"Quick, please...," Ayreth manages to whisper, just before....
Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
"Let's go up, and do it fast." Selena says moving closer to Ayreth, putting an arm over her sister's shoulder and drawing her close to try to keep her warm and help her walk.
Aibek nodded at Selena, glancing at Ayreth with concern, before moving towards the stairs at speed, in shadow, intending to start clearing the way if needed to get everyone, particularly the oracle, out of this trap as quickly as possible...
Perception: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 19 + scent
Shadow Blend concealment - 20% miss chance
Mihara follows along, keeping an concerned eye on Ayreth.
"We'd better come back to investigate this room better at a later time... prepared, that time."
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
Azri waited until everyone else had gone up before following, just in case something happened at the last moment and they needed help. She usually liked to be in front and look for signs of living things, but... well, this was more important right now.
Azri: 1d20 + 4 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 + 4 = 21
Mihara: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Aibek: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Selena: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Ayreth: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Nigrum: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Charging onto the next floor probably saved all your lives. Aibek noticed that the floor was oddly dusty, even for the ones you have seen, but Ayreth begins to regain her colour, and the rest of you stop feeling the biting, lethal cold.
Unfortunately, something you do start to feel is exhausted. Within minutes of entering this floor, Nigrum, Selena, Ayreth and Mihara begin to collapse, exhaustion overtaking their limbs. Aibek and Azri, however, resist the...whatever it is. A deep weariness sings in your limbs, however, and a voice croons for sleep in your mind.
Mihara clutches her head, instinctively turning back to kitsune form.
Frightened by the scene described, she forces herself to recall the haikus of her mother.
"Who speaks... who... dares? War within the clan is not our way... I refuse! It is not my title, and I do not desire it... I spit upon your lies... Hakeru, brother! I would never!"
I must snap out of this... What is this force?
Hoping to shake off the magic with a drastic change in form, Mihara attempts to push herself to shift to fox shape. Perhaps in the form of her spiritual ancestors, she would find the strength to escape these compulsions.
As Ayreth regains her color, she starts swaying as a memory, or perhaps a vision or waking dream, overtake her. "Finally, I made it. Yes, I heard your call. I'm so happy." Her swaying becomes more pronounced. "A sacrifice? But, that doesn't seem..." A look of horror and revulsion comes over her face. Suddenly, she shoves Selena away and takes off running due north at full speed.
Direction: 1d12 ⇒ 12
Aibek stares for a moment at the overly dusty floor...
"This Tower seems to be trap after trap... and I've seen no traces of anyone else recently. I would suggest finding our way that other Tower as soon as safely po..."
Aibek quiets as they see the others falling to...something. Wide-eyed and confusion clearly covering the shadow creature's features, swirling thoughts try to pull some idea that could explain and fix what was going on around them as they stare at the collapsed bodies of the others.
Aibek looks to Azri, "Another trap?" the witchwolf sighs wearily, glancing about for traces of anything that will pull back the others from their dream. Not that Aibek had ever been good at dealing with dreamers...
Perception: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 30
Survival: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Knowledge Planes: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Knowledge History: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Aibek realizes this is not a trap - at least, not in a normal sense. It's a snare. The web of a dream eating creature. The heavy dust is spores that put people into a state of deep sleep from which they will not awaken. However, the spores are linked to the creature forming them. Once it is dead the victims wake.
The downside? Once a web such as this is set, the creature retreats to the realm of dreams.
It is possible to deliberately enter such a state, of course, by choosing to breathe in even more spores.
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"For our purposes, yes..." the lich observed. She... hadn't slept much since becoming undead, and was doing so less and less over time. With that, she raised one hand and slapped Ayreth twice, across both cheeks, to see if she could jolt the oracle awake.
|Nigrum Ensis Halfblood|
Nigrum hears the voice and his first answer is unsheathing Tsui.
"I care not who or what you are. But you will regret your words."
The voice was a fool, it knew nothing of his heart. Many thought him a brute, little more then the sword he favored. He allowed their assumptions to go unanswered. It mattered not at all to him what others thought of his ways or their perceptions. Vengeance, rage, and supposedly lack of discipline. How very shallow and mistaken this voice was of his character.
