2018-10-28: Breaking the Shackles

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Continued from 2018-10-27: Into the Drowned Sanctum - Side A and 2018-10-27: Into the Drowned Sanctum - Side B.


The Drowned Sanctum

The Drowned Sanctum is, as far as one can tell, a fairly large facility. In the past it served as a facility for the study of various types of Sorcery, and even with the former inhabitants having long since vanished, many of these experiments are still on display.

The Sanctum's construction can be likened to a pair of rings encompassing an all-important core - this core, however, is currently locked down due to flooding and the security systems that are still active to this day.

The outer-most ring of the Drowned Sanctum appears to take the form of a great mansion or library, with ornate halls lined with columns and wide windows that allow one to peer outside. Occasionally one can see signs that people once lived in this place - abandoned items can occasionally be found littered throughout.

Among the studies conducted in the Sanctum were studies of plantlife. Various types of flora are present in the Sanctum, but without its former habitants to keep it under control it has grown wild, taking over much of the Sanctum's outer ring.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Last time, the Caravan Kinship, separated into two parties, brought the Drowned Sanctum to the surface, and disabled the security on the core(and obtained some fascinating data on the Sanctum's ecosystem in the process). However, upon doing so, they were greeted by a leering face on the monitor. Following this, all control was locked away from them.

The two parties have reconvened in the Sanctum's foyer now, only to find two things of note - the room containing the teleportation array was tightly sealed, and the large steel door was now open, beckoning them all inside.

"...I don't like this." Jacqueline concludes, stepping cautiously toward it. There was only one option available to them now. Unless they could find a way to access the array again, there was only one direction for them to go.

Through the doors.

It's an uneventful trip through a sterile steel corridor, leading into a large circular room. In the center of this room was a cylinder of clear glass or something like it, with a massive column of what could only be called brightly-colored energy in the center, contained by two rings at the top and bottom with various instruments attached to them. Various pipes siphoned from this center column, streaming off to various parts of the facility...and to a large computer at the far end of the room.

The moment everyone's in the room the door slams shut behind them and someone steps out from the shadows - as if formed by them directly.

It is a man - tall, but pale and ragged, and with a wide grin they would all recognize from the monitor. His hair is long and wild, and his clothes, though once an ornate robe, show obvious signs of age. And, most obviously, heavy manacles are clamped onto each wrist, with chains trailing down behind him. They were connected at some point, but were clearly broken.

"...Welcome. It has been a while since I received guests." He greets, with that everpresent grin. He flexes his fingers for a moment. "I must admit, I have not had time to brush up on my...hospitality. You must forgive me - I had intended this to be much cleaner."

He takes a step toward them.

"Did you enjoy them...? The 'friends' I sent to you..." He asks.

Jacqueline backpedals, a little unnerved.

DC: Monster Mash switches forms to Spectral Presence Lamonte!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

It took Catenna's group some effort to backtrack through the outer ring. Catenna couldn't even stop to take clippings from some of the plants. Hopefully that'll come later.

With her shortbow in hand, the Moon Shaman takes a long look around the room as everyone filters in. "Keep close to one another," she advises Jay quietly. "We do not know who is--"

The door slams shut abruptly. Catenna tenses, and her eyes flit towards that sudden movement in the shadows. Movement she should have anticipated.

The grin is all too familiar. It was all too real when it was leering at her from within the console in the security chamber. Pressing her lips together firmly, Catenna turns to fully face the haggard, leering arrival. But she doesn't raise her bow.

"We did our best to respect them, and the plants which grow here," she says quietly, her voice unnaturally cool and level despite the obvious menace in the man's voice. She takes a couple of steps forward. "Whatever your intentions are, we are here as explorers. We have no intention to harm this place."

Negotiate like the wind, Kittynya. Negotiate like the wind.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        LAST TIME

        "OH NO THE SOUP"

        Lunata stares in horror as delicious sundubu-jjigae (spicy Lunarian soft tofu stew with pillow-shaped rice cakes) splashes all over the console. Is this the end for snack times??

        NOW

        Lunata folds her arms as she follows through the steel door, her shotgun loaded and readied along with her katana. Through narrowed eyes, she paces through-- and peers towards the tall, pale and ragged man as he greets them.

        "'Friends'?" Lunata blinks a few times, though where Jacqueline is backpedalling, she's stepping forward. "You must be the guy whose cell we found. I'm guessing there's a real good reason you're behind bars... well."

        A pause.

        Then she decides to just adopt the old adage of--

        --charging forward with her shotgun thrust out as she tries to snap a quick blast right in his face, a scowl of anger distorted on hers!

        "... no one gets to threaten Jay and live!"

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Lamonte with Gun Stinger!
GS: Lunata Croze has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Lunata Croze's Gun Stinger for 75 hit points!
GS: Hyper! Statuses applied to Lunata Croze!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna pauses as she's about to start another sentence, an attempt which is cut off by Lunata attempting to gun down the crazy guy.

She closes her eyes for a second and breathes out slowly through her nose.

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin lets out a soft curse as she reaches for a rimebomb only to find that she has none remaining--and Lunata is already charging in. "Damn." She draws her sword, instead, dancing in to join Lunata, lunging forward to skewer the manacled enemy with it. Negotiations, it would appear, are passed.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius approaches with his quarterstaff out, though being used like a walking stick. His bandanna around the lower half of his face is still stained with soup, and smells really great. It looks funny. Ethius remains ignorant of how ridiculous this image is, because the man is, well, he's a character.
        Heedless of the strange man's appearance of being a shackled figure who should never roam free, Ethius starts to slowly approach ahead of the others.
        "Am I to assume that the chamber we passed was onc--"
        There is a sudden Lunata interruption. Ethius is a man who can pride himself on his awareness and readiness for dealing with problems - especially problems wielding a wide variety of advanced technology. It should say something about Lunata's bloodthirst and persistence as she comes just shy of shoving him aside that even he seems taken by surprise to the tune of stumbling off to the left by two steps and having to catch his balance with both hands on the quarterstaff.
        An unusual moment of vulnerability.

GS: Ethius Hesiod has completed his action.
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Shalune is not exactly jumpy and concerned on their way back through the complex; quite the opposite, in fact, given the way in which she stares dead ahead with a placid smile and does her best to simply get out of the complex and out of dodge in a very focused manner before the figure from the monitor can make themselves known.

        Unfortunately that doesn't pan out... but at least, given the way the doors of the complex slam shut behind them, Shalune has the opportunity to be well-prepared. By the time the figure looms out of the darkness she's tensed and down on one knee, her shotstaff braced on one shoulder against the crook of her neck as she sights ahead through its viewfinder.

        "Lunie! I've got your back!" she calls out across the sudden melee, and it's suddenly clear she's using her scope for more than just lining up a shot, doing her best to watch the mysterious presence for weaknesses; she squeezes the trigger regardless, peppering the air with a collection of shots, bright yellow against the gloom around them.

        None of them hit - but that seems to be the idea, because rather than aim for a direct hit she's instead trying her best to corral their opponent into remaining in Lunata's path.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Lunata Croze with Common Sense!
GS: Shalune Amira has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
GS: Kourin has attacked Lamonte with Lunge!
GS: Kourin has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Kourin's Lunge for 105 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's Common Sense for 0 hit points!
GS: Reload! Lunata Croze gains 15 extra FP from Shalune Amira!
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

There's no rest for the weary. Locus is still with the group, because even though the adventure seemed to be over, it looks like there's still heroing to be done! An ominous monitor guy is never good news, y'know?

"'Friends'? You mean like that big rainy boy we fed snacks to? So YOU'RE the one who's been meddlin' and makin' it all aggressive!" She points, dramatically. "Well, I'm not impressed! We're here to send you back to underwater jail where you belong!"

Lunata runs in, and Carina is happy to follow. She isn't much of a negociator, alas. "You look like someone who doesn't like bein' zapped!" she decides. The metallic manacles, maybe? EVERYBODY'S gotta have an elemental weakness.

                              ELEMENT: LIGHTNING_

"Prepare to be SHOCKED! LOCUS PUNCH!" she calls out, swinging a fist full o' lightning!

GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Lamonte with Secret Technique - Hit the Weakness!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Well.

There goes that attempt at peaceful negotiations.

To be honest, Cyre isn't exactly sure what to think about this weird guy in all these manacles sealed deep under the sea. He's probably bad news. But the question remains: who is this guy? Also, what the hell was he doing all the way down here?

ALSO also: What the devil is he doing being not dead after all this time...!

Well.

With the rest of the party deciding to go full on guns-blazing in on this random guy who might legitimately just be wanting to invite them all to tea or something (ha ha let's not kid ourselves he wants to kill everyone here), Cyre... Just sort of pats Catenna's shoulder. "You tried, Cat. That's what counts."

And then Cyre unlimbers the enormous sniper rifle he's been carting around and takes aim. "Well, you know how it goes. Better to go all-in now that the fun's started, eh?" Cyre fires! Once! Twice! Three times! Blam-blam-blam!

Still, he can't help but feel like this is about to hurt real bad. Well, not that they have much choice at this point...!

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel currently has a bundle of notes in her pack, along with some samples of fertilizer, a few flowers, and a couple other odds and ends that she felt the need to scoop up on her route through.

What? This place was fascinating.

But the new route - that was frightening, and a lot less fascinating. Mariel would have preferred not to go in it, but - as in so many things - she doesn't get a choice. It's not like the teleporter is working, and a quick poke at it convinced her that it was locked down in a way she couldn't override.

Which means she's kind of staying behind some of the others, even after she sees the old man they spotted on the console. Though when he speaks, Mariel steps to one side, half-visible behind Catenna. "Excuse me," Mariel asks, politely, "but who are you? And what is the facility?"

She adds something, a moment later, in another language, one unfamiliar to anyone else here. It sounds like a question, at least, the way her voice goes up slightly at the end.

Mariel does not join the attack. She reaches in her bag instead, gripping a mushroom and pulling it out, holding it in her hand. She doesn't use it immediately, though...

GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Lamonte with Deadly Sequence!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Lamonte critically Guards a hit from Carina Wynne's Secret Technique - Hit the Weakness for 13 hit points!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Carina Wynne has lost 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Deadly Sequence for 67 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

         And so, a few things become clearer, now. Arleph is still not fully sure on the entire reason of this facility came to be, but it is pretty obvious when someone desires nothing good with your person. If anything, that grin and the traps left behind is something that tells quite a story.
 
         He's more worried about everything that was contained here and dearly hope that none of it was some contaminated, spreadable biomatter that could cause a lot of people if left out. There was likely a reason why the sumbersible was sealed like it was.
 
         He adjusts his hat, frowning while he looks at Cat, particularly Jay's unnerved. He's pretty spooked himself, to be honest. Hostilities are launched pretty swiftly, which is not really a surprise considering.
 
         "Well, 'sir', I will say that your hospitality was dearly leaving a lot to be desired, your bathroom didn't have any tiny towels and small soaps for us to enjoy and the service tried to eat us three times in an hour."
 
         Arleph tighten his fist, a symbol spreading out of his fingers where the slides forward unnaturally fast, sliding accross the ground for a few metres. He swings fist, spreading out his hand and unleashing a flash-freezing screen of sharp ice in the direction of the very creepy man. "I'm afraid I'll have to dock Two stars to your establishment."

GS: Arleph Ardan has attacked Lamonte with Azote Flash!
GS: Arleph Ardan has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Arleph Ardan has completed his action.
GS: Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Arleph Ardan's Azote Flash for 60 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia rubs at her face bleerily as she says, "Well I mean, that was pretty spooky. I'm honestly expectin' trouble."

All this uneventful travel when just getting to the endpoint was trouble enough is not helping Lydia chill out all that much.

And then the door slams shut, Lydia nearly jumps out of her skin which would be awful since she'd have to rebuild everything from scratch. When she turns to look he blinks at the robe, the heavy manacles, and the wacky grin.

"Friends? What friends?" Lydia asks. "The only things we ran into were the metal beast and those--" She pauses. "Oh!! Did you make the turrets? How did you uhhhhhhh are we already fighting?"

Lydia steps backwards. "Okay then. Okay. Fine." She glnaces to Mariel. Who ... who is wielding a mushroom.

Oh gosh Mariel, Lydia thinks, that's adorable. Even if that mushroom will literally explode his head off that's just cute af.

"Okay." Roller skate wheels pop out from underneath Lamonte's feet. "That's fine! I'm badass now! Here we goooo!"

And she charges after Lamonte, intending to leap up into the air and slam her skates right into his DUMB FACE.

Actually Lydia isn't sure why they're fighting him despite him being a total creepy weirdo but.

