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Silence: Holy of Holies

In times of fear and darkness, the people of Arx will seek the Gods to find comfort and safety, and the reassurance of their priests. This night will be no different, with the faithful gathered in worship, and the young priest to be preaching filled with the zeal and enthusiasm of youth. Really, what could ever go wrong?

OOC: This PRP will be run by myself, for a maximum of 5 players (currently 1 out of the five slots has been filled, so 4 slots remain!). This is not to be a straightforward battle of any kind, but will instead lean more towards horror themes. There will be combat, and it won't be easy, you've been warned. If interested, please mail me, so I can personalize some of the events that will be taking place for each of the participants.


April 3, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted By


GM'd By



Gisele Armel(RIP) Aleksei Fortunato Miles



Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Great Cathedral of the Pantheon

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

The Great Cathedral, while not filled, is nonetheless host to a sizable crowd on this evening. Perhaps it is the fear of the army outside that bring these people to the worship of the Gods. Or perhaps it is those inspired by the recent victories that now seek to give thanks to the Pantheon, and beg for their good fortune to persist. Some pray alone, while others have come with their families, the latter goup the most numerous in the evening hours. Most of those present are filling the commoners' pews, though there are some nobles here and there. Templars are seen patrolling the area, some with the visor of their helms closed, while others show a more approachable and human sight, their helms either removed or their visors up to reveal their faces. One such individual is the Templar Knight Perses, currently in charge of the protection of this holy place on this night. He watches each new arrival, but smiles in welcome when they step inside. All are welcome. Indeed, further ahead, at the high pulpit, preaches the young priest, Brother Loren, a young man known for his enthusiasm and honest zeal, one who's worked tirelessly to raise morale and ensure the people of Arx find comfort in the embrace of the Faith. It is such a tableau that is presented to new arrivals, a peaceful evening of worship and camaraderie, with only darkness the approaching night.

When Aleksei draws inside, it's in the company of Fortunato and Gisele. He's a young priest himself, although with the siege at hand he's taken to the habit of staying in full leathers from day to day. He almost looks a bit wistful as he listens to Brother Loren while making his way to a pew with the others. "I'm never going to be able to do that," he mumbles to them.

Armel enters this place with all the surety and ease of a man who has been in the edifice more times than he can count. He pauses at the entrance and greets Perses, clapping the Templar on the shoulder and exchanging a short conversation, probably just a greeting and well-wishing from the bits anyone coming in might catch. Then he's on, moving up the pews and remarking aside to his men-at-arms, "Oh good, it's Brother Loren. Good man, if a bit over-excitable. You'll learn something from it, though." He gestures the pair to seat themselves, them moves up a ways, picking a spot near to the trio that has just entered. "Never is a long time, Brother," he observes quietly, with a twitch of a smile.

It isn't /quite/ family which Gisele arrives with, but near enough given the time she spends in their company. She's the mouse in the middle, less flamboyant than Aleksei, less dreamy than Fortunato. With her head tucked low and her thin linen cloak wrapped around herself, she looks like someone who doesn't mind fading into the background. "Sir Armel has the truth of it, Leksei," she murmurs. "You already do, when someone gets you going."

Miles walks into the cathedral, alone, but decked in the armor that immediately marks him as one of the King's Own. His expression is serious, at least his eyes are. There is a quality to the way he purses his lips, almost like a pout. But not quite. "Yeah, yeah," he mumbles to nobody in particular. "I don't come here often enough," he grumbles after that and exhales. Seeing people present inside, he offers respectful nods to anyone looking his way, but mostly finds a place to settle down at, not far from Aleksei and Gisele.

"Ah, love being part of a crown," Fortunato says, nearly sotto, as he drifts in Aleksei's wake. As is usual when the artist is in public, he has a canvas-bound board. He's already sketching. Knots of families in the pews, a quick guesture of Brother Loren himself. He, also, is in leathers as he brings up the rear, although between that, the large staff strapped to his back, and his general boniness and restless eye, well, he looks more like he's dressing the part. "You've got passion enough to preach them, Aleksei. Not worried about you." He takes a seat, roughly between Gisele and Miles.

*crown = crowd

"Just thinking about getting up there and talking with everyone is gonna give me hives," Aleksei says, still mumblish as he ducks his head. "Why can't I just talk to one person at a time? Informally?" He sighs a bit as he drifts into a pew to find a seat. He listens to Brother Loren with open, obvious envy. It's possible he's paying more attention to the man's technique than his message.

