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The Multiverse » Arcs » Solinus City - Maddened Elements

What does one do when the elements themselves become your enemy?

You pray, and hold on to whatever floats in the chaos.

As written by: Lobos, Script, Tiko, FizzGig, Dark Rain

40 pieces and 0 characters involved, written by 5 different authors.

There are no characters in this arc!

1 places involved

So begins...

Solinus City - Maddened Elements

Solinus CitySetting: Solinus City

'Get out, get out, get out, get out, GET OUT!' A shock of protests raged from thirteen at one who had forced his way into their number. Elementals all, the space they floated in seemed to be a vast emptiness. The one turned skeletal sockets on the rest, meeting the hostility with naught a tremble. The aspect of death now stood among the aspects of life, and how they screamed. Only one met his joining with nary a whisper, but soon even he would bend to Death's will. Smiling, the intruder answered. 'No.'


Solinus City, that proud coastal jewel, had scarce a warning before disaster struck. The skies darkened, a great weight descending as a growling black storm seemed to simply appear. But then, hurricanes swept in all the time. Storms were no uncommon thing here of all places, and the populace acted with commendable caution. But not a single one could have expected this.

Enormous energies swirled though clouds as the rain began. The ocean boiled and heaved as though it were a boiling cauldron, waves crashing against sand, stone, wood, and steel in geysers of murky water. Sailors shouted over the howling winds as they lashed their craft tight, remarking on the suddenness of the gale, and citizens fled indoors like mice. All seemed well, until the thunderclap.

A brilliance that eclipsed daylight flooded the city for a brief moment as hundreds of bolts of lightning descended like a god's fury into Solinus. Where they struck they exploded, buildings and pavement erupting into scattered debris before the shocking report ripped through the streets. Thousands upon thousands of windows shattered at the mighty roar of thunder, and it was then that fear began to creep through the people of the city. They began to prepare for the worst, but by then...

It was far too late.

An eerie silence descended on the city, a deeper darkness creeping upon Solinus as a monstrous tsunami rose a mile offshore, rearing ever higher. At its peak, only the skyscrapers stood taller, and then only by half. With a low, rumbling groan, the wave struck shore. Everything in its path for the first half mile was simply decimated, hundreds of tons of water brutal leveling even the strongest of structures. A magnificent beachside hotel utterly erupted into the city from the strike. Lightning began to flash once more, hitting water as often as a building. Men, woman, and children barely had time to close their eyes before their lives were swept away in the thousands. At its climax, the fell wave had enveloped almost the entire area like a giant monster, maw greedily swallowing the multitude of souls it reaped.

And then it began to roll slowly back out to see, clouds shredding apart as if consuming themselves. Minute by minute, Solinus City's watery grave receded, uncovering the desolation of mass destruction. The coast was plainly bared, littered with deposited debris. Hundreds upon hundred of corpses were strewn about as if dropped by a careless child, buildings and streets wearing the look of a warzone. Yet where was the enemy? Where was the fell intent behind the cataclysm?

It shimmered in the afternoon sun where the beach ended. It's fluffy white decorations hung in the blue sky overhead. Its verdant green coated waved in the gentle breeze. Terra itself had reaped a terrible price, for the one who's very essence was chained to its heart had gone insane. Plures, the demon of the elements, was protector no longer. He had just become this world's greatest threat.


'And so it begins...brothers.' Cold, clicking laughter echoed in the void as thirteen screamed as one in anguish. Chains rattled about them, but were they held in hand by the bone spectre among them? The clatter of metal on bone, and then a fourteenth screamed as well. Chains bound both ways, it is said, but within the voice of one, it was not anguish. It was ecstasy.
"Seraph 1 th- ... -raph 2, we've lost comm- ... -th Seraph 3, can- ... -nfirm their status? Ove-"

The crackling and intermittent voice coming through Elaina's radio was barely audible over the crash of rain on the chassis of the helicopter and the rattle of the interior in the wind. The aircraft would occasionally jerk to one side as a particularly powerful gust of wind buffeted it, and it was all that she could do to maintain control. "Negative!" she barked into the headset, "This is Seraph 1 confirming loss of communications with Seraph 3, status unknown. Orders are to land immediately as soon as land is reached, over!"

The storm that Elaina and the other Sanctuary helicopters had been caught in was quite clearly more than a natural disaster. The swirling energies in the sky made that much obvious. What wasn't obvious was just what was causing it. The three aircraft had been dispatched from Sanctuary's US headquarters to travel to Terra to investigate reports of strong magical fluctuations in the area. It looked like they were arriving at the apex of whatever had been happening. So much for keeping things under control, as had been their brief.

The agents in the helicopter behind Elaina were grim-faced - those that weren't trying to hold in the contents of their stomachs, that was. Elaina herself wasn't a Sanctuary agent, but her past involvement on Terra and her magical abilities made her the ideal choice of pilot. That, and the fact that she was a stellar flier. "We'll be above land in about a minute!" she called back to her passengers, "Then I can try and bring us down with minimal damage. Just sit tight and keep your harnesses fastened."

"Seraph 1 this is Seraph 2," Elaina's radio spoke up again with a far more distraught sounding voice, "There is a giant wave behind us, I repeat, a wave has reached our altitude, increase altitude as quickly as p-"

Abruptly the signal went dead. Elaina didn't have time to wonder whether that was the storm's interference or something more dire, slamming hard on the controls to lift the aircraft further into the skies away from the safer low altitude they'd been flying through the storm at. The roaring of the wave behind them now eclipsed that of the storm itself, almost deafening, and though she couldn't see it she could tell it was close. And then suddenly it was past them, crashing by underneath the helicopter and thundering into the darkness of the storm. But there - in the clouds, shapes! Something more distinct than water and blackness. The city.

And the wave. Elaina watched on in horror as the massive wave rolled over the city like a blanket, coursing over buildings and streets in a cataclysmic spray of watery death. A crash of lightning filled the air and the aircraft suddenly lurched, "We've been hit!" Elaina yelled, "I think we've lost a rotor!" The sound of crumpling and distorting metal overhead confirmed Elaina's guess as the helicopter began to plummet from the sky, "Brace for impact, brace for impact!" she yelled, desperately trying to manoeuvre them to avoid hitting the high-rise buildings of the city. They hit the now-receding wave with a crash, and blackness filled her vision as the chassis groaned at the impact and water rushed in.
Rhea had been in the Solinus City Archives, a prominent landmark located at the heart of the magnificent city, when the storm unleashed its fury. The towering spire jutted above the skyline, lined floor to floor with vast halls of knowledge that spanned the long and stormy history of Terra and the worlds beyond. It was a wealth of lore, or so it had been until the calamity struck. Long rows of stained-glass windows lay shattered and broken, the rooms ravaged by the wind and rain that had left their contents waterlogged and strewn about the floors.

Within the archives the lone figure of Rhea stood atop a stone window ledge, carefully avoiding the twisted latticework at her back as she overlooked the devastation that had been wrought across the city. The building had long since been abandoned, the survivors no doubt seeking out the remnants of their shattered lives and missing family members, until only she remained. Her expression was heavy, her eyes sorrowful at what lay before her. The clear skies and brilliant sunlight had unveiled the full extent of the catastrophic tragedy.

At Rhea's feet fluttered a waterlogged scrap of old parchment depicting an illustration of a fallen demon, plummeting towards the earth while the skyline was dotted with lightning bolts, erupting volcanoes, towering tsunamis, and split rock.

And so it begins.

Extending her arms wide to either side, Rhea simply fell forward into open air. With the wind whipping past her sandy locks of hair and wet robes, the elven woman began to contort, thick orange smoke engulfing her lithe form. As the smoke dissipated into the air, in place of the woman, an owl flew free, making for the distant horizon.
Ripples disturbed the air underneath a pair of shadowy wings. Empty sockets stared from skull at the devastation below, the soulless abomination indifferent to the toll of the storm, the shell-shocked survivors. To those who happened to glance up, the creature would be little more than a circling speck among the empty heavens, the lone flier to bear witness.

Amusment. How fitting would it be that those broken might find some comfort in having been witnessed.

Shifting position, the vaguely birdlike skeleton dipped towards the outskirts of the city, a unearthly glow igniting deep in its sockets. Flares of life began to appear far below, the vast majority clustered together on the fringe, but surprisingly enough a scattering of those amidst the ruins.

And as the hand is played, so do some of power bear witness. I wonder if any have suspicions...

So the act begins, Terra. Your protector has suddenly become your slayer. And how will you survive, I wonder?

A cackle was lost to the wind as the creature turned away from the city, flying from the coast.
The carnage that had once been the beautiful ocean-side city of Solinus seemed encapsulated by a halo of darkness. At this distance, roughly a mile away from the city’s outermost edge, and a half-mile above sea-level, there was a clear view of the muddy streets, the cars and vendor’s stands piled against buildings from the ocean as it swept lives and livelihood back out into the sea. Emergency sirens were going off everywhere, and it seemed that the city was weeping its loss.

Neera stood at the edge of the switch-back path, staring with wide eyes out over the natural desolation, her heart hammering in her chest as bile rose to the back of her throat. Beside her, Elizabeth was trying to hide the fact that she was crying.

Really, Neera, did you truly think that you could save this city?

A shudder ran up her spine, and she reached to put an arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders. The younger woman leaned into her, hiccupping sobs rattling her frame as she began to mumble incoherently about the unfairness of it all. Neera lifted her opposite hand, adjusting the scarf she had wrapped around her head and neck, then turned to the other girl, taking her chin to force her to look into her eyes.

