2019-05-03: Otherworld (Side A)

From Dream Chasers
Jump to: navigation, search

This scene occurs concurrently with 2019-05-03: Otherworld (Side B).


=========================<* Crusader Forward Base *>==========================

To the west of the Mi'ihen Highroad is found a long, jagged mountain chain that serves as a weather break and help keep both Luca and the Highroad itself safe from vicious storms. A large plateau in this chain, overlooking a wide, sloping beach, has been selected as the forward operating base for the Crusaders' Operation Mi'ihen.

The site is swarming with frenetic activity, as Crusaders move on critical errands, or train in mass combat in preparation for the assault. A few Yevonite robes can be seen among the masses, belonging to priests and priestesses who have refused to abandon those who are seeking to put an end to Sin.

On either side of the plateau can be seen a pair of large, glistening metal... things. These are ancient machina weapons, being tended to by the Al Bhed. Even in spite of the cooperation existing between the two groups, each tends to associate with their own.
<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVfLTGgDem0

The beaches at Mushroom Rock Road are rocky and foreboding. This is not a place that has lured out many beachgoers; the weather is often rough, lending itself to choppy seas, and the rocky shore makes walking on them perilous. It is a poor place for a vacation, but it is a grand place for a battle.

Battle is what comes here today.The cliffs over the beach are lined with large cannons -- and with them, periodically, mages from Althena's Guard. The beach itself has ranks upon ranks of Crusaders, Althena's Guard, and hired hands. Some are located further back; some are on the beach.

"Sin is near!" a young Crusader shouts. "Commander Luzzu, it's time!"

Luzzu, the tall but thin red-haired man who gave the Drifters and Guard the briefing, looks up. His consternation is still on his face; he had earlier had to yell at Gatta, to get him to stay near the command center. He nods, and then strides up to what's on the beach: a huge cage. He walks to it, then yanks off a tarp with one hand. It comes away, and falls into water that washes up on the tide.

Inside are a variety of creatures: shelled, coral-like monsters of different sizes and shapes. The Sinspawn hiss and clatter, and their presence draws a few gasps from the lines of soldiers.

"When Sin comes," Luzzu shouts, "STAND FIRM! We cannot fall here! We--" A few more gasps are heard. Behind him, the seas begin to pull back. Sin, it seems, is lured by its spawn... but there is no mother's love. There is merely the titanic, yet chill anger of the thing called Clysmian by the Filgaians.

It is much the same as they last saw. Most of its body is concealed by the water, but a ridged back with a set of ruined towers rises from the water -- and then the great splash of fins, as they rise from the waves. The cage rattles; Luzzu leaps back, as the door opens. A massive, clawed Sinspawn storms outward--

And a blast of fire erupts from underneath it, consuming it whole. Dragonmaster Ghaleon, standing atop the cliff, stares down at it. He turns, then. "It comes!"

Sin's great mouth emerges from the water. It opens -- and a black bead of light appears. It fires out, like a bullet, towards the beach. The thundercrack of a few machina rifles from Al Bhed on the cliffs echo out; the bullets are sucked into the bead of gravity, as it arcs high, and then comes crashing down...

...only to slam into a shimmering barrier of light around part of the beach.

Luzzu lets out a shaky breath -- and then his face breaks into a grin. "The shield--everyone! Come! We must hold them at bay--"

Because, indeed, Sinspawn are coming from the broken cage and some leaping from the ocean. On the beach, two slam down side-by-side. One is an undulating stalk, with a huge three-petaled end. The other is a massive, segmented thing like a millipede, which stands up on its hind, and opens up a dozen twitching claws -- and an enormous mouth.

Both Sinspawn roar, and shake the water, as they stand before the gathered Crusaders.

DC: Sin switches forms to Sinspawn Eskah and Logeix!
<Pose Tracker> Black Wizard Borgan has posed.

As the thundrous report of the blast meeting the shield fades, the mages...

Well, they're still up.

The actual site of the ritual is a circle about forty feet across, with precisely eleven mages - Borgan and ten others. The circle is made of shimmering light and, as best as can be told, perfectly round; along the inside of the circle is a long string of unbroken runes. An eleven-pointed glyph covers the insides, which each of the mages at their point. Borgan's point is in front, pointed toward Sin - the most dangerous position. There are two more smaller circles - only five mages in each, one a fair ways to the left down the beach and the other to the right.

Borgan himself is not on his platform. He has taken a position on the rocky beach, holding his staff high, violet energy rippling around the point and setting the runed banner to fluttering. He sweeps his staff in an arc in front of him, trailing more energy.

"Hmm hmm... This is the power of wizardry!" Borgan raises his voice. "Mages! Reinforce! Secondary spell, if you please! It cannot be allowed to do that again before we finish!"

That's when the results of Sin's aerial bombardment become visible.

A jagged, spiky lump of coral tumbles through the air. It's roughly the shape of an egg, though it certainly isn't the size of one; it's huge, the height of a Gear. It falls, falls - and slams into the ground hard enough to crater, kicking up turf and sandy soil in a huge cloud. The 'egg' shifts slightly, rocking back and forth in place (it's landed more or less point down).

Then several of its spikes and ridges fall away, hitting the ground around it before rising up again into strange lobster-like shapes. Several more fall off, forming a skittering mass. Not quite Sinscales, which have been seen before.

"Damn," Borgan rumbles, before: "Drifters! Defeat those - Sinshells! They cannot be allowed to interfere with the ritual!"

DC: Black Wizard Borgan switches forms to Sinspawn Ilaum!
<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.

OOC NOTES Please keep the following in mind!
* We will be doing two rooms. People who have signed on to fight Borgan should type 'o' to go to the Mi'ihen Highroad room.
* Near the end, we will reconvene; this will be when both bosses have done five rounds.
* HAVE FUN!!

DC: Sin switches forms to Sinspawn Eskah and Logeix!
<Pose Tracker> Yuna has posed.

AT THE EDGE OF THE COMMAND CENTER

There's trouble in paradise.

Kimahri and Wakka, both of them with their arms crossed, are standing between Yuna and the part of Mushroom Rock Road which leads down to the beach. They look stern, and terrified, and agonized, at the same time.

Very like the Lady Summoner herself, only add faintly green to the equation. Her stomach always bothers her when she's worried about something. Before a probably unwinnable battle against Sin? Safe to say that somewhere around here there's a full bucket.

But that hasn't stopped her now.

Her fingers are white-knuckle-clenched around her rod.

"I must go," she insists hotly. "Luzzu and Gatta are down there! What about Sir Elma and Sir Lucil? And our new friends from the Otherworlds! I can't just... I can't just stand by and watch while they--"

She tries to storm past them, but a blue hand bigger than her head closes around one slender arm.

"YUNA NOT GO," Kimahri says with absolute finality. This is the first time most in earshot have ever heard him speak. His voice is a low purr at the best of times, and a low roar at the worst. This is the latter.

His ward is a little shocked, too. Not by his voice, but by the firmness of his handling. Their eyes meet.

Kimahri elaborates.

"CRUSADERS FIGHT FOR YUNA, FOR SPIRA. CRUSADERS FIGHT TO SLAY SIN. IF YUNA GO, CRUSADERS FIGHT TO PROTECT YUNA, INSTEAD."

Yuna freezes in her struggle. He's calling her a liability on the battlefield... and he's right.

Wakka senses an opening and strikes. "Yo, even if they win, you know not everyone's gonna walk away from this one, man."

Yuna looks back, over her shoulder, at him.

"Maybe if I go down there," she says, faintly, "fewer of them will."

"But what if YOU do, Yuna?" he challenges, eyes narrowing almost to slits. "Who's gonna Send the dead? You want everyone who sacrifices themselves to stop Sin, for them to become fiends as their reward, eh?"

Yuna droops further.

"HEY GUYS!" yells Tidus, from offscreen. "Uh, a little help?"

All three of them turn to see the command center being attacked by one of the largest Sinspawn they've ever seen. The command center, one of the most lightly guarded parts of the battlefield.

"It must have escaped!" Yuna gasps.

They take the slope back up there at a run.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

The wind that blows is an ill one indeed. Sickly clouds roll across the sky as the sea breeze turns cold and turbulent, filled with the corpulent stench of a fish market gone terribly bad.

This is nothing less than an operation to slay a god. Maybe something even greater than a god. Something even the Guardians are afraid of. The thought of it makes his heart race, beating like a six-cylinder engine against the metal-clad hollow of his chest. Blood surges through his veins as every single part of him roils not with fear, but...

Anticipation...!

The great clamor of war rises all around him. His warrior's spirit exhults in the roar of the cannons and the din of monsters breaking against the shore.

Just a few months ago, he'd be watching this all unfold from the other side. This time, the monsters aren't friendly, the humans aren't enemies, and the cause is undeniably righteous.

Zed is many things to many people. Ultimate Macho Man. Dark Hero. Pen Pal. Protector. But today, above all else...

Today, he is a Warrior of Hyades and every bit of him revels in the experience.

Zed leaps from his perch with a booming roar, his blade flashing in a veritable hurricane of blows as he descends upon the enormous millipede-like monster. Somehow, its weird insectoid body is familiar in an uncomfortable way that makes Zed very much want to wipe it from the world. "Hey, monsters!" He yells, his terrible blade storm falling upon the beast's countless legs, "Why don't you pick on someone your own size!? Nyahahahahaha!"

GS: Zed has attacked Sin with Dark Horse - Supreme Tornado!
GS: Zed has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Zed's Dark Horse - Supreme Tornado for 117 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

At the Crusader Quarterhouse near Luca, Xantia got a bit of a talking-to for her false claims of being a Crusader. She got off easy however, due to having pretty much acted in accordance with how a Crusader would have acted. And considering her bravery and prowess displayed when fiends assaulted the city, an offer was made.

"If you truly wish to aid our cause, and bring an end to Spira's suffering, stand with us in Operation Mi'ihen."

And so it came to pass that an irregular is positioned among the ranks of the Crusaders. Easily identified by the long red hair and what's come to be her signature 'hero' armor, Xantia has formed up with those she already considers her new friends, ready for a fight as always.

Just... a bit disappointed that they didn't let her be way at the front of the ranks. Obviously, she would've preferred to be right in the middle of the action as soon as things get underway. But she didn't argue, she's hardly a strategist. If people tell her that's the right place for her to be, fine, she'll go with that. For now.

Though often unaware of what exactly she's gotten herself into, she knows perfectly well that this operation is about taking down Sin once and for all. Even if last time didn't work out so well, she's pretty hyped up for this. There's a lot more people fighting this time, and they have a plan, so surely things'll go better this time!

As the scouts yell that the time is come, Xantia briefly closes her eyes, speaking softly to herself.

"Don't worry, Id. I'll take care of this, so you won't have to."

Soon, the battle is underway, and Xantia wastes no time in immediately breaking ranks, storming her way to the front. Hey, they told her where to be at the start of the battle, they didn't say anything about during. Obviously she's going to dash straight for one of the bigger-looking threats, if anybody was expecting otherwise they don't know her very well.

She doesn't spend much time choosing a target - the millipede-looking one seems a bit easier to understand, so that's the direction she heads into. Somersaulting into the fray, she spontaneously burns into flames as she brings both of her fists down towards the top of the creature. The fire doesn't harm her, but it's sure to cause some nasty burns on anything else subjected to it. Afterwards, she drops into a ready fighting stance, grinning ear to ear.

"You'll do for a warmup," she quips, though she quite possibly doesn't even realize that she's doing a pun.

GS: Xantia has attacked Sin with Elemental Fury!
GS: Xantia has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

        Leaning against a rock near the beach where Luzzu strides up to, Bera's eyes are closed till the first shout. Blue eyes open and look out over the beach even as Luzzu takes up the shout himself. "Yevon isn't going to overlook this, but at least it's better than the status quo." she mutters loud enough to be overheard.

        She look sover at the Besaidian Crusader and says "Good luck, for what it's worth." as she straightens and performs the Yevon prayer at him. And then she's striding out onto the beach dropping haphazardously down the rocks were needed as she moves straight for the two largest of sinspawn on the sands as she pulls her katana still sheathed from the loop on her waist.

        The sleeves of Bera's haori flutter in the wind, the red embroidry moving such that it looks like dripping or running blood. As she strides, she shouts "If you cannot stand against the larger ones, fend off the smaller ones so those who can don't have to fight on to many fronts." at the Crusaders. And then she's grasping the hilt of her blade and blasting across the sands at a full sprint as she makes her attack on both the sinspawn.

        The first slash comes out, droplets of water like falling rain following the blade as she cuts first at the undulating stalk like sinspawn. The droplets sudden crackle as lightning explodes from that katana vaporizing the magicly summoned water fromt he first slash as she continues the first slash into a spin at the second millipede like one with a blade of lightning.

GS: Bera has spent 1 Combo on Link!
GS: Bera has attacked Sin with Falling Rain!
GS: Bera has launched an attack Link!
GS: Bera has attacked Sin with Striking Storm!
GS: Bera has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

 
There is one contingent of the forces from Neo-Vane - from the western continent - from the Goddess's Guard - who did not commit themselves to either the front line direct, nor to the support of Black Wizard Borgan.

They had their own role... and their own strategic vision. As the Sinspawn roar and Borgan defies them, the Crusaders call for them to stand firm.

"Now," says Margaret from the middle lines. A baker's dozen of lightly armored wizards begin to cast a spell in unison...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LChtBpTjvTY

It's that speed-up spell, Thunder Road.

Two squads flee downwards, accelerating with wind in their hair. Margaret gazes on the twin spawn before them and makes a judgment, shouting "LEFT." The accelerated wizards vault and leapfrog over the front line, wielding spears and lances. Several throw down shuddering electric bursts into the sand - frying it into enormous tektites - anchors! Ropes are affixed and screwed into place even as the other group breaks round to loop from the left.

"Hideous," Margaret murmurs. Then she sucks in a deep breath and screams at the top of her lunges, "N O W W W W W W"

Which is when a half-dozen barbed javelins tied to a stake of earth fly at the great stalk-beast's side, at the same time that Margaret vaults into a loop, aiming to stab the thing with an overhand sword-spear thrust into its back, to force it down onto the piston-fast jabbing spikes of her group!

GS: Margaret has attacked Sin with Crab Crack Thrust!
GS: Margaret has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Margaret has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

On the rocky beach, Ashton holds his place. He's kitted out this time - closer to his Filgaian heavy armor and dark clothing. His allowance for the hotter Spiran weather is the lack of fur lining and the missing sleeves of the robe that show off the chaotic snarl of Symbologic tattoos.
 
In hand, he tests the balance of his blades. They're new - Spiran work, single-edged with a fish-hook tip. This might not be the best time for new weapons, but there's little other choice. Claude never gave him back the other sword.
 
Like many of the crowd, the Symbological Swordsman is taken aback when Sin finally appears. The spawn are merely unfamiliar monsters. The beast itself.... the man would never call it a god, but Ashton's heart says there's little else that describes such a titanic power.
 
This is not the time for faint hearts. They are committed - and the battle is a just one.
 
Ashton twirls the blades in his hands to a ready position. A glance to Zed - the strange man he volunteered to stand beside - and a little smirk comes to his lips. Maybe the Metal Demon was right. Look at who was gathered here. Look at what they'd done before. They could win this.
 
Maybe, for once, luck was with them.
 
He follows his chosen battle buddy in.
 
A string of short-range sorcerous teleports flings Ashton through the air. He too is a whirl of blades and wind as he dives at the huge millipede. Bright green ink flares down his arms - and a tornado leaps from the tips of the blades.
 
"Let us be the eye of the storm! HURRICANE SLASH!"

GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Sin with Hurricane Slash!
GS: Ashton Anchors has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ashton Anchors has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.


After days of information gathering, charitable work, and generally getting to know the pack of heathens and blasphemers that make up the land of Spira? Amelia Rose, Priestess of Althena has not at all warmed to them or thier ways even if she's done her level best to heal those afflicted in Kilika.

And today, here she is amongst Drifters and Crusaders and Yevonites, taking her usual patrol between making sure the healing tents are being ran with efficiency or having Silver sniff for the scent of Sinspawn. She's in full Priestess clothing this time rather than the outfit she picked up to stand out less amongst the Spirans. For the last half hour, she's been blessing those amongst the Guard she passes, or really anyone who will take them no matter how many dirty looks or comments she might get.

Amelia is interrupted in her work, however, by the emergence of Sin and the sound of Sin's mouth laser slamming into the magical barrier. Her long hair flutters back, and the elf kneels briefly to steady herself from the impact. Silver's claws dig into the sand.

Amelia's sanctified guide attack dog does his job as those sinspawn fall upon the beach like flung coral, and one hand grabs the lead as she takes up her cane. Three barks from Silver, and she smiles grimly despite the losses she knows will occur. Burials can come later. Now is the time for action at the Goddess' call!

Finally. "Vile creatures, fallen from the grace of Althena! You will be swept away from the strength of Her Chosen and our allies!" She offers in a voice that carries despite not yelling. The zealotry and piety in her voice is telling, however.

Her cane extends, and she lashes at them with the whip as Silver guides her, the jagged metal weapons meant to flense anything it comes in contact with into bits.

"Welcome to my operating table, monsters!"

GS: Amelia Rose has attacked Sin with Dirty Deeds Done Doctorially Expensive!
GS: Amelia Rose has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Amelia Rose has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Xantia's Elemental Fury for 100 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Xantia!
GS: Xantia assumes the Avenger stance!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Seraph Lanval now speaks for and acts in the interests of the very water of Filgaia. This would be much easier if he could hear them speak, but the difficulty the present situation presents will not be an excuse to be derelict in his duties. Whatever circumstances brought everyone here, this seems to be the one opportunity presented in which to deal with the fell creature.
        The Water Seraph has gathered what strength he can before the immense pressure in the air. The pressure that feels omnipresent - that Sin could be here at any time. To those limited to sight and sound, Sin is arriving. To Seraph Lanval, Sin has always been here, waiting to strike. It is terrifying to be before a foe who had proven beyond his very understanding before.
        The scope still is, but yet, a bearded barefoot figure dressed in aquamarine robes steps forward at a sedate, steadier pace than he normally manages as he emerges from his vessel in a ball of aquamarine light. This happens after that first impact against the shield, for the pressure was just too much to stand before. Now...
        In both of his hands, a drinking gourd that weighs far heavier than it ever has. He exhales quietly, a meditative gesture born from the adaption of a mortal habit. They open slowly as the ocean brings forth two Sinspawn bearing down upon the gathered, and the Seraph's hands of their manifestation clench the drinking gourd tighter. The responsibility of what lies within it is a reminder not of what power he bears, but what he is to help protect.
        The roaring Sinspawn care not, for they are forces of unrelenting, obsessive destruction.
        Seraph Lanval walks towards them as the ocean water shakes and stirs. His eyes remain closed as he draws ever closer, and the waves crash louder, go higher, flash the colorful lights of those pyreflies having gathered in such concentrations within the troubled waves..
        And his eyes open in full, parting a hand from the grasp of the heavy drinking gourd to deflect one such crashing wave of ocean water that parts around Lanval to a splash of water not of this land. It is dwarfed and absorbed into the displaced Spiran waters.
        "Clysmian....!" Lanval calls. "Thou art a blight 'pon any land!" Hands back to the drinking gourd, a brief chant later, water gushes out from it in no small quantity, seeking to shove back the undulating stalk before its triplicate petal 'face' can descend upon the gathered, as if daring to enter a tug of war against the Sinspawn.
        Lanval is frightened, but he can no longer run and hide against something that simply does not conform to his understanding of the world(s).
        To stand before this is his duty.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel...

Huh. Where is Marivel? She was supposed to be here, wasn't she? Unfortunately, Marivel is a mysterious woman and sometimes this means she is not immediately at hand while she goes off to do something mysterious. Right now...

...She is checking out the cannons, performing various checks on them to make sure they are as up to speed as she'd like them to be--she wasn't content just leaving it to Brad ultimately. Just as the plan is taking a lot of weakness points of Sin into consideration, the plan itself by neccessity has its own significant failure conditions. She ultimately exhales after the last check and looks up at the clouds.

She slowly reaches for a glove and pulls her hand free and holds it up to the sky.

She squints her eyes tightly for a moment before pulling her hand back down and sliding the glove back on. "Well this is fortuitous." Marivel says to herself. "Ana... Can this world subsist onward without the need of sacrifices? the loss of fathers, the duties of daughters, time and opportunity lost and the destiny of a nation resting on her back."

She shakes her head. "She is so much like you. She must surely wish to fight with us...but with so much placed upon her, of course she cannot."

She pulls the scarf free from her face and lets it fly away and then discards her black mage cap. With weather this poor, she should manage long enough for Sin to be destroyed, or for the plan to fall to tatters.

"ARMS!" She shouts. "I hardly need tell you what to do! Destroy the Spawn! Protect the cannons! And most importantly of all, live to fight another day! The Day of Promise is not today, so you are not permitted to perish!"

And with that she leaps off from her position and fans out her hands to the side, stored blood pulsing out of her hands and expanding outward, rapidly forming into large mishapen sharpness, not unlike that of a blade but twisting into space chaotically as if its form were only maintained by Marivel's grip.

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

She darts in for the flowery creature. She has learned to always be cautious of plant-based enemies, so best to go for those first. She drives it for the Sin creature into a single quick arc.

The fact that she can move against such odds with no hesitation, and seemingly no fear, is perhaps one more example of her alien nature--but the truth is that she is not so fearless as she appears. She is simply experienced and she knows better than to show her team even the faint shaking of her hand.

For it is not her life she fears for but losing. Not herself but...

...well, she wouldn't exactly admit who she fears losing today, no?

GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Sin with Unending Fountain!
GS: Seraph Lanval has completed his action.
DC: Marivel Armitage switches forms to Crimson Noble Marivel!
GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Sin with Bloody Mari!
GS: Marivel Armitage has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Sin critically Guards a hit from Bera's Falling Rain for 17 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Bera's Striking Storm for 62 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        There is quiet panic in Kamui's eye -- her good, human eye.

        The Sinspawn erupt from their cages; she gazes upon them, two as they land side by side. The strange petal, flower-like one and the millipede... each working it seems in tandem, roaring and shaking the waters as they gather before the Crusaders with their arms out.

        Her eye narrows further. "Everyone..."

        This is so similar.

        That time,

         and that time,

          and that other time,

           and that other, other time

        "I--I'm not... here to go to war... I'm..." Kamui mumbles frantically as the red camera eye begins twitching and convulsing. She recalls words Marivel and Acacia told her.

        "I'm... photographing?" Kamui concludes confusedly.

        She sucks in a breath as she stares towards the incoming back, then--

        Turns around and holds the Picto Obscura aloft. Angle it just right, get the subject -- the Sinspawn Eskah in shot... make a face and do a V sign, and then--

        *SNAP*

GS: Kamui has attacked Sin with Shutter Chance! Selfie!
GS: Kamui has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Althena's Guard stands ready, as it always has. Those who were not present at Azado have undoubtedly heard of the carnage that Sin wreaked there. Payback is a long time in coming.

        White Knight Leo stands in one of the front ranks, sword in hand, his scarlet cape billowing in the brisk sea air. He glances back at Luzzu's cage, and his lip curls as he sees the Sinspawn curling and writhing inside it. Disgusting creatures, he thinks--but necessary. Necessary to lure Sin to this location.

        The problem, of course, is that Sin will be lured to their location. Leo tries not to think about how it single-handedly destroyed the entire Meribian fleet.

        Sin rises from the deep. Leo's stomach tightens, and his heart hammers against his ribs. He remembers what Heldalf taught him--he is the leader of these soldiers, and his decisions will help determine who lives or dies.

        "GUARDS!" Leo roars. He raises his saber, and its blade gleams with chi. His voice carries over the roar of the waves, and the unearthly chorus of Sin and its spawn. "FORWARD, TO VICTORY! ALTHENA WILLS IT!"

        "ALTHENA WILLS IT!" comes the roar of the Guards. The Crusaders charge, and the Guard charges with them.

        Leo runs down the beach, the earth itself smoothing beneath his feet to ensure safe passage. He clears the last stretch in a single, breathtaking leap--the ground beneath him buckles and surges upwards, thrusting him into the air. The White Knight leaps fearlessly off the platform, bringing his blade down in a two-handed chop at the massive, three-petaled Sinspawn. A kiai tears free from his throat.%

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Althena's Guard stands ready, as it always has. Those who were not present at Azado have undoubtedly heard of the carnage that Sin wreaked there. Payback is a long time in coming.

        White Knight Leo stands in one of the front ranks, sword in hand, his scarlet cape billowing in the brisk sea air. He glances back at Luzzu's cage, and his lip curls as he sees the Sinspawn curling and writhing inside it. Disgusting creatures, he thinks--but necessary. Necessary to lure Sin to this location.

        The problem, of course, is that Sin will be lured to their location. Leo tries not to think about how it single-handedly destroyed the entire Meribian fleet.

        Sin rises from the deep. Leo's stomach tightens, and his heart hammers against his ribs. He remembers what Heldalf taught him--he is the leader of these soldiers, and his decisions will help determine who lives or dies.

        "GUARDS!" Leo roars. He raises his saber, and its blade gleams with chi. His voice carries over the roar of the waves, and the unearthly chorus of Sin and its spawn. "FORWARD, TO VICTORY! ALTHENA WILLS IT!"

        "ALTHENA WILLS IT!" comes the roar of the Guards. The Crusaders charge, and the Guard charges with them.

        Leo runs down the beach, the earth itself smoothing beneath his feet to ensure safe passage. He clears the last stretch in a single, breathtaking leap--the ground beneath him buckles and surges upwards, thrusting him into the air. The White Knight leaps fearlessly off the platform, bringing his blade down in a two-handed chop at the massive, three-petaled Sinspawn. A kiai tears free from his throat.

GS: Sin critically Guards a hit from Margaret's Crab Crack Thrust for 22 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Margaret!
GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Sin with Rising Falcon!
GS: White Knight Leo has gained 1 Combo!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

The absolutely alien experience of joining an amassed army for a fight against a thing universally agreed upon to be evil is overwhelming enough in itself to put the fear out of Ivan's mind, at least in the hours of preparation leading up to the battle.

Ivan feels ready for anything--except a giant, inescapable tidal wave, which it sounds like they are wholly dependent on Borgan and his assembled mages to protect them from.

It's not until Sin arises in a horrifying display from the sea and begins to gather it's immense gravity well that it occurs to Ivan that they have no proof that the barrier will be able to withstand what's coming. There are a few terrifying moments before the barrier flashes to life and they learn that it was able to hold fast.

