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Mr Stark I don't feel so good [Relic Quest]

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The fight between Ankou and the Guardian had reached an impasse. 

While the ancient necromancer had the advantage in overall power, the creature was impressively resilient. It had healed the arm he had taken off not long after the wound had been inflicted, and had done the same with all subsequent attacks. As a lich, Ankou did not tire, but he had grown concerned about his comrades. He felt like by now they should have returned, but he had neither seen, nor heard from them. He needed to finish this fight now; and he had a plan.

When the Guardian swung its titanic fist through the air again, he responded by again opening a portal, closing it on the arm to sever it. As expected, the creature retreated backwards, he opened up a massive portal underneath its feet, The beast screamed in fury as it fell through. Water rushed in around it, and it only managed to keep from falling in by digging its remaining hand into the seabed. Opening one more portal above the appendage summoned a skyscraper sized sword that summoned the limb at the elbow. With one last cry, the Guardian disappeared into the portal, and Ankou slammed it shut behind it. 

He breathed a sigh of relief until he heard some kind of wet squishing noises. Looking over it seemed the arm was attempting to regenerate into another of the creatures. A flick of his wrist opened another portal under it, and it fell through. 

"Finally."

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Conversation mixed with the sound of waves lapping against the sand as the group idled on the beach. Cerin’s constructs were scuttling around the beach with an dizzy freneticism. Two were picking a fight with a crab that- despite being of a similar size- was holding its own against them. 

The necromancer brushed off the last remains of bone off her skirts and gathered the constructs around her. With a flick of her hand, the small creatures stacked on top of one another and organized themselves into the shape of a castle. “Mercury!” She called out to the swimming vampire, hoping that a splash she heard meant that the girl was at the surface. With a small, self-satisfied smile, she gestured at the castle with her good arm. “Does it look good?” The castle, while impressive for its novelty, was more a meter-tall blob in actuality than a feat of architecture. As Cerin waited for a response, a construct at the bottom, wavered and gave out, sending a tower and back wall tumbling down. 

A frown and the rest of the castle disassembled itself and the fifteen odd constructs resumed their scuttling. The crab was re-assaulted immediately. A few went into the water after Mercury (or to join back with the host body. Necromancy isn’t an exact science after all). Five disappeared into the jungle of buzzing insects and oppressive magic. There wasn’t much of a conscious for the soul stone to stop, so the constructs continued on. A few minutes later, shards of broken bone shot through the portal and hit the wall next to the commander with a wet slap.

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Now that his fight with the guardian was done, Ankou concentrated on trying to relocate his allies. He searched for strong sources of necromantic energy, and it didn't take him long to find three, grouped together tightly. One was undoubtedly Lilith. The other he guessed to be Cerin. But the third was enormous; and he did not recognize it. After a moments thought, he realized that it was most likely the stone. He was glad that they had been successful. 

With a thought, he opened a portal and stepped through it to appear in front of Lilith and company.

"The guardian is slain."

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A burst of foreign, yet familiar energy, exploded into Lilith's mental radar signaling the appearance of Ankou. She'd been slightly worried that Ankou wouldn't be able to deal with the guardian, though his victory over the beast was a nice surprise. Unfortunately her distance from the rest of the Cult was much to great for him to reach her. That, and the extraordinary amount of power that had formed a sort of dimensional cage around her was near impenetrable. Even by her. Even by a stone wielder. The Soul Stone was likely drawing on the energy of Genesaris' very core. 

Her thoughts were instantly snapped back into focus when one of the "insects" crawling around her dug it's fangs into her cold flesh. It wasn't physically painful, but the insects weren't physical creatures. At least, it didn't seem like it to Lilith. They were likely soul creatures, each of their bits slicing into her soul itself. 

The fact that she even had a soul came as a large surprise to Lilith, initially, but made since quickly after. Especially considering that the Lunar Daughters were in her head, it was reasonable to assume that it wasn't just their memories plaguing her but also their souls. If she could find a way to use them as shields to protect her own soul, the trial might turn into something much easier. 

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Reaching into the depths of her mind, Lilith released what was akin to a strong shove. Mental hands starting in close, launching outward at everything in her mental space. The soul, or life energy, of the Lunar Daughters were blasted to the outside of Lilith's own. It was temporary and took a large portion of her energy in response, but the life energy of her predecessor's acted a barrier between herself and the soul insects. 

Her speed increased almost immediately, the only real pressure remaining was the gravitation force. But neither her soul nor her body would be hindered by such a mortal thing. Another minute or so went by while Lilith stormed her way upward. 

