Zahara "So, what was this you had to drag me out of the workshop for?" Zahara asks as she enters the meeting room.
Markuran "We have decided to kill Ahlat."
Markuran "This time, we have a plan."
Cerin "Ahlat has been raising a very large army of God Exalts. They're training even now."
Zahara nods "Killing the God would put an end to the army."
Markuran "Born of my ineffible intellect and Cerin's sneaky, cunning ways, our plan will surely result in Ahlat's utter defeat and vanquishment."
Zahara "Uh.. huh."
Cerin "Possibly not. I'm not sure what would happen to his Auroch servitor gods. It would certainly throw them into complete disarray."
Markuran "Then we can kill them too, if need be."
Zahara "I wonder what would happen to his portfolio." she muses. "This will be interesting in all kinds of ways."
Markuran "Or, possibly, having asserted our clear dominance over their master, the Auroch Gods will swear to us and we will have a few thousand Godbound."
Cerin "Indeed. I hope it's effect on harbourhead is not to severe, but still, it is good to know what effect it will have."
Zahara "It should also serve as a clear message that not even Gods are above the laws of Creation."
Markuran "Back to the plan: We decided that given Ahlat's protections, it would be best to lure him to a place of weakness."
Zahara "Surely the Gods think themselves to be beyond destruction..speaking of which, are you going to let him reform?"
Birds Of Trinity "That would be kindly of us."
Birds Of Trinity "I am not sure if we are kindly. Remind me?"
Markuran "So, we are going to make it seem like he's been invited to a secret, secure meeting of the Red Lily. Somewhere most certainly not a battleground. Somewhere like a dance hall or a spirit hut or a...Birds, what do you call very fancy cateferias?"
Birds Of Trinity "...restaurant?"
Zahara "Perhaps we should give him a choice. Surrender, and we let him reform. Defy us, and be utterly destroyed."
Birds Of Trinity "Would we be actually giving him a choice here, or just being nice so it's easier to eat his soul?"
Cerin "Perhaps we should offer him this ultimatum once we have injured him. He will not accept it when he is unhurt and it would be pointless to offer."
Zahara "I think giving him a choice will influence the other Gods once word spreads."
Markuran "Possibly. But, yes, lets give him a choice. But first, we must prepare the meeting."
Zahara "I doubt he believes Bertrand to be a reliable source these days."
Cerin "No, but I think between us we could forge an essence based message that he would believe."
Zahara "Perhaps I could work with Birds on binding a rumor into a message."
Cerin "That could work very well."
Birds nods vaguely.
Zahara "I have missives from the Lily so we can copy his handwriting, thanks to my little friend."
Cerin "I also have a plan to keep Ahlat within the meeting hall. I think I've studied his essence flows and patterns closely enough that I can use him to power the wards that will hold him there."
Markuran "And I'll be there to punch him a lot."
Zahara "Of course." she responds to Marku drily.
Cerin smiles as he realises something.
Zahara "Ahlat would be a lovely thing to keep around in a collar." she says a bit regretfully. "But that would not rid us of his progeny."
Birds Of Trinity "Maybe there is some way to sever their link to him."
Cerin "Possibly some sorcery would do it..." Cerin muses, the thought paused for the moment. "We'd need to study an Exalt and their god."
Markuran "Well let's capture Ahlat then!"
Birds Of Trinity "Do we have the luxury of study? Let us kill and amuse ourselves with scholarship at some later date."
Birds Of Trinity "I am sure that once the Celestial Bureaucracy bows at our knee, we will have all the gods and Exalted we could possibly wish for.
Birds Of Trinity "
Cerin "Markuran. He is a spiritual being of immense power. We may be able to kill him, but I doubt we can hold him."
Markuran "While a nice idea, Birds, we haven't the time to wait for that."
Markuran "We will defeat him and force him to ally himself with us."
Birds Of Trinity "I predict that Ahlat will accept death before he allies with us. That said, I am more or less in agreement with you. We must go and arrange to separate his body from his head, at once."
Cerin nods to birds.
Markuran "Then lets go and do it!"
Zahara "Alright. Birds, have you some paper? No, wait, I will get some from Bertrand's old drawer."
Markuran The chosen location was selected for its difficulty to access and the fact that a good bit of historical research on Cerin's part had indicated it was never, at any time, a battle field. The message sent to Ahlat gave instructions on how to arrive in the hidden meeting place. Necessarily complicated directions, given the fact that the opulent and cathedral-sized Grand Banquet Hall of Sunken Luthe was the meeting place.
