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The See-All

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Lunara flew through the portal, and found herself back at the chamber underneath the church. Lirrey Star had not moved from its position, the giant tentacled creature seemingly leeching off the ceiling and walls. A feeling of familiarity washed over Lunara, and she inclined her head in respect. This close to her patron, the faerie was at the height of her borrowed power. 

Dr. Xeyal had allowed them free passage through the portal in his lab, after they helped to create his link from Inns’th to Lirrey. The doctor’s only caveat was that they kept the knowledge of the portal away from the Order of the White Hand, which was easily done since the Abbadon members had no reason or desire to converse with the paladins. Lirrey Star wanted the Order destroyed, and the responsibility fell upon its new Herald, Lunara, to gather the power needed for that.

“You asked me if there was anything else around that can help us gain power,” Lunara said as the amorphous blob appeared through the portal.

“There is.” The faerie looked up at Lirrey Star for a while, wondering if it would give guidance. An image grew stronger in her mind, that of the paintings on the walls in the nave. She had already suspected that there was some hidden message within the paintings, but confirmation couldn’t hurt.

“Come with me.” Lunara left the Star behind, and started up the winding stairs that led to the church’s altar. A trapdoor opened up to the rows of benches, where worshippers still sat, perfectly rapt, just like the first time they had entered the church. They all dipped their head at the exact same moment in greeting. The gesture may be unnerving for others, but it was perfectly normal for the Herald.

The paintings towered above them from floor to ceiling, incredibly detailed in their paintwork, but only visible to those who were aware of what they depicted. The middle one was revealed to them now; it was unmistakably Lirrey Star. The third, the one nearest the altar, remained strange. If anyone looked at it, they would have a sense that it was not quite clear, like looking at something from a really far distance, or trying to recall details in a dream. Lunara glanced at it for a moment. The details of the background had been revealed to her as the Herald. It was the image of a harbour, in front of a glittering sea, in line with the place that the townspeople of Lirrey urged outsiders to visit. “There is a harbour in Yh’mi. But it is in unexplored territories, and unreachable right now. That’s where the third god can be found. But for now..”

She fluttered over to the first painting of a gigantic creature with a multitude of limbs and eyes. “What do you see?” she asked the primordial being.

@Dolor Aeternum

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Agony’s large mass slowly came through the portal with a lethargy that betrayed the anticipation that he held. The armor of the knight guise he initially wore was much more compact than before as Obtenebra had begun shaping it to account for the troubles it had already encountered both in Blairville and here within Yh’mi. Crimson eyes stared at Lirrey Star with a considerable amount of disapproval which he did not voice but his prolonged fixation on the massive entity while Lunara displayed her reverence. To be reverent to another creature was to be bound according to him which is why Agony would do nothing more than look at the creature with many appendages with contempt despite his acceptance of what had occurred the first time they arrived here. How Lunara obtained the power she needed to satisfy her aspirations was her burden to carry…at least until her very existence was challenged.

 

He moved silently behind Lunara, the heavy footfalls he had willingly offered before noticeably gone as both he and Obtenebra were fully aware that disturbing their surroundings would prove to become a hindrance to their purpose here. Even as booted feet touched the hard floor of the church’s altar, he made no sound, produced no disruption and just traced Lunara’s path as she motioned to the paintings above. Agony understood the command that the faerie now held over these drones so he ultimately ignored them as he weaved past them to place himself in an area he could look at the paintings he had noticed Lunara looking at the last time they were here. The Lirrey Star’s depiction was unmistakable and then completely discarded. As the small whispers of worship around him commenced again, Agony shifted to the first painting that Lunara fluttered over to and bore his intense gaze at it.

 

 The figure that was depicted before him with a multitude of eyes and several appendages immediately caused Agony to reflect, the intensity of his gaze suddenly dimming and Obtenebra’s ability to maintain structure abruptly and violently ending. The primordial ooze undulated and extended as if mimicking the creature albeit at a much smaller scale. The biomimicry that Agony usually used was embellished heavily as several eyes appeared all over the black surface of the ancient entity. The dissonance and disruption that merely looking at the painting caused was sealed in the forced words that escaped an unknown orifice.

 

“Truth….”