GS: Lydia Seren has attacked Lamonte with Speed of Light!
GS: Lydia Seren has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Lydia Seren's Speed of Light for 104 hit points!
GS: Riposte! Statuses applied to Lydia Seren!
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda turns her gaze toward the tall, ragged... man, she supposes, before them. As he addresses them, Matilda finds herself reaching, reflexively, toward her pistol; she's been through enough spooky ruin hellscapes with people hiding out in them doing stuff that she knows how this goes.

It surprises her very slightly when *Lunata* rushes in ahead of the rest of the group with a shotgun. Ironically, this change in approach renders her the least tense she's been during the entire exploration of this mysterious place; within moments, she has her pistol in one hand and her shield in the other.

Matilda begins circling, immediately, to the side. It seems like this is what they're doing, and she's not inclined to object! She takes aim and fires twice. She has no witty repartee nor things to shout; she's just... letting herself get swept up in the moment, really.

GS: Matilda Whitehead has attacked Lamonte with Simple Pistol!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Lamonte takes a solid hit from Matilda Whitehead's Simple Pistol for 166 hit points!
GS: Cripple, Jam, and Poison! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Hyper, Quick, and Shield! Statuses applied to Matilda Whitehead!
<Pose Tracker> Prissa has posed.

 
PRISSA had been bringing up the rear and stuffing crap she found on the ground into the Drum of Dreams so it can desynthesize and she can use it to build more swords. Keep it comin', Tenno!

As she enters through the door, she sees a range of people surge towards the cruel form of Lamonte. This makes it slightly awkward, for she had just dropped something into the Drum, which is, thus, emitting a colorful prismatic fume.

Those were his friends?

Prissa grimaces to herself. Awkward.

Fortunately people are in fact being engaged in battle. Prissa adds to the chaos by digging out one of her sturdy but less miraculous knives and tossing it overhand. As she moves nearer to Matilda, she says, "You think he's sitting on this old machina, right - Oh!!!"

GS: Prissa has attacked Lamonte with Heart-of-god Knife Barrage!
GS: Prissa has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Prissa's Heart-of-god Knife Barrage for 94 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue had grabbed a fair bit of data before the face has shown up and she darn well has an idea of what it could be. She looked for one very dour for a moment "You shouldn't like this. If this what I think it is? We could be in very deep trouble." She kept the Deadman's ARM cradled in her own arms as she moved onwards she was not chatty, she was not singing, her eyes were darting about looking for seams in the wall that might be a tell-tale sign of hidden weapon emplacements or traps.

 It seems Tess is quite wrong at this point as she sees someone standing before them waiting for them.

 So it does not seem the complex had an AI of some sort incharge of it, whcih could have been quite worse honestly or Tess own ignorance could be blinding her again.

 "We did our best to not make a mess to get though."

 She's about to say more hwen Lunata well get into the mix and ya that's some serious zeal right there. Whelp it's too late now and she levels the ARM, puklling the trigger and starting to move.

 "Giveing it three stars Arleph?!"

 She notes this while she's shooting on the move...

GS: Tesni Inoue has attacked Lamonte with Rapid Fire!
GS: Tesni Inoue has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Tesni Inoue has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Tesni Inoue's Rapid Fire for 110 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Lamonte has posed.

"Is that so...? Exploring... Is that so..." The man considers, watching Catenna. He flexes his finger again.

"That's unfortunate. My handiwork... MY handiwork..." He stresses it the second time. "I can allow no one else to-"

Whatever he was about to say is thrown off by Lunata charging forward toward him suddenly, unleashing a quick blast into his face. Kourin follows her lead, attempting to skewer him straight through.

Both strikes hit home - the shotgun blast sends him recoiling backward, and the blade sticks straight through his stomach. For a moment he just stands there...but that grin doesn't leave his face.

"...My, you are a fascinating one. Let me get a closer look." He says. Still with Kourin's sword stuck in - unless she retrieved it immediately - he charges for Lunata, thrusting his hand toward her stomach. It's a partially physical attack, seeking to drain one's essence.

And then he turns swiftly toward Kourin with a guarded strike, attempting to club her with one of the manacles while keeping the other arm for defence. On the bright side, she'll get her sword back if she didn't before.

He then retreats, just in time for Carina to throw accusations toward him.

"Ah, yes...they were always lacking in aggression... But I could not simply allow you to do as you pleased, either..." He says with a laugh. And then Carina charges him with a lightning infused punch. He catches the fist directly. Lightning charges into him...but the chains seem to keep him grounded.

"A fascinating technique..." He observes. As he speaks, the chain on the hand grasping Locus's fist rears up, wrapping around her arm. He rushes toward Cyre, intercepting the three shots fired at him. He swings, attempting to send Carina flying at him!

Before he can do anything further, however, Mariel catches his attention.

"Ah, do forgive me...I am called Lamonte. This place...in another time, I conducted research here. But there were those who did not approve of my direction. They had to be removed." He replies. His grin fades a little, however, as she speaks in a different language.

"...You. They sent you, didn't they!?" He says, almost shouting. Before he can attack her directly, however, he finds himself frozen to the spot by Arleph's symbol, leaving him open for Lydia to plant her skates right into his face.

"Accursed...!" He hisses and turns, gesturing with his hand. Solidified shadow erupts from the ground, heading right toward Lydia and Arleph!

This is all the opening Matilda needs to open fire on him. The two shots impact him solidly and force him back, giving an opening for Prissa to throw a knife solidly into him.

"I see...unexpected." He murmurs, reaching out to them. He does not attack them directly. Instead, a grey mist begins to surround them. Those who linger too long will feel themselves weakened, and find even the fact of raising their weapons difficult.

As Tesni looks about the room for hidden weapon emplacements, she will find that there appear to be no such thing, at least not active. Her team had seen to that already.

"That you are even here is a 'mess'! Who sent you?" He asks. With another gesture, flaming scythes go for Tesni's legs. He isn't attacking her directly, however - instead seeking to limit her movment.

...But then he stops, and laughs.

"...No. I do not need to know. I know now what I must do." He raises a hand, generating a sphere of flame. "There is a very simple way to solve this matter."

With a grin he flings it out - as it travels fire scatters over the area - particularly over Catenna, Mariel, Ethius, and Shalune. The sphere smashes right through the glass cylinder, and right enter the column of energy. It absorbs the flame and turns bright red. It shudders, and begins to emit sparks.

The Sanctum shakes ominously.

GS: Lamonte has attacked Lunata Croze with Essence Scraper!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Kourin with Terror Tasker!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Carina Wynne with Rampage Runner!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Another Friend to Tangle With!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Arleph Ardan with Ghastly Spike!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Lydia Seren with Ghastly Spike!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Matilda Whitehead with Weight of Time!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Prissa with Weight of Time!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Tesni Inoue with Speed Crush!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Catenna with Flame Lash!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Mariel with Flame Lash!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Ethius Hesiod with Flame Lash!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Shalune Amira with Flame Lash!
GS: Lamonte takes 7 damage from Poison!
GS: Lamonte has completed its action.
GS: Kourin takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Terror Tasker for 56 hit points!
GS: Cover! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Flame Lash for 62 hit points!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Essence Scraper for 65 hit points!
GS: Lamonte drains Lunata Croze! Lamonte gains 32 temporary hit points!
GS: Mariel has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Mariel completely evades Flame Lash from Lamonte!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Flame Lash for 146 hit points!
GS: Matilda Whitehead takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Weight of Time for 0 hit points!
GS: Weaken! Statuses applied to Matilda Whitehead!
GS: Carina Wynne takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Rampage Runner for 115 hit points!
GS: Mighty! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Ethius Hesiod takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Flame Lash for 62 hit points!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Another Friend to Tangle With for 65 hit points!
GS: Lydia Seren takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Ghastly Spike for 89 hit points!
GS: Prissa takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Weight of Time for 0 hit points!
GS: Weaken! Statuses applied to Prissa!
GS: Arleph Ardan takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Ghastly Spike for 169 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline backpedals away from the stranger with the unsettling grin.

"I...I was just hoping we might be able to learn something that might help us. I didn't think anyone was left here..." She states. Catenna tries to reason with the stranger, but it doesn't work.

Lunata charges at him, threatening him directly. Jacqueline is thankful...but at the same time, a little concerned. But right now, the bigger concern was the enemy in front of her.

This had become a fight - though a part of her had a feeling that this was always how it was going to go.

Before she can add her own contributions to the battle efforts, the stranger - Lamonte, he called himself - does something she did not expect.

He attacks the column of energy directly. From the way the Sanctum shakes afterward...

She immediately remembers how the way out was locked. If they couldn't escape...

"I...I think that's the power source for this whole facility. If it goes down...!" She breathes. "I'm going to try to get it under control! Someone cover me!"

Jacqueline rushes toward the glass cylinder.

Lamonte turns his eyes upon her. Someone should probably stop that.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        Lunata's motion ends in a circular manner that has her recovering from the distinct swerve of her momentum-- enough for him to get his comment him and strike her on the stomach, and she feels drained of energy, regardless of whether it is positive or negative.

        Any other time, and she might've felt a bit contrite about her gun-jumping; however, something about this guy's got her seriously on edge, moreso than she often is.

        There's a furrowed brow as she says, "How'd you stay alive all that time? I can't imagine you were buried overnight," Lunata grunts as she rolls to one side and disengages from his strike.

        "... well, no matter."

        Shalune's got her back, even if the flames rush and consume her for a moment longer than she'd like -- and she turns herself to orient towards Lamonte as she readies Orochi-Agito.

        "Now I'm motivated."

        She stoops, into a low battou stance -- and the cut she makes is not at him, but rather at thin air. It isn't until a moment later that a low gloaming noise erupts into a sphere of cuts aimed towards his space; with that distraction, she's positioned herself directly in front of Jacqueline as she works the console.

        "You'll have to destroy me first to get to her."

GS: Lunata Croze enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Lamonte with Cherry Ronde!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Lunata Croze's Cherry Ronde for 174 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin spins as she dodges out of the path of the manacle, yanking her sword free, but not fast enough--a length of the unconnected chain catches her shoulder. She grits her teeth against the pain, but momentarily demonstrates that no permanent damage has been inflicted, at least.

"It's time to show you all the results of my time training on Lunar," she says as she drops into a low stance--one reminiscent of the preparations for the Comet Slash she learned from the Sword Temple. Then she launches forward, blade arcing frighteningly quickly in not one but *two* fiery arcs.

 "Comet Cross!" she cries as the flames lash back against Lamonte from her blade!

GS: Kourin has attacked Lamonte with Comet Cross!
GS: Kourin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Kourin has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Kourin's Comet Cross for 170 hit points!
GS: Poison! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna just gives Cyre a resigned look.

When Mariel edges in behind her and starts speaking in a tongue she doesn't understand, Catenna looks back towards the tinier woman. She shifts to better put herself between the grinning man and the gardener, though without a sword there's not much she can do if he tries to get into close quarters.

Not that the leering man seems all that sane anyway, pronouncing that he won't allow something. Lamonte, he calls himself. "No!" she calls over the din of battle. "Nobody sent us at all!"

The mad sorcerer conjures that flame sphere. With a hiss, Catenna dives forward and rolls, and the flames scorch across her back, heating her armour and leaving a few burns across exposed areas of brown skin. Wincing in pain, she comes out of her roll in crouch and brings her bow up, taking stock of whether she can actually get an arrow off on this guy before he's on her.

He's a little too close - not in her face, but close enough that she wouldn't trust a shot. She clicks her tongue and rests her bow over her knee, clasping her gloved hands together. Focusing intently, she watches Lamonte past her hands as she builds up power.

Watches him turning his attention on Jay. Catenna clicks her teeth together. "Nobody sent us," she says, trying to be heard over all the combat noise. "We do not even want to destroy your handiwork. If you are willing to stop fighting...."

Catenna interrupts herself to murmur a few words. The spell she casts is subtle - not a huge pull of gravity, but a subtle heaviness that begins to impose itself upon Lamonte, as if even thinking were growing difficult, as if his limbs were subtly heavy as if with slumber. She's trying to zonk him out enough that casting spells will be too much for his mind to manage.

"...then you can explain your work to us," Catenna finishes. "and who you believe 'they' are."

GS: Catenna has attacked Lamonte with Feeble Mind!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: Tesni Inoue takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Speed Crush for 33 hit points!
GS: Slow! Statuses applied to Tesni Inoue!
GS: Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Catenna's Feeble Mind for 0 hit points!
GS: Lamonte suffers Infect, extending negative statuses by 1 turn each!
GS: Mute! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"I knew it!!" Locus exclaims, right before her hand is caught and her lightning... nullified?! Oh no, she misread his weakness completely!

