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Dolor Aeternum

Reviving the Promise [Sky's Great Ravine Airship]

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Oh he had grown to truly enjoy this sensation. The feel of the wind carrying a light and salty mist on to his face and through his nostrils. The calm and yet sometimes fierce undulation the waves caused his ghost ship as he maneuvered across the seas. To think this could have never been possible were it not for Blob Boss who gifted him with the black oozy gift that helped him gain this property that was his…all his. Sure there were some specters here and there manning the ship that didn’t let him truly enjoy it on his own most times but this ship was his pride now and one he had no qualms using to help his family. When Blob Boss let him know that they would be going off on a journey to...as he put it…’ensure their progression of power’, Xavier jumped at the chance to help. He would take him wherever he needed to go whenever he needed to go.

 

The ship neared a nearly barren shore drained of most life and nearly untrekked were it not for those brave souls who wanted to benefit from the horrors that Whispernight and the magestorms of old had caused. Hidden deep within a cove, this place was merely a whisper told between seafarers that somehow managed to reach Xavier’s ear as he docked after one of his many journeys. He wanted to tell Blob Boss about it sooner but the thought of aimlessly searching for it while his boss’s creepy red eyes glared at him in disgust warranted that he research further so it took a few weeks of asking the more sinister areas along those maritime destinations, strong arming truth from pirate and peddler alike before he finally had a good bearing on where this place might be. Even then it took them nearly an hour once they reached the general area to truly find it as the waters were truly unforgiving in this area.

 

Death seemed to have conquered much of what lay before them though there was a hum of power that lingered in the air mixed with the beautiful sea that promoted excitement to those who could sense such things. It had been ages since so many of this makeshift family’s members had worked together but it was about time they could feel the promise they had felt that fateful day in Patia again.

@jaistlyn @Tyler @Fierach @sorainvoked @PandaHat

@King

Edited by Dolor Aeternum

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It was as if they were sailing from the land of the living to the land of the dead, judging by the scenery around them. It didn’t help that there were literal ghosts on the ship. Lunara stood on the lowest sail of the ship’s masts, looking at the crew floating about their tasks.

“I hope we won’t turn into ghosts too if we stay here for too long?” the faerie commented to anyone nearby who cared to listen. Even until now, she wasn’t sure the lumbering orc could be trusted. In particular, his intelligence was in doubt. She could deal with people looking at her in hunger, but the look in Xavier’s eyes always showed more than that. Awe, and a thirst that went beyond satisfying a physical need. A deep seated desire to overtake her. Overtake her in.. what? Agony’s favour? She couldn’t understand his infatuation with the emotionless, dense blob.

A whiff of magic, like a faint sign of life in this land of decay, drifted on the wind. Lunara perked up. “Unbelievable, we could be on to something,” she said.  What looked to be a rocky outcropping in the distance turned out to be a high cliff obscured by haze. There was what seemed to be an opening of a cavern not far from the shore, but there was no way of knowing whether it went through all the way to the interior end of this place.

“Well, we have two options,” Lunara said, holding up two fingers. “One, we go through the cave, without knowing where it leads. Two, we have Rodan give you all wings. Just like what he did to the Black Queen.”

Edited by jaistlyn

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It was good to be out and about again. Rodan had lived most of his life on the road, traveling all around the massive continent of Terrenus, and seeing as many new sights as he could take in. The past few months at the Weland farm had been relaxing, in a sense, but an artist like himself should never be wasted on trivial tasks such as cataloging inventories. Still, someone had to ensure that the Patia base was properly evacuated and emptied of valuables, those valuables being moved to a storage facility Rodan fabricated himself a fair distance away from the Weland hideout, for the purpose of holding everything there in case a vengeful Roen (or someone else) managed to track the goods down. Whatever had been salvaged could be cycled back into use over time, but only after Abbadon could be assured that nobody was coming after them. Considering how quickly Roen and Raphael had tracked down the kidnappers during the Anima Imperium escapade, it was worth the effort to take a few precautions to avoid compromising the farmstead base.

