The Reckoning: Arx Day 4 - The Palace
Jan. 30, 2024, 7 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Crown - The Palace - Great Hall
Comments and Log
Azazel really wants to devour the Compact metaphorically. Literally too, and he'll try for both, but he'll settle for one. Such is the case here. It's a shock to everyone when the dozens of floating mouths begin to appear, try to devour all who are present, but also the building itself.
in the Palace, the Eater of Stories had high hopes that the Compact would implode, destroy itself, and he'd at least get to relish that it all the fault of the humans he couldn't stand. That didn't happen, and the crown proved a strong point of the past two decades, as Azazel waxed strongest but saw his plans come crumbling down. He's here trying to eat everyone out of spite.
OOC: OOC: Azazel is trying to eat his way through the room partly on his way to devouring a path down to the thinnest point. There will just be two offensive rounds, and no defensive rounds, checked at hard. However, he is incredibly aggravated by anyone playing up to the nature of the the Palace and the Crown. Anyone making a leadership check does so at easy, and successes there particularly infuriate him and help drive him off. Failed rolls still get dangerous bites.
Willen arrives, following Lou.
Lou checks wits and propaganda at easy. Lou is successful.
Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is successful.
Ilmia checks charm and leadership at easy. Botch! Ilmia fails completely.
Ronja checks charm and leadership at easy. Ronja is successful.
Victus checks command and leadership at easy. Victus is successful.
Austen checks strength and huge wpn at hard. Critical Success! Austen is spectacularly successful.
Rizoel arrives, following Gabriel.
Rizoel have been dismissed.
Eirene checks command and leadership at easy. Eirene marginally fails.
Umbroise checks composure and leadership at easy. Umbroise is successful.
The palace seemed like the place to be for getting the downlow on city defenses. Victus was here to learn and also offer his often unsolicited opinion. This might be mostly a land war, but he's got a good head for those too! He's in the middle of talking /at/ an officer of the King's Own when the teeth start biting through reality to appear around the hall. Last thing he could have expected here, really. "Right. Well fuck that off." The Prince grumbles as he draws his sword. Peace bonds probably go out of style in times like these, right? With a yell to the many nobles standing about, he directs them to run in a more orderly fashion, while his own personal guards draw axes and shields.
In what is probably not the weirdest scene ever inside the Palace, a bunch of floating mouths are attacking a unicorn near Ilmia, biting it savagely.
3 Thrax Guards, 2 Thrax Elite Guards, Lady Teonia Redreef, Aryka Wyrmfang, Marquessa Pudding, a doughy dog arrive, following Sorrel.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
Lady Teonia Redreef have been dismissed.
Marquessa Pudding, a doughy dog have been dismissed.
Gabriel checks command and leadership at easy. Gabriel is successful.
Willen have been dismissed.
Eirene's just checking up on Symonesse and giving the queen's assistants an update on her children; it makes sense Symonesse would worry about Eirene's family. When she sees mouths... floating mouths... "Oh FUCK THAT." She says, drawing her alaricite sword as she slips aside the peace-knot. "Go defend the queen," she orders. But it's not her palace, not her King/Queensguard.
2 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.
Aryka Wyrmfang have been dismissed.
Jasher checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Jasher is successful.
Ronja Sandreef will later kick herself that she didn't gawk at all of the expensive Grayson palace thises and thats while she had the chance. She focuses on the task at hand. Where Prince Victus is directing nobles, Ronja is directing the common folk -- the Palace's servants, cooks, maids, all that. "Right, this way, this way, on you go--" Floating mouths appear in their path. "Left, okay, everyone go LEFT, THAT WAY, just pay no mind to the, ah, the mouths and the teeth..."
Austen was in the middle of trying to ignore Victus's unsolicited advice when everything changes as the mouths attack. "Abso-fucking-lutely *not*," Austen says, jammed his helmet down tight as the many terrifying mouths of Azazel come chomping through the palace. HIs hands grip tightly around his claymore as he holds himself steady, watching the movements of the mouths as they nosh closer to him. "Nope nope nope" he snarls, swiping at one after another as they come closer. "The buffet is *closed*!"
