A World Without End (Inactive)

Game Master pinvendor

Free-form RP in Alternate Earth.

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As the smoke from the destroyed construct and the fired pistol drifts about the ballroom, twining itself around the stunned aristocrats, Baron Eichorn von Ryuko suddenly begins screeching.

"CURSE ALL OF YOU! You fools cannot even follow simple rules! This was easy, so blooming easy! All you had to do was choose! But noooo, you all had to try and play the high road, as if any of you, ANY OF YOU, can boast clean hands! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! YOU IDIOTS!"

Ryuko whirls and runs from the balcony, and you can hear an airship, his airship, starting its engines, and the massive BOOM of its cannons as it lifts away; the Baron had obviously been prepared for this eventuality. The shells land not on the ballroom, but amongst the other airships in a hurricane of destruction.

The aristocrats are left standing in the ballroom. The servants have fled as their master did.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida looks down at the furry figure in her arms. "I believe it is safe now, Duchess. The last assassin is dead and the Baron has fled."

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie through tear stained eyes, blows away the smoke from her pistol - trying to blow away the feelings that she had killed the beautiful furred Duchess. 'It was only a ruse, it was only a ruse.' she repeats the mantra trying to make herself believe the ruse.

"We had to...it was the only way to get him....to reveal himself....They were blanks." she gets out between small sobs. The pistol held lifelessly in her grip, her knees feel like they cannot support her and Cassie slowly sways. 'It feels so real, like I really shot her.'

"First, I cause the Dukes death, then Gigus', Taraz's stabbing and now Meowselsworth. I...." she says to herself.

Female Helmet Cat

The seemingly lifeless body of Meowselsworth starts to animate, and the feline duchess takes a quick inhale before nuzzling at Rashida's arms. "Thank goodness... I almost felt as if I was really shot, I was quite scared! But we were able-..." She pauses as she sees Cassie sobbing and she hops out of Rashida's arms to attempt to comfort Cassie, "It's alright, Cassie... I am unharmed, please do not feel guilty... I just used my helmet to temporarily disable my life signs." She rubs against Cassie's leg.

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie gently strokes the soft fur of the Duchess with her free hand. A hesitant gentle strokes, her hand shaking in unison with the gasping heaving cries.

Realising the pistol is still in her spare hand, she knows that this weapon has saved her life on countless occasions including today. Softly she places it back into her thigh holster, though she trembles when the cold silver touches her bare flesh.

Concentrating on the soft helmet-cat, she tries to calm her breathing. "Thanks,... I know.... I'm sorry, it's just." her hands tremble almost as if she does not believe the Duchess is still alive. "I am sorry that I am being so stupid." Cassie thinks 'I need to pull myself together before they lose all their respect for me.'

Female Helmet Cat

"No, no, you are not being stupid... all that has happened here, it's been deadly and dreadful and I am upset too. I would cry if that were a thing that cats did..." says Duchess Meowselsworth II. She rests her paws on Cassie's leg. "And while I would have gladly died to protect the rest of you from the assassins in our midst... you are perhaps the reason I yet live, so I must thank you."

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie blinks the tears from her eyes; "So noble, I wonder if all the helmet-cats are like you? But the blanks were Taraz's idea." Cassie looks across the room to him.

Her elegants fingers push into the fur of Meowselsworth, oscillating softly - "But without your ruses we would never have survived this night." Cassie looks upto the vacated balcony.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida's gaze follows Cassie's. "It appears we will not be receiving any oil-rich lands tonight," she says dryly, "So there is no more need for this thing." She loosens the clasps that hold the heavy gold half-mask to its elaborate counterbalancing hairpiece.

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie looks upon her friends face for the first time; her lips bow into a smile. Rashida's visage is how she imagined it would be - especially given her divine ancestry. She looks across to Taraz, following Rashida's eyes, or if not eyes, her thoughts as the kohled eyes are downcast slightly.

Cassie breathing deepens as she watches the subtle shift in the Wastrels body as he looks upon the Egyptian Goddess for the first time. Her hands stroke Meowselsworths fur softly and insistently, as the cat naturally purrs. 'This is what true love is...?' her eyes flick to Alessandra and Jin. 'Passion.'

Insufferable Lout

Right before von Ryuko leaves:
Ingilstadt wrote:

In preparation for the next, here is my alternative ending to this one...

Unbeknownst to the party goes, as Ingilstadt performed the ‘life saving’ work on Taraz, it also provided the opportunity to infiltrate the serv-bot master control system. The virus.blackhat code was inserted, the access passwords changed to time synchronized OTA with M86 hashing algorithms, and the logic bomb set to detonate before the end of the next hour.

