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The Reckoning: Arx Day 1 - Castle of Yesterday

Azazel's Legions arrive at Arx, and one of their earliest targets is the Castle of Yesterday, to consume it utterly.


Jan. 27, 2024, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Apostate Aleksei Fortunato Watcher

GM'd By



Fairen Mirk Celeste Ilmia Denica Lou Tikva Eirene Alis Khanne Iliana Sorrel Kael Sen'azala Keely Edris Ryhalt Thesarin Volcica Mia


Red Wardens The Prismatic Order


The Castle of Yesterday - Courtyard

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Tikva gets Amanita, a secunda balalaika from torso-belted instrument case inlaid with a dark red Eternal Flame.

Azazel isn't really looking for conquer the Castle of Yesterday. It's incidental to his plans, but it's -right there-. There's a degree of spite that is almost unfathomable to mortals, and despite knowing full well just how well defended Copper would have left her castle, the archfiend simply doesn't care how much of his fodder he throws against the defenses. And that's certainly the case now. As a storm rolls in heralding the arrival of his forces, and lightning flashes revealing the mountainous primordia standing over the castle and looking down, he still commits his forces.

The outer wards start to go off. There's hundreds of explosions, and what could best be described as a river of demonic gore neatly draining down towards the Bay of Thrax in a thoughtfully designed disposal canal. But it just keeps going. Shards by the hundreds are turned inside out, and the outer wards are hit by hundreds and hundreds of offensive spells as Azazel's forces on on. The wardens inside, the massed forces of what came from the Copper Guard, wait for Azazel's forces to come. It's almost time.

((Pre-battle round, can check any war or any morale giving social skill at easy))

Mirk checks command and leadership at easy. Mirk is successful.

Keely checks charm and empathy at easy. Keely is successful.

Lou checks wits and propaganda at easy. Lou is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at easy. Iliana is spectacularly successful.

Fairen checks intellect and empathy at easy. Fairen is successful.

Aleksei checks luck and empathy at easy. Aleksei is successful.

Eirene checks command and war at easy. Eirene is spectacularly successful.

Tikva checks charm and performance at easy. Tikva is successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at easy. Sorrel is spectacularly successful.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is successful.

Khanne checks charm and empathy at easy. Khanne is successful.

Alis checks command and leadership at easy. Alis is spectacularly successful.

Kael checks command and leadership at easy. Kael is successful.

Edris checks command and leadership at easy. Edris is successful.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at easy. Ilmia is successful.

Denica checks charm and empathy at easy. Denica is successful.

Fortunato checks wits and propaganda at easy. Fortunato is successful.

Thesarin checks command and war at easy. Thesarin is spectacularly successful.

Volcica checks charm and empathy at easy. Volcica is successful.

Ryhalt checks intellect and propaganda at easy. Ryhalt is successful.

Ilmia checks charm and propaganda at easy. Ilmia is successful.

Celeste checks command and war at easy. Celeste is successful.

Fairen spends the moments before the final approach of the demonic forces less obsessively rechecking his preparations (he's very confident in his calculations) and more proceeding among those gathered making small conversations, encouraging those willing to share something about who they stand in protection of to center themselves and build confidence for the trial to come. His last stop is with the rest of the Nickel Guard. "The archfiend thinks he's succeeded in separating Arvum from its magical heritage. Let's prove it a grave miscalculation, hm?" he observes confidently.

A blue dragon descends from the sky to crouch on the walls of the Castle of Yesterday, Mirk seated on its back. There's no subtlety this time: Gone is the steelsilk, and its place he wears gleaming red rubicund with a long red cloak unfurled behind him, the symbol of the Red Wardens. He's staring up at the storm overhead with a rare fury on his face, normally stoic expression twisted into a snarl, a gauntleted hand gripping his staff tightly. "The storms do not belong to you," he yells into the heavens. He raises one hand to the sky.

Mirk says in Draconic, "Lightning, my friend, it is time. Come forth."

[Magic - Cantrip - Beat the War Drums] Sometimes a girl's just out in the woods, walking her army, as you do. And sometimes said girl and her army just happen to spot a large contingent of demons and shards, as happens around Arx. This is how Celeste comes upon the Castle of Yesterday. She sits regally on the back of a charger, and flanking her are two standard bearers. Upon the poles born by the bearers are rectangular banners, blood red with a black sword thrust up through a black crown.

A few dark syllables fall from the general's lips and an invisible wave of energy washes across the troops she's leading. All at once the horses, the soldiers, all march in exact time. Not a one is off as they stamp thunderously together in unison, their tempo played out to the sound of massive war drums beating like a heart. Of course, there's not a drum corp to be found among the soldiers. Drawing her sword, Celeste shouts something in a foreign tongue and waves the blade forward.

Mia checks command and leadership at easy. Mia is successful.

Celeste says in Rex'alfar, "For She Who Comes! For She Who Waits!"

There's a crack of lightning, this time brilliantly blue-white. The bolt splits and diverges in its path down into a beautiful lightning tree pattern that resolves into an immense humanoid figure. It's constantly shifting, constantly branching, only staying roughly in that shape of a humanoid.

For a moment, Mirk's expression softens, the fury forgotten as he gazes upon the beauty of nature. Then he turns to his fellow Wardens. He shouts, his voice carrying easily over the battlefield. "Our enemy seeks to devour all things. Today, the world itself stands against him. The Red Wardens, the Prismatic Order, the Nicekl Guard, the friends and allies we have found over the course of our journeys, even the spirits of the land itself - all are united in a rejection of his hunger and his ambition. Now, the time has come to show him that. Leave no demon left standing."

Ilmia says in Rex'alfar, "That sounds vaguely familiar."

When Denica arrives the expression on her face is almost unrecognizable, she sparkles and she's bright, but something isn't quite right. The short woman is not alone, there's a man shadowing her. They are both dressed in dark colours as is common in the Mourning Isles. His presence makes every hair on Denica's neck stand up, it makes the bright sparkles a few shades darker. They both have the same black hair and blue eyes, but where Denica's are still bright and full of warmth, his are not. They are cold and cruel, like ice. Those that met Denica's brother, might for a moment swear it's Dagon, but this man lacks the warmth that Dagon had, similar but not quite right. This man is missing a hand. Denica can't help but stare at the familiar image but her eyes tells a darker story. Denica shakes her head, trying to convince herself that's not who she is here with. It's harrowing, so much emotion, but it's her feelings that fuel her. "You're not him," she reminds herself, but she cannot help but be reminded of everything she's ever lost. It's with that, the Denica taps into what's left of her empathy to just, accept people for who they are.

There's a primordial feeling around Lou as she stands in the courtyard with the rest of the people. There's also a Deer which stands near to her and seems to be her constant companion. Her eyes are wide and she's taking everything in with a curious expression. When things begin to start, she fixes her gaze on the gates and then takes a moment before she starts in with a motivational speech about hope and keeping the Castle as safe as possible and everything else that might warrant pushing their enemy back. It's a good thing at this juncture that she doesn't realize she's already lost two more members of her family at the Seawatch Gate battle otherwise this speech would not be quite the same. For now, she's full of passion and hope about keeping all the dark things back and it shows through.

The balalaika is out and in Tikva's hands as she stands with the rest of the Prismatic Order, in their chosen post defending the Castle of Yesterday. The glow of her magical tattoo shines across her throat, her chin lofted high, the sunset orange sunburst gleaming vibrant and fearless. The song she wrote for Copper is the one she chose to raise spirits. Her fingers fly over the strings and her eyes shine with unshed tears as she sings. The passion behind her voice is powerful and strong, even though she looks a little pale and washed out in the way that reveals the impact of being newly widowed. Her jaw is determined. She is the Singer of Defiance and she is going to bloody well /defy/.

And as she sings, Nightingale sings with her. It is heartening. She may know new loss today, but she is not alone.

Eirene filled the Rivens in on the mission as they left the city. "So yeah, I'm a Red Warden." Mihaly gave his wife a look which read 'We're going to have words later' once she reveals herself. But clad in gleaming rubicuind, her star-iron and copper pin fastening her cloak over her shoulder, Eirene is ready. She turns to the other Wardens and their allies and grins in a feral way. Her alaricite sword, blessed by the Mirrormasks, slides out of the sheath. The one Mihaly gifted her while he wields the ancestral Twin blades of the Twainfort. "Let's kick some demonic ass back to the Abyss," she says.

Fortunato is a small, unprepossessing fellow. In a somewhat jaunty mix of steelsilk and fireweave, save for the not-at-all jaunty 'pyremaster, chosen of the grill' fireweave apron that he still insists on wearing. He is also not wearing any illusions - he is actively glowing, his face indistinct save for over-bright gold eyes. He's been open about his nature often enough in the past weeks that he is not /too/ crippled with shyness as he stands with the Order, trying to inspire. "Foolish of Azazel to throw his armies here. He knows it. Let's make him hurt for it."

It is Irony's home; no matter what self preservation after one large battle would tell her, Alis was not going to forsake something so important to her bonded. And so she is here; she doesn't arrive by air this time, but instead with her comrades from the Oathlands. And before she climbs aboard the dark scaled young dragon, there's time for one more quick embrace and playful word to Edris, and a salute to Kael and Keely and Ryhalt before the large but not adult large wings beat once, twice, and then pull her upward and aloft to hover beside Mirk and Nyx. "Remember, this is not just a place of wonder and magic, but it is a HOME. And it is a place of refuge for some. We will not allow it to be devoured for that mouthhole's vanity and petty vengeance!"

[Magic Cantrip - Inspire] Khanne had been meditating after checking her gear, preparing for the battle to come by centering herself and connecting with her surroundings, the elements present. When the sounds of the wards outside being hit causes her to open her eyes, she nods to Otter and looks around to those near her. "Hold our ground, my friends. Evil will not win today. Fight for yourselves. Fight for your loved ones. Fight for the future generations to come. Fight in honor and with hope in your heart!" She then closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, whispering...

Khanne says in Draconic, "Mountain... it is time."

While her husband is taking a more logical approach to his gentle parenting style of boosting morale, Iliana is pacing the length of length of the guards she commands. The few, the brave, those with an oath to protect. The reincarnation of Steel does not seem to panic in her quiet movements as she walks. Each step taken, another guard looked towards and a nod offered, then the next, until she reaches all those within the courtyard of the castle. "We will not die here today," she says with an unbending tone that shows she clearly means this. "This is not where we find our end. We have sacrificed too much for this to be where we surrender. We watched the Leaholdt fall to protect him, and we will continue to do so with our lives if we must. We do not break, we do not bend. We are the Nickel Guar.d"

With one hand cupped gently around a little frog, Sorrel seems fairly relaxed, stroking the amphibious fellow gently. She moves close to Tikva to join in the singing, as the two of them tend to know the songs that each of them wrote. And as she sings, as she lifts her voice, so does Frog, making an intense noise for such a small thing.

It should be little surprise to anyone that Kael is more quiet in these moments of battle preparation. This time there are no rousing speeches from the Keaton. He goes through those gathered and he speaks with them, and certainly most of his focus is on his kin - be it via marriage or blood, but there are those that he's fought alongside in the past or spoken a quiet word to. He prays, too, sharing one prayer with his wife and then others with those that are amiable to such. In the end, he separates regretfully from Keely and stands at the ready with Alis and Edris. Just in time to give Alis a little chin-up before she takes flight.

There's a white furred werewolf on the walls, wearing armor that seems entirely foreign to anything to be found on Arvum. Right now she's half crouched, looking over the sea of violence as the wards are hammered again and again, but then she looks back to the courtyard, turns. Stands. She doesn't exactly need a sword, but she has one, and she draws it. Sen once meant to use this against the Horned God, but demons are just as good. She tips her nose upward, then eyes the Wardens below. The Watcher in the Wood isn't pretending today. "Copper isn't here," she says, in a rough growl, as she begins to pace the rampart. "Ashe isn't here. Their students are. Their allies are. Their friends are. Azazel wants to devour the memory of all heroes, well *here stands memory*. Here we stand." Her teeth bare. "*Bleed* them." And then she tips her head back and howls a challenge to the sky.

Keely just kind of nervously wanders amongst her friends and loved ones, her hair and skin aglow with white light. She drifts to Kael's side now and then to quietly check in with him, with Alis, with Edris, before roaming back to the general vicinity of the Prismatics. There is a pause before Denica where some affectionate words are spoken and hand squeezes are exchanged, there is a flash of a smile to Lou across the way that looks a little sheepish but otherwise encouraging. No bold words or grand speeches, just personal and quiet moments with those she knows best.

Even in a moment like this, there's an easy confidence in every inch of Aleksei's frame. His sword is out, but it's resting casually across his shoulders, and he watches the demons tear apart in those early wards with a certain satisfaction. Though there are layers of fabric and leather atop it, somehow the magical tattoo across his back seeps through, like a lit etching on the blue-black night hide. Three wolves, crushing chains in their jaws. The very core of him, even before it was his soulbrand. He's all lit up, today. Defiant.

