otherquin With a remarkable speed and a resounding crack, the earth breaks free of itself in exactly the pattern that has encircled the city, and it begins to rise up into the air at a remarkable pace.
otherquin The fighting between the demons and the creatures below continues unabated.
Lucent urges Amika foward, watching the thing rise... ::They are... trying to get away?::
Zahara urges Tantamount into the air, checking to see if Cerin is behind her yet... he always does appear so quietly, and it's too loud what with the raging demons and screams, to hear his signature footstep.
Cerin lets Zahara know of his presence there by slipping his hands around her waist.
Thirteen smoothly hoists himself onto Amika's back, carefully listening to the screaming of the fractured earth.
Zahara smiles and cups one hand over his, the other grasping Tanty's thick mane. ::They will fail.::
Birds leaps up into the air! What impertinence! Cities are not supposed to fly.
Lucent ::It is certainly pretty, though! Think you can do that to some place on the Sunlands? Then it can hover above the manse...::
Zahara ::Oh I think I'd rather prefer a city of crystal above the Manse... I was meaning to talk to Ssithumi about that... but the flying, now that's a lovely addition.::
Cerin ::We can always move this city down there...::
Thirteen ::We will probably want to, once we are done taking it to Gem.::
Birds ::...I was offended, but, ONE OF OUR OWN...::
Zahara ::Ahh but just consider the way the light would refract onto our manse... quite beautiful::
Birds ::We could launch Chiaroscuro!::
otherquin Jagged spikes of earth hang down below the now thoroughly airborne city. For the most part they are unadorned and plain, but at the very center-bottom the Solars spot the unusual addition (...)
otherquin -- a great circle of jade with eight vast spines point inward towards the center, where a great ball of Essence -- powerful enough to be visible to the naked eye -- churns away.
Zahara ::Aha... that circle... is that the trick?::
Thirteen ::Ah. How helpful of them to expose our target.::
Cerin ::How curious. Such power in such a small space....::
Birds moves to get a better look at it.
Lucent ::Sure it is not a trap? The devil the other time has shown they are ready for us...::
Thirteen ::They were ready for us to rescue Kai. That can hardly be considered surprising.::
otherquin As Birds grows closer, she can pick out the fine traceries of nobler Magical Materials spider-webbing across the vast jade slabs, and the careful way that they direct the Essence towards the center.
Thirteen ::I am sure they have some sort of defense planned, but all Lai's thought is bent on protecting the Chayan blossoms at the moment, and will be for at least the next two days or until he hears of our attack.::
Kai ::Is there any way to just make it fall down?::
Birds ::We could blow it up. With, you know, fire bits.::
Zahara ::Fire bits?::
otherquin Thanks to a quick start, the Solars manage to reach the top surface of the city and alight safely before the city accelerates too quickly to easily keep up with.
otherquin The streets are still largely empty, and cold and sharp wind blasts through them as the city rockets to the sky.
Lucent ::Thirteen, I am sure your plan has the actual people away. I mean they could have a trap set. The kind that does not need people around to trigger it.::
Thirteen ::A trap not accompanied by an army is merely an interesting device.::
Thirteen ::Let us investigate this one.::
Zahara ::Or possibly the trap is that this city will ..well... trap us inside it when it flips upside down and crashes back into the Earth. That would be interesting.::
Zahara ::Or maybe it'll take us to Malfaes or something.::
Lucent ::Original, too!::
Lucent ::... now that would be bad.::
Zahara ::I should make a trap like that... the upside down city one at least::
otherquin A fairly large complex of buildings stand near the center of the city. Stretching up to perhaps twelve stories at their height, and sprawling out to cover a large floorplan, a heavily regimented form of Essence can be seen in the area.
charlequin Birds floats lazily along the spine, watching the air essence throb gently through the metals.
Zahara flies up above the city to get a view of the layout, to look for significant patterns through which the essence flows
Lucent ::So, some of us go down, some investigate the buildings? I'd be wary of fully splitting, though::
Thirteen ::I wish to examine the central complex in more detail.::
Thirteen ::Perhaps Cerin could assist me.::
Zahara ::Just a moment, I'm getting an overview...::
charlequin With a little investigation Birds can find some loose rock that, with a little clearing, reveals a pretty tight but probably functional hole into the innards of the rock.
Cerin ::Of course. It seems to be ...hmmm... I have not seen anything quite like it::
Birds grits her teeth a little, turns her garments into a slick bodysuit, and craws inside.