In the moments before the ‘event’, Wowbagger and Ingilstadt hastily gather up the Star Wars chess set and flee the party, the pilfered keys to the space yacht in Ingilstadt’s pocket. Laughing manically, they pile into the stolen ship and blast off the island like the Millennium Falcon out of Mos Eisley.

As the logic bomb detonates, the serv-bots all stop their activities, a glowing red beacon of light wells up inside them, and they turn on their masters. Operating under the new code snipet, assassinate.aristocrats(all), the blood bath is awful and Baron Von Ryuko cackles in glee.

Meanwhile, aboard the space yacht, Wowbagger instructs his new student, the apprentice assassin Ingilstadt, in the finer points of assassination. ”Now, insult them to death if possible, this is the cleanest method, but if that doesn’t work...”

Except...the bloodbath doesn't occur. The Serv-Bots swarm as the Stalker Assassin Wowbagger and his apprentice Ingilstadt flee cackling. The robots suddenly brandishing small rotating saws, cutting lasers, and small projectile firearms rush throughout the room cornering the remaining aristocrats murderous intent showing in their now red-lit eyes. As they began to follow through on their new programming, a voice cuts threw the loud mechanical sounds and electrical buzzing.

"Remain calm! Taraz makes a gesture with his hand like he's dismissing something. Immediately, every Serv-Bot simply freezes in the action it's about to take.

Verbally, Taraz commands, "System rollback epsilon. Purge commands from..." Taraz looks up at the grand clock. "...19:30 forward."

Suddenly, the Serv-Bots eyes sees to have a red glow and many return to a non-illuminated status. The various weapons or threatening implements are subsumed back into their chassis and they quickly run back into the various places where they vanish as usual, once again a hidden servant force.

Looking first in the direction of the escaped assassin and then coldly staring down the angry outburst of Baron Eichorn von Ryuko, Taraz seems unsurprised by these events.

His mouth twists in disgust as he realizes the enemies the aristocrats share are now in the wind, literally. But then it softens, and his gaze is transfixed as he sees Rashida reaching up behind her head. As if in a trance he walks towards her. As Rashida begins the process of unclasping the weighty golden mask, Taraz can't help himself from reaching up and gently lifting it from away from her face.

Rashida's beauty hits Taraz almost as hard as the stinging golden snakes. For a moment he can't help but take in how incredibly soft her cheeks look, the dark kohl of her eyes against her beautiful caramel skin. The bit of gold flecks which might be natural or artfully applied make-up. Her smile lights up his world and no one else is in the room. All the pain and trouble of the last several hours is swept away, and Taraz feels himself a new man as he looks upon that which has become most important to him. He doesn't even know what to say to the vision of loveliness before him. Surely in his heart he had wondered if she would be pretty, but as time had passed as their secrets and what seemed a vain hope for survival had been all he focused on; Taraz had stopped even thinking about it.

Now as Rashida Massri stood before him unmasked, he himself holding heavy item in his hand, Taraz was breathless and astonished at how affected he was by her exquisite smiling face looking up at him full of hope and love. If her ancestors had not been somehow divine as her family believed, than surely at least Rashida had been blessed to be a stunning example of feminine beauty.

Taraz took a breath finally and began to try and say something. He was forestalled as Rashida placed two fingers on his lips and shook her head still smiling. Then without any further pretext, Taraz tossed the golden mask aside. Reaching out with both arms, Taraz drew Rashida close and bent over her perfect mouth.

Finally, yes finally, Taraz kissed Rashida the way they had both longed for since the night began. With a passion and a forcefulness born of desire, there was no longer any point in hiding the feelings that had begun to form so early in the night.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida sighed with relief as the weight of the headpiece was lifted from her. Gently disentangling her hair from its bindings, she shook its night-black tresses free down her back before smiling up at Taraz, both of them finally free of masks.

She could think of no words that needed to be spoken, so gently hushed him before she went gladly to his arms, face turning up to meet his as she lost herself in this long-awaited moment. Lost lands, discarded gold, mayhem, destruction - none of it mattered just then.

Gentleman Adventurer

"Why... why not me?"

Cassie had shot the Duchess instead. In that moment, nothing could have weighed more heavily on Vorian's heart. Wringing his gloved hands around his cane, he contemplated unsheathing its concealed blade and plunging it into his chest. Yet another lie he had told, and to an assassin! And yet deserved no less.

But as Meowselsworth seemed to miraculously return from the dead, Vorian practically fell out of his seat, landing on the floor in a clutter. With the plot unveiled and blooming romance abound, it was some time before he found the ability to speak.

"By the gods! You... you all..." he stammered, looking at the others in bewilderment, particularly the Duchess. Moments passed before things became abundantly clear. "Was everyone in on this but me?"