Sapphire was *absolutely* here with Prince Victus the whole time, some planned excursion, no doubt. She was definitely not in the palace, on her own, no matter how it looks when she's slinking up from the darkened recesses of the grounds. "Huh," she says, the elven assassin brazenly wearing her own face - distorted as it is. She sidles up to Austen, who looks like he works here. "Is this going to affect open court hours?"
Ilmia shows up dressed in some new eye catching armor on her trip to the palace, but this was supposed to be a trip that wasn't fret with danger. It quickly turns to that as she sees the mouths ripping and tearing. "Oh shit we need..." she is knocked out of the way by rumble. Just in enough time to hear the unicorn being munched on. "AZAZEL YOU NAME STEALING FUCKER YOU STOP CHEWING ON MY UNICORN!" she bellows out.
Jasher would normally not be found in the Palace at the best of times; however, with the Devourer trying to feast its way in, he's here with Victus, sword in hand and a sling wrapped in the other, defending with the Prince's personal guard.
Sir Gabriel can be found in the palace because there are threats abound and a Crown to see after. He's armed and armored as appropriate his duties and upon the many mouths of Azazel breaching into reality, he shouts out an alarm, "Weapons at ready, eyes up!" The booming voice of the long-time Compact General sounds off throughout the great hall and Gabriel rushes to action. His own blade of diamondplate held at the ready, the Lion of Pridehall moves to reinforce Sir Austen.
Marquessa Umbroise Acheron has been making daily visits to the Palace for any updates she can receive, but also to you know, hopefully be there, in case something untoward happens. The frosty Marquessa has certainly changed in her appearance. Black hair has turned to frosty white overnight, and her eyes, too, once black sapphire, are now a frosty shade of silver. It's an interesting contrast with her cool dark skin. Curls piled high up on her head, she still looks impeccable in spite of all the things going on in the city. As the inevitable chaos ensues, the Marquessa pauses upon seeing the hideous mouths starting to try to devour the Palace. "Everyone who can't fight, go this way," she says, her voice crisp and clear. "Everyone who can fight, let's spread out. Remember, objects and buildings can be replaced. People can't, especially if he gets to the Thinnest Point." She plucks an alaricite hairpin from her hair, a few frosty white locks tumbling down over her shoulder in the process. The Marquessa remains frosty and composed.
Gabriel wields Valor Of the Crownlands.
Sen'azala is *not* someone who hangs around the palace, even though she's had an open invitation to do so since revealing herself as being both alive and a werewolf. And yet, she doesn't arrive from the entrance, but somewhere in the direction of the servant's quarters. That can be a puzzle for the ages, because it's not likely to concern anyone right now. "Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck," she growls, and then it's an actual growl, because she goes Wolf, and a moment later she has her sword drawn. Her eyes pale, go white, and then she slashes her blade forward as a ripple of energy travels down it and then out in an arc toward the nearest of those mouths.
Jasher wields House Thrax Reafian Longsword.
It's not the best of speeches but it's also not the worst of speeches. It's about average and Lou does her best to inspire those who are here to pick up the mantle of fighting against Azazel. something about Hope and being the Hope of Arvum, just as she did back at the Lowers a few days ago. She then wields her sword in preparation of everything, eyes fixing on one of those many mouths.
One of the little maws roars at Austen, "THE FUCKING BUFFET IS ALWAYS OPEN WITH YOU INSE..." And then it's split in half, while other maws chase around the palace servants and try to gobble up members of the King's Own and iron guard. A few of the maws squiggle down into the stones, disappearing beneath the floor which is more than a little alarming, but most are just trying to gobble everything. One is chewing on the throne, and there's a tapestry of House Grayson with a bite out of it, and one flying right towards a painting of Queen Alarice the Great as she looks down in disapproval.
((These are preeeeettty fast events. Another round of checks, and based on that will be how much of Azazel is getting to the thinnest point for tomorrow.))
Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is spectacularly successful.
Austen checks strength and huge wpn at hard. Austen is successful.
Ilmia checks charm and occult at easy. Ilmia is successful.
Eirene checks command and leadership at easy. Eirene is successful.
Victus checks command and leadership at easy. Victus is successful.
Sorrel checks charm and leadership at easy. Sorrel is successful.
Ronja checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Ronja fails.
Jasher checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Jasher is successful.
