy for you to lie low. The Black Queen has only seen me as a human, and even so, probably thinks I’m dead. In the blood rain, I don’t think she realized that she had met me at the castle. Marigold, on the other hand, hasn’t seen me in human form.”

At that thought, Lunara transformed herself into her human form. If Marigold had sent out an alert about them, his description would include a small purple flying creature, not a human female. She continued her analysis.

“Perhaps the only one more recognizable is Rodan. That is easily solved for now.” With a snap of her fingers, Rodan’s outer appearance completely changed, becoming a woman with unremarkable features. Lunara giggled to herself. “Well, now no one in the vicinity should be able to recognize us. They can only see through my illusion if they have reason to suspect it. Where do we go, though?”

Edited by jaistlyn

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Agony had long discarded Nines as a possible ally regardless of wherever the drow woman decided to place herself. Had Nines been present through the whole ordeal, Agony’s inevitage rage would have confronted the woman with an intensity the sentient being now reserved solely for Marigold and his supposed haven within the woods. While Lunara attempted to glare through the thick mass of Obtenebra with her piercing anger, Agony bathed in her scrutiny and found himself thriving within the discomfort. Agony’s thoughts were full of conflict at this time and Rodan’s words did little to calm him despite how much truth they held.

 

“I plan on distancing myself from this organization in the eyes of those who would sooner extinguish what we have stoked than relinquish any of their power. The Terrenus’ government, the Carmine Empire, the Anima Imperium, and even beings such as Malice, Rafael or Roen should not prevent us from achieving the power we all need.”

 

Agony’s choice of the inflections of his voice would suggest he truly believed what he just stated but he was not done speaking.

 

“I have left someone on Anima Imperium grounds to provide us with whatever intelligence he can gather. I did not offer any information to any of them that was of substance.”

 

Lunara discussed her perspective on the potential of retaliation and whether or not concern should be given to enforcement entities coming their way. Agony solidified his knight guise, which held far more detail now than the one he used in Blairville so long ago. The persona that Rodan had allowed him to fashion needed to remain intact so Agony logged that specific guise for future use but kept himself compact for now. Obtenebra rippled as it thickened and morphed itself into the lustrous metal that would adorn his entire form. The faerie’s decision to turn Rodan into a female, while brilliant, produced little reaction from Agony though it did remind him of how fortunate he had been during the clandestine meeting they held in Patia to initiate this group. As he regarded both Rodan and Lunara, the sensation that the creation of whatever this relationship they held between them was perhaps worth such hardship flickered into the being’s mind though his gruff words would never evince that.

 

“We need to travel to neutral ground and prepare our next move. I have no haven here in Terrenus. Do either of you?”

 

Terrenus was not Agony’s home and neither was any other land within this realm of Valucre. There had never been a sense that he belonged. The amorphous being cared little about cementing himself in one area for true power should not be contained by lands, realms, or even existences. He aimed to transcend them all. Would the two beings beside him live to experience such power for themselves? Agony felt charged with ensuring they did…at least for now.

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“I didn’t mention the organization at any point, what about you all?”

Rodan searched his memory, trying to recall if he had spoken the name of the Triumvirate to Immie, Arashi, Marigold or even Gabriela, but though he did not recall an instance off-hand, he could not be sure. For as flawlessly perfect as his memory was when it came to storing biological data learned from specimens, his memory on everything else was as susceptible to error as any common man. But he needn’t point that out to anyway.

“Not that I recall.” Rodan replied simply and confidently.

He was telling the truth after all, even if he was covering the fact that he wasn’t actually sure if it happened or not. Wording was always important, as one can tell the truth in many ways, some of which are more beneficial to themself than to others.

Lunara continued, bringing up several worthy points, to which Agony responded by expressing his desire to “distance” himself from the organization. At first it sounded like he meant leaving Abbadon, but after a moment it became more apparent he merely wanted to disguise his association more thoroughly, for the sake of protecting the rest of the Triumvirate. Agony was certainly the most readily recognizable of all the members, which also meant that his recognition in association with Abbadon could be a liability.

“Agony can shapeshift - it would be easy for you to lie low. The Black Queen has only seen me as a human, and even so, probably thinks I’m dead. In the blood rain, I don’t think she realized that she had met me at the castle. Marigold, on the other hand, hasn’t seen me in human form. Perhaps the only one more recognizable is Rodan. That is easily solved for now.”

A few strands of hair falling in front of Rodan’s eye informed him that something had been altered. He raised a hand to move the hair aside, finding that while it reacted to the movement of his fingers, he felt nothing but thin air where matter should have existed. Interesting. Looking down, he found a much different body beneath him, with a feminine figure and altered clothing. Upon attempting to touch these changes, however; he found that they were but thin air, much like the hair strands. His own clothes were what he felt beneath the illusion.