Female Helmet Cat

"It seems that today I have engaged in my fair share of deceptions," purrs Meowselsworth, unable to do anything but purr with the attention received from Cassie, "I was willing to allow myself as a sacrifice, but given a choice between life and death, I shall always choose life... I believed Wowbagger to be an assassin, as I had mentioned a number of times, but I needed to draw him out." The feline's tail flicks back and forth with some satisfaction.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida vaguely hears Vorian and Meowselsworth speaking and begins to realize where she is. She reluctantly breaks off the kiss with Taraz, whispering to him as she does. Flushed and still breathing heavily, she turns to Vorian, still holding Taraz by the hand.

"Please forgive me, Lord Ritter. I nearly cost you your life. I thought you were one of the assassins, and told Cassie that. I didn't get a chance to tell her I was wrong once Taraz was struck down. I'm sorry. I nearly had you killed because of my poor judgement."

Dance-oholic Minx

A gamut of emotions burning through Cassies body as she watches the pair embrace, so taken aback by them she nearly misses the rest of the conversation. Flushed she realised that the rest are talking and she looks up at them from where is is perched upon a lacquered chair. "It is nobodies fault, excepting that petit merde Von Ryuko. We need.... I don't know? I need a drink, or ...something."

Insufferable Lout

Taraz smiles at Rashida's whisper and turns to face the remaining Aristocrats. As he hears Cassie's words and sees her expression, a strange look crosses his features

"Allow me to be the first to say, it is time for those of us who have survived this game to make a choice. I believe Mademoiselle DuSollier has advised she wishes to find a way to restore the recently destroyed Baron Gigus and find new programming for him that will allow him the freedom to choose life if he so desires. Personally, I have no doubt that whatever means there is to this, von Ryuko will not be far. And I fear none of us may be safe while he and the escaped assassins remain alive."

Taraz looks at Rashida out of the corner of his eye. "For my part, I am not content to sit idly by, while a threat to that which is dear remains." He gives a slight smile and a nod to the Dame Devries acknowledging the strong emotion which drove her actions during the party.

"I have no qualms doing what must be done, and I encourage all of you to examine yourselves to determine if you wish to journey with me...with us," Taraz lifts the pretty hand he shows to include Rashida and gestures to the discomfited Cassie. "Your own unique characteristics will come in handy on wherever this journey takes us."

Taraz looks at each of the remaining nobles in turn: Duchess Kittington, Vorian, Alessandra, Jin, Kimefe, Eldon, and Andrezi.

"In the meantime while you make your choices, I think we should figure out how we're getting off this damnable island." A wry expression appears and Taraz surveys what remains of the ballroom.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"We don't know what nasty surprises the Baron has left though I doubt he completely foresaw this conclusion," Rashida muses, "I suppose those who can wield a wench... I mean, wrench... should check out whatever may remain of the airships while the rest of us gather supplies and find out whatever else we can about this place." Eyes on the floor, she confesses, "I know nothing about repairing machinery."

Insufferable Lout

Taraz looks at Rashida in amusement. "Yes, see powers of clairvoyance and magic are so less useful." Smiling, he kisses her cheek.

Totally not a Werewolf

Guess I'm late to the party, I hadn't realized IC had started! Dotting, I'll toss a post up tomorrow.

Dance-oholic Minx

Looking to the patch of oil upon the floor; "It is true we must see what we can do for Baron Gigus, he rebelled against his programming and nature. Trying to be something more." he reaches a hand into a nearby bag and pulls out a long handled wrench. "I will try my all to bring him back."

Cassie flicks her silky hair from her out of her face; "Thank you, all of you. My airship is rickety, but she's a good old girl - I have enough berths for those that need it."

Insufferable Lout

Taraz turns to Cassie. "Let us hope the Baron's cannons have not ruined it. My minions are at your disposable."

Several Serv-Bots suddenly line up as if for inspection before Cassie's chair. One offers her a slightly dented metal cup with some type of drink, just like she asked.

Dance-oholic Minx

"Well that's probably the only something I'll get tonight. It looks like I'll be up all night." she says cheekily as she picks up the cup from the Servo-bot with a nod of gratitude. Pushing off the chairs with the wrench she stands like a new-born colt, slightly wobbling.

Moving towards Vorian as the servo-bots orbit her; she gently puts her wench-wielding hand upon his shoulder and the other out to him. "We never did get that dance did we? I am sorry, come with us. Make the resurrection of Gigus your redemption."

She avoids his eyes still feeling shame herself; "Imagine it you who have taken from the dead, get to give something back to them - life!"

'I am sure we will speak more of this anon.'

Female Helmet Cat

"I expect that The Phantom may have been damaged too," says the Duchess sadly, "It was rather meaningful to me. That being said... I would like to help revive the Baron von Zombi, and to stop von Ryuko. I cannot forgive an attempt on my life, or those of you delightful souls."

