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Exalted:End of an Era

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Lenco cackled triumphantlly as his black blade bit deep into Shaya's shoulder. It was stopped short when his teeth were knocked back into his mouth and he swore toothlessly. It was of little consequence. He had wounded the Solar, so she wasn't indestructible as he had feared. The Malfean essence he had used to poison the wound would further weaken her. It was only a matter of time for her to fall to his daiklave. As long as his bloodapes didn't fail him...

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[Technically Web was already outside the room when the laughter started. tongue.gif]


Web was barely aware of her surroundings as she continued her mantra:


"You're not my master. You do not control me."


She was focussing solely on trying to bring her dark Essence back on an even keel. The laughter really didn't help in this endeavour.


Her curled up form was noticeable by two things - her voice, somewhat muffled from where she'd ducked her head into her knees and arms. And the second - more worrying - thing, it seemed that all the shadows were drawn towards her, no matter where the light was coming from.


Pheonix only nodded to indicate that she'd heard Shaya's order/request not to kill Lenco. Really that was all she had the time for since a few of the Blood Apes had turned towards the unit.


Gunn's armour should provide enough protection against the demon's claws, but the rest of the unit were mortals. And therefore relatively squishy, which meant Pheonix and Gunn had to keep them from getting in melee range.


At least the doorway made that part easy - what wasn't easy was making sure the Lancers had clear firing lanes when their weapons recharged. With that thought in mind, Pheonix launched herself into close combat with the nearest Blood Ape - trusting that Gunn would guard the door, the rest of the unit and her back.


The Lancers were to shoot as often as they could without overloading.


Web could tell her Essence was seeking an outlet, and she knew she wouldn't be able to stop it once it took hold. That was why she'd left the room full of people and she hoped the corridor would be empty when her mental barriers finally broke.


The wound under her rib wept anew from the strain of Web's efforts to regain control of her powers.



[debating on what her Resonance Explosion will look like and what it does....]

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((Dang, missed that, sorry. Maybe the Neverborn have such loud voices that they carry into other rooms, for people who can hear the whispers to begin with.))


Hurrying through the corridors, Mia circled back until she saw Web's prone form on the floor. The Abyssal was saying something, though Mia couldn't yet make it out from this distance, and she seemed to be drawing shadows to herself. Or maybe they were attacking her?


Mia closed her eyes, opened them, then opened them again as she looked into the spirit world. If there was anything in the Twilight, be it dematerialized demon, spirit or ghost, she would see it. Checking the hallway carefully, Mia approaced Web carefully. She had never seen an Abyssal in Web's current state and had no idea what to expect. Still, compassion and a slowly budding sense of friendship dictated that she try to help the Moonshadow, so Mia continued to draw closer.




Now that she was forced to drop her sword, a though came to Shaya. She couldn't kill Lenco for fear of the Blood Apes breaking free. But if the Akuma was unconscious, they would still be bound by his command. At least, she thought so. Well, she hoped so. Okay okay, to be honest, she had no idea, but Lenco was going to kill her if she didn't fight back.


Fists still glowing golden, Shaya began to rain a fury of blows down on the Akuma. And this time, she didn't hold back even if her her arms felt heavier by the second.


((I'll let you two decide how many of Shaya's blows land and if she manages to take Lenco out before succumbing to the poison.))

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With Pheonix, Gunn and the two Lancers fighting the Blood Apes that had turned to them - the rest of the unit held formation while Mouse tried again.


The close combat was making it harder to focus for the timid thaumaturge, but she had to try. She didn't think she'd have time for a third attempt.


Pheonix's limbs were now completely encased in flame from her Charms and Essence usage. Now she was in really her element. [Pun intended]


Though the Blood Apes were very determined and vicious opponents.



Mia's enhanced sight saw no demonic or spirit presence near Web's location. Though the encroaching shadows still felt wrong.


Her mantra would soon be audible to Mia - though Web didn't seem aware of her approach.


The laughter had become more muted - almost as if coming from underwater, but the air was heavier with menace because of the lack of volume.


"You are not my master. You do not control me." The simple statements belied the internal struggle Web was having.


Willing or unwilling.... you will aid our cause


Web's head shot upright at that, her eyes were dilated in horror. Her mouth wordlessly formed one word: 'No'.