“Power…”

 

Just as quickly as that all occurred, however, Obtenebra returned to the guise of dark knight once again and Agony stared directly at Lunara, seemingly unfazed by what occurred and offering a curious tone.

 

“What do you see?”

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Lunara did not directly answer Agony’s question at first. That the Triumvir submitted himself to the image of Lun’silth confirmed her suspicions - that the three gods were more powerful, more ancient than Agony. 

“I was given a vision,” Lunara started. She had been debating whether to share what she saw with Agony. He wasn’t really a confiding sort. However, what he said earlier when they had encountered the librarian played in her mind. ‘To repay a debt and protect a bond.’ The blob was different from when she first met him. He used to care for nothing more than himself and his goals, but now he trusted Rodan as an equal, and the help he had given to accompany her through Yh’mi was more than necessary to repay the debt she imposed on him. It was now up to her to regard him as a partner.

“The vision was jumbled, like I didn’t have the mental capacity to understand it. Seeing a part of its effects but not understanding it. I was looking at the destruction of the world. A tremendous power. The Eater of Stars will rise. And I must eliminate the White Hand. I know that’s something I absolutely have to do, but I don’t know why.” She flexed her tiny fingers, and a tendril of blood emerged from her palm, caressing the surface of Lun’silth’s painting. “I see knowledge, understanding, duty.”

With a flick, the red tendril retreated back into her hand. She turned to Agony. “I wonder if we will learn anything if we speak to Lun’silth. It is known to reside in the Spires to the West.”

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Agony stood there motionless while Lunara took her time to respond. Nothing out of the ordinary for his traveling companion surely for their interactions were littered with unconventional responses. Yet whatever this bond he held with her was, he did not intend to let it break or wane.

 

The words that Lunara chose to use when she was explaining she had a desire to eliminate the White Hand but did not understand why filled the blob with concern. He understood that at this moment she held the agency to make her own decisions but the idea that she would become nothing more than a tool for another produced a visceral response that forced Agony’s thunderous baritone out with passion that even he was surprised with.

 

“Should this duty enslave you against your own will I will eliminate those who attempt to hold you captive.”

 

The metallic clank of his armor could be heard as he shifted to look at the painting of Lun’silth again, quietly wondering if that entity would attempt to do the same as the Lirrey Star had with Lunara. He knew he would not cower in its presence much like he had not done so before the Great Devourer in Orisia or before the mad deity that the foolish doctor had attempted to imprison. Yet he did not hold the power to direct his own fate then and he knew he wouldn’t now. This was enough to spark an enormous amount of anger whenever the remembrance came. Crimson eyes narrowed before he spoke gruffly.

 

“Let us confront another god and take what we need…”

 

The certainty of Agony’s tone was noticeable. The amorphous being pivoted and started to walk toward the church’s exit but slow enough that he expected Lunara to come alongside him as he did. The promises Yh’mi presented to the Triumvirate were numerous and given the areas they currently called home still did not live up to his standards, Agony fully intended to learn more about this seemingly barren land to see if it could replace those others as his haven.

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While there was protectiveness in Agony’s voice, what he had implied from the statement irked Lunara a little. The knowledge she had been given was far from an enslavement, it was bestowment. She shook her head against his words. “My will is my own. If you’re comparing it to the time in Anima Imperium with the mad god, it’s not the same.” Back then, she had been controlled by whatever resided in the Imperium’s registry. It was a terrifying experience, when she had lost control of her own body. “If I had this power, that probably wouldn’t even have happened,” she mused. She now had the power to wield blood magic to an extent. With Lirrey’s help, she would have been able to overcome the mad god’s influence. 

Taking one last look at the painting of Lun’silth, the faerie shrugged and followed after Agony. His confidence was through the roof as usual, but perhaps that was the reason why the she had stuck around him for so long. He was always on the move, and Lunara found herself drawn to his purpose, and by extension, the Abbadon Triumvirate’s purpose. Agony was a being of action, an enabler.

