[Plot] Convergence of Tides

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Aeria Luxus

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Aeria concentrated on keeping the flight of the Sky Cutter steady, her gaze forward despite the goings on happening behind her. Now she seemed to be steadier on the controls, appearing to have figured them all out now. The airship was actually quite maneuverable and easy to operate, once all the controls were learned. Shooting a quick glance back, she saw the bowl smoking. “So…what is it? What do you see?”

There was a mixture of impatience and trepidation in her voice. In case Durio was too concentrated, her query turned to Ignis. “What’s going on? What’s the image you see?”

Already the spurii’s angular features had taken on a different cast, as if she was starting to consider what might be next. These were, quite literally, uncharted waters and it was as if she was running scenarios through her head, trying to figure out what to do in each eventuality.

Her brow was also furrowed as if the horrid possibility that what they were doing wasn’t a rescue mission, but a recovery of bodies. Worry was likely gnawing at her, although it appeared as if she were fighting against it. There was a great deal riding on the mission. Along with Caput, it was clear that Aeria was also concerned about the fate of Diamantus along with Captain Garus.
 
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Word Count: 1138/4956

Today had been a bad day for Vician Kresh. The orange scaled velen growled as he looked around the battlefield. His usual imperial officer’s uniform had seen better days, and his red fins seemed to be drooping from the burning exhaustion he felt in every fiber of his being. He’d been burned, bludgeoned, hell he’d even been stabbed once or twice on these Vis-damned docks. Only interventions from the field medics had kept him up and running. Maybe he should have taken his father's advice and left the military before the war really heated up. But he’d never taken part in a battle before, let alone a war.

The stories never described it like this though.

Grimacing he turned and saw his warguard, a thick velen man almost as big as the damned naga they were fighting. His name was Fathuus, and his posture told the lieutenant that the man was ready to unleash violence at a moment's notice.

Sighing, he turned and looked at the handful of men and women he was in charge of, all of them guardsmen like himself. He had a chance here, he could hold with the prince or he could be proactive and move towards the closer behemoth to provide backup for the brave landstriders who stood next to their people like a good sibling would. Either option, however, was likely to lead to his guardsmen’s deaths. The fervor in their eyes, however, told him that they’d follow him wherever he told them to go.

He saw a thunderous crash come from above, bathing one of the wicker worms in glowing light followed by keening from it and a warbling cry of rage. It seemed to throw a tantrum as it ripped great gouts of masonry, metal and wood from the tower to lob at some of its closer irritants before making its way towards the prince’s position.

“FOR THE PRINCE!” the officer yelled, rushing forwards, his trident held upright as he moved to intercept, quickly making his way in front of the prince’s position with his mere twenty men. A pair of them prepared some spells while the rest stood their ground, gritting their teeth and staring down their impending doom.



-----

Kaizaell grimaced as the flash of lighting hit so close to him, making him flinch and shield his eyes. Even over the roar of the thunderclap almost directly in his ears he could feel the damned monstrosity’s wailing retort. As his eyesight began to clear he felt the beast grab a large chunk of the base of the tower, flinging it angrily at something out of sight but also at the base of the tower.

Aeravis, the dark haired soldier prayed for a moment, hoping his goddess would actually listen to his prayers for once. Honestly, with how often it happened he was almost starting to doubt his faith. Please guide Laermont. I know he’s a machine but he’s a good soul.

Scoping back down the sight of his scope he hissed in frustration. Some sort of retreat order must have been put in place or the naga he’d spotted in the apothecary had turned off its magics. Either way, he didn’t spot the shaman or any signs of movement.

The tower shook, apparently in its death throes, as the lanky sniper was almost knocked off his feet. The lighthouse was beginning to lean more and more towards the center of town.

“Oh, no no no,” Kaizaell growled, seeing that the tower wasn’t going to stop now that gravity was involved in laying the monument low. “Aeravis, you thorny bitch! You have got to be fucking kidding me!”

Reaching desperately for the rope he’d scaled the last bit of the tower with, he managed to untangle it and get it wrapped around his arm as the tower began its freefall, falling forwards and straight towards the center of town. Cursing his own luck, his decision to join this damned war and even Aeravis herself he waited for the final moment, then jumped.