And Darkness broke loose. Web's anima flared outwards and whatever the shadow tendrils touched - aged and decayed.


Almost as quickly as it happened, the power retreated back into Web. Leaving her white-faced (even more so than normal) and drained.


[since Web's controlled release was a form of Blight... Decay works for non-plant things. Mia can avoid it.... by not being where one of Web's strands is. Or her clothes can just taken on a faded streak as ablative armour. (It's not really an attack so *shrug*)]

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Lenco saw his opportunity when the Solar slowed down from the poison of his blade and grinned a blood stained grin. He took advantage of the openings that were created by his opponent's increasingly sluggish reactions and he stepped in for a second disabling strike at the other arm, when… fists with blazing golden light hit him square in the face and hammered him backwards.


He tried to fend off the fists with his daiklave, but they were coming in too fast and strong; instinctually he covered himself with his arms. It felt like being pummeled by burning meteorites and it didn't take long for one of the cursed woman's fists to hit him hard to the side of the head, blacking out the world for a moment – and just as the lights came back on, a final blow knocked him out cold.




Hanzo noticed Shaya's increasing slowness and saw the wound at her shoulder. He had seen her fight before and thought this uncharacteristic of her, when he realized the wound may have been poisoned. He made his way closer to her side, frantically trying to avoid the melee, ducking below claws and weapons, narrowly avoiding essence bolts and weaving between combatants. He reached her as she finished Lenco.


He looked at Lenco for a split second and then turned to Shaya: "You are hurt, maybe poisoned. We best make this quick and finish it." He guessed the Dawn had no intention to stop fighting, so he decided to lay out the situation, so she could make the best estimate of her own power reserves and most efficient course of action.


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Shaya's limbs were getting heavier by the moment. Black spots dances in front of her vision. Only golden essence and iron will kept her going, until the Akuma finally went down. She barely heard someone say "You are hurt, maybe -" before she passed out and slumped over. She fell right atop Lenco; both of them unconscious.




Mia moved impossibly fast, perfectly dodging the shadow tendrils emanating off Web. A soft golden glow surrounded her. If anyone had seen her now, there would be no question that she was an Exalted. She wasn't sure if her anima would be safe for Web to be in, so she halted a few paces away.


"Web? Can I approach?" Her voice carried concern - for the Moonshadow, not herself.


((Dodge Charms ftw.))

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[Yay. Dodge Charms = answer to everything.]


Web, feeling rather rotten and weak after her uncontrolled release of power, became aware of a slight glowing nearby. Turning her head towards it, she could see Mia in the centre of it.


Not trusting her voice at the moment, Web nodded in reply. She hoped that Mia hadn't seen her anima going crazy - but the fact Mia was showing hers indicated the opposite had occurred.


I think I may have some explaining to do...... Web shifted into a slightly more comfortable position, waiting for Mia to ask the inevitable question of what happened.


As she moved, she could see the results of the burst. The paint on the walls faded and chipped in intricate patterns. Even the carpet displayed the same imprint of instant aging - frayed tassels and leached colours.

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Reassured that she wouldn't inadvertently hurt Web, Mia came closer. She looked at the walls, floor and ceiling; all faded, chipped and worn as if they were decades older than the rest of the building. She also noticed that the aging wasn't uniform, but took the shape of an intricate pattern not unlike the shadows that had surrounded the Abyssal earlier. Mia didn't have much on-hand experience with Abyssals, but thanks to her unique abilities, she had seen plenty of ghosts and haunts. She had even seen a Shadow Land. She knew the touch of the grave when she saw it; there was no need for her to ask what had caused this.


Reaching Web's side, Mia slid down until she was sitting next to the Abyssal against the wall. The Solar sighed as she surveyed the devastation and then, worried that Web might think she was upset with *her*, commented: "I'd like to go on record that your former bosses are a bunch of jerks."

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"That is certainly one way of putting it." Web said slowly, as she took in the damage done and Mia's statement.


"Wonder how the rest are faring against the demons?" She asked, uncertain of how fast Mia had followed behind. That and she was worried about how Shaya was dealing with Lenco, since she was holding back due to the summoned Apes.