She spotted a strong orange light in the distance. A small rock hovered above a pile of much larger rocks. Each of the larger rocks were dull, normal rocks. Many of them not even polished and littered with rugged edges or cracks. But the stone atop them all, was smooth and polished. And Brilliantly orange. 

The aura pulsing from it was neither good or bad, but ultimately powerful. Total control of life and power. 

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"How long do we have to wait?" Khakina asked as she downed the contents of her bottle of spirits. Done with all the fighting and challenges, the little girl finally decided to sit it out and let Lilith handle the closing scenes. Beside her, somewhat half-buried in the sand was Sera who wassnoring rather loudly

The Mistress, who was enjoing the scene of frolicking waves, turned to face Khaki. "Not much longer now. This is Lilith after all, I'm sure she can finish this sooner."

"Perhaps, but I feel like we've been sitting here for months. Well it's been a few minutes at least, Khaki mused, "Oh and by the way, why you didn't grab a stone yourself?"

"Well..." the Mistress started but never finished as silence befell the two. The beach was a quiet place now except for crashing waves and Sera's snoring.

Edited by Thotification

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The stone, at first, would not budge from its pedestal. Like the metaphorical Excalibur stuck in rock, perhaps only the truly worthy would be able to draw it from its earthly sheathe. 

Perhaps. 

If Lilith had the knowledge of this tale and were to compare herself, well, she'd fit none of the characters. Potentially Lilith may fill the shoes of Mordred, but with one major difference; Mordred ultimately failed in her goals. Spectacularly. To mortals. In the story of King Arthur, the characters were bound by reality in a world of fiction. Lilith was not. Reality would bound to itself and Lilith, though overlapping, maintained a separated field of existence to the reality of mortals. 

If the stone would not be removed, she would simply take everything else with it. One way or another, its power would be hers. She reached out and grabbed it once more, this time pouring a near boundless amount of energy from herself into the stone; strengthening the force of her pull and weakening with pressure any force holding it in place be, be it magical or otherwise. 

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Then...

A loud crack

A boom

And the falling of rocks from the cave. 

Well, the roof caved in while the walls shot inward, as if the entire cave was seeking to entomb whomever reached for the stone. Although Lilith could easily withstand the gravitation force of the rocks pressing down on her and block the pain from them, she couldn't stop the shards from piercing her body in all the available space. And yet, still, her hand remained fastly curled around the orange stone. 

With a final pull, the rock came free and the cave finished falling. Thousands of tons of rock barreling down and piercing her, forcing her into a place of stasis. 

Her finger twitched. Foot twitched. If shards hadn't ripped apart her eyes, Lilith would have narrowed them in frustration. Despite her physical strength and magical prowess, not even she could free herself from a literal mountain with her at the center. 

A beat of her force and a ring of telepathic commands burst outward to her Paragons. 

"Free me."

@AngryCacti @Thotification @danzilla3 

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"Free me."

The mental command rang as clear as a bell in Ankou's mind; the words nearly stopping his heart. Lilith hadn't sounded distressed, but he knew her. For her to openly request help, even in the form of a demand, meant she was in a desperate situation. The thought caused a new kind of fear to well up within him. A helplessness that he had not felt since he was a small child, unable to save himself or anyone else.

"No more."

Tapping into the power of the Mind Stone, he effortlessly pinpointed his leaders mental signal. Willing open a portal, he appeared at the entrance to a cave; the entrance filled with rubble. His mind raced at how to get through before he finally settled on an idea. Drawing deeper on his Aura of Death than he had since the fight with the Peacekeepers, he also used Mori to channel energy from the Abyssal plane before unleashing a pulse of necromantic energy into the cave. 

Stone may not be alive, but all things decay eventually. The rubble filling the cave began to erode, turning to dust as it was bathed in his Aura. Soon the collapsed passage was once again clear. The stone had been worn away in a great circle throughout the cavern. To those who could see him, Ankou would have appeared like a specter of death.

 

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As the aura dissipated, and Ankou began to revert to his normal form, he began to explore the cave. Lilith was resilient enough that she shouldn't have been too badly affected by his display of power.

"Lilith?"

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It seems that Ankou was not the only person to enter the cave. Middy too and the other cartel members entered the cave through their respective portals. Even Sera and Khaki had to make an appearance. After all, it's not everyday the 'great' Lilith would be in trouble. Unrealistic but greatly amusing.