But that doesn't mean it's over -- it just means they didn't instantly die. Now things have room to go sideways in completely different ways. But in the meantime, there's creepy monsters to kill!

Ivan leaps into the air toward the monstrous millipede, summoning a short sword into one hand in a flash of light from his ring. He slashes down with one hand, and pushes the other forward to summon and guide a swirling fireball toward the creature's face.

GS: Ivan has spent 1 Combo on Gatling, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Ivan has attacked Sin with Hell Pyre!
GS: Ivan has completed his action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Ashton Anchors's Hurricane Slash for 53 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! applied to Sin!
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

On the whole, Claude C. Kenny is finding his second visit to Kepler 186 Secundus to be significantly more problematic than his previous sojourn. While Spira's climate is certainly cheerful than Glenwood's, the people are just as god-crazy here, and there is a decidedly higher risk of being eaten by some sort of giant water ball monster... thing. Even more problematic is that instead of wearing plate mail or his Federation uniform, he's stuck in some sort of stupid getup he doesn't even pretend to understand.

But chief among his current complaints is that this time, he doesn't have the convenient excuse of pretending to be a mercenary to keep Zed under even a small amount of control.

"Oh God damn it," Claude groans as the Warrior of Hyades jumps from their perfectly comfortable perch up above the giant battle to leap down into the fray. The blonde swordsman hops down after the green-haired one, the stupid white side-tails of his coat flapping with the force of his passage. Claude's jump doesn't take him as close to the Sinspawn as Zed's does, because Claude doesn't want to jump in the air at something with a mouth that big; he lands on the beach, a faint ripple of energy pulsing out along the ground as he cushions the impact. He rises, draws his (read: Ashton's) sword, and does something extremely characteristic: fires off an--- "AIR SLASH!" ---at the big flower monster.

And then he does something uncharacteristic, i.e., uses his brain.

If that guy who forgot half his shorts is right, Claude thinks, looking up at where Tidus yelled, then the command post is occupied. Which means... they're not watching the battle. Which means... someone else has to do it. He holds back for the moment, hoping it's not him.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Sin with Air Slash!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

So this was it, was it? The combined efforts of Althena's Guard and the forces of Spira to stop this monstrosity of a creature. It was a threat to more than just Spira/ It could reach across Lunar if it desired. As it showed when it moved upon Azado.

This creature, this force of nature, was something Elvis really didn't want to research, as doing so involved some kind of proximity to it. But fortune favors the bold, as Humans say. Though most likely only knowledge would be the reward.

That was good enough.

Among some of Kaguya's forces lingered Sentinel Elvis, biding his time as Humans assembled their weaponry, which was lackluster to what he has seen their kind with before. But for a place that forsakes such technology, this should be expected.

Though at least they are formidable spellcasters of a kind.

The moment comes. The great Wizard helps erect the shield to protect them from a direct assault. They need time. Some move to guard them. Others charge the fray to ward off foes.

He would take the route of the latter. It looked more vicious. They could use the help. THe massive man leaves his hands unwrapped. "I won't let this creature best me again so easily! But first..."

The man looks to his right hand. It has a stony texture to it. Etherical veins flare for a moment before receeding. "Better warm up! Stretching is important for great physical health!" A bicep is flexed. It groans audibly.

With a strong jump Elvis joins the fray! A fist strikes the ground, as hexagonal pillars of stone erupt out of the ground all around the strange, flowering malignance.

A glance around the field to assess who he fights with. There are a few faces he recognizes. "Ah yes, Leo!" he calls out to thw white knight. He was supposed to meet them earlier, but he had more important things to do, like make sure a certain daughter wasn't within 5 kilometers of here.

"Been a while!"

GS: Elvis has attacked Sin with Hi-Crush!
GS: Elvis has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Amelia Rose's Dirty Deeds Done Doctorially Expensive for 62 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

On the beach, a man clad from head to toe in red armor stands. Though his face is concealed now by his helmet, this must be Ambrosius - the quiet, formal man. There is no hesitation, no sign of fear, even as the massive beast itself appears from the waters like a nightmare given flesh.

Behind his helmet, his eyes narrow...and his helmet's internal software records everything.

The power readings escalate astronomically as its mouth opens, and a black bead of light appears. It fires...and slams into a barrier of light.

"Such power... Even we may have some difficulty defending against it..." He comments, primarily to himself - though his words can be heard as well by his Veruni comrades, should their communication devices be active.

It is good that the Black Wizard was as capable as he had been lead to believe. But now, it was their turn - two beasts, Sinspawn, leap from the ocean. An creature much like a flower, and one much like a millipede...

"That is our cue. Let not one of them pass us by." Ambrosius states. He rushes forward with surprising agility. Lesser Sinspawn move to intercept him, but they're swept aside and trampled underfoot as if nothing. His eyes are only on the millipede as he rushes forward, delivering a punch with great force.

Despite his aggressive posture his stance is ready, prepared for any retaliatory strikes from the beast before him.

Nearby, on the beast much like a flower, hexagonal pillars of earth erupt. It was a reassuring reminder that one of the Sentinels was here, as well - a sight that instilled confidence.

GS: Ambrosius has attacked Sin with Guarded Strike!
GS: Ambrosius has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
GS: CRITICAL! Sin guards a hit from Seraph Lanval's Unending Fountain for 90 hit points!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Marivel Armitage's Bloody Mari for 81 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Kamui's Shutter Chance! Selfie for 0 hit points!
GS: Shieldbreak! applied to Sin!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from White Knight Leo's Rising Falcon for 149 hit points!
GS: White Knight Leo assumes the Avenger stance!
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        *BZZAPPP*

        Fortunately, the Picto Obscura isn't just a... regular camera, as a sizzle erupts from the disgorged roll of Type-0 film popped out of its discharge chamber.

<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        Kaguya had laid the stakes plain. Here they would go to war against a god, or near enough to it. Here they would carve peace itself into the moon's surface. And here is the place that they will make known Lord Volsung's will. It all starts here and here alone.

        She waits, watching with the others, the wind plucking at strands of her hair. The battlefield will be an overcast one.
        So much the better for a war.

        A shout rises up nearer to the surf. She can see from here what has been loosed.
        This is the moment that Amaterasu has been waiting for. Her heart beats the more strongly for it.
        But her gaze seeks one shape and one shape alone as it comes.

        "...Wonderful," the Veruni commando speaks upon sighting Sin, awe in her voice. "That one is a worthy opponent."

        But not one for her to fight, today. The plan had been clear. "Ambrosius. Sentinel. It is time," Amaterasu states, brandishing now Valkyrja, the spear's laser blade ablaze in brilliant light. The faceplate slam-folds into place, illuminating a bright and sickly green.

        "I won't let a single one of them live."

        When she lunges forward in the instant after, she gives the impression of being a blur, a shooting star of light and metal.

        Valkyrja seeks flesh and bone, or whatever else gives these things form.

GS: Amaterasu has attacked Sin with Animus Nocendi!
GS: Amaterasu has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        There are many of Althena's Guard strewn throughout the battlefield, waiting for Sin's arrival. One of these many is Pearl. The silver haired martial artist stands near the cannons, where she has been stationed. It's further from the front line than she would like, but she was assured there would battle no matter where the soldiers stood.

        It is quickly evident that this would be the case. The arrival of the massive sinspawn, the breaking of the cage, chaos descends. Pearl had not witnessed this so directly before. She had been in the wrong place in Azado. This time, she can see it directly. It is... awe inspiring.

        The order comes to charge, and Pearl responds silently, rushing towards the millipede-like sinspawn. A comment runs through her head about 'taking Sin lightly'. She almost certainly had, despite the damage she had already seen. But it doesn't help to think of it as unstoppable. These are still prey, as foolish as that thought is. Dangerous prey. Prey that will kill most of the hunters sent after it.

        Pearl dives at the sinspawn, aiming to rake her claws against one of it's many limbs. It may not be even enough to impede the creature even a little, but she must fight regardless. No matter how futile the cause.

GS: Pearl has attacked Sin with Running Takedown!
GS: Pearl has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Pearl has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Ivan's Hell Pyre for 138 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

Skylr Paer doesn't want to be here. When it comes to the bravery of the Guards, Skylr ranks at the very bottom, behind the sheep that may or may not exist in a small pen in the back of the supply room on the Dragonship Destiny.
 
 Skylr knows, looking down at her shaking hands, that she'd rather be in the Photosphere again, rather than here. Rather than facing the thing that wrecked Azado.
 
 But it's because of Azado she's here.
 
 She hisses faintly between her teeth. No, she can't. She *won't*. She's here. Leo's here. Pearl is here.
 
         She reaches behind her, groping blindly -
 
 And, moments later, a single shot fires from her bow.

GS: Skylr Paer has attacked Sin with Simple Shot!
GS: Skylr Paer has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Skylr Paer has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Sin takes a solid hit from Claude C. Kenny's Air Slash for 177 hit points!
GS: Sin completely evades a hit from Elvis's Hi-Crush!
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

        Acacia has absolutely no idea what she's doing here, the gritted-teeth look of an embedded reporter who has just found themselves leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Part of her desperately, desperately wishes that she was back home, that maybe this is all a hallucination and she and Kamui are going to break out the takeout boxes and doze off under a big blanket listening to a collection of ridiculously cheesy radio dramas.

        (Shut up; it's her fantasy. She can do anything embarrassing that she likes.)

        Most of her is aggressively realist enough to leave that daydream aside. This isn't a fight she can win, or at least not one she can meaningfully contribute to - so instead she concentrates on making sure she survives, juking backwards as the sinspawn near their position in a series of short hops, trying to lead the creatures back to the main line.

        Machina usage or no, she doesn't give a damn right now, firing several rounds from what appears to be a completely bog-standard gunsmoke ARM into the mass. It seems rather-- perfunctory. But then, she's never claimed that she's much a fighter, and certainly doesn't feel it compared to the sights and sounds of those rushing forwards, rather than back.

        Above all, she keeps her eyes open. Win or lose, this is going to need one hell of an article afterwards.

GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Sin with Snapshot!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Ambrosius's Guarded Strike for 50 hit points!
GS: Cover! applied to Ambrosius!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Amaterasu's Animus Nocendi for 108 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Amaterasu!
GS: Amaterasu assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Pearl's Running Takedown for 66 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Skylr Paer's Simple Shot for 42 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad has done his part. Checked for the things a man who's seen cannons and ARM technology in battlefield conditions might know to worry about. Fluctuations, inconsistencies that the researcher calls "within parameters" and the artillerist calls "the murderer of his friends."

But he's over by the cannons anyway, when the shouting begins. He feels his blood in his ears immediately, and moves with speed ot grab for his bag, reach in and retrievehis Mechanical Glove...

Marivel is calling by the time he's got it on, and he's pounding down the beach.

"Day of Promise??" he asks the universe, before stopping cold....to stare at Sin.

Its scale is entirely unlike anything he anticipated. He's seen tanks, he's seen battleships, he's seen the very, very most powerful that a military nation can field, and Sin looms above them all, tremendous and terrible. Brad sucks in air through his teeth, and yanks on his Glove again, tightening seals. He spreads his fingers, light gathering in his palms. "Monsters," he reminds himself, quietly, and then whips something overhead, a small ovoid object, dimpled like a pineapple flying toward the gathered sinspawn.

It detonates, a huge explosion engulfing far too few.

"Big monsters," he mutters.

GS: Brad Evans has attacked Sin with Pineapple!
GS: Brad Evans has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brad Evans has completed his action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Acacia Saitani's Snapshot for 75 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Brad Evans's Pineapple for 63 hit points
<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.

To come for Sinspawn Eskah and Logeix, one must rush into the surf.

It isn't surprising that Zed is first. He comes for Logeix, the one with the many legs, and his blade slams into its armored flank -- legs curling in -- and sparks erupt, but a line of scarred carapace is left where his blade found purchase. It's also no surprise that Xantia is along, her punch slamming into the thing.

It steps to the side and roars -- only for Ashton to teleport in and slash into its side, sheering one of its many legs off. The leg bursts apart into pyreflies, just as Amelia's whip swings out and rips into its flank. Ivan is there a moment later; Memory stabs into its flank, sparks flying until there is the satisfying crunch of the weapon slashing down through flesh, and then the backblast of flame that sends Logeix creeping backward into the surf. It steps aside, though, just getting away in time for Ambrosius to kick into carapace instead of underbelly. But Amaterasu's blade bites in, Valkyrja slashing into the underside of the thing.

It lowers its head, though -- and the armored back catches Pearl's claws. It lifts up, then, and tries to pitch her into the air. Then, Brad's thrown bomb comes down... and Sinscales are thrown back while Logeix is, again, blasted with flame.

Luzzu glances back at Bera. He blinks, once; then, he nods. "And you the same. I'll see you on the other side of this, Bera!" he calls to the samurai, before he turns. He cracks his neck -- and then his blade slams down into a Sinscale, as it launches for him.

It smashes apart on the ground.

The stalk, plant-like Sinspawn, Eskah, manages to turn and belies any idea that it has no movement. Her blade catches the armored stalk, but then the lightning that erupts through it makes it shudder... yet it does not seem as harmed as it might. The javelin that Margaret stabs bounces off the hide, sending sparks flying.

Water slams into the center of Eskah's head, and it blows backward, before righting itself against Lanval's spell. Then, it meets Marivel -- impersonable and monstrous, as all Sinspawn are -- and stands against the magic-made blade of blood.

Pyreflies drift from its wounds, and yet, it doesn't fall. But it does recoil from Kamui's camera.

Which lets Leo's blade plunge through it. It yanks to the side, ripping free of him. Claude comes in not a moment later, his Air Slash biting deep into its side. Then, pillars of stone rise up, and Eskah--

"NNNNREEEEEEEEEEE!!"

--screeches, and then teleports. It vanishes and reappears away from Elvis's pillars. A moment later, Sky's arrow slams into it, wedging between chitinous plates. A shot from Acacia's ARM impacts a moment later, though the bullet skips off -- and leaves scarred -- a few plates instead.

The two Sinspawn then screech in unison -- which produces a wave of focused Sinscales. The little triangular-shaped pieces of shell arc up high -- and then rain down across the battlefield. Some try to clobber unfortunate souls in the head; others bite with pincers on their undersides. Eskah and Logeix suddenly tunnel into the beach's sand, leaving everyone in a concentrated mass of Sinscales.

From under the ground, both screech: "NNNNREEEEEEEEEEE~!!"

GS: Sin has attacked Brad Evans with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Acacia Saitani with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Skylr Paer with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Pearl with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Amaterasu with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Kamui with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Ambrosius with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Elvis with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Ivan with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked White Knight Leo with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Marivel Armitage with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Seraph Lanval with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Amelia Rose with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Ashton Anchors with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Margaret with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Bera with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Xantia with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has attacked Zed with Sinscale Wave!
GS: Sin has completed his action.
DC: 1 turn has elapsed in the battle against Sin! 4 turns remain!
GS: Kamui takes a solid hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 171 hit points!
GS: Sin assumes the Stoic stance!
GS: Ambrosius critically Guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 33 hit points!
GS: Claude C. Kenny completely evades a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave!
GS: Skylr Paer takes a solid hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 183 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Acacia Saitani takes a solid hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 215 hit points!
GS: Zed takes a solid hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 173 hit points!
GS: Brad Evans has activated a Force Action!
GS: Brad Evans guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 100 hit points!
GS: Bera guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 99 hit points!
GS: Amaterasu guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 103 hit points!
GS: Seraph Lanval completely evades a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave!
GS: Margaret critically Guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 31 hit points!
GS: Pearl takes a glancing hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 79 hit points!
GS: Elvis guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 91 hit points!
GS: Ivan takes a glancing hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 83 hit points!
GS: Xantia guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 100 hit points!
GS: White Knight Leo critically Guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 28 hit points!
GS: Amelia Rose critically Guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 36 hit points!
GS: Marivel Armitage guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 102 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Ashton Anchors guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Wave for 115 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude C. Kenny's caution proves justified as the Sinspawn unleash their furious keen; the relative distance between the blonde swordsman and the monsters robs some of the raw force of the sonic assault, causing him to do little more than wince and grit his teeth. This gives Claude the mental space to notice the flickering motions of Sinscales being launched up high into the air.

After a half-heartbeat's hesitation, Claude jumps up after them, leaping up in a sudden rush, trailing a plume of sand from behind him a he goes. At first glance, charging into a metric buttload of ballistic projectiles likely seem stupid - but the maneuver allows Claude to reach them at the point when the Sinscales are still at the top of their own arc, relative velocity almost zero.

Easy targets, in other words.

Claude's borrowed sword flickers out in three quick, short slashes, and then he's through, even as the projectiles drop down toward the others. This gives him a second when he's in the air, slowing, unmolested by adversaries. His eyes catch Sin, hesitate, then sweep the field. For all his many faults, Claude C. Kenny is a trained combat officer. What he sees doesn't bode well. Claude gathers in his chi as he starts to drop back toward the beach, gravity pulling him downward. "Hey copycat!" he shouts down to Leo, his voice booming. "LET'S ROCK!"

Claude lands again, but this time his power drives downward, pulsing down through the beach, attempting to blast away the sands with which the flowery Sinspawn is covering itself... and, should the beach be not too deep, send spikes of stone blasting up into their spawn, to boot.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Sin with Ripper Blast!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Claude C. Kenny's Ripper Blast for 79 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

        Bera lets out a grunt as the stalk like sinspawn twists, deflecting her Falling Rain slash. But the following lightning storm from her Striking Storm has a better effect on both. She dances back after her attacks clearing space for others attack as she steaths the blade, ice having already grown over the katana and shedding off like water as the metal of the blade itself slides into the ivory like sheath.

        The Spiran stands there guarded ready for an attack that doesn't come as she watches the attacks fall upon the pair of sinspawn. Then the screech and storm of sinscales. Bera winces, using her sheathed blade to try and deflect and guard. It's only partially successfully. The falling scales knock her about, but none get a clean hit with their razorsharp wings or piercing pincers.

        "Enough." the samurai mutters as she grasps the hilt of her blade with one hand, the other on the sheath and then draws into a wide slashing circle. A small inferno surrounds her with the slash, the Edge of Four Elements coming out on fire with the new attack as she tries to clear space around her.

        Then she resheathes her blade holding it over head instead of her left hip in a different draw stance as she quickly looks around, having lost sight of the two sinspawn between their burrowing and the storm of scales. "What a pain." she grumbles loudly.

GS: Bera enters a Counter stance!
GS: Bera has attacked Sin with Burning Blade!
GS: Bera has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Screaming. Screaming that could deafen mortal ears. Lanval, who is not a mortal confined in full to the rules of physical reality, goes through a similar feel of sensory overload as the horrid screaming makes his very form shake. The water spirit's body fluctuates between the Resonant perception of there being a rotund human-ish figure and an indistinct sparkly ball of aquamarine light. Silvery beard and hair spray about as though broken streams of water before returning to their 'natural,' if not at all tranquil flow, the blue tips of his hair akin to that of flowing streams of water unto themselves.
        Sinscales rain everywhere, and Seraph Lanval dares not move as the triangular pieces of shell rain everywhere. That the sheer number of Sinscales 'physically' miss him may be happenstance, but one does not navigate the labyrinth of chitinous debris ever intact as displaced beach sand sprays about from every violent point of impact.
        Lanval clutches the drinking gourd tightly as if to protect it from the scales. Wisps of pyreflies rise up - and sometimes through - him. As he comes down from the emotional high, a primal scream from beneath the sand reverberates and shakes the ground. The Oracle of Schturdark finds it a challenge to remain standing. The most he can manage is an aimless stagger as what passes for balance for his kind is under fire just from the sheer noise of the screams beneath.
        There may yet be movement from the beached Sinscales. As Lanval finds his footing, he looks to the gathered who are standing strong to fight. Those of Althena, of whom he is anathema before. Those of Filgaia, who have taken the opportunity presented to them - even if rooted in a great setback - to try and deal with the existential threat to their home. Then, those of...
        ...anathema of Filgaia.
        The Oracle's shining eyes close momentarily as Sinscales stir anew. Taking the heavy drinking gourd by the attached rope, he starts to swing it above him and spread out more and more of the water within. Water that seems almost lifeless, compared to the lights that fill Spira's water - but water that still has form, water that has strength, attempting to wash out the nearby Sinscale numbers.
        He can do naught for the ones underground, but for any of the Sinscales that have rained down nearby, he moves to sweep them away from the beach in another torrential wave of water, to scoop up and remove as many as he can away from the gathered forces and eject them back towards the surf.

GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Sin with Wash Away!
GS: Seraph Lanval has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Bera's Burning Blade for 38 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Look Claude, you're never going to get to fight anything if you don't jump down from your safe and cozy sky-perch to actively go punch the monsters in the face. At least this way you get to take the initiative! Everyone knows being caught flatfooted is the absolute worst.

"Hahahahaha! I like your style!" Zed asides to the triple dragon twin swordsman fighting at his flank. "Become the eye of the storm indeed! These blades will be as a razor wind! Let's do thiiiiii--"

A strange scale-shaped monster crashes into Zed's skull with a resounding *THWAANNNNG* like someone just smacked a gong. "Ow! Where'd that come from!? Why is it so dark all of a sudd--"

More scales fall.

So many scales.

This thing isn't just a monster, it's a living army...!

"Wow, they weren't kidding about the whole monster tide thing!" Zed muses, a note of-- admiration!?-- slipping into his voice for a moment there. His lips split into a grin, even as the scales unfold into so many monsters. "I don't know how powerful these things are, but we'll never learn how to fight it if we don't take the bull by the horns! Let's give this a try...!"

Zed enters a ready stance...

The air temperature... suddenly plummets!

A frigid mist materializes around him, pooling at his feet!

                               "SAINT ARTS!"
                             "Winter's Repose"

Doombringer scythes outward, currents of sub-zero air sweeping through the waves of swarming sinspawn with every strike. Seafoam freezes into beads of ice and salt before transforming into deadly blades of frost that carry forward out into the horde.

Zed... has learned a new trick...!?

GS: Zed has attacked Sin with Saint Arts - Winter's Repose!
GS: Zed has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Wash Away for 101 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

Ambrosius's fist slams into Logeix's hardened carapace - durable enough even to be a match for the Veruni's might. But Amaterasu is right there alongside him, and her spear does find a vulnerable spot. He offers her a brief nod of approval, before leaping back as both Sinspawn begin to screech. He watches them both carefully, eying them for signs of what they intend to do.

The reason for this becomes clear soon enough - their screech dislodges a wave of Sinscales, arcing up high and then fall.

Many of them fall straight toward him, but with a sweep of his arm he knocks them away in a backhand - but the Sinspawn have used this opportunity to tunnel under the beach.

"Incorrigible..." He mutters to himself. "Be washed away."

With a gesture of his hand, water begins to swirl and converge around him. It spins dangerously, building, building, and building before, with a second gesture, it goes flying out in all directions as a tide, crushing force sweeping up any Sinscales caught in its path.

His allies, thankfully, are spared from it.

GS: Ambrosius has attacked Sin with Surging Tides!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Zed's Saint Arts - Winter's Repose for 80 hit points!
GS: Zed assumes the Stoic stance!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Ambrosius's Surging Tides for 97 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Pyreflies? This beast bleeds.... pyreflies?
 
It is that moment in which Ashton has his first thought that something here isn't quite right.
 
There is no time to consider anything about that, however. Just time to brace against the barrage of toothy, jagged scales.
 
At this range, Ashton can't do much but endure it - and he takes more than his share. He isn't the worst off of the many attackers, but his blood is most certainly on the sand already.
 
There's no time to let up, however. Not in the midst of a raging battle against a terrible monster. All they can do is finish these creatures and hold the beach while the cannons and magi do their jobs.
 
Which is hard to do when the damn spawn are nowhere to be found. ...Aside from the dozens and dozens of smaller ones that are up and around. They're outnumbered.
 
Ashton opts to even the odds.
 
There's another moment of fuzziness, like the TV showing Ashton hits static. Then he holds his blades out in either hand.
 
So does the other Ashton several yards away.
 
As does the third.
 
The trio - each with their own set of dragons who look both a little confused but still sort of exited - point the swords at one another. A thin line of mystic energy traces between them, connecting each together in a triangular formation.
 
Then? They charge. Rushing across each other in a three-directional dashing slash that strikes across the field packed with scales.
 
On the other side of the rush, all three faces grin wildly at Zed. "They just don't want us to get sand in our boots! Kind of them, really, to make us a path with their bodies."

GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Sin with Deadly Triangle!
GS: Ashton Anchors has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ashton Anchors has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        Master is... somewhere. Somewhere...

        And Marivel is fighting to the best of her ability, calling out to ARMS as Kamui holds onto the side of her little mind and letting out a louder, strangled noise of pain. She's terrified, but more terrifying is how familiar this feeling of terror is. She can't recall it. She can't recall it at all and yet it's happened over and over and over again...

        The Sinspawn take advantage as they overrun her for a moment, clobbering her on the side of her chest and legs and sides and she gets pinched on an exposed bit of wiring and some kind of Reploid fluid flutters everywhere--

        "Gamiii..." Kamui whines. Did she make a mistake? Was this her own choice? What was her own choice? To come here... to come with Master... "I can't take it anymore... it's too hard... Kamui... can't do it without you--"

        Think about simple things...

        "... Mavericks ..."

        She whispers.

        "I am a... Maverick Hunter..." Kamui reassures herself, and *grasps* onto one of the Sinspawn. A loud flare erupts from the Buster as she drives it down to the sand--

        And her broken camera eye lights up with an irisoid red flash.

        "I am a Maverick Hunter... and this... is a Maverick," she concludes coldly on an incredibly self-serving course of logic.

        Light roars from one side of the battlefield as the Buster's charge hits a peak; as more Sinspawn attempt to leap onto her, sand gushes out in all directions--

        "X-Buster."

        And a massive blast of superheated plasma races along one side of the beach, threatening to devour any Sinspawn directly in its path.

GS: Kamui has attacked Sin with X-Buster - Charge Shot!
GS: Kamui has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.


Ivan is pleased when his attack connects with the millimonster--less so when he touches down from his jump into a froth of water that soaks his boots. The wave of attacking sinscales is just the excuse he needs to rush back up onto dry (or drier) land.

Dogged by angry shells, Ivan ducks, turns, and pivots, outpacing some of them, and causing others to ricochet off his bracers. A cluster of the swarm does catch him, though, latching on with pincers and needing to be torn and flung away. One particularly stubborn one almost takes a chunk of his ear off when he detatches it.