“There is nothing we can do for the dead. Weeping won’t bring them back. But there are others who need our help, Lisa, and if we continue to stand here then we won’t be of much use to anyone.”

Elizabeth’s watery hazel eyes were imploring. There was still so much innocence there, a blissful ignorance of the terrors and evils that sought to destroy life in this way. She was so very young, but she had so much promise.

Neera embraced her one last time, before turning to grab her satchel and beginning the long trek down the mountainside.


The city gates were open wide, the streets devoid of its normal bustling activity. Neera and Elizabeth walked side by side, taking note of the rescue teams that had already been deployed to look for survivors. The ones who had been found, or who had found their way to one of the many aid stations that were being set up, sat in huddled groups, embracing family members or sitting off on their own. They all shared the same, haunted look in their eyes, an echoed loss that, in its silence, seemed louder than any cacophony that screams could provide.

Elizabeth caught sight of a group of children being tended to by a few female nurses. They were hard at work, bandaging wounds and splinting broken limbs. Neera paused with her assistant, giving the other woman a look before nodding ever so slightly.

Elizabeth approached.

“Anything I can do to help?” she asked, meeting the eyes of the other women almost shyly. Both of the others were dirty, sweaty and exhausted, and though they were obviously in shock, years of experience had hardened them, and they regarded the young lady with looks of appraisal.

“What can you do?” one of them asked.

“Heal.” Elizabeth replied. She turned to look at one of the children, whose leg had been badly mangled. The child was holding very still, breathing shallowly, and regarded Elizabeth fearfully as she approached. Looking over to Neera, who silently looked on, Elizabeth took a steady breath, then drew a pattern in the dirt beneath the child’s leg.

“Take a deep breath for me,” she told the boy. “This might feel strange.”

The boy did as asked, and in that moment, the intricate pattern lit up with a faint blue light, touching the leg, and practically absorbing into it. The child grunted, but as the light faded, straightened further and exercised the leg. “It..isn’t broken.”

The nurses could only stare.

“We’re here to help with the most gravely wounded.” Neera explained as she approached from behind. “Could you tell us where we might find the injured?”

“They’re all around.” The first nurse said, sweeping her arm out towards the city. “Everywhere. You’re welcome to do what you like, but if you get yourself lost or hurt out there there’s no telling when someone might be able to come find you.”

Elizabeth stood, walking over to Neera’s side. The women glanced to one another before smiling at the nurses.

“We’ll be careful, but thank you for your concern.” Neera said, inclining her head before touching Elizabeth’s shoulder and drawing her off. The woman picked up her pace, walking past other groups of survivors and their caretakers. Elizabeth had to fight to keep up, and she seemed confused.

“There’s so many we could heal, Neera.”

“We can’t fix all of them, Lisa. The gravely injured. The others have to heal on their own time.”

They walked further and further away from the outside of the city, closer to the coast, where the real damage was. Out here, whatever people they found were long since dead, and it was so disheartening that Elizabeth had started to walk with her head hanging, and even Neera was finding it difficult to be optimistic.

It wasn’t until they finally came the closest to the shore when things started to change. Neera caught the smell of fuel, and upon turning the corner of one longer stretch of road, caught sight of a washed-out helicopter that had taken a tumble. The rotors were shot, and the props looked like they’d been smashed to bits.

But it looked as though the machine was intact.

“Let’s check this out,” Neera told Elizabeth, starting for the helicopter and making her way towards the pilot’s door. The machine was on its side, so it required a little bit of climbing, and some awkward maneuvering to get into the right position. Elizabeth did the same for the back, checking the passengers there.

As Elizabeth methodically began to check for signs of life, Neera did the same for the pilot, her fingertips coming to rest against the woman’s jugular. Her heart skipped a beat.

“They’re dead, Neera.” Elizabeth’s voice echoed softly from the back.

“The pilot isn’t.” Neera said, almost breathlessly as she shifted to get her arm underneath the other woman’s chest, her opposite hand fumbling for the seatbelt. “Draw the circle! We might be able to revive her here!”

It was a little challenging getting the woman out of the helicopter, but once she and Elizabeth managed the task, they laid her out on the circle that Elizabeth had drawn. The younger woman then pressed her palms to the runes, watching as the light seeped into the victim’s figure.

“Wake up,” Neera instructed, her heterochromatic eyes focusing on the woman’s face. “It’ll be alright.”
The water had slammed the helicopter into the side of a building already submerged by it, which was potentially what had saved Elaina's life and prevented the aircraft being swept out to sea. Glass and concrete had slammed in through the sides and crushed many of the occupants, whilst others were swept away. Elaina's cockpit shielded her from most of the debris, but the violent shaking and bucking of the helicopter's chassis knocked her unconscious and left her injured.

As Neera focused down on her, Elaina's eyes flickered open. She gasped for breath, memories of being submerged in water flooding her mind and putting her into a brief panic until she realised that she was no longer drowning. The pilot groaned, vision hazily returning as she took in the woman looking over her. "Where- What happened? Where am I?" She made to sit, pushing herself upwards and wincing in pain at the exertion, but gritting her teeth through it and propping herself upright. She took in the scene around her slowly. Debris lined the street, buildings were broken and bodies were visible where they had been cast aside by the wave. Her broken helicopter caught her eye, and she grimaced. "Were there any others..?" she asked, but she already thought she knew the answer.
(Post written by Lobos and Tiko)

Messor grunted as he shoved on the door, and yet the portal didn’t budge. Aggravated, he turned and stalked away from the unyielding entrance of the suburban post office they’d taken refuge from the storm in. It was at the very edge of Solinus But a moment later he was hurtling back at it, lashing out at the last moment as he touched down and threw his weight into the blow. With a screech of protest, the door blew off its hinges..and slid out with the wrecked car that had been hurled against it. His irate curse he’d intended to voice died in the hybrid’s throat as he caught but a glimpse of the destruction.

Messor would pressed further into the city, storm or not, had he been alone. But with Whisper with him, the pair had been forced to find the nearest shelter available to ride out the gale. It was with a fair bit of amusement that it turned out to be an empty post office, built surprisingly sturdy, but the hybrid had reasoned that just these such storms was the cause. Glancing at the gathering clouds, he had felt a twinge of anger at being delayed, yet the sense of unease was far greater. Shrugging it off, he had not thought to truly look upon the storm, else he would have found the basis of his suspicion.

“Whisper...I think...we have a problem.” The hybrid could do little more than stare in shock at the ruin left behind. It seems their plans for departing had just ran into a very sizable snag.

“I know,” Whisper replied as she stepped up behind Messor.

It was the first words she had spoken since the pair had been driven to take shelter from the raging elements. Only a carefully maintained facade of stoicism had kept from Messor the emotional turmoil that had seized her during the raging storm. Blind though she may be, Whisper's extrasensory perceptions were as keen as ever.

Something in Whisper’s voice struck Messor odd, though it took a few moments to sink in. Silent for a moment, the hybrid glanced once more towards the door, tilting his head as he did so. Opening his ears, he used his draconic talent to listen. His face paled at what he heard, horror flooding him.

“That storm killed people, didn’t it? More than we thought it would.” Messor didn’t want to accept it, but the sinking in his gut was denying him that simple wish.

“Too many,” Whisper reiterated, her tone scarcely more than a murmur. “There's something on the air, can't you feel it?” she asked softly. “It’s unnatural.”

Now that it had been spoken, Messor realized it to be true. There was a flavor in the air, that signature sign of magic having been wrought. Bracing himself, the hybrid tasted it more deeply...

And gagged. “No...no it can’t be. How...?” His confusion was paramount, for he recognized the caster, all too well. Common sense and knowledge said that this couldn’t be his work, but every mage, every caster had their own distinctive signature.

“What is it?” Whisper asked. Moving up alongside Messor, she rested her hand lightly upon his arm. The touch was brief before she withdrew it, almost as if she had been burned.

“I...I think Plures did this.” Messor’s expression was deeply disturbed. “No, I know Plures did this. But, he’s supposed to be one of Terra’s guardians, not a murderer.”

Looking at Whisper, the hybrid managed not to flinch at her touch. Looking back towards the open door, he spoke again. “Let me get a look from above. All I can see is a bunch of damaged buildings and wrecked cars. I need to know what happened.”

“Go, I'll be okay here.”
Messor nodded at his companion, more a gesture for his own sake. Stepping outside, the hybrid could only gape at what he could see. Swallowing deeply, he took fistfuls of cloak in either hand, the tattered cape billowing out behind him as he took flight. Taking a spiraling course upwards, he waited until he could see the city in its entire before he allowed his draconic sight life. Accepting what he could see, tainted by what he knew of the entity that caused this, was another matter.

Even as he watched, a bayside building came crashing down. Unconsciously, Messor began winging towards the city, the grim line of his mouth growing tighter for every glimpse of fresh carnage he caught. Shattered families screaming at lost members, shell-shocked survivors aimlessly drifting, even opportunistic looters.

"How? He's never lifted a hand against them before, so how?" The hybrid uttered the words the rushing winds, simply to speak them aloud so that the echoes stopped coursing through his head. He could not stand the aerial view any longer, scanning quickly he spied a pack of looters making way for a downed helicopter. Dipping one edge of his cloak, he dropped towards them, anger beginning to burn.


Another watched from on high, but it was not the city she eyed. It was a man diving from the sky, held up by no more than a cloak, that so captured this woman's regard.

Standing tall, a regal air around her, the woman was decidedly out of place in her amethyst dress, adorned with silver baubles wrought in the shape of bones. Her curled, raven's black hair drifted against the wind, dark, almost midnight eyes watching the spectacle intently. Watching carefully indeed, as Messor dropped into the gang of scoundrels with nary a sound.