"Face me, your lies are pathetic. If you lack the courage to do that then flee and pester your betters no more."
He doubted the voice would be provoked or retreat. Still he would learn from it's reaction.
Honestly if your going to try and manipulate Nigrum, don't stutter or change your line half way through. Rookie dream eater. xP
Aibek wearily rubbed a clawed hand to forehead, tired eyes down on the dusty floor.
Not dust... Aibek kneels to the floor and draws a symbol, similar at first glance to the one the witchwolf wears on their clothes - eyes remaining still while one hand draws...and halfway through puts a clawed hand over their mouth.
Looking over at Azri with a tired, surprised expression, "I know what this is...and what to do, I think. Huh." Aibek takes a moment to absorb the information and find a way to explain to Azri, still looking quite surprised, muttering to themselves in Tien for a moment before returning to Common to speak to Azri.
"This is another trap as I feared, well, a creature's web really. This dust everywhere is spores, all connected to a creature, so easy to overlook, Aibek begins explaining, biting back the guilt of running everyone into it, explanation turning into a mildly panicked ramble...
"Someone breathes it in, falls asleep, and the creature...eats them through dreams is the best I can describe it. The only way I know to wake up from this is someone inside the spore-induced dream has to kill the creature - once killed, the spores are basically inert and everyone would wake up. But the dreams, the creature...what happens there affects here. We could literally watch them be torn to bits and be unable to do anything but heal them or be stripped or...which is why many cover the victims while waiting for them to awaken or not to prevent such... I could purposefully go in, I could take the spores and breathe it until I fell, ...maybe... the witchwolf's eyes fixed downward on the sigil they drew.
Quietly, Aibek continued, "We either wait for them to hopefully kill the creature and both protect the bodies, or one of us chooses to go in knowing to kill the creature while the other watches the bodies. I...I'm afraid that those are our options. I've fought in dreams before, it...was not a good time but...dreamers, there are a few among my clan, one of my siblings is one, I miiight even be able to get help inside a dream, but obviously I can make no guarantees. And I have no idea what this would do to you...I...
The witchwolf felt silent, eyes still down on the sigil, mind still spinning at how to minimize risks and maximize the chances of getting everyone. Dreams...Aibek would need to settle the chaotic storm in their mind to fight in dreams, especially to do so and win before anyone got hurt here or there and before everything fell apart or was exposed...
"We should find them blankets or something, either the ones in their packs or material about, this will likely take them some time and Ayreth was quite cold before...and decide what we wish to do. " Aibek said, stepping carefully around the sigil while looking for a moment.
Selena looks around the dreamscape she's in, half in confusion and half in anger.
"Broken Sting? I don't know what you're talking about!" the half-succubus shouts in anger "And what you said about Grampa doesn't make any sense! Leave him out of this!"
Selena looks around, trying to figure out what was going on.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
Lore(Calistria): Broken Sting?: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Sorry, didn't compute. No shoving Selena then, or real-life running. But in the dream...
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"Either way, it's probably best if I stay out here." Azri noted. She wasn't entirely sure if sleep magic could affect her, given her body's constitution, and she could take care of them without rest for as long as necessary. "Knowing them, though, I suspect it won't take them long to beat this... creature." she chuckled slightly, although really, the situation wasn't funny.
Emotions were hard.
Please disregard my previous post, now that I have a little more clarity on what's happening.
Mihara's swords clank to the ground. She can only take in the scene in wordless horror.
Her eldest brother, her hero, kneels on the ground, bloodied and wounded. His blood drips off of her blades, spatters her hand and chest. A diplomat such as he never stood a chance. The title is not hers to claim to, and yet, she has done so by force.
Her younger siblings stare from behind cover, utterly traumatized.
"Why, sister? I thought you were happy. Why did you never say anything?" Hakeru pleads.
Mihara can only stammer incoherently. This can't be happening, this shouldn't be happening. She never wanted such a thing... did she?
There is nothing she can say to save her honor. Nothing she can do to make amends.
She could seize power now, make the best of her crime and force her transgression to be buried.
That is not their clan's way. Whatever compulsion fell upon her has washed away, but the consequences are hers no less.