Gabriel checks command and leadership at easy. Gabriel is successful.
Lou checks wits and leadership at easy. Lou is successful.
Umbroise checks composure and leadership at easy. Umbroise is successful.
"Fuck-" Victus ducks down as a mouth soars overhead, invoking a crab-walk for a brief moment while he scuttles up onto his feet. The chaos makes it exceedingly difficult to focus in any one direction, but he's loud enough to keep shouting over the conflict. "DON'T LET THEM EAT THE THINGS WITH SENTIMENTAL VALUE!" He seems particularly concerned about the throne, where he's directing some traffic in that general direction. Including a few hurried points to Jasher. Wouldn't be the first time Reafian was used in the palace, albeit for good reason this time. Also- when did Sapphire get here? "Have you been standing there the whole time?"
"Possibly, my lady," Austen grunts to Sapphire as he swipes the little roaring mouth down to the ground. "Though if it eats the door, the court will be open all day and all night so we shall have to see.." he says, sidestepped around her, swinging his sword for another mouth before he growls at the one trying to eat a painting. "Please excuse me," he says with Sapphire with a small bow before he dashes after the painting eater. "PLEASE DON'T EAT THE ART!"
Sen'azala doesn't care about tapestries, and might be a little annoyed about the painting on behalf of someone she's never met, and very very certainly doesn't care about the damn throne. She lunges, biting and clawing for the mouths trying to wriggle downward, doing any damage she can before they're gone, and then barrels for the ones after the servants. One moment she's seemingly moving on her own, the next there's a wolf easily the size that she is tearing in.
The mouths roam about and that fact leaves Gabriel with a choice. To stand at Sir Austen's back and make sure that he doesn't get chomped from behind or rush off to look after those less capable of defending themselves, "Breaking away, watch your back!" Gabriel speaks loud and proud at Austen from across his shoulder. Then he's moving across the great hall, his diamondplate blade sweeping and swirling as he moves. Attempting to cleave this mouth or that pursuing the unarmed and the unprepared. Each step is intended to carry him toward the throne and his blade carries him along his way. When under threat, he slows to dispatch or evade. When not, he hustles for the Elfbone Throne.
Jogging in a bit after the initial fight has begun, looking decidedly more muddy than one might expect a princess visiting the Palace should be, Sorrel has her mace in one hand and a frog in the other. Is it Frog? Not entirely clear. She looks like she's been collecting frogs, which might explain the mud. "EXCUSE YOU," she says in her best Mom voice, eyes flashing with fury. "DON'T YOU TOUCH THAT. IT'S NOT FOR YOU." A frog jumps out of her pocket and goes hopping in the direction of one of the smaller mouths, trying to eat it as if it were a fly.
Sapphire is really inspired by everyone. Not Ronja, of course, but she pretends not to notice. "Wow," she muses. "Look at how you all throw in together. Everyone so selfless. Isn't that Duke Bisland over ?? -" And Austen is gone, so she waves at Victus, scuttling around toward the throne. "Hello! Of course, where else would I be?" She steps over a maw wriggling into the ornate flooring, snatching one off the unicorn as she passes, to shred it up with her bare fingers.
"He's going for primum artifcats AND people. That toothy shit. I am going to wipe the smile off all your faces," Eirene shouts. With her sword drawn, she starts directing the servants and staff away to the upper galleries. "Clear the area. Stay away from anything of historical value. Don't let those teeth touch you," she says as she skewers one with her blessed alaricite. "KEEP HIM FROM THE THRONE."
"I have been standing here the whole time," Jasher confirms with Victus even as one of the maws, leaping with slobbering eagerness, finds itself suddenly with a mouthful of Reafian's blade; a wrench and an upward twist on Jasher's part tears the Azazelian extension apart in a burst of ichor. "She was not accompanying you?"
[Magic 1]: Ilmia looks pale as a ghost as the mouths move away from the Unicorn and she rushes to put herself in the way. "I am so so sorry." she whispers to it. Then she directs her phantasmal white and black knight to start beating the hell out of the mouths to keep them from the throne "I'm going to find my name in your innards!" she shrieks at the mouths.