He curses at that one personally, accusing it of things it can't possibly have done.

But the swarm is still at large and ready to swoop back for another assault. The time has come, he decides, for Lots of Fire.

"Anybody in my way, get out of it!"

he calls. Today is supposed to be his day off from roasting humans!

He raises his free hand up, fingers fanned, and calls to life a red-hued stormcloud directly above the portion of the scale wave in front of him.

"Turbulent cloud, unleash your rage! Scorching Rain!"

The cloud erupts with flaming hail, so red-hot the cores are slightly molten, and hiss on contact with the wet sand.

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

 
Eskah is too tough for her initial stab. Margaret, atop the thing, says "Tsk!" and then -

It teleports.

Margaret backflips and lands, looking to her two squads, who seem equally surprised. Nonetheless they come together, cross up, abandoning their improvisations as they run up the beach, circling round Eskah as it leaks Pyreflies and flinches from whatever the hell that camera was.

Then the Sinspawn dive.

"By the goddess's long yet silky hair," complains the lieutenant of Margaret, a man with a mostly-shaved head and a truly gruesome lightning-zig-zag... face paint? Is it a tattoo? Unsure - "They can't understand our orders, can they?"

"Clam hunting!" Margaret shouts.

The Hounds of Hell proceed to form small clumps of two each and viciously stab the Sinspawn with the true definitional weapon of warfare: the pike.

GS: Ivan has attacked Sin with Scorching Rain!
GS: Ivan has completed his action.
GS: Margaret has attacked Sin with Pearl Diver!
GS: Margaret has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

From the corner of her eye, Xantia catches sight of the more bizarre-looking Sinspawn teleporting, and mentally pats herself on the back for making the right call in fighting what looks to be the more straightforward one. It's real annoying to try and punch things that can teleport, she'll take a massive hulk covered in claws over that any day. Especially with all the assistance she's getting, she's sure this one'll go down in no time flat!

Then it starts to shriek. Xantia was expecting some form of direct attack - she wasn't ready for a painfully annoying noise, abandoning her intended follow-up attack in order to cover her ears. That's playing dirty, dangit!

Before she fully realizes what's going on, the battlefield is thrown into chaos by a large number Sinscales raining down. Those things again. They were all over Azado, too. She didn't bother much with the small fry at the time, but now she's left with little choice. Suffering more than one fly-by attacks, each hit on its own isn't doing much damage, but it adds up, Xantia getting knocked about for a time before she can ger her bearings.

Once she does, her fiery aura flares up to a greater intensity, causing greater passive payback on her attackers. This allows her enough of an opening to activate her ARM, summoning a red energy blade into existence. Now where did those big ones go? She can't even see them anymore in this mess.

"I don't have time for this! Out of my way!"

With that, Xantia dives forward, flames training behind her as she dash-slashes through the Sinscales in her way. Then she turns, and dives in a different direction, repeating the process. She may be at this for a while, considering how many there are. But as soon as those big ones show up again...

GS: Xantia has attacked Sin with Crimson Flash!
GS: Xantia has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

That's some camera, Marivel thinks. She is not in a position where she can supervise ARMS too strigently. She tries not to think too much about how Kamui is holding up. She does sneak a glance and sees....she sees Kamui making a V-sign and taking a photograph! Good!

Unfortunately she wasn't expecting Guillotine to so readily cleave through the major Sinspawn, but she was certainly hoping for more of an effect. Not a good start.

Luckily it seems that others are having better success. That gives Marivel some hope this battle may not be hopeless. Of course, it all depends on those cannons. Willpower can keep a shield raised, or slay a Sinspawn, but it cannot make a cannon shoot more potently.

Sinscales end up slamming into Marivel. She protects her body with her Guillotine but ultimately still gets pushed back.

"Nobody mentioned they might tunnel." Marivel complains but it seems like Claude and Leo have a plan. "I'll be counting on you." She tells Leo before turning to--AH, yes, Amelia!

"Amelia, dear friend! Let us clear the area of these fiends so Leo and Claude can drive the larger Spawn out!"

Man she finally gets to call something else a fiend for once.

Marivel snaps the blade back and then starts swiping them rapidly through Sinspawn, the strange mishapen blade lashing out chaotically at any Spawn it can reach.

"A long time since you've been on a battlefield such as this, Marivel." She murmurs to herself.

GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Sin with Guillotine!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Ashton Anchors's Deadly Triangle for 55 hit points!
GS: Break! applied to Sin!
GS: Sin completely evades a hit from Kamui's X-Buster - Charge Shot!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Ivan's Scorching Rain for 79 hit points!
GS: Ivan assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Margaret's Pearl Diver for 73 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Xantia's Crimson Flash for 110 hit points!
GS: Riposte! applied to Xantia!
<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.


Amelia only warms at the voice of Lord Leo. She joins in, ears perking just a bit as she works to lash out at sinspawn balefully.

"Althena wills it!"

The presence of both the Dragonmaster and Leo helps further inspire the Priestess, focusing her tightly. She can't fail here, have her allies die. Have more innocent people die, no matter whether they're heathens or not. This is the Will of the Goddess. But is she strong enough to survive, to help others survive? Amelia dashes away the questions in her mind.

They have to win. Whispering another prayer to Althena, she holds her ground.

There's a familiar voice on the wind, too, that isn't Guard. "Miss Armitage? I hope you've considered your conversion to the ways of Althena. A few more of Her blessings might be useful. Still, you're right, these rancid abominations must die. For that we will need everyone alive." The elf mutters with a tight frown. Amelia does move with a little bit more confidence.

While the sounds and smells and confirming barks of Silver let her know her enemy is being smashed into by their combined powers?

The sounds of burrowing are evident, and then there's the blasted Sinspawn. The blasted things do a wonderful job of slashing and biting their way into the elf's thighs and ankles, while she takes one on the noggin too! A grunt of suffering, and she breathes out in a controlled manner to keep the pain at least somewhat stifled. She's a tough elf, though, and she keeps going despite the wounds she's already taking. There's just so many!

Rather than waste delicious magical energy from Althena's blessing on herself, however? She whistles for Silver. The dog, in between chewing on a few Sinscales that get too close, absolutely hauls on the lead and scratches the ground a few times tellingly. The elf trains her ears.

"Do not fall to these beasts! Their claws are dull compared to the armor of faith! Walk with all that is good and holy, and you may yet live this day!"

"Calm Litany!" Whispy motes of healing magic filter towards some of the worst wounded: particularly, fellow Guardswoman Skyler and The Heathen She Likes Marivel. She might not be stabbing them right now, but she's keen on ensuring no one falls just yet.

GS: CRITICAL! Sin guards a hit from Marivel Armitage's Guillotine for 118 hit points!
GS: Amelia Rose has attacked Marivel Armitage with Calm Litany!
GS: Amelia Rose has attacked Skylr Paer with Calm Litany!
GS: Amelia Rose has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Amelia Rose has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Pyreflies trail off the edge of Leo's blade as he rips it free. It would be a beautiful sight if everything weren't full of blood and horror. "It's retreating!" the White Knight shouts--but then the Sinspawn reappears. "No! Repositioning! Don't let it esc--"

        Everything turns to hideous noise, underscored by the beating of hundreds of Sinscales' wings. Leo grimaces, his ears flattening against his head. The White Knight braces, and draws back his blade. "DEMON FANG!" He drives his sword forwards in a two-handed swing, energy tearing free and racing across the ground. A heartbeat later, a cloud of Sinscales erupts into a spray of chitin and Pyreflies. More are coming.

        'Hey copycat!'

        "Kenny," Leo snarls, his lip curling in a sneer. "I'd thought you'd had some semblance of warrior's honor! Don't think this absolves you of your crimes against my sister!" Three Sinscales take advantage of his momentary distraction, charging him in unison. One of them almost gets fangs in his arm before he turns, and stamps a boot heel into the rocky ground. The earth erupts in a display of jagged spikes, shredding the offending Sinspawn--and tracing their way forwards, to where the two larger Sinspawn are buried. The earth around them solidifies, turning from sand and sea-smoothed pebbles into jagged, razor-sharp spikes.

        Leo glances up at the command post a moment later. What he sees makes him go a little pale.

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Sin with Rock Viper!
GS: White Knight Leo has gained 1 Combo!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from White Knight Leo's Rock Viper for 78 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        The claws scrape against Logeix's armoured head, and Pearl curses that the steel claws aren't something tougher as they are largely deflected by the strong armour of the monstrous creature. She is launched up and away by the sudden movement of the sin, but manages to control her landing somewhat, hitting the sand on one knee and sliding back. The screech of the sinspawn is deafening, and Pearl grits her teeth of at the noise. And then comes the sudden barrage of sinspawn descending upon the beaches. Their pincers bite at Pearl, and she tries to move to avoid it. Unfortunately, she's simply not fast enough to get completely clear, finding herself bleeding from multiple cuts and bites.

        "Bring back your masters," she growls to the likely unresponsive Sinscales, "I have no interest in things such as you." It takes her a few moments to get stable enough footing for a counter attack, as the horde of Sinscales make it difficult to to find even the smallest amount of breathing room. She glances around the battlefield, trying to see where friendly faces are. Being surrounded alone is not ideal, even Pearl has to accept that.She swings out with a kick, the clawed toe of her boot aiming to slash at the closest sin spawn, before starting to lash out wildly at the surrounding monsters. It's not an elegant method of attack, leaving something lacking in the defense department. But most importantly it is a moving assault, trying to form a more solid position with other soldiers, rather than remaining isolated.

GS: Pearl has attacked Sin with Frenzied Claw!
GS: Pearl has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Pearl's Frenzied Claw for 135 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad's initial blast sees some effect. It's hard to say if it was more or less than he was hoping for. You don't really set expectations in a fight like this, not for individual attacks. Especially not when...

"...assault force," Brad mutters, as the Sinscales come. He flexes his hand a few times, clenching and unclenching, thinking with his posture set as they crash against the front line. For all that Brad seems like a man you'd want up front, his specialties are all at the rear. Swords, guns, arrows....He almost doesn't notice when the Sinspawn dive beneath the sands. He bites a curse, the rushing waves running out of people to engage with and skittering on toward him. He braces himself; catches a mandible on his Mechanical Glove and shoving the attacker aside, only to get clawed across the flank from another. He can only yield ground, then slam his fist wide to knock his attacker's aside, and then thrust the arm forward...

Bringing the cannon on the side of his ARM clearly into view. "Could use some help here!" he yells over, right around when Kamui's gun blasts off.

His eyes bug out. "It does that!?"

Then a sinspawn headbutts him so he starts shooting.

GS: Brad Evans has attacked Sin with Onboard Cannon!
GS: Brad Evans has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brad Evans has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

"Hrn! Tricky...!" Elvis comments, watching it magically flee from his attack. Despite everyone pouring into the fiends, they remain stalwart. Flecks of soul-light emit from what damage has been dealt. Surely the pyreflies he has heard about. Something akin to blood to these fiends. THey comprosie their bodily makeup. Some sort of conjured form.

"I suppose we will have to kock more of thouse out of these creatures, won't we?" he asks no one in particular, as a storm of scales rain down upon the party. Elvis quickly greets them, though a few craze him with their sharpened edges as they fly.

As they unfurl though, lightning fast punches are there to greet them as they wake.

"Amaterasu! Ambrosius!" Elvis calls across the battlefield. "We have quite the fight on our hands! Let us join together, and prove our argument stronger on the theory that these things should stop existing!"

That is the Professor's way of saying, 'we should beat things things up as a team'. It has been a long time since they were together on the field, after all!

"Let's show this lot how to really fight, eh?!" He wouldn't straight out say Humans because, well, the yare supposed to be with Kaguya. She is probably ordering troops on the lines. But boy he would like to fight alongside her as well sometime! At least with current events, that seems plausible!

Long as she stays here, anyway.

GS: Elvis has attacked Sin with Rapid Punch!
GS: Elvis has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Elvis has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Brad Evans's Onboard Cannon for 62 hit points!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Elvis's Rapid Punch for 88 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

 Damage happens. That's natural, though. Generally unless a Goddess or a Seraph most things take damage, die, and stay dead. (Skylr HOPES it stays that way.)
 
 Cough.
 
 Her arrow strikes true enough, as does a good amount of other attacks from everyone, but then the two creatures release a noise that makes her grit her teeth, biting down on her tongue hard enough to draw a pained noise from her lips. The ... Sinscales? The small creatures suddenly appear, and Skylr charges into the fray, batting at them with hand and the curved wood of her bow. It's not very good for her, though.
 
 Darting back a couple of steps, Skylr's eyes flicker over to Amelia and Silver, calling out a note of 'thanks' as she frantically ties a small mesh net to two arrows, notching one carefully to the bow, firing, and firing the second as quick as she can.
 
 "Watch out!"
 
 Lest she end up with Ashton in the net or something. She doesn't want to explain *that* to Leo.

GS: Amelia Rose heals Skylr Paer! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Skylr Paer has attacked Sin with Net Trap!
GS: Skylr Paer has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Skylr Paer has completed her action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Skylr Paer's Net Trap for 0 hit points!
GS: Entangle! applied to Sin!
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        Ambrosius' strike, perhaps, was sufficient to disorient the creature. Amaterasu is fast at his heels.
        Like the beak of some iron swan, Valkyrja arcs ahead to drive its brilliant blade into the body of the Sinspawn. A simple, fractional tilt of her head his way will have to serve as acknowledgement; her next action is to rip her weapon back and with a shout of,

        "Above!"

        renders what warning she can of the incoming barrage. She for her part draws Valkyrja up, grasped in both hands and held as a sort of shield against the assault that follows.
        One batters a gouge across an expanse of plating. Another shreds cloth, which flies free against the salty air. But the rest meet the shaft and butt of the spear, swung wide in an arc to fling those that are not so lucky as to strike at her away and into the surf. "An excellent plan," she declares, both as Elvis states that they should join forces and as Ambrosius makes good use of his magic to wash them away. "But let us handle these first, Sentinel. Once we have destroyed them, the others cannot long remain hidden."

        She lowers her head, drawing a bead on the clustered mass that Ambrosius has gathered up.

        "Then we will strike. From above, from the front, and from all sides."

        But first there are the Sinscales to manage.

        She races into the surf after them, springing into a leap to enjoin gravity to the downwards arc that her weapon follows, right into the Sinscales quite possibly unsettled mass.

GS: Amaterasu has attacked Sin with Sine Qua Non!
GS: Amaterasu has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Amaterasu's Sine Qua Non for 62 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.

Sinscales fall in droves.

Claude directs a shot down into the sand -- which doesn't strike, but there's a pulsing bulge under the sand, where one of the larger Sinspawn had to dodge away from the rocks that jut upward. Another Sinspawn is shorn apart with flame from Bera; more are cast back to the sea by Lanval's and Ambrosisus's watery blasts. Ice, too, smashes some back, from Zed -- and Ashton obliterates a number of scales.

More keep coming.

The X-Buster fires and clears a line through their formation -- and yet the Sinscales fill in afterward. Their wings unfurl, and some take to the heavens... only for Ivan to bring down a quite literal firestorm. Pyreflies waft up in the wake of the fiery rain and the X-Buster.

Margaret skewers one flying at her on a pike. Xantia sends a number flying into the air, and some are pyreflies before they fall back down. And then Marivel's strange blood-blade throws a whole score back, leaving a brief gap before her.

Leo sends the earth ripping through Sinscales ranks. He sees bulges under the sand -- and then Eskah briefly emerges, rock slashing into it. The Sinspawn comes up, with a spray of water, before it smashes back down into the sand. When the screeching abates, the Sinscales begin to slow for a moment... until it resumes.

One of the frenzied Sinscales charges right for Pearl -- and she slashes the thing down with a mighty strike. Brad's ARM opens up, the louder thundercracks of the big gun presaging bursts of pyreflies as he shoots down Sinscales one-by-one. Elvis punches some to the side, with bursts of lightning. And then, Skylr's net fires -- catching a whole group of Sinscales.

The surf splashes up about Amaterasu -- white and frothy, and her weapon slashes and cleaves through them. Pyreflies rise up from even under the waves, as the blade finds its mark.

The screeching continues. Even as the collected efforts of everyone bring the Sinscales low, another set launches from Sin's back; the twin screeches of Logeix and Eskah are a siren's call to lure more and more of them out. But, as they fly through the air, huge magical circles begin to flash into existence in the sky. They light up clouds which, even now, rumble with periodic thunder. A storm is coming.

The magical circles number twelve in total, and they form a circle themselves. That, too, fills in with a bright white light. From the cliffside, Dragonmaster Ghaleon thrusts a hand out, white and golden light gathering around him.

"Sacred powers, cast your purifying light upon these corrupt souls!" Ghaleon shouts, hands working furiously for the somatic motions to complete the spell. "Rest in peace, sinners!"

And the skies open. A hundred beams of white light shoot down, each slashing through the airborne Sinscales -- and they explode in a hundred bursts of pyreflies around the lances of light that rain down, yet never strike any human, Beastman, or Guado on the field.

"JUDGMENT!"

The two larger Sinspawn erupt from the sand. The singing stops.

GS: Sin has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Logeix Claw!
GS: Sin has attacked Zed with Logeix Claw!
GS: Sin has attacked Ashton Anchors with Logeix Claw!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Xantia with Logeix Claw!
GS: Sin has attacked Margaret with Sinscale Spinner!
GS: Sin has attacked Amelia Rose with Sinscale Spinner!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Ambrosius with Sinscale Rain!
GS: Sin has attacked Elvis with Sinscale Rain!
GS: Sin has attacked Amaterasu with Sinscale Rain!
GS: Sin has attacked Ivan with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has attacked Ivan with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Bera with Slow!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Pearl with Slow!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Seraph Lanval with Slow!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.

Sinscales fall in droves.

Claude directs a shot down into the sand -- which doesn't strike, but there's a pulsing bulge under the sand, where one of the larger Sinspawn had to dodge away from the rocks that jut upward. Another Sinspawn is shorn apart with flame from Bera; more are cast back to the sea by Lanval's and Ambrosisus's watery blasts. Ice, too, smashes some back, from Zed -- and Ashton obliterates a number of scales.

More keep coming.

The X-Buster fires and clears a line through their formation -- and yet the Sinscales fill in afterward. Their wings unfurl, and some take to the heavens... only for Ivan to bring down a quite literal firestorm. Pyreflies waft up in the wake of the fiery rain and the X-Buster.

Margaret skewers one flying at her on a pike. Xantia sends a number flying into the air, and some are pyreflies before they fall back down. And then Marivel's strange blood-blade throws a whole score back, leaving a brief gap before her.

Leo sends the earth ripping through Sinscales ranks. He sees bulges under the sand -- and then Eskah briefly emerges, rock slashing into it. The Sinspawn comes up, with a spray of water, before it smashes back down into the sand. When the screeching abates, the Sinscales begin to slow for a moment... until it resumes.

One of the frenzied Sinscales charges right for Pearl -- and she slashes the thing down with a mighty strike. Brad's ARM opens up, the louder thundercracks of the big gun presaging bursts of pyreflies as he shoots down Sinscales one-by-one. Elvis punches some to the side, with bursts of lightning. And then, Skylr's net fires -- catching a whole group of Sinscales.

The surf splashes up about Amaterasu -- white and frothy, and her weapon slashes and cleaves through them. Pyreflies rise up from even under the waves, as the blade finds its mark.

The screeching continues. Even as the collected efforts of everyone bring the Sinscales low, another set launches from Sin's back; the twin screeches of Logeix and Eskah are a siren's call to lure more and more of them out. But, as they fly through the air, huge magical circles begin to flash into existence in the sky. They light up clouds which, even now, rumble with periodic thunder. A storm is coming.

The magical circles number twelve in total, and they form a circle themselves. That, too, fills in with a bright white light. From the cliffside, Dragonmaster Ghaleon thrusts a hand out, white and golden light gathering around him.

"Sacred powers, cast your purifying light upon these corrupt souls!" Ghaleon shouts, hands working furiously for the somatic motions to complete the spell. "Rest in peace, sinners!"

And the skies open. A hundred beams of white light shoot down, each slashing through the airborne Sinscales -- and they explode in a hundred bursts of pyreflies around the lances of light that rain down, yet never strike any human, Beastman, or Guado on the field.

"JUDGMENT!"

The two larger Sinspawn erupt from the sand. The singing stops.

The massive, millipede-shaped Sinspawn -- Logeix -- rushes forward when it ends its song. From its sides, four long arms pop out; each ends with a horrible bladed claw, and then it lashes out. It slashes for Claude Kenny with an arm on its left side; for Zed with its right. It rises up, and a third arm stabs down for Ashton. A fourth arm slashes hard for Xantia's side.

Each strike of a sickle-like claw, though, is joined by a pointed screech. And each screech sends a Sinscale flying, seemingly at Logeix's direction. One does a kamikaze dive to slam into Margaret from behind. Another rushes over to try to tackle Amelia to the ground.

The majority of the rising Sinscales, though, leap up as a mass -- and then slam down, trying to bury the trio of Veruni under a mass of carapace, claws, and biting mandibles.

Eskah lets out another shriek, but this one is different than before. The air around Lanval, Brad, Leo, and Skylr grows thick and cloying. The green tinge to the air is harder to see here, against a sky growing stormier and darker, but it is there. The air, however, also burns as they draw in breath.

It is a poison.

Then, the reason that Eskah seemed not so harmed by the lightning earlier becomes clear. The stalk-like thing crackles with electricity -- and sharp tongues of lightning fork off. One shoots towards Ivan, trying to hurtle him backward... and send him flying into Kamui. The lightning clings to him; when he gets close, it leaps off to shock the Reploid, too.

Eskah's long, stalk-like body begins to sway rhythmatically, then. Which is when Bera, Pearl, and Lanval find that time begins to...

        ...s l o w...

                . . . d o w n . . .

GS: Shieldbreak expired!
GS: Sin has completed his action.
DC: 2 turns have elapsed in the battle against Sin! 3 turns remain!
GS: Sin has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Sin has attacked Seraph Lanval with Multi-Biora!
GS: Sin has attacked Brad Evans with Multi-Biora!
GS: Sin has attacked White Knight Leo with Multi-Biora!
GS: Sin has attacked Skylr Paer with Multi-Biora!
GS: Seraph Lanval takes a glancing hit from Sin's Slow for 0 hit points!
GS: Break and Slow! applied to Seraph Lanval!
GS: Seraph Lanval completely evades a hit from Sin's Multi-Biora!
GS: Healthy! For entering Condition Green, Seraph Lanval receives 50 temporary hit points.
GS: Seraph Lanval enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Ashton Anchors guards a hit from Sin's Logeix Claw for 74 hit points!
GS: Claude C. Kenny completely evades a hit from Sin's Logeix Claw!
GS: Bera critically Guards a hit from Sin's Slow for 0 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Zed takes a glancing hit from Sin's Logeix Claw for 73 hit points!
GS: Ambrosius critically Guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Rain for 93 hit points!
GS: Pearl takes a glancing hit from Sin's Slow for 0 hit points!
GS: Break and Slow! applied to Pearl!
GS: Sin has attacked Kamui with Eskah Static!
GS: Skylr Paer takes a solid hit from Sin's Multi-Biora for 77 hit points!
GS: Skylr Paer suffers an additional 24 from Poison's Combo effect!
GS: Poison! applied to Skylr Paer!
GS: Kamui critically Guards a hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 22 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Sin assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Ivan completely evades a hit from Sin's Eskah Static!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Elvis guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Rain for 122 hit points!
GS: Healthy! For entering Condition Green, Elvis receives 50 temporary hit points.
GS: Elvis enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Amaterasu takes a solid hit from Sin's Sinscale Rain for 158 hit points!
GS: Amelia Rose heals Marivel Armitage! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Xantia takes a solid hit from Sin's Logeix Claw for 135 hit points!
GS: Amelia Rose guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Spinner for 90 hit points!
GS: Brad Evans takes a solid hit from Sin's Multi-Biora for 79 hit points!
GS: Brad Evans suffers an additional 28 from Poison's Combo effect!
GS: Poison! applied to Brad Evans!
GS: Margaret takes a glancing hit from Sin's Sinscale Spinner for 70 hit points!
GS: White Knight Leo takes a solid hit from Sin's Multi-Biora for 58 hit points!
GS: White Knight Leo suffers an additional 25 from Poison's Combo effect!
GS: Poison! applied to White Knight Leo!
GS: Sin has attacked Marivel Armitage with Eskah Static!
GS: Marivel Armitage guards a hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 70 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        As many as he washes away, Lanval finds they keep coming. Everyone is being overwhelmed-- more screeching, and it feels as though it intensifies. Ghaleon's power is disorienting in the strength that pushes back against it all... and the Sinspawn erupt anew. Logeix was actually underneath Lanval's standing position, and he is sent staggering and pirouetting across the beach sand as he beholds the flowery Eskah who emerges a bit further off. It sways rhythmically after it shrieks, and the air feels... far harder for Lanval to maneuver about. Water's natural form is to take the shape of whatever contains it.
        It feels as though thin air were trying to box him in. It is unnatural. His spinning, rapid and unsteady, slows and gives him a greater look at some of the gathered...
        ...
        The Oracle of Schturdark, as he turns, sees to one of the longest-living stalwart allies to the very world of Filgaia, risking the day being the very last of her countless number - already the last of her kind - to observe the defense of an effort across many walks of life to be rid of something terrible...
        To catch a glimpse of a strange individual who doesn't quite map to what he would initially see as a living being by perhaps limitations of personal experience, who nonetheless raises an exotic weapon with a conviction and strength matching or exceeding even the most valorious of souls...
        The voice of a large, stoic man calls for help, and Lanval looks their way - to Brad Evans. Lanval stands unaware of some of the likenesses to their individual situations as related to their lands of origin...
        Lanval then comes to sight of a samurai - a master of four elements upon their very blade - who comes from a life seemingly ignorant of both Althena and Guardian, but not of grim determination to destroy what is an enemy to Filgaia...
        To find his attention grabbed by an earnest warrior who once numbered among a people that once elected to aid an existential threat out of ignorance of their true aims and their own origins, choosing to forge ahead even when an understanding might be tenuous at best...
        ...a gaze looks to the White Knight Leo, brother to the Red Priestess whose intentions Lanval denied for the sake of another world - a dying world, bereft of the plenty and the piety of the Goddess. He nonetheless stands brave and true against the Clysmian's spawn, and Lanval makes a choice that might seem unthinkable for what another of his nubmer attempted to accomplish...
        ...compelling him to see to the Hounds of Hell, led by the wily and sure elf Margaret who move as a tightly-knit unit that strike together like the many forks a bolt of lightning can take even as just one singular bolt against something bigger than any of them alone, or even together...
        The greening air around the slowing Lanval grows choking... thicker. He has no choice but to fall to his seat in slow motion, as the unnatural air seems to see it fit to poison him. Though it is slow-going, he raises the gourd to his lips and has a sip - a taste of the water of Filgaia.
        ...Then, there is a growing, mirthful chortle. It is all he can do to fight against the oppression of the atmosphere.
        "Know this...! Those of Filgaia... and those beyond..."
        Lanval rises up. It is painstakingly slow, as the green air threatens to smother him with an opaque, venomous green... his eyes, however, stay wide open, with a smile.
        "The water of Filgaia... shalt lend its aid to thee...!" The words are slow, but the voice booms, carrying across the battlefield. Even under Ghaleon's incredible bursts of power that, by themselves, could probably yet silence him if they were of the mind.
        There is an alacrity that builds as he whirls once, twice, thrice, building up speed as he holds the gourd by the attached rope, and swings it upwards...!
 