"For the record, I can't tell which is worse: my former masters or demons." She added, trying to cheer herself up and not quite succeeding.


Pheonix and the fighting members of the unit, along with the gathered Commanders, kept dealing with the demons while Shaya tried to solo the Akuma without killing him.


Mouse concentrated on her ritual that would strengthen Creation and - hopefully - send the demons back to Malfeas.



[she might have a better chance now their summoner is unconscious. Since he isn't aware to counter? ]



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[she might have a better chance now their summoner is unconscious. Since he isn't aware to counter? ]

((Agreed. But I think she can only dispell one? Since it's one un-summoning per spell and a mortal Thaumaturge would be out of Essence by then. Maybe she un-summons the biggest Ape and Pheonix, the unit and Terrestrial Commanders could take out the rest.))



Mia nodded in agreement to Web's assessment. "Amen to that."


Surveying the damage around them, she rose again. "I don't know how the others are doing. But I am no good in fights anyway and you should probably dial down. When a servant sees this, they'll blame it on the Akuma, but it might be better if we're not here regardless."


She wasn't sure if they should leave entirely. Would Pheonix and Shaya assume they'd gone back, or that they had been hurt? Best not to risk it and stay inside the building.

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Hanzo scrambled to Shaya's side and knelt down. He heaved and rolled the muscled woman off of Lenco. He quickly untied the straps of the white jade armour to get a better look at the wound.


It was a nasty sight. Muscle and tendon were severed, laying bare the bone and the edges glistened with a faint green hue. Defnitively poisoned Hanzo thought. After a moment of hesitation, he set to work, cleaning the wound as best he could in the chaos of the melee.


He remembered a time when human bodies were no more to him than another automaton to be modified and repaired. The only difference was that with humans there were usually no second chances. Scenes of blooddrenched benches with half finished projects and works in progress drifted across his mind's eye. His first thought was to dismiss them out of hand, to clear his head, but something stopped him. Carefully he tried to shift the perspective, find something useful amidst the horrors of the past and found it.


Gently, without using too much essence to remain unnoticed, he focussed his mind. Then, he infused Shaya's shoulder with the soothing, cleansing essence of the unconquered sun, before applying pressure to points around the wound, the arm and the neck. He had never applied the pressure point technique, but his fingers never wavered, every point ignited by the tinyest amount of golden light until the poison was gone and the wound had started mending.


It was almost uncanny, the eery calm of the engineer, administering first aid in the heat of battle...


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((Agreed. But I think she can only dispell one? Since it's one un-summoning per spell and a mortal Thaumaturge would be out of Essence by then. Maybe she un-summons the biggest Ape and Pheonix, the unit and Terrestrial Commanders could take out the rest.))

[sounds about right to me.... after all the DB's have been fighting the Blood Apes for a while now. And with their controller out for the count - they may be less organised than before, if there was any organisation to begin with.]


Mouse completed her ritual - and hoped for the best, while bracing for the worst.


The numbers of active Blood Apes were slowly dwindling - due to the efforts of the remnants of Lookshy. The largest demon had seemed to take the lead after Lenco's fall, but its (his?) command ended abruptly as it was sent back home by a rather ticked-off Creation.


The rest would surely soon fall to the Elements...



"I'm not that good in combat either." Web mentioned, then took a steadying breath before standing. She was too exhausted to hide the wince at the pain the movement caused her un-healing injury.


"Where should we retire to?" She asked Mia. Not realising the same thought process had already occurred within the Eclipse - Web was uncertain as to the best location to prevent further problems among the unit.


[Thinking Hare should have informed Dace and co by now of the situation.... so they should arrive in time for the clean up tongue.gif]

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((Let's have Dace arrive just a second too late to contribute to the fight. That will piss him off and be hilarious at the same time. *Feeling wicked*))



Shaya began to be faintly aware of a tickling sensation spreading out from her injured shoulder. It still hurt, but no longer carried to body-numbing heaviness as it did before. She groaned as she tried to move, but failed. The Dawn was a fighter to the core though, and she kept instinctively struggling to regain consciousness.





Mia considered Web's question for a moment and something dawned on her. "Let's return to the Chu- Captain's assigned quarters. Maybe we can pick up the trail of that servant who tried to poison you."