"You guys are taking a while!" he calls in a bright taunt, his smile wide and wolfish, to the demons twisted apart by Copper's wards. By her legacy, protecting them even now.

Ilmia's been here with Nickel since they got back with the Primordia. She'd taken her duty as one of the Nickel guard serious and as his 'attache' it was making sure he was prepped for what was coming. "I should probably get down there." she'd muttered to herself. "One thing though." she'd grinned. Nickel was probably not expecting to get a big old smooch from the redhead, but smooched he was.

"Just in case I die!" she grins as she rushes out and down to the others. The big Elder Unicorn that she'd came back with moves to her side and she pats them gently as she looks to Iliana and Fairen, "Please be safe." she whispers to them. Then she is trying to keep the troops upbeat with banter.

Edris does not hide behind a cowled cloak here. He watches the sky, as the storm starts together. It's not with a great shout that he calls out to others, but quietly moving through groups here and there, people he has served with at places far and wide over the years, as well as new faces. "Here in this place of beauty, we will stand. We will slow the tide. We will hold the line." Some he embraces as a brother-in-arms; this night there is no prince-consort, only Edris Valardin, Red Warden. He greets every warden that he sees, welcomes each group that is not. And some are offered more. He touches his lips gently to Alis' forehead before she takes flight. And then bows his head when he sees the Riven delegation arrive, a bright smile breaking out from the usual reserve. Keely too, is given a softer smile, before she rejoins the prismatic folks. But it's clear--those who fight here do so not only for honor and for saving the world, but also rememberance. And love.

Ryhalt returns Alis' salute, though his face reads 'this is a bad idea', but there didn't seem to be good ideas or anywhere safe these days. He tilts his head up to where Phyl flies in his fiery glory. Soft, almost a whisper, he says, "Let's do what she asked of us."

Thesarin stands among the defenders, dressed today for war; furs and leathers andd gleaming diamondplate, war paint on his face, putting away everything about him that pretending at being a Compact nobleman and looling every bit the shav warlord he once was (if he'd happened to have been the richest shav warlord the Grey Forest had ever seen). He stands barking out orders as they make redy, holding a sword in hand. He's walking in the way of a man trying hard to hide a limp, as he has since coming back from Bastion. He looks toward Eirene at her confession, and gives a rather unamused snort. "Aye, so I see. A few familiar faces here today." A shake of his head and a bit of a laugh, entirely unamused. "...ought've known we'd have come, whenever you'd asked. And you," he reaches a finger to point toward Sen'azala, "are still bound to mock me for that weepy letter. So you'd best live to do it."
"...and thrice as much for you," he rumbles out, quietly, to Mia. "Keep alive. There'll be an after with you in it."

Volcica's approach is silent. Why? because she's riding a giant mouse-rat-dog creature, who's gliding in to land beside Mirk on great leathery wings-- not unlike Nyx's, honestly. The creature practically lays on the parapets rather than perching in a dignified manner, and big ears swivel towards any little sound. She's also silent, and rather than speaking grand words? Just a soft.. "Winter spirits, it's time. Come."

There's a huge rumbling sound outside of the castle as the ground begins to move, the rock starting to roll like it was water and rising and rising until it looks almost humanoid, with two ancient eyes looking out at the demons as they approach. Above the castle, a storm is developing, and every time the lightning strikes, there's a mountainous spectral outline of a wolf and five other animal faces looking down, watching. Despite the losses from crossing the wards, despite the rising mountain, there's a suicidal determination wrought on by Azazel's threats. And so lacking any subtlety, tens of thousands of shards charge right at the front gates of the Castle of Yesterday. ((Round 1, Checks at easy))

Mirk checks mana and occult at easy. Mirk is successful.

Keely checks charm and empathy at easy. Keely is successful.

Tikva checks charm and performance at easy. Tikva is successful.

Mia checks command and leadership at easy. Mia is successful.

Fortunato checks wits and artwork at easy. Fortunato is successful.

Eirene checks intellect and medicine at easy. Eirene is successful.

Celeste checks command and war at easy. Celeste is successful.

Lou checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Lou is successful.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is spectacularly successful.

Fairen checks mana and occult at easy. Fairen is successful.

Volcica checks mana and occult at easy. Volcica is successful.

Khanne checks mana and occult at easy. Khanne is successful.

Denica checks mana and artwork at easy. Denica is successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Aleksei marginally fails.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at easy. Ilmia is successful.

Alis checks command and leadership at easy. Alis is successful.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at easy. Thesarin is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at easy. Iliana is successful.

Edris checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Edris is successful.

Kael checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Kael is successful.

Ryhalt checks intellect and investigation at easy. Ryhalt is successful.

As the assault begins upon a castle outside of Arx proper, the sometimes called Castle of Yesterday, the grim survivors from the battle of the Seawatch Gate look up at what appears to be a woman with impeccable fashion sense flying through the air on a giant furry winged mouse. Absolutely no one knows what to make of this, but strange times. Strange times.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at easy. Sorrel is successful.

Ilmia wields Blood Eagle.

Eirene wields Vengeance, an alaricite knight's blade of retribution.

Alis wields Avenger, an alaricite flail.

Denica wields Perspective, an alaricite artists palette knife.

Thesarin wields Guardian, a long arming sword with a razor-thin edge and a dawnstone set at the center of the crossguard.

And so the battle begins. Nyx leaps, dragon and human soaring into the skies together. Mirk raises his staff, calling upon the storm brewing, and lightning answers, blue-white bolts searing into the enemy lines. Lightning goes with them, plummeting into the horde even as the dragon swoops down, maw opening and a breath of freezing ice raining down and tearing a swathe into their enemies. These are forces of nature, raw and elemental, being turned on the Abyss with absolutely no restraint.

Celeste wields Reverence, an alaricite longsword.

Mia wields Heron's Shadow, the steadfast diamondplate archer's bow.

[MAGIC - attack] The last notes of Copper's song, of hope and power, spin up on the next slam of Tikva's fingers over the strings, shaping the sound of her voice into arrows that soar towards the front line of the advancing demonic horde. Sonic force shaped by her will and by the coaxing warmth of her music, she sings out, "Hope strives and you WILL FALL," in a clarion voice that resonates through the shape of her weaving, blasting into the onslaught.

[Magic 1: Attack, Redox] Fairen lets out a soft breath and with an incline of his head, wills latent chemical potential into active reactions. Or to put it a less big brained scholar way, he targets a lot of Shards with magic and suddenly a lot of flammable things on their person (or demon) begin actively burning. This is not very good for their continuted combat effectiveness.

[MAGIC - Cantrip - Know Thy Enemy] While the shards charge at the front gate, Celeste's army begins its charge from their flank. The blonde points to a group at the back and mutters something in that dark tongue. She holds her free hand out in front of her and smoke flashes up from her palm, swirling to a height of about a foot, and forms an image of one of the commander for that group. She gets some knowledge of the foe and nods her head. She shouts another order, and again it's in Rex'alfar. Whether or not the soldiers with her understand, all the boots, all the hooves, continue to stomp the ground at the same exact time. They beat as one, and it's faster now than at the start.

The Irregulars clash with the shards, the cavalry mowing down hundreds in their initial clash, with lances driven through bodies and others trampled under hooves. Archers let fly arrows to pin still more to the ground. And formations of infantry and pike fill in where the others have left shards standing, dispatching with swords and, well, pikes.

[MAGIC, Lash of Light] Fortunato draws himself up and extends his gloved hands. Light seeps out in the gaps of seams, in the scant space between stitch and stitch to reform edged and searing, a focused-flexible beam that slashes and whips against the first ranks of the shards.

[Magic: 1 - Attack: Hemophilia] She's known as a doctor and a healer of wounds, so when Eirene reaches out towards the demonic hoards and slashes and gashes just... open up on them, it's probably a bit of a surprise. Or would be if people had time to notice. The wounds bleed profusely, with bloody black ichor dripping down their bodies. Weakning them, making them more suseptible to others attacks.

AGIC - OFFENSE} Alis may even feel lacking when held up alongside Mirk and Nyx display of nature's righteous fury. But, she and her winged companion have a fury of their own; and the impetus of those who always feel they have something to prove, even if it's just a little bit more to prove than the last time. "You will not stand in my way!" They go barreling right at the airborne enemy, taking on several at once as her flail whirls around to tear and pull at demon flesh and molten furnace flame sears them.

[(failed) MAGIC (lol)] Aleksei steps into the fray with easy grace. Confident. COCKY. He lifts his sword from his shoulder, as sure as can be. He faces the oncoming horde with all the assurance of a man who's stood here before.

And then he trips on an inside out demon corpse.

Okay, it's brief. BRIEF. Just a little stumble. But it really puts a damper in his opening sally here.

[Magic] Sen, with her still drawn blade, lifts the other, empty hand, and appears to rake her claws through empty air. White streaks follow the motion, as if it were some sort of trick of light and shadow, and the air immediately around her turns cold enough to burn. ...Burn, apparently, is the purpose. Her eyes pale, turn white in the darkness, and then she lashes claws and sword down at the charging horde, sending what looks like all the world to be some sort of white and black flames lancing into them, like a rain of winter itself. Her shadow flickers strangely in the light...a four legged wolf, instead of the upright half wolf that it should show.

[Magic - Art is War] There's a few hushed words exchanged with Keely and for a moment, there's tears in Denica's blue eyes and then they are gone. It's when the shards start pouring in that the princess shifts and her focus becomes acutely aware. Glancing over at the man at her side, she pulls out her weapon and a twisted smile forms. Like there's some inner joke forming in her head, but it's not the weapon she really needs. It's just there, a palette knife that she uses to cut through the space around her. Then little lights start to form, each one a different colour, bright and shiny, like little pieces of glitter that explode all around her. The truth hurts and those little colours pieces form a image that only means something to the shard in front of her. It's all very colourful, but there's a sharp edge to everything, because not all art is pretty, some art really hurts.

[Magic - Attack - 1st use] Khanne narrows her eyes at the abyssal storms Azazel's troops have wrought. "Ours are prettier..." she says softly, looking to the skies, past the darkening of the demonic horde until she spots an opening. Raising one hand, sparks begin to form, growing larger as the elements gather. "Water... Air... Light 'em up!" She pushes the energy upwards watching as the sparks form lightning to come crashing down on the demons below.

[MAGIC: DESERT RAIN FROG BATTLE CRY] Spellsingers going to sing. And as Tikva sings, Sorrel does as well. And really, is there anything so intimidating as the war song of a tiny wee frog? May the enemy quake in their boots. They should be terrified, not giggling. Sorrel's song is beautiful but kind of scary, and Frog sings along with her. And Tikva and Nightingale.

[MAGIC - Attack] Lou wields Pathfinder, the alaricite blade{, the blade resting easily in her hand. Deer seems to trot in place, tail up and wagging in a deer-like fashion, anticipating the battle to come. Lou reaches out with her free hand to gently touch the primordial beast, letting it know that her own nerves are up as well. She waits until the gates are compromised and then steps forward to meet the oncoming rush of any that get through. Her steps are sure and certain, from the many years she's trained and honed her skills, and she wields her sword with a sharp precision. She makes sure to work in connection with Deer, as the primordial beast steps in to lend her own power, rising on two legs and kicking out with her front feet to hit at any shards coming close, and when her front feet come down, kicking out with her back feet. When Lou's sword connects against the shards, she definitely leaves behind a wake of damage, showing off her newly achieved Adept skill in magic.

[MAGIC] When the minions finally pour in, Edris focuses and tendrils of thorny vines begin to reach up from the ground to coil around his sword. They add an extra layer of sharp and tearing, thorns breaking off into the flesh of what he carves into, burying deep in skin and probably hearing like a mother for awhile afterwards. He stays by Kael, guarding his cousin's back as blood and ichor and splinters fly around them.

[Magic - I Think You're Projecting] Keely moves behind the Prismatics, but it is not to hide. Her eyes close, all of the color drains from her surroundings, her attire, her body, and she grows still. A moment later, the purest white light laced with strands of every color that exists bursts from her core, knocking back a wide radius of demons while leaving allies untouched. It becomes clear, as her constant glow flashes to blinding brightness, that she was just trying to spare everyone's vision as well as possible.

A few soft words are spoken beneath Kael's breath as he draws out his trusted blade, Dawn's Promise, and whispers the words of a vow long ago forgotten. It is a brief thing and yet, to him, sacred. With that, he is on the move, sticking with Edris. While his cousin might be guarding his back, rest assured that Kael is attempting to guard his.

Magic - Chivalry Is Not Dead] Ilmia's watching the calm before the actual storm. She hears a familiar language though and it draws her eyes to Celeste, but that would be another time! She looks to Mirk when he and Nyx take off and there is a grin. This was her first time getting to use her magic in a big way. The redhead gives a mischevious look as she works, two large figures, both knights, one in ebon armor and the other in alabastrine color armor flank her and then move out to start beating the assembled masses.

Chivalry might not be dead, but those demons were!

