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Hero, Don't Kill The Demon King! Chapter 2: What Once Was is Once More

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Marina soon joined them to calm Lucille down. The poor girl didn't seem to be very well. Bladen seemed to be doing well enough. Was he really alone the whole time? He must really not be bad at fighting if he fought off those weird constructs all on his own.

Lucille seemed to have calmed down a bit.. though by how much remains a question. Suddenly, Marina spoke up, and said that she saw the general, as well as Jade. Finally, they had found the others! ''Well, let's go then! I can't wait to get out of this creepy place!'' She followed the others to where the others were.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The sight Gabriela saw as she entered was an odd one. A lot of people were there, including quite a bit of people she had never laid eyes on before. Ren nodded his eyes towards Gabriela. She felt some relief that he was alright, but he must not have been very happy about her rash decision to chase after Bladen when he fell... that would be a conversation for later though. Among the new people was... a construct?! Gabriela felt her blood pressure rise up, but the others seemed to have it handled. It didn't seem to be hostile, but having one of those around didn't seem like the best idea to the siren, so it was just waiting and seeing what the construct was planning to do... or rather, what the king was planning to do with it.

Bladen immediately joined Asami, and Gabriela followed. She was pretty curious what he was up to. It seemed that he collected several... attachments? On closer inspection, they seemed more like limbs, and Bladen identified them as such too. But there was another interesting thing there. A tome? A light tome at that! He also had another book. Gabriela didn't recognize it as any magic she could use. Perhaps Asami knew more about it?

''Wow, Bladen! You found those spellbooks down here in these... crypts? That light tome is rather interesting, I wonder which tome it is?''

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As everyone regrouped, Seilan found himself somewhat unsettled. Something like this - this whole labyrinth had been hiding underneath that barren land, and if they hadn't uncovered it it would have remained there for who knows how long. Not to mention he was still somewhat worried about the possibility that the ceiling and walls might crumble at any moment, after the damage they'd taken; even if they were about to leave, it was difficult not to think about.

Lucille's sudden panic presented itself as a more pressing concern, something else to think about for the moment. Something that he could possibly act on, that was. He shifted around the rest of the group to investigate, soon finding Lucille hurriedly forming a spell, face to face with a woman he didn't know. She was clearly far from hostile, especially given that she was standing among their entire group, but she must have done something to prompt this kind of reaction...

"Ah... Lucille? It's good to see you're safe, but... what exactly is going on, here...?"

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Nashwa had raced behind Nessraya to the seeming center of the place, relaxing once she figured out things had been solved already. As much as you could call the absolute chaos that had occurred 'solving', anyway, getting a sigh from the succubus. She had no interest in poking into the affairs of the odd-looking monsters; the general could sort things out there as much as possible, her own wit dried enough to just get pissed off if she had to deal with their notions of past pride. Then was then, now is now.

For a moment, she slinked away next to an unharmed part of the wall to empty her gun and clean the barrel. The loads she used were very prone to fouling the barrel, so it was imperative to keep it clean to make sure the magic-reflective lining worked properly. If it didn't, either no projectile, or her gun could explode.

But Lucille started freaking out for some reason, and had the succubus not been on the floor as she was, she'd have went over to calm her down. Instead, Seilan got to her first, and she figured that would be enough. Her shotgun wasn't clean yet; getting that done before they'd be leaving was her current priority.


In the intervening moment, Ilvira had briefly introduced herself to the people surrounding her, though what would happen in the future was still an open question. For now, their threat was over, there was a small chance to relax, and her curiosity flared up again. General Tryxyss being there wasn't too much of a surprise with their King also present. Ayane had another oni beside her and was being spoken to by one of the women who had helped with the last construct, but with the most interesting folk to her being occupied by others, she figured she should discuss the matter of herself with Thesephine, had she the time for it. "Excuse me, Lady Thesephine? Would you have a moment to speak, or should we postpone discussion until we are aboveground?"

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As Nessraya approached yet again, interfering with her line of sight on the winged boy and her tome, Xetketh's eyestalks extended to look past Nessraya and keep all eight of her auxiliary eyes on the boy. Never one to hide her displeasure, her main eye settled into a slight scowl as she stared at the woman once again, narrowing as more and more disappointing details reached her ears. She dared not speak for Miz of her empire, her attachment had always been to Miz more so than the empire itself, but that history had nary a mention of her was almost as infuriating as it was insulting. "...Oh course that bitch Hecate would have tried to have my name scrubbed from history, but what were my apprentices doing letting their master's name go uncredited!? Useless, the lot of them..."

She huffed, folding her arms across her chest. "Only two centuries? What sort of dark age befell the world while we were sealed!? If the year you've spouted off is accurate, then we've been sealed for well near seven-hundred years! What have you lot done with the place!? The magic is so thin even someone who can absorb and convert it as well as I can't even manage a meagre flux!" Though she knew the woman in front of her couldn't have been responsible for what she was laying at her feet, the odds were that her ancestors were at least marginally involved and that was good enough for her.


Sollowy had draped herself over Thessy's shoulders now that the pair had stopped hugging each other in relief, idly floating behind the Demon King like a cape as she liked to do so often. The elf with the interesting sword, probably the least weird out of everyone that they'd found down here now that the fairy thought about it for more than a second, had approached hoping to speak with Thesephine. The fairy was content enough with her lover being safe and sound, so, as long as Ilvira didn't mind a second set of ears listening in on whatever she wanted to talk about, the fairy had no problem with her.


Ember had set herself in the complete opposite side of the room from the red devil and her henchman. As much as she wanted to put on a strong facade, the event of the devil's unsealing would likely haunt her into her nightmares, not to mention the waking hours. She shuddered a little just recalling it.


Tundyssa sighed as she leaned against one of the non-crumbling walls of the throne room. Only just now were they making it to the rest of the group with how slow Tenna had to go after wearing herself out using her magic. Why she couldn't have just used her staff was beyond the dragon. Might as well get this over with now. What did you want, Requiem? She mentally called out to the cursed blade, attempting to stir it from whatever it did outside of combat. You sounded different, towards the end there... What did you want?

Edited by Ursali

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Jade having called out to both Ren and Ayane had had the side effect of both of the cousins being more interested in their reunion than in answering the zombie, so she was glad that Nisha, another from that group had stopped to answer her. She smiled in response and then pulled her wagon up along a wall and put it in park. As the group began centrally gathering, and the threats diminishing, it would be more awkward than not to keep manuevering as she had been without running someone over or blocking friends off from other friends. There was the fact that they had entered a more ornate room with a throne as well; it didn't feel right to keep driving around. Too impolite.

