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Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed

Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed

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The lull in the war has ended, and the Orsa of Terminus is on the rise once more. Will the battle hardened Patronus remain strong, or fall under the growing might of this renewed threat?

1,714 readers have visited Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed since Tiko created it.

Script, and NotAFlyingToy are listed as curators, giving them final say over any conflict & the ability to clean up mistakes.

Introduction



A tale from a time long since past
Speaks of a power known as the Sealed One
Who's power was unmatched
Who wished to see the world undone.

As king of his dark land,
He sought a great and mighty power.
His armies swept through nations,
Until the world was in it's final hour hour.

The last of heroes united,
They rose to the challenge in a final stand.
The battle raged but the champions held,
Crushing the armies of the Sealed Ones command.

His armies crushed only the man stood,
United heroes marched to slay him.
His power too great and mighty;
Instead he was forever imprisoned.

Scrying from his loathed prison,
His power did not wane as he waited.
His influence subtly spread,
Until the day his vengeance could be sated.

Then in the darkest days,
The Sealed One will send,
The Orsa of Terminus;
The Beginning of the End.

Now the end is nigh,
Fear it to be so,
Banners normally held high,
Torn down by this foe.

Mortals of Terra idly stand,
In the presence of the Sealed One
His presence will sweep across the land
And this world will be undone.


- Patch


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Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed


This RP is a renewal and continuation of the Orsa of Terminus RP, originally designed by Patch. The actual posting takes place within the Orsa of Terminus sub-forums. This tab merely serves as an information source and a record keeping location. Further information can be found in the OOC thread. Requests to join and character profiles should be submitted to me through PMs rather than this tab.

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The Story


The Orsa of Terminus wish to claim twelve artifacts to release their imprisoned lord, known only as The Sealed One. The Patronus Guardians seek to keep these artifacts from the Sealed One and his generals.

The war has thus far been wrought with vicious battles, betrayals, and loss for both sides. However, the survivors have pushed forward and a brief lull in the conflicts offered a reprieve for all involved to regroup and replenish their numbers.

With the Orsa of Terminus on the rise once more and the Patronus coming together for a more unified stand, the stage is set for these opposing forces to clash once again.

Toggle Rules

GM: Tiko
Co-GM: Script
Co-GM: NotAFlyingToy


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    General rules:
  • Your characters powers and equipment need to be labeled in their profile. If for whatever reason you do not want the information there, then I need the information PMed to me for record keeping. If for whatever reason a new development has occurred that you haven't had time to update, then either don't use it for that scene, or inform those involved ahead of time if you think it might come up.
  • Use common sense. I'm not going to write out a bunch of rules that should be second nature to anyone with basic RP etiquette.

    Confrontations:
  • During plot important group scenes without an announced absence, there is a four day post limit at which time any ongoing actions may be forcefully resolved. This is a very loose rule, and flexible. However if people start complaining or lack of activity becomes a chronic problem, it will be enforced.

    Group consent:
  • With full group consent, any and all rules may be voided for a specific scene. Consent must be given by all players involved for each scene that a rule is being voided.

    If anyone is in violation of any of these rules, PM me.

Browse All » 12 Settings to roleplay in

Terra

Terra by RolePlayGateway

Terra

Aelora

Aelora by RolePlayGateway

Aelora

Wing City

Wing City by RolePlayGateway

Wing City

Mountainside Temple

Mountainside Temple by RolePlayGateway

Mountainside Temple

Academia Celestia

Academia Celestia by RolePlayGateway

Academia Celestia

Monastery

Monastery by RolePlayGateway

Monastery

Academia Everia

Academia Everia by RolePlayGateway

Academia Everia

Amarathia

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Amarathia

Cordelia

Cordelia by RolePlayGateway

Cordelia

Tai'emroth

Tai'emroth by RolePlayGateway

Tai'emroth

Forest of the Fall

Forest of the Fall by RolePlayGateway

Forest of the Fall

Multiverse

Multiverse by Tiko

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Script)

Wing City - Lahmian Mansion

ImageRebellion does not rise amongst banners, posters and shouts. It does not rear its head amongst protests, confrontations and arguments. Seldom are its roots found in open dissent, miscarriage of orders, or disobedience. No, rebellion begins as nothing more than whispers of discontent, passed between friends. Passing comments, dissatisfactions, spread from tongue to tongue like a hushed chorus. It is only when a leader hears these whispers, or begins to spread them, that rebellion becomes tangible.
ImageLong have mutters of discontent passed between the ranks of the Lahmian sisterhood. Long have the younger generations disputed their elders' inaction, their subtlety and derision of direct action. But never have they surfaced - fear, respect and desire for power have locked all such things into the backs of minds and quiet whisperings alone with close companions.
ImageThere comes a time, however, when things must come to a crux. A leader surfaces, an opportunity is seized. With their almighty Queen seemingly entering their clan into the service of another, unknown man for reasons of her own, the whisperings of her people have become more prevalent. And one particular malcontent individual sees in this a chance to rise up and claim the power that Neferata holds.




ImageAll was silent in the room, quiet falling over the occupants like an oppressive blanket. A cold draft blew in through the wooden double doors that swung on their hinges, only a few moments prior thrown open. Mixed expressions of shock and anticipation were visible upon the faces of Neferata's court as Karinyé Allore, flanked by a medley of companions, stood proudly in the portal. The young vampiress' face was a mask of determination, framed by silky black locks falling in curls to her mid-back and across her chest. Her bright red eyes were directed straight across the room to where Neferata was seated.
ImageThe Queen herself seemed unphased, her position upon a particularly luxurious couch unchanged, her expression unreadable. She met Karinyé's gaze stoically, even as the girl (a woman, in truth, but in comparison to Neferata she was young still) stood her ground against the elder vampire's piercing stare.
Image"Neferata." Karinyé addressed her steadily, inspiring a number of mutterings amongst Neferata's court. The usage of the Queen's first name was not a luxury granted to many, and Karinyé certainly wasn't one of them.
Image"Allore." The blonde vampire returned the greeting with an equally level tone, lowering her wine glass slowly. "I don't suppose it would be too much to ask for an explanation as to why you and your companions have come charging in here so vigorously?"
ImageA number of short steps brought Karinyé closer to Neferata, and behind her Selene (the Queen's personal guard) tightened her grip almost invisibly upon her blade. "I have come to inform you that your services are no longer required." the younger vampiress stated with admirable confidence, "We of the sisterhood believe that you have run your course as Queen, and it is time for you to step down. The sisterhood will not bow before the man you seem to have adopted as your master as you do. You sacrifice any dignity that we have remaining in your doing so, and we will not stand for it." The tension in the room was oppressive as Karinyé continued. "Effective immediately, you will relinquish your power and accept new authority under myself, as elected by the sisters. You wi-"
ImageThe woman's speech was cut off as Neferata let out a laugh. A ringing, whole-hearted laugh, filled to the prim with utter derision. Karinyé blanched as Neferata rose from her seat, and the sisters assembled with her warily grasped at weapons. "You honestly believe that you have the power to unseat me, Karinyé? Your power is pathetic." The Queen smirked. "Elected by the sisters, you say? And how many, pray tell, are at your call?"
ImageHere, Karinyé seemed to regain something of her composure. "If you wish to ask, then I can safely inform you that our ranks are numbered at two hundred and fourteen. We anticipate that this number will rise once we make an example of you and your council." she hissed.
ImageNeferata's eyes narrowed, and her smirk faded. Two hundred and fourteen? The Lahmian sisterhood numbered only within the region of three hundred women. She had underestimated this threat. How many were with Karinyé here? A brief count placed twenty nine soldiers openly behind the woman, and a scan of the chamber easily revealed at least half a dozen further confidants of the woman within her own council. That left the numbers unbalanced, at Karinyé's thirty six against Neferata and her dozen guards, ten councillors, Selene and Diane. Outnumbered by half. But it was Karinyé who was outmatched.
Image"You have made one gross miscalculation, Karinyé." Neferata said simply. "To lead a rebellion, you have to make it out of this room alive."
ImageBefore the shocked vampiress had a chance to react, Neferata's hand was up and grasping onto her face. The Queen's palm glowed with sickly necrotic energies that seared at Karinyé's flesh and started to suck the life out of her. Vampires and the undead were all the more vulnerable to necromantic powers, and the younger vampire's piercing scream made that all the more obvious. Around them, chaos erupted.
ImageThe sounds of battle broke out as those loyal to Karinyé struck out against Neferata's allies. Korah and her soldiers engaged Karinyé's troops, and the traitor councillors struck out at the loyalists, using the element of surprise to their advantage. Selene vaulted the couch and launched herself into the fray, blades appearing in her hands as if from nowhere and burying themselves in the neck of an exposed traitor.
ImageAs Neferata continued to suck the essence from the rebels' leader, however, she felt a pair of hands wrap around her waist and suddenly found herself pulled to the side as Diane wrenched her away from the other woman. The first thought that flew through Neferata's head was that the maid had succumbed to Karinyé's words too, but as she regained herself she saw the girl's knife come up to block a strike from a concealed attacker, who might have wounded her had she remained locked with Karinyé.
ImageKarinyé herself staggered back from the clash, clutching at her face where Neferata had touched her, agonised gasps still coming from her. Neferata rose to her feet, and was about to strike Karinyé down once and for all when in an unexpected revelation, the girl lifted her hand and from it poured forth shadows. The shadow magic filled the room, blinding its occupants almost totally, as Karinyé's shout echoed forth. "Retreat! Fall back to the location we discussed!" she shrieked.
ImageEven as Neferata seized control of her own shadow magic to banish the unnatural darkness, the rebels were fleeing into the night. As the supernatural smoke cleared, it left a scene of carnage. Half of the Queen's council were slain, most in the opening moments as those they thought allies struck them down without warning. The casualties amongst Korah's elite were proportionally less, but no less a loss. Four of the twelve women who had served as Neferata's soldiers since the beginning had been struck down by the superior numbers of enemies -- though they had taken their toll on their foes. All but two of the traitor councillors were dead, and over half of Karinyé's entourage were slain - for four of Korah's soldiers, sixteen had been taken.
ImageNeferata scowled. How had she allowed this to happen? It was not the first time that rebellion had been attempted, but the sheer numbers? Two hundred of the sisterhood, or thereabouts. That left her with not even one hundred.As those around her began to gather themselves and attempt to figure out what had just happened, Neferata herself stood straight amongst the chaos of the once-pristine room.
Image"Talmara!" The Queen said sharply, calling her advisor to attention from where she was pulling her sword from the corpse of a dead rebel. "Send a message out to all those who remain loyal to me. They are to protect my castle from the rebels, with the exception of those present in Wing City itself and its surroundings, who are to report here. The castle has its own means of defence, but while I operate here I need them to set about recouping our losses in new inductions. Those tasked with likely candidates are to hurry forwards the process of conversion, and from thenceforth more blatant measures are to be instigated. I want a clan ready to combat this rebellion by the time that I finish here. You will go there yourself to direct this process, for you are the one most capable to achieve it." Neferata turned to the rest of those assembled.
Image"And the rest of you, you will remain here with me and carry out the requests - and I emphasise requests - of Lucian, that we might garner the power that he promises to better enable us to combat the traitors." A brief silence followed.
Image"Perhaps I did not make myself clear enough. You are to begin sorting this mess, and organising our regrouping now!"
ImageAt once, the room was a hive of activity, as the survivors scrambled to obey. Neferata herself remained where she stood with narrowed eyes. Karinyé would regret this day. She would make sure of it.