Ronja keeps hustling the servants along. She's so distracted by this task that she misses a flying mouth coming fight for her -- until it's hacked out of the air by Sen'azala's rampage. Ronja turns around to look behind herself, still ignorant of the certain death she almost faced. "Wow," she says, looking over as Sen'azala continues. "Now /that/ is fighting spirit."
[MAGIC 1 - DEFENSIVE -FROST WEBS] Umbroise looks to Victus as he shouts about sentimental value in the throne. "It is a symbol," she says. "A throne is a throne. But you are correct. As much as possible, our way of life should be left unchanged." She says it calmly, as she places herself in front of the throne. "You shall not have it." She raises a hand, and frosty spiderwebs shoot out of her hand, trying to create a wall of webs to block the mouths from getting to the throne. Little spiders that are frosty white crawl out of her hair and down her arms, and start attacking the mouths.
Lou does her best to direct the residents and civilians of the Palace out of the way of the tiny mouths chasing after them, making sure they get to safety as best she can. She's doing a pretty okay job of this, since this is not the sort of stuff she's used to doing.
With a dramatic lunge by a werewolf snatching a maw out of the air and tearing some on the way down, the painting is saved. A tapestry is eaten, but it wasn't one of the particularly good ones anyways, and the Elfbone Throne is only lightly nibbled with one maw regurgitating an elven skull as it dies. The fast response by the King's Own helps finish a great number of the maws, but many just appear to die out of pure indignation at the display of leadership. It makes Azazel so angrily it literally kills him. At least parts of him. A number of other maws are chased down, and an alarming few burrow down into the floor, but the majority were killed. A fast battle, and a victorious one in the Palace Throne Room.
Sen'azala clearly doesn't feel particularly victorious. She stalks the area, nose twitching, ears straight, making very, *very* sure there aren't any more mouths before she makes her way back to where she first saw them burrowing, and crouches down to look. She's careful not to put her face too close to that crack, though. Just in case.
The danger seems to fade away just as Sir Gabriel begins to take swing at one of the nibbling mouths and the elven skull that's yakked back up results in a scowl out of the Knight of the Compact. He stoops, attempting to take up the skull and return it to the throne. If he can even make such a thing work. In the end the skull is sat upon the seat of the throne and Sir Gabriel calls out throughout the Great Hall, "Our Compact Stands Strong!" It may be noted that he does not sheathe his blade after his shout, but instead returns to watching the hall for another sudden ambush.
"How do we fish him out of there?" Sorrel inquires, frowning a bit as she wanders up behind the werewolf in exactly the sort of way one is not supposed to wander up behind werewolves.
Ronja has finished the evacuation, and she leaps out of a side corridor, sword drawn. "All right, you mouthy bastards, I'm ready to--" She pauses, and then slowly looks from side to side. "...fight?"
Victus is down in a defensive stance as the mouths are cleaned up. His head is on a swivel, checking every corner. Just in case any jabbering nibblers were still at large, or potentially about to insult them. "... It's over?" His eyes dart left and right. "We're alright?" A slow blink before he stands up straight again. Portrait okay, throne okay. "Hm. Good work, everyone."
"Fishing him out is likely the least of our problems." Sen starts to poke a claw in there, then wrinkles her muzzle at the wisdom of *that* particular move, instead sliding her blade carefully in, to see if it goes the full blade length.
"Is anyone injured? Bring them here..." Eirene starts barking more orders (ooh that leadership quality of a physician) and starts triaging those who fell prey to the chomping mouths. The majority of the wounded she directs to the Solace and Saving Grace, but the worst are seen to right away with a mixture of mundane and her magical healing skills. She won't be able to heal all of the bites, but some of it will just fade away with her magic.
When Azazel lathers itself into such a frenzy it dies from it, Sapphire murmurs sotto voice to the remains of the twisted mouth in her hands: "This is the most relatable you've ever been."
"I *said* the buffet was closed," Austen says, annoyed as he looks around the hall, sheathing his sword and putting his hands on his hips. He nods to Victus. "It's over, for now," he says, giving the werewolf a wide berth as he peeks down at the hole. "He's going to the Necropolis," he says, his face pale.
