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Return of the Emblem Chapter Twelve: Divergent Paths

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Dining Hall

Nadya's query was answered by Norbert himself arriving in the dining hall, aiming to talk to Robin looked like. Nadya made her way over there and began to speak.

"Hey Bert- Rizen broke loose. Thought you oughta know," she said, deciding to skip the small talk for the moment.

[spoiler=Sea Shore]

<"Don't worry, we can do this,"> Liam assured Noah confidently. I may not even a full member of Cloud Legion yet, but we've been able to defend Aquila for centuries for a reason. He flew quickly towards the ship, ready to take on any humans who got in his way.

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A dire feeling welled up inside of Robin's gut as Bert spoke. For all of his hard work in finding someone he could trust, he had just spoken about the wound as she was talking to others. Saying she had a head injury no less. In certain stories that would have ended with Bert smashed over the head or through a wall.

"Thank you Bert." she said, turning around to follow him to Tilly. If she was lucky she really did have a head injury and had passed out on the floor and this was all a dream! Or she was still in bed and all this was just a dream! Or she had choked on some tuna and this was all just a dream and people wouldn't be snickering at her behind her back for being worried because of a head injury.

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Eva nodded as Aneda and Tia started to leave, but turned to Nyx with a bit of worry as they were all ushered out. "Uhm..." She didn't want to go against the word of someone who really would kill her on the spot, but she still had come here for more than just being a chauffeur. "I-I still have my memories. I'd wanted to ask you if I could trade them for some information, when you were done with those two..." It would be fairly disappointing if she had to leave without being able to at least offer a trade.

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"Never actually been myself." Alphonse replied, also turning on his side. "My Father told me a lot though, and from what he said I'd dare guess you'd be correct about the warrior thing. He's certainly taught me well at the very least." The swordsman was actually pretty excited at the thought of going to Kigen, even though it'd take a while to get there. There was so much he wanted to learn about his heritage, and what better way to do so than go to the land your family came from?

"I just wish Greta was just as excited. She's more worried about adapting to the culture and selling. It wouldn't kill her to take a moment to be happy for the opportunity."

Jam frowned, hoping everyone would take in any happy moments in this long journey ahead of them. Who knew how many they would get.

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Dining Hall

"Alright, so what's your plan?" Glen asked Amon.

Amon was getting irritated by this point. He understood Glen's hurry to save Joanna but it was going to take some time if they were taking this rescue mission seriously ... or any semblance thereof. "I need time to sort it out. I'm not exactly familiar with the cathedral other than the Hall of Truth and I seriously doubt that's where we'll find her when we go there."

"Well I know a bit about the place. Tell me what you need to know and I'll see if I can remember anything," Glen offered, which was surprisingly helpful.

<"Like they're going to keep her in any place a commoner would know about,"> Malik scoffed. <"That place isn't quite as big as the palace in Sanctuary, but it's big enough for there to be places that people like him don't know about ... like the archives for one."> When Amon nodded a little, acknowledging the point, Malik sighed. Sure, he acknowledged it, but that wasn't quite the same as agreeing ... and it was obvious that he was at least going to hear the guy out since no one else with information about the cathedral had stepped forward yet. Give'em a minute ....

Suzume meanwhile was beginning to think that she might have bitten off a little more than she could chew at the moment, figuratively speaking. "You have enough to worry about right now from the sound of things," she forced a smile. "I'm just trying to forget how I wound up out here in the first place, that's all." Better than being dead, she reminded herself, but still pretty painful.

Tilly stood by and watched Norbert carefully as he walked off, her gaze only leaving him to quickly investigate any woman he came to within a few feet of. When he finally started talking to the auburn haired girl, Tilly's eyes stayed fixed on her. The only opinion she had of her so far was that she was at least in need of some counselling if she was falling for abusive men like Norbert. That irritating memory coming back up--she had to wash and fix this guy's clothes, after all--she decided to get this over with sooner rather than later and started toward them, aiming to meet them halfway or meet them right at the table they were already at. Privacy could shove off as far as she was concerned.

"Please pardon my tone, but," Tilly paused for just a moment, trying to decide just how she should go about this, "... while I do think your choice in individuals is ... a little troubling, I don't believe it's something that warrants a staff healing. I'd like to know why you let him run off searching for a healer over this."

Gabbie and Anna entered the dining hall next, having passed Greta on the way. "Where's Raquel?" the former asked. "Where's a healer?" the latter asked, wanting to get her gunshot wound more fully healed.

The Archives

"What's this?" Nyx feigned surprise, "Someone who actually came prepared. Very well. Come over here and tell me what it is you want in exchange for those memories."

Shadrak gritted his teeth. The thought of bargaining with someone else's memories occurred to him more than a few times on the way over here, but he didn't believe Nyx would have gone for something like that. Now that others were cashing in their experiences anyway, he definitely felt an inkling to get going and find a nice quiet spot to think back on past events.