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The setting changes from Wing City to Terra

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Daimayo and Tiko)

Terra - A Precipice

ImageIt had been nearly three days now that Fade had been free. Three days since he had felt the Mist finally lose its grip on the earth where it lay, fading into nothing around the lost king with a scream of defiance and rage. He'd been unable to comprehend what had happened for those days - the Mist had become all that he knew. Its dark whispers and the darker visions it caused all that he truly remembered. He had barely held the energy and awareness to create a sealing weave over his eyes, obscuring them before the brightness of the moonlight that he'd been reborn into could damage them permanently. He'd needed to strengthen the weave not long after as the sun began to rise, and he realized how weak his magic had become. He was directionless now - his only objective had been to escape from the valley in which he'd been trapped for eons, and it was taking some time for Fade to discover that this may not just be some new sadistic trick of the curse in which he'd been trapped. It had shown him visions, yes, but never sunlight or moonlight; as far as the king knew, it couldn't comprehend those things.
ImageKing. The fact that he still managed to think that about himself made him smile bitterly. He was a king no longer. As soon as he'd emerged and his sensory weaves had felt out the surrounding landscape, he knew that much. There were some similarities to the landscape, but the flora had entirely changed, and the moon had been in a different place in the sky. Fade was a king no longer, not that it mattered now. He did not remember where his kingdom had been or anything about his subjects, merely that he'd been ambushed and watched his guards and members of the convoy claw at their eyes as they were eroded away, their lack of magical protection leaving them exposed to the full merciless nature of the Mist.
ImageHe'd been climbing for hours now. His desire to escape where the Mist had lain made him climb out of the valley despite his lingering, feverish weakness, the usually-cautious man throwing it away in a panic to be free. It was only now that he'd realized he had been unthinking in his ascent, and climbed far higher than he'd needed to. He looked down at the surrounding landscape from the sharp cliff face. There was not a soul in sight, and the man wasn't sure if that made him want to smile with good fortune, or weep with the need to see another living being. Looking at his hands, bloodied from the sharp rocks, Fade closed his eyes, extending the sensory weaves slightly as he felt fatigue grip at him. He needed sleep, but it was difficult to get rest with those people whispering in his ear... No-
ImageYelling with fear, the lost king scrambled back as if to distance himself from the voices present in his mind - his hand briefly slid off of the edge of the cliff he'd just surmounted. For a sickening moment his balance was thrown back, forcing him to clamber to keep from falling to his death. Gasping on the rocky ground he lay on his back, unseeing eyes gazing skyward. Was it night or day now? It all seemed like darkness to him. He was not free from the madness of the thing that had trapped him. He could feel it now, the curse hovering beneath his skin, black and oily, its thoughts now merged with his own. Turning his own sensory magic inward, the sight sickened him. It was as if the Mist, or at least a fraction of it, had compacted to fit itself into his body.
Image~Don't look at us~
ImageHe ignored the voice, grimacing. He could feel that the curse had been weakened immensely, partitioned into this tiny amount before it could escape into his body. Despite its weakness however, Fade suspected that it would get stronger as he got stronger, feeding off one another's energy. The thought made him feel ill. Turning his magical gaze outward, the king could not help but linger over the edge of the cliff. It would be easier. At least his suffering would be done then. The voices in his ear urged him to ignore his impulse, seducing and threatening simultaneously, and he shook his head to clear his thoughts. Yes, yes this would be easier than his alternative; jumping would at least ease his loneliness and end the voices finally.
Image~Another. Approaching~
ImageFade hesitated. Someone was coming? He extended his sensory weaves outward, his cautious nature also causing one of his hands to drift down to where he knew one of his blades would be. They were there, his artifacts having kept them safe from the Mist. Readying a single Cold shard to be cast quickly from his left hand should he need it, he turned to face whoever it was, still unable to feel them but there was only one direction they could come from. He found himself narrowing his eyes slightly out of habit, as if it'd let him see further with his magic. As he searched his surroundings, out of the dark came the gentle lyrical notes of a song. The melodious and soothing tune carried an oddly eerie tone despite the normally pleasant nature of the song lyrics.
Image“God will save his fallen angels, and their broken wings he'll mend. When he draws their hearts together, and they learn to love again,” came forth the musical notes. The sound of footsteps were audible as Sanina made no attempt to conceal her arrival. The scent of death was not far behind; a faint whiff of decay and the stench of the grave and rotting corpses. “All their sins will be forgiven, in the twinkle of an eye. All the saints rejoice in heaven, when the fallen angels fly.” The song continued, growing louder with each step. Sanina could not recall where she had heard the song, but it seemed fitting this evening, for God had indeed sent her a fallen angel to mend.
ImageAs Sanina drew closer her song fell into a gentle, though melodious humming while she crooned lightly over a small bundle cradled within her arms - an infant perhaps. “Shhh now Jezebell dear, if you don't rest, you won't get healthy again,” she cooed with the gentle sing-song voice of a mother to her child.
ImageAt either side padded a wolf with three more further back, their flesh hanging loose, and rotted away right down to the bone. Sanina never went anywhere without the added security of her undead escort, and tonight was no exception. She had however left the majority of the pack behind, and soon even the remaining five fell away leaving only Sanina to cross the last few yards to reach Fade. “A fallen king, so lost and alone,” she purred lyrically, taking care not to approach too quickly.
ImageFade had been straining his magical senses to their limit when Sanina's music suddenly filled his ears. The shock of listening to a song after so many centuries of silence and whispers made the lost king nearly fall to his knees. The melody was beautiful, yet haunting and for some reason Fade felt like he'd heard it before, which made no sense as the language that this other person was speaking was completely unknown to him.
ImageIt was only after the sounds of footfall became too loud to ignore that Fade realized his weaves had become disrupted and unravelled as he was enraptured by the tune, leaving him completely blind. He widened his eyes, quickly reworking the magic; the former king had grown so used to the darkness that he needed to keep a constant awareness of his own magic to refrain from slipping back into it. Letting his gaze settle on this other person, Fade almost instinctively took a step back despite the cliff edge behind him - how had she gotten so close without him realizing it? He let his magical senses wash over her body, and a moment later took in the sight of the wolves behind her, though at the moment they seemed supremely unimportant compared to her.
ImageShe was beautiful - that much could be seen even with his own facsimile of sight. He could tell that she was of a different race than him, but could not place exactly what that race was. It seemed like a mixture or cousin to one of the races that he could faintly recall, but despite that, the sight of another person still made his heart ache. It'd been so long since he had known of the existence of anyone. It was a comforting notion, despite the clear danger that she represented. She had a scent to her that also confused the man - part of him was repulsed by it, recognizing what the smell was, but it was a smell that he'd encountered so many times in visions and mad hallucinations that it almost felt comfortable at this point. And the cursed being that now made up a part of his own soul found the scent entirely pleasurable. The mingling of his own feelings and those of the curse left him feeling confused as he regarded this girl with a strange mix of aching happiness for seeing another living soul, attraction to her appearance, her scent, and her song, and the urge to try to kill this woman, or flee as far as he could.
ImageTaking a long moment, he spoke, realizing that his ice magic had faded in his palm as well while he'd been distracted. She would notice him calling up the mana to do so again. "Who are you?" The hand that had been holding his weapon's hilt had slackened, and he tightened his grip on it. "Don't come any closer, unless you have no fear of death." He tried to sound threatening, looking down at her despite his mixed feelings. His survival might depend on it.
ImageSanina's steps remained slow and even, almost soothing in a hypnotic way, but she did not halt her approach. "Shhh," she crooned lyrically, her free hand moving to rest atop Fade's hand that had grasped the hilt of his sword. Close as she was, it became evident that the bundle cradled within the crook of her arm was the morbid skeletal remains of a dead child. Though clearly deceased, the care with which she held it wrapped in her cloak displayed all the love and devotion of a mother with her child. Her skin against his hand was smooth, but cool to the touch. The ease at which her soft administrations could turn necrotic was a chilling thing, but she was not here to hunt and had no intention of harming Fade. Her entire demeanor was both relaxing and soothing, from the sound of her voice to the gentle brush of her hand. Her slow movements were designed to lull him into a state of passivity toward her, and though she did not understand the language he spoke, she continued to talk.
Image“You have no need to fear me...” she crooned softly. “Would you like to be a king again?” she asked. Whether or not he could understand her wasn't her concern, for it was the tone of her voice that would hold the most weight as she tried to soothe and calm him. She was in a vulnerable position, given that she had taken no precautionary measures against the mana gathering within his hand, but his actions led her to believe that he was no threat to her at the moment.
ImageFade's eyes flickered, his emotions readable despite the blackened magical seals that covered them. Mild fear most of all as he regarded what was clearly a dead child. Why was she holding it so close to her, as if it was a part of her soul? The lost king felt fear and confusion, unused to this new world he'd been born into. He resolved that he could escape. If he turned he would not even need to attack her - he likely had the strength to use his magic and slow his fall, and with her bundle she would not be able to follo-
ImageHer hand touched his, and it felt like electricity had shot up his arm, but warmer somehow. He inhaled with shock, and the proximity of the girl let the scent of her fill his senses. Suddenly the world became much smaller. He could hear the voices in his head, unified and roaring with triumph, almost deafening him. He could tell that she was talking, her dark, soft-looking lips moving, but even if he could understand her language, he could barely hear her amongst all of the dark whispers. This woman meant no harm to him, she wanted to help. Her tone of voice wasn't violent. Quite the contrary; it lulled him, and he found that he no longer minded.
ImageHer hand was cold on his arm. He knew it, but his race's resistance to the cold made it feel comfortable; it was a temperature that he enjoyed. It reminded him of the cool stone that had surrounded his underground kingdom.
ImageEyes wide with the memory Fade looked down at her, all trace of fear lost in his sudden excitement as he listened to that melodic voice; looked at her complex and intriguing emotions and felt her smooth, addictively cool skin.
ImageHis arms slackened at his sides, all traces of his willingness to defend himself, both magical and physical, faded. The curse in him had won out, and the lost king knew that he was facing a slippery slope, but he was suddenly finding it much easier to give in to the cool, comfortable darkness.
ImageSanina kept her voice low and soothing, crooning her pleasure at his change in posture. “There see? Isn't that better?” she asked. Her hand moved from his to brush the side of his face gently, and she leaned close almost as if she would kiss him. With her lips hovering just above his, she lingered a moment before leaning up to kiss him lightly on the forehead. “Such a dear you are,” she purred.
ImageIt was not often that she found much interest or use in anything still living, but the necromancer realized the benefits of broadening her horizons beyond her affinity with the undead. There was a question of concern over her lack of control over the living, but from man's seemingly enamored behavior she suspected that would not be a great concern in this case. Drifting back from him, her hand slid away from his face as she offered it to him; to take it and join her. She knew she had him and that he would not refuse the gesture.
ImageHis eyes could not see, but his magic sensed her completely. The dead infant she held, the corrosive aura that surrounded her, and even the predatory nature of her movements, despite her acting more gentle for his sake. But every aspect of her invited him to follow. His senses were overwhelmed by how completely she appealed to the tarnished magic within him, and his own loneliness led him to give into it. He would join her, and embrace the danger he knew he was creating for himself. Fade already felt like he needed her.
ImageThe lost king could not understand what she had said to him, but there was no mistaking that she was offering for him to follow her. Only hesitating for the briefest of seconds, he reached out, taking her offered hand and submitted to the darkness within them both.