As she watched the graceful flight of the hybrid become a brutal dervish of blows against the looters, a ghost of a smile touched the woman's face. She could almost hear the gruff shouts and impacts of steel or flesh against flesh, the smell of rank fear from the looters, the agony of broken bones and stinging blows. But most of all she could feel the mounting fury of the judge, and she gestured towards Messor, plucking a almost invisible line that ran to him.

Instantly the fight seemed over, the scattered injured crawling off, but alive. Chuckling sadly at the bewildered expression on the lone standing man's face, she murmured quietly. "Be still, my apocalypse. You'll have your time to burn when the hands are cast, but for now peace. I am not yet ready for you, Messor."

Turning, the woman simply seemed to stride forward and vanish, even as Messor headed towards the small group near the helicopter.
Neera sensed the sudden surge of energy before Elizabeth had a chance to. Meeting Elaina’s eyes as she finally woke up, Neera murmured something under her breath, something that was meant to fill the surrounding atmosphere with a calming energy. Elizabeth pulled her hands away from the asphalt, hazel eyes wide and round as she looked towards the injured pilot that she’d awoken.

But something else caught her attention, the sound of footsteps slapping against the dampened asphalt. She turned, spying a lone figure approaching from the haze of the warm afternoon, and reached over to grasp Neera’s arm, to direct her attention towards the one who was approaching.


“Leave him. If he needs us he will come.”

Elaina struggled to sit upright, and Neera was quick to help her, one arm around the back of her shoulders as she finally tore her eyes away from the woman to look to the stranger. Her eyes narrowed, pale brow furrowing thoughtfully as her lips parted. “No,” she said finally, speaking to Elaina.

“There were no others, but we’ve yet to stop searching. Lisa, stay with her.” Neera rose, adjusting the scarf she had wrapped around her head and neck, before walking away from the pair with the intent of meeting the fourth half-way.

“Are you alright?” she called, wondering if he was a survivor. She lifted a hand, pausing in her steps.

Elizabeth looked rather intently at Elaina. “It’s alright. Neera won’t let anything happen. Um…are you hurt anywhere else? I can help.” She told her. Her demeanor was shy, but she seemed to be determined.

“I’m sorry about your friends.”
Elaina shook her head, "I didn't know them well. We only met when they were assigned to my bird." The pilot sighed, "We didn't know what we'd find here. Turns out we weren't prepared for enough." Pulling herself to her feet, she glanced back at the helicopter. "I should check to see if any of our supplies are still in there. Has anything happened since the storm? Do you know if anything was happening before it?"

Nothing if not practical, Elaina was rapidly recovering from the shock of her awakening and the death of her passengers. She was, after all, a soldier. She was good under pressure. "By the way," she said, turning as she started to rummage through the helicopter, being careful to be respectful about the bodies of her fellows, "My name's Elaina. Elaina Ballifrey, I'm a pilot for the US air force. I'm working with Sanctuary - it's an international magical authority. We'd had reports of magical disturbance in the area and were investigating. There were two other helicopters with us, but they went down over the sea."

Elaina shoved some supplies - both medical and food - as well as some extra equipment into a backpack, before slinging it onto her back. Grabbing her rifle from the cockpit, she strapped that on over the pack and turned back to Lisa. "The radio in the copter is shot. Do you know where I can find a phone? I need to let my HQ what the situation is. And about the casualties." She paused, "And thank you. For the healing. I appreciate it. You're Lisa, right?"
Messor waved a hand dismissively, calling back. "Yeah, I'm fine. More than I can say for the pack that was headed your way, though."

Casting a glare back over his shoulder, he snorted at failing to see a single one of the parasites in view. Something about the brief clash still rankled though. His draconic blood ran hot, but suddenly the rage had simply vanished in the middle of a fight. That simply didn't happen in his experience. Shaking his head, the hybrid turned back to the woman addressing him, finishing his approach.

Obviously not from around her, his outlandish appearance was at least a glamour. "Spied the 'copter and thought I'd lend a hand, when I stumbled into looters headed here. Gave them a bit of incentive to leave off. Name's Messor. Was traveling this way with a friend, planned on leaving by the port. Guess that's not happening anymore."

The hybrid shook his head, regret in his face as he looked at the wrecker chopper and detritus scattered across the street. "Storm brought you here?"
Lisa listened quietly as Elaina explained. She kept glancing back to Neera, obviously concerned about her caretaker’s welfare, but returned her attention politely to her patient as she went through the motions of shock recovery. Much to Lisa’s pleasure and surprise, Elaina appeared to get through them rather quickly, and the girl found herself marveling at the other’s stoicism.

“I wish we could have met under other circumstances, Elaina. But all the same, it’s nice to meet you.”

Magical disturbances. Neera had said something about how the air didn’t feel right, that this wasn’t any typical storm. Lisa had pushed away those uncomfortable thoughts, only because she didn’t have any of the background Neera did when it came to understanding the delicate balance of magic and nature.

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s a radio towards the outskirts of town, where a few other people have set up aid stations. If you’re willing to walk with us, we can make our way back there…” her voice trailed off as she looked back to Neera. “Provided that Neera allows us to go. You I’m sure will be fine, but she likes to keep me close.”

She glanced back to the soldier, her cheeks flushing as she smiled with Elaina’s praise. “It’s really no trouble. But yes, I’m Lisa, and my caretaker is Neera.”

Neera in question was regarding the newcomer with a penetrating gaze. Something was odd about this one, then again, there wasn’t a single person in Terra that she’d met who didn’t have something odd going on. As he mentioned the ‘pack’, her eyes flickered past him, over his shoulder.

“I appreciate the help.” She said, fighting back the urge to relay her common saying of ‘Violence breeds violence’. He had kept them out of trouble, after all.

She stepped up to meet him, extending a hand for him to take should he so desire. “Turns out there was only one survivor, Messor, and she seems to be recovering rather quickly. But I appreciate the fact that you wanted to help. We may still need it.”

After a pause, she allowed a small, but somber smile. “I’m Neera, and it wasn’t the storm that brought me here…just a shift, something I sensed. Could call it precognition, but I don’t consider myself gifted as such.”
Nodding respectfully, he refrained from taking the outstretched hand. "Messor. Headed back to the outskirts myself. I just had to see what happened for myself." And to figure out just how screwed we are. The hybrid added without speaking. It would be one thing if he could only tell the storm was mage-born, it was another entirely to know of the caster. "And I guess I now know, though I really, really wish I didn't."

Grimacing, Messor looked towards the outskirts. Metal rasped as he slid the staff from its loops behind him, planting one end against the ground as though a walking stick. "I'll travel with you as far as I can. Keep an eye out though, I've seen looters around, and that's what I broke up on the way here."

Patiently he waited to depart, all too ready to get out of the city. What to do beyond that was another matter entirely, and one conversation with Whisper he was loathe to begin. So much for leaving Terra.

Try as the hybrid might though, he could not quite halt his free hand's shaking. The suddenness with which the rage of the fight had fled him unsettled him greatly. Messor still lacked the fullest control over himself, and that hinted at yet more manipulation than Plures simply calling on the wind and the waves for this city's destruction.

Attempting to curb his dwelling, he sharply called out. "Shall we be off?"
Elaina nodded to Lisa, before raising an eyebrow, "Caretaker?" she queried as the two of them moved to where Neera and Messor were speaking. There was little room for an answer though, as Messor called out his question. "Off to where?" she asked, "Elaina Ballifrey, US Air Force. I was planning to find somewhere to radio or call for aid - do you have other plans I should be aware of?"

The pilot gave Messor a look over, frowning faintly as she tried to assess what he was - but she shook her head and dismissed it. She was on Terra now, for one thing hybrids, demons and any number of supernatural creatures would be all over the place, and for another it was no longer important to keep them under control like it was back on Earth. She'd been away too long.
Neera paused as she listened to Messor’s explanation, her hand coming to rest calmly at her side. “I know what you mean.” She said, her tone low, with a tinge of worry coloring her words. As Messor turned back to observe the desolation, Neera turned to walk back towards the other two. She was pleased to see that Elaina was making such a quick recovery.

“Lisa, have you packed everything?” Neera asked as they met in the middle. The younger woman nodded, hiking her bag higher up onto her shoulder. Neera glanced to Elaina with the faintest hint of a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.

“The newcomer is eager.” She noted mildly, reaching for Lisa’s shoulder to turn her about as the pair began to walk the rim of the outskirts. “We should head back in soon, in case another wave threatens. These tidal waves never come as one occurance. “

“Should we get to high ground?” Lisa asked, looking up to Neera. The other woman shook her head. “We’ll be alright. Try not to appear too nervous. There are those who can sense fear, and take advantage of it in these parts.”
Nodding at the others, Messor began hiking through the mostly quiet streets, navigating around detritus when necessary. "When I left, the survivors were starting to gather when I headed in here, so I'd guess that's where a lot of the wounded would be getting moved to. Should be able to find some sort of way to get a message out."

The hybrid glanced at each party in turn as he spoke, evading his own reasons for headed back. Turning back to face the paths ahead, he couldn't keep the bitterness he felt from touching his expression. He glared at the shattered roads, the broken faces of those buildings not washed away in the flood. Despite knowing others suffered far more than he in the cataclysm, he could not help but harbor his anger. Terra holds nothing but pain, and yet I cannot flee. No rest for the wicked, it seems.

And yet he kept going, step by step.