Their short walk out of Lirrey was eventless. Once out of the boundaries of the sunny little town, grey clouds gathered overhead, and the duo was faced with the devastating rock plains of Yh’mi. Not far away, a narrow beam of red light shot towards the heavens - the remnant of an earlier fight they had against a cyclops species native to Yh’mi. Beyond it in the distance, narrow black towers stretched to needle points, some of their tops obscured by clouds. It was said that these spires appear one by one suddenly without anyone building them, but not one person has ever witnessed the moment of their appearance.

“That’s where Lun’silth supposedly resides,” Lunara said. It was also a death penalty if the White Hand found out that they were speaking to Lun’silth, but it wasn’t really a concern for them.

“It’s a distance away. There are supposed to be those stag-like creatures around here. If we can get one to submit to us, we can probably ride it to get there much faster,” she suggested.

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Agony did not respond to the attempt at assurance that Lunara gave concerning her abilities. He offered no rebuttal nor acceptance but that did not mean he negated any of it. Hubris had been the cause of his own folly and had the Great Devourer not spared him for his own evil machinations it would have been his doom. This humility may be veiled rather well by the boldness of his words but he knew he would never escape the stain of his own failure unless he fashioned a new path. One he could not see himself succeed at without the fairy and the Mutator as beacons he could return to should he become wayward again.

 

Eyes fixated upon the tall black towers in the distance for a few seconds as he began to march forward. Lunara’s suggestion of forcing a creature in Yh’mi to submit to them seemed to irk Agony visibly as he moved his head swiftly to face her, the metallic sound that caused making the sharp movement all the more noticeable. “I can take us there myself.” Agony’s appreciation of the creatures present here was in its infancy but if he could avoid introducing oppression upon them then he would. Obtenebra changed textures along Agony’s chest, creating a considerable indent that was meant to house someone twice the size of Lunara before it meticulously decreased its size and then extended a long fibrous tendril toward the fairy.

 

The sound of hooves were heard in the distance then, a large Saevion mother moving with two of her children navigating the area. The mother was exceptionally tall even for her species, with a three and a half meter height that her children seemed to strive toward as their two meter height was just as noticeable. Stark red contrasted with the black fur of the mother who stopped abruptly to lift her head, staring with pitch black eyes in their direction. Forcefully stepping forward, it was clear that she was observing both of them to see if they intended on encroaching upon their territory. A single step forward was all it took for a faint smell to tickle those who could smell and for the Saevion’s thunderous hooves to break into a gallop that signaled it was not appreciative of what it considered a threat. Agony, however, just continued to look at Lunara, waiting for her to either comply with his suggestion or provide a counter, seemingly indifferent to the now vehement approach of the Saevion mother.

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Fierce red eyes bored into Lunara’s at her suggestion to make use of a Saevion. She hadn’t thought that the blob was able to grow some compassion. Perhaps it was because he wanted in some way to prove himself to her?

“Fine,” she shrugged. The indent that formed on Agony’s chest was meant for her, though she could have been comfortable enough on a shoulder or what passed for one. She landed on the tendril and allowed herself to be pulled into the indent, feeling much like an infant in the womb of its mother. She supposed it was a little taste of how it was like to be enveloped by Obtenebra. She had deduced that the black tar-like substance was a separate entity wrapping something else beneath, having had some limited knowledge about the orc that Agony had taken in like some sort of pet. Some part of Obtenebra had been given to the Xavier, however, he couldn’t size down to beyond his original girth, which led Lunara to wonder what Agony was like if Obtenebra was stripped away. Was he small like she was?

The Saevion mother watched warily, a hair’s trigger away from thundering at the entities it considered as potential threat to her young. When Agony next made a move, a loud rumble cut through the air and the ground opened up suddenly beneath him, revealing a deep hole with teeth-like protrusions. It was a Kraith, one of the stony traps that peppered the surface of the Broken Plains. It usually wouldn’t have caused anything beyond annoyance for the shapeshifting blob, but the disturbance spurred the mother Saevion into action, and almost two thousand pounds of pure muscle was now rushing towards them.

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The Saevion’s protective stance caught Agony’s attention as Obtenebra slid Lunara into the makeshift opening and then created a barrier with the intent of keeping her safe. Much like the caress the ancient ooze provided to Sasha during their previous trip to Yh’mi, Lunara would find the tendril lingering upon her form until it realized the danger around them. Agony was ready to avoid the mother entirely, kneeling a bit as he was ready to begin a swift sprint toward their destination.