        Spheres of water float towards a number of people - Marivel, Kamui, Brad, Bera, Zed, Leo, and the Hounds of Hell.
 
        "Take thy weapon thou bring against the enemy of Filgaia...!" Lanval calls. "Cast it into the water before thee, and with thy same will, draw from within the water, and it shalt thus carry for this day, a blessing of water!"
        With these final words, another blast of water rings out from where Lanval stands, blasting away the sickly green that would envelop and poison him - but the strength to stand further against the Sinspawn, Lanval entrusts to them.
        Should they put their weapons within the water that comes to them, they will find it blessed temporarily with the power of water (and also a cool watery glow, which means it is stronger, because of course it does).

GS: Seraph Lanval has activated a Force Action!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Marivel Armitage with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Kamui with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Brad Evans with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Bera with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Zed with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked White Knight Leo with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Margaret with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has completed his action.
GS: Kamui takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to Kamui!
GS: Marivel Armitage takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to Marivel Armitage!
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude C. Kenny's head snaps toward Leo. "Wait, dude, what! I didn't do nothing to your sister!" he says. "I mean, I'm even married now... sort of," he mutters. "What kind of dude do you think I---" He stops talking, rewinding the mental tape as he looks at Leo. He imagines Leo, but a little shorter. With a horn a little smaller.

"..."

He reluctantly adds female-presenting characteristics. He squints some more.

"......"

He adds... uh........ ......fire?

"Oh, HER," he says, eyes widening. "Dude, I'm sorry, but your sister is----"

Claude is cut off by the world's most inappropriately timed rave raining down from the--- no, scratch that, it's the Dragonman himself, throwing all kinds of power down from the heavens. The boy from Earth - who is as magical as a brick of cheese, but has seen Cecilia do some pretty scary things - is duly impressed. "Okay, I'm glad he's on our side," he mutters, 100% accurately. "So about your sister, she's----"

It is then that Logeix erupts from the sands, interrupting whatever probably unflattering adjective Claude was about to direct toward one of Althena's Chosen who also happens to have a brother who is Althena's Chosen, who is standing next to him with a sword. Because, y'know, priorities. He dives to his right, bringing his (read: still Ashton's) sword up over his unprotected belly as he twists away from the slash; he manages to avoid the disemboweling blow, but still gets clubbed with the back of the claw, which sends him sprawling away on the beach.

Claude comes up spitting sand and curse words. "Too many arms," he snarls, then pitches his voice to carry. "Got to focus our attacks and bring one of these big ones down quick!" Claude shouts. He focuses his energy on his left hand, forming a blazing red aura around a slowly clenching fist. The young man darts inward, aims his strike for the shoulder joint of one of the arms, then fires a shattering blast of flame inward in an attempt to... well, disarm it. Partly.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Sin with Knuckle Burst!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

"Understood, Sentinel." Ambrosius replies. He keeps up his spellwork - harnessing the power of water to gather Sinscales for Elvis and Amaterasu to deal with.

And suddenly, the sensation of power begins to increase again...but this time, not from Sin. A multitude of bright beams of light descend from the heavens, practically evaporating any Sinscales they touch.

"...Most impressive..." He mutters. That power...it was one to be feared.

The Sinspawn emerge, but it is not them that attack - a mass of Sinscales charges at himself, Elvis, and Amaterasu. Ambrosius winces as he holds them back. Carapace slams down, hard, while claws and mandibles seek purchase on his armor.

None manage to find it, however, but the sheer weight forces a grunt out of as he pushes the crowd around him back.

"...Disappear!" He mutters, and takes a step back. This will give him room to cast - which he does, immediately.

"Allow me to support you both." He states. Water swirls around him again, but this time it converges on Elvis and Amaterasu. It bestows upon them both the speed and crushing power of the tides themselves, to assist them in laying waste to the foes before them.

He is not the only one assisting with the power of water...but the source is almost as opposite as one can be.

GS: Ambrosius has activated a Force Action!
GS: You have activated the Force Action Extend!
GS: Bera takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to Bera!
GS: Ambrosius has attacked Elvis with Turbulent Tides!
GS: Ambrosius has attacked Amaterasu with Turbulent Tides!
GS: Cover expired!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
GS: Amaterasu takes a solid hit from Ambrosius's Turbulent Tides for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper and Quick! applied to Amaterasu!
GS: Elvis takes a solid hit from Ambrosius's Turbulent Tides for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper and Quick! applied to Elvis!
DC: 3 turns have elapsed in the battle against Sin! 2 turns remain!
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

The two large sinspawn are back, and the floral one seems to be belching forth weird noxious gases at some of Ivan's allies. That gets his attention enough that his attention is already on the creature when it begins to crackle and spark. His eyes fly wide with alarm as a fork of lightning shoots toward him--and he flips into the air, a prickly wind rushing off the lightning blast with a burst of static shock as it sweeps just past him.

He lands in a three-point stance, scarcely able to believe he got out of the way in time. He has to tell Talia he's faster than lightning! Strike that. He has to live to tell Talia he's faster than lightning.

He pushes up and stands, sweeping his sword in a swift, violent cut that opens a tear in the air in front of him, revealing some bubbling, fiery light within.

"Molten Roar!"

Liquid fire pours out of the tear like a canon blast, surging toward Eskah.

GS: White Knight Leo takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to White Knight Leo!
GS: Margaret takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to Margaret!
GS: Brad Evans takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to Brad Evans!
GS: Ivan takes a glancing hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 54 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Ivan has attacked Sin with Molten Roar!
GS: Ivan has completed his action.
GS: Sin critically Guards a hit from Claude C. Kenny's Knuckle Burst for 12 hit points!
GS: Zed takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to Zed!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Ivan's Molten Roar for 92 hit points!
GS: Disrupt and Shieldbreak! applied to Sin!
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

 
Margaret looks upwards for a moment as Leo speaks to Claude C. Kenny about crimes against his sister, but she is busily stabbing sinscales alongside her colleagues.

Then comes the Dragonmaster. The man with the face mark looks up, in awe, in shock, his pike-work lingering for a moment even as the rest of his unit leaps back in more or less unison. The white light, of course, does not harm this nameless Hound.

But he is separated momentarily from his unit. This is not good for you. A Sinspawn passes in front of him - within the range of his pike. There is a rip - blood on the sand -

The Seraph calls upon his arts, and Margaret gazes upon the blast before her, pure water after sullied. Margaret thrusts her naginata's blade into it, turns to look towards Eskah's vast form... She sucks breath in through her teeth. Crouching down with a rustle of purple fabric, she seems - for a fleeting moment, to split into two.

But it's just a trick of the light. There is only one Black Pearl of Neo-Vane, and she lunges towards Eskah with a stark alto wail of fury and rage. The rush forwards aims to draw back that long blade on its long wooden staff and thrust it in underneath the neck of the three-petalled horror...

Has she taken leave of her senses? This is quite an exposing motion, especially for a sorceress in nearly no armor!

GS: Margaret has spent 1 Combo on Link!
GS: Margaret has attacked Margaret with Let slip the bonds of mere gravity...!
GS: Margaret has launched an attack Link!
GS: Margaret takes a solid hit from Margaret's Let slip the bonds of mere gravity... for 0 hit points!
GS: Burst! applied to Margaret!
GS: Margaret has attacked Sin with Revenge Slaying!
GS: Mighty expired!
GS: Margaret has completed her action.
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Margaret's attack becomes clear!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Margaret's Illusion Dragoon Dive for 102 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

 
... But the TRUTH is...

Margaret descends from the clouds, blade aimed downwards, grinding her teeth as she sees that man, Jack, bleeding on the sand in the corner of her vision. She has no time to worry about him in fine detail, even as the wizard staggers over on the red sand.

Margaret aims that blade down, to sink it deep -

Twist -

And RIP outwards, and now she, the real her, shrieks even louder than her shadowy clone ever did!

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        The air starts to rattle around Kamui as Eskah begins to shriek, louder and louder; she stoops over and clutches her head for a moment longer--

        "Maverick...!!"

        Something seems to have broken through. Whether it's a circuit that's finally burnt out or a defence within this old, ancient machine that's not fully known is... that remains to be seen.

        The lightning doesn't seem to quite cling as hard as it should've; it splashes off her armour, as she whispers--

        "Hover."

        And the Lumen Armour's Fourth Parts erupt into light as she rises to the skies, giving her a superior vantage of the battle.

        The water of Filgaia... shalt lend its aid to thee...!

        Kamui pauses for a moment as the voice booms, as she listens and stares towards the sphere of water. Take thy weapon thou bring and cast it into the water... she doesn't hesitate for even a moment as she thrusts the X-Buster within and intones, as a stream of what appears to be code flashes through the iris of her eye:

        "Understood. Weapon Get."

        In a flourish of water, Kamui's hair turns into that of flowing water in the shade of blue; she aims down towards Eskah now that the Sinspawn have emerged and focuses harder, a charge welling within as she lets out a cutting stream of pure water. Water, inspired by the Oracle of Schturdark, as is its will.

GS: Kamui has attacked Sin with Arte of Lanval - Crashing Wave!
GS: Kamui has completed her action.
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Kamui's attack becomes clear!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Kamui's Copy Arte -Memories of Friends- for 166 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Though Xantia violently clears Sinscales out of her path, she still doesn't see where the Sinspawn she was fighting before went to. Nor the other big one, for that matter. She didn't notice them going underground, so this is puzzling. Did they teleport? At least one of them could do that. Or maybe someone else took care of them already? That would be disappointing. They're still making sounds though, aren't they?

While she's still in the middle of trying to figure things out and decide her next move, the millipede-like thing she was fighting before suddenly bursts from the ground, undoubtedly unhappy with what she did to it before. A clawed arm swings for her side, thankfully protected by armor, but the force of the blow is enough to send her flying, landing a short distance away, faceplanting into the surf.

Wasting no time in scrambling back to her feet, she spits out sand and salt water, punctuated by a disgusted, "Ugh!" That looked like it must have hurt, but she seems more bothered by the bad taste in her mouth than anything else. Typical Xantia.

Just as typically, she immediately charges back in for revenge, delivering a rapid combo of ARM strikes, before the energy blade dissipates, and she finishes by discharging the flames surrounding her body in the Sinspawn's direction. That done, she hops back to gain some distance, hoping to take a short breather before continuing.

In that moment, she looks about a bit, trying to survey the battlefield, but there's too much going on to get a firm grasp of things. "...Are we winning? We're winning, right?" she wonders out loud. She's probably one of the few who'd ever feel somewhat disappointed by not being close enough to Sin to punch it. It just makes it easier to tell how the fight is going, you know?

GS: Xantia has attacked Sin with Frenzy Dance!
GS: Xantia has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Mighty expired!
GS: Xantia has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Xantia's Frenzy Dance for 66 hit points!
GS: Xantia's Avenger stance ends.
<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

        Bera jumps back as the two sinspawn reappear, her attention focused on the enemies she can deal with. It's appearently not the first time she's been in a large scale fight since Sin's return as she doesn't flinch as the remaining sinscales are brought low by magic. Her attention narrows onto the anemone like sinspawn, and then everything begins to slow down...

        Or not, as she shifts her sheathed blade from above to her left hip exerting her presence around herself for a moment forcibly breaking Eskah's attempt to slow her before it takes full effect guarding herself. "A pain." she grumbles, legs tensing to strike when suddenly something else happens. She could hear one of the otherworlders as Luzzu referred to them chanting something. She hadn't expected to benefit as a sphere of water floats at her. As it contacts her, the carvings of the elements on her sheath glows and the samurai blinks. "Seriously? Without a all four chains? Well then." her tone shocked turning to approval.

        Bera doesn't adopt her drawing stance, she instead charges forward right for Eskah. The blonde samurai lets herself slide into position infront of the sinspawn, adopting her draw stance as the sheath in her hand begins to glow, then the ground in a circle around her.

        She draws her blade with a shout, "Midare Setsugekka!", the ground crystallizing under her as all four elements explode for a brief moment around her even as a white blade slices in front of her instead of the elements she's displayed. And then the blade is resheathed immediately after the strike, the crystallized ground returning to sandy beach.

GS: Bera has activated a Force Action!
GS: Bera has attacked Sin with Midare Setsugekka!
GS: Bera has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad's cannon blasts again and again, each shot felling a sinscale. But that's not enough. He needs so, so much more. Fortunately, he can do that.

He thumps the side of his ARM and looks at it. Then he curses. Not loaded. Apparently, he can't do that now. "Damn," he spits, and then has to set himself for defense against CHEMICAL WEAPONRY. He hacks and coughs, which only brings more into his lungs. He tries to muffle his nose and mouth behind his spare arm, but that's hardly of use as he stumbles away, hacking. "Poison!" he croaks out.

Brad's resonance is piss poor, because his hell is strictly one of a corporeal nature. But he senses it, perhaps, with the attention of a soldier, and as that water floats at him, he knows it is for his arm, not his face. He thrusts the Mechanical Glove into it as the thing begins to flicker and glow with unknown lights.

Then he clenches his fist as light explodes out from the ARM, and a long metal tube, narrow, drops onto his arm. He holds it up, one-handed, and aims it direct at the sinspawn before him, blood on his teeth from poison and his arm from cuts.

The only sass he has for it is the thunder of a missile firing directly into its throat.

GS: Brad Evans has attacked Sin with Mini Scud!
GS: Brad Evans takes 25 damage from Poison!
GS: Brad Evans has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Energy rains from the sky. Friendly - for once - but the might of the Dragonmaster is still a sight to behold.
 
It might be enough to make Ashton a believer if he weren't scared witless by the man's basic concept of existence.
 
The respite is short lived. Just enough to take a breath before Logeix emerges in a spiked flurry of bladed arms. The razor-sharp sickle scrapes across the swordsman's armor with a shower of sparks - but a lack of Ashton's own vital fluids. It doesn't seem to harm him much.
 
In fact, Ashton seems all the more energized by the creature's failure to kill him. Maybe he HAS been spending too much time in proximity to Zed already.
 
There's only one Ashton now - the other two simply... aren't. The moment they're outside of immediate vision they're gone. One, thankfully, is enough.
 
Blades trace and swing, drawing a + in the air in front of him. Thin lines of power form to a more robust diamond of ice that hovers in the air before the sellsword. "For once we agree, Claude! These are likely just the vanguard - a creature that size certainly has more than just these two and a handful of minions!"
 
The icy diamond spins and lengthens, turning from a shield to a spike. It drives forward with a wide trail of disruptive sorcery in the wake behind.

GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Sin with Northern Cross!
GS: Ashton Anchors has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ashton Anchors has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Bera's Midare Setsugekka for 146 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        Water sprays up about her as she brings Valkyrja down. Her reward is a plume of Pyreflies.

        Her gaze lifts to gaze at Sin. Briefly, her thoughts turn to Kaguya -- further back in the lines, helping assist with the artillery. In a a safe place should things go poorly, no matter how this sortie appears to be -- current complications aside -- turning in their favor.

        Amaterasu is an experienced soldier. She's confident.
        But she's also seen how plans can go awry in war.
        Hence the importance of improvisation.

        But for now there have been few deviations. She turns away from the barrier and the 'god' beyond it.

        Light, in that moment, screams down from the heavens as Amaterasu walks from the surf.
        The spawn erupt from the sands.
        And the singing stops.

        Acting on an old soldier's instinct, Amaterasu shouts again for her fellows: "Above!"

        The Sinscales rain down in a torrent. Even her attempt to batter them aside seems to her to come too late. They batter across her armor leaving lines and gouges and scrapes that will take hours to buff out if indeed they ever do; one rent sleeve is left to flap in the growing winds once she tears herself quite literally free from the biting clawing mass, clearing her immediate vicinity with a heft of the Veruni weapon she wields. One boot treads heavily on a lingering Sinscale.

        "So that's how they work. Their call draws down these things," she utters, glancing back at Ambrosius, who wisely puts the more distance between him and the rest, buying him the moment he needs to work a much-needed spell.

        "Many thanks," she speaks, breathing out as the force of the tides settles into her bones and body.

        Amaterasu's grip tightens on Valkyrja's shaft; she slams the weapon into the mass of the spawn, one blow after the other without hesitation.

        "Do not let up! Victory is in our grasp!" she calls.

GS: Amaterasu has attacked Sin with Vis Major!
GS: Amaterasu has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Mighty expired!
GS: Amaterasu has completed her action.
GS: CRITICAL! Sin guards a hit from Brad Evans's Mini Scud for 127 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Brad Evans!
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Ashton Anchors's Northern Cross for 54 hit points!
GS:  Dispel reduces positive status durations by 3 rounds each!
GS: CRITICAL! Sin guards a hit from Amaterasu's Vis Major for 119 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Maybe it's unwise to try to bring ice to a horrible creepy-crawly sea creature fight, but aside from 'sword' and 'explosions,' Zed's only other elemental alternative is 'fire' and somehow he doubts setting too these sea things ablaze would be too helpful. Maybe it'd make some really super tasty seafood dish or something, but it's just as likely to set off a terrible chain reaction or just sort of fizzle on impact.

He doesn't have long to worry about their teeming numbers, though. Power pours down from the sky, obliterating wide swaths of the chittering multitude in a display that is as awe-inspiring as it is blinding. "That... That boat-guy..." Zed grunts, shielding his eyes, "is pretty strong...!"

As if sensing the eradication of their subordinate lifeforms, the two larger spawn burst forth. Logeix squiggles forward on far too many legs. One arm knocks Claude into the sand. The other--

                                  *SCKNCH*

Zed yells as the thing's claw pierces his midsection, strange quicksilver blood dripping from a wound that would likely be lethal to any ordinary swordsman, but... There, around the blade, thick layers of black ice, almost invisible on Zed's odd bodysuit, have Logeix's claw from digging a fatal wound. The damage that is there would still normally be incapacitating, but...

Zed's biology... isn't so fragile.

With a sudden kiai, Zed... grabs hold of the creature's claw in one hand. He grins, looking the thing in the eye-- does it even have an eye? Does it have several? Zed meets them, all or none, regardless, as if taunting it's near-lethal blow! But then someone, nearby, calls his attention. A wave of cleansing water surges over him. He's felt this power once before, but... But the last time... The last time Zed felt Schturdark's gaze, it nearly killed him. This time feels... different. Really, really different. He raises his sword to meet the onrushing tides--

A frigid aura clings to the lingering energies, surrounding Doombringer in a great, jagged fang of ice! Zed yells, bringing it down to try and sever the beast's claw at its joint! "Yeah, there's definitely more where this came from!" Zed barks, even as he saws his terrible, toothy sword back and forth into the joint of Logeix's claw, "How're those guns doing? We makin' any progress at all on this thing?"

GS: Zed has attacked Sin with Oracle Arte - Wavefrost Blade!
GS: Zed has completed his action.
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Zed's attack becomes clear!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Zed's Ultimate Attack of the Week for 102 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

Joining his allies in the fight was refreshing! Someone with some tact and panache rather than flailing about like some folk here! Though of course those unknowing are a ripe group to pass knowledge to! Lead by example is a popular phrase to intellectuals. Maybe it shall see some use!

"They just don't know when to quit, do they?" he asks his partners. THe powers of Ambrosius are a welcome feeling, as he aligns with water tell. "Thank you, Ambrosius! Ever helpful!" A look toward Amaterasu is given, even as Elvis is forced to tussle with a SInscale that impales into his shoulder. "What is your kill count up to now?" he asks, as if to make sport of the situation.

The creature is thrown off of him. He may be large and strong, but there is more of him to land blows upon. Even more come flying in! "Gimme that!" he shouts, and jumps so fiercely the ground fractures under him!

He goes to catch a Sinscale mid-flight, and with his massive strength, hold it shut, and drive it into one of the massive Sinspawn in a single arc! "You can have this back now!"

GS: Elvis has spent 2 Combo on Link and Gatling, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Elvis has attacked Sin with Lariat Grab!
GS: Elvis has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elvis has launched an attack Link!
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        "You struck her in the face!" Leo growls. A Sinscale lunges for his right ankle. The White Knight pivots on a heel and slams his boot into it. Chitin gives with a satisfying crunch as the Fiend goes tumbling. Ghaleon's timely reinforcement cuts off whatever he was going to say next. Beams of light scour the sands, and for a moment, Leo just stands and watches the raw might of Ghaleon's sorcery.

        It was well-timed, Leo admits, even though he has to swallow his pride in doing so.

        "This is neither the time, nor the plghhk--" The smell hits Leo a moment before the miasma does, a terrible, cloying stink. The big man coughs violently, trying to clear his lungs, but it's no good--his lungs start to burn. Leo grits his teeth, and swings at the Sinspawn that just poisoned him. The air before his blade gives with an audible crack, and twin waves of energy snap free, racing towards Eskah.

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Sin with Double Demon Fang!
GS: White Knight Leo has gained 2 Combo!
GS: White Knight Leo takes 22 damage from Poison!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
GS: Elvis enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Elvis has attacked Sin with Stunning Suplex!
GS: Elvis has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elvis has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

 Skylr does not capture what she didn't want to capture. This is good. She doesn't want to have to ask Leo if she can keep something. (Okay she'd just take her net back. Gosh.)
 
 Screeching occurs - but there's another tone. Another voice, and Skylr whirls, focusing as she realizes Ghaleon is nearby. She grins, slightly, warmed by the sight of the Dragonmaster. He's there, Leo's there ...
 
 Together, people do great things. She knows this. However, first, there's the two Sinspawn to deal with. There's another shriek, and Skylr yelps, hands coming down over her ears - and she shudders. Her chest tightens, and she coughs, and she knows what she's got going on. She pushes herself backwards - she doesn't need to be close to enact her magic, and it shows. Under her own feet, a golden circle opens. More open up when she notes who the cloud's attacked, and those that are affected, including ... Lanval! Skylr's eyes widen as she recognizes the Seraph, her jaw setting stubbornly.
 
 "Althena, hear my prayer... more now than ever do we need your guiding star before us... and give us this! Light's Blessing!"
 
 Light springs up from the circle, comforting, bright.

GS: Skylr Paer has activated a Force Action!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Elvis's Lariat Grab for 66 hit points!
GS: Skylr Paer has attacked Brad Evans with Light's Cleansing!
GS: Skylr Paer has attacked Pearl with Light's Cleansing!
GS: Skylr Paer has attacked Seraph Lanval with Light's Cleansing!
GS: Skylr Paer has attacked White Knight Leo with Light's Cleansing!
GS: Skylr Paer takes 25 damage from Poison!
GS: Skylr Paer has completed her action.
GS: Pearl takes a solid hit from Skylr Paer's Light's Cleansing for 0 hit points!
GS:  Restore reduces negative status durations by 3 rounds each!
GS: CRITICAL! Sin guards a hit from Elvis's Stunning Suplex for 89 hit points!
GS: Seraph Lanval takes a solid hit from Skylr Paer's Light's Cleansing for 0 hit points!
GS:  Restore reduces negative status durations by 3 rounds each!
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

'I am a Maverick Hunter'

Marivel senses a change in Kamui. She looks towards the child and sees the shift in her nature. The shift in her eye color. Should she spirit her away? It could be dangerous in this moment. But by that same token, she would not be relying on this Kamui if she could handle what's going on herself.

Her fangs flare out as she hisses upon seeing her wound. Do these creatures not know how difficult it will be to conduct proper repairs on her from here? Her supply of spare parts is terribly limited!

She opens up some space. She looks to Amelia for a moment and says, "You are trying to convert me now? I must say, you are dedicated Amelia. I don't dislike that but tis a poor time for me to discuss theology. I have people I have to look after, but tis truly a boon that I see you today!"

She sees an electrical blast emitted from the Sinspawn lashing out at Amelia and she steps into the way, gritting her teeth as it course sthrough her body. She exhales slowly and then stands up again. It's hard to tell with Marivel how badly she is hurt until it gets really bad.

"Hold on--I see someone--"

She plows through the Sin spawn and crouches down by the wounded Hound.

Marivel reaches for a vial of healing potion. The wound is fatal, Marivel thinks, even healing magic wouldn't do anything for this. He has moments before he breathes his last.

An arm reaches and holds her hand fast. She nearly drops the potion.

"Done for..." The Hound whispers. "Like this..." Regret seeps into his tone. "Can you take me back home?"

"I can't." Marivel says to the Hound. "You would decay ere long."

The Hound coughs up some blood and Marivel looks into his eyes. He looks back.

He seems to understand something about Marivel in this moment.

"M...muh name's Jack... Are you to take me?"

"If I take you," Marivel says. "Then you will not be allowed to rest for a very long time. Your mind will rest, but your soul will fight for as long as eternity lasts."

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ammbdMsHnU

Jack feels his strength fading, his grip slackens. "Do it." He uses everything he has left to say these words. "But, tell Dolly--"

And then he goes limp in Marivel's arms.

"...Amelia," Marivel says, looking over to the Priestess. "This will be...unpleasant." She smiles faintly. "Sorry, but who am I to resist an earnest plea?"

Marivel becomes as shadow. The shadow wraps around Jack's body and slowly engulfs him. Blue light ripples around him as he starts to ... melt in that shadow. At first it doesn't look too horrible, but then the blood bursts out of that which remains in a spray that hangs in shadow before it too is consumed. Everything. Everything that is him.

Jack's spirit joins with the others that make up Marivel. One spirit amongst many slivers.

