Hidden 3 mos ago 30 days ago Post by Hero
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The royal family were collected off to the side of the ballroom, currently fussing over the High King. He looked a little shakier after the ceremony, but was refusing to take a seat, instead choosing to greet those that approached him. Both of his sons were in a losing fight, his grandchildren more concerned over the brothers potentially arguing. Rosemary held Erica's hand, eyes slowly drooping, but she was being particularly stubborn anytime Sonia asked if she wanted to go to bed. And so Sonia stood witness, a little concerned but wondering if it would be appropriate if she just picked up the princess and carried her off.

"Why don't you have a seat, Your Majesty?" Caralynn, Julius' wife, asked him.

Nathaniel shook his head. Ezekiel gave Azrael a look that told him to leave the man alone, but he knew it would go ignored. Instead, he approached his son and daughter-in-law. He gave Rosemary a slight bow out of respect before addressing her sister. "If you would get my father to rest, I'd be in your debt, Princess," He told her quietly, patting Arthur's shoulder before parting from the group.

Erica scarcely even acknowledged Caralynn's words, but she gave Rosemary a gentle tug as she left her husband to join Nathaniel. She briefly looked over at Caralynn and the two women exchanged brief, icy glances before Erica gave Nathaniel a small smile.

"You must be so tired of all these people fussing over you, Grandfather," She giggled a touch. "I fear they forget who it is they're addressing."

Caralynn's lips tightened into a straight line. "I speak only out of concern," She replied, barely containing her ire.

"Is this how I'm seen? Decrepit and in need of assistance?" Nathaniel muttered in a rather hoarse voice.

Caralynn was mortified at the high king's words. Erica once again ignored her and looked down at Rosemary, who was rubbing her eye. "Do you think the high king needs assistance?" She asked her.

When Rosemary shook her head, she stifled a yawn. The high king's expression softened considerably, and he beckoned a nearby servant. Within a minute, servants carried over a few chairs and placed them down as the king instructed. At that point, Erica sat Rosemary down at the end, and turned to sit herself. Her belly, however, gave her trouble, but Arthur didn't move. Instead, Nathaniel offered a hand, and she managed to sit comfortably, flashing him a grateful smile.

"Thank you, Your Majesty," Erica patted the seat next to her. "Sit with me, I think the baby's starting to kick from all the excitement."

Like magic, the high king followed suit. Erica watched him briefly before looking at Caralynn with a smile, though her smugness was transparent to all. Caralynn outright turned and stomped off with her husband chasing her, and it was only then that Azrael conceded defeat, leaving to seek refreshments. Arthur occupied the space next to his grandfather as Erica invited him to touch her belly, her free hand stroking Rosemary's hair as the little girl leaned against her, eyes getting heavier.

Caralynn was in a big rush to get away, positively fuming. However, in her haste she crashed right into a servant, sending the tray the woman had been carrying flying. The woman glared at the servant, who froze in place.

"Have you no shame? Not even an apology for bumping into me?!" Caralynn yelled.

Her words managed to unfreeze the woman, who bowed immediately. Despite her uniform and manicured platinum locks, her demeanor painted her as inexperienced, and she was clearly embarrassed. She then hastily knelt down and began to pick up the shattered glasses, trying to put them on the tray as fast as she could. Her blue eyes darted up towards Caralynn, but she regretted it as the woman continued to glare at her.

Not too far from the commotion, Duke Gile was having a pleasant chat with Valentino Bachmeier. The pair had been briefly speaking before Valentino called another man over.

"And this here is Duke Andres Colton. You'll remember that his territory borders both Rodion and Dourmerc, I daresay none are more eager to try for peace than he," He explained. "He was working with Theodore before his death if you'll recall."

Andres Colton was a tall, redheaded fellow, and elicited looks on his Kaudus origin alone. However, he shook Giles' hand with a lot of warmth, giving him a brilliant smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you, and thank you again for the invitation," He told him. "I know tensions have been high, but I sincerely hope we can count on your support."

Lucas rubbed his temples with his fingers, feeling his head was ready to explode. After a few seconds, his holy sigil glowed, his eyes looking up at Tyler with a dull expression on his face.

"She of gold is Incepta. Her shadow is red of blood," He recited, his voice barely audible over the music. He reached up towards Tyler, still speaking. "Beware the red of blood. Beware--"

The mana in the air around them sharpened, and it felt like every breath invited daggers into Lucas and Tyler's chest. For just a brief moment, the air around them turned a light blue. Lucas' eyes widened and he immediately doubled over, his hands flying to his head. It felt like something was around his throat and attempting to pull the tongue out of his mouth, the air stabbing him over and over. But as quickly as it came, it vanished. The mana dissipated and stabilized, and everything looked normal once more. It was highly unlikely that anyone without a great amount of mana noticed, the crowd continuing as they were.

For whatever reason, Lucas launched himself out of his seat, but all that did was bring back his previous dizziness in full force. He slammed his hand against the wall to balance himself properly, a hand over his face. This time he was actually going to lose it.