And then she is flung, with surprising strength, towards Cyre. OH NO.

Time seems to slow down as she flies towards her beastman friend. Is there any time to recover before they crash into one another? Probably. But instead, Carina has another idea...

"HEY CYRE," she calls out, as she curls up to CANNONBALL STRAIGHT INTO HIM.

"CATCH!"

Wait, what?

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        The battle is joined almost immediately by everyone. Whether or not he may have been fractions of a second from committing a violence - which appears to be just how Ethius operates - there is that momentary levity to see that it is him whose hand is stayed if only out of circumstance of having to catch himself from falling over.
        'They sent you, didn't they?' he says in an exclaimed voice to someone. 'Who sent you,' he asks to another.
        In a moment of reflection that is short lived, Ethius recognizes there may yet be more to the hows and whys of this place. Before he can even think of asking in a break in the ARMs fire, a great sphere of flame flies past. He avoids taking a direct strike by virtue of tumbling across the ground to avoid this, but the wash of immense heat stings and singes where it passes. He stops in a kneel.
        Catenna helps set that stage with the proper question to get him to talk, but whether her words ring true for everyone gathered is yet to be determined.
        Ethius' movements get a bit more animated and erratic as he bobs and weaves around those quipping and killing, as if waiting for a specific opportunity or vantage point. He angles himself a bit closer in-between Jay and the host of this place as he starts to flitter his fingers to a Symbological casting ritual, syllables muffled under the soup-drenched bandanna.
        "Coronal Shell." Ethius finishes it as a scalding light surrounds him in a sphere, having angled his positioning as such to try and catch Lamonte's sight at a time where almost no one else's should be at risk in looking in this direction. Moments later, the sphere bursts, belching cosmic rays in Lamonte's direction.
        How Ethius himself doesn't get incinerated being in the center of all that remains a mystery. (There are more imminent issues at hand beyond inconsistent heat physics.)

GS: Ethius Hesiod has attacked Lamonte with Coronal Shell!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"Nobody - nobody sent me!"

Mariel, still holding her mushroom (red and black, looks like it could be poisonous) throws herself to the ground as the scattering flame gets dangerously close to her. She crawls across the ground rather than pop right back up, making it a good ten feet before she pulls herself back up to knees, and then back to her feet.

"Please, I just want to know what is going on. This place... it could help Filgaia..." Mariel pushes herself up, unburned but with a line of ashes across her back that she hasn't noticed; the fire lash didn't hit her directly, but it vaporized some of the detritus of time, showering her with burned dust and other, less identifiable items.

"Why did you think I was sent? Do you even know what year it is?" Mariel pauses. "Do you even know what calendar we use?" Mariel keeps the mushroom in her hand and retrieves something else instead - a red-orange fruit, which she tosses overhand at Catenna, giving it a high arc so she can catch it.

Mariel keeps edging sidewise afterwards, trying to keep distance between her and Lamonte, and also keep an eye on the power source pillar. That's kind of worrying.

GS: Mariel has spent 1 Combo on Reload, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Mariel has attacked Catenna with Bamo Fruit!
GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Catenna takes a solid hit from Mariel's Bamo Fruit for 0 hit points!
GS: Reload! Catenna gains 15 extra FP from Mariel!
GS: Lamonte critically Guards a hit from Ethius Hesiod's Coronal Shell for 21 hit points!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has lost 1 Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

         Mad, dark shadows are not something he expected out of the individual that's been stuck in this place for a long time, something very technological. Then again, what do they really know of this man?
 
         The flames hits the symbologist pretty dead on, scorching along his protective chield and punching through with kinetic force. He cries out, gritting his teeth as he slides bck form it. Already people are going to support Jay from the man's baleglare and intentions. It'll be his job to help pushing in the offensive into this.
 
         "No. This started at two stars." He replies to Tensi, slamming in his fists into each others and spreading out the palms. Light push out of each of them, one of each different colors as they fuse outward into a connected beam, slamming at Lamonte. For a brief moment, temperature freezes down to far below 0 celcius, trapping all water that might's been in the vincinity and instilling a deep, chronic cold into the body.
 
         It's not the sort of cold you recover from just drinking a nice, hot soup.
 
         "Tell me, old man!" Arleph snaps out, "Who have built this sumbersible and what was in here!? You were a prisoner, for certain!"

GS: Arleph Ardan has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Arleph Ardan has attacked Lamonte with Cold Fusion!
GS: Arleph Ardan has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Arleph Ardan has completed his action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Arleph Ardan's Cold Fusion for 154 hit points!
GS: Toxin! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        The fact that Shalune is hanging back and providing fire support saves her from the brunt of the wave of flame - and for the rest of it she sinks down into her coat, pulling her bobble hat over her eyes for a moment in order to shield her face. The heat rolls over her - and while she's forced to hiss a little, she does at least look up immediately afterwards, her eyes bright and clear as she starts to line up another shot.

        "Elw did it, right? They musta locked you up, done all sortsa stuff to you? At least, that's what I'm hopin' for why you're like this," she mutters, the speech more under her breath than said out loud. "I'm kinda feelin' like I should be taking a lot of lessons from them as to how not t'act."

        A sharp shake of her head pulls her back; she sucks in a slow breath and then lets it out again, watching for any opportunities she can use.

        In a rare moment of protective irritation, the mechanic decides they've got enough people to argue her case already; people are already yelling that they had nothing to do with the custodians of this place. Instead she watches as Jacqueline races for a console - and as the man's attention turns towards her childhood friend. Without thinking any further, her hand wrenches the head of her shotstaff around to a different position, the canister ratcheting into place with a satisfying cluck of a lock engaging. When she fires, the line is a vivid and solid blue, carving a line straight through the battle towards their opponent's side, flanking him along with Lunata.

GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Lamonte with Storm on the Wind!
GS: Shalune Amira has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte critically Guards a hit from Shalune Amira's Storm on the Wind for 28 hit points!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Shalune Amira has lost 1 Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

"I am a seeker of lost things and the past, places like this draw me like a moth to the flame."

 She notes but then comes the scythe and she's forced back hek she nearly has her legs cut out from under her, her aim is thrown off, she can't really use her ARM right now.

 "I have not expected biological research like this...to be found active and alive. You might be able to stop the desert with this. Why are you hiding down here with it?!"

 Tess reaches out with her mind this time, and slings a wave of force at the man rather than shooting him. Jay's got to cover and she's not wanting to leave Arleph without any help.

 "Oh so minus one star..."

GS: Tesni Inoue has attacked Lamonte with TK Burst!
GS: Tesni Inoue has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Tesni Inoue has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Tesni Inoue's TK Burst for 88 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Damnit, how could anyone be strong against BULLET? Nobody is strong against BULLET! Cyre spits a curse and slings his rifle back over his shoulder. "What the hell, guy!? How do you just CATCH bullets like that!?!? Ah--"

Oh no.

Not just resistant to bullet, but to lightning too!? "Carina! What--"

Catch!?

CARINA HE'S JUST A GUY RIGHT NOW. Not a giant wind tiger! He can't catch you! "Oh damnit, damnit! Fine! Don't blame me if this hurts!" Cyre growls, throwing both hands forward. The wind within the sealed chamber turns and surges down his arms, funneling into a great, roiling sphere positioned just so to absorb Carina's impact...!

She hits the hurricane sphere! And with a *POP!* Carina hurtles right inside! Cyre grits his teeth as he's forced back, his heels digging in as his body strains against the impact. When suddenly...!

"Alright, get ready!" Cyre growls, throwing his body weight into the still-swelling sphere of air. "GO!" Suddenly, Carina finds herself being hurled bodily at the timelost magus, surrounded in a sabeau of ultra-high pressure winds!!

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda gives Prissa a slightly emphatic shrug.

As the grey mist forces Matilda to sag, she winces a little. She's still managed to create an opening for herself, but it feels difficult to capitalize on it. "No one sent us -- though I suspect you've heard that from enough people at this point that you've made up your mind on it, one way or another..."

Matilda is... less inclined to negotiate than many of her friends. "At any rate... mm. It's not that I don't feel bad about this, but... I think at this stage we're -- incompatible existences, regardless of how we got here..."

She sticks to her guns, quite literally -- or at least seems to, as she advances. The weakening of her offense forces her to play a little more conservatively; she decides her best play is to come in with a hard shield smack, staying well-defended and closing some of the gap.

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Lamonte with Grand Pressure!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Matilda Whitehead has attacked Lamonte with Tilling!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has entered a Reflect stance!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Lamonte critically Guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Grand Pressure for 31 hit points!
GS: Mute! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Hyper and Quick! Statuses applied to Cyre H. Lorentz!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has lost 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Matilda Whitehead's Tilling for 60 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"What the fluffy eared girl said!" Cyre yells over the deafening roar of his and Carina's ~Combination Attack!~ "We're here because we found some teleporters lying around and a great big ruin full of interesting stuff behind it! Whoever your enemies are, they're probably long, LONG dead, buddy! This place, though! This place could do so much good! Filgaia needs something like this!"

<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Locus knew she could count on Cyre! "RIGHT ON!" She shouts right back to Cyre, amidst the roaring winds. Oof, this actually hurts a bit more than she expected, but at least neither of them exploded. That's good?? And so, she pinballs back...

NEW TEAM-UP MOVE BGM UNLOCKED!
BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjyEDfBSdv8

...and uncurls as she flies towards Lamonte, one big kickin' foot extended, wind whirling around it like a drill.

"NOW, LEMONTE*," she calls out as she flies back towards Lamonte, repeating a cool thing she heard Cyre say once, "LET'S COUNT UP YOUR SINS! LOCUS CYRE EXTREME!"

There's expository banter occuring, and it seems like this place might be about to self-destruct (huh-oh!) but she's busy performing a cool team-up move right now. She'll catch up in a bit!

* Yes, she misheard him. Those fruit pies from earlier put her in a lemony mood, too.

GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Lamonte with Physics-Ignoring Karate Stunt!
GS: Carina Wynne has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Carina Wynne's Physics-Ignoring Karate Stunt for 143 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Mess with the horns, get wheels in the face!" She gives a thumbsup as she lands, perhaps expecting her to be the next Carakin member with a toyline (probably not). She skates away afterwards, specializing in weird combat rather than direct showdowns (her second specialization is summoning asteroids from the sky so maybe she is considering that a little later rather than right off the bat).

"Like wow totally another underground base with a mad scientist inside! What are you even up to? Maybe if we knew what you were up to, we wouldn't be trying to stop you even though you're a huge creep!"

Shadow rips out of the ground, intending to punch through her chest. "Not this time!" Lydia says as she spins around, simply getting grazed along the side instead. "Shadow and gloom! I get it!"

And with that she raises her own hand into the air and throws several brightly colored cartoon style stars crashing down upon Lamonte. "Eat power! Solar power!" Lydia says before adding, "But seriously we were just here to check the place out we don't even know the deal." Pause. "But leave Mariel alone arright?"

GS: Lydia Seren has attacked Lamonte with Interstellar Vibe!
GS: Lydia Seren has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lydia Seren has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Lamonte completely evades Interstellar Vibe from Lydia Seren!
GS: Lamonte has adjusted their boss level for 12 opponents!
<Pose Tracker> Lamonte has posed.

Before Lamonte can move to capitalize on Jacqueline's open back Lunata moves to intercept.

"How? How indeed! I could ask you the same question, child." He says. He moves to defend himself against her attack...but is surprised by the sphere of cuts that assault him from all angles, even as she touches down in front of him - and, more importantly, in front of Jacqueline beyond.

"I see...then that can be arranged." He gestures toward Lunata. Red smoke shoots up from the floor beneath her, forming a red blade above her that swings down. The blade lingers, aiming to interrupt her with a swing the next time she moves.

Kourin, however, chooses to take advantage of this opening. She displays the results of her training, in a fantastic pair of fiery arcs that cut into his chest and send him recoiling back. He grits his teeth and lunges toward her with a punch. As he does so the chain of that arm moves of its own accord, lunging toward Kourin like the bite of a serpent.

Catenna claims that no one sent them, that they don't wish to destroy his handiwork - that he can explain his work to them, and who 'they' are.

"No! No more! I shall take it with me - and you, as well!" He shouts. He gestures toward Catenna, but she's quicker on the draw. He finds his body growing heavier, his thinking becoming difficult. But even so, his spell goes off - the shadows themselves reach up toward Catenna, attempting to tear at her. They're more sluggish than they would be otherwise, but they're still danagerous.

In the distance, the masked hero flies toward Cyre in slow motion. It's a little distracting, which gives Ethius enough time to get close and finish his incantation. A sphere of scalding light erupts in his face...but Lamonte lunges through. Shadow streams off of him, burned off by the light, but he attacks him much as he attacked Kourin - with a punch to the gut followed up by a viper-like strike from the chain.