The little frosty spiders chase down the maws, and inject them with venom. The maws turn white and freeze and fall to the ground with soft little clatters. The Marquessa gazes on, unfeeling, as she lifts a hand, gesturing, and the little spiders return to her, crawling back up her arms and into her hair. Without a second thought, Umbroise lifts the lock of silver hair that fell and neatly loops it around the hairpin she never had to use, and tucks the alaricite back into place. She tilts her head, as if listening to something. And then she makes her way out of the throne room, skirts lifted gracefully in one hand, her steps calm and precise as if nothing happened. Just another day at Court for the frosty Marquessa.
Jasher dips Reafian as the assault wanes. He gives Victus a quick once-over, then casts a suspicious gaze upon the floor as if expecting the maws to burst forth from below and renew their attack in earnest.
Ilmia is keeping herself between mouths and Unicorn, letting the Primordia fight as it likes, but she wasn't going to let it take another hit. She already felt like a failure in that. She doesn't register that she'd been shouting at the top of her lungs about tearing things out of Azazel. She takes a deep breath as her spectral knights help to protect the throne and then she looks to one of the holes, "Does anyone know...." and Austen answers. "I'm guessing there is a reason he is going there." she frowns as she reaches out to soothe the unicorn.
"Did anyone manage to count how many got beneath the floor?" Lou calls out to those who managed to stay alive and are still within the palace. Her expression bears many, many worry lines across it.
"Oh yes," Sapphire notes to Ilmia. "I presume he intends to consume the Thinnest Point of the boundary between this world and the Shining Lands, and thus consume them as well. Along with all the souls who dwell there."
Sen'azala responds with a low growl between sharp teeth. "I think the reason is he's decided to stop fucking around." At Lou's question, she shakes her head.
Ronja turns a vase on its pedestal so that it's more difficult to see the bite taken out of it.
Jasher skims the floor once more. "It sees us as a distraction."
"Yeah, we gotta deny him his last meal," Sorrel agrees, taking care not to tread on one of the frogs she seems to have dragged in with her. "I like some of those souls. I like my soul. I'm done with these stupid wannabes attempting apotheosis. Done."
"Good, we want to be a distraction by the sound of it," Gabriel calls into the air of the Great Hall. He lowers his blade but does not sheathe it, keeping it handy and at the ready. After that brief comment, Sir Gabriel's off to offer a nod toward Sir Austen and a friendly, "Excellent swordwork, Sir Austen. Your lack of hesitation is an inspiration to all."
Victus scuffs his boot along the floor, stomping here and there at different sections. "Compared to everything else, that seemed very... light. Army or not, I don't like it." He crosses his arms over his breastplate, narrowing his gaze at the same time.
"Right," Ronja says, looking at one of the lesser paintings. "Now, these teeth marks look /human/." She gazes around the room with a suspicious eye.
Eirene adds Jasher, "And a threat." She moves over to Ilmia's unicorn and offers a hand to the creature. "I'm a healer," she says gently. "I can take care of the wound." She kneels and a soft blue-silvery glow mists off her hand towards the wounded mystical creature.
Austen nods to Sapphire with a deeply worried look. "The Eater was *somewhat annoyed* with us. I know the way to the Thinnest Point, I can take us there," he says after a moment. There's a warm if distracted smile to Gabriel. "Thank you, Sir Gabriel. I try not to hesitate. Your swordmanship was equally impressive."
Ilmia gives a look to Sapphire and there is a nod, understanding how dire that is. Then her olive gaze moves to Eirene, "I hope they can be healed." she murmurs to the woman and steps back to let Eirene do her thing!
Eirene checks intellect and medicine at normal. Eirene is successful.
Sen'azala is still poking at the tooth-made crevasse in the floor, though she squints and briefly eyes the nearest frog. "...Was she having a get together?" Frog, she means Frog.
Victus taps at his chin. "... How does one /literally consume/ a thin veil to the Shining Lands?"
As quickly as it started, the many attacks around the city were defeated, with little bits of Azazel being quite literally bored to death in many cases, or more traditionally dealt with by being cut or crushed into tiny pieces. Unfortunately, a number did burrow down through the floor, as the Archfiend gathers himself up and prepares for one final battle.
"Well, I figure he's got strong teeth," Ronja suggests. "Like, magic strong."
Sapphire is next to Victus, suddenly, like RIGHT next to him. "I'll tell you a secret," she says quietly. A little - sadly? "You think there's some clever plan, and there probably was. But the real corruption is the *obsession*." And then she wipes her fingers on Victus' cloak.