Markuran One of the few buildings of Luthe to retain its ancient water-repelling magics and freshly re-purified Air, the Grand Banquet Hall is a shining reminder of the glories of the First Realm in every respect.
Markuran The immensely long banquet table is set for a ball of the finest quality. Once the Solars entered, the place lit itself and set out the utensils without prompting.
Cerin spends a lot of time with the ... floral arrangements for the 'banquet'. Red Lilies are there in abundance, closed, signifying a love of war and entwined with fennel for power and a twist of monkshood for treachery. These simple floral arrangements are placed with the utmost care around the room, along with certain discrete symbols carved into the exotic hardwood panelling about the room. For now they are quisent ...
Birds makes a quiet impressed noise.
The hall is, indeed, imeccably set for the event. The appointed time for arrival draws near!
Birds takes a moment to explore the hall, meanwhile unloosing her Essence to set Charms in motion.
Birds Of Trinity Soon her Castemark is sending a trail of smoke skyward, and her shadow points in eight directions, ready at any moment to leap away from danger. The sword of Exalted office burns at her left hand.
Cerin awaits Ahlat's arrival perched upon the great central chandelier that lights the hall. No swirls of light dance around him, though in his hands he has his bow of sunlit gold.
Zahara notes the clock and nods to herself. Quietly her swords phase into being, placing themselves amongst the decorations so as to enhance their beauty. The Bell hangs above the chandelier unobtruisvely. Traceries of essence surround her then fade as she shifts into the Fivefold Bulwark Stance. Finally, she calls the power of her personality to the fore. Compassion be damned, she is exceptionally pleasing to be around.
Birds perches on the arm of a chair to wait.
The clock, which still functions perfectly after thousands of years, slowly advances; the small glowing bubble slowly sinks downward on the circular wheel of water towards the appointed meeting time.
Zahara places herself behind the doorstop where the door would conceal her when opened.
Markuran doesn't bother to hide, instead leaning casually against the banquet table, conveniently close to a large assortment of cuttlery and a VERY elaborate candollabra with 1001 candles.
Zahara Marku, are you goint to conceal yourself so that he doesn't leave before he gets within the wards?"
Markuran "There's no where I'd hide very well. Besides, he can probably smell you any how."
Zahara glares at him. "Well don't ruin it. This was YOUR plan after all."
Zahara "Why don't you pretend to be chained up or something."
Birds Of Trinity "Hm, hide. That's an idea."
Markuran tries to make himself look as inconspicious and unthreatening as possible.
Birds wraps her face and hands in Water-imbued silk, and after a moment's concentration, her clothes turn to tight-fitting cloth-of-gold, making her appear to be a heroic statue.
Zahara "You know, on second thought, that sounds like a good plan. Cerin, would you tie me up? Since Marku isn't cooperating."
Markuran "I'll tie you up."
Birds reminds herself to stand very still while watching the amusing scene unfolding in front of her.
Zahara "Cerin does it better."
Cerin appears on the table in a well of red silk ribbons. "Of course, love."
Zahara unwraps the silk scarves from her waist and arranges herself artfully on the table.
Cerin spends a little time 'securing' Zahara to the table. It would be quite impossible for her to escape. If she didn't control all the ropes. He plants a kiss on her cheek and then leaps up again, landing lightly amongst the many barroque limbs of the chandelier
The sluice gates in the two great columns to each side of the room open, and water flows down over the clock chimes, announcing the arrival of the hour. As the melodious, many-layered sounds echo throughout the great halls of Luthe, the doors spring open with a violent crack. (...)
In strides a confident God, an ebon-skinned man of 10 feet with the head of a magnificent bull. Slung around his body is an elaborate, tasseled cloak of black and red, which glitters and flickers as he walks; violent, vicious sigils and designs can be seen in its fabric as he walks. To his sides are six great beasts, reddish bulls of Essence, their eyes blazing with white-hot fury and their teeth hungry for flesh.
Zahara grins, then concentrates on looking pissed off and helpless, which she does with great effect.
Zahara 's eyes widen as the bull-god enters, and she makes a small strangled noise and strains against the Bonds. Through gritted teeth, she growls, "I'm going to kill you, Lily!"
