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The Reckoning: Arx Day 5 - The Thinnest Point

"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

The final confrontation with Azazel. Over a thousand years ago, the world was saved by the greatest archmages of their day in the Metallic Order, ending the Reckoning. Despites his defeats, Azazel does not seriously believe that the Compact currently has the strength to stop him, not when he commits his full strength for a singular purpose, not with what will stand against him. But Azazel, for all his near omniscience, has never understood heroes.


Jan. 31, 2024, 7 p.m.

Hosted By


GM'd By



Aelgar Lys Aureth Petal Apollo Sen'azala Umbroise Austen Andromeda Victus Joslyn Jhond Raven Mirk Lucita Fortunato Ember Raymesin Valdemar Insaya Caspian Pasquale Medeia Sydney Thea Ansel Sorrel Bhandn Alarissa Lianne Denica Duarte Volcica Morrighan Adalyn Mihaly Azova Raja Martino Godric Keely Lucie Samira Galatea Harlex Aleksei Kael Cufre Zircon Khanne Mia Eirene Vitalis Torian Cassimir Fairen Lisebet Lou Jasher Thesarin Iliana Ahriman Arman Onyx Ilmia Alistair Mikani Romulius Sapphire



Apostate's Dynamic GMing Room <OOC Room>

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Galatea has left the Riddle Group 4.

Galatea has joined the Riddle Group 3.

Jhond has joined the Stalling Azazel.

Thea has left the Riddle Group 11.

Thea has joined the Riddle Group 3.

Raja has joined the Stalling Azazel.

Umbroise has joined the Stalling Azazel.

Lucie has joined the Riddle Group 13.

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Ember has joined the Stalling Azazel.

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Medeia has joined the Riddle Group 14.

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Vitalis has joined the Riddle Group 3.

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Insaya has joined the Riddle Group 6.

Denica has joined the Riddle Group 3.

Cufre has joined the Riddle Group 1.

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Khanne has joined the Stalling Azazel.

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Vitalis has joined the Riddle Group 4.

Lou has joined the Riddle Group 4.

Thesarin has joined the Stalling Azazel.

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Godric has joined the The Thinnest Point Gateway.

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Zircon has joined the Stalling Azazel.

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Raymesin has joined the Riddle Group 11.

Following the events of yesterday, the Archfiend Azazel, the demonic Eater of Stories, had split himself into hundreds (possibly thousands) of floating maws, and his intent was clear. He was going to go into the deepest part of the catacombs beneath Arx, the ancient Necropolis that had stood there for thousands of years, and arrive at the gateway to the Thinnest Point, the physical entryway into the Shining Lands- the other world realm where souls go if they deny. And if he physically enters that realm, he intends to consume the Wheel of Death and Rebirth, and end mortal life forever.

But, he does need time to pass into that other realm.

Azazel has the power of a dark god, but he does have a small point of vulnerability. He was made over a thousand years ago by a child's puzzle box, a magical toy that collects riddles, and has thirteen compartments of ancient riddles stored in them. It can unmake him, during that period of vulnerability. Unfortunately, Azazel is well aware of this.

The quick run down to the Thinnest Point through the Necropolis finds the catacombs covered with signs of his passage. The undead guardians of the Necropolis have mostly been destroyed or disabled, a few half-eaten zombies awkwardly cheering them on as they pass. Most of the ghosts are gone, having been consumed by his passing, and hundreds of destroyed maws of Azazel litter the labyrinth passages down.

Fortunately, there are many with them blessed by Death, or part of her worship granted safe passage. More than a few that know the way. So in that mad dash down, they pass unhindered.

At the Thinnest Point itself, it's a cavernous room, the ceiling extending well into darkness, with a single bright gateway about twice the size of a mortal man that glimmers brightly with near blinding light. Around that portal is a monstrous mass of maws and blackened abyssally corrupted flesh, with fangs and whipped tongues slowly lurching towards the portal, steadily shrinking itself as it begins to attempt to pass. The room shakes at the scream of the maws, "YOU'RE TOO LATE INSECTS! TOO LATE!"

Fortunately, Azazel has never been compelled to tell the truth.

((Mechanically, how this works. Anyone can check riddles at daunting, and 26 total successes will unmake Azazel, and break him into the boxes. He will be slowly unmaking reality and counting down in victory points round by round, and attacking him with conventional or magical attacks will slow that loss, giving them more time. Or someone with a magical check, if successful, can lower the difficulty of a riddler by one round. If that's happening, they should check before those doing riddle checks, to see what their difficulty is. The base difficulty of all checks is daunting, and any failed check below a marginal fail will result in damage. If you fail a roll and have an ally, they will take a hit for you, but the second hit will remove them from the fight.))

Arman has joined the Riddle Group 14.

Jasher wields House Thrax Reafian Longsword.

Andromeda wields Caelestis.

Tesha wields wings from the ashes diamondplate longblade with elegant flames handle.

Lys checks willpower and medium wpn at normal. Lys is marginally successful.

Joslyn wields Emerald Dagger of Entwined Serpents.

Mirk checks mana and occult at daunting. Mirk is successful.

Raymesin wields Wheelspinner - the Blade of Souls.

Aelgar takes a stand facing the Maw Monster and informs him in a voice that resonates eerily, "You are unwelcome here, Azazel. Lord Vellichor will not allow you to pass."

Thea checks mana and medicine at daunting. Thea is successful.

Umbroise checks composure and occult at daunting. Umbroise is successful.

Morrighan checks mana and occult at daunting. Morrighan is successful.

Apollo checks dexterity and tanning at normal. Apollo is successful.

Azova checks mana and medicine at hard. Azova marginally fails.

Harlex checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Harlex is successful.

Lucita checks mana and performance at daunting. Lucita is successful.

Victus checks strength and huge wpn at daunting. Victus marginally fails.

Lianne checks intellect and occult at easy. Lianne marginally fails.

Adalyn wields Blade of stories.

Medeia checks intellect and alchemy at daunting. Medeia is successful.

Jhond checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Jhond is successful.

Caspian checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Caspian is successful.

Sydney checks dexterity and brawl at daunting. Sydney is marginally successful.

Aureth checks charm and occult at hard. Aureth is successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at daunting. Sorrel is successful.

Alarissa checks composure and occult at hard. Alarissa is successful.

Fortunato checks wits and riddles at normal. Fortunato marginally fails.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Thesarin fails.

Austen checks strength and huge wpn at hard. Austen is successful.

Pasquale checks composure and war at hard. Pasquale is successful.

Jasher checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Jasher marginally fails.

Petal checks dexterity and sewing at daunting. Petal marginally fails.

Ember checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Ember is successful.

Mia checks command and leadership at hard. Mia is successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Aleksei is successful.

Mihaly checks willpower and medium wpn at daunting. Botch! Mihaly fails completely.

Raja checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Raja fails.

Denica checks mana and artwork at daunting. Denica fails.

Samira checks perception and occult at hard. Samira is successful.

Bhandn checks strength and huge wpn at daunting. Bhandn marginally fails.

Joslyn checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Joslyn is successful.

Ansel checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Ansel is successful.

Arman checks mana and occult at daunting. Arman fails.

Khanne checks mana and occult at hard. Khanne is successful.

Insaya checks perception and riddles at normal. Insaya is successful.

Kael checks mana and theology at daunting. Kael is successful.

Ahriman has joined the Riddle Group 8.

Raven checks mana and occult at daunting. Critical Success! Raven is spectacularly successful.

[Magic #1 - We Are Immortal, So Fight!] Lys is standing near to where Lianne, Apollo, Cassimir and some weird guy in dark robes. She leaps up onto her feet and brings her sword out in front of her, focusing on the glimmering blade that shows off vistas of the entire world. Her voice calls out to Cassimir, "You've got this, new friend!" She stabs at a maw, cutting in twain to use it to fuel her magic, "You're amazing! We're immortal! How does Azazel think he can beat us? He can't! Not before the might of your /mind/!"

Andromeda checks stamina and intimidation at daunting. Andromeda is successful.

Cufre checks perception and occult at daunting. Critical Success! Cufre is spectacularly successful.

Adalyn checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Adalyn is successful.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at daunting. Sen'azala is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at daunting. Iliana marginally fails.

Raymesin checks dexterity and small wpn at hard. Raymesin is successful.

Raymesin checks dexterity and small wpn at normal. Raymesin is spectacularly successful.

Galatea checks mana and alchemy at daunting. Galatea fails.

Martino checks charm and manipulation at hard. Martino is successful.

Volcica checks mana and riddles at easy. Volcica is successful.

[MAGIC - Riddler Protec] Down through the catacombs, Winston managed to squeeze himself remarkably small for a spider of his humongous size, and now as they surge into the cavern to defend against Azazel's advance, Aureth is riding aboard him, woven webs from his boots keeping him aloft aboard the massive spider boy as he lashes. Aureth casts through his own primum and opens his eyes wide. A dozen tiny spiders crawl out of his eyes and sail outward on floats of webbing, spinning a half-visible spider's weave of protective shielding that ghosts between the advancing hoard and Fortunato, who he trusts is damn well bloody focusing at this point. He holds up his fist and there is a tiny scarlet spider of Death riding on the Star of the Faith. "You know whose house you're in now," he says calmly.

Petal is over with those who are stalling the eater and trying to help. The tiny shav seamtress has yet to do anything that helps, but she seems to be trying. She prick her finger with a needle and carries a small plant. A droplet of blood is dropped, but nothing happens, nothing bad, but nothing that would cause any of distraction to the eater either.

Valdemar checks command and war at hard. Valdemar is successful.

Vitalis checks perception and riddles at easy. Vitalis is successful.

[MAGIC - Flay away from my riddler!] Apollo is with Lys, Lianne, Cassimir, Onyx (is he really that weird?), and Malachite (probably weird). "Focus, Cassimir," he says, and turns his blade to the task of slashing in the air, degloving an ugly Azazel tongue with a movement that is at this point pretty well coordinated with his tanner bud. They're gonna get this done.

Sen'azala pauses a moment on the threshold of the fight, breathing heavily. She's tired, and it shows. With her, however, is a Wolf her size and half again, and what khati troops she could round up; the elite guard, she hopes, that she saw in Wolf's visions. She turns toward the latter now, slides into wolf shape, and draws her sword. A breath. "The Horned God wiped out House Venandi, but this *thing* was there every step of the way. For centuries, Arvum has not known the name of Prima Raksha'hasa Wolf Daughter. For centuries, Arvum has not known the sacrifices of the royal House of Venandi. For *centuries*, it has not known the story of the First Wolf. For centuries, almost all knowledge of the Thousand Jewels of Nefer'khat has been lost, the Primasen of the Wolf unknown. It ensured that the wrongs done to us were forgotten, so that they could never be put right. It devoured our names. It devoured our histories. It devoured our heroes. Now it will devour the Great Mothers, your friends, your families, your children, your ancestors. It is Secrets and Slavery, it is our greatest enemy, and here is the line, soldiers of Dhiib'andzi! Here is the line of the world! We hold here, daughters of the First Wolf, we hold here, we hold this line, we sing our defiance to the stars. *NOT* *ONE* *STEP* *BACK*!" She stabs the sword toward Azazel, and as one they charge.

Medeia wields Rage of the Lioness.

[[MAGIC - Special Ability - CALL ZIRCON]] As the defenders of Arx gather at the Thinnest Point, Marquessa Umbroise Acheron is here in all her frosty, regal dignity, ready to face down Azazel and his various maws. She shows no reaction to seeing the Thinnest point for the first time. No reaction to Azazel and his threats. Her features are as unreadable as ice. Her heartbeat remains steady and unchanging. Her hair has turned a shade of frosty white, held in place beneath a glittering diadem, and alaricite hairpins. "We can expect some powerful guests to join us. Please show them the utmost respect. Today, they are our allies. Disrespect may result in further tragedy." All of this is spoken in a precise monotone. Once this is done, the Marquessa proceeds with a rather arcane ritual. She then proceeds to speak in a flawless version of some language that only a few might know as Abyssal.

Umbroise says in Abyssal, "By the ice and oaths that bind us, I call upon Lord Zircon, Herald of Stasis, Queen of Ice. Let us fulfill our bargain. I ask that you come, and aid us by keeping this thing which creates such chaos in a state of weakness, so that we may banish it for all time."

Tesha checks intellect and theology at daunting. Tesha is successful.

(MAGIC) Austen dashes down into the Catacombs, leading others to the Thinnest Point, the defences opening up for him and letting others through behind. "We are never too late!" he snarls at the maws of Azazel. "Not until the last of us is gone, and not even then!" he snaps, his sword glowing with fire as he snaps it out to carve into the mass.

[Magic 1] Andromeda moves with measured speed, every step the titan takes seeming like it should echo and make the ground tremble. Pausing, finding her chosen spot, and planting the sword at the ground. "Solve riddles. I will bleed for you. If I die, I die." She instructs, canting her head upwards. Radiating menace, veins becoming visible with hints of bluish-crimson pulses of her solid, steady heartbeat.

Duarte checks intellect and riddles at normal. Duarte marginally fails.

Keely checks intellect and riddles at normal. Keely is successful.

[Magic 1 - Marginal Fail] Here it is. The end of everything. Victus stands firm as the greatsword Barathrum glows with a silvery light, alaricite and leathers dusted with the previous day's struggles. The patterned surface of his sword is winding around itself like the waves of the sea. There's nothing to hold back. He's going all in. Hefting the blade high, he charges through the catacombs, barreling headlong into the mass of maws without a second thought. As he dives into the fray, his roaring voice echoes from wall to wall. "Don't you ever get tired of defeat, you GLUTTONOUS DUMBFUCK?!"

Mihaly checks willpower and medium wpn at hard. Mihaly is successful.

That dagger that had brought so much trouble to Joslyn was clutched tightly in her hands, the steelsilk dress flared out as she struck out at the greatest enemy of the compact, and one that she seemed to bear a specific grudge against. "About time," she growled. "Chiara Manicelli sends her regards!" she shouted, her eyes glowing with that bright emerald hue.

Jhond runs with the rest of the group and tries to keep up. one arm is still in a sling but he was good enough with one hand to do some good.. at the sight of the maw man he pulls the many pointed kpinga from his belt and throws it at it, "Gods, shut up already". it won't do much good, but makes him feel better.

[[ Magic 1 Raven]] Raven exhales slowly and focuses "Not on your miserable wet-fart existance." she taps into the connection to the questionable magic she now commands and lifts a hand, inky black tendrils inspecting the puzzle even as Duarte turns his often infuriating intellect to it.

[MAGIC 1 - SUPPORT VOLCICA] Mirk stands with his staff in hand, in full red rubicund armor and red cloak behind him. At his side is a man with sapphire blue hair, and at his other side is a great figure of lightning. Together, the three unleash wind and ice and lightning, keeping anything he can from coming near Volcica. Total focus is needed now, and he does his best to make that possible.

MAGIC 1 - Augmentation - Down through the creepy tunnels and past the horrifying sights is not an easy trek. Lucita moves along with a group of others, wary and determined. She sings a soft song to Vitalis, helping him to focus on solving some of the puzzles facing him.

Eirene checks intellect and riddles at easy. Eirene is successful.

Fortunato would love to be approaching the world end and Azazel with drama and bold speeches. But the truth is, as he struggles with an /extremely intense/ puzzle box from a thousand years ago, he literally cannot focus on anything else. And he's not focusing on it all that well.

Ember Redreef swore that she would be at the Thinnest Point to aid in the fight, and so she is. She hews close to a small group, keeping a watchful eye over Denica and Keely. Yes, Keely's husband is right there and perfectly capable of protecting her. So that means Ember is protecting him, too. And Martino, because Martino's also present. Her massive, onyx-adorned alaricite scythe in hand, Ember growls to nothing in particular: "Lord Velenden Aetheris, hear me now -- if you derived /any/ amusement from existence at all, /now/ is the time to /aid/ your widow." With a massive swing of her scythe, she lashes out a tumescent black flesh-tube with teeth that dares to try and come near the ones she's protecting.

[MAGIC 1 - Raymesin supporting Volcica] Raymesin is here, as he promised he would be; he too has led others through the Catacombs, moving at a mad dash through the Necropolis of Arx. And when he gets there, he's soon at Volcica's side, fending off the dangers so that she can concentrate. The lightning-bolt blade that is a rather short Wheelspinner flickers and strikes, and he's better than a shield as he works with Mirk and friends to ward harm off the Deathspeaker.

[Magic 1 - Riddler Protection, Success] Valdemar stands near Aelgar, and as Azazel begins his attack, the Islander plants the tip of Widow's Lament into the ground and bows his head in focus while muttering something. When he does, a spectral shield bearing the sea cross of house Grimhall appears between the enemy and Aelgar.

Insaya slides into place to do her thing on the puzzles. Like a tinker. Someone who has actually made toys for children. She holds her lip in her teeth, and gets to work. "You said you loved me," she says to Death, as she manipulates the pieces. "Keep loving me now, my Queen... and I'll make good..."

\ agic Help 1} Caspian charges into the room with Insaya and the host of other heroes. He gives a sardonic grin to the Inquisitor then. "Alright then Sparky, puzzles are your thing not mine. Show this Toothache what it means to cross Arvum." With an exaggerated call out to taunt Azazel, "imagine being bested by insects AND a child's toy! The indignities never stop, i dont think Azazel will survive the Embarrassments!" he gave a salute to insaya, "you focus on the puzzle, i'll keep them off you!"

Aelgar checks intellect and riddles at hard. Aelgar is successful.

[Magic - Helping Lisebet] Pasquale moves up alongside Lisebet with that strange bow held loosely in one hand. He nods to the three of them; Lisebet, Samira and Torian and then he lifts a hand "A shield to keep you from being disturbed first I think." And with those words he sets a wall of shields all about the little group.

[MAGIC ASSIST 1] Medeia is standing close to Duarte with another woman - a dragoness in human form - nearby to help protect the human pair as they work to defeat Azazel. The lady is doing her best to ignore the petulant toddler screaming at them. She murmurs supportively to Duarte when he asks for input on the riddle, meanwhile a lash of grape vine whips out to keep the pseudo-god from attacking him.

There's a weight to this that Sydney feels the full force of. Even with this many allies at her side, there's no hiding the fact that the pugilist's fists are trembling. Being so far underground, her personal nightmare. Facing down a threat that's so fundamentally overwhelming. But it's through that fear that comes the overwhelming urge to live. She doesn't yield. She doesn't break and run. She shakily looks askance to her draconic ally Violas, who places a hand on her shoulder and nods. A shaky breath, and Sydney whispers tightly. "Not now. Not like this." She raises her voice, "Not today. Not like this. This is not your city. These people are not yours. Their lives are not yours. Get OUT of this DREAM!" She strikes true. Hard. Fast, then weaving around any forthcoming attacks by the skin of her teeth. Like always. Like always.

Lucie checks command and leadership at daunting. Lucie fails.

[magic] Taking a deep breath, Thea checks her surroundings. She carefully lays her hands flat, accurtly releasing a small cloud near a group, in the distance. Just fare enough that allies aren't hurt

A red sword made of wood, harder than Rubicund, flashes in the darkness as Ansel -- carrying two lanterns strapped to his shoulders, one Lagoma's Holy Flame -- marches down into the cavern. His face is grimly set, and when he sees the hundreds of possible mouths to strike...well...he has little to do other than hit the first thing he can. Red Thorn lashes out against one of the biting mouths near him, trying to cleave it before he moves on to the next.

[MAGIC RIDDLE HELP] Sorrel is singing an inspiring song. It doesn't really have words, but it's upbeat and helps focus the mind pleasantly.

Godric checks intellect and riddles at hard. Critical Success! Godric is spectacularly successful.

Torian checks perception and teaching at daunting. Torian is successful.

"Big words, from an upstart demon whose army failed. You've outgrown your use." Bhandn's words are cold as he draws Fidelis, not wasting any time in trying to give the greatsword a bit more work at attacking the would-be world devourer. He'd considered using Vigil for this, but really, *both* blades felt right for what was transpiring today.

