2017-12-16: A Storm of Wind and Earth

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===============================<* Dazil City *>===============================

Located a few miles from the southern edge of the Great Aveh Desert, Dazil serves as the staging point for expeditions and travels deeper into the heart of the continent. Wells dug deep intot he earth with the assistance of the Ethos still produce water, and so the small city remains viable despite the ongoing desertification.

With its proximity to the excavation sites dotting the Great AVeh Desert, Dazil attracts a great deal of attention from Etones, Drifters, and anyone else interested in uncovering ARMs. Aveh's military keeps a close eye on the goings-on in Dazil, and stands ready to confiscate ancient weapons or Gears uncovered by fortune-seekers...although with the battle lines ever shifting, those forces are occasionally called away for a few precious hours.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-u3RUAeYWM
DC: Lunata Croze switches forms to Winged Gear Rephaim!
DC: Shalune Amira switches forms to Metal Gear -Big Shal-!
DC: You switch forms to CK-01 Jaeger!
DC: Jacqueline Barber switches forms to CK-01 Jaeger!
DC: Loren Voss switches forms to Gebler Gear Schiehallion!
A Rumor...

        Word has spread like wildfire across the deserts and plains of West Ignas: there's a deeply strange and very BIG storm forming over Dazil City. Even if you haven't heard about it from one of the evacuating citizens, you may have seen the green-ish, churning skies slowly spiral over the mining town as thunder rumbles, lightning flashes, and winds howl like the damned. Those with enough meteorological experience might ID it as an incoming tornado--and an enormous one, from the looks of it. It hasn't hit ground yet, but it's certain it'll be a matter of time, and that the devastation to the town will be unprecedented.
        
        Even more interesting of a certain type is that supposedly, one of the excavators had just dug up an enormous Statue of one of the Guardians maybe an hour or two before the storm began to form--and that a single blue-painted Gear, of Gebler make for those able to recognize its description, was seen heading towards ground zero as all the civilians were escaping...

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

        In terms of greenery, there's not much around Dazil City. As close as it is to the Aveh-Kislev border and the war front besides, it's actually pretty lucky that it's mostly left alone to excavate all the ores, minerals, and various buried treasures it does. But it also means that it's a potential target for those who want to not so much share in its bounty as claim it all for their own--especially when a pair of Seraphim happen to wander into town right as excavators have uncovered the Statue of Grudiev, Guardian of Earth... It only fits that it was buried underground in a town where the encroaching desert has wiped away what was once fertile land. It's yet another testament to the waning of their power. And if this Statue is destroyed, it will wane further still.
        
        At least whatever's up with this strange incomeing storm, it's taking its sweet time to actually form. Although the sickly green clouds above churn in a spiral pattern as thunder rumbles, lightning flashes, and the winds pick up with increasing intensity, it's been a few hours since they started to do so--enough time for the old-timers of Dazil to recognize the sign and convince everyone to get the hell out. After all, the spiraling clouds are so wide across that they can be seen from literally miles away. Anyone who happens to stop and question one of the evacuating Dazilians will be told all about it--as well as sightings some have made of a single blue Gear, of Gebler make for those who recognize such things, heading towards ground zero...
        
        "Must be Aveh sending a scout to check out this tornado," some postulate. "Better them than me, I say!"
        
        The winds are ferocious indeed for anyone who heads into town. They've already begun to tear away at anything that isn't nailed down, and considering the tornado has not yet properly begun to form, that's bad news for everything, including the stuff that *is* nailed down. True to the rumors, those who hurry into town for the Statue, whether to break or seal it, will see a blue Gebler Gear breaking what remains of the earth around it. Judging by a nearby truck and lots and lots of chains, it seems like the idea is that it'll unearth it the rest of the way, then carry it off, presumably before the storm touches down. But seriously? A single Gear, trying to do all that? Who is the pilot kidding? Unless there's way more in the wings somewhere--or they have an EXTREMELY good support system... but it's not responding to any incoming hails, either.
        
        Within Sundowner, Ragnell sits at the control seat, while Nimue possesses the Gear proper, it being her vessel and all. She's gotten somewhat more used to the weapons systems, but in the end, it really will be easier to channel her elemental powers and act like the Gear's using electricity, she figures. She checks the Gear's visuals every so often to check for incoming Drifters, but otherwise helps Nimue with the present task... until the last of the rubble is gone. Grudiev, or the stone representation thereof, rears proudly into the air.
        
        "That'll do it," she remarks. "Be a damn shame if no one shows up, considerin' we're doin' this for the humans. What's say we start uppin' the ante an' droppin' the tornado?" She grins. It's not a nice expression. "Nothin' Drifters love than some death-defyin' danger."

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        In the midst of this strange and furious storm, there are a pair of irisoid eyes flashing emerald -- along with the eruption of several tendrils that form into wings as is the wont of the Rephaim when it is near the source of the lifeblood it runs on: the Leylines. It seems key and characteristic that this is no mere rumour -- there must be a Statue here... the last time this happened to the Gear, it was at the Guardian Temple itself. It may not be as strong this time, but...

        "I've reached the position, Captain Maitreya!" Lunata comms to her (typically) commanding officer aboard the Yggdrasil, though she knows that others are coming along from the Caravan Kinship. She's trying to do this by the books this time, after what happened in the Gear...

        She shivers, as she gazes upon the orb in the centre of her dashboard.

        She's never warm in her Gear, the temperature of the Rephaim's cockpit always set at a morgue-like chill... but it feels oddly comfortable to her, moreso than the desert or even in a temperate place like Adlehyde. It's bothersome.

        "I don't see... wait--" A pause, as she's suddenly alerted by a very familiar sound:

        ( SFX: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgtV_byet7s )

        She stares towards her radar. "Is that a... Gebler Gear?" she murmurs as she tries to cross-check with the known IFFs and images the Captain's given her.

        She hesitates, and presses her comms button as she announces, "Attention to the blue Gear! This is Lunata from the Yggdrasil Alliance! Please state your name and intent!"

        She doesn't manage to let go of the 'talk' button as she asks, "Was that good, Captain--" and then she cuts off.

<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://i.imgur.com/lHxlpM5.gif

The storm drew Alisha's attention. It seemed an unseasonable thing -- rain was rare in this part of the world, as she had found -- and so she set out upon hearing about it, because at least one of the Shepherd's retinue needed to. She did not come alone, though -- but it may appear that way to some. As sickly green clouds swirl overhead, she looks up at them with a nervous stare, stormheads reflected in her brigther green eyes. Her fingers curl, nervously, into a fist at her side.

Beside her, Seraph Mikleo looks up -- and the white-haired young man frowns up at them. "This definitely isn't a natural storm." The Seraph looks to the side, at where one old man postulates the reason for the unseasonable weather. "But... I don't sense any Malevolence."

"I don't either," Alisha says. She starts walking forward, then tugs on the heavy brown cloak that she has taken to wearing. She pulls it across herself, tighter than before, and then slows down to a stop. She spots the Gear -- a big, blue one. Alisha lacks the training or knowledge to know it from any other sort of Gear. In truth, all Gears look like titans of steel to her.

Astounding, but they blend together.

She slows -- and glances, as Rephaim appears. Alisha's eyes narrow, before she spots the Statue. Recognition floods in -- and she gasps, before standing up straighter. "Mikleo! Is that...?"

"One of the statues!" the Water Seraph answers.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

Nimue, meanwhile, just kind of... haunts the Gear; it turns out when you're a Seraph you don't really need to do much of anything, up to and including physically exist all the time. Very often Nimue does not. Besides -- this is markedly easier for the purposes of building up the massive windstorm that presently hangs over Dazil.

Frankly, the Seraph is pretty tired of doing this at this point; while she's very old and very cool, this is very big magic of a type that she's often ill-equipped to do, even in the lowest-effort way imaginable. She's had to rely a lot on Ragnell to help build it -- much more than she'd admit to anyone but Ragnell.

When the Gear starts drawing hails from other vehicles, though, Ragnell gets her answer. "All right, yeah. Let's drop it! Hee hee hee... mission start, losers!" The windstorm kicks up in earnest now, big enough to seriously threaten the city -- but curiously mostly seeming to cut the city... off? Those moving to investigate can get to the statue, of course, but those who haven't been getting close would no doubt be totally cut off from the city -- and the city from them.

The Gear continues to totally fail to respond to any kind of hail or request; indeed, it stands near the statue, remaining totally impassive for the moment, even more still than the Statue that it threatens to steal.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline had heard the news about the Guardian Statue. Her contacts as a merchant helped her keep a close eye on things like that. She had immediately stated making for Dazil. If it came down to it, she'd use the Kinship's funds to purchase it outright, if she wasn't allowed to approach it otherwise.

And that's when she heard rumors of the bizarre, green-tinted storm forming over Dazil. For a desert town, that was uncommon...and potentially dangerous. Was it the Metal Demons, or something else...?

Jacqueline couldn't leave it be.

It was too dangerous to approach on foot, and so Jacqueline had elected to go in with her Gear - the CK-01 Jaeger. Its allegiance was obvious just by looking at it - it was painted in the Caravan Kinship's colors, and bore its logo on the shoulder and chestplate. It was also equipped with a Gear-sized handgun and a combat baton stored in a small shield on its left arm.

Jacqueline approaches the sight of the excavation shortly after Lunata does. She's surprised to see her there, but this was no time for a friendly greeting. Her attention turns toward the blue Gear, and Jacqueline turns on her speakers.

"Please back away from the excavation site!" Jacqueline warns.

It is around this time that the storm seems to intensify, a raging whirlwind surrounding the area and cutting things off - inside or out. That was...problematic.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Spend enough time in the desert and you become accustomed to dust storms - but step into the border of Dazil and the combination of hurricane force winds, lightning, and howling localized tornadoes and it's rough even taking a step forward.
 
"IF THIS KEEPS UP I'M GOING TO GET BLOWN AWAY!" Says the pink flying cat creature with a death grip on an orange scarf. "WHAT WAS THAT?" Says the young man the scarf is attached to - who's hoofing it step by grueling step, keeping his eyes averted, a hand in front of his face.
 
"I SAID - THIS IS THE WORST THING EVER - AND I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE LEADING US INTO THIS!"
 
"STILL CAN'T HEAR YOU RUBY!"
 
"Of course you can't." - she mutters before abruptly - the wind shifts to torture another part of the town - "Can't you do something about this wind?" "Not... really. This isn't natural - and I'm no good at doing anything about someone's magic."
 
"What kind of jerk would do something like this?" "Not really sure - it's either to get attention or keep people away..." Squinting at the two shadowy behemoths - and the smaller shape - he walks on up. The shape of the statue comes into view for him at this angle first - "Made it just in-" And then the Gear - both Rephaim and Sundowner - and his voice becomes a startled squeak - "-time."
 
And then there's Mikleo and Alisha. Ruby - huddles beneath his scarf, lifts a pawsie and waves - "... Hey Princess, Silverfish... you're both... looking well..." There's a nervous little laugh.
 
Hiro gives a momentary sidelong glance at the pair - then at the other Drifters - then back at the other Gear containing Jay coming into view, "We're not losing this one." He says quietly. Though he's not exactly certain how he's going to actualize that one. When you're looking at three gears on foot - you start to feel a little small.
 

 

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Even if Lunata identifies herself as a member of the Yggdrasil Alliance, there's at least one indication that Caravan Kinship is, to some extent, part of that alliance. (Aside from Jay, who managed to pose before me. Darn it!) Hovering in the midst of the storm, the Rephaim might be an unearthly, unknown kind of Gear - provided you look past the very out-of-place and bulky crane claw that currently replaces one arm, a quick-fix job if ever there has been one - but it isn't the only large craft on scene, and the smaller figure that trudges against the winds is a lot more down-to-earth in every respect, especially literally.

        Big Shal might not be anywhere nearly as large as most Gears, but that seems to be working more to her benefit here - the golem pushes through the winds with one bulbous arm up in front of its face, mechanical joints clanking and crashing with every step but maintaining their pace. Perched on the scaffolding that the golem carries like a backpack, somewhat protected by a large and impromptu windshield, Shalune clutches onto her bobble hat with one hand and holds the other out towards her bizarre 'alchemy' pot.

        The light of the strange power source, and her channeling to it, matches the light of the golem's eyes as they begin to glow brighter. It seems almost as if-- Big Shal is more aware of the stakes, and more willing to draw power from Shalune in order to ensure the golem's rather ramshackle construction can hold together against the roaring winds.

        "What's goin' on?! Lunie, Jay, can you see anything?!" Shalune calls over the winds - though not to a great deal of avail. The mechanic has managed to rig up a couple of headsets able to patch into the Yggdrasil's lines, under the proviso that it'd be a little strange if the alchemist and the waitress couldn't communicate with each other from their Gears - but it's not an ideal solution for her when her method of piloting leaves her somewhat open to the elements.

        Plus, she's kind of had to stick it under her hat. Just a bad idea all around.

        Still, she's at least stubborn enough to hunker down and concentrate a little more strongly on her link to Big Shal, urging the golem onwards and inwards towards the eye of the storm.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

        Sundowner is no longer the only Gebler Gear at the site.

        So to recap, the following had been taking place, in a development over the last few hours:

        What had been identified as another statue had been located just outside of Dazil.
        Which had been followed by the slow build of what promised to be a tremendous -- unnaturally so, judging from the short- and long-range weather prediction -- storm.
        And, well, the part where there was a very familiar (tag-wise) Gebler Gear spotted on the excavation site that was failing to answer any hails.

        The first had meant there was already attention from certain parties, the second had kicked a degree of urgency into the situation, and the third made the expedition essential.

        That Gear needs to be retrieved or destroyed, and the statue obtained if at all possible.

        "I'm in position, awaiting reinforcement. It's not responding to close-range calls either." Loren's gaze rests on the readouts racing down the screen as Schiehallion (repaired from its last sortie) remains in position a distance away, close enough to view the site and what should be the lost LanceKnight -- weather conditions are destabilizing rapidly. As soon as the rest of the squadron arrives, they need to settle this as quickly as possible.

        Of course, he knows the real reason he's been tagged for this sudden mission is because he was essentially close enough to Dazil -- and the excavation site -- to make easy rendezvous with a squad coming in out of Bledavik. At least his role will be easy (relatively); he just has to provide backup and keep information channels open.

        But something about that storm is bothering him. It doesn't seem right. Purely out of paranoia, the medic runs analytics on local weather conditions. "..."

        Emperor. Just what they need. He recognizes that Gear. It's Rephaim.

        "Drifters are arriving on site. Several known targets, Rephaim among them. Recommendation? Awaiting backup before acting."

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        ---A DISTURBINGLY SHORT TIME AGO---

        Gwen went into a very, very horrible dungeon two times in the span of a few days, suffered some SAN damage, ate a bunch of Wayside's crop of root vegetables to try and regain her stamina, slept a lot, convinced Xantia that she has an 'imaginary friend like Sorey', willingly worked alongside a Gebler Element and the Trial Knight (separate occasions), and froze her ass off.

        Then, shortly after that, she got back her horse. Welcome back, Gulliver! She has missed you a lot.

        ---NOW---

        "You're such a good boy, yes you are, yes you are, I love you so much, goood boyyy..." Gwen dotes on Gulliver as she rides through the dry wilderness, enjoying that so-badly-missed feeling of practically flying through the desert, wind against her face and sand kicked up in her wake. It's a leisure trip at heart, but the news of a statue being found is also interesting, if also potentially alarming, given how close that area is to the Aveh-Kislev border. But, surely nothing could've happened yet, right? Why not just take a gander at the thing, then ride on out on her merry way to enjoy some Drazil street food?