[MAGIC] "That one is mine," Iliana tells the guards with a grin as they turn in unison to face the gates as the shards approach. Daybreak is spun, the short spear going around and around before she pauses suddenly with it pointing upward. The shaft is slammed against the floor, and magic moves from the woman and towards the gate. The shard she called like a game of pool is suddenly and very forcefully shot up and backwards, shattering in a messy pile where it lands. "Fairen, did you see that!" Okay so maybe she is a little more chaotic than who she used to be because she is totally tapping her husband to get his attention despite the important things he is doing. "It went splat!"

[Magic] Volcica and Bat launch seconds after Mirk and Nyx, and the two of them follow the dragon and the other shaman. They flit over the battlefield, short glides and sharp turns, fluttering wings. The ground is ignored, beneath them. They go for the flying shards, biting and diving to drive things lower towards their allies. Volcica points out targets to the great Ice Spirit, whispering ideas to freeze wings and limbs, to slow attacks and cause flight to fail.

[Magic 1 - Attack - Get Off My Lawn] Ohhh, the look which Mia gave her aunt-by-marriage at the declaration that she's a Red Warden - a faint narrowing of her eyes, a slight pressing of her lips, before one side of her mouth twists up into half of a smirk. "It will be relief to stop keeping that particular secret. And to finally stop pretending about half of our friends, hmm?," she retorts. There's no sting in her words, only a heartening expression that comes across her normally sharp face as she looks from one defender to another and another, seeing so many familiar faces, so many old friends. It brings a strange serenity to her face, a wild brightness to her eyes. To Thesarin she answer simply, "We stand together and we fall together, my love." She lifts her head, her chin rising defiantly as she looks towards the oncoming demons. An arrow nocks. She declares in a voice louder than should be reasonable, "And today, WE WILL NOT FALL." She nocks her first arrow, then looses it. It splits into a mass of wicked, thorned vines meant to eviscerate her target and soak the ground in its blood.

Thesarin mutters, "... love you."

Thesarin closes his eyes, a moment, and he takes a deep, slow breath. He says something, quietly, to Mia, standing still as the horde surges forward.
And then he falls on them, blade flashing, faster and with a terrible strength that's more than simply mortal. He lays into them with his gleaming blade, and with his bare hands, ripping and tearing misshapen limb from limb with a horrible glee that is 'savage' in the tuest sense. Where he walks, flickers and images of flame start to follow, on the edges of his blade, on the bodies of the creatures he strikes, and sputtering and dying in his bootprints.
"Has all of hell a thing as terrible as Vahari's son," he starts to laugh out toward the flock of demons in his forest language, "or is your aim to bury me in corpses?"

"Yes, Iliana, very entropic of you," Fairen replies in a sort patiently approving tone with the faint squint of somebody who is paying a -little- bit more attention to primum pattern vectors than carefully admiring levels of 'splat' at the moment.

Eirene has seen the drawing in the Castle. She's seen the sketch of the weird thing flying overhead. "So that's what they really look like!" Assuming theyr'e ALL that big, it's almost a childlike awe before Eirene's focus returns to the fight.

Ryhalt isn't the best at fighting, but is good at figuring out things. With his long legs he darts along the defenses with Phyl moving to swoop along and helping where there are weaknesses, whether it's buckling lines or heavy casualties. Phyl flew like a promise of freedom and hope for renewal, bringing it where he may.

The first attempt to charge the gates of the Castle of Yesterday would surely, if Copper was here, make her say 'yikes'. The first waves of shards are absolutely annihilated. There's not even bits of them left after all the magic pours on to them, and different primordia stomp down upon them. Cheers go up at the wardens, but the demons have nothing if not absolutely raw numbers. The continuous assaults at least begin to leave bodies, and some of what might be passing for wiser heads in Azazel's forces begin to just indescriminately launch attacks from a distance for at least a bit.

((Defensive round, doing luck checks.))

Apostate has called for a check of luck at easy.
Aleksei is successful.
Lou is successful.
Denica is successful.
Alis is successful.
TIE: Eirene is successful. Ryhalt is successful.
TIE: Mirk is successful. Khanne is successful.
TIE: Kael is successful. Keely is successful.
Volcica is successful.
TIE: Ilmia is successful. Mia is successful.
TIE: Fairen is successful. Sorrel is successful.
TIE: Fortunato is successful. Celeste is successful. Edris is successful.
Sen'azala is marginally successful.
TIE: Iliana marginally fails. Tikva marginally fails. Thesarin marginally fails.
TIE: Smile marginally fails. 6 Grayson House Guards marginally fails.

6 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

One particular hulking demon screams, "CHARGE THEM! They can't possibly have all that much saved up!" Before a giant spectral maw of a wolf bends down and bites him in half. But still, they charge on with the banners of Azazel shrilly screaming, "JUST KILL THEM! Kill them! Get in there already!" As thousands of shards surge forward, a little uncertain at the noticeable lack of effect thus far. But this time, this time, will be different.

((Round 2: 431 victory points, checks at easy.))

Mirk checks mana and occult at easy. Mirk is successful.

Tikva checks charm and performance at easy. Tikva is successful.

Denica checks mana and artwork at easy. Denica is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at easy. Iliana is spectacularly successful.

Keely checks charm and empathy at easy. Keely is successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Critical Success! Aleksei is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.

Celeste checks command and war at easy. Celeste is successful.

Eirene checks intellect and medicine at easy. Eirene is successful.

Mia checks command and leadership at easy. Mia is successful.

Khanne checks mana and occult at easy. Khanne marginally fails.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is spectacularly successful.

Lou checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Lou is successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at easy. Sorrel marginally fails.

Fortunato checks wits and artwork at easy. Fortunato is spectacularly successful.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at easy. Thesarin is successful.

Volcica checks mana and occult at easy. Volcica is successful.

Edris checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Critical Success! Edris is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at easy. Ilmia is successful.

Kael checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Kael is successful.

Alis checks command and leadership at easy. Alis is successful.

Ryhalt checks intellect and investigation at easy. Ryhalt is successful.

Nickel is watching the devastation and very slowly puts his emergency bug out bag down and slides it underneath a table. He's good.

[MAGIC: 2 - Frozen Wind] Mirk shoots a grin at his fellow fliers, Volcica and Ryhalt and Alis, a single moment of elation as the battle begins and their hard work - their allies and their training and their preparations - all goes into motion. Flight is, after all, something he can find joy in. Then it's blood and death once more, as Nyx swoops low to rip apart demons with mighty claws and bite down on shards. Mirk raises his staff, sending a gale of freezing wind howling through the ranks, leaving them frostbitten and slowed and knocked around to be too disoriented to escape tooth and claw. It's a deadly combination, especially with the Great Spirit of Lightning following in their wake and unleashing destruction on those that survive.

[Magic - 2 Defensive: Reduce injury] Calling on a different aspect of her power, Eirene holds her hand out and, much like at Harrow Hall, a sort of soft mist falls forms in her palm and coalesces into tendrils in a lovely blue-silver glow. The mist starts to spread across the ground and where it touches her allies, strengthens their bodies against harm.

[MAGIC 1] Having seen a vision of the rear guard commander, Celeste knows where she wants to be. She calls out orders to the engaged troops in that ancient, elven tongue and pulls the reins on her mount to stop it. The two standardbearers come to a halt as well, holding their banners high and proud as they sit astride their own war horses wearing their plate armor. The soldiers continue to make their attacks in perfect unison. It's more than a little unnatural.

The sky suddenly rends and tears open, showing a black void with hints of red to break up the monotony. A second later, a dozen thick, demonic tentacles lash out from this hole in the sky and they head straight for Celeste, wrapping her in their scaled embrace. She's pulled up, up into the sky and through the hole there until the tear in reality vanishes.

Only there's another hole that appears and Celeste is hurled forth from it by the same tentacles. She's thrown to the heart of the rear guard and does a few flips in the air on her way there. She lands near the commander she'd seen in her earlie rmagic use and engages him in a vicious battle, one on one. Demon vs Adept. It's brutal and quick, with alaricite slicing into demonic flesh over and over, Celeste weaving a deadly dance until the commander has fallen dead at her feet and left her surrounded by a horde of hungry demons.

Celeste says in Rex'alfar, "Charge to the center! Give them no quarter! For She Who Comes!""

[Magic - I Think You're Projecting] It takes Keely a while to recover from each spell, so while she's catching her breath, she -does- hide behind a larger group, and she tries to stay out of sight. But once she rallies, ZAM, out goes another burst of colorful radiance.

[MAGIC - Attack] The Tenacious Griffon keeps on going, doing her considerate dance with Deer in order to keep the shard forces at bay. She whirls through the bevy of demons, slicing and slashing, sometimes even kicking them in the shins before she stabs them. She's not doing as great as OTHERS are doing, but she's still making her own quick work of making a gory demonic mess that'll definitely need to be cleaned up by SOMEONE ELSE later. Okay. She might have to help too. Deer continues doing what she does bet, though this time she changes up her own attacks, kicking out with a back hoof while simultaneously head-butting a few of the shards, knocking them into Lou's path of destruction.

[MAGIC - Attack] Tikva ducks the whistle of an arrow that flies a little closer than she would prefer and grins sidelong at Sorrel as she strums up another blast of sonic impact to hurtle towards the advancing demons. While Nightingale whistles and wheels, sweeping vast spectral wings to waft a tidal surge of demonkind back into the river of their own ichor, the power of Tikva's sonic blast smashes across more heads. She's not even bothering with lyrics now, the next bar of power is just a raw note blasted from her sunset-shining throat, and her next breath as it bursts into the demons ahead and below is a laugh gone suspiciously cacklish. The fey light in her eyes doesn't let up. This is invigorating and the magic and the music only drive that, exponentially.

Home is where you stand. Sen has lost two families, and many, many friends that she's stood alongside. Now? Now she's alongside her third family. Her surviving friends. Her Grandmother. And, for the very first time in her life, she stands in a place she calls home as well. The white light doesn't entirely leave her eyes as she sheathes her sword, sucks in a breath, and looks. *That* one. She leaps gracefully from the wall, plunging downward, fingers curled, and the first of the shards she pounces on dies before it even realizes it's under attack. So do its companions. She's violence now; vicious, graceful, and so, so, *so* very fast. Blood flows.

[MAGIC, Lash of Light] "Come!" Fortunato shouts as the lash rises and wends out of his fingers to crash again against the shard army. "Come, and crash against us! Come and waste yourself against wards and bright terrors! Come and bleed your strength against the fortress. Yes! Come and fall and /fade/ for your master's error."

[Magic - 2nd use] Khanne raises her other hand, ready to unleash more fury from the skies, but when she looks up, she is momentarily distracted by the dragons and flying mouse, struck with a moment of awe and the lightning returns to the storm clouds with nothing more than an angry sounding rumble of thunder. Meanwhile, Otter has found the head of a shard and is trying to open it on a large rock.

[MAGIC - OFFENSE] Alis promised Sen'azala that she would keep Irony as safe as possible, so they don't just engage on automatic. The pair swoop away after their first devastating strafe of metal and flame, and make a tight circle to ensure they keep their bearings before circling in for the next one. Find where the enemy is weakest, see where the herd is the thinnest and then dive in for the kill. "There!" she gestures, flail gleaming against the lightning flashes and flames, to held guide them to their target and enact some more justice for those who have already fallen.

[Magic - Chivalry Is Not Dead] Ilmia's been bracing for getting hit, but that thankfully doesn't happen yet. The redhead tries to move smoothly as the demons charge. Her olive eyes locking on one and then another. The hulking armored knights that she'd summoned are still sent to attack, because she's an explorer...not a stabber.

[MAGIC] Okay, TAKE TWO. Aleksei shakes his foot out and pretends no one saw it catching on that demon corpse. He even gives the body a KICK for good measure, which sends it flying into the oncoming horde. And then he's diving in after it, all but cackling aloud as his blood starts to sing. His sword slices through demon flesh as if it were nothing, /thrilling/ in the ease of it. The power that lives in his body now.

[Magic - You Can't Handle the Truth] The uneasiness starts to shift and Denica starts to draw the colours around her, swirling them around her, because colour is everywhere. The princess cannot help but appreciate the surreal nature of the situation that she's in. Wrapping herself in a rainbow of colours, they swirl around her and even her eyes light up with swirling bright hues. NotDonrai isn't too far away, and his presence never quite leaves her attention, it's reminder to go all in, give it her all. When Denica paints, she seeks to reveal the truth, to change the world with an image. And so, she does the same with her magic. In those colours, images form, it's a reflection of the fears and weaknesses of those that pursue her. Art is truth and Denica wraps herself in those colours.

[MAGIC] Jokes on him, thats the tone Fairen always uses to speak to Iliana and that is marriage right there. She doesnt even look remotely put out at this point. "Sorry, I have to go and stab something. Ill bring it back for you to study. That will make you happy." She knows him well. She also leaves him with one of the Leary guards to protect his inside squishy bits to keep them from being outward. "Be good, dont touch anything," she warns before she is leaving Fairen to focus on the gate once more and the next shard within view. Again, she seems strangely calm and the grin returns as if she is healing a small part of Steel's sacrifice in the moment of her own survival. "Here we hold!" she screams Steel's last words but this time they will not be the last that Iliana speaks.