[Magic - Support Lou - Succesful - Utility] Alarissa has scrabbled her way up onto Valars back after the regal looking man has changed into massive white dragon when they had made it through to the necropolis, to this thinnest point. "No pressure Cousin." She calls down to her and with her the little dragons statue very close at hand, she for one brief moment closes her eyes to let a spell slide into space. Over Lou and those in her proximity there comes a sense of calm, of courage, washing over them like the tide.

Lisebet checks wits and riddles at easy. Lisebet is successful.

[MAGIC 1 - Songlessness (ineffective)] - Lianne, finally able to stare down the monster who manipulated her, bargained her into service, escaped every trap she helped to make, would far rather use her black fire against Azazel, see him weakened and burned. But she knows this isn't how this fight will be won. The heart can want what it wants, but the head remains in control. She stands with Casimir, with her husband, with Lys, with a mirrormasked spectre who's guarded and aided her since the invasion began, with her black crown heavy on her head. She aches, and she cries, her magic a quiet thing, trying to impose quiet around thhem, to help Cassimir concentrate, but it's a lot of noice to fight back.

[Magic 2 - You Can't Handle the Truth] It's madness, but it's the end of the world, maybe. It's all led up to this moment. Denica is wrapped in colour and she is here stands next to a Masked Man, together they are putting their focus and attention on protecting Keely. The later, is here to protect Denica, while she paints with the colours. The princess looks over at Valdemar, from where she is standing and gives him a silent look. Returning her attention to using her art to help paint the possibilities.

Duarte is vibrating somewhere in the vicinity of Fortunato. He is also not having a great time focusing. At his back are Medeia and Raven, and Arman. And his nerves are somewhat calmer for it. Sangular is somewhere, too. He wiggles a finger at the box, "Uhm... maybe the answer is <something close but not quite right>...?"

[Riddle Success] Puzzle boxes, deep in the Necropolis. Volcica sits herself down on the floor, and sets herself to her task. Her gleaming spear is set across her lap, a focus and reminder of what she's here to do. Bat is up in the darkness somewhere. Ice is somewhere as well, lending the chill of the grave to the atmosphere. Volcica herself doesn't bother to look up, or around. There is nothing but the puzzle in front of her, and she trusts her friends to keep her safe-- or yell for her attention.

[MAGIC - WARDING FLAME] This was a first for the Sword of Farhaven, this was a place she hadn't yet ventured - but it was no time to look around. She keeps close to Fortunato, her demeanor fiercely protective, and when he sets to trying to figure out the puzzle box, a wave of heat begins to radiate from her form. "No matter what happens, I've got you," she murmurs, hands lifting to summon a warding circle of fire around the three of them, to try and keep him from harm.

[Magic #1 - Phantom Strikes] Adalyn stood near to Vitalis, Lucita and Cufre along with a staff man with black hair and purple colored eyes. Her sword starts to glow as she looks to those near her, "Lets keep him safe and lets show him what its like to face the compact! Always Faithful!"

[Magic Round One - Celestial Protection] Here it is. The end. With the Twain drawn, Mihaly drags the blades across one another, stars and constellations glowing along the blades. A flurry of motes of starlight surround and cover his wife, with the Old Knight concentrating. "Get to work, dear. We'll protect you."

[MAGIC - HELPING1] Azova pulls the golden compass out from her pocket, looking down at it and then up at Godric before she nods. She's ready. Or as ready as she'll ever be, anyway. Maybe she hasn't quite gotten the particular type of morale boosting that Godric needs yet though. Instead of something soothing, she'll yell profanity at him next time. He may be more used to that.

Someone has to be in the front lines, defending the riddlers of the box. Raja is amongst the group at the front, fighting to delay Azazel's approach to the portal. The thousands of mouths swarming around seem to all fly at her at once! Well, it feels to Raja that they all came at her at once. "Ahhh!" Raja lets out a scream of defiance at the gnashing mouths. Feeling Raja is in danger, a tall elven woman with large skeletal wings swoop in, deflecting the attack! Maws encompass Naisha, swarming over her, biting at her wings and gnashing at flesh! However, the mouths are pushed back and both Raja and Naisha remain standing.

Fairen checks perception and riddles at hard. Fairen is successful.

[Magic 1 - Success] Inhaling deeply, the Malvici Duke's hands are lifting up before his fingertips begin to move deftly above his shadow. Martino's hands passing over the diamond ring worn, breathing deeper as he begins to form lower, deeper, whispers to speak around the shared space supporting Keely. His shadow moving further out, unnaturally so, spreading across the floor to begin offering whispers of encouragement to Keely, "Don't get angry at the Rex'Alfar. They thought the knew everything."

Godric's frustration boils over as he stares at the unfathomable puzzle, his anger mixing with the resentment bubbling inside him. With a clenched jaw, he rises to his feet, his voice cutting through the murmurs and shouts of the others. "Enough of this nonsense!" he shouts, his words laced with bitterness. "We could have ended this madness when that wretched creature was locked away in the archives. A simple dose of poison would have saved us all from this chaos!" His hands ball into fists at his sides, the anger coursing through him like wildfire. He glares at the puzzle before him, as if daring it to defy him further. "But no, here we are, dancing to the tune of ancient riddles and magical nonsense," he continues, his voice rising with each word. "And for what? To prevent some demon from devouring all of history? It's utter madness!"

Keely is kneeling beside Fortunato, hands shaking as she whispers quiet revelations to the solvers. With some of her best friends at her back, she somehow finds the confidence to wade through these impossible puzzles and offer insight as it comes to her.

[MAGIC use 1] With a group of people is Lucie Laurent, doing her best to focus herself, to provide some aid to Godric. It's not working out too great. She mumbles something unintelligible to herself, then glances distractedly to the cluster of maws, before glancing quickly back to the nearby Godric.

[MAGIC] Everything has been leading to this. Samira stands near Pasquale, Torian, and Lisebet, and although her gaze is locked upon those detestable maws, her words are for her companions. "We are /not/ too late. And I am grateful to stand beside each of you." She tightens her grip around the small stone she holds in her hand and turns her focus upon the task at hand, gathering all her anger and fears and sending them out toward Azazel in an attempt to wound, to distract from Lisebet's attempts at puzzling.

[Magic 1 -- Supporting Lou -- Failure] Galatea has brought with her a small, portable, many-pocketed alchemist's kit, from which she withdraws a small bottle of some sort of sloshing amber liquid. Evidently she intends to enchant it in some way or another--because as she stares at the bottle, the green of her irises begins to shimmer with a radiance that reflects the primum now stirred within her body. But it seems to be a long process, because the potion isn't completed in short order, and of course, time is swiftly running out.

A cobalt-haired woman standing behind her with suspiciously draconic-looking pupils clucks her tongue. "Not like that. You'll need much more heat than that. Weren't you listening to me earlier?"

[Magic] At the precipice of everything, there is not a single step to give. All that waits behind them is -- something beyond doom. Nothingness. Harlex steps toward the incoming deluge of maws, his sword drawn in a clean and vicious strike so fast and hot that it leaves the air with waves of ready heat. Everything he has, he pours into this moment. Death guiding the Nametaker's hands, like a razor fine leaf on a dark current.

[MAGIC 1] "If we were really too late," Aleksei says, his smile tight and vicious and humorless, "then you wouldn't have to scream about it." And he moves in, his speed superhuman, his sword gleaming in the light of the Thinnest Point. In the light of fire and starlight and color and all those magics warding and protecting. And then he leaps in to silence one of those maws.

Aelgar focuses a moment at the riddle, browq furrowing before he huffs and commits to the path to a solutions. Glancing up at the Eater, he speaks across the room in clear tones, "Vellichor demands you leave, Eater. Flee now before the god grows impatient. You are a Reflection and not a god. You are insignificant." The Brother may seem brighter a little, almost a subtle glow as the magic he commands is directed at his task and maybe at the enemy as well.

[Magic - Supporting Keely: 1] Wearing his faithful armor is Kael and it is likely no surprise that he is here with his wife, Keely. He stands behind the woman, his head bowed, his hands placed on her shoulders. There might be chaos surrounding them, but he concentrates on breathing, he concentrates on speaking words, prayers, underneath his breath. Promises and vows kept through this life, and especially those to the Marquessa. Don't mind Kael, he's giving his wife the equivalent of a magic back rub. He has faith.

[Magic 1 - Emphasis] Cufre sets her focus on Vitalis, trusting on those who are directly engaging with Azazel to keep him engaged and everyone else safe. She steps close to Vitalis, trying to keep out of his line of focus while stepping into his web. She traces the connections from him to others. Others who are here, others who are not. She assesses the intricate weavings, selects one of the silvery strands, and tugs. A reminder of his accomplishments, of his successes, of years searching and finding.

At Umbroise's summons, a puddle of darkness spreads on the ground next to her, and a figure rises from it, dripping ichor. Zircon, Herald of Stasis, speaks in a voice colder than the Everwinter. "Be Not Afraid."

Ahriman checks command and occult at daunting. Ahriman marginally fails.

Tesha has left the Riddle Group 2.

Lou checks wits and riddles at normal. Lou is successful.

Cassimir checks perception and riddles at normal. Cassimir is marginally successful.

[Magic #1 - Attack - Success] Khanne has arrived, clutching a stone in hand, with Mountain and the Otter Primordia following with her. Mountain, who should feel quite at home here, if we were not in the battle of the ages. After she finds a spot, she closes her eyes, focusing on the stone in her hand, reliving that moment of grief that then fueled her anger at the last battle. She feels that passionate rage rise up within her again and uses it to draw from the air, sending a blast of wind, riddled with dirt towards Azazel's maws.

Ilmia has joined the Riddle Group 2.

[Magic 1 - Success Supporting Eirene] Mia is keeping close to the rest of House Riven as they wind their way to the Thinnest Point, the unfamiliar passagways of the catacombs coupled with the danger at hand making her reluctant to leave their sides. This place is not her place, and her battles with the Abyssal have rarely involved swords. But protecting her own has always been her way, and magic she has come to know. With a few sharp words, the stone beneath their feet begins to shift, forming a thin, protective shield around her family in a bid to shut Azazel out.

(RIDDLES) Eirene has been rushing her way down to the heart of the Labyrinth to the thinnest point. Her family at her side. The fate of all she loves hanging in the balance. Fortunately, she's been studying weird shit and occult for half her life now. Perhaps even more because life is weird. Maybe she's been studying multiple lives. All the same, she stops only long enough to kiss Mihaly with a quick passion. "Keep them off me, love. I think I can figure this puzzle shit out..." Andromeda's comment about dying is met with a, "Perfer you don't. I can't heal dead..." She then starts working at the puzzlebox. "Ty left handed with a copper pick. Blue green light. Warly's Occult Sequence." And she pulls a kit of strange alchemy needles out from her pouch and offers the pick to... Godric who clearly knows what he's doing.

Aelgar You know we have a process going on when people ask if we are still in the first round!

[Puzzling - Success] All of it, coming down to this. Vitalis smoothes a hand down his whiskers, eyes bright - maybe beady? - in the darkness lit intermittently by the flame and flare of magic. He is gathered with intent faces around the puzzle box. Lucita's singing is a balm in the chaos, the melody a thread to hang onto. He notices Cufre, he notices *everything* and feels the tug, a flicker of a smile tugging a corner of his mouth. The trumpet of Adalyn's voice sends a thrill through him, though his hands are sweating. He studies the box and points, "There. That bit should move there I think."

Torian [Magical Assistance - 1 - For Lisebet - Success] Torian is, among other things, a teacher. And so he stands, in all his leather, with his ax in hand, watching as she works. While he's not a man for riddles himself, he is good at finding the potential in people and encouraging that potentials growth. And so he whispers at Lisiebet's side, standing with his fellow Culler Samira, putting everything he has of himself into trying to encourage Lisebet's potential...

There is so much riding on Cassimir to get this right. Giving a small nod as he tries to stay focused on the puzzle and not what is going on around him. Biting his lower lip and it seems he hasn't done terrible. A very small smile is allowed on his features but he's not cheering yet. it may be a very long night. Glancing quickly to show his appreciation to the others helping him with a small grateful look before he goes back to focusing once again.

Fairen takes a calming breath and begins to consider the puzzle box. The scholarly Marquis has years of study in all matter of esoteric topics, historical allusions and references, a solid grasp of the Rex'alfar language, and above all else a knack for total concentration that while helpful for making progress with one of the elements of the puzzle box also leaves him rather oblivious to matters of personal defense.

[Riddle Success] Lisebet is also near the puzzle box, working with the team on solving those riddles. She's perfectly willing to do whatever she can.But she joined the explorers to help with solving puzzles. And exploring. At this point she offers a grateful smile to Torian, Samira and Pasquale, nodding her head. "Thank you for standing with me," she murmurs. "We are definitely not too late." There's a hint of fervor in her voice, as it's something she definitely believes. She's concentrating though, so not too big on chatting at the moment. With the help of those providing the assistance they can, she works on the small but important puzzle she has to figure out.

Raven checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Raven fails.

Raven has suffered a serious wound!

Thesarin checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Thesarin marginally fails.

Lucie checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Lucie is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Lucie does not take a permanent wound.

(RIDDLES - SUCCESS) Lou starts working on the riddle box right away. "I think this phrase might be something to do with . . . " She goes into some explanation about the obscure things she might know about Caer'alfar while researching things with Mason, who was once greatly interested in its history. She draws on that to help try and solve the puzzle within.

Umbroise inclines her head to Zircon as he arrives, her features serene. "Welcome, Lord Zircon." She looks then toward the gibbering maws of Azazel. "The Eater weakens as it seeks to pass through the portal. Is there a means of freezing the Eater in its weakened state to buy time to trap it?" she asks of the Herald. She does not let her fear, if she even feels it, even touch her features.

Jasher arrives with the others at a run into the Catacombs, only to be greeted by Azazel's screaming. Mouthy fellow.

Thesarin moves away from Eirene and the other Rivens as they begin their work. It's clever and skilled and defensive, and it's not something he can do. He walks away from them slowly at frist, sword in one hand, axe in the other, both wrists wrapped in a king's ransom in Alaricite set into crude chains. It might look, to someone who didn't know who they were looking at, as though he'd been crying.
But he begins to pick up speed, and as he goes, trails of fire start to form on the edges of his blades, on the prints of his boots, and flaring from the fury of his eyes. "FUCKING! DIE!"
He fights and he roars and as the teeth and tongues sink into his flesh and pull off his skin he bleads, and he screams, but he stands.

[Marginally fail Assisting Fairen] While he might be calm, Iliana looks like a complete mess as she watches her husband work through the puzzles, though it is what he does best. This is out of her hands, much as it is for him while she is on the battle field. She is not used to being on THIS SIDE of the stress though. "I need you to be careful," she tells Fairen as he seems to be doing well regardless of her hovering. "Dont touch that, that looks bad," she mentions, having no idea!

[MAGIC - Defense Spell] Prince Ahriman Grayson who spent years in a cave under some precarious conditions took to the occult. And so, it's in a tongue not his native that he calls through a bearded murmur a slow chant. The tricorn hat angled down on his head and his long coat covering him head to toe to conceal his scars. Dark eyes watch with intent on his last remaining daughter as she works. The emotions of so much law kill any effectiveness.

Jasher arrives with the others at a run into the Catacombs, only to be greeted by Azazel's screaming. Mouthy fellow. Though the others voice their own calls of defiance, Jasher doesn't spare any words in return; for him, it was past time for words, and the light of the Thinnest Point glints off red-adorned alaricite as Reafian speaks for him instead. The maw that he was striking at manages to writhe away in time, teeth bared in an inarticulate screech of hungry rage before striking back in turn, and the prince quickly finds himself in the midst of a tug-of-war as the piece of Azazel clamps down on his sword and refuses to let go.

[Magic 1 - Fail] Arman seems to be digging in pouches again, muttering something about a component to boost intelligence and just where did he put that, completely oblivious to the danger approaching him and Raven's subsequent interception of said danger.

Once it becomes clear what they are doing, the back of Azazel expands, fang-filled mouths lashing individuals with barbed tongues and trying to drag them screaming into his maws. Some of the allies are unscathed. A mirrorborn of an old tyrant by Denica is badly injured. Galatea's dragon is rended and knocked to the ground with a thundering crash. The Peregrine is just all too eager to die on Raja's behalf. And more and more bites all over. The world itself shudders with tremors as little by little more of Azazel slinks through the radiant portal, but there's a pitch of indignation in shrieks as some of the little compartments on the puzzle box springs open. Volcica is able to translate dead Rex'alfar, letting her know of a maddeningly specific bit of trivia about a particular courtier in Diamond's court that opens one puzzle that she and Keely were working on. Eirene and Vitalis are able to piece together one that was off of a rex'alfar child's rhyme. Godric gets one that was a word play off of the rex'alfar word for 'box'. Aelgar and Lisebet are able to decipher one about Jade and some of the early fractals in a popular song. Pasquale gets another that had to do with a popular Rex'alfar drinking song. Fairen and Lou are able to piece together one that was, even by Rex'alfar standards, a tortured pun that plays off the Rex'alfar word for turtle.

Six of the puzzles have been solved. Seven remain. Azazel screams in rage as he's about a third of the way through the portal, slowly shrinking himself.

Part of the portal appears to crack, like a hole tearing in reality, with blinding light shining through as Azazel's maws laugh.((6/13 puzzles done, 8523 victory points remain out of starting of 12k~. Same checks this round.))

Mirk has left the Riddle Group 11.

Mirk has joined the Riddle Group 9.

Mirk checks mana and occult at hard. Mirk is successful.

Godric mutters, "... the thirteenth, what madness ... this? Trapped in ... ... game of wits, ... to ... on ... whims ... magic ... ... And for ... To thwart ... demon hell-bent on ... history itself? We had him ... ... away ... the ... of ... archives, and ... do ... ... We ... him slip through our fingers like sand, A simple ... ... poison would ... ended this ... before it began. But ... ... ... ... play the hero, didn't we? And ... we're stuck here, dancing to the tune of ancient ... ... ... nonsense. All because we couldn't ... the courage to do what ... to be done. It's enough ... make a one ... their sanity. We'll solve this ... ... one way or another. And when we do, ... my words, ... ... rue ... ... ... crossed ... with us."

Godric mutters to himself while sorting out the puzzle, the picks handed over from Eirene are held between his lips for moment, then nearly stabbed into the box. There's a design of nearly an art to how the coroner works. Then he's also cursing the box...

Lys checks willpower and propaganda at normal. Lys marginally fails.

Raven checks mana and occult at daunting. Raven marginally fails.

Azova checks mana and medicine at hard. Azova is successful.

Morrighan checks mana and occult at daunting. Morrighan is successful.

Medeia checks intellect and alchemy at hard. Medeia is successful.

Caspian checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Caspian is successful.

Petal checks dexterity and sewing at daunting. Petal is successful.

Ember checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Ember fails.

Harlex checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Harlex is marginally successful.

Denica checks mana and artwork at hard. Denica fails.

Apollo checks dexterity and tanning at normal. Apollo is successful.

Khanne checks mana and occult at hard. Critical Success! Khanne is spectacularly successful.

"Destroy as much as you can. You perceive only the surface of him." Zircon is turning maws to ice and shattering them slowly and methodically, speaking calmly to Umbroise. "He is bent upon his purpose, and too vast to be stopped with sorcery or strength of arms. We must slow him."

Austen checks strength and huge wpn at hard. Austen is successful.

Galatea checks mana and alchemy at daunting. Galatea fails.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Critical Success! Thesarin is spectacularly successful.

Sydney checks dexterity and brawl at daunting. Sydney is successful.

Valdemar checks command and war at hard. Valdemar is successful.

Victus checks strength and huge wpn at daunting. Victus marginally fails.

Bhandn checks strength and huge wpn at daunting. Bhandn fails.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at daunting. Critical Success! Sen'azala is spectacularly successful.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at daunting. Ilmia fails.