A pool of darkness spreads next to Umbroise, and a figure rises from it, ichor dripping off him. "I am here, my Lady of Frost and Spiders." The figure blurs slightly as he speaks, his image tearing, as if even the slight movement of speaking is resisted. "Has Azazel reached the Thinnest Point? There may be some difficulty, if so." The voice is cold, and slightly chiding - despite doing nothing on his part to prevent what just happened.
Ronja checks perception at normal. Ronja is successful.
Sen'azala checks composure at hard. Sen'azala is successful.
Eirene checks composure at hard. Eirene marginally fails.
Ronja looks at Zircon. For a long moment. And then realizes that she has somewhere else to be, and attempts to slip away undetected.
Ronja checks dexterity and stealth at daunting. Ronja fails.
Eirene lets her magic soothe the unicorn's damaged injuries. She even has a bit of a silvery glow in her eyes as the tooth-gashes heal shut slowly. She stops. Just STOPS as Zircon appears. Sapphire she's been doing her best to ignore but that entrance? Her magic shuts off mid stream as she loses concentration.
Sapphire murmurs, "Case in point," mismatched eyes watching Zircon.
In trying to slip away, Ronja knocks over an endtable. And then she just runs for it.
"Having never tried to take a bite out of the Thinnest Point I couldn't possible answer that question," Austen responds to Victus with a wry smile, and then there is someone else in the room and as quickly as it was sheathed his claymore is back out again. "*No more uninvited guests*."
Umbroise checks composure at daunting. Umbroise is successful.
Sen'azala twists an ear, and looks up from the crevasse, as if this is the first time she's been aware that Sapphire's hanging around Victus (it is not) or that she's hanging around at all (it is also not). Whether she intends to actually say something will remain a mystery, however, because *that* happens. She doesn't *quite* look full on at Zircon, but she does go very, very still.
Ilmia watches the pool of darkness and then the man that forms from it. Well. That was weird! She doesn't ask who he is. She focuses on the unicorn.
Umbroise pauses on the way out, and glances toward Sapphire and Victus as she hears them talking about the Thinnest Point. She turns, frosty eyes focused on them, her features perfectly composed as she listens intently. Something kind of strange happens, in that she seems to blend a little better into her surroundings. She could be barely noticed at all, just like a spider's camouflage, as she stands alongside the wall. Then Zircon is forming up next to her, and she turns, dipping him a respectful curtsey. "We believe he is headed there now, Lord Zircon. This may have just been a diversion." She seems unsurprised to see him, and apparently his help wasn't needed. This time. The woman truly is unflappable.
"Teeth that can bite through reality?" Victus isn't sure why it's this specific thing that's gotten him mildly boggled. Not like it was even the weirdest thing to happen this past week. Then he startles when Sapphire is just /there/. It's a silent startle this time, he's getting a little bit used to it. Little. "Hm... I think I know the type." Ugh, mouthy ichor on his coat, gross. But then there's someone else in the room with them. He leans toward Sapphire. "What the fuck is that?"
Turning a bit as Sen'azala does, Sorrel frowns in Zircon's direction. She glances from the werewolf to the high lord, and then curiously in Sapphire's direction. Then she slinks slowly closer to Victus. "That's who I think it is, isn't it?" she says to him.
Zircon gives a short nod, the image blurring slightly again. "Very well. Inform me at once when it comes time to destroy him. You have puissant allies, but the outcome is too important to leave to frail mistakes who should not exist." And then he begins to descend back into the oil puddle. Bloop.
"Oh, that's Zircon, herald of Stasis," Sapphire tells Victus. And then she wiggles her fingers at the man in question as he sinks back into his puddle.
The renewed tension in the air--underscored by Victus' question to Sapphire--gets Jasher's attention. His head turns to regard Victus, then to Zircon, the recipient of the room's collective consternation. His brows furrow, not quite in recognition, but he does subtly slide closer to Victus.
Ronja, meanwhile, is climbing out of a window into the Palace's gardens.
It's honestly difficult to say for certain if he acknowledged Sapphire or not before vanishing, with his image being a sort of undefined, hazy thing. But it looks like he nodded to her.