The Kraith opened beneath him, however, attempting to swallow him whole which caused him to leap into the air instinctively. Jumping forward a bit to place himself just a few feet in front of the gaping hole brought him even closer to the charging Saevion, the mother’s powerful legs closing the distance easily. Obtenebra began to ripple all around Lunara as it wanted to spring into action to defend its host, but the chaotic movement ceased suddenly as it understood what Agony wanted to do. The momentum of the mother and the incognizance the beast had regarding the hole behind him forced Agony’s hand. Logic would simply have him evade the creature and let her fall to her doom but this triumvir defied that by placing himself in the beast’s path. He just couldn’t allow the creature to die.

Hands stretched outward and collided hard with the Saevion’s antlers, the force causing a loud thud that panged out in all directions. Agony’s metallic boots dug into the ground though they began sliding back toward the Kraith. Obtenebra’s strength was put to the test, though it gave itself the advantage by digging itself into the ground just as it was within inches of the threat behind them. The mother did not relent, however, not satisfied at all with the intrusion into their territory. Lunara would find that Obtenebra receded to give her space to maneuver then as if asking her to take action while two stubborn entities clashed.

Edited by Dolor Aeternum

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The shield that Agony had provided over Lunara was much like the first time they had met in the Triumvirate’s recruitment event. Agony had protected her against sharp splinters from a table broken when the centauress Ker had jumped on it in dramatic fashion. Back then, Lunara had been fascinated by the dark, brooding amorphous being, and that was when she made the choice to join the triumvirate under Agony’s wing.

A rumbling crack filled the air as the Kraith opened up in an instant, then Agony made the leap to safety - but towards the charging Saevion. Lunara thought that Agony would dodge out of the way, and was fully confident in his ability to do so. But instead he stood his ground, seemingly challenging the Saevion.

“What are you doing?” She yelled at him. A sudden jolt threw her against the side of the hole when the heavy stag-like creature collided against Agony, though Obtenebra’s fluid interior ensured that she wasn’t harmed in any way. Again, Agony’s silence about his plans forced the fae to guess at his intentions. Agony hadn’t wanted to employ a Saevion mount, but now he wanted to fight one? No.. no, if he desired to fight it, he would do much more than to hold it by the horns.

The Saevion struggled against Agony’s grasp, desperate to gore him. The beast’s two children had already caught up with their monther, but they were hanging back, pawing the ground anxiously. The Saevion’s strong maternal instincts called for her to protect her babies against these outsiders, no matter what.

Obtenebra receded, and Lunara was staring at the blue-tinged fur of the Saevion, while Agony was slowly being pushed back towards the Kraith. She supposed she should do something. The creature was too consumed by aggression for her to charm, and attempting to root it with her blood tendrils wouldn’t last for long.

She flew out and extended her senses, flexing her metaphorical muscles to see what she could do with her newfound powers. She sensed many minds below them in the earth, similar to how she could tap into the minds of Lirrey’s inhabitants. However, instead of the ready vessels that the townspeople were, these minds below her were occupied by something else, though it took little effort for her to wrest control temporarily. 

A dark trickle seemed to well up from a nearby crevice, and promptly resolved into shapes of insectile creatures heading towards the mother Saevion in an alarming colony of Chhitten. But instead of devouring the Saevion, numerous of the critters clung onto its legs, swarmed up to its back, forcing it down to the earth. Lunara flew over to the Saevion, cheerfully singing the tune of a lullaby and sprinkling sleeping dust over it. The Saevion was so large that it took many passes to finally put it to sleep. Once that was accomplished, Lunara got the Chhitten to march back into their holes. She turned to Agony and shrugged. “Strange, I can control the Chhitten, but not the Saevion. Maybe the Chhitten are a species susceptible to mind control? Anyway, let’s move on.”

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Obtenebra had dug itself deep into the ground beneath much like it had when it had resisted Lunara’s predecessor in Lirrey, ever the supporter of its host despite its disapproval of his methods. The Saevion’s strength was bolstered by its desire to help its children which was enough to challenge Agony’s power but not outmatch him. Agony was prepared to continue resisting for as long as necessary, but thankfully Lunara’s utility shone once again as she managed to subdue the creature into slumber. Agony remembered the creatures that had assaulted them in the cave on their journey to Lirrey, but Lunara’s manipulation of their movements caused Agony to narrow his eyes before he attempted to do the same.