But those issues were no longer a major concern, now. Indeed, the current expedition was now the center of the Mutator's attention. Not knowing what they might encounter, the cloaked triumvir had brought with him two minions, one who stood behind him on his right, the other on his left. The being on the right was another of his mutants, though a much different one from the bone-armored hulks that comprised of his so-called "Boneguard". He had started that way, but Rodan had quickly learned that Diego Navarone was not suited to be just another armored goon. The man had to bear witness to one of the most gruesome murders during the infamous "Red Festival", during which the newly-minted Legion of Doom brutalized the populace of Tormo. The man had been forced to watch as a pathetic little imp dismembered a girl and a boy, force-feeding them one-another's severed limbs one-by-one, until both were a pair of bloated stubs. The only mercy was when the cretin finally severed their heads, but that gave Diego no peace. That boy was his only son.

After he was first rescued, Diego was lost, a broken man without a family, without a home, without a purpose. But Rodan showed him, and the others rescued with him, a purpose that they could strive for, and a new "family" they could call their own. Of the four that came out of Tormo, Diego was the one who committed himself most wholly to the cause. As with every member of Abbadon, there was a personal motivation, in Diego's case, to hunt down and destroy every last member of the Legion, and anyone else who enabled them. He wanted vengeance for his family, his son, his whole town, and ironically, he was willing commit whatever atrocity was asked of him in order to accomplish that goal. So when Rodan tested the man's loyalty, he found it stronger than any underling he had yet encountered.

As a reward for his continual displays of commitment, Rodan allowed Diego a chance to differentiate himself from the rest of the Boneguard, an offer which was readily accepted. When asked how he wished his power to manifest, Diego wished he could be as a holy angel, a brilliant being of light whose justice was swift and whose blade was merciless. Rodan was quite happy for a chance to create something new. Thus, Diego was mostly restored to his normal human appearance, but younger and stronger than before. With the DNA of a vampire infused into his being, he could now move at superhuman speeds and regenerate wounds rapidly, though this still came at the cost of needing to feed on blood from time to time. But this was not all, for Rodan had crafted a pair of mighty wings on the man's back, wings which could fold up much like proper angels could, though Rodan had to approximate the design. He had still yet to physically contact an angel, and thus, could not copy their biology directly. He heard there were a few of them ruling over the Veluriyam Empire, in Southwestern Terrenus, but getting his hands on one would be near impossible, given they were the imperial family. Not that it wouldn't be an interesting endeavor to attempt to kidnap the princess there, but after the last kidnapping of royalty went...

In any case, Diego's wings were hardly angel wings, being more bat-like than bird like. This allowed them to regenerate far more effectively, even if they were less aesthetically pleasing. But there was one more mutation that Rodan elected to add to the faux-angel: bioluminescence, something Rodan had studied on the trips between Terrenus and Orisia. Rather than creating a single organ, Rodan spent many long hours experimenting on how to make this ability apply to Diego's entire body. At last, he found a solution... blood. Yes, at his conscious command, Diego could literally light up his entire bloodstream, illuminating himself from the inside and projecting a brilliant bluish-white light all around his body. It was a clever way to ensure the light was distributed across his entire being, or at least, Rodan thought it was clever. It was also why the wings were fleshy rather than feathery, since having blood flow through them allowed them to light-up as well. And so was born the False Angel.

But opposite Diego was an example of the contrast of power. For every being it freed, it oppressed another. Such was the case for Kaya Lingxi, an eighteen-year-old farmgirl whose family and home had been forcefully taken-over by Rodan and his Abbadon lackeys over a year ago. The forces of power did not bring freedom for the Lingxi family, though admittedly they were well-protected now that the centaurs of the Scudder Clan had been converted into enforcers, instead of raiders. Even so, the family was no longer permitted outside contact, and they now worked entirely for the benefit of the Abbandon Triumvirate. Kaya was the eldest daughter of the eldest son, almost old enough to move to the inner city to seek a spouse, though she never got that chance. Even if she were deprived of that opportunity, she was grateful that most of her family was alive and safe, though she mourned her murdered grandparents. Abbadon was not so crude as to commit wanton murder, at least not unless necessary, but she soon discovered that Rodan was a type of horror that not even the centaurs could match. The first sample of his power came the day they were rescued, but that was only the beginning. Failures or disobedience were often met with physical transformation, mostly into farm animals, but there a couple cases that went even further. Kaya endured the abuses around her, until that fateful night when her little brother, her most beloved family member, tried to run away. She had often urged him never to risk it, fearing the retaliation he'd endure if he were caught, but he finally acted. 