The landing wasn’t as dignified as he was expecting, in fact he tried to roll but the slanted ceramic shingled roofs and the remaining moisture on the roof made it difficult, even if he’d managed a perfect jump. He felt himself land on his shoulder first, wrongly, then on his left hip, wrongly again. Pain lanced up his nerves and he gritted his teeth as he finally managed to stop his roll but not his momentum taking him towards the edge of the roof he’d landed on. Looking around he saw what looked like a chimney nearby and threw his rope, knowing this was his last chance before he went over the edge. He barely managed to see the hook catch before the tug of the rope on his arm made him wince with fresh pain, but his feet stopped right at the edge though his center of mass was dangling precariously over the edge.

However, before he could even spare a moment to breath a sigh of relief he heard a pair of voices hissing below him. He looked down to see a trio of naga making their way back towards the center of town, probably to reinforce some part of the forces deeper within the city.

The young soldier growled slightly, trying to move slowly so as not to alert the beasts below him. He couldn’t bring his rifle up and shoot them, not with his dominant hand tied up trying to keep him from going over, but he did still have at least one option.

Reaching for his vial pouch on his hip he felt at them with his right hand, counting the three he’d managed to create before heading to the surface. The captain would’ve killed him if he’d known he had kept something in such close quarters and aboard a ship, nonetheless, but he’d risked it thinking it’d come in handy. Finding the first vial he brought out the Pyre Jelly and chucked it into the center of the trio.

It certainly didn’t disappoint, the flash of sudden fire lighting as the jelly-like substance made contact with the air and splashed in a wide arc as the glass of the vial shattered, covering the three naga with the chemicals. Their shrieks as they found themselves suddenly, inexplicably, on fire. The sudden flare of heat, almost drowning out the murky darkness caused by the continuous cloud cover.

Yeah, it had been worth it to make those vials he carried on him.

Kaizaell grinned, bringing his right arm up to the rope and pulling himself slowly up so he was no longer leaning over the edge into the firestorm now below. It would take him a little bit to get setup, but at least he was still above ground floor.

That was at least something.


You said NPC's were kewl right?

Vician and his troops will be in between the wicker worm and the prince, though more towards the prince. Wherever you want to put him Will, I leave that to you.

So, the Lighthouse has fallen over, which is why Kaizaell was able to move so far in one turn.
 
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Laermont

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Word Count: 171

The flare of fire leaping up distracted the wicker worm for a moment, along with the screams of the naga being burned by Kai's fiery concoction, giving Laermont enough time to pick up his gigantic, powerful frame from the ground. As the creature had tossed debris at him, he'd rapidly thrown himself clear, rolling and hitting the ground.

His mind seemed to be working rapidly, his keen demvir senses apparently still fully effective as his eye plate scanned the surroundings. It flashed brightly as he seemed to realize that Caput was the target of the beast. In a few bounds of his powerful legs, the inspector was pacing the wicker worm as it tore toward the Prince.

Seeing the spurting wound where the tentacle had been severed, Laermont took aim while he still ran along with it. He let off three shots in quick succession, each exploding into the wound before he put his head down and drove his gigantic body forward, sprinting hard to join the group surrounding the Prince.
 

Aelflead Kirastes

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" W͠el͘l,̡ l̕o̴oḱs͏ ͘c҉an ̷be d҉eceiv̛in̷g͘ ."

Aelflead stepped forward and set her hand on the side of the ship's railing. Her crimson locks were wrapped in a tight and intricate spiral of braids that ended in a tied bun behind her horns and dangled the braided excess behind her shoulder. This left her cartilage to hang mostly freely around her face, totally hiding the eye that matched her hair behind the magenta curtain. Her cloak hung loosely at her elbows, revealing shoulders patterned like swirling onyx and seafoam that matched the rest of her corrupted form.

The cambion spurii cleared her throat.


"If they were gonna try to kill us we'd have been swimming kilometres ago." Aelflead's voice sounded confident coming through the black half-grin half grimace she wore, but she'd been rubbing the fabric of her cloak between her fingers to ground herself since take off. Indignance still boiled behind the woman's eyes on behalf of the ophidians, but after all the travel trepidation had been given time to settle in. This wouldn't be like talking up a john or jill to get their wallet as a kid, or beating answers out of someone for info on a hit. She going to speak with a wronged people in order to ask them to stop trying to take vengeance against a nation she had no ties to, who by all accounts deserved everything coming to them.