Shortly after she had done so, she spotted Lavinia come into sight, on the heels of several of their winged warriors, and Jade's mood brightened considerably. It wasn't that she'd been afraid. Lavinia was a vampire, and as resilient as they came. She knew that, so she couldn't possibly have been worried. And yet, the difference between having her off somewhere, places unknown, compared with now, finally coming into view. Well, thankfully she didn't have to put her feelings into words, simply shambling over to reach out a hand.

After the initial moments of reunion, she turned to look around, and pondered aloud. "Well, should we go to check up on the Hero, the king, or her sister?"


Susan had to admit Cosette's initial reaction, her sister shrinking back in fear and anger, hurt her feelings more than she cared to show. She pursed her lips, tried to remind herself that it had been years, not to mention there was any number of reasons for wariness, some she knew about and others she could only speculate over. She'd just have to talk it out, and smooth things over.

"It's Big Sis Susan? I, uh, well sure I don't look quite the same as a few years back, but it shouldn't be that..." Okay, no, in light of the clear and increasing panic now, focusing on matters of appearance was unlikely to find any traction. Raising her palms forward in a gesture of surrender and harmlessness she took a step back as well, in the hopes that some additional space might bring some calm to the situation. "You were in a coma, after the experiment, the surgeries? The farmer and his wife I left you with wouldn't know all the details, but they should have at least told you something when you woke...?" The magi's own confusion was starting to manifest as well, crinkles forming on her brow as she tried to process the situation. "Look, at the time I couldn't... There was just too much... I wanted nothing but the best for you, I still do. Please don't be upset."

Edited by Balcerzak

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Marina looked over her shoulder as her name was called, seeing Agni. The man had spend a large part of his time with Taliyah after the events at Mixoco, so they had felt a bit distant. She still hadn't spoken with Taliyah since it all happened. Marina couldn't fault her; her march as Hero turned Vaia into fertile ground for Ithraxl's rebellion. She may not have been the one to end his life, but she was almost certainly at fault for placing the timer on him. She wondered if it was even right for her to worry about Taliyah, since she didn't see her among the gathered group. 

"Agni... It's, It's good to see that you're alright, too. Is Tali with you?"


The woman seemed confused at Lucille's sudden panic, but clearly she had no idea how confused Lucille was about this whole thing. Then, perhaps right on cue, Seilan arrived. Lucille didn't drop her spell, but turned to look at Seilan, "S-Seilan... You're alright." She glanced back at the woman, spell still leveled at her, "This woman shows up out of nowhere, hugs me without my say so, and then starts saying a bunch of crazy things." Lucille had half a mind to hug the mage, both because he was okay, and because she really could use a hug right about now. However, the confusion of who this woman was, and what she wanted with her was still more pressing.

Lucille then suddenly twitched as the words left the woman's mouth. 'Big Sis Susan.' She raised her hands, and took a step back after saying it. Perhaps it was because the woman saw Lucille's face just cloud over. She continued on, about an experiment, a coma, and a farmer and his wife. Perhaps the most damning thing in all of this was her last plea, 'Please don't be upset.' It was a little too late for that. 

Lucille took a deep breath. "...In my twenty years of life. I don't think I've heard a worse attempt at a lie. Let's start from the beginning. Firstly, I do have a sister, but she's my younger sister, and you most certainly aren't Soleanna. Believe me, I'd know if I had an older sister because none of what happened to me would have happened if I did. Which brings me to my second point, I don't know how you know about an experiment that took place in Coteon, but you best tell me that you're not involved with the Church, because if you are, I'm going to bury you in these ruins. I take it back. I take it back, I take it back, I take it back. Today is definitely a fucking fever dream. It has to be, there is no way that something this nonsensical can happen in real life. I bet I'm still in the wagons just passed out from the oppressive heat of the wastes." Lucille still had the wherewithal to point her spell into the ground. She knew she could accidently finish the spell if she wasn't paying attention, and with the insanity in front of her, she wasn't going to be. She'd already started listening to this nonsense, so she might as well finish it. She kept the spell at her fingertips; she didn't have to, but she wanted to make the threat as tangible as possible. "Literally. Nothing you said. Makes any sense. I spent. My entire life. In Coteon. With my parents, and my younger sister. Please. Please. Don't let a lie be your last words on this world. It is. Far too late for me to be anything, but upset. But I'm going to give you one more attempt. Maybe you can start with my name since you seem to know so much? And do take care; I will follow through on my words. So you better. Start. Making. Sense."

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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Asami had been about to answer Bladen about the tomes, but there was something of a commotion brewing. One of their newly freed bodies and Lucille seemed to be having some sort of disagreement. She sighed. "Gabriella would be better off with that light tome. As for the nearly destroyed one, miss eyeballs seems to have an idea. Ask her... As for you~" Asami leaned in, got on her toes, hugged Bladen tight and placed a big kiss on his lips, holding herself there for a moment. "I'm so glad you're alright... Stay that way, okay? I've got a bomb to diffuse..."

She let him go, brushing her tail against him as she went, and made her way towards the mess. "Lucille, turn the spell off. We've all had a bad day and you're not going to be able to kill anyone with your magic power. The lady is likely confusing you with someone she used to know... Miss," she looked over and addressed Susan, taking a deep breath. "It's been seven centuries since the empire of Ishtaria fell. You've been trapped here for just as long... I'm sorry."

Hopefully she'd take that... As well as anyone reasonably could.


Miz curled up against Xety further, the numbers making her mind spin. "Seven hundred years," she muttered, unable to fathom such a lapse in time. "Then everyone... They're all..." She clung tighter to Xety, a pained breath leaving her. "They're all dead, and for what...? Ugh..." She was exhausted. Too exhausted to even cry. Xety was all she had left. That meant more than it seemed; Xety was the person she trusted the most and the one she cared for the most. Still... She'd had other advisors. Other friends. Her people, her empire... All gone. Dust in time.

"I think I'm going to be sick..." She could feel the urge to vomit rising, but nothing was rising with it. "Or I would be, if I had anything in me... Ghh..."

She finally looked at Nessraya, eyes squinting like the visage of the succubus offended her. "We... We, will agree to work with you all, but only to the degree that we are provided passage, food, water, and... And an understanding of the world as it currently is. I'll give you no more or less than that. That's already beyond generous... Xety-- and you will continue to refer to her as Xetketh, is indeed the founder, originator, and creator of dark magic as I'm sure you know it. I cannot use the element myself, which is part of why I took such an interest in her. She was never as strong as I was, but she was powerful enough in her own right..." 