Zahara "First you bind
Zahara "First, you bind Marku's mind, then me..." she glares up at the God, "Don't even think about it."
Ahlat The Bull God chuckles heartily, a low, deep laugh that shakes the very foundations of the building.
Ahlat The Bull God "I see that he was right. You have called me here to kill me." He still stands in the open doorway.
Markuran "Well. We're not sure. We're debating. You could solve the debate for us, though. Would you?"
Zahara "Well that WAS the original plan, yes." she says wryly.
Zahara "Where did that demon's bastard go?"
Birds wonders if her castemark is showing.
Markuran "You see, Zahara here wants to beat you to a pulp and gain your allegiance through a series of potent Oaths. I'd rather just kill you and turn you into a variety of useful tools. Possibly some burgers."
Markuran "Which do you prefer?"
Ahlat The Bull God "I prefer that you become feed for my aurochs, petulant creatures!" He lowers his head and charges forward directly at the center of the table.
Cerin sends a slight hint of smugness through the Unity as the wards seal themselves around the room.
Zahara sighs, defeated, and lays her head down on the table, eyeing Marku. "That would have been a useful question an hour ago.. whups.." she twists, grabbing a fork with her hands as she turns her back on the charging creature, and with two fingers, twists and flickers the fork in such a way as to deflect the charge. She shrieks dramatically.
Ahlat ignores Zahara's movement and continues to charge, smashing the massive and beautiful banquet table into pieces with a single butt of his head. Grabbing swiftly at the remainder, he lifts up a shard of the table's flat surface bigger than a man in one hand and a table leg in the other; before the Solar's eyes, the one resolves itself into a massive shield of jet-black wood, bearing a bulls-head decoration of blood red metal; and a massive, 10-foot spear of alike materials.
Birds relaxes into a fighting stance and wills her mask away from her face. "That is an interesting trick, Ahlat."
Standing amidst the rubble he has left, Ahlat strikes out viciously against Markuran, driving his spear viciously home at the Solar's broad chest.
Zahara eyes Ahlat, pondering how well she can fight while tied up.. Decides it will be a fun challenge to fight Ahlat with a fork behind her back.
Markuran twists to the side as he slides Ahlat's spear away from his chest with the Reminder. Once the spear is far enough away from him, Marku lunges forward, driving his spike-covered fist into Ahlat's armpit and trying his best to pierce the divine lungs within the massive chest.
Marku bashes away Ahlat's first two strikes capably, but the third digs deep into Marku's side as the Solar reaches in for his counterattacks, and hot blood spurts out over the ruins of the banquet table.
Ahlat brings the blunt end of his spear to bear swiftly in deflecting Marku's blows, then turns and readies himself for other oncoming foes.
Markuran snarls, spraying blood across the Wargod's back as the fool turns away from a still-able Solar Warrior. The sudden and brilliant flare of Marku's is the only warning the bovine spirit has before a rain of diamond-crushing blows slam him to the blood-splattered ruins of the table and then, deep into the floor.
Ahlat is shocked by the viciousness of Marku's return attack, not suspecting that the barbarian still posed a threat. Marku's first blows force themselves past his feeble attempts at evasion, but quickly he brings the Blood-Soaked Earth Horn to bear and begins to deflect the Solar's blows. As the last, greatest strike is wound back, he throws up his spear and it bristles with Essence; the image of a bull's horns appears in bright light around the spear's head as he deflect's Marku's strike.
Markuran spits a mouthful of blood at Ahlat. "Foolish COW! You dare turn your back on a Chosen Warrior of the Sun?"
Zahara shrieks, and the sound pierces the air around them, reverberating off the first-age walls and coalescing in the bell, which multiplies it a hundredfold.
Zahara convulses on the table, and three black demons crawl from her stomach, scuttle around, giving Ahlat a wide berth, and plunge into Markuran.
Ahlat swings the Horn through the air violently, making a loud swipe noise that drowns out the clang of Zahara's powerful instrument.
The aurochs, however, writhe at the painful sound.
Cerin waits until Ahlat has spent the bulk of his efforts on gutting Marku, sitting in a cloud of essence wrapped around, and then he draws back his string. The world slows as 6 teardrops of light fall toward the Bull God's unprotected back, the six bound as one by the brief flare of cerin's anima.
Ahlat hears the delicate sound of Cerin's essence bowstring being pulled back, and turns to face the archer, slapping his arrows out of the air with quick, precise spearthrusts.