[spoiler=Captain's Cabin]The blow came so quick, Antares didn't even see it coming. He was still conscious but dazed and his cheek was as red as a tomato. <"Rare when the first one actually puts someone down for the count, hm?"> he made light of the attack.

Petia smirked and nodded at his humorous captive. <"Yes, yes. It's never the first one, unfortunately. That's too bad for you. I had no intention of softening you up for my interrogators. They hate it when they receive damaged goods."> Petia drew back and struck Antares again, this time head on instead of a back-fist. The chair he was in came off its front legs the strike hit him so hard. <"Doesn't seem my second one will do the job, either ... oh well,"> he shrugged in exaggeration, <"I suppose we'll have to keep at it until you decide to take a nap, Avian King,"> Petia nodded again.

<"Indeed,"> Antares muttered. Petia definitely had strength and gravity on his side, the avian leader determined as a trickle of blood touched his lips. <I despise the taste of blood ...>

As Petia drew back for another strike, the door swung open, revealing a startled crewman. <"Captain, there are two of them outside! They're giving us hell!">

Petia's gaze left the crewman and eased on down to his captive. <"I will ... give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps it is not you who went back on our agreement, but your overzealous subordinates.">

<"They know what you're trying to do,"> Antares quietly said, <"and they will stall you ... if not outright stop you.">

<"I'll just have to choke you out, then to save time. Soldier! Bring me the staffer, at once,"> Petia ordered, swinging his arm at the man, <"Bring me the staffer right now! There's no more time!">

<Aim for that one, Noah>

[spoiler=Outer Sanctum Coast]As the crewman ran out onto the deck to try and find the man with the staff, a lightning bolt struck him on top of the head, knocking him out and leaving him sprawled out on the deck. With most of the fighters firing off rounds at Liam from well out of range, and others gathering weapons to fight the pair with, no one came to help him.

<"Liam, if you see anyone with a staff, take them down! That's the only way they can escape with the emperor,"> Noah called out just before unleashing another spell and igniting a gunpowder barrel and blasting away a few of the gunners. Three for one.

<"Enough of this! We will not fail, now,"> a sailor declared as he ran up to the nearest swivel gun he could find and aimed in Noah's direction. She couldn't get off another spell in time to stop him from firing at her, but she had ample time to dodge. After that, she struck the small cannon and stunned him at the same time.

Things were looking good; much of the main deck had been cleared of hostiles, the problem was there were still well over a hundred more fighters on board and it wouldn't be long before they made it up to the main deck to join the fight. Once Liam assaulted the deck, it would be a final countdown ... to one side's defeat ... and Noah wasn't sure which.

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Okay, so things didn't go as well as they could have. Well, that figured. However, he hadn't been expecting to have to deal with exactly what wound up falling into his lap. Partway back over to the table, he'd stopped. Nadya had delivered some important information. "Wait-- what do you mean, 'broke loose?'"

Had she escaped her stall? Did she actually break the door down, or was someone just careless? If she did break it down, what in Sardius prompted her to do that? She was still in the stables, most likely. She wasn't exactly fond of storms...unless something drove her out. Yeah, he'd need those details.

Tilly met them halfway during this exchange and immediately got to work...buuut not at actually healing Robin. He cast the maid a quick glare. What was she doing? Maybe I shouldn't have trusted her after all -- this isn't helping anything. If she has a head injury that bad, we should get that treated, not be telling her to just shrug it off. There was just too much to deal with all at once, but Norbert didn't see a reason to go anywhere until he found out exactly what the trouble was with his pegasus, at least.

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Lumi spotted Norbert and headed over towards him, just in time to hear him say something about breaking loose. "Oh! She must have told you about Rizen. She escaped her stall, I tried to stop her, but she... well... She didn't stop. I think it was the wyvern in the stable that caused her to escape. She must have convinced Star to do the same, though I managed to stop him. But... after you get her back into the stables or wherever... We should really talk. I'm pretty sure that if I'd tried to stop her, she would have tried to kill me. And... that means she's dangerous, both to others but also to herself and I don't want to see her get in trouble or be killed because she hurt someone because she wasn't trained properly."

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Blake opted not to comment on Reign bringing out a whole bottle of alcohol, seeing as he couldn't really blame the man for drinking, with all that had happened. In fact, the swordsman himself was mulling getting a drink, to tune out things like the conflict between Gar and a brown-haired woman. Eventually, he decided that it would have to wait, at least, until after the raid.

This turned out to be probably the right call, as, after a blue-haired man entered looking for Amon, Gabriella and Anna arrived. The former was looking for Raquel, and the latter, a healer.

"No idea where she is. What happened?" Blake asked, bluntly. If they had fought with the organization, there went their element of surprise.