Miz uncoiled from her weak death grip slightly, moving to lean against Xety. "And I was a master of all things Anima... Until now. I don't know what you've all done to ruin the mana in the air, but it would normally take me twenty casts of Ragnarok to even approach empty... And then perhaps ten minutes for my magic to restore itself. That I'm still in this feeble state sets off too many alarms. Not to mention the quality of magic your lot posseses... Tell me, miss... I don't remember if you told me your name or what it was if you did. Miss, Changed, are you what passes for competent magic in these times? I suppose you reach a good learners level, but... Ghh. How the mighty have fallen..."


Lavinia had been keeping eyes on everyone, looking for Jade, trying to suppress her worries the more it took her to show up. When the zombie finally came into view and walked over, Lavinia didn't take the outstretched hand, her body rushing to grasp her into a full-body hug, lifting her off the ground, a hand on the back of her head. She finally set her back down, but held the hug, letting out a pained sigh. "I was so worried." She'd kept a strong face on for Marina's sake, but her sister and Jade missing had been eating away at the back of her mind the entire time. When the blast went off, she'd feared the worst. Now that she'd had a moment to actually see Bridgit, and now hold Jade, she could feel at ease again.

"I'm so, so glad that you're alright, Jade. What a mess... S-Sorry, sorry. Probably too tight..." Lavinia pulled back a mite and held the woman's hands now, smiling perhaps too wide, unable to contain the happiness that came with her relief. "It seems that Thesephine has managed to find us  way out of here, so... So we can out this all behind us soon. She's talking to the construct that runs this place, so... Someone else. I've got an eye on her and Sollowy is with her; she'll be alright. Marina probably, yes." 

One glance at their little hero saw her with Agni, so Lavinia held for a moment in pause. "Actually... Sister. Let's let them have a moment to reconnect. They've been distant for a while now... Let's see how Tundyssa is doing. Lead the way, darling." Were it night, Lavinia would've held the faintest blush.


Thesephine had finally been enjoying a quiet moment with Sollowy, as the two were approached by a woman that seemed to be an elf. She had an odd magic about her, not in a way that Thessy could quite describe. If anything, it felt close to what her mother's sword radiated... But this was a person, not a weapon. She gave Hecate a glance to make sure things weren't ready to go yet and then nodded to her, holding out a claw to shake.

"I don't mind... Though you'll be party to my better half listening in. I hope that's alright. I won't be having her leave my side after this horror." She brought her other claw up and placed it on Sollowy's hand, giving it a squeeze. This day had gone on long enough with them apart.


Tundyssa seemed occupied with her own issues and she'd let go of the princess right before they got into view of everyone else, so Tenna assumed she wanted some space. Surely she couldn't have been embarrassed to be holding the human so closely... Out of everyone else there, one individual was off on their own. A rather large dog woman... Tenna swallowed hard and with all of her courage, took steps to stand in front of her.

"Hhh... H, Hhhhhehhhh... He, Hello. I'm... Tennnn, nn... Tenn-nnna. Tenna. Uhm... are you injured... annn, nywhere...? I can help... I'm a h-healer. If you are... That is."


Mae kept pace with Taiyou, keeping about five steps behind her, just to give her enough space. She didn't want to add further stress to the priestess' day, not at the moment. When they were back above ground, traveling anew, she'd torment her just a little bit...

She gave Ayane a smile as Taiyou began speaking to her-- a genuine smile. There was no need for hostility with everything they'd gone through.


Hello, Tundyssa. Requiem's voice rang clear into the dragon's mind as she reached out to it, no longer dripping with a lust to be fed and sated. My name is Exander. My real name. This weapon, this Requiem, is a blade forged using my soul as the conduit. Forbidden magicks, locked away... I don't remember by who. I don't remember why. A lot has come back to me, but parts of my memories are still not whole. I was... I was fighting. Fighting a war, for... For someone. For some cause. I don't know what... Yet. There is a familiarity in your magic. A calming sensation. One that I know from long ago... I have been a great burden on you. I will request to burden you further. I need more energy to become whole again.

 

Edited by Mel the DM

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Bladen hadn't really been paying attention to the newcomers, with it being unclear who all was a prisoner and who was an ally, but when Asami pointed out who might be a good person to talk to about the strange tome, he turned to look and instinctively flinched. A creature with an unsettling number of eyes on stalks was staring at him with all of those eyes, peering around anyone in between him and them. "Ah, err, right." He'd been about to ask her to come with him, since she seemed to know them, but his thoughts were interrupted by a kiss, followed by a request to continue to stay safe before Asami darted off. "A-ah. You too. I was worried but I'm glad you're safe." 

She ran off and Bladen sighed, staring at the tomes in his hands. "Guess I better go do this. Might as well go talk to someone with too many eyes. Just about tracks with today. Here Gaby, take a look at this tome to see if you can use it. I certainly can't." He tossed the strange light tome to her and then sighed. Letting his wings grow out to full length, not entirely sure why except it would be easier to get away if they were full size to start with, he slowly made his way over to the two new strange women talking with the general. Holding up the tome, he politely asked, "Excuse me general, but I found a strange magical tome during my time in this maze and Asami told me that one of the strangers with you might know what it is?" Gods he just wanted to be out of this place. He would give anything to be somewhere peaceful, just holding Asami without having to worry about anything else, but that was a fantasy for the foreseeable future from what he could tell, so he would just have to deal with it.

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Ilvira nodded in turn and gave Thesephine a quick handshake, though what she was about to say was completely overshadowed by this new information, still holding the King's claw as if forgetting she'd just shook it. "Oh my, I must have been away from home for far too long if a momentous occasion such as that has slipped my knowledge! I mind not in the slightest, anyone you would call such is worthy of the same respect I have for you, my lady. If I may ask, who is she? How long have you been together? How did you--" The elf looked further down and realized she was doing what she was, like holding Thesephine hostage to her barrage of questions out of absentmindedness. She rapidly withdrew her hand, taking a step back with a quick bow. "I am terribly sorry, my lady, my interest is simply so very easily piqued, I sometimes cannot help but immediately ask all of the questions on my mind. Ahem."

Straightening herself out with a small sharp breath, she focused to attempt a reset of the conversation. "To return to my original topic, my name is Ilvira Athileris, should you have missed it amidst all the hassle, and I must thank you in the strongest possible terms for saving my life." To that, she gave a much deeper bow to her King, making certain her appreciation would not be in doubt.

Edited by JakezuGD

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That name was... quite a mouthful. Geez. At any rate, Susan didn't seem put off by the whole ordeal, which was a good thing. Before she could inquire further though, the woman mentioned something about a sister, and ran off to... Lucille? How strange. Following a little behind, the exchange that followed was painful to watch. It made little sense, and made even less when Asami chimed in that she had been sealed for... seven-hundred years? That... that was insane. Clearly Lucille wasn't her sister, but...