"Help Filgaia!? I tried! They decried my methods...they claimed I would destroy it as soon as I would help it!" He shouts toward Mariel. He moves to attack, but her question gives him pause.

"I...I don't-" He stops, solid. ...What year was it? What calendar did they use? He didn't know.

When was it?

His body twitches unnaturally.

Before he can recover and attack Mariel, Arleph moves to take advantage of the opening, flash-freezing Lamonte and his surroundings. He's stopped for a moment, but then Shalune says something that gets his attention. With a growl he shatters from his prison of ice.

"...Yes, that's right. That's right. The abominable Elw! You know them. They tried to take over - to steer my research." Lamonte replies. "Do not trust them!"

He turns quickly, moving to intercept Shalune's shot with his hand. He gestures upward, sending red mist around her before forming a red blade above her as he did with Lunata. And then he turns toward Arleph. Flame erupts around Lamonte as he generates a burning lance which is sent flying toward him in response. His aim, however, is thrown slightly off by a wave of telekinetic force slung by Tesni.

He gestures toward her, sending the flaming scythes from earlier slicing towards her more aggressively than before.

And then, the magnificent combination attack occurs!!

Carina is hurled at him with one foot extended and the wind swirling around her like a drill. He moves to disperse the wind around Carina...but this action leaves him vulnerable to a direct hit. It strikes him squarely in the chest, their combination strike sending him flying back!

He hisses and forces himself to his feet, as Matilda suddenly moves to take advantage of his current state. She strikes him with her shield, knocking him back before he can fully recover. He throws his hand out and the shadows reach up, tearing at Carina, Cyre, and Matilda!

He uses this opportunity to make some distance for himself.

"'Mad scientist'...how insulting. I simply did what I thought what was best! And I shall continue to do so!" He replies. Lydia brings big, brightly-colored stars down toward him. He weaves his way through them toward Lydia and then lunges forward, striking with his hand toward her gut as he did to Lunata before.

"You are an interesting one, too..." He mutters. "What are you?"

GS: Lamonte has attacked Lunata Croze with Impending Peril!
GS: Lamonte has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Kourin with Lunatic Viper!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Catenna with Tearing Shadows!
GS: Lamonte has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Ethius Hesiod with Lunatic Viper!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Lamonte with Vengeful Glimmer!
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Vengeful Glimmer for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Shalune Amira with Impending Peril!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Arleph Ardan with Flame Spear!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Tesni Inoue with Extended Punishment!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Carina Wynne with Tearing Shadows!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Tearing Shadows!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Matilda Whitehead with Ghastly Spike!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Lydia Seren with Essence Scraper!
GS: Lamonte takes 8 damage from Poison!
GS: Lamonte takes 11 damage from Toxin!
GS: Lamonte has completed its action.
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Tearing Shadows for 86 hit points!
GS: Ethius Hesiod guards a hit from Lamonte's Lunatic Viper for 76 hit points!
GS: Toxin! Statuses applied to Ethius Hesiod!
GS: Matilda Whitehead takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Ghastly Spike for 183 hit points!
GS: Carina Wynne takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Tearing Shadows for 182 hit points!
GS: Kourin takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Lunatic Viper for 127 hit points!
GS: Toxin! Statuses applied to Kourin!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Tearing Shadows for 91 hit points!
GS: Arleph Ardan guards a hit from Lamonte's Flame Spear for 91 hit points!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Impending Peril for 109 hit points!
GS: Reaper! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
GS: Shalune Amira takes an additional 30 damage from Reaper!
GS: Lunata Croze takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Impending Peril for 43 hit points!
GS: Reaper! Statuses applied to Lunata Croze!
GS: Lunata Croze takes an additional 30 damage from Reaper!
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin lets out a small cry of pain and surprise as the chain unleashes toxins into her. Falling back, she clutches her gloved left hand to her side, where the bite drew blood. Grunting, she examines the blood on her glove for a moment before falling back into a largely defensive pattern of parrying and thrusting, waiting for the right moment to unleash her next attack.

Spirit barks around and snaps distractingly as well, trying to keep her from facing quite so much of the brunt of the mad scientist's attacks.

"Keep him talking, distracted!" she calls to her friends.

GS: Kourin has attacked Lamonte with Parry Parry Thrust Thrust!
GS: Kourin takes 11 damage from Toxin!
GS: Kourin has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Kourin's Parry Parry Thrust Thrust for 122 hit points!
GS: Tesni Inoue critically Guards a hit from Lamonte's Extended Punishment for 33 hit points!
GS: Tesni Inoue suffers Infect, extending negative statuses by 1 turn each!
GS: Tesni Inoue has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
GS: Lydia Seren takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Essence Scraper for 82 hit points!
GS: Lamonte drains Lydia Seren! Lamonte gains 41 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Locus flips back and performs a three-point landing after her super special friendship kick lands. Looking cool! What looks less cool, however, is the shadows reaching for her.

"Huh?"

She tries to punch them, to no avail because they're shadowing. She trips over as they grab her, tearing at her armor. "Hey, leggo! That hurts, you jerk!" And so, the action heroine is left flailing around for a few moments, trying to shake off the shadows until they finally dissipate.

When she gets up, her armor certainly seems worse for wear, with several deep scratches and a crack in one of her eyes. "Hey, Lemmy, if what you think is best includes lockin' us up and tryin' to get us killed, what are you gonna do with the rest of Filgaia? Savin' the planet makes no sense if you're gonna be a huge jerk to the people on it!"

She takes a familiar stance, drawing the glass-bladed Locusaber from apparent thin air. The music doesn't change, however, clearly indicating that this isn't the end of the episode, merely a powerful attack. She places a blue marble within the weapon's hilt, and...

                                 ELEMENT: ICE_

Charges, slashing away! "If lightning's no good, how 'bout STAYIN' FROSTY? Take that! Locusaber!"

GS: Carina Wynne has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Lamonte with Brave Blade - Locusaber!!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Carina Wynne's Brave Blade - Locusaber! for 158 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        The punch to the gut is halted with the quarterstaff's defensive posture, but 'halted' may be overstating the overall effect - Ethius' feet slide noisily against the ground, and an unsettling feeling runs through the man. Just being this close, making this much contact - enough for the chain to strike and inflict a numbing agent of almost indescribable character other than 'painful,' and Ethius falls to a stunned kneel anew. This allows Lamonte to continue his ranting and raving about helping Filgaia, wanting to try. It is hard for him to sort events in his head as to what this would suggest about when and where this facility comes into place, but that he is of the mind at all while it feels his insides are twisting speaks to his tenacity and stoicism.
        It would seem he's not the only one confused about that, moments later. Ethius stabs the tip of the quarterstaff against the ground... no, to noisy, he reminds himself. He slows his approach as the scientist-prisoner's attention yet drifts elsewhere, doing his best not to leave too much noise to his movements.
        He picks up as Locus and Cyre combine forces. The amount of trust and familiarity between Locus and the rest continues to perplex him. Why are they so eager to push her name and likeness, now? Who is she, wonders the detective antagonist of that little story.
        Enough of that. They start to approach Lydia. Lydia, whom has embraced what she is now in full and decided to go full bore, no matter who or what anyone or anything says. Lydia does not need Ethius' help in the least, and she may not want it. Whether that is a motivator or not, it is quite the coincidence that Ethius gains further speed despite the venom(?) coursing through his veins, alarming alacrity as he dashes low...
        And leaps into Lamonte, ill-advised for all the shadow and fire they produce, looking to bowl into him from behind with a rushing dive into tumble through him.
        "Rank Breaker!" Ethius calls the technique name, because that's a universal constant. The element of surprise otherwise - move name callings notwithstanding - are all he has to offer to make the strike work against an opponent so otherworldly resilient against trauma and time itself.

GS: Ethius Hesiod has attacked Lamonte with Rank Breaker!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ethius Hesiod takes 14 damage from Toxin!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has completed his action.
GS: Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Ethius Hesiod's Rank Breaker for 48 hit points!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has lost 0 Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        Lunata grimaces as she stands her ground, only to find that she's not the only one with a mastery of space itself and how swords and slashes manifest over it. There's a grimace as she holds her sheath against it to try to bat it away; she does so ever so faintly, such that it still cuts against her forearm as it bursts through and down as she ducks--

        --and it still comes after her and prompts another haphazard guard. "Rhh-- Ge Ramda!!"

        Her eyes flash, and the spectral lich emerges from behind her back as she rears her skeletal fingers and flecks a single violet flame to descend down onto Lamonte's feet.

        "You've been down here far too long... I guess I can relate." A pause, as he comments on not trusting the Elw.

        "Noted. And agreed, for once. Now--"

        She shoves forward past that red blade, and chases after the violet flame that Ge Ramda's dropped to slash at it--

        "Majin Messatsuen!!"

        --she carves, and a small hellgate erupts from where the blade makes contact with the flame; echoing, screaming spirits of the dead rush out within that moment, before snapping shut with the eerie chill of undeath.

GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Lamonte with Majin Messatsuen!
GS: Lunata Croze has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lunata Croze takes an additional 25 damage from Reaper!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Lunata Croze's Majin Messatsuen for 122 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

A fruit is coming towards Catenna!

Deftly, the Moon Shaman snags the morsel Mariel tosses to her. "Thank you," she calls out before taking a quick bite of it, then one more.

Catenna knows all too well what a bamo fruit does. The taste and juice of it hit her system not with a sudden rush, but with a steady, simple bolstering. She takes a few more bites before whipping her hair back with a snap of her head.

The shadows swirl and reach out for her as Lamonte shrieks his answer - obstinate madness. Catenna hisses a short breath and hurls herself backwards into a high, sailing flip - but she's not quite fast enough. Sluggish darkness rakes across her, tearing away shreds of fabric across her thigh, leaving dents and scratches across her armour. She's jarred in mid-jump and can't land as far away as she'd like, coming down with a click of heels and a pained wince. It wasn't a solid hit - but it was a painful one nevertheless.

'The abominable Elw'

Catenna's eyes narrow. "Do not speak of them so," she says shortly. Not that Catenna's ever met an Elw - that she knows of - but the name's familiar enough, and its significance even moreso. "Your research produced constructs which had little purpose but combat. Why not help Filgaia instead of traveling down this road? This world needs more greenery...."r
Catenna trails off. Trying to get through to Lamonte has, so far, been impossible. All she can continue to do now is try to pump him for information.

And, of course, stop him from harming Jay. Catenna takes another bite of Mariel's fruit, then rises with a flick of her head and a smooth motion of her hands. Arcane currents shimmer in the air before she pronounces a ringing power word and thrusts her right palm forward imperiously, fingers together.

Gravity compresses around Lamont like a vast crusher. All at once, an unseen force attempts to pull his centre of mass inward and then crank up the pressure. It's as though Catenna is attempting to collapse the madman in on himself and implode him into a crazy cube.

GS: Catenna has attacked Lamonte with Polarity Clutch!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Catenna's Polarity Clutch for 155 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Shadow sorcery isn't exactly something Cyre's accustomed to dealing with. Tendrils of darkness slash and swipe at him, cutting bloody gashes through his robes. But the shaman isn't defenseless. Darkness is naturally opposed by light, after all-- and Cyre has that in spades. He leaps back, palm slamming into the floor. A flood of blue-white energy surges outward, scattering the tendrils still reaching for him. But... He's not who he's worried about. Catenna's still fine, but...

"Lydia!" Cyre growls, bolting upright. Cyre roars, prismatic gates opening up all around him. "Let her go!" Technicolor rays lance out from the brilliant gates. Each beam dances briefly across the lingering shadows before converging over Lamonte's position. They flare, then, unleashing a devastating torrent of celestial might!

"What the heck did you do that the Elw thought you were crazy!? What's more ridiculous than the Golems!?" Cyre yells, "I saw what you made. Those... Those creatures. They weren't just meant to kill people. Each one was nurturing the world around them the best that they could! Why would you take all of that and make them into things to hurt people with!? You... You could do so much good with everything in here! Come on man, stop this! We can make this work!"

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Lamonte with Valkyrie!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Valkyrie for 74 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline approaches the glass cylinder, and a door opens up invitingly. She hurries through it and it shuts behind her. No one else will be getting in - except by force.

She can feel the heat from the column of energy as it continues to go wildly out of control. The Sanctum jerks once. It's starting to move downward, just a little.

"Okay, I have to do this quickly..." She murmurs to herself, looking over the instruments. She...wasn't sure what to do. There were a lot of buttons, and she wasn't sure she had the time to look over all of them! She starts with one in the middle, and continues from there. And eventually...