The cambion had received a request for a hit on the crown weeks in advance to the summons from the royal family, so she'd originally only boarded the Geamhess as an easy way to get close to her targets. Finding out her targets included children had been the only reason she'd stayed her hand. Now, she was flying back to what she'd figured out were at least one of her original clients; not only without the job done, not only with a non insignificant part of her wishing that she'd taken out at least the emperor, but asking them to change their mind as well.

Bringing the statue would help and its presence calmed her somewhat, but she couldn't shake the feeling of discomfort sitting on her shoulders. As if was walking back home empty handed after a day of collecting dues for her mother when she was young.

Like a sickly brew boiling in her stomach.

Maswae, though he had no previous frame of reference for the woman's behavior, noticed that the cambion was ill at ease. The way her tail had been wagging on and off had not been like a felvar's but more like a vorax, nervous as he took it. And considering that as far as he knew, she and the blond with her were supposedly been the best people for the task. "Heroes," of the Portal or some wash, seeing the one as monstrous as she and knowing next to nothing about the other didn't exactly inspire much confidence in in the velen.


To that point, he turned to get a look at the taller of the two envoys. "What about you? Just as confident, hm?"
 
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The giant worm was charging right at Amanita. Rather than move or defend, she put her scutum onto her back and wielded the gladius with both hands. "Repulse me," Amanita commanded.

"The largest tapeworm found in a person's body was eighty-two feet long," Memerosia said.

Amanita glanced over. "I meant cast the spell!"

Memerosia activated the magic portal sending out a wave of force. Amanita readied her weapon. The force of the Repulsor pushed her towards the whipping tentacles of the worm. Her muscles tensed, and her eyes were wide open. With perfect timing, she swung her gladius in a huge cleaving stroke, targeting all of the tentacles at once.

The spell continued as Memerosia directed the next repulsor to carry Amanita along the body. Amanita dug her gladius in as deep as it could go. She held on tight with both hands, tearing across the worm. The final repulsor landed her out of direct path of the worm. She slid to a halt near the edge of the roof, scutum already back in her hand.
 

Dante

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There was a bead of sweat on the side of the athlete's forehead caused by the concern he felt about the situation at hand. He had been separated from Aeria and there really was only one thing left to do for him – survive. And having been stuck with being reinforcements for Aelflead did not fill the athlete with hope.

“All I want is to survive this mission and make it back home safely, whether you see that as confidence or not is up to you,” the athlete replied indifferently, though his eyes were locked on Aelflead.

“So, were you like that during the invasion?” Dante asked the spurii bluntly and out of the blue. Her current form disgusted him, and the athlete wanted it all to be over as soon as possible.​
 

Deni Perfide

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“Serpent’s saggy-”

The pale velen couldn’t finish the sentence as he threw himself away from the pile of rubble that had been hurled in his direction. A few chunks of rock flew past him as he leapt two great strides, but there was too much. An impact threw him to the ground.

The dust that covered Deni made him cough as he lifted himself out of the crushed stone and wood. His head was pounding. He reached his hand up to carress his temple. Wet. Crimson stained his fingertips. No wonder there were black flecks in his vision.

Once he was steady on his feet, he turned to face the beast that had injured him. It seemed as though he was getting a little left behind, with Laermont rushing to blast at the creature from close range. He was vaguely aware of the demvir’s actions. Unleashing three shots into the wound on one of the worm’s tentacles. Though the resulting shriek sent a shiver down Deni’s spine, it didn’t seem to deter the creature from its target.

The rogue surged forward - if Laermont moved too far away from him, the bond of the artifact would be severed - and was almost met with the lash of another deadly limb. As the wicker worm grew ever reckless, Deni realised that every tentacle was a dangerous weapon. If they were incapacitated, the fight would be much easier.

Leaning the rifle to his shoulder, the pelagian closed one eye and aimed at one of the tentacles still clasped around what remained of the lighthouse. He took a moment to breathe, to really look at his target. If it was on a person, he would aim for the joint in their shoulder or elbow if he wanted to immobilise the arm. Without the bones to break, trying to find a weak spot was difficult.

The velen squinted. Where the arm met the ‘head’ of the aquatic giant, there was a small node. It was difficult to tell at such a distance, but it seemed brighter when the bioluminescence kicked in. Perhaps it was nothing, but it was worth a try.

