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charlequin The door bursts open. At the center is a sizeable control panel, in the form of a perhaps four-foot wide basin filled with water, frozen into an elaborate but mostly colorless representation of the ground below. Above it hangs a tiny silver representation of the city, complete with essence glow from the engine beneath.' Tiny jets of essence flame from tiny burners at the edge of the basin burn bright to melt the ice at one side as it forms anew from the other side, thusly rapidly scrolling to show the swift movement of the ground below. Standing behind it, clearly prepared but not particularly happy to be in the situation, is Shikaya, the second-in-command of Lai's forces. Her thin face scowls as it has in every depiction of her the group has yet seen, but her eyes are clouded black and strange ripples of light run up and down her limbs.

brasslantern steps to the front of the group, glaring at the woman, blades twitching in her hands. "Been a while."

Zahara steps in behind Kai, although her gaze falls mostly on the device, rather than the woman guarding it. That is not to say she doesn't pay attention to her at all, merely that she finds the machine much more interesting.

Cerin ::She is fused with a behemoth of some nature. Be on your guard::

Lucent falls out of Zahra's grasp, straightening his collar... "Another old acquaintance?"

Birds growls.

Shikaya looks at Kai and something that presumably wishes it were a smile crosses one corner of her lip. "You seem to be missing something."

Thirteen "As you see, we have arrived. Perhaps it would be best for you to leap out the window now and save us all some time and trouble."

Birds whispers to Luc, "Do you think he'd be upset if I chased her?"

Lucent can't help but giggle, "Nope! We would all enjoy watching the aerial chase!"

Zahara flicks the Bonds out, settling them around the little flying city.

Shikaya There's a sudden, fairly sharp jolt as the (big) city's velocity slows dramatically.

Zahara is still not standing on the floor, and is thus unaffected unless something falls on her

Kai "She. Isn't going. Anywhere."

Shikaya "Hmph." Shikaya draws one finger lightly across the portion of the bonds holding the scale model, severing it completely, then casually pushes the city back in its previous direction, leading to another massive jolt.

Cerin ::It appears we are heading for Lookshy or Nexus, at some speed.::

Kai ::Any idea why?::

Cerin ::I would guess to engage one of the two cities with the weapons this city can undoubtedly bring to bear, or to fly beyond and to the cascade to do similar.::

Zahara lofts a brow, frowning. "That wasn't terribly nice of you. Oh, what was your name again? There are so many inconsequential people in this world..."

Shikaya responds by leaping across the table and stabbing her razor-sharp fingertips directly at Zahara's neck.

Thirteen "We will have plenty of time to learn her name by displaying her head to her next of kin."

Kai takes the opportunity to shove a sword into (or at least "at") the bitch's midsection. Uhm, Shikaya, not Zee.

Zahara "Oh, and cranky too!" she swings her daiklave up in a perfect arc, intercepting the blade easily. She smiles, "And a bit sad."

Thirteen ::Zahara. Please take advantage of her distraction to reset the motion of the city again.::

Zahara ::Of course.::

Thirteen 's spear flashes out as Shikaya crosses the table, putting a wound in her side. As her attack falters, he spins his spear rapidly before him, striking at her with both ends as they revolve.

Thirteen lands another blow, opening an identical wound in her other side.

Shikaya k, who's next

Zahara does indeed use the distraction of Thirteen's attacks, and while she is reeling from the dual blows, she flicks the Bonds once more. They seethe and flow back together, coiling around the city like an angry serpent. She yanks a little, moving the city in the opposite direction, rather than just slowing it.

Shikaya The room shakes even more violently as the city's direction is rapidly reversed.

Zahara gestures, and the other four scarves form a protective sphere around the city, overlapping and interlacing until it can no longer be seen

Cerin From his position in the doorway of the cabin, Cerin draws back 5 gleaming motes across his bow. Then he releases them, letting them fly straight and true across the cabin, straight and true through the warped and twisted space, straight and true through Shikaya.