Image

The setting changes from Terra to Wing City

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Imehal and Gasmask)

Wing City - A Cafe

Image“I give up.”
ImageThe defeatist words passed Natalie's lips in barely a breath, but her face did not seem terribly distressed. Her eyes were tight with frustration, but she maintained her usual poise, sipping at her freshly served tea with a frown on her lips, flipping the pages of the current novel she was reading in an attempt to relax.
ImageThe café was rather busy, not surprising considering it was lunchtime but the ambient noise was kept to a tolerable level. This meant that where the sorceress was snuggled into the corner on a worn but comfy leather armchair, it was merely background noise. She was mostly oblivious to the entire room, and therefore did not notice someone approaching the empty armchair beside her.
ImageLucien had been in the Orsa for only six days, and he examined the marking upon his arm, exposing it in the sunlight for a brief minute before letting it slip back under his cloak. His heavy boots clunked across the floor, each step echoing with magical power; his body was a large beacon to any magic user who could detect it. He had been the most powerful sorcerer from his realm, not to mention the last of his kind. He didn't care if anybody else detected his power, it wouldn't stop him from grinning as he sent them into the ground.
ImageLucien glanced around, he'd been restless of late. His mind had been wandering, he disliked his new allies. They let their greed and lust take control, making them cavemen with magical abilities in his own opinion. He tapped his thin and pale fingers across the hilt of his rapier as he turned to the waiter at the counter, placing his pale hand to the glass display case and pointing at a muffin. "That." he said coldly.
ImageLucien took his food gracefully, his thin hands taking the plate and a handkerchief from the counter, before walking to the free seat next to Natalie. He sat down and took a bite of his food, and giving her a simple wave.
ImageNatalie only looked up at the footsteps briefly, her frown deepening at the punctuated, distracting sounds that ruined the general mood of peace and joviality in the little cafe before returning the little black words that ran in rows along the pages of her novel. It was a trashy romance, for the young woman desired for something in her life that she didn't have to analyse or worry over. Something to simply enjoy.
ImageThere was a carefully hidden look of shock as Natalie picked up the feeling of magical exertion. A murmur of words, followed by the opening of a till, then the irritating footsteps began again, this time drawing closer to her. She did not look up, feeling rather than seeing the movement from whomever had sat beside her. Her grip tightened on the book, hoping that they would eat quickly and leave. Brown eyes lowered to her little tea cup as she retrieved it from the glass tabletop.
ImageStop being rude, she told herself admonishingly, hesitantly raising her gaze to nod politely to the stranger, who was very obviously the source of the uncontrolled magical bursts.
ImageLucien looked up from his food, lowering his hand towards the handkerchief and wiping his mouth free of crumbs, before lowering the useful cloth back down onto the table. He then extended a hand towards her. "Greetings, stranger." he said, looking down at his muffin before looking back at up at her, his eyes flickering down to the cover of the book she was reading. A romance novel? Hm.
ImageHe smiled. "Lucien, Lucien Athugtl Amorskr." he said fluidly, glancing out the window before returning to look upon Natalie. "Say, have you read the newspaper lately?"
ImageNatalie stared for a moment longer than was perhaps proper before tearing her attention away fully from her book, leaning forward to hesitantly accepting the pro-offered hand.
Image"Greetings sir. I am Natalie Oldburn," she replied politely, confused in the wake of tha rather odd question. Her frown abated somewhat at his gaze down at her book, bemused. Did she mind what image that put forward of her, reading such a book? Perhaps, but did she care what this stranger thought of her? Certainly not. "No, I have not. Why, did something of note happen?"
ImageLucien shrugged. "I simply don't read them, but I suppose I thought you would." He nodded at her, raising the muffin to his lips to finish it off before wiping his mouth with the handkerchief again before continuing to talk. "But I have heard of the news of two rival groups gunning for each other. Something about artefacts?" He shrugged. "But, I suppose that's not really your cup of tea, so instead..." He paused, tapping his chin.
Image"What is your opinion on the book you are currently reading? I know of a few good books myself, not that I have the time to read them any more." He said, smiling.
ImageIt was with great fortune that Natalie had leant forward to retrieve her cup of tea just as the stranger asked about the artefacts, for it enabled her to hide her expression of sheer disbelief at the man's audacity or obliviousness. It was not as if her involvement with the Patronus was not unknown, or was it? There did not seem to be any hidden depths to his queries. Treat it as obliviousness for now. “No, I dare say not,” she agreed peaceably, glancing down at her book with a fleeting smile.
ImageHer opinion? Natalie succinctly informed him that it was not particularly well-written, but it had a certain charm to it, and it was a lovely reprieve from all the heavy reading she did for her studies. “You don't strike me as the type to read trashy romance novels though, Mr Amorskr.”
ImageLucien had no idea. No one had thought to tell him about the individuals that were involved within the Patronus. In fact, he thought that what he had been told was a fancy version 'If they seem to be Patronus, kill them' order. He flexed his fingers as he leaned back. "Ah. They're supposedly fairly powerful, but the two rival factions going at it seem threatening. It's said that they could be anyone of us, but I don't believe that. If they were really that bad we would be finding dead people in the streets." He said unblinkingly, his face belied truth and a slight confusion, but it was only a half truth.
Image"Ah, well. I don't mind them. I prefer something to mull over, Thinking is an addiction I cannot seem to get away from, let alone stop." he joked, smiling faintly. "And it is just Amorskr. Mister reminds me of a painful time in my life, one which would do me good not to remember. Lucien will do, however." He didn't seem to be displeased, just idly annoyed as he raised a hand to cough into, but his eyes belied that his past wasn't as noble as his outfit suggested.
ImageHe brought up an interesting point, but Natalie had already said that she didn't have any particular interest in the matter, so it would be suspicious if she brought the debate about the actions of both Patronus and Orsa to the table again. There had not actually been that many random deaths since the conflict had broken out and those that had died; well, they had been 'fixed', and certainly not well-known to the general public. She found herself agreeing with the stranger, smiling in bemusement as he continued on about books before enquiring about her honorific for him.