Mia checks command and leadership at hard. Mia is successful.

Martino checks charm and manipulation at hard. Martino is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at daunting. Iliana is successful.

Lianne checks intellect and occult at easy. Lianne is spectacularly successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at daunting. Sorrel is marginally successful.

Thea checks intellect and medicine at daunting. Botch! Thea fails completely.

Raymesin checks dexterity and small wpn at normal. Critical Success! Raymesin is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.

Joslyn checks dexterity and small wpn at hard. Botch! Joslyn fails completely.

Jasher checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Jasher fails.

Aureth checks charm and occult at hard. Aureth marginally fails.

Mihaly checks willpower and medium wpn at hard. Botch! Mihaly fails completely.

Adalyn checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Adalyn fails.

Lucie checks command and leadership at daunting. Lucie is successful.

Lucita checks mana and performance at daunting. Lucita fails.

Arman checks mana and occult at daunting. Arman marginally fails.

Kael checks mana and theology at daunting. Kael fails.

Andromeda checks stamina and intimidation at daunting. Andromeda is successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Aleksei marginally fails.

Ansel checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Ansel fails.

Umbroise checks composure and manipulation at hard. Umbroise is successful.

Torian checks perception and teaching at daunting. Torian is successful.

[Magic - #2 - We're Immortal, So Fight] Lys continues to use her sword as a focus, attempting to rally Cassimir and spur him on with his puzzle. Only a monstrous maw flies straight at her and gets stuck in her hair. Her boistrous speech is cut off with a shriek, as she whirls in circles shouting, "GET IT OUT OF MY HAIR! AAUGH IT STINKS!"

Alarissa checks composure and occult at hard. Alarissa marginally fails.

Cufre checks perception and occult at hard. Cufre marginally fails.

Keely checks intellect and riddles at hard. Keely is successful.

Samira checks perception and occult at hard. Samira is successful.

Duarte checks intellect and riddles at hard. Critical Success! Duarte is spectacularly successful.

Fairen checks perception and riddles at hard. Fairen is successful.

Insaya checks perception and riddles at easy. Insaya is successful.

Vitalis checks perception and riddles at daunting. Vitalis fails.

Raja checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Raja is successful.

Aelgar checks intellect and riddles at hard. Aelgar is successful.

Godric checks intellect and riddles at easy. Godric is successful.

Ahriman checks command and occult at daunting. Ahriman marginally fails.

[MAGIC - PROTECC Riddler - Marginal Fail] The spiders flying free from Aureth's hands and eyes are starting to drift free of the protective wall of primum. A few of them get distracted and skitter off towards the light through the portal. A few more are just walking around the brim of Aureth's hat. Winston is stabbing angrily at mouthy pieces of Azazel that are not at all delicious and he's mad about it, not making a lot of ground.

[041 [Magic 1 - Offensive Stalling Magic - The Tangled Skein]

Fortunato checks wits and riddles at hard. Fortunato is successful.

[[ MAGIC 2 - Raven - Marg failure]] Raven stays near Duarte and Arman, her attention primarily on Duarte but something causes her head to whip around and she cries out, "Prince Arman!" swiftly lurching forward to intersect the danger the Velenosa prince had attracted. There's a sharp cry and a stagger as she's sent stumbling into the prince "Fuckingturdmonsters." she turns her attention back to Duarte but is clearly still reeling from the punishment she's just taken.

[MAGIC 2 - SUPPORTING INSAYA SUCCESS.] "Death is more than enough here," Mirk says with a bow towards Volcica and Raymesin. Then, he and his allies - dragon and spirit - begin to battle across the battlefield, lost in the melee and confusion, flinging off gales of wind laced with ice and pain to deflect those mouths. He ends up near Insaya, offering her a dip of his head before he sets to work, protecting those that need protecting - whatever the cost. The fact that it's no longer Volcica that needs protecting, well, that changes nothing.

Jhond checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Jhond fails.

Eirene checks intellect and riddles at normal. Eirene is successful.

[Magic 2 -- Supporting Lou, Failure -- Sacrificing Lavender to Protect Dragon] Galatea continues working on her miracle concoction, but she doesn't get much time to finish it. Instead, the cobalt-haired woman beside her throws her bodily out of the way, as she transforms into her true, tremendous self--a blue dragon, which fills up no small amount of space even in this gigantic cavern. The dragon roars in defiance as Azazel's barbed tongues lash its hide, snapping at one in an attempt to rip the tongue clean in half.

Galatea herself does not allow her azure bond-mate to face the peril alone--she reaches into her pack to retrieve the enchanted lavender that had been distributed to all the dragon-riders, activating its protective magics. The lavender itself shimmers into nothingness, and an intangible ward deflects the next swing of Azazel's hateful appendages.

[Magic 2] Harlex steps back as a maw throws itself violently in his direction, his reprisal is a vicious slash and a scornful wave of black wind that slices through it and a few behind it as the Eater tries to rebuke their assault. His stone set face breaks into a mean, resentful glare as beads of sweat run down the corner of his head. "Not. Another. Step," he growls under his breath.

Volcica checks mana and riddles at easy. Volcica is successful.

[Magic 1 - Attack - The Waterfall] The brawler's body is singing with adrenaline, doing everything she can to just stay out of harm's way. Doing everything she can to slow the assault, to keep herself safe, to keep herself alive. "I have more to do with this life than you. I have more to see in this life than your whimpering mouth!" She rips water from nothingness, her eyes glowing bottle green. Her fighting still was rough when she was throwing fights in the Lower Boroughs. It's been tossed about over time like glass in the waves, honed to a beautifully smoothed thing. The more she moves, the less she trembles. "I'm /going/ home! I'm going to /find the rest of my family/. I'm going to kill Marcus Sulla. I'm going to /kill/ Malar! I am Sydney FUCKING Livy, Niece to Petraea, daughter of Clemensia. This Dream has had its fill of you. Get. OUT." She strikes as hard as she can, as true as she can.

Torian [Magical Assistance - 2 - For Lisebet - Success] Torian will totally lie about this later if anyone lives to ask him, but anybody looking at him now can see the fear on his face. He's standing there dressed for battle and trying to focus on being a good mentor. The mentoring is working, thank the gods, but the bravery is faltering and he breaks into a flop sweat. He white-knucles the grip on his ax, willing himself to keep the tone of his magical whispers encouraging.

Cassimir checks perception and riddles at normal. Cassimir is successful.

[MAGIC 2 - Flay away from my riddler!] Thank me later!"

[Magic - 1] - Between Azazel chewing on Ilmia's unicorn and the other laundry list of atrocities he has commited, she is MAD AT HIM! She is directing that anger into energy though and hopefully going to be helping Iliana to keep Fairen in once piece! She speaks calmly to Fairen though as things are madness around the Leary group.

MAGIC 2 - Marginal Fail Swings going wide and mouths nipping at his heels, but still Victus thrashes through the Abyssal chompers. "FUCK YOU!" He strikes, he claws, scratches and punches. Guided by pure fury alone as he pours every bit of strength he has left behind his sword arm. If he's going out, then there will be nothing gentle about it.

[MAGIC - Helper Godric - Success] Keeping it simple this time, Azova turns herself and the compass in her hand towards the Deathspeaker she's promised to help, and says simply, aloud. "Don't let your irritation at that bumblefuck distract you." Calmly, of course. She refers to Azazel and his laugh as the bumble in question.

Mikani checks intellect and riddles at normal. Mikani is successful.

It's only because Fortunato was so kind earlier today to share some wisdom with Duarte that Duarte has a SPECTACULAR idea concerning the puzzle box, which he articulates to the solver group with adequate gesticulations and detail, whilst he is being assisted by Raven, Medeia and Arman - he's found a modicum of calm amidst the utter terrifying horror going on around them.

[Magic 1 - Offensive Stalling Magic - The Tangled Skein] Petal pokes her her right index finger again and a droplet of blood falls to the crypt floor and another drop into the plant she carries. Vines covered in silk threads and needle like thorns starts to spring up in the direction of the eat helping to stall and block the eater.

Ember is a whirl of shadowmeld and crimson tiefling tail as she attempts to fight off Azazel's various grotesque aspects and bodily protrusions. She turns, too late, and sees one bearing down on her -- she barely is able to lift her scythe in time to try to block -- but before it can impact her, there's a ghostly shimmer, the sort of thing that folks who speak with ghosts could definitely recognize... almost like a tall, impossibly beautiful elf just appeared to save Ember from harm. "...I love you, too," Ember says, and it's very weird to hear Ember say anything quite so heartfelt.

[Magic 2 1 - Art is War] Something goes wrong and Denica is about to find herself in a really bad situation. The colours start to blur, but before she feeling the brunt of it, the Masked Man steps in front of her. It's protective, the man moves with clarity and precision, he takes a hard hit and it's enough to have the princess's eyes go wide in shock. "Donrai!!," she cries out in the heat of the moment and then is quickly shouting louder when she realizes what she said, "not -actually- Donrai!" Now is not the time for public relations, Denica. The main thing, is Denica tries to find her pacing again and she breathes out. Her attention refocuses on Keely, trying to be there to support her, and whatever else comes. But again, something goes wrong, the colours blur, and she watches as the masked Mirrorborn jumps in front of her again to save the princess. Lips part, because the princess knows this will not be good and the thing with empathy? Denica cares.

[Magic 2 - Support Eirene] Andromeda watches the fighting, and furrows her brow. Sniffing. Moving a little closer to Eirene, the Titan ducks down. "I sense... Something about that bit. Closer to your goal? Possibly." She grunts. "I stand here. I protect you now. If the maws come closer, I kill."

[MAGIC 2 - Flay away from my riddler!] "Thank me later!" shouts Apollo, reprising his filet job of a lashing Azazel tongue. "Riddle now!"

[Fighting - Fail] One mouth gets run through by the bright red sword that Ansel carries. And then, the sheer number of the mouths coming at him seem to crack some of his resolve. He ducks, he covers, he swings Red Thorn to deflect biting things. "The Gods, there are a lot of them," it's not necessarily a complaint,'s not a compliment either.

[Riddles - success] Fairen smiles lightly at Lou with a satisfied nod. "So -that's- why 'turtle' is so often rhymed with 'wondrous' in Rex'alfar," he murmurs functionally to himself in the midst of all the very loud magic and maws shrieking and clashes of steel and his monomaniacal nerd focus is genuinely kind of astounding sometimes. He dives into the next puzzle straightaway, pointing out derivations and suggesting connections with a remarkably untroubled air about him.

[Magic 2] Austen's sword continues to burn as he slashes at another maw, and then another and another. "The Necropolis rejects you, Eater! *We* reject you," he growls, throwing himself forwards and towards the Thinnest Point, cleaving his way closer to it as he tries to slow Azazel's advance. "GET OUT OF THERE!"

Ilmia says in Rex'alfar, "You've got this, cousin. Just try to keep focused. Iliana and I have you."

Out of some freshly dug hole comes to High Inquisitor, in the most undignified entry. He is covered in mud and dirt. His hair is covered in mud and dirt. He spits out mud and dirt. He grumbles to the badger behind him, who turns to tear apart some kind of demon that followed them. He squints at the complete and utter madness that is before him. He then squints at his sword. Why can't things be simple. He wades into the thick of it, stabbing at a few mouthes as he seeks to join the defenders of the Compact.

[Magic 2 - Supporting - Success] Murmuring lower as his eyes are closing tighter, shielding away those emerald greens of his, Martino's hands are remaining still. His voice barely audible as he is nodding his head for a moment, those eyes opening as he is speaking in a lower tone as his shadow reveals something to their table.

Pasquale checks composure and war at hard. Critical Success! Pasquale is spectacularly successful.

Insaya can hear it all happening behind her. She tries to shut it out, but finds her hands moving to the sound of the bangs and shhhhhhhhhs, the gloppy sounds, the screaming of challenges. Friends, colleagues, people she admires, people she has never even met. All back there. All behind the puzzlers as they move the mechanisms. "It's going to work... it's going to work..." Trust keeps her calm. Insaya rediscovers her Faith in the dark under the city. She tugs a piece, and twists it, until a row of like thinks line up with a click.

Lisebet checks wits and riddles at easy. Critical Success! Lisebet is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.

[MAGIC 2 - supporting success to Godric] Lucie refocuses herself, after taking a painful wound from one of the maws that leaves blood seeping from under her cuirass. She turns her attention onto Godric, and in response to his muttering, she speaks aloud. "You've got that bit right. We'll solve it." And the closer Lucie herself is to the front - and getting bitten by a maw probably counts - the more she can share a measure of vigor with him.

[Magic 2 - Support Riddler, Success] Doing his best to keep that spectral shield up, in the hopes that the protection will help Aelgar to focus on the task ahead of him, Valdemar only looks up from time to time to take stock of the fighting around him. "I'd think an Archfiend would be able to take a hint more easily than this," the Duke growls at one point.

[[MAGIC 2 - BARGAIN OF STILL WATERS - Offensive - Stall Azazel]] As Azazel begins to start trying to eat his way thorugh the allies, Umbroise lifts a hand, and calls upon her connection to Stasis, sending shards of ice toward the gibbering mouths as they try to eat the allies. If they connect, they might be enough to freeze or distract the Eater, hoepfully. It requires precision, presence of mind, careful manipulation as she embraces the chill within her. She tries to freeze the maws that are specifically targeting the powerful allies of those present.

[Riddling - Success] "No, so I think..." Keely can be heard murmuring as she reaches across to point out a particular passage, "The mean the past tense. They -wore- hideous shoes. That matters because... yes, so then I think if you twist... there and press that..."

[Magic 2- supporting Insaya Success] Caspian dashed forward as the people worked on the puzzle, charging toward any mouths thats would stray to close. Flames licked up his blades even as the phoenix dove down to burn away a path of mouths in the cave. "Come on, take a nibble if you can!" he glanced back to insaya, offering a grin, "Damned right it will work!" as she clicked a piece into place he laughed, "hah! another step closer!"

(Riddles - Success @ Normal) "You fucking eater. You ate Cicero's soul, you don't get to eat the world," Eirene mutters with sheer anger as she looks over her shoulder at the the swarm of mouths attacking the defenders. Her eyes flash angrily but she doesn't harness her magic - yet. Instead she nods to Andromeda and murmurs a thank you before she starts working on the next part. "Nox'alfar fashion at the time, why the FUCK do I know this," she adds, "required green feathers in the ear-plugs. Maybe that was it?"

[MAGIC ASSIST 2] Medeia continues to keep an eye out for Duarte, sending another grape vine shipping along to keep Azazel's attention off the riddle solving man. She's staying focused and quiet and she covers him, and Serasadin is doing much the same for the Saik lady.

[Magic 1] Sen has never fought with a pack before, and now there are so many wolves fighting. Dying. Fighting. Somewhere in the first few moments, as she reaches for the endless rage she's known all her life, she finds something more. Her eyes go white and she's a whirlwind of motion, here, there, biting and stabbing with her sword, moving with Wolf in perfect tandem. Aleksei is here, and so she's with him as well, teeth bared, as white and black freezes the air and traces her every blow. There's satisfaction in this moment, at the end of the world.

[Magic attack 1 - Botch] Joslyn steps forward, green flames overtaking her body as she charges in with a roar of concentration, her eyes glowing bright but realizing that the attack itself wasn't working, worry creased her eyes and she tried to do her best to stop the flames from consuming her with a grimace.

There is concern that fills Raja's gaze as she witnesses The Peregrin fighting so valiantly and taking the damage on her behalf. There is a deep gratitude that fills Raja, but also a bit of sadness. However, there is no time for sappy exchanges of gratitude! Raja steps forward, fighting off the mouths and pushing them back off poor Naisha. Her face contorts in rage and a feral yell comes from her as she fights with all she's got!

Aelgar is deep in thought after deliveering his last generous warning to the ugly maw-nster. Then his forehead suddenyl clears and he chuckles, looking up at Azaze and pointing a chastising forefinger that way. "By the Gift of lord Vellichor, I add another nail to your coffin, Abomination. I hope you learn something spending the next millenium under His thumb." Then he nods to the sode at Valdemar and inhales deeply, taking a moment to relax and watch the Eater curiously.

Alistair has joined the Stalling Azazel.

[Riddle-Success] Cassimir rubs his hands together. He has this knack where he can just tune the world out and that is what he is doing. A little mutter to himself most likely something to the extend to 'you got this, you have people depending on you.' He dives right in once again. He pulls here, taps there, and is surprised when that works. "Yes...." Not a loud exclamation because he is aware enough that this is going to take some time.

[Magic 2 - Marg Fail] Arman seems puzzled as to why Raven has bumped into him and then he sees the lashing maw, "Oh.. well done Blackheart." A small clearing of the throat, "My thanks." Then turns attention back to Duarte, "Now.. just a moment Count Amadeo I've got something here that..." He trails off as Duarte solves a puzzle without the need of his special satchel components.

Aelgar [RIDDLER - SUCCESS] Aelgar is deep in thought after deliveering his last generous warning to the ugly maw-nster. Then his forehead suddenyl clears and he chuckles, looking up at Azaze and pointing a chastising forefinger that way. "By the Gift of lord Vellichor, I add another nail to your coffin, Abomination. I hope you learn something spending the next millenium under His thumb." Then he nods to the sode at Valdemar and inhales deeply, taking a moment to relax and watch the Eater curiously. (oops)

[Riddle - Success] This is not a safe place, this is a terrible place, filled with a terrible, terrifying super-archfiend of unthinkable proportions, and yet within the lee of Aureth, his brother, and Morrighan, his dear friend, Fortunato actually feels safe. This does not stop him from swearing as he works on the next bits of the box, though. "Fucking Pyrite, fucking Rex'alfar, fucking Caer'alfar ..."

Alistair then pulls out a book. It has no cover. It has no title. He flips it open and views the shame within. "I am going to kill that elf." he then turns to one of the mouths. "Hey. Heres some Inquisition fan fiction. I have relations with the ground. Very riviting." He then tosses it into the maw for Azazel to read. If anyone looks at him with an odd look, he gives them the eye. And then stabs at a mouth.

[Magic #2 - Attack Azazel- Critical Success - Saving Kael] "Lookout!" Khanne yells towards Kael then lifts her hand, bringing up a column of stone that first protects him from being bitten by a maw then collapses into the maw, hopefully crushing it or at least knocking out a few teeth. "I fight with honor, Titus! I fight for those in my life now and for the future." She is still clinging to the stone.

Alistair checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Alistair fails.

Lou checks wits and riddles at daunting. Lou fails.

[MAGIC 2 - WARDING FLAME - SUCCESS] Everything was chaos outside of the warding wall of flame, but the sole focus was keeping Fortunato safe. The flames writhe and flicker around, dancing chaotically but the heat is comforting, soothing, to those under its protection, like the warmth of home. The receiving end is another matter entirely. Morrighan mouths silent prayers to Lagoma, though her flame-hued eyes drift aside momentarily to check on Fort. "Fuck those fuckers. Assholes."

[MAGIC 2 - Songlessness (Crit)] This won't do. Azazel isn't meant to become /more/ here. He is meant to be /less/. So much less. Less space, less hunger, less knowledge, less /him/. Lianne means to see to it. With tears falling slow and steady from her verdant eyes, that black crown digging into her brow with its terrible weight, she quiets the world around her, denies Azazel some scrap of his power, and calls out a song--spoken, she does not sing--in a terrible tongue. The mirrormask worn by the wraith beside her reflects a twist on the combat around them, those fight turned to listen, a glimmer of pride from Lord Onyx for his former apprentice before that reflection returns to chaos around them again.

Lianne says in Abyssal, "It always was coming, and now it has come. Each dream which begins must eventually end. Our toil and work have but woe as their sum. It always was coming, and now it has come."

[Magic 2 - Mild Failure - Utility] Lou has success, the pride on Rissa's face is one that has the Princess of Thrax smiling, hand tightening around the little dragon in her hand. But it's Galatea's dragon going down that distracts Alarissa from maintaining that calm and courage that emanates from around her. It falters at the sight of the downed dragon and the lavender that's crumbled. The same kind of lavender in a pouch in case she needs it. "Oh gods Valar... It'll be fine." She assures the white dragon beneath her and they position to better protect Lou.