"Well." Eirene just blinks. Blink-blinks. And then Zircon bloops away and she lets out a deep sigh. Tension flowing out of her with that breath. "Strange. Fucking. Bedfellows." She goes back to healing Ilmia's companion with a shake of her head.
"Oh." Victus seems to get a distant look in his eyes at that instant. Both of which are staring at the apparent 'bloop' that has, well, blooped into the floor. He leans over to Sorrel next. "That's Zircon, herald of Stasis." He adds helpfully, before leaning to Jasher next. "That was Zircon, herald of Stasis."
"Was that Zircon, herald of Stasis" Austen asks Victus dryly.
"Puissant, apotheosis," Sen mutters, as Zircon leaves and she feels able to actually stand back up. "Is there a dictionary contest?" The wolf next to her, unmoved, is simply standing there, looking on. After a moment Sen shakes her head and her shoulders, and fairly collapses back into human shape again. The tips of her hair remain a little white before fading.
Victus says, "Yes. I just said that."
"I thought so," Sorrel replies, putting her hands on her hips disapprovingly as Zircon puddles. "I wonder how his ex is doing."
"It is Zircon, Herald of Stasis," Jasher responds for Austen with an unchanging expression, but it doesn't quite hide the amusement in his eyes.
Sapphire looks at Jasher, and gasps in shock. She drops the apple she is holding. Where did she get an apple? At least her fingers are clean. "Where?"
"Thank you for the confirmation, High Lord Victus, Prince Jasher," Austen says with a smile for the latter. "I could have sworn that was Zircon, Herald of Stasis."
Inclining her head graciously to Zircon. "Of course, my lord," she says in a crisp tone. "I will call for you when the time comes." She doesn't look around. Why would she need to? She turns and makes her way out of the grand hall as if she'd just had a conversation about the weather.
"I need to get back to Nickel, but thank you, Lady Eirene, I greatly appreciate it." Ilmia tells the woman. With that, she pats the unicorn on the leg and then starts to make a hurried exit...as hurried as she can in this fireweave!
Sen'azala eyes Sorrel a moment. "...Hopefully, whatever she's doing, it's very far away from here." She slides her sword back into the scabbard slung over one shoulder. "Please do not antagonize He Who Waits."
"He recently melted back into the floor," Jasher responds to Sapphire with a straight face. Pause. "His Grace was wondering when you had arrived."
Sen'azala adds, after a moment, "Unless you're my grandmother."
Sapphire narrows her eyes at Jasher. "Wasn't I here the whole time?" She tilts her head towards Victus and says out the side of her mouth, "Does he not know I'm a shapeshifter? Are you trying to keep me secret?" She does not actually do this *quietly*.
Eirene says, "Right. If THIS was here, I doubt we were his only fuckin' target. It was too small an attack to be anything BUT a nuisance. But we've forced his hand - wait, that's not right. Has no FUCKING hands." She sighs. "Anyhow, yeah. I'm going to check on the hospital."
"Honestly, I'm not sure I can do more to antagonize him after breaking his hold on his girl," Sorrel points out to Sen'azala with a little smirk. "You know, like her divorce lawyer or something."
Sapphire whines, then. "It's really hard *not* to antagonize him, Prima. EXISTING antagonizes him."
Victus has only just learned of Zircon, Herald of Stasis, but he doesn't ask further once Sen'azala has made the point. One Abyssal legion massacring everything in their wake was just the right amount for now. He glances back to Sapphire. "Hm? Oh. Well I'm not exactly keeping it a secret, but I also don't introduce myself and you as a package deal. My apologies."
Sen'azala is about to say something to Sorrel - something snarky - but then she is distracted by the need to acknowledge that Sapphire's present. "Yeah I *know*," she says, drawing the vowel out a little. "But I prefer continuing to exist in a way that's not caught between life and death in eternal torture. Or, at least, if that's going to happen, it should be for something funnier than divorce jokes."
"It is difficult to make proper introductions when demons are attacking," Jasher remarks, perhaps an attempt to reassure Victus and Sapphire. Perhaps. "I only ask as he had asked."
Austen relaxes now that the cleanup of the hall seems to be in full swing, blade stowed away once more. "Well, unless anymore Heralds would like to drop in for a visit, tea with the Queen maybe, I should go rally some people."