She cried the night he tried to run, but she cried even more the next day, when he was drug back to the farmstead, having been unable to reach town before Rodan's mutants caught him. The Mutator made an example of the boy, in a fashion so typical of his reputation. The poor lad was transformed into an apple tree, still vaguely in the shape of a human, and with pair of sad eyes that stared out at a world that he could no longer interact with. Kaya begged Rodan for mercy, not expecting it from the man. But he surprised her, swearing he would restore her brother if she served him. She loathed the idea of taking orders from the Mutator, but what choice did she have? She could not bear to see her brother trapped in his own body as he was. Thus she swore to serve him, for the sake of her brother, but did not know what form that service would take. She was not a fighter, nor a mage, nor a strategist or healer. She was a farmer's daughter, a maiden whose life had been spent tending animals or churning butter. All he told her was that, when he needed her, he would call upon her to serve him in whatever capacity he needed, big or small. Ominous...

But he hadn't needed her then, and she went about her regular chores and duties without interruption for half a month. Then came this expedition, and Rodan saw fit invoke her vow. Hence, she was here, standing on the deck of the ghostly vessel, surrounded by beings who were no longer human, or were never human in the first place. She felt so alone, so out of place. Her long, black, wavy hair flowed in the ocean breeze, as she stood beside her master and his other minion...

"I hope we won’t turn into ghosts too if we stay here for too long?" the pixie commented.

There was no reaction from Diego, whose eyes remained fixed forward, but Kaya turned to look at her, though she didn't speak. She just wondered how something so small, so beautiful, could wind up a part of something so sinister and ugly.

"I do not believe it works that way, Lunara." Rodan chuckled, "But who am I to say?

No long after that, they came across a stark cliff-face, prompting the faerie to speak again.

"Well, we have two options. One, we go through the cave, without knowing where it leads. Two, we have Rodan give you all wings. Just like what he did to the Black Queen."

"Easily done." Rodan replied, turning back to face the whole crew, a smirk forming on his face, "Even easier if I skip the swan part."

For whatever reason, the Mutator seemed in jovial spirits this day.

Edited by Tyler

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I. Will pass on that”. Mori chipped in, deliberately enunciating her words, giving Rodan a friendly smile, before returning to her duties.

The short-haired Asian woman was the odd one out on the ship, one of the only humans in the Triumvirate, and the only one in any real sort of power or position. Even the truth of that was beginning to change however. Mori’s past was beginning to catch up with her, but it was not visible yet. Not quite. It would not be evident for a long while longer with her choice of outfits, suits that fitted her entire form comfortably, snug in a few places. Eventually the hacker would have to face her pursuer, but not yet.

For now, she contented herself with multitasking. Thin wires ran from a device on her arm to a console of the vessel, the technomancer’s diligent watch ensuring their ship ran at whole efficiency the whole way. On another arm, she parsed data and pic-captures taken from outside the vessel. She had engineered a small drone filled with sensors to flit outside the hull, and gather information. None of which made any sense to her, as the magic in the reason seemed overpowering to the delicate instruments on the drone, but that couldn’t be helped.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained” Mori voiced. “I’d like to take my chances with the cavern. Or we can send through a scout, and I’ll send my drone in with”.

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And on the ship that day, so near, yet so far was a true angel. One who worked for a Herald of War. Oh, and Kallias was there, too. Decimus stood next to Kallias, tall and regal. In fact, the angel was about six inches taller than Kallias with a crown of maddening red hair and fierce golden eyes. The glow he emitted was dim. In fact, it was nothing short of a miracle that he did not get caught carrying the light weight fae through Terrenus towards Weland Gorge. With his arms folded across his chest, he appeared to be disappointed to be stuck on this boat of misfits. 

Kallias was different. Compared to the angel, he just looked even more like a faerie than before. Though he was quite a bit larger. His wing was still on the mend, but his bruises, cuts, and even burns from prison were healed minus a small marking that was left upon him in a spot that will not be revealed. The brine filled air was inhaled deeply like something he had longed for. He just was thankful that he no longer was being forced for answers that he was unwilling to give. That loyalty to the people he worked with won Decimus over. 