Mihara utters a desperate prayer of forgiveness to Daikitsu, and flees the room in shame. Her frantic steps take her through the woods, towards the docks.
The Moon's Whisper is her home no more. Two futures await her: Sailors are departing soon. Exile is what she deserves.
Or, perhaps, the cold caress of a ritual blade...
A tiny smile pulls slightly at the corner of Aibek's muzzled mouth at the sound of Azri's chuckle. Nothing was amusing or pleasing in this situation, but it was what it was. Aibek began examining the room for cloth and safe places to put the others rather than the open floor. While moving, Aibek continued rambling to Azri, in part to inform Azri about the difficulties the others faced and partly to sort out and calm their own mind....
"Hopefully you're right. Dreams...my sibling could tell us all the limitations and fragility of them, but even they fall under the allure of dreaming...frequently. They once told me that even in the darkest nightmares, our dreams have colours of ourselves we can't find elsewhere which is why it is one of the hardest places to fight - they have to fight both the creature and whatever of themselves the creature can bring up to them. My difficulty in calming my thinking made fighting in dreams particularly... unpleasant... too much of me...Hopefully, our friends with calmer minds will be able to see through and deal with the creature before anything happens to themselves, the others, or us..."
Perception: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 33
And we're back...for a given value of back.
We both know your blood calls out for release even more than your flesh, a voice intoned from...somewhere. Maybe the inside of Selena's mind. Destroy the shackles the Halfblood forced on you. Break his bonds. Release what you were meant to be.
Aibek noticed a symbol, identical in appearance but drawn with a mild variation, appear in the dust and spores near her own.
|Nigrum Ensis Halfblood|
Nigrum gave a snort, he was no fool. If the being spoke truth, it would simply prove it's dominance. Yet it resorted to misdirection and trickery, the tools of the disadvantaged and weak. It did not wish to face him in single combat, it did not wish him to know he had influence in this apparent dream realm.
"If it is as you say. Why do you hide from me? Why do you fear me? Why would you need to force me to do anything if the dream is yours already?"
He gave Tsui a few practice swings.
"Play your tricks or flee weakling. I am coming for you ether way, you should have heeded my words. Now perhaps I will have your head. If I manage not to cut it to pieces."
Let the hunt begin, he stalks forward. His dragon like eyes giving his draconic mask a strangely life like cast as he moves.
Take 20 on Sense Motive on Mr. voice for 30. Smart, taunt the guy with the giant sword. We all saw this coming. ;D
Keep your birthright! I want no part of it! Ayreth looks for a tree, knowing that is what she needs to hide.
How much can we play with the dream state? As in, can Ayreth just have a tree appear because she's thinking about it so much?
" No s#!~ 'My blood calls out'. Tell me something I don't know." Selena replies aggressively, if with a tinge of growing uneasiness.
"And I already told you to leave Grampa out of this! These 'shackles', like you call them (you know how pretentious that sounds?), are something I picked for myself because what 'I'm meant to be' is evil and creepy and gross. I do what the f%!! I want because it's what I want to do, and I would be doing it even if I didn't meet Grampa or the guys at the temple or anyone else!" the half-succubus shouts at the voice from where ever it was coming from, even if the increasing tone of her voice and shortness of her breath betrays that she isn't so sure of what she just said.
What does the voice sounds like? The room's completely empty, yes?
"How can it get better? My family, my home, all is lost. Who are you? What did you do to me?"
Rage builds within Mihara's heart as she reaches the farthest beaches of the Moon's Whspers.
"SHOW YOURSELF, FIEND!" She shouts to the vast open sea.
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"Have a little faith in them." Azri said with a smile. "It'll take a lot more than dreams to beat any of us."
Aibek nodded to Azri's words, continuously fidgeting and moving while examining the room for any information or safe places for the others to rest...or things to cover them just in case...or something useful, more useful than just waiting. Aibek hated waiting and being useless...
With a sigh, Aibek's eyes glanced to the ground, amber eyes behind purple tinted dark lenses began to stare wide and, just as many times before, the previous wandering witchwolf moved directly with laser focus.