“Very clever.” he grinned, finding it even more amusing that the voice that filtered into the air was a woman’s voice.

Many, or quite frankly most, mortals might have had far more colorful reaction to such a thing, even if it wasn’t real in any sense of the word. So many of them invested so much of their own personal ego into what sex they were, so that they identified so completely with it that the thought of being anything but was just an absurdity. The thought kept Rodan grinning, as he considered that many mortals may have just as strong a reaction to having their sex changed as they might their species or even status as animal instead of vegetable. That was the real absurdity, given it wasn’t that big a change in comparison. Still, the Mutator was left to wonder why he hadn’t used it more often on victims, given the greater subtly of it could create a fascinating array of reactions, both over the short and long term. He’d have to make a mental note to do it more often, just as a social experiment… one he wouldn’t be present to see the final result of, naturally.

“We need to travel to neutral ground and prepare our next move. I have no haven here in Terrenus. Do either of you?”

The earlier line of thought would be shelved for another time; there was still important business to attend to here. Agony had brought up an issue that Rodan had a ready solution to, even if it was hardly the most glamorous one.

“Yes, in fact. There is a farmstead, located on the edge of Weland’s outskirts.” the Mutator spoke-up, “It was secured for our use several months ago, and if my associates have done their duty correctly, its new affiliation remains a secret. It may not be fortified or comfortable like our facility in Patia, but it insulated from attention and would make an adequate safehouse.”

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Lunara had expected Rodan to stay indifferent, or finally get angry, but all he did was to wear a creepy grin on his face as he explored the nature of her illusion. She felt the need to boast a little. “I can do more than that, you know. Make you feel all that you see. But, that would be a waste of my energy to maintain right now,” 

The conversation quickly turned to where they would go next - any fun to be had in the moment was spoiled by her all-too-serious companions however, as the  Even so, the faerie’s spirit had been lightened by Agony’s words. The question he posed to them on whether they had any safehouses meant that the ancient blob was finally willing to recognize the resourcefulness of his comrades.

”Yes, in fact. There is a farmstead, located on the edge of Weland’s outskirts,” Rodan replied.

The faerie had been to Weland several months prior. It was hard to forget the massive rampaging creature that she had dealt with together with Kallias and Mori. “How far is it from the city?” Lunara asked. “There was that mad god who had trampled on parts of the city, but I think the outskirts should be safe.” Weland was very far from where they were though. “I’m not so sure about us going together too..” Even with the disguises, she was starting to think twice about the three of them sticking together. Marigold and Gabriela both knew of Rodan’s ability of transmutation; who knew if the tech freak or the vampyre had some unusual ways to track them? Besides, there was.. some place she wanted to visit, a place that might emit enough interference by itself to negate any tracking efforts on them. Lunara failed to get what she wanted the last time she was there, but now that Agony owed her a debt, she could possibly convince him to assist.

“Hey, Agony. About the blood debt - I wish to go to Yh’mi. There is power to be gained there, and I need your help to obtain it. It’s not that far from here. Besides, no one would go there looking for us, and it’s best if we split up anyway, at least for the moment.” It didn’t seem fair if they left Rodan to travel alone though. She looked at the Mutator. “I think I know of someone who can bring you to Weland faster than conventional methods. But we gotta find a way to Hell’s Gate before I can try to contact them.” The Fae had their contacts and their secrets, and she had heard about the mercenary drivers who sent people and goods to places using off-track shortcuts and paths that were known only to them.

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Agony was prepared to cease any more dialogue and part ways with the two before if that was the most efficient method of ensuring their survival but rather than make that decision on his own as he had done many times in the past, he felt the need to hinder any movement until his question was answered and he weighed their options. Rodan’s suggestion of Weland was resourceful and only served to remind the amorphous being of the Mutator’s exploits that he had not been a part of. Ideas and decisions that had held more value and success for the organization than what he had done. None of that growing respect would be voiced at this time, however, as Agony now looked at the illusion Lunara had placed on him. The fairy’s decision to modify Rodan’s appearance to help was something he logged for future use. Women tended to disarm this seemingly male-driven Terric government enough to make their defenses just that more malleable. Agony could perhaps use that to his advantage soon.