"Knight-Captain." Perses greets Armel with a smile and nod. Little more is said by the man as he takes into account the new arrivals, and then goes back to his duty guarding the doors. Meanwhile, Brother Loren looks out to the new group, his eyes resting on each in turn, before looking down, gathering his thoughts. "We, all of us, have at one time or another suffered from misconceptions. As we once assumed Death to be a cruel Goddess known only to the Nox'alfar, as we once assumed the First Choice to be nothing but a mad mage. But we were wrong, as mortals often are. We were wrong... and still follow false truths." A master orator's pause, one that draws his listeners further towards him, as his voice seems to grow more quiet... even as it feels the Great Cathedral. "We are wrong, in our assumption that the First Choice has freed us. We are wrong, in the assumption that Death is anything more but a cruel lie. We are filth, unworthy of the cleansing the Silence promises, that the Silence offers so generously. And yet offer it does! Offer it has! But we shut our doors, we prevent the rightful end of this world! Because we are weak. Because we are wrong!"

Needless to say, this isn't going over well among the gathered crowd. Parents look furious, children look scared, and the Templars are taking rather strong exception with what's being said. "What are you saying?!" Perses' voice can be heard, and the sound of blades being drawn. The guards don't appreciate heresy within this most holy place. Especially from one of their own.

Gisele checked perception + empathy against difficulty 15, resulting in 31, 16 higher than the difficulty.

Fortunato checked charm + empathy against difficulty 30, resulting in 22, 8 lower than the difficulty.

Gisele, settled in the pew, arranges cloak and skirts neatly before folding her hands in her lap. Her fingers keep strating to the beads around her wrist. "Gods bless," is quiet offering to Miles, the fellow's nod met with a small smile and a dip of her head. Then? Then, shameless peering at Fortunato's sketching, her hand stealing out to touch this section or that one, where his shading is deemed particularly fine. But the shift of tone from the pulpit leads to a startled glance, a flinch that leaves her staring up at Brother Loren, her mouth opening in a little 'o' of horror. Another blink, and her reaching hand grips Fortunato's wrist. She whispers, "He's scared. Why is he saying those things if he's scared?"

Armel checked command + leadership against difficulty 15, resulting in 24, 9 higher than the difficulty.

Aleksei checked charm + empathy against difficulty 30, resulting in 23, 7 lower than the difficulty.

The veteran knight from the King's Own replies to Gisele, with a nod but then looks up, letting his blue eyes regard the speaker. Miles stares at Loren and grunts. His hand falls on the pommel of his sword, but he does not draw it yet. He glances first at the Templars and then at those around him, gaze lingering on Aleksei and studying him, before moving over to Fortunato and doing the same. The quick assessment done, that hand remains on the pommel of his sword, but he remains just where he is, waiting.

That -- escalated quickly. There's a moment where Aleksei just blinks in shock at the turn Brother Loren's speech has taken. He rises to his feet sudden and swift, his jaw and shoulders already growing tense. "Brother Loren, I suggest you /step down/."

Fortunato rises, abruptly (he keeps his sketchboard braced against the pew behind him). With slightly cross fervor, he says, "How have you allowed this to poison you?" He stops as Gisele whispers, his eyebrows drawing together. He tries a different tact, his manner gentler. "I understand being frightened, I do. I understand waking up and feeling unequal to the task of the day, but I don't believe you-- believe what you're saying. Not really." The artist is still clearly struggling through the details of the situation, and his delivery leaves much to be desired. No effect can be expected.

Armel is leaning back, ready to take in the word of Brother Loren. At first, he is smiling, very faintly, seeming to take it all in as another inspiring lecture...But then there is the shift in tone, and he is not a man to take much sitting down, really. He stands up, almost rocketing to his feet as he tugs his warhammer free, in time with the Templars and his own ment. "BLASPHEMER!" He declares. "Are you struck mad, man?! Stand down this instant and submit to the will of the Templars, or face judgment where you stand!" He has moved into the aisle, his men flanking him as he shouts to the Templars attending, "Surround this..Man! Stand ready, men! You will not defile this holy place with such talk!" His rhetoric matches Aleksei's more than Fortunato, but the message is getting across all the same.

"You may shout down the truth, you may try to silence it, but only ture Silence will ever wipe away our taint! Only when the world is void, only when every single one of us has been destroyed, will we be worthy of peace!" Brother Loren, despite the heartfelt, or violent, arguments presented to him continues on, his eyes going from person to person. Obeying to Armel's orders, many of the Templars move to surround the preacher, Perses among them. Yet the priest persists. "You think this ends with me? We will all die, Arx, jewel of the Queen of Endings, will be shattered!" He looks back to the families, eyes wide. "Your children will die. You will die. And your soul will not be cast into the Wheel, but Oblivion, forever lost and to never know the life we so foolishly fought for!"