Image“I would not call thinking a bad addiction. Would you really prefer to spend your days with an empty mind? That would be a dreary existence,” Natalie commented lightly, expression vaguely interested. Detaching herself was a behaviour well employed since her near daily associations with Red, so it was pleasant to find someone she could engage with on an intellectual level that she did not have to keep constantly reprimanding. The hand she took sincerely now, wary but she would not judge this stranger based on his interest in the conflict. She did not recognise his name; did that mean he was a new Orsa recruit? What did that mean?
Image“Ah, but I am afraid I cannot call one so familiarly without knowing them better. We will have to find a compromise,” Natalie replied, releasing the handshake with a slight smile. His eyes were telling, but in truth few were as noble as they appeared these days, Natalie included. She could hardly hold that against him. “Do you retain a title that I might call you by?”
ImageAmorskr raised a hand to his chin and thought, searching his memories for a title before settling on something that most people were not called. "Lord Amorskr." He chuckled, bowing his head in bemusement. "Ah, but as I said before, you can simply call me Lucien, Miss Natalie." He raised his head to smile gratefully. "Mhm, you may call it dreary, but this world holds many books, tomes and other such litanies of power. Knowledge is power Miss Natalie, but I understand. A friend once told me, which I have kept close to my heart is; 'an open mind is akin to leaving a fortress with its gates unbarred and door unlocked.'" he finished wisely.
Image"That knowledge is what has led me here - allowed me to escape the clutches of more powerful beings than myself. I swear on my title that an open mind is what brought down my world's strongest leaders." Lucien said dismissively. "But I digress, forgive me for doing so. Such matters are for another time." He ran a pale finger down the scar upon his left cheek. "Might I ask what career you pursue?"
ImageThere was a moment where the sorceress toyed with amusement over politeness, but the latter won out. It often did these days. “I know I may and I choose not to, Lord Amorskr. If you please, I would prefer Miss Oldburn,” she replied pleasantly, lowering her hand from his and releasing the grip held. He talked on as a frown found Natalie's lips. She did not like being misunderstood, but instead of snapping, she chose a direction infinitely more fulfilling. “My career? I am a teacher, thus I find books and learning a lot less dreary than most. The mind does so suffer from inactivity.”
ImageOh, now she was smiling rather slyly, taking another sip of her tea to hide it. “An open mind is of no use if one does not listen to knowledge imparted, I'm afraid. But now I digress. What of your profession?” Natalie continued, her question polite as she set aside the cup.
Image"A teacher? You didn't strike me as the type to teach, Miss Oldburn." Lucien replied, his sharp blue eyes taking in her sip, and it was as if they had penetrated the cup and seen her smirk, his eyebrow raised as a smile reached his lips. "Lord Amorskr, hm, that title hasn't been used for me for years, not since the very days of my youth." he idly said, propping himself on a slender finger. "My profession? Well, I have had three. Each one more interesting than the last, for now... I'd guess it would be a man who offers his services for money, my services being the magical path of summoning." he replied to her question, keeping a point to call it summoning, it was a fitting explanation for a less than respectable path that was par to Necromancy. Maybe even worse. "Sell-Sorcerer, maybe? Hah, not like anything interesting has come my way for some time."
ImageNatalie raised an eyebrow at the use of the title, firmly resisting the urge to shrug. It did not matter to her whether the honorific was rarely used; she was merely pleased that he had one. His response made her frown though, thoroughly unsatisfied. “Everyone offers their services for money unless they are fortunate to be provided for by another,” she replied primly, though there might have been a touch of derision to her tone towards the end. “You're a sorcerer for hire then?” She looked across at Lucien, now clearly judging him. “I see. What would you class as 'interesting'?” Her enquiry was softly spoken, eyes lightening from their intent gaze.
Image"Oh, yes I am a sorcerer for hire, but that makes me no different from an arch-mage or any other type of sorcerer. I don't waste my magic on just anything." Lucien replied, but his tone was fiercely protective of his stature in the sorcery caste hierarchy. "But there are shortcomings. Lousy pay, constant danger..."
ImageHe trailed off for a second, glancing out the window and then returning back to the conversation at hand. "Interesting? Interesting would be finding knowledge long since forbidden or lost to our eyes. Finding caches of scrolls, fighting abominations not of this world. Even with a closed mind, we must all find some thing interesting to fuel our lives. Finding something forbidden as a child was my fascination, be it as simple as the sweets jar on the top shelf, but now? I seek forbidden knowledge in darker places where is no light." Lucien tilted his head at Natalie. "But it is not the journey of constant danger there, it is knowledge and reward at the end."
ImageNatalie's amusement was brief but noticeable at his relaying of the disadvantages of self-employment. “Indeed - no matter our calling or wage, we are all practitioners of the magical arts. I do not disagree that point whatsoever.” His explanation was quite enthused, making it hard for her not to smile softly. However there was now a stiffness to her posture, glancing down at her half-finished tea though she possessed no desire to finish it. “All knowledge has its use and just as you seek forbidden knowledge, I attempt to perfect myself in all areas that I excel at.”
ImageNow she looked up at the clock, sighing softly. “Journeys are just as important as the destination and once more, I must continue on mine. It was a pleasure to meet you. Enjoy your day, Lord Amorskr.” She rose gracefully, bowing her head towards him. “Good day.”
ImageLucien Amorskr rose from his seat and bowed his own head. He pulled up his hood, straightening out his coat before laying a couple of gold pieces on the table, just enough to pay for his meal. "A pleasure indeed." he said, turning his shadowed head towards her and bowing like any good noble once more. "Let us meet once more under pleasant conditions." He then turned around, craning his neck and then advancing outside only to be passed by a child on a bicycle, holding a set of flowers in one hand, petals flying by as he disappeared around the corner. Now Lucien was just outside the window by now, gazing at the flower petals drifting by.
ImageHe caught one with his thumb and middle finger, feeling the texture and remembering a distant few years ago. He looked up at the sky, his hair resting just outside of his hood. How times changed... Nonetheless, he must continue on. He dropped the petal and walked down the road, turning around the corner and advancing towards what seemed to be a rundown hotel.