The aurochs charge forth, their slavering mouths dripping red saliva across the elegantly carpeted room as they run. They charge at the Solars, hoping only to viciously gore them upon their Essence horns.
Birds , having decided to skip the fancy stuff, vaults over a convenient aurochs' head as it runs to attack her, and aims a flurry of stabs at Ahlat's face.
Zahara kicks a silver plate at the aurochs as they charge, and rolls over, brandishing the silver fork behind her back as her swords emerge from the scenery to defend her. The bulls rush through, but their horns cannot penetrate the faithful tines!
Birds Of Trinity "We must do this again sometime, Ahlat."
Birds draws the 28-stroke character for
rejected at the war god's head.
Ahlat artfully guides many of Birds' strikes away from his body with his grand spear, though he is unable to avoid the entire onslaught.
Her strikes leave Ahlat's face bleeding brilliant, glowing red blood.
Angered by the Solars' insolence, Ahlat leaps again into the fray -- literally speaking. Rising up into the air, Ahlat points his great spear straight downwards and drives it viciously towards Birds' breast, then moves to smack her across the face with the haft before pulling it back again and striking her repeatedly across the belly.
Birds calculates for a split second, wondering if she can mar the spear's elegant decoration while defending herself. Concluding that she cannot, she performs the Evaporating Pool Kata to avoid it entirely.
Birds takes a hard hit to the chest and coughs up a little bit of blood, and an eyeball. It blinks.
Ahlat anticipates Birds' final evasion and drives the spear into her belly with an aggressive laugh.
Cerin murmurs a command in Old Realm, 3 delicate beetles fly from his outstretched palm towards birds, starting to knit her back togther.
Ahlat The Bull God turns his attention upwards, snapping the thread that holds Cerin's chandelier to the ceiling with a single vicious blow from his spear then brutally perforating it as it falls to the ground, glass shattering and tinkling with each spearthrust.
Cerin leaps up and away as Ahlat's first attack attempts to spear him, the essence of his armour confusing the bullgod as to his location as he sails easly away from the first spear thrust, to land atop a lanturn on the other side of the room.
Cerin spins the lamp fitting, watching the god's attacks fall faar short of him, firing a bolt of sunlight through one of the still falling crystals from the chandelier, the shafts splitting and refracting until 5 lances strike the bullgod as one.
Zahara twists and strikes the fork against the crystal of a glass, the purity of the sound rings out, a song as sweet as birds' pastries, and just as light. As it sings, the Bell tolls and harmonizes with it, the two tones playing with eachother, toying between bone-jarring dissonance and sweetest purity.
Markuran grabs the Auroch coming at him by the horns, spitting a wad of semicongealed blood in its glowing face before tossing the cow into Ahlat's gut. While the bullgod is still winded from the impact, Marku wraps his thick arms around the bull god's middle and starts squeezing.
Zahara 's swords interpose themselves once more between danger and their mistress. "Surrender, Ahlat!" the bound woman demands, "And we'll won't destroy your soul."
Ahlat The Bull God spits glowing blood at Zahara with a deep laugh.
Zahara catches the blood spatters on her fork and flicks them onto the tablecloth. They create a pattern remarkably reminiscent of the bull god's horns.
Birds growls and dives at a random aurochs. "YOU KILLED MY FATHER!"
Markuran "I thought Birds's father died in a fishing accident..." looks at Zahara
Birds recovers from her attack a bit. "Just getting in the mood, you know."
Zahara "It certainly wasn't ME, don't look at me like that!"
Ahlat backhands Markuran across the face with his massive shield, which he then drives downward into his semi-prone body several times, before turning to Zahara. He strikes her across the face with the tip of his spear, then stabs quite precisely with the intent of driving the blade deep through each of her limbs at a key articulation point.
Zahara abruptly rethinks her bright idea of calling challenge on Ahlat as she grabs a silver spoon in her teeth and uses it to deflect the first blow. She ruins his precision annoyingly as she contorts in unlikely fashions, the fork suddenly existing where her joints used to be.
Markuran grunts as the shield slams into him, barely managing to drive home weakened kicks against Ahlat's elbow as the arm extends to smash him with the shield.
Ahlat bats away Markuran's feeble assault.
Tags (:tags Ahlat, God-Exalts, Bertrand, Sunken Luthe :)