[MAGIC] It's the best, being able to sing with her bestie and Frog and Nightingale, and Sorrel looks pleased with the effort they've had on the enemy thus far. Her eyes glitter, and she adjusts her song to complement Tikva's. Except that she gets a little frog in her throat, so to speak, and there's a moment where she just croaks, pausing to take a little sip of water.

[MAGIC] The thorns and vines woven around Edris' blade seem to grow that much more jagged, once they get their first taste of blood, and the familiar battle rage kicks in. He's stoic, thus far not crying out. But the semi-dryad-looking knight leaves a path of destruction and blood all around him in a semi-circle as even more demons lose limbs and eyes and gods only know what else. Like the treants playing pitch and toss and stomp at Sanctum it's almost as if he is at play. And in fact, there might be just the beginnings of a half smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes. They'll make the horde pay for this side journey. Lessen the blow to the city. He has four cherished lives in there that he would do anything for, and it's a powerful driving force to kill every last abyssal thing that dares to cross the threshold without hesitation.

[magic (the last one was also magic)-Wildfire] Thesarin continues to lash out without discrimination or restraint at the horde of bodies. No grace, no poise, no showmanship, just speed and fury and that terrible strength, and fire, pushuing himself into the heart of the onslaught, trying to disrupt their approach. He laughs still, as his blade catches in a demon's ribcage, and as it starts to burn from the inside, he reaches behind its head and smashes its forehead into the crown of his helm. "I am. Still. Thesarin Redhands. Flood that laughs. Ague that walks. You dare. DARE. To threaten my family."

[Magic 2 - Attack - Get Off My Lawn] There's a sudden wild laugh that comes from Mia as the thousand shards surge forward, the desperation in the voice of their commander urging them on, the shrill voice of Azazel sounding from their banners. She should be terrified, but that isn't why she drops to a knee. It's so that she can drag her hands through the earth, rending gashes in the ground beneath her feet. And as she does, the ground opens up beneath one of the banner bearers, pulling and dragging him downward as if it means to swallow him whole. "I hope you choke on it," she whispers to the land, hoping that somewhere, Azazel can hear it.

Kael continues to move with a comfortable ease, getting further in tune with his blade and striking true at the demons that come in. At one point he shifts his weight, turning partially so that he can check in on his cousin. The sight of Edris on the field actually has the Keaton pause for a few heartbeats, his chin lifting in appreciation. Now, though the sight is impressive, he is not distracted for overly long and soon enough is engaging with his next foe.

It's a modest trickle of shards that are just barely managing to avoid the overwhelming death in order to get into the Castle of Yesterday to attack anyone with melee. A small number of combatants, as a little treat. That definitely seems to to be the way the primordia above are viewing it, and the masked man near Denica occassionally casts a spell to kill a shard, but mostly is watching her artwork and offering little critiques. He's judge-y. The flying demons try a massed assault, which is producing a very impressive fine layer of ash floating down which makes it kind of look like it's snowing, though there's a few solid swings here or there. ((Luck checks))

Apostate has called for a check of luck at easy.
Aleksei is spectacularly successful.
Mirk is successful.
TIE: Ilmia is successful. Khanne is successful. Sen'azala is successful. Denica is successful. Celeste is successful. Mia is successful.
TIE: Keely is successful. Ryhalt is successful.
TIE: Sorrel is successful. Edris is successful.
Iliana is successful.
Kael is successful.
Tikva is successful.
TIE: Lou is successful. Volcica is successful. Thesarin is successful.
TIE: Smile marginally fails. Alis marginally fails.
Botch! Fortunato fails badly.
Botch! Eirene fails badly.

Eirene checks intellect and medicine at easy. Eirene is spectacularly successful.

The many mouths of Azazel sounds increasingly increduous, "The insects will be running out of resources sooner rather than later! Just keep pouring them in! Send imps, you can't run out of imps! THEY'RE IMPS!" And dutifully thousands upon thousands of winged irritants fly in, though with the potential of being deadly if their rocks or arrows land.

((Round 3: 907 Victory Points, checks at easy.))

Mirk checks mana and occult at easy. Mirk is successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at easy. Sorrel is spectacularly successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at easy. Iliana is successful.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is successful.

Khanne checks mana and occult at easy. Khanne is successful.

Volcica checks mana and occult at easy. Volcica is spectacularly successful.

Tikva checks charm and performance at easy. Tikva is spectacularly successful.

Celeste checks command and war at easy. Celeste is successful.

It's a good thing Eirene was using her defensive magics.... She just saved her own skin with it. Imps chuck a rock which hits her in the head. Had she NOT been protecting herself and others...

Mia checks command and leadership at easy. Mia is successful.

Denica checks mana and artwork at easy. Denica is spectacularly successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Aleksei is successful.

Kael checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Kael is successful.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at easy. Ilmia is successful.

Eirene checks intellect and medicine at easy. Eirene is successful.

Fortunato checks wits and artwork at easy. Fortunato is spectacularly successful.

Keely checks charm and empathy at easy. Keely is successful.

Edris checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Edris is successful.

Ryhalt checks intellect and investigation at easy. Ryhalt is successful.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at easy. Thesarin is spectacularly successful.

Lou checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Lou is successful.

Alis checks command and leadership at easy. Alis is successful.

[MAGIC - ATTACK!] This time as the swarm of imps hurtles forward at she and her fellow Prismatics, Tikva takes a beat - a rest - before pulling in her breath, letting some of them draw closer and then bringing both her hands together on the balalaika at once, blasting forth with a raw burst of power like a sonic cannon to shatter little screechers and dissolve them into dust, in tune with Nightingale's resonating trill. She is breathless afterwards, and raw, channeling all that primum, and she lowers the instrument to start reaching for the stowed primum supplies with shaking, pale fingers. Hard, draining, heavy work - a marathon of arias - but utterly satisfying.

[Magic - 3 Attack: Hemophilia] "You little flying mother-fuckers. I'll rip your wings off and jam them up Azazel's non-existant asshole!" Eirene makes a ripping motion, weakening the imp who struck at her and its closes buddies as her magic tears their wings right off their shriveled bodies. Blood splurts out from their little stubby nubs of wing as they crash downward to the fray below.

[MAGIC: 3 - Frozen Wind] "This is not about resources," Mirk says quietly from atop his dragon, staring down at the mouths of Azazel. "This is not about stockpiles. This is about commitment. It is about caring about something beyond ourselves. You are not capable of that, so I don't expect you to understand. But perhaps seeing it will give you an inkling." And then he speaks a command, and the wind howls once more. Lightning dances around them, striking shards left and right, as Nyx tears apart any in his path. He is tiring, his skin a paler shade than normal, his lips tinged blue, but he shows no sign of slowing.

[Magic] Volcica was spending her time guiding Bat and Ice, but now that they've found their stride-- flap? Volcica turns her own attention to the ground. She trusts in Bat to carry her. She trusts in Ice to freeze enemies of the dream. Now, Volcica begins to speak in a strange whisper that somehow carries, her words falling from her mouth and down towards the ground. To the bones and the corpses, the fallen shards. She speaks in the language of Death, while bat swoops through the imps like so many delicious insects.

Volcica says in Deathwhisper, "You are not done. You are free of the Eater, and you shall serve Death until you fall again. Rise, and turn upon the Hordes of Azazel. Protect the Castle. RISE.""

[Magic 2] Surrounded by enemy forces while her own fight their way toward her, Celeste pumps primum through her veins and into her muscles. She begins to dance around the demons, swatting imps out of the air and leaving cleaved bodies on the ground around her. The alaricite blade is an opal blur that leaves limbs severed and blood spurting in her wake. The ground darkens from the crimson rivers opened as Celeste whirls and dashes her way toward the troops she'd set to advance. All the while she calls out, shouting at the demons in defiance.

Celeste says in Abyssal, "You thought *She* was the one Who Comes? No, you fucking bitches, I'm She Who Comes and it's time to be winnowed! You foul, weak demons betray the Master's will for the desires of the Upstart? You don't deserve to lick my boots! Kneel before your Mistress, bow before your Tyrant, and maybe you live!"

Sen'azala has not had an outlet since this unimaginable horror began. All the dead, all the dying, all the loss. Her tribe. The Abandoned. Nash. The Wardens lost to a flood of death. Her fury only builds with each wound inflicted. More, and more, and more, and *more*. She still has her head, but she's surrounded by enemies to kill and none of them seem quite enough. They haven't touched her. Their attacks graze past her entirely, or skitter harmlessly off her armor. She just kills and kills, weaving in and around Thesarin and Aleksei almost without conscious thought, without effort expended to know where they are or where they will be.

[MAGIC - 3rd Attack] Deer concentrates on aiding against those that are coming through the gate, kicking and maiming any that she can. Lou acts as her rearguard, making certain that none of the flying beasts that come close enough are able to get in any hits against Deer. Any unfortunate imp that dives too close is subject to a stab or a slash, which she quickly dislodges to do so again. "GET OUT OF OUR CASTLE," she yells at them, glaring darkly.

[Magic - 3rd use - attack] Refocused, Khanne narrows her eyes at the sound of Azazel yelling at his army of shards and demons. "Imps? Did someone say imps?" She smiles at Otter, suggesting, "try opening their heads before they are detached." She doesn't try to direct Mountain, or even suggest. Mountain is old enough to crush them all on his own. For her own part, once again she combines the elements of water and air to empower the storm. "Lightning! Zap them all!" She gestures quickly with her hand, sending it towards the imps, watching as it goes from one to another to another as they fall like dominos. At least some of them.

Ryhalt whispers softly as the demons continue the assault, seeming determined to break themselves in the attempt. With the demons taking to the skies, Phyl darts through to take out the larger, more troublesome concentrations to give the fighters below a chance.

[MAGIC] It's almost laughably easy for Aleksei to avoid the next rush of attacks, and then he has a split second when he realizes that two people in particular are set square in the crosshairs of that wave of imps, and just another split second to decide where to go. He's in front of Fortunato in a moment, blade slicing through an imp's wings, and then stabbing through its head. "Careful!" he says to Fortunato with a grin, voice lifted over the din of battle, and then he's diving in again.

[Magic - Art is War] Artists rarely handle criticism well, some might, but Denica does not. As the man by her side offers his judgement, she looks at him with fire in her eyes. They swirl with colours, "what? You want a different shade of purple? Too much ochre? Let me guess? Not enough shading? Make it darker?," well this has agitated her enough that the woman digs deep. Denica draws colours from around her, they are everywhere. Each shade and hue, a part of the world we see. The woman is pulling them, everyone, and she wraps them around her palette knife. Sparkling, little flecks that look like glowing paint splatter form around herself. "How's this perspective for you?," who is she fighting? Right, the shards. The images become more clear, the shards in front of them see everything. It's perspective, it's everything they don't want to see. Denica exposes them to what art is, her truth.

[Magic] While Tikva is taking a momentary breather, Keely is straightening up from her latest recovery, and dashes over to her cousin-in-law's side, pulling in all of the color and light she can on her way there. Once she arrives, she holds her hands out in front of her, concentrating her burst of light through her palms and firing it out toward the next group of imps to approach.

[MAGIC - DEFENSE] As the imps come flying in, rocks ready to drop on people and tiny little imp claws ready to slash and rend - Alis asks Irony to start circling while she holds her shield aloft. "We honor our oaths and protect those who fight!" The shout echoes, projected across the field as sigils of various Oathlands houses come flying in from the surroundings to try and hover over people who are being targeted by the bombardment.

[MAGIC] "I..write that one down," Iliana says to one of her guards as she hears Eirene shout at the imps as they come hurling over the castle walls, not really in a position to do much writing herself. Now that she has sent Fairen to go sit quietly with Nickel to go play chess, she can concentrate on more important things. There is a glow down her arm and into the short spear as it becomes one and she slashes upward to send a burst of magic into the sky to slam into one of the imps as it attempts to throw a stone down into the gathered defense. As the magic slams into the imp the boulder it was holding is rammed right through its body and sails back to the other side of the wall into the shards.

Edris shears through an imp that dives towards where he and Kael are doing most of their fighting. The vines and thorns have been all shorn off and splintered, so it's the naked alacerite that cuts into the flying menace this time. There's no jagged thorns to leave behind, but that doesn't seem to diminish the splatter. It gives him a moment to look skyward at Alis and Irony, and that keeps the half-smile going a bit longer.

[Magic (3rd) - Mystic Charge] Ilmia's trying to get the hang of this on the fly, but when the demons seem to keep coming there is a hiss back at them, "You won't be taking this!" she shouts at them as her hands come up. There is a soft flash of light before a large black unicorn with a silvery horn charges into the demons, sending them flying as they are gored out the way by the large magical apparition.

With the onslaught of winged imps, Kael's style shifts. He uses his strength of arm to swing his blade in a graceful arch, carrying the motion on until it swings into the other direction, more circular. This is far more a dance than his typical style, his body grounding to the earth while he slices any of the flying demons that come near.