Fortunately, Deni was aiming at a tentacle that was mostly still as it was wrapped around the lighthouse. With a clunk the bolt was fired. Through the air it hurled until it struck the node. That loud, dissonant whistle pierced the ears of all those nearby. The monster from the deep stumbled off balance as the tentacle it was leaning on dropped limply to its side. It regained its balance right in front of the Prince and his retinue. Deni groaned. He had immobilised the arm, but inadvertently ended up pushing the creature closer to the pelagian forces. It wasted no time in slamming its remaining tentacles against the crew of the Orca.

“The tentacles!” Deni shouted to any that could hear. At the very least, Laermont would receive the message through the mark of Lachtara. “Aim for the limbs!”

[495]


Expended 1,200 vigor to use Incapacitation and disable one of the wicker worm’s limbs.
 

Aelflead Kirastes

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Maswae chuffed and turned back to the airship controls. "Wrthuamweurdeuwt liaeniail nared," he said derisively.

Aelflead's fist tightened its grip on her cloak, and she turned her head to fix Dante with the bright green orb that shone free of her bangs. She remembered him, vaguely, from the black portal. The stranger that had given her the boost when she first struck the dragon daemon.

Pity he's an arse. She thought. Between the guards, Caput, random attendants, and now the kinner, a part of the spurii was glad she mad the call to hide her form up until the banquet. Though every other part of her was furiously debating whether open animosity and fear from being clearly corrupted was better or worse than the dismissive attitudes and infantilazation she'd gotten for being visibly spurii when she let her hair down.

"Make a wild guess, and then ponder hard about whether asking me another question like that is worth the very real prospect of ḅe̴͓̝̜̝i͏̞͍̻n̤͎̩̱̝̞g̛͉͓̰ ̗̯̘̟͍͎͕͝b͇̙͍ͅo̤͟i̯͈̙͈̬̰̩͠le͞d̠͙̥̯͚͖͢ ̵̙̬a̗̜̯͜l͞iv̢̱̗̼͉e͖͢ ͕͓͙̩̤̗in̞̙̼̬͍ ̺̟͔̣̤͖t̼̬̫̝̠͈h͖̯̼͉̪̖̬͞e̹̜̭ͅ ̘̻̻̠̗͈m̝͜i̳͙͞d̨̦͖̟̮̜͙͔d̻̯̳̥͙l̵̜̪e̻̺ ̨͉͎̫̲o̱f̢̳̙̹͙̪͓͔ ̩̟͕n̪̣͕̫o̸͍̟ẉ͍h͍ͅe͍̤̥̼̙͞r̼̟̰͚̞e͚͉̙̤̺̺ ."

The jury was still out, for now.

Meanwhile, the sandy black beach below was steadily approaching as Maswae began taking the airship down.
 

Laermont

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Word Count: 249

As the instruction about the tentacles reached his mind, it seemed that Laermont executed a pivot mid-run. His entire gigantic frame spun with an agility that seemed bizarre for one so large. Now he was facing the eldritch horror, for a moment he stood as if make a decision and then he holstered his pistol and drew his cutlass. Every part of his huge, metallic frame seemed to tense and then he was charging. There was terrifying weight and power behind his charge, his cutlass ready to strike as he bore down on the wicker worm. When he neared it, he slashed down hard with his cutlass and barrelled into the tentacles before him, slicing and hacking with the momentum and speed generated by his charge behind the blows. He was carried right through the fleshy masses with the speed he’d generated.

Now the earth around his heavy metallic feet churned up as he skidded to a halt behind the wicker worm, leaving a trail of ichor and hacked tentacles behind him. He shook off his blade and sheathed it again. Now he paused, seeming to gather himself and drew his pistol once more. He began to reload while watching to see how much damage his headlong charge through the tentacles had done. It had been part of his training to implacably attack when faced with a threat and his training had driven his violent rush. His pistol reloaded, the massive demvir stood and waited, gun at the ready.
 
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Ignis turned her seat to get a better look at the scrying liquid while remaining near the controls in case they faced further turbulence. The vivid scene that unfolded before her quickly captured the enlil's attention. She held up a single finger to silence Aeria's shouts for information so that she could hear what was going on over the Sky Cutter's engine and the winds buffeting their aircraft.