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"The Ament may be salvageable, or perhaps some of her parts to repair another ship," Rashida says gently to Cassie, "I suppose it is rather silly to have a gilded airship. There could not be a more obvious target. If the gold in the mask can be of any help, use it." She glances up at Taraz almost shyly. "We should investigate here. Perhaps we can find something that explains this night's events or gives an idea of where the Baron and his hired killers may have gone."

Gentleman Adventurer

There on the ground, Vorian is silent for quite some time as he contemplates the matters at hand. Even Rashida's apology goes unacknowledged. The ongoing discussion only served to confirm his fear that though their ordeal was at a hand, they had not heard the last of Baron Von Ryuko. Only when Cassie offers him her hand does he speak again.

"That dance will have to come later, I'm afraid," he says shakily as he takes her hand, pulling himself to his feet, "But I must say, you and Lord Rorenson's offer does appeal to my mortal coil. Redemption, hm?"

Wandering away from Cassie and the chair as though in a daze, Vorian tugs off his half-moon mask and drops it to the ground, making a point of
crushing beneath his foot. He blinks a few times before he finally seems to come to his senses. He looks to other nobles, nodding.

"I don't imagine the Noblesse will have more than a scratch on it; that vessel survived the last great war. It will take a lot more than that to ground her..."

"So we bring back the good Baron... what of von Ryuko? The League will be infuriated to hear of this treachery. At a sanctioned gathering, no le-" Vorian pauses to consider something, frowning.

"This meeting was sanctioned, was it not? Surely we fall under someone's jurisdiction."

Dance-oholic Minx

She delicately takes the golden symbolic mask from Rashida's hands; "I will put it to good use; I have an idea. We are all allowed to be silly and a golden airship is a flamboyant way to do it." She pauses thinking of all the secrets kept on the island and what they could discover. Ryuko was obviously somewhat of a voyeur, hence the baggage search, Cassie puts that from her mind.

Voriansstrong hand grasps hers and she can feel it's subtle masculline power, the firm grip. With a nod, she then watches as he destroys his mask - a sign of his commitment, and subsequent rebirth.

Cassie's eyes widened; 'Of course, the League. "They should have had a represntative here! Has anyone been hiding anything else?" She looks to the others and the waiting staff, a query upon her lips.

She had been to unsanctioned events before; usually to harrass a potential donor or to borrow some wealth to fund her next excavation. A couple had turned her stomach with the opulence, hedonism and casual cruelty; however she knew her purpose.

"Regarding the airships, we all have them to arrive here upon. How about we cannibalise some of the more decrepit and I rig an auto-pilot to send a couple of others home. Then we get into 1 or 2 of the remaining, once I have scanned it for explosives." She looks at the others in askance.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Cassie, that's brilliant -- if the Baron's cannons have not damaged them too much. Our first priority is to get one flyable so we can remove from this place. If others can be sent out as decoys, it doesn't matter how damaged their quarters are, as long as they can fly for a while." Rashida gives Taraz's hand a quick squeeze before releasing it and moving to her friend to give her a fond hug. "If anybody can do it, you can, Cassie."

After the hug, she reaches up to lightly tap Cassie's domino. "We have no need of these anymore, have we?"

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie blushes at her friends compliment and even seems puff up her chest. Warmly embracing Rashida, the sorrow of the night drifts from her leaving a lingering yearning. 'Thank you, you have been a great comfort.' she whispers in her ear.

As Rashida touches the mask Cassandra almost recoils, not willing to be completely vulnerable; "We all wear masks, some are just more visible than others. Maybe it is time though..." Gently she moves away from the Egyptian woman touching the edge of her mask and it comes away easily revealing her face.

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida lays a gentle hand on her friend's cheek. "As lovely on the outside as on the inside. Why am I not surprised? She gives Cassie a fond smile, then drops her hand and steps back to Taraz's side.

"But now, we must get to work. Can anybody besides the Serv-Bots help Cassie with things mechanical? I plan to begin by searching the rooms of the Baron and the failed assassins. What else should we be doing, friends?"

Dance-oholic Minx
Rashida Massri wrote:

Rashida lays a gentle hand on her friend's cheek. "As lovely on the outside as on the inside. Why am I not surprised? She gives Cassie a fond smile, then drops her hand and steps back to Taraz's side.

"But now, we must get to work. Can anybody besides the Serv-Bots help Cassie with things mechanical? I plan to begin by searching the rooms of the Baron and the failed assassins. What else should we be doing, friends?"

Cassies eyes sparkle, 'This evening, so much.... will I wake from this.'