[Magic 3 - Attack - Get Off My Lawn] The imps, for all of their rocks and arrows, are going to be sorely disappointed. Because those aren't their rocks. Those are Mia's rocks now. Rather than letting them rain down on the Red Wardens and the Prismatics, Mia wades forward through the carnage left in the wake of her husband, her family, her friends, lifting both hands as if ordering a halt. They hold there for a moment, then surge forward and as they do, several of the rocks go flying back from whence they came, with at least one imp letting out a pain shriek as his own projectile whips back towards him and cracks him right in his stupid face.

[MAGIC, Lash of Light] "ALEKSEI," Fortunato is really shouting now as his friend comes darting murder to slay a squadron of imps. "ALEKSEI, I am /this serious/, do /not/ defend me. Defend Keely, defend Denica, defend Alis and her dragon, defend Eirene, defend /anyone else/, I do not /need/ it. /Believe me/." His lash flies out and crashes against imp, imp, imp. "You /know/," he snarls as he slays, "/we/ would probably treat you better than Azazel. Come on." His shout now targets Iliana, "Like old times, isn't it? Haha!"

[Magic 3 - Wildfire]Maybe Azazel's hordes can't run out of imps, but Thesarin is doing his part to put that to the test, blow by bloody blow. Still with that horrible laughter, and the fires around him starting to intensify, starting to catch in his wake; preternaturally-empowered violence and a rolling blaze, each as much a force of nature as the other.

The demons are just having still a marked problem of getting anywhere near the walls, or surviving more than a few seconds once in side. Thousands upon thousands of shards are opting that just firing arrows indiscriminately and hoping for the best might be the best approach. ((Luck Round))

Apostate has called for a check of luck at easy.
Critical Success! Mirk is spectacularly successful.
Critical Success! Khanne is spectacularly successful.
TIE: Fortunato is successful. Denica is successful. Lou is successful.
TIE: Iliana is successful. Keely is successful.
TIE: Aleksei is successful. Tikva is successful. Edris is successful.
TIE: Volcica is successful. Thesarin is successful. Ryhalt is successful.
TIE: Sen'azala is successful. Mia is successful. Kael is successful. Sorrel is successful.
Celeste is successful.
Smile is successful.
TIE: Ilmia marginally fails. Alis marginally fails.
Botch! Eirene fails badly.

There's a mad attempt at a massed charge which sees some shards at least finally climbing the walls, but the losses are crippling. It's not a great deal of comfort to Red Wardens fighting for their lives, but it's not a great many of shards getting in now.((Round 4, 1494 victory points. Checks at easy. Keep in mind if you've used magic 3 times, will need to do mana checks after or sacrifice a magic item to avoid it.))

Mirk checks mana and occult at easy. Mirk is successful.

Mirk checks mana at normal. Mirk is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at easy. Iliana is spectacularly successful.

Eirene checks command and war at easy. Eirene is successful.

Keely checks charm and empathy at easy. Keely is successful.

Tikva checks charm and performance at easy. Tikva is successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Aleksei is successful.

Alis checks command and leadership at easy. Alis is successful.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is spectacularly successful.

Celeste checks command and war at easy. Celeste is successful.

Khanne checks mana and occult at easy. Khanne is successful.

Edris checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Edris is successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at easy. Sorrel is successful.

Fortunato checks wits and artwork at easy. Fortunato is spectacularly successful.

Volcica checks mana and occult at easy. Volcica is successful.

Mia checks command and leadership at easy. Mia is spectacularly successful.

Kael checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Kael is successful.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at easy. Thesarin is successful.

Denica checks mana and artwork at easy. Denica is successful.

Lou checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Lou is successful.

Ryhalt checks intellect and investigation at easy. Ryhalt is successful.

[MAGIC: 4 - Weather Magic. MANA SUCCESS] As soon as it becomes clear that Eirene may be in danger, Nyx slams down to the ground in front of Eirene, claws and sheer weight ripping through many of the imps nearest to her. Mirk offers her a little salute as he does, before launching into the air once again. Airborne, Mirk is closer to the elements, taking his time to call out to the storm overhead, to the powers of lightning. Pushing back against Azazel's storm with one more natural, more wholesome. He's not nearly powerful enough to stop an Archfiend, but he pushes, all the same, trying to blunt any red lightning coming down to counterbalance the blue lightning called forth by Lightning.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at easy. Ilmia is successful.

[MAGIC: ATTACK!] The slim, flat bar of alaricite drawn into her hand, Tikva inhales again to let loose with another sonic blast. The power within herself flagging, she closes her eyes for a moment as she sweetly begs the weave to draw the excess from the primum infused in the shining bar. It crumbles to dust in her fingers as her eyes open wide, brilliant blue and shining as she hurtles a sonic blast down at the shards on the wheels, partly guided by the beating of Nightingale's spectral wings working with her in smooth tandem.

Eirene is helping reinforce the defenders. It's making her a target. That or her decade long vow to destroy Azazel is making her his target. She is barely saved by the divebombing dragon. and pauses to survey the scene. "Get the oil," she says, as she directs Wardens towards the walls. "Let's burn these fuckers." That said, she ducks inside to fetch a lantern. A lantern with Lagoma's sigil on it. "Let's see if Holy Fire burns hotter. FOR SCIENCE!"

Eirene drops Lagoma's Holy Flame.

[MAGIC 3] With the forces of Azazel appearing endless, Celeste does not have the opportunity to take a breather. She gathers her magic and floods her body again to give it strength and endurance, speed and precision. She fights on, cleaving a head off this demon, running that one through. She carves a path through the forces of the Abyss until she reaches the ranks of her own army, allowing them to close in around her and give the Adept a chance to breathe. She shouts at the demons the whole time she's murderizing them, until she eventually gets back to her army, back to her horse.

Celeste says in Rex'alfar, "I am Alala, and I beat you then! I am Celeste, and I bear witness to your end! You wanted a Witness? I Witness your Demise!"

[MAGIC - Attack - 4th - Alaricite] "EIRENE!" Lou calls out to her friend as it seems the shards really, really loves her. She pauses to nudge Deer a bit and starts heading in Eirene's direction, peraps a bit fearful of losing another person, this time from her chosen family. She stops short when Mirk gets to her, watching as he makes the save. It takes only a moment before Lou keeps going over in Eirene's direction to be close in case she and Deer can do anything. She nods those closest to the Riven woman, then goes back to battling the shards, sword moving at the ready, while Deer does her best to kick and maim more that get into their path.

[MAGIC] Iliana is clearly in her element as the next imp over the walls is chosen as her intended target and it doesn't make it far before it is blasted into a raining pile of parts that screws up the aim of the shards loading their bows. She turns her attention towards Fortunato when he shouts towards her and her voice is lifted back, "I expect a barbeque after this, to make it even better!"

[Magic - Raising the Dead - 4th - Alaricite] Volcica and the flying mouse stay in the air, diving through imps. Biting, swooping, fluttering. Volcica continues speaking, and the fallen shards begin to rise. Not many, probably, to start, but.. She keeps chanting, keeps calling, and keeps exerting her will on the slain-- even slain allies, urging them to rise again and defend the castle.

Sen'azala has found her way to the gate, and she plants her feet there for a moment, as if she were just going to be a complete moron and stand right in the way of that continuous charge. "*Mine*," she hisses. The Wolf's claws lash the air again, once more seemingly tearing streaks of searingly cold white out of nothing, but this time she doesn't stop the motion at all. It turns into a lunge and a leap, white and black tracing her movements, coating her claws. She bites a shard, and its veins turn black, then white, then freeze entirely. Another goes much the same way. Just being near her threatens frostbite at the moment, but the cold is rather the least of anyone's problems right now when it comes to the Last Venandi.

[MAGIC (Alaricite)] "They didn't need protecting!" Aleksei calls back at Fortunato, entirely unrepentant. (This isn't entirely true. "/You/ were the one about to get your face eaten by an imp!" He slices through another hoard of them, blade cutting cleanly across, singing through the air as it manages to find the perfect timing. "Sounds like this is a personal problem!" Cut. Stab. Slice. "Of yours, I mean!"

[MAGIC] It's an exhilarating battle, fueled with the magic of so many that it fairly crackles the air. So Alis and Irony hover a moment, letting themselves soak in the scene of destruction that seems to be going their way for once. It gives her a chance to sink deeper into a bit of a trance and let her eyes unfocus, the battlefield snapping into view like an overlay where she can with a clarity that regular sight just can't match. Their next attack is chosen, and anyone looking for a target will get one from the pair while they swoop and dive again. The roiling molten metal heat that Irony is able to blaze no doubt sets a wide swatch of bloody imps on fire.

[Magic - 4th w/sacrifice - defense] "Blow, Wind, Blow!" Khanne sweeps her hand out to the right. "Powers of air, flow over our foes! Show them we will stand defiant, victorious, while they lie broken on their asses! Knock them down!" Her hand sweeps before her, moving from right to left, directing a mighty wind to blow against the horde, and indeed, send some of them tumbling about, losing their footing, and with any luck, making some of them fall on their own weapons.

[Magic - Art is War] There's a moment in the battle, that Denica lets go. She sheds the expectations and definitions, Denica becomes her art. When that happens, she lets go and creates. Denica creates the world from Denica's perspective. She becomes the images and pictures of everything she sees. She experiences it and draws the colours, to tell that story. Colours drawn from the spaces in between, Denica paints. It lights her up, colourful sparkles catching in the waves of her inky back hair. Shooting a look down the length of her shoulder, Denica summons her humour with the colours she wields and tells her battle partner, "you know. You could do with a bit more colour." And with that, she lets the paint splatter everywhere.

As the shards start to finally stumble in, Edris turns on them as well, adding to the pile of bits and pieces on *this* side of the wall. It's an unrelenting tide of the abyssal creatures of various kinds, and though he's well in to the sweaty and gory stage, with skin, hair, and leaves all splattered with something, there's a glow of defiance and adrenaline in his eyes.

[magic 4-sacrifice] "You afraid?" Thesarin calls at the horde of nightmares with another laugh. "Thought this was how you wanted! No world. No light. No sky. No tomorrow." The blood-soaked Prodigal takes a moment to slow his movement to a casual walk, the fire dying down, turning the icy patches aroud Sen'azala into steam where fire meets ice. "None for you. I hope it'll be all you dreamed." And then its back to the violence, pushing them back toward the walls.

[Magic 4 (Alaricite) - Attack - Get Off My Lawn] One of Mia's gloved hands slips into a pouch at her belt, drawing from it a single ingot of alaricite. At the same time, she peels one of her gloves off with her teeth so that she can press the cold piece against warm skin, drawing her thumb over it in circles, drawing the primum from it slowly into herself, weaving it into a fresh flood of magic. Whereas Thesarin is all fire and ash springing from him, it's the earth and the tree and the rocks and the vines that respond to her call. "You and yours will find no purchase here, Azazel," she declares, as if the place she stood were truly her own. "You are not welcome. You will never be welcome, here or ANYWHERE." And at those words, several shards begin to tear, clutched at by mud and grass and tree and vine that latches on and tears, and tears, and tears, and tears. The sundering sounds would be terrible enough; it's made worse by their screaming.

[Magic] Keely is eye-hurtingly luminous at the moment, but the brilliant blasts continue, and she incidentally provides some blinding backlighting for the Prismatics from her spot behind them, making them harder to see and therefore hit. It also gives them a very cool silhouette in which to do their battle moves.

[MAGIC - Offensive] That unique style of Kael's combat continues. The turn of his blade, the flow of the strike, if one traces the line turns into a symbol that is far more holy than not. He just needed the correct alignment of his enemies, the proper positioning of his form, and that is when his blade finally begins to glow with a warm, reddish hued light. It pulses, and when next he strikes an enemy, the fiend burns.

It's quite the bard party, really. The battle cry of the desert rain frog continues insistently, and Sorrel admittedly looks pleased about the direction that this battle is going. She can just sing and not have to hit things. It's differently exhausting, but kind of nice in its own way.

[Magic (4th) Sacrifice Given] The Knights are back to protect Ilmia! Because she doesn't have her own in her life. Now you can create your own fantastical tall ones! The White Knight and the Black Knight go off in their seperate ways, bringing their swords down violently into demon hides as they cut a trail of dead demons out for those that are fighting.

[MAGIC - Lash of Light (steelsilk)] Fortunato laughs as Denica lets her paint splatter, as Keely blares her aura. He laughs as he pulls steelsilk from his bag and dissolves it. He laughs as he draws light from the gaps in his gloves and it burrows and it wends and it snaps and it is not, really, very artistic save in the way that a /perfect line/ or a perfect /arc/ drawn on the canvas can inspire -- something. In this case, it's mostly rather kill-y. "Yes, Iliana! We'll barbecue. We'll send a pillar of smoke into the sky. Good clean smoke, a good clean fire --" He can't help it. Even when they're doing this well, the dread creeps in. Still, he manages to shout over to Aleksei again, "It's not a personal problem, I don't want anyone to defend me. I'm serious. Things hurt less."

A lot of the Red Wardens have got to admit the latest barrage feels just a tiny bit half hearted, not quite as many arrows in the air. Still can kill though. ((Luck checks.))