Thunder punctuated furious steps as the elemental union pace back and forth. Plures walked what was once part of a vast, rolling plain, seemingly ignorant of the shivering stone and soil beneath him. Every circuit of the ring that was now rising, thrusting upwards into the heavens brought no peace, no rest. For pieces of him came and went, puppets tugged along the chains of the only constant, a skull faced member who remained.

If only to despair the rest with his grinning.

Death could do no less. Worldwide, the toll mounted as volcanoes roused from slumber and vomitted fire and brimstone, furious storms fell from on high to carve swathes of ruin. The very earth tossed and turned in spite of those that built upon it. Even the forests had become harvesters, the poison he spread to the thirteen rousing the sleeping trees to their anger.

He alone was aware as the doorway opened on his mouth, turning to face the newcomer through the blindfold the thirteen wore. The woman that strode through to face him radiated power that instant roused a hunger within him, yet he could feel the thirteen recoil from her as though she carried a plague.

Death studied this one, from her alabaster skin and raven's dark hair to the elegant, violet hued dress she wore. So intent was his observation he almost missed her words.

"A stranger in the Many. Well...that elaborates on the present state of events. Speak, intruder."

"Woman, you call me intruder? I am merely Death made tangible, and I of us two am right in being here. The whirlwind has been long overdue for the mortals of Terra. Why should you care, mistress of chaos?" The elemental had the pleasure of seeing her gaze sharpen on him.

"Apocalypse is for the hands of mortals." The woman turned away, staring over the edge of the rising mountain to watch the visible disasters. The Apocalyptic's expression was one of disgust. "They shall come, Death. They shall come to destroy you, one way or another."

The union started as another gate formed next to her. "And I shall lead them here, to destroy this abomination I once called a friend long ago."

They lashed out for naught as she left them, their furious elemental energies ripping a wound in the mount and cascading over the plains to scar them. Death murmured to none but the wind, somehow sure that woman would hear him.

"Let them come."
"Yes Jon?"
"What is it with you and the company you keep? I'm sorry, but there seems to be a trend."
"Fair enough. This time though, she played no part in what happened here. Does that offer any consolation?"

"Oh. Too bad." Shaking his head, Dylan Ryder deftly guided the Owl chopper for the ruins of the city below. Tapping a button next to his control yokes, the man set the craft into a hover, spinning in his chair to regard his passengers. Closest to him was a sharply dressed man, an agent of Midnight by the name of Jonathan Killian. Deep sapphire eyes glanced to him before turning back to the view of the window. Next to him was his own long-time partner, Rebekkah Issane. Presently lost in her own thoughts, music faintly audible despite her earbuds, the woman nonetheless inclined her head to acknowledge him. Finally, on the other side of the owl, the Agent's piercing eyes settled on the final member of his team. The high collared bomber jacket he wore did nothing to disguise the sheer solidity of the man, his blank, grey eyes flicking to him. Ethan Stone was here by necessity, and the fact that despite appearing complete opposites, they were virtually brothers.

"Now, let me find our lady..." Closing one set of eyes, Dylan opened another. A wave of horror stole through him as he expanded his mind, appalled at the vastly dwindled amount of sentient minds he touched. He forced past it, as he did again as the shell-shocked thoughts that ran the surface of those minds cried out as though a grieving choir. The mentalist scanned through the psychic screams with cold calculation, setting aside his own emotions. Else he be lost, for a time.

There. At last, he found the blaze among the sparks. Locking to it, Ryder drew back to himself, spinning in his seat once more. Fingers dancing over the controls, he took them out of hover and flew by mind, settling down nearly five minutes later near a weathered but still standing post office.

"Killian, you come with me. Ethan and Rebekkah-"

"Stay with the Owl, keep crazies away. Got it Dylan." Rebekkah blew him a mocking kiss, fluttering her fingers to crackling sparks of electricity. "Go on, Ryder."

Flashing back a flippant salute, agent and assassin dropped from the side door, pausing for a moment to survey the area. Dylan started moving first, sending a gentle mental call within, aimed at the woman he could feel was inside. It's Dylan. I'm outside. May we come in?

Jonathan made to start up the steps, only to give the Agent a withering glare as his hand caught his shoulder, halting him. Scarcely had Killian opened his mouth to speak when Ryder answered the unsaid question. "If you want to possibly get blown apart, go right ahead. She's a PK, like us, and somewhat...untrained."

So they waited.
Dylan, Whisper thought to herself. So much for walking away from everything and not looking back. It would seem that fate was determined to see her down these paths one way or another – even if it took the destruction of a city to prevent her departure. To the visual eye, there was little outward change to Whisper, but there was an inward note of resignation, and acceptance of Dylan's presence. She didn't speak, she knew he would know, probably sooner than she had.

You're persistent, she thought. She lacked Dylan's discipline, or the capacity to project her thoughts with any semblance of direction, but it was likely he was aware of what she was thinking. He seemed to have a knack for knowing her better than she knew herself.

She was loath to leave the remnants of the building until Messor returned. It was a vane attempt to utilize the walls as some measure of comfort and protection from the cacophony of roiling emotions and distress from beyond. The city wept, and unlike those that stood beyond the doorway, Whisper had yet to learn the means to shut it out. The walls offered little genuine protection from that which her empathy could glean of her surroundings, but they provided at minimum a sense of psychological closure and seclusion. Her face was pale and devoid of expression. The sooner she and Messor could leave this place the better.
Dylan strode past Jon, leaving the assassin to follow in his wake as the Agent entered. He called ahead with his voice. "Hello Whisper. How are you holding up?"

A sharp glare at his companion silenced the man's snort, for he had caught sight of the woman. Dylan already knew the answer to his own question, but asking it nonetheless lent a sense of normality to a situation that more than a few would cling to. And of course he would know how she felt, since even now he could hear the lingering screams. Holding up? It was simple luck she was still as sane as she was. Ryder slung a portion of his mind at Jonathan.

Say nothing for now. And keep an eye on the door, since I would truly love to keep breathing if that friend of her's shows up and mistakes us for enemies. The Fifth of Midnight raised an eyebrow to the Agent, but obeyed.

Sighing, Dylan cast a look about the post office's interior, noting from the signs that there was indeed a second person here. Albeit, missing at the moment. A thought occurred to him, the mentalist expanding his mind to fill the room, armoring his projected psyche. The psychic keening muted, if not entirely dissipated.

"A little better?"
At this point, Neera only knew that it was most appropriate to find others who had been caught in the cataclysm. Much to her private dismay, however, it seemed as though anyone who wasn’t on the very outskirts of the city had been washed away. She murmured quiet prayers under her breath, glancing at piles of debris for any sign of life, and listening, always listening, for some kind of break in the silence.

Lisa was listening right along with her, but the older woman could tell that she was clearly more disturbed by the extent of the carnage than she was. And no wonder! Mass tragedies such as this did not require those with a faint heart.

Occasionally, Neera looked to Messor, quietly wondering about what he was doing out here in the middle of the mess. He didn’t seem to be affiliated with any kind of aid team, and he was so tense that she could sense it rolling off of him in waves.

There newest addition seemed to be keeping up rather well, which pleased Neera. It meant that Lisa’s healing capabilities were getting that much stronger. She’d have to congratulate the young woman later on, out of the listening range of the others.

“I don’t know that there are any more.” Neera finally stated as the walk began to get longer, and the day older.

“If anything, it wouldn’t do us any harm to turn in and rest.”
Whisper raised her blind gaze to settle upon Dylan as he spoke out loud.

“Better?” Whisper replied. Something about his inquiry had amused her, for she let out a choked laugh.

Though Dylan's efforts had stemmed the emotional onslaught from the city beyond, the turmoil from within remained an ever present part of Whisper's consciousness. “Just like that? Shut the windows and snuff out the wailing, and that makes it better?” she asked. The abrupt spike in agitation and hostility came out of nowhere, with little warning or precursor for the sudden shift in demeanor. “Why don't we just piss on the corpses while we're at it,” she snapped bitterly.

Turning away, Whisper gave her head a light shake and rubbed gingerly at her brow as if to sooth a headache. “I didn't mean that,” Whisper muttered. “I mean-” Whisper broke off mid sentence as she turned back around. “Dylan? What are you doing here?” she asked. “I thought...” Whisper frowned and shook her head again. “It was a lie, all of it. False visions, and phantom cries in the night."

Whisper let her shoulders slump, dejected. The rapid shifts in demeanor betrayed the young empath's confusion and lack of focus. “You know what others cannot see,” she remarked abruptly, her tone holding a hint of accusation within it. “You would see us used though. You're no different than the rest, but we're not a tool to be shaped and wielded. Take your false promises and leave us in peace.”
Cocking his head at the shifting tirade, Dylan's eyes narrowed. "Jonathan, out."

The assassin gave the man a sharp glance, but slipped from the building with a shrug. His tone wasn't one to argue with, but it was the psychic undercurrent, the compulsion sown with words, that stamped out argument. Alone with Whisper, he turned away from the woman to study the interior of the room with apparent indifference. He let moments pass by in silence, taking a moment to check his own conscience. Ryder sighed.

"Forgive me."

The Agent thrust his mind into Whisper's like a steel pike, slipping into the shattered glass of her fractured personalities. He struck straight and true, stabbing through her consciousness with his focused, yet still brutal mental attack. Rifling past memories, emotions, immune to any cries of outrage they might throw his way, Dylan found his goal and seized upon it, using the shock of his own attack to slam down a lock on the woman's psionic abilities. In fact, drawing on the multiple personalities to arrange yet more locks, coding them to certain pieces of her mind but them making the keys for yet others. It was a precise, brilliant piece of telepathy, yet as he withdrew as suddenly as he'd entered...

