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Zahara disengages her blade with a flick of her wrist, steps sideways and runs forward beneath his guard. The giant slab of blue jade is dwarfed along with herself, as it flickers towards the Herald, and the war bell tolls its piercing call.

Zahara's daiklave strike feels smooth and sure to her -- until it reaches about three feet from the Herald's skin, when she feels it grind to a halt mid-air, as if the very laws of physics oppose her sword swing. (...)

SecondHerald raises his staff and bats the sound of Zahara's bell casually out of the air, causing it to crash to earth in a nearby copse, tearing several innocent trees to shreds in the process.

Varanim opens her mouth and begins speaking, but no sound is heard; each word becomes a collection of anti-syllables as it passes her lips, for the Herald's hearing alone. For a moment it seems as if there is a much taller shadow of a woman behind her, and the peeling skin-ribbons of her left arm writhe amongst the great staring eyes of her anima.

Cerin It's as Varanim prepares her spell, her arm begining to flay that from the edges of the forest comes a trio of arrows, each one flowing through the air silently with perfect sureity, unaffected by the violent shifts in gravity, trailing frost rimming behind them for a few moments before they plunge into the Second Herald from behind.

Lucent The Coronal explodes out of Lucent, the Adamant Sun appearing behind him, a scorpion tail coming down to the only orb that still remained, shining the color of Saturn. The image of saturn herself took the tail as a sword and ran it through her form... "We are prepared, you know. Always vigilant." He whispers together with the disembodied voice of Saturn as the remains of shattered saturn fell on the Herald as a rain of finality!

SecondHerald The Herald's eyes glow a brilliant golden-blue for a moment, and Cerin's arrows visibly dissolve into tiny motes of sunlight before striking him.

SecondHerald Most of the shards of the goddess of Secrets themselves shatter and fall lifelessly to earth upon -- or, perhaps, just in front of -- the Second Herald's vast, imposing form, and his mouth curls up in a cruel, humorless grin, as what looks like variably-colored vapor rises up from the few cuts Luc has inflicted.

SecondHerald The Herald turns and widens its grin, even as the motes holding its net of defense taut go slack under Lucent's assault. "Do not stand against what is imminent," he says, and with a single, violent action, slams the bottom end of his staff into the earth.

Lucent "Tough, are you. Those were supposed to kill." An orb of golden light bursts efulgent from the coronal, another crimson one sliding through the adamant to join over his heart, exploding in a crimson sun! "But you just HAD to make a battle out of it, did you? But you see... this is our place. We say when things begin... and when the end."

Lucent And to those words, a little hidden Maiden of Endings cuts through the laws of physics about the Herald, killing every little whim of the world that obeyed him, winking at the big man as she jumped on Lucent's hand. "Like... so!" And then everything shook.

SecondHerald From the point on the ground where the staff strikes, the whole universe seems to split in twain. (...)

SecondHerald Thick black cracks form in the very fabric of the world, and the skies and earth shatter together; with a sound louder than a thousand armies but as brief as the the space between two seconds, the world splits along its faultlines, and the Solars feel their bodies, minds and souls strain under the same pressure. (...)

SecondHerald Imrama gives a horrified scream that shifts into a strangled-off gurgle from off to one side, and then -- there is darkness.

SecondHerald After a long, LONG moment, Cerin finds himself on what looks to be a tiny island of matter -- a piece of the ground with perhaps 10 feet worth of sky attached, it would seem, with Varanim, her spell still somewhere in the midst of casting, floating on another, smaller one a short distance away. (...)

SecondHerald Luc, Zahara, and the Herald are (at first glance) nowhere to be seen.

Cerin "Can you see Zahara? Are you okay? Did you see where it went?" Cerin asks, looking around even as he does.

Varanim Varanim, who was apparently buffered from the assault by the towering might of her ego, closes her mouth with a snap and a profoundly annoyed look. "No, yes, no," she says, glaring fiercely at the absence of the world in general and the Herald in particular.

Cerin "And would you like to do something with that spell you have prepared?" He draws out an unexceptional grey looking cord with a complex knot tied in one end.

Varanim "Oh, tell me you're a clever boy."