Apostate has called for a check of luck at easy.
Critical Success! Alis is spectacularly successful.
TIE: Mirk is successful. Kael is successful.
TIE: Ilmia is successful. Denica is successful. Thesarin is successful. Iliana is successful.
TIE: Fortunato is successful. Tikva is successful. Lou is successful.
TIE: Sen'azala is successful. Celeste is successful. Mia is successful. Smile is successful. Khanne is successful.
TIE: Volcica is successful. Keely is successful.
Aleksei is successful.
TIE: Sorrel is successful. Eirene is successful. Edris is successful.
Ryhalt is successful.

"CHOKE THEM WITH CORPSES!" Which is probably not the best morale pitch by Azazel ever but it's a valid demonic tactic, as more and more shards swarm in, though it is just not going well at all. At least a few larger demons are actually arguing with the banners now, and at least one banner-maw eats a particularly lippy demon. The attack continues.((Round 5, 2018 victory points. If they pass 2500, Azazel furiously orders a withdrawal. Checks at easy ))

Keely checks charm and empathy at easy. Keely marginally fails.

Eirene checks intellect and medicine at easy. Eirene is successful.

Aleksei checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Aleksei marginally fails.

Ryhalt checks intellect and investigation at easy. Ryhalt is successful.

Tikva checks charm and performance at easy. Tikva is successful.

Iliana checks command and leadership at easy. Iliana is successful.

Fortunato checks wits and artwork at easy. Fortunato is successful.

Celeste checks command and war at easy. Celeste marginally fails.

Mia checks command and leadership at easy. Mia is successful.

Sen'azala checks willpower and leadership at easy. Sen'azala is successful.

Alis checks command and leadership at easy. Alis is successful.

Mirk checks mana and occult at easy. Mirk is successful.

Khanne checks mana and occult at easy. Khanne is spectacularly successful.

Denica checks mana and artwork at easy. Denica is successful.

Kael checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Kael is successful.

Sorrel checks charm and performance at easy. Sorrel is successful.

Mirk checks mana at hard. Mirk is successful.

Ilmia checks charm and occult at easy. Critical Success! Ilmia is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.

Volcica checks mana and occult at easy. Volcica is spectacularly successful.

Edris checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Edris is successful.

Lou checks dexterity and medium wpn at easy. Lou is successful.

[MAGIC - ATTACK - mats given] Tikva's voice is too loud, weaponized and resonating, blasting through the arrows that fly through the air. "FOR COPPER. FOR REMEMBRANCE. FOR THE FUTURE AND A BRIGHT NEW DAWN." She /pushes/ the power of the primum from the alaricite she holds, letting it rain glittering dust as Nightingale's call rises in a brilliant descant, her spectral claws lashing imps out of the air as she sings in concert with Tikva's grandissimo.

Thesarin checks strength and medium wpn at easy. Thesarin is successful.

[Magic - 4 (Alaricite sacrifice) Defense: Reduce Injury] As arrows rain down, Eirene holds up her hand. That soft glow forms a sort of shield around her and the other defenders of the Castle. Arrows which pass through find no purchase on their targets, skin turned hard as diamondplate should they get past armor. "For all that you've taken from me, all the nightmares you've kept me up at night with. For Cicero!" She keeps her arm up in defiant pose.

[Magic: 5 - Weather Magic. MANA SUCCESS.] Mirk is digging deep, now, despite how every breath is misting in the middle of summer. He extends his hand to the sky, ripping it downwards with a rain of lightning bolts, the work of both Mirk and Lightning acting in concert. "I'll live," he tells Nyx, despite looking halfway to frostbite from the continual magic without touching any alaricite or similar sacrifices. At the reassurances, the dragon unleashes another blast of ice from its maw into the demonic army.

[MAGIC - Marginal Fail] Celeste pulls herself onto her horse and sits in the saddle. Her sword seems heavy in her arm already and she has to rest the blade across the saddle to keep from dropping it. Still, she looks regal, sitting tall and straight with a proud bearing. Nevermind the sweat trickling down from her temples or sticking stray bits of blonde hair to her skin. "I want them obliterated! If they will not bow before us, leave their blood on the field," she says to no one in particular. Reaching into a saddle bag, Celeste draws out a bar of alaricite and begins pulling primum from it, the shiny metal tarnishing, rusting, crumbling in her hand. But nothing more dramatic seems to happen.

Volcica checks mana at normal. Volcica is successful.

[MAGIC - Attack - 5th - Alaricite] Lou gets to Eirene's side in a satisfactory manner. Lou goes back to making quick work of the demons. When people start calling out about Copper, Lou makes her own shouted words heard. "YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO TRY AND CRUSH HOPE, WELL GUESS WHAT!?! WE ARE COPPER'S LEGACY. WE ARE /THAT HOPE/. YOU WILL NEVER CRUSH US. HOPE LIVES!" She makes furious work of anything that comes close to her. Deer continues, head-butting one of the shards that gets close, then rearing at it to kick it with her front feet. There is a bloody mess everywhere.

Keely is exhausted, and her light is dimming fast. She staggers to the side, taking a knee a bit behind Khanne and trying desperately to catch her breath, to summon even a little more light to fire upon the enemy, anything at all. But it is to little avail.

[MAGIC fail] "I dunno, just sounds like you're feeling really sensitive about this!" Oh, Aleksei is still shit-talking Fortunato. He leans out of the way of an oncoming demon leaping from behind, not even glancing over at it. He crushes an alaricite queen to dust, and it'd look /really cool and badass/ if he stabbed his sword right into the ground through that demon's head.

But actually he just grazes it. Oof.

"Mine!" Sen snarls again, just loud enough for it to carry. "*Take* it from me!" Her ears twitch, twisting back to catch Tikva's words, and then she howls once more, calling to her fellow Wardens. "The Metallic Order has fallen, but the Copper Guard remains! The world has forgotten us, but we shall guard it still!" She slams a shard into the wall, hard enough to shatter every bone, then flings it into its oncoming companions. "I wear no shackles of magic, I am bound by no writ, but I swear my life and my honor to the defense of the realms of men! I will drive back horrors to the Abyss! I will send reflections back to the Shining Lands! I will banish demons that seek to prey upon mankind!"

[Magic - Art is War] Catching the sound of Fortunato's laughter, a smile brightens on Denica's face. Little glittering dots of paint cover her and no doubt her companion now. It delights her in a way that energizes her movements. The colours materializing as she smears them in front of her with the flat blade of her palette knife. They drip, then never quite dry, Denica creates the images of defeat and failure to share with the shards that come towards her. But it's not just that story, that she creates with her magic, but that of her friends, the people she stands with, their victory. Captures in a moment before it's hurled at those that come towards her. But when she sees Keely looking exhausted and trying to catch her breath, she's turning her attention to her, and for Keely, she reveals the image of Buttercup as a puppy, in hopes it will make her smile.


Edris continues to slash at the shards, determined to keep them away from any of those who are not combatants. He remains with Kael as he has been, occasoinally calling out if there's a cluster moving closer to them, or responding to cues as well. "I think we're holding them off, Kael," he says, deadpan as ever--but there's a guarded optimism in his tone. He continues to look up now and then to monitor the sky, as well as their surroundings.

[MAGIC - Alaricite!] Iliana focuses again as the annoyace of being threatened by a good time according to Azazel echos throughout the courtyard and another imp is shot down "there is your corpse!" Back towards Fortunato to continue the conversation as if this is just another outing. In their past lives it might have been. "We're good!" she shouts giving him a nod of assurance when he begins to spiral about fire. She stares at him and another forceful nod is given, "we are good!" she repeats. Then another shout, "and listen to Aleksei!"

Ryhalt looks out over the attacking force. Squinting with a hint of annoyance. Here and there Phyl swoops and dives, flying low over units that look about to break, instilling fiery fear in them, encouraging them to abandon the fight and flee.

"FUCK THIS! Pull back, we'll just eat all the insects off of the River. This is stupid." The mouths of Azazel keep swearing as a few hundred shards mindlessly keep running into the thick of the defenses, while the thousands upon thousands gradually pull back away from the Castle of Yesterday, giving it an extremely wide berth.

Above, as lightning flashes, there's a visage of a mountainous huge wolf looking particularly smug. ((2588 Victory points)).

[Magic - Choke Azazel with Corpses - 5th - Mana Success] "THE CORPSES ARE NOT YOURS!" Volcica screams from the back of Bat, and they dive towards Azazel's mouth. All of the corpses follow them, those that fly diving towards the archfiend. "CHOKE AND DIE." Volcica and Bat pull sharply up, but her flight of corpses slam into him.

[Magic - 5th use/w Sacrifice] "I got you," Khanne says to Keely behind her, smiling as she hears her fellow combatants call out Copper's name. Nothing can make her smile brighter in a moment like this than to hear the declarations of hope. She holds a piece of alarcite in her hand, focusing on the energies it possesses until she absorbs them into her then pushes that up towards the heavens. A great rumbling is heard, the sky flashing in a verdigris toned light that dances across the clouds until bolt after bolt of lightning comes raining down. In reply to Azazel, she cries, "we will not be forgotten! Choke on our undettered HOPE!"

[MAGIC] Don't mess with what's working, honestly. Still riding on what they gleaned from their last pass overhead, Alis leans as far to the side as safety allows to hit as many of those freakin' imps as is possible. And, also gives Irony as clear a swath as possible to turn a buttload of the little fuckers to ashes. Sen'azala's recitation of the Red Warden oath is heard, even above the din, and she lifts her flail at the last minute to be able to whoop aloud at the sound of it.

[MAGIC - Lash of Light, steelsilk] "I am not listening to Aleksei!" Fortunato shouts to Iliana. And, one presumes, Aleksei. "I want him to respect me as a /warrior peer/, or at least not a remotely fragile one, I swear-- oh. We are good," he adds in sudden acknowledgement as Azazel calls the whole endeavor stupid. His last lash whips at the retreating imps. He half-closes his eyes. "For the woman I can't remember," he says, low.

Eirene yells out, "FOR HOPE!" She keeps her fist raised in defiant triumph. The imps who make one last tragic attempt at lashing out at the Castle spiral out of control as wounds open up on their bodies and rain blood on the castle stones below.

Tikva wheezes hard, teetering on her feet, and almost topples into Sorrel as she starts laugh-crying, mashing her face into her friend's arm. The balalaika falls in a slackened grip to rest against her calf. It's been one long fucking day, but for all that there's a lot she's lost, this was true victory.

With the demons in retreat, Celeste saves her strength. "Form up!" she calls to her soldiers, sending them scrambling to disengage and form back up into square units with neat rows between them. The general rides through her troops, using the broad aisles between each unit as a place her horse can pass. She inspects, then she rides to the outside, trampling over all the carnage of demon bodies everywhere. Among the dead, Celeste lifts her sword and salutes the defenders of the Castle.

[Magic - Sacrifice Given] Ilmia gives Nickel a wink as she guides her Knights to stamp out demons as they cut a little path of destruction. They follow as the demons retreat and Ilmia's looking to things as they do retreat. "WE DID IT!" the redhead bounces in place. SO EXCITED! Then she almost tackles Nickel with a hug, "Not dead yet!" she looks like she might cry.

Now that he has started, Kael does not let up with the pattern that he weaves with his blade. The rubicund metal of Dawn's Promise shines brighter, truer, pulsing as it sears through the next dark creature. His strikes remain mercifully true, for the Valardin Prince-Consort is near to him. As Edris speaks to him, Kael turns, blade still swinging but nowhere near his kin. It takes a few seconds for him to register, truly, what the other man says. To register the retreat of the demons. "So it seems," he answers, voice so low it might be lost in the chaos. He jerks his head back toward the Prismatics though, in indication. It's clear he's going to seek one amongst them soon enough.

"As Arx endures, we will remember," Mirk whispers quietly. "And I swear this oath: Whatever threatens sea and sky and land, whatever comes to despoil our lands and corrupt all that it touches, that is my enemy. Until my soul returns to the Wheel once more. And right now? That is you, Azazel." He turns to the lightning elemental, a smile on his lips. "Thank you, my friend. I will call when it is time to do battle once more. But you know I'll always be there to admire, whenever you visit us." Then, a lightning bolt flashes from the earth to the sky and Lightning is gone, into the storm clouds overhead.

[magic- 5(alaricite) Wildfire] Thesarin just continues to laugh and smile his terrible rictus. "Choke me with corpses? Me?" He runs a hand through his braided hair, leaving a red and black smear among the star iron, and as he approaches the horde links of alaracite chain start to smoke and melt away. "I cannot choke on corpses; I drink of death as fast as it can flow. I am Thesarin son of Vahari, and you threaten what is mine." And then he's back about his bloody work, to rip and tear until it is done.

[Magic 5 (Alaricite) - Attack - Get Off My Lawn] The first ingot of alaricite falls, dull and lifeless, from Mia's hand. Another takes its place, the cool opal-shaded metal a stark contrast against her skin. "Run. Run, you coward. Run, and know this place isn't yours. Know the river will not be yours. Know that ARX will not be yours, and that the Twainfort will have our justice," she declares as the horde turns to retreat. Even as they begin to flee, the branches of a particularly violent tree clutch at, catch, and begin to tear a shrieking banner.