One of the buttons she presses opens up a compartment near the console. Sliding out on a tray is a pair of gloves. There's a high-tech metal bracer of some kind attached to each of them, and the four greater Crests each onto the back of each of them. Jacqueline looks at this for a moment, then looks up at the column of energy.

"...You're not asking what I think you are, are you...?" She mutters, reaching out to pick up the gloves. She removes her original gloves and slips these on...and winces slightly, as energy lances out from them. They begin to shrink down, fitting onto her perfectly. Just like that, the heat she was feeling from the energy column is gone. "...You are, aren't you."

Jacqueline sighs.

"Umm...I'm about to do something a little crazy, but no one panic, okay! It'll be fine!" Jacqueline calls out. She's not sure if any of them can even hear in there, let alone see her through all of the fighting. She takes a deep breath, shuts her eyes...and then shoves her newly-gloved hands into the energy column.

Surprisingly, they aren't immediately disintegrated. In fact, it actually feels kind of pleasant? Though weird and a little tingly. She feels like she can directly manipulate it like this. Maybe if she's careful, she can...

...Make it not explode...?

...Well, she'll try!

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Why are people shouting my name, Lydia wonders.

She looks down at the fist embedded in her chest. Ohhh, that's why. It also explains why her head is ringing and why she feels like throwing up and why she is missing a few moments of time.

She can hear Ethius rushing to attack in a seemingly untactical way. She still doesn't understand. What does Ethius think of her? What is she to him? Has she hurt him terribly? She wished she knew the rules, but Ethius keeps those under lock and key.

"You... you don't want..." Lydia manages. "You don't want to eat that. You don't know where it's been."

And with that it looks at first like Lydia's armor is melting away from her body and leaking around Lamonte's fist and crawling up his arm. Lydia throws herself back and says, "Ethius! Be careful!" because the metallic material expands rapidly alongside Lamonte. The material's growth expands rapidly into a sludge of quicksilver that swirls up and tries to shove itself into Lamonte's throat. That probably...would not be pleasant.

"But you didn't let us peer review!" Lydia shouts.

GS: Lydia Seren has attacked Lamonte with Reshape Riot!
GS: Lydia Seren has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

         Arleph HAVE some experience dealing with shadow magic. It turns out that does help in that department, to know what to expect from them. Still, exposure does not mean you know how to defend yourself against everything and anything. Quite the contrary.
 
         "What I am more interested about," Arleph says, through gritted teeth as he push out one of his gloved hands to project a shield against the flames, taking a few steps back from it. It bulge and makes it bulk, but it holds not without some flames licking at his sleeves. "Is how long have you been doing this, in here. How long have they denied your genius and made you so unjustly prisoner, then?"
 
         This person is pretty ... well, gone, honestly. He's not sure if he's human at all anymore. Still, if keeping him occupied can help... Well, he might as well get some answers out of it.
 
         The Symbologist takes a deep breath. It's also time to step it up. This guy will push them back if this continues.
 
         He snaps two fingers of one his free hands. It makes a deep, resonating 'NOISE', revebrating through the area, a circle drawing itself at his feet.
 
         "FROM THE ENERGIES THAT ARE LOST, FORGOTTEN BY ALL'S POWERS!"
 
         Arleph grips at invisible strands while energy balls froms from the ambient air. Some is refuse of other people casting spells. Cast offs, bringing to life and visible and soaring to his air. But there is a large syphon around the are of Lamonte, gripping and clawing at his magical reserves.
 
         "COME TO ME, FOR I SHALL USE YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN! MOTE RECLAMATION!"
 
         It ends with a burst of power, bright blue and red. Because of course it does.

GS: Arleph Ardan has attacked Lamonte with Mote Reclamation!
GS: Arleph Ardan has completed his action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Lydia Seren's Reshape Riot for 137 hit points!
GS: Lamonte critically Guards a hit from Arleph Ardan's Mote Reclamation for 30 hit points!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Arleph Ardan has lost 1 Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel does not hear what Shalune mutters. Her ears are sharp, but they're not that sharp... especially in the middle of a noisy battlefield.

But she hears Lamonte, all right. 'Abominable Elw', he says, and Lunata agrees with him. Cyre asks what's more ridiculous than what the Elw - and humans, she mentally adds, they did this together - did to make the Golems. Only Catenna defends the Elw, and Mariel slouches, slightly. Is that what they think of her people?

Do they deserve it?

This isn't the time to be depressed or worried about it, though. Mariel retrieves something different from her pack - a bundle that Cyre, at least, recognizes as several sticks of incense, though not of a specific blend he's familiar with. Still trying to juggle everything she's holding - the mushroom, the incense, and what appears to be a metal lighter - Mariel manages to ignite several of the sticks, tossing them wildly around the room. There's no dry plants in here so it's probably okay.

The smoke is revitalizing. People near the burning incense can breathe it in and feel better; even if it's not real medical treatment, it will keep them on their feet for longer, without much of a downside. She makes sure to toss one near Lydia after that impact, but she's not the only one who gets one.

"If - if they said that you were dangerous, they might be right. The Elw made mistakes," Mariel admits. "It's important not to do them again. Once is enough. But - even a thing that is dangerous can be used to benefit others. Medicine is poison when used badly, and poison may be medicine."

GS: Mariel has attacked Lydia Seren with Healing Herb!
GS: Mariel has attacked Shalune Amira with Healing Herb!
GS: Mariel has attacked Arleph Ardan with Healing Herb!
GS: Mariel has attacked Carina Wynne with Healing Herb!
GS: Mariel has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Mariel heals Carina Wynne! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Mariel heals Arleph Ardan! He gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Mariel heals Shalune Amira! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Shalune Amira takes an additional 5 damage from Reaper!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Again, Shalune is forced to grit her teeth and wince as she ducks down. The air around her suddenly diffuses into a sickly red colour; she coughs against it for a moment, before having the common sense to yank her scarf up across her lower face. As a result, her voice is a little muffled - but at least it lets her focus a little better against the debilitating feeling clinging to her limbs, pushing herself up off the wall to relocate.

        "The Elw are gone! There ain't any more to trust, even if I wanted to!" she calls as she sweeps around the perimeter of the battle, fumbling for the Little Dipper as she does so. "All we've got is a bunch of old rickety ruins that keep firing on their own, or fall apart at the worst times, or fling all of us to different planets, or most of all maybe won't tear up the whole continent if we ask real, real nicely?"

        There's a tinge of frustration in her voice, and she recognizes it - holds it back, grimacing to herself. "You want out, and I get it, but there's no-one to take your anger out on anymore! So long as you keep thinkin' the best course of action is to fillet everyone, we're gonna have to fight back!"

        Sucking in a breath as she continues to run, she finds what she's looking for, and flings the small white metal square out in front of her. It hangs in the air unnaturally, and then the flying scooter unfolds and untangles itself outwards in a complicated set of motions, gunning forwards the moment Shalune's leap lands her on the craft's back.

        Without any delay she sweeps upwards into the air, high enough to graze the ceiling and send a shower of sparks falling down on the battle below. The next instant, more than sparks are falling - Shalune and the Little Dipper both angle down towards Lamonte, the pink-haired girl yelling in a headlong descent as she aims to simply ram the figure against the hellgate that Lunata has opened.

GS: Shalune Amira has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Lamonte with Soaring Clouds!
GS: Shalune Amira has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Shalune Amira takes an additional 25 damage from Reaper!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's Soaring Clouds for 198 hit points!
GS: Mariel heals Lydia Seren! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

There's clearly something going on here something concerning, how long has this guy been down here? Just what is he? She isn't sure, she's long since learned to not say things are impossible as this world has a nasty habit of doing things, or having things happen that should be. She's not doing thione she braces and in a risky move uses her ARM to intercept and parry the blow, it goes better than she hopes, while there's some damage to her weapons housing it seems to be intact overall and she would level it again firing another string of shots at Lamonte.

 "Why must the Elw not be trusted?!"

GS: Tesni Inoue has attacked Lamonte with Rapid Fire!
GS: Tesni Inoue has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

As it becomes increasingly clear that they're not *just* busting in on some poor stranger operating a weird facility, but instead dealing with a potential existential threat to Filgaia that got sunk into the ocean, Matilda's... enthusiasm, for the fight, visibly increases. She seems more at ease in the fight than she did before... though unfortunately this also leaves her open a moment, letting the shadows tear at her.

She bears up under the assault, though, and stays in close rather than letting herself be forced back; she does, however, lose her pistol, as it skitters across the floor. Mercifully, it does not go off.

Matilda's left to think for a moment about what to do; with the hand that *isn't* holding her shield, she reaches into her long coat -- or maybe stabilizes her arm? It looks more like the latter, as she comes in for a shoulder check.

GS: Matilda Whitehead has attacked Lamonte with Shoulder Check!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Tesni Inoue's Rapid Fire for 114 hit points!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Lamonte completely evades Shoulder Check from Matilda Whitehead!
<Pose Tracker> Lamonte has posed.

Kourin takes on a defensive stance, parrying and thrusting from that stance. It keeps him on his toes, and eventually she manages to get a good thrust through his own defenses. Spirit's presence helps, too - there's not much he can do to try and defend himself against the nipping at his heels.

This guy may be a 'huge jerk', as Carina says, but maybe even he isn't enough of a heel to kick a dog directly??

Lamonte whirls around to face Carina herself.

"I could have saved it!" He shouts, even as she charges toward him with an icy blade. She swings at him with an icy blade, and he finds himself unable to get out in time. An icy swathe is cut across him.

Ethius leaps into him from behind with a rushing dive, knocking him beside and halting a further assault.

Nearby, Lunata calls upon Ge Ramda, who sends a violet flame toward his feet. Lamonte attempts to relocate himself, but as he does so Lunata rushes forward, carving open a screaming hellgate with her blade, spirits rushing out.

"N-no! I refuse!" Lamonte shouts. The technique seems to have instilled some manner of fear into him. He backs away, lashing out at the gate with flame of his own to force it shut.

He does not breathe - in fact, it's hard to tell if he's even capable of it - but he does seem to regain his composure a little as he glances toward Catenna.

"And what do you know of them? Their arrogance..." He hisses. "You remind me of my colleagues. They could not see the grander picture. My modifications were necessary!"

He replies. He opens his mouth to speak again...but then, suddenly, the gravity around him begins to compress, as if trying crush him. Motes of shadow begin to leak out as he is forced to his feet. With a hiss he forces against it...but not quickly enough to avoid all of the technicolor rays lancing down toward him from numerous gates.

"I expressed my disapproval of their methods, but they ignored me! I took actions into my own hands, and they imprisoned me!" He shouts in response.

Specimens contaminated...supplies lost...equipment damaged. An entire room exploded. Those of the interior team who had seen a certain report would know what 'actions' he took into his own hands.

He draws his hand out, but finds that some of Lydia comes along with it. In fact, a lot of Lydia. It rushes toward him, trying to consume him from the inside...

...Though it'll find that there's not really anything to consume. It's painful, certainly, but there's no real flesh there, though he seems physical enough. It's not flesh and blood holding him together, that's for certain.

Arleph asks a question - how long. ...How long...?

How long?

Something about that question strikes him, as it did before. He hesitates...but this time he is prepared for the attempt to capitalize on it. Spheres of energy tear at him and his reserves, but before they can steal too much from them he disperses them with a wave of force. He stumbles back a bit, though.

The effort took a bit out of him.

He looks toward Mariel as she speaks. He grins slightly, though in a pained manner.

"Mistakes...I'll say they did." He comments, and then Shalune says something that gives him pause.

The Elw were gone...?

He begins to laugh.

"...They're gone. I waited down here for so long, waiting, planning what to do if they returned to take what's mine...and they're gone! What a fool I've been. I should've seen it." He laughs. It's...kind of jarring, actually, though there's a hint of self-deprecation to it. Shalune rams into him, to try and push him against the hellgate Lunata summoned. He takes it squarely, nearly stumbling back into it...but he lashes out. The chains slam out, piercing into the stone and keeping him solidly in place.

Tesni fires off enough string of shots at him. Still trying to recover himself he can't defend against these very well, but by the time Matilda comes in for the shoulder-check he's able to dodge to the side even with his limited mobility, swinging the chain to try and trip her as she passes.

"Well then! I see no reason to continue this any further." He says. This sounds all good and pleasant...but then, something terrible happens. All around chains shoot up from the ground, seeking to bind everyone within reach!

This is followed up by an assault of terrible, incomprehensible sorcerous power.

...But it leaves him drained. The chains drop from his manacles, spent, and he doubles over. The shadowy motes leak out from him at a greater pace.

He's wide open...if anyone survived it.