        Nope, says the green, stormy clouds as she approaches the town.. "What the heck is goin' on...?" Gwen murmurs, Gulliver nervously shifting from hoof to hoof.

        Nope, says the Gulliver.

        "Ah, well, y'know, we already lost one of the statues, Gulliver," Gwen coaxes, her voice registering as sweet, sweet happy words from Gulliver's Person. "And we *would* be in deep doo-doo if we're caught out here by a twister..."

        Yes, says the Super Courier.

        With a whistle and urging of Gulliver's reins. Gwen rides down into Drazil City, practically holding onto the heavier Gulliver with as the winds seem content with getting even stronger. "Glad you put on some weight, Gulliver, or we'd be in trouble! Heeeyyy, I think I see some familiar faces over there."

        Gulliver does not answer, because he is a horse. He's just glad his Person is here with him as she urges him into a dangerous situation no horse should be in. He is a very, very happy horse.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

A week or so ago, the statue of Schturdark fell to Metal Demon forces. Despite the best efforts of the chosen shaman of the Guardians of Filgaia (and also of the derpy swordguys hanging around her), the living symbol of the ancient deity was destroyed... and the world itself fell a little further into decay.

Claude C. Kenny initially did not feel too bad about this; he'd fought hard, and Surfdark was a bit of a dick anyway. But the effect of their failure on Cecilia herself was marked - regardless of how her erstwhile bodyguard might have felt about it, the princess of Adlehyde took the loss hard. And so Claude resolved that he'd be ready the next time she called out for help, then spent the next week ensuring he would be ready by practicing heavily with the one thing that might make a difference.

If the Caravan Alliance Gears are equipped with some sort of sensor, they will find them suddenly lighting up with a strange icon, matching the one Claude wears on his jacket, although the odds local systems will recognize a Federation IFF for what it is are unlikely indeed. A handful of seconds later, a large machine coloured in blue, white, and red bursts through the howling winds and lands upon its knees. It stays there for a moment, swiveling its head around, and then the giant gear-like constructions around its shins begin churning up dirt and sand, carrying it forward across the desert.

From within the cockpit of the Gear, Claude C. Kenny - wearing a sleeveless shirt instead of his trademark jacket - muscles the controls of his converted Borjanon, carrying it around the edge of the dunes and toward the nearest hard cover. "Okay," he says, reaching up to press the hatch release; winds begin slowing sand and grit inward. "Be careful out there - if you need a hand, let me know. And keep that jacket zipped up," Claude adds. "It'll protect you from swords and bullets, but not energy weapons. And..."

He may be babbling.

DC: Claude C. Kenny switches forms to Gear Fighter Claudoh!
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

When the statues get involved, Cecilia's occasional messages from the Divine Hand can get...intrusive.

Case in point, the young Shaman had been about to open the door to Claude Kenny's workshop-slash-inn room for a Conversation they've needed to have, when her head throbbed and she failed to suppress a low groan, weight falling against the doorframe. A few long moments later she shifted back up, knocked with force, and shoved the door open. "Claude!" she calls in, in a rather less pacifying voice than she'd intended to use. "Sorry, but I need your Gear. We have to go to Dazil. Let's go."

By the time the first reports of the strange storm gathering over Dazil hit November, Gear Fighter Claudoh is already heading away. The Princess has done a fine job of covering for her concern about the loss of the statue of Schturdark, but it's not so terribly hard to tell that her concerns are mounting.

Or maybe she's just really worried about Lily. It can be hard to tell what's actually eating her, sometimes.

Regardless, as Claude pilots his Gear closer to the distortion in the air, Cecilia zips the jacket up over her existing jacket because that's how video games think costumes work. She shifts back to watch Claude for a second, eyes thoughtful. "I understand," she says, and gives him something of her usual smile. "But it's kind of you to worry so."

And then with a long breath she hops out, clambering down the handles-and-a-winch based elevator. Her hand flashes as her staff materializes. She reaches into her crest case to produce a simple Wing crest and then thrusts her staff forward the circle at the top glimmering as the crest and staff syncronize, creating a thin barrier of wind.

...It's not much, but it's enough that she doesn't have to bury herself up to the eyes in Claude's jacket (that is not her privelege and she knows it) as she advances. She tries to stop her jaw from setting to the point her teeth grind.

"Not this time," she mutters.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

        Ragnell eyes the communications device as Lunata's voice comes through it, as well as Jay's Gear as she issues a warning from said Gear's speakers. From the Yggdrasil Alliance, huh... A moment later, her voice cuts off. Although it's tempting to have Sundowner respond in non-verbal fashion to the CaraKin ladies, Ragnell tamps down her whims. Hell, if Nimue can manage to behave (although that's probably because she's commanding the bulk of the windstorm, if with Ragnell's support), then so can she. Likewise, Loren's attempts at communications are all unsuccessful, as are his teams. It's kind of unlikely they'd be able to hear anything more than static back, anyway.
        
        Once the tornado whorls down and touches ground, effectively cutting Dazil, the Grudiev Statue, and its would-be defenders off from the rest of the world (sucks to be you, rest of Loren's unit), Ragnell reaches out her consciousness to make that storm her own. All of a sudden, the threat of thunder and lightning is a distinct reality, bolts frequently striking the ground where the winds tear. "You go make Sundowner punch them Gears. I got the storm now," she tells her companion. "I'll take on those on foot. Heh... Let's see if any of 'em can get past us, eh?"
        
        She sounds anticipatory. Eager, even. After all, she saw quite a few of her People Of Interest on foot out there, one even opting to hop out of another Gear. And while the Gear-havers (and Shalune) might also be of interest, well, priorities. Besides, Sundowner is technically Nimue's. She can move it better that Ragnell can.
        
        To outsiders, though, it's a strange and perhaps disturbing sight. The Gear's cockpit crawls with elecrticity and its arms move just before the lightning strikes, as if guiding the bolts down. Is it... is the blue Gear controlling the storm? If that's the case, then they need to disable it as soon as possible. And although a Gear might be big for a person on-foot, perhaps if they pinpoint their attacks towards the cockpit, where it seems the source of the storm control is...
        
        Which, well, it is. And though Ragnell may be well-protected inside Sundowner, controlling a storm of this size takes a lot of concentration. Enough hits, and her concentration is sure to break--and the storm with it. But what about the Statue...?
        
        That's something they'll have to figure out. Electricity crawls over the cockpit, and a pair of basic lightning bolts splinter off and shoot towards Hiro and Ruby, and Gwen and Gulliver. A sharper, stronger bolt forges itself and shoots itself at an angle towards Cecilia, aiming to potentially skewer her even through that jacket, while a localized miniature piece of the storm breaks off, then shoots down heavy rain and needle-like lightning bolts onto Alisha and Mikleo's heads.

GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Hiro with Lightning!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Lightning!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Cecilia Adlehyde with Thunder Spear!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Alisha Diphda with Squall Shot!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has completed her action.
GS: Hiro takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Lightning for 101 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Cecilia Adlehyde guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Thunder Spear for 112 hit points!
GS: Cripple! Statuses applied to Cecilia Adlehyde!
GS: Alisha Diphda guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Squall Shot for 67 hit points!
GS: Seraph Ragnell takes Cover! She gains 50 temporary hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Gwen Whitlock critically Guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Lightning for 24 hit points!
GS: Cripple! Statuses applied to Gwen Whitlock!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

"Perfect," Nimue shoots back to Ragnell; it seems like she actually can focus in on something if she's given... literally any reason to do so. "Let's see what these humans have got!" The Gear begins stomping through the storm, toward the other Gears; it continues to stubbornly refuse all communication, totally heedless of the Gebler and Yggdrasill Gears. Claude's strange IFF does draw Nimue's attention, but only for a moment.

The Gear starts to bowl forward at top speed, aiming first and foremost for the Rephaim; it thrusts for the Gear's legs with its giant, heavy lance, then pulses the beam emitters at its head in hopes of leaving some nasty melting and scoring on the Gear.

The other Gears get a little less personalized attention; Nimue has to pace herself with her Gear rather than instantly run herself down, so most of the other Gears get simple, straightforward stabs rather than the more careful targeting the Rephaim does.

The movements aren't quite... right, for a Gebler Gear, for those who'd be familiar; they're physically possible, but it's not the standard canned movement data. Something is off here in a way that even a new operating system wouldn't quite explain.

GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Mashing Attack!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Mashing Attack!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Shalune Amira with Mashing Attack!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Loren Voss with Mashing Attack!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Lunata Croze with Thunder Spear!
GS: Seraph Nimue has completed her action.
GS: Claude C. Kenny takes a solid hit from Seraph Nimue's Mashing Attack for 97 hit points!
GS: Jacqueline Barber guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Mashing Attack for 58 hit points!
GS: Loren Voss guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Mashing Attack for 67 hit points!
GS: Shalune Amira guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Mashing Attack for 57 hit points!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a glancing hit from Seraph Nimue's Thunder Spear for 87 hit points!
GS: ! Statuses applied to Lunata Croze!
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

The storm seems to come to life. That is chilling to Alisha, who finds that it reminds her instantly of a tornado outside of Ladylake. But, there is no Malevolence here, and the the tornado is rushing around them. The Gear, too, is a danger. She stares up at it, eyes widening, and feels something tighten in her chest. She feels the way she could start to panic, but that panic doesn't last. It can't.

"We have incoming! Alisha, get ready!" Mikleo calls out. He throws out his staff, and a barrier of water appears. The water and lightning slam into it and disperse over it, as Alisha nods. She starts to run forward, bolting through the pelting rain. And, of course, the little javelins of lightning that collide into her.

"Rgh!" the princess growls.

She looks about, at the other Gears. Can she count on them to not get her in their line of sight? She is not so certain of that. She charges over the rapidly muddier ground, splashes in the wake of her steel-clad boots, before she leaps. She swings back her spear in midair. "Demon Fang!"

And then a bolt of light forms off the edge of her spear. She spins around, and then a fang of light rips through the air, and towards the cockpit.

GS: Alisha Diphda has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Demon Fang!
GS: Alisha Diphda has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Edna has posed.

         From within Alisha, a voice echoes out.

         "Woo. Go Alisha. Go Meebo. Don't get yourselves killed."

         It's said at extreme monotone, so you know she means it. But she does *not* actually come out to help in any way, shape or form.

         Edna is an amazing friend.

GS: Seraph Ragnell has adjusted their boss level for 5 opponents!
<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Squinting in the sand storm - he sees Gwen riding up on Gulliver - it's a sight that cheers him at least. "Hey Gwen." "Boy could we use a hefty dose of your optimism right about now..."
 
The cockpit crawls with electricity - and Hiro squints - wondering if it's a strange ARM effect from the Gear. And his eyes widen in the realization - "RUBY UP UP!" He looks like he's about to dive into a roll - when the lightning bolt splinters off to smash right into him before geysering into a small sand crater.
 
As the dust clears - Ruby suddenly looks like the frizziest mascot to exist, all her hair standing on end - while Hiro looks about the same, just less pink. He's coughing and spasming - whereas Ruby giggles weakly - "... e-electrifying..." - before flapping her wings to make herself a more mobile target as she buzzes overhead. "... definitely felt like more magic there than... anything else..." Ruby notes, as Hiro runs a fist over his mouth. "So wait - Gears can use magic!?" "Probably more like the pilot but - sure let's go with that!"
 
Instead of grabbing his sword, which at this distance feels like it would have limited use against this thing, he grips the edge of his boomerang and slides it out - "So since whatever's inside is targetting us - doesn't feel like we're going to have much look just... slipping by."
 
And with that - he breaks into a run. Breaking off to the flank, before pivoting to add a little hip motion into it before snapping his wrist. It sends the boomerang flying in an arc - buffeted end over end by the storm winds but somehow still going towards where it needs to go. Until it would likely plink against the cockpit.
 
It's probably even less distracting than a mosquito hitting a windshield.
 

GS: Hiro has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Boomerang Throw!
GS: Hiro has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Ragnell takes a solid hit from Alisha Diphda's Demon Fang for 83 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! Statuses applied to Seraph Ragnell!
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        Lunata gawks for just a moment as the storm effectively cuts them off from the outside world -- was it a trap all along? She growls as she stares towards the Gebler Gear, and shouts, "Lunie, be careful! Don't get blown away by the storm!" She's worried with how open-air Big Shal is, but they're under attack right now--

        The Gear comes forward towards her, and the heavy lance comes true to the Rephaim's legs -- though it's with a deafening and momentary 'TSHINKK' that the lance stops just short of crushing as its oscillating barrier comes to life; the beam emitters seem similarly dampened, making marks, but just grazing instead of scoring direct hits.

        "T-this Gear's so good...!" Lunata exclaims, already feeling like she's on the back foot. No, she can't feel that way...

        She concentrates as she leaps up and fires her retroactive verniers, pulling her up towards the space of a construction yard as the Rephaim emanates more energy. Along the wheel-like compartment of its backpack, several emitters come to life and Leyline energy forms in the shape of small birds... bats? Winged creatures.

        "Go, Servants!"

        The Servants flit forth through the rain, unabetted by the weather due to their pure elemental nature -- and seek to ram straight into the Gear from odd angles.

GS: Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Hiro's Boomerang Throw for 44 hit points!
GS: Hiro takes Cover! He gains 50 temporary hit points!
GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Seraph Nimue with Leyline Servant!
GS: Lunata Croze takes 12 damage from Corrode!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline receives a strange signal on one of her monitors. She can't quite tell what it's about, but it doesn't seem like a bug in the system - if anything, it seems to come from one of the other Gears present. She glances about, and she can see a couple of unfamiliar machines on the scene. She doesn't recognize either of them, and hopes that they won't cause problems...

What might cause a problem, however, is the blue Gear, as electricity surges to life over it. The machine was capable of Sorcery...? It lashes out, but not at her - at people on foot, who she hadn't noticed before now. She would have to be mindful of them in her movements.

However, the Gear itself soon goes on the offensive, as well - a powerful combo to the Rephaim - which earns a glare from Jacqueline - before its lance comes thrusting toward her and the other Gears afterward. Jacqueline raises her shield to intercept it, angling it so that the weapon is turned away from her. The force pushes her back somewhat.

It was somewhat of a shock to Jacqueline, though - she has never fought in a Gear before, so...getting actually attacked in one is a new experience for her.

There's no time to ask her opponent to give her a second to stabilize herself, though. This was a real fight.

The CK-01 Jaeger draws its handgun and takes aim at the other Gear.

"I don't want to have to fight you! Stand down!" Jacqueline warns, before firing. The bullet itself doesn't pack much destructive power, instead being designed to damage and hamper the limbs.

Immediately afterward, she opens up a line of communication with Lunata and Shalune.

Presumably they've gotten around to doing that by now.

"Are you alright?" She asks.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Seraph Nimue with Stun Gun!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude waits for Cecilia to magic her way clear, his fingers clenching tightly on the controls of his Gear. He draws in a deep breath and then lets it out slowly. "Okay," he mutters. "Let's go, you stupid analog piece of junk." The tricoloured Gear stays down on its knees, the spinny gear things around its shins churning up the earth and soil until it starts moving forward. From within the cockpit, Claude glances at the sensor screen---

---which is blank?