At the moment Lunara released her hold upon the swarm, she might feel a forceful hijack of their faculties. “Give me a minute…” Soon the swarm returned and used their collective strength along with Agony’s guidance to move the creature away from the Kraith a good distance toward her children. The two children continued to paw the ground and hop away in fear until they witnessed the Saevion mother slowly descend to the ground again and the Chitten leave in organized fashion. Agony took great care to ensure the mother remained unharmed by the swarm he controlled and then took a few moments to rest one of his massive hands upon the Saevion, searching for a sentience that he could understand…and soothe. Agony’s mind would traverse through the entirety of the Saevion’s, getting a feel for its structure, its weaknesses but mostly its desires.

Agony’s head would then turn toward the two children who remained anxious at the sight of the ancient being over their mother. Using the knowledge he had just gathered, he would attempt to establish a link with the two creatures and soothe them as well. This had been his desire for the cyclops that he had been forced to help kill back then, stifling a rage that should only be directed upon those that wished to do them harm.

“Calm….”

His voice almost held a dulcet quality to it now, genuine and unlike any he had used to address others in Lunara’s presence. A few moments would pass before the anxiety was gone and the children walked calmly to their mother to rest against her massive frame. Agony would turn toward Lunara soon after.

“Let’s move”

Agony’s chest crevice readied itself for Lunara as he bent his legs while his arms began to shift to be similar in structure to the Saevion’s hooves. The creature’s speed had been impressive as well as the power behind it so Agony chose to adopt it for now. It wouldn’t be long before the triumvir would shoot out toward their destination, leaping and at times galloping where necessary throughout the rocky terrain toward the black spires in the distance. From within the hole, a small opening would form to allow Agony to speak even as he closed in on their destination at speeds few beings could ever reach. It was but a mere whisper but the small space compensated for the volume as he spoke to his companion.

“Thank you for your assistance. These creatures need not suffer any more than they already do…”

For a being whose power was directly derived by the pain he inflicted and endured, this statement proved that something had changed over the last few months. Whether it was for the better had yet to be seen.

Edited by Dolor Aeternum

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Agony’s reshaping of his own limbs to mimic the Saevion’s hoofs seemed to Lunara to be similar to Rodan’s ability, though it was applied to himself. This was the first time Lunara had seen him adopt a form that was not humanoid or entirely shapeless. The wind that howled at the speed they were travelling made it difficult to carry a conversation, and the faerie was forced to squirm in restless curiosity at Agony’s words. 

The distance closed quickly, and soon the Spires became structures looming ahead, impossibly tall and narrow. Whimsically, Lunara wondered what she would find if she flew all the way to their tops. It would be unwise to attempt it though, the volatile winds above Yh’mi known to be dangerous to anything that flew, and had even caused huge airships to crash. Her tiny wings had no chance against that.

Finally, they slowed down at the edge of the forests at the base of the Spires. The form of the Saevion was not suitable for navigation among the thick dark vegetation. Despite the abundance of plant life with almost-black foliage, the forest was completely silent and foreboding. Not able to hold in her questions anymore, Lunara burst out from the cavity housing her.

“I find it strange you were helping the Saevion. Why go to such lengths? It’s not because you’re a goody-goody person who saves kicked cats or punched goblins. What are you planning to do? Also, can you actually mold yourself wings and fly? Also, you’ve been behaving strangely since we stepped into Lirrey. Tell me truthfully, why? What did you see in my village?” The faerie shot all the questions in one breath, releasing all her pent-up energy, and unaware that she had used a possessive term to refer to Lirrey.

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Agony slowly moved to a stand, shifting his limbs back to their usual structure from his black knight guise. Eyes stared at the foreboding forest before him intensely as the lure of potential power entranced him but he soon saw a flash of purple in his periphery and Lunara shot out several questions. Obtenebra initially clung to the fairy’s foot along the way, its protective nature still active until it slowly receded off and back into the massive frame it had formed for Agony. He stared at Lunara for several seconds, immobile and seemingly mute. The initial desire to ignore what he considered irrelevant questions to the objective at hand almost caused him to simply start walking forward and expect the fairy to follow along but the triumvir decided against it. Instead, he began systematically answering her questions, recalling his promise that his communication would be better since he had led them into failure.  