***

Pete was about to say "Congratulations, you've talked to someone," but the rexian paladin decided to join in and ask the archer - her name was Robin- why she was so timid. He wasn't planning on remarking on Robin's comment about everyone hating her, especially after a nasty-looking fellow came in and said that she had a head injury. That was a recipe for disaster.

***

"Seth. Steinn," Evelyn said, curtly, as she entered the study. I suppose I can't really avoid having my mind read. Do as you will. I doubt it will change things much.

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With that taken care of, Arietta took her place at Weyland's side... still, things had gone mostly well so far, hopefully intervention wouldn't be necessary.

***

"Robin... you're injured?" Faatina noted, as Norbert returned with news of a healer coming, though the man was soon accosted with news that Rizen had escaped. She seemed fine physically, but mentally she was noting that she felt unstable, and she was acting odd to boot.

"She... has been acting a bit odd. It might be best to take a look, just in case... though perhaps that's a bit more dire..." Faatina noted as the supposed healer arrived and gave her piece, followed by Gabbie and Anna arriving, the latter nursing what looked like an open wound and looking for medical assistance.

***

"I don't know it any better than you guys do, so I don't really have anything to add there." Angelica noted, as the issue of 'where in the cathedral could she be?' came up.

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"Bert punched me hard against the wall. It was my asking him to do so as I felt I deserved it. Felt alone and that everyone hated me and wanted to punch me or cast me out. After it he took me to lunch and, now, he was worried and went to get a healer for me." she said, explaining everything. She was aware that she was probably ruining the whole reason why Bert had taken such time, but if he was just going to bring up that she had been hurt in the head in front of others.

"I admitted I had a crush on Bert. That is why he thinks I have brain damage."

---

Tia gave another strong tug as she practically started to pull Aneda out of there, not wanting to see or know what was gonna happen to Eva, though expecting that, afterwards, they would need to heal her for brain damage due to Nyx. Was death by Nyx homicide or suicide? Tia didn't want to know either way!

Edited by Snowy_One

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Dining Hall

"Rizen may be a little high strung, but it ain't exactly unusual for a horse to get a little aggressive when they feel threatened," Nadya defended the pegasus. "She's in enough of a mood that I didn't feel comfortable tryin' to calm her down though."

Veronika noted Gabbie and Anna's return with interest, with Blake asking her question before she would. Anna must have been spotted- our element of surprise may already be compromised...

[spoiler=Outer Sanctum Coast]

Liam opted to stay a fair distance from the shooters at the moment, occasionally firing off short blasts of intense light to blind the enemy. There's too many of them- the two of us can't hold out like this forever... he thought to himself. Scanning the deck for any staff users, his attention focused in on one man. Flying closer to the ship towards his target he fired a projectile of superheated plasma that tore through the man's chest, killing him instantly. This focus left him vulnerable to fire from the other side however, and a bullet pierced Liam's side. <"AAAAGHH!"> he cried out in shock and pain.

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"Uh... Alright..." Eva slowly made her way over to Nyx, thinking as she did. Maybe I could... She stopped in front of the goddess and went to say something, but stopped herself. I could at least try. "Nyx, would... Would I be able to use my memories for them? I do have an actual question in mind, but..." she glanced back at Mushirah and Shadrak, "it doesn't feel as important, now. Of course it's fine if I can't. Just felt I'd ask."

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Lumi came over and began explaining a little bit more of what Nadya was getting at. If two people were coining to tell him, then it was likely not good, and not just a little bit of mischief. Lumi had also tried to stop Rizen. Is she out of her mind? As far as he was concerned, it was just plain dangerous to try to handle someone else's animal without that animal knowing you or having the handler's permission. Why she would try to take matters into her own hands was beyond him. And then came something that more or less explained what had happened...and Bert was a little more than miffed at the revelation. "What empty-headed greenhorn thought that housing a wyvern with equines was a good idea?!"

Lumi had more to say, though, so the pegasus rider just grit his teeth and fumed while she continued to explain what had happened. Rizen was causing a ruckus again, but Bert could hardly blame her. To be frank, if she didn't follow her instincts as much as she did, he probably wouldn't still be breathing right then and there. Managing to rally a fellow equine among a bunch of timid beasts was actually a little impressive to the rider, but it was largely overshadowed by his anger toward the rider who'd sent a natural predator into a stables in the first place. What struck him as odd and got his guard up -- he wasn't in the best of moods even before this -- was that it sounded like Lumi was somehow blaming him for Rizen's behavior, saying she wanted to talk with him after he got his pegasus back into the stables. He tried to calm down and give her the benefit of the doubt, but the more she talked, the more obvious it was becoming that she was suggesting Rizen undergo behavioral training.