"Oh, right," he says, rolling his eyes. "Activate custom sensor interface," Claude orders, at which point his tricorder chirps and begins projecting holographic screens around his head, overriding the onboard OS with its own sensor suite and interface. It's a hell of a lot worse than an actual Federation VI would be, but compared to the system running on the Borjanon - a machine the Terran Alliance got rid of back in the 500s - it's state of the art.

And it gives Claude a perfect view of the lance suddenly thrusting at his face.

Claude jerks his head and body to the left, which would be enough in the AMWS he's trained on to activate defensive countermeasures. He remembers to actually manipulate the controls about a half-second too late, and the lance thrust skitters along the Gear's breastplate, gouging a deep line before passing over its left shoulder. Spitting off an angry curse, Claude rides his Gear's momentum forward, then brings it up off its knees, sand spitting out from the grinding gears. The tri-coloured machine spins in a tight circle, whipping both legs out toward the Sundowner's chest in rapid sequence before landing a few dozen yards away.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Seraph Nimue with I Know Kung Fu!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

        The pressure in the air is... well, to be frank, it shouldn't be, at least to his recollection of normal-level storms at this altitude and location. Another reason to get this settled as quickly as possible.

        More messages come in. The rest of the squadron is almost there; ETA two minutes.

        And then the storm touches down.
        Communications -- both short- and long-range -- cut out immediately.

        ERROR: COMMUNICATIONS TARGET NOT FOUND reads out the message scrolling across the screen, for all open channels he can think to try.

        Lightning strikes, close at hand.

        This is not a good moment for any sort of distraction. Between the storm and the lost-and-found LanceKnight--

        --which is on the move, in a rather aggressive sort of way--

        --Loren guns it, so to speak.

        Dodging the incoming stabs from the Gear's weapon becomes visibly rather an impossibility. Instead, skidding across the sand as he pulls Schiehallion up short -- the Gear itself perhaps recognizable from the sortie at Bledavik to various people -- he engages shielding, which pops in helpfully a moment or two later in a blaze of white light. The spear's tip is slowed, scoring a scratch across one arm.

        How is it moving that way? The Knight-class Gears shouldn't be able to do that, he thinks, urging the slower -- by contrast -- and heavier Gear back, to force some distance in the midst of the raging storm.
        It puts him in mind, in fact, of the difference between how a human body could theoretically move and how a body can move.

        Which, even as he has the thought, he presses away.

        Drawing ether sidearms, the young lieutenant in the next moment doesn't think much at all, simply leaving consciousness to hang as he redirects ether into his weapons.
        Takes aim.
        And fires, with both Gear-sized ARMs.

        If the pilot won't talk, he'll just have to kill them.

GS: Seraph Nimue guards a hit from Claude C. Kenny's I Know Kung Fu for 134 hit points!
GS: Loren Voss has attacked Seraph Nimue with SEG-V.Terra!
GS: Loren Voss has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Lunata Croze's Leyline Servant for 242 hit points!
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Stun Gun for 80 hit points!
GS: Weaken! Statuses applied to Seraph Nimue!
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Loren Voss's SEG-V.Terra for 172 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Even in the midst of the whirling storm, Big Shal's footing seems to hold. One arm is already up in front of its face, so it doesn't take a great deal to bring the other up as well in a full block. Still, it's a Gear versus a golem a quarter of its size - and though Shalune's creation tries valiantly to protect her, Big Shal's arms abruptly shatter into pieces from the first impact, the cobbled-together scrap tearing itself apart just from the impact alone. It's a visceral sight, and for a moment time seems to obligibly slow to show off the extent of the destruction.

        Not... that it seems like it's going to stop either of them, though. Drowned out by the sound of the storm, the pot sat on the back of the golem begins to ramp up into a low but building whine, and Shalune grits her teeth as she sets her position on the scaffolding on the golem's back.

        Her hand goes to her mouth, cupping the microphone of her headset as she squints against the wind. "Just-- be careful, Jay, okay? These guys aren't messing around!--don't worry about us! Big Shal's way tougher than this! A little something like that ain't gonna do anything!" It's a strange thing to suggest when she's just taken critical damage, the components of Big Shal's arms lifted by the winds to join the other debris swirling in the crackling air.

        And

        then

        they

        start coming back down, pulled by some strange magnetic force, the parts that comprised its arms attracted back towards the golem - and more, as a number of large corrugated metal plates that seem like they came from a shipping container suddenly attach and bolt to the golem's side, curving around it as if acting as extra plates of armor.

        They judder in the wind - and then buckle and twist, shaping themselves into rounded lines and covering the golem's weak points. A rudimentary cockpit forms around Shalune, and the mechanic grins brilliantly as her eyes light up. "After all, it's basically a feast out here!"

        She's grimacing a little at the effort, but the effect doesn't seem like it's going to abate any time soon. It's as if there's a smaller typhoon to go with the first, a multitude of parts winging around Big Shal, reshaping and repairing it with every step.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Shalune Amira with Crystal Dance!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's Crystal Dance for 0 hit points!
GS: Shield! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia's shield of wind does an alright job of letting her rally closer to the handful of people who arrived here on foot like a maniac. She opens her mouth to try and speak to Alisha and Gwen, whom she knows, but that is the moment the Gear crawls with power. "Hngh!" she grunts to herself, twisting her feet to dig in amid the whorl. A blast of lightning shaping and striking toward her. "What...manner of Gear is this!?" she hisses. This looks more like magic than anything...or maybe... "Did the Demons do this!?"

She can't do more than worry as the lightning spear rips into her defensive shield. She grits her teeth and shuts her eyes to focus, but there's a final, climactic PANG of light as the spear blasts through that original shield and slams directly into the jacket. Still, her defenses did their part - she doesn't go flying through the air, merely staggering a few steps back from the hit. Her other hand slides up to brace her eyes, squinting against the gale. She sucks in a breath that tries to escape, then thrusts her staff forward once more, but this time it's not a Crest that answers her will. She opens her mouth and calls, but the wind and roar steals the words away.

So perhaps there is less warning than usual as Cecilia flickers and vanishes, replaced in a moment by the tremendous crystalline frame of the man of the hour; Grudiev eyes the behemoth Gear at near its own eye level, and then shrieks loud enough that even the storm can't silence it. The two crystals on his shoulders shine and gather energy between them, and then that energy BLASTS forward, striking the Gear across the flank, where that power has for a moment gathered.

The bomb of raw energy shatters the earth as it goes - throwing up stones and rocks that will make for helpful cover against this...thing. Hopefully.

GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Material - Magnetron Bomb!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Ragnell critically Guards a hit from Cecilia Adlehyde's Material - Magnetron Bomb for 22 hit points!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde takes Cover! She gains 50 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        Managing to spot Hiro and Ruby, Gwen directs Gulliver over to them, an act that turns out to be far less casual with the winds around them. "Hey, last time I saw yout two you were-*cough*--" Sand gets into her mouth as she tries to speak, making her little comment break into a hacking cough instead. Not only that, but the wind's too strong to make small talk without needlessly yelling. Would would make it less small talk and more large talk, defeating the purpose of it all. Instead, Gwen settles on loosening the knot on the handkerchief around her neck and drawing it over her nose and mouth, raising a thumbs up.

        The tornado touches down, making the normally calm Gulliver even more jumpy. The courier, meanwhile, just stares at the Gear that stands before them, seemingly calling on the power of nature itself. "Can Gears... even do that?"

        Ohguardiansit'snowgoingtoattackthemwithastorm--

        Gwen leaps off Gulliver just in time, the horse submitting to wiser, older instincts and fleeing away out into the safety of a mess of buildings. While it was a particularly dangerous stunt, Gwen manages to land on her feet with a grunt, a feat that she takes a stray moment of shock to process. "Oh hey, that actually worked! I thought I was actually gonna get-"

        Then the bolt of lightning hits Gwen, directing itself to her ARM first, then rocketing down through her body to hit the sand below her feet. ".... Gh...." The Mockingbird jitters and spasms from the impromtu role as a lightning rod, and Gwen doesn't quite look any better for it. "T-that was... m-magic?" Gwen looks to her ARM. It's a good thing her ARM's come a long way since that incident with Ragnell.

        ... It'd be nice if Ragnell was here, speaking of that. She could just fly up there and open the cockpit. Ah well.

        "If none of your attacks can get that open, let's see if I can manage somethin'," Gwen says aloud, her words muffled through her hankerchief. The fluttering poncho lifts up, revealing the shaking ARM. "I just need to manage to hit it!"

        Sure, one bullet'd do it, right? Gwen loads her ARM, aims, and shoots. "Though, cockpits are built to be pretty tough..."

        It'll be fine.

GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Coil Cannon EX!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Gwen Whitlock's Coil Cannon EX for 91 hit points!
GS: Jam! Statuses applied to Seraph Ragnell!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

        Within Sundowner, Ragnell chuckles as she sees Mikleo form a water barrier to protect himself and Alisha. Some of the attack still gets through, but it's a lot better than what, say, Hiro and Cecilia ended up having to deal with. They're cooperating well. Ragnell wonders if any of the other Seraphim are with Alisha, or if it's just Mikleo. Perhaps she's aiming to take Ragnell's advice on Armatization? In which case, she ought to increase the pressure on the Squire some more. Hiro looks to be doing pretty well for himself for someone who just got hit by a bolt of lightning--Ruby, too. But then, Ruby's a dragon (if a baby), so duh. Cecilia does well, too--that lightning shreds her wind shield, but she apparently got an armor upgrade because she managed to soak that hit fairly well. Gwen, finally, jumps off Gulliver, who gallops for cover, and gets hit by lightning... but seems far better for the hit than she was when Ragnell pranked her so many months ago.
        
        "Good, good," she murmurs, largely to herself though Nimue could certainly react if she wanted to. "Wouldn't be any point if y'all were so weak you'd go down in one hit."
        
        A bolt of light tears off from the blade of Alisha's spear, screaming through the air to slam into the cockpit. Hiro breaks into a run and hurl a boomerang towards the cockpit. Ragnell does feel and hear the attacks, and they do register in her consciousness, but... yeah. As of right now, they're not nearly distracting enough for her to lose control of the lightning tornado, even if they are at least *some* of a distraction. More impressive, and much more distracting, is the appearance of Grudiev himself, summoned into existence no doubt by Princess Cecilia, before he blasts a mighty bolt of energy from the crystals in his shoulders at the Gear at the same time that Gwen opens fire with her ARM with a strength that takes advantage of Grudiev's force to hit a chink in the Gear's armor. Between their combined strikes, Ragnell's jolted hard in the cockpit, and for a split-second the force of the storm seems to flicker before roaring back up to its previous strength.
        
        "Y'all tried to kill us in the Guardian Temple," Ragnell drawls dryly--it's questionable if Grudiev can actually hear her or not-- "so you got no place to complain if we follow up on the whole testin'-humans thing. Not that we were lookin' for the Guardians' permission on that mark, eh, Nim?" She laughs, wild and free, and adds, "Don't let me stop ya, though--go on an' fight alongside your chosen humans with everythin' you got!!"
        
        Lightning crawls along the cockpit and down an arm, even as Nimue controls the Gear proper to attack Rephaim and the others. A blade-like lightning bolt shears at an angle off the windstorm, exploding on contact with the ground when it lands near Alisha and Mikleo--and Edna within, cheering deadpan as she is for her companions. Two more lightning bolts break off from the storm, hurtling at dangerous speeds towards Hiro and Cecilia (or perhaps Grudiev, if he doesn't vanish after his summoning) respectively as they course over the ground, aiming to pierce through. Several smaller bolts break off to sear towards Gwen--and if the bolts from before seem targeted, these are DEFINITELY targeted, as these ones follow her even if she attempts to run or dodge.

GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Alisha Diphda with Thunder Blade!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Seraph Edna with Thunder Blade!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Hiro with Thunder Spear!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Cecilia Adlehyde with Thunder Spear!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Storm Runner!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has completed her action.
GS: Hiro takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Thunder Spear for 178 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

The Servants rain fire down on Sundowner, doing the meat of the damage the machine takes; while others also land solid hits, the Servants are clearly doing the meat of the work. More than that, the attacks from multiple angles are something Nimue isn't expecting in the least, leaving her plenty open to other attacks.

The double kicks from Claude send the Sundowner staggering back, and gives Loren a perfect firing solution for those guns -- and a moment later, Jay's, which rattles around in one of the machine's limbs and makes its grip on its spear a little weaker.

This, of course, is all perfectly fine with Nimue -- though she isn't exactly having a lot of fun using Sundowner as her vessel at the moment, the machine is still in relatively good shape...

Wind swirls around Sundowner -- notably moving the opposite direction from the storm -- as it rounds first on Claude's Gear. The Gear rears back momentarily, taking a second to improve its grip before thrusting forward into the machine.

Pulling back from the thrust in short order, though, the Gear whirls back around to face the remaining opponents, charging up the lance's beam emitters again. This time, rather than using them to supplement a stab, the Sundowner just kind of fires wildly; this isn't really meant to be a ranged weapon, and the effect is kind of scattershot...

GS: Cecilia Adlehyde used Mystic on Cecilia Adlehyde! 100 Temporary HP gained! All statuses cleared!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has activated a Force Action!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Thunder Spear for 108 hit points!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Sovereign Gale!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Shalune Amira with Empress Shamal!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Lunata Croze with Empress Shamal!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Empress Shamal!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Loren Voss with Empress Shamal!
GS: Seraph Nimue has completed her action.
GS: Shalune Amira guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Empress Shamal for 172 hit points!
GS: Disease! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
GS: Jacqueline Barber guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Empress Shamal for 162 hit points!
GS: Disease! Statuses applied to Jacqueline Barber!
GS: Claude C. Kenny guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Sovereign Gale for 159 hit points!
GS: Loren Voss critically Guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Empress Shamal for 50 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Lunata Croze takes a glancing hit from Seraph Nimue's Empress Shamal for 198 hit points!
GS: Disease! Statuses applied to Lunata Croze!
GS: Alisha Diphda guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Thunder Blade for 91 hit points!
GS: Seraph Edna guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Thunder Blade for 96 hit points!
GS: Gwen Whitlock guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Storm Runner for 55 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

In the storm, it is easy for Alisha to lose track of things. One of those things is who else is here -- such that when she sees a boomerang rush by, she blinks. Her head snaps over her shoulder to spot Hiro. Her eyes widen with realization. "That's--"

But, Edna offers a deadpan encouragement from inside of her. She blinks a couple of times, then looks forward. "Thank you, Edna. Please, if you see anything about this that may help, let me know."

She takes a deep breath as she lands on the ground. Her feet sink into the mud -- and she gasps, sharply, at the appearance of the Guardian Grudiev himself. Her eyes snap open -- and then she shakes her head, before she starts to run forward again. Her spear is held out to her side. A blade of lightning comes careening down. Alisha throws her hands up, a barrier of white light shimmering to take the worst of it. Mikleo, however, is not so fast. "Kyaaah!" he bellows, as it hits him, and throws him backward.

"Mikleo!" Alisha cries out.

"Keep moving!" Mikleo calls out. He points his staff out. A trio of icicles form, and hurtle out -- but they catch the Gear's armor, and shatter harmlessly against it. Alisha sucks a breath in, and then she leaps. She comes rising up, and comes in towards a chunk of rock lifted by the storm. Her spear stabs into it -- and sends it hurtling back towards the cockpit.