((I doubt they'll get far, but Mia and Web don't know that. Where is Silune, anyway? Still up in the rafters?))

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Hanzo had done his best: as far as he understood medicine there was nothing he could do to further Shaya's recovery. He had cleansed the wound, reknitted the tissue and - hopefully - cured any debilitating damage, so that the Dawn would be ready for a fight. He wasn't sure he had removed the poison entirely, but it was subdued enough for Shaya to battle it on her own and to continue the fight. Hanzo was sure the latter was on Shaya's mind first and foremost. He just hoped it was enough.




Silune sat in her corner of the rafters, the ancient scene of carnage playing in front of her mind's eye, mirroring the battle below between the Terrestrials and the demon apes. But when the Solar fell to the poisoned blade of the Akuma, she bolted upright, crudely awakened out of her fever dream, tears still in her eyes and a primal growl in her throat. She grabbed the first thing at hand and wanted to jump down to lay waste to... but she restrained herself.


This blind loyalty wasn't like her at all. She wasn't going to jump into the middle of a deadly melee - with Terrestrials no less, who knew when they were going to turn on her - for a woman whom she had planned to assassinate not mere hours ago. She remembered the Solars of the bygone ages with a mixture of crushing love and devastating hatred. Extreme caution was advised in this case. She would present herself at a moment of her own choosing, with something valuable to offer, so she could...


What? What do I want from her? Why do I want to associate with her? she thought while she watched the boy reach the Solar, trying to patch her up.


I want to belong.


The thought came unbidden to her and surprised her. Her natural scepsis and cynicism born of ages of living alone were quiet for once.


After a moment of silent shock, her thought process started up once again, this time in double speed. I'd better find something useful to add to her entourage. As she watched the boy work, she doubted he was able to handle the poisoned wound properly. If there was anything she was a master of, it would be poisons. And how to counteract them. She would stalk the Solar and at an opportune moment, if the woman was still suffering from the poison, she would offer her services.


Yes. That was the right path to follow. She had decided her course of action. Now she would wait. She could see the Solar stir and the battle below had turned to the advantage of the Lookshyans. Of the Terrestrials. she thought while gritting her teeth. Fine. If the Terrestrials came through and kept their oaths, she would let them live to die another day, she thought grudgingly.


This was a confusing day. But by Luna it was interesting!

Edited by Biologist

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Shaya struggled to rise, even though she felt like someone had poured liquid fire in her veins. Hanzo was at her side and she could only assume that he had helped revive her. Scanning the room, it was clear that the battle had turned in Lookshy's favour while she was unconscious. The ranks of Blood Apes were severely thinned and their leader (that was to say, the biggest Ape) was nowhere to be seen. The Dawn began circling the room until she was opposite Pheonix, trapping several very unfortunate Demons between them.

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Web nodded, "That seems like a plan." Straightening up as best she could, Web turned towards the nearest set of stairs.


As she moved, she recalled the odd behaviour of Sela when originally confronted about the poisoned tea.


"I might have an idea on that front." She mentioned to Mia. She didn't want to say anything more on the matter, the corridors weren't exactly private.


(feel free to have Mia pull/push Web into an alcove. Also Dace's entrance tongue.gif )


Pheonix grinned when she noticed the demons caught between her and Shaya. That was a very bad position - for them. The lancers and Gunn could mop the rest.


Using her anima as a beacon, the unlucky Apes were caught up in the thrill of the chase with the fast Fire Aspect that kept taunting them. As such, Shaya should be able to get a few hard hits in before they noticed the trap.

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Shaya and Pheonix were a well oiled machine when it came to combat. Trapped between Fire and the Dawn, with the unit's snipers and genozsha attacked their flanks, even the formidable Blood Apes stood little chance. One Demon landed a clumsy blow on the Solar; a testament more to her lingering injury, than to his prowess. Around them, the Lookshyan Commanders were taking out the rest of the Blood Apes. Still, fiercely violent by nature, the Demons never relented their attack until the last of them fell.


Shaya took a moment to survey the room. She knew she was injured and she saw several Commanders down. Hanzo was already tending to the worst of them and she could only hope there were no lethal casualties. Thankfully, both Del Ran and Nefvarin Chia were still standing, with the former approaching Lenco and yanking the unconscious Akuma up.