"I hope she survives," Khaki said as her eyes scanned the rubble in search of Lilith. "In the end, it was the falling rocks that killed her."

"Fucking ridiculous!" Sera spat. "She's gotta be around here somewhere. Lilith's brand between my fucking tits isn't gone yet! That should be enough proof that she's still alive."

The Mistress had to chuckle at that. "I don't think she's stupid enough to die from falling rocks. Not that she could actually die anyway."

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As her Paragons removed the earthly chains pinning her where she stood, Lilith's body began to convulse with uncontrollable and wild spasms. Although only just beginning to show, the forceful energy spiking through her body had been trying to spasm her body, though held in place by the mountain of rocks. As those obstacles were removed, it was as if Lilith suddenly lose control of her body. Orange veins could be seen starting from where her fist held the Soul Stone to her silver heart, energy pumping back and forth without a moment of reprieve. 

It was a wonder Lilith could could somewhat control part of her body, what with unbelievable amount of energy the soul stone was requiring to form the bond. Even when the spasms slowly receded into minor cramps, Lilith remained still. Pain on her face, twisting her usual neutral expression. Her mind became foggy with the screams of her lunar ancestors, embattled with the soul stone energy as the two foreign entities fought against Lilith's control. A moment later, Lilith staggered to her feet once more, not wanting to spend a second longer crawling or kneeling. Beads of sweat she had thought impossible for her drenched her clothing. Her fist was still clamped firmly around the orange stone, now glowing with an abnormally strong gleam that seamed to suck you in with but a glance. 

Lilith didn't thank them, but she did nod in their respective direction. The rocks had been inhibiting her ability to temper the new energy. Likely a test by the stone as well. 

Letting out a particularly large sigh, Lilith looked at her Paragons and nodded again, before opening her hand to show the orange stone. All the orange vein lines receded back to the stone and Lilith, without a shred of gentile, rammed the cornerstone into Zengi's gauntlet. Another explosion followed. 

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Ankou felt something in his chest ache as he saw the decrepit state of the one woman he cared most about in this world. He wanted to go to her, to embrace her, comfort her. But much as he wanted to, he remained where he stood. Lilith wouldn't approve of that kind of display of affection. It was probably for the best. The lich still didn't know what to do with the things he was feeling anymore. After years of slumber, his emotions had awakened, and he felt ill-equipped to handle them.

When he saw Lilith go to place the stone in the gauntlet, he braced himself, and erected a shield around himself and the other Paragons. Then there was a bright flash of light, and he could no longer see the Lunar Daughter.

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The powers meshed together like yin and yang, spiraling around each other with little concern for the other but not able to continue without the other. Then their spirals became smaller and smaller as the force of Lilith's will pushed them together. Behind the bright light of the explosion and the pure pressure of the forces at work, one could hear cracks. Whether those were the electrical vibrations of an unmovable force hitting an unstoppable force or a tear in the fabric of reality itself from combining two of the most powerful items on Valucre together, Lilith had no idea. All she knew was that this is what was supposed to happen. Such a gauntlet was created for the purpose of acting as a foci to not just one set of powers, but to many.  

As the S tier relic settled into its spot atop the center of the S tier artifact, the light dimmed and turned dark until it enveloped Lilith with a pervasive aura of death and life intertwined as one. A creation of the utmost power, combining both death and life, Lilith felt excitement for the first time since her Lunar Awakening. What could stop such a force?

She raised the dark gauntlet into the air toward the setting sun, the orange jewel sparkling with its own vibrancy. Closing the outstretched hand into a fist, Lilith smiled.

And now the crown. 

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The aura that surrounded Lilith was much like the one that Ankou had carried within him since his birth. But there was a difference, as this power also held the vibrancy of life as well as the chill of death. She looked radiant, powerful, and perhaps most of all, happy. Not for the first time, the necromancer felt a great sense of pride in the woman he had chosen to follow. He walked forward, stopping just short of the Lunar Daughter, and kneeled before her.

"Well done, my Lady."

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The Mistress sighed. The sudden surge of power Lilith released was met with the suppression of Baeoi's gentle energy. At the very least, she managed to protect herself and the other cartel paragons. Not that they needed any of it. Better safe than sorry.

Still, it greatly irked her that another cornerstone slipped through her dainty fingers. Perhaps she was never fated to become part of the stoner wars and become one of of them cornerstoner.

Finally seeing that her bestfriend got what she wanted, the Mistress can finally shrug and wave her goodbyes. Her work here is done.

'See you next time," she called out before disappearing into her own portal.

Edited by Zashiii

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