"I see three people that aren't naga... they're all alive for now. Two velen and a laicar. Someone must have used a spell on the laicar because he isn't drowning... I think one of those men must be Captain Garus. I don't understand what they're saying, but I don't think we have much time before they naga run out of patience with them," Ignis reported.

Then, Ignis turned her gaze to Durio and inquired, "What are they saying? It sounds like a heated discussion."

#c22f5d




Meanwhile Garus continued to plead his case with Etiirshaii and Tsildasiir.

"Your quarrel is with the Pelagian kingdom, not with bystanders unfortunate enough to get swept up in this feud. Murdering bystanders is not blood for blood. How can you hope to ensure your safety by beginning new grudges?" he plead.

Tsildasiir's face was difficult to read, but the slight relaxation of his shoulders hinted at him contemplating Garus' words.

He spoke in another soft hiss, "You still haven't proven that this isn't another one of your lies and schemes, velen. Why should I believe that the rest of your kind won't return here and repeat what they've already done to other holds?"
 

swaswj

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Durio nodded without pulling her eyes away. "It is Captain Garus, though he looks like he's had a hard time of it. I wouldn't be able to locate or scry at all if he weren't there." To Ignis, she added, "They are… negotiating, it sounds like. The velen woman's name is Diamantus, it seems, but no one has given a name for the laicar.

In the shimmery image, the orange-scaled velen seemed to puff out his chest. "Your drars has already taken a measure of my guilt and my sincerity, as well as the woman beside me. Shall we hear what she has to say?"

Etiirshai hissed, seemingly in disgust, and her cold, dark eyes turned to Iszikke at the side of the room. "It is so, my king. The female's blood debt is shallow. Both of them spoke with sincerity, and have committed their crimes in ignorance." There was another vicious hiss as she slowly floated closer, glaring at Garus. "Ignorance is a poor excuse for war."

"War that I was always told your people brought to us," Garus replied, starting out indignant but steeped with regret before the sentence even finished.

"Mm. We need to hurry. Captain Garus has nothing to offer in his parlay. He is throwing himself upon the mercy of the naga, and they have precious little of that." Durio chewed her lip thoughtfully, then tightened her hands on the scrying font. "Captain Garus, if you can hear me, this is Durio Sea. I served as navigator on your ship years ago. You must not offer up your life just yet! I have located you via alchemy, and we are heading to you now, but if you die, we will not be able to reach the others!"

In the throne room, Etiirshai looked around, a look of wariness as she slipped her body in between Garus and the king. Then, her eyes seemed to meet Durio's, looking right at her through the image. "What is this?! Treacherous snakes!" she shouted. "Already he's leading more of them to us! Execute them all immediately!"

"No!" Durio shouted. "Captain, we have the statue!"

Garus sputtered for a moment. "You have… how? Why?!" The towering ophidian shaman had drawn a wave-bladed kris, though, and moved to pierce his throat, wrist snapping forward like the strike of an eel. Garus, Diamantus, and Lea had no time to react, even if they weren't still bound.

It was Iszikke who reacted, thrusting his spear in front of Etiirshai's blade. "Explain!" he demanded.

King Tsildasiir rose from his throne, staring Iszikke down with regal furor. The veteran hunter trembled but held his ground. Instead of berating him or the shaman, Tsildasiir floated forward, pushing Etiirshai back and facing Garus directly. "Explain," he repeated, redirecting the question to the velen man. "Who has what? What have you done?"

"Spies!" Etiirshai hissed.

Garus shook his head, though he was still wrapping his head around the situation. He looked at Diamantus, but the look in her eyes told him she hadn't heard the scryer's words. Turning back to the ophidian king, he explained, "An envoy. From my emperor. Coming here." The naga around the room began hissing and calling for execution while Etiirshai glared, venomous and smug. "She says… they have the statue."

With that, the room fell silent.​




The crescent ridge of the once-volcano encircled beaches of black sand. Black sand, beneath black clouds: a fitting place to deliver a statue of black onyx.

Maswae brought the Volitans down, engine humming steadily as the old grayscale carefully coasted in before finally setting the skids of the ship down in the sand, with the rear of the ship, and its cargo, facing toward Drars Ulupi and her guards. At the sight of the statue, many of the two dozen naga openly cheered, some shouting out prayers, breaking the image of immovable warriors.