Standing between the two sigils, an... exasperated giggling escaped Aibek's lip before they could bite it back down. Muttering and snickering in Tien to themself, Aibek began drawing on the floor again. After a few minutes, the two sigils were part of larger sigil which resembled a compass with the original sigil drawn by Aibek at the south and the newly appearing one at the western point. The north and east were comparatively blank. After finishing, Aibek entered the compass directly from the West, then knelt and faced south. Only then did Aibek seem to snap out of what they were doing.
Snickering again, with eyes glued to the south, Aibek finally spoke in Common to Azri. "This probably looks really weird... Vakana clan communication heavily relies on sigils to protect us. The sigil I wrote got a response from a dreamer clan member." Aibek pointed to the sigil they sat next to which they had not drawn. "If it's true blood, this will enable them to give me, us, greater information of what is going on in a nearby dream if they want to - possibly further communication if they're strong enough. Or, if I'm inside a dream, this would bring said blood into my dream fully after they did that. It's like a really elaborate way of saying hello and checking identity and giving permission to talk. Having a dreamer for a sibling is probably just as odd as having a shadow creature for one..." Aibek rambled before putting a clawed hand down and pushing shadows into the Western symbol while still looking to the south. This still didn't really feel like helping, but it was close...and maybe if this Aibek played their younger sibling's game, they would be able to help and maybe talk to them properly later...
Perception: 1d20 + 10 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 10 + 1 + 3 = 31
Funeral tomorrow, so both Aibek and I may be slow to post.
Ayreth - it's a dream. And you're aware it's a dream. Play away.
A faint whisper can be heard, a voice on the edge of sleep. Can't...Archon...defeat...dreams.... It's impossible for Aibek and Azri to make out more without concentrating...but listening to the voice at all brings waves of exhaustion. Focusing on it may lead to being reduced to sleep.
Ayreth ducks behind the tree that appears. With her legs and lungs aching, she takes a moment to catch her breath. She knows this dream well. She had it many times in the mist, and many times since. She looks at the ring on her thumb, knowing that will summon Thark and he will help her escape. Emmitt looks up at her, pausing from cleaning himself, waiting to see what Ayreth will do. Wait, Emmitt? He isn't...err, wasn't here. What is different this time?
"There can only be one outcome to this, child. You cannot flee forever."
"Run. Not away. No more," a deeper voice says.
Don't run away? But I always do. That's how you kept me safe. Emmitt goes back to cleaning himself. Ayreth looks down at the ring again, but it's the mark on her palm that draws her attention, the Mark of Authority. Because Zhen sent me, us, on the quest. Us. I'm not alone anymore. Emmitt looks up, suddenly interested again. I have a family now. And I'm stronger than I was then, now. She reflects on the struggles they had come through. And how Azri, just minutes ago, had been nervous at Ayreth using her powers on the witch, but trusting Ayreth to do it.
Ayreth stands up, the galaxy mark starting to swirl with greater speed, and the stars glowing brighter. Emmitt weaves himself between Ayreth's legs. She steps from behind the tree, turning back towards the cave and the voice.
Ayreth raises her hand and the energy shoots out, burning a path through the mist. "You wanted me to stop fleeing? Here I come!" As she runs toward the cave, she calls out to her new family, feeling that time, distance, and circumstance barely mattered here in the Dream, and drawing strength from her thoughts of them. "Emmitt! Father! Grampa Zhen! Uncle Grimrod! Selena! Mihara! Aibek! Azri! Nigrum!"
|Nigrum Ensis Halfblood|
Nigrum stops at the reply, he would not play that game. Bring Tsui's flat blade against his helm and closing his eyes he falls into a pass teaching. It was a dream realm but more importantly it was his dream realm. In his homeland such realms of the mind were used for training and healing, it effected the physical body as much as the mental one. No true swordsman among his far away land was weak of mind or will. This being knew nothing of his people apparently, arrogance and ego were weakness to be purged not indulged.
He focuses not his physical senses but his spiritual ones, he would find this interloper, this threat. His eyes were closed but his mind looked out around him in ever direction. It was his realm, intrusions would be blatantly apparent. Like a black blot of dirt and filth upon a field of pure snow.