[MAGIC - Offensive Spell in Support of Lou Marginal Failure] Prince Ahriman Grayson continues to chant in a native tone. The words lashing at the Eater and his fingers are placed outward. The man is distracted though through bitter grief. No magic manifesting to help fend off the threat. He offers no pleasant thoughts towards the people he stole this knowledge from. He keeps thinking of other things, intrusive things. Things that make the words not manifest as they should -- too deviated from spoiling despair.

Martino says in Rex'alfar, "Thank you, again Ember. For the scythe, we've got this twice now."

[RIDDLE - SUCCESS] Godric braces himself against the onslaught of sound, his jaw clenched in defiance, the deafening scream reverberates through him. "You think your screams frighten us, Azazel?" he roars, his voice cutting through with a fierce determination. "Oh, for the love of all that's unholy, could you be any louder?" Godric retorts, his voice dripping with sarcasm as he meets in gaze with the teeth of Azazel with a withering glare. "I've heard banshees with better manners than you! You think you're terrifying? Ha! You're nothing but a bloated, overgrown toad with delusions of grandeur," he sneers, his disdain evident in every syllable. "Well, let me tell you something, demon. You may have power, but we have something you'll never understand: stubbornness. And trust me, we've got it in spades."

[Magic: 2 - Failure, Saved by Khanne] Speaking quietly underneath his breath, Kael continues with his near-silent murmurings, hands on Keely's shoulders. It's Khanne's cry though, the sharp movement of stone, that has him look up and swiftly. That serene expression of his is lost and instinctively a hand moves to the hilt of his blade. It is not drawn but he calls out a, "Thank you!" to Khanne, briefly rattled.

[MAGIC 2] How many times have the Cullers stood side by side in battle, facing some dark challenge? Samira stands resolutely at Torian's side now, facing what is surely the most daunting threat they've yet faced. Whereas his face shows fear, hers reveals a complicated tangle: deep aching sorrow, yearning, desperation. She funnels those emotions into her magic to fuel her repeated attempts to impede Azazel.

MAGIC 2-Supporting Vitalis (fail)--Lucita continues to sing for Vitalis till Custos, the dragon shoves her to the side, blocking a strike against her but interrupting her song so it is ineffective. Concern fills her expression as she checks over the dragon then lays a reassuring hand on him as she turns her attention back to Vitalis.

(Riddles - Fail) Lou continues to work on the puzzle pieces, furrowing her brow tightly as she does. "Now this don't make any fucking kind of sense at all," she potty mouths the puzzle, then tries to force her way into it. Of course, that /really/ doesn't work well, but she's a tiny bit frustrated that she can't quite figure it out.

[Magic 2 - Crit Success] "I AM! STILL! THESARIN!" cuts into the monstrous flesh of Azazel's devouring mouths with his sword and axe, tears of fire spillling down his cheeks to match the fringes of fire around his hand, as he wrestles away the monstrtous flesh that surges toward Mihaly. "Butcher of Champions! Breaker of Heroes! And YOU WILL! NOT! TOUCH! THEM!" The Wildfire of Greenwood is an inferno, that burns away flesh as quickly as Thesarin cuts it. "HAS ALL OF HELL A THING SO AWFUL AS VAHARI'S SON!"

[Riddle Success] Mikani was around the sidelines and came forward as she found the box for her. Smiling she moves some pegs around the box. "Ink runs under water." She murmurs as the riddle is solved before her.

[MAGIC 2 - Attack Azazel, Inhuman success - cover Vitalis' fail] Raymesin's blades dance in the light of the portal, the thunderbolt along the one flickering while the other reflects no light from its sooty surface. Swift and brutal, the Lowers knifeman proves that he really is one of the best blades in Arvum - and then he pauses, the black knife flipping in his hand so that he's holding it by the tip. A moment later it's launched towards Vitalis with a flick of the knifeman's wrist, turning end over end as it flies through the air; it thunks home in a vulnerable spot behind one of the mouths heading for the man. And even before it lands, Raymesin's got a white-shining blade in his just-freed hand, and the knifeman battles on.

Umbroise continues to send shards of ice at the maws in response to Onyx and Zircon's words, her motions graceful and precise as she flings the shards at the maws. As she works, a horde of little frosty white spiders crawl out of her frosty hair and down her arms, and then they leap off and start attacking the maws as well, freezing them further with their frost venom. "Together then," she tells Zircon as she continues to work. Her features remain calm, cool, collected.

[Magic Assistance Round 2 - Celestial Protection] At first, it seems to be going well, but the onslaught Mihaly wasn't expecting, breaking his concentration, the fireflies of starlight flickering out. It takes the old Riven to his knees, causing him to pant, trying to drag himself back up to his feet. "No. Not now. I'm not done, damnit." But suddenly as he's about to be overwhelming by a series of tentacles, the flesh is burned and torn away by his newphew-in-law. "By Aion, that man is impressive."

As the sound of glass shattering echoes in Denica's head, she watches as the one-handed Masked Man hits the ground. The spitting image of a tyrant, the picture that haunted her nightmares as long as she can remember. But not all things are as they seem. So as Denica sees the man barely breathing, Denica Thrax sheds one single tear for this image of Donrai. Not the real man, -not ever-, but the reflection that fell saving her. Then the princess picks up her palette knife, and she keeps on fighting.

[Success Assisting Fairen] Maybe because he did so well the first time, Iliana seems to relax a little, and her calmness allows her to be helpful rather than the annoying spouse she is. She doesn't even point out anything this time as the next riddle is looked over to work through. Not to say she isnt pacing, that still happens and her fingers still gripe her short spear, but at least she isnt getting in the way.

[Helping Lisebet - Crit]Pasquale leans to look at the current puzzle. He does so love his puzzle boxes. He's just about to open his mouth to suggest something that Lisebet no doubt already knows when he spies Ilmia about to get chomped on. That cant stand. He raises his bow, gathers magic about the unusual weapon, and sends a dozen or so poisoned shards into the soon-to-be-dead mouth.

Ansel checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Critical Success! Ansel is spectacularly successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Ansel does not take a permanent wound.

Andromeda checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Andromeda is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Andromeda does not take a permanent wound.

[Magic 2 - Success - Support] There is a SOUND that comes from Mia the moment that she hears Thesarin cry out not with an invective or a champion's challenge, but with pain. It is a sound that is not entirely human; it's too animalistic for that, and seemingly unlike the usually cold Marquessa who prefers to keep herself tightly in check. But this moment, this moment here at what may well be the end of the world has left her and who she truly is unintentionally exposed, and the anger that cuts through her colors her magic. Seemingly dead, dried out vines that have crept their way into the catacombs latch onto the creatures that near her any of her kin, dragging and tearing and rending them before they can latch onto their prey and interrupt their work.

[Riddle Success] One puzzle down, but there's only a brief, tight smile flashed at Keely as they succeed. Then, she's on to the next with the same quiet focus and determination. They -will- succeed. They -will- unmake Azazel and save the Wheel.

While Medeia is keeping an eye on Duarte, she notices something about to go terribly wrong for Bhandn, and she calls out to him. Serasadin takes the initiative and lunges to push him out of the way, taking the brunt of the hit.

[MAGIC 2 - Emphasis with a marginal fail] Remaining close in Vitalis' web, Cufre looks around, gauging. She confidently reaches out and plucks a thread...and the return is off. There's something within him, unseen to her, knotted to this connection he has made, complicating what would have been an inspiring recollection into something associated with a failure, a loss. Her eyes go wide at feeling that resistance. Oh no.

[Riddles Inhuman success, supporting ] Lisebet flashes Aelgar a big smile for his help with that Jade riddle. Fractals in songs, indeed. She goes to work on the next puzzle, pausing only briefly to give a glare at those horrible scary terrible maws. Flat look at that maw. As she is turning back to her riddle, and blinks. "Really? That one is obvious," she mutters. She looks up then, and catches sight of Lou in a bit of a bind. She isn't too far, so Lisebet calls a warning and moves to try tackling Lou out of harm's way if necessary.

[MAGIC #2 - Supporting Vitalis Fail] While trying to help Vitalis stay safe She is moving with Fulgurium like they have fount together before almost moving like a unit. When the song stops her attention is turned back to look to see what's happening and that was a mistake. She shudders as breaths deeply, "You will not stop us!" she calls out!

Bhandn hasn't been punted by a dragon before (figuratively speaking), but he can cross that off his list of things to have happen before he dies... and/or the world ends. He manages to roll on the ground, at first not realizing that he'd just been saved from a particularly nasty rebuke from the Eater. He calls out an uncertain thanks, completely at a loss on exactly how one addresses a Skylord who just did him a favor.

Raven bows her head to Arman "Just be careful, Prince Arman, I don't think I can do that twice." she shakes her head as if she could just shake off the pain and tries to refocus on helping Duarte.

When the jaws that bite and slash go for Jhond, Andromeda moves with remarkable speed to intercept for the man, her sword in pyrite darksteel jabbed into the jaws, cutting as it gnaws against her and removes at least several layers of skin and a goodly chunk of her leather cuirass. She grunts, in actual pain, as she pushes the jaw back.

"...You hurt good. Not good enough. Now, I must crush you."

[PUZZLER - FAIL] shoulder checks Eirene for their corner of the puzzle solved, and curses himself for the distraction when something flies past and nearly takes out Lucita, her dragon stepping up to take the blow. Focus. Focus... hnngh, he feels twitchy, itchy, something between his shoulder blades. He hears Adalyn's shout, sees Cufre's teasing of threads, but is wholly unprepared for Raymesin to throw a knife AT HIM?!? BETRA-yaoh. Oh. Gods. He swipes a hand down his face and nods at Raymesin before turning attention back to the puzzle.

Mikani has joined the Riddle Group 7.

Apollo, who is well past practiced at that awful spell of his at this point, is just near enough Jasher to see another incoming. He leaps aside, in the way, but then there's Malachite in front of him... gleeful and clinging and why does he seem to /like/ that tongue lashing so much? "Mmhmm!" he says as he dusts himself off. "Can't have /that/." What does a Jasher do with an extremely sus pair of tanners who just saved his bacon?

Jhond draws the alaricite katar from his side and grips it tight in his fist. He goes to stand beside Raja and flashes her a smile despite the insanity of all of this and steps forward to lash out at a maw, but almost gets a bit taken out of. He nods in thanks to Andromeda with a grin.

[MAGIC 2 (Fail)] "You are like a /child/," Aleksei growls on a sharp breath. "Just /screaming/ a tantrum. Just /screaming/ until you get what you want." His sword fails to find purchase in those countless mouths, and a rumble of frustration sounds in his chest -- but at least he twists aside at the last moment when they turn their teeth on him, leaving him with little more than a graze. "This is /our world/, Azazel!"

Back and forth Jasher wrestles for dominance with the teeth on his sword, and as he struggles another fanged maw strikes at his flank, barbed tongue lashing forth--only for the prince's skin to be saved with the intervention of a pair of tanners. Reafian is forgotten for a split second as the prince stares suspiciously at Apollo and Malachite before giving a nod of thanks, and with a loop almost too elegant for the occasion, he smashes the mouth stubbornly clinging on against the stone floor. Once, twice, thrice--

Romulius was there, Threnody carefully wielded in his hand. Puzzles galore, magic galore in this place, his eyes ahead at the King of Devils himself. "Well...I see I didn't miss all the fun."

There is a loud 'ooomf' as Lou is practically tackled by Lisebet. "Uhhhhhgn. Who, what?" she asks as she just barely manages getting hit also by one of Azazel's appendages to be eaten or munched. "Lisebet?" Deer stands over her and snorts hard, glaring somewhat in accusatory manner, because moments before Lou was standing in front of deer, ready to take any of that attack. Probably a good thing Lisebet tackled her. Lou gives Deer a sheepish look and yells out, "I CAN'T LOSE ANYONE ELSE!" Then she hears herself, suddenly understands her predicament and gives Deer an abashed look. "Sorry, sorry. I /do understand/. I'll let you take any other hits first." Yeah, she's still grieving her sisters.

Eirene catches sight of Mihaly's rescue by Thesarin and looks as if she may cry. Fear. Relief. Anger. Happiness. So much emotion flickers over face. "You won't take THIS away from me, you mouthy shit. I'll kick in every last one of your teeth and make a fucking NECKLACE for my CHILDREN!"

The world shudders and more cracks appear around the portal, rays of blinding white light basking the cavern. In the skies above the world, the stars begin to move in wild directions, as if turning to flee, and the sounds of millions of the dead can be heard through the portal, echoing their fear as more and more of the Eater of Stories slouches through the portal. Fanged maws bite mercilessly at anyone near him, trying to devour those working at the puzzle box, but more puzzles are solved. Lisebet finds she -remembers- some of these, solving two in turn. A pun about who Jade liked? Really? Volcica and Godric are able to piece together another, a silly riddle about a type of Rex'alfar breakfast. Fortunato is definitely in no mood to find amusement from the homonym wordplay he soldiers through, but soldier through he does. Duarte is able to crack one about the way Caer'alfar was designed, and Godric, Aelgar and Insaya figure out ones that were entertwined about different famous heroes fighting the dragons of Cardia. And Keely cracks one modeled off a sing along children's song about treating slaves appropriately.

((21/26 in Puzzles, Azazel drops by another 2750 Victory points. If they don't win this coming round, grim times.))

Medeia checks intellect and alchemy at hard. Medeia marginally fails.

Azova checks mana and medicine at hard. Botch! Azova fails completely.

Denica checks mana and artwork at hard. Botch! Denica fails completely.

Apollo checks dexterity and tanning at normal. Apollo is successful.

Martino checks charm and manipulation at hard. Martino is successful.

Aureth checks charm and occult at hard. Aureth is successful.

Harlex checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Harlex is successful.

Raymesin checks dexterity and small wpn at normal. Critical Success! Raymesin is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.

Joslyn checks dexterity and small wpn at hard. Joslyn is successful.

Lianne checks intellect and occult at easy. Lianne is successful.

Valdemar checks command and war at hard. Valdemar is successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at daunting. Sorrel is successful.

Torian checks perception and teaching at daunting. Torian fails.

Samira checks perception and occult at hard. Samira is successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Aleksei is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at daunting. Iliana is successful.

Lucita checks mana and performance at daunting. Lucita is successful.

Bhandn checks strength and huge wpn at daunting. Bhandn fails.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at daunting. Sen'azala is successful.

Victus checks stamina and huge wpn at daunting. Victus fails.

Sydney checks dexterity and brawl at daunting. Sydney is successful.

Khanne checks mana and occult at hard. Khanne is successful.

Ansel checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Ansel fails.

Caspian checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Caspian is successful.

Mia checks command and leadership at hard. Mia is successful.

Galatea checks mana and alchemy at daunting. Galatea fails.

Raven checks mana and occult at daunting. Raven fails.

Mihaly checks willpower and medium wpn at hard. Mihaly is successful.

Lucie checks command and leadership at daunting. Botch! Lucie fails completely.

Morrighan checks mana and occult at daunting. Critical Success! Morrighan is spectacularly successful.

Arman checks mana and occult at daunting. Arman is successful.

Cufre checks perception and occult at hard. Cufre is successful.

Kael checks mana and theology at daunting. Kael is successful.

Romulius checks strength and survival at hard. Romulius is successful.

Ahriman checks command and occult at daunting. Critical Success! Ahriman is spectacularly successful.

Jasher checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Jasher is successful.

Alarissa checks composure and occult at hard. Alarissa is successful.

Thea checks intellect and medicine at daunting. Thea is successful.

Ember checks mana and occult at daunting. Ember fails.

Austen checks strength and huge wpn at hard. Austen is successful.

Andromeda checks stamina and intimidation at daunting. Andromeda fails.

Lys checks willpower and propaganda at normal. Lys is successful.

Duarte checks intellect and riddles at hard. Duarte marginally fails.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at daunting. Ilmia marginally fails.

Petal checks dexterity and sewing at daunting. Petal marginally fails.

Umbroise checks composure and manipulation at hard. Umbroise is successful.

Mirk checks mana and occult at hard. Mirk is successful.

Lou checks wits and riddles at easy. Lou is successful.

Fairen checks perception and riddles at hard. Fairen is successful.

Aelgar checks intellect and riddles at hard. Aelgar marginally fails.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Thesarin fails.

Eirene checks intellect and riddles at normal. Eirene is successful.

Keely checks intellect and riddles at normal. Keely is successful.

Insaya checks perception and riddles at easy. Critical Success! Insaya is spectacularly successful.

Jhond checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Jhond is successful.

Cassimir checks perception and riddles at easy. Cassimir marginally fails.

Mikani checks intellect and riddles at normal. Critical Success! Mikani is spectacularly successful.

Adalyn checks strength and medium wpn at daunting. Adalyn is successful.

Vitalis checks perception and riddles at easy. Vitalis is successful.

Pasquale checks composure and war at hard. Pasquale marginally fails.

Godric checks intellect and riddles at hard. Godric is successful.

Lisebet checks wits and riddles at hard. Lisebet is successful.

Raja checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Raja marginally fails.

Mikani has left the Riddle Group 7.

Romulius has joined the Stalling Azazel.

Fortunato checks wits and riddles at normal. Fortunato is successful.

[Magic 3 - Fail - If I Die, I Die] Andromeda's wounds start knitting closed, although admittedly, not as fast as the maw attached to her seems to be latching onto her guts and trying to suck them out and chew them up. Who knows if Azazel has the spite to spit it back out. She grunts at Eirene. "...You best finish soon." There's a pained grunt, and she pushes at the demonic entanglement chewing on her.

"...Do your worst. I will make you choke."

[MAGIC 3 - SUPPORTING INSAYA. SUCCESS.] Mirk is in his element now, barely even looking at his allies. Lightning and Nyx, one of whom he has a powerful magical bond to, the other to whom he has a bond that is older and even deeper than that, he understands them on some level and has fought alongside them throughout the Siege of Arx. They let loose, and where he needs to, he calls up a gale that diverts one of the mouths, making sure that nothing comes close enough to even disturb Insaya's concentration. He's tiring, his skin pale and his lips blue, but he shows no sign of stopping. Not while he's alive.

[MAGIC ASSIST 3] As Serasadin returns to Medeia's side from helping Bhandn, Medeia is distracted by something and turns just in time to bump directly into her dragoness-in-human-form companion. Whatever magic she was prepared to do fizzles on her fingertips.

Seeing things come nearer to an end, Duarte steps away and tosses out a kinda not helpful but not fucking awful idea. He falls to take a seat as the others wrap up. What? What is this doing here? He picks up the Confessions of a Poor Hungry Demon buck and chucks it at Azazel, "How's your appetite, love?"

[MAGIC - Protec Riddler] Aureth's weave shines as gossamer web, catching beads of light from the portal, casting, refracting them back towards Fortunato and the puzzle box. He keeps his hands in motion, tiny spiders running over his skin, floating from his hair, as he and Winston fend off flying, gnashing mouths. "You got this, man. You got it. Death's got your back."

Torian [Magical Assistance - 3 - For Lisebet - Fail :( ] While Samira is funneling her emotions into her magic, Torian is about a breath away from funneling his fear into his undershorts. There's monsters and crap flying all around, and he's way out of his element here... and so he cracks. He HAS been helping, but it doesn't FEEL like helping, even as great as Lisebet has been about solving riddle after riddles. He starts swinging that ax and shoting, slashing at anything that moves that is more mouth than person!

Volcica checks mana and riddles at easy. Volcica marginally fails.

Aelgar [RIDDLER Marginal Fail] Aelgar maybe gets distracted as the fight grows, or maybe he is just slow, but he is not quite done even as other solvers begin putting their solutions together and chalking up progress. He still sends a confident smile at the Maw Mess, but adds nothing vocally for the moment. What else is there to say, anyway?