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Wing City - Gambit's Bar


ImageArrow swung the door open gently as he entered, noting the quiet within the bar and not wishing to disrupt it, and closed it behind himself with a quiet click. The archer made his way across the room to seat himself in a booth. His eyes wandered to the counter to ponder ordering a drink, but noting the present bartender, he thought better of it. Arrow took out a book, removed the bookmark, and set to reading.
ImageWhisper glanced up and gave Arrow a brief arch of her eyebrow as he sat there. He wouldn't be the first Patronus that had refused to be served by her, but she would inquire none the less. Closing the book in front of her she left her pen trapped beneath the pages to mark her place. "Can I get you anything?" she asked.
ImageArrow lifted his eyes from his book to look at Whisper with a neutral expression, eyes betraying nothing of the feelings behind them. A mixture of ire and disappointment, tinged with sadness. "Since you are offering," he said, "A cup of tea. Milk, no sugar." The archer might not wish to speak to Whisper, but his sense of manners required him to at least respond when she addressed him directly.
ImageWhisper inclined her head as she prepared Arrow's drink. Sliding the steaming cup across to rest in front of him, she hesitated perhaps a moment, her eyes lingering a time before she shook her head lightly and withdrew her hand. "Perhaps we could speak of a matter..." she said carefully.
Image"It would depend on the matter, I suppose." Arrow responded, raising an eyebrow. The archer leant back in his seat with the drink and sipped from it, frowning faintly. His book lay folded on the table, and he did not take it up again as of yet. Whatever Whisper intended to speak about, he would give her a chance to make her case, at least a small one.
ImageWhisper nodded briefly as she ran a hand lightly through her hair, mulling over how to go about addressing this issue. Sometimes honest and direct was the best route. There was little to be gained from dancing around the bushes, or playing games when they both knew where the other stood.
Image"I'm not rightly sure how to go about this, so I'll just be blunt. I would like to speak with Sylvire, but showing up at her library knocking on the front door probably wouldn't be the wisest idea, for everyone involved." she said.
ImageArrow raised an eyebrow, "You wish to meet with Sylvire? I've not had much contact with her. In fact, not at all since she questioned me regarding the circumstances of the injury I received from a certain shadow creature." The archer sipped from his tea. "I hear you tried to kill her. I am not sure she would be inclined towards reliving that experience. Why?"
Image"I did, and I have no excuse for my actions, other than I assure you, it was never my intentions for things to go how they did." Whisper replied carefully. Her eyes shifted towards Arrow's shoulder. Images flashed through her head, memories of him lying on the floor, soaked in blood. Shaking her head, she gently raised a hand to her forehead, fingers pressing lightly against her brow and rubbing it as if she had a headache.
Image"I am sorry for what happened to you as well." she added wearily. "I will suffer for my sins soon enough," she murmured softly before shaking her head. "But no matter, this isn't about me. It's about Dinaeus, and Maleficus."
Image"You are taking a different tone to our last meeting." Arrow said, "I rather got the impression you cared very little about your actions then." The archer folded his arms, "I am aware of those names, though I have not encountered either of them. Perhaps you should explain to me first."
ImageWhisper sighed softly, "Simply spoken, I'm worried for him." she explained. The tone of her voice seemed sincere enough, perhaps even a touch more sincere than should be expected. "Dinaeus that is. I know there's likely nothing I can say that will gain my words any credibilty, so if you'll help me, great. If not, I'll find another way. I wish only to speak with her, somewhere public and with plenty enough bystanders," she explained.
Image"I will relay your message." Arrow folded his arms, "Because I can read you like an open book, Whisper, and I am not even an empath. Obviously something has changed, to affect your attitude." Arrow inclined his head. "Did you have a location in mind?"
ImageWhisper seemed almost relieved at Arrow's words. "Thank you." she said. "And no, I do not. I don't expect her trust, my only conditions are as stated. Somewhere public. The Plaza perhaps."
Image"Very well." Arrow nodded. "I will inform her. And how are you faring, Whisper? What conflicts do you suffer at present, as I assume they are plenty." The archer sipped at his tea sedately. Whisper could choose whether to remain and converse or not, she seemed to be worthy of at least a few words at present. If nothing more than that.
ImageWhisper seemed almost taken back by Arrow's inquiry. His civility hadn't surprised her, but she hadn't expected such a remark from the man. In fact she fell utterly silent for a moment, her eyes betraying her weariness once more. "Times have been better." she admitted finally. "Yourself? And the Patronus?" she asked, returning the gesture.
Image"Personally, uneventful. I fear that what remains unsaid is perhaps the most significant, though. The lack of news from all corners worries me. Failure to communicate is the sand in which the foundations of a war crumble."
ImageArrow folded his arms, "But perhaps now I am in possession of a callstone such things can be improved." The archer raised an eyebrow, "What is your situation with the succubus? Am I to take it that you are less in her thrall, given your presence and your wish to aid Dinaeus?"
ImageWhisper averted her eyes elsewhere, her hand raising to brush against the ring that hung at her throat. The gesture could have been mistaken as one of fondness, given that she had averted her eyes to hide the pain and fear within them. Closing her fingers around the ring, she clutched it tightly.
Image"I do not wish to aid Dinaeus against Nyx, only Maleficus." She would not betray the succubus. "My loyalties... are to Nyx." Her voice was strained and it was difficult for her to speak such words, false as they were within her current state of mind. "Not to the Orsa of Terminus," she explained.
Image"I see." Arrow said, disappointed. "Well, Whisper. I will not say it has been a delight to have this talk with you, but I will say that it was less of a travesty than I expected."
Image The archer rose, nodding to her. "I will pass your message along. Farewell, Whisper. May the gods grant you a quick end when it comes, or a release from the succubus that you might flee what you see as your fate. You are not my enemy, but neither can I count you as my ally, nor truly a friend. You understand. Goodbye." And with that, the archer departed.

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Wing City - Plaza

ImageIt had been a week since Whisper's brief exchange with Arrow, and the arrangements for her meeting with Sylvire had been scheduled to take place on this day. She found herself standing in the center of the Wing City Plaza, her eyes casting about patiently. She had arrived an hour early, if only to scout the area out and ensure that she was not walking into an ambush. She would not betray Nyx, but if the Patronus could glean some information as to what Maleficus was planning, it could be mutually beneficial.
ImageThe plaza itself seemed peaceful enough; the crowds worked their way through the area, stopping at the various vendors situated about the place. A large stone fountain stood a few paces from Whisper, a scattering of people gathered about it to sit and rest atop the cool stone rim that surrounded the gurgling water. It was not quite noon yet, but the harsh rays of the near mid-day sun were uncomfortably hot overhead, especially for the frail woman with her pale skin and light blue eyes. She always did prefer the moonlight to the sunlight, but on this day she wanted the crowds that the plaza offered. It would grant some measure of safety from violence, though that is not to say that she was relying solely on the Patronus’ good nature to keep herself safe. She remembered well the trap they had laid for Nyx, and knew that there were several members that could act with precision enough to not be a threat to the surrounding bystanders. She was however confident they would not act against her until after she had spoken. Sylvire would want to know what it was she wished to speak about; she would not be rash nor reckless.
ImageAll in all, Whisper was confident, though wary. She had her staff in hand and a few defensive spells already in place. The first was a spell of projection that left Whisper appearing about a foot to the left of where she actually stood. The second was one of true seeing that left Whisper’s eyes glowing an unusual luminescent white. The third was a counter spell that only awaited her release to activate. She was well aware of Sylvire’s recent work to create anti-teleport magic, and she did not want to wager against whether it would influence her ability to planar shift. Any efforts to lay such a spell over the area would be met with her counter spell, followed by a quick withdrawal. Also on hand was her old artifact - the Beholder's Spectacle - stashed in her pouch. The Orb of Restoration had previously responded to her call to heal Aeryn, but she suspected the new artifact would be of no assistance to her on this day.

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ImageSylvire had always been a fan of logistics. Meetings like this, back in the day, had been commonplace. A turncoat, or an informant, or even an enemy offering information that would benefit both parties if it were known. The Great Game of Houses had been a feature of daily life for Sylvire for her first few millennia. Backstabbing and lies were almost second nature to the supposed warrior of good -- despite the fact that she had long since left those days behind her. Or perhaps they had left her. Amarathia's fall had taken most of the great houses with it. But that aside, Sylvire had a lot of experience with planning encounters like this, which was why she had brought with her a number of trump cards.
ImageFor one, her Artefact. The Haywire Gem. Any sort of 'field' or 'signal', magical or technological would be rendered void by the stone's power. Secondly, the sorceress held a number of spells ready for usage at a moment's notice. Their energies were disguised within her staff, hopefully preventing them being detected as hanging on the edge of casting, but could be drawn upon at a moment's notice. A bolt of lightning, binding chains and a web of disruption. The lightning and chains were self explanatory, but a web of disruption was one of Sylvire's more complex spell.
ImageExtending outwards around her, the spell would encompass an area, having no tangible effect until someone who wasn't Sylvire attempted to cast a spell. At that point, one of the web's links would surge and send a bolt of arcane energy at the caster, shattering their spell and releasing the energy contained within it in the moments before completion on them. It wasn't flawless, it could only detect spells based around mana and similar such concepts, but Sylvire was pleased with it. But preparations aside.
ImageAt the time of the meeting, Sylvire appeared in the Plaza. She did not teleport in, neither had she been covered in an invisibility spell, she had, to put it simply, faded into the foreground. For approximately twenty minutes Sylvire had stood stock still in the Plaza, exuding not being seen. The eyes of passers-by had slipped over her entirely, they never saw her -- and as it wasn't 'invisibility', rather fooling the mind into not wanting to see her, perhaps Whisper would not have noticed. It was both magic and not at the same time. Its usage required an understanding of magic, but not any actual spell. It was a witch thing. Sylvire had learned it from a human witch many years ago. It was surprisingly useful. Headology, the woman had called it.
Image"Whisper." Sylvire nodded respectfully, "I understand you have some information for me."

ImageSome distance away around the fountain from the pair sat a young girl, dangling her hand into the fountain. Aiedai hummed quietly to herself, gazing at the bubbles and splashes in the water, but one got the sense from looking at her that her mind was far from what her hand was doing. The girl exuded awareness. But she remained passive. She had been ordered not to show herself, even in the most dire of circumstances.