"For what it's worth, Lucille. I saw her face when she first saw you. I don't think she's lying to you, even if she might be mistaken. If Asami is right, maybe you're descended from her sister?" Nisha chimed in. This was... becoming even more of a mess, just when things had started to calm down...

_____________

"Ah, Marina. I am currently in the process of figuring that out." Nessraya answered, giving the Hero a nod as Agni approached, signaling she would be fine were she to attend to other business. Turning her head back to the ancient duo, Nessraya began to parse what they were saying. Seven-hundred years, the feats she had both witnessed, and that were claimed...

"The Golden Age..." Nessraya muttered, a pensive look on her face. If they were from the Golden Age... the height of it, even... everything they were saying made much more sense. Miz'Githon's dismissal of her ability, the shock of the way the world had changed... countries she had never heard of. It was all falling into place. And as it did so, Bladen approached, handing her a tome. Accepting it, she brushed her fingers along the cover, opening the pages, her face curling in surprise.

"Gespenst. Thank you Bladen, this is very important information. It all but confirms what I thought." Nessraya noted to the fallen with a grin, shaking her head in disbelief. Everything was falling into place. What a goddamn find.

"We packed extra supplies in the case our trip through the wastelands went awry... I can't see those conditions being an issue. Now then, where to begin, where to begin? Well, that you used the term dark age is appropriate... we refer to the time you two hail from as the Golden Age of magic. Many records were lost of that time... even the records of how the world fell are lost. All that remains is tales of incredible magi, spells that have been lost to time, their theory no longer complete enough to reconstruct... like this Gespenst tome. You were staring at it... I presume it belongs to... was written, by you." Nessraya didn't offer the book quite yet, but her face softened.

"Nessraya. Nessraya Tryxyss. Changed... must be an old term, for us. I must say I like it better than what the humans have stuck to us. Monsters... many have taken to it out of defiance, but it does leave a taste of barbarism, doesn't it? As for me... you heard what Bladen said, yes? I am General of Vaia's armies... not that the name would mean anything to you, but it should paint a picture of where my ability falls on a contemporary scale. Compared to what you were... well, it is almost embarrassing to say I am considered an elite mage, today. Those ragnaroks that you slung with abandon are another lost magic. The theory to cast it exists, but manifesting it... stealing a spell from my very hands is another undocumented technique in of itself. It was no jest when I said that a mage of your ability moving about the world unnoticed would be impossible." Nessraya concluded, still wracked with thought. Asami might know something, she always did... Ralsvelgr? Even he would not have been alive seven-hundred years ago, but it was close enough, perhaps he knew things he had refused to divulge prior... it was always tough to get the old dragon to speak on the past, but perhaps Xalrei could be an ace in the hole...

 

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"Uh huh-- Athileris?" Thesephine blinked rapidly, giving the woman another look over. "Huh?" No, there was no way! A member of that old ghost's family, all the way out here, without informing them? Something was up. "I've never see you at their estate before... And you certainly leave an impression, so I'm sure I would have. What's your relationship to the undead lady of the house?"


"You, are today's elite?" Miz was more astonished than disgusted, sighing. She eyed the humans that had approached for a single second, before glancing at the winged fellow. Instead of disappointment, her eyes narrowed, feeling something different from him. "I suppose this era isn't all let downs... It's weak, but you have an interesting magic about you, boy. I hope it develops well. You'll have a promising future if it does~" For once, she cracked a smile. Miz had always been rather taken with unique magicks that fell outside the standard triangle.

"What are you, anyway, Nessraya? I've managed to pin down most of rhe changed here, but I can't figure out what you are... You're simply disappointing. Your magic signature is close to my own, but you're so much weaker. I can't fathom what happened... Surely I wasn't a flash in the evolutionary pan for our kind. Yet... Hmmm." She sighed again, thinking about her points. "Golden Agen is it... So you don't have this anymore?"

Leaning forward, Miz rested her chin in her hand, her other hand lazily rising to meet the air. With one outstretched finger, she began to draw a symbol of magic. It was intricate, with several characters. Most of them for fire, the rest for big. Big, big, big. A sentence was scrawled underneath which Nessraya would be able to roughly read as 'end of days', and the sigil was complete. The casting insignia for Ragnarok sat floating in the air in front of Miz-- For a second. She let Nessraya get a look before she balled her hand into a fist and the symbol shattered. "Might not be able to cast it right now, but I remember how it works..."

She sighed again, still tired, bags starting to form under her eyes. She began to lean against Xety further, slowly hugging her arm. "As for taking control of your magic... That's child's play. You just need to know the formulae for the spell and presto. Once it's in the air it's all mana, anyway. It stops belonging to someone as soon as you let it go~ So either be stronger than your opponent, or don't cast unless you know it'll connect, else that'll happen every time. Right? ... Right...? Ugh, I should've figured... Your surprise means that isn't normal these days either, does it?" The mature voice coming out of Miz didn't fit the small frame that was emitting it, but it was tired all the same. 

"Well, whatever... Get us out of here, will you? I tire of remaining in this villain's lair."

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As Cosette began to rebut her, the facts didn't quite line up. It was surely possible that she had a younger sister. If the farmer and his wife had gone and expanded their family, it would simply be a matter of course, so that wasn't a strict contradiction. And it seemed she did remember the experiments--somewhat, at least, though her details of them were a little twisted. Susan cocked her head to the side and bit her lip, trying to figure out how to make her see the truth. Should she show her her scar, apologize for not having developed her powers quick enough to stop them from doing it again, for not being the big sister she deserved, the kind she so clearly imagined would have kept the younger ones safe?

No, there were too many people around, that would only draw even more questions than she was already inviting, and honestly none of that would be comfortable. She can at least answer this bit about the church though... And a small opportunity arose when the girl seemed like she was having a mental break, wishing everything were just a bad dream.

"I was too wrapped up in escaping the monastery with you to do much about the Order at the time, but going back and killing them was always part of the plan..." No headway on understanding here, this was met with another refusal, another threat, another ultimatum.

"Cosette, I'm so sorry. I don't know what else to say."

A pair of interlopers interrupted before anything actually turned violent though. A fox Changed, with a claim that made Susan's head spin. Seven hundred years? Susan brought her gloved hand to her forehead, squeezed it a bit and shook her head. That might... explain why nobody knew Isharia, and why the atmosphere didn't support magic very well. But that doesn't explain...? She sank to her knees as Nisha spoke up in her defense. An unexpected gesture, to be vouched for by someone she barely knew, but an appreciated one. And maybe her explanation was plausible?

"I... sweet Myrreenthia, there's no way to really know then. Whether you... she kept the last name of Green or took up that of the farmer's, either would have been lost when she married and then from who knows how many generations thereafter. Ha. Haha." A couple short nervous catches of laughter.