GS: Lamonte has become ENRAGED!
GS: Lamonte has activated a Boss Action!
Drowned Sanctum(#993Ten)
The Drowned Sanctum is, as far as one can tell, a fairly large facility. In the past it served as a facility for the
study of various types of Sorcery, and even with the former inhabitants having long since vanished, many of these
experiments are still on display.

The Sanctum's construction can be likened to a pair of rings encompassing an all-important core - this core, however, is
currently locked down due to flooding and the security systems that are still active to this day.

The outer-most ring of the Drowned Sanctum appears to take the form of a great mansion or library, with ornate halls
lined with columns and wide windows that allow one to peer outside. Occasionally one can see signs that people once
lived in this place - abandoned items can occasionally be found littered throughout.

Among the studies conducted in the Sanctum were studies of plantlife. Various types of flora are present in the Sanctum,
but without its former habitants to keep it under control it has grown wild, taking over much of the Sanctum's outer
ring.
Contents:
 * Matilda Whitehead
 * Tesni Inoue
 * Arleph Ardan
 * Lamonte
 * Ethius Hesiod
 * Cyre H. Lorentz
 * Kourin
 * Catenna
 * Lydia Seren
 * Shalune Amira
 * Carina Wynne
 * Lunata Croze
 * Prissa
 * Mariel
 * Drowned Sanctum - Interior(#994Ten)
GS: Lamonte has spent 1 Combo on Disease, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Matilda Whitehead with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Tesni Inoue with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Arleph Ardan with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Ethius Hesiod with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Kourin with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Catenna with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Lydia Seren with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Shalune Amira with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Carina Wynne with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Lunata Croze with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Mariel with Bindings of Eternal Enmity!
GS: Kourin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Kourin completely evades Bindings of Eternal Enmity from Lamonte!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Bindings of Eternal Enmity for 0 hit points!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has been weakened by Disease! They take 0 damage, and burn off all temporary hit points!
GS: Disease, Entangle, and Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Cyre H. Lorentz!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Catenna completely evades Bindings of Eternal Enmity from Lamonte!
GS: Lunata Croze critically Guards a hit from Lamonte's Bindings of Eternal Enmity for 0 hit points!
GS: Lunata Croze takes an additional 15 damage from Reaper!
GS: Lunata Croze has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
GS: Arleph Ardan has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Arleph Ardan completely evades Bindings of Eternal Enmity from Lamonte!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Matilda Whitehead with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Tesni Inoue with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Arleph Ardan with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Ethius Hesiod with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Kourin with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Catenna with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Lydia Seren with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Shalune Amira with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Carina Wynne with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Lunata Croze with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has attacked Mariel with Unknowable Spell...!?!
GS: Lamonte has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: CRITICAL! Cyre H. Lorentz takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 162 hit points!
GS: Mute and Poison! Statuses applied to Cyre H. Lorentz!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Kourin takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 105 hit points!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Lunata Croze guards a hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 133 hit points!
GS: Lunata Croze takes an additional 15 damage from Reaper!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Bindings of Eternal Enmity for 0 hit points!
GS: Shalune Amira has been weakened by Disease! They take 14 damage, and burn off all temporary hit points!
GS: Disease, Entangle, and Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
GS: Shalune Amira takes an additional 30 damage from Reaper!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Shalune Amira guards a hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 138 hit points!
GS: Shalune Amira enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Mariel has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Mariel completely evades Bindings of Eternal Enmity from Lamonte!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: CRITICAL! Arleph Ardan guards a hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 187 hit points!
GS: Mute and Poison! Statuses applied to Arleph Ardan!
GS: Carina Wynne guards a hit from Lamonte's Bindings of Eternal Enmity for 0 hit points!
GS: Carina Wynne has been weakened by Disease! They take 20 damage, and burn off all temporary hit points!
GS: Disease, Entangle, and Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Carina Wynne!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Mariel takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 209 hit points!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Catenna completely evades Unknowable Spell...!? from Lamonte!
GS: Lydia Seren takes a glancing hit from Lamonte's Bindings of Eternal Enmity for 0 hit points!
GS: Lydia Seren has been weakened by Disease! They take 20 damage, and burn off all temporary hit points!
GS: Disease, Entangle, and Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Lydia Seren!
GS: Lydia Seren enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Lydia Seren takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 216 hit points!
GS: Ethius Hesiod takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Bindings of Eternal Enmity for 0 hit points!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has been weakened by Disease! They take 0 damage, and burn off all temporary hit points!
GS: Disease, Entangle, and Shieldbreak! Statuses applied to Ethius Hesiod!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Ethius Hesiod takes a solid hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 214 hit points!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Carina Wynne guards a hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 133 hit points!
GS: Lamonte takes 8 damage from Poison!
GS: Lamonte takes 10 damage from Toxin!
GS: Lamonte has completed its action.
GS: Tesni Inoue critically Guards a hit from Lamonte's Bindings of Eternal Enmity for 0 hit points!
GS: Tesni Inoue has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Lamonte's attack becomes clear!
GS: Tesni Inoue guards a hit from Lamonte's Terror of Eternity for 136 hit points!
GS: Tesni Inoue enters CONDITION GREEN!!
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin leaps back from the bindings only to be struck by the unknowable spell. She grunts in pain, staggering back, but then spots the opening she's been waiting for.

Dropping back into a low stance, she takes a deep, focusing breath, and then lets out a cry as her blade once more arcs--but this time, the flames that emerge are icy blue and radiate a blood-chilling cold.

"Ice Comet Slash!"

GS: Kourin has spent 2 Combo on Poison and Disease, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Kourin has attacked Lamonte with Ice Comet Slash!
GS: Kourin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Kourin takes 10 damage from Toxin!
GS: Kourin has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Kourin's Ice Comet Slash for 207 hit points!
GS: Lamonte has been weakened by Disease! They take 0 damage, and burn off all temporary hit points!
GS: Disease and Toxin! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Matilda Whitehead completely evades Bindings of Eternal Enmity from Lamonte!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lamonte has lost 1 Combo!
DC: MISS! Matilda Whitehead completely evades Unknowable Spell...!? from Lamonte!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna can't even find it within herself to argue with Lamonte. The man is so mad and so deluded that nothing will reach him.

And his rage seems to be coming to bear on Mariel, for some reason, the tiny woman's defense of the Elw seeming to infuriate him. As her spell tapers off, Catenna begins to edge towards Mariel, clutching her bow a little more tightly as if anticipating a need to try and defend the CaraKin's tiny gardener.

Until he decides to simply end it.Catenna's eyes widen, and she opens her mouth slightly. "Oh dear," she says.

Chains burst from the ground. Gasping, Catenna hurls herself away. Steel links rip past her, sliding along one of her legs and tearing off most of the fabric. Barely quick enough to jerk away, Catenna arches backwards and flips heels over head, boosting into a high, arcing flip that carries her up, over, and then down into a careful landing among the dancing chains. When a few more coil up to harry her, like striking serpents, Catenna swats them aside with her bow.

And all the while, power builds. It mounts and mounts - and then, with incomprehensible force, Lamonte casts forth that thunderous sorcery. With barely a second to act, Catenna does the only thing her instincts tell her to do.

She throws herself to the ground, covers her head with her hands and flattens out as much as possible - and the spell roars over her, screaming through the room with punishing force. Waves of energy scream just inches from the Moon Shaman. Hunkering down, she tries to squirm forward across the ground, but doesn't make it very far.

Somehow, it's enough. The ringing in her ears abates, and Catenna looks up with a widening of her eyes at the sight of the madman lurching backwards, his manacles shedding their chains and his body shedding that shadow like blood from a wound.

"NOW!" Catenna shouts over the dying sound of the spell.

It's not like Catenna to mount a daring attack - and yet, rearing up with a billowing toss of her hair, she does just that. She holds her hand out and shouts a few words in Zortroan: "Chadama ki pakad!"

The gravity peaks again. It's like a massive, crushing force is trying, again, to collapse Lamonte into himself - but with his defenses down, can he stop himself from being quantum-spiked into squishy oblivion?

GS: Catenna has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Catenna has attacked Lamonte with Polarity Clutch!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Catenna's Polarity Clutch for 154 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Carina isn't sure what Miss Jay is up to, but she overhears her shouting about trying something a little crazy. Maybe the antennae picked it up? Well, either way: "You go, girl!" Locus shouts back. Where would they all be without trying crazy things, right?

She continues to remain oblivious to Ethius' continued interest in her identity. Not that she doesn't care, but she forgets herself in situations like these. It feels more important to her right now to act like a hero than to talk like one. Good thing he hasn't caught on yet!

Then come incense sticks. Locus may still not have figured out how to drink potions or eat in combat, but at least soothing smoke is something she can use. "Hey, thanks!" She flashes a brief thumbs-up towards Mariel, then takes a moment to stretch out. Aaaah, so relaxing~

What is less relaxing, however, is what Lamonte does next. Chains!! Those don't seem like good news at all. Locus attempts to leap away ("Toh!") but her foot is snagged at the last moment, slamming her right back into the ground. This is painful, but not nearly as much as the spell that comes their way next!

"Locus... Guard!" she says, weakly, as if it were a thing. She crosses her arms in an X in front of her face and chest, and this...

...seems to work well enough, at least in that she's still conscious. And he left himself wide open! Locus staggers back onto her feet. "Chance...!"

And she takes off running, leaps into the air with what little energy she's got next, performs a midair flip, and lets blizzard winds engulf her! Ice worked well enough earlier, right? At least better than lightning. So there's more where that came from!

"Always-Winning Final Locus KIIIIIICK!"

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqkHxzNUCOM

Ah! There we go, there's that finishing move music the kids were waiting for.

GS: Carina Wynne has attacked Lamonte with Always-Winning Final Locus KICK!!
GS: Carina Wynne has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Carina Wynne's Always-Winning Final Locus KICK! for 99 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Shalune makes impact with the man, feeling the crunch of the Little Dipper's bow against his form. The bodywork of the poor machine is not meant for this kind of percussive abuse, is never meant for the sort of treatment Shalune puts the poor thing through - it buckles and lurches to one side, yet another casualty for the mechanic to repair in her own time later.

        The pink-haired girl expected that much, throwing herself clear at the last moment and fully intending to tuck into a ball and roll out of harm's way. Instead, the unexpected happens - something manages to catch her foot in midair, and Shalune is forced to squawk in a combination of surprise and sudden fear, twisting and lurching as she pivots in an attempt to see past the volume of her coat to see what's caught a hold of her.

        Instinct makes her hand dip towards her coat pocket - and just in time, because she's only just able to get a hold of something hard there and pull it into her fist before her arms are caught by more of the phantasmal chains. She yelps with pain as she's abruptly pulled back up into the air, hanging in front of Lamonte in the aftermath of her wild charge and yelping harshly at the sudden pressure around her.

        She grits her teeth to swallow any other noise as power suddenly lashes painfully across her, refusing to give the man the satisfaction of a yell of pain; Shalune's not good enough to figure out the shape of it, and it's not like she'd have the proficiency to either way. "... you're still-- continuin' it, though," she mutters instead, grimacing as she opens one eye to check on Jay, to ensure that she's still safe; her gaze tracks to Lunata the next moment, and then at the way Lamonte is doubled over in front of her, breathing raggedly.

        Slowly, she grins - and lets her bound hand open. The thing that falls from it is tiny - just the side of a squash ball, and just as black and soft. It raps against the ground between their adversary's feet - then explodes outwards and upwards to encompass them both. "Lunie! Take 'im down!" she calls just as the chains break - though perhaps too late to shield herself from her rather wild attack.

GS: Shalune Amira has activated a Force Action!
GS: Shalune Amira has activated a Force Action!
GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Shalune Amira with Glorious Sunset!
GS: Shalune Amira has attacked Lamonte with Glorious Sunset!
GS: Shalune Amira has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's Glorious Sunset for 42 hit points!
GS: Break, Disrupt, and Slow! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Shalune Amira takes a solid hit from Shalune Amira's Glorious Sunset for 67 hit points!
GS: Break, Disrupt, and Slow! Statuses applied to Shalune Amira!
GS: Shalune Amira has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        ... and in the aftermath, a pink blob skids sideways along the floor, thrown clear of the explosion; Shalune ends up in a pile at the foot of the Little Dipper. Thankfully, she does raise her head a little bit, her eyes swirling as she confirms she's both in the land of the living and free of the inscrutable bindings.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Apparently Cyre didn't get the message about what this guy was actually responsible for. Not entirely surprising, admittedly. He was kind of in a totally different part of the ruin, after all. All he saw were the gardens-- and the amazing wonders that wandered there. And now...