Zahara frowns, seeing little more than she did on the ground, and returns to where the others await. ::What do you mean?::
Cerin ::Well, the entire complex seems to be created to 'ride' the local dragonlines, pulling in the essence as a more conventional manse would, to fuel the engines, and probably with motes to spare.::
Zahara ::Now I definitely want to keep it... Birds, be sure not to break it, please!::
Birds ::Yes, mum.::
Zahara ::Thank you dearest.::
Zahara ::Shall we find the pilot?::
charlequin Birds crawls into the corridor -- squeezy! -- and inches along through the rock, hoping to find some larger space to exit into.
Thirteen ::That is our goal.::
Cerin ::That would be good, yes::
Zahara ::Let us begin then. I suggest the apex of the Manse.:: she gestures
Birds squeezes faster!
Thirteen ::Perhaps I should learn to fly. When you live in a tree, it is not as important an ability, but these buildings do not have enough branches.::
Birds ::It is a rewarding talent!::
Thirteen ::I hate to journey too quickly, though.::
Thirteen ::Ah well.::
Zahara ::I cannot fly, but I can walk on the air.::
Cerin ::Fly slowly?::
Birds ::Perhaps we can make you a special suit and fly you like a kite.::
charlequin It does not take too long with her extra effort for the Solar to squeeze out into a room, a crudely carved chamber filled to the brim with strange, pulsating Essence machinery.
Thirteen ::All of these are intriguing proposals, some more than others.::
Birds ::So, I found some machines in here.::
Cerin ::Can you be a little more specific?:: Cael asks, as he looks around for entrances to the Manse complex
Zahara ::What do they look like?::
charlequin The machines are elaborate, many-tiered devices, rounded rectangles with odd indentations and strange whirring wheels and devices. Blue energy crackles around them and the whole room has a strange vibration to it.
Birds describes them.
Zahara ::Are there any obvious controls?::
charlequin As Birds leans over to examine one, she catches the reflection of a metallic creature standing behind her in the machine in front of her...
Zahara meanwhile flies up towards the apex of the manse, looking for a way in from the outside
Zahara ::How many?::
charlequin The creature, similar to those that had been patrolling the streets, but more upright -- more like a cross between a raptor and a monkey -- glares cooly at Birds. From this close, she gets a better sense of exactly what it is -- it appears to be made entirely out of plates of scrap metal held together by some internal Essence, and each of them is coated in a thick layer of rime.
Birds ::Just one. It isn't trying to kill me. I will try and make friends.::
Zahara ::Oh, good luck then. We'll be at the top.::
charlequin Meanwhile, the other Solars arrive near the central complex, and are able to locate what is presumably an entrance without a great deal of difficulty.
Birds turns around slowly, calling up her Essence blade with a hand hidden behind her back. "Oh, hello! Can you help me? I seem to be a little...lost."
charlequin The creature stares at Birds some more, inclining its head to get a better look. It doesn't seem hugely aggressive until some sort of unearthly klaxon rises up from somewhere within the city, which seems to frighten it into adpoting a vicious pose, its plates shifting and sliding to present a wall of rusty, ice-covered blades to the world.
Birds looses a long-suffering sigh. "Okay, really. I don't have the time." ::It doesn't want to be friends, Zee.::
Zahara stares at the architecture, frowning.. it reminds her... of something... ::That's it! The Sea of Gears!:: she snaps her fingers.
Zahara ::This structure was likely built by beings similar to the Xi Mi Taxi..and as such, it may be somewhat alive.::
Cerin ::Hmmm. Perhaps then these are the Ascendant to the Xi-Ma-Taxi's Recumbant nature.::
Zahara ::You may be correct.::
Thirteen ::If it is alive, we must attempt to communicate with it, or kill it quickly.::
Cerin ::Shall we go in? Zahara? Thirteen? Luc?::
Thirteen is already crossing the threshold.::
Zahara ::Aye.. perhaps we can befriend these ones as well. I wonder if they are friends or enemies of the Xi Mi Taxi..::
charlequin The Solars burst into the building. The inside is even more reminiscent of the location she visited in the Sea of Gears, with strange tubings and brass finish everywhere.
Zahara crosses behind Thirteen.
Lucent ::Let us.::
Birds ::The Xi-Mi-Taxi, eh? This monkey-thing is made of metal.::
Zahara ::Indeed. I thought you said it was a monster, not a monkey?::
charlequin These buildings have been used pretty recently -- food, clothing, and other signs of human inhabitation are easily visible. The klaxon is quite loud in here.