"One more word from you and I will run you through where you stand!" Perses exclaims. Those Templars who have not yet surrounded the Brother are standing guard at the gates to prevent flight, should the very unlikely happen and the Brother try to make a run for it. Strangely, he doesn't, standing his ground even with naked steel pointed at him, yelling his heresy throughout the Great Cathedral. The crowd itself seems ready to surge and rip the man apart, furious at such betrayal. "Kill him!" "Silence the heretic!" Those cries can be heard coming from the pew. Whatever goodwill Brother Loren possessed, it is long gone now.

"No!" It's a shockingly loud sound to come from Gisele. Others are shouting around her, the crowd is milling, she's being jostled but still she finds the breath to cry out. "Don't kill him! Something's wrong! Aleksei, something is wrong, don't let them kill him! No blood on holy ground!"

"I agree with the lass," Miles finally speaks out, rising. He nods to Gisele and keeps that hand on his pommel, without drawing steel. "Spilling blood here sounds like a mighty bad idea," he points out, with a grunt. "Regardless of how much an idiot his priest is," he adds, with a narrowed look to Loren.

Armel checked dexterity + brawl against difficulty 15, resulting in 21, 6 higher than the difficulty.

Aleksei looks at Loren with a horror that's quite different from the religious fervor taking a hold of the crowd. His gaze snaps to Gisele, and then it turns to Armel. "We will not kill him," he tells his fellow Godsworn firmly, moving out of the pew and making his way down the aisle. Of course, he does still have a hand on his sword -- but it's his left. "Don't draw steel on him!" he yells ahead.

Fortunato checked perception against difficulty 20, resulting in 53, 33 higher than the difficulty.

Armel is already advancing on the podium, his eyes bulging nearly out of his head. "We have the Gods. We have the power of the Compact, the Shield of Gild, the Might of Gloria, and the Wisdom of Vellichor! All you have feeble words, and I will show you what that gives you." And he pushes through the Templars, commanding them, "Stand to! No blood in this holy place!" And he cracks Loren across the face with a steel-shod fist, his powerful arms wrapping around the priest's and dragging him to the floor, where he commands for rope and something to bind his mouth. "Keep the people back!" he shouts at the templar and the pair he has brought with him. He did listen to Gisele and not cave in the bastard's chest, at least.

Fortunato raises his board like a shield and tries to struggle forward, up and over the next pew to stand on top of the bench and counter some height deficiencies. His attention roves around the perimeter, the periphery. The guards. The guards. The artist's eyes fix on a cluster, just for a moment, and then he picks his way down the pew toward Aleksei. He whispers with an inclination of his chin toward a couple of guards, "They aren't reacting. Why aren't they reacting?" He picks his way down to try to get Miles, at least. Perhaps Armel when he has a moment.

Mathias checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 37, 22 higher than the difficulty.

"Gild? What did Gild do for your brothers, Knight-Captain? What did Gild do when the Silence used them to break through our gates? What did Gild do when they were cut down and made sport of by the Bringers and the Shavs? Where was her Shield then? Where was Gloria's Might when the Valardin lost all their men in a flash? Where was Vellichor's wisdom when our men broke, fled from the field?" Brother Loren persists, even as he's taken down, even after spitting out blood from his mouth. Steel-shod fists aren't the most gentle of methods to neutralize someone. Even so, it's much less blood than when one of the Templars, the visor of his helm shut, runs through the priest, the blade stopping when it encounters Armel's armor.

Shock. Silence. Some of the crowds express their approval with cheers, but they're hesitant. After the Knight-Captain mastered the priest, none expected one of the Templars to break. The templars at the gates, seeing this, calmly begin to lock down the doors, lifting the heavy beams to bar them. Confusion heightens as some notice them act so, Fortunato chief among them. Cries demanding an explanation begin to fill the Cathedral...

And then all goes dark. One moment, the light of the evening, and the torches of the Cathedral, bathed the worshipers in light. The next, a thick fog, seemingly summoned out of nowhere, fills the room. Worse, the torches go out, extinguished by unseen hands, and in mere seconds the Great Cathedral of the Pantheon is bathed in darkness and fog.

"An inquisitive group, we've gathered here tonight." remarks a voice, unseen, and yet loud in its depth and power.