"I suppose we also need to contact the League at some point, but Ryuko is sure to have any political angles sewn up and I have made enough enemies amongst some nobles." Cassie pauses a cute crinkle in her brow, "I would think one of them pointed me out to Von Ryuko."

"But we have to be quick, the remote pilots should be easy especially if Taraz uses the Servo-Bot system." Cassie looks to him with an admiring smile. "The longer we stay here the more danger we could be in..." 'However we need to information.'

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

Rashida cocks her head at Vorian and Cassie. "'League'? What 'League'?" She includes the other aristocrats in her querying glance.

Gentleman Adventurer

"I suppose that answers my question then..." Vorian says grimly as he scatters the remains of his mask with the tip of his cane, "The League is an organization composed of some of the most powerful noble families, with some representation by the international government. It typically acts as the arbiter for any major dealings in the nobility... such as a large scale, open distribution of lands containing precious fossil fuels. Though, this entire land grab seemed shady from the beginning... I should have known better."

"At any rate, I do not believe they will not take kindly to Von Ryuko's actions here tonight. Hosting an unsanctioned event is one thing, but encouraging open slaughter is another. Given the amount of testimony we have, they'll have no chance to hear our grievances... unless as Madam DuSollier says, Ryuko has powerful friends up above. I can only hope he is as stupid as he is crazy."

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"If he is stupid, what does that say of us here tonight?" Rashida muses. "If there is a way this 'League' could help, we should seek their aide. It may be that my Clan is represented but I am not of sufficient rank to warrant knowledge of such things."

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie shakes her head; "There is also the politics of the situation. Do we want to make ourselves so visible as to accuse Von Ryuko. I think we need to know more about him before we do too much."

Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

"Perhaps we could cause him trouble despite our survival, and without accusing him directly. If you can rig The Ament to crash somewhere on land, surely my Clan would investigate." Rashida ponders a moment. "I think they would. And if they didn't, that is highly informative as well."

She gives Cassie a warm smile. "Do what you can with the machines, Cassie. I shall go search rooms - nobody's here, of course - and see what can be discovered. Gentle nobles," she says in farewell, giving the assembled aristocrats a slight bow before she sweeps from the room towards the living quarters.

Insufferable Lout

Taraz contemplates the lovely figure of Rashida as she departs.

Turning back to the rest, he says, "Well, I believe if nothing, I would like to see the seat of power that the Baron oversaw this malign event. Plus, I should probably retrieve my boots." Taraz smiles and lifts his stockinged feet.

Turning to face the balcony, Taraz lifts his arms slightly and two Serv-Bots with small rocket jets rush forward and leap up with rockets blasting. They grab a hold of Taraz's arms and in a short burst, carry Taraz up and over the balcony edge to the throne-like chair where von Ryuko had been sitting.

Dance-oholic Minx

Cassie looks at Taraz as he flies up, a slow admiring glance before she shakes her head. "Alright, my little Servo's you are mine tonight. Let's see what mischief we can create."

She with a swish moves to the edge of the dance floor and away to the docks to have a look at the ships.

Ship Salvageable?:

  • The Cold Star Airtaxi (Jin)
    Superstructure 1d100 ⇒ 55
    Powerplant 1d100 ⇒ 55
    Controls 1d100 ⇒ 72
    Computer 1d100 ⇒ 64

  • HMS Anodyne (Dame Alessandra's Hospital Ship)
    Superstructure 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (68) = 32
    Powerplant 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (49) = 51
    Controls 100 - 1d90 ⇒ 100 - (89) = 11
    Computer 100 - 1d90 ⇒ 100 - (57) = 43

  • Wayfarer Mark S2 (Taraz)
    Superstructure 100 - 1d100 + 1d10 ⇒ 100 - (38) + (8) = 70
    Powerplant 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (37) = 63
    Controls 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (63) = 37
    Computer 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (67) = 33

  • The Ament (Rashida)
    Superstructure 120 - 1d100 ⇒ 120 - (20) = 100
    Powerplant 1d100 - 1d90 ⇒ (76) - (84) = -8
    Controls 100 - 1d90 ⇒ 100 - (85) = 15
    Computer 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (44) = 56

  • The Phantom (Meowselsworth)
    Superstructure 100 - 1d90 ⇒ 100 - (33) = 67
    Powerplant 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (4) = 96
    Controls 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (64) = 36
    Computer 100 - 1d90 ⇒ 100 - (55) = 45

  • Virago (Vorian)
    Superstructure 110 - 1d100 ⇒ 110 - (13) = 97
    Powerplant 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (54) = 46
    Controls 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (43) = 57
    Computer 100 - 1d100 ⇒ 100 - (32) = 68