Lucent walks a model of the sky, the lights coming to life around him.
Cerin steps inside next to Zahara, all senses fully out.
Zahara looks for the source of the Klaxon
charlequin The creature looks more confused and anxious than truly angry as its fingers lash out at Birds, the only other moving thing nearby.
charlequin The alarm sound seems to be coming from all sides
Birds reads the confusion in the monkey's expression. Maybe it really does want to be friends! Defence!
charlequin Cerin becomes aware at this point that some sort of enemy forces are presumably on an intercept course.
Zahara taps the bell a couple of times, closing her eyes to hear the tone, above that of the klaxon... then suddenly she sets the bell ringing, first harmonizing with the klaxon, then shifting to a dissonant tone until the two seem to be battling eachother
Cerin moves his fingers in an arc, sketching out the pattern of the Immaculate Golden Bow, which appears in his hand. ::Be on your guard, we have have company very soon::
Thirteen ::We must hurry. Our goal is not to get embroiled in a skirmish. To the top, as quickly as we can!::
Kai draws anyway.
charlequin The enchanted tones of Zahara's bell mute and counteract the alarm, quieting it at least within a reasonably wide area if not the entire complex.
Thirteen ::Downwards, as quickly as we can!::
Zahara "Ahh, that's much better." she says into the now quieter room. ::I would like to look around here first. Why downwards?::
Cerin ::Well, we are at the top...and the controls are not here::
Thirteen ::Standing around peacefully examining the scenery is a good example of why I had to show up in the first place.::
Birds blocks the monkey's attacks and advances slowly, herding it around the room so that she can reach the hallways unobtructed.
Thirteen charges down the stairs, seeking the control center.
Zahara sighs and charges reluctantly down after him, after pausing to admire the view.
charlequin Birds' strikes glance repeatedly off the creature's thick metallic plates, and it lets out a grating, metallic howl.
Cerin sweeps after Zahara
charlequin Birds' strategy seems to be reasonably effective, and she manages to back towards an exit without being impaled in the process.
charlequin Meanwhile, the other Solars locate a downward staircase, with beautiful brass bannistering, and begin to charge down it, just as the sounds of the soldiers pouring down from upstairs can be heard.
Thirteen stops at the bottom and waits for the other Solars to disembark from the staircase.
Birds dashes out and up, waving a 'v for victory' gesture at the monkey!
charlequin The staircase is quite narrow.
Zahara exits the staircase
Zahara looks around for other staircases, and/or exits to the room.
charlequin The staircase lets out somewhere where the gold machines Birds described have just slightly begun their intrusion.
Lucent steps out, the last in line
charlequin Just as Zahara starts to glance around the room, there is a sudden and VERY violent shift in momentum, as the city accelerates strongly to one side. Even with Charms, the force is enough to throw quite a few of the Solars to the ground.
charlequin There's a loud crunch up the stairs somewhere as other people -- and things -- are also knocked to the ground.
Zahara "Oh.. my!" she stumbles, but manages to barely retain her footing. She steps one step into the air, just in case.
Lucent yelps, then begins to get up... "Just wha?"
Thirteen flows effortlessly through the air, translating the momentum of the jolt into a backhanded swipe with his spear at the support pillars of the staircase.
Cerin was expecting the sudden shift, and simply keeps on walking without breaking his stride.
Zahara ::It seems our pursuers were thrown off as well. We should make haste.::
charlequin Thirteen's blow smashes thoroughly through the staircase, easily preventing meaningful pursuit.
Birds decides to follow the distant noises of destruction. That's what Zahara always sounds like!
charlequin As the Solars pause for breath, one of the machines in the corner of the room begins to light up and an image is projected into the center -- a familiar-looking woman clad in purple robes.
Zahara tilts her head to one side and watches
charlequin "I am well aware of your presence here, Solars. You cannot expect to escape Crystal once the War Engine is at its peak energy and you cannot stop it from reaching its destination."
Kai spits at the image.
Zahara "Oh, is that what your plan is?""
Lucent ::Next time I make it a bet, 13::
Zahara unwinds the Bonds from her waist, and sends them snaking around the room, twining between the metal structures and siezing them in its grasp. "I'm fairly certain we could stop it, actually."
Thirteen "Thank you for neatly explaining exactly what we must do to stop the motion of the War Engine."