Gisele checked perception against difficulty 25, resulting in 17, 8 lower than the difficulty.

Aleksei checked command + leadership against difficulty 40, resulting in 7, 33 lower than the difficulty.

Armel checked command + leadership against difficulty 30, resulting in 35, 5 higher than the difficulty.

All of these people with weapons advancing-- and some without, members of the audience who are outraged and armed with fists-- and Gisele hangs back. She has no natural defenses in an agitated crowd, too mild to throw her elbows and maintain a bubble of personal space, too small to stand against jostling. So she does what she can to protect herself: she risks the censure of the gods by stepping up onto a pew. And, finally achieving height, she is just in time to see the desecration of the Cathedral, the slaughter of the priest and the descent of darkness. Maybe it isn't as dark for her as the others: as a small, animal in a trap sound escapes her, loud in the sudden hush, she cranes her head back and looks /up/.

Fortunato checked perception against difficulty 50, resulting in 22, 28 lower than the difficulty.

Armel was /not/ expecting that. Not even a bit. He is a man used to having orderd /obeyed/, especially from other Holy Warriors. He looks up at the Templar that just ran the priest through and shouts right in his visored face, "You were ordered to stand to! How dare you spill blood in this holiest of places?!" And he levels his hammer at the Templar...Just in time for the lights to go out. "Shit...Templars, Knights, Men of the Faith, to your oaths! Protect the people!" He himself is suddenly in a fight for his life, as the templar before him not only completely ignores his questioning, but raises his sword on Armel!

Miles notices Fortunato coming his way and quirks a brow in his direction. He's about to ask something when that priest gets ran through. The King's Own's medic blinks in that direction, wide eyed. "Well, fuck," he mutters in that gruff voice of his. And then he sees the Templars starting to bar the door and he starts moving that way only to be forced into a stop as everything goes dark. "Oh, come on," he growls, foul tempered. "I should have started this praying thing again next week," he mutters.

"No--!" Aleksei's eyes go wide with horror as he sees the priest run through. He's shoving up faster, trying to make his way through the crowd, and then the lights suddenly all blacken. He wheels around in the darkness, back to where the guards Fortunato pointed out where, but he can't see. Of course he can't see. "Stay calm!" he tries to say, but he's no orator, and his words just get lost among so many other raised voices.

Fortunato's Lower Boroughs comes out sudden and sharp as the priest is run through, a first, spat, unholy "Shit," and the 'shit' comes out again as doors are barred. The darkness, however, quiets him entirely. He searches, stumbling, in the sightless bleak to try to trace the voice, but he can't hear and the black is absolute. After barking knee on pew, and being jostled heavily twice, thrice, he leaves his board and tries to clamber back toward where Gisele was. From memory and hope. As he moves (tries to move), he begins to unlace the fastenings on his staff.

A loud THUM echoes within the Cathedral as the doors are barred, causing the screams and confusion to increase even further. The fog and darkness thicken, yet... the voices only seem to be amplified, almost painfully so. "What's going on?!" "Help!" "Why did the lights go out?!!" "Templars, obey the Knight-Captain!" "Protect the Faithful!" Those yells are repeated, heightening the chaos. And through it all... a voice chuckles, it's location strangely difficult to pin down. "Templars, you heard the good Knight-Captain. To your oaths. Save these people." And where there were screams, they are redoubled as the sound of steel hitting flesh, of yells cut short, of begging and pleading fill the air.

Mathias checked strength + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 44, 29 higher than the difficulty.

Armel checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 74, resulting in 34, 40 lower than the difficulty.

Aleksei checked mana + theology against difficulty 60, resulting in 57, 3 lower than the difficulty.

Gisele checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 24, 9 higher than the difficulty.

Aleksei checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 40, 25 higher than the difficulty.

Mathias checked strength + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 53, 38 higher than the difficulty.

Gisele checked willpower against difficulty 35, resulting in 22, 13 lower than the difficulty.

Armel checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 30, resulting in 53, 23 higher than the difficulty.

Fortunato checked perception against difficulty 20, resulting in 25, 5 higher than the difficulty.

In the midst of the dark and the panic, Armel is left at a rather decided disadvantage against the..Whatever it is that is trying to kill him. There is a flash of hard steel, and the painful screech of metal-on-metal, followed by a hiss of pain likely lost in the panic as Armel is struck. He responds with a roar of defiance and sends his hammer in great, sweeping arms, trying to put down this new opponent and utterly unable to help with that whole horrible mess in the center of the floor, way too busy fighting for his life on the raised section near the podium.