MAGIC 3-Success - Augment Vitalis with riddle... Lucita moves so she is in a position to protect her wounded dragon and places one reassuring hand on him as she keeps watch on Vitalis's flank and once more sings for him. It helps block out the sounds of battle, groans, screams and taunts to let him concentrate on that puzzle box.

(RIDDLES - Successful) Once Lou remembers herself and pushes her grief far behind her, she pushes deep and hard to work on solving the puzzles. "You know, Mason always told me a story about this one time his cousin wandered into the library to look into some obscure puzzles he heard about . . . . " she goes on and on about what Mason told her of the history his cousin found, when he was able to abscond away to the library. It's one of Mason's favorite stories because he got to learn about the library which became one of his escapes. She looks over at Deer again and gives her a sheepish look, but nods an acknowledge meant. She'll get the job done.

[Fighting - Fail] Oh boy, more and more mouths start coming for the wounded Ansel. It's like sharks to blood in water. But...y' a tomb. He continues to swing a way, trying to cut down as many as he can, but, his wounds are great and the enemy seems to be coming in droves for him.

Alistair checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Alistair is successful.

[Magic 1- shadow Blue] With The Peregrin on one side of her and Jhond on the other side, the trio fight with all they got! Raja does not seem to be making any sort of headway on her end. Though, she is thankful for the good support on either side of her! She takes a step forward in a vain effort to push the archfiend away! However, Raja is unable to make a difference at this time. Still, she stands and fights.

[magic - Supporting Lisebet] Pasquale continues to focus magic on helping Lisebet keep working on her riddles. Theres a moment where he gets into a bit of a brawl with one of the mouths before finally managing to push it back enough to get a fresh shield into place between it and the team.

[Magic Attack 2 - Success] Joslyn takes a deep breath and she focuses herself, managing to narrowing avoid her own hurt moments ago, she misses exactly who had saved her from a real big hurt but does her best to give an appreciative nod. "Good... now, let's finish this!" Joslyn's eyes glow brighter, that emerald light pouring from her eyes. "I have stood against you from the beginning, I have stepped into your labyrinth and returned victorious, I have crossed the threshold, and I will not let you pass! I am the first of Her Scourge Knights, and I do bid you ot kindly FECK OFF!" Joslyn feels the green tinge of the witchfire growing all along her arms, centering around her dagger, until those flames, erupt forth, consuming and alighting all in its path, she catches her breath and presses on. "You will NOT rob me of the chance to watch my children grow. You will lose. LEAVE." She demands. It has to be enough. Right?

[MAGIC 3 - botched] Lucie's focus flags again as she attempts to direct a measure of magic, that had earlier been a source of vigor to Godric. Instead, whatever happens seems to drain her, and she flags, slumping to a knee, seeming winded.

[Riddle - success] The puzzle box is nearly solved. Fairen's methodically breaks down one clue into its component elements, a mixture of architectural concepts and their sound-alike matches amongst the Rex'alfar words for the various First Children. Like all solutions, the puzzle seems almost obvious once the final insight is identified. "Best get comfortable, demon," he declares, allowing himself the thinnest of smiles. "You're going to be staying for a very, very long time."

[MAGIC Protection ROUND 3 - Success] There is a slight struggle to get to his feet, the stars burning down the blades of the Twain glowing brightly. "No." is the grunted sounded, gesturing with both swords as they create a dome of stars over Eirene. "You will NOT TOUCH HER!" The constellations on the blades burst into white flame. As well as his blindfold burns off his eyes, reflecting the stars on fire. "You will NEVER devour any ever again! Get back in your FUCKING BOX!"

[Magic #3 - Support - Success] Blinding white light in a cave means more shadows for the Duke Martino Malvici to play with. Drawing his lips into his mouth for a moment more, pressing his teeth down as he is attempting to focus with the noise around him. His fingertips moving to bring the longer shadows closer to his own, allowing him to whisper lower before sharing a hush revelation with those around Keely's box.

[Magic 3] Austen battles closer to the Thinnest Point, burning sword slicing through yet more abyssal flesh, his swings starting to tire as the neverending maws just keep coming and pushing through into the Shining Lands. "Don't you fucking dare, Azazel, this world is not yours! Nor is the next"

[MAGIC 3 - Flay away from my riddler!] "Can't mark up that pretty skin," says Malachite, who is smiling at the /most/ inappropriate time, ear to ear. Apollo should perhaps be concerned about comments like that, but to be honest he's used to it. Or he's just... preoccupied with Terrible Tongues and Who They're After, which is very often Cassimir, who is TRYING TO SOLVE A PUZZLE. One more time: slash slash slash! And he says something in that awful language.

Apollo says in Abyssal, "Thrice fooled and thrice flayed."

[Magic 3 - Supporting Riddler, Success] "You've been losing all along. How did you think that this would be any different. A good general knows when to withdraw and reconsider whether the war is still worth fighting," Valdemar growls at Azazel, whether or not the Archfiend can hear him amidst everything else going on. He then returns his attention to spectral shield between Aelgar and the enemy, giving the Godsworn as much breathing room as he can to focus.

[Magic 3 - Supporting Insaya - Success] The flames of the Phoenix lit the cavern as it burned the biting mouths away. Caspian carved a path along the ground, the white flames along his blades cleaving through any maw that came to close to Insaya. "You know all these stupid riddles sparky! you know this stuff better than damned near anyone you! you can solve this.. you all can! Lets lock this asshole away and .." he slashed through a biting mouth, "then find some cider"

[MAGIC 3 - Attack Azazel, Inhuman crit, cover Denica's botch] If Raymesin was ever human, that's likely in doubt now. He moves with a predator's economy of motion, everything he does with purpose. A being of sharp edges and lethal instincts, there's not an ounce of energy wasted, the man as tall as he needs to be and twice as deadly. The white dagger with the unassuming hilt gets flipped and flung in Denica's direction, and yet another maw crashes down; a moment later Raymesin's free hand is filled, this time with a blade of shining alaricite. He only had two sheaths visible on his belt, two knives that could be seen, and that's four knives he's produced so far!

[Magic 3 - Fail] It's utter chaos, shouting and roaring between a god and the mere mortals that stand against him. Victus can't look everywhere at once, and with how reckless he's being, it's honestly surprising it's taken this long for one of the deadly mouths to slip through his defense. He grit his teeth, prepared for the bite, up until the First Assassin as appeared seemingly out of thin air yet again.

[[ Magic assist 3 - failure Raven ]] Raven still hasn't gotten herself together but it doesn't stop her from extending her magic to try to help Duarte solve the riddles that remain even while blood drips down from the angry gashes along her back "Fuck that ass-for-mouth."

[Magic #3 - Attack Azazel- Success] Khanne closes her eyes again, trying to tune out the chaos all around and focus on the elements. Her hands begin to move in the air, one with fingers curled around a stone, the other with fingers wiggling in a rhythmic way. She manages to form some clouds up near the top of the cavern, peeking an eye open to see it there. She works on making it grow and grow until it catches the blinding light coming from the portal and casts a brilliant RAINBOW throughout the cave and over Azazel's maws. She smiles to see it, then claps her hands together to send lightning from the clouds shooting into Azazel. The cloud shrinks a bit after, but a small rainbow remains.

(Insaya - PUZZLE Critical Success) As is the way with puzzles, sometimes you must work backward so you can move forward. There is a devious logic to how the puzzles are solved. Confidently now, Insaya slides the slats into a new configuration, twists a toggle and cord to passing a loop of cord in a twist so that the caught end drops free when it looks like it shouldn't have been able to without passing through something. She is confronted with her last "I know this..." she murmurs confronted with the new puzzle.

And then louder, joy in her voice, "I know this!" Insaya pulls the free line. Her face of the puzzle and swings down. "And you're done," she says toward the noise of the Devourer, giving her solution.

[Magic 2 - The Waterfall] As the world shudders, Sydney shudders right along with it. In another time, it would send her crumbling to the ground, racked with panic. There's far too much at stake now, for that. Her focus has never been as clear as it is, primum coursing through every movement, her every breath. The flash of her teeth is a fierce thing. She strikes with one fist, then the next - again, again. Peppering as much damage as she can, harrying progress with every step of the way. The pugilist digs in her heel and braces herself firmly back, every part of her straining, magic pulsing the strength of an adept through her as she, among all her peers, struggle to hold back the tide. "We /insects/ stick together! We put aside... our difference, when we must! You were never worthy to defeat /insects/. You were never worthy to walk in this Dream. For all that you killed. For all that you-- that you /ruined/."

(Riddles - success) Eirene turns back from her moment of emotional outburst and restores cold focus. More surgical precision. More thought. "I think we're almost there," she promises Andromeda. She looks at the box and her fellow riddlers. "The answer is fourty-two. I'm pretty sure of it," she says solemnly. She looks up at the starlight from her husband's protection and smiles. "You won't get this one, you slime-munching mouthy excuse for a boogieman. I'm done with your nightmares, with your taunts, DONE with your shit! WE ALL ARE."

[FIGHTING/MAGIC - Immovable Object - Success] Romulius runs towards Azazel's numerous maws, the burning sword of Ainsley the Ever-Valiant burning aloft in his hand as magic courses through his veins, the taste of saltwater on his tongue. His blade raised as supernatural strength floods his body. "Come on then!" He laughs as his blade SMASHES into one of Azazel's maws, a laugh leaving his lips. "I expected more from someone so high and mighty! Your nightmares are /nothing/."

[MAGIC 3 - Songlessness (Success)] The catacombs may be in chaos as Arvum fights for its survival, as a handful of brilliant minds huddle around a child's toy in the hopes of undoing an archifned entirely, but Lianne stands still and steady, stoic amid the storm. Tears flow without stop, a tightness in her throat rendering her voice coarse and raw as she calls out against the quiet which radiates from her in that unkind tongue, the last punctuated by an angry sob, face contorted to vicious disgust.

Lianne says in Abyssal, "The gates now stand open, no more to be done, Our city a funeral only trespassers attend. It always was coming, and now it has come. Each dream which begins must inevitably end."

Jhond stabs, repeats, stabs, repeat. He is mechanical, but efficient and effective at jabbing the alaricite blade into maws that come close. "Do you think Lady Eirene counts this as being an idiot!?" he calls over to Raja.

[Magic 3 - Hall of Mirrors] Arman pulls his hand triumphantly out of his pouch and tosses shards of broken mirror into the air where they being to spin and twist refracting light all around them. They slowly coalesce around Duarte then take his form, numerous more fancy Duarte's appear making it impossible to know which is the original Count Amadeo allowing him to focus on the riddle unfettered.

[Riddles - success] Lisebet likes these riddles. If not for the Nibbler over there (another glare its way) this would be fun. The screaming and pain and more screaming just makes it a little stressful, but Lisebet is composed. With Lou - for the momment safe, Lisebet scrambles back to her feet if necessary and goes back to the riddles. This time, she's a bit more on her own, but she concentrates and keeps working on riddles.

[Magic 3 - Art is War] The colours don't quite come together, there's too much going on. With the Mirrorborn collapsed and barely breathing, the princess is left to her own devices. The swell of empathy, everything, it's got her pulled in a million directions and none of them are quite the one she wants to be in. Denica is faltering and this leaves her open and exposed. Then there's Raymesin, with his daggers and the princess could not be more relieved to see him. There's a moment of stunned shock, as though she was preparing herself for the worst, then she mouths the words, 'thank you' to him, the most sincere thing she can say in this moment.

[Riddle - Success] A tiny, surprised and celebratory whoop sounds from Keely as she figures out that children's song, followed by a more startled whoop as one of Martino's shadows touches her arm to get her attention. She leans down low to listen, and then sits up to excitedly tell the other puzzlers, "This one is a recipe-limerick! So this conjugates to 'stir' and it fits in with the right rhythm..."

[magic 2-success] Thea watches, but remains near Lou. Taking a breath, she flattens her hands on the ground. The ground gives a small rumble, and a small vine breaks through, grasping ankles. It isn't great, but it's enough for for trippage.

[Magic 2 - taking hit for Thesarin] Sen fights, and fights, and it's as though she can only get faster. That's likely a heady illusion in the moment, but it feels that way. There's blood everywhere, and death everywhere, and then there's fire, as she twists and lunges at Thesarin. It's not a gentle shove out of the way, she practically kicks him in the ribs.

[MAGIC - 3 - WARDING FLAME - SPEC SUCCESS] In the battles prior, the shield that Morrighan would summon were brief at best, never lasting for more than was necessary. Now, weariness was beginning to make itself known, if slightly. She breathes in slow, holding a breath for but a moment, and digs deep down. The flames warding them roar with a sudden burst of renewed life, and the dame gestures with her hands, pulling in the ward closer around them. She wouldn't let anything get close. She ticks her chin over at Aureth, nodding in agreement. "You can do this. We can do this. I believe in you, Fort."

e [Magic 3 -- Supporting Lou -- Failure -- Dragon KO'd] Galatea is sprawled on her back, trying her best to solidify the intangible ward protecting the blue dragon beside her. There is only so much, unfortunately, that her mortal strength can do. A lashing of multiple demonic tongues punctures the wall of force, all three of them colliding with the wyrm's skull -- sending it sprawling in a perilous, massive heap of scaled flesh. At the very least, it creates a handy wall that keeps the heat off Lou and company, but there definitely won't be any more help from this dragon.]

[Support - Magic 2 Marg Fail] Ilmia is trying desperately to make herself calmer than she was. The redhead focuses her magic to support. But she's still not so assured given the depth of things. She just doesn't want to lose her family.

[MAGIC #3 - Phantom Strikes supporting Vitalis] That was a close call and many may not be use to hearing Adalyn be so vocal, but she is this fight. "You will take nothing else from us! we choose to fight you! We choose to live! To keep the world we have!" her blade glows again as she moves to stand closer to Lucita and her hurt dragon..

[Riddle Success] Perhaps Aureth is insisting that Death is behind him, but with all these /voices/ seeping out of the thinnest point, Fortunato is not finding any comfort in any of that and now he's insulting his old friend's homonym choices like he's not even here to defend himself (he isn't). Still, just as Morrighan urges belief -- he gets it. (He swears a few more times, though.)

Alistair turns back as the many riddle-solvers and magic minded heroes try to win the day. He feels sick. Ill. Nauseas. He wants to vomit everything he had for lunch and dinner. The stench of Azazel and his abyssal nature is enough to make the man lose it into one of the mouths. Instead he hacks forward into the fray, striking at a few of the tendrils of the great beast as they go for those working to riddles. He even manages to place himself between Ansel and a particularly toothy grin. Chomp.

Eirene answers Jhond, "Yes!" She doesn't hear what it is that he's referring to but she's assuming it was pretty stupid if HER name got invoked.

[Magic #3 - Rallying Lies] "You have this! You are /so much smarter/ and /stronger/ than Azazel could ever be! You are a god in your own right, Cassimir!" She's filling his ego up with her sickly-sweet magic. Lies to make him feel confident. Well there is probably some truth in it as well, but... Once a Liar, Always a Liar? She's about to start talking to him again when she spots Ember about to give over run by grotesque maws. "Be right back!"

She reaches through the chaos and throws herself straight in front of Ember. "Get off of her, she's my demon!"

[Riddle Marginal Failure] There's magic everywhere. There's Azazel everywhere. There's people fighting, there's so many puzzles still. Volcica keeps puzzling.

[MAGIC 3 - Emphasis 3 Assisting Vitalis] It's like a puzzle of its own, reading the story of Vitalis in the threads he's created, cast, and woven through his life. And after the last one, Cufre pauses, looks at Vitalis, and chooses three strings: the one from Lucita to him, the one from her to him, and the one from Adalyn to him. And as she draws on each thread, she reminds Vitalis of just three of so many people who believe in him, who know he can do this.

[[MAGIC THREE - Bargain of Still Waters - Offensive - Stall Azazel]] As the world starts to rumble and crack, and the blinding light shines through, and everything seems to spin out of control, Umbroise remains perfectly composed, in spite of it all. Shards of ice are thrown at the creature that is Azazel, intended to freeze the maws on contact, and shatter them. She draws deep within herself, from the ice and her bond with Zircon, summoning more and more ice to try to freeze and crack and shatter the maws. She flings ice with her hands, movements graceful and precise, and when she clenches her fists, the maws that are frozen shatter into pieces. She's still learning how to do these things, how to manage her gifts. She draws a stone out of a pouch, not using it yet, but certainly readying it, just in case.

[Magic: 3 Supporting Keely] Regaining his bearings, Kael places his hands back on his wife's shoulders and though they are armored, he absolutely is squeezing. Just after her little surprised sound in response to the shadow. Those low words of his, the chanted mantra, become a near hum. With them, a barely perceptible protective energy encasing Keely.

[Riddles -Critical Success] Moves a few panels trying her hardes to just focus on the riddle and not the fray around her. "Fire! The answer is Fire." She says gleefully.

[Magic 3 - Defense of Andromeda] In the midst of the fray, Harlex's inhuman attacks leave as much damage on the cave walls as they do those snapping, drooling maws. But in the corner of his eye, he spies one barreling toward the Sword of Tremorus. Suddenly the air around him sizzles and he moves with a thunderous boom across the field. Before Andromeda now is a figure in black, horrid armor bringing the gleaming sword down to catch between two fangs and rebuke the attack. The dark beast sneering with a metallic growl. "I have you," he reassures, the great eclipse of his cloak fluttering like an eerie night.

In the skies above the world, cracks begin to appear among the stars, bits of light shining down through a broken sky. Around the world, every clock in existence shows at 11:59, and the hand slowly begins to move as Azazel slouches futher through the portal, the ghosts of the shining lands being driven back before him as he curls his massively expanding form towards the Wheel of Death and Rebirth. More and more tentacled tongues are lashing around individuals, pulling them towards a maw, as mouths cackle about his impending victory, wanting to kill more and more of them out of spite.

A puzzle box opens.

A child's toy, though a magical one, and inside the different compartments are thirteen old scraps of parchment, with thirteen secrets, detailing fond little trivia pieces of knowledge about different notables of Caer'alfar. As the box opens, the pieces of parchment all as one fade to dust.

Every maw of Azazel screams. He screams and screams, and is suddenly collapsing inward, the compounding upon himself, as he's dragged out of the Shining Lands and into a floating vortex above the puzzle box. The room howls in a sudden wind, so forceful it can knock one off their feet, and Azazel in the space of a moments is reduced to no more than something the size of a coin, which drops into the puzzle box that promptly snaps shut.

The breaks around the Shining Lands portal promptly reforms, righting itself, and the lights in the sky fade, the holes gone.

In the east, the sun is rising.

Azazel's gone. The Reckoning is over.

Heroes saved the world.

[Riddler-Marginal] Cassimir was so focused at the task on hand and he's almost there. Maybe its the words from all three of his helper but that last piece of the puzzle? It just doesn't go in like it is suppose to. He is muttering. "Oh, no, no. What does that mean?" Trying really hard to not panic but when you have chaos all around you that you are not actively involved in? It is a worry for this lord. Only to realize they have won and he jumps up and tells the group he is with, "We did it! We fucking did it!"

[RIDDLE - Success] Godric's annoyance flickers momentarily, replaced by a begrudging acknowledgment of their bravery. Though he doesn't express it aloud, his inner monologue softens for a brief moment before reverting back to his usual grumpy demeanor. "Typical," he grumbles under his breath, his words barely audible over the chaos around him. "Always meddling, these young ones. Can't even focus on a blasted puzzle without someone trying to play the hero." With a dismissive wave of his hand, Godric returns his attention to the puzzle before him, his brow furrowed in concentration. Despite his irritation at the interruption, he begrudgingly acknowledges the need for their protection, even if he'd never admit it out loud. "Fine, fine," he mutters to himself, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Let them have their moment of glory. I've got a puzzle to solve." Godric listens intently as the ghosts guide his hand, pointing out the subtle nuances of the puzzle that had eluded him before. Their voices, though whispered on the edge of perception, carry the wisdom of ages past, guiding him towards the solution with a gentle insistence. "There, that's it," he murmurs, his fingers hovering over the crucial point in the puzzle. "I see it now."