Just then, all three doors to the room burst open in perfect synchronicity as Captain Dace and his men burst in. It took the experienced Dawn and his troops only a single glance around the room before he sighed and sheathed his sword. The battle was already done.




Mia and Web had gone over Shaya's quarters with a fine tooth comb, trying to find some trail by which to follow Sela. Unfortunately for them, apart from them confirming the identity of the poison, there was nothing to find. After that, they had turned to Lenco's office and private chambers, which at least turned up a few more incriminating pieces of evidence against the ambassador. Of course, he wasn't stupid enough to leave anything that revealed his nature as an Akuma, but there was more than enough evidence of blackmail, money laundering and whoring to get him dishonourably discharged with no contest.

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As Shaya and Pheonix were finally in their element, Hanzo shifted his attention to the commanders who were down and bleeding. He hurried towards them and hoped the Terrestrials were as durable as the stories had told him. He dared not use his essence for this, so he made the best of the situation and used what he could lay his hands on: ripped clothing, smashed furniture, and an assortment of knives and daggers strewn about.


It was gruelling work. He had done it a thousand times before, but never in this life. Being a battle surgeon isn't a glorious task and quite different from repairing and maintaining arms and armour. One had to have the stomach for it. Hanzo would find out if he did.


He made a quick inventory of the wounded commanders and planned out the most effective order of treatment, starting with the most heavily wounded. They were out, so they would probably not notice his essence, but still, he only used it to heal when absolutely necessary. Then he focussed on the others, treating their wounds like any skilled medic would, highly efficient and to the point. He allowed himself no time for small talk and bedside manners were strictly professional. He was treating his superior officers after all. And he wasn't an official medic.

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Shaya saluted Pheonix and the unit, before grinning apologetically at Dace. "I'm sorry, Captain, I'll leave some for you next time."


Looking around the room, she debated her next step. She knew she was all but useless at the clean up phase of combat - she knew next to nothing about the healing arts and usually, the doctors ended up shooing her out of the way. Watching Del Ran in action though, she saw that she could learn a few things from the old veteran. The new Chumyo was going around the room, helping people sit, inquiring about their injuries and commending them on a battle well fought. Shaya always did the latter, if only by saluting her people, but she admitted that the former never occurred to her. Taking a page from the Earth Exalt's page, she started to help people to their feet if they could stand, or in a sitting position of they could not, though she left the truly badly injured to Hanzo and the other medics now rushing in. Occasionally she inquired about a particularly nasty looking injury. A naturally gifted leader by grace of the Sun, only that fact that she avoided looking at Pheonix for fear that her Lieutenant would fall over laughing at the sight of Shaya acting like a nurse, revealed that this was not her normal modus operandi.




Mia and Web stood with a large stack of papers in their hands. Well, to be accurate: Web was holding a large stack and Mia a very small one. While the Eclipse realized that she needed to adhere to military hierarchy and give the originals to Chumyo Del Ran and his people, she saw no harm in keeping a copy of the incriminating evidence for themselves. One never knew when such information might come in handy, after all. So she had copied everything in her impossibly small handwriting, resulting in a mere two pages, scribbled full on both side, holding all the valuable information gained from Lenco's office. Her perfect sense of time told her that fifty-one minutes had passed since Web and she left the main room and by now, the Abyssal seemed to have regained her composure. At least, there had been no further shadow tendril incidents.


"Shall we rejoin the others?" Mia suggested to the Moonshadow.

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[Hmmm debating on whether Pheonix would laugh at Shaya.... its a toss up whether she would being an impulsive Fire Aspect compared to her military training indicating its usually a bad idea to laugh at a commanding officer.]


"That would be a good idea." Web agreed, "The battle should be over by now - and if it isn't we maybe able to help." Her sense of time wasn't as good as Mia's, but her anima was no longer a problem so it should be safe to return.


The large stack of papers in her arms, would be presented to Del Ran as further evidence of misconduct. Though most of it was of lesser importance to the Akuma revelation, it could provide grounds for revoking his Diplomatic Immunity as Lookshy's Ambassador.


Meaning that Nexus law would be able to deal with the fallout. By that Web was actually thinking of Dace and his Bronze Tigers. She doubted Lenco would be able to pull anything on that Solar led group.