Miles checked perception against difficulty 20, resulting in 7, 13 lower than the difficulty.

"Fuck fuck fuck--" Aleksei blanches -- although no one can see him in the darkness -- at the sound of steel on flesh. And then: he starts praying. He's not a natural at it, but he's focused inward now instead of trying to impress anyone. "Holy Lagoma, Our Lady of Change and most specifically /fire/, please light our way by /lighting the fucking torches/, I'm sorry I just cursed but you probably don't even care--" He actually manages a sort of fierce focus, a ringing earnestness as if he could speak directly to her -- but he falters. He doesn't quite make it. "Gisele!" he calls out, and then he's suddenly stumbling as he's struck, crying out, and he finally grasps for his alaricite sword.

Miles is no templar, but still, his steel is finally drawn and held defensively in front of him. He grunts, sounding as annoyed as he often does. Unable to see much of anything he doesn't try to move, doing a lot of squinting. He doesn't attack, and doesn't go around trying to feel his way. He just remains a sentinel of the little space of the cathedral he claimed as his own.

Fortunato checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 25, 10 higher than the difficulty.

Mathias checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 51, 36 higher than the difficulty.

In all of the shouting, the sound of weapons striking and bodies being broken, Gisele's voice is tremulous and thin and easily lost-- though it might still serve as a marker for Fortunato to follow: she prays to Vellichor, of course. "Vellichor, in your enlightened name, I pray you steady me when I stand before the unknown, let me know it. Edify my mind, my heart, my wits, let me... let me remember it, O Vellichor, please, open my eyes, open my eyes--" And then her voice cuts out, nothing more for Fortunato or Aleksei to follow for a moment, another... until the whistle of an arrow, a jostling, the thud of impact, and the sudden pained scream of appeal to, "Poppop!" who isn't even /here/.

Fortunato follows the thread of Gisele's prayer until it terminates. His senses do the rest, slight distance as it is, finding undercurrents through the screams. (He sucks in his breath, tight. He can't scream.) He reaches Gisele too late, unfolding in front of her, staff raised, just as an arrow whistles through the hang of his armor. He turns at her scream, stumbling. "Gisele," he hisses, "Gisele?" He's still interposed, trying to blindly determine her status. His own prayer is a snarled, "Lagoma, if I was ever /yours/," which is no prayer at all.

The Templar attacking Armel does not emit any sound, even as he's delivered a strong blow with the Knight's warhammer. He stumbles slightly, gains his balance back, and stands, stepping towards Armel once more to continue his attack. Aleksei is likewise cut by a silent Templar, and heedless of the precious and powerful blade pulled by the champion, he steps forward to attack anew. Miles sees shadows running past, shapes difficult to identify. Some are armed, some aren't. And then.... one shape surges towards him, running straight for his spot!

Cruel laughter can be heard after the scream of pain from Gisele. "Do you /really/ wish he was here? Is that what you want, little bird? To see your dear grandfather die with you? Mortal selfishness, ever a pleasure. But behold, there walks a hero, though no knight in shining armor. What are you going to do, painter? Do you aim to save your friends the same way you accomplish your art? Oh but what am I saying, you never finish your work. Will you be distracted anew? Oh, here comes one now..." And indeed, a dark shape seems to be heading straight for Fortunato.

Aleksei checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 71, 56 higher than the difficulty.

Armel checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 56, 41 higher than the difficulty.

Miles checked dexterity + medium wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 49, 34 higher than the difficulty.

Gisele checked mana + theology against difficulty 50, resulting in 34, 16 lower than the difficulty.

Fortunato checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 19, 4 higher than the difficulty.

Fortunato has rolled a critical success!
Fortunato checked perception against difficulty 20, resulting in 72, 52 higher than the difficulty.

Gisele checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 11, 4 lower than the difficulty.

Mathias has rolled a critical success!
Mathias checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 83, 68 higher than the difficulty.

Fortunato checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 10, 5 lower than the difficulty.

Armel has rolled a critical success!
Armel checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 65, 50 higher than the difficulty.

Aleksei checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 29, 14 higher than the difficulty.

Cruel jibes, and maybe Gisele hears them. There's a soft snuffling, weeping interspersed with the hitches of breath and small whimpers of someone grievously wounded. But Fortunato's near and she gropes a hand out towards him through the gloaming, the other clutching the arrow that's pierced her and pinned her to the pew. "Fortunato. Fort... repeat. O Lady of Change, I place myself in your hands. Ask you to cover me with your cleansing Flame. Purify and shield me, O Lagoma, with the... with the glow that comes from your heart. Let me be protected. That... I might learn and grow from this. O Blessed Lady, fill me with your fire. Let me be sustained by your will... say--" And then another thud, and she doesn't speak again.