GS: Alisha Diphda has attacked Seraph Ragnell with True Thrust!
GS: Alisha Diphda has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Alisha Diphda's True Thrust for 47 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        Lunata's eyes widen as she stares towards the incoming attacks; she's actually unsure about what to do about random fire compared to direct attacks, so she kind of just has to hunker down and allow for the bulk of the Rephaim's barrier to--

        Eeeeeee--

        Oh right, crane arm. Like a predatory crane game crane, the Rephaim's poor left arm creaks as it batters in the rain, and then gets shredded in totality in the wake of the Sundowner's shots.

        "Lunieeee, that arm was terrible," Lunata complains. "What was I supposed to do with that one, fish?!"

        There's no time to complain, though, and instead, channeled from that hunkering position-- the Rephaim's remaining arm clenches in concentration as the Leyline Converters start to whirr with an ephemeral blue light.

        She watches as Grudiev appears for a moment, in awe -- she can't see who summoned it, but there must be a channeler here...

        "Leyline Charge... confirmed...!"

        Lunata clenches her hands onto the flightsticks as she concentrates, a whirr of power starting to ebb from the centre of the sphere within.

        Circular swells of power coalesce from within the wheel, manifesting in a large bolt of pure leyline radiance that thrashes and erratically whips against the very storm that they're fighting in.

        She's about to fire the button, when she recalls the advice of the pilots under Captain Maitreya. 'You gotta do it all dramatic-like!'

        Lunata takes in a breath.

        "Leyline Novaaaa--!!"

        The bolt launches and twins apart, seeking to crush the Sundowner from opposing sides; a mandala starts to spread in the wake of its explosion, a mark of the Rephaim's archaic power.

        Also: Lunata hammers the Mute button in embarrassment afterwards.

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Seraph Nimue with Leyline Nova!
GS: Lunata Croze takes 10 damage from Corrode!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Lunata Croze's Leyline Nova for 280 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Big Shal is torn apart. This is the first time Jacqueline has seen it attacked in such a fashion, always having been elsewhere. She stares in horror...which gradually transforms into relief as the Golem begins to rebuild itself, and she hears Shalune's voice.

"Worrying about you is practically my job, Shalune, but...I trust you!" Jacqueline replies. She nods...even though Shalune wouldn't see it.

The opponent Gear takes this opportunity to retreat and launch a flurry of beams. The CK-01 Jaeger raises its shield to defend its cockpit. The beams hammer into it and Jacqueline, leaving burns and scorches over the machine. The systems don't seem to be reacting well to it, either.

"Th-that attack...it's going to be a problem." Jacqueline murmurs, noting what it's done to the Rephaim's other arm. The Gear returns its handgun to its original position, but it is not done with the weapon just yet. It changes out its ammunition for a slightly different kind before taking aim once more...

...Though Jacqueline is temporarily distracted by Lunata's attack. It's impressive, but it's hard to focus on that when she hears Lunata shouting the name of her attack over the intercom.

Jacqueline smiles but says nothing, instead the opportunity to fire off another shot at the enemy Gear while it is (hopefully) distracted by Lunata's lightshow.

While her first shot went after the limbs, this one's purpose is to release a deleterious charge into the enemy's weapons systems and limit the transfer of energy.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Seraph Nimue with Haywire Shot!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Slow, Claude C. Kenny thinks to himself as he fights with the controls of his ancient Gear. He's moving too slowly, struggling to keep the machine moving at anything approaching what he would consider a combat speed. An AMWS is in many ways fast as thought - motions fluid and practiced, like an extension of yourself, with defensive (and some offensive) systems slaved to protocols controlled by the VI. For a true expert in AMWS combat (which Claude will readily admit is a category that does not include himself), the machine is an extension of his body.

But even he is reacting faster than his modified Borjanon can keep up with. Every move feels like it's made through molasses.

Case in point - Claude sees the spinning thrust coming about four seconds before it actually does, but his tri-coloured Gear is leaning in the wrong direction to evade it. For an instant, Claude considers dive-rolling the machine, but he's never tried anything that complex, and so he tries to force a dodge down and to the right instead.

He's three seconds too early, but the Borjanon is a second too late - the Sundowner's lance catches Claude's Gear low and on the left side, just above the hip, tearing away armour plating and exposing the interior to the elements. Damage indicators slare orange and red in Claude's heads-up display, and he grits his teeth as the force of the blow bounces him around inside his cockpit. "Slow," Claude snarls, his eyes narrowing. "But so are you!"

The Gear Fighter's right hand rises up over its shoulder, wrapping a round a metal pole that protrudes from the armour plating. There is a grinding noise as something detaches from the rear mounting, and then a heavy Gear-sized broadsword rises up over the tri-coloured machine. Claude brings the Gear's left hand up to join its right on the hilt - thankfully this much, at least, he managed to use the tricorder to automate - and hauls the heavy blade back, servos groaning as sparks fly from the Gear's torn side. "AAAAAAAAAIR SLAAAAAAAAAASH!" Claude roars as he brings the weapon down and around---

---in a perfectly normal diagonal slash. Because you can't project chi through a Gear, that would be stupid and silly.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Seraph Nimue with Shouting Air Slash Even Though You Just Regular Slash!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a glancing hit from Jacqueline Barber's Haywire Shot for 29 hit points!
GS: Jam! Statuses applied to Seraph Nimue!
GS: Seraph Nimue critically Guards a hit from Claude C. Kenny's Shouting Air Slash Even Though You Just Regular Slash for 36 hit
points!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        "I-it's not my fault!" yelps Shalune over the sound of repeated crashes of metal against metal, over the whine of her pot that's now audible in the reasonably-enclosed cockpit. "It was basically the only thing we had to hand! I mean, I wanted something that'd at least look cooler, but-- a crane claw should have worked, right?! You could-- claw people with it! The idea was--"

        She yelps as she's cut off - a series of lancing beams of light suddenly tear through one of Big Shal's legs, bearing the golem down to the ground on one knee for a moment as the self-repair systems work to reclaim the material from the explosion, creating a replacement joint almost in the blink of an eye. As soon as Big Shal is down, she's back up, her forward pace barely even abated by the momentary injury.

        In fact, the Golem seems to be speeding up, its new and slightly taller armored body thundering forward in a sequence of running steps that would surely tear its scrap components apart were it not for the power holding it in shape. The action seems to spur her a little as well, and she sucks in a breath for a moment before fiddling at the radio box attached to her belt, spinning a dial around in search of other frequencies, trying to contact the Bledavik mech that-- well, is a little out of place amongst the Rephaim and the Carakin crafts and what appears to be the Princess' Guard?

        "U-unknown pilot!" she calls, and then realizes she's totally out of place as far as military communication is concerned. "Um. Enemy of an enemy is a friend?" she suggests, and hopes that gets the point across, because it's then time to grin brightly and offer Lunata a cheer. "Go, Lunie!" she blurts, because she's not one to leave a good yell unrecognized, even if Lunata would prefer it that way. "Jay, you too! I'll follow your lead!"

        Perhaps she can be this glib because Big Shal is doing most of the work, but it at least means she's able to focus on other things than just the combat, as she starts to watch the Gear's movements. They've been twigging something at the back of her brain ever since the melee started, and now it's time to pay attention.

        She gets a close up - after all, that's when her golem, having rounded on the unknown machine, brings both hands up in a hammering blow downwards that aims for already-damaged components.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Seraph Nimue with We'll Still Continue!!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Edna has posed.

         Edna blinks.

         "Oh. There goes Meebo." She says in the most nonplussed manner possible. Alisha takes damage, although the water seraph tries to mitigate it, and in the end, it seems like the situation is only growing more dire.

         Sigh.

         "I want ten crablettes for this, Princess." Edna grumbles before a mote of golden light shoots out from her chest, hitting the ground with a flash as Edna manifests into a material form. She opens up her umbrella and frowns ever so slightly. "Hello, Ragnell. Having fun?" She asks with a cool little smirk. She's not at all bothered that they're on opposite sides here. That's just how it is sometimes.

         And so, she raises a hand, not bothering to move or speak any incantations at all, and a single mote of purple black gravity energy forms. "Here's a present." She says with a faint smile, casually flicking it off in the direction of Ragnell's position. If it makes impact, it'll suddenly explode outwards with crushing force.

         Attacking lazily. That's Edna.

GS: Seraph Edna has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Gravity Well!
GS: Seraph Edna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Ruby answers Gwen - "Falling into hell right!?" A beat pause, "Well - we got out!" "Thanks to Elly!"
 
Hiro catches his boomerang on the return flight.
 
And then he totally eats a lightning bolt that pierces through his body like some celestial spear.
 
When the lightning flash and peal of thunder clears - he's on the ground - sucking in a breath through his pained side. "....guhwoah..." "Get up dummy! It's not going to stop attacking just because you're hurt!"
 
"Well - aware..." He says as he gets back up to his feet. He claps his hands together - rubbing them like a runner, knee down upon the sand.
 
Then tipping his chin up at the cockpit of the behemoth - he breaks into a run. If he intends to jump up there he has to get closer. So baby steps. Baby steps - in the form of sprinting full tilt. But along the way - he claps his hands together. And for lack of ability to wrest wind currents away from a Seraph, he tries to create his own. Not exactly the easiest prospect right now in a storm while running. "... come on... come on..."
 
Winds from above the gear twist downwards in a spiral corkscrew that touches down instantly darkening from all that it picks up - as he shouts out - "FEROCIOUS WINDS!" The narrow end of the impromptu whirlwind tips upwards - before driving into the cockpit, sucking up further debris and dust and smearing it all over their windshield like a kid slinging mud.
 
"Princess - Gwen!" It's pretty unclear what Princess he's speaking to here. Could be either of them. "If anyone thinks they can make a break for the statue - go for it!" "And what'll you do!? Distract whoever's inside that thing with your magnificent lightning rod impression?!" And he calls out breathlessly a moment later mid-run, "...MAYBE!"
 

GS: Hiro has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Cyclone!
GS: Hiro has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's We'll Still Continue! for 238 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Do the Guardians hear as such? Are they even truly present when summoned this way, or is this merely some shard of their presence? Like trying to insult a person's pinkie finger?

Cecilia doesn't think about things like this because she is not terribly pedantic. She does worry about BOLTS OF LIGHTNING which is a somewhat more pressing concern for her at the moment to begin with. Cecilia's eyes track the storm as best she can as she emerges from the Guardian's wake - and she senses the threads of energy reaching toward her from the storm just barely in time. She dives, behind the cover Grudiev had conjured for her, and reinforces it by thrusting up her staff, a magic barrier rippling into being just as that blast rips down from the sky.

Electricity should ground out peacefully against stone, but instead that spear of lightning drills into the core of Cecilia's covering slab before ripping it in half, slamming into the barrier behind it. Cecilia squawks in surprise at the turn, but at least that much she's able to repel, sweeping her staff to cast the bolt of light aside. She sucks in a breath and glares up at the Gear. "I won't let you," she tells herself.

(Claude's AIR SLASH catches her attention, briefly, and her lips crease down. He does struggle so for their sake, doesn't he, she thinks, distantly.)

And then she reaches for her crest case and produces a different one, this one engraved with two marks of fire. "I won't just stand by while you shatter our hopes! What...whatever you are!" Demon? Maybe? They say there's another Quarter Knight, a dreadful master of technology. She's seen him - just once, back at Guardian Temple. Perhaps this is his work?

(Someday Cecilia will find out the kind of thing Alhazred actually gets up to and miss these innocent times when she thought he just made storms that hate you.)

For the moment: "Tinder!" Cecilia cries out, and the crest ignites, firing a blast of raw fire across the gap. The wind should deplete it, but the Leyline ensures that that power carries on to its destination, scathing the Gear she dares to presume is at the hear of this.

GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Tinder!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has completed her action.
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has canceled their attack on Seraph Ragnell.
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Tinder!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Edna has posed.

Seraph Edna ; ruining plans like a champion

GS: Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Seraph Edna's Gravity Well for 45 hit points!
GS: Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Hiro's Cyclone for 78 hit points!
GS: Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Cecilia Adlehyde's Tinder for 55 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

        The whirling wall of sand and wind -- not to mention the lightning bolts kicking down from on high now and then -- work to Loren's advantage, in a way. Schiehallion is by no means a fast Gear, and under these circumstances, the weather evens out the playing field, just a little bit.

        There's also the fact that it might be helping to disguise his Gear from the Drifters that have taken the field -- at least, as far as its alliegances. After all, the Knight Gear would look -- even if the paint job were an attempt to camoflauge it somewhat -- notably like a Gebler Gear, and here he is...
        Well, his own paint job is going to need to be redone after this anyway, between the various nicks and scratches from the gales of sand.

        ...Emperor, it's that Golem again, he realizes, sighting Big Shal as the Golem comes into view on-screen. The one from Bledavik, that had looked like it had been put together from scraps. His left hand slips from the controls for a moment as he frowns, just long enough to alter his view. There's someone he wants to keep an eye on.

        Though it's going to be difficult to do that between inclement weather and the highly aggressive Gear.

        It's hard to believe anyone's in the cockpit. Between its silence, between the way it's moving.
        It's as if the person piloting it didn't have the slightest clue what they were supposed to be doing, but at the same time, a certain sense for battle.
        Beginner's luck? No, something's not adding up here.

        The polearm lances through the air once again; shielding lights up around Schiehallion as the Gebler Gear once again activates defensive programs. Most of the beams bounce off the barriers; a few slip past where the light doesn't quite cover, scoring a few hits. Superficial, read the reports; the ablative armor is heavy and equipped just for that reason -- those times when the shielding can't quite cover everything.

        He's still fine. He can do this.

        Schiehallion rolls hard as he angles left, attempting to circle around the lost LanceKnight instead of continue to charge it from the front -- while Schiehallion might be sturdy, he's not about to press his luck.

        And then, unexpectedly, he's hailed. Damn, he's been noticed. Did they recognize him too--

        "What are you doing," he mutters to himself, irritation bundling as he forces the unwieldly Gear to a skidding stop. And he pauses for a moment, considering his options. He should ignore this and focus. But at the same time...
        No, this could be to his advantage. Without a squad for support and no retreat options, it's only a matter of time before he gets walled in or the rest of them decide to take guesswork out of the equation and pile on him too. He learned a lesson in Bledavik: even superior techology can fail.

        "...Agreement accepted," he announces over external speakers. Then, settling back into his seat, unfocuses his psyche, and cements the truce in a pillar of hard-angled white light around himself and Big Shal. The earth's stability settles in, reinforces.

GS: Loren Voss has attacked Loren Voss with Barrier Order!
GS: Loren Voss has attacked Shalune Amira with Barrier Order!
GS: Loren Voss has completed his action.
GS: Loren Voss takes a solid hit from Loren Voss's Barrier Order for 0 hit points!
GS: Shield! Statuses applied to Loren Voss!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Loren Voss's Barrier Order for 0 hit points!
GS: Shield! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        In the heat of the battle, there are definitely things a person would miss. Alisha isn't alone in strugging with that. It's only after Gwen fires that she realizes the presence of the Guardian Grudiev from the corner of her eye, and a second later, Cecilia herself. "T-that was *amazing*, Cecilia!" It seemed like only yesterday that Cecilia was 'simply' the princess of Adlehyde, a girl who mourned over her father. A girl who gave up the Tear, just to see her people be free from the onslaught.

        And Alisha- she was one of Sorey's friends, wasn't she? With Mikleo there. And of course, there's Hiro and Ruby there, who themselves have grown.