  • The Tattered Flame (Gigus)
    Superstructure 1d100 - 1d40 ⇒ (49) - (22) = 27
    Powerplant 1d100 - 1d40 ⇒ (11) - (12) = -1
    Controls 1d100 - 1d40 ⇒ (50) - (3) = 47
    Computer 1d100 - 1d40 ⇒ (23) - (19) = 4

  • Cercueil Volant (Cassie)
    Superstructure 100 - 1d120 ⇒ 100 - (44) = 56
    Powerplant 100 + 1d80 ⇒ 100 + (4) = 104
    Controls 100 - 1d110 ⇒ 100 - (33) = 67
    Computer 100 - 1d90 ⇒ 100 - (31) = 69

  • As the aristocrats begin to assess the docking pad from the ballroom, the true extent of Ryuko's wrath becomes readily apparent. The bombardment was random, desultory, yet devastating even in its brevity. Giant, smoking craters dot the pad along with shards and fragments of collapsed hangars. Gigus' Tattered Flame is a completely unsalvageable wreck; a direct hit from a massive airborne artillery shell carved the airship in two and gutted it with incendiaries.

    Shells also fell beyond the limits of the pad; the formerly pristine island has felt the brutality of the shelling. Trees are splintered and blown down, while great trenches have been carved into the soil.

    In the distance, Ryuko's airship is a rapidly receding speck in the sky, the cannons roaring in anger periodically, as if giving voice to the madman's rage still.

    Gentleman Adventurer

    "That bastard," Vorian says curtly, looking on the destruction that Ryuko had left in his wake. Even from above he could see the slag heaps that were once functional airships. Somewhat guiltily, he held on to the selfish hope that at the very least, his collection had been left intact. Fortunately, it seemed as though the mad Baron had fired his cannons manually. Turning to the other aristocrats, he he bows briefly.

    "My apologies, but I believe it would be best if I assess my ship in person. With any luck, there will be something on board that can assist us in our endeavors..."

    With that, he follows after Cassie, cane in hand.

    Dance-oholic Minx

    Instinctively ducking, she slips and lands on her rear with a loud thump, legs flailing wildly. The pitted slate beneath her is cold as she just manages to cushion her fall before she would have hit her head.

    Feeling foolish she looks towards the retreating airship; she shakes a bloody fist towards him. "Flee, flee like the petite bite con you are." She calls out after him. Looking towards the blasted remnants of the airship hangers, attached to their tall pylons.

    Like trees after a heavy storm, they lean precariously some being blasted by the heavy cannon. Cassie shakes her head and looks to her scrapes.

    Dance-oholic Minx

    'Gigus' all thoughts flee her mind as she remembers, she told the waiting staff to take the Baron to her ship under threat of gun point. Rolling over and scrambling to her feet and scurries over to the docking pylon holding her ship. She looks up to the large rusting transport listing dangerously against the twisted steel spire.

    A crackle of electricity bursts from the gondola and she sees that the docking lift has been sheared away to the deck nearby amongst a horrendous pile of slate. She can just see body of a young man amongst the wreckage, tangled and crimson.

    Kicking off her shoes, she starts to climb the tall platform. Her split skirt flapping and flicking against her as the winds pick up, rapidly she climbs. Until looking down Cassandra realises she is exposed up here, 40 feet from the shattered dock. Her arms and legs burn with the lactic acid, as she holds on. Adrenalin suddenly leaving her she surveys the island once a beautific desert island beaches to die for - Cassie remembers hoping to top up her tan. But not there are craters and shell holes, fires in the jungles and under growth.

    However she spots something, a shining light on the far side of the island. Something reflecting in the distance..... Didn't Von Ryuko say that the area was abandoned?

    Daughter of Gods. Gods! or possibly of aliens.

    Residence Wing:

    Rashida hums happily to herself as she pads barefoot down the deep plush carpet of the guest wing. Surveying the ornate cards inserted in the frames on the doors, she stops at the door labeled "Inglestadt". Glancing down the hall to be certain nobody else was around, she straightens out one of her serpent bracelets and touches the eyes in a particular sequence. The snake's forked tongue sticks out rigidly. Repeating the process with the other, she holds both to the lock, allowing them to work while she waits patiently. At last there is a *click* and she swings the door open.

    "Junk, all junk," she mutters, sending the serpents around the room while she rummages the armoire and drawers. The nearly antique clothing and toiletries were once the best of their kind, but are now tattered remnants of glory. "No wonder s/he gave in to the temptation to flee. What has his family done for him… or her? When it became clear the Baron was playing games, why should s/he not try to find something better for h'self in this life?" Rashida shakes her head sadly as the snakes report back, hissing disappointment.