 

Before he could finally make a decision concerning his next move, Lunara decided to inject her own input and alluded to a separation Agony had already considered as a better option. What was unexpected was the fairy’s quick demand that he repay the debt he had placed on himself when he had decided to use her to acquire the queen. Agony’s crimson gaze fell hard on the fairy as he listened to her words perhaps more closely than he had ever done so before. He was swiftly reminded about the organization’s quest for power and how that had been enough to bring these two near him. They had helped him attempt this failed acquisition of power but perhaps such selfish desires no matter how achievable they may be were not the best for the Triumvirate.

 

Responding to Lunara, his voice became far more relaxed despite its depth.

 

“I will follow you now wherever you desire Lunara….if I can absolve myself of the debt I owe to you.”

 

Agony shifted, his knight’s guise hardening itself as it seemed Obtenebra had decided it was best for him to maintain it. Turning to Rodan, he provides his own input regarding the fae’s decision for him.

 

“I agree with Lunara. Send someone from Weland to Patia to investigate what has become of Ker and what should still be our home. I trust you can be resourceful enough to provide an acceptable candidate.”

 

Despite Ker’s elusiveness, the Pavlovich property and her reputation within the city are things that could be discerned with minimal effort. The centaur had done nothing to sway his opinion of her yet though her beloved sister was a whole different story.

Edited by Dolor Aeternum

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The faerie immediately had questions concerning Rodan’s proposed safehouse, and they were legitimate ones to be sure. Though Rodan could not be absolutely certain the farmstead had not befallen ill-fate from some other source, he had been made aware that it survived Souzou’s rampage.

“How far is it from the city? There was that mad god who had trampled on parts of the city, but I think the outskirts should be safe.” were the exact words Lunara used.

“It is in the countryside a few miles from the outskirts, well outside of the regions of the city affected by the mad god.” Rodan replied, stating the last two words with a hint of contempt, “As I said, its location is not likely to attract attention.”

“I’m not so sure about us going together too...” Lunara turned toward blob, “Hey, Agony. About the blood debt - I wish to go to Yh’mi. There is power to be gained there, and I need your help to obtain it. It’s not that far from here. Besides, no one would go there looking for us, and it’s best if we split up anyway, at least for the moment.”

Well, she certainly had no reservations on lying to Agony’s face. Or… whatever approximated his face at any given time. Yh’mi may currently be closer than Weland, but it was still thousands of miles away, and in a far wilder region than the megacity was. It would be considerably more difficult to get there. But Rodan did not put forth any observations or opinions on this matter, instead keeping his silence as the strongest of the trio now spoke.

“I will follow you now wherever you desire Lunara….if I can absolve myself of the debt I owe to you.”

Both the blob and the fae now turned toward Rodan, each with their own suggestions.

“I agree with Lunara. Send someone from Weland to Patia to investigate what has become of Ker and what should still be our home. I trust you can be resourceful enough to provide an acceptable candidate.” said Agony.

“I think I know of someone who can bring you to Weland faster than conventional methods. But we gotta find a way to Hell’s Gate before I can try to contact them.” Lunara added.

“It will be appreciated.” Rodan offered her a nod of gratitude toward Lunara, before ensuring his gaze met both of them, “Hell’s Gate will not be long, relatively-speaking, once we have crossed the mountains. As you say, I will travel to the homestead in Weland and set about getting a full assessment on all of our resources, be it man or material. If Ker is still accessible in Patia, I’ll be sure to contact her. Though, I suspect she has been briefed on the whole matter already… Either way, I will be sure have a full inventory prepared by the time you return from Yh’mi.”

While he was no accountant or executive, he felt himself likely the best manager of the three. Agony and Lunara were certainly better field agents than the Mutator, but his rational mind would be able to handle these mundane tasks better than the impulsive and free-spirited dispositions of his comrades. Ostensibly, Ker and Nines would be the one to handle the management tasks though, but Rodan would handle it if for some reason neither of them were able, or willing, to do it.

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-Days later-

The gleaming towers of Hell’s Gate greeted them from a long way off. The megacity was considered a technological marvel of Terrenus, but it reminded Lunara uncomfortably of the Imperium they had left behind. She could sense the tremendous amounts of magitech that ran through the buildings and streets like pipes. There was much to see and explore for someone new to the place, but the trio that arrived had a more important purpose than sightseeing.

“My legs are tired!” Lunara grumbled. “I don’t know how you humans live with such cumbersome bodies. I demand we find an inn, now.” The faerie was never physically strong, and maintaining her human form was taking a toll on her, not to mention that she couldn’t expect for the other two to be sympathetic and slow down for her. She was ready to collapse onto a bed and sleep for two days straight.

A large signboard ahead with the symbol of a bed drew her attention, and she marched the rest over. The sight of a large, imposing dark knight flanked by two ladies drew a few customers’ curious eyes to them, but Agony’s glowing gaze probably caused them to turn uncomfortably back to whatever they had been doing. 