As Nigrum's meditation and focus took hold everything around him melted into nothingness, a pure void of white with no end. It started around the edges of his body and slowly expanded in all directions as his territory slowly claimed the area. In his realm, nothing could hide anymore. He would be challenged or his realm would devour all in time. It made no difference to him as the peace of the meditation took hold, he sought out more then the threat he sought out any trace of his comrades as well.
Spirit Perception take 20 for 30 lol :P
Before Selena can reply to the voice, something falls in her eyes. Moving it away, she realizes that they are locks of her hair, fallen before her face because there weren't horns anymore to hold them up. Tentatively, Selena pulls them behind her ears, patting her forehead where her horns were.
"Wha-?" the woman manages to say, silently staring trough the mirror at the vertical halo over her head. Her leathery wings, too, had been replaced by a pair of soft feathery ones.
"I wouldn't risk poking out someone's eyes with these, at least..." she mutters to herself, mesmerized, stroking her new wings.
"No...no, this is wrong too." Selena shakes her head.
"First, I don't trust you-whoever you are. Then, this would be the same." the half-succubus says, trying to swat off her halo. "With halo and fluffy wings and all, I'd probably start feeling forced to save kittens or whatever: that's the same thing as someone whispering in my ears to throw them in a river to see what happens. That would just be swapping one thing for the other." Selena says, resolution in her voice.
"I'm Selena Halfblood, and only that. And I'm going to show any fiendish or whatever blood that I'm stronger than it: just making it disappear would feel like cheating, like I'm running from my problems." the half-succubus smirks "Got a city to run, I can't make it seem I'm a whimp. About that, where's the exit? I'm going to ask nicely just once."
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"Arch... on...?" Azri glanced at her staff, then thumped it against the floor a few times. "I don't suppose you have any ideas about fixing this?" she asked it. "You're supposed to be able to do something with this city, right?" ...Or maybe she just looked crazy, talking to the Staff of the Ruler like she expected it to actually do something, but hey.
Incidentally, she was not listening more closely to the voices. She had no intention of falling victim to magical slumber, and she could be very patient if need be.
"Is this all a game to you?" Mihara lashes out, looking for someone, something, any sign of what is transpiring.
"Show yourself! What matter of madness have you done to me!"
Thinking out loud, Aibek spoke softly while resisting the familiar pull, "An Archon likely could easily defeat a dream but an Archon, of any stripe, is not required to defeat a dream or dream creature - one of them just has to kill the creature before the creature kills any of them. And - to my knowledge - none of them or us are Archons...though some of us do have Symbols of Authority which is meant to lead to ruling the city which is what an Archon would do but I don't know if any of the items would help us fight in dreams..."
Aibek yawned, feeling the pull while pondering the words, previous dreams and experiences flashes through their mind before the shadow creature shook it off, "and if you are suggesting I contact them, then you should know that I have no contact with the Shadow Planes here nor they with me, to my knowledge... though there was that letter...anyway, I cannot contact them nor any other Shadow Archon though I doubt any other but the one who made me this would be interested..." Aibek rambled while fighting off sleep, starting to feel another familiar pull - from the shadows flowing around their clawed hand in the dim room.
As they grow drowzy an image flickers in Aibek's vision - a young man most familar. Arman. Aiday! You must...the city...anch...pull...A look of mild frustration crosses the man's face as it becomes clear that his message is just as scrambled.
In an instant, Ayreth chooses, and runs into the cave with the symbol of the flowing dancer.
|Nigrum Ensis Halfblood|
Nigrum gave a grim smile behind his mask. Another teaching came to mind, while he was not one for putting faith in that which could not be brought before him. He did not doubt the gods existence or the role of their many servants and enemies. Even his isolated people did not forget or dismiss the heavenly order or it's imperial right, for everything from kami to oni walked their lands. Among the teaches he had heard was one that he placed some faith in more then the others.
The soul is the sword.
Instead of expanding his realm farther he brought it back, sharpening it around himself. Compressing and folding it again and again, he was forging himself. He would cut his way out, you do not swallow a sword without consequence. Everything could be cut, even nothing, he would rend this realm asunder. Flowing out of the realm's split carcass or expelled in bloody pain, he cared not for manner, only the outcome.