Lou settles back and watches on as the shards start to route and take off in the OTHER direction. She lets out a long breath, one that she was probably holding in between each slash, stab or swipe. She pulls out a cloth from her backpack and clears any ichor off her blade, not wanting whatever makes up demon blood to eat through her alaricite sword. She wanders over to one of the benches, wipes off a spot to make sure she's not sitting in goop and flops down into place. "I suspect we might need to redo the wards again," she says. Deer, for her part, goes to find a place to settle down as well, tending to cleaning off any ichor that might have gotten on her coat.

The horde is pulling back, and somehow it's *not enough*. Sen plunges after them, running the slower ones down one by one. There's no mercy in her. Her fury burns, and burns, and burns, and killing only seems to make it moreso. Given the opportunity, she will kill every single shard or demon she can catch. Someone should...probably do something about that.

Keely's head tilts subtly as she watches Denica, and a slow smile spreads across her lips to spy Butter the puppy amid all the imagery, lifting her fingertips to touch at some of the beautiful paint that has splashed upon her cheek. Soon, she looks up to see Khanne covering her, to watch all of the joy and victory spreading through the castle and beyond. A quiet giggle begins to bubble up from within her, growing louder and more joyous by the moment, and all of this is enough to propel her to her feet.

The Keaton Marquessa is soon grappling Khanne into a gentle but warm hug, and then Denica. Then she is running for Lou to subject her to a paint-spattered embrace as well. But she is ever-driven in the direction of Kael, who her armored body leaps toward amidst all the celebration.

Goodness knows a little happiness can go a long way in these bleak times.

"I respect you so much!" Aleksei shouts over to Fortunato, all /offended/ now. Omg Fortunato doesn't think he /respects him/. And then the tide is turning, and suddenly that rush -- that /crush/ -- of demons begins to pause. To turn back. To /retreat/. Aleksei slices through what he can manage of the fleeing creatures, and then he's shouting out with a fierce defiance and /joy/ in his heart.


Sorrel hugs Tikva tightly, catching her laughter as if it is contagious and giggling madly with delight. "We did it," she rasps, her voice a little tired. "We managed here. He didn't want our stupid castle anyhow."

Eirene smacks her fist over her heart for Mirk's save and Lou's concern. "I've sworn to destroy Azazel for what he's done to me and my family." She looks to Mihaly, who knows her tragic past, and smiles to the others; Prismatics, Wardens, and allies. "Right so who's injured?" She stops as she sees no major injuries in their number. "Well. Any cuts or boo-boos I can just kiss and make better," she says in a sarcastic tone. "Bring the wounded to the infirmary and I will take care of the damage."

Lou lets out a little off as Keely tackles her in a paint smeared embrace. She smiles at her cousin and gives her a quick peck on the cheek before she wanders off to Kael. She simply takes in the moment, a bright smile touching her face, in spite of the horrors they just faced, and takes in the people around her. "I don't suppose anyone has a spell for cleaning this al up do they?" she quips from the sidelines.

Celeste wipes her sword off before sticking it back in its sheathe. "To Arx!" she calls to her troops. They snap back to a beat, her heart beat, and begin to march off as one.

Surprised as she is soon grapple-hugged, Khanne hugs Keely in return, a smile upon her face for a battle well fought. She is not usually much of a hugger, but at a time like this? She follows Keely's example and makes her own rounds of hugging people; Tikva, Kael, Aleksei, Fortunato, Denica, Sorrel, Lou, Alis... even Mirk. Yes, Mirk. Then, she approaches Sen'azala with open arms and suddenly gets alump in her throat of emotion. "I don't care Sen'azala... punish me later. I'm giving you a damn hug." And she moves to wrap her arms around the woman.

Edris doesn't have any bold words. And it's only until it's clear that there's nothing more Abyssal moving or squirming on the grounds that he lowers his sword--to flick it clean and then sheathe it. He turns then, to offer Kael a very firm but brotherly clap on the shoulder. He follows his cousin's gaze towards the Prismatics. There's no word spoken, but the half-smile blooms to one in full, as he nods Keely's way. "See you in a bit?" he asks, quietly, before nodding towards the area where he assumes his princess is probably soon to land.

Thesarin isn't far behind Sen'azala, but as he goes the fire starts to sputer, and the laugh gives out. He turns toward the rampaging Venandi, and pausing for a moment to catch his breath, shouts out in his best leader-of-armies voice "PRIMA! HOLD YOUR FIGHT!"

Ilmia says in Rex'alfar, "We should have a talk if we survive this!" she calls to Celeste"

When Denica wraps her paint splattered arms around Keely, tears start to fall down her cheeks. They are salty against her cheeks and the feel of their warmth brings back Denica's. Giving Keely a squeeze, she lets go of the woman and cannot help but laugh. There's a joyful smile that forms on her lips as the images of the shards retreating are still fresh in her mind. Then she goes off to find more people to hug, Khanne, Tikva, Aleksei, Fortunato. Lots of hugs, and Denica is not sorry about the paint splatter that might come with them. Then she finds her cousins too. There's a storm of emotions in Denica's still colourful eyes, but she revels in the positive energy that fills the room.

Celeste says in Rex'alfar, "If it stands, I'll be at Orchard House in the Uppers!"

Aaaaand there's another hug, this time unexpectedly by Khanne. Lou lets out a small laugh and impulsively hugs Khanne back. "I'm glad you're alive too," she tells her with a small touch of mirth.

"Nickel Guard, to me!" Iliana shouts over the sounds of the retreat, and she looks so proud of each and every one of her soldiers. She looks at each one of them before she starts to cry, a silent sort that comes on from emotion and the coming down from that high. It is wordless as she nods once more and finds something to say to the men and women who followed her here to do what they swore an oath to do. "We have protected not only Nickel but Copper's memory and all she wished to protect. Each of you deserve to know that what we did here was important and what we stood for mattered. Thank you." She dismisses them then to go find her husband and Nickel.

Mirk sighs and allows Khanne to hug him, just this once, patting her on the back awkwardly. "Cousin," he says. "And I saw my fellow shaman out there, too," he calls to Volcica. "Thank you all. This...was a wonder to be a part of. The things we can do when we all stand together."

Fortunato swings up his arm to half-hug Khanne in turn, be part of the line even if hugging is a fail-point. To half-hug Denica, even though hugging is a fail-point. (some of her color catches in his light, reddens and oranges the light crevices in his lantern-glass). And then he hugs Aleksei. Sudden, tight, apologetic. Sharing joy. "I know you respect me. I just don't want you to -- I'll be fine. Trust me."

"Oh crap." Lou jumps up from her seat as Khanne goes off to hug Sen'azala. "Khanne, wait!" she tells her OTHER friend. "You might want to give Sen a moment to come down," she tries to issue the warning before Khanne gets in the way of any attacking claws.

"In a bit, yes," answers Kael to Edris, grinning toward his cousin and of course offering a clasp of his arm in turn. These things must be done. He turns toward his wife though, heading that way even as she is running toward him. Does his step increase in speed? Maybe. His arms open and he catches her with that leap, squeezing tight. For a long moment it's clear that nothing else exists for him but Keely and that hug. He's letting go of her, carefully assisting her to the ground, when he spies Khanne coming close. An arm opens and Kael goes in for that far more common half-hug of his. To her? He murmurs, "How things change." There's no telling _why_ he speaks those words, but they come with a smile. It's brief though, that comment, and he turns back to his wife.

Tikva is basically just a crying mess at this point, but that doesn't stop her from the hug parade, evidently. Just don't let her get anything gross on you


Volcica lands near the gathering Wardens, Prismatics and NickelGuards, and finally slides to the ground. Her hold on the dead is releasing, and corpses are slouching back down to the ground-- but any fallen allies are shambling closer to the castle and.. waiting, for the moment. She's quiet, looking pale and.. probably a bit more skeletal than usual. Drained, tired. Alive.

Grinning crookedly to Kael, she winks and nods. "That they do. All the time." Then she hears Lou's warning. "But....." Khanne is still going off after Sen'azala. "Fiiiiine..." she says with a sigh. She will have to wait and catch her another time. Instead, she goes in search of Volcica.

There are few people in the world as prepared to hug as Aleksei is. He squeezes Khanne (carefully) tight, and gives Denica a full little swing off the ground before setting her down again, laughing. /Fortunato's/ is more unexpected, almost enough to startle, and then he's laughing again. "Oh my gods," he says. "I was just /giving you shit/." He grins, and then he seems to realize that, hey, there may be some help needed. He catches something from Lou, and then his gaze moves beyond to where Sen'azala...has not given up the fight.


He takes off after her, moving with immediate and inhuman speed. "Sen'azala!" he shouts, almost like a parent announcing that someone's going to be in a lot of trouble /real soon/. "Get your ass back here!" Clearly this is his renowned empathy at work.

Sorrel probably has Tikva snot on her sleeve, but she doesn't care. She's got a content Frog in her pocket, and they've routed the enemy. Everyone can have a hug. Everyone.

Alis did in fact land where Edris thought she would! And there's a good minute spent fussing over Irony and making sure she will go get some rest and that her saddle didn't chafe. But once that is done, she pretty much flings herself right at her spouse. "We did it. We really did it. Everyone was magnificent. I wish you'd have seen it from the air. Those fuckers, turning tail and running." Her laugh might be a biiiit hysterical.

Sen still has her mind, but it's still a visible struggle, even when she stops at Thesarin's voice, at Aleksei's. Her teeth are still bared, her ears are flat, she *snarls* after the retreating army and then at those coming closer, as if she really were contemplating, in the moment, how easy it might be to take them apart. Then it's wrestled down, clawed back, and with it goes the wolf. She returns to human shape, completely *drenched* in blood and ichor, and if Khanne's there, well. For once, she's not resisting. In fact, she's all of a sudden a little shivery, eyes a little watery.

Edris is patient while Irony is fussed over; in fact, the adolescent dragon is offered the same respectful bow of his head that he gives his own young princesses. But when Alis is ready, his leafy arms slip around her when she launches herself, lifting her right off her feet for a moment, highlord status be damned. He kisses the crown of her head before setting her down on her feet. "We did," he confirms, for a moment cradling her face between his hands. But at the mention of everyone's magnificence, he smiles again, he chases that laughter by tilting her face just so. "No, you," he says, indicating her own magnificence, before touching his lips to hers fully this time. Tender, if brief, the kiss seems to settle much of the post-battle jitters, and he offers his arm to her.

Oh, good. Aleksei only has to run /briefly/, and then Sen is stopping of her own accord before he has to risk tackling an angry werewolf. "Can't have you rushing off into a demon army on your own," he tells her. And, after a beat, he adds, "You still owe me an ear scritch, after all." Of course, now that she's human again, he can't claim it. FOILED.

But he does get the satisfaction of seeing Sen actually /accept a hug from someone/!!!

Fortunato affects a sigh as Aleksei announces mere shit-giving, as Sen'azala reverts and restrains. He removes his hat to scratch at his bald, etched-glass head and looks to the point where Azazel withdrew. He raises a foot. The ground is filthy.

"Come on, Shard." Thesarin pauses, and tries again. "Sen'azala. We're done, for now." The laughter is gone, and so is the glee. Now it's all sternness and stoicism, his fury guttering out just as the fires he left in his wake gutter out in the storm. He reaches a hand to help Sen'azala to her feet, and he will break his stoicism himself to give her a one-armed hug as he starts to lead her back toward the others.
And even Thesarin will let his stoicism crack as he returns to the celebrating Wardens, moving in for hugs with Kael, Keely, Lou, and anyone else who'll have them--and leading to greeting Mia by reaching out (if she'd allow) to lift his wife in the air in celebration.

Eirene closes her eyes a moment to refocus and then goes to join Thesarin and Mia, Mihaly at her side. "We did it. Thank you, all of you. I suppose I have some 'splainin' to do," she says to her husband. She smiles at the scene of brief joy and victory, of hugs and kisses and spinning. The work will be there, there's a city to save. But tonight, the castle and Nickel are safe and the blood staining the castle grounds is from shards and not its defenders. Poor Fortunato's shoes.

Alis actually laughs when she's lifted right off the ground. There's not a care in the world about propriety at the moment, her full bright smile angled upward after both his words and the brief kiss. "It feels fabulous to see everyone still standing." she admits, letting out a long breath finally and tucking her arm in with his so they can join some of the other celebrators.

The trouble, apparently, with using your emotions to fuel your magic, with expending so much pent up rage, with having endless quantities to replace it with, is that even with iron-bound self control, the very essence of *emotion* is hard to switch off. Or, at least, in these circumstances. Sen leans into Thesarin, she flumps against Khanne, she gives Aleksei a squint at the word 'scritch', but she seems a little caught between, looking as though she might cry or start laughing (or both). "They're dead," she eventually manages. "They're dead, they're dead, they're all--*FUCK you!* she snarls over her shoulder, toward the retreating demon horde, and for a moment her golden eyes are little too inhuman for comfort. "You are *all* *fucking* *dead*!"