The angel hadn't managed to exactly look pleased with his new company. However, there was one member of the boat that he stared at in a mixture of abject horror and fascination. Diego caught his ire first. Then Decimus had moved from to disgust. Then Decimus moved from disgust to fascination. 

Kallias had ignored Decimus for the moment. "Cousin, perhaps the ones with wings that work can scout the cave and the whole area before we make a decision. As far as I know, we don't need to rush brashly into uncertainty. For all we know, this cave is some shitty tunnel. Decimus here..." He nodded to the angel. "Well, he can pass along the visions of what he sees to one of us so we know without even having to move. I have been working with him to develop his abilities. He was already strong, but there were some tweaks."

Decimus was good at toying with his victims before removing their beating hearts from their bodies. Now he was more effective at manipulating emotions. "Whatever it takes to make this a success." Ah, the one thing Angel's lacked was freewill. They were willing to do most things that a leader type would tell them. 

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"Wings? No thanks," replied Cerebri in a low voice before returning to his wood carving. He had hardly the time to spend on this particular one, seeing as how he was often on a job. The wood carving was that of an elf he had recently met, and one that, for some reason, occupied some real estate in his head. He thought of her often, but never longingly. It came more as a flash-and-go sort of thought, though it came often; far too often. As he continued to scrape off shavings that would represent her hair, he meticulously carved it as he remembered it; soft, wavy and luscious. Suddenly catching himself in the act of staring too long at the wooden figure, he placed the carving back into his pocket and moved to the port of the ghost ship.

It was an amazing thing, this ghostly ship. He had never seen anything of the like, instead being constantly surrounded by magitech. It being run by ghosts was something even more interesting, but he was not here to admire things. He was here to establish inroads into an area of land he had not visited in a long while, and one of the first things on his agenda was to gather information on the place. Walking up to the fae, the same one he had been contacted by in a previous adventure, he made his presence known to her before asking if she had any contacts in Terrenus that he could speak to. He had some people already in mind to talk to, should they still be alive, but still, having one more to talk to would definitely improve prospects; cast a wider net and all that. 

Spotting the cave the fae had talked about, he felt something familiar about it. Perhaps it was something similar to a cave he had visited as a younger man, or maybe... "I pick the cave," he growled, before heading off to prepare his arms for a potential fight.

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Obtenebra rippled in response to the magical saturation that it felt, both in Xavier’s body and along Agony’s amorphous shape. Gone was the guise of the knight that he had elected to wear to avoid more attention than was warranted. Agony had stood motionless, eyeless, and utterly shapeless throughout the entirety of the trip. As contemplative as ever, he had watched this group around him with senses that transcended the physical and had begun to figure out what the future would hold for this group that had somehow tethered themselves to help his cause as much as their own. This symbiotic relationship nearly mirrored what he had with Obtenebra though he doubted they would ever reach such devotion as he had already begun to see that the acquisition of power had already begun to reshape the bonds that had been established and tested since their first meeting.

 

Lunara had gained powers even she had yet to fully unpack, Rodan had begun amassing his own personal army amidst the spoils of war, and even Xavier had begun establishing a foothold within Terrenus. The notion that he may have nurtured or catalyzed it all escaped him as he focused more on the stability of this union that had already been tested many times in the last few months. Agony knew of Ilyana’s aspirations and endeavors with Mori and of Kallias’ escape from prison. The only outlier was Cerebri whose mere affiliation with Lunara helped him avoid scrutiny initially but he would not be safe on this day.

 

Agony remained silent as the rest of the group deliberated on how to approach. Xavier did the same, far too engrossed in future aspirations to acknowledge that the present needed his attention. Agony moved slowly forward, passing almost every single member here with his black mass without any visible acknowledgment before he placed himself at the forward of the ship that had just conveniently set itself on land. A shrill voice that gradually morphed into baritone emerged.

 

“Do what you think is efficient. Those that remain can follow me or stay here.”

 

The shapeless triumvir tacitly expressed confidence in the decisions of those around him while still asserting his own desires here. Agony’s large mass propelled itself on to a rocky surface several hundred feet before them, the battering thuds of his gelatinous mass echoing in this area. Obtenebra reacted excitedly to the faint feel of magic that moved underneath it and seemed to beckon them all forward into a path drenched in darkness. Xavier stretched and cracked his neck a few times before jumping forward and landing directly behind Agony, the orc’s mass causing the rocky surface to crack from the force and the magic beneath to react to the disturbance by momentarily amplifying its own output. There was no doubt that something powerful had rooted itself in the cave and maybe even far more than what Xavier had initially reported.