Dylan felt sullied. How could he help but feel as such, when his actions might as well have been as rape. Of mind, and security, but nonetheless as violating as the physical. But he shouldered the burden, as he did all the rest. But finally he turned to actually face his victim, and he knew why this time, the knife twisted in his soul. "I won't lie, you will be honed. You will be used. Everyone is used. Get used to it."

"But you will not be discarded like a broken tool. You dwell in self-pity, and yet you felt around you anguish and terror. Who are you to put yourself and your power against them? Who the hell are all of you to ignore it all?!" Ryder reached a crescendo, his voice thundering in the small room. Turning away, his voice was far less. "I locked you down, and you need me to take it back, Whisper. You need me, yet I still ask. Let me help you."
Whisper shuddered and fell to her knees, her hands clutching at the sides of her head from the sudden and forceful intrusion. Her meager defenses were breached, shunted aside, and she could feel the foreign presence twisting through her consciousness. Her reaction was one of reflex and panic.


The mental cry was short and brief, but sharp as a knife point, before Dylan's assault abruptly severed the telepathic outburst. The link to her psionics had been cut like a thread, locked away and warded from her. Her senses were deadened, and only the sound of her heart beat thudding within her ears and Dylan's words remained. Even when her vision had been taken from her, she had not known true blindness until that moment.

“What have you done,” the young woman whispered. Realization of Dylan's words dawned on her then, and her voice wavered. “Messor.” The single word was the only warning she offered, though Dylan had no doubt felt her psychic cry just as keenly as Messor had. The hybrid's temper could be most volatile.
The hiss that slipped from Messor's throat was decidedly feral as he visibly staggered under the weight of the psychic call. His mind assaulted by a single word, yet with no defenses in place it struck like a shotgun blast. A moment later came comprehension and with it...

"Whisper." The hybrid uttered the name harshly, fear and fury bringing clarity back sharply. He glanced at his acquaintances, eyes wide and wild, before throwing himself ahead. Quickly reaching a full sprint, Messor snarled before hurling himself skyward, his tattered cloak snapping out like wings as he sailed skyward.

With nothing but the whistling wind to taunt him as he wove among those monolithic buildings who'd refused to bend to the storm, he let the dragon's blood take hold. The world seemed to sharpen as his eyes flicked back and forth for their shelter. Within, he berated himself fiercely, furious that he had not returned sooner. That thought sent crackling arcs of lightning spitting and snapping along him, and he accelerated, banking, diving and searching at breakneck speeds.

A few minutes later, Messor spied the post office. A small portion of his mind wondered at the sight of some sort of vehicle settled off to the side, but it was the lone figure standing in his way, seemingly guarding the front doors that drew his fury. The man stoked the murderous urges of his draconic blood, and for a moment the hybrid saw the world illuminated with brilliance.

Thunder pealed like an angry god, and once more the voice in the back of his mind wondered how he suddenly stalked towards the building instead of diving from the air. The tang of ozone flowing around him, Messor felt like a avalanche about to hit the fool in his way.
Meanwhile inside the post office, Whisper didn't need her empathy to know what was coming. The cracks of lightning that split the air left the hair along her arms standing on end. If something wasn't done, people were going to be hurt.

“Don't harm him,” Whisper urged Dylan abruptly. “I'll do as you ask of me, but don't harm him.” She knew what few did, and she knew that Dylan was well capable of contending with even Messor should his hand be forced. She was banking on the hope that he wanted her cooperation enough to go the extra mile to avoid a confrontation if at all possible. “Help me outside, if he sees that I'm uninjured...” She didn't know if it would be enough, but at the very least it was unlikely that Messor would level any attacks that might hurt her in the crossfire.
"Looks like something's got our friend worked up," Elaina commented as Messor winged away, one eyebrow raised. The pilot had been doing her best to help the pair of healers comb through the rubble as they travelled but she was getting restless with waiting to reach their destination. The sooner she could call command the sooner proper aid could reach the city. "Are we far from this gathering point?" she asked, "I am inclined to agree with Neera that we can do more good by returning there than by searching. When I can get my message out to my command, they'll be able to send more aid workers to reinforce your effort."

She glanced around the city, shaking her head, "At least there doesn't appear to be any hostile entity at work on the surface that we've seen. No doubt there's something unpleasant behind such an unnatural storm, but they aren't walking the streets killing people. That means we can respond as we would to any disaster like this."
(Collaborated between Lobos, Tiko, and Dark Rain)

The rage roaring across the city struck Dylan just as powerfully as those thundering concussions. It wasn’t that he hadn’t factored the hybrid into the equations, but rather the psionic scream that Whisper had thrown past him with his focus already occupied.

Now, it seemed like a serious mistake. “Are you sure that’s going to calm him down? That’s a pretty pissed off Messor headed this way.”

“No, but he won't hurt me – I think. It might give a moment to calm him,” Whisper replied.

His own reservations notwithstanding, the Agent figured on a semi-decent backup plan. And too bad if Jon doesn’t like it.

The man reached out to the woman, lightly brushing his fingers against her hand to give her a guide.

Arcs of electricity spitting from him, Messor bared a fanged smile at the man standing in his way. He had paled when the energy had started shooting, but was admirably standing his ground. The hybrid narrowed his eyes at sudden movement from him though, flinching instinctively. Which is why the knife didn’t lodge itself it his shoulder, but tore a line across it instead.

Furious, he nearly unleashed a bolt in return, when the sudden movement behind the man stopped him. Even with his sight, he couldn’t quite make out faces...

“Messor, stop this!” Whisper called out over the skirmish as Dylan led her from the post office.

Dylan had to give it to Jonathan. If he was very surprised to see him pull a gun on him, he wouldn’t have grinned a moment before his pistol cracked. The assassin’s head snapped back and he flopped bonelessly away, though the Agent caught the wink among the flailing. Hard to to smile back, but he managed it.

Holstering the gun and stepping away from Whisper, he called out as well. “She’s safe now Messor. Just lending a hand.”

The hybrid studied the scene, more than a little confused. Whisper had acted like nothing was wrong, and even blind should have known that the man that Dylan shot was there. And then there was Dylan himself, whom he still had no idea whether to trust or not. But for the moment, it seemed well enough.

It took an effort to force his boiling blood to cool, but Messor managed it before he reached them. Anxiously, he did a once over of Whisper, and seeing nothing wrong, acknowledged the other cooly. “What happened?”
“I'm not sure, I was disoriented. Let's just go,” Whisper remarked. “I don't like this place.” Though there was still the matter of Dylan. If she was going to accept his assistance, it would be on her terms at least. Seizing advantage of the momentary tension between the trio, Whisper added smoothly. “This is Dylan. He's a...” she paused a moment. “He's a friend. He wants to accompany us for a while.”

“I freed myself up to take care of a promise.” Not to be outdone, Dylan clarified his position. In a way. “Thought I’d help Whisper with her abilities.” He still couldn’t help but feel a sense of tension about the hybrid, who’s glare at him hadn’t wavered. The man sighed mentally, knowing that he was going to be under heavy scrutiny. Offering his hand and a wry smile, he introduced himself. “Dylan Ryder.”

Messor promptly ignored him. “Let’s go then. There’s a gathering of survivors, and from the skies it looks like things are stabilizing some. Maybe we can find a ride out of here, rather than walking again.”

The hybrid all but ignored Dylan as he moved to Whisper’s side, offering his arm. The sense of urgency was still hounding him, but it was more than that. He didn’t know what it was about the man that bothered him, only that it did. Like an itch he could scratch, although he thought of it as the fly he couldn’t swat. Yet.
“Should we wait for him?” Elizabeth’s voice was soft, a tentative murmur in the wake of Messor’s sudden departure. Neera watched too as the strange figure disappeared from sight, beyond the dilapidated buildings. The woman looked to Elaina, then back to Elizabeth, before shaking her head.

“I see no reason. There’s a good possibility that he won’t come back.” She finally said, lifting a hand to adjust the scarf around her chin. That queer feeling was still twisting at her insides, a distinct sense of wrongness that emanated from Messor’s form. She’d noticed that the feeling had lessened as he disappeared from sight, but there was still an aura left behind, like a malodorous stench. She couldn’t place it, what it meant to her or the others, but she kept it in the back of her mind just in case.

While Neera thought, Elizabeth responded to Elaina’s question. “The gathering point is just a few blocks east,” she explained, falling back so she could walk side by side with the helicopter pilot. “Not too far. How’re you holding up?” She smiled eagerly, anxious to know that her abilities had not only helped, but possibly resolved Elaina’s injuries.

Neera quietly looked ahead, her brow furrowed in concentration. Yes, it did seem as if there was something hostile about the storm and its sudden uprising. But like Elaina had indicated, there didn’t seem to be anyone within the immediate vicinity who might have been the cause. How could they? Even elemental conjurors couldn’t come up with something this catastrophic without working as a unit. Even then, the power involved, as well as the discipline and control…it couldn’t be done by mortal means. It just wasn’t possible.

But the other options she was considering were far less pleasant.

“If there was only a way to determine if it could happen again,” she said to herself, tilting her head towards the sky. “Perhaps we could warn people, prevent this from happening again…”

“Did you say something, Neera?” Elizabeth piped up, looking away from Elaina for the moment. The other woman waved her off.

“The checkpoint is just this way.” She said, beginning to pick up the pace.