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ImageThe first sign for Whisper that something was amiss was the disruption of her empathy. Her psychic cabilities were lacking next to her counterparts and she required hand contact to really get a solid read on people, but it was still a disconcerting feeling to have her senses all amuck. The lack of understanding of how and where Sylvire came from was unsettling; it meant that either her true seeing spell was failing her, or Sylvire had a means of tampering with Whisper’s senses that the true seeing spell could not ward against. A spell can make her see things as they are, but if her mind chooses to disregard the information, then the spell is of no use.
ImageDespite her unnease, Whisper stood passive, her face just as neutral as Sylvire appeared. Her only response to the disruption of her senses was a swift defensive measure. She withdrew into herself, closing down her mind from the outside environment. Up came her defenses, a seemingly impenetrable stone fortress to encompass her mind. The stone tower that she visualized enveloping her was only as strong as she could will it to be, but as long as she kept her focus and the fortress strong, then her mind would not be accessible short of brute force. Any attempts to access her mind would likewise return to the intruder only the vague image of the visualized tower within her thoughts.
ImageMeanwhile Sylvire’s greeting was returned with a humble and respectful incline of her head. Whisper had the utmost respect for Sylvire, and perhaps it was this reason that she had so many defenses in place. If Sylvire merely allowed her to walk away, she would be thoroughly astounded. She had no misconceptions to the fact that Sylvire could and would do what others would not
Image“Indeed. I would have passed it through to you, but my efforts to do so previously were met with disappointment. I felt it best to see to it personally this time. It seems communications have not improved since we last spoke,” Whisper explained. Forgoing pleasantries, she dove straight to the point and business. The time for apologies was over; she was here for a specific purpose, and she would stick to that. The less conflicted she was, the more likely her chances of walking away from here alive would be.
ImageSylvire nodded. "I am aware. I provided the tools for communication, and I lend my ear whenever I can, and yet so often this is the case. Perhaps it is a flaw in heroes. So seldom do they wish to allow others to conquer their evils for them, out of some form of - poignantly - 'hero' complex." The sorceress folded her arms. "But I take it that is not all. Arrow mentioned something of Dinaeus, and Maleficus, who I had only recently beforehand learned is not quite as dead as I had believed. Do go on."
ImageWhisper nodded. “It is my belief that Maleficus has tampered with Dinaeus, much as he tampered with Ty. Unfortunately as I’m sure you are aware, Dinaeus has a pointed distaste in magic, and has been uncooperative with allowing me to investigate the extent of his... ailment,” Whisper explained. “Maleficus himself has hinted at nefarious plans for Dinaeus, but would not reveal the details.”
ImageWhilst Whisper spoke, Sylvire was probing. Not in a direct way, but her senses sought out the magical signature that she knew so well. One prominent source of it was upon her cloak, the gem within the brooch that clasped it. The Haywire Gem. Another source, however, was about Whisper. So she had an Artefact, and this meeting would, therefore, not be ending peacefully.
ImageIt almost saddened the sorceress. Almost, for these were trying times. There was both that which was good, benevolent, kind -- and then there was that which was necessary. The ends justify the means -- not always true, but certainly in this case. In this case, where the ends was a lack of an 'End' with a tangibly capital E.
ImageWhisper paused a moment, unaware of Sylvire's observations before continuing on. “Would you perhaps be familiar with something called The Lachance Games?” she asked as she moved to withdraw what appeared to be an orb of pulsing black energy from her pouch. She held it lightly in the palm of her hand, unthreatening. She expected wariness from Sylvire, so she kept her movements slow and steady.
ImageAs they conversed, Whisper was feeling out Sylvire as well. Her eyes glanced over the sorceress’ form, lingering for a time in particular on Sylvire’s staff. As she performed her inspection, Whisper’s eyes were an almost unsettling thing. Though unblinking, and seemingly unseeing, she perceived more than normal sight could ever hope to grant her. Sylvire's staff was a complex and intriguing thing that she would love to study in depth had she the opportunity to do so. In the meanwhile she had picked up on the spells disguised within the object, but it would take more time still for her to properly sort through the weave of magic to separate them apart from one another and read into their nature.
ImageSylvire frowned as Whisper produced some odd object from her pouch, eyes focusing on it as she attempted to detect whether the other woman was influencing it in any way. Satisfied that she was simply presenting it, the sorceress addressed Whisper's words.
Image"I see. That is unpleasant news. I have had little contact with Dinaeus, but perhaps I can persuade him to subject himself to examination." Sylvire thought she might be able to. Dinaeus seemed to have a respect for her, though she could be mistaken. "It would not do for Maleficus to gain the level of control over him that he has over Rahal."
ImageThe sorceress eyed the orb again, frowning worriedly. "I have not. But it sounds ominous. Lucien Lachance was a powerful entity that inhabited the Multiverse and Wing City prior to your arrival here. I am unaware of the circumstances of his death, but he was very certainly dead, I believe. He was responsible for much death. If this means his return, then I cannot think it anything but trouble."
ImageClicking her tongue thoughtfully, Sylvire nodded to herself. "Are you presenting this orb to me because it holds some link to these games, and Maleficus? I would hazard a guess that you think I might be able to glean something from it. If so, then I will do so. I have methods of containing ... unstable magical or otherwise items safely and examining them when I wish to." The sorceress fell silent, clearly awaiting Whisper's response.
Image“I’m not sure of much. Only that the term is linked to Maleficus in some manner or another,” Whisper explained. As she held her hand out the orb began to hover over it, the black energy peeling away in long tendrils that began to vaporize, leaving a locket hovering there. With a brief gesture of her hand, the locket fell to the ground and skittered across the pavement to rest at Sylvire’s feet. Etched into the locket was the name Nyx.
Image“Maleficus gave that to me,” Whisper went on to explain. “I don't know what its purpose is, only that I’m sure it is harmful in nature. Do with it what you will,” she said simply. “Truthfully? I do not think Maleficus has any intentions to pursue matters with the Orsa of Terminus. Twice he has been in Dinaeus’ presence and not made attempts on his artifact. He seeks my services, and Nyx’s demise, but it seems to be for his own intentions... Though these intents are perhaps no less of a threat - especially towards Dinaeus,” she said.
ImageThe entire time she spoke, she did not break that unblinking gaze of hers that was settled on Sylvire’s form, and already she was unraveling the strands of magic that made up the workings of the sorceress’ staff. It would take hours for her to tap into its full secrets, but she had recognized and determined two of the spells contained within it, the lightning bolt and binding chains. Both spells were simple, but the third puzzled her with its complexity and she continued her efforts to identify the nature of it.