During this exchange and while Norbert desperately tried to hold his temper in check, Faatina asked Robin about her injury and noted her recent unusual behavior. Robin replied that he'd punched her into a wall -- which wasn't true, but it wasn't far enough from it to be worth commending on -- and cited that she'd quite literally asked for it. Though that was at the heart of what had gotten him angry enough to attack her, it wasn't as simple as she was making it sound. For a moment, his anger flared, but he didn't express it any more than he already was. Robin was probably not intentionally making him seem more unstable than he really was. She did have that head injury, after all, and she wasn't actually the best speaker to begin with. With this in-mind, he pushed back against his borderline paranoia. What she said after that, after all, wasn't entirely untrue. It wasn't only that she'd said something ridiculous, but also because of the timing and the sequence of events.

Nadya spoke up in Rizen's defense. That helped Norbert to calm down a little. He even almost trusted himself to speak again. There was still a point to be made. "Yeah, you'd better believe Rizen's dangerous. If she wasn't, I wouldn't be alive. She may have tack, but she's a wild pegasus. Don't try to go near her again while she's agitated without me around or you could get gored. As a handler yourself, I'm kind of surprised you tried to handle someone else's pegasus in the first place, especially when said pegasus is spooked."

To both Nadya and Tilly, he explained, still notably burning in his anger, "I'm going to go take care of my pegasus -- whoever wants to heal Robin's in jury can do that without me." That said, Norbert began storming off towards the stables. That would at least be where he started his search for the wayward pegasus.

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Dining Hall

"Snuck in, took down some people, found Sardis, took a shot, rigged my escape route, fought Raquel's doppelganger, shot her and got shot myself in the process ... then got out," Anna stated quickly and plainly.

"Anna troied to take out Sardis and Samwhatever with the Visceral but she only hit Sardis and he somehow survoived. I don't think he's in any shape to foight us, though ..." Gabbie explained.

Anna quickly clarified by saying, "Even if you don't take a direct hit from this thing," she pointed a thumb at the larger crossbow strapped on her back, "just being in the blast radius will blow most people to steaming bits. It's a safe bet he's missing some parts, though I didn't get a good look through all the smoke."

"She did kill a few of their regulars but that was barely worth mentioning," Gabbie added.

"What are you talking about? I got at least eight of them," Anna quickly scowled at Gabbie. "Anyway," she turned her attention back toward Blake, "sorry if you guys wanted to make this a surprise killing spree, but I had a score to settle, and by this point, I'm sure Sardis is just lying on a bed surrounded by his faithful subjects, waiting for Raquel to walk up and put him out of his misery." With that, she began scanning the dining hall, noting the various conversations and ... things going on.

Yyyyeah she doesn't do her own dirty work, Gabbie thought to herself.

Amon nodded again, accepting that they would just have to go off of what Glen knew for now. He wasn't expecting much so at least Glen couldn't disappoint him. "What can you tell us about the Hall of Wrath?" he asked first.

"I never really go there but I've been a few times ... not much choice when you're growing up in one of those families ... ... a-anyway, if you've seen any of the other halls, you've already got a decent sense of the layout," Glen explained. "The four halls are almost completely identical save for the decoration and a few minor things that don't really seem relevant right now."

"Right ... is there anywhere you know about where they might be keeping her?"

"If they're kind ... or there's some pressure due to the others orders finding out about her arrest, they might put her under house arrest and a tight guard. That would be the best case scenario for us since then she'd be in the side of the building that the Order of Mercy controls. The wrathites might be able to post some guards around her room, but that's all."

<"... that doesn't make any sense,"> Malik glared at Glen, <"Why would they put someone they're trying to interrogate under house arrest? Trust me, Amon, if they can help it, they're not letting anyone know they have her.">

<"That gives me an idea, actually"> Amon replied to him with what might have become a smile, had his gaze lingered a bit longer. "I really doubt she's under house arrest ... but maybe we can do something about that before actually trying to get her out. If the other orders find out she's been arrested, the Order of Mercy in particular, they could wind up giving the wrathites a hard time over this. That's just the kind of internal chaos that could work to our advantage, even if it doesn't get her moved over to into the Mercinic side of the buildling."

"Maybe, yeah ... heck, if you want, I'd be happy to spread the word that the wrathites captured the winged cleric and are holding her behind closed doors somewhere. I'm sure they'll want answers."

<"I'm sure they'll want your head,"> Malik countered.

"Sooo his pegasus 'broke' out of her stall, huh?" Anna asked, mostly rhetorical. She was already making a mental estimate of how much that would tack onto his debt to Weyland. No equestrian references intended. What was more surprising though was him punching someone ... well not really, just, in the estate, really.

Tilly pushed down her frustration after Robin's explanation and Norbert's exit and said, "This isn't something a staff healing can fix. I told him that, but he wouldn't listen. This isn't a head injury, and even if it was, too much time's gone by already for a staff to do anything for it." Holding up a finger, she added a demanding, "You need to tell him that." She would do it herself, but Norbert's ears seemed pretty closed toward most of what she had to say.