Vitalis bends, sweating over the box with the others, the shrieking of Azazel's maws a sound that - should they surive - will haunt him forever. A small price... and then, beyond it... a voice so clear and pure the tone falls over him like a benediction, peace in this chaos. Adalyn's bolstering shout. Their dragon lords, fierce and holding, and then Cufre... he can see the lines she tugs, binding them... together. Symonesse's words echo in memory, a memory that Azazel will never eat. Ever. 'You are not alone.' And suddnely, he is not. Rat is there. Adalyn. Cufre. Lucita. Apollo. So many. So so many. ... They did it. They did it!

It takes Aureth three different tries to climb down off the enormous cavalry spider so that he can hug Fortunato, because he's webbed into place on purpose, but he eventually manages, even though he does kind of crash to the ground on the way down. Winston looks mildly offended.

The mouth finally loses to Jasher's repeated smashing hits; it sags off Reafian's blade with a bloody, bubbling hiss suddenly halted as the alaricite carves it a whole new--and unwanted--orifice. Breathing heavily, he turns to face the battlefield, setting his eyes upon another maw trying to sneak an attack; he stalks forth, Reafian in hand and a hard set to his face--then halts at the scream.
Not just that one scream. But all the screams, all of Azazel's screams, and he stands, stupefied, at the sight of the Eater of Stories, the Devourer, collapsing inward like a crushed origami, pulled from the Shining Lands and into the vortex. The wind has him bent over, bracing against the gale howling with Azazel's screams, and when it recedes--it all recedes--does he allow himself a relieved exhale.

Raven wobbles a bit and mumbles "...Medic?" teetering someplace she can have a bit of a sit-down.

[Magic -3-Wildfire (fail)] Thesarin continues to attack in his furious rage and flame, attacking the mouths but he's either missing the fight or simply overwhelmed when a blur of fur has him nearly on the ground before he turns to see Sen over him. "NO! GET AWAY From... her..." and then theings start to shift and fall, the darkness receeding, the Prodigal watching as he lets his weapons slip from the nerveless fingers to crash against the floor. "We..." He looks on, nubly, another moment. "...we won."

Aelgar shakes hs head and leans back with a hiff. "Well, I *did* try to tell him. The challenge from Lord Vellichor was not defeating Azazel. He could have done that. The challenge was whether *we* could use the Gift of Knowledge to defeat the Abominal Mawman. And so we did. Vellichor's trust is validated." Then the Brother rises and waves to the crowd. "I am proud to know you all. I can help is anyone if hurt."

It's over. It's all over. Victus sinks down to his knees. It was as though every bit of weight across this past week has finally caught up with him, pushing him to the ground like colossal boulders. He finally, finally, drops his sword, the hilt still felt as a sore indentation in his palm. "Fuck."

[Magic 3 - Success - Support] "Are you *sure*?," Mia asks, raising her voice to be heard over the din of the fighting, over the gnashing of teeth, over the howling of so many, many, many mouths. "It's not forty-in Rex'alfar or draconic or ---?," she calls back over her shoulder, tearing her eyes from her own work at keeping the proverbial beast at bay to look Eirene directly in the eye for one very, very brief second. But that moment of hesitation is for naught, as Azazel begins to scream in all his fury. Her hands fly to her ears, desperately covering them, until the lid on that box snaps shut, leaving her dazed, blinking.

[MAGIC #1 - Failure] Ember is distracted. By Denica, Denica's tears, the open wound of her sadness. Ember hates that she has enough empathy to feel it with her. That split second is enough to nearly doom the Countess as she tries to chant in Rex'alfar to aid Keely... and then is stunned when Lys dives in front of her to take a hit. "Baroness--!" Ember squawks, and as she moves to scoop Lys up and try to protect her from any further harm, Azazel begins to scream. And scream, and scream. Ember pulls Lys in close. Pulls Denica in close, too, because she only has two arms, as if expecting it all to end in a flash, like she can maybe take the hit of the apocalypse so that the universe dying isn't painful for the other two -- but then there's just stillness, and the ragged breath that comes with realization. "It's done," Ember gasps. "It's done." Ember suddenly pulls Denica and Lys in even closer, in a CRUSHING bearhug. "IT'S DONE!"

Server Announcement: Server Message of the Day: And that's it for GMing. I'll do posts to answer questions and probably an AMA in the coming days.

Azova looks for a minute like she's going to sink to her knees with relief; as it is, there may be shiny little tears in her eyes. "Well fucking done, Coroner." is all she can manage to whisper, but she's sure Godric heard it. And then /she/ hears Raven's call for a medic. Better to have something to do than think too hard for too long about what just happened.

Andromeda is slowly straightening, her seeping wounds closing with little licks of blood-flame, though she's clearly far away from recovery just yet. Grunting, at the last fading echoes of the screaming Archfiend trapped in the puzzle box.

"...Told you I'd make you choke." She spits. Pink foam. Looking to Eirene and the other puzzlers.

"You did good. Told you it was that part." Another little stretch, which causes a slight wince and renewed bloodflow.

Umbroise checks composure at hard. Umbroise is successful.

The final glow of her witchfire fades away as Joslyn surveys the scene, watches as the maw collapses in on itself and that slow realization that everything they'd been fighting for was finally coming to fruition. She heaved a sigh of relief and then a smile cracked on her lips, and she finally burst into laughter tinged with tears. They had won. It's over.

Zircon nods briskly to Umbroise, speaking in his cold voice. "Acceptable." And with that, the Herald of Stasis sinks into a black puddle and vanishes. Bloop.

Sydney checks composure at daunting. Sydney fails.

Zircon has left the Stalling Azazel.

Sydney stumbles over to one of the walls, just... breathing. She raises an arm and just buries her face into it. She's not crying, you're crying.

[Magic 3] Samira resists glancing over her shoulder to see how much progress Lisebet and her fellow puzzle-solvers have made. Instead, she keeps her eyes diligently glued to Azazel and begins to summon threads of betrayal, attempting to send some of those maws chomping toward each other. "This world is /ours/ and you cannot take it," she snarls fiercely. And then the screaming begins, on and on. The Culler staggers, lifting a hand to shield her face from that forceful wind. When she finally straightens and lifts her head, the realization of Azazel's defeat sinks in. Tears stream down her cheeks as she folds her hands together, presses them to her heart. "We did it," she whispers breathlessly. "We did it!"

Shouldn't it be quiet? When the box more or less /eats the Eater/, Apollo just stares. His black blade is still up, his eyes wide, and he just stares. Like maybe he thinks any second now there'll be more mouths, because isn't that the way it's been?

And in that moment, it's all over. The Thinnest Point is restored, and the battle is done. The two blades that Raymesin is holding sag in his hands, and then he wearily goes over to stand before the portal, just in case anyone gets any bright ideas. Well, kneel before the portal. Maybe a little sit down.

Austen's head dips away as Azazel *screams*, unable to let go of his sword to cover his ears until it's all over. His sword abruptly goes out and he flops down onto the floor in front of the Thinnest Point, not letting his sword go. "Oh thank fuck," he tells the ground. He's gonna just sit here in front of the Thinnest Point and guard it for a bit.. That's what he's definitely doing right now.

With a gasp, Keely ducks and rolls out of the way of the puzzle and its vortex, then springs to her feet when she realizes it is done. With open arms, she dashes to half-tackle the group of people who stood at her back and ensured she was well and safe, trying to grapple them all into a group embrace. Denica, Ember, Martino, and most especially Kael.

Lucie is flung backwards by the wind, landing on her back with a clatter. She winces, then cranes her neck up to stare at the vortex. Then she starts to laugh after a moment, flopping further back until her head lands against the ground, though all the motion has her pressing a hand to her side where a maw had bitten her.

Lys is *smooshed* right up against the tiefling, and then smooshed into a Princess as well. A maniacal laugh comes from. She bonks her forehead against Ember's horn and says, "We did it!" Her feet are kicked and she says, "Fuck Azazel! I hope he gets claustrophobia!"

Lianne does, yes, get knocked off her feet, fallen to her knees as she watches the only thing she might rightly call nemesis shrink down and fall into place, undone and locked away. And she sobs. Ugly and honest.

Umbroise checks charm and etiquette at daunting. Umbroise fails.

Raymesin somehow ends up leaning against Austen, the two of them guarding the Thinnest Point. And somehow, it's just /right/.

Ember checks dexterity at normal. Ember is successful.

Eirene steps back as the box opens. Her blue eyes watch with a vicious glee as their foe is trapped. She grins through the noise and chaos and then throws back her head and laughs. Laughs. "It's over. It's over," she says with a slightly dazed smile. She grabs at Mihaley and throws her arms around him in a relieved embrace.

Ember wraps her tail around Keely and the rest, as much as she can. Group hugs involve tails now.

Sen'azala takes a bit of an undignified tumble - that's what happens when the world gets saved while you're in the air kicking someone out of the way of a hell-god - but she has herself right-side up in time to see it happen. All she can do is watch. All she can do is stare. All she can do is grip the ground with her claws and bare her teeth as Azazel screams his way into nothing. She does not try to get up once that's done.

Adalyn checks composure at daunting. Adalyn marginally fails.

Torian is swinging away with his ax at tentical tongues and munching maws when they all start to become one thing and go away from him. He needed to kill... 4 or so for Acacia to accept his proposal? Did he get 4? Do they all count as Azazael? He's pretty spent when they go away, and chasing and trying to catch them is fruitless. Panting, hanging his ax on his belt before resting his hands on his bent knees... he looks up at Samira, "You have to tell Acacia I killed like... four, five demons down here so she'll marry me."

Trembling, Denica just stands there for a moment, in shock, having watched multiple people keep her from what would be a terrible fate. The princess's normally pale skin is whiter, then white. Nearly breathless, shaking, and somewhat confused by what's happened she receives the hug from Ember, giving the woman an appreciative smile. Then she reaches for Keely, and hugs her too, and is about to say something, but words don't quite come. There's a gentle smile for her, and the rest of their little team. In the chaos, she goes to look for someone else, crossing the expanse to narrow the distance between her and Valdemar, looking somewhat shocked as she tries to find him.

Caspian stumbles forward as the wind whips around them and the echo reverberates with the screams. He rights himself, looking around the room and breathing heavily. His eyes find the puzzlebox and focus on it, a grin spreading over his face. his arms shot up even as he rested on his knees. "VICTORY!! WE DID IT!!"

Sapphire pats Victus on the shoulder, companionably. Then, she surveys the room, the terror and adrenaline falling to relief and jubilation. Her nose wrinkles, slightly. "Well, this is only going to get worse, isn't it? And then...what?" She considers. What happens after heroics? "Rebuilding?" Ugh. No, thank you. Sapphire strolls through the portal into the Shining Lands.

Lucita reaches over to give Adalyn, Curfe and Vitalis hugs, warm fierce hugs. Tears trickle down her cheeks and she says simply... we survived. Custos is not forgotten. She takes him over to Eirene or Medeia, whichever she finds first amid the many people gathered. "Can you fix him please?"

Lou finds a place along the wall and just flops herself down, pulling her knees up around her legs and she just sits there, crying in the most awkward manner possible. Now that the Reckoning is over, she finally allows her grief to break down /right in front of everyone ever/.

Lys checks composure at impossible. Lys DONE GOOFED!!!111

Even in the face of the world nearly ending, and as Azazel's many mouths scream their last scream, Umbroise's features remain unchanged. She stops slining ice everywhere, and turns to Zircon. She inclines her head to him, and then she turns to gaze around at the chaos left in the wake of victory. She tries to force herself to smile as she realizes that they've won. But there is no smile forthcoming. She seems incapable of it. She tilts her head, glancing around. And then she turns and walks slowly out of the chamber of the Thinnest Point, her features unreadable.

Mirk leans heavily against his staff, panting for breath. Despite the season, despite the temperature, every breath is a puff of mist before him, as in the middle of winter. "It's done." He closes his eyes. "Finally, I can live. No more threats to the world itself, not for now. I can just..." He doesn't finish the thought, shaking his head. He turns to Nyx, looking over the dragon's injuries. He pulls out the luck coins, pure alaricite all, and offers them. "Take as many as you need to help restore your strength. You helped me more than I ever deserved, and this is the least I can do. But don't wander too far, please. We have plans, after all."

Then, to Lightning. He bows low, at the waist. "I owe you a debt. As long as my soul returns from the Wheel, no matter how many lives I lead, I promise you this: If you call, I will answer. For you came when I called." The lightning spirit departs without a word; it isn't the way of Old Gods to make speeches. But Mirk looks content that he was heard.

It's over.

The war is over. Truly, truly over.

Romulius looks then for a long moment, laughing. Not in rage or desperation, but in joy. "HE'S FALLEN!" he lifts his blade up high into the air. "The light never yields." He looks around as people embrace each other, as they hug and hold one another. He smiles softly to himself. They won.

They. Won.

One moment, Aleksei's blade are moving fast enough to blur, cutting down mouth after mouth, maw after maw, the work /endless/. And then the next -- there are no more maws to cut. They're screaming, /imploding/, compacting inwards until they're naught but a coin eaten by a child's puzzle box. For a long moment, he just stands there. Staring at it, that tiny, mundane thing left behind. And then, in the next, he crashes to his knees. His breath heaves in his chest, and then, before he can stop himself, his shoulders are trembling with the tension, and then he's weeping and laughing all at once.

Sapphire has left the Stalling Azazel.

Anselis laying on the ground, looking up at the sky. Moments ago he was being eaten by a demon lord's mouths. Then he was protected by a dragon? Now, he's just...there. He stares up at the sky, and then exhales slowly. "Isabeau isn't gonna like this..." he says, looking down at the a lot of blood he has all over him. Mostly his.

Ahriman channels the anger he feels for the circumstances of his family. In watching his daughter, he finds the right venom in the words to pull from the power of the chant and he uses it to send a shield to succor those in peril nearby to protect an associate and friend of his blood. The man removes his tricorn hat and reinforces the defensive aura by using foreign occult words and when they hold, he smirks and stares at the goings on. Victorius. He looks to the departed threat with that get off my lawn bitter energy. Ahriman Grayson takes his cane and wipes his brow and then goes to check on his daughter quietly.

Lys is in the process of celebrating with Ember when she sees Sapphire /walk through the portal/. A scream rips straight through her and she goes absolutely fucking feral. "SAPPHIRE!" She claws at Ember to get away from her and rushes after the Fractal to the portal to the shining lands.

Khanne watches with fear as Azazel tries to squeeze into the Shining Lands, until suddenly, the box opens and she sees him starting to shrink, First, she gasps, watching wide eyed, until he drops into the box and it snaps shut. There is a moment where she just stands stunned, as the rips begin to heal and her cloud dissipates even more. She claps a hand over her mouth, trying desperately to hold in her emotions... but not doing a great job. As tears fill her eyes, she whispers into her hand, "we did it.... Titus... we did it. Your sacrifice was not for nothing." Then, she's looking around frantically for all those she cares about, trying to at least make visual checks that they are all okay, even if she can't seem to move her feet just yet.

Finally casting out a deeper exhale, a thick and heavy groan from his chest, Martino's hands are lowering down as he is freeing his release on his and other shadows he was clinging onto. His fingertips curling inwards as the knuckles, tighter, forming a white tension across his hands. With that exhale, his shoulders are dropping lower to simply let the wash of both relief and power escape him. Standing steady for a moment, all before being tackled somewhat in the group hug. Staggering slightly before a slight laugh is touching his voice, "Keely, Denica... Kael and Ember. Th-that was it. Now, to rebuild. I said, Neither by Chance nor Fate. We decided this for ourselves, we make our own future."

It all happened fast. The puzzle box opening, the sounds of screaming, Azazel collapsing into himself, and the next - nothing. Morrighan shields her face from the gust of wind, and when it fades, she lowers it, looking around with amazement and joy. "We did it, son o' a bitch we did it!" the dame exclaims and raises her face skywards, loosing a heavy sigh. "Praise Lagoma. It's over." The flames begin to die down, lessening to burning embers before snuffing out entirely. A smile lights her face at the hug between Aureth and Fortunato, and she reaches over to give the latter's shoulder a small pat. "I knew you could do it. United we stood and Arx will endure once more. Fuckin' hell I need a stiff drink."

Raja has left the Stalling Azazel.

The screech causes him to rear backwards, but he's able to see what's happening, the massive black inky flesh of Azazel's countless mouths screaming into the box. There is a grin on his face. The white fire in Mihaly's eyes and swords dim to back to normal. Or well, normal for him, being a two pools of night sky. No point in tying the blindfold back on if it's been burned off. "It's done." he says says once he sees that the danger is over. Maybe? He looks at Mia, he looks at Eirene. "Is it finally over?"

Pasquale gives a low little laugh as he catches Torian's words to Samira. His eyes settle on Lisebet for a moment, he gives her a nod of what can only be called respect, and then he starts picking his way over to where Lianne is. He crouches there besides her, touches her shoulder, and offers a little empty glass vial.

Fortunato collapses backward in the shrieks and the wind and its after. He falls into Aureth's arms. His hat flops off, his head shines lantern-glass bright. He just misses Zircon (thank the gods), he does not quite miss Sapphire's walk. He tilts his head. He watches Lys /rush/. He clasps Morrighan's hand on his shoulder. "We -- yes, we did it."

One moment Alarissa is on the back of Valar, fire breathing and taking out Mouths that seek to destroy and chew. And then the world rights itself. Azazael finds himself in the puzzle box and Alarissa is breathing a sigh of relief. Battle is won. "I need to find him." Words Valar's familiar with. Down they land and she's unstrapping, sliding off the dragon that soon becomes that regal looking man with blinded eyes and long white hair.

Alarissa's moving through the people present, trying to find him. "VICTUS" She shouts, gloved hands cupped. She's alive. She didn't expect to make it through this alive.

Ilmia watches the puzzle box open and then she counts the pieces of parchment that burn. Her faces blanches for a moment, "WHO WAS I?!" she shouts as the parchments burn. This was supposed to be a moment of happiness. Wait, would Nickel remember her now? So many questions. Anger and happiness. So much to process. She looks to Fairen and Iliana, "I think we have a lot of rebuilding to start planning...not to mention all the new powers that have come out of this." she tells them.

Harlex's armor folds off him like liquid and he watches Zircon for a brief moment. He can think about that later, for now he sheathes his sword in a single fluid motion and it expels a small, relieved hiss like hot metal in cold water. It's done. He removes a handkerchief of aeterna from his jacket, clutching it in the claw of his gauntlet. "It's all ours now," he says beneath his breath.

Rat moves off, beady eyes looking at the Thinnest Point, at Vitalis, and with a twitch of his nose, and a bright and knowing look in beady, darts into the shadows and is gone.

As Azazel begins to scream at his own demise, Valdemar steps toward Aelgar and claps him on the shoulder with a somewhat dazed look on his face. "We did it. It was an honor to face this at your side, Brother Aelgar," the Duke tells him, and then turns to look around. Noticing that Denica appears to be seeking him out, he moves toward the princess and embraces her tightly, "We did it. He's done. We'll be able to rebuild what they destroyed in getting here."

Panting heavily, ready to keel over, Sir Bhandn Yvar actually drops his sword. He's breathing hard, and as the Eater of Stories suddenly screams, his eyes are glued to the sight, watching as the entity suddenly gets sucked into the puzzle box. "Well. Shit." He doesn't have anything eloquent to say, before he suddenly keels over backwards and just... breathes.

"I want a fucking nap."

With Azazel finally trapped, Godric rolls his eyes before bothering to check on Azova and Lucie. He mutters under his breath, his tone dripping with sarcasm. "Well, aren't we just the heroes of the day?" he quips, his voice laden with his usual snark. "Risking life and limb to save the surly coroner. How touching." Despite his gruff demeanor, there's a hint of begrudging acknowledgment in his words, though he'd sooner chew nails than admit it outright. "Didn't bruise your delicate egos too much, did you?" he continues, unable to resist a jab even in the midst of victory. "Wouldn't want the world to miss out on your grand displays of valor." A flicker of concern shines through as he assesses their well-being. "You two alright?" he grumbles, his voice betraying a hint of genuine worry beneath the gruff facade. "Didn't get yourselves too banged up, did you?"