Marivel then grimaces and sinks to one knee for a moment. She shudders.

She stands up.

She turns towards the Sinspawn, eyes narrowing.

Marivel walks forward and steps through the sphere of water. It engulfs her and she just passes through it. As she passes through Lanval's blessing, it turns red with blood.

Blood is mostly water after all.

Then it too is absorbed by Marivel. An arm reaches out of her cloak and swings its hand down in front of Marivel. A spear is formed. It crackles with electricity.

"Hound of Hell!" Marivel shouts. "To me!!"

She runs for the Eskah but partway through her form shifts and changes into that of an overly large wolf that hand clenched firmly between her teeth--though is that hand really apart from Marivel anymore?--spear extended outward.

She spins up into the air, and then comes down dragoon-style for the Sinspawn.

Tell Dolly.

GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Sin with Jack The Hound Of Hell!
GS: Marivel Armitage has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from White Knight Leo's Double Demon Fang for 60 hit points!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Marivel Armitage's attack becomes clear!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Marivel Armitage's Red Power for 176 hit points!
GS: White Knight Leo takes a solid hit from Skylr Paer's Light's Cleansing for 0 hit points!
GS:  Restore reduces negative status durations by 3 rounds each!
<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.


Though the battle is pitched, Amelia founds herself surrounded by proud warriors and pious Guard members and friends. She feels like maybe, just maybe they might push this horrible creature from the shores. It helps Marivel is about. There's a tiny smirk from Amelia, as she nods to Marivel.

"Dedication, piety, and persistance cleanses the heathen." Yeah, sorry Marivel, but you're one of her pet projects now. Thus is the price of friendship.

Lord Leo's plan seems to work for a time, and then, the Dragonmaster calls down sweltering beams of light that Amelia can feel on her cheeks that have her letting out a solid gasp of praise upon such power!

Truly, such strength of arcane might can only come from the most pure of Althena's Chosen, Dragonmaster Ghaleon!

Yet the things are still acheingly alive, and Amelia scowls. How dare this thing defy the Goddess! The elf holds her cane-whip high, and begins twirling it hard and fast. Luckily it's above or away from anyone's vulnerable bits through some trick of Silver-assisted Guard training as the length of whirling jag-and-steel becomes utterly, absurdly long despite there seeming being no way for her to carry around so much sharp metal in such a tiny, compact cane.

The elven priestess is then neatly hammered into by a wandering Sinspawn. She's thrown back several feet, digging in her heels as Silver grabs part of her robes to tuuuuug her right back to where she was. The wound it gives her stomach as the dog rips it off of her? Not pleasant to look at whatsoever. The elf grins and lets it bleed. Then? Dropping Silver's lead, she's simply gone in a burst of speed that she can only rarely summon up.

A purely excessive amount of steels tries to curl around, wrap up, and dig into every single amount of vulnerable space on Logeix, before the Priestess leaps back to attempt to retract the whole mass straight back into her cane with a pull of an arm that's far stronger than it looks.

"Repent for your evil ways, monster! Weep crimson tears at the feet of the Goddess!"

The barks from Silver, meanwhile, are very disquieting. Amelia doesn't like what she's just heard from Marivel's mouth or the sensations she's getting from her right now.

Secretly, Amelia prays whatever it is, is effective. No words this time from the elf, but the set of her jaw and point of her ears promises one very, very long talk after this hell is over.

GS: Amelia Rose has activated a Force Action!
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        There is some incredible power being thrown around in this battlefield. The timely intervention of the Dragonmaster vaporising the incoming sinscales. It's a moment of relief in a pitched battle. Pearl once again notes that it is a good thing she is not the Dragonmaster's enemy. But the threat is still present.

        Try as she might, Pearl has nothing with which to resist the magic of Eskah. Suddenly for Pearl, everything around her seems to be moving so much faster. She feels more vulnerable. Her body is slow to respond, slow to move. This is not the situation one wants to be in when in battle. The surging sinspawn remain a threat, though, and impeded as she is, the fight isn't over.

        Pearl starts rushing forward, seemingly in slow motion. It's agonising, feeling the battle around her moving so quickly, while she feels like she has to drag heavy limbs behind her. She's going to be a liability, at this rate.

        And then light engulfs her, and the slowness and frailty leave her rapidly. She casts an eye back at Skylr, and gives a nod. "...Thank you, Guardswoman Paer." She's probably not shouting that loudly enough to be heard in the chaos, but at least she gives something.

        And then Pearl charges forward, this time for Eskah. She launches herself into the air, hoping to strike at an opening in Eskah's armour. Claws flash as she tries to swipe at the stalk that makes up the sinspawn, hoping to travel past the Sinspawn as she leaps past, with the hope of taking as much of the creatures 'flesh' as she can.

GS: Pearl has attacked Sin with Predator's Opening!
GS: Pearl has completed her action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Pearl's Predator's Opening for 87 hit points!
GS: Pearl assumes the Avenger stance!
<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.


Though the battle is pitched, Amelia founds herself surrounded by proud warriors and pious Guard members and friends. She feels like maybe, just maybe they might push this horrible creature from the shores. It helps Marivel is about. There's a tiny smirk from Amelia, as she nods to Marivel.

"Dedication, piety, and persistance cleanses the heathen." Yeah, sorry Marivel, but you're one of her pet projects now. Thus is the price of friendship.

Lord Leo's plan seems to work for a time, and then, the Dragonmaster calls down sweltering beams of light that Amelia can feel on her cheeks that have her letting out a solid gasp of praise upon such power!

Truly, such strength of arcane might can only come from the most pure of Althena's Chosen, Dragonmaster Ghaleon!

Yet the things are still acheingly alive, and Amelia scowls. How dare this thing defy the Goddess! The elf retracts her cane whip, and dog and elf are charging for the great sinspawn that is menacing her and her closest compatriots.

The elven priestess is then neatly hammered into by a wandering Sinspawn. She's thrown back several feet, digging in her heels as Silver grabs part of her robes to tuuuuug her right back to where she was. The wound it gives her stomach as the dog rips it off of her? Not pleasant to look at whatsoever. The elf grins and lets it bleed. Then? Dropping Silver's lead, she's simply gone in a burst of speed that she can only rarely summon up.

Her cane lashes at what passes for a mouth on Logeix. It's a feint though, as her other now freed hand goes for her robes. Her arm is a blurr of martial prowess! The usually quite slow and steady elf is a blurr as suddenly she uses whatever strange, martial Guard technique she no doubt grifted off of some traveling monk.

"Repent for your evil ways, monster! Writhe as the power of the Goddess scours you of taint!"

What's this sparking, brilliant, radiating power in her hand that aims to cut down the beast? Why, the holy power of a black taser! Someone's been playing with ARMs recently. The thing even has an Althenian symbol plastered on it, as wave after wave of electricity follows every one of Amelia's Holy Shocks!

The barks from Silver, meanwhile, are very disquieting. Amelia doesn't like what she's just heard from Marivel's mouth or the sensations she's getting from her right now.

Secretly, Amelia prays whatever it is, is effective. No words this time from the elf, but the set of her jaw and point of her ears promises one very, very long talk after this hell is over.

GS: Amelia Rose has spent 2 Combo on Gatling, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Amelia Rose has attacked Sin with Sanctified Shock!
GS: Amelia Rose has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Amelia Rose's Sanctified Shock for 157 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.

Logeix turns, the millipede's head swiveling to look at Lanval. The creature may not understand... but it knows what danger Lanval presents to it. The Sinspawn opens its mouth, and then shoots out a large spike -- seeped in venom, and posing a considerable danger to the Water Seraph.

Then it turns, and shoots another spike from its mouth down for Claude as he lunges in. The arm curls in -- and it parries Claude's strike, flame washing up its side. It turns, then, towards Ambrosius -- and spits a third spike in his direction.

Then, it whirls -- in time for Xantia to send fire washing over the armored hide. The carapace burns, but Logeix spins -- and slashes down again with a sickle-claw to try to cut her open. A moment later, Ashton's icy cross smashes into its side. Ice shards dig in, and the creature screeches -- sending a spinning Sinscale hurtling for his back.

The millipede turns its head; its baleful eyes turn to look at Amaterasu, even as Valkyrja plunges into it. It spits another of those spikes at her. It whirls, then -- one blade swings up to parry Doombringer... and it rips through, the limb splitting away. It dissolves into so many pyreflies; however, it stabs another blade down for Zed as his strike bites into it.

Elvis slams a Sinscale into Logeix. The Sinspawn screeches -- and the Sinscale bursts apart into pyreflies against it.

Amelia then gives Logeix a taste of its partner's medicine. The lightning explodes outward, striking into the Sinspawn. It jolts over Logeix's body, and it shudders. Then, the head turns -- and it spits a massive spike for Amelia.

Eskah turns as Ivan cuts the very air... and flame billets the Sinspawn. Fire burns through some of its armor, pyreflies flying off it in waves. Water steams as it splashes up from the tide. Then, Ivan finds that everything around him grows slower; the same time magic used on his (temporary) allies as before begins to slow him down, as well, if only for a moment.

Margaret bolts past him. Eskah lacks the logic centers to question what she is doing; her spear comes down, slamming in below the petals, and then tears out with a spray of pyreflies that flutter away when the flesh rips free. For her trouble, the thing's body crackles with electricity -- and a pulse of it fires out from her. When Kamui fires her blast, it's tinged with water -- and it smashes the Sinspawn backward. The stalk rips from the ground. It rolls for a few times.

Then it comes upright. And, once again, time begins to slow for Kamui -- perhaps more disconcerting as her internal systems experience, for lack of a better term, lag.

Eskah turns to face Bera, as she charges. The three petals flare open; lightning crackles over them, and as her blade slashes in and cuts deep into the armored side, lightning explodes off Eskah's body and into Bera -- launching her back. Not a moment later, Brad's missile flies and explodes on the Sinspawn.

But the lightning blast on Bera leaps off her, and then towards Brad.

Leo sends twin bolts of energy into Eskah. The stalk-like Sinspawn sways -- and then looses another fork of lightning at Leo, then forking off again to hurtle for Skylr.

Which is when Marivel's Hound comes. The Sinspawn lacks the knowledge to understand this; it lacks the emotion to appreciate it. It screeches -- and it gets slammed into it, smashed backward. Then, a veritable beam of lightning explodes off. It slams into Jack, and throws him back, straight towards Marivel.

Pearl's charge comes in after. She lunges, leaps past, and rips away flesh -- and there is the satisfaction of a blow struck true, and yet the dissatisfaction of that flesh dissolving to those strange motes of light about her fingers. As she passes, lightning blasts out for her back.

Sin is no longer so distant. The great, whale-like creature has crested out of the water even more. It rises upward, and water and debris is beginning to lift into the air -- pulled into a maelstrom above it. The way it pulled things and people, screaming, into that very maelstrom at Azado and Kilika.

"VENA!" an Al Bhed screams, from the cliffside.

A massive series of crack-booms can be heard, as the smaller Al Bhed cannons begin to fire. Shells slam into the armored hide of Sin... and the explosions do not even breach it. Sin towers over the beach... and remains unscathed.

Luzzu looks up, midway through skewering another Sinscale, and stares for a moment. Then, he gathers his wits, and shouts: "KEEP FIGHTING! It's nearly in range of the main Al Bhed machina!"

GS: Sin has attacked Seraph Lanval with Logaix Blast!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Logaix Blast!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Ambrosius with Logaix Blast!
GS: Sin has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Ivan with Slow!
GS: Sin has attacked Margaret with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has attacked Kamui with Slow!
GS: Sin has attacked Xantia with Logeix Claw!
GS: Sin has attacked Bera with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Brad Evans with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Ashton Anchors with Sinscale Spinner!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Amaterasu with Logaix Blast!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Zed with Logeix Claw!
GS: Sin has attacked White Knight Leo with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has attacked Skylr Paer with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has spent 2 Combo on Headshot, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Sin has attacked Marivel Armitage with Eskah Lightning!
GS: Sin has attacked Pearl with Eskah Static!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Sin has attacked Amelia Rose with Logaix Blast!
GS: Sin has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Entangle expired!
GS: Sin has completed his action.
DC: 4 turns have elapsed in the battle against Sin! 1 turns remain!
GS: Kamui guards a hit from Sin's Slow for 0 hit points!
GS: Break and Slow! applied to Kamui!
GS: Brad Evans takes a solid hit from Skylr Paer's Light's Cleansing for 0 hit points!
GS:  Restore reduces negative status durations by 3 rounds each!
GS: Amaterasu takes a glancing hit from Sin's Logaix Blast for 60 hit points!
GS: Amaterasu has been weakened by Disease! Temporary hit points tick down 1 round!
GS: Disease! applied to Amaterasu!
GS: Margaret critically Guards a hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 20 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Margaret enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Sin assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Brad Evans guards a hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 68 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Ambrosius guards a hit from Sin's Logaix Blast for 79 hit points!
GS: Ambrosius has been weakened by Disease! Temporary hit points tick down 1 round!
GS: Disease! applied to Ambrosius!
GS: Sin's Avenger stance ends.
GS: CRITICAL! Ashton Anchors guards a hit from Sin's Sinscale Spinner for 101 hit points!
GS: Ashton Anchors enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Claude C. Kenny takes a glancing hit from Sin's Logaix Blast for 59 hit points!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has been weakened by Disease! Temporary hit points tick down 1 round!
GS: Disease! applied to Claude C. Kenny!
GS: Ivan takes a glancing hit from Sin's Slow for 0 hit points!
GS: Break and Slow! applied to Ivan!
GS: Bera takes a solid hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 107 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Sin assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Kamui has activated a Force Action!
GS: Marivel Armitage takes a solid hit from Sin's Eskah Lightning for 166 hit points!
GS:  Dispel reduces positive status durations by 3 rounds each!
GS: Disrupt! applied to Marivel Armitage!
GS: Amelia Rose takes a solid hit from Sin's Logaix Blast for 132 hit points!
GS: Amelia Rose has been weakened by Disease! Temporary hit points tick down 1 round!
GS: Disease! applied to Amelia Rose!
GS: Sin's Avenger stance ends.
GS: Zed completely evades a hit from Sin's Logeix Claw!
GS: Xantia takes a solid hit from Sin's Logeix Claw for 131 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Pearl takes a solid hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 146 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Sin assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: White Knight Leo guards a hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 52 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: White Knight Leo enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: CRITICAL! Seraph Lanval takes a glancing hit from Sin's Logaix Blast for 83 hit points!
GS: Seraph Lanval has been weakened by Disease! Temporary hit points tick down 1 round!
GS: Disease! applied to Seraph Lanval!
GS: Sin's Avenger stance ends.
<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

A Sinscale hurls through the air, going straight for Ashton. He doesn't slow down.
 
It hurts for sure - the swordsman doesn't even attempt to evade it. They have to strike the creature as hard as they can right now - Sin is too close. Too big a threat. Just the raw power it implies by existing is unnerving.
 
"You heard the Crusader! Just a little more and they can land the killing blow!"
 
So Ashton takes a long, deep breath as time seems to slow down. The fish-hook swords in his hand feel right - the weight is balanced where it needs to be.
 
A slight move to the left, letting Ashton duck under a flailing scythe-arm. The sand shifts under his foot. A heel digs in.
 
He's in under the thing's defenses. All the Double Dragon Duelist can see is coral-crusted underbelly.
 
Two swords flash - scissoring vertically, and then horizontally. A brutal, harsh cut... but not the main force. Just a deep slice to break apart the outer hide and open the way to the softer parts of the beast.
 
Suddenly, it's a storm of steel. Ashton casts away the more methodical strikes for an almost chaotic dance - swords swinging nearly every direction, seeking the point of attack. Not letting up for a moment. Just push and attack and attack and attack. Do or die time.
 
In the sand, surrounded by chaos and blood and battle - Ashton dances.

GS: Ashton Anchors has spent 1 Combo on Link, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Sin with Cross Slash!
GS: Ashton Anchors has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ashton Anchors has launched an attack Link!
GS: Seraph Lanval used Defend! He takes Sin's attack on Skylr Paer on himself!
GS: Seraph Lanval guards a hit from Sin's Eskah Static for 61 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Sin!
GS: Sin assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Ashton Anchors has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Ashton Anchors enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Sin with Sword Dance!
GS: Ashton Anchors has gained 1 Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

As Eskah launches its counterattack, Ivan suddenly feels a strange lag in his reflexes, and his limbs feel like they're moving through some thick syrup. As he slows down, the action around him seems to speed up, everything moving overwhelmingly fast as he struggles to keep up.

Ivan depends on his quickness of movement to stay alive, for the most part, so this is unnerving to say the least. He does what he often does when he feels cornered, and calls a pillar of flame around himself that flares outward to throw off anything that gets too close.

<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

It was the call that summoned forth the Sinscales...? Ambrosius frowns behind his helmet, considering this for a moment. It could be important information for later.

"I see...excellent observation." He comments.

He nods toward Elvis, then, in response to his thanks.

But he does not have much time to converse - the millipede turns its head toward him and launches out a large spike, with great speed and force.

He stumbles back a few steps as it crashes into his armor. As durable as it is, even it has its limits - a breach is noted, and he can feel some manner of venom seeping in.

"...It is venomous. Be warned." He says, then straightens up. Yet more casting occurs.

"Attacking now!" He states, for the benefit of his allies. This time, the water spins rapidly, the sheer pressure turning into a deadly blade capable of sheering through even steel. With a gesture of his hand it goes flying right toward Logeix.

GS: Ivan has attacked Sin with Burning Pillar!
GS: Ivan has completed his action.
GS: Ambrosius has spent 1 Combo on Gatling, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Ambrosius has attacked Sin with Aqua Cutter!
GS: Ambrosius has completed his action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Ashton Anchors's Cross Slash for 89 hit points!
GS: Ashton Anchors assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Ashton Anchors's Sword Dance for 166 hit points!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Ivan's Burning Pillar for 90 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

        Bera doesn't get a chance to examine the results of her strike she is suddenly electrocuted and knocked back. But it's not nearly enough to stop the blonde Samurai through the sparking electricity does cause the fancy lotus flower like braid on the left side of her head to unravel leaving her hair to bounce almost around shoulderblade length with only the ladder braid across the right side still in place.

        "What a pain." she grunts, and draws her katana which seems to absorb the remains of the lightning that struck her into it's own crackling storm of energy as she holds the blade up near her right shoulder, left hand still holding the sheath near the tip and then thrusts and twists lunging forward with the blade in a lethal stab right at the swaying body of Eskah. "Just lose your physical form already."

GS: Bera has activated a Force Action!
GS: Bera has attacked Sin with Lightning Strike!
GS: Bera has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Stagger expired!
GS: Bera has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        Kamui's eyes widen as she sees the fallen body of Jack. As Marivel cradles him as his body becomes absorbed into her Red Power. It has happened before. Somehow, this is not new for her. Battlefields erupt. People are consumed. And when people fall...

        People die. And Marivel consumes them.

        Gami...

        Kamui's eye flashes as time begins to slow for her, as some kind of magic erupts around her vicinity--

        >> Computational Lag: 53ms
        >> Computational Lag: 173ms
        >> Computational Lag: 658ms

        Her internal clock starts to twitch and get out of synch; there's a brief convulsion from the Reploid as she whispers, voice modulation broken as the internal timing that composes the illusion of her being human starts to disappear.

        "tttTTtttargetttttt -- Maverick accCCquireddDD"

        Her voice is currently a mixture of a young child and a cement mixer, but it doesn't stop parts of her body from unfurling as component parts that were formerly parts of her body start to split open. Into vents, into heatsinks, as she flies higher and higher and primes the Buster down towards the largest concentration of enemies possible.

        Wisps of light stream from the energy of the sun above; slowly, motes and motes of power inhale within each component of the open, breached X-Buster. The air flickers with the mirage of heat as the charge of the ancient ARM begins to literally boil the air around her.

        "cCCorrecting for coRRiolis deviaTTion... eRRRor margins confirmed.
         Multi-locKKKk energy pattern within BbBound...
         RerouTTTing sub-rRRRoutine power to ARM Part..."

        BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2t9jXfUM1rU

        "Spiral Crush Buster..."

        What escapes from the centre of the miniature sun, just for this extremely brief period, is nothing short of wanton destruction. Spiralling, bright pearlescent pink blasts of energy in a coalescing pattern that erupts outwards and once more bursts sand and soil underneath its wake; where it touches water, it evaporates in the sheer interstice of time.

        "... Retire the MMmaverick."

GS: Kamui has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Kamui has attacked Sin with Spiral Crush Buster!
GS: Kamui has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a glancing hit from Ambrosius's Aqua Cutter for 71 hit points!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Bera's Lightning Strike for 51 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Kamui's Spiral Crush Buster for 224 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.


Amelia has strode a few too many battlefield amongst her time in the Guard and during her own pious travels. She knows when one is going very poorly. Logeix is far tougher than she anticipated, and she pays for it dearly. The thing turns to her as it stubbornly survives, only to spits that putrid spike at her.

This close, there's simply no getting away. Amelia falls, curls up, protects her vital organs even as Silver helps tug her just out of the way. It ends up meaning rather than piercing through a lung, the priestess eats it in the gut. Not much of an improvement. She tries not to think of the colors her blood is currently turning as that toxin flows through her body or just how cold her midsection is starting to get.

Rather than giving in to the very wonderful thought of just laying here, she slowly and agonizingly pushes herself to her feet. Leaving the spike inside of herself lest she bleed to death, she coughs, and points to the sound of Logeix.

 "Silver! KILL!"

Silver, so often a very kind and gentle puppy even when his master isn't, lets out something more akin to a wolf's howl. Then he launches himself into the air, becoming a rolling ball of dog that seems to be all very, very, very sharp teeth as Silver attempts to tear into the depths of the Sinspawn.

GS: Amelia Rose has attacked Sin with Silver Bite!
GS: Amelia Rose has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Amelia Rose's Silver Bite for 89 hit points!
GS: Weaken! applied to Sin!
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        As Pearl goes past Eskah, reducing some of it to pyreflies, she is left vulnerable to it's response. Electricity arcs to the metal claws on her gloves and boots, causing the cloth attached to burst into flame. More worrying is the lightning that arcs to her metal fang, bursting against her face. She lands roughly and rolls across the sand and into the surf. That, at least, does for the fire. She pulls herself up slowly up from the water, and turns to look at the closing Sin.

        She can't help but notice that the cannons have so far done nothing. This is not reassuring.

        Despite the effect Eskah had on her the last time she attacked it, she charges again. This time, instead of a hit and run, Pearl rushes for the stalk. A series of almost feral slashes and kicks are unleashed upon the monstrosity. Once again, she seems more like a frenzied beast than a disciplined martial artist. A part of her feels this requires something more lethal. Something more powerful. Something darker.

        But that would mean revealing herself, and disobeying someone who, even here, could hold her life in his hands. So Pearl makes do with less.

GS: Pearl has spent 1 Combo on Gatling, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Pearl has attacked Sin with Overwhelming Assault!
GS: Pearl has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Pearl has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        "Perhaps ten, Sentinel, though I suspect a case could be made for Ambrosius being the true owner of several," Amaterasu comments, drawing back from the fray for a moment to reorient and regroup her assault. "Though I admit I have not been keeping an accurate count," she continues, moments before breaking from the failing Scales and veering for the now-beleagured millipede-like Spawn, joining the others striving against it. "A failing for today, I'm afraid."

        Her voice remains steady and calm.
        Her actions are nothing but unbridled violence in its purest form.

        Something -- some small, moving object -- catches her eye; she twists her body, narrowing the potential points of impact. A few spines clatter off of armor. But one catches in a join between armoring blades, and burrows in deep. Behind the mask, Amaterasu grimaces. The pain is nothing. But her veins are already burning. Venom, as Ambrosius determines.

        "...Enough," she declares, disengaging Logeix in the opening Elvis presents for her.

        One quick glance again takes the measure of Sin, one and one alone. Her attention hones in on the Sinspawn before her.

        "This ends! Ambrosius! Sentinel!"

        Ambrosius conjures a towering spire of water, perhaps the better to lock up their foe.

        She drives in quick, a simple one-two flurry of thrusts for the Sinspawn.
        It's a feint.

        Amaterasu draws back, gauntleted hands moving over an apeture close to the weapon's blade.

        "You have been judged," she informs the creature, for all that she might be understood by it.

        The light of Valkyrja's blade grows.
        It extends.

        And this blade of light is what she swings overhead and down in a terrible arc, all for Logeix alone.

GS: Amaterasu has attacked Sin with Res Judicata!
GS: Amaterasu has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Amaterasu has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

"She was trying to light my friends on FIRE!" responds Claude C. Kenny, not entirely unreasonably from his point of view. But the chatter has diverted his focus - or, more probably, the creature is tougher than he gave it credit for.

The boy from Earth tries to attack again, but the gathering of energy that presages the creature's assault is just barely enough warning. He throws himself to the side once more - but this time he's not quite quick enough. He rolls through the noxious blast, coughing as some sort of toxic substance burns at his eyes and face. To heck with this, he thinks, skipping backward...

...and bumping into Leo's back. Claude starts to turn, his sword coming up, but he spots the white getup (handy on a battlefield, when you think about it) and relents. He spits a thin line of acrid liquid out from his mouth and coughs wetly. "This sword's not big enough to get through that one," he says, ignoring the fact that Ashton seems to be having no problems whatsoever. Claude turns his back on Logaix, then steps up to line up beside the White Knight of Althena. "This one, though," he says as he looks Eskah over, "Might be more squishy."