"She asked him to punch her, he did, she told him she had a crush on him, and now he's convinced she has a head injury ... and thinks a staff can do something about that? This is completely-" "Asinine, yeah ..." Reign interrupted Anna, holding up an empty glass and then setting it back down as his head lay there on the table. Anna stared at the bottle of vodka, trying to remember if she was a productive drunk, a fun drunk, or an angry drunk.

Study

Weyland just stared expectantly and Steinn nodded his greeting. "Well?" the former spoke up after a long moment, "What brings you here this ... dreary afternoon ...?"

Steinn then smirked, though whether it was at Weyland or Evelyn wasn't exactly clear at first. "How is Knox doing by the way?" he suddenly spoke up, sitting forward as he did. Weyland could only roll his eyes at the Fallen Prince's shenanigans.

Complex

Cassandra wasn't sure what to expect when she came into the room where Sardis was being held. Hayato just so happened to be back too, and Samael was there, though probably not for very good reasons. Sardis, though ... Cassandra was repulsed by what she saw. He was bandaged up already, but it was worse than she feared, it wasn't just his legs that were gone, now. His arms were, as well. "What happened?" she asked, struggling and barely succeeding in hiding her feelings.

Samael tossed a disinterested glance her way. Hayato was the one to speak up about that. "As if things weren't bad enough," he hissed, his glare shifting from Cassandra to Samael in an instant, "he cut off Sardis' arms, too."

"They were so badly mangled, most wouldn't even recognize them as arms. My girls are out running errands right now and we don't have anyone else around skilled enough to reverse that kind of damage. Better to just be rid of them for now," Samael explained, though it was obvious he was only humoring Cassandra and not Hayato. "I'll admit, I somewhat 'enjoyed' removing those useless limbs and taking in those endearing screams of his. Still, we can rebuild him once we get home. We most certainly have the means."

"I ... guess," Cassandra nearly shrugged. She couldn't take her eyes off of Sardis. He was in worse shape than Raquel had ever entertained the thought of putting him in ... and he was still alive ... unconscious, but alive ....

"Yeah, sure," Hayato interjected, "but we already came under attack once today, and now he's completely helpless thanks to you!"

"Then you'd better organize yourselves and prepare a solid defense just in case because we aren't heading out just yet," Samael warned.

The Archives

Nyx scowled at Eva, but that was all she did at first. Shadrak was surprised Eva was asking that question. Maybe there really was a chance ... no, no way was he getting his hopes up at this juncture. He quickly turned back around and struggled to take the first of many steps out of the cathedral. "If you're all in agreement," Nyx replied coolly.

Shadrak's eyes widened at that ... and then a bit of anger set in. He suppressed it as best he could as he slowly turned around and asked, "Wwwwhy ... didn't you tell us we could do that ...?"

"Overwhelming apathy," Nyx said plainly after a short pause.

"Eva, are you sure you want to do this?" He wanted to literally bite his tongue just saying that, but manners and old habits were creeping up and he was too surprised by the turn of events to keep all of his urges in check at the same time.

[spoiler=Captain's Cabin]And now Petia was making the strangest face and trying to choke him out. Antares tightened his neck muscles and took deep breaths whenever Petia's grip weakened; it was about all he could do to fight back and stall for time. <"You avians are quite resilient considering a little bit of meat can kill you on the spot,"> Petia remarked, his voice shaking as his hands clamped down on Antares' neck with all their strength.

<"Ridiculous stereotypes,"> Antares squeaked.

<"Dammit, what is taking them so long?! Where is my staffer?!"> Petia cursed.

[spoiler=Ship]<"Liam!"> Noah couldn't even tell which of the gunners landed a hit on him, but that didn't stop her from launching another spell onto the main deck to try and cover him. Finally, though, something good was happening. They'd stalled long enough for the others to catch up. If it wasn't obvious enough, a pure white beam of light came from far behind Noah and cut a swath of destruction across the main deck.

<"Leave the emperor's retrieval to me,"> one of the larger avian warriors called out as several others rushed past him and into the fight.

One of them, another male, approached Liam and grabbed onto him, with a couple of swift motions, they drew out the bullet and closed the wound. The only evidence left was the hole in his clothing. <"We should fall back now. David can handle this,"> he advised with a weak smile.

Meanwhile on the deck, as a gunner reloaded his rifle, an intense light flashed behind him, and just as he turned around to see what was happening, another of Cloud Legion's warriors appeared, greeting him with a gauntlet encased fist that sent him tumbling over rails and into the water. Another streak of light tore across the deck immediately afterward, incinerating one of the crewman taking aim at that avian and igniting more of the ship's gunpowder.