Battle over, Pheonix returned Shaya's salute along with the rest of the unit.


Hare stuck his head round the door, obviously having been told to stay out of the way by Dace. He appeared relieved that Shaya wasn't angry at the Bronze Tiger's bursting in on her battle.


Pheonix acknowledged him with a nod of her head. The next order of business was the clean up, she looked around the room - taking stock of everyone's condition. She suppressed a frown at the absence of Web, she wasn't so concerned about Mia's absence - since no-one but the unit actually knew she was there.


As she was looking around, she noticed Shaya tending to the wounded. She couldn't reconcile that image with what she knew of Shaya, so distract herself from the change in behaviour she figured she should debrief Dace on what she knew of the situation.


The unit knew their jobs well enough to not need guidance.


[am assuming Tinker's among the medics. And that the unit can handle an exhausted Mouse.]

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When Mia and Web returned to the audience chamber, the fight was indeed over and won, Mia was happy to see, by the Exalted. Seeing the many injured Terrestrials though, she pocketed the paper she'd been carrying and turned to Web. "I can help them," she said earnestly. "Are you okay by yourself?" She didn't want to leave Web if the Moonshadow was still in a bad shape.


((Short post, sorry. No new Shaya scene since she's still doing the same thing - she'll want to speak with Del Ran later though.))

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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[That's ok - I assume Pheonix can debrief Dace in the background unless you want to RP that since he technically outranks her if only due to being within Nexus' walls.]


At the scene that greeted them, Web only nodded in reply to Mia's question. She indicated the pile of papers that they'd gathered.


"I'll use the voting desk to organise these in order of severity, make sure things are streamlined for the new Chumyo. I doubt anyone wants Lenco to get off on a technicality."


Of course, that plan would require her to find the desk and right it - since it had been overturned/thrown to one side at some point during the fight.


She was still wondering how Del Ran would take her disappearance from the battlefield - if he had noticed that is. She was hoping it wouldn't cause him to reconsider her status.

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Del Ran made his round, talking to all the Commanders and wounded in the room, speaking words of wisdom, comfort and praise. When he had talked to the Terrestrials in the room, he went to Shaya.


"Captain. You were exemplary in your fight, a beacon of hope and strength. I salute you for that."


He looked at the still form of the Akuma. "Lenco is a disgrace. I do not think he needs a trial. All commanders have spoken out in favour of executing him here and now for treason against Lookshy and Creation. I would have your opinion on this matter as well." He had a grim expression on his face and it was obvious he hadn't reached this conclusion lightly.


He gritted his teeth. "The only problem we have is keeping up appearances. Executing the highest ranking ambassador will raise questions. I would prefer that the word Akuma is not used in the explenation to our allies. We need proof of his treacherous ways of another nature. Fast."


He looked over to where Pheonix was explaining to Dace what had transpired. Del Ran wasn't sure if he could trust the Nexian Solar with this delicate information...

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Having found the desk and sorted out the papers, Web looked around for Del Ran - or if he was still busy, Shaya.


Seeing them both together, Web picked up the papers and approached, slowly so she wouldn't interrupt anything.


She did catch the last part of his predicament. That of wanting to keep the Akuma accusation from the public ears.


Hesitantly, knowing that her nature was as yet unknown to most and she didn't want to give Del Ran cause to reveal it, Web spoke up.


"Forgive the intrusion, sir, but I believe I may have a solution." Waiting til she was acknowledged by them, Web then presented the sorted pile of papers to Del Ran.


"Contained within - evidence of behaviour unfitting a high ranking representative of Lookshy. In order of severity, the worst offences to the least." She paused, uncertainty creeping in to her tone. "As far as I understand the laws of Lookshy that is..."

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Shaya was about to reply to Del Ran that, in her opinion, they should just take care of the Akuma here and now, when Web approached them. Nodding to Web to go ahead, she stood back and let the Moonshadow take it from there. Part of Shaya's skill as a leader was that she let people play to their strengths, and she knew that political manoeuvring was one of Web's. If she had been a more introspective soul, she might have marvelled at how quickly she had come to trust (and even rely on the) the Abyssal, but being who she was, she simply accepted it and went from there.



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