Elizabeth sighed, looking to Elaina apologetically, before moving after Neera.
Behold Messor, the ever ironic guardian no one seems to need anymore. The hybrid repressed a growl as his thoughts ran in dark directions. A slight tremor still slipped through him, the remaining instability of his cobbled together body an affliction he had yet to shake. Someone just couldn't let me stay dead, could they?

Anger became regret as he glanced at the woman who he led by his touch, and became sorrow as the sight of Whisper reminded him yet again of his losses. The mortal game was never meant to be played by immortals, at least not nearly as long as he'd played it. It cut too deep.

Messor thrust his thoughts behind him some time later as the checkpoint were survivors were gathering came into view. A tragically small gathering, despite its size, when one recalled the pre-storm's populace. Those that remained reminded him of those in purgatory, grimy and tortured by horror, shell-shocked. Trying to reconcile how something so terrible could happen to them, clinging to the ruins that cluttered the streets and gutters as if they could resurrect the ghosts they now held. It was a sight that he was altogether too glad Whisper could no longer see, and glaring behind him, hoped fervently that the man, Dylan, was shielding her mind from.

Another enigma to puzzle was the man's presence in this hell. Of all the things he could do, he came for a lone woman. He could certainly handle himself, but something about the way he looked at others put the hybrid's skin crawling. Shaking it off, he cast a gaze around for a suitable place amidst the milling crowd, choosing one at random and leading for it.

"Well, we're here. Poor bastards still look like they're expecting to wake up." Messor started at the sound of his own voice, a rasping growl. Apparently he wasn't as inured to the chaos as he'd thought. "Wonder how long it'll take for them to start picking up the pieces."

A light hand on a shoulder here, a reassuring murmur there. The Apocalyptic moved among the throngs in the glamour of a crone, a healer, a confidant. Spreading the gift of opened eyes and easing broken souls. But ever selective in her actions, seeking out the ones whose awakenings would have the greatest...effect. Choosing the biggest stones to drop in the pond, so to speak. Such was her purpose, for she could see the paths ahead. And the winds whispered of need, need for more than champions.

Of those, one of her own even now walked near. Beneath a cowl, swirling violet eyes sought out Messor with ease. The man carried chains, dragging ghosts and more behind him. His burden would continue to grow as events began to spiral. She looked at those with him, the woman who's mind was broken, yet each fragment held power. If focused she would be a force to reckon with. And the man who trailed paces behind...such secrets. Talents of vast potential, yet so carefully contained. These ones walked with her most unpredictable knight...

The goddess was pleased. Hope yet remained, for the game to come.
This place was a mess.

Lyris would have said that there was no other word for it, but in reality, there were always other words. A calamity. Fucked up. There were a lot of ways to express just how bad things were here, but they all followed a similar theme. The sylvis woman wasn't entirely sure what she had expected to find. A fight, maybe? Something must have caused this - it was no natural storm that evaded all early warning systems and swept a wave of unnatural size over a city that likely hadn't seen so much as a good surf for years. But what she had found, was a well of misery with no end.

She'd done what she could. What she knew. She'd beaten down looters and criminals trying to take advantage of the newly homeless and the remnants of their possessions. She'd scouted for survivors from the rooftops - those that remained - and the skies. She hadn't found many, but she'd found more than the average wanderer would have been able to. Now she wasn't sure where to direct her attentions. She had no medical knowledge, no mystical healing powers that could help the wounded. She couldn't rebuild things, she had no words to console the broken people that filled the checkpoint.

Lyris lamented for the first time that she'd neglected to be good at anything but destroying things. Lustre wasn't devoid of healers, creators. Since the return to grace of the Silver DImension, they'd been sprouting like flowers. New ways to use the power of the realm for things other than fighting and killing - or perhaps more accurately, a return to the old ways. She'd never been drawn to that side of things - tales of her ancestors' martial feats were what excited her, thrilled her, and what had eventually taken her out of Lustre and in search of conflict. Had she found it here? Time would tell.

For now, though, she sat alone at the checkpoint, watching out over the city and waiting .. for something.
It was difficult not to flinch at what ran through the average person's mind, but when you take that man or woman and shock them to the core? Ryder forced most of the twitching to his left hand, focusing hard to blunt the noise. Such proximity to the darkest emotions of humanity and more was...difficult, to say the least.

And nothing to say of travelling companions...

Messor radiated anger and regret like a small sun, and he could see that one didn't need to be a telepath to pick up on that. Those few in their way quickly moved out of it, casting momentary, hungry glances for the woman of the trio before shuffling away. She herself immune to their regard, by Dylan's own hand.

They came to Messor's chosen spot, the steps that once led to one building or another. Now they led to the stove-in hull of a boat, whatever edifice they once heralded the entrance to gone into ruin. The man watched his hybrid companion show Whisper where the stairs were, himself choosing to stand nearby. Dylan learned ever more of the dynamic between the pair, something that the regret coming from Messor seemed to have changed. But enough of observation for the moment.

Approaching Whisper, he glanced at the crowd while the third member of their group spoke. His own words were less generalized, directed at the woman beside him. "Shall we begin then?"
Whisper's surprise was hard to keep from her voice, though she had the forethought to keep her words to a low hush. “What?” she asked incredulously. “Here? Now?”

There was clearly no beating around the bush with Dylan, but what could they possibly accomplish here of all places, she thought. She couldn't be certain how near at hand Messor was, but instinct urged her to keep the full extent of matters with Dylan as private as possible. She didn't like being deceptive towards Messor, not after everything the hybrid had already been through, but she couldn't risk a confrontation between the pair. For now she would keep quiet to the nature of things, until a better solution presented itself.
(Post co-written by Lobos and Tiko)

’Why not?’ His lips never moved, the voice coming from within her head. ’Starting this is as painless as forming thoughts in your head. Talk to me. Try to feel my attention.’

Dylan cast a broad sweep around them, trying to get a read on the general mood now that the survivor’s had somewhat recovered. The core of disbelief remained, yet here and there the agent was feeling a surge of something else. Something he couldn’t quite pin down. Irrelevant, for the time being. His awareness shifted back to Whisper even as his eyes roamed.

'Find the memory of calling Messor. Let it play in your mind.’

“I can't feel anything anymore,” Whisper replied after a moment's pause with a quiet with a shake of her head. “When I called to him, it was all so clear. I could feel everything, even the ants in the ground. I could feel his presence across the city, but it was like I wasn't there at all, I was just watching from behind a wall. I didn't really think about it, I just did it.”

“You just did it.” Spoken aloud, Dylan drummed his fingers against his leg before rising. And pacing, unmindful of the attentions he might draw of the third member of the group. He paused only for a moment as an idea occurred to him, starting up again. And resuming his dialogue, mentally. ’Who screamed, then? Which one started the chorus? And this time try to just think the answer. Hold it in your mind.’

The man’s psychic tone was sharp, sharper than necessary. It was how he himself had been honed, stretched. The trick to power was to find the balance of sheer emotion and deathly calm. Push a needle into the flesh and see which one finally swings.

’Show me your words, don’t tell me.’

“I don't know,” Whisper remarked, a touch too loudly. Her thoughts were confused, chaotic even. The question was agitating her for reasons she couldn't explain. She rubbed her temples, trying to sooth the rising headache.

Dylan didn’t bother to lean in and prod. This time he merely stabbed. ’WHO SCREAMED FOR MESSOR?!’

His provocations were multiple in aim. If one of the personalities took up the guard to blunt his mental roar, he found the shield. The one who screamed back was the voice. Unlikely as it was, the one that lashed out was the fist. The three aspects of a telepath were as base as these, but it was what one could refine each into that defined the power of the wielder.

Whisper’s fractured psyche just made pinning them down...harder. His efforts did not go unrewarded.

'Alessia.' The thought came unbidden, a wash of feeling more than words. There was calm, coupled with a touch of cold apprehension. 'I summoned Messor.' Telepathy was no foreign concept to Whisper, and even an ordinary human can utilize it within the presence of a psionic, but it took time and discipline to learn to project only that which you wished to project. Distractions and thoughts became jumbled together, intermixed with the simple statement she had declared. She was anxious, uneasy with so many people at hand, but Messor's presence eased her worries. There was suspicion in her as well, wariness of Dylan. It took a moment to rein in the stray thoughts, but soon there was relative silence within Whisper's mind.

Dylan’s smile came upon him unbidden. Voice and focus in one? Alessia had struck him as one of the quieter personalities, yet this was demonstration of a balancing role. ’The Voice, then. A calm mind enhances the voice, and your’s tore through despite my own...action.’

’Are you one of them that knows of the others?’ The shift in tone was radical, but the time for passion was for the moment, over. What he needed, and some of Whisper’s psyche might try to deny, is all of them needed to see each other as sides of the same die. Each alone they have power, but in chorus? Only time would tell in truth.

“I'm not feeling well, can we stop for now?” Whisper asked abruptly. As swiftly as it had come upon her, the calming presence faded. She was rubbing at her brow now.

The man could almost curse, suspecting the onset of a psyker headache when he saw it. Still, it made sense given the flavors of empath he’d tasted before locking her down. They tended to not require the stretched capacities of telepath’s, much less kinetic’s. Drawing out a pill bottle, he strode back to the woman and offered one.

“It helps.” ’Next time, we’ll plan on stretching your capabilities. Once we have a little more...privacy.’

Whisper closed her fingers around the press of the pill into the palm of her hand, nodding only briefly before she moved away in search of Messor without another word.
Chains ran between thirteen, arrayed in a circle around Death. The cold links coiled about him like serpents, the usurper took his time to survey the different members of Plures, silently gloating his domination over them all. They had needed to build their strength after he direction their powers on that pathetic coastal city. His soft laughter was heard by all, triggering a series of flinches. The next horror was upon them.