Mathias checked strength + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 39, 24 higher than the difficulty.

Mathias checked strength + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 44, 29 higher than the difficulty.

"/Gisele/!" Aleksei's sword slices through the dark, finding purchase in the Templar -- or "Templar" -- attacking him. He shoves in hard and pulls it back out, seeming to pause in brief confusion. "They're not Bringers!" he tries to call out over the din of the panicked crowd, but then he's hit again through the thickness of his leathers, grunting hard and pressing a hand to the fresh blood. He keeps his sword up, though.

Armel is, unfortunately, much too far away to assist in the horrible disaster on the floor of the cathedral, it seems. And he is in a life-or-death struggle of his own at the moment. "Gisele!" He manages to bark out as he hears her voice...And then hears it stop. Panic and utter /rage/ grip the man as he goes on the offensive against a foe he can barely even sense or see, using his massive hammer to try and keep the thing off-balance and finish this personal duel he has going on. His armor and agility means that he manages to stay one step ahead of the Templar's sword and land a nasty series of hits himself, hopefully driving the thing back. "Don't care, kill them!" He shouts back, as yet only minorly wounded himself.

Miles checked perception against difficulty 20, resulting in 5, 15 lower than the difficulty.

Fortunato starts to respond to the jibes. An unartful, furious, "Fuck you. When it mattered, when it matters, I--" Gisele finds him. Her words find him, and he starts to repeat them, low, shakily, "O Lady of Change," he tries, gaining strength. "I place myself in your hands." As the darkness peels off to fly at him, he raises his staff to strike. "Ask you to cover me with your cleansing flame." Narrowly, he realizes his situation. His environment. He redirects the teenage girl streaking toward him with a turn of his hand. "Purify and shield--" He sees the arrow. His staff swings. He's again too slow, too late. And as the arrow lands, the artist-- seems for a second like all the fight's going to go out of him, like he's just going to crumple where he stands. Then he straightens, his staff poised in front of him. "O Lady of Change," he repeats, lower, almost beneath hearing. "I place myself in your hands. Place ourselves in your hands."

Someone is running at the veteran knight and well, right now it's a little hard to tell who's friend or foe. Miles lifts his blade to protect himself and in doing so ends up running through a poor sap that was all panicky. He winces, but doesn't seem too affected by it. "Idiot," he mutters, with regret all over his voice. "Let there be light, gods damn it!" the medic cries out. frustrated.

"There goes the little bird, her wings clipped. How do you feel now, hero? Oh but no matter, it seems I've a raging dog to put down next. Please, do go on with the praying. Have Her reach down and take action personally." Cruel laughter echoes again, despite the screaming. "Give us the excuse."

The things facing both Aleksei and Armel hack away with wild abandon, with no concern for defense. They take the hits... and remain standing where living men would have collapsed. Still, they look damaged. Darkness and chaos continue to reign inside the Cathedral... but the screams have quietened...

Miles checked perception against difficulty 15, resulting in 11, 4 lower than the difficulty.

Armel checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 65, 50 higher than the difficulty.

Armel checked dexterity + dodge against difficulty 15, resulting in 27, 12 higher than the difficulty.

Mathias has rolled a critical success!
Mathias checked dexterity + huge wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 61, 46 higher than the difficulty.

Aleksei checked luck + medium wpn against difficulty 15, resulting in 56, 41 higher than the difficulty.

Miles checked stamina + athletics against difficulty 15, resulting in 35, 20 higher than the difficulty.

Slowly not surely, Miles begins moving. He keeps his sword up, although he doesn't go waving it around at anyone or anything yet. He's trying to find something from the looks of it. He disappears through an opening. When he returns, is carrying two torches in his hand, his sword back in its sheath. "Fire!" He yells out from that entrance he disappeared into. "Down below!"

Fortunato repeats the prayer. But only one line. Soon as the entity's attention seems to have shifted, Fortunato drops his fighting position, tucks the staff awkwardly under his arm, and goes rummaging in his bag for canvas and cloth, any soft, unused thing he can get his hands on. He stoops next to Gisele to bind around her wounds. Doesn't try to do any old thing with the arrows, he doesn't dare. But he staunches the bleeding as he can, listening for shifts in the Cathedral's screams and scuffs and clangs.