Ulupi seemed as if she would berate them, but instead a faint smile curled on her lips, there and gone in a flash as she resumed her stern expression. Slithering forward through the shallow waters, she called out in Himai, "Where is the emperor's son? Why does he send striders in his place?"

[701/9296]

More turns later.

Aeria/Ignis, assume that Durio will guide them toward Garus' location. The three captives may want to try negotiating/peacekeeping in the meantime.

Aelflead/Dante, Ulupi is probably the least bloodthirsty of the three Drars, but the fact that no one of royal blood or noteworthy military ranking came for the meeting will be seen as an open insult. The statue itself holds a lot of value, obviously, so taking the right tact, you can smooth things over. She does speak broken common, so on the plus side, Dante can talk to her, but on the downside, she'll know if they try to speak common to hide things from her.
 

Aelflead Kirastes

Shadow Monk multiclass Path of the Berserker
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"Sua pliae is sua ha, twllu seuonlla trweuop freifo tyheiadrwg places silioe wrthuamweurdeuwt ha."

Aelflead said, curtsying. A look of relief found its way to her face as she did, hidden under bangs with her motion, though this did little to hide her tail curling into a relaxed "U" shape behind her. She'd noticed the Drars smile, and that may not have been much, but it meant the statue's return was more important than the Empepor's head. Of course it could also just mean that the Drars that'd called on her in the first place wasn't Ulupi, or Ulupi didn't recognize her.

Either scenario was good news as far as the spurii was concerned.

As she rose from her curtsy, Aelflead continued, speaking quickly. "Neiablwtyh'au Tiae Mwoiwb dwbluwi giaewiai hi ffrwa delivers ha [statue]* drwsifut pwntyuallu sib dwbluwi Flumen Petram.

She turned to gesture towards Dante. "Hu are taigeareih nuoff hi wruwurthu sioerdi fiauf tywtyheuo." Then turned back to the Drars and took a step to the side so she was no longer standing between the woman and her people's treasure.

"Tywrsoillt tylio dioe haeoi ti tyuarffiad euo Pelagia, suawrth. Na pwum strofoithweia huwio hu?"

1: Because, fool as he is, he cannot be in two places at once.
2: Come Tiae Grace in place his while delivers he [statue]* to kin yours in Flumen Petram./ Caput is delivering to Flumen Petram right now, so his sister Tiae Grace has come instead.
3: We are advance party hers for open peace talk./ We're here as her advance party to open peace talks ahead of her.
4: Apology accept ours on behalf of Pelagia. What else owe do we?/What else can we do to make this right?

*: I don't remember what the names of each statue are, but I know Aelf would if she'd been told them so I'll replace the name once I find the names for them again, or realize Aelf wouldn't have known their names in the first place.
 

Aeria Luxus

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The scryer’s voice was steady and assured, issuing directions that Aeria was able to match with coordinates accurately. If there was a sense of urgency, it didn’t show In her easy grip on the controls and her focused gaze as she kept the throttle of the Sky Cutter open as much as possible, only slowing to make banking turns and decrease their altitude or adjust their course. However, one glance into her violet eyes would have revealed worry, a touch of fear and something fiery and determined. They were lower now, skimming over the water’s surface. According to the instruments, they were nearing the place that Durio Sea was indicating. Aeria began to circle and shouted back to the scryer. “We appear to be in the vicinity you indicated, do you have more specific information for me?”

The lean, slim spurii directed her voice to Ignis now. “Be ready to trim the wings for a water landing. I’ll give you more specific instructions for what to do as we prepare to land. Who knows what conditions we’ll face once we’re down, be ready for anything.”

Now Aeria was all business. If she was harbouring any doubts or fears, they appeared to be subsumed by her drive to ensure that their approach was as safe as possible. This mission was quite dangerous enough without crashing the Sky Cutter on the way down.
_____________________________
If Diamantus felt any surprise, it was well-masked. She appeared to absorb the situation's import and seemed to be composing herself to speak before actually doing so. "He's telling the truth. If the Emperor says the statue will be returned, it'll be returned. It isn't a trap. Think about it. Would they want to announce their presence with a message to Garus that was so transparent?"

The burly velen fighter pressed on. "I know we have not shown much good faith, but Garus is no liar. If he says there is no attack, there's no attack. I have not seen any treachery in him thus far."

Now it was a matter of trying a calm approach or so it seemed from the non-threatening posture adopted by Diamantus.
 