Claude flips his (Ashton's) sword over to his left hand, held reversed, then pulls his right hand back. Chi flows into the young man's hand, flooding the area with cerulean light that sharpens and hardens into an aura of power; forged by his will into a wide, fang-filled maw. One that Leo will find... uncomfortably familiar.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has activated a Force Action!
GS: Sin guards a hit from Pearl's Overwhelming Assault for 99 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! applied to Sin!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Lanval looks the millipede's head dead-on, and there is an unspoken understanding that the feelings are mutual. They are a threat - they must be stopped and dealt with. The Lanval of the past would freeze up (...shy of reaching the temperature threshold to turn to ice, it's more figurative) and hide. The Lanval of now, for all his quirks and occasionally petty aims as regards drinking and lazing about, grasps what is asked of him as well as he can.
        A large, venomous spike is fired at him at blinding speed. It goes through him - and a most terrible venom courses through this metaphysical body of water. Lanval's eyes shut in debilitating pain as he staggers back onto his seat. What is missed is that it is nearly the gourd that gets speared, and it is held above him as though he were trying to protect some of the essence of the Water of Filgaia itself from whatever fell green venom now courses through him.
        His vision, what of it there is, wavers as the debilitating poison works its way through... and yet...
        He can hear Skylr calling for Althena, her prayer for the Goddess. The Goddess that declared Lanval a fallen servant to darkness. Exiled - no, worse. By Her decree, he had joined the likes of villains as vile as the Lord of Calamity.
        ...Light falls upon Lanval anyway, a cleansing, comforting light. Althena's Blessing, given to one who had dared to speak up against Her design that seemed to go at odds with his understanding of what the Seraphim were supposed to do to expand and maintain the Boundary.
        The light cleanses away his ails, as though a warm, gentle embrace. This isn't the first time, Lanval thinks, that those of Althena's Guard showed him some level of grace. This is the first time they've shown him some compassion despite Her word.
        Lanval turns towards the humble farmhand, and inwardly considers what it all might mean - does it make him question the path he walks now? Is it as though Althena is raising a hand as if to say, 'come back unto me, wayward child of mine?'
        ...
        Eskah, the other of the Sinspawn, starts to discharge electrical energy. Lightning is one of the elements that does not play nicely with Lanval's very being. It is headed Skylr's way--
        Lanval tumbles in its direction, not quite managing a proper defiant stand, and throws an arm up as a huge wave of water rises to try and catch and disperse the electrical energy. Water disintegrates as the electricity discharges and pierces it, and once more sees Lanval thrown onto his bum as he sits before Skylr. He sits hunched over, clasping the drinking gourd.
        He can't hear Schturdark, but it's not hard to imagine what might be said - that is but one mortal. Lanval is entrusted with something that is worth far more than just the life of one mortal. What he did is reckless. Dangerous. There is far more at stake than one mortal. One mortal who does not closely heed the Guardians' words, in favor of the traitor Althena.
        Althena is a traitor. Lanval understands this much, for he works for Filgaia now. And yet...
        Lanval works up a small smile as he looks back to Skylr, one eye open-half lidded. Skylr believes in him - he is a Seraph. Belief in the Seraphim...
        That is how they keep the Malevolence at bay, in Lunar. If the difference is one truly devout mortal willing to believe in the nature of the Seraphim, to keep whatever governing Lord (or Lady) of the Land to hold fast, to stop the Malevolence from building... to delay the creation of another Anomalous Orb, to stymie its ability to accumulate and absorb such so that one could be made into another bullet in which to slay a Guardian Lord...
        Even now, Lanval wouldn't want to take that faith away, if that faith - even in a small part - helps protect Filgaia by unwitting proxy.
        Lanval says little to Skylr as he tips the gourd, allowing another formation of a glimmering sphere of pure water. If she is willing to defend the Oracle of Schturdark even now... she can borrow a little power to help stand up against the Sinscales.
        The venom, though eased, has sapped his strength. The lightning blast, it has taken a little more.
        He looks to the encroaching Sin, remembering their previous encounter. It takes his everything to hold his gaze upon it as it draws nearer, as he entrusts the devout of the Traitor Althena to help fight off the Sinspawn already on them.

GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Skylr Paer with Lord Of The Lake!
GS: Seraph Lanval has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

 
Where is Jack? Where is Dolly? Well, we know where Jack went. Dolly is a topic for another day.

The rest of the Hounds of Hell, save one, fall back. Perhaps the loss of Jack did it. Perhaps they saw what Marivel did. At the moment they have far bigger issues. This one exception, of course, is

MARGARET, the BLACK PEARL of NEO-VANE,

who stares up at the statick-rippling creature. The bolts it laid against her, the charge, the crackle, they roll across her like water down a duck's ass. Her skin is singed in places, but not for nothing does Margaret resonate with the thunder.

Margaret raises her weapon upwards as she breathes out, wisps of air fading to near-visibility as she focuses her mind. A nebular glow forms round her feet, spreading outwards gradually. She breathes in deep, breathes out deeper, turns her eyes towards Eskah.

And how many more of these things are there? Margaret thinks.

Then she thinks of all of the people around them. Inside of the egotistical and vain mentality of Margaret, last name unknown, there is often a vainglory, a sense of being the star even when she is the supporting player. At times, this has its advantages. Margaret's auroral light billows outwards--

-- and now Margaret fills the field.

Not in a metaphorical sense that she has gained presence, nor that she grew. There is, with a shower of sparkles and a streak of violet darkness that glows like the distant galaxies in the night sky, now an entire company of duplicates of Margaret standing on the beach.

"Heh," Margaret says.
"Well said."
"So then,"
"Aye, to business."
"Come on, ladies."
"Last one in is a decoy,"

And they lunge! The shadows look damnably real, but among them there is only one Margaret. Beneath this illusionary cover she strikes, accelerated by terror and that grisly sense of dedication; and perhaps these blows still hold the grace of water. Fluid water. Water that can nurture. Water that can break down even a mountain!

GS: Margaret has activated a Force Action!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Amaterasu's Res Judicata for 244 hit points!
GS: Margaret has attacked Sin with Seventy Seven Sisters!
GS: Margaret has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        A soft, healing light washes across Leo, and the burning in his lungs fades to a dull, painful ache. He's going to be feeling that one in the morning, but Skylr's timely intervention kept things from getting worse. As, apparently, has the strange blue glow around Leo's blade. It smells like the sea, like a cool rain, like a mountain spring, like acrid chemicals--

        Leo realizes, a moment later, that this is a Seraph's blessing. This is Lanval's blessing. Leo isn't sure how to feel about it. Sin, despite the terrible, inexorable doom it represents, is respite from it.

        "Just a few minutes more!" Leo shouts, his voice carrying through the din. "DON'T LET UP! ALTHENA WILLS IT!" Some of the soldiers return Leo's rallying cry. Fewer do now than at the beginning.

        Leo backpedals, putting one foot behind the other as he retreats, closer to the cannons. Is he trying to lure Sin, or to escape the maelstrom forming ahead? This will be different, Leo reminds himself. Tendrils of electricity arc across the battlefield as Eskah resumes its attack. Leo sweeps his blade up, catches the lightning in mid-blast, and grimaces as bolts of it crawl across his ungloved hand, and down his arm. Don't let up, he reminds himself. Remember what Heldalf would do--what he'd want you to do!

        Then Claude bumps right into him and ruins the moment. "Do you mind," Leo snarls. His voice is less "commanding roar" and more "raspy hiss". It's probably the poison. "Yes. That's exactly--" Cough, hack. "What we should..." Leo stops talking, and takes a deep breath to try and head off the coughing fit. He begins to focus. The air around White Knight Leo goes very still, as if the man were the eye of a hurricane. An aura of chi ignites, red-gold and brilliant. It flows down Leo's wounded arm, propelled by breath from burned lungs. It condenses on the edge of his blade.

        Leo takes three steps forwards and strikes with all his might, his blade tearing through empty air. Chi boils off of it, surging forwards in a cloud that quickly forms a familiar shape: the head of a roaring lion. It races towards Eskah, and detonates with a brilliant bloom--and a shockwave of cataclysmic force, whatever it hits. Sinscales go flying, as do small rocks, and other objects that aren't weighted down.

GS: White Knight Leo has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Sin with Lion's Howl!
GS: White Knight Leo has gained 1 Combo!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude scowls, then throws a dragon after the lion. He makes it breathe fire, just because he can.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has spent 2 Combo on Gatling, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Sin with Dragon's Howl!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Margaret's Seventy Seven Sisters for 170 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Just a little more, they said. Just a little more and this will all be over, for better or for worse.

Part of him doesn't want it to end. But another part knows that if this drags on for too long-- well, it won't be pretty. That thing's a floating army, navy and air force all wrapped up in one terrifying bioweapon. It's no good for anyone or anything-- and neither are its offspring.

Logeix's claw comes away in a spray of unspeakable fluids and vanishing pyreflies, but it's not quite done. Another chitinous blade swings down, aiming to finish the work of the first--

And is instead caught in a glacial prison with a terrible, grinding crunch of ice. Doombringer tears upwards, pinning the claw between oversized spikes of sky-blue frost. With a grin, Zed twists his sword to one side, shoving the sinspawn's blow aside and burying the glacial blade into a pool of rapidly freezing surf. Is he aiming to just... lock it down?

No!

Zed tears his own sword free. Doombringer blazes erratically, still carrying the Oracle's blessing even as it seems to war with a haze of bizarre colors that hurt to look at for too long. "Well, one way or another--" Zed decides, "You... Are an opponent worth fighting, giant bug-thing. You and your master both. But that armor won't protect you...!"

"Here I go!" Zed charges, surging forward at incredible speed! He slices once. He slices twice! A third time! A fourth! Each strike carves an unmistakable glyph into the air, writ in impossible light. An undeniable letter seemingly carved into space itself! A sign that we can all believe in...!

                                   -=Z=-

"Piled Driver, final maneuver...!" Zed turns his back to the oversized centipede and clenches a fist firmly to the sky, "Let's hee how that armor holds up... Against this exploding implosion...!"

GS: Zed has activated a Force Action!
GS: Zed has spent 1 Combo on Gatling, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Zed has attacked Sin with Split Ladle Sakura Supernova!
GS: Zed has completed his action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from White Knight Leo's Lion's Howl for 215 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Claude C. Kenny's Dragon's Howl for 153 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Claude C. Kenny!
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia's eyes grow wide when she sees it - Sin, now much closer, getting bombarded by cannonfire. Even if it doesn't seem particularly effective just yet, she knows that this is just the beginning. Just a little more, and this'll all be over.

Unfortunately, she watches this for a little bit too long. The millipede-like Sinspawn takes advantage of her distraction, slashing a sickle-like claw down towards her. She notices this too late for her attempt at dodging to succeed, the tip of the creature's blade managing to puncture through her bare, unarmored left arm just beneath the shoulderpad.

Crying out in pain, Xantia quickly backs away, grasping for the bleeding wound. And yet, the only concern she voices about this is, "W-watch it, you... almost damaged my armor." Apparently a hole in her armor would have been a bigger problem to her than a hole in her arm. People who tend to heal quickly can have strange priorities at times.

Still, with a wound like that, it would be a problem for this battle to go on much longer. She'd better finish this quickly. With that on her mind, she leaves her left arm hanging limply at her side, while gathering power in her right. She extends her palm upward, emitting a red light that rapidly increases in brightness and intensity.

Until finally, she thrusts it forward, a torrent of flames bursting forth. Two distinct streams circle one another briefly until merging into one, forming into the shape of a fiery spear. Recalling her hero training's emphasis on calling out attack names, she comes up with one on the spot.

"Pierce through! Inferno Lance!!"

GS: Xantia has activated a Force Action!
GS: Xantia has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Xantia has attacked Sin with Inferno Lance!
GS: Riposte expired!
GS: Xantia has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Zed's Split Ladle Sakura Supernova for 175 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Xantia's Inferno Lance for 151 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

The Z then explodes-- because of course it does-- into a terrible cataclysm of pink and green light.

Because Zed has no appreciation for color coordination.

How would he even know what he unleashed into the world, anyway? He's looking away from the explosion! Everyone knows cool guys always look away from explosions!!

<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

Through the air with the grace of a.... well, it is more graceful than a brick, perhaps jsut due to the sheer force behind Elvis' momentum. That spiny SInscale gets lodged into the large sinister creature, before the former explodes into colorful motes, and the latter screeches in pain. A kickoff and flip midair, and he is back on the ground near his allies.

"Hahah! Having too many defeated to keep count is an accomplishment to boast of, if you ask me!" A little of the young warrior he used to be decades and decades ago shines through in these moments.

"Each one defeated, I feel I understand them better for my research. All the more reason to keep felling them, if I do say so myself!"

Pop pop, go two more scales. Still, far too many to count. Out of the ground, the waves, the air they come. Relentless, inexorable.

AMaterasu makes the call. "Right!" he replies as they both move in to cut. A quick calculation, measurement of the wind. For his mind takes but a moment or two.

Ambrosius and Amaterasu make their move. "Good work!" he compliments, as the close in. He takes to the air again with a mightly leap.

An aqua blade hits, and the peak of his jump is reached. A hand is charged with power.

A blade of light strikes downward. Elvis begins to descend.

He fells and an improbably guessed angle. Along the same plane the blade came down, its light shining bright. Bright enough along that strip to concel him from sign until he gets close enough To throw a devastating punch.

Either Logeix or the ground will shatter. Perhaps both...!

GS: Elvis has activated a Force Action!
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel Armitage doesn't comment to Amelia past this point. She looks at her with animalistic eyes before the hand is shocked by Sin and it disintegrates back into Marivel. The electricity even lashes out around her and pops that blood red bubble of water, sending the fluid splooshing to the ground. The Lanval assist was lovely while it lasted.

She can't talk in this form--largely because of the spear in her mouth, but even as it dissipitates from the electrical blast, she throws herself backwards and lands near Kamui.

The wolf--the Hound of Hell, we'll call it--pushes its side into Kamui.

This isn't the time to try and encourage someone's mental well being. This isn't the place for a cooldown hug scenario. There is no time to really embrace Kamui and reassure her that she can rest. She can rest whenever she likes, and fight whenever she likes. But Marivel does not do these things, because Marivel has never had the kind of rest that Kamui seeks. That Kamui has had before she was woken once more.

But part of her chose to wake, did it not? Part of her chose to fight, did it not? Is that the part of her that is in control?

In the end, it does not matter how hard Kamui has fought, how eternal her war, how distant the peace may be...

...because to live is to fight. There are many ways to fight. Not all require the Buster. But to live is to fight. Filgaia has lived for millenia and rarely has peace ever lasted long.

But Kamui need not face it alone. If anyone can understand death and loss, it is Marivel.

The wolf turns and crouches ofr a moment before scooping Kamui up and placing her on the hound of hell's back.

She has no words like this, but she is not alone at least.

And so the Crimson Noble in this form charges once more for the creature. It need not see the cannons to know that time is nearly up. If they can hold on, victory may be theirs.

Or it may all be for naught. Either way, they would have tried to shift the course of destiny on their backs.

It does not matter if they win or lose. That in of itself is a victory.

Always.

GS: Elvis has spent 2 Combo on Gatling, including 2 on Gatling!
GS: Elvis has attacked Sin with Locus Upper!
GS: Elvis has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel Armitage doesn't comment to Amelia past this point. She looks at her with animalistic eyes before the hand is shocked by Sin and it disintegrates back into Marivel. The electricity even lashes out around her and pops that blood red bubble of water, sending the fluid splooshing to the ground. The Lanval assist was lovely while it lasted.

She can't talk in this form--largely because of the spear in her mouth, but even as it dissipitates from the electrical blast, she throws herself backwards and lands near Kamui.

The wolf--the Hound of Hell, we'll call it--pushes its side into Kamui.

This isn't the time to try and encourage someone's mental well being. This isn't the place for a cooldown hug scenario. There is no time to really embrace Kamui and reassure her that she can rest. She can rest whenever she likes, and fight whenever she likes. But Marivel does not do these things, because Marivel has never had the kind of rest that Kamui seeks. That Kamui has had before she was woken once more.

But part of her chose to wake, did it not? Part of her chose to fight, did it not? Is that the part of her that is in control?

In the end, it does not matter how hard Kamui has fought, how eternal her war, how distant the peace may be...

...because to live is to fight. There are many ways to fight. Not all require the Buster. But to live is to fight. Filgaia has lived for millenia and rarely has peace ever lasted long.

But Kamui need not face it alone. If anyone can understand death and loss, it is Marivel.

The wolf turns and crouches ofr a moment before scooping Kamui up and placing her on the hound of hell's back.

She has no words like this, but she is not alone at least.

And so the Crimson Noble in this form charges once more for the creature. It need not see the cannons to know that time is nearly up. If they can hold on, victory may be theirs.

Or it may all be for naught. Either way, they would have tried to shift the course of destiny on their backs.

It does not matter if they win or lose. That in of itself is a victory.

Always.

The wolf opens its maw wide and black streams of energy erupt out of its throat and crash for the Sinspawn. It feels so much like that day, but Marivel remains in the present.

GS: Marivel Armitage has spent 1 Combo on Headshot!
GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Sin with Erg Phasor!
GS: Marivel Armitage has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Elvis's Locus Upper for 211 hit points!
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Marivel Armitage's Erg Phasor for 183 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

The Light of Althena washes away the poison; Brad sucks in cleaner air, wheezing for breath.

Then he screams, as a lightning blast bounces to him. It runs riot in his skeleton; the gun he's holding puffs away like a clump of sugar disintegrating, scattering to motes of light that disappear.

He slumps to his knees, panting, eyes casting out across the waves of sinspawn. "Defense," he reminds himself. "Hold the line." He forces himself up, remembering men in blue uniforms dashing through gunshots as he checks the resesrve on his ARM again and finds it full. He nods, then grips the side and YANKS, tugging the thing open. It slides open a shade, revealing a slot like a tape deck. From this he yanks out a solid mass the size of a dinner plate, a handle on one side facilitating the pull. This he tosses into his waiting bag, squats down, and grabs another.

"Did Marivel just eat that guy's soul," he asks himself, and then decides it's probably a question he shouldn't worry about and slots the new mass in place. He thumps the ARM closed and it starts to whine as it loads the new blueprint. Brad takes that time to look up and spot that Kamui's not doing so hot, either. "I'm gonna be welding that girl a whole new barrel, aren't I," he mutters, and then....DING.

ARM's done.

He stands, light blasting out from his ARM, coalescing particles gathering around each other. "GET DOWN!!!" Brad screams, as like orbiting worlds, the mass of motes gathers into two forms, one over each shoulder...and then both drop down in the form of clean, plastic-looking white boxes, with a hatch at one end plastered over with warning icons.

The hatches drop open to reveal several barrels each full of missiles. The sides of the boxes gleam in the sun: ANTI-MONSTER MISSILE LAUNCHER

They fire with clean, quiet FSS FSS FSS FSS FSS FSS FSS FSS, soaring into the air, whistling and whirling as they skitter across the sky....

And land amid the sinspawn in a carpet of fire. Low armor penetration; maximum yield. That's what you want for monsters.

GS: Brad Evans has activated a Force Action!
GS: Brad Evans has attacked Sin with AM Cluster!
GS: Brad Evans has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brad Evans has completed his action.
GS: Sin guards a hit from Brad Evans's AM Cluster for 236 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

         There's too many things and too many people to keep track of. Skylr is trying to keep her eyes on all of the Guards she knows are about, b ut unfortunately she doesn't have about the ninety pairs of eyes she needs for it.
 
 However, her gaze is on Leo, and the lightning that goes at him and --
 
 Skylr throws her arms in front of her face, suppressing a shriek. Yet, no tingle comes - no feel of burning, no feel of anything - which is telling, in and of itself. Skylr puts her arms down, blinking a bit. She tilts her head towards him, absorbing the look of the Seraph. She remembers their lone conversation that they've had before; she remembers him.
 
 "... Lanval." She breathes him name, even as she reaches out to offer him a hand up from where he sits on the ground. "Together." She tells him. She looks at the crowd around them. "We're all stronger when we're together. Even if we don't win today... even with all our differences..."
 
 "We're together." The blue washes over her, a warm energy. Of Azado's port - the water boiling in the heat. Of the water in the trough. Of the fresh well water. She inhales, setting an arrow to her bow, before she fires.

GS: Skylr Paer takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Lord Of The Lake for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify, Burst, and Surge! applied to Skylr Paer!
GS: Skylr Paer has attacked Sin with Trick Shot!
GS: Skylr Paer takes 22 damage from Poison!
GS: Skylr Paer has completed her action.
GS: Sin takes a solid hit from Skylr Paer's Trick Shot for 63 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.

"Don't lose hope!" Luzzu shouts.

Ashton slashes into Logeix twice. His first strike rips through the outer hide -- and then he slashes into the second. The creature lists forward. When it does, Ivan's fire ring blasts into it. Logeix is knocked backward by that; it hisses and then shrieks as Ambrosius's water blade cuts through it.

Silver slams it to one side, turning the millipede about. And then Amaterasu comes down, and her blade of light shears two of the blade arms away in a moment. Logeix steps back--

And then the combined Dragon's Howl and Lion's Howl smash into it. Sinscales fly away from bove, and the larger Sinspawn is smashed to the ground. This lets Zed and Xantia both descend, and stab down into it. Elvis smashes down a moment later; the earth smashes apart -- and then Logeix, exploding into so many pyreflies.

Eskah is cute into by Bera's lightning blade, though being struck with its chosen element seems to do little... but the edge of the katana does plenty.

But then the X-Buster fires. The immense beam slams into the left side of Eskah -- and it burns a hole clean through that part of the stalk. Pearl strikes the monster, slashing into it; she tears away more, and more comes away as pyreflies. Margaret and her shadows leap, and the Sinspawn is listing side to side, pieces shredded away by her blows. The thing rises -- and in time for Marivel to slam into it. The wolf's maw is open, black energy issuing off, and it burns through the Sinspawn. Eskah begins to tear back--

--and then missiles begin to explode around it. Brad's payload tears away two of the petals, which burst into pyreflies. It leans forward, screeching again: "NNNNREEEEE!"

Skylr's water-blessed arrow hits it in the face. Its screech is cut short, as its head saps backward -- and it bursts to pyreflies, and the arrow drops down into the surf.

Pyreflies rise from the fallen Sinspawn Eskah, Logeix, and Ilaum. Luzzu looks up, blood running down his cheek from a cut on his face. Sin is close now; he watches as Sin comes closer, and spits into the water. His eyes are wide as he looks up at it -- and then sees a massive fireball drop down from the heavens. Ghaleon's voice shouts out from the cliffside:

"INFERNO!"

A blackened, burnt portion of Sin's face is left in its wake. Up on the cliff side, Ghaleon lowers his hand, and a few sparks of flame dance off it. "Well, well... it seems you are quite tough."

Ghaleon hears the shouting of the Al Bhed behind him. The huge cannon trembles; lightning crackles, and sparks fly, along the long, corkscrew-like protrusion of the machina. He grits his teeth, and then he looks back at Sin.

He holds another hand out, and another magical circle flashes out.

Which is when Sin's mouth opens. A low, rumbling screech comes from the creature, and a bead of shimmering black, then grey, then white, and then black again light begins to form within its mouth. Luzzu takes a nervous step backward.

"Fire it!" he screams up at the cliffside. "FIRE IT NOW!"

His voice is lost in the wind -- and the low, growing rumble of Sin's fury.

DC: 5 turns have elapsed in the battle against Sin! No turns remain! Time has expired! The battle is over!
<Pose Tracker> Black Wizard Borgan has posed.

"BEWARE!" Borgan's booming voice carries across the battlefield - it's good for that. "Sin moves! Power the shield, now! Everything you have!"

Borgan slams the butt of his staff against the ground, causing a rumbling echo that carries - and a pillar of light lancing up from each of the circles toward the shield, touching it with a stream of energy and rebuilding it. It's all he can do to control it.

But he does. The energy reaches to the shield, spreading across it in a hundred thousand tiny threads, lacing *through* the original barrier and rebuilding it. The shield firms up, becoming part of a dome, a curved barrier in the sky with runes crawling across its edges, white shading to the violet of gravity around the edges in an attempt to match the dark light of Sin's power.

And all he can see is that it's not enough. Borgan draws on his reserves, the great source of power he carries as a gift from Althena, and he finds it - for the first time - lacking. This is an enemy he can not simply overpower, and even his great construction of the shield with the assistance of the mages of Neo-Vane is not enough. Not as it is now.

"To the center!" Borgan's voice is tight with effort. The shield contracts slightly, becoming even firmer, more solid-looking - and again, as he bundles it in tighter. "I cannot hold the edges! Move to the center! But if you step on a single line of the circle I will have your head, *if you still have one*!"

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        The machine seems to have all but powered down by the time the Hound of-- of--

        ... Kamui is going to call it a Heck Hound later.

        The Hound of Heck nuzzles its cheek to Kamui's side, and the powered-down Reploid slumps as she gazes; Brad opens loose with a fury of missiles that honestly might trigger some other kind of past memory if she weren't already so shut down. So many Drifters, so many heroes... as Marivel dive-bombs in the form of a powerful wolf with a spear that draws to her side.

        It's just like ages past. With the wolf...

        "Lu...ce..."

        ...

        Then that memory, too, is gone.

        ".... ddIId I make a mIIstake... waking up..." she quietly asks Marivel. She doesn't instinctively understand it to be Marivel, but subconsciously, the suffering circuit seems to.

        She quietly clings onto Marivel's back and lets her take her where she needs to be, eye closed. But the camera remains open, because that camera cannot shutter.

        "GamIII...."

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

Ilaum goes down, but Strahl Gewehr still feels hot in Clarissa's hands for reasons entirely unrelated to the shining power Eleanor called forth. The gun almost seems to vibrate in her grip - and she glances down at it quickly. "Strahl Gewehr is...."

A shadow falls over them. Looking up slowly, Clarissa widens her eyes at the sight of the vast creature stirring. She didn't get a good look at Sin before now.

The ARM in her hands feels even hotter now. She swallows hard as she begins to lift it. Pyreflies dance around her as Ilaum dissolves. As Borgan begins to shout, Clarissa begins to move --

"Felius," she gasps all of a sudden, glancing rapidly around the battlefield. "Felius, where are--"

"Clarissa," a voice comes. With a ripple of black cloth, Felius drops down by her side. Blood runs down one side of his face and drips from his glaive.

"Felius, you're hurt," Clarissa breathes.

"No time," he says with a stern shake of his head. "We need to form up on the Black Wizard."

Clarissa nods. "Right."

And then she immediately stops. "Go on without me. We can't leave Gwen behind!"

"Clarissa," Felius begins, but the blonde girl is already off. Slinging her vibrating arm, Clarissa dashes in the opposite direction she was told to. Jumping over ruts in the sand, she dashes towards the spot where Gwen Whitlock had been, just moments ago wound up in the constricting mass of the horror Ilaum. "Gwen!" Clarissa calls out. "Gwen, are you alright? Gwen!!"

In little time at all, Clarissa's reached the super courier, kneeling quickly to check up on the other woman. There's concern in her eyes - worry, but not fear, all underlaid with a spark of intent. She doesn't even glance up at Sin as she moves to try and assess Gwen as quickly as she can. "Gwen, please just hold on to me, okay," she urges as she coaxes the woman along.

Above, Sin looms. Everyone is running back to the shield.

One of the very last to make it there is Clarissa Arwin. She's running as fast as her legs and strength will carry her, breathing heavily.