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Eva flinched. A scowl or some similar expression had been expected, but having seen how Nyx would act, she expected worse after it. When worse didn't come, and in fact, agreement was established, Eva let out a sigh and tried her best to relax. "That's good..." Shadrak was a bit confused, even asking if she really wanted this. "Well, I... No, I'm not really sure, but I said something that upset Mushirah earlier. I wanted to try and apologize, but... I'm pretty bad at words. I figure this is a better way to apologize, if there is one." She chuckled a little, and held a smile. "So... If you're both alright with this, then sure. Sorry that the ride back will be bumpy, though. I was going to ask about all Nyx knew in regards to riding wyverns..." She ended up staring at the floor and laughing at herself over that.

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Lumi stared at Bert and quietly protested, "But, I didn't... I just tried to calm her down a bit... I didn't try to touch her..." Slumping down on the nearby bench by Reign, she flopped down with her head on her crossed arms, muttering, "Besides, that was my point. If she can't be trusted to be calm without you around, something bad's going to happen and then she's going to get hurt or hurt someone and then bad things will happen and ugh there are ways to train feral pegasi and that don't hurt them and you're such a jerk and ugh. I just wanted to help her."

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Mushirah wasn't sure what was going on. Why is she bargaining with Nyx now? To apologize to me? I don't want... anything to do with Nyx, ugh what is she doing? Maybe there's something else to this? She was a bag of confusion, disinterest, mild annoyance and perhaps a hint of remorse, but ultimately she was just sort of... fed up with the proceedings. She wanted free things just like the next person, but she also felt bad about potentially purposefully wasting Eva's time and effort. "I personally... don't see how this would help out unless I'm missing something, but if you want to do it, go ahead. I can't physically stop you." She had a fairly blank expression but it could be taken for some form of annoyed, though she'd never admit it.

Meanwhile, Aneda took the mage away, wanting to stay away from whats going on almost as much as Tia it seemed.

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"I know." said Robin with a sigh as she found a chair and took a seat. "There is much to worry about though. I do not know why, but I seem to always be in love with men with a lot of trouble. Saying something like that is not as easy as it sounds, especially when I am nervous and feeling alone so often. What do I do? Yank Pete up and ask him to go duck-shooting with me? Pull you aside for some friendly time talking about things I do not know about while you are talking to someone else? Pull Bert off of Rizen and kiss him? I do not know how to do such things in the slightest."

---

Once out of earshot, Tia let loose a breath she didn't know she had been holding.

"That woman, is a horrible, despicable, excuse for even an existence of a being even capable of such intentional cruelty in the first place. How can someone be so stuck-up and snobbish as to act like that? Threatening others with pain just for speaking? Demanding payments like that? Withholding books in her own, personal, library? I'd suggest that I'd like her books to come alive and eat her, but defiling so many books would be an insult to knowledge everywhere!" she said with a venomous hiss.

"Aneda. I do not want to ever become a mage like her. I would much rather spend time learning new and interesting ways to use magic than use power like that as a threat."

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"Or they could be getting ready to evacuate, now that they know that we know they're there," Blake said, frowning. "At least we don't have to worry about him, for the time being. We need to find Raquel and get this plan rolling, because now, best case scenario is they just dig down and prepare themselves for an attack, which makes the current plan harder. Worst case is they take off before we get there and this has been a waste of time."

***

"Not in this weather," Pete said, shooting down that idea. "Not worth being soaked to the bone."

***

"He was still squawking before I went off-duty. I'm surprised he hasn't had a stroke, yet, the way he was going on about that meeting," Evelyn responded to Steinn flatly, ignoring Weyland for a moment. "And among other reasons, I told you I would probably be coming by to talk about the staff last night, Seth."

I'd give a live demonstration but he wouldn't appreciate it, despite deserving it. Besides, he needs to be conscious if I want to find out anything about Jethro and his daughter, or what happened with Joanna.

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Arietta wasn't fond of how this one was addressing boss, but it hadn't escalated quite yet atleast. Hopefully Steinn's prodding wouldn't cause a big fuss...

***

At first Faatina had been worried for Robin, but with each passing moment, less so. It seemed she had just gotten herself into an awkward situation, and misunderstandings abound... it was unfortunate but it was nothing to be overly concerned over.

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"I figure... You get an arm, you don't have to deal with her directly, Shadrak doesn't have to try and find another option for it..." Eva had thought that Mushirah would've been far happier about this, but the rather vague response she'd recieved was giving her second thoughts. "If you'd rather I not, then say so. I don't want to do this if I'm going to upset you with it." Eva dropped her shoulders. She'd wait for both Mushirah and Shadrak to talk again, before she said anything else. She could always learn how to fly better, while this would be probably the only chance Mushirah would get at a replacement arm. It seemed like a no brainer for Eva, but she couldn't say she understood Mushirah's mental state right now.