"What, what a cruel joke." She let her right hand fall to the floor leadenly, closed her eyes and tried not to cry. A rather successful effort, thanks to long years of practice.

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Lucille really, really just wanted to be left alone at this point. She was just tired of it, and just plain tired too. Even if her magic wasn't being sapped anymore, it had been sapped, it was hot before, and then she was thrown into this mess. Her patience was razor thin, and the woman opened her mouth one more time, mentioning a monastery, and an order. More importantly... she mentioned escaping with her. Then, Susan called her Cosette. Lucille tilted her head, and started to raise her hand, "My name is Lucille, not Cosette. I said to start making se--" Then her name was called, again, by someone she didn't quite recognize by voice. She sure recognized her once she turned to look, it was the fox woman that she'd seen with the King, and hung around with the crow. She was generally very hard to miss because of her appearance, and her appearance. Lucille didn't like the immediate dismissal of her magical capabilities--even if she was definitely right that she wasn't going to be able to kill anyone with her level of magic, and especially not now--but her focus now was on what she came to say. 

"...Seven centuries? T-t-this woman was sealed here? For seven centuries?" There was also a mention of "Ishtaria". Was that the place where they were now? Lucille had never heard of Ishtaria. If this place was constructed back then, surely some record of it would exist. Lucille wanted nothing to do with the place, but she could admit that it was a magisterial place. One that she wouldn't have minded visiting if she hadn't needed to weather such worry to do so. Though, there was still one glaring issue, "...If, If she's been here for seven centuries then why on--" Interrupted yet again, by a voice she sort of recognized. This time it was Nisha, and her words finally made the questioning woman slump to her knees. It also made Lucille's spell finally dissipate into the air. "...Descendant of her sister?" Lucille looked at the crumpled woman. She half wanted to just leave things be, and just find somewhere to relax before they made their way out of this place. Lucille could only sigh, as she thought about the possibility. She couldn't just leave it there without explaining what she could. 

"...No, my last name is, Altair." Lucille looked around, hoping that no one here would recognize that name, and not ask her any questions. "My mother's last name was Laranoa, and I don't recognize any mention of the name Green... but..." Lucille looked closely at the woman finally; Lucille was still exasperated, and annoyed, but hearing what may have happened to Susan, and seeing her reaction now... Lucille flinched for a moment. The brown haired woman shared similarities with her mother, but she was almost a dead ringer for her mother's sister, one of the aunts that Lucille had to watch die in their attempt to protect her. "...I can't really deny that you do look like... someone I used to know, and... my mom sort of. I don't know much about... her side of the family, aside from her brother and sister. So..." 

Edited by Mercenary on the Winds

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Okay, the lifting hug was unexpected, prompting a few peals of joyous laughter. "Lavinia, love, I'm here. We're both here, safe, together." Jade squeezed back as soon as she was set down on the ground. At her partner's apology, she snickered a bit and countered. "You know it would take more than that to hurt me, it's fine." Then she listened to the account of current affairs and nodded.

After a brief bit of back and forth with herself, the vampire had decided the pair of them should check in with Xalrei--with Tundyssa, Jade had to correct mentally the old habit. A smile on her face, she walked over to where the dragonewt had taken up--leaning against a wall, alone--leading Lavinia along behind her. "All by yourself, huh? You look well enough, at least, no real problems in whatever corner of the maze you landed in?"

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The contrast between the old Requiem and the new Requiem, Exander as it claimed, was as night to day. Gone was ever-present lust for violence from the sword and in it's place was a polite, as polite as an amnesiac sentient sword could be, being requesting to continue to be used. I, see. Should I call you Exander then? The contrast between now and a few minutes ago was still striking, tripping the dragon up somewhat. I mean, you were my mother's sword from what I was told. Maybe that's why I'm familiar. And, I will continue to use you. I'm still in need of your power.

Tundyssa nearly jumped from the sudden voice addressing her, too engrossed with her mental conversation with her sentient weapon. She quickly regained her composure and turned to the zombie and vampire pair. "N, Not entirely alone. If you count Requiem as company." That reminded her, the blade was still technically out on loan from Jade, even if it was rightfully the royal family's and, by extension, hers. "Not really... There were those things," she pointed at one of the non-destroyed constructs, "that wouldn't die for a bit, but Requiem took care of them permanently. We ran into a weird human but she out paced us because of Tenebria. Probably around here somewhere. Something similar happen to you too, probably?"


Ember almost yelped in surprise as Tenna approached her, the Helhound's eyes shooting open to see who had approached her; she had been too deep in her own thoughts to notice the footsteps approaching her. It was one of the few humans in the group; the one that seemed pretty afraid of monsters most of the time. Well, at least she was trying to get out of her shell. Ember couldn't fault her for that. "H, Healing? No I'm fine. I don't even think I fought anything today... I should be asking if you're okay with how you're stuttering."


Sollowy blinked as a flurry of questions erupted from the elf as soon as the woman heard that Thesephine had found a partner in her; though it was short lived as the elf realized what she was doing and stepped back to bow and apologize. "It's no problem at all," she reassured the woman. "It's nice to have someone be so excited about our relationship for once~" It was a mood boost she certainly hadn't expected to receive after the day had gone so poorly, especially not down in some forgotten prison. Her name did sound vaguely familiar, like she'd heard it before, but she just couldn't place it; even with Thesephine's questioning. She'd just wait for Ilvira's response to see if that jogged her memory any.


One of Xetketh's stalks wrapped itself around Miz as she leaned against her and hugged her arm, now free to roam as they pleased now that the tome was within sight. Though this Nessraya grabbed it from the boy before she could, going so far as to open it as though it was hers. She fought against her urge to try and tear it out of the woman's hands, both out of fear that the book would not survive the attempt and the sudden necessity to cooperate with these people after Miz had agreed to so do. Still, with how drained she felt, her control over her stalks was far from it's finest and a few of them glared at the tome that was hers held in another's hands. "It's both," she stated with a restrained annoyance, "and I would like my one remaining possession to be returned to me."

She visibly baulked at the information Nessraya laid at their feet. An advanced beginner such as her was considered elite? Was this the fate that awaited them should they try to reclaim their powers? Was this the capstone of the current age? If she wasn't so disappointed she would've been enraged; though more information did eventually trigger her temper. "...And you let the humans call our kind Monsters? When did this happen? What happened to give those fools enough confidence to stand in your presence, let alone sling such ugly terms at our kind without fearing retribution? If a human tried to call a Changed such in the past, I can promise that they learned their lesson swiftly."