A tired sigh was pulled from the shadow creature as they tried to continue to fight off sleep and darkness, the growing smile Aibek did not struggle to hide...
"It is good to see you. I got 'you must, the city, anch, pull' I know sleeping would make the connection strong but with life and death for the others on the line, I would rather not unless absolutely required - you know better than I the trouble I've had there...later I would enjoy doing so greatly...to speak with you more, and more fully..."
Aibek tried to keep their amber eyes open to the south, but each long blink brought more images and words, more pulling from both the dreams and the shadows. More faces came to mind and the shadow creature found it more of a struggle to keep the attached emotions under control and their names came in a breathed whisper from their lips, repeating and changing order as Aibek's mind turned chaotically..."Arman, Eteri, Nurasyl...Inkar, Sezim, Ayaulym...Adilet...Mihara, Ayreth, Selena, Azri, Nigrum...Azerna..."
So many names and faces, more coming every moment, the one name and face that never appeared, never said, was their own....
The ever perceptive Azri may remember that Arman is the name Zhen Halfblood referred to this Aibek in the first meeting...
"I think I'm being really polite now, really." the half-succubus says, relaxing her shoulders. Having calmed down a little, Selena was trying to glean some information from the creature.
You are closer to me than the others.
"You look absolutely stunning in skimpy night-wear?" Selena smirks "But seriously, who are you? Are you some sort of half fiend, too?"
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
"Aibek. Pay attention." Azri told her companion, keeping an eye on them and the surroundings (just in case anything ELSE decided to pop up). She was starting to get a little worried here, though... at least for now, she was managing to hold off any desire to sleep.
A moment later, a cave forms in the scenery, warping reality as it does, and Ayreth tumbles into the area with Selena.
Arman's eyes widen at the suggestion of entering the dream. NO! Archon...connect to the city...anchor them...pull...can't fight...in the dreams...
|Nigrum Ensis Halfblood|
The part of Nigrum's mind that remains aware takes grim satisfaction in the creature's reaction. He quickly purges that taint of emotion as he continues to sharpen his spirit. Forging away the impurities, a sword knows no intention only action. He continues to empty and purify himself with every forging and folding of his spirit, growing ever sharper. He could sense the fleeting point he aimed for, the point where he would know clarity and in that moment of oneness within his spirit. The sword of his soul would fall upon this realm.
Do I need to roll something cause I'm kinda winging it. :D
"Tower? What do you speak of?"
For a moment, Mihara can't understand what the being is speaking of, until memories come flooding back to her. Zhen. Selena. Nigrum. Ayreth. Azri. Nigrum. Aibek.
Names regained meaning.
"Fiend! Pest! Whatever you are! What did you do to me?"
Mihara draws her blades, by reflex. "Show yourself! Fight me!"
Disoriented slightly, Aibek was unsure for a moment what Azri wanted them to focus on until Arman came back into clear view. Watching the youngest Aibek's face become more animated, the shadow creature smiled softly.
"Archon, Connect to the city, anchor them...pull...". Aibek repeated before opening their eyes, looking from the south to Azri. "I don't think my sibling can properly enter or fight in their dreams - the creature likely has barriers or something. I think they are observing them, and us, and I think they see something else but I'm not understanding, the connection is still weak...and I do not know what to pull"
Aibek pondered a moment, glancing to the others to see if there were any obvious changes yet when a new idea formed. Sigils or other messages put on them might get through and connect them. What happens there is reflected here and so the other way. I'm not sure what we would write though I have some writing charcoal on me, I've had that used on me before - I cannot guarantee anything though.
The shadow creature sighed wearily, long blinks returning as their gaze went south. Faces began returning between each blink and as Aibek resisted the pull to sleep and the faces before them, the pull of the shadows grew stronger. The clawed hand that had pushed shadows into the western symbol was now entirely in darkness and in the dim room, the shadows were now moving up Aibek's forearm...
|Azri, the Lich of Khalharum|
Azri poked Selana's head with the bottom of her staff. Connecting to the city, was it? At the moment, it only seemed capable of a physical connection... she certainly wasn't going to throw a force blast at any of them, after all. Curse failed communications - she was intelligent, but she simply didn't have enough information here. "Go ahead and try it, I suppose." the lichling said.