Clarissa is not running alone: She has Gwen Whitlock draped over her back like a backpack, carrying the courier into the cover of Borgan's shield.

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude C. Kenny noticed Leo's lion was bigger than his dragon. He's a little miffed by this.

The sensation of irritation vanishes, however, when his tricorder begins beeping an alarm; the contact-lens HUD in his eye reads energy levels and then... stops being able to do that. The boy from Earth blanches and, for a second, is certain he's dead.

And then a giant wizard steps in.

"Yes yes good idea GOOD IDEA!" he shouts, because even a forlorn hope is better than none at all. He grabs a downed Crusader by the belt, not sure if the man is even alive or not, but not willing to leave him as he scrambles behind the... well. Hard cover.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Skylr extends that hand in companionship to Lanval. The Seraph Lanval is stated to be an enemy to the very Goddess that Skylr prays to, though she can see now that he possesses none of the corrupting darkness that the doctrine describes of him to have been corrupted by. Just... the scent of booze. Boy, is it strong. (This may or may not count.)
        As Skylr lets loose the decisive arrow of water that disintegrates Eskah, Lanval works up a smile and a laugh. In truth, he is careful about how and when mortals that can touch him, do. There are reasons why the Seraphim and mortals tend to live detached, if ultimately parallel, existences to one another, but in that moment he can see there is no discord in Skylr's beliefs and intents - the hand up is allowed, taken in earnest.
        Sin arrives - and Lanval's laughter abruptly stops before a power that does not inspire any joy or laughter. The Clysmian once again reaffirms why Lanval still holds some level of intristic discomfort with the pyrefly clumps that are, in their inert state, completely and utterly harmless to him. It reaffirms why the Guardians quake and wail in fear of it - Obsession - still being.
        "...'m gonna need yer help," a less lordly Lanval says to Skylr, his strength expended, voice slurring again, eyes closing. "Need ya jusht ta take me bck there... 'n... don't worry." He puts on a stupid smile.
        "'m eashy ta carry~" How on Lunar is Skylr going to help 'carry' Lanval? His manifestation is that of an obese bearded fellow, the perception of what mass he might have would discount her ability to lift him. Her own number might turn on Skylr for aiding and abetting an 'agent of dark powers'--
        He disappears in a ball of aquamarine light, reforming inside a... bottle? Oh! His vessel. He's a Seraph, they tend to dwell within things - Vessels - as something of both a body and a home.
        Skylr can carry that discreetly back behind Borgan without anyone questioning.
        "Don't worry," Lanval says from within the bottle, "already drank all the booze... ain't gonna get ya in trouble over it..."
        It's up to her to take his Vessel behind the contracting shield!

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

The beast falls. Ashton drops to a knee, catching his breath for a moment.
 
Maybe luck really IS on their side today.
 
Oh, wait, no. They're all about to die.
 
It doesn't take much to hear Borgan shouting. You kind of have to pay attention to something like that from someone like him. Particularly when something like Sin is very obviously winding up.
 
Leaning down, Ashton grabs hold of one of the fallen Crusaders and scoops the man up. Every life - even an NPC's - is worth saving. But Ashton doesn't immediately run for cover.
 
Instead he looks towards Zed.
 
You don't leave your battle buddy behind.

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.


Amelia can feel the toxin swimming around in her veins. Her sense of hearing, touch, it's all making it extremely hard for the elfess to keep herself upright. Whatever prayers of healing she has? She's giving those to the wounded that she passes or in strikes from remaining sinspawn that draw too close.

The fire of Ghaleon's Inferno singes Sin, and the heat of it reflecting back on the battlefield helps wake her up. As Silver lands, he's tugging his struggling charge even as the elfess tries to finally bring a cleansing boon to her own now quite addled mind.

"...Goddess preserve us all, this is no place to die!" Chastizes the elf of herself, praying that Marivel will make it out, that Lord Leo will be fine, that the Guard will survive and the Goddess will rip that beast Sin's face off. She staggers towards the barrier, but...

At this pace, she'll be too slow. Her best litanies are failing her, so scrambled are her insides and how acheing her gut from that sinspawn lance inside of her.

"Silver, leave me!" The dog refuses, even as she heals some of the retreating Guard members and their allies recklessly.

<Pose Tracker> Lemina Ausa has posed.

Lemina sees Sin start to stir, and *immediately* decides to take cover. They didn't fight this hard, for this long, for a place to take cover, to promptly squander that cover getting owned by a big whale. She's not terribly fast, and in fact stumbles twice en route to the shield. It's not as far for her as it is for a lot of other people, though, so she manages the scramble very quickly.

She ends up squarely on the ground as she does so, though; shedoesn't move once she's sure she's on the right side of the shield, though, in spite of being in a bit of a wipeout position. Right now, it's *much* more important that she, well -- doesn't die.

<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

        The crackling blade is pulled back and resheathed in a single smooth motion then slide into it's loop at Bera's hip as the mass of pyreflies begins to rise. "Fina-" and her head snaps to the side at the display of magical power is used on Sin. "Yevon preserve..." she mutters watching in shock. But Sin seems unbothered, and then it opens its mouth. "Oh no..."

        "Luzzu! RUN! It's too late!" she yells at the Crusader nearby, as she turns towards the appearently only safe spot. "All of you, run!" she screams at the other nearby Crusaders even as she lunges first towards Luzzu, shoving him in the direction they need to go before grabbing one of the wounded Crusaders over a shoulder and takes flight across the sand muttering curses under her breath the entire way. She only stops her muttering to yell at Crusaders staring at their death instead of running towards their survival, but she doesn't stop moving herself.

        Bera reaches what is hopefully safety in the shield of the Guard's mages and collaspes, dropping to the beach and dropping the wounded Crusader in the process. She's out of breath, eyes closed as she tries to center herself and catch her breath. Her current state, she barely registers whose around her, or how many if any hearded and followed what she said to do on the way.

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia breathes a sigh of relief once the most major threats in the area are gone. Though this is hardly the end, this was only the setup. It's going to be hard to keep fighting with only one fully cooperative arm, though. Not that that's going to stop her from fighting anyway.

Or it wouldn't have, if the call to get behind the shield hadn't gone out at that moment. For once in her life, Xantia is glad to be told she should be doing something other than fighting, and happy to heed that instruction without protest. And without any sort of fanfare at all, she just bolts.

<Pose Tracker> Ambrosius has posed.

"It was merely support. I would not dream of taking credit for your actions." Ambrosius comments with a calm chuckle. He hasn't exactly been keeping count, either - that's never been his thing.

Together, the three Veruni unleash a devastating combination - that along with the other attacks hammering into the Sinspawn are enough to cause it to erupt into pyreflies.

"One enemy eliminated. One remaining." He states...but soon enough, the other goes down as well.

But with their demise comes Sin, to bring retribution. Ambrosius's helmet flashes warning signs as it detects the immense swelling of power.

Suddenly, he hears the sound of something dropping behind him - a woman in silver armor and blue clothing.

"I compute a less than one percent chance of survival in our current location. I will facilitate your retreat." Her voice is emotionless and mechanical...which is fitting. She is, after all, a mechanical soldier. And this very possibility is the reason why she was left out of the fight.

"Amaterasu, Sentinel - this battle is lost. We must retreat." Ambrosius urges. He turns to the mechanical woman - the Scutum unit, Minerva - who gestures in the direction of safety. A path of ice begins to form, though it spares any of the intricate sorcerous markings necessary to maintain the barrier.

Rather than causing one to slip and slide, it carries one with speed to safety in the indicated direction - those who may need a little more speed may find it to be a life-saver.

Ambrosius and Minerva depart down the path of ice, though Ambrosius hopes that Elvis and Amaterasu will be right behind them.

They are resourceful, however. Even if they aren't there with him, he is confident that they will make their way to safety in their own way.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel is pretty full up on blood and soul right now. There's always room for more but you are what you eat and Marivel prefers to watch her diet.

The wolf trots behind the shield with Kamui before suddenly the wolf is not there anymore, and it is just Marivel's own form supporting Kamui's body. She did not restore most of her outfit with her change back to a 'human' form, but her cape is there as is a swirling shadow that obscures most of her form. It is that, gradually, that transforms into the cute outfit you all know and love, but it takes time. It is day, after all, and she fought with more of her strength than she usually does during such times. Sin demanded it.

"Ultimately it is your thoughts that matter," Marivel says. "But I do not believe so. Nothing you have ever done was a mistake in my eyes because you are my dearest precious---"

She trails off. "...If anyone has made error, it is I. For I am the behind the scenes master of all--and if all is insufficient, then it is my duty to make it so."

She wouldn't exactly leave Amelia to die but once she sees she is being taken care of, she relaxes, hugging Kamui with one arm.

...While secretly preparing a Teleport out of here in case Borgan's shield proves insufficient. The timing will be split second but this would not be the first time she waits behind a shield.

She looks towards Borgan there. Luckily he is a sobering enough sight that she does not think of her parents in this moment so keenly, but she does say, "Let your shield falter and there will be naught left of thee." It is unclear if she means from Sin's attack or by what she intends to do to him, but it may come across as a sort of dark-spirited move for encouragement.

She can't check on everyone but it she refuses to consider the possibility any will fall before the time of promise.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Steam wafts up from the edge of Leo's blade as he surveys his handiwork. There is precious little time to appreciate it. "You heard the Black Wizard!" Leo roars. The Guard starts to fall back, but it's clear they've taken losses--some soldiers are limping, or staggering, or being carried by their comrades. Some of them lie in the surf, dead or dying. Leo sees someone towards the rear of the formation--Ivan. He sets his jaw, sheathes his blade, and runs for the assassin, his boots pounding through the surf. That's all the warning Ivan gets. The moment the White Knight gets within range, he hoists his subordinate off his feet. "Hold on!" he commands, finagling Ivan onto his back--Ivan can wrap his arms around Leo's neck, and hold on that way. Barking alerts Leo to more allies in trouble: Priestess Amelia, still ministering to the wounded. "Priestess!" There's no time. Still carrying Ivan, Leo stumbles through the surf, and wraps both arms around Amelia's waist before she can argue. He turns and runs for the shield, his breath coming in short, ragged gasps. The Sinspawn's toxic breath might yet spell the end of him, in a different way.

        For a few moments, Leo wonders if the White Dragon's might could stop this beast. If anything could.

        Leo stops, abruptly, and sags into a crouch. "Both of you," he grunts, "hold on." The White Knight presses both hands to the earth, summoning up every last scrap of strength he has. A deep rumbling echoes down the beach--

        And then the earth buckles and heaves itself upwards, surging towards the magic circle like a cresting wave. It carries Leo, Ivan, Amelia, and the nearby wounded, rolling across the ground until it reaches the very edge of Borgan's circle... and stops.

        The survivors, Leo included, scramble to safety.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Steam wafts up from the edge of Leo's blade as he surveys his handiwork. There is precious little time to appreciate it. "You heard the Black Wizard!" Leo roars. The Guard starts to fall back, but it's clear they've taken losses--some soldiers are limping, or staggering, or being carried by their comrades. Some of them lie in the surf, dead or dying. Leo sees someone towards the rear of the formation--Ivan. He sets his jaw, sheathes his blade, and runs for the assassin, his boots pounding through the surf. That's all the warning Ivan gets. The moment the White Knight gets within range, he hoists his subordinate off his feet. "Hold on!" he commands, finagling Ivan onto his back--Ivan can wrap his arms around Leo's neck, and hold on that way.

        Barking alerts Leo to more allies in trouble: Priestess Amelia, still ministering to the wounded. "Priestess!" There's no time. Still carrying Ivan, Leo stumbles through the surf, and wraps both arms around Amelia's waist before she can argue. He turns and runs for the shield, his breath coming in short, ragged gasps. The Sinspawn's toxic breath might yet spell the end of him, in a different way.

        For a few moments, Leo wonders if the White Dragon's might could stop this beast. If anything could.

        Leo stops, abruptly, and sags into a crouch. "Both of you," he grunts, "hold on." The White Knight presses both hands to the earth, summoning up every last scrap of strength he has. A deep rumbling echoes down the beach--

        And then the earth buckles and heaves itself upwards, surging towards the magic circle like a cresting wave. It carries Leo, Ivan, Amelia, and the nearby wounded, rolling across the ground until it reaches the very edge of Borgan's circle... and stops.

        The survivors, Leo included, scramble to safety.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        When the pressure on Gwen's chest relieved, Gwen's mouth sputters open, instinctually sucking in a breath of air as she collapses to the ground.

        Well, she still seems to be alive, so that worked.

        Shame that she's kind of unable to really move, on the account of some parts of her being extremely tender right now.

        It doesn't stop Gwen from trying. however, groggily aware of some sense of urgency. One hand grips the ground, and pulls. Then goes her other hand, and then she-

        There's someone kneeling besides her. "... puh...." There was a word that Gwen wanted to say, something like 'peachy', but that first syllable is just being too much of a hill for her mouth to get over.

        That doesn't stop her from trying *that* either, with the courier, puzzling over how to get that necessary 'p' sound out as she grips onto the struggling Clarissa. ".... Puh...."

        "Pifschy heen," Gwen finally manages to say, her grip strong, as Clarissa makes it into the safety of the circle.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

It's time.

But what is Time when you're trapped within a variable gravity well? It's irrelevant. Time becomes strange, warped and weird. Space itself distorts and wrinkles as Sin's terrible wrath is unleashed in full force. For a moment, Zed stands and wonders at it. If Siegfried was here-- if all the Quarter Knights were here-- could they have defeated this thing...?

A nervous chill rattles down his spine, snapping him from his lethal and self-destructive reverie. Zed looks over toward Ashton--

Right. He promised.

With a grin, Zed... begins to disappear into a haze of emerald light. His form vanishes, dissolves, then...

Something...

Something weird has taken his place.

"I've got you," Zedder Robo says, scooping Ashton and his NPC pal up in one arm. "Let's see how many we can save. Here we go! ZEDDER WING!" Zed's cape hardens into a flat plane! Thrusters lens open under his heels as he goes hurtling towards cover-- but one arm is held out at one side, reaching to scoop to safety as many Crusaders his super robot speed and strength can save...!

And then he ducks behind Borgan's barrier.

...

He really, really wishes Asgard was here right now...

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Oh good. Zed's not going to try and stay behind and distract Sin while the rest of--
 
Hey wait!
 
Ashton's pride kicks in as he's scooped up and whisked away to safety! "Hey! I was-- just-- hey!"

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

 
'Don't lose hope!'

As the barrage fades, Margaret struggles for breath. She turns her head upwards and sees the howling flames under the command of the Dragonmaster. She grins, without mirth. Luzzu commands it be fired - and Borgan shouts?

Damn, Margaret thinks. Why is HE -

But he speaks with strain, and though Margaret wishes sincerely for Borgan's humiliating death, he must survive the next few minutes or they will all perish. She swallows then, and she puts her fingers to her mouth, and she blows a quick long-short-short note series. And then, with a raising of her naginata, declaims -

"Thunder Road,"

And the speed of lightning attends to those in the vicinity. Margaret enchants all without reservation or consideration, before fleeing into the sheltering lee of the Black Wizard, looking at other Hounds as they come together. "There are only six of you," she snaps. "WHY."

"Three broke up beach, probably halfway to Luca by now," says the interim commander, a human woman who has put on contour-disguising white face paint that makes her gaze eerily featureless.

Margaret does math. "And the others?"
"..."
"Jack?"
"..."

Margaret sucks on her teeth - and then looks down to see Lemina Ausa collapse almost exactly at her feet. The other Hound, whose face is sans feature, reaches down to help arrange her. At this point the White Knight comes in, and Margaret scoots over, raising her weapon to parade rest to make more room.

"If this shield fails," Margaret says, "I want you all to know --" She falters, seeing perhaps the toted Kamui. Something about the wounded person (a hyadean? so Margaret guesses) silences her sassy mouth.

<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        The sinspawn fall, but there is no time to revel in this victory. The target of this entire assault is finally in range. It will very shortly be very bad to be anywhere that isn't behind the shield.

        It is evident to Pearl that there are those who will not make it behind the shield. The wounded, those too far away to make it, those addled by the sinspawn's magics. Or, as Pearl has decided to categorise them, the deceased.

        The martial artist does not move to save anyone but herself. It's not cowardice as much as it is practiced cruelty. As she runs she grips her left arm with her clawed glove, letting the arm hang down as though it were injured. And then, to complete the story, she almost invisibly lets dark purple ki flow from her hand, and grimaces briefly. Where there were some injuries is now a substantial looking gouge. The sort of injury that would explain why someone would abandon their allies. It is, perhaps, unnecessary given the situation, but better safe then sorry.

        She moves quickly, stepping over the dead and dying, saved from a very slow retreat by the healing magics of Skylr. She makes it past the barrier, and takes cover behind the mages of Neo-Vane, with the rest of the survivors. And then she watches, waiting to see if this will be the moment they succeed, or the moment in which they all die.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Something very urgent is happening with Sin, and the barrier, and they have to move. Except, for Ivan, the process of all of this unfolding seems to flash by him in an instant. He has an idea of what he needs to do as he sees the others fly by him, but even as he breaks into a run toward Borgan, it takes forever just to turn himself in the right direction, forever just to get one foot in front of the other.

Meanwhile, Sin is gathering its strength for an attack and more warnings are coming that the edges of the field are no longer protected. He tries to push himself to move faster, but it's like he's in a dream where running gets you nowhere. It not going to be enough!

That is when Leo... scoops him up. Under the best of circumstances, Ivan would have a lot of emotions to process about that, but in his current state he has to queue them up in a long line, one after the other. Astonishment comes first, and is the main one that makes its way to his expression... gratitude...admiration... and somewhere on the horizon afterward, humiliation and indignation are both in kind of a hurry to try to catch up and pretend they were first.

With all of that gradually unfolding in his head, he will have to retroactively get around a little later to parsing the sudden ride upon a wave of earth that carries them the final leg of the journey.

<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

 Okay Skylr, breathe.
 
 Just -- breathe.
 
 The Sinspawn go down, and Skylr exhales, grinning slightly when Lanval laughs, but then she shakes her head - then there's Sin. Skylr's breath catches in her throat, but she's addressed. She tilts her head and looks at him. "E--eh? Okay?" She opens her mouth to ask how, but he disappears, and then -- oh, well, that's ... that answers that question and gives her nine million more. She carefully leans down and picks up the bottle, cradling it against her.
 
 "Okay, we got this." She says, before setting off on a jog to get behind Borgen and into the shield safe area.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"Nonsense," Zedder Robo says out of what can only be standard isssue external super robot speaker systems. "I told you I had a way to get us out of here, and this is that! Nahahahahaha-- hm?"

Zed's head turns and stares.

...At Skylr Paer.

"Oh," the goofy robot man says, "Sheep girl."

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

When the magic finishes coursing through her, Eleanor is quick to act--she shoves the revolver into her belt, not having time to put it anywhere else, ignoring the heat of the barrel as best she can while turning, to look, to find--

It falls. It falls, barely, and Gwen--

Clarissa has her. So, when Sin stirs, Eleanor doesn't look up at it. Not this time. She listens, instead, to the booming voices of their commanders, to the growing rumble.

She doesn't have the physical strength to pull anyone else--with one look ahead at Gwen, the sorceress scrambles, turning and bolting back. Her lungs burn; a lot of her is burnt, frankly. But her steps thunder along anyway, her breathing heavy--

The scion of House Klein stumbles across the lines, throwing out an arm to catch herself against Margaret, of all people, almost totally out of breath. ...Almost. "Believe--"

...While over the Veruni combat frequency crackles a familiar voice, albeit filled with static given the sheer power in the air, the rushing of electricity and gravity and terror.

"Artill--*hzzt* Power acce*hzzt*."

"Fu--*hzzt*. Good luck--*hzzzt*"

"So-*hzzt*"

Kaguya's voice cuts off as the signal abrubtly stops broadcasting.

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad's missiles erupt all across the Sinspawn and especially Eskah, and Brad finds himself huffing as he drops the two spent missile boxes. They puff apart, and Brad takes a look around for his next target.

Which is when he notices a blast of annihilating fire slam into Sin, and Brad stares in awe and horror. "It's an army itself," he realizes with a dull shock. "It's not a monster, it's like fighting a country." Or a god, he tries not to let himself think for long.

Then....Sin prepares his own offense. They were told about the gravitational attacks, but to see it forming in front of him brings Brad to a halt, his mind racing to comprehend some fraction of its power. Can the shield hold?

Borgan roars, and Brad gets his answer: Not if he stands there!!

Brad turns and dashes, slapping his ARM and twisting a hidden dial. It sprays another cloud of dust into his grip. He feels like he's miles away from the shield. Can he run it? Can he make it? If he dashes flat out, then maybe, but--

He doesn't need to. He eyes the trajectory, breathing hard as his long legs consume distance. But he's strong, not fast. But that's fine.

The Super Shotgun drops into his hand. Panting for breath, he lowers it to the ground and FIRES, and it releases an ungodly roar just as Brad goes sailing into the sky, arcing upward in an ungainly, flailing arc. The physics of this situation pretty much just don't work. A weapon he can hold in one hand shouldn't be able to throw him into the air without shattering his shoulder if not outright ripping his arm off, but, well - ARMs are wonderful things, sometimes.

The angular momentum sees him flip mid-air, arcing down toward the bullseyes of the spell circle, which he lands precisely one meter off center from, kicking up beach sand as he slams down in a titanic belly flop.

He raises a shaky fist, and attempts to form it into a thumbs-up, possibly somewhat too early.

<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

 Skylr stares back at Zed.
 
 Then, wearily, warily ... "Zed."

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Zed stares. Stares some more. Jiiiiii.

Then he raises a hand. "Sup."

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Ashton continues to dangle helplessly (and grumpily) under Zed's arm as he awkwardly banters with Skylr.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Solanine has posed.

Sin begins to gather power, and Borgan shouts for all assembled to make their way to the circle and Solanine is grateful for her proximity to it. Except that ensures she's really in no position to try and save anyone else... all the other defenders of the Circle have been accounted for, and there are few, if any within reach...

She hurries to the circle then with Borgan and the others, and prepares for the worst.

<Pose Tracker> Elvis has posed.

The hammer comes down! And the Sinspawn meets the fate it deserves in a flash of soul-light. "No match foor the likes of us!" the man boasts. "I am ready for more!"

"By the way, that one totally counts for me."

A small smirk is thrown Amaterasu's way.

"Those creatures will keep coming, we best be ready for... uh."

Sin opened its mouth. That can't be good.

Borgan makes the call. "Everyone, fall back!" he orders. Ambrosius uses some sort of mechanical unit to create a path of ice toward the barrier. "Excellent, Ambrosius!" he commends, taking to the path quickly. As he travels to the barrier, the communications device flares to life.

"Kaguya, is that you?!" he shouts into the small device. "Answer me! Are you safe?! Damn!" No response. He makes it to the barrier. "She better be okay," he states gruffly.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

"Glad you could make it, Brad." Marivel says casually, but not insincerely.

Margaret asks about Jack. Marivel closes her eyes for a few moments, then turns her attention to Margaret as they reopen. "He was struck down with a mortal wound." Marivel tells Margaret. "But his last request was heeded."

Anything else can wait for their survival or their destruction.

<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        She withdraws a moment later, satisfied with her strike.

        "Indeed, Sentinel," replies Amaterasu, cool as ever. "That one is yours." It is enough to cut merely one time, even if one does not deal the killing blow. Satisfaction is gained only by the proper destruction of a foe.

        But.

        "..."

        An old soldier's senses are keen at a time like this. Not all fights have the Veruni won. Amaterasu knows.
        She was there. And now there is again the tang of a battle gone suddenly sour.

        "Sentinel. Ambrosius."

        Minerva's arrival only confirms what she has already begun to realize.

        They have failed today.

        "Understood. We'll regroup afterwards and--"

        Static hisses through the receiver in her half-helmet.

        "Kaguya? What is going on, Kaguya? I can't-- what are you--"

        Her head jerks up towards the artillery tower.

        She runs past Ambrosius, moving at considerable speed. She needs to get up there and--

        Her attention wheels again towards Sin, implacable. Indominitable. A worthy foe, or--

        it's gaining too fast.

        It'll be upon them before she can even exit the other end of the circle, let alone ascend the tower and make the return.

        Even with all her strength and power, Amaterasu can no more change this fact than she can affect the course of her sister's illness.
        This is futile. Useless.

        "Kaguya, you..."
        Behind the mask, she grits her teeth and falls in along with Ambrosius and Elvis.

        There's nothing left to do but hope.

<Pose Tracker> Sin has posed.

"Dra lrynka ec yd hehado-drnaa banlahd! Hehado-vuin!" the Al Bhed gunner shouts from inside the turret behind the massive cannon. Lightning crackles up its length. "Y meddma suna!"

"Drana ech'd desa! Sin ec kuehk du tacdnuo dra ahdena paylr!" the Al Bhed behind him shouts. He turns, and starts to run; the gunner looks over his shoulder, shakes his head, and leans into a growing wind that has no unnatural origin. The metal of the machina's frame begins to creak around him.

Outside, Ghaleon's hair is blown backward. His eyes narrow, as he feels the ground under him shake, and sees the bead of gravitational force in the monster's mouth grow ever and ever larger. His lips curl back into a scowl, as the magical circle underneath his feet begins to grow larger.

"Where were you hiding?" he snarls. "All this time... did you escape the eyes of the Goddess? Or, was it..."

He holds a hand out before him.

On the beach, Luzzu watches as a broken sword lifts from the ground... and swirls up into the maelstrom growing around Sin. Droplets of water are doing the same there; here, a broken stone swirls up into the air. The red-haired man swallows, before he turns his head -- hearing the words of Bera.

"Bera! I'm on my way!" he says, before he turns. He begins to run. Beside him, over a hundred Crusaders, Guards, and Drifters do the same -- the army that fought so many Sinscales now turning and running as fast as their legs could take them.

As they sprints, the water under their feet begins to pull backward. In strange rivulets, it draws away from Luzzu's weather-worn boots -- and then starts to swirl upward, in great mid-air rivers, that start swirling and floating around Sin.

Luzzu stumbles, and glances over his shoulder. For one critical moment, he slows, and the grip on his spear slackens.

"In the name of the Goddess Althena, I call upon the Four Holy Elements," Ghaleon cries out over the raging tempest. Thunder claps from the skies; a sheet of rain washes down over his face, and begins to pelt the battlefield -- until some of it swirls away, towards Sin's mass. "I call upon the power of her Dragons! I call upon the ancient oath, to two stars! Grant unto me but a fragment of her might, and deliver--"

A chunk of the cliff beside him tears away, flying into the maelstrom above and around Sin. He hears the loud, metallic crunch of part of the machina crumpling. He sees the flash of light behind him.