Edited by Ursali

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"Mm?" Oh, that would have to be explained. The King couldn't be expected to know every little facet of the governing families, after all, especially when Ilvira didn't belong to Syriphe's side of hers. "My relation to Lady Syriphe is somewhat distant," she began, righting herself, though her rather large height difference to Thesephine made her feel like she should lower herself somehow. Perhaps she wouldn't be held in contempt for that for now. "I am still of the same family, but my branch of it lives in Thetford. Many of us fought and died against Jackson's armies, which left us few in number and largely in obscurity by the time of your coronation, though perhaps General Nessraya would know of us? Sir Suryd certainly would, albeit I have not had the pleasure of meeting him in person." If nothing else, her smile returned from how happy the gathlain was about someone showing interest.


Nashwa hadn't fired many shots, this clean taking far less time than usual thanks to that. Now, the question was whether to help Seilan, the fox and the wraith in calming down that situation or do something else, but things looked to be winding down there. Maybe she should talk with the beastfolk who had been in the same section of the ruin with her. They hadn't spoken yet, and she might be able to figure out how exactly things went down with those massive explosions-- Wait. Amera isn't here, is she? She must be on a different floor... Damn it. I hope she's fine. A quick scan around later, despite the slight unease the missing cat gave her, Nashwa strolled over to the dark beastfolk and the human already with her, gun on her back just to be safe. "Hey. You both doing alright?"

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Taiyou's approach was a welcome one, though Mae at first was not...until she noticed the real smile on his face. No malicious intent as far as Ayane could tell, she might be really good at hiding it though. Still, there was no reason to be hostile now. "I did take quite a blow from one, yes. But it's mostly healed by now...really the only thing wounded is my pride." She looked aside with a chuckle. "But as long as everyone is safe and sound then I have no reason to complain."

Ren quietly stood aside, just trying to settle his own thoughts.

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Seilan stood there for a moment, processing the conversation as it unfolded; much as he wanted to say something, it seemed Asami had already injected the necessary bit of knowledge into the conversation to put things together. The woman, currently sunk to her knees, had been sealed away here for hundreds of years... and was also possibly some distant relation of Lucille's, if Nisha's guess was correct. There might have been some small resemblances between the two... coincidences, or not? He wasn't sure; perhaps he was making himself see things where they weren't, or doubting himself where there was...

"Hmm... well, if that's true, your disorientation is fairly understandable. Let's see about getting you out of here, and then perhaps you can get your bearings and... look into what might have come to pass."

He walked over, next to Lucille, lowering his voice so only she could hear. "Do you think it might be true...?"

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"No, I'm afraid I know little of Taliyah's whereabouts as of right now. Some of the others spoke of the upper floors, so that's where I assume she, and most others, are. We'll have to take a look on the way." While Agni was clearly concerned about the lizard, there was too much to think now. She was still priority, but his conciousness wrestled to keep focus on the current situarion, mayhaps evident in his mood.

"Have to believe danger has passed, at least for now. The others should be safe... and I pray the wagons need little fixing." Shaking his head, Agni tried to put his mind off the logistic concerns, "As for the characters we met in here, well... you can see for yourself. What do you make of them, Marina?"


"Ah... well, I'm sure pride can be healed, though not with enchantments." With a soft smile, Taiyou nodded in response to Ayane's words. "At first I wondered if this place had some connection to Ouka's plans, but it seems quite unrelated... I didn't expect there to me this much going on across the sea, to be honest. I can't help but wonder what purpose Ouka sees in coming here." It seemed like a few things were still to be unearthed, from Taiyou's point of view.


Figuring it to be the best use of his scouting abilities. Fyl had left the room and flown towards the holes in the ceiling, looking to gather the rest of the group.

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"Mmm, I suppose it counts for you, Tundyssa, though I wouldn't have counted it for me," Jade kept an upbeat and joking manner as the dragon relayed how her primary company had been the cursed sword that had made its curious journey from the demon king's family, through unknown numbers of hands until reaching the merchant's, and then back again to a royal member. "I'm surprised to hear it worked against the golems, to be honest. I thought it hungered life force, and that's why I never had much luck with it until I lent it out..." A shrug, a glance to Lavinia for her thoughts, and then the zombie considered the final matter raised.

"No strange humans in our sector, but I'd say our find outranked yours, whoever she was. So you're not exactly wrong there. We were lucky she aimed her spell away from us," Jade's voice lowered in contemplation and she continued. "I may be hardier than most, but looking at the devastation it caused I wouldn't have wanted to be in its path. Magic is rather outside my wheelhouse, so I left her to the General to figure out. Focus on the things I can do instead, you know?"

The Saint's name coming from Xalrei's--Tundyssa's lips--was a surprise ending there as well. Hadn't she just said she'd been alone? Jade found herself looking around for where the tall, cowardly-seeming woman had ended up. She hadn't really much in the way of personal interactions, an inescapable consequence as the ragtag militia group had continued to expand, often in completely unexpected ways. Perhaps a conversation was coming due...


Altair meant nothing to Susan, and of course neither did Laranoa nor anything else this Lucille was saying. Enough was said to know she was not Cosette, but as far as what else any of it went to prove...

And then something startling and shocking was said, causing Susan to freeze. She, Susan, looked like Lucille's mother, like someone else as well? But that, that would be impossible? Certainly they were sisters, but they weren't that kind of sisters. They all had different colors for names, they all had shown up at various times, they all...

But the monks were proven liars. What if they also...

Susan's skull pounded, her head throbbed, it hurt to think. And to make matters worse, here came the sibilant voices she knew too well, adding to the present confusion. Truth be damned we can alwayssss jussst, make her family. A nudge of Desssire and--

Shut up! Susan found herself mouthing the words to add force to her mental refutation. Initial outburst aside, she managed to regain enough presence to keep the next sentences to just pure thought. Family is family. It's not something you can fake!

Sssaysss the one who Deceived the farmer, the other sneering voice teased.

Enough! Sleep! These words again were silently mouthed, then Susan clasped her hands in front of her, took a deep breath, held it, and set about forcing the snakes to slumber. There was enough on her plate without them butting in, and active combat was over. She needed time alone, to think, to process, to decide.

Susan made to stand, not quite sure where she planned to go, but certain she couldn't just stay slumped on the ground, that she had to move. But her legs betrayed her and she only managed a little lift before stumbling, barely saving herself from planting her face into the hard tiles of the floor by putting her good arm out in front of her and bracing against it.

"Forgive me, I didn't mean to... I just... I should, I need some..." Offering scarcely coherent words, Susan raised her right arm absent any conscious thought, perhaps seeking aid from someone as she geared up for another go at standing. Final destination was still unsure, but one step at a time. Susan's harness was strong enough that even if the prosthetic were gripped hard and pulled by someone, it would stay attached. But anyone taking hold would be able to tell immediately, by both temperature and firmness, that there was not living flesh beneath her glove.