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Thinking it through for a good few moments, Mushirah shrugged and sighed, "When you get down to it, it's not going to be you with the fake arm, so I highly doubt someone would check in with you unless I'm wrong?" She glanced at Nyx for some form of affirmation on this, turning right back to Eva, "Even then, I'd feel extremely uncomfortable for you taking a deal I turned down for being so, in my eyes, loaded in my honor." Shaking her head, Mushirah was just feeling worse in general. She didn't like being so negative to someone's good will.

Aneda poked Tia in the forehead, frowning a little. "Relax, I'm sure she has... reasons for the way she's doing things. Vasili are... hard to comprehend I guess. Of all the ones I've met they just seem arrogant in general. I suppose being around for so long will make even the most level headed get warped, but then again I'm only 26 years old so what kinda shit do I know?"

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"A lot more than her." said Tia with a frustrated scowl. "I don't know what to say. I want to be powerful like her in that I want to be skilled in all magic, but if the price is me becoming a... a... thing like her, I'd rather not be a magician at all. Magic is a huge part of my life, but if that's the cost, maybe I need to find more too my life than just spell mastery, especially beyond just trying to throw together spells and see what sticks."

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Dining Hall

"There's still the matter of finding out where she is," Amon muttered, mostly to himself. Gabbie came to mind right away, but he jump straight on that if he didn't have to. "I really hope Fizza gets back before we have to do this ... assuming she didn't leave for good."

"Who's Fizza?" Glen asked, also wondering how many people were working with Amon.

"She's a ... well ... I guess it's not important right now." <And I'm kind of torn on whether or not she's a 'friend' of ours.>

"For now, please just explain to him that you don't have a head injury. This is a personal issue, nothing more," Tilly forced out, not really sure about her wording. "I really need to get going, now. I'm sorry to have been so cross throughout all of this, but quite a bit has been happening and I've failed to properly cope. Please forgive me," she said, bowing and then heading for the exit.

"Can't help people that don't want it," Reign mumbled lazily to Lumi. "Wait til after the next incident. Maybe then he'll listen. Someone might get hurt ... or worse, but that's usually what it takes to get through to some people ...." He reached for his glass, his head still buried beneath his other arm and gently swung it back and forth a few times. The lack of sound coming from it let him know it was empty. "Yeah," he sighed heavily, "that's about right," and set the glass back down.

Anna in a couple of swift motions, took Reign's glass and the bottle and poured herself drink. She set the bottle back down, drank the whole glass in one go, set the glass back down, stretched her arms and made for the door. "Going to go find a healer ... then I'll deal with this Bert situation."

"I could ... deal with Bert, if you'd rather get back to work on that new transport," Gabbie reluctantly offered. If she was out doing other things, at least she couldn't be roped into seeking duty, and besides, while he was hilariously uncivilized, Norbert was more than just a random associate now that he was working for Weyland.

"Fine, but try to keep the property damage to a minimum. Good luck with the rest of those home wreckers by the way," she said before leaving.

"Still need to tell Raquel what happened before I go after Bert," Gabbie mused. "I think it'd be better if they did leave before you guys got there. Once they're gone, Raquel will start thinking straight again, hopefully. That's better than trying to race in there, rescue her father, then somehow blow the place up on the way ou-" Gabbie suddenly stopped and winced in extreme irritation. "Dammit, I keep forgetting about that wrathoite ... thing you've got," she glared at Blake.

Study

"Yes of course, last night, probably before all of this began," Weyland replied irritably. He wasn't planning on sifting through a torrent of recent memories when she seemed willing to remind him, but it came back to him on its own as memories often did. "The battlestaff, was it? Your timing could be better, but I suppose after what happened, that could be said of any arrangement."

"So what are these other reasons you mentioned?" Steinn chimed in again, looking genuinely conversational and curious.

Complex

Samael soon left the room, a turn of events that, Cassandra noted, left her and Hayato alone. This might be a good time to set things in motion. The best way to do that would be to try to bridge the figurative gap between the two of them. She didn't exactly want to become any closer to Hayato than she already was--being in the same faction was difficult enough--but she would only have to deal with him until he was captured, so she felt she could last until then.

Kneeling down at Sardis' bedside ... it wasn't a bed really, more like a table, Hayato gritted his teeth and hid his face. "Why are you still here, Cassandra? Shouldn't you be looking for the bitch who did this to him?"

"Shouldn't you?" she countered coolly, "Look, I Think we both know she already got away and it's pointless to keep flipping every table in the area trying to track her down. He's right, we need to shore up the defenses here since we're not leaving yet ... for whatever reason."

"Wait ..." Hayato lifted his head from his arms and wiped his eyes. A moment later, he was standing in front of Cassandra, a little too close for comfort. "You mean he didn't tell you why we're staying here?"

"N-no," she leaned back slightly. "He doesn't tell me anything."