Cerin grins. "Release it on me," he says easily. ::Zahara!:: he calls out over the rings, and through the Unity.

SecondHerald The feeling of pain Cerin receives assures him that Zahara is still alive, but the Unity connection is rough and tenuous enough to prevent much more thorough communication.

Varanim Varanim, who was starting to sprout beads of sweat from her forehead at the strain of holding the last word, lets from under her tongue with a sigh. For a moment Cerin sees a purple-eyed, dark-robed apparition towering behind her, then the spell flies at him.

Cerin "..ow," he gasps as the pain washes over him, though he doesn't let it distract him from the very important task at hand - that of catching the spell before his essence was inverted. Soon, the cord has a second knot. "She is alive, and in great pain," he says.

Varanim scowls. "Reality re-knitting isn't my usual bag." She takes a long look over the edge of her little island, looking for what happens to Essence at the edge.

Cerin Cerin is likewise given to study the boundaries of his island, although also the faint tracery that was the link of the Unity.

SecondHerald The Essence at the end of each fragment is frazzled and torn; it looks very much like the organizing physical principle that normally holds matter together to form the world has broken, and now the bits that have retained their form are floating in a sort of primordial soup.

Cerin mentally compares the edge to that of the cloak he recently recieved, even as he reaches out with motes of his own and tries to impress order upon the soup.

Varanim Varanim, for her part, looks inward, testing if her connection to the Jewel is still working.

SecondHerald Varanim's tiny academic world is still present. Cerin sees that the fraying is indeed very similar to that on the cloak.

SecondHerald The medium in which the Solars swim seems to respond very slightly to Cerin's efforts, though it has neither the almost manically reactive qualities of the Wyld or the responsively creative aspects of the Sea of Icons.

Cerin lets the construction fall away once it seems stable, observing to see if it falls apart or no.

SecondHerald It begins to very slowly decay.

Varanim "Since she's gone, and in pain, it suggests that whatever happened affected us less," says Varanim slowly, staring into space as she kneels to run her fingers over the ground on both sides of the Shroud.

Varanim "Which means that we are still in the right place, and the rest of the world has gone missing, rather than the other way around."

Cerin Cerin is not particularly pleased with the premises on which Varanim based her deduction, but he had been coming to a similar conclusion. "Yes, that seems to be a fair assertion."

SecondHerald Matters seem to be much the same on both sides of the Shroud; the ghost world seems to be shattered just like the living.

Cerin Cerin focuses inward himself, concentrating on the thin band of essence which links himself and Zahara, the Unity of Dreams and then expanding his conciousness and his vision outwards to follow it towards her.

SecondHerald Cerin focuses on the matter for just a moment, until it becomes clear to him exactly where Zahara has gone: out of phase with existence.

Cerin "Not gone missing, just ... gone ... sideways."

Varanim "Huh," says Varanim, in the tone she uses when the world is at its most vexatious. She rests her forehead against her staff and closes her eyes; in her anima, a hundred eyes of golden and rose and peach blink open and study the scene from their towering height.

Varanim She slowly turns as if listening to a thread of faraway music, her eyes closed as her mind racks the details of the scene that she does not move another inch to disturb.

SecondHerald The nature of the current situation unfolds before Varanim like a flower opening at its first taste of morning dew. (...)

SecondHerald The Herald's attack shattered the local laws of physics, causing the structure of Creation nearby to unravel. Those who held on were able to hold themselves together and reawaken amongst the remnants of the physical world... while those who did not were pulled through the break in the weft, into the space between the pieces of the world. (...)

SecondHerald It does seem like with some effort, one could follow, though getting back might prove to be challenging...

Varanim "I think," Varanim says carefully, as if she is shaping her very words to avoid disturbing something fragile in the air, "I can lead us to them. Back will be trickier."

Cerin "Lead on," he says, with barely supressed urgency.

Varanim Eyes still shut, Varanim nods, straightens, and takes one step, then another. Leading Cerin, she traces the moment of revelation printed on her memory, stepping past the irrelevant edge of the island into the weave.

Cerin follows after her, stepping lightly and senses alert.

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