"We have struck the first blow, brothers. Now we shall strike again, and the world will once again remember the name of Plures."

"Raise a tower to the sky, and we shall show this world what it is like to be forgotten."

Thirteen moaned as one as the foul compulsion poured down those chains, buckling what little resistance they might have brought to bear since the first assault. As one hands rose to the air, a keening going through the circle as energies long untapped were brought to bear for this ritual. A vast weight settled in the air, earth creaking, a nearby tree utterly shattering as fell power built. Soil steamed, and on the plains of Terra the sun itself began to dim, eclipsed.

Death surveyed this scene, the slightest chill of fear running down his spine at the sight. Here was a union of powers that alone were cataclysmic. Together, should he be ousted... Best not to think of such things.

"Let them witness!"

If the planet could have screamed, it would have sounded like the nightmarish screech as thousands upon thousands of tons of soil and stone ripped free of the ground with a resounding report that would echo for hundreds of miles. A spar of writhing earth tore skyward, the force of its passage flinging debris like a hailstorm on the plains around it, carving craters and furrows in the untouched ground. Brimstone poured free of the rent stone like blood, unleashing a fire that instantly caught in the dry prairielands. Clouds began to form as static lightning arced from the edifice as a rain, adding to the chaos of the rising. And still the power boiled, a lone cackling figure roaring over the din of his companions screams.


Wild, riotous growth of foul vines and thorns tore over the dread mountain, the chilling grasp of ice frosting an armor on its surface. The fires of hell were drawn into its core to pour from pores carved into its face, even as the clouds that began to gather started to boil and burgeon. Seen from below it appeared as the end of the world, from on high one could see a super storm cell like had never ravaged the planet forming. Bolts carved their way into the ground like blasts of buckshot, hail and rain poured as though the very clouds contained oceans. Wind howled about that moutain, barely seen twisters ravaging the landscape further even as the storm began to spread. Splitting, large pieces of this mage-born apocalypse tearing away to carve swaths of destruction across Terra's brutalized surface. There was no sense of direction to their wanderings, yet what fell under their dark shrouds was in grave peril of destruction and death.

The elemental of Death scowled, however, as he realized resistance was not yet quashed into dust. He lashed out with a skeletal hand and pulled deeply on the energies of Plures, tugging the largest of the storms onto a new path. One that would lead it to a destination none could ignore, for the toll would be high indeed. Higher still, once the circle recovered.

Pain poured down those chains next, retribution for the intentional scattering of Death's harvesters. "You dare to try and spare these wretched creatures? Hah! I was content to torment them a while longer, yet now it will be your precious favorite to burn next. And this time, to the ground."

Wing City, you shine like a temple to your people, a monument to all who crawl this world. And I am going to break you.
Death stared into the distance as the circle collapsed around him, gasping as the brutality of what they had just wrought grasped them. The one who did not waver simply watched, content to wait till the bell tolled.
“Plures!” a voice shouted at him through the din of insanity that gripped his mind.

At Plure's back stood a young mage, staff in hand, and a spellbook under arm – both gifted to her by her former mentor. It was the latter which had led her here, to the wreckage of Solinus City, and to the mountain that had been erected. The elemental runes that adorned the leather bound tome, once entwined in perfect unison, were now fragmented and flowing over the bindings in chaotic disarray.

She was older than when they had last parted ways, by several years from the look of her, and she wasn't the child she once was. There was anger in her eyes as she stood her ground upon the rocky terrain.

The scene of figures in chains ripped away, blinded eyes surveying the familiar view from rising. The elemental slowly rose to his feet, himself changed in the time apart. Though only one such alteration truly mattered. “Tessa. One would have thought you’d have come...sooner.”

“Yeah well, you're not exactly easy to catch up with,” she remarked, anger still flashing through her at what she had discovered in his wake every step of the way.

The new master of the union turned their hooded face to the side, the weight of his eyes felt while unseen. Plures regarded his once pupil as he once did, as passionless as a vulture eyeing a corpse. And sensing Death’s intent, the thirteen...pulled. The elemental flinched and recoiled as if struck before the usurper slammed down resistance. Finally choosing to face the young woman.

In the gloom of his tattered hood, his blindfold still lay in place. But streaks of black ran along the veins like poison, casting the pale skin a ravaged appearance. “Yet here you stand, the student before the master. Come to plead an end to my judgement? Begging me to let you stand at my side? Speak mortal.”

“I came to see for myself what insanity would drive you to such ends,” Tessa retorted. There was a lot of nerve in the fiery redhead, but then Plures had always known that. “You once said that you maintained balance, what balance can come of this?” she snapped.

Death’s sneering voice shown through, a rasping snarl dripping with contempt. “Damn the balance. I have walked this planet and watched the rise of this civilization, and so I have observed. I grow tired of it, and so now scour it from the land.”

The blackened veins seemed to writhe as the outsider rose to the surface. “The Thirteen declared all in balance, and what is balanced when mortals decide they have tamed the land? They needed a new outlook. They needed to feel anger once more.”

Tessa shook her head. “They'll stop you,” she warned. “I'll stop you.” She gestured with her staff, towards the wreckage of Solinus City in the distance. “You may have drawn first blood, but you know as well as I do that this world will rise to whatever you throw at it. Tell me what has happened to you, and forget this crusade.” Always the idealist, the young woman seemed intent on reasoning with her old mentor.

Death felt himself torn from control as the Thirteen lashed out as one, the twelve tearing him from his place to let the strongest among them speak. And it was a voice his pupil would know well, the weight of time in its deep tone.

“Bring them, Tessa. Bring them all here, and bring this madness to order.” There was pain in those words. Resignation. “He prepares. Tell them.”

And then the outsider returned, fury radiating from the elemental. Fire crackled into life within his right hand as he regarded the Thirteen’s student, all too aware of the warnings Time had given. That he could not allow. “I will not stop, you foolish girl. A pity. I was saving you for last.”

A torrent of fire ripped from his outflung arm for Tessa, stone boiling with the heat.

The image of Tessa vanished beneath the fiery inferno, for she had never truly been there at all. Not twenty yards away, the young woman was seated behind a large rock, cloaked in Plures' own magic. What better way to hide than by utilizing that which was a part of him and would not draw his attention. Resting upon her lap was Plures' open spellbook, her fingers running down the runes of the pages while she muttered her incantations softly under her breath.

The rush of heat from Plures' torrent gusted past her hiding place, and she knew it was time to pull out. Her ruse may have caught him unaware, but the demon was too powerful to keep fooled for long. Pulling a purple mana crystal from her pocket, she placed it upon the ground and smashed it with a rock. In a flash of light, the woman was gone, leaving only a circle of scorched stone in her wake.

The elemental’s roar as the illusion was revealed was terrible, and yet within, bowed under the usurper’s assault, one of the Thirteen smiled. The most ancient of them all, the one who’s secrets Death could not compel.

Well played, Tess. Godspeed.
Meanwhile back in the remnants of Solinus City while Dylan and Whisper conversed amongst themselves, a brief arc of purple energy snapped through the air amidst the throng of people, an anomaly that snapped shut leaving a young woman standing in the middle of the congregation, smelling of sulfur. A few people cast her a wary glance, but most simply shuffled on past. This was Terra afterall, and most had seen stranger things.

Scanning the crowd, it was Messor who the young mage's eyes fell upon, lurking near the fringes of the crowds. Her eyes narrowed sharply as she closed in on him, staff and spellbook in hand.

"You," Tessa began, her tone already accusing in nature. "You, just sit down and don't say a word," Tessa warned. "I have words for you, but I haven't forgotten what Nyx did to my Aunt," she reminded him heavily. "Unfortunately you're the only demon worth his salt for leagues around." A demonologist by trade, if anyone would know it would be Tessa.

Messor had seen the young woman making her way for him but it wasn’t until she spoke that recognition flared. Hands coiled to fists in initial anger, yet her sharp rebuke struck true. He flinched, casting a glance at his companions before once more facing down Tessa.

“What do you want then?” Words tossed out, devoid of inflection. This was not a reminder the hybrid cared for at all, yet for the bad blood she sought him. Whatever could bring this young mage to ignore something such as that was chilling to imagine.

"I trust you know what's going on," she noted through narrowed eyes. "Or you wouldn't be nosing about this place. Well, I've been to see Plures, and it's going to take more than I have at my hand, or you for that matter, to head this off before the whole of Terra is buckling beneath his insanity."

Incredulous, he stared at the girl with wide eyes. Not at her claim, for the flavour of that book in her arm was proof enough, but the idea that she’d dare stand in the elemental’s way. “How did you-”

“Nevermind. So you came to find allies.” Messor shook his head, bitter. “Fine. How do you propose we bring him down then? Ask him nicely?”

"I came to pass along what I discovered, to those who might use it," Tessa corrected. "But I don't know any better than anyone else how we're going to stop him.”

Brave girl. Foolish, and probably going to die trying this, but brave. Messor shrugged off the thought, trying to recall what he could of Plures. “Apt choice of words, mage. Killing him would be...bad. Anyways, what exactly did you find when you met him?”

Better question. How is it you got away?

"I went to see him, as I said," Tessa explained. "I cloaked myself in his own magic, an effective method of moving unseen, but it also meant I could feel the insanity that gripped his mind, as surely as if it was my own," she continued with a shake of her head. "Something's in there, upsetting the balance. But there's more, he tried to warn me of something, something that runs deeper than what we're seeing."
“I caught the bit about insanity.”The hybrid dryly replied. “After all, I was just about in this city when he let loose on it.”