Shikaya A shadowy hand composed entirely of the strange essence ripples that surround the Exalt's body reaches up out of Shikaya's back and swipes through Cerin's bolts, neatly severing each Essence arrow in half.

Kai 's mind registers her compatriots attacks, noting Shikaya's responses and the vulnerabilities left by them, but the process is purely reflex. All she is aware of is a seething rage, and all she knows is that she is about to put a blade in this woman, possibly many, many times.

Cerin ::Kai! More consideration in your blows. Use the Undaunted Weapon Technique::

Shikaya Kai's blades plunge into the shattered Essence around Shikaya, where it is redirected into every which location that is NOT Shikaya's innards.

Shikaya Ignoring the swordswoman entirely, Shikaya focuses the brunt of her rage on Zahara for the offense of moving the city against her will.

Shikaya Her fingers rake against Zahara's skin, each one sharp enough to cut even orichalcum, perhaps....

Thirteen sighs. "Your focus is admirable, but misdirected." He lays his spear alongside her arm, stabbing inwards every time she draws her hand back.

Shikaya Blackish-purple gas is emitted from Shikaya's skin where Thirteen has broken it.

Zahara "Certainly you can do better than that, little girl?" Her laughter is sharp, biting. Her Blade is sharp, deflecting.

Shikaya In response to Zahara's words Shikaya leans back, grabs the tiny city again -- her fingers pass through the Bonds with ease, the cuts they leave healing up behind her -- and spins it edgewise, setting the entire room into a vicious tumble.

Lucent Lucent nearly trips, steadies his feet, and narrows his eyes....

Lucent ::We will make sure she does not get away, Kai:: We. Him and all of the shards ruled by Mercury to ever be. He makes a flourish, stardust following his hand... and if one looks closely enough, each particle of dust is a caste mark of journeys. Yellow-gold surrounds Lucent as he finishes his flourish...

Lucent ... and the dust bursts from his palm into five chains, the circles in the symbol of journeys linked together, coming towards Shikaya from all of 5 directions! "I do not think we were introduced. I am Lucent Copper Haze."

Lucent He holds the chains, yanking back as if it was Amika's reins "I will be making sure you do not run."

Lucent It hits. The caste marks embed in her skin, breaking in stardust all around her. Fate did not want her to run, but to walk, from now on. She was held by his reins.

Shikaya The black smoke pours out of Shikaya's skin in even greater gouts, making it difficult for the sighted members of the group to even see what is happening. Meanwhile, the room spins on, gerbil-wheel style, at a rapid rate, necessitating rather swift jogging for those unable to hang in midair.

Shikaya "You worthless wastes. This is our world and you cannot take it from us." She screams a blood-curdling scream and lashes forward with her own hands -- as well as the four hands of energy that stretch out of her back to strike out as well.

Zahara "It is not your world, it has never BEEN your world! You were created as servants to tend to the world. The Gods have their place, but you, you have not even that."

Shikaya "The Sun is a twisted tyrant who lies to even his own warriors! Those who have tended the world in the absence of its true masters deserve to do as they please far more than his brood!"

Thirteen "We are this world's masters. Your stewardship has been acceptable."

Thirteen plants his spear's butt, flickers out of existence, and as it teeters reappears at its end, flipping it over him to hammer Shikaya into the table as her attacks ventilate the space where he was.

Zahara "You call this tending the world?" her voice is incredulous. "In our absence - brought about by the uprising of those who were meant to serve - Creation has been nearly destroyed! The people bear crushing burdens. The magic of the world has been demeaned. The Gods themselves have been denied their proper worship while they were, as you say, tending to the world."

Thirteen "Excuse me. We were made to serve. We were meant to rule."

Zahara "You have had millenia to make the world a better place!" she spits, "And look at what you have accomplished. NOTHING. Blame it on the Dynasts if you must, but know that you have had your chance. And that chance is over." She siezes the city back into her control again, and the bell rings out a pure tone, commanding and arrogant, while the four swords that have waited behind her dive forward to drive into her skull.