"I am glad we returned," Keely murmurs up to Kael, lifting her chin so that she may gaze up at him with large, sleepy-looking eyes and an impossibly wide smile. This is until Thesarin comes in for hugs, and she is back to laughing, this time in surprise, as she welcomes the embrace gently. "Oh, I did not give Alis an embrace," she then informs her husband, turning her head and realizing that she did not yet hug a lot of people here. After watching their celebration for a while, she decides with a lingering smile, "I will do hugs to everyone later. For now... do we have a place for resting that does not have... demon insides upon it?"

"Under ordinary circumstances, the Castle is absolutely not a place where people are allowed to trespass," Mirk says in a wry tone. "But I doubt Watcher would mind if we put the defenders up for a tonight. Come, there's a tunnel to Arx when you're ready."

The tears continue to stream down Denica's cheeks, joyful release. Every hug represents connection, the care and the comradery that made them strong together. Laughter escapes when Aleksei lifts her up, and Denica delights in the motion. Back on her feet, she is taking a moment to stop and say hello to others she's missed. Lou and Sorrel and Eirene and Alis and so many bright faces. "I am so very grateful for each and everyone one of you. Even if I don't know you. You are all so beautiful." Sincere words that she shares openly. Then each exchange brings her closer back to the man that came to the castle. Covering in the glowing paint, the colour starts to dissipate from her eyes, and she meets his with a matching blue. There's a silent nod, quiet gratitude to make up for a loss of words. Not everything needs to be said. They both know why they are there, even if Denica looks uncertain as to what happens next.

Ilmia has hugged poor Nickel, but released him. They hopefully would not be anymore demons coming back for him or the castle. She goes to find Fairen and Iliana, "You are alright I hope?" she asks the two. "Nickel apparently came down." she looks a bit sheepish over that.

Once danger seems to be averted, Lou goes back to her celebratory mood. "I have whiskey!" she announces. "There's got to be glasses around here somewhere." She did not pack the traditional glassware this time, and so she goes in search of it from the rooms open to her. It doesn't take her long to find some, and so she passes out glasses to any who might want to partake, and then pours a small dram for each to drink should they desires.

Khanne lets Sen'azala 'flump' against her, helping support her for as long as she needs. "They are. And we will have more to kill soon, I am sure. But we will prevail." She smiles a bit at Aleksei then turns back to Sen'azala again. She looks as if she's about to say something, but then gets a bit misty eyed and looks down. After a moment, she simply says, "I am filled with memories, and am... honored to be able to fight by your side, Sen. Thank you." And then, "we'll get them all." Then, shouts over Sen's shoulder in the same direction, "Yeah! Fuck you! You're all fucking dead!"

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Aleksei before departing.

It was a strange enough thing, to see Mia Riven in armor, let alone anywhere on the battlefield beyond the medical tents, until these last few years. Strange to hear her call her husband anything warmer or gentler than 'my lord' outside the walls of her own home. But as she's scooped up into the man's tattooed arms, she begins to laugh -- softly at first, and then with a bit of an edge to it, something that is almost manic at the first bit of hope she's been able to clutch onto since she ordered to Twainfort set alight with Arvani fire. With the splatter of mud and blood and the gore of the Abyss on her, she looks almost nothing at all like the woman who straightens the wrinkles from her gown every time she stands. No, she looks nothing like Mia Riven. But somehow she looks entirely like herself when she dips her head to kiss Thesarin there in the middle of the battlefield, with ash and smoke still clinging to him. "We stand or fall together," she repeats, just once, before her feet touch the ground. Her hand finds his, and then she's looking for other faces -- for Mihaly and Eirene and Sen'azala and Alis and Edris and Keely and Kael and Mirk and Lou and Sorrel... laughing a little more, a little brighter, as she spots each one whole.

Some of Aleksei's brightness, at least the humor of it, fades into sobriety as he watches Sen. Not all of it, but some. "They are," he agrees simply. "They'll all be dead by the time we get through with them." And then, the hint of a grin drawing crookedly at one corner of his mouth. "You don't have to rush it. We'll get every last one of them."

Bowing his head, Kael presses his brow in against Keely's. The pose is held until Thesarin approaches and, absolutely, the Riven is embraced with that half-armed embrace of his, but he also finishes it with an arm clasp, if allowed. A grin follows to the other man and Kael lifts his chin before refocusing on Keely. "We can look for one," Kael answers her, and now he's securing her in his embrace. Why yes, he takes some of her weight, lifting her and starting to march away. Somewhere away from ick where she can finally close her eyes and rest with his standing guard. During his retreat, he meets eyes with Mia and he smiles at her. Not just any smile though, but a bright, bold smile that reaches his eyes. That's a rare thing for Kael.

Iliana shifts her attention towards Ilmia as she approaches after she is finished with the guard, and nods with a heavy sigh. "Yes, all okay. I know Fairen went to go sit with Nickel personally at one point so I didnt worry about him. I was going to be pissed off if he died so I make him go play chess." While we were out here murdering all the things.

Sen'azala looks as though she might add something else. She's visibly wavering between moods like a branch caught in the wind. Anger, and sorrow, and anger, and then she inhales. In. Exhales. Out. "There's food and drink inside. Don't know if it's any good. Don't spill it on any of the books." She makes a motion as though she were actually going to *fling an arm companionably around Aleksei*, which is surely proof that she's an imposter, but instead, she slides smoothly back to Wolf, throws her head back, and laughs. It's a very strange sound coming from a wolf, more like a coyote's baying. "STAY OUT OF MY HOUSE!" she yells in the direction of the horde. "You left a fucking mess!" And then she laughs, and laughs, and starts back toward the Castle with the others.

Edris guides Alis closer to the throng, where she can be released fof the many hugs that await her. He seems to be expecting some distance from others--though it's without rancor. Even drunk on victory, someone who looks suspiciously dryad-y might still inspire caution especially after the enemy before this one. But when he sees Mia nearby, he approaches. And perhaps with surprising familiarity, or not, reaches out to gather her into a hug as well, bowing his head to give her a gentle and chaste kiss on the cheek. And now that he's learned how to navigate better, he doesn't even poke her eye out with a twig. "It is very good to see you safe and well, my friend. And unscathed this time as well."

Aleksei makes sure to land a good scratch between Sen's wolf ears before likely sprinting out of immediate bite range.

Fairen is, just as it happens, back just in time to give Iliana a bit of a look from behind her. "The situation seemed well in hand here," he states in perhaps a bit of understatement. "It was prudent to ensure all was well with our patron and the monitoring of the wards, in case of the unexpected." He smiles lightly. "Pleased to see the both of you well. Did you enjoy your entropic pursuits in my absence, Marquessa?"

Ilmia looks relieved that Fairen and Iliana were both in one well as Nickel. "I think we did very well this fight...there will be other battles that we can help in." she states. There is a look to the unicorn that is not far from her, "We've got a few more things to do...but Nickel should stay here." she states.

Sen'azala looks so confused by the scratch that she apparently forgets to react. It's well after Aleksei is out of danger that she gives him a *look* that's half baffled and half '...Did you really?'

There is one very brief moment where Mia, unaccustomed to trees who resemble men and men who resemble trees or quite possibly just to joy and also twigs being directed her way, stays very stille under that kiss. But then she smiles, and it's a warm thing that softens every bit of her face, and she clasps Edris by the arm. "We'd only heard rumors and days-old reports of the stand at Sanctum," she answers, and there's a note that catches in her throat as the last syllable falls from her lips. "And how hard fought it was. I--," Mia pauses, looking between Edris and Alis and Keely and Kael, her eyes too bright to be entirely dry. "I am so grateful for the shelter you gave the sylv'alfar. And so grateful to see you all here now."

Sen'azala also says to Ilmia, though they're not quite within comfortable speaking distance, "Agreed. We're going to need to join the city defenses, and that means spreading out." Beat. "...I don't know how much of this just hit Arx."

Iliana turns at the sound of her husband, she is covered in imp splater and that might be tears? "I had a great time without you, yes," she tells Fairen without remorse over her statement. "I used two pieces of alaricite," she then shares with him for book keeping purposes, "but it was worth it. You should have seen the imps, pieces /everywhere/. It was impressive if I must say so myself." She reaches over to squeeze Ilmia's hand, "it was a blessing that there were no deaths when defending. There have been enough and will be more, but now here."

"Agreed, Nickel remains safest here. I rather doubt Azazel will make a second attempt at the gates after this debacle," Fairen states dryly before nodding to Sen'azala. "We deeply appreciate the Copper Guard's continued hospitality, of course," he adds because he also isn't somebody who just expects an indefinite stay in another Guard's magic castle! That's rude. Iliana's imp gore description gets a bit of a long-suffering exhale. "It sounds impressive," he says in the sort of way that implies the impressed ones are other people. "The battles ahead will only get harder. We should continue with confidence, but not overly so."

Thesarin looks over toward Edris, and he raises an eyebrow as he takes in the sight of the man; not much more than a raised eyebrow at the sight of him. Maybe it's that Thesarin stoicism, or maybe it's just been that kind of day. "...been eventful, I reckon, since I saw you last?"

Sen'azala nods at Fairen. "Certainty, maybe," she suggests. "A few victories don't necessarily win wars. But...we can celebrate in the moment." She looks around. "I'm going to need to see about counting our dead. Get yourselves some rest while it's still possible."

"We appreciated your help in defending our castle," Mirk says to Fairen in a wry tone. "Thank you all, truly," he says, including Thesarin and Mia this time. "I'm going to rest. There will be more battles to fight soon. But in the meantime...We're all standing. That counts for something."

Kael's retreat is momentary paused, the Keaton adjusting his hold on Keely from how he carries her. The delay is brief, but he manages to say, "Oaths endure," to Mia with that smile still worn. Once more he tips his head, looking across allies and kin, before marching on.

Ilmia gives a dip of her head to Sen, "I will seek out more places to help." she tells her. Then she looks back to the group with Fairen and Iliana and there is a moment taken to squeeze Iliana's hand back and then give her a hug if she allows, "I am glad you're alright." she tells her. Then she looks to Fairen, "Do we need to take turns guarding him?" she asks. He's right there,'s better to ask Fairen and Iliana!

"There were great losses," Edris affirms to Mia solemnly. "Including amongst the Sylv'alfar. The battle was hard won, but every single one of those who answered the call helped to turn the tide. Even some of the treants came. I hope that is remembered too, when it is time to rebuild." He nods gravely to Thesarin. "Some cross the threshold with more of an intuitive understanding of how to find their way. I am afraid that I drew too much from my source, and it marks me." THere's a bit of an almost shy boyish smile. "Fortunately, while it's taken and is taking some time for many others to adjust, Her Grace doesn't seem to mind."

"If you feel you can be of further benefit in the field," Fairen begins with a slight glance upward to where one might conceivably envision a really tall spectral unicorn before returning it to Ilmia, "then you should do so. Ending the threat to Arx is our primary objective. We will rotate the personal watch as necessary."

Iliana will definitely accept the hug from Ilmia, she is an emotional mess right now and probably needs it. "We survived this to celebrate just a little before we have to face something else. It is important to enjoy the moments between." This might be towards Fairen as she agrees with Sen. "What we face in the future is unknown but we have this." She looks then to Fairen and says, "can we go home now? I need a bath."

Mia's brows draw together at the mention of the sylv'alfar having lost yet more of their number, swallowing once and thickly. But for the moment, she says nothing on the subject. Only considers the green tinge of skin, the leaves sprouting from his hair, somehow resisting the urge to touch one as though it may be some costuming or trick of the light. But then her head shakes, and she says, "You seem even more yourself, Edris Valardin." And then, with a soft laugh, "And give easy answer to why the once-sung Queen of the Trees considers you the dearest of friends."

Fairen is just a little too Responsible and Serious sometimes but is not a full-time professional know-it-all killjoy so all the inbound looks get a slight smile of recognition and acquiescence. "High morale is important to maintain as well," he relents. "It was an excellent victory." He nods lightly to Iliana. "A short word with our patron, then, and we'll be off." He has one last bow for Sen'azala. "Well fought. It has been an honor to take the field alongside our fellow Guard."

Sen'azala returns Fairen's bow with a single nod. "Not something I expected," she says. "Here's to hoping there'll be more of it. Keep safe as you can. He's going to be very, very angry."

"It suits you, aye." Thesarin gives Edris a nod, and a broad shrug of his shoulders. "Might've drawn note in days past, but these are new times. The world moves; we move, or we fall behind." The last aphorism is said in the way that even those who haven't heard them said could tell that the Prodigal Marquis has said them many times before, words of wisdom used so often they've worn as smooth as a river stone. He gives a grunt toward Sen'azala and a nod. "There's more work to be done, but we've had a victory for the now. Cause for celebrating, for the now. Tomorrow hangs heavy, but it ain't yet fell."

Edris leaves, following Alis.

Fairen leaves, following Iliana.

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