“These creatures have suffered enough persecution from those who do not respect their claim to this land. If these abominations, unnaturals, and oppressed creatures yearn for the necessary power to end their suffering, then I will provide them a means to channel their intent through me. Yh’mi will see that they have nothing to fear from one who understands their suffering.”

Agony looked up for a few seconds, picking the tip of a random spire that he could see before returning to answering Lunara’s flurry of questions.

“I can mold myself into any shape I desire to achieve our goals.”

The amorphous being did not conform to the usual means to express the difficulty or the deep contemplation he endured before he would answer the last two questions the fairy requested he answer. He simply stood immobile for several seconds before his thunderous voice would erupt once again.

“I was reminded of my own limitations Lunara. The folly of attempting to succeed with my power alone. If we are to succeed, we must continue to amass power together….but not at the cost of freedom. I urge you to not let the thrall of ‘your’ village cost you yours much like my obsession nearly cost us ours.”

Agony could not deliver much more than that at this time, decidedly stepping around Lunara to venture into this nearly black foliage that nearly consumed the outline of his form as he stepped forward.

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The faerie supposed she shouldn’t be surprised that Agony took to the creatures of Yh’mi. He fit in perfectly with the dark landscape, and it wouldn’t even be a stretch to speculate that he actually originated from this land. But that was ruled out since he did not have any knowledge about its geography and its gods.

“Our interests are very much aligned,” Lunara said. “I need to get rid of the White Hand, you want to free Yh’mi from oppression. In the end, they are essentially the same goal.” Lunara followed Agony’s form with her eyes when he stepped around her and into the treeline. “I am still the same person. This doesn’t change our partnership or my involvement with Abbadon, if that’s what you’re obsessing over,” she called after him.

Before Agony’s outline was swallowed by the shadows, she quickly followed. She opted not to use her glow - even if Agony sympathized with Yh’mi’s creatures, the sentiment was probably not mutual. She did not want to be a beacon that led the way for the creatures to attack them.

There was definitely a presence in the forest, the kind that sent shivers down your back and gave you a feeling of unease. Lunara found herself looking back over her shoulder multiple times, expecting to see something behind. She flew closer to Agony. “Do you feel anything?” She whispered. “It’s all around us, I cannot pinpoint the source of the aura.” This was different from the web of magic in Lirrey, where everything led to Lirrey Star like it was the center of a whirlpool. This was more like a heavy blanket that muffled her magical senses, almost making it harder to breathe.

Something whizzed past and lodged itself into a tree with a solid thunk, causing Lunara to jump. “Who’s there?!” She cried out, her voice more shrill than intended. In between the shadows of the black trunks, an emaciated figure in armour stepped out, a crossbow in hand and a sword strapped to his back. A Fallen Knight, one of those warriors who had been corrupted by the influence of Yh’mi. A snapped twig behind Lunara alerted her to swoop away from the attack of another identical knight. Squinting hard, she counted four - no, five, of them emerging from the shadows. They were surrounded.

“Well, I hope you are not deciding to be soft with these guys!” Lunara exclaimed, lashing out with a blood whip towards the first of the knights.

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Lunara’s response was what he had expected but it did not relieve Agony from his concern. Her mention of the organization made him swiftly realize that his concern regarding the faerie was only minimally related to her role within the ‘family’. He spared little time dwelling on it though, instead opting to continue moving forward once he sensed her trailing behind him. As the shadows swallowed his form, Obtenebra’s hold on the knight guise was immediately tested. Agony’s chest rippled and the spiked gauntlets lost their rigidity. The ancient ooze could feel the presence that encircled it’s host and did not appreciate the predicament it had been forced into now.