    "Now for the seducer," she murmurs, setting the snakes on the door marked "Wowbagger tIP". Their eyes glow read and it takes extra time for them to open. "Oh, tricky. We may have been able to smoke out the assassins simply by checking who had their doors trapped. If only we had mistrusted Von Ryuko earlier." There is little in the room besides a terribly battered volume, pages ripped and strewn like confetti around the room. "Sensitivity Training and Group Encounters: A Guide to Social Interaction," Rashida reads, picking the limp cover from the floor and examining it, "So much for changing ways. It's much harder to do than people realize."

    Rashida pauses sadly before Duke Leto's door. "Greed was your downfall, Duke. What a shame there was not time for you to be redeemed by love. Love…" she sighs, a silly smile on her face. "Not trapped. Did you simply see your opportunity when Jin approached? Strike a deal to save your life and gain more land?" She searches through the dead man's personal effects, picking up several items of interest and stowing them in the man's emptied messenger bag, which she slings across one shoulder.

    Baron Gigus Von Zombi's room is entirely empty of any effects. Rashida shakes her head and moved on.

    She stops at the double doors to Baron Von Ryuko's suite and presents the snakes to the lock mechanisms, sighing as they take a long time to open the lock. "Be careful, pets," she admonishes softly. When the lock clicked, she smiles and turns the doorknob, then freezes as the serpents' eyes suddenly glow red.

    Some time after Rashida disappears down the hall to the quarters, there is a soft but distinct WHOOMP. Billows of smoke pour from the corridor and there is a distant crackle of flames. A choking cry of "Fire!" comes from that direction.

    Female Spirit Dragon

    Falling was NOT flying, crashing was NOT fun, and dragons having not fun were NOT fun. Smoke swirled around a shimmering blue snout with little flicks of flames as the small creature stomped through the bushes she'd crashed into. The six-jointed frill up and fully expanded and one wing flopped about while trying to balance the heavy chested creature. The other wing dripping glowing blue droplets along her path and held tight to the chest. Breaking into a clearing where several large...oooh, shiiiny. A happy squeak burst from the chest with a fresh billow of smoke and the dragon flopped towards the golden airship.

    "Oh my shinny, shiny. You are so pretty and shiny!"She cooed, rubbing her snout against it with a rumbling purr that came up from deep in her chest and licked the gilting with a flutter of her good wing. How to get shiny home. Melt the shiny? Make it into a ball? How to fly shinny away?

    "Be strong my shinny, I shall find a way!"She promised it in a chirpy boice and nuzzled the airship. Ignoring the little creatures that were scrambling about and shouting. They were not her pretty golden shiny so they were not important.

    Gentleman Adventurer

    On the bridge of the Virago:

    "Nothing got out?"

    "Nothing, sir."

    "Are you certain?"

    "Yes, Lord Ritter. Portions of the superstructure were penetrated by shrapnel, but the ship's armor deflected the brunt of the blast. Your coffers remain sealed."

    Vorian allows himself a palpable sigh of relief, glad to know that his collection was intact. Asides from being priceless and rich with historical significance, some of the artifacts were simply not meant to be tampered with. He by no means considered himself to be a superstitious man, but he had had enough chicken bones, ashes, and curses thrown at him to become more than a little wary. Looking over various smoking computer consoles in the chamber, Vorian nods to the captain.

    "Do what you can to minimize the damage, but send some men to the other ships... some of the men aboard them did not share your good fortune."

    Turning on his heels, he makes his way out of the ship, unable to shake the nervous feeling in the pit of his stomach.

    Emerging from the forward loading ramp, Vorian stops dead in his tracks as a most bizarre sight comes into view, by one of the other airships.

    "What in blazes is that thing?" he asks to himself incredulously, having half a mind to run back on board. And yet he remained there, standing till, watching the blue creature.

    Dance-oholic Minx

    "WHAT THE ...." Cassie thinks as the sudden emergence of the giant Cerulean Dragon (?) from the underbrush with all the surprises, exertions and emotional battering - it is enough to make Cassandra lose her grip.

    Hanging in the air for a second, perfectly still she has a sense of freedom or euphoria.

    Then gravity takes hold, she falls but her dancers reflexes strike and keeping her hands balled so as to not lose a finger she thrusts her arm out into the bracing struts of the pylon. A jarring thump sends a shooting pain up her arm, a potential dislocating of her shoulder.

    Cassie's momentum takes her body into an upright, as she turns inhumanly quickly to try and mitigate the damage. The cold steel meets her ribs with a crack which takes the breath away.

    The cold wind whips the tears of pain from the corner of her eyes, with a little smiling grimace she gets her feet upon the rungs. Looking down upon the scene below as she takes a breather. Her breath coming out is wheezing gasps; 'What is that? Is that what Ryuko did not want us to find? It's bleeding, poor thing.'