"/Fuck you/," Aleksei snarls at the voice. His blade would flash if there were any light at all, but in the dark it's only sound. But it's the sound of alaricite biting through flesh and bone as it slips between plate to slice cleanly through the Templar's neck. "Fire?" he calls back, trying to make his way towards the sound of Miles' voice.

There is perhaps a grain of truth in the comparison between Armel and a raging animal, given his attitude toward his barely-seen enemy. But he probably wouldn't appreciate the reference, if he was paying any attention at all. No, he is too busy going with everything he has against the armored man facing him. After a fierce exchange of blows and the clanging of steel on rubicund. And then, with a roar of effort, he slams the flat side of the hammer into the thing's face, crumpling the steel inward and quite definitely ending the fight. "Get up from /that/, you little shi-" And then there is a whistling, and an arrow sprouts from his back, punching through a weak joint in his armor. "GAH!" He cries out helpfully, turning and starting to move toward the general direction of the door. "Gild, shield me with your grace, show me the path to salvation, and deliver us from the evil that seeks to diminish the faithful.." He intones hoarsely as he moves off at a slow trot. That arrow really is taking it out of him, it seems, and he gets a bit turned around, ending up touching the shoulder of a familiar, small woman pinned to a pew by a couple arrows. "Shit...Shit, Gisele. You fucking monsters," he growls under his breath, apparently semi-assuming the worst. He can sense Fortunato as well, and defiantly places his large, armored body over the pair, wounded as he is.

"Ah, a King's Own medic, slaying an innocent man. A pretty litte bird, with her wings clipped. A Knight-Captain killing his own. And the First Choice's priest, unable to save anyone. You made for quite the little group." The voice mocks, mercilessly. "But I've done what I needed to do, and you all were a very nice diversion. But places to torch, people to kill... Do try not to burn alive."

Silence follows... and as suddenly as it came, the fog and darkness returns, the fading sun casting its last rays through the windows... while the red glow of fire begins to spread from the lower levels.

"Ah, a King's Own medic, slaying an innocent man. A pretty litte bird, with her wings clipped. A Knight-Captain killing his own. And the First Choice's priest, unable to save anyone. You made for quite the little group." The voice mocks, mercilessly. "But I've done what I needed to do, and you all were a very nice diversion. But places to torch, people to kill... Do try not to burn alive."

Silence follows... and as suddenly as it came, the fog and darkness lifts, the fading sun casting its last rays through the windows... while the red glow of fire begins to spread from the lower levels.

And upon the Great Cathedral's grounds lie Templar and citizens, innocents and undead, those that were turned and those that were not. Though the risen dead were put down, and a few of the Templar guards remain, the floor is littered with bodies, young and old, in pools of mingled blood.

Once the darkness and fogs lifts, Miles squints and grunts. "Fine!" He mutters and finds a place to set those torches at, that is not going to keep setting this place further on fire. "We've got to breach the doors," he tells the others. "They set the food, the supplies down below on fire," he explains and with a grim look makes his way to the doors, reaching for his sword again.

Darkness lifted, Fortunato is sheet pale and trying, without much success, to suppress full-body shudders. He closes his eyes and touches Armel's arm. "Need to move her," he says. "Help me pull her free without hurting her." His laugh is compressed. "Small the smoke. Too bad not answered prayers, huh?"

Gisele is revealed with the flare of light returned, her chin dropped to her chest, an arrow sunk through chest and waist to pin her to the pew on which she sits. Without the blood, without those feathered shafts, she'd look as if she'd fallen asleep or was lost in deep prayer.

Armel lowers his hammer a bit once the fog lifts and it's obvious whatever was shooting at them has departed. He looks down at Gisele, then off toward the pile of dead citizens, faithful people seeking solace. "Failure," he mumbles quietly, his face showing incredible pain that likely isn't from the arrow in his back, which he's going to have to deal with at some point. He kneels next to Fortunato, calling out ot Aleksei and Milas, "Get those damn doors open!" Probably aimed at the templars who are left as well as he reaches to snap off the arrows a couple inches away from her body, so she can be slid off and moved, producing bandages for the bleeding /that/ is gonna cause.

There's a moment where Aleksei just stands there, haggard and struck, horrified as he looks down at the carnage. He draws in a ragged, unsteady breath, and then he strides down the aisle, clutching at one of his wounds. "Get--" His voice falters. "The door, get the door--" Which is clearly where he's trying to get to so that he can lend his arms to unbarring the door.