Whoa, whoa, hang on. Sen makes a lunge to knock Lys out of *that* particular path, though she might be a heartbeat too slow.

Arman looks about slowly, his cane tapping forward as he approaches Raven. He grips her shoulder lightly giving it a squeeze before he leans down to whisper something in her ear. A nod of simple satisfaction is offered to Medeia and Duarte, "Well done, both of you. Now I'm off to have a drink."

Sydney lowers her arm and stares upward, sniffling with a smile on her face. "There's work left to do, isn't there?" She whispers, "...I promised I'd live. And I intend to do just that." Violas quietly approaches and wraps her arms around Sydney. The pugilist fwumps her face down against her draconic companion. "...Gods, but I'm glad you're as much of a softy as me." Violas lifts a shoulder and pats her on the back. "Your earnest words did more than you knew. And they brought me glory to sing of for the rest of my days. I have not a single complaint."

Lisebet is so focused on the riddles, that things start to move, and then there's a big wind which sends her stumbling. She hits the ground, how very smooth!, and then stares. "We did it?" she asks. "We did it!" She returns Pasquale's nod, with a smile. And then she moves to Torian and Samira. "Thank you! We couldn't have done it without you." A pause. "I'll tell Acacia that, sure."

Raven looks to Arman, then Medeia, then Duarte, "Are you all alright, Prince Arman? Count Duarte? Lady Medeia?" she bows her head and smiles "I am glad I was here. Enjoy that drink, highness. Have one for me, eh?"

Kael stares, no ease of that tension coiled around him. It is as if he was expecting something to leap back out at him. What he does get leaping at him though is Keely, and he might be forgiven that he's somewhat cautious through that initial group hug that he's pulled into. Still, eventually with the cheers, the relief seen around him, he can finally breathe. He dips his head humbly to those near him, gratitude so raw in his expression. "To rebuild," he echoes Martino's words, lifting his chin to punctuate the sentiment. "Call on us if you have need." He awaits until Keely's finished her hugs with others and he grabs her, full in the arms, for a little spin. Because he simply must.

Alistair watches as the great evil of all the world is reduced to nothingness. A thing that can be held in his hand. He pushes throught he crowd of many warriors and heroes of the Compact, seeking the puzzle box where Azazel has been sealed into. Oh yes. That is going into a very deep dark cell. Where anyone who comes near it will meet a terrible end.

Ember watches Lys scramble off, watches Denica go searching. She looks toward Martino, Keely, and Kael, and lets out another huff of breath. "Bring your children around to the Estate sometime," she says to the Keaton pair. "Lady Robyn could use playmates who are... brighter influences than her blood." Ember tries to smile, but with all of her sharp teeth and fangs, it just looks menacing. "I'm trying to smile," she says, which doesn't make her smile any less intimidating.

"It's over," Mia anwswers. "It's over," she repeats, and this time the words aren't for Mihaly's sake. No, no, she's saying them again and again, laughter creeping into her voice first as a little chuckle, then as a giggle, until it finally reaches a note that borders on the hysterical. She doesn't believe it. She doesn't believe it, and yet it's true, and... ohh, gods. Where is Thesarin?! The last thing she saw... the hysterical shifts quickly, her expression changing from utter shock to a moment of panic. "THESARIN!"

Aureth grins up at Morrighan, squeezing his light-bodied brother in the wrap of his arms as though they are both made of flesh and neither of them is full of spiders. He blows a kiss to the portal, and closes his eyes as he breathes out. "Holy hell," he says. "All right, I really got to make sure Winston gets some fresh meat pretty quickly, though," he adds. "He's had a long night."

Ahriman finds Lou sitting along a wall, crying out her grief over her sisters' collective deaths. In this moment, she's finally allowed to /feel/ something other than a drive to survive to let the Primordia she's bonded to also survive. She's allowed to feel her grief because she no longer needs to fight Azazel. It's a lot. Really, too much.

Adalyn had keep it together the entire time! The entire time till Azazel started to scream and the sound gets to her, it once its done she breaths heavily looking to Lucita when she hugs her. She is shaking her hands trembling as she looks around her green eyes wide. When Lucita lets her go she moves to drop to her knees and sits there looking at her hands. Her Dragon friend Fulgurium moves to kneel next to her, "Baroness Adalyn?" she hears him but its a soft echo. He looks to Vitalis, "Baron Vitalis." he looks a bit worried for his friend.

Eirene cackles, "Every last one of you fucking nieces and nephews better come and give me the biggest fucking HUG of all time because your aunt just saved all of reality." She motions to half the damn room at that. "And yes, Mihaly. We did it. Together." She kisses him again before waving everyone over to her. "And that includes you, Raymesin Ulbran. Don't think I missed what you did with there, hot damn." As Lucita approaches she offers, "I can try." She also looks over to find Thesarin, hearing the yell Mia gives.

Lys is slammed into on the side by Shard, knocking her off of the path to the portal. She scrambles in the dirt, clawing at it as if she could go after Sapphire. "No!" Lys cries out, "Let me go! Let me go!" She starts sobbing afterward, curling down around herself.

Lianne starts when she feels Pasquale's hand on her shoulder, having missed him settling beside her. The look she gives him first is uncertainty, disbelief: is it done? Is this enough? But then she sees the vial and laughs. Oh, it's a messy sort of laughter, all tears and snot, and it looks, for a moment, like she might decline. But really. These tears are not /just/ tears. These are the tears she shed when Azazel was defeated at the thinnest point. They merit collecting. But first, she squeezes her brother's arm, an expression of affection, glad he's still here. Then, yes, she'll fill that vial with her tears and tuck it into a pocket.

Insaya stares at the scene, guarding her eyes from the glare of the closing portal, the collapsing herald and looks stunned. It takes a solid few seconds of prayer on her knees like a penitent before Death before she utters scornfully at the cube, "You're nicked. Mouth-breather." Her smile blooms, and she leaps up to throw arms around her support team, and press very undignified kisses to their cheeks. "I completely understand, Lord Mirk. I will never forget what you did. What you all did." Lightning, and Nyx are bowed to deeply as she laughs, and cries alternately. "Sydney?!"

"Just fine, and without a scratch. I'm looking forward to telling Reve his glare of concern was for nothing." Azova replies to Godric, giving him an assessing once-over look at well. This is what happens when two people with medical training try to interact after a big heroic moment isn't it. "And you, Lady Lucie? Now is the time to be relieved for just one evening. I'm going to pick up the BEST wine left in the city on the way home."

It's easy to find Victus; just look for the big white dragon. Keeping a respectful berth, Jasher makes his way to the presence of the Highlord, to which he greets with a dip of his torso. "Your Grace. You are well?"

Medeia has sort of crumpled to the ground beside Duarte, looking up at him and only him. It takes her a moment to realize that Lucita, Arman, and Raven have addressed her at all. She nods to the prince and then just sort of... Closes her eyes and leans her head against Duarte as Serasadin comes and stands with them.

Sen'azala snarls at Lys, but it's as much directionless adrenaline and distress as it is anger. Much more, in fact. "I'm not going to stop your choice if that's what you want to do, but I am going to call it *stupid*. He didn't give you that," the sword, apparently, "to go and *die*."

Arman has left the Riddle Group 14.

Iliana has left the Riddle Group 2.

Lucie, prone on her back, offers Godric a thumbs-up. And then, shoving herself up on her elbows, she then presses to a full stand. "Good enough to get to the hospital on my own two feet," she says, with another wince as she straightens fully. She stares at the closed puzzlebox for a moment after that.

Martino has left the Riddle Group 3.

Umbroise has left the Stalling Azazel.

Ember breaks away from Keely and Kael with a nod to them both, and positively /marches/ over toward where Sen'azala is snarling at Lys. "Baroness," Ember says, to the forlorn de Lire leader, "/do/ recall that I /ordered/ you not to die. That /includes/ whatever you're trying /here/."

Yeah, okay. First the uncertainty, the freeze, and /then/ the tears. Apollo actually manages to sheathe that blade of his as the first spill, and he turns back - drops a hand on Lianne's shoulder, and breathes. Eyes can't quite fix on anyone, but blinking away the film of tears he spots so, so many alive. Maybe, maybe, the world outside is still in more or less one piece.

Malachite, the picture of perfect timing, opines, "This tongue skin is so /clean/." Which, really, it's a wonder. He's complimenting the flaying, though, not the inherent cleanliness of Azazel tongue skin. Eugh.

Ember checks command and intimidation at normal. Ember is successful.

Ilmia makes sure that Iliana and Fairen are alright and then...starts to run back to the Castle...because Nickel...

Harlex has left the Stalling Azazel.

Eirene checks mana and medicine at daunting. Eirene marginally fails.

Sen'azala's muzzle wrinkles. "Well, I'm not ordering." She moves off of Lys, as if to make the point.

"Half of all stories." The voice of Onyx is always soft and kind as he places a cold hand on Lianne's shoulder, a rare gesture of affection. "I was glad to be here with you, my former apprentice. Thank you." And the wraith begins to fade from view.

Kael starts to nod to Ember, turning toward her and he's on the cusp of answering her request for a playmate for Lady Robyn when that cry from Mia is audible to him. Kael goes still, whitening, and though he still holds his wife in his arms he is turning to face the direction of the Riven. "Oh no," he says, his voice dropping. he scans the crowd, looking, searching, hoping.

Lys glares at Sen'azala in the way only one can glare at a family. "Don't call me /stupid/." She looks down at the Sword she received from Nash, and shudders. But then there is Ember next to her and she hangs her head. Her voice is low as she says, "I just love her so much. She's-- she's-- /Grandma/." And then she bursts into tears again.

Victus watches the Fractal go, a little dumbfounded with every step she takes. "... Wait-" It's already too late. "AREN'T WE STILL BONDED?" Did he just survive the apocalypse to have someone literally walk him into death? "COME BACK-" Oh, there she goes. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Nothing happens, despite all the color draining from his face. His heart is still going. "... Oh." Well now he just felt silly. He pushed himself up to his feet with an annoyed snort. "I never got to ask if she *liked* doing good..." Then, he hears his name called from across the battlefield. He turns just in time for Alarissa to leap at him, and the two share a sudden embrace. No etiquette. Just basking in the realization; they were still here. When Jasher arrives, he glances askew at him. "Ah. I think so. You?"

"Right. Ah. You'd better get your -- your spider out of here." Fortunato draws himself back up. He sweeps his hat back onto his head. "Gods. I have no idea what to do now," he says, with another glance at the Shining Lands. "But not that, I think."

Lucita says, "We survive, and most of our people. Now comes the rebuilding... after we rest and recuperate."

Galatea just sort of sits by herself, cross-legged, her back up against the slumbering, unconscious form of her blue-scaled dragon companion. Her eyes don't really seem to focus on anything. She's thinking a lot of thoughts, no doubt, and is probably feeling a little fried and shell-shocked besides.

Finally, Cassimir moves and puts a hand to Apollo's and Lianne's shoulder and tells them, "Thank you both. I couldn't have done it without you." He would thank Lys to but it seems she is having a moment and lets her be.

Raven blinks and looks over at Lianne, eyebrows lifting in mild surprise before she rises and grunts "I'd better get to the hospital before I pass out. Thank gods for each and everyone of you."

Aureth starts leading Winston back out through the Necropolis. Just no one look directly at them, it'll be fine.

"I can call you stupid all I want!" Sen glares back. "Just. Like. I'm. *Doing*." But the moment seems to have passed, and with a breath, she leaves Ember to it. She turns instead, looking for friends.

Samira hears Pasquale's laugh and glances in his direction, offering the Malespero lord a somewhat tearful grin brought about by both Torian's remark and the exhilarating recognition of their victory. "I'll tell her it was as solid six, at least," she promises the other Culler. She turns to Lisebet, her voice warm with relief and gratitude. "An incredible team effort." Her voice wavers and she falls silent as she turns away for a moment, overcome by emotion, simply taking in the enormity of the moment.

Upon hearing her name from Insaya, Sydney gently breaks from the hug with Violas. She walks over toward Insaya, then runs. She all but tackles her sister, "I don't believe it. I don't believe it! We. We." She hops a little bit. The accumulation of weeks worth of stress finally unclenching in her stomach, "DO YOU SEE THAT!? This is what it looks like to stand against a Scale! Malar, Marcus, just you /fucking/ wait."

"I am fine." Pasquale murmurs when Lianne squeezes his arm. He's careful to let Onyx finish speaking and fade away before he shifts back up to his feet. "Jan will be worried."

Mirk stands there, leaning on his staff, exhausted but content with his life, and looks around at the faces of his fellow citizens of the Compact. On the familiar faces - and there are many - his gaze lingers for a moment, a smile touching his lips that widens, almost imperceptibly, with each one, as he finds them all alive and whole. Not necessarily unscathed, but still. Able to live their lives. "Arik never told me how satisfying it was," he murmurs, half to himself. "Being able to protect others."

Cufre, windswept, pushes herself upright, her arms straight, braced against the ground as she sit-sprawls, looking in disbelief, laughing disbelief at the rejoicing surrounding her. "We did it?" she asks of no one in particular. A silly question, and she laughs. "We did it."

"You should consider yourself lucky," Ember says to Lys, with a little nod toward Sen'azala as if to quietly thank her for stopping Lys from doing anything too wild. "Not everyone can claim that their grandmother fought alongside them to end the Reckoning. Neither can everyone claim that their grandmother went to the Shining Lands on their own terms, rather than dying old, decrepit, brain half-melted." Ember offers out her taloned hand toward Lys. "Now get up. There are celebrations to be had."

Sorrel looks a little dizzy, but she puts a hand on Volcica's shoulder. "We did it," she says quietly. "You were brilliant. Everyone did so well. Apparently, working together is the way to save the world."

In the chaos, with the world not ending, Denica hasn't quite processed everything, yet. Wrapping her arms around Valdemar when he embraces her, the woman uses this opportunity to hide her face. To allow her tears to fall while she hugs. They are a reflection of everything she's felt over the last few weeks and they just fall. As the dust settles and she realizes everything is in fact okay, she looks up at the man. "It's over," she whispers, not sure if she can even believe it yet. Then she reaches a paint stained hand to rubs colour on her face as she dries her eyes and says finally, "I need to help him... get him out of here...," Denica says quietly, she hasn't lost herself in this at least.

Aureth has left the Riddle Group 1.

Thesarin is on one knee, but he tries to pull himself to his feet-despite the obvious pain as his wife approaches, and reaches out to take her in a (not literally, this is important in this case) bone-crushing embrace. "...Mia. We... fucking won. It's over. It's... done." He takes a deep breath, lets it out slow, and makes a noise that might be something like a laugh or something like a sob. "...all our tomorrows. We won..." He jolts up, a bit, looking back toward the others. "Mihaly, and... Eirene..." he looks over toward Sen'azala as she starts to storm off. "...and this one! The fuck she thought she was doing, for... me, of all people..."

Azova has left the Riddle Group 13.

Lys glares at Sen'azala harder and turns to Ember to tell her, "I want a drink. Shard's being a jerk." She climber up to her feet and dust herself off. She tilts her head up to Ember and says, "Ok, ok, ok. I'm sorry." She dusts herself off more, sheathes her sword, and moves to link a hand with Ember and be lead off for celebrations.

Andromeda steps over towards Galatea, still bleeding profusely. "You lived. Impressive. And you have a dragon. I rode a dragon at Setarco. It was interesting." She grunts. "We live to kill another day."

Ilmia has left the Riddle Group 2.

Raven has left the Riddle Group 14.

Pasquale gives Samira a hint of a smile. "Tell her there were two but they were very ugly, so they should surely count double."

Lys has left the Riddle Group 5.

Ember promptly leads Lys over toward Denica. She'll hoist up the Masked Man's body. "Come along, then. We have a hero to bury."

Ansel has left the Stalling Azazel.

"If you need a hug, I can give one," Lisebet says. "But if there's someone you need to go see, by all means." Lisebet glances around, looking at all the folks here. There's folks she knows, some she doesn't, and some that seem kind of familiar, though she's sure she's not met them ever. Just before they vanish, which brings a brief frown to her face.

Wow, Lucita is strong! Vitalis oofs at the arms thrown round him and wilts into the embrace, drenched with sweat though he barely exerted. Tears stream down his face and he gives Cufre a watery smile and a nod. He blinks through blurring tears to where Fulgurium kneels by Adalyn. Alarm stabs through him and he breaks from Lucita, drawing the Saik Baroness with him to where Adalyn has collapsed. He kneels and looks over Adalyn -- is she hurt? "Adalyn?"

Caspian looks around till he spies Raven, a grin tugging at this lips. The grin fades when he sees the bloody wound on her. He forced a smile all the same as he approached. "Well, we both survived"

Onyx has left the Riddle Group 5.

Eirene's trying to do something fancy, healing multiple people at once! But she's only really able to heal the one person/dragon Custos as Lucita brings them to her. It take a lot out of her. She motions the wounded to her side for medical attention. Wounds slowly knit closed, pain fading away.

Ember pauses, holding the masked man on her shoulder for another moment. "Wait. He's breathing. Well, good, less digging for us."

Mikani smiles as she sees her loved ones celebrating. Doing a soft salute she bows out and heads home.

Etiquette be damned indeed. "He is fine. He is well Jasher." Alarissa adds as well, the profound relief and joy on her face that they're both alive. "Get us out of here. Lets collect our house guest and go home. See our children. Rebuild Maelstrom." She's a little breathless. "Learn to live again."

Thea has left the Riddle Group 8.

There's a curious glance to the glowing gateway that leads to the Shining Lands, and Morrighan can't help but to tilt her head at it. She folds her arms loosely over her chest, silently contemplating and just..well, staring. "Do you think tha' Brimstone was watching from his side, over there," the dame wonders of Fortunato, extending a finger to gesture towards the gateway. It brought a surge of emotion to her face at the thought of it. That, in a way, she was close to her previous father, one she'd never get to meet in this life. "Haaa," comes another exhale, and her attention is drifting towards all the celebrations. Her sea-colored eyes spy Mirk, and she offers the Halfshav a wolfish smile. They really did it.

Exhausted, physically and emotionally, and overwhelmed, Khanne just sits on the ground, watching everyone celebrate and grieve. She laid eyes on those important to her... that's all she needed to know in the moment. She'll celebrate later... and probably drown her sorrows in some whiskey, now that she can do so with some sense of peace.

Lucie has left the Riddle Group 13.

Torian looks up again, from where he hangs his head, at the little group he helped. Lisebet the Solver of course, but Pasquale and Samira. "Thanks..." he kind of chokes out, standing back up and wiping aware tears of... something? Exhaustian? Joy? What tears? Totally wiped. "I uh... I need to get back to her..." Job done, he's got a woman to get back to!

Lucita looks from Curfe to Vitalis and then kneels beside Adalyn. She seems, naturally, clueless since not a healer. Instead she simply projects her voice and calls out. "Need some help here, please!"

Sen'azala's ears twist back. She sees friends, of course. She marks them out, one by one. But as she slowly returns to human shape, she stays where she is. One hand touches Wolf's side, though it seems rather unconscious of her. Her expression fades to something impossible to read.

Galatea looks up towards Andromeda slowly. And then looks up a litlte more, because Andromeda is simply that big. "I don't really enjoy the killing part of it," she confesses to Andromeda, her voice scarcely loud enough to carry, even in the relative hush that prevails after Azazels's seeming death--or perhaps mere banishment. "But yes, I suppose you're right. Still, there is another struggle waiting for me after this. Cynara is fighting her own war, and I owe her, and the Scales who came here."

When Denica begins talking about needing to help someone, the Duke's expression turns inquisitive. "Help him, who?" Valdemar inquires, "Who do you need to get out of here? D...your masked friend?" As he asks this, he glances around as well.