 

“You feel it boss?! This will be worth it for all of us.”

 

Agony began slowly moving into the depths of the cave without even acknowledging Xavier and would eventually be swallowed by the darkness that was prevalent at its mouth. Xavier signed a bit and then followed suit.

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Everyone chose the cave. Lunara shrugged. In her opinion, wings were an easier and faster option to explore what was around them, and the Mutator had already shown that he would be happy to transform all of them flightless beings into something much better. But she supposed that she understood their reservations. Even though Rodan was one of them right now, it was a scary thought to be under the mercy of his hands. They would have no control over what he shaped, or took away from them. In particular, she remembered the man who had been turned into a living bear rug at her behest. Rodan had given him hundreds of tiny tendrils on his underside to draw nutrients from the wooden floor to sustain himself, and the sight of it had made her skin crawl even as she was fascinated by it.

During the journey, the Helldriver had asked her for allies in Terrenus. Not fully trusting Cerebri yet, she pointed him back to the tavern in Hell’s Gate where they had first met. The place was Abbadon’s asset now, and rumours tended to come and go in places of gathering. She owed him a favour then for transporting Rodan from the tavern to Weland, and perhaps that favour would be paid somewhere along their search in this dead land.

Agony took the spearhead and headed into the caves. “Well, so much for brashness and shitty tunnels,” she replied Kallias, joining the other two winged creatures much larger than her. The blob seemed as cold as ever, but he did at least hint at an invite for the rest to join him. That was an improvement over the old Agony. “Well, might as well follow the majority,” the faerie said, flying after Agony and taking her usual place at his side.

The cave was dark but cold and roomy. The sound of flowing water echoed around the walls. Lunara left a thin trail of fairy dust behind herself, dimly lighting up the ground ahead, but not nearly enough to see how high up the walls of the cave went. Comfortable in the darkness, she didn’t think of the need for more light, but perhaps one of the humans would provide one anyway, given their poor vision in darkness.

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While disappointed he would not be able to have some fun with his Abbadon comrades, particularly Mori, Rodan was not otherwise bothered by the choice to enter the cave. Such places were occasionally havens for strange and rare forms of life, which he would happily harvest for his future works. Thus, the Mutator and his minions disembarked shortly thereafter, hustling to catch up with the blob and the orc. Upon entering, Diego was prompted to light the way, his blood beginning to glow to a moderate degree. While he could nearly blinding at full power, this was not necessary, as Rodan only needed him to be light enough to show the path ahead.

There was flowing water in the distance, which almost surely meant some sort of ecosystem had to exist in the depths. Whether it would be simple or complex remained to be seen, however. Hopefully it would not prove as dead as the coast around it appeared to be. Death was such a dull thing, devoid of intrigue and malleability, just empty and desolate. What fun was there to be had with death, when life was so much more entertaining?

Kaya shivered at the cold dampness, being accustomed to the warmer Weland climate. While neither Rodan, nor Diego, nor anyone else for that matter, seemed at all bothered by it, she feared it would make her ill before too long. But she dared not ask Rodan anything, knowing how he was liable to twist her request in some way she'd surely regret. For now, she'd just grin and bear it, but without the grinning part.

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Mori joined the expedition in her own way. She figured somebody had to stay on board and watch the ship after all, but she recalled her drone back to the vessel first. Tinkering with its design, and producing a few extra components for it on the spot from her omnitool, it was ready to serve the party with a variety of tools, possessed of chemical and magic sensors, a mapping system that was based on sonar, a set of high intensity lights, a needle launcher for her interface spikes, and a little extra surprise in case it was destroyed. 

Somewhat upgraded in size now, the drone hovered along, following Lunara in particular until it could overtake her. Mori didn't want to illuminate the faerie's rear with the drone's lights after all, even if the demi-human was cute as a button sometimes. The mechanical tagalong would help light the way. 

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Kallias let out a soft sigh. "All right. The initial wave of psychos has disembarked. It's your turn, big guy." He placed a hand on Decimus' shoulder and then stepped aside so the angel could spread his wings. Unlike most angels that were familiar to humans, Decimus' wings resembled the wings of a hawk. Brown, splotched feathers spread winder than his body was tall. The powerful wings shot him upward and then after Rodan and his crew.