        Gwen herself had grown, her ARM adapting to the strife of combat, adapting to each challenge like a mockingbird takes on each new song. It could take on Ragnell's bolts of lightning without taking down Gwen's heart in the process. Stronger beams of energy could overwhelm it, certainly, but that would have been the same case for anyone, ARM or no.

        They had all gotten stronger.

        It's odd, how that lightning comes towards Gwen, all in a way that is *definitely* not natural. Without much of an alternative, Gwen directs her ARM in front of her and braces, letting loose a cry of pain as the ARM takens in the energy and enables it to pass through Gwen's body..... Just like the bolt passed through Hiro's, so it's not much of an 'ability' beyond 'Gwen survived'.

        Grasping her jerking ARM with a grimace, Gwen hears her name. "Uh, Hiro, I'm not a-" Gwen coughs. Oh yeah. "Right, right! Got it!!" Sure, Gwen *could* volunteer in place of Hiro, but she has something Hiro doesn't.

        And that thing is Gulliver. Placing two fingers into her mouth, Gwen lets loose a particular whistle. And waits.

        She should... maybe fire another shot, which, she does, loading another bullet into her ARM and firing at the Gear. "Any time now..."

        She tries again. Okay, *there's* Gulliver, coming to her rescue. Gwen climbs onto the horse and wraps her hands around the reins, urging him on.

        ...... she thinks the statue was this way. Was it this way? GWEN WILL FIND OUT

GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Crackshot!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Gwen Whitlock's Crackshot for 52 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

        "Hmmm... Gotta work on your defenses, Meebo," Ragnell notes in a murmur, seeing how her attack hits Mikleo far harder than it does Alisha. This isn't very surprising to her, but still, she has her pride as a Seraph. ...even if she isn't actually talking in a way anyone but Nimue can hear. "You can't be lettin' humans show you up, y'know." She then laughs at the sound of Lunata's fierce battle cry, though the follow-up attack is nothing to joke about. Even so, she continues to grin. "She's cute, ain't she? That Lunata," she comments to Nimue. "I oughtta tell you more 'bout her later; think you'll find her interestin'."
        
        But then Edna emerges properly from Alisha's body, and although the massive gales and lightning storms make it difficult to hear, Ragnell does catch Edna's voice on the intercom: 'Hello, Ragnell. Having fun?' She pauses, then laughs. "Figures! It figures Edna'd sniff me out. Heh, good thing Lailah ain't here, or she might be cross with me." ...She's pretty sure Lailah's not here. If Mikleo and Edna are both here, and Dezel pretty much never leaves Rose, then Lailah is in all likelihood with Sorey right now. "Maybe even with you, too," she adds.
        
        But the battle rages on. Alisha smacks a flying rock out of the air towards the Sundowner's cockpit, where it slams with more force than normal, ironically due to all the winds. Edna's gravitational orb soars towards Sundowner, and its armor creeeeaks in response to the anomalous force upon its contact and explosion. Cecilia calls up a burst of fire that burns along the leyline, heating up the Gear. Hiro manages to wrest some of the wind power from the two Seraphim and slam it into the Gear, which momentarily loses its balance before Nimue rights it in the course of her attacks, and Gwen opens fire at the Gear with her ARM, which is channeling all this lightning like a champ.
        
        Ragnell reaches for the controls this time, saying, "I'mma do a thing real quick, hold on," and in between attacks, has the Gear raise a finger to its face as it looks towards Edna: the universal symbol for 'shhhh.' It might get mistaken as being directed towards Alisha, since the two are so close by to one another. That's the only sign of personality the robot shows, however, because after that, it goes back into combat mode, plasma flashing as it crawls in veins over the cockpit as it stretches that same hand out towards those on the ground.
        
        Once again, coils of lightning break off from the storm, dozens upon dozens of them, and then begin to trace those on foot with deceptive slowness--deceptive, because they are actually much faster than they appear, and because, once again, they follow their targets undeterred. These racing bolts chase after Alisha, Mikleo, Edna, Hiro, and Cecilia, hunting them down, aiming to strike relentlessly. The cockpit pulses again, and once more a huge lightning bolt falls--but this time towards Gwen and Gulliver, and this time to explode on contact with the ground whether it hits her and her horse directly or not. Oh yes, Ragnell sees you going for the Statue, and she's not going to make it *that* easy for you.
        
        Gwen's right, though. The humans on foot here all really have grown stronger. Ragnell's kind of proud of them. It's a strange feeling.

GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Alisha Diphda with Storm Runner!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Seraph Edna with Storm Runner!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Hiro with Storm Runner!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Cecilia Adlehyde with Storm Runner!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Thunder Blade!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Hiro takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Storm Runner for 86 hit points!
GS: Cripple! Statuses applied to Hiro!
GS: Alisha Diphda takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Storm Runner for 81 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Cecilia Adlehyde takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Storm Runner for 108 hit points!
GS: Cripple! Statuses applied to Cecilia Adlehyde!
GS: Seraph Edna takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Storm Runner for 85 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

The massive nova of energy, once again, sets Sundowner up for subsequent hammering as well as putting in a massive amount of work in its own right. Jay's shot catches the lance itself, and while it can't shut down the emitter, it sure can make it a lot weaker.

Claude's 'Air Slash' hits true on the Sundowner's leg, and sets Shalune and Big Shal up to smash that leg even further. Sundowner starts to sag -- and while it's not yet put all the way down, it's pretty clearly hurting.

"Go nuts," Nimue shoots up to Ragnell, letting her take control and shush Edna before actually starting her assault proper.

This time, the one who faces the vast majority of Sundowner's wrath is Jay; the machine's lance comes up toward her and then begins to spin wildly, slashing and hitting with the butt end over and over.

Boosting away after several whirls, Sundowner goes into overdrive, aiming a series of fly-by slashes at everyone else; these aren't particularly high-technique or anything, just an effort to keep every one of the Gears on their toes.

<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

Indeed, shortly after Edna makes her declaration, an orb of blue light flies -- and hits Alisha's back. It shimmers, before a voice rings out inside her head and Edna's both. "Edna! This isn't the time to call me Meebo!"

Alisha sighs.

"Ten crablettes," she agrees. "It will be done." She keeps running -- and the way that Edna stops to cast a spell means that, for a moment, she leaves the Seraphim in her wake. In the roar of the storm, she wonders if she heard her right. She stares -- and then her ears catch Hiro's shout. She turns, staring at him, and calls out: "I do not have one of the rods with me! Another will need to handle that!"

She can put their differences aside, for the moment. She catches sight of Cecilia, and her eyes widen -- then narrow. She nods. They have to buy time. But, against a Gear, that could be hard. She gasps, staring up at it. And, then, the lightning javelins come racing in. She throws a hand out--

"Guardian!"

--and an arc of interlcoking hexes appears, which the lightning blasts along, pushing her backward. As it fades, Alisha is left shivering. Water drips off her chin; her hair is plastered to her face and head. She doesn't, she realize, have the firepower to help. Her jaw shifts, as she works through it.

Ragnell told her, once, that the Seraph she shouldn't turn to is Edna. Edna was the least likely to be of help; she was prickly, and not the ideal one to practice with. She looks over her shoulder, back to Edna.

"Edna," she says, before she thinks better of it. "We--we should try it. Maybe, if we Armatize, then... then we can stop this."

GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Soulstoke Spin!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Lunata Croze with Darting Claw!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Shalune Amira with Darting Claw!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Darting Claw!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Loren Voss with Darting Claw!
GS: Seraph Nimue has completed her action.
GS: Lunata Croze takes a solid hit from Seraph Nimue's Darting Claw for 226 hit points!
GS: Claude C. Kenny guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Darting Claw for 130 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Jacqueline Barber takes a solid hit from Seraph Nimue's Soulstoke Spin for 375 hit points!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Seraph Nimue's Darting Claw for 224 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Edna has posed.

         Edna lightly dances through the bolts of lightning that strike her position, shielding herself with her umbrella. Eletricity crackles along the surface and jolts her anyway, which makes her frown, but the damage is bearable. Icy blue eyes look up at the big old robot Ragnell is in, watching as it makes a 'Shhh' motion.

         "......"

         Her only response is a faint smirk. Fine. She'll plaay whatever game they're acting out right now. And then her attention turns to Alisha. "Hm? ...." A frown. "Armatize? You?" She rests her parasol against her shoulder, slowly twirling it as she assesses the situation. "... I guess now is as good a time as any." shrug. "Fine. I'll help. The worst that can happen is that we both die, right?"

         Edna believes in you, Alisha.

GS: CRITICAL! Loren Voss critically Guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Darting Claw for 62 hit points!
GS: Gwen Whitlock guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Thunder Blade for 82 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

The lash of Sundowner's blade comes fierce and powerful, thrashing the Rephaim and sending it flying with a shred of the light and oscillating metal flying away in its wake; the barrier is enough to dampen parts of it from truly falling off, but it is struggling, hisses of sparks escaping from loosened power cabling and hydraulic joints losing pressure.

        But as if that were not insult enough, it dives upon Jay's Gear, pressing the advantage it has upon the barely combative Gear; as Lunata watches, her expression falls to a cold and violent one, her voice turned down to sotto voce.

        "Get away from Jay."

        Lunata's eyes don't-- dilate, per se, but blue flame certainly does erupt over the surface of her irises, which according to which dictionary of Chuuni you subscribe to may be even worse. In accelerated fashion, the systems quickly scoop up the Gear in its reticle and lock onto various weak points in the Solarian model:

                                                                               
                                     _.^._
                                  .[o].......
                                 .........[o].
                                ...............
                              <.......-+-.......>
                                ..[o]..........
                                 .............
                                  .......[o].
                                     `-V-`

        The image of Sundowner's identified weak spots according to the Rephaim's systems is reflected upon her flames; she gazes towards the sphere, which ebbs and oscillates with a high-pitched thrum as it catches an effluent shimmer that wreathes the cockpit in light.

        "XG-00 Rephaim..."

        She pauses for a moment, as she sinks her eyes towards the sphere with a look that veers on the edge of disgust.

        "Full Burst."

        The resulting power is plain to see, as is the Ark of Ge Ramtos' ceremony; each hardpoint upon the Gear just... shimmers in the wake of the darkened storm.

        And then everything fires -- its hip-mounted railguns, the rifle it carries, the multiphase chest emitter and the Leyline points upon its backpack, showering the Sundowner and the immediate area around it in a veritable cataclysm of Leyline and beam energies that washes away all detail in its wake.

        It's as if it were trying to save on fight choreography budget with vague and cheap-looking special effects that may be recycled from the Guardian Temple arc.

GS: Lunata Croze has activated a Force Action!
GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Seraph Nimue with Rephaim Full Burst!
GS: Lunata Croze has been weakened by Disease! They take 0 hit points of damage, and burn off their temporary hit points!
GS: Lunata Croze takes 16 damage from Corrode!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Lunata Croze's Rephaim Full Burst for 314 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Shalune's a diplomat now! Ya~ay!

        She hasn't got the idea of a poker face down, though, because you can just hear the way her face lights up in her voice. "R-really? Thanks!-- that's kind of a relief!" she admits before she tunes off-channel, fiddling around with her radio in an attempt to bridge the two frequencies together - and searching for more, as she stares up towards the Gear in the midst of Big Shal's ongoing, close-range assault.

        She's not a pilot, not really - she knows what buttons do what, but hasn't actually ever sat in a Gear to actually use them. It's the difference between building an engine and knowing when to brake the train before it crashes right through the station. Still, she can't help but feel that something's off herself - something about the motions, as if they're--

        "A little too responsive? ... no-one would have some kinda onboard system that could respond that well, would they?" she mutters to herself, sinking down as she hunkers behind the protective panels that Big Shal abruptly installed. If the hypothesis is there's no pilot, then all she's got to compare against are golems, and the kind of logic circuits she'd stared at before weren't exactly able to respond that quickly...

        She's shaken out of her thoughts by a sickening, dangerous sort of crunching, the tell-tale noise of a Gear buckling under weight - or under the stress of impact - as she turns fearfully towards it. She doesn't even have time to draw in a breath - Big Shal is already on the move, thundering towards the alchemist's Gear to offer some shielding. "--Jay!" she still calls sharply over the radio regardless. "Are you okay?!"

        Big Shal automatically ducks as the area around them explodes into light, Lunata's retributive strike lighting up the space around them. Instead, the golem does something almost impossible for a creature of its size and slowness, likely thanks to the pot still whining with energy as Shalune does her best to keep supplying it with their odd link - it dives into a skidding slide, tearing up brickwork and stone as it scrambles to a halt in front of Jacqueline's craft--

        --and slams both fists into the ground, the whirlwind of metallic components and patchwork sheets of protective material suddenly sucking inwards. Out of nowhere, the golem has become a piece of living(?) breathing(??) cover.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Aquarius!
GS: Shalune Amira has been weakened by Disease! They take 0 hit points of damage, and burn off their temporary hit points!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
"Is that gear SHHHing someone!?" Ruby asks having not heard Edna's call - then second guesses herself - "Nah couldn't be... hey is the pilot flipping us off then?! Well up yours too buddy!" Hiro - seeing the lightning gathering too - tries to sprint faster - arms slicing at the air. But the lightning chases him this time - and covered in metal there - the result is predictable.
 
A moment later he's flash fried in his armor and there's yet another gurgling sound as he's knocked out of his run, his face smearing a furrow in the sand.
 
Despite him eating dirt - Ruby doesn't sound too worried - focusing on the plan at hand as Alisha answers - "Wait why wouldn't they give it to you to carry around!? Don't tell me Sorey has it!"
 
Ruby sounds slightly scandalized - maybe because her image of Sorey is moss surfing through ruins and she doesn't consider him the most responsible party to carry one compared to capable Princess Knight Alisha.
 
The slightly blackened Hiro picks himself up again - shaking dirt off his head before giving a pained salute towards Gwen and Gulliver - "Go for it! If anyone can deliver a rod to that statue - it's you two!"
 
At least he's closer now, looming in the shadow of the gear. Sucking in air through his singed throat - he grips the blade of his sword hilt. And then as winds swirl around him - vaults sideways across one side of the gear to the other whipping the sword around to try to draw it across the entire length of the cockpit.
 
This is not a smart idea how he's being decimated this whole fight as evidenced by Ruby's sudden shout of - "HIRO STOP TRYING SO HARD TO DIE!"
 

GS: Hiro has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Basic Attack Command!
GS: Hiro has completed his action.
GS: DISEASE! Shalune Amira tries to heal Jacqueline Barber, but it doesn't work!
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

Alisha waits while Edna works it out, the rain washing over her. She tries to fight down a shiver -- and at the response, she blinks. She expected something more dramatic or concerned (but, really, did not expect encouragement). In a way, the easy attitude puts her at ease. What is the worst that could happen?

Edna has it right.

She smiles, slightly, and turns to face the Gear. "Perhaps," she says, "I can do twenty crablettes." She holds her spear out in front of her, the weapon gripped in both hands. Her eyes close, as she looks straight ahead, and she takes a deep breath. Lailah explained the way it works; she saw Sorey and Rose both do this in the past. She focuses herself, before she calls out, loudly: "HEPHSHIN YULIND!"

Golden light explodes out from her feet in a circle. The circle spins, before Alisha vanishes in the blast of light. To those without the appropriate resonance, nothing changes. Alisha stands there, looking up, brathing hard and seeming distracted.

To those who can see, though, an enormous change has occured. Golden eyes stare up, and a bright platinum blonde hair -- with a ponytail hanging down to nearly her ankles -- sits there. Alisha wears a white dress, lined in gold. She holds her hands up, and speaks. "It... it worked?"