Zahara ::Cerin, what do you think a charge of electricity would do to the mechanisms driving this War Engine?::
Cerin ::I would not like to speculate. Were I designing it, I would have safeguards to absorb such sparks.::
Birds ::Hey while I am exploring, should I be accomplishing anything?::
Thirteen ::Insightful, Zahara. Her brash statement clearly implicates her power system as the target she is most concerned with.::
Zahara ::Well, let's try it. I advise everyone to step off anything metal.::
charlequin She blinks a little at Thirteen's statement. "Believe what you wish. It is only a short while before we reach our destination."
Cerin ::That is the whole floor, love...::
Zahara shrugs, as she is not ON the floor.
Zahara ::Fine, fine, I'll carry you.
Cerin sighs, and lands on one of Zahara's hairs blowing in the breeze
Zahara grabs Luc in one hand, and Thirteen in the other, and hoists them into the air, assuming Birds can take care of getting herself off the floor. ::Birds, you ready?::
Birds ::Fire away.:: Birds is off the floor as usual.
Thirteen "Without your anxious revelation, it might have taken us several more moments to discover your weakness, during which you might have accomplished something meaningful. For your estimable service in aiding us, I offer you your life if you surrender immediately."
Cerin ::Kai will not accept those terms.::
Zahara closes her eyes briefly, and suddenly, great surges of electricity pour from the Bonds, throbbing, white-blue pulses that crackle, travelling through the many pipes and metallic parts. The air smells of ozone.
charlequin The figure laughs. "My counteroffer is that we will only conquer the Sunlands and crush the spirit of their peoples rather than burn them such that naught will ever grow again."
Lucent ::Thanks for taking care of us who cannot fly...::
charlequin Zahara viciously electrocutes the floor beneath the group, and sparks begin to shoot out and arc between every visible surface -- floors, walls, and ceilings, as well as the gold machines. However, no damage is immediately visible.
Zahara ::Of course.::
Zahara keeps it up, waiting until the metal begins to fuse together in inappropriate patterns, although it pains her to do so.
Zahara ::You know, I was really hoping to keep it. sigh ::
Kai ::Here's my offer: I stab her in the eyes, and then she can squirm around on the floor for a bit. I think that's fair.:: Outwardly, Kai remains silent.
Cerin ::My love, I'm not sure this is working. Perhaps we should just find her and the control room?::
Zahara ::Or we could do both.:: she walks towards...well..wherever she can walk. A bit slowly.
Lucent ::You just make another. Cerin can design the artistic bits. Will be pretty!::
Zahara "That's nice, dear."
charlequin Sensing a verbal impasse, the holographic woman nods once and disappears from view.
Zahara heads on further through the complex, trailing electricity as she goes
charlequin Running through the area, Zahara can see more of the gold machines, just as Birds described them -- and it doesn't take long to run into Birds herself!
charlequin The electricity continues to arc dangerously between the walls, but it doesn't seem to have any notable effect in damaging the material.
Birds "Hi Zee!"
Zahara ::Ahh hello, did you see any controls or power drives? I suspect we'll have to go beneath it.::
Retrieving #solinvictus modes...
Birds ::There were those machines the monkey interrupted me with.::
Birds describes briefly.
charlequin Thirteen has a sudden flash of inspiration and is suddenly quite certain he knows precisely where to go!
Thirteen ::I remember this.::
Zahara ::I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed the manse isn't melting a little bit. But it's doing wonders for pursuit.::
Thirteen ::This way.::
Zahara looks to see where he's pointing, and goes that way!
Thirteen guides Zahara with light pushing on her arm.
charlequin The others follow Thirteen through a maze of snaking corridors and stairwells until he brings them to a large archway, sealed by a massive gold and steel door, green and blue Essence illuminating its edges and clearly holding it shut
Zahara ceases the electrical attacks on the floor so Cerin can deal with the door
Cerin hops lightly down onto the floor from the drifting hair, studying the warding before him
Cerin then draws back five motes across his bow, releasing them in a carefully chosen pattern, slamming them into the warding at the fivefold principles of the ward before pressing his palm up the centre of the warding and /pushing/ with his essence, the door's protection falling apart around him.
charlequin Cerin's motes strike at key points in the door's protective Essence, and a single shove at the right moment is enough to buckle the protective field that joins them. From there, physically opening the door is largely a formality.
Zahara pushes the door with one finger
charlequin . . . . .
Tags: (:tags Crystal, Hundredfold, Rimeladen, Shikaya :)