    Squinting her eyes tightly; 'Going down is impossible, especially with the broken ribs. Onwards and upwards, I must find Gigus' we can restore him. This is no worse than training, it's a training exercise.' She thinks as she hauls herself up, slowly inexorably with each rung trying to break her concentration.

    The wind whips her now ragged skirt around her in a billowing cape, but determined she gets to the top. Where a foot wide platform leads to her ship, the railings blasted away to one edge and mid-way down a 5 foot hole in the ramp.

    Looking down to the 100foot drop, Cassie ruefully shakes her head. Nerves disappear, she has done some cat-burglary in a simimlar situation...though never with broken ribs, with the wind freezing her legs.

    Closing her eyes to take a moments composure, she then dances across the platform leaping and spinning with astounding ease. As if she was dancing upon a floor, the flourishes and pirouettes spin her away from danger and the deadly drop and with a dive she lands aboard her ship.

    Quickly, seeing the damage that the cannons have already caused, she moves through the cargo hold looking for Gigus' still form. Cassandra's eye is caught by a jar of oils; 'Ah, Mama's Oil, that'll get rid of these cuts and bruises.' She picks it up with her one good arm the other hanging limply at her side.

    There's a massive groan of tortured metal; "Merde, we're going down." quickly Cassie rushes up to the bridge and buckles herself in. Gasping the controls as the large ship plummets from its perch; she wrenches it pulling it away to nose-dive to an unoccupied part of the docks.

    From outside you can see the nose of the ship crumple as it smashes into the floor, steel bending as the 'Flying Coffin' takes it's last flight.

    Female Helmet Cat

    Meowselsworth wanders the halls of the eerily empty Phantom, and now it is too damaged to fly either. The feline lets out a mournful meow so long as she is alone, her helmet whirring and clicking a few times as she runs a few calculations. "Well, old friend, at least some of your parts may be salvageable... I thank your contributions to-" Then there is a lot of noise, and the feline runs out to see Cassie's ship go down. "Oh my oh my!" cries Meowselsworth, rushing forth to make sure that Cassie is intact.

    Dance-oholic Minx

    The rusty ship, crumples to the ground countless hours of lone repair-work destroyed.

    The bridge and superstructure collapses in on itself, girders, beams and old steel twists and contorts. Cassandra ends up hanging inverted in her seat as a beam pierces the head-rest beside her. A foot to the left and she would have not regained conciousness she realises as she shakes off the blackness intruding at the edges of her vision.

    Unbuckling the captains chair she flips in a double pike to land upon her feet amongst the ruins of her ship. Sifting through the area, she finds the oil and does an assessment of the ship.

    Moving outside one arm limp at her side, a jar under the other; Cassandra looks upon the bay and the desolation. As Meowselsworth bounds over to her Cassie nods, which causes her to have to quickly blink away the stars and nausea. "I am fine, the ships' engine is intact but that's it..." her voice holds a note of loss but Cassie tries to conceal the slight hoarse breathlessness that encroaches.

    "What is that? That.....Dragon?" she asks.

    Female Helmet Cat

    "... Yes." That is all Meowselsworth seems able to say, though the statement might be punctuated by the feline's floofed up tail and fur. She nuzzles against Cassie and then says worriedly, "I think I am much too small for it to want to eat me, or at least, I hope that it does not like tiny treats..."

    Gentleman Adventurer

    Still on the loading ramp, Vorian remains still, utterly baffled that such a creature could actually exist. Taking a deep breath, he slowly takes a step to the right, pressing his hand against the comlink console on one of the platform's hydraulic struts.

    "Captain? Captain!? Are you seeing this thing? Cap-" he says before letting out a shout, abruptly interrupted by high-pitch audio feedback. The console promptly explodes in a shower of sparks, knocking the aristocrat to the ground. Having dropped his cane, Vorian scrambles to his feet, reaching for the concealed moonsilver epee. He was far too panicked to even consider that the otherwise excellent weapon would have no effect on the dragon.

    His hand resting on its featureless handle, Vorian carefully steps off the platform, making his way towards Cassie and the Duchess, never taking his eyes off the strangely affectionate creature.

    Dance-oholic Minx

    "Don't worry, I'll protect you." she pats the silver pistol upon her thigh as if trying to reassure herself as much as anything. "Von Zombi was not aboard my ship....thankfully." she wheezes.

    Cassie watches as Vorian moves towards them, she straightens trying to conceal any injuries other than the obvious scrapes and bruises. The soft fur of Duchess Meowselsworth reassures her.

    Taking a large breath that sends spots to the corner of her vision, Cassandra the shouts to the dragon? "HELLO! Ryuko has fled! You seem injured? Can we assist?" her voice wheezes on the s turning it to z's.

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