Now he's staring, confused, at the man's... Catharsis? What else do you call it when you see a man discover that everything he did for the past however long was for naught? For a moment, Cyre hesitates-- and then manacles reach up and lash around his limbs. "What--"

What follows is swallowed up by a spell whose very nature is utterly indescribable. The shaman screams as his world becomes a matrix of pain. When the light fades, he's... Still there.

Still there. And no longer hesitating.

"You..." Cyre growls, wind swirling around his limbs. It pours down through the manacles shackling his arms and legs, gathering, intensifying, and finally bursting. "Whatever you are, whatever you did... This place. Even if your... Your hate, your madness, even if all that blinds you, for at least a little while, you must... You must have wanted to save Filgaia. Even now, you want to save this world."

"I don't think you're... Human anymore, are you?" Cyre mutters, raising his recently-liberated arm upward. "A ghost, then? Is that how you've lingered here for so long? These chains aren't just physical things-- Planning, despairing, obsessing..." Underneath all that vengence, is there still someone who wants to save this planet?

"Whatever you are, ghost or human or something else," the wind howls and spirals around his arm. Light surges up his limb as it... transforms, becoming something more beast than man. Cyre winds up... And then rushes forward, throwing a punch with a follow through that is nothing less than a tornado...! "The breath of this planet will shatter those shackles! HOWL, O' WIND!"

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has activated a Force Action!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has spent 3 Combo on Headshot, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Lamonte with Tornado Fang!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Hey don't talk shit about M--" "--The Elw! You can't treat a race of people like they're all the same, ya dork! Maybe they didn't like your projects not cause they were crazy, but because you smell real bad because you don't shower!"

She reaches out towards that silver mass within Lamonte but--

--something chains her to the floor. "Huhhh?"

And then magic rips through her upper body like woah! The pure power of the spell washes over her and when it fades--!

Lydia's helmet has incinerated, as has a fair chunk of her outer armoring revealing loads upon loads of internal pistons, screws, gears and other assorted mechanical gizmos that give Lydia the capacity to move. Several of them fluidize and rapidly shift into sticky bindings that keep LYdia's legs connected to her upper body.

But it's not like Lydia needs to move to do the rest of it.

"Since you showed me yours..." Lydia whispers. "I'll show you mine!"

She catches a HEAL BERRY from midair, tosses it back up into the air since she's not really feeling up to eating just yet and--

--channels the power of her Guardian. The room grows dark before pinpricks of light pierce the darkness and lash out a lance of searing energy from each point from all directions towards Lamonte's position. He's not physical, but not, but he can still feel pain.

And the Guardians know what shouldn't be around.

GS: Lydia Seren has activated a Force Action!
GS: Lydia Seren has activated a Force Action!
GS: Lydia Seren has spent 3 Combo on Headshot, including 0 on Gatling!
GS: Lydia Seren has attacked Lamonte with One Billion Trillion Stars!
GS: Lydia Seren has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Lydia Seren has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        "Maybe. I'm just a waitress from Adlehyde who couldn't see the big picture... maybe I'm like those people you say," Lunata remarks as she re-sheathes her blade as the hellgate snaps shut, and her limbs thrum with a faint aching. She's costing from that, and she knows it... but...

        She stares towards Jacqueline as she remarks, "Make it quick, Jay--" she stares as she reaches out for the gloves and plants them to the energy column, wincing. "--but make sure you know what you're doing...!!"

        What Shalune speaks of, and incoming reaction, though...

        "... sure. I know what you mean... to be so concerned about something it wraps you entirely, threatening to choke you until there's nothing left of you..."

        A pause.

        She flings herself past the chains; they strike at her, threatening to batter her. She isn't faster than them; she does not bother, as they draw blood. Yet as they grapple, as they try to find purchase--

        --they slacken and loose, as if incapable of truly giving the meaning of bondage; she faces the inexorable burst of sorcerous power head-on, as she grimaces and stamps her sheath again and endures it. Various cuts erupt upon her body from where the scathing blast of power streams past her... yet she endures.

        Because she has to.

        "So let me... put you at ease."

        An erupting mandala emerges below her feet. It's a familiar technique, to those who've spent any time around Lunata--

        'Iyoooo--' goes the taiko drummer.
        The whistling noise of the shamisen.

        A beauteous mountain emerges in the background, cascading with fluttering petals that blossom in the spring. Yet, the darkness of a netherworld casts in the foreground, the march of a thousand oni illuminating lights...

        And as she speaks, it is in double--

        "So though its scent still lingers on...
         ...So though the stench permeates us."

        Lunata stoops herself to another battou-stance as she focuses, a crest of three erupting behind her.

        'Setsu' alights, for the harsh and wintry chill of nature that takes all, akin to the palm of a Reaper that sees fit to take where it has once sown.

        "For whom shall the glory of this world remain unspoiled...?
         ... Spoiled thus is the world from all our vainglory."

        'Getsu' alights, for the forlorn beauty of Filgaia, looming high in the sky and imploring us to ever higher reaches.

        "Arrive ye today at the yonder side...
         ... and succumb to a mountain evanescent in existence."

        'Ka' alights, for the blossoming of spring that shall shine beautifully, the evident power of life once more repeating the cycle...

        "Cast aside all earthly desires.
         Embrace impermanence."

        Her form yet disappears into a blurring motion, as she descends upon Lamonte from above. A gleam the colour of moonlight can be seen, as she flashes an inch of her blade out--

                                 "...Midare--
                                --Setsugekka..."

        The voices adjoin as one. Lunata's... and...

                                "-Yomotsu-..."

GS: Lunata Croze has spent 4 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Lunata Croze has attacked Lamonte with Midare Setsugekka -Yomotsu-!
GS: Lunata Croze takes an additional 15 damage from Reaper!
GS: Lunata Croze has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius should've heeded Lydia's warning a bit more closely - he should be heeding the warnings his very own eyes and ears are giving him for the nature of this individual. His very veins pulse pain through him for every flex of a muscle that comes out of diving into him. Whatever he's in the vicinity of, it's not something any living body should ever be in contact with. It renders him sluggish, feverish. The ranting scientist-prisoner is given more space to speak than he intends, but there are roughly a dozen able-bodied Drifters here. Ethius has space to catch a breather while he deals with what's eating him (maybe literally).
        He starts up to his feet again a beat or two before they declare there's no reason to continue this further. Ethius agrees with the sentiment as he trudges towards him, using his quarterstaff for balance. It is good for keeping him upright. One of the manacles reaches out and grabs onto the bottom of it by accident, but others find his arms and right let properly. Having one less limb bound is not much of an advantage as... something happens.
        Ethius has no idea what he's being hit by. He only comprehends that there is a change in lighting, temperature, feel, pressure, sound, and color, but it all coalesces in a way that makes no sense to the human mind. There isn't a clear-cut way to define how one deals with something that cannot be fully comprehended in origin, nature, or feel, as reality rends itself around this sorcerous power that consumes him. Pain might be the only thing that anchors him to reality. This is an assault beyond their ken.
        Only one phrase can keep him upright, like a mantra:
        This doesn't belong here.
        There is that thunder-crack sound of Ethius slamming the butt of his quarterstaff against the ground, as if to call for attention. It is half-defiant gesture, half-clumsy finangling for balance and understanding that he remains standing upright and isn't free-floating through a void of altered perception, and a mind addled with missing contexts struggles all it can to adjust back to a reality it is more certain of.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue soon finds the chains are binding her legs she cannot get free, chained down here at the bottom of an alien ocean of some sort. She can get close but she's still about to move her arms she sees that he's drained, it's time to stop messing about, she'll level the rifle at him, then think better of it, no if she did that she could breach the hull and then they'd all be swimming home if they lived.

 She lowers the weapon and reaches into her clothing pulling a medium out.

 Why did they even trust her? She didn't worship them, it called her out on her people's pride, hell she's pretty sure the Guardian knew just what she was, where she from. Even then? They'd left her with this Medium.

 "NOUA SHAX!"

 She's not native she can't really call on the power of this more than for this still it's enough to give her an edge like this. She summoned the guardian power for a brief moment directing the full lighting fury at Lamonte.

 "RAGE HAMMER!"

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        It's enough. Ethius' first few steps resemble limping.
        They find a solid rhythm. This is the point where the chains break, but it's mere coincidence that he finds such footing just as the power expends itself and not immediately a reflection of his determination unto itself.
        His vision swims, re-focusing back colors and shadows to clarity. His bloodstream pulses further with whatever toxic substance still courses through him. Sweat rounds down his brow.
        He stares the same way he always does, as he approaches the vulnerable Lamonte. It matters little where Lamonte's form may go in the wake of all these potent strikes, fantastic weapons, or mystical powers. Ethius will walk to him with a rhythm that is that of inevitability, a sureness that he is going to come to him.
        The quarterstaff drops. Ethius thrusts his left hand out for Lamonte's throat, to force him upright and level as though this were an important distinction for whatever he's about to do. He has said precious little to this man since he was interrupted by Lunata's fervor to protect her childhood friend. To look eye to eye between these men will reveal that, somehow, Ethius maintains his stoicism through all of this. No heightened emotion from what adrenaline must be screaming.
        His right hand - his free one - flicks out fingers in harsh patterns that look like they would cramp up a hand not prepared for that level of commitment.
        "This will not continue any further." A sentiment is echoed in spoken word at last, followed by syllables slurred together quickly with a speed and precision that does not seem like a human should be able to manage, and there are the telltale signs of a completed Symbological spellcasting ritual.
        "Surge Bolt."
        From Ethius' left hand - the one trying to hold Lamonte - he sends a shock of electrical power that is lesser in magnitude than what has come before, and may yet come after... but the point of it is to snake through and strike at the heart of whatever there is underneath, no matter what safeguards or barriers may yet prevent a decisive blow to end this man's existence.
        Only then will he release him, if he gets the hold to begin with.

GS: Tesni Inoue has attacked Lamonte with Material - Rage Hammer!
GS: Tesni Inoue has completed her action.
GS: Ethius Hesiod has activated a Force Action!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has activated a Force Action!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has attacked Lamonte with Surge Bolt!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ethius Hesiod takes 10 damage from Toxin!
GS: Ethius Hesiod has completed his action.
GS: CRITICAL! Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Lydia Seren's One Billion Trillion Stars for 165 hit points!
GS: Hyper and Quick! Statuses applied to Lydia Seren!
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Lunata Croze's Midare Setsugekka -Yomotsu- for 245 hit points!
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Tesni Inoue's Material - Rage Hammer for 135 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Lamonte takes a solid hit from Ethius Hesiod's Surge Bolt for 93 hit points!
GS: Jam! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: CRITICAL! Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Tornado Fang for 111 hit points!
GS: Mute! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Hyper and Quick! Statuses applied to Cyre H. Lorentz!
GS: Lamonte has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda not only survives it -- she survives it with aplomb. She's never had much of a sense for sorcery, really -- but the instant she sees that welling-up of energy, she hurls herself *straight* up into the air with as much force as her body can muster. Her coat billows as she weaves through the chains, hooking an arm around one as it shoots straight up and redirecting her momentum off to the side, narrowly maneuvering around that raw energy.

When she finally hits the ground again, she's unscathed -- though panting. She takes a few seconds to breathe. "... You're right about that much," Matilda says, softly. "There really isn't any reason to continue this further, is there?"

And so, Matilda takes a swift, forceful step in toward the presence. Her arm darts out to grasp Lamonte, and she seeks an extremely simple, straightforward takedown -- just a quick judo-style throw, nothing more.

GS: Matilda Whitehead has attacked Lamonte with Takedown!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Matilda Whitehead has completed her action.
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Matilda Whitehead's attack becomes clear!
GS: CRITICAL! Lamonte takes a glancing hit from Matilda Whitehead's Iron in the Garden for 141 hit points!
GS: Cripple, Jam, and Poison! Statuses applied to Lamonte!
GS: Hyper, Quick, and Shield! Statuses applied to Matilda Whitehead!
GS: Matilda Whitehead enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Lamonte has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

         Is this a spectre, a ghost? Something that's been restless for several millenias or centuries. It would explain the grude, the rage that sustained ti for all this time. It did seem to be perplexed for how long it might have been there... And additonally, this is not the first place he's seen that had this very advanced technology lurking around and everywhere. Familiar levels of technology, even if he is not an engineer himself. Not of that kind, anyway.
 
         Arleph lets out a loud snarl at the hidden nature of the spell. The viscious arcane qualities are hard to discern at first, but he can see... he can see something about it. He can see it is not what it is displaying itself to be, something germinating within just to jump on them.
 
         Thus, Arleph flicks his defenses up, frowning and screaming out in defiance. It washes over his conjured shield... to come sneaking from the back. most of it have been blunted, but the raw firepower of it makes a nice, unhealthy hole in the back of his clothing and sear his flesh.
 