Fortunato raises his hand once more, this time to put it on Morrighan's shoulder, light. "May be that he is, if he's not reborn." He laughs quietly. "If he's not already crowded in the room with us, feeling echoes of old griefs and old victories. One way or another, I think he knows. I'm --" A small shoulder pat, aftermath. "I need to go think. Thank you for defending me, Morrighan." With this, he begins his long trek back into the light.

Fortunato has left the Riddle Group 1.

"I am well enough," Jasher replies with the briefest of smiles for Alarissa and Victus. "It seems there is much still left to do. For now, yes. Let us go home."

After several long moments, Joslyn rose to her feet and wiped her eyes. She wasn't sure how long she had been sitting there, looking around at everyone. She had done so much up to this point and now... what was next? She smiled and took a breath. "I suppose I should explain to my husband that he is no longer a widower. And I need to go and see my children. I have left them without a mother for far too long."

Mihaly returns that gesture to Eirene, hissing his wife for what feels like the first time in years. Without having to worry about what might come the next day. But once she moves off to take care of the wounded, he moves to find Mia and Thesarin. "You." he looks at Thesarin. "I would've died were it not for you. You saved me." Even without eyes now replaced by stars, he smiles. "Thank you, Thesarin. Thank you, both." he falters at that point, allowing a tear to be shed. "You let me see my children again. There are no words."

Never, in her entire life, did Mia Riven think she would be so profoundly happy to see her husband bleeding so profusely and from so many gashes in his hide. But when she does, a choked sobbing sound comes out of her and what little is left of her shredded composure breaks. "They're alive. They're alive," she tells Thesarin between gasps for breath. Which quickly becomes, "You're alive. You're alive. I th-thought...," she trails off, the rest of it muffled by the side of his throat, which is where she buries her face in an attempt to conceal her tears.

Lianne's hand settles atop Onyx's as she turns a look up at him, her face all red and wet. How readily her smile fits amid that framing. With a sniffle, she nods, out of all articulateness. There will be time for that later. For now, she tilts toward Apollo as she watches the wraith fade. It's Cassimir who earns her words, though, as she tells him, "You were brilliant," even if she didn't quite catch the details, so focused as she was on lending her aid, her defense. He must have been. The puzzle box opened. Taking Apollo's hand, she finds her feet and tells him, "I want to see Cassia and Marad. Right now, please." All it takes is a step into some shadow... And they're gone. Just... gone.

Celina, a dutiful physician's assistant arrives, delivering a message to Lucita before departing.

Apollo nods, at that, and before he can say anything else, he's gone, too.

Lianne has left the Riddle Group 5.

Apollo has left the Riddle Group 5.

Andromeda considers Galatea, and her dragon. And gives a nod. "You will learn," She notes. "And we will kill together again. For your friend." She exhales, and presses her hand to her wound. "I leave now." She informs Galatea, and then turns to do just that.

Keely squeaks with delight as Kael spins her around in the air, clinging to him even as he says 'oh no' and turns around. She absolutely will not let anything at all take away from her how elated she is in this moment, how relieved. Everyone is fine and if not she will hear about it later. Once she is on her feet again, she jumps around, cheering and joining in with all of the celebration echoing all around. She will linger here for a long while, clinging to Kael's hand or arm while they go from group to group to distribute hugs where they belong and smiles everywhere else, and then they, too, vanish to hold their children and pray to the Gods with their thanks.

Cassimir has left the Riddle Group 5.

Andromeda has left the Riddle Group 7.

Adalyn swallows shaking her head, "I'm not hurt I don't think." she blinks as she looks to Vitalis, "Vitalis." she wraps her arms around him and holds onto him. Fulgurium stands up, he is a bit beat up, but he is okay at the moment, she is shaking talk about a adrenalin instant crash. She starts to cry, "We did it, Vitalis."

Overhears Galatea, at least, in the din of voices. She flashes a wide smile, "And she'll be quite glad for the reinforcements, I should think! Gods, another long flight ahead of us."

Khanne has left the Stalling Azazel.

Aelgar claps Valdemar on the shoulder. "Thanks." That simple one-word is heartfelt. Then he is also on is way, likely to so something Scholarly to start his time in a brave new world.

Even Austen isn't dumb enough to try and stop Sapphire from entering the Shining Lands, and he just leans against Raymesin for a long time before he finally levers himself back upright with the creaking of armour. "The Necropolis's defenses will not ignore you all for long," he announces to the room. "I think it is time to depart."

Pasquale has left the Riddle Group 6.

Eirene rests a glowing hand on Thesarin's shoulder, taking away his pain and knitting his wounds with her gifts- but not TOO much. Scars are a sign of victory. What good is a healer in the family if they don't get that? "Let's go get our kids back before they burn down the Twilight Grove," she says to Mihaly and Mia.

Sen'azala checks composure at daunting. Sen'azala is successful.

Fairen has left the Riddle Group 2.

Galatea grimaces towards Sydney, glancing her way after the towering "Titan of Tremorus" plods away to attend her wounds. Galatea herself is perhaps miraculously unharmed, but she doesn't seem able to stand. Pure exhaustion and the deflation that comes with danger's passing has her stock right on the spot. "Yes. Another long flight. But perhaps not immediately. Azureia needs to reocver. And I." She glances down at herself. "I can't seem to stop trembling. Bothersome, that."

Ahriman sits next to his daughter and doesn't say anything. The tired old admiral just slides an arm around her and stares with dark angry eyes off into the distance. No tears. Just hatred until his graveyard days for the loss of two thirds of his daughters. And a ruthless desire to protect his last, "They died so you might and everyone else might live. We owe it to what remains of our blood to put their future and your future first that the next generation might prosper. Or at least, that is what is left before me and my life. I must leave soon though, to your mother -- she needs me more than you now. I love you, daughter. I am and have always been proud of you. As I am proud of your sisters. But I have work." The cold man gets up with his cane and goes to make preparations.

Looking up at Valdemar and nodding to his question, Denica catches Ember suddenly wandering by with the Mirrorborn's unconscious body. Somewhat relieved to hear she isn't going to burry him and give gives the woman a salute. "Thanks!," she calls out, very appreciative. Denica looks back at Valdemar. "It looks like he's got help." Denica takes a quick look around and she sees the contingent of Thrax in the distance, the top of Victus's head or some such, and there's a look of relief. Everyone is okay. Turning back to Valdemar reaching for his hand, "we can go back now. I'm not sure I want to spend another minute in this place."

Despite his grumpiness, Godric's concern for his companions shines through as he makes his way to check on any injured among them. His footsteps are heavy with the weight of worry, though he tries his best to mask it with his usual surly demeanor. "Alright, alright, who's the unlucky sod in need of patching up?" he grumbles, his voice rough but tinged with genuine concern. "I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that might just keep you from keeling over." As he tends to their injuries, a rare moment of warmth flickers across Godric's face, a fleeting glimpse of a smile threatening to break through his gruff exterior. Godric finds himself reaching into his pocket, producing a small piece of taffy. With a gruff clearing of his throat, he holds it out to one of his companions, his expression softening for just a moment. "Here," he mutters, his tone less abrasive than usual. "Figured you could use a bit of sweetness after all that." His grumpy facade cracks slightly as he offers the treat, a rare gesture of kindness from the surly coroner. But as quickly as the moment of warmth appears, it fades, replaced once more by his characteristic gruffness. "Don't get used to it," he grumbles, his tone returning to its usual roughness. "I'm not in the habit of handing out sweets like some doting parent."

Insaya goes down to a knee under Sydney's momentum, and her own scrawniness, unable to speak for the pleasure of the moment. "There is so much to do. And time, now, in which to do it. We can fly in the sunshine! Right now I might fly all on my own from the giddies. I'm... I'm going to go watch the sun go up. I'll see you in the air. I'll see you..."

"We did. We did it. Let's go home." Vitalis returns the hug and offers Adalyn a hand up, extending the offer to Lucita, though he knows she has her own to see to. And Cufre, same. "You're welcome." The dragons too.

Kael exhales with relief as he sees Mia _and_ Thesarin, yonder, nodding to himself. He starts to move through those gathered, taking particular care to move toward Khanne and, if allowed, squeeze her shoulder with a hand. It's a brief gesture but so heartfelt. Afterward? To Keely? "Let us go home. I wish to tell the children about what a hero you are." And yes, the Keaton depart.

Insaya has left the Riddle Group 9.

Alistair has left the Stalling Azazel.

Kael has left the Riddle Group 3.

Keely has left the Riddle Group 3.

Keely leaves, following Kael.

Bhandn has left the Stalling Azazel.

Ember carries the Masked Mirrorborn alongside Valdemar and Denica. She doesn't say it, but when she gets home, she's going to hug the fuck out of her kid -- and the ghost of her husband, even if that's more of a metaphorical hug.

Alarissa has left the Riddle Group 8.

Khanne rises to her feet and begins a slow walk to leave the necropolis. She stops and smiles towards Mountain.

Jasher has left the Stalling Azazel.

Khanne says in Draconic, "Thank you. You are safe in your home again."

Victus has left the Stalling Azazel.

Pasquale's remark brings a quiet laugh. "That's what we'll do. Surely she'll be convinced." In times before, Samira might have attempted to remain stoic and reserved, but today? Lisebet's offer of a hug is accepted with wordless gratitude, the artist stepping forward to hug her tight. When she steps back, dragging fingers across her wet cheeks, she nods to her fellow Culler. "Of course, go to her. And Torian? ... thank you."

Sen'azala takes a step forward. Another. Her pace is slow enough, and there's another glance toward Lou as she goes; but Lou has her father, and she lets that be. She approaches Aleksei instead, still unreadable, still just looking.

Aelgar has left the Riddle Group 12.

Adalyn looks to Cufre and Lucita as she gets up, she moves to hug them both. "Thank you." she says in a shaky voice, "Yes all are welcome." she moves to put her sword away and hold Vitalis hand in hers.

Ahriman has left the Riddle Group 8.

"I ain't... die easy. Not yet, leastways." Thesarin is trying to smile through the pain. He's not entirely successful at it. He cups Mia's head in his hand, running fingers through her hait (COMPLETELY thoughtless to what he's got on his hands), and squeezes her tight. "...we fucking did it. You did it. I just did... what I do." He looks at Mihaly with a snort. "...I ain't done much right, but I do right by mine."

Raymesin rises a few moments after Austen, levering himself up with the knight's assistance and then starting the long process of chivvying the living out of the realm of the dead - without any apparent concern for himself in that, for some reason.

Petal has left the Stalling Azazel.

Torian has left the Riddle Group 6.

Eirene salutes Godric. "We grumpy old fucks should get a drink some time, you, me, and the husband."

Caspian has left the Riddle Group 9.

Sydney quietly squeezes Insaya one more time. "You can't get rid of me, sister." She casts an elated smile at Galatea. Even talking about, well, even more battles to come. "I'll go as soon as I say some farewells and ... as soon as Violas is ready to take flight." She glances the dragon's way, then breaks to stride quietly over to Raymesin. She doesn't tackle the tall man into a hug. She does, however, extend a hand.

Joslyn has left the Stalling Azazel.

Lou cries herself out, then finally rises to her feet she blinks when her father approaches, says a few things, and then /immediately/ leaves before she has a chance to respond to him. She stares after him several long moments. She looks to Deer, a sincere expression on her face. "You are free to go if you wish and are able. If the bond was only needed temporarily. Thank you for being willing to help. If it is not temporary, I will gather my things, and pack, and be ready to ride off to Nefer'khat with you when you are ready. If we have time, though, I'd like to make statues of my sisters, to go with the ones I made before in the Grayson Grounds. They deserve to be recognized as the heroes they were. But if not, I'll understand and commission someone else to make them." It would not be the same for Lou, but the statues would be there all the same.

Lucita has left the Riddle Group 4.

Cufre takes the offer of Vitalis' hand to help her rise just in time to meet Adalyn's embrace. She follows with hugs for Vitalis and Lucita, laughing. Thanking them. And eventually, parting.

Austen has left the Stalling Azazel.

Jhond has left the Stalling Azazel.

Mirk has left the Riddle Group 9.

Raymesin meets Sydney's hand, and pulls the brawler into a hug himself. There are no words, but the hug speaks volumes.

Samira has left the Riddle Group 6.

Sydney looks utterly flabbergasted, but melts into a hug with Raymesin, clapping him fiercely on the back and squeezing her eyes shut.

Morrighan has left the Riddle Group 1.

Galatea has left the Riddle Group 8.

Nodding at Denica, Valdemar tells her as he takes her offered hand, "Yes, let us get back to the city above." With this, he walks through the catacombs with her, back the way they came from.

Sydney draws away with a choked up smile, and lightly baps Raymesin on the shoulder. It's the gentlest kitten's paw of a tap. "...'Course I am. I'm fuckin' great, too." She offers a wider smile, eyes closed.

Cufre has left the Riddle Group 4.

It takes several long minutes for Mia to remember how to breathe properly, and be able to form words that aren't broken apart by laughter, or sobbing, or both. But the mention of the Twilight Court is enough to bring some semblance of sense back into the woman's head and some recollection of her usual self. The children. Their children, who are already bordering on a feral pack roaming Heron Hall. With the Nox'alfar. "Ohh, gods. We have to bring them home before being exposed to another kind of elf *makes them worse....*," she whispers with wide-eyes, and possible horror. Who knows what Rohan may have learned from a folly?!

"Yup," Raymesin replies to Sydney. "But I figure as I'm better. Now get on out, Syd, an' take yer friend with yer. Leave th'dead in peace, eh?"

Aleksei has left the Stalling Azazel.

Lou turns to make her way back the way she came, hugging herself on the way out. Deer solemnly follows behind her.

Godric has left the Riddle Group 13.

Lisebet hugs Samira until she's done, and she cries a bit too. But then once that's done, she heads over to look for Lou, making sure she's okay. As Lou is leaving, Lisebet quietly heads out as well.

Sen'azala stops again in place. She watches people go instead, one after the other.

Sydney giggles rather gleefully to herself, and raises a hand to wave over her back to Raymesin, training a final look his way, and salutes loosely, "Aye, sir." She goes, then. And the ethereal-looking dragon follows after.

Ember follows Denica and Valdemar at a respectful pace, not close enough to snoop, but not far enough that Denica might start worrying about the cargo Ember is carrying. She says something aloud in Rex'alfar as they depart.

Ember says in Rex'alfar, "Saverio -- we did it. Thank you, my love."

Raymesin says in Draconic, "Thank you for coming to Arvum."

Ember has left the Riddle Group 3.

Valdemar has left the Riddle Group 12.

Denica has left the Riddle Group 3.

Eirene heads out to go get the children back from the Nox. Who is more corrupted is hard to say.

Romulius has left the Stalling Azazel.

Eirene has left the Riddle Group 7.

Sydney dips her head in a further smile as she takes her leave.

Sydney has left the Stalling Azazel.

Lou has left the Riddle Group 8.

Lisebet has left the Riddle Group 6.

Raymesin watches people departing, and dragons and deer and everything else that came along, then looks to Sen'azala with raised eyebrows.

"...aye," Thesarin nods and laighs again toward Mia and Eirene. "...aye. Let's to the children, and the world. We've got our tomorrows..." He pauses, looking to Sen'azala, standing and staring at the people making their way out. "...I do thank you, black jokes aside, Sen'azala. You ought have Eirene look you over..." He's quiet a moment, and takes a deep breath. "...what will you do, now?"

"I don't know," Sen says quietly. Very quietly. She doesn't look away from the departing to look at Thesarin instead.

Raymesin looks from Thesarin to Sen'azala. "I got a few ideas," he murmurs. "An' I got a job ter do, an' I think, Prima Sen'azala'a th'Venandi, you might be int'rested."

Adalyn has left the Riddle Group 4.

Vitalis has left the Riddle Group 4.

Sen'azala slants a questioning look toward Raymesin.

Mihaly has left the Riddle Group 7.

Raymesin gives Sen'azala a smile, a real and actual smile. "I need ter go check on Tanith an' the kid," he says. "Come an' find me later."

Perhaps it was the mention of collecting her own children. Perhaps it's a sudden, ridiculous impulse from someone who is rarely given to such things -- but whose impulses are oh, oh so very large when they strike. (Like marrying a shav'arvani warlord she just met in the woods.) " could choose to *not* stand alone. To not be the last Venandi." The suggestion is offered quietly, but not hesitantly. As Mia leans into Thesarin's side, she slowly looks from him, to Sen, to Raymesin. "Or anything else you care to choose, with so many choices open now."

Sorrel has left the Riddle Group 11.

If Sen finds the smile unnerving - surely, she must - it doesn't bring anything readable into her expression. She nods to Raymesin, just once, and then turns an ear, if not her gaze, in Mia's direction.

Duarte begins to stir a bit as he slowly progresses from dumbstruck to somewhat conscious. He just wasn't built for this type of confrontation and doesn't have the constitution for battle. He tilts himself forward to his hands and knees and then starts to stand and dust himself off. After checking over his body and looking at his hands, he looks at each of the remaining, one after the other, with some wonder that we all seem to still alive.

Sen'azala says in Everwinter shav, "...Things are still changing, Mia. I don't know--" she grimaces. "Maybe House Venandi has done its work. Millions and millions of people dead."

Sen'azala says, "...Things are still changing, Mia. I don't know--" she grimaces. "Maybe House Venandi has done its work. Millions and millions of people dead."

Raymesin looks to Mia and Thesarin, then. "Cousins," he says with a smile, before looking over at Duarte. "Time fer th'livin' ter clear out," he says. "There's space if yer want ter come back when yer time is done, but fer now, time ter be somewhere else." And then to Sen'azala, "Elephon an' Azazel are ter blame fer their own shit. You was just takin' out the rubbish."

Medeia pushes herself to her feet and holds a hand out to Duarte. "Home?" She looks around, breathing slowly in and then out before looking back at him.

"The world moves," Thesarin offers. "We move or we fall behind. The world's ever changing, that's the nature of the thing." His big shoulders rise and fall, big and wide, and he pulls Mia close. "And now more than ever, I reckon. But aye, it's best time we were home; and after that, we'll see."

Cousins? Both of Mia's brows lift, and then she starts to laugh, and laugh again, not with hysteria but with a sudden wave of exhaustion -- the sort that makes strange things funny and funny things seem confusing and a simple moment of relief entirely overwhelming. "If you're not careful, Raymesin Ulbran...," she trails off. Shrugs. Smiles, actually smiles. Shrugs again. Everything she had to say to Sen? Well, Thesarin's already said.

Duarte takes Confessions of a Poor Hungry Demon - An Illustrated Series.

"Don't have to tell me twice," Duarte murmurs at Raymesin. "She probably has no use for this..." and he goes over to swipe up the book. He settles back near Medeia and nods. He doesn't leave before given Sen'azala a final look. "Thanks."

Medeia has left the Riddle Group 14.

Duarte has left the Riddle Group 14.

Duarte leaves, following Medeia.

Raymesin has left the Riddle Group 11.

The sound Sen makes to Raymesin's words is non-committal. Her eyebrows do arch a bit at Duarte, but then he's gone too, and it's a long, long few moments of silence before she says anything else. Then she exhales, and something seems to slide away from her shoulders. "Tomorrow," she says, finally. "It can just be tomorrow for a while." She looks back at them, and there's a softening in her mask, the smallest of smiles, even if it's not a clean one, not one that's just happy, or just sad, or sitting anywhere neatly between. "That was always the point, wasn't it?" She doesn't wait for an answer. The woman pads away at an unhurried pace, and as she does, the large wolf joins her. She leaves, walking up and out with her grandmother to see the sun rise.

"To tomorrow, then," Mia murmurs -- to Sen, to Thesarin, to this one last day. This one last day that's an ending, but wasn't really the end of it all.

Sen'azala has left the Stalling Azazel.

Mia has left the Riddle Group 7.

Thesarin has left the Stalling Azazel.

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