“Yes” was all that he said in response to Lunara’s question. Agony’s head rotated slowly around while the rest of his body remained immobile, vision beyond the physical being employed but ultimately not giving the triumvir anything other than something resembling fog. The emerging presence of a group of Fallen Knights forces Obtenebra into action as several crossbow bolts find purchase along it’s mass of black. The speed of the creatures afterward allowed them to close in and attempt several feverish sword attacks aimed at both him and Lunara. All of them would be neutralized by a swift flow of Obtenebra’s mass that caused each blade to sink into its mass along with their arms.

Slowly one would see they would begin to sink even further as the black ooze would slide along their corporeal bodies and begin consuming their forms in gluttonous fashion. Some knights screamed in response while others uncontrollably laughed until those sounds were muffled behind a wall of black. Despite the swift negation of the current threat, a silhouette resembling Agony’s knight guise along with an outline that resembled Lunara floating nearby could be seen walking toward them. Within seconds four more copies of the same silhouettes appeared.

Emerging scythes begin to elevate out of the copies of Agony’s form and then all extend outward, attached to tendrils of Obtenebra. Whipping through the air they collide with the mass of Obtenebra and seemingly go right through Agony. Obtenebra’s violent response, however, suggest damage had been done as it bubbles violently which allows one of the knights to get loose though its arm did not come with it. What followed was a flurry of scythes slicing through the air followed by glowing follow up attack of blood tendrils in the same direction. Wherever these illusory attacks came from, they became the immediate threat that attempted to distract from the looming presence that filled the Spires.

“Find them…”

That was all a pained voice would muster toward Lunara though those few words were packed with trust and belief that the faerie knew just what to do to help them survive.

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Sword swings and arrow bolts were relatively useless against the diminutive and agile faerie, who used her blood tendrils to whip and pull the fallen knights towards Agony. The primordial ooze had devoured enough foes now that Lunara was familiar with their eventual fate. However, all but one of the knights proved to be nothing more than mirages. Illusions. Thus it came as no surprise when versions of themselves appeared next.

Two scythes came at Lunara from different directions. She flew backwards to avoid them, only to be caught within a net of lashing blood tendrils. An attack of her own deflected most of the impact, but one end of a tendril flicked across her left cheek, whipping her head backwards. “Tch!” It was frustrating to know that these were illusions, and yet have no way to dispel them. The thick, smothering aura that swirled around them dulled her usually sharp magical senses. Luckily, Agony’s perceived presence as a greater threat drew most of the copies’ attention, and the faerie was able to retreat into the darkness of the trees for a moment.

”Find them..” Lunara knew exactly what Agony meant. The illusions themselves must be cast by something nearby. Destroying the illusions did nothing at all, they just reappeared elsewhere. They needed to root out the main perpetrator in order to defeat the illusions. The faerie zipped among the trees. There - a creature with tentacled arms and an oval body was concealed behind one of the black trees. It had not noticed Lunara’s presence yet. It appeared that the illusions were controlled by each of its arms. Remembering that Agony did not wish to harm Yh’mi’s creatures, Lunara stealthily extended several tendrils towards the Maash, intending to pin its tentacles down and disrupt the illusions. She got as close as she dared to without risking detection, then struck at once. Her blood tendrils sprung towards the creature - and when the first one reached it, it was gone. An illusion too?!

It was a trap, she realized too late when a blood tendril coiled around her neck. She blindly struck her whips around, but what was an advantage to herself also proved to be an advantage to the enemy; their small size made them hard to hit. The pressure tightened around her neck and cut off her air supply. She struggled to free herself, but it was of no use. More tendrils wrapped themselves around her. The faerie cast a desperate look towards Agony, and found only a mass of writhing ooze in his direction. How many Maash’s were there?

Now Lunara was really panicking. Snap out of it, snap out of it, she chanted to herself desperately, but her mind could not untangle itself from the illusion. Her lungs burned, heaving but failing to draw breath. Stars dotted in her vision. It was laughably frustrating that of all the things she could die by, it would be in the stomach of an ugly low-level creature...

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She thought that the voice in her head was part of her delirium, but suddenly she was free. The first sweet, sweet breath she took choked her up, and she curled up on the ground, coughing and sputtering. Distorted visions assaulted her senses, but she couldn’t make anything out of them.

Something approaching them had driven away the Maash into hiding.

Something big..

Edited by jaistlyn

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