Edited by Balcerzak

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After asking about the tome, and Asami agreeing that Gabriela would be the best fit for it, Bladen tossed it to Gabriela. She only nearly stopped it from leaving an imprint on her baby-doll face. After that, he ran off to talk to the general who seemed to be talking to some others Gabriela didn't really recognize. Well, it was a little bit rude that he just left like that. He couldn't even properly hand the tome to her! ''Oh well.'' the siren digressed. ''A gift is a gift. I have never held magic that hit quite the same level as this!'' Only after the words had left her mouth had she realized she was speaking a bit... loudly. Well, enthusiasm is never a negative trait, or at least Gabby holds that opinion. 

It was around then that Gabriela noticed something in her head.. a pounding headache. Adrenaline can really go a long way into obscuring everyday things like headaches. It had been a long day. A VERY long day in fact. And she hadn't been able to spend time with the people she wanted to spend time with, like Ren. It was all because of these ruins. But that is kind of what she signed up for when volunteering to keep going. And now that they had left Vaia, there was little going back. Honestly, having someone around right now to talk to was probably a good thing, but she had no energy to talk at all. Instead, she was just going to wait until the others were ready to leave. Perhaps she could introduce herself to some of the newcomers later, at camp or something.

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"I am a succubus. You do appear to be similar in a few ways, so I suppose we are likely descended of your kind, though how near a branch it is, I could not say." Nessraya replied, watching as Miz drew the symbol in the air.

"Mmm, not to completion, no. Modern recreations are always missing something." Nessraya answered, a frown flashing across her face as the symbol faded. The way that she spoke of redirecting spells really made it seem so... simple.

"Another lost technique, then. Though most mages require tomes to act as a catalyst spells, now... so I can understand how a technique that requires more intimate knowledge of their working would have fell out of use. Ugh... what has befallen the world, that all of this has been lost? Even if not the how, that they were possible at all should have survived..." "Nessraya murmured, rubbing her temple in frustration. Shaking her head with a sigh, she closed the book that she still held, and offered it to Xetketh. If nothing else, the enigmatic gazer seemed beholden to the word of Miz'Githon, so she shouldn't be a threat at present.

"Yes, well the Church of Coteon has been feeding the drivel that we are abominations to be purged for generations. Not all humans subscribe to that, but the terminology stuck. The scars of war don't heal so easily." Nessraya continued shaking her head, not having it in her to recount the history of war between humans and their kind while the duo had been sealed.

"As for getting us out of here, that is being worked on by my Liege."

___________

Well, at least things had been de-escalated but... yikes. What a mess. Susan was continuing to act... strange, but if she had really been down here that long, it made sense that her mannerisms would be different from what they were used to. As she made a gesture that seemed to ask for a hand up, Nisha took her arm. It seemed in releasing her, she was the one closest to the strange mage now, for good or ill. Her hand felt a little... off, but it wasn't Nisha's question to ask.

 

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"Upper floors?" Marina looked straight up, trying to glean anything from the action. But seeing as she couldn't really see anything aside from the ceiling above, she sighed and shook her head. "None of any of this makes sense." Marina couldn't keep her hands from tensing. She understood why; she was worried about Taliyah, and the others, but there was something different about it when Taliyah was involved. Her actions had already forced the group to deprive Tali of her father, if anything happened to her now... No, stop that. She'll be fine, and you'll just have to make sure of that-- Marina paused. Were those her own words? What exactly could she do to protect Taliyah after all of this? 

Marina shook her head again. Finally focusing on Agni's last question; the myriad newcomers such as the two that Nessraya was speaking with. "I... don't really know. Even with everything that seems to be coming out." The magical speak was going over Marina's head, but the understanding of titles, and such, seemed to mean that the two huddled together were some ancient royalty or something. "There's something... about them, and this place that worries me. I can't place it, or understand why." 


The day just seemed content to throw curveball, after curveball. Seilan's question was both appreciated, and seemingly impossible to answer. "I... don't think there's way to answer that." Lucille quickly answered. Then almost immediately, she hugged Seilan pulling herself in tightly. "S-sorry, if this is, s-sudden, but I just, h-h-have to..." She quieted herself, she felt like she was embarrassing herself enough already with this, no need to stumble over her words as well. Finally, just a moment to relax after all of nonsense. Well, not quite. Lucille heard Susan stumble, and pulled herself away just long enough to see Susan request a hand. Lucille noticed that she wore a glove, not unlike the one covering her own scorched arm. It didn't seem like anyone else was taking action, so... it appeared to fall to her. 

Begrudgingly, she let go of Seilan for a moment, and reached out for Susan's hand with her own gloved hand whilst planting herself to the best of her ability. The moment their hands touched, Lucille tensed, partially out of not being used to feeling anything with her gloved arm, and mostly out of realizing that the arm she was holding wasn't normal. The soft, warm feeling of flesh was not present, replaced by a an unnerving coolness, and a firmness that felt like she was grasping the hilt of a sword, or perhaps the handle of a broom. Lucille almost immediately let go, but willed herself to hold on. She didn't like the feeling one bit, and the fact that it was her hand, the same hand that Lucille had gloved as well. Lucille was unsure if Susan could feel her hand shiver. Would... that have been what happened to my hand? If, if Serena... Didn't... No, no! Focus. It's fine now. There's nothing... nothing... 

It took several moments for Lucille to remember that hand was holding Susan's, and that she had extended her hand to help her up, or at least try. "Ah... S-s-sorry about that." Lucille readied herself, ready to help Susan off the floor so she could immediately release her hand afterwards. At the very, very least, she could always just cling to Seilan for the remainder of these events. Other things could wait until later at this point. 

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"How I'm stuttering? Oh, that's... well... I just have a vocal p-problem." The large dog woman seemed harmless, at least. About as harmless as Tundyssa, but... That was shockingly harmless, all things considered. "It's something I'm trying to get over... Uhm... If you're sure you don't need annn, ny help, that's fine. I just... Well, you were all off on your own. I didn't want to leave you alone... Especially after all we've gone through today. It's been... It's been quite shocking, and you just joined the group, right? It's Ember, yes? I've been making it a job to remember the nnn-nn... Names, of everyone in the group." Hopefully her approach would be taken well. Tenna was sweating on the inside, heart racing. She could snap me like a twig if she really tried...

Suddenly, Nashwa. Tenebria squeaked as she approached and spoke, that sweat slowly becoming external. "Uh, uhhh, h-hello! I'm... I'm okay. Physically. Miss, Ember seems f-fine too... She said she didn't nnnnnnnnnnnnnn... need healing, at the least. Are you alright as w-well, Nnn, N-Nnnash, wa?"