And then she leaps. Alisha blasts into the air, swinging back an arm as she goes airborne and closes in on the Gear. Her hand comes back, balling into a fist -- and two huge gauntlets of stone appear, floating to each side. The one she punches goes crashing towards the cockpit hatch, as hard as can be.

Alisha cries out, and her voice is imposed with Edna's: "Gigaton Smash!" The stone gauntlet slams forward, with power it has no right to.

Unless, of course, you're Claude Kenny. Then it looks like Alisha just flew into the air and threw a normal-sized punch at the Sundowner.

DC: Alisha Diphda switches forms to Armatus Hephsin Yulind!
GS: Alisha Diphda has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Gigaton Smash!
GS: Alisha Diphda has completed her action.
DC: Seraph Edna switches forms to Armatus Hephsin Yulind!
GS: CRITICAL! Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Hiro's Basic Attack Command for 81 hit points!
GS: Seraph Ragnell takes a solid hit from Alisha Diphda's Gigaton Smash for 151 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Right!" Jacqueline responds to Shalune, and adjusts a few dials in her cockpit.

Admittedly, she hadn't recognised Loren's Gear for what it is - her focus had been on the enemy, and with the storm swirling around them, making out details in unfamiliar machines was not something she was capable of at the moment. Besides, it isn't like she's seen a Gebler gear from cockpit level, anyway.

Still, whatever its allegiance, she sees the way it places a barrier around Shalune. She could appreciate that.

Jacqueline prepares to draw her baton...but the opponent Gear comes charging at her with a powerful upward swing of its lance, knocking the baton out of her Gear's hands, before launching into a vicious flurry.

It's...it's too fast.

This is Jacqueline's first time fighting another Gear, and this isn't just any ordinary Gear. It's movements are much faster. It's not moving like she expects a machine would, it's moving like a living being. While Jacqueline has to move her controls to make the CK-01 Jaeger do what she wanted, the enemy's Gear seems to skip that step.

Jacqueline tries to defend herself, but she's always a moment too late. Strike after strike lands, until one final strike with the butt of the lance sends the CK-01 Jaeger toppling, eliciting a cry from the alchemist as the Gear collides with the ground.

The Gear goes silent for a moment.

And then, from the external speakers, comes Jacqueline's voice.

"I...I'm alright. I...won't go down that easily." Jacqueline says.

"Everyone...we have to stay strong! We can't let another one fall... I don't know who this is, but...we can't let them win! We can weather this storm!" She shouts.

She can't see it on her monitors from her position, but she can hear Shalune in front of her trying to put up a barrier, and she can hear Lunata giving it her all in her defense.

"Thanks..." She murmurs more quietly to Lunata and Shalune, over the intercom.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Jacqueline Barber with We Will Endure!!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Lunata Croze with We Will Endure!!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Shalune Amira with We Will Endure!!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Claude C. Kenny with We Will Endure!!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has been weakened by Disease! They take 0 hit points of damage, and burn off their temporary hit points!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
GS: Claude C. Kenny takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's We Will Endure! for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! Statuses applied to Claude C. Kenny!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's We Will Endure! for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
GS: Jacqueline Barber takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's We Will Endure! for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! Statuses applied to Jacqueline Barber!
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude C. Kenny grimaces as his Gear's sword comes down. Shallow, he thinks. He'd hoped to ruin the knee joint or at least take out one of the actuator, but the Borjanon didn't generate enough power behind the swing. Far too shallow to do much good. Unless... unless the winds... He shakes his head to put it out of his mind, then raises the sword and---

A brilliant light cuts through the storm, and energy readings chime and surge as Loren channels... something through his machine. Some sort of sorcerous energy - Claude doesn't know what kind, this isn't his field, but the Tricorder can sense that something is going on. He opens his mouth to order an analysis, when suddenly the readings spike upward again. Claude turns his head to the source...

...to Rephaim...

"OH COME ON!" Claude C. Kenny roars incredulously, his eyes wide and expression panicked. "Their goddamn ROBOTS can use magic too? THIS IS SOME BULL CRAP RIGHT HERE!" he declares, then tries to stamp his foot (which is less impressive when you are sitting down in a cockpit). "I call shenanigans! Do you hear me? SHENANI---"

Primary escort target's life signs indicate elevated pain and distress.

The tricorder's warning spins Claude's head around (nearly literally) as he scans the field for Cecilia, who is dodging and weaving as best as she's able around... lightning that is eerily targeted toward her, he thinks. Which means another damned magic user in that big Gear he's fighting. Claude emits a short puff of breath that's equal parts worry and frustration, then swallows his anger and focuses on the task at hand. His jacket won't protect Cecilia against electrical energy that powerful, so he's going to have to follow the advice of his teachers on what to do when facing a magic-user, i.e.:

Roddick: Hard to cast spells if you've got a sword in your chest.
Ilia: Or a fist in your throat.
Roddick: Either one, really.
Claude: I feel I should remind you I'm eight.
Ilia: I'LL GIVE YOU FIVE

claude: AAAAAAAAH

The tricoloured Gear dashes forward once more, dropping down to its shins again to avoid the worst of the lance thrust; the upper right quadrant of its head crumples, but the mighty machine carries forward. Claude brings the broadsword around in a sweeping cut, accelerated by the grinding wheels of his Gear's...gears. After completing the circle, Claude plants its feet, reverses the blade, and then rips a diagonal slash up at the machine's hip, trying to hinder its movements. Speaking of which.

"NICE PUNCH!" Claude shouts at Alisha, because it really is a heck of a punch. God damn.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Seraph Nimue with Twin Slash!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Claude C. Kenny's Twin Slash for 270 hit points!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's We Will Endure! for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! Statuses applied to Lunata Croze!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Edna has posed.

         Edna just stands back, and lets Alisha find her resolve. Once she's ready, her True Name is called, and her form alights with golden energy, melding into the princess and remaking her appearance. Blonde hair lengthens, her outfit changes to one of pure white and gold, and twin massive gauntlets come into orbit.

         "...You did it." Edna's voice echoes out, her phantom appearing behind Alisha. "Congrats. You didn't kill us both." Beat. "And you owe me twenty crablettes. It won't make up for the tournament, but I'll take it."

         She hasn't forgotten.

         "Now go!" Not that the earth seraph needs to tell Alisha that. She bursts off into the air. And now;

         "Gigaton Smash!" Edna cries out, her voice overlaid with Alisha's. And then for good measure, Edna takes control of the gauntlets for a moment, unleashing an extra flurry of earth powered punches into the armor of Sundowner.

GS: Seraph Edna has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Rampaging Giant!
GS: Seraph Edna has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Seraph Ragnell takes a solid hit from Seraph Edna's Rampaging Giant for 155 hit points!
GS: Jam! Statuses applied to Seraph Ragnell!
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Gwen noticing her and Hiro and Ruby calling advice has Cecilia huffing a breath amid the fight. "I haven't even started!" she calls back Gwenways, not even a boast. She is, indeed, slowly making way for the statue. If she can get there and cast the Sealing...if she can even just summon Dinoginos for a moment...!

Sadly that goal gets derailed by dogged lightning. Cecilia jukes aside from the first bolt crashing at her feet, hops awkwardly back a few steps from the next to duck behind another piece of Grudiev's cover--

And then promptly yelps because the lightning curves around and jolts her hard enough that she involuntarily slams her head against the stone, sending her pitching forward and rolling around, clutching her noggin and unable to suppress a horrible moan of pain. It's tough to breathe in all this, which doesn't help, either.

But slowly - eyes tearing up and unsteady on her feet, she rises still. "I...won't just...stand here!" she grits out, even as the breath comes scarce; and then she throws her arm forward again, and a crest leaps out of her case of its own accord, slotting into the magic circle that forms in the air.

The ground around her shatters, the last of her cover tearing itself apart so that it can fire itself as stoney spikes at the Gear. Then she stumbles back, trying to hobble in the direction of the statue.

BOY SURE WOULD HELP IF SHE HAD A HORSE TODAY...

GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Crest Sorcery Freestyle!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Ragnell critically Guards a hit from Cecilia Adlehyde's Crest Sorcery Freestyle for 26 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        There's that feeling again, the rush of a goal in sight, with speed and distance being her only obstacles. With Gulliver at her side, they were ones she could easily overcome. He wasn't the fastest horse, but he was chosen for endurance, and his speed was superior to trying to do something on foot, or depending on a beast that could only go in sprints.

        She feels like the wind.

        ....

        A thunderous crack, loud enough to cause the world go quiet and bright enough to briefly bleach out Gwen's surroundings, and it's all over. something in Gwen's chest seizing up and tightening like it was in a vise's grip. Gulliver rears up with a loud shrieking neigh, a limp Gwen barely managing to hang on. "Gh...."

        It's too much. Gwen's right ARM twists unnaturally, thankfully getting ensnared in the reins as Gwen flops backwards.

        The tablet in Gwen's satchel grows warm.

        --Is that how far you can go?--

        The mental vision of a shattering statue snaps into Gwen's mind like a splash of cold water to the face.

        --Even if you got there, you don't even have the sealing rod.--

        Gwen gasps, urging the hurt Gulliver with shaky promises and words of comfort.

        Something gets through that barrier between human and horse languages. That, or Gulliver seemed happy to just keep going, as Gwen *turns around* and races back.

        Well, not quite back, as she's heading straight towards Cecilia.

        When Cecilia manages to look up at the approach of hooves and the hushed commands, she'll see Gwen atop her silver (grey) steed, holding her hand out to the princess.

        "I promised Gulliver that he'd meet a new person."

        Gwen knows exactly what she's doing here.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

        Within the safety of Schiehallion's cockpit, Loren resists the urge to facepalm. Hopefully, he won't regret this, but it isn't as if he has much choice. He needs to take that Gear down and then last long enough for the storm to end. Antagonizing even these Lambs before then won't do him any favors.

        His gaze hoods; he takes in several of the combatants on the field. Hopefully his intentions -- as temporary as they are -- are clear enough. Their presence is going to be a problem once that storm ends and the squadron arrives on the scene.
        He wonders, briefly, just how quickly he'll be able to transmit a warning to his fellow officers.

        Something is without question wrong with that Gear. He's positive now.
        Like a possession, a darker corner of his mind voices, and is quickly silenced as he digs a proverbial mental grave and buries it.

        As if on cue, the Gear comes in on the attack once again.

        An array of polygonal barriers erupt around Schiehallion in another burst of white light; LanceKnight, also known as Sundowner, comes in fast and furious, laying into the officer's Gear with the polearm. While the shielding holds, though, the unknown pilot's storm and the ground underfoot are sufficient to send the heavier Gear skidding backwards, forcing some abrupt evasive maneuvers and some further banking to right the machine.

        Unfortunately for Claude, the display of sorcerous defensive actions directed towards Shalune as a sort of truce won't be the only ones tonight. Now at a more opportune angle (for now, at this second) the medic once again takes a deep breath. Just like how he was taught in school.

        And exhales, allowing his will to invade the circuits and amplifiers throughout his Gear. Mere instants later, a pressurized Gear-high arc of etheric-borne water scythes towards the stolen machine.

GS: Loren Voss has activated a Force Action!
GS: Loren Voss has attacked Seraph Nimue with Aqua Origin!
GS: Loren Voss has completed his action.
GS: CRITICAL! Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Loren Voss's Aqua Origin for 396 hit points!
GS: Disease! Statuses applied to Seraph Nimue!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

The tablet continues to warm up, and Gwen concentrates, reaching down to grip onto Cecilia's hand if necessary. One touch, and a brief burst of healing energy passes down into Cecilia. "... I'm getting better with this tablet thingy," Gwen says, with a sigh.

GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Cecilia Adlehyde with Medium - Starstruck Fool!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: Gwen Whitlock heals Cecilia Adlehyde! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

        It's been a while since Ragnell has seen someone Armatized, either Shepherd or Squire. She doesn't think she's ever actually been on the receiving end of an Armatized attack, either. So when not only does Alisha hard-mode it up with Edna, but also successfully Armatize and then take to the air with a massive stone-gauntlet fist to hit the cockpit armor, with Edna adding her force and cooperation in the floating stones to either side of her to add a barrage of follow-up hits, as hard as they possibly can--which is very hard indeed--Ragnell laughs. She laughs and laughs in delight, even as the enormous impacts *dent* the armor, rocking her all about the cockpit, as the severity of the storm begins to slowly but noticably wane. Claude's right: it's a hell of a punch.
        
        They're not the only ones to give it their all, either, though the fresh-minted Armatization does have an advantage against other on-foot fighters in that it's made to be able to go toe-to-toe with creatures the size of dragons and come out on top. Cecilia sacrifices the very ground around her to smash it apart and send it hailing towards the robot, which combines with the flurry of stone, earth, and mud that Hiro calls upon to quite thoroughly muck up the visual input for the Gear. Nimue should not be hampered at all by this, since she is literally one with Sundowner; Ragnell is not quite so fortunate. Because of that, she's not able to track Gwen on horseback, let alone if she angles back to pick up Cecilia, someone who actually has a Sealing Rod. Thanks to Hiro and Cecilia's efforts to reduce the Gear's effectiveness, and the speed Gwen's Gulliver grants her as she races back for the Shaman Princess, and the strength that Alisha and Edna give each other, this could be the chance that they're waiting for--the Gear is blinded and on the back foot!
        
        Except...
        
        "So you finally did it, 'Lisha," Ragnell says, smile genuine. "But..." She has Sundowner shake off Squire Alisha, creating some distance between the two of them. "How long can you make it last?!"
        
        Oh right. Storms are really widespread and really indiscriminate about who they hit, even if they *are* apparently responding to someone's sorcerous will. The stormfall hails down right where the Armatized Alisha ought to be--having just been in her face, Ragnell can estimate where she ought to be right now--and while the lion's share of the seething bolts that crackle down towards her ought to strike dead center, many lesser bolts will shear off in search of heat and thus towards Hiro, Ruby, Cecilia, Gwen, and Gulliver. They're not as accurately as those targeted bolts earlier, perhaps, but they're no less dangerous for it.

GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Alisha Diphda with Divine Saber!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Seraph Edna with Divine Saber!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Hiro with Lightning!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Gwen Whitlock with Lightning!
GS: Seraph Ragnell enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has attacked Cecilia Adlehyde with Lightning!
GS: Seraph Ragnell has completed her action.
GS: Hiro takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Lightning for 106 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Alisha Diphda guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Divine Saber for 100 hit points!
GS: Cripple! Statuses applied to Alisha Diphda!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde takes a solid hit from Seraph Ragnell's Lightning for 101 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Gwen Whitlock guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Lightning for 72 hit points!
GS: Cripple! Statuses applied to Gwen Whitlock!
GS: Seraph Edna guards a hit from Seraph Ragnell's Divine Saber for 98 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

By this point, there's almost a predictable flow to this; Lunata comes in first with a paralyzingly powerful strike, and then Hell follows with her. The emitters tear into Sundowner, but more than that, they put it on the back foot for what comes next... which is, frankly, worse.

The slash to the hip bites in hard, and Sundowner is forced to take a knee and root for the moment -- on its own, not the biggest problem for the ex-Lanceknight... but when Schiehallion comes in, that's the real problem. The power of Loren's Ether, amplified through the Gear, washes -- quite literally -- over the machine, bowling it over and compromising several systems. From within (quite literally) the machine, Nimue screams -- though only Ragnell can really hear it, over the wind...