Lucent The shields in the shapes of Mars, for the agressivity, Jupiter, for the magic, and the Sun, for all there is under its gaze, fading around him, Luc holds his side, where she has struck... and wills the wound to his companion, only his ragged breath and the cold sweat trickling from his forehead noting how worried he was just now...

Lucent ... as he looked even refreshed by her strikes. "We have the mandate to rule it. You are going against the law of Heaven, against the wishes of the world. What right do you think you have?" He calls to the smoke, barely holding his feet by means of the yellow chain...

Kai Irritated at her failure to mutilate, Kai takes a brief moment to refocus her eyes, and discern her opponent amidst her fractured energies. Having done so, she angrily kicks off whatever surface is currently "down", and leaps at the woman. "Excuse me!" she hisses, making a viscious thrust at Shikaya's midsection, "Excuse!" and another, "me!" and another, "Please pay attention--" a fourth, "when I--" she grabs the woman's h

Kai she grabs the woman's head firmly between her forearms-- "am killing you!" and slams it into her own ever-changing ice-map.

Shikaya Shikaya responds to Luc and Zahara's words -- "You have no idea. When you learn what the Sun has done you wi--" and is interrupted by Kai's sudden vicious attack.

Lucent "The Sun?" Luc almost lets go of the chain.

Lucent ... almost.

Cerin decides to forgo his attacks, instead concentrating on the mind of the woman and the behemoth before him, listening to the words they would voice, were they not so effectively interuptted by Kai's brutality

Shikaya Kai's blows, guided by Cerin's helpful suggestion, slide on precise essence through the eddies of Shikaya's defense field and slash deep into her flesh, cutting deep enough that actual, human blood shoots out in great geysers. With one forceful push Kai shoves the Exalt's head into the display where a jagged peak of miniature ice stabs directly through it and emerges, glistening and red, from the other side.

Kai steps back, panting heavily. "Well, I suppose -pant- that this almost makes up -pant- for not killing her -pant- with the correct sword."

Zahara "Oh, my. You got blood on Creation."

Kai doesn't turn around to look at Zahara as she speaks. "Well, that wasn't exactly NOT my intent..."

Cerin "Most effective, Kai." He reaches out and stops the city, and then looks at the map to work out where they are. After lifting the dead woman off it.

Thirteen "Zahara, perhaps this would be a good time to make a speech to the remaining living soldiers."

Shikaya Quite suddenly, Shikaya's dead body suddenly sits bolt-upright and a horrific scream emerges from the otherwise completely unmobile body -- the behemoth that shares her space pulls itself out with an almost unbearably loud crackling and burning sound. One of its four arms almost casually knocks the city loose from its floating position, before disintegrating into loose pieces of buzzing essence.

Cerin , completely prepared for an eventuality such as this, calmly reaches out and catches it again, restoring it to it's position in the map after scarsely an instant.

Zahara , the Bonds already wrapped around the city, stabilizes it channeling her Essence through the weapon

Lucent "Damnit. You should have let her finish." He says, letting go of the chain, disgusted, as it vanishes, coalescing into the mercury orb once again.

Cerin "you will bow down before us rather than suffer the shame of that betrayal." Cerin says calmly, as he studies the map, with the newly steadied city.

Kai "I've been waiting a long time to do that. She should have let ME finish before she started talking."

Zahara "I suppose this fits the theory that the Unconquered Sun really IS a jerk."

Cerin "She, or they, certainly believed that was true. The implication was that the betrayal went far beyond the bounds of the world, even."

Lucent "You could have stopped her with -- Zahara!" His face twists, still not believing that is her stance even after the argument...

Zahara raises a brow, "It was not my theory."

Kai finally comes out of her violence-induced reverie and begins to clean the blood off her sword and, eventually, clothes.

Thirteen "Although there are certain attractive elements to it."

Cerin "Anyway, Luc, that is what she was saying. You will bow down before us rather than suffer the shame of that betrayal. It is considerably harder to lie with your mind, especially when fighting for one's life."