"Er, okay. Thetford. Yeah... Suryd would definitely know, then. Okay, but, what are you doing all the way in the wastes? Someone from an influential Vaian family should be... In Vaia. I don't understand how you could've made it all this way solo, either... Or even why you tried. Unless you lost it all in the fall, I don't see any travelling supplies. Too curious. Tell me everything, so long as we're waiting for Hecate to take us out." Thesephine couldn't make heads or tails of today. They'd survived this ordeal, ran into ancient powers, some of which seemed rather neutered compared to the standard she'd been expecting. Then there was this woman, this Ilvira. What she was doing here was an infinite mystery, but it was a good thing they'd manage to rescue an individual of that house, at the least... Too confusing... She let her head lean back some, nuzzling up against Sollowy for comfort. They hadn't even reached Hwein yet for their main headache of finding and speaking with Yggdrasil.


"Yes, that blast was quite alarming... I'm just glad it seems to have missed everyone. Whoever that red woman is, she must have been aiming rather haphazardly..." Lavinia was unaware that her target had been Hecate this entire time, the enigmatic doll that Thesephine was trusting to lead them out of here. She didn't know what to make of any of these people... Simply pleased that they all seemed incapacitated enough to not be threats, anymore. "As for Requiem functioning on these... 'dolls'... They must have been created by some extension of someone's life force. If we make an assumption that this Hecate runs the place, she likely designed them, imparting a part of her mana to let them function. It's not quite 'life', in the sense that Requiem seems tow wish for, but it would still be a powerful source to absorb... And if it's absorbing that source, instead of attempting to destroy it, it's likely stopping whatever engine kept them moving. This is all supposition, anyway. Nessraya would have a better understanding of giving inanimate objects a sort of life than I would. Just trying to put two and two together from all the numbers we've come upon today..."

Lavinia sighed, though the mention of Tenebria hadn't missed her ears, either. "Quite surprising to hear you on a first name basis with the Princess of a country so ready to destroy us... Perhaps that feeble nature of hers isn't an act, and she's quite the gentle coward? I suppose that's better than hiding a spy in our midst... If her behaviour and attitude are true, then your getting along with her is a good thing, in the end. Should we rout the royal family, and she lives, having her takeover the country to lead while being in fond relations with you would help warm things between countries... So, stay friends, if you can."


Asami wasn't much for the painful conversation going on. All this talk of sisters left a bitter taste in her mouth... It was far too relatable for completely different reasons. She sighed. At least things seemed to be winding down to a favorable conclusion; Lucille wasn't going to try and fail to singe anyone today. "Good, good that you're all sorted. Mostly... I'm going to go and see about us leaving and getting some fresh air. Stick to each other and..." Asami sighed once more, finally reaching a hand over and petting Lucille's hair, then another to Susan, feeling an annoying blush come across her face. "Just be glad you're both alive and well. If Lucille is some long down the line descendant of the person you knew, then rejoice. You've long lost family. If not... Then you're both practitioners of magic. You can bond over that much, surely. Anyway," she took herself and her blush away from them both, finding Bladen and latching onto his arm, staring down at the magical crew that Nessraya was discussing things with.

"Just let me be here for a moment," she muttered up at him, the mix of a pout and disappointment fresh on her face. Why did it have to be sisters... At least Yui is here, but... but... Why did this have to happen? Why couldn't she have just stayed sealed? This isn't fair... We were all so happy, and then...


"Well. I refuse to bend to such a moniker. You will refer to me by Miz'Githon and refer to me in conversation as a Changed. Monsters are feral beasts meant for slaughter, not the intelligent, magically inclined, evolved species we are. Hmph." Some church had weaseled its way into the works while they'd been sealed, had it? She shook her head. "Pfeh, religion... Would that Ilrios and Hess were here now to see what became of their suggestions. 'Start an organization based on worship, it'll unite the humans and give them something to work towards, unity is great!'. Yeah, sure. When it isn't causing wars, idiot. I bet he went and died over the centuries as well; what a fool."

She sighed and closed her eyes. This was exhausting. "If you wish it, miss Succubus, I suppose, since it would be in my best interests to begin my studies anew... I wouldn't mind, attempting to teach what I can onto you. So long as you do not complain about my way of speaking, my attitude, or how I treat you... Keep in mind that, were it not for the treachery of that damned doll, you would all be licking my boots. Your false superiority over me at the moment is a trick of time and a mistake I will never let repeat. If we've a deal on that, then teaching you how to control the magicks of others should be simple... Spells lost to time... Mmmm, that's going to be a little... Tougher."

Magic with a conduit was something easily grasped. So long as the wielder had enough magical power and general aptitude, they could cast a spell. Ragnarok could not be inscribed onto a conduit. It had too many moving parts, symbols, lines of magical 'coding'. It would take an entire tome to hold a single spell, with a chance of failure. "Well... I'll figure it out. Probably. I'm a genius, after all~"

Edited by Mel the DM

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Apparently her unconscious actions had laid an invitation, one not fully realized by Susan until the touch of hands on her body somewhat startlingly woke her to the realization. She could only guess at the exact sequence of events that had led two people trying to help, one of them taking her "offered" hand, and the other, presumably having aimed to do the same ending up shifting to a different supporting role, helping to stabilize with a hand on the opposite shoulder and a bit of a boost from below the armpit. A little embarrassed, but there was nothing to be done but lean into the help and push herself back to her feet, then thank each of the girls in turn, shaking the one's hand after the other released hers upon her having gained her feet.

"Ah, um, thanks..."

The fox Changed took her moment to interject here as well, which was also embarrassing. Susan certainly hadn't been expecting to have her hair stroked or her head pat or anything, and honestly was feeling rather overwhelmed and done with the whole situation. Her 'sister' was no doubt in the same boat.

"I should, uh, let you get back to your boyfriend now... and I'm gonna need some time to think about all this. But, later, when I'm ready... expect another visit from me, and umm... well, whatever happens, you know," it ended with a bit of a trailing ramble that probably made no sense, but Susan had surely overstayed her welcome, so she turned to leave, and without really knowing why grabbed Nisha's hand again in the process and pulled her along after her as well. Maybe it was a fear of being left behind, the rest of the group somehow receiving Hecate's blessing, mystically departing this sunken tomb of a tower, and she didn't want to be passed over, wouldn't be with the proper company? Or maybe it was just nervous energy at work, with no higher purpose? The urge not to be alone in a time when she desperately wanted to be was paradoxical, but not unreasonable. And who else was there for her, really?

Enough distance later, and a bit of wall to lean against found and engaged, Susan loudly sighed and covered her face with both hands. What was the next step here?

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