Eirene says, "Sen. What time was it last you saw a clock? Are we still at three minutes or has it progressed?" She nods to Austen. "I'm going to go check on my hospital and then I'll probably join you."
"Do you have a clock on you?" Sorrel wonders upon hearing Eirene's question, turning to the prima.
"Three minutes," Sen confirms, "as of--" Beat. "I'm keeping track," she mutters, as if Sorrel just called her out on something. "But it doesn't exactly fit in a pocket."
Something tick tocks in the direction Sen emerged from. Quietly, but not enough to save her.
"That's good," Sapphire tells Jasher sincerely. "Loyalty. I am called Sapphire. I am also a Herald, of Glorious Veil, and I suppose also what you might call a Fractal. And I am here to *help*. Have you heard of the fractals?" And she will jabber secret histories and strange metaphysical secrets at him until she is abandoned or stopped.
Dog the rat arrives, delivering a message to Sapphire before departing.
Victus makes some obscure gestures to Jasher. It appears to be wordlessly conveying 'just go with it', with sympathy for his plight on top.
Eirene shakes her head and heads out of the palace as she sighs. "Fuck," is all she says, in simple fashion. It just sums up EVERYTHING going on.
Jasher checks intellect and occult at hard. Critical Success! Jasher is spectacularly successful.
"Two minutes to midnight," Sen says. She doesn't go check, but apparently she can if she wants to. She looks to Sapphire again, her frown deepening for a moment, and then asks, "Do you have a guess or a lie about what's fucking with the clocks?"
Sorrel meanders closer to Victus, pausing to pick up a stray frog that probably should not be in the palace. She tucks it into a pouch on her swordbelt, where it peeks out for a moment before dipping its head inside, potentially to nap.
"Two minutes to midnight." Victus echoes. "No demon army left. Just him and the Thinnest Point. It might take him one more to get down there." His hands dip into his pockets. "We'll have one minute to stop it. Then that's it."
"I have heard of the Fractals," Jasher confirms with Sapphire. In the ensuing 'discussion'--if it can be called that--he, predictably, does a lot of listening, interspersed with the occasional "Yes", "no", and "Is that so?" and the rare question to demonstrate he's trying his best to keep up with having all these concepts introduced, elaborated, and otherwise eviscerated to him.
Sapphire seems completely unconcerned with the impending midnight, because she is insane. "...that's what centuries on a tiny ledge, in the dark, will do to you. But you see, Eidolon do not just share and resonate power, one can in fact *feed* upon the other if --" She'll do this all the way to necropolis, maybe.
To the necropolis? Austen can lead the others through all the secret tunnels under the palace. The time for secrets is gone.
Sen'azala sighs, but doesn't appear particularly disappointed. She moves after Austen at a clip.
Jasher checks intellect and occult at daunting. Botch! Jasher fails completely.
"--possible to feed upon each other to nonexistence--" Jasher, bless his heart, does his best to keep up, but he's been sailing well into uncharted territory since Sapphire began, and it isn't long before he's put on the dead-eyed stare of the uncomprehending, broken with only the briefest glance to Victus; either reproach or plea
Victus isn't catching much of this conversation. He's actually quite good at selective hearing, or just thinking about absolutely nothing in an idle state. It's weird. "Sounds good." He remarks as a catch-all to every topic at large. "Necropolis." He's reaching out to give Jasher a clap on the shoulder. "The Sword of Thrax and I are both needed. To the Thinnest Point." Walk quickly. WALK QUICKLY.
Slipping up next to Jasher and hooking her arm into his companionably, Sorrel smiles at Sapphire brightly. "Yes, and can you explain more about how one establishes that aionic resonance? Really, eidolons are covered only briefly in the literature..."
Intercepted! Sapphire eyes Sorrel with the flat black eye, and then puts an apologetic look on her face. The other part of it. "Oh! I could, I'd love to, but I forgot I need to get something. I'll have to catch up." And she shivers, coming out of it looking like a nondescript man with brown hair and brown eyes, to jaunt off -somewhere. It's probably fine.
Jasher doesn't say a word as Sorrel hooks her arm into his, but the relief in his glance her way speaks enough.
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