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Image"Thank you. It is appreciated." Sylvire gestured toward the locket and lifted it into the air, drawing it toward her carefully. She tucked it away in a pouch, briefly warding the leather with a containment charm before returning her attention to Whisper. "It pleases me to hear of conflict within the Orsa. We may be somewhat lacking in communication, but at least we are not fighting one another... well, to a degree." Sylvire frowned. "Marxan. I need to have a word with him."
ImageShe did not mention the greatest conflict, Whisper herself, though it hung in the air like a poison. "Do you have any further information to impart?" Sylvire queried, before pausing.
Image"Ah, yes. I also have a message to pass along, though both I and the one who gave it to me are doubtful you will respond to it. Apparently Miss Dae requests a meeting with you. Though she did not specify the reason, she stressed it was important." Sylvire didn't doubt that Scarlet's intentions were her own in this matter. Be they positive or negative, Sylvire did not know. But she couldn't help but speculate that the headmistress might not be looking to pat Whisper on the back...
ImageSomething seemed to occur to Sylvire then, and she frowned thoughtfully. "Incidentally, may I assume that I am speaking to Alessia? Elante spoke to me."
Image“Alessia… Yes,” she said softly. It wasn't often she heard her own name or had an identity apart from Whisper and Jacquelyn. In a way, it comforted her to know that she was identified as such. “I’m afraid Dallas has not been the only casualty as I’m sure you are aware." she said. “I can not help but assume any meeting with Scarlet is to seek revenge for the death of that woman... Sad to think that I do not even know her name.” She frowned softly. “They may not have died by my hand, but it was my pride, and my fear that allowed things to go how they did. I will suffer for my sins in time - perhaps this day even." She left the thought hanging in the air, along with her suspicions that Sylvire would not just let her walk away from here.
ImageWhisper paused a moment as she weighed her next words. “But as it seems you understand the nature of things, you understand that it is not just my life on the line if I speak with Scarlet. There are other lives that are innocent in these matters,” she said carefully. She would protect those under her care, to whatever ends that may lead her.
ImageSylvire simply nodded, and allowed silence to fall for a moment. "For what it is worth, Alessia, I admire your persistence in attempting to protect those people. However, there is a line that is drawn between good intentions and actual actions." The sorceress smiled faintly. "I'm sure you understand my reasons." she said, though it could not be said whether she referred to the words she had previously spoken, or the actions to follow.
ImageWhen Sylvire lifted her eyes from the floor they were alight, and with them came magic. From Sylvire's form burst a wide web of bright purple light, spreading into the air and enveloping the plaza like a net, but Whisper’s pointed studying left her prepared for what was to come. As Sylvire released her spell, Whisper uttered forth a single word, releasing her counter spell. It attacked the web of disruption upon activation, unraveling the magic and dissipating it. Bystanders turned in surprise to face its source, sounds of panic already beginning as the second spell released, and the bolt of lightning cracked from Sylvire's staff and tore through the air in seconds to strike Whisper where she stood.
ImageOr at least that had been the intention. Sylvire's eyes narrowed as the bolt passed straight through 'Whisper', instead striking the plaza floor and blasting a small crater where it struck. The displaced image vanished while Whisper reappeared, thrown to the side by the bolt that struck the ground beside her. She was unharmed, though singed and dirtied as she moved to push herself back to her feet. And that was the final straw. Panic set in across the plaza, as civilians scattered away from the starting battle with cries and shouts. The sorceress stood silhouetted against a bright glow of magic, power held in her ready to be directed into spells at will. She was not holding back.
Image"I am, to some degree at least, sorry that this must be the way things are, Alessia." Sylvire said, "I would feel better were I striking a guiltier side to Whisper. But you understand that this is necessary. I know that much. I do not expect you to lie down and surrender, but neither should you expect me to show mercy."
Image“I understand,” Whisper replied softly, even as Sylvire went into action.
ImageWith a gesture, Sylvire's eyes flashed brightly for a moment, and a globe of arcane light burst from her form. The attack was weak, but the area of effect was wide and expanded all around her - thankfully by now the civilians had cleared its area.
ImageWhile Sylvire released her spell, Whisper's staff pulsed and a dark orb expanded outward from her. Whisper's swift reaction engulfed the pair in a stationary sphere of magical darkness that encompassed a twenty foot radius around her. The spell afforded little protection from area of affect spells though, and the force of Sylvire's arcane burst knocked her back against the edge of the fountain where she sank to the ground with a grunt of pain. She was slightly dazed, but unharmed.
ImageWhen the dark orb expanded to encompass Sylvire, the sorceress reacted calmly. She allowed the darkness to wash over her, and did not run blindly to try and escape it. Closing her eyes, Sylvire focused on what she could sense.
ImageThe trickle of the water fountain alongside the distant cries of fleeing civillians, warning others away from the Plaza. A grunt of pain towards the fountain. A scraping as if of cloth on concrete. And magic - the artefact signature was still there. With the sound, the sense of magic, and a memory of Whisper's and the fountain's relative locations, the sorceress was able to triangulate a likely location.
ImageWithout moving, Sylvire released her final held spell, the binding chains shot up through the ground around Whisper. Though they were a foot off course, they quickly corrected themselves as they homed in on the intended target, and attempted to wrap themselves around her form, pinning her painfully to the floor with chains of energy.
ImageWith her true seeing in place, Whisper was quite capable of seeing through the impenetrable darkness around her. As the chains shot up, she threw her hands up and her staff pulsing once more. This time it was a ray of frost that burst forth, spanning outward in a cone to engulf the chains, leaving them slick with ice.
ImageA moment later, Sylvire waved a hand in an attempt to dispel the dark orb. With her chains acting as something of a focal point as to where to aim her unravelling, Sylvire targeted the threads of mana emerging from the staff Whisper held and attempted to slice them at their source with a carefully directed precision slash of pure mana.
ImageIn the meantime, Aiedai sat and stared directly at Whisper from her position to the far side of the fountain, seemingly unphased by the darkness. Her head was tilted slightly, as if evaluating the woman.
ImageWhisper rolled clear of the frozen arcane bindings and came to her feet as she steadied herself for but a moment against the fountain. Now that the civilians were clearing out out, the child's position became prominent. Whisper recognized Aiedai briefly from their encounter in the bar, and she took pointed care to keep her mental fortifications strong. It was difficult to maintain a strong wall while in the heat of combat, but mental fortitude was her strong point; for the moment, she seemed to be in control of her thoughts.
ImageMeanwhile as much as she loathed using it, her free hand whipped out to gesture towards Sylvire just as the mana keeping the orb of darkness intact was severed. Hopefully, her new location would prompt a surprise attack, if only for a moment as the infernal chain that was coiled around her leg writhed and curled up her body and down her arm before it lanced towards Sylvire like a spear shot aimed at Sylvire’s right shoulder.
ImageSylvire's senses and reflexes were honed to a point, and when the darkness fell, she opened her eyes. The light was momentarily disorienting, but still the elf caught sight of Whisper out of the corner of her eye, and turned to face her as the chain attack was launched.
ImageShe sidestepped, allowing the chain to pass, and before it could whip around to strike her again she brought her staff down in a scything arc. As the metal moved it gathered light, and by the time it made contact with the chain it was surrounded with enough magic to slice straight through the metal. However as Sylvire’s staff struck, it did not sever as intended; the chain seemed exceptionally durable against the arcane energies. As the items collided, the chain promptly entwined around the staff that had struck it, much like a serpent.
ImageNot pausing, Sylvire returned her attention to Whisper herself, muttering under her breath and activating one of her elemental spells. The ground beneath Whisper suddenly seemed to sink, the earth grasping at her legs to try and pull her down into it like particularly energetic quicksand. Then Sylvire began to approach Whisper with steady strides, maintaining a ready stance to react to any attacks but still closing the distance. She intended to finish this as quickly as she was able.
ImageThe ground giving way beneath Whisper's feet was an unnerving situation, but the girl kept her wits about her. Grabbing onto the fountain edge at her side, Whisper swiftly hoisted herself up even as she began to call her next spell to mind. Standing atop the edge of the fountain she held her hands wide as lightning arced from her finger tips. A moment later she released the spell, and the crackling energy erupted outwards in a wide arc of chain lightning that cracked through the air towards Sylvire.
ImageMeanwhile the infernal chain would be giving off a general sense of foreboding. With a second gesture of her arm, Whisper aimed to violently jerk Sylvire’s staff from the sorceress' grasp. Whisper didn't appear to touch it, but the chain seemed more than capable of animating itself. However a sorceress never abandoned her staff, and for good reason. Sylvire's staff was more than a pretty bauble. When Whisper's chain attempted to pull back at the staff, Sylvire directed her gaze on it, eyes lighting up with golden divine fire and directing a glittering beam from each orb towards the chain, scything a slash in the ground where they passed with the divine energies.
ImageIn sharp contrast to the previous arcane attack, the divine energy lanced through the links severing the item under the assault. The object fell away leaving Sylvire’s staff free once more while the remaining bit of chain rapidly recoiled around Whisper’s form, pulsing weakly. Jerking her staff forcefully back to herself, Sylvire directed her attention towards Whisper. Almost smiling, the sorceress lifted her hand and caught the lightning attack, gathering it in a ball in her hand and flinging it aside to crash into the fountain. Elemental magic was amongst her fortes. On that note, Sylvire directed her gaze at the fountain itself, the water within leaping at her command and scything towards Whisper, freezing as it moved through the air in an attempt to immobilise her. But of course Sylvire knew that Whisper had her own elemental magic, and such an attack would have little lasting effect, and so she accompanied the strike with a barrage of arcane bolts from her position. The dozen or so bolts arced away from her form to loop around and strike at Whisper from a variety of angles as Sylvire continued her approach, closing the distance.
ImageWhisper's eyes narrowed at the ease with which Sylvire deflected the lightning, but her posture remained one of confidence and determination. As the water rushed her form Whisper did not evade it, but rather swiftly manipulated it. Water turned to ice as it rapidly enveloped her, absorbed the impact of the arcane bolts.
ImageWith the threat passed that strange dark pulse from her staff came forth, rippling through the remains of her frozen tomb. The ice lanced out molding into an encasement of spikes. A moment later the entire thing shattered sending a spray of fragmented shards spiraling through the air in all directions, much like shrapnel.