         He falls to the ground, panting, holding himself on his knees with his knuckles.
 
         He grits his teeth, reaching to his bloodied shoulders from earlier, mingling it with his hands, bloodying his gloves. Alright. Screw it. Water it is.
 
         "That has gone on far enough, restless one. I wish we could've learned more, but not like this. POWERS FROM THE UNSEEN REALM THAT COMPOSE ALL MATTER, COME TO ME!"
 
         Arleph snarls, lifting up his bloodied hand and snapping his finger, the same unearthly echo just piercing the air with the start of a new spell, a circle drawing itself further beneath him with each passing moments, becoming more intricate, more introvert into itself. Water condenses around Lamonte, tiny condensing ice just crushing itself, compacting as deep and firm as it can.
 
         "MAY YOU UNLEASH YOUR HIDDEN POTENTIAL, LONG SOUGHT BY ALL! AQUA FRIGORE!"
 
         The condensed nugged of ice and water shudders, bulges, then explodes outward in a condensed, controlled area. Arleph bites his lips, trying to stay focused on it to not go overboard, or out of control. It's pretty easy with this level of spells.

GS: Arleph Ardan has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Arleph Ardan has attacked Lamonte with Aqua Frigore!
GS: Arleph Ardan has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Arleph Ardan takes 7 damage from Poison!
GS: Arleph Ardan has completed his action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Arleph Ardan's Aqua Frigore for 189 hit points!
GS: Lamonte has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Well, at least one person is happy about the Elw being gone.

No, not Shalune.

"The year," Mariel says, "is 500 PC. Five hundred years since Reconstruction began after the Days of Collapse. A few over a thousand years since the day of the Metal Demons' arrival. If you have been here that long... no human could live that long."

Mariel was about to say more, but is assaulted by chains and the unknowable spell; Mariel is not a sorcerer skilled in any standard system of sorcery, and so she wouldn't expect to understand it anyway, but the chaotic burst of power *feels* strange to her in a way that Crest Sorcery doesn't and Symbology only sometimes does.

She dives, hitting the ground shoulder-first (painfully) and rolling under the chain. An eruption of sorcerous power catches her as she tumbles, rolling her the other way; but Mariel manages to recover well enough to skid to a stop in a half-crouch. She doesn't look great. Her entire left side feels like a solid bruise, and it's already starting to show on her cheek where she faceplanted on a floor plate.

"..." Mariel swallows. It's not her place to cast judgement on anyone or anything. She shouldn't even think thoughts like this. And yet... is it her responsibility, if the Elw left their problem - left him and his facility - behind?

"...I'm sorry." Mariel trails off. "For... for what they did to you. You can hate me if you want even though I didn't have anything to do with it." He wouldn't be the only person who does. She doesn't know what else to say - how can you explain that some things just aren't worth the cost? His modifications, everything he's done...

Maybe it is arrogance. But she can't let someone like this loose. Someone who should be long dead and gone...

Mariel throws what appears to be a glass bottle of something black and burned, a powdery ash. And, indeed, that is what it is full of; it explodes when it hits the ground, erupting in a cloud of fine grit. Fine grit made of a combination of plants that she would *never* give the full mix of to anyone else; a blend that uses natural magic to cling to and deepen the negative effects already brought on him by other spells.

Also, it smells bad. It is probably the only thing Mariel has ever mixed that stinks.

Once thrown, Mariel rushes aside - not to follow up, but to run toward where Shalune fell. She has first aid supplies.

GS: Mariel has attacked Lamonte with Black Ashes!
GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Lamonte takes a solid hit from Mariel's Black Ashes for 93 hit points!
GS: Lamonte suffers Infect, extending negative statuses by 1 turn each!
GS: Lamonte has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Oh uh, is that cat out of the bag now, Mari?" Lydia asks hesitantly.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"What?" Cyre says, instantantly validating every awful stereotype about catpeople ever. "What're you talking about, Lydia? What cat?"

<Pose Tracker> Lamonte has posed.

With Lamonte exhausted from his attack, Kourin finds the opening she was waiting for. She launches from her blade an arc of icy-blue flame that chills one to the bone. It impacts Lamonte solidly, and he stumbles back - only to be caught by the pull of gravity, as Catenna seeks to collapse him in upon himself once more.

Before he can shed this Carina recovers from her mostly-successful Locus Guard, and sees her chance! She leaps into the air, engulfed by icy winds, and, somewhere, somehow, victorious music plays as she impacts him with a KICK! He is sent flying, ending up right near Shalune...

...who drops a powerful explosive, encompassing the two of them! Lamonte is thrown the opposite way away from Shalune. He exhales more black motes and tries force himself to his feet.

Cyre is there, and he speaks. His words...they're not inaccurate. Lamonte cannot refute them, though he tries to. In the end, he was shackled to this place...shackles with Cyre seeks to break, with a punch that unleashes the force of a howling tornado. The man is forced back into the far wall, giving Lydia an opening to act on.

She calls upon the power of Rigdobrite, and the room goes dark. But then there is light, piercing the darkness in rapid lances of searing energy from all directions. He coughs up more dark motes.

Lunata approaches him, then. Approaches calmly. It would be beautiful, were he not as injured as he currently was. And then Lunata disappears, and cuts through him in a single gleaming slash. Shadowy motes spurt out from him.

And soon, lightning crashes through him in two steps. Tesni drops the hammer of Noua Shax's rage onto him...and Ethius calmly, coolly, dictates that this cannot continue, sending a surge of lightning piercing right through him.

Lamonte staggers back...right into Matilda's waiting arms, who drives him to the ground in a swift, simple judo-style takedown.

Once she's clearly out of the way, Arleph begins to weave his spell. Water condenses around Lamonte, turning to ice, then bulges and explodes outward. Lamonte is hurled away...but even still, manages to stand up.

How had he managed to endure all of that...? ...No, looking at him now, he could hardly be said to have endured it. He's barely holding himself together.

And then, Mariel explains when they are, what has happened, and apologizes. Apologizes about what happened to him, and then chucks a glass bottle of something that explodes in a dark cloud.

It exacerbates everything that had already happened - everything the others had already brought down upon him.

It is enough.

He forces himself to his feet, looking at them all in order. He's almost unrecognizable now.

"...It's done, then. Perhaps this was always the way it was supposed to be..." He murmurs. "To think, I was bound here for so long...has so much time truly passed?"

He shakes his head.

"...My thoughts now are clearer than they have been for some time. I must thank you. How much longer would I have waited...?" He laughs, sincerely, and then grins. "This facility...it will remain active even without me. But if you want to know more...I'm afraid you'll have to find out more on your own."

He grins again. This is the last that is seen of him as the last of the motes flutter away into the shadows.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"...I will explain later," Mariel says, while simultaneously trying to hold up her bag in case there is another unspeakable spell thrown in her direction to use as cover and find a bundle of bandages in it.

But there is no spell. Mariel lowers her bag, which she was holding protectively, to focus on treatment. She doesn't feel great - emotionally, not physically, though the bruising isn't helping matters - and if she is indeed going to say something about cats in bags, it isn't going to be now.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna's just close enough to Mariel to hear what she's saying. She doesn't react, though.

Lamonte vanishes into shadowy motes, an Catenna lets her breath out, sinking to one knee. Closing her eyes, she folds her hands together atop the opposite knee, her bow resting against her shoulder.

"...Is everyone alright," she asks after a moment's silence.

Then, "There may be things we can learn from this place... whatever this person may have done, perhaps there is something here which can help Filgaia."

<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Locus is running low on power. She can't keep this up much longer. But luckily, thanks to the CaraKin's coordinated assault, Lamonte is... Well, if he had any senses before, he's coming back to them now. And thanking them?? What a weirdo.

Carina breathes out in relief. Well, he's gone now.

She's missed talk of cats in bags, and really is more concerned about catching her breath right now, slumped over. But then, a moment later, she perks up, alarmed.

"Wait! Is Miss Jay okay?!"

Monster Mash goes home.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Cyre's gaze lingers on Mariel for just long enough to communicate that He's Feelin' Suspicious, but not a moment longer. Instead, he just looks the fading spectre in the eye and... Nods. "Yeah, don't worry. We'll leave no stone unturned. I swear as a priest of the Guardians, we will do everything we can to heal this world." Lamonte's figure wavers, and then finally dissolves. Cyre sighs, produces his favorite censer, and... Ignites a briquette of sandalwood incense. "Rest well now, spirit."

Beat.

"So," Cyre says, turning to the others. "Uh. I really hope that guy remembered to turn the teleporters back on."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius takes four rapid steps forward as Lamonte dissipates into nothing, raising his palm up defensively towards those shadowy motes that flit off into the nothingness as though there were some significance or concern to the gesture. Some of the unfolding drama about a cat being let out of the bag may or may not have registered, but then again, he is also presently working through a serious poisoning that ought to be addressed soon as he just cools it.
        As Catenna speaks about things they can learn from this place, Ethius turns around to regard the rest of them as a hand goes to his forehead. The totality of what he's seen and heard these last few years. Too much doesn't add up, but he's not even sure what sum he's supposed to be balancing anything against - only that there is something urgent. That has not changed.
        Locus brings up a salient point. That's one thing in which he can agree with the mysterious masked metal person of indeterminate identity and origin.
        "To Miss Jay," he says, not quite able to work up a commanding tone.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

         Arleph, still on his knees, pants as things happens, looking back up with shaking his head. That was... well, that not a very good fight.
 
         "At least... he's regained some of his sanity in his last moments." He manages to say between breath, forcing himself to push himself to his feet. "We can get a look at what is in here when we've taken care of everyone. But I have a very good idea what this place is and what it is about."
 
         He gives Ethius a glance, nodding in return. "Right. Let's go to her." He's not much more convincing, looking as ragged as he is right now.

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue watches as the man has a moment of clarity before he passes on at last she lowers the medium and puts it back into her jacket. She simply looks at him for a moment.. She looks to Catenna. "I am fine I won't need any tending to." She notes there are likely others who need it more than she does.

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda's panting, and a little dazed, as Lamonte dissipates. She lets out a long, slightly ragged breath, listing to one side; she rights herself after a few moments, though, and starts to get her bearings again. She's not quite sure what to say to Mariel's comments -- so instead the bleach-blonde compounder focuses on something she *can* approach: Jay.

She immediately jogs toward the potion-maker, though she doesn't say anything yet. To Catenna, at least, she offers a slightly-exhausted-sounding, "I'm fine."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Aw geeze," Lydia says. "Now I feel bad..." She exhales out a puff of a sigh. She doesn't like this. People rushing to die. She doesn't like it. She wasn't sure with Wilkerton, but with this guy she's sure now. She doesn't want to see this happening again.

"Is life...that much of a burden for folks?" Lydia murmurs. She's only wanted to die a very few times in life, but it's hard for her to imagine solitude doing that to her. But even if it would, she'd rather...

She'd rather help them enjoy life again, now that they can. That seems more like her than...this business.

Lydia says, "Nevermind Cyre!" thus ruining all the introspection. She gives one last look to Ethius before moving to check on Jay.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Eventually the column of energy, which had been glowing an angry red, begins to calm down. It returns to the state they had originally found it in - calm but brightly colored, emitting a peaceful 'thrum'. There is signs of movement in the Sanctum, but only as it returns to its original height on the top of the sea - wherever it happens to be now. It's hard to tell

Soon enough, just as people begin asking about her, Jacqueline emerges from the glass cylinder. She looks...exhausted. Whatever she did, it must've taken a lot out of her. Those gloves she found seem to still be stuck firmly on. She looks about, noticing that the unnerving man is no longer present - and Carina asking if she's alright.

"Y-yes, I'm okay. Thanks, everyone. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help..." She says. "My hands feel a little numb now, though..."

She flexes her fingers experimentally. She can still move them, at least...

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

When they do finally get over to the computer everything seems to be unlocked now, thankfully. The teleportation array can be reactivated in short order, but looking through the systems...

...A lot of the files seem to be damaged and encrypted. Not a lot comes up...though the more technologically-knowledgeable of the group will be able to activate a function that should be able to restore some of them.

Unfortunately, it'll take more time waiting around than the group actually has at this point! They'll have to return later...

But among the things they are able to find appear to be files on the systems that allow the facility to float as it does, and the barrier that keeps it safe from the water that would ordinarily flood in.

They're recorded in enough detail that one would probably be able to replicate this technology and use it for other vehicles.

Like, say, for instance...the Carakin.

"Hmm...Lunata's already asked the Yggdrasill to ferry us to Elru, but this would be pretty useful if we ever wanted to go to, say, Aquvy..."