Kallias was left with Mori and he was quiet. Unexpectedly, his own vision faded and he was seeing as Decimus was seeing. First, he sailed high in the sky, upwards to survey the area around the cave. There was nothing other than the odd, uneasy landscape and the feeling of decay. Kallias shifted, letting out a small sigh. As Decimus descended into the cave, Kallias noted that Decimus could see perfectly. 

The angel took some twists and turns, adding flourish as it had been far too long since the angel had taken to the sky on his own accord. Kallias, on the other hand, stood on deck. Both of his hands were folded in front of him. The one wing of his that was not shattered spread from his side. A single wing was half his body size and also strange like Decimus' wings. The wing of a blue jay moved slowly, but was unable to properly propel Kallias after the group.

For now, he lived vicariously through Decimus.

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Cerebri found the descent to the cave easy enough, only taking care not to slip on the algae-ridden rocks. The setting definitely felt familiar, to the point of surreal familiarity. It was as though he had visited this cave before in some forgotten part of his childhood, though it made no sense. He had grown up far from here, in a small town in Genesaris, but his earliest memories were foggy at best. Did he somehow mix up where he was born? Cerebri leaned on the cool rock, closed his eyes and breathed deep. The cool air entered his lungs and cleared his mind a little; now was not the time to think of the past. He was here with an objective: to create as many inroads into this land as possible. Letting the thought of familiarity slip from his mind, but somehow with his legs being able to navigate seamlessly through the cave, he moved along. 

Nearing a little split stream, Cerebri suddenly stopped. He felt something was watching the group's advance, but he could not tell what it was. The crunching on the floor had definitely taken on a distinct new tone, and looking down he discovered why; the bones in the immediate area had increased drastically. Intermingled with pieces of bat and lizard bone were the occasional human skulls. This cave was one that was explored before, but unfortunately not everyone who explored it left with everything or everyone. Sniffing the air, he smelled something putrid, worse than the decay of death. Looking back, he growled, "We are not alone," before pulling his multi-shot musket out of its holster.

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The crescendo of rushing water that aimed to fill their ears only increased the further they ventured in. The smell of water mingled with the stench of death while there was a lingering scent of lavender and vanilla for those with superior olfactory senses. Xavier, unfortunately, was one of those which caused the orc to snort and then sneeze, propelling a good amount of snot forward. Luckily it failed to spray on anyone but the fact that he didn’t cover up embarrassed Xavier so much that he tried to play it off by distracting.

 

“Excuse me. That smell reminds me of the redeemer lady. Why couldn’t she come along boss?”

 

Agony slid along their path, the large black mass conforming to the rugged terrain below until the floor became much smoother which likely meant they were nearing the body of water. While Mori’s drone shone the way, Obtenebra glistened which was the only real telltale sign of where Agony’s mass was positioned as even the potent red gaze he usually elected to use was not present. A small orifice was created to allow a different timbre of voice to expel itself in response to Xavier, one that almost sounded feminine.

 

“She is more useful where she is.”

 

Xavier blinked and then looked uncomfortable before replying “Yes boss..” and then moving slightly ahead of the group to place himself directly near the drone. An odd anxiety filled the orc and Obtenebra rippled along his chest as if it was trying to warn its host of what it sensed around them. That same reaction seemed to occur along Agony’s mass and was far more noticeable. The piles of bones that lay around them seemed to move occasionally though they were large enough to have one assume the noises that came were just stray bones falling along the mounds. That was until Cerebri decided to speak. One particularly large mount that was now well lit thanks to Mori’s drone suddenly burst outward, the spray of bones and skulls heading straight for the majority of the group.

 

This prelude signaled the entry of a dozen winged creatures that held a green hue. Two in particular looked up toward Decimus and shot out immediately after him. These creatures were comprised of bone that was tethered by some magical bonds that pulsated along each connection. Armed with razor sharp claws and serrated tails they shot forth toward the group while an even larger silhouette in the distance slowly began to take shape. Their attacks would come in just after the spray of bones ended, their fury almost palpable for those sensitive to magic.