"--unto this beast--"

Sin's mouth opens wider, and there is a SCREAM that issues forth. It shakes the foundation of the world, and Ghaleon screams into it:

"ABSOLUTION!"

Black and white light swirl together, into one beam, and explode out from Ghaleon's position. It slams into Sin, and peels away a chunk of the leathery white skin and carapace. It digs in deeper, and deeper; there is red flesh under, pulsating, and then it stops -- and that same flesh begins to mend.

"NO!" Ghaleon screams, even as the Al Bhed gunner behind him shouts, too: "UBAH VENA!"

And a blast of shimmering grey and white light explodes outward. Before the lightning bolt can come, it slams into the cliff. The machina rips apart, the cannon breaking off before turret erupts -- and Ghaleon is struck full-on by the force of it. There is a titanic crash, and then the cliff face, the turret, and all of it dissolves in a flash of light.

The blast of power screams up the beach. A Crusader lets out an anguished cry before she disintegrates in a moment; a fleeing Guardsman reaches a hand out, before gravity inverts for his lower body, and his legs shred away from his torso and break in six different places each. The first shock wave hits the shield.

Borgan's shield flashes a bright blue, obscuring much of the scene. Luzzu still sprints, hand gripping his spear, his eyes wide with terror and adrenaline and that most Spiran of traits: a desperate clinging to life. And then all is white behind the shield, and the cacophonous roar of Giga-Graviton silences even the screams.

The blast parts around the shield, only forty feet in diameter, and their world is white -- as it shakes so violently that Borgan feels blood vessels pop and his mouth fill with a copper taste.

When it fades, they find water sloshing up to each side of the shield -- which flickers and falls. The blast has cleaved a new gash into the beach. The shallow water is filled, in places, with shattered bodies. Luzzu lay face down in the dirt... at least, the upper half of him does. The lower half lay in a mangled pile, twenty feet away. His spear is plunged into the ground. Of the army that came to the beach, those lucky enough to get to Borgan's shield were the sole survivors.

As the shield falls, rain begins to pelt down -- and a white cape, once worn by a man who called himself Dragonmaster, drifts down. It lands at Leo's feet.

The rain does not fall on Sin. The beast, seemingly unscathed, has already turned -- and submerges as it swims back out to sea.

<Pose Tracker> Amelia Rose has posed.


Just a few more. Maybe she can get just a few more moving! The thought rings through her mind before she's swept up. Leo hauls her up, and by the time he's asking her to hold on? The Elf grips his cape hard enough to nearly tear it. As the earth itself and Leo's impressive legs haul them over the barrier?

Amelia is a semi-limp heap. Silver, luckily, has managed to catch a ride on the Leovalanch over to semi-safety, and is licking away at the elf's wounds. Elf and dog curl into a slight ball on the ground within that mystical protection. Amelia mumbles heated, woozy prayers.

This physician can't currently heal herself.

And then a screaming blast of power erupts, as Sin vents its wrath. Screams, a nothingness for a moment in her head, and then...the shield falls. Rain, cooling, falls upon the elf, still half delirious.

"...Lord...Leo? Marivel? Sky...lr?"

Silver whines deeply, bright eyes staring at those few that survived this horror of a battle.

DC: Black Wizard Borgan switches forms to Black Wizard Borgan!
DC: Zed switches forms to Monstrous Zedder R!
DC: Zed switches forms to Manic Blade Master Zed!
<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

The world shakes. Brad doesn't rise. He shuts his eyes and listens to the death of everything. You don't look at the weapon. Don't do that to yourself.

Don't do that to yourself.

But in time, the shaking quiets, and the screaming stops, and the light fades. Brad slowly forces himself over. Alive again. That's two, now, he thinks, and turns, and watches Sin - unharmed, all that damage they inflicted on it already gone - slip back to sea.

He sits there for a long, long few moments. Then, numb, he whispers, "How did anyone ever defeat that...?"

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

The petulant pride of Ashton gives way against the awesome power of Sin.
 
There are no words to truly describe what happens outside of the thin barrier. No way to do it - or those lost - justice. All the swordsman can do is sink to his knees in the sand and stare blankly at the absolute devastation wrought - and the seeming invincibility of the creature.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Arwin has posed.

Clarissa makes it to safety without visible trouble, carefully lowering Gwen once she's sure they're in the shadow of Borgan's shield. She smiles at the courier. "Yeah... yeah, it's heen, alright," she murmurs.

Gwen was closer to things. She could feel the way Clarissa's back and shoulders strained and hear how laboured her breaths were. The blonde girl isn't very big or even all that muscular. Carrying even the weight of one Gwen, while not much, was far more physically demanding for her than she let on.

In her mind, these are the least of her problems.

Clarissa widens her eyes as she watches the battle mount to its climax - and the blast comes. For just a second, she can see what's happening beyond the shield. She can see a Crusader being torn apart. Another one being shattered and inverted. Her wide-eyed expression contorts with a horror she's only matched once in her life. but the tuition wasn't cheap

Their world explodes with crushing blue. Everything rattles. Squeezing her eyes closed, Clarissa lowers her head and clasps her hands over it. Arms fold around her - Felius hunkers in to shield the girl with his body. It feels, for a moment, as if the entire planet is about to tear itself apart.

Finally, it fades, and Clarissa opens her eyes - and she stares at the devastation left behind. More bodies than she's ever seen in her life, in states no body should ever be in. The cape of the Dragonmaster who led them there, torn away and drifting free. And Sin sailing off into the ocean, none the worse for the wear.

For all that they did, their hope wasn't enough - and all it did was lead people to brutal deaths. For all their optimism, they didn't help at all - they just made things worse for those who died and those they left behind. The bloody evidence of their collective folly is left splattered across the landscape, before the big blue eyes of a girl who has known horror only once. but then....

"Clarissa," Felius murmurs, tilting his head with concern.

Clarissa doesn't say anything. She curls more deeply into herself, her head bowed to try and keep anyone else from seeing the tears running down her cheeks.

<Pose Tracker> Lemina Ausa has posed.

Lemina doesn't actually see the blast. She sees its effects -- the light around her -- a little bit; she's huddled under the barrier, face down in the dirt, head covered. There are some things you can't just laugh off and say nasty things about; Lemina keeps her head down and just quivers there. She doesn't move, save to continue shaking, for some time.

She doesn't think to ask the question of 'how,' in the moment; instead, she just... continues to hide. Someone might actually need to tap her and tell her it's over if they want her to move.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        It is happening.

        She's hardly conscious, but one doesn't have to be conscious when they're a machine. There is a low-pitched whine that sounds more like some kind of broken radiator that needs to be realigned or whacked than a human noise--

        But she watches it. Past the shield. Past it all.

        The power of the Giga-Graviton is terrifying to behold; every instrument within her starts to render out of control as she twitches and convulses again.

        But it's not the power of the blast that hurts her.

        She reaches out with her broken arm -- one finger starting to fleck as her mechanical parts show underneath it.

        "ssss"

        She reaches out to a Crusader screaming against the blast and watches him evaporate. A Guardsman reaches out back towards her--

        And gravity inverts...

        She watches his legs vanish.

        "sssSSSS"

        More and more unfortunate Crusaders who didn't make it to the shield in time vanish; her camera eye is stationary and keeps observing.

        ".......ssSTTtttttttt......"

        Kamui vaguely hears Brad's question. She doesn't know the answer. As the rain starts to pour over her... all she knows is...

        ".......ooPPPPPPpppp......."

        This isn't the first time...

        And it won't be the last time either... how long will she have to observe pain like this? How many threats, menaces will rise in Filgaia, even before the Day of Promise is met? How many more times does she have to rise, by her choice or not?

        Only the X-Buster in her arm knows the answer...

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Time seems to slow down for Ivan as he watches Ghaleon, the cannoneers, and those fighters still in the field make their final stand against Sin. No -- time DOES -- slow, gradually returning to its normal flow around him, the restoration making it seems as if it stops on that moment when Sin's hide is pierced.

But then, it heals. Suddenly, it's clear why everyone thought of this as a hopeless battle.

Unbelievable power scours the battlefield in a burst of blinding light, disintegrating and pulverizing the soldiers who were standing with them just moments ago. As the dust clears, Ivan blinks as his eyes refocus, and looks around numbly, beginning to grasp the enormity of it. It's everyone. Everyone who wasn't huddled behind the diminished barrier.

It's... it's a good thing he doesn't care about anyone besides himself and his sister, isn't it, he tells himself, as he searches for faces he knows among the living and the dead.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        It is thanks to Skylr that Lanval's vessel - and himself within it - is able to get behind Borgan's shield. What comes to transpire... when one perceives the world on the levels he does, it is not really something he can ever describe in easy terms to mortals. He wouldn't want to. There are many things they shouldn't ever have to be troubled by, but this is more than 'just' troubling.
        He is powerless to do naught, now. Unease and fear seep back into the Oracle of Schturdark even as the horrid screaming fades. Sin - Obsession - lives, even after all of that. It's too much to process.
        ...
        He can't resurface from his vessel now. To do so would bring undue unease and harm upon more than just Skylr herself, he recognizes. For someone whose presence tends to bring a greater sense of ease and contentment, it is the rare situation where he can recognize that his presence being made known stands to make everything worse.
        He rests within the bottle. He can't commune with Schturdark about what just happened, or what to do next.
        The pyreflies linger about his perception, as if a teasing reminder about what continues to lie beyond their grasp. The rain, usually something he wound find refreshing and welcome as it is his element, somehow just feels like an added weight to the collective sorrow.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Leo all but collapses as soon as he's behind the shield, sinking to his hands and knees. He coughs, raspily, flecks of blood spotting the ground beneath him. Ghaleon's voice cuts through the din--through the screams, through the wind, through the thunder. "Althena," Leo chokes out. He touches two fingers to the White Dragon Crest hanging from its neck, and tries to focus. A pearlescent light builds around him, and those nearby. It's nothing compared to Borgan's shield, but maybe--

        'ABSOLUTION!'

        For a few moments, Leo thinks this might be it. Surely the Dragonmaster will end this.

        What happens next is a hideous, dizzying tableau. Leo sees red flesh beneath Sin's hide. He sees that flesh knitting itself together. He closes his eyes as Sin's might washes towards them, and remembers his father, his mother, his little sister. He hears screams. He hears screams.

        The barrier collapses. Leo opens his eyes, blinks once, and looks around. His mouth moves, but for a moment no sound comes out. "Skylr," Leo rasps. "Amelia. See to the Black Wizard. Then to the..."

        Something flutters out of the sky. Leo flinches, stares at it a moment before he realizes what it is.

        "...Ghaleon?" Leo breathes. He reaches down and picks up what's left of Ghaleon's cloak, turns it over in his fingers. There's blood on it.

        Leo is speechless.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

MOMENTS AGO

"Artillery firing. Power above acceptable levels. Come on..."

Kaguya Alathfar, General of Hyland, lowers her hand from her ear where she'd been trying to make her radio work with a muttered curse. "Interference," she mutters. The Al Bhed ahead are already shouting--there's nowhere to run, really. The metal of the frame is already creaking. The running man moves past Kaguya, as she steps out of his way, shakes her head.

"Fuck. Good luck, Temrood."

With all of Ghaleon's power out there... It's not enough. The small Veruni, clad in her strange armor, lifts a small object. It blinks, vaguely, a pulsing green light, as the space beside it hops yellow. She puts her thumb over the switch.

"Sorry."

There is a surge of brilliant green light--and it crackles, overcome with static in places, before winking out.

The blast comes.

-=-=-

NOW

Light flashes, green up on the cliffs, full of gray and black and white and static before it becomes a form, and fades out. Silence--

And a cough, as a small figure rolls onto her side, spitting blood. "Fuck," she mutters, raises a hand to her side--the radio transmitter crackles and then with a jolt just smokes instead of transmitting again, and the ill young woman rolls back onto her back. The rain falls.

"...heheheheheh..."

Kaguya's green eyes open as the rain hits her. A drop on her face; a drop on her cheek, another at her shoulders, a curtain that drowns the sight of everything too far away. Her armor is burnt, twisted, broken; the teleportation effect unreliable in the face of such sheer power, such terrible interference. And yet...

"...You're the real thing," the small Veruni murmurs, as she closes her eyes, breathing labored. Sin is leaving. ...Not retreating. Just leaving.

"...Amazing..."

Her raspy voice laughs a little more before she sinks back against the stone, and stays where she is, for a while, letting the pain burn the memory into her mind.

<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        Pearl's gaze does not look away from the powers being brought to bear. She does not look away from the violence inflicted by the thing they were here to supposdly kill. She sees the blast tear into Sin, she seesthe cannon explode, and then she sees raw, overwhelming power, until the vision is blocked by the shining blue of Borgan's shield. But she sees enough.

        When the scene finally clears, she sees the remains of the battlefield, which she looks over briefly. The exiting form of Sin is the real thing to see here. The unharmed Sin. Even the Dragonmaster could do nothing against them.

        "I see." Pearl muses out loud. "We are sent here to die, then." She is not contributing at all to morale here. But there is no walking away from the mission; no one sent on a crusade by the goddess herself can be permitted to return a failure. But the target is something they cannot slay. Not with the means available to them. So, it seems, that death is the only outcome. "...So be it." She walks towards the other guardsmen, as she is expected to. They will need to lick their wounds before their next failed attempt.

<Pose Tracker> Bera has posed.

        With her eyes closed, breathing hard, Bera doesn't open them again till the rain begins to fall on her. By that time, it's over. "With great effort," as she checks on the Crusader beside her, "And great sacrifice." she says hearing the murmured question from Brad of how to defeat Sin, her voice full of scorn and anger. It doesn't last long. Her hair is plastered to the side of her face and neck where the lotus bloom braid came undone, the ribbon woven between the ladder braid is also hangin limp partially undone. The black of her haori and hakama hide any blood stains and the rain quickly turns it all to a wet matte black.

        Bera pushes herself up, dropping a potion on the chest of the Crusader she'd carried to the safety of the shield. The fact Luzzu wasn't already speaking up or taking charge of the surviving Crusaders already told her what she'd find if she looked. Instead of looking over the carnage of the beach, she scans the cliffs and the high road first looking for something else.

        Not seeing what she was looking for, Bera then looks across the beach with a hard swallow. "This is probably what he was after. Should've stopped this somehow." she mutters softly to herself shaking her head. "Why is Yevon so cruel sometimes." follows in a louder voice. And then shes walking off to search the dead for survivors, as many Crusaders as she can save and any others she comes across.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Somewhere in the calamity of the battle, someone else made it into the shelter of the shield.

When the light fades, Talise gazes out at the destruction with a grim palor in her face. But it's not the bodies left behind that have rattled her the most.

It's the sight of that white cloak drifting through the air towards Althena's White Knight - all that remains of the Goddess's chosen one. The Dragonmaster whose name she sang in legend.

The one who could've killed her but for some reason let her live. The one who rebuked a Seraph's warning and turned up his nose at a breach of her barrier.

The big swordswoman, her armour scratched and her face smudged with dirt and worse, squeezes her eyes closed, her hand clutching around the hilt of Rastaban. "Damn that sassy fool," she whispers, more to herself than anything else. The beautiful, ancient man - both legend and foe in her eyes - couldn't hear her anyway "If not even Ghaleon, the Dragonmaster...."

She doesn't finish the sentence. She can't.

What would Lady Chloe do against an enemy even the Dragonmaster can't beat...?

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

This is the moment of truth. They did their job. It can even be said they succeeded in their task. They have protected the cannons long enough for it to fire. Now the rest is up to see if the technology was powerful enough to get the job done.

And for a moment, a blissfully awe-inspiring moment...it seems like it might be enough. That so many powers could band together in this moment and save the world.

To create a world in which nobody needed to be sacrificed but rather they would die together triumphantly in the better tommorow they built with one another.

It is a subtle difference, but for one as ancient as Marivel is: It is an important difference.

And then that hope dies even more quickly than it lasted. Ghaleon unleashes his own power. It is not enough. Clysmians, Marivel thinks in this moment, are aptly named. To see Sin in battle is far different than seeing Sin destroy in a vision.

To battle Sin is to dance with death. That is what Auron, her friend, had told her. She had heard such phrases tossed about in regards to many a dead demon. Marivel slew threats to the world with enough frequency she hardly sees it as an adventure anymore. Just another job.

But she sees now clearer than ever why this creature makes even Guardians quake.

Ghaleon is seemingly slain--but he was always dead. He can no doubt be brought back again should Althena will it once more. There is a blazing flash of light and then nothing but water, spilling rain. A white cape.

And oh so many corpses. Marivel is very attuned to death. Her people's duty is to take care of it, to watch after it, to be the little murderous cells on the planet's surface that eliminated invading destructive invasive influences. She need not look out at them to sense them.

She turns to look. Without a sending they will linger, but Yuna was not on the field. A sending will happen, no doubt. At least there is that.

One might think that with all this death she would look a little sad, or even be bawling her eyes out. She looks so young, after all, she is hardly one who can be world weary but all that is in her eyes is a quiet somberness that sticks with her, that fills her whole body.

She places a hand on Amelia's shoulder. "Thank you for being with me here today." She says quietly, then she lets her hand drop.

Brad raises an excellent question. Marivel knows the answer. She takes in a sharp intake of breath. She looks towards Clarissa and sees that beautiful sweet sunny girl dampened by rain and tears like a sun has died or, at least, is so obscured by clouds you can scarcely see the light.

She closes her eyes.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Dy0Zfw6Qs

A LONG TIME AGO

"We have to fight, obviously!" Marivel shouts. "We can't abandon Filgaia! It is our home! I don't care how unbeatable he is! My parents died FOREVER to fight it, now their duty is mine. We must stop the Soul Devourer, no matter the cost or there is no future!"

Anastasia looks uncomfortable. She never enjoyed arguments such as these. Marivel hated making her look like this but she could not stop herself. She has never felt pain like this before and she does not even know where to begin to deal with this pain. The searing agony within her is pouring out of every pore and she screams it out in the hope that her overfilled cup subsides.

"Filgaia may already be dying. May already be dead." A soft voice says to her. "It may be suicide."

"Then..." Marivel falters briefly. "Then at least we'll die together having TRIED!"

NOW

Marivel cannot stop Kamui from seeing the horror. She never believed in hiding it but she feels a twisted agony stirring in her gut as pain upon pain upon pain is inflicted upon her. And yet Marivel? Marivel can just take it all with grim solemnity.

Is it because of what she is? Or who she is? Or is she simply so desperate?

She sits herself down and looks up at the sky. She considers Brad's question. How did anybody ever defeat that?

"Nobody ever has, Brad." Marivel answers him. "Sin has been stalled, yes, but Sin has never been defeated. That is the truth we were shown today."

And with that she closes her eyes again, exhaling out another slow breath. Are such sacrifices the only way forward? Even if they survive, they lose so much.

"Is this the bloodstained path back to you...?" She asks nobody in particular as she delves into her own thoughts.

She never answers this question audibly, but she knows the answer.

No matter how many corpses are on her path, Ana...

She will find her way back to you.

<Pose Tracker> Ratatoskr has posed.

Meanwhile
 
        This is not the place Ratatoskr wanted to be. He is not on the beach. No, he's somewhere else entirely - but what transpires is something all of Spira will, in some way or another, bear witness to.
        He can't help it. He breaks away from someone else within a cloak, scaling a tree like it were as easy as a simple hop, jump, and a skip, as the rain falls.
        "...They're still there...? Aren't they?" The solid yellows of his eyes begin to dim. He could only see so many faces, hear so many names... but he didn't get to fight any of them...
        "Yet." The voice completes a thought they cannot possibly have heard. They haven't.
        "...Yet!" A grin returns to the horned squirrel-shaped Hyadean's face.

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

 
Margaret seems about to ask Marivel something.

Then doom is upon them.

Margaret, perhaps understandably, forgets.

When the cape falls down, Margaret watches it. So does the young woman near her. That younger woman looks at Marivel, Brad, others nearby with a completely shell shocked look, one hand going up to stroke at the brooch of her cloak, which seems to have been fashioned out of the porcelain head of a doll, with those eerie glass eyes replaced with decorative turquoises.

Margaret's back stiffens.

She forces some jollity into her tone. "I'll look for the Dragonmaster, Leo; I expect even he had to collect himself after a blow like that." It takes her long seconds to gather herself, raise her weapon, and enchant herself, before she is off like an express train, up along the beach.

Of course if Margaret thinks she's going to handily escape the scene of this horror, she has another think coming.

"I'm sure those three are fine at least," says the mage with the doll-head brooch, to nobody in particular, gazing up at the rain.

                                Staff member has died (x7)

<Pose Tracker> Eleanor Klein has posed.

Barely. ...Barely. Eleanor feels the shield behind her, now. She feels so much power, but she does not want to look. She doesn't want to see. ...But she isn't granted that luxury.

The blast comes forth, with the scream, and even as the barrier becomes white, roaring, deafening, crashing, and Eleanor sinks down, hands over her ears, to her knees and doesn't realize that she's screaming along with so many others.

...The world returns, again, and Eleanor feels her throat raw, doesn't recognize it all in the moment anyway. She looks at Marivel, looks at what she's saying... Shakes her head. "I..." She wants to say something. She wants to talk. But instead, she stumbles another step forward, and hits a knee before collapsing against Brad, curling thin arms around one of his larger and bursting into the tears that carry everything she can't manage to put into words in the shock and rush of battle.

"I can't--"

She tries to bury her face, "I don't want to see anymore, I--"

That's about the last coherent thing she's going to say for a little while.

<Pose Tracker> Lemina Ausa has posed.

After a few seconds, Lemina looks up and realizes she's being nudged; almost immediately, she pulls herself back up, starting to dust herself off. She opens her mouth to speak, but can't quite get anything out; eventually, she just shakes her head and pulls away, quickly, not wanting to explain herself -- or even really linger in the moment for terribly long.

She does not help with recovery efforts in the least.

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Eleanor, raw and exposed to the soul, rushes for Brad. He is heavy and strong. These things happen, from time to time. She twines around his arm and weeps, loudly and openly, and he does nothing to stop her. His hand, his ungloved hand, rises up, momentarily unsure.

Then he sets it against her head, closing her in. Comfort, of a kind. Acknowledgment.

He doesn't try to look. He just stares, his face a numb mask, across the waters where death lives. If there is a tightness, a wetness, around his eyes, he does nothing about it.

"I know," he says, though he's sure she means something other than what her words meant to him. "I know. I'm sorry."

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

        There is someone there, right there with Felius and Clarissa, lying on the ground as the world shakes and shivers around them.

        A hand that isn't Felius's reaches up from below, shakily but carefully clasping the hands that Clarissa had placed over her face as she curled in on herself.

        Should Clarissa or Felius chance a look, it's Gwen, smiling gently as she lies there, tears beginning to well in her eyes.
        
        "It's okay to cry."

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel sees Brad show Eleanor a kindness. She smiles faintly. Her body tightens a little all the same.

Nobody comes to embrace her nor does she look like she wants one nor does she ask for it.

The one who would is not here. That is the reality.

<Pose Tracker> Skylr Paer has posed.

 Skylr clings to the Vessel throughout everything. She was entrusted with a task, and by gosh, she'll see both of them through to the other side.
 
 Then, on the other side - Skylr looks out at the devestation of both geographic and human (-like)... and her gaze flickers. "Amelia... I'm here... Lord Le..." Skylr trails off when she sees what he's holding.
 
 "Oh." She utters, quietly, and that is all she says for now ... at least til someone tells her to put him down.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

This is war.

The carnage is a far too familiar sight. Bodies lying broken, dashed across the ground by forces unthinkable to a rational mind. Gravity gone mad has killed hundreds. Thousands, maybe. This is the power of the world turned against you, the full weight of reality pressing against you, crushing all hope, silencing all prayers. The world is cruel enough when it's merely indifferent, but this--

This is something else.

And yet, this... Is something Zed has seen.
The memory is dim, fleeting, dwelling at the far corners of his mind. The ground didn't run red, then, but silver. The magnitude may be different, certainly, but the result...

The result is... not unfamiliar.

The strange golem dissolves in a haze of green light, resolving back into a less unsettling form. Zed is silent as he stares out over the ruined coastline, the shattered efforts of three worlds rendered into ruin before that unstoppable monster.

With a quiet sigh, he drops cross-legged onto the ground and rests his cheek in his hand.

That... That really sucked.

But--

"...If I've learned anything this past couple of years," Zed says to nobody in particular-- but maybe to the three-headed swordsman collapsed at his side. His brow creases thoughtfully, as if trying to stare beyond the carnage, "It's that there's always a way. Always."

"We just haven't found it yet."

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

There's quiet - deathly quiet - for a minute.
 
Then a slight chuckle from the Double Dragon Duelist.
 
"Took the words out of my heart."

<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

        It's at times like these that Acacia is thankful she's got an instinct for her job, because despite the cacophone of light and sound and heat and noise and screams, she can feel the reassuring weight of the camera in her hands, her finger slamming on the button time after time after time, not even bothering to bring it up to eye level to sight through it.

        Even if her stomach rolls with nausea and cold sweat beads across her brow, even if her mind is on the horrible wrenching in Kamui's voice and her tearing wails, she keeps taking photographs.

        Even if she'd never intended to pull out the camera in Spiran lands, sure it would mark her as some kind of heretic despite the joint operation she's been a part of, she keeps taking photographs.

        Even if this is her new normal, what with her collaboration with ARMS.

        Even if she's going to be violently sick once the world catches up to her.

        She keeps taking photographs.
        Someone has to document this. Even if it's the worst possible outcome.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"Just be glad you still have one. If I was a bit faster, maybe a few more could say the same," The Dark Hero answers, then sighs as he explains just a little more. "Up to just a few weeks ago, my entire species was at risk of somemthing similar. Took way too long to figure out how to deal with it. If the world is trying to kill us, then we just need to find a way to make it not."

"We lose for real if we give up any hope of victory, right?" He laughs despite the slaughter, the rampant death and loss. There's a hollowness there-- but also determination, "No matter how much it might suck."

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

He was right, what he felt about Zed that first time.
 
He's infectious.
 
The laugh rings hollow, but true. And Ashton turns his head - the human one - to the Metal Demon. He cracks a narrow smile. "Hey. You're right. We all worked together and saved your people, eh? Don't see why we can't do it again."