Something about the way that she had worded her answer bothered him, and as he thought his eyes wandered. They kept coming back to settle on the spellbook, the web of crazed, twisting runes. “Insane, yet warning. What exactly did he warn you about?”

"That's what I'm trying to get at," Tessa explained. It was frustrating to put what she had felt into words. "There's insanity in there, but it's not his own. If we can rid him of whatever madness has claimed him, then balance should be restored, and he can tell us himself what it was he was trying to warn us about. Though gods only know how we're going to get close enough to do that, he's not going to fall for my tricks a second time."

“You don’t go to Plures. You make him come to you.” The words slipped from him as it fell into place. The breaking of the pattern. The attack. The curse of immortality and its long memory put the pieces together. “I think I know what’s going on now. Something’s joined the union. He was this destabilized for centuries until an accord was met.”
It was the arch that first caught Neera’s attention. Glancing sideways to Elizabeth, the woman waved her student forward to catch her up, before she began to make a progressive beeline for where she assumed the rest of their party had gone. All around her, people meandered to and fro, picking up what remnants they could, and mingling to share their suffering with others. On each and every face was a likened expression, one of shock and disbelief, the first stages of grief. And up above, the last tendrils of storm clouds were beginning to roll away, pulling back to reveal an unusually cheerful blue sky.

He’s mocking us.

When she spied Messor standing with two other women and a man, at first Neera hesitated, preferring to know who she was going to speak with before tossing herself head-long into an unknown situation. It was Elizabeth, though, who broke the ice.

“Messor!” she called, walking forward. “You moved off pretty quickly back there. I hope everything’s alright.”

And Neera was able to catch the tail end of the conversation as she caught up to the younger woman.

“You don’t go to Plures. You make him come to you…I think I know what’s going on now. Something’s joined the union. He was this destabilized for centuries until an accord was met.”

Restoring a balance. That would make sense then, wouldn’t it? Something had thrown Plures out of alignment, infected him in a way and causing him to lash out against Terra.

“I think,” Neera spoke up, glancing around to the others as she approached. “Forgive me, I am Neera, an alchemist, and this is Elizabeth my student.” Elizabeth waved and smiled at the others before falling back to Neera’s side.

Neera looked to Messor, primarily. “I think I may know a few people who would be able to help us find the balance that you speak of.”
Swinging his gaze to the new speaker, he narrowed his eyes. This woman he recognized from before, back when he was investigating the city. That she had ended up here was unsurprising, that he was seeing her again was. “And who might these people be? Assuming you know Plures, they’d better be damned strong, or they’re dead weight.”

Not exactly the most uplifting statement he’d ever uttered, but the Messor was being as truthful as he could with what he knew. The hybrid knew that already, between those already committed to this course of action, they were not enough. Not even close.

Tessa glanced between Neera and Messor, but held her own questions. Messor had hit the important one well enough.

Neera was not intimidated by the question. Elizabeth, on the other hand, glanced to her mentor worriedly, as if she questioned the wisdom of her suggestion.

“They are a family of four, sisters and vessels who have been granted the gift and curse to embody the four major elements of nature. Of course, it is not my expectation that these four would be able to … correct what has been put out of order, but I’m confident that they might be able to provide some respite from Plures’ wrath, lessen the blow and provide us some time to come up with a plan.”

Us, as if she intended to come along with them. Elizabeth clenched her hands together and emitted a little sigh.

Could it work? Not completely, not four against thirteen. At very least, it could blunt the most prominent of them all. “Assuming they could, what happens if Plures gets to them? Or, worst case scenario, splits?”

Messor’s mind raced at the possibilities, but as to the potency of the solution, he had no idea. In all his years, Plures had never been taken down. Elementalists found just how useless they were against his sheer alignment. What he heard, though, described elementals.

“And why do I hear a condition already?” He looked instantly regretful, yet it was too late to bite back that last retort.

It was then that Whisper returned, seemingly uneasy at whatever had transpired between her and Dylan. Messor's voice drew her hand to rest upon his arm, to solidify his presence in her mind.

"It's fine," Whisper offered by way to smooth over the bite of his words towards the stranger. "We should go, all of us. At the very least we might learn of what effect this is having on the rest of the world." It would seem that the young empath had for the time forsaken her intentions to take Messor and leave this place far behind, though whether it was willingness or simply resignation was uncertain.

“There are conditions because the vessels are human.” Neera’s tone was reproachful. “Nevertheless, what they have to offer us is far better than what we have on hand this moment, unless you have a better idea.” She glanced to Whisper briefly before looking back to Messor.

"I think it's safe to say none of us do at the moment," Tessa seconded. "Time isn't something we have a lot of though. He's set his eyes on Wing City though, and if there's one place on Terra that can take care of itself, it's Wing City. It should slow him up, buy us a few days, maybe a week at most."

“Hah.” The sheer harshness and despair in that voice chilled even its utterer. “Yes, it will buy us time, at such a cost, though. Wing City won’t survive the full attention of the Thirteen.”

Whatever this corruption was, it was awakening the elemental demon to fury. Unleashed as they were, unchecked they could ravage far more than simply Wing City. Unless they chose to devote their attentions onto one particular, potentially complicating point.

At that point it was simple to see the end point. Of course, those gathered here hadn’t seen such a thing first hand. “No. I don’t have a better idea. But if we are going to move, we have to move fast. Hopefully, we can divert his attentions before he even reaches the city. If not, it’ll be damage control.”

“It’s difficult to plan for the future when we have no idea what is going to take place.” Neera said quietly, looking to the rest of the group and offering a cool smile.

“Are we agreed then?”

"It would seem so," Tessa replied. "We should set out at once, there's nothing more we can do here that others can't already do."

“Well then, it’s agreed. The merry little jaunt to piss off the biggest elemental of them all.” Though Messor smiled, there was little humor it in. “And I agree with Tessa. Frankly, I wonder why we haven’t been hit. Again.”

Turning to glance at Whisper, he sighed. Peace was ever evasive these days, it seemed. So much for being done with wars.
As the group made to leave, footsteps behind them preceded a voice speaking up, "Wait, hold on a moment." The voice belonged to a young man with mid-length light blonde hair, dressed in a bright red hooded top and black jeans - by all appearances, an ordinary guy. Striking blue eyes warily surveyed the group, their rapid movements betraying his caution. "You people sound like you have some sort of idea what's happening," the man commented, adding "I couldn't help but overhear."

That was a lie. He'd been deliberately eavesdropping on all the various conversations taking place here, in the hope of finding out something useful. "My name's Alex," he said, making no move to reveal anything more. "I'd already figured out that this wasn't a natural disaster, hearing you just confirmed it."

He sighed, "If there's any way I can help, then sign me up. I... I have reasons to want to find out what did this and do something about it." A bitterness to Alex's voice made it clear that there was a great deal of resentment behind his words. "I know that this isn't exactly ... I mean, I'm just a random stranger, right? I'm capable, though - strong. I can pull my own weight. By the sounds of it you'll need any help that's on offer, and I'm offering."

He wanted to ask, 'Who's Plures? Did he do all this himself? Are we taking him down?', but he withheld the questions. There was a high chance these people would just tell him to fuck off - and that would be irritating. He'd much rather be able to legitimately tag along with them than have to follow them in the shadows. He wasn't going to wait around and do nothing, and this group was the only lead he had.
(Joint post between Lobos and Dark Rain)

As the hybrid turned, bristling towards this newcomer, a hand settled on his shoulder. Dylan, who'd been following the discussion himself, nodded at Alex. "From the sounds of it, anyone with the will and something to back it up is going to come in handy. Consider yourself part of the group."

Messor threw off the Agent's arm, regarding him with a lizard-eyed glare that laid quite plain what he thought of the man. The recipient of this merely met it levelly, crossing his arms slowly. "Who the hell asked you to step in, pretty boy? I tolerate you because you come in handy every now and then. Don't go getting a head rush with power."

Glancing at the assembled group, and their likely audience, Ryder jerked his head to the side. "Can we have a moment, please? You. Time for a little heart to heart chat."

Without waiting for an answer, the Agent strode off, skirting the edge of the crowd until he found a side alley, stepping within. He could feel the hybrid's reluctance, then irritation that to save face, he had to follow. That roiling presence was particularly easy to detect as it drew closer and closer, so when Messor turned into the alley, his mouth opening, Ryder was ready to cut the bullshit. His fist hammered into his companion's face, rocking him before he snatched a handful of cloak and threw him deeper into the alley. Hissing with pain and fury, the immortal recovered quickly and darted forward to return the favor.

Only to be slammed into the wall, caught in a crushing grip that seemed to simply be willed into existence by the man now regarding him with a tilted gaze. "Let me make something perfectly clear, Messor. I'm here to help Whisper. I didn't intend to get embroiled in a shitstorm, but I'm involved. So I'm a pretty boy. Well, you know now I'm a pretty boy with a lot more to him than you thought." Straightening his head, he loosed the pressure on the hybrid. "So, agree to disagree, but let me help.

Messor glared daggers, but slowly nodded. It was grudgingly granted, but indeed he had not imagined that the unassuming man had power like that. He wasn't even sweating, and he'd held him down, struggles and all, not allowing a single twitch. Fury was a cover in this instance, for he was shaken. "Alright, Ryder. Agree to disagree."

A short time later, the pair walked back to the group, neither looking any more pleased with the other, but for the time being, one could tell an accord had been struck between the two. Once more joining the unlikely assembled companions, they regarded each other one final time, before Messor turned away. "Shall we get this show on the road, then?"