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ImageSylvire could sense that Whisper was not exhausting herself in the slightest, but as of the moment had rather more pressing matters to attend to, such as a barrage of spikes. The sorceress' eyes flashed once again, and she opened her mouth to spew a fiery jet out ahead of her path, melting the icicles as they flew, turning the water to steam. The flames would also lick at Whisper, though that was not their primary intention and the cone of fire dwindled before it enveloped her.
ImageThe sorceress' approach continued, and as she drew close she flicked a finger, shooting a block of rock upwards and towards the back of Whisper's legs with the intent of causing her to fall. Sylvire then took two long quick strides, one hand moving beneath her cloak and drawing out a glinting length of steel. With a grunt of surprise the stone struck Whisper's legs and knocked her from her perch atop the fountain edge. As the girl fell Sylvire plunged the longsword in a precise and swift strike towards her chest, with the intent of ending her life mercifully quickly. Her eyes betrayed sorrow, but not regret.
ImageWithout time enough to prepare a proper spell, Whisper fell back on instinct and reflex in an attempt to move Sylvire herself. Tapping into her own reserves rather than those that the staff granted her, Whisper let her divine energies fluctuate outwards. In an effect much akin to Sylvire’s earlier arcane burst, the air around Whisper's form rippled and wavered from the rush of magic that erupted from her in a brief spherical blast. As Sylvire was knocked back by the arcane burst, her feet left the ground briefly before elven agility kicked in and she landed firmly upright, digging in her heels to avoid flying too far. After the brief second needed to regain her balance, Sylvire darted forwards again. Meanwhile with her path clear, Whisper landed on the ground in a graceful tumble, coming to rest in a crouch, one hand on the ground to steady herself, her staff still in her other. Her clothes were smoldering, but she appeared unharmed.
ImageSylvire had every intention of ending this quickly, eyes flashing as the earth beneath Whisper grasped and bubbled at her, attempting to latch onto her feet and the hand she had placed on the ground. Whisper was crouched for but a moment as she made to dart to the side away from Sylvire's approach, only to find the ground softening beneath her once more. Without the fountain to give her the leverage needed to pull herself free, she found herself held fast. Sylvire moved in, and slashed with her sword with the intention of drawing the blade across Whisper's throat. The irony of the situation did not escape either of them.
ImageFor the first time a flicker of uncertainty crossed Whisper's eyes. The realization that Sylvire was very much aiming for a precise and fatal strike had settled over her; one mistake could well cost her life. Calling on elemental magic once more, her staff pulsed within her grasp and sent out ripples of magic through the earth. The ground beneath Whisper warped as she twisted and molded it to her uses. With a rumble, the space between her and Sylvire burst upwards as the flagstones gave way to the rock and earth beneath it. The erection of the stone wall drew on the earthen substance trapping Whisper until she was left crouched unhindered in a depression of earth.
ImageCasting her eyes about her surroundings Whisper started looking for potential exits or cover; places Sylvire would be less prone to use destructive magic. Several surrounding buildings caught her eye as she darted for the nearest one; a shopping mall complex. It was large, containing enough people to keep the level of magic being thrown about to a minimal level of destruction - if she could reach it.
ImageIn response to the raised wall of earth, Sylvire scowled. The sorceress extended an arm in an arc, and clove through the barrier in a cracking of rock, sending shards of it shooting towards Whisper's retreating back. Fortunately for Whisper, the majority of the wall was formed out of earth, and as it broke down most of it would crumble into a useless spray of dirt, but there were certainly enough rocks to make it a threat as the shards of fragmented stones flew after her retreating form. She was left with several gashes and tears in her clothing and skin, first blood between the pair, though nothing more than superficial wounds and grazes.The elf eyed Whisper's destination with distaste. Trying to use civillians as human shields was something that Sylvire did not like in the slightest.
ImageEven as she took off after Whisper, Sylvire gestured behind her at the fountain. The water within bubbled up and began to flow in a torrent through the air, cascading over both Sylvire's and Whisper's heads before looping around and down to slam into the ground and Whisper in a violent spray intended to knock the girl backwards, or at least halt her progress. Sylvire then drew a dagger from beneath her cloak, and after carefully aiming, released the weapon in a deadly accurate throw, aiming to sever muscle in the back of Whisper's knee to prevent her from running any further.
ImageThe water crashing down in front of Whisper, bringing her up short as she skidded to a stop, her arm raising up to redirect the water rushing at her. Rather than halt it, she parted it and allowed the momentum of the spray to slide past her while she spun back to face her assailant. With a gesture of her hand the water continued on its path, redirected towards Sylvire herself. The spray crystallized into shards of ice as it neared the sorceress, and the dagger, though initially unnoticed, was caught in the spray of ice and water, deflecting it from its intended course. Bringing the butt of her staff down against the pavement a tremor ran through the ground, roots and vines tearing their way up from the depths of the earth in an effort to entangle Sylvire.
ImageSylvire allowed the vines and roots to ensnare her for only a moment, before her eyes flashed and fire burst outwards from her form in a spiralling inferno, burning the plants to ash and freeing her in short order. At the same time this burst met the flow of water, melting the shards of ice and turning the large portion of the water to naught but steam -- though that scalded something dreadful when it blew past her.
ImageThe sorceress decided to attempt a repeat of an attack which had been effective earlier -- in a slightly more damaging variant. From behind and below Whisper, two spikes of earth shot up from the ground, sharp points angled up to scythe through her legs almost immediately upon surfacing. Crippling Whisper was a priority at this point to prevent her escape. And once again, Sylvire advanced swiftly on the girl, elven agility rapidly lessening the gap between them.
ImageWith a cry of surprise and pain Whisper dropped to her knees as stone spikes pierced flesh. Pain contorted her face as she caught herself with one hand. She could feel the rush of warm blood, and the sharp lance of pain left her dizzy, but with Sylvire rapidly closing the gap she needed to move swiftly. In a rapid recreation of her earthen wall from earlier, the ground shuddered and warped beneath Whisper as a twenty foot high pillar rose up, lifting the wounded girl into the air. The spikes tore free and melded into the pillar, causing another brief cry of pain to be drawn from her lips.
ImageHealing magic would be necessary if she was going to be moving, but nothing taxed her more than healing; especially healing herself. The divine energies swiftly gathered as she directed them towards the injuries, trying to will the severed muscles and sinew to mend, and for the torn flesh to knit closed. It was an agonizing process and far too slow for her liking - she only had moments to work with, if that. Beads of sweat formed on Whisper's skin as she measured up the jump it would take to reach the building from the pillar. It wasn't far, but injured as she was, it wouldn't be an easy feat to make, especially from a stationary jump.
ImageSylvire didn't pause at the rising pillar, not allowing herself to lose momentum, knowing that Whisper would not be downed forever. The sorceress leapt into the air and struck the pillar with a flat palm, magic coursing through her body and into the rock. For a moment she simply hung there, a visible shockwave pulsing outwards where hand met stone. Then the rock began to crumble. A pulse of force exploded through the rock at around the ten foot mark, shattering the stone in the middle and causing the top of the pillar to fall forwards towards Sylvire, who swiftly propelled herself out of the way.
ImageAs the pillar shuddered under the shockwave, it was now or never. Abandoning her healing efforts, Whisper called on the element of air to assist her. Gritting through the lancing agony from the only partially mended wounds, she made a leap for the nearby building. Curling protectively, she let a burst of arcane energy lash out around her in a brief nova blast to shatter a window on the second story of the building. With a sudden forceful gust of wind to add momentum to her leap she cleared the gap, though the landing was far from graceful.
ImageAs Whisper came to find herself laying on the floor amongst the shattered glass of the window, there was a lot of commotion and screams of panic from the people within the building that had been watching the fight. She rather wanted nothing more than to just lie there and catch her breath, but Sylvire wouldn't be far behind. Gritting her teeth, she wove her next spell; a thick obscuring mist. The fog billowed out from her form, rapidly filling the room, adding more confusion and panic to the scattering bystanders, and increasing the general chaos and mayhem of the situation.

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ImageSylvire had seen the leap; heard the crash. The sorceress scowled. So be it - she would not let Whisper escape merely through the use of civilians as cover. The elf propelled herself upwards with a platform of earth of her own, and stepped gracefully through the window that Whisper had crashed through. Her eyes scanned the room searchingly, and she frowned as she found only fog. But as had been demonstrated before in this battle -- what one elemental spell did, another could reverse. Sylvire spread her arms wide, and parted the fog like the red sea, sending it billowing out of the window behind her and leaving the room clear.
ImageShe caught sight of Whisper quickly, and directed her gaze at the girl. In order to ensure that she remained on the ground, Sylvire's eyes lit up, and twin beams of divine power seared from them with the aim of striking Whisper in the chest. It was a maintained beam that, whilst not highly damaging due to Alessia's own divine nature, would serve to keep her pinned by the heat and force behind it until Sylvire could approach.
ImageWhisper was already pushing herself back to her feet as the fog parted only to feel something forcefully slam into her chest, slamming her back to the floor with a grunt. It took her but a moment to determine what was holding her in place, her eyes falling on Sylvire's approaching form. The situation was growing rather dire. What Whisper had in youth and a large mana reserve, Sylvire was more than making up with experience and precision. Her free hand closed to grip the beholder's spectacle tucked beneath her shirt. How easy it would be to just give it to Sylvire, but no. The things Nyx would do to her if she failed - she would rather die this day by Sylvire's hand than face Nyx's wrath should she lose the artifact. For the moment anyways, no further spells came from Whisper, her eyes set upon Sylvire.
ImageSylvire held her sword ready as she stepped beside Whisper. The gap closed to naught and Sylvire waved a hand, causing arcane ropes to shoot from the floor and tightly bind Whisper down, after which Sylvire ceased her onslaught of divine energies. By this point, Sylvire was low in her mana reserves -- but her staff still held a high amount of energy to be drawn upon. She was far from tiring. The sorceress lifted her sword over Whisper, and prepared to strike and finish her.
Image'Why don't you just kill the bad part?'
ImageSylvire hesitated, the brief contact from Aiedai -- standing now in the doorway to the centre -- staying her hand. 'I can't, dear. I do not have that power.'
Image'I can make it possible. They say I can. They say that in her world the many hers are no longer one, and that they see goodness in the hers that aren't quite her but are her at the same time.'
ImageThe confusing wording aside, Sylvire realised that Aiedai was right. Was it not she herself who had murmured about finding a psychic to force the Nyx out of Whisper in the past? She had not considered Aiedai, given the girl's instability, but the worst that could happen was Whisper would die. Which seemed quite likely anyway, given the circumstances.
ImageAnd so Sylvire did not strike, and instead she stared down into Whisper's eyes. Her eyes flashed purple, and she attempted to forcefully coax the girl into unconsciousness.
ImageAs Sylvire drew close, Whisper had been prepared to release a final spell, but something caused her to hesitate; Sylvire's blow was seemingly stayed. She was not aware of the psychic exchange that took place, only that the expected blow did not come. Memories flitted through her head of that night so many weeks ago, Sylvire extending a hand to rest atop Whisper's shoulder, a gesture of support and friendship met with the flash of steel in a bloody act of betrayal and deceit. Whisper's spell unraveled from her grasp, never coming to completion. She simply couldn't find it within her to strike out against the woman who even now seemed to be extending mercy - if it could be called that. Surely Sylvire knew what Nyx would do to her if she was allowed to live.
Image"Please, you don't know what she'll do to us," she whispered. The flash of purple was hypnotic, drawing Whisper into the depths of Sylvire's gaze, before with a sinking sensation that too faded from her perception.
ImageSighing, the sorceress gestured to Aiedai. "Come." she said simply, approaching Whisper's limp form - though she paused to collect the fallen staff; an interesting artefact for sure, that Sylvire would have to investigate in detail at a later date. When Aiedai approached, Sylvire waved her hand over the group, and a brief, bright and crackling arcane portal expanded around them, before fading away and taking them with it. Back to the library. To see what they could make of Whisper's head.

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