"I think they might actually run us outta town!" she adds for Ragnell, with just a hint of enthusiasm as Sundowner starts to prop itself back up with its lance. Its gait is a little irregular right now -- but the strange thing is, only raw mechanical problems seem to be doing much to its range of motion right now. Busted actuators? Not that much of a problem. Why, though? Why does the Gear work when, by rights, it really shouldn't?

(it's spooky ghosts)

Hopping up into the windstorm, the Gear whirls up into the sky, only partially relying on its boosters; the beam emitters start to flare up again on the lance, though they're still weakened compared to the earlier strikes. ... on the other hand, it looks like a lot more is about to come through them...

Gliding down, the machine swings its lance out to the side, treating the wind almost like a cavalry officer might treat a horse. The emitters flare hard, leaving melted sand in their wake -- and possibly melted Gears, too. Each gear gets a 'ride-by' slash as Sundowner rides the gale, the bright light of the emitter allowing it to shine through the storm.

GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Radiant Khamsin!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Loren Voss with Radiant Khamsin!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Radiant Khamsin!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Shalune Amira with Radiant Khamsin!
GS: Seraph Nimue has attacked Lunata Croze with Radiant Khamsin!
GS: Seraph Nimue has completed her action.
GS: Claude C. Kenny takes a solid hit from Seraph Nimue's Radiant Khamsin for 354 hit points!
GS: ! Statuses applied to Claude C. Kenny!
GS: Claude C. Kenny enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: CRITICAL! Jacqueline Barber critically Guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Radiant Khamsin for 86 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"Good work, Edna," Alisha says, as her partner Seraph launches those follow-up strikes. The dents to the armor impress her, though that impressed feeling is a distant thing. Being knew tho this, she has to focus hard to simply maintain the Armatization. This is especially true, as the Sundowner purchases a little bit of distance. She doesn't have the speed that she has seen Sorey use.

For that matter, she has never flown until today.

Alisha yelps as the storm intensifies all around her. Lightning screams down, and strikes into her -- and winds and rains buffet her, mightily, as she throws her hands out. The massive stone gauntlets do the same, and a barrier of shimmering golden light appears to stop the assault. But, a lightning bolt slams down into it, and the barrier shatters.

"GYAH!" Alisha screams as she and Edna are both slammed down into the earth. Mud and rock fly out in a circle, the shockwave blowing some of it backward, before Alisha rises up to her feet. She does not do so by standing, but rather by lifting into the air. The wellspring of power inside of her is different, now, she is beginning to realize. It is also Edna's power.

"Edna," she says, softly. "Are you all right in there?"

She throws both arms out, then. A magical circle flashes up under her feet. It is enormous; it soars across the ground and glows golden. Then, a dozen huge spikes of rock appear. They surge outward, fly into the air, and come crashing down as one towards the Sundowner's cockpit, trying to batter it into submission.

"EARTH REVOLUTION!" Alisha cries, her voice echoing with a second underlaying it.

GS: Alisha Diphda has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Earth Revolution!
GS: Alisha Diphda has completed her action.
GS: Claude C. Kenny has activated a Force Action!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has activated a Force Action!
GS: Seraph Ragnell takes a solid hit from Alisha Diphda's Earth Revolution for 179 hit points!
GS: Disease! Statuses applied to Seraph Ragnell!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Seraph Nimue's Radiant Khamsin for 346 hit points!
GS: ! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
GS: Loren Voss guards a hit from Seraph Nimue's Radiant Khamsin for 218 hit points!
GS: ! Statuses applied to Loren Voss!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a solid hit from Seraph Nimue's Radiant Khamsin for 346 hit points!
GS: ! Statuses applied to Lunata Croze!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Edna has posed.

         The damage that Alisha takes is also Edna's. And so the princess can hear a pained grunt from the earth seraph as they rise back into the air. "I'm fine. Still alive." She grumbles, her phantom coming into sight again as she gives the Sundowner a withering look. "This isn't as bad as that time I was thrown through a building. And then had all the rubble fall on top of me.

         She hasn't forgotten that either. She's held a grudge against buildings for a while after that one.

         But it's time to get back into the game, and Edna allows Alisha to use her power as she sees fit, bringing their fists crashing down into the giant. "EARTH REVOLUTION!" They shout out sending those rocks crashing into the cockpit. And then Edna follows it up with another clenching of the fist and a smashing of it right into the cockpit directly.

         "And how about this!?"

         Boy, Edna sure does sound aa lot more animated when someone else's voice is overlaid atop her own, doesn't she?

GS: Seraph Edna has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Gigaton Smash!
GS: Seraph Edna has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Ragnell guards a hit from Seraph Edna's Gigaton Smash for 85 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

And now, Claude thinks, the magic enemy robot is flying. Cow Patty Planet is the absolute worst. He licks his lips and surveys the field - seeing the other machines taking a beating (with the exception of the glowing one, which is more advanced than anything he's seen that's not a Golem), seeing Cecilia and the others fighting against the storm itself, lightning flicking down from the heavens like it was the personal plaything of a vengeful demigod.

We're losing, he thinks.

Claude watches the Sundowner flicker left and right, tearing through the other Gears. He sees it streaking toward him. Pictures Cecilia's face as he has to carry her back to November City, disappointment and dejection warring as they fall to defeat once again. Pictures her lying there cold and still, lightning arcing along her body without so much as a twitch. He draws in a breath, and his Gear drops its sword, arms going wide.

The Sundowner crashes into Claude C. Kenny's tri-coloured Gear, its lance ripping into the chest plating. Claude twists the Gear slightly to the left and ducks down as the lance impales his machine, tearing through the upper right section of its chest. The tricorder flares a warning and Claude flattens his body back in its seat a third of a second before the front of the cockpit is ripped open by the bottom third of the Sundowner's lance. Its lower edge passes a scant four inches above Claude's shoulder and three inches to the right of his head before emerging from the back of the Gear Fighter's body.

For an instant the two machines hover motionless. But then the Gear Fighter's arms and legs snake out, trying to encircle the Sundowner and clutch it tight.

"I told them!" Claude snarls, blinking away blood from a scalp wound caused by flying debris; if he'd been using the onboard sensors he would be blind right now, but the tricorder's heads-up display is unaffected by the grievous damage the Gear has sustained. Claude works the controls as best he's able, trying to squeeze the Sundowner against his machine's chest.

"That as long as I'm here!"

Claude activates another trigger, then, and all six rotating gears - two on each leg and one on each arm - begin spinning rapidly, sparks flying as they struggle to chew their way through the Sundowner's armour and into the shell beneath. "I'll do everything I can!" he shouts, smoke belching from the Gear Fighter's arms and legs as bearings seize and overheat. "TO SAVE EVERYONE IN FRONT OF ME!" Claude screams, chi blazing unconsciously (and pointlessly) from his entire body.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Seraph Nimue with Tear Into Pieces!
GS: Claude C. Kenny takes 14 damage from Corrode!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Claude C. Kenny's Tear Into Pieces for 306 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Ruby is now watching Alisha - armatized with Edna soar through the sky - summoning the power of Earth to pound the Gear with fists of stone. She's gawking - not really watching much else before she finally says - "... I am never pissing her off again. In fact maybe I should apologize for the market once this is over..."
 
This time - lightning strikes him in mid-air. As it stands this guy is not having a great day. Ruby's statement of him being a lightning rod impression is becoming quite accurate. His sword goes flying out of his hand in a spinning arc up and over the gear. And he starts going down - down - down.
 
At this point he looks a little insensate. A blue comet with an orange streak heading straight towards the ground.
 
It's only the space of a second or two - but his eyes - singed eyebrows and all open and realizes his precarious state. And that's when his fall seems to slow upon a column of wind - as he touches down upon the ground briefly. Still looking somewhat dazed - he looks sideways towards the not-Princess Gwen and the definitely Princess Cecilia on a white horse.
 
Then as he looks up - sees both Alisha - in all of her armatized glory - and the glint of his falling blade. It's like that day in the Blue Spire when he saw Lucia handle everything - while he stood back. It's a moment he thinks back to every time he thinks about how he needs to grow stronger. Even if he has since that day - he's still got a long way. And right now - he just needs to pull his weight. "Need to step it up..." He says softly.
 
Barking out a single word - he jumps - and an updraft whips him higher. Kicking off a piece of debris caught in the storm - he vaults even higher and plucks his sword out of it's downward flight - bringing him up to the apex of his jump. Up top and over the massive gear - and that's when he shifts the winds downward. At his back. Knocking him back downward - holding his blade behind him.
 
Sheer air friction of his hasty descent causes the silver blade to glow as he shouts - "BURN-" Using both gravity and the momentum of the current behind him to drive from the top down of the gear - the blade igniting into flames - "-BURN-"
 
Before turning a vaguely molten by the time he makes it all the way to the lower half and slices it across in a large blazing wave. "-BURN!" Before he attempts to kick off the knee joint at high speed so he doesn't plant face first into the ground.
 
Ruby didn't see any part of it because she was watching Alisha being rad. But if she had - she'd have both been proud he somehow managed flame despite his vast limitations as a human - and probably taken credit for it.
 

GS: Hiro has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Battalion Sword!!
GS: Hiro has attacked Seraph Nimue with Battalion Sword!!
GS: Hiro has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Hiro's Battalion Sword! for 168 hit points!
GS: Seraph Ragnell takes a solid hit from Hiro's Battalion Sword! for 181 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        The Rephaim is on its last legs at this point -- ancient Gear or not, it can only get by so much on what Claude is rightfully calling BULL CRAP... which admittedly is some incredibly effective glue for thousands-of-year old parts that haven't seen any maintenance outside of the dust mites that have built up around it before the Crozes found it in Rujm el-Hiri.

        The oscillating barrier is starting to flicker and diminish, which saps the colour of the Gear from it, as if it's going to succumb into a petrified torpor. Red, blue and white start to wash away as it depowers...

        ... and then it flickers back into life, with the clash and hiss of static and electricity sparking throughout its entire body.

        "I said--"

        Lunata's anger does not appear to have subsided.

        "Get away from Jay!!"

        Even as the ex-Lanceknight tears on through, the Rephaim somehow still holds; the hip guns are just about defunct at this point as they furl to prevent themselves from sustaining much more damage; its left arm is just a stump at this point, Shalune's repairs all but gone.

        Cecilia may hear the voice that sustains the world at this point--

        --as the panel upon the Rephaim emanates with an ominous red light.

                              -= ARCANUM XIII =-
                                MATERIAL SUMMON

        Driven on what seems to be singular resolve, Lunata pushes the Gear to its limits as it rises to an unguarded position, despite its damage.

        The wheel along its back erupts to a burning haze. It evokes the very futility of the endless waltz of life, death and rebirth. Cycles upon cycles, it continues, never-ending... the howl of spirits is in full bore as it raises a single mechanical finger on its existing arm--

        "Ge Ramtos."

        --and where it metaphorically evoked Hell before... the Hell is all too real now, a patch of what used to be ground in Dazil's square where the Sundowner is standing wreathed open with the landscape of a netherworld where souls gather.

        And from within that landscape, besotten with death, it gazes out to the living...

        ...and no matter how magical her attacks have been before, it still targetted the Sundowner. This time, Lunata's attack is on a different level, as is the nature of the reaping scythe that claims all to a cold and clammy grave, sooner or later.

        Death has come, as Loren has once witnessed in Bledavik...

        ...and it has come within as well, as Lunata stares at a metaphysical timer continue to tick down for herself.

                     In exchange for the power that thou hast requested...
                                                                               
                        It is such a familiar sequence at this point.
                                                                               
                                So why isn't she more worried?

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Seraph Nimue with The Wheel of Spirits!
GS: Lunata Croze takes 16 damage from Corrode!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Lunata Croze's The Wheel of Spirits for 342 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia, dazed and probably middlingly concussed, sees a horse coming at her. She actually sees about three, at the moment, but it comes slowly into clarity as Gwen approaches. "Gwen!" she calls, and throws her arm out.

HOW EXACTLY this pair of nerds manages to make this transition into Cecilia being on the horse rather than both of them falling down and exploding in Ninja Slayer stock assets is a fabulous question, but it works out; Cecilia feels the magic of Gwen's medium flow into her, and her thouhts clear and her head stops throbbing. She settles in closer. "The statue!" she calls to Gwen, possibly unnecessarily. "I have a sealing rod, get me there!"

She may not have entirely parsed that that was the original plan anyway.

She turns, then, watching the Gear's phenomenal feats one after another. The flight, the mastery of the storm...She throws her arms up at least, as the lightning comes at them; her magic barrier flashing up again to once more try to protect them from the ferocity of the thunder. When it finally rips through her shield it barely has enough power left to give her a static shock, though she does jump a little from that very thing. Which does draw her attention back to the Gear, and... "Is ...is that Alisha!?" she gasps out. "What's that light?!"

Oh right, Shaman.

"...I can help," she says to herself. "Even from here, I can...! Uh, I don't know how this interacts with horses so hang on to something!" she adds to Gwen, and reaches down to her case of tablets again, holding a Medium aloft. "Material!" she calls out, and the Medium pulses with power, the storm seeming to bow around it. As though subordinate to it.

        "Hi-Speed Ripper!!"

They both fade away; Gwen and Cecilia and Gulliver all, vanishing from sight for a few moments as the Medium suddenly gushes forth A DIFFERENT OTHER TORNADO, a howling gale moving in defiant counterspin to the whorl all around them. And from that whirl comes the master: A great white tiger, near the size of Sundowner itself, bounding across the distance between Princess and Seraph with full, thunderous intent.

Fengalon roars like a windstorm, and the skies carry it; and it lashes down like scything winds, massive talons swinging down to claw at the Gear containing the source of all this.

GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has attacked Seraph Ragnell with Material - Hi-Speed Ripper!
GS: Cecilia Adlehyde has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Ragnell takes a solid hit from Cecilia Adlehyde's Material - Hi-Speed Ripper for 177 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

From her position on the ground, Jacqueline can see the Sundowner rising into the air, energy emitters flaring up again...

In a way, this works to her advantage.

She sees the attack before it comes, allowing her to ready her defenses before it even comes. She raises her shield and the lance collides with it, knocking the shield clear off the Jaeger's wrist. Still, it and Big Shal's barrier absorb most of the punishment. Jacqueline seems to handle single, powerful attacks better than a flurry of weaker ones...

"Sorry, Big Shal...I appreciate it." Jacqueline murmurs, hauling the Jaeger to its feet. She runs toward the opponent Gear, drawing her baton from the sand on the way...but stops, and stares in horror as she sees what Lunata has done.

"Lunata, stop! Don't!" Jacqueline cries. Jacqueline knew what this meant.

Even if it was to protect her... It wasn't worth it.

The time Lunata had left was far too precious to use on something like this...

"Please!" She pleads, moving toward the Rephaim and reaching out toward it.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

        Still not so much as a shout from the wayward LanceKnight, not even when it's been that damaged. It's really intensely strange.
        It's almost as strange as the fact that the Gear is moving at all, given the damage that various parts of the machine have sustained. It should be impossible. And yet, it moves.

        Like a corpse might, if it were strung up with wire and made to dance, runs the decidedly morbid line of thought.
        ...Is it being controlled remotely?

        Or possessed, pipes up the thought he does not want to acknowledge at all.

        The wind rises up, as if stirred and bid forth by the Gear.
        It shouldn't have that ability at all, Loren thinks again, brow furrowing as it comes in, as he readjusts Schiehallion's stance atop the dune, intent to weather the charge. The amplifiers shouldn't be good enough for that level of control.