"What ...?" Hayato looked away, trying to make sense of the news. "You're the wrathdamn favorite around here, being an artificial and all ... why the hell wouldn't he keep you in the loop?"

"I haven't been here very long. Artificial or not, he's got no reason to explain everything to me. Besides, I work for Sardis specifically, so he's ... probably trying to sort that out. I think if Sardis dies, everyone under him will be transferred to Samael. Maybe then he'll trust me with the 'bigger schemes.' Until then ..."

Hayato scowled. "Tch, Sardis isn't going to die. I won't let that happen, and you're still not in the same boat as the rest of us. It should be obvious to you by now, but Samael hates Sardis and by extension everyone under him. Well, everyone save for you, of course. I ..." Hayato paused, his aggression coming back under control all of a sudden. "Honestly, I figured he was keeping us here until a second attack came, then leaving most of us to die along with Sardis while saving people he liked, like you and his girls who just so happen to be away right now. He probably is, but I figured you'd know about it, at least."

"I'm not going to let that happen," Cassandra assured him, a hint of anger in her eyes. This is going to be easier than I thought it was .... "If they come after us again, I'm fighting with the rest of you."

Hayato turned halfway from her and glanced back, a mix of confusion and frustration on his face. "We'll see whose side you're on soon enough, I guess. I'm starting to doubt you've thrown your lot in with Samael, but I still don't think you're in this for Sardis' sake, either. Like I said, though. We'll see."

"Yeah, we will," Cassandra nodded. That would do for now, she decided.

The Archives

"Well there's still the issue of getting an arm without having to kill anyone who asks questions," Shadrak noted, slightly worried that might be the end of negotiations right there, but still feeling it needed to be said.

"It isn't really an issue since we aren't talking about the same arm anymore," Nyx shook her head. "This new arm will just have to be created conventionally ... though I'm not inclined to do all of the work for a project that doesn't concern me in the long term." That last part had Shadrak worried, too. "In exchange for her experiences, I will create the base for the arm and give you the knowledge to construct the rest yourselves. The arm's usefulness will depend on how well Mushirah here can learn to manipulate it using her own magic."

"That doesn't seem like much for someone's entire life experience," Shadrak said, in as polite a protest as he could manage.

"She had to learn how to use the arms she began this life with, too, didn't she? And she had to eat and survive to make them grow ... didn't she?" Nyx glared, but that glare was gone a second later. "Why don't you try looking at the bigger picture for a change, Shadrak? The means to create a prosthetic perfectly suited to manipulation via magic is also the means to a great deal of other, similar tools. It's not a new idea, but it is an underdeveloped one. You might be 'tortured and killed' for this information as well at some point, honestly, but that will be your problem, not mine," she said with a chuckle. Suddenly she glanced off toward the entrance, "Does she honestly think I can't hear that drivel?" Nyx casting an unamused look beyond the door.

"Wha ...?" Shadrak was trying to take in what Nyx was saying when she suddenly hinted at something else. He looked over his shoulder and though he couldn't see Tia or Aneda, he had a bad feeling the former was mouthing off somewhere nearby. Dammit, Tia, you couldn't keep your mouth shut for five more minutes?! He was torn between ignoring the issue and hoping Nyx didn't actually kill her and going out there and getting her to be quiet himself, but from the sound of things, the damage had already been done.

Outer Chamber

Flying in a wide arc and passing all too close by Tia's head, the sword of a rune knight came back to its wielder, completing the whole trip in about one second. The rune knight began walking toward Tia and Aneda, the distorted voice of a man seeping through. "You were warned to choose your words wisely, were you not? Every word that has escaped your lips since has been ignorance and vitriol. Foolish child, it was not your life that was to be taken for such offense, but those things you espouse most," the knight leveled his sword ominously at the water mage. "If the price of becoming powerful is so high ... and if knowledge has more value to you than wisdom, then surrender your power, and abandon your pursuits. A sad creature such as you has need of none of these things. Let one more fitting usher in the coming age, the age of magic and technology, united as one."

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Dining Hall

"I agree that we should tell Raquel of this sooner rather than later, but unfortunately I'm not sure where Raquel went to train," Veronika said, matching Blake's frown. At least Sardis being crippled or dead makes things a bit easier.

Norbert seemed to be going off to handle Rizen. He was a little fussy about it, but that was Bert. At the mention of Robin being injured, Nadya looked over- Robin appeared fine and was being checked over anyway. She did notice that there was someone with an actual injury in the room however, and so walked over towards Anna.

"I'm guessin' ya don't want to keep the bullet as a souvenir?" she asked, hearing a request for a healer.

[spoiler=Ship]

After being healed, Liam's first instinct was to rush onto the ship- but he had been told by higher ranking Cloud Legion members to fall back and leave it to them. <"T-thank you,"> he responded simply, flying away from the ship with a prayer to Mercy that his injury would be the last.

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