Lunara ignored the customers and walked over to the counter. “We’d like to have a room, please,” she said. She put a hand into her pocket - which actually led into her pocket dimension - and came up empty. A realization hit her - she had dropped all her money, back when she had torn a dimensional hole to meet the monster within Marigold’s registry. Annoyed, she turned to Rodan. “Do you have enough money?”

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Rodan considered making a wisecrack about not being the sort to use or need money, but in reality he usually did keep a few coins on-hand for this very reason. It was a small factor, but obtaining the necessary currency to be able to sleep in roadside inns rather than on the ground was one of the reasons Rodan had often victimized random travelers on the road during his travels. However, it had been some time since Rodan had waylaid a traveler, so when he reached into his coin pouch, he only produced a few pieces of silver. Not quite enough for the task.

"Hmm, I don't suppose this will be enough?" he looked up at the receptionist, who naturally just shook their head.

Well, this was amusing. On top of having just suffered a humiliating defeat, here were the mighty leaders of Abbadon finding out they were flat-broke while merely trying to obtain a motel room! Boy, this would not be a pleasant subject if it came up in a leadership meeting with Ker and Nines. But so long as Agony and Lunara remained silent on this, Rodan certainly wasn't going to comment on it in front of anyone else.

This meant that either they needed to obtain more cash, or persuade the receptionist through other means. Unless his companions were content to sleep in an alley or on a park bench, of course. Rodan glanced around the lobby to see if anyone else was present, just in case the use of magic became necessary. Though he wouldn't act without first getting at least an unspoken approval from his companions. Communication was the new big deal in Abbadon now, so it wouldn't do to attempt something risky without the whole team being on-board.

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Agony remained nearly robotic in his trek toward their destination, not as limited in endurance as his traveling companions which did little to inspire sympathy for their growing fatigue. He begrudgingly aided them in obtaining nourishment throughout their travel and also kept watch when their fatigue was too much for them to bear. Obtenebra’s ability to continue to function with resilience made situations such as this more of an annoyance than an opportunity to bond through struggle and purpose. Several times he attempted to push the two beside him forward whether their bodies were apt to the task believing this to be an opportunity to surpass their physical limitations and amass even more power even in areas as often overlooked as these. His efforts may have been received as fits of annoyance but Agony cared little for how he was perceived in those moments.

 

Reaching Hell’s Gate and watching the megacity in operation caused Obtenebra to ripple slightly as it sensed the power that surged through the veiny pathways of magic it sensed. It yearned to consume those energies in gluttonous fashion no matter the pain ingesting them may cause. Such was the ambition that Agony and Obtenebra held together but rather than act on the impulse they both held, the amorphous entity just followed Lunara who had elected to guide them toward a place to…sleep some more? While Agony understood the faerie had maintained two illusions for the entirety of the journey here and how taxing that might have been for her, he would not simply remain confined to a room while his companions slept. Always striving for efficiency, Agony was about to voice his own desires until he tuned in to the conversation regarding money. The sting their obvious lack of funds placed on them was felt, as the festering wound of the failure caused by Marigold, Roen, and Rafael continued to pain him. It didn’t help realizing that Nines would never have been caught in such a situation given her obsessive paranoia that led her to be prepared for all of the unpleasant scenarios she could think of. While this lack of funds to procure a place to lay their heads did not truly concern Agony, the sentient understood how malleable the citizens of this town may be to someone of well means. Darting his gaze around and realizing there were several male patrons indulging in debauchery in a bar across the room, Agony narrowed his eyes before looking at Rodan who still held the guise Lunara had gifted him. Agony had witnessed Rodan’s ability to employ charisma to obtain dominance and the dark knight saw prime opportunity before him for both the faerie and the Mutator to obtain what they needed.

 

A shifting crimson gaze fell upon two particularly rambunctious men who seemed to be several drinks in. A slight cant of his head and then a fierce stare at the two men unbeknownst to them was given to suggest that the two individuals beside him use their skills and assets to acquire whatever they needed. Once the message was delivered a good distance from the innkeeper, Agony would speak just a few words in his forceful baritone.

 

“I will move further into the city to see if I can acquire what we need”

 

Open and vocal communication was something hard to achieve here when their intent needed to be veiled from those around them so Agony elected to convey his ideas telepathically to the two of them.

 

<Take advantage of the two at the bar or find some other means to acquire what you need. I will find my own victim outside lest you have a better course of action.>

 

Agony actually waited this time to see if they would comply or respond with any other ideas though he he seemed poised to exit the establishment already. That in itself…was progress.

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