        Again activating the shielding, he holds his ground as Sundowner comes in on a gale.

        The lance slides across the barrier, cutting a groove across the Gear's armor. But the lance wasn't the end of that attack. There's the wind, and the sand. Even through the barrier, those aspects hit him harder than he'd thought, without a doubt the most serious incidence of damage thus far this mission.
        And that's not even counting the effects of sand jammed into the joints.

        DAMAGE REPORT: 60% ARMOR REMAINING. WARNING!!! DAMAGE DETECTED TO CABLING IN DISTAL REGIONS. DAMAGE RADIUS: 5 AND SPREADING

        Well, that's good, he thinks somewhat at a remove, redirecting his gaze to the field before him.

        "...Bring the cannon online."

        He, in the meantime, begins to pull back, slowly gliding away from those on the front lines. He doesn't need to be close. He shouldn't be close.

        He gets a good view of the Gear -- painted in red, white, and blue -- surges forth and attacks Sundowner in an attack that obviously is far beyond what the machine can handle. And yet, Claude tries.

        He sees fire, cast up from the ground from a point he wasn't watching -- and it's here at last that he realizes what he hadn't seen clearly with his focus elsewhere and with the sand and lightning storm: there are people on the ground.

        

        Another Gear, heavily damaged and targetted by the possessed Gear's fury, manages to rise to its feet.
        And he sees Rephaim step in. Rephaim, the one he had meant to watch, before it became an impossibility to split his attention between that ancient Gear, the storm, and the stolen Gear. It's been heavily damaged, he notes, rerouting further power to the cannon's output.

        It glows red.

        Schiehallion, to outside observers, draws up short, skidding a brief distance.
        What is... happening, he thinks, before the memory slots neatly into place, urged there by the sensation of Ge Ramtos stepping forth into this world. Oh.
        Oh no. His grasp tightens, whiteknuckled, on the controls. It's just a trick. It's not real, it's not real, it's not--

        You're going to die down here.

        ATTENTION: POWER TRANSFER COMPLETE. READY TO FIRE. ENGAGE TARGETTING SYSTEM?

        And he, hand shaking, reaches over and hits 'confirm'.

        A wave of force pulses off the mounted laser cannon as it fires, straight for where the thieved LanceKnight flies.

GS: Loren Voss has attacked Seraph Nimue with Albion Cannon!
GS: Loren Voss takes 8 damage from Corrode!
GS: Loren Voss has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Loren Voss's Albion Cannon for 210 hit points!
GS: Seraph Nimue has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Big Shal tries - but the golem's hastily constructed wall cannot hold up to the rampaging power that's brought down upon them, and she hears herself yell without meaning to, a mixture of pain and concern as the lightning bolts smash straight through Big Shal's form as if they were solid pieces of matter rather than a bunch of electrical energy. They have to be - the latter couldn't possibly hurt Big Shal this much, tear it apart physically.

        Shalune should know, she lightning-proofed both the golem and the Carakin.

        One arm is blown away outright, and then the same leg from before, not yet fully re-formed, is again lost to the wind. For a dizzying moment, the ceiling of Shalune's makeshift cockpit tears off, the sudden noise of the roaring storm disorienting in how quickly it encroaches - and then subsides, as Big Shal seems determined to protect her 'creator' no matter what.

        Her vision buckles, briefly; the pink-haired mechanic grimaces, then tugs her hat down over her sweating brow as she fishes around in her coat. She's learnt by now that operating the pot at this kind of power level for so long takes its toll on her body - she knows this won't be the first time she ends up exhausted after a battle. It could almost be likened to Ge Ramda, she thinks in an uncharacteristic burst of detached grimness - mostly thanks to the way the Gear is still hovering there despite its damage - except a peanut bar is a bit easier to deal with compared to having your soul shaved away.

        As if in response to that thought, the world suddenly lurches, and Shalune doesn't have to be a self-proclaimed priestess of Ge Ramda to realize what's causing it. "--Lunie? Lunie!?" she yelps twice in succession, her eyes suddenly wide as she plants her hands against the side of the 'cockpit', trying to see out of it. "Stop! You-- you mustn't keep using that! You know you can't keep using that!" she repeats again, an edge of anger and frustration coming to her voice for a moment before it cracks with a soft noise, and her connection abruptly drops off the radio frequency.

        Fortunately, Big Shal isn't done yet, even if the golem's component limbs don't seem to quite want to settle back together without some actual mechanical work to assist in the golem's recovery. They don't seem like they would be stable enough to support the full weight of Big Shal in a conventional fashion, so the golem doesn't even try, and instead--

        --elongates upwards, taller and taller and thinner and thinner, reassembling itself on the fly to turn itself into a bizarre shape, less a golem and more a strut with a cockpit. Lightning begins to ground through the machine once more - but this is not the magical assault of their enemy, but the natural lightning that comes of the metal's proximity to the storm, dissipating across its body - no, charged into it, and then concentrated into the golem's remaining arm, brought down on the Sundowner in a sudden, massive strike.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Seraph Nimue with Divine Hammer!
GS: Shalune Amira takes 12 damage from Corrode!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's Divine Hammer for 326 hit points!
GS: Seraph Nimue has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        It's best to not ask unnecessary questions. Gwen never does. "Got it!" Gwen turns Gulliver around towards the statue, urging him onwards, willing him to reach the statue before the next strike of lightning-

        But Cecilia has that covered partially, her barrier taking enough of the initial shock of the attack that Gulliver, at the very least, isn't rearing up from the pain of the impact. Gwen herself, for the most part, manages, slump forward briefly with a grunt. "Help how?" the pale redhead finally manages to say before-- -

        ---- ----

        And they're back, Gwen and Gulliver both managing to look bewildered, but only for a split second, turning to look back at Cecilia, and then, to the battle beyond.

        One could say that Gwen is actually feeling a little... inspired now, looking back at everyone.

        Maybe there was something she could do as well.

        "Maybe I should try it, now..." It was a theory her dear Auntie Frea had: if given the necessary energy levels and time to warm up, the Mockingbird, in theory, could fire a blast powerful enough to hit a Gear. Nothing more than a throw away comment, uttered during one of Frea's many examinations of Gwen's ARM. A very careless comment, one Frea didn't think Gwen would ever be the sort to try.

        But Frea never thought Gwen would grow involved enough to be in battles like these.

        "I'm gon
na give that Gear a run for its money," Gwen simply utters, repositioning herself so that her ARM could point at the strange Magical Gear with Cecilia safely out of the way, all while handing the reins to Cecilia. "I'll be done before y'know it."

        Don't think, just do.

        And it'll be done soon! But not without a few seconds of the ARM, now fully extended. For what it's worth (in terms of safety), Gwen has her right side turned away from Cecilia, but the shaman princess is close enough to see the way the courier's body tenses, how the smooth etched plates that make up Gwen's right arm extend outwards, letting the building light underneath begin to shine, brighter and brighter, until-

        A beam of brilliant lightning shoots out, Gwen's torso jerking back from the powerful recoil. "GHK-"

        This is the ARM that the mighty Cecilia was able to successfully defeat in a round of arm wrestling.

GS: Gwen Whitlock has activated a Force Action!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has attacked Seraph Nimue with Corona Discharge!
GS: Gwen Whitlock has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Nimue takes a solid hit from Gwen Whitlock's Corona Discharge for 175 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! Statuses applied to Seraph Nimue!
GS: Seraph Nimue has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

        Between the assault of the Gears, the Armatized Squire, and the support of those on-foot, Sundowner's really taking a beating. Alisha and Edna (who sounds like she's having fun) vault themselves right back for the cockpit with the considerable power of the Earth--perhaps Grudiev is, in his own way, lending them a bit of extra strength?--as a magic circle forms underneath them, and massive spikes of stone crash into Sundowner's cockpit. They batter into it *heavily*, improving on the dents from earlier to crease the armor further and in some places even pierce straight through. Ragnell straight-up has to jump *out* of her seat to avoid some of them, which weakens the storm further, allowing Fengalon to push through with his own windstorm and batter the Sundowner with his own collossal winds. Ragnell curses even as she can silently appreciate Cecilia's increased control of the Guardians--but they're not done yet. Gwen charges up a massive electric discharge blast towards the Gear; then, Hiro's superheated blade tears *through* about half a foot of that armor. While it's not enough to reveal who is piloting this metal Gear, the combined attacks cause some truly significant damage, sending damage sensors screaming within the cockpit at a volume Ragnell can no longer ignore.
        
        "Shut up, I heard you!" she roars, punching the mute button, before looking up needlessly. "Nimue, y'all right?!" She's still protected by Sundowner's armor, such as it is at this point, and as a Seraph she's not really affected by whiplash like those with more corporeal bodies would be, but Nimue possessing Sundowner means she's much more affected by incoming attacks. Fortunately, Nimue seems to be enjoying herself even as she admits these humans (and some Seraphim) might actually send them packing, and Ragnell laughs too. "I know, right? Way to go! I didn't even have time to get *really* serious!" She narrows her eyes out towards the assembled fighters. "...Next time around, I'll jus' have to get serious sooner." Because it's not just the on-foot combatants. The Gearheads have really brought their A-game, too. There's no way Sundowner can keep fighting after sustaining this kind of damage. Yep--they're going to have to beat tracks.
        
        "Well, I'd say they earned this one," she drawls. "But which of 'em get the spoils..." Her eyes tick towards several Gebler Gears, visible through the dying storm. "...is another matter. Anyway, I'll cover our retreat. You get us the hell outta here!"
        
        And, once Nimue begins the retreat, Ragnell concentrates to send the last of the storm to batter powerfully into everyone present, from on-foot warriors to Gears, lashing them with rain and wind and the last protesting peals of thunder. It won't do any significant damage, but it *will* force them to hold their ground for a moment while it wears itself out. By the time it does, Sundowner will be well on its way away and still going.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Nimue has posed.

Sundowner ends up on its last legs. Everyone comes in with the vengeance of an angry God (in one case reasonably literally -- thanks, Lunata for your noble sacrifice!) and Sundowner starts to break down. Even some of those not in Gears do staggering amounts of physical damage to the main frame of the machine.

... fortunately, even a broken-down Sundowner can still -- in its current situation -- physically move. The force behind the machine calls, "I HATE IT!!!!" with the petulance of a child, answering Ragnell as the machine starts to stumble and stagger away, the windstorm starting to subside. Those death throes ought to give them time enough to hobble away into the desert, the swirling sands masking the last traces of their presence -- but that's all the mercy the Sundowner gets.

As things die down, the statue, at last, seems to be saved.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

        Also Sundowner yanks its spear out of Claudoh before booking it, because no free spear for *you*, sir.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude's Gear staggers forward as the lance gets yanked out, but this is a small price to pay for its pilot still being alive. The young swordsman lets out a breath, tension leaving his shoulders as the breeze stirs his hair and...

He stops for a second and turns to look over his shoulder; his head is visible out both the front and back of the Gear. He starts to shake a bit.

<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

The Sundowner is forced back. Alisha watches the damaged Gear flee, as she lowers down towards the ground. It surprises her, in the moment how exhausted she feels. The rush of Armatization leaves, and she takes a step forward. "Ah... we did it," she says. "Well done! And I--I managed it. Thank you, Edna."

She looks down at her hands -- and blinks, as they shift, back into her gauntlets. The Armatization ends, depositing Edna next to her. Alisha sags, then, and takes a few deep breaths.

"Ah, but... that wore me out," she says. She rubs at the bridge of her nose with her fingers.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Edna has posed.

         Armatization ends after all of that, and Edna leaves Alisha, returning the princess to normal as she lands lightly onto the ground before her. "Well." She slowly takes a look around, resting her parasol on her shoulder.

         "...We're still alive."

         A faint smirk forms. "Congrats, Princess. You managed to avoid screwing up." Edna is so proud. Really, she is. Ignore the whole monotone thing okay?

         "But you still owe me twenty crablettes, so your work isn't done."

         ....Edna.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        Sundowner retreats, in the midst of the storm. The more salient parts of the Rephaim's system blare warnings at her, as the damage starts to mount. The Gear catches fire, though auto-repair systems start to dampen the shock of the damage.

        Lunata doesn't listen.

        The counter stops, as the red light fades.

               Thine due is the sum of 143 hours and 57 minutes.
           I hath received the defrayal of thine soul's sacrifice...

        "... you're both fine, and that's what matters," Lunata quietly responds to Shalune.

<Pose Tracker> Hiro has posed.

 
Hiro eventually lands - and drops his sword - and shakes off his hand which now has a few blisters on it.
 
Ruby floats up to him - "So I totally think this is handled now..." Hiro looks past Ruby towards Gwen and Cecilia - "Glad we got this one after... well everything at Wayside."
 
Then he finds himself looking up in awe at the armatized squire of Alisha - even as it fades.
 
"O-Oh good. She turned off her giant stone fists that could crush us like ants if she so chose... to. ... ... ... Wanna get out of here before she remembers we're here?"
 
Hiro's voice goes up an octave as he picks his sword back up - "Yeah good plan."
 
And then they do.
 

<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia watches the awesome powers being brought to bear against the Demon Gear. "Wow..." she breathes.

And then Gwen releases her freakin' HATE RAY and Cecilia nearly topples off of Gulliver in shock. "WOW!?" she yelps, managing only barely not to lead Gulliver into a tree or something. "What's that thing!?" she says, craning around to look. (CECILIA EYES ON THE ROAD) "Are you OK!? I can heal you when we get the statue sealed!" Well...at least she's got some kind of focus.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Even as the storm rages around them, preventing them from pursuing the Sundowner as it flees, Jacqueline moves in closer to the Rephaim. Damaged as it is, Jacqueline directs the Jaeger to wrap its arms around in it a sort of robotic hug - it'd be comforting, if it wasn't partially meant as a form of restraint.

"It's...we're fine, Lunata. Yes, we're...fine. Let's...let's just go, before things get worse. Please." She murmurs quietly. And then, carefully, she'll start to try to move away. If the Rephaim doesn't start retreating on its own, she'll pull it along with her if she has to.

She had seen Guardians being summoned. There must be at least one person with a Sealing Rod present here. She would entrust this to them.

For now, however...the important thing was leaving here with every one of them alive

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        "I-I'm not entirely sure." Gwen's words end on a squeak. Oh, right, they're on a horse, she should drive. "I'll, uh, take the reins now, thanks a bunch fer takin' them..." The offer of healing after business was out of the way seems to perk Gwen up. She nods readily. "Yeah, yeah, that'd be really swell 'bout now- er, then. When we get there, at the... uh..."

        They're here, Gwen automatically slowing poor Gulliver down before she even has a chance to finish her sentence. "Yeah, you go seal that statue now. I'm gonna just, uh..."

        She's already falling off Gulliver, so she corrects herself... by just getting down. "I'mma just gon' follow you."

        It seems safer that way.

<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia hands the reins off promptly, hands coming down to grip...somewhere presumably, breat coming in short rasps. "The air's clearing up," she mutters, as the last of the storm clears. "Looks like that....Gear, got away."

A low breath. "Small mercies, I guess," she breathes. Gwen stops the horse and Cecilia swings her weight off, reaching for the staff as her feet touch the ground.

Cecilia looks at the statue before her. She can feel the call of the world. She felt it, earlier - when Lunata called on that power. Ge Ramtos' presence...but this is something else.

The world is watching, she thinks, as she produces the Sealing Rod and sets about her task.