The Templars that remain, visibly shaken, nonetheless move to obey quickly, aiding the survivors' efforts to lift the bars from the doors. The gates are then finally opened, and the nightmare that didn't last even a full night seems banished... except for the dead and those very close to it.

Once the doors are opened, the survivors are quick to seek aid, and the Iron Guard, Knights of Solace, and Templars that were posted elsewhere all gather to put out the flames... and behold the massacre. Bodies are gathered, crowds of concerned citizens held back, leaving the survivors in a group to take in all that's happened...

Once the doors are open and the crowd escaped, once the fires are put out, Aleksei is left by the door to stare at the aftermath. He can't seem to pull his eyes from the blood and bodies strewn across the Cathedral floor. He sways, just slightly, in place. Silent. Raw. A hand is still pressed to where he's bleeding, but there are so many others with worse wounds who need help first.

Fortunato has left his staff in the cathedral to carry Gisele outside. With aid. With-- more substantial aid from Armel than the artist himself is able to give. Get her set somewhere distant enough from the building, somewhere soft, somewhere flat, somewhere already attended. He's mute, his jaw locked, but he's enough strength to lower Gisele gently. Again, with aid.

Once the doors are opened and aid arrives, Miles takes the time to turn to the wounded. "Alright, we'll drag the worst of them to the hospital," he calls out to whomever is around that will listen, probably some Iron Guard. "They better look injured. Otherwise, they can drag their asses home." He eventually makes it to Gisele, and reaches into some of the pouches on his belt producing a few emergency supplies to attempt to patch her up, unless someone tries to stop him. And once she's stabilized, he moves to the next person. And the next. And tone after that.

Armel helps lift Gisele gently from her pinned state, moving with Fortunato to gently lay her outside. He's hurt, and pretty badly so, but right now? He doesn't really give two shits, and he's strong enough otherwise to carry the tiny bundle of Gisele with the other man's aid. He presses bandages to her wounds until Miles arrives, then stepping aside to let the much more experienced man stabilize her. He then turns, and surveys the dead. The faithful. The children. Good Gods, the children. He stares, and his eyes show only pain and a grim hollowness as he murmurs quietly, "We failed." Too low for most anyone to hear, most likely, as he then turns, as if in a daze, looking for his men, only to discover they are in the pile as well. This doesn't help his grief, and he's barely able to murmur instructions to the Knights and Templar who arrive, to keep the crowd back.

Gisele definitely looks injured. She's dead weight while being carried, and a quiescent patient once outside. At some point, after her wounds are bound and Mile's medicines work their magic, her lashes flutter and maybe she's able to look at those around her. Life! She doesn't look long but to that talk of failure, she whispers, "...saw him..." to those hovering above her. That face is locked in her mind-- though there it will stay for now, the little scholar soon slipping back into unconsciousness.

Fortunato sits next to Gisele. A flicker of relief crosses his face when she speaks, he turns his head toward her, but Armel's talk of failure, his own memories are sufficient for him to fall back into himself when Gisele recedes. He just-- sits. Rocking a little.

Aleksei just -- stands there. He's not close enough to hear Gisele's whisper, or Armel's murmur. He's standing inside the doors still, watching people handle the wounded -- and the dead. It's the latter that his gaze keeps lingering on.

Armel moves forward eventually, a trace of relief at Gisele's apparent being-alive-ness lasting only a moment before the sight of the dead wipes it clean again. He moves to stand over the dead, being arranged slowly off to one side. "Death, we beseech you to take these poor souls into your embrace," he begins quietly, tightly, his words hoarse and harsh, as if barely scraping them out. "Care for them as we were unable to do in life, and place them upon the Wheel, so they may be born anew, wiped clean of the horrors of this life..." His hands are clenched, the arrow in his back seriously not helping, but not much he can do about it at this exact moment.

Miles has seen too much in his lifetime to be too shaken by what happened. He does look at his blade and frowns, but then turns back to inspect Gisele once more, after doing the rounds. He nods, grunts, and with a look to Armel, nods again. "Good job keeping her alive long enough," he says, as way of what passes for a compliment. He looks to the church finally, and offers a heavy and tired sigh. "What waste."

Aleksei checked composure + theology against difficulty 20, resulting in 15, 5 lower than the difficulty.

Aleksei's gaze finally tears from the carnage to find Armel when the Knight-Captain begins to speak. There's a moment where his expression goes awash with something that's almost like guilt. And then he finally tries to speak. "Take their souls in your hands," he says, but his voice is unsteady. "And place them with the care of your judgment--" But he can't. His voice chokes, and his face crumples, and he can't find the words.

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