Ayreth comes diving through the cave into the room with a snarl on her face and hands glowing with energy. "You think I will be fooled by an angelic appearance?!" Ayreth starts towards Selena but Emmitt cuts between her feet as cats do, tripping her up.
"Half-Devil? Half-Daemon? Half-here? Half-real? Half-ling?" Selena tries to guess, before the room ruptures and Ayreth rolls out of it.
"Sis!" Selena exclaims, after a moment wondering if that was actually her sister. "It's me! This place has been playing some tricks on me." the half-succubus says, moving to Ayreth to help her up.
Ayreth stands up with Selena's help, still looking suspiciously at her sister, but not yet reacting. She looks around, trying to understand. The startled oath from her not-mother had led her to think that she would find the creature. But all is not as it seems here. She thinks about the cave entrance and it did make sense if Selena was trapped also. And Emmitt had stopped her from attacking. Looking to him for confirmation, Ayreth sees him not paying attention, cleaning himself. Is he smirking?! Convinced, she turns.
"Selena! This is really weird," Ayreth says, tapping at the halo, which starts spinning. Thinking back to the caves, she says, "I think Mihara and Nigrum are here, too. Maybe we can reach them the way I found my way here." She chooses not to verbalize that she saw caves for Zhen, Grimrock, and Thark, too. They can't be here, too, right? It's just because I called to them. I couldn't bring them here. Her look is one of uncertainty and doubt.
However, it muttered a startled oath as passages formed, each with a symbol above it - a giant in armour, a flowing dancer, a fan of swords and a staring eye. How do you things keep doing that!?
As Aibek's eyes drooped and blinked, images appeared in the witchwollf's mind. Arman kneeling in a hazy, dreamlike room, a circle similar to the one Aibek had drawn around his form. A kayal woman standing against a wall of twisting darkness. Darkness in the form of a person raising a hand in benediction - or spite - toward's Aibek's head.
The shadows on the Shadow Assasin's arms flickered and danced at the images.
|Nigrum Ensis Halfblood|
Aibek pondered what they could write that might be of use, quiet for a long moment. As the images appeared, words quietly fell from the shadow creature's mouth as the emotions became overwhelming...
Seeing Arman, mixed emotions of regret and relief pushed out the words with a small pained smile "They are free but not safe...what more?". The shadows flickered down the shadow's arm and grew on the ground to the south.
Seeing the woman, Aibek's breath caught. "They are safe but not free...what more?" came tumbling out with heavy emotions of adoration and guilt. The shadows on the ground danced out to the West beyond this Aibek's symbol and flickered up Aibek's arm and across their chest.
On impulse, Aibek reached out with the other arm as that image faded, but it went down hard as the third image appeared. "Archon Adilet" came out with shock and reverence as the shadow creature appeared to be bracing themself for intense pain for a moment. In the dim room, shadows danced until all of Aibek changed into shadow form, the shadows in the West growing stronger underneath the shadow creature. Aibek began mumbling, "My shadows are yours, I choose...chose this for them, for justice, for you...for myself. I connect..."
Aibek stopped abruptly, eyes opening wide. "Connect, anchor, pull - just like a change. Connect and write on them but all at once..." . Aibek put both shadowed hands just outside their symbol on the West and pushed their shadows until everyone was connected in them. The four on the ground bathed gently in shadows that linked them together while for Azri the shadows moved gently over her feet and then seemed to dance up her staff and the arm connected to it. "Connect to the city" Aibek repeated while writing 'Khalharum' in the spores and added a sigil around it, "Anchor them - names are an anchor" Aibek wrote their names in sigils and connected them to the Khalharum sigil and the main large sigil. "Pull...myself..." The shadow creature put both hands into their symbol, and began to focus as they normally did to change but pulled deeper on their shadow creature form and struggling to control the depths of it that Aibek normally did not touch, eyes closed in concentration.
Calling loudly, "Arman, what more can you see? What more can I do?" desperately wanting this to help...