Last edited:

Inks

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Liaelty’s eyes flit from one speaker to the next, the conversation entirely lost to him - he still didn’t speak Himai. The laicar was left grasping weakly at the body language and expressions of those around him and...well. It was hard for him to focus.

His stay with the naga had been spent primarily in the care of the Dry Rock. Alone. What few forays he’d had into the city proper had been marked by the sharp panic of water in his lungs - usually followed by other, equally-unpleasant tortures. They’d been more frequent at first, but as time went on, they’d seemed to abandon the idea of executing him or torturing any comprehensible information out of him. And that meant no more forays.

After long enough, he’d wondered if he didn’t miss the drowning, if only for the change of pace.

Now, he was in the middle of an ornate undersea throne room, alive and conscious and capable of taking in his surroundings. Despite the magic the velen captain had cast upon him, though, it still felt like he couldn’t breath. There was...too much. It was all too much. He couldn’t process it. Even on the swim over, he’d found himself staring at various pieces of architecture, at the sprawling underwater cityscape, until he was pushed, pulled, prodded, or shoved along.

He had panicked a few times during his stay with the ophidians. Broken down, screaming, crying - begging for mercy or struggling uselessly against the naga in some weak attempt at freedom. And it had always started like this. A jittery pulse, hammering hard at his throat. His muscles, tense and shivering in anticipation. A quiet sense of dread.

The feeling had spiked, briefly, when it looked like Garus was going to be executed right there - Lea’s hands had curled tight into fists, twitching nervously in their bonds. The helplessness, the uselessness, it ate at him. Combined with the sensory overload...

He wanted to -- to --

But he couldn’t do anything. He wasn’t even sure if his two fellow prisoners would be able to understand him if he tried to speak underwater.

And now the tension in the air - water? - had shifted. Something had happened. Something about what Garus and Diamantus had said seemed to stay the naga’s hands. At least for a moment. Lea took a shaky breath. Another. And waited. It was all he could do, really.


[403 / 1207]
 

Red

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Red frowned. “That’s great and all,” she said, eyes tracking Keydis’s movement across the town, “but I got guns, not magic. And they’re not even magic guns.” She winced as one of the wicker worm’s charges smashed into a rooftop near the Keydis, nearly crushing the light-haired laicar woman nearby. Vis, Key was gonna get her ass killed, at this rate.

Red bit her lip, then made up her mind. Her gaze flit over to Gwen. “Hey, I know we just got here, but any chance I could get a portal to,uh, over there?” Red gestured briskly at the rooftop occupied by Keydis, her motives embarrassingly transparent.

Gwen said something in response (actually, she said quite a lot in response), but Red only really caught the ‘I mean, sure, I guess!’ which was what she was looking for.

“Er, thanks, good luck, don’t fuck around and get yourselves killed!” Red called back over her shoulder, and the moment the portal had formed, she was through it, guns still in-hand. She hit the other rooftop in a run, closing the distance between herself and Keydis.

Just in time, too. As she ran, her eyes shifted from Key to the wicker worm, which was rearing back. The monster gave an awkward, drunken sway as it shifted its weight on its remaining tentacles. The massive tentacles at its base lashed wildly as it began to move, dragging itself across the ground, churning up mud, dirt, and debris as it made a beeline for the line of buildings along the east coast.

“Fuck!” spat Red. She slammed her guns into their holsters and leaned into a sprint. “Fuck!” she snarled, louder, as Keydis - preoccupied with burying her sword to the hilt in one of the worm’s thick limbs - fell beneath the shadow of one of its moving tentacles, lifted high and more than large enough to crush the swordswoman to a fine paste.

“Key--!” she managed to gasp out, and Keydis turned just before Red slammed into her, tackling her to the ground. The wicker worm’s tentacle struck the spot they’d just vacated, hard enough for Red to feel her bones rattling from the impact. The corner of the rooftop caved beneath the worm’s weight. There was a deafening crash of collapsing rubble, and cracks spread like a spiderweb across the remaining roof, threatening to give in beneath the three women now occupying it.

Red rolled onto her side, clear of Keydis, and gasped out a shaking breath. “Bell’s balls,” she wheezed. She pushed herself to her hands and knees and jabbed a finger in Key’s face.

“You are,” she huffed, “fuckin’ welcome. We need to move.”


[456 / 1663]
 

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