 

One of them attempted to tackle Xavier, the force enough to cause the orc to slide several feet away and out of the light provided by Mori’s drone. Another moved with so much speed that it managed to dig its talons into Agony’s mass though it was clear for those who knew the amorphous being that it was something he allowed and not a disparity in power. Still, a surge of magical energy entered the large black mass of the triumvir and produced a violent response within Obtenebra that caused the black ooze to protrude out randomly as it reacted to the pain which did not allow the triumvir to move for the time being. Agony did not voice his pain nor did he attempt to exhort the others into defense. If the power they had all gathered up until now was not enough then Agony knew he had failed on a larger scale than what had happened months ago.

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This cave was unlike the narrow, claustrophobic tunnels Lunara and Agony had traversed in Yh’mi. It was much larger and cooler, and signs of life were more apparent here than aboveground. “Ew,” Lunara wrinkled her nose at Xavier and his projected snot. The orc asked a question and Agony answered in a voice that was different from his usual baritone. The faerie raised her eyebrows and shot him an odd look.  

The same scent that tickled the orc’s senses meant flowers, or some sort of plant that could grow in this damp, dingy place. Underlying that though, was decay, and a sense of unresolvement; of the dead that had not been put to rest.

”We’re not alone,” Cerebri growled.

“Yeah, it’d be a nice change if we were - just a walk in the park, right?” Lunara’s sarcastic reply was drowned out by the clattering sound of bones exploding outwards. The faerie had been gearing for battle the moment they entered the cave, experience foretelling that things were never so easy. Several bone shards from the shattered mound sped towards her. In a flash, tendrils of blood tethered to her body deflected them away. This display of ability would be something new to the rest other than Agony. Due to the extreme distance between here and Yh’mi, the power was much weaker than what the blob saw Lunara do to the previous Herald of Lirrey, but still, the faerie was able to wield the dark red tendrils like a natural extension of herself.

The flying bone creatures were fast, but Lunara could sense that the magic holding them together wasn’t particularly strong. One of them headed for Rodan, arguably the weakest member of their team, at least in terms of combat - even with the bodyguards he had fashioned for himself. Lunara inserted herself between the creature and Rodan, and slapped it across the head. That caused it to lose flight balance for a moment, enough for the faerie to pierce a tendril  between one of its wings and its body, severing the magical connection, causing the winged bone to spiral and crash into a heap of bones.

These were small fry that they could dispose of quickly. The bigger issue was the growing mound in the distance that was amassing in both size and power. A voice boomed over them, causing the bone mounds on the ground to vibrate and clatter. “Intruders. Leave this ancient grounds now, or suffer a fate worse than death.”

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The deeper into the cave they went, the more littered in bones it became. Rodan didn't mind, since bones were a sturdy organic material that he could readily mold into weapons or tools as needed. But it did also indicate that something was down here, something that killed all who wandered into its lair. The Mutator was expecting some sort of beast, but found himself disappointed when the culprit turned out to be a swarm of flying bone golems. Drawing out his own weapon, a katana he acquired in Weland to replace the blade he'd lost during the Anima incident, though naturally he had modified the handle of the otherwise inorganic weapon considerably to suit his own tastes, he prepared to defend himself against the attackers.

"Remain behind me, Kaya." he instructed the unarmed woman, then turned to Diego, "Destroy them quickly."

"Done." Diego agreed, drawing out his own blade, a much larger greatsword, and quickly moving in to engage the hostiles.

While the false Angel swung his hefty weapon with impressive speed and force, shattering two of the bone creatures in one swing, Rodan remained in place. He planned simply to avoid direct conflict and only defend himself when assaulted. One of the bone creatures went for him, but Lunara reacted quickly, interposing herself in its path and destroying it before it could reach the Mutator. Her display of power was a new sight for Rodan, who had not seen her in action since before she and Agony began their quest into Yh'mi. He'd heard something about her acquiring new powers there, but he had no idea what their nature or extent was until now. 

"Intruders. Leave this ancient grounds now, or suffer a fate worse than death." an unidentified voice commanded, drawing Rodan's attention away from Lunara's display.

"This should be enlightening." he remarked,

It would be interesting to see the speaker make good on his threat, given the opposition he faced. Nearly the entirety of the Abbadon Triumvirate was physically present in this cave, with the rest being connected by remote; it would take more than a few magic constructs and vague warnings to intimidate them!

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