Thirteen "On the other hand, if she was so adamant about it, she might have just told us."

Thirteen "After all, according to her, she would have instantly won the fight."

Lucent "Sometimes, I just hate both of you." He shoots a sullen face to Thirteen and Zahara, then hears Cerin... "She can be misguided, though! Who knows what lies she has been fed by that damn Chayan god..."

Kai She occassionally pauses to kick the body.

Zahara "Ahh, don't hate me, Lucent. There's no need for that."

Kai "I think the lies go from Lily to gods, and not the other way round."

Thirteen "How, exactly, could the Sun have betrayed both us and the Gods?"

Cerin "Comprehensively?"

Thirteen "A third party needs must be involved. Malfeans or Yozi, no doubt."

Zahara "He had turned His face from Creation for the past few thousand years."

Cerin "The scope of the betrayal suggests it could involve all creation, since the extent was clearly implied to be beyond it."

Zahara "That could be considered a betrayal."

Lucent "... turned his face?"

Lucent looks in disbelief

Zahara "Do you think that our Sparks, the Essence of the Solars, could have TRULY been trapped for so long, let us be HUNTED by the Wyld Hunt, if he had been paying attention?"

Zahara "Creation has been sent into a Dark Age without the guidance of the Solars."

Thirteen "Firstly, I doubt she intended that news to strike us as much of a surprise."

Lucent "Trapped? Oh, yes, of course. Why would the Sun turn his face from us, though?"

Zahara "He has only recently begun to pay attention again, Lucent. It is only recently that We have risen again, to our rightful places."

Thirteen "Secondly, it seems apparent that the gods are reasonably satisfied with the absence of the Sun's attention."

Lucent "I... had not realised it! I thought the Empire simply took out those like us early..."

Zahara "Now, you could say that we are just BETTER than those who have come before us, the hundreds that have died over and over before realizing their true potential, but do you truly believe that?"

Lucent "Well, we have to find out at least what they believe in! It might be the source of their whole disdain for heaven's law!"

Lucent "... not really. He certainly does, though."

Cerin "But would they be so fractious without the yozi offering them power far beyond what they had before?"

Lucent points at 13

Zahara "True."

Thirteen "I have never claimed that we are superior to all other Solars."

Thirteen "It may well be the case, but that cannot be asserted, merely proven in battle."

Zahara "I happen to believe that this incarnation of myself is one of the best, of course. But there is more than that going on in this world."

Lucent "We need to capture one of them, next time. One who would know what lie that has been spread about our god to the higher eschelons of the Lily." He sighs, looking at the corpse again, "Well, I must say my First Age Incarnation was quite glorious... I do not know if I live up to Him."

Cerin "Ahh. Sijan." Cerin notes, as the blood drains away. "Getting home should not take too long."

Zahara puts her hand on Luc's shoulder. "You will, Lucent."

Cerin sets about directing the great city on course that will take them between Lookshy and Nexus, before sweeping down high above the sunlands to the Cascade.

Lucent looks up, touched "Zahara..."

Lucent clenches his fist, determined. "Thank you..."

Zahara smiles. "Together, we will reclaim the glory of the First Age." she steps back, looking at all her companions in turn. "Starting with returning the Gods to their proper places, and ensuring they recieve their proper due when they perform their tasks well."

Thirteen "We cannot stop long at the Cascade. We must proceed to Gem within three hours."

Cerin "What do we need for success at Gem? Merely this city?"

Lucent He smiles, giving Zahara a determined nod, "Yes! We will! Together, Empress."

Lucent "Amika will like to fight in the desert again, at least."

Thirteen "Do not seek to reclaim past glories, Zahara. Our glories to come will surpass them all."

Thirteen "Let me consider." He taps his spear against the tiny city, letting out a ring that reverberates off every piece of complicated machinery in the control room.

Zahara "Well, we have to start somewhere." she grins.

Tags: (:tags Shikaya, Crystal, Behemoth, Sol Invictus :)

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