As he drew in a shaky breath, however, Ezekiel approached the pair. The older man wasn't impressed with the sight, an eyebrow raised at Lucas. "Had your fill of alcohol already?" He asked.

Lucas lifted his head and turned towards Ezekiel, crossing his arms. For all intents and purposes, he didn't look affected by what just happened at all, with the exception of retaining his paleness. "Just feeling under the weather," He replied cooly. His hand gestured towards his Scion. "Sir Tyler Morris, this is Prince Ezekiel."

"I'm aware," Ezekiel replied.

"Okay. I'm going to go take a leak, unless you want to come watch me do that, too?" He asked his father, already taking a few steps away. "No? Alright, I'll be back, then." When he saw Ezekiel's face harden, Lucas unfolded his arms and threw a few finger guns at him before turning on his heel and speedwalking towards the bathroom. He forced himself to keep it together, using every method he knew, biting down on the inside of his mouth as he narrowly avoided knocking someone over before pushing the bathroom door open. He opened the first stall he found and immediately expelled everything from his stomach.

Meanwhile, Ezekiel gave Tyler a brief, judgmental scan. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sir Morris," Ezekiel said, his tone betraying his words entirely. "Fyodor must have some confidence restoring you to your former position. I take it you're pleased with this decision?"

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by webboysurf
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Edmund Silvaine

There was a distinct comfort in the warm feeling Edmund felt as he pressed the crystal against his chest, and the metallic armor shifted and wrapped around his torso and spread across his limbs. It always felt soothing and reassuring, whenever he found a need to wear the armor. It's coloration was traditional, with the slight addition of a purple trim to further distinguish his role as the Templar of Gravity. He watched as Dame Sonia tapped her crystal again, shifting the armor into its formal presentation with crown and cape alike. Edmund lifted his hand almost instinctively to follow, but hesitated a moment. For an uncomfortable pause, his now-gloved hand hovered over the crystal. His mind swirled with immediate doubt, and a reminder of his hatred of pageantry. He hated having to wear the armor in its formal form... it felt at once idolatrous and demeaning.

His gaze shifted briefly to Maya, and then Theobald, as he looked about the room. He let out a soft exhale, before tapping the crystal once more. A cape emerged from his shoulders, and his helmet sprouted the protrusions of a crown-like adornment. This whole ceremony was not about him, and he was not going to let his own desires and comforts cause trouble for those he was here to serve. It was best to not cause a scene, and do as he was told. He was nothing if not obedient.

The moment Edmund took a step out of the limousine near Gile Manor, there was a rush of murmurs and confusion. The discordant flashes and clicks of cameras snapping pictures were frequent when Edmund was out with Maya, but it felt oppressive now... perhaps because he could tell they were looking at him this time. Edmund Silvaine, in all his brooding glory, was dressed in a three-piece black suit with a deep purple trim and embroidering. His unbuttoned black frock coat obscured his purple paisley satin vest, with his high-collar black dress shirt poking out from underneath to cover his neck and accentuated his freshly shaven face. His hair was even neatly combed and parted for perhaps the first time in his entire life. He wasn't the most beautiful or attractive man at this ball, not by a long shot. But given his reputation for always looking at least somewhat gruff, it was a surprise to see the Templar of Gravity look like he fit in with the higher class elites. Edmund had even gone so far as to hide his weaponry, opting instead for a heavy metal cane and to conceal his revolver within an underarm holster under his coat.

The stares and sudden interest other guests at the party showed towards him were deeply troubling. Maya had been begging him to dress fashionably for years, but he relented saying that he would allow himself to dress nicely just this once. His outfit was not nearly as expensive or opulent as what Maya would wear to a party, but to know the amount of mouths that could be fed just from the money spent on the itchy fabric he was draped in made him feel a little sick to his stomach. He did his best to outright ignore the lingering stares, following Maya into the party once she stepped out of the limo.

Once inside the manor, and surrounded by gaudy displays of wealth, opulence, and everything his birth family would have held dear... Edmund felt his mood sour even further. He did what he always did at these sorts of events: wander lazily around the perimeter, keeping an ear out for hushed conversation while always making sure to keep an eye tracked on Maya at all times. Despite his personal discomfort, such a large number of high profile individuals eased his general worries about Maya's safety. Besides... with all the Templars gathered together in one place, chances were high at least one of them could act in time should something unthinkable happen. And even Hollyhock was doing her part to check all the food for poison.

Though, it was the sound of glass shattering that sent the hairs on the back of his head on edge as he instinctively reached into his coat, hand grasping around the grip of his revolver. He quickly looked over, silently scolding himself for getting so worked up over a mere accident. Caralynn Laurent had stormed into a servant, knocking over a number of drinks. "Have you no shame? Not even an apology for bumping into me?!" The servant quickly began picking up shards of broken glass and placing them on her tray while others looked on. Edmund took one last glance around the room before quickly closing the distance to the mess, kneeling down, and helping to pick up the pieces.

While picking up a few nasty shards of glass carefully, doing his best to avoid cutting himself in the process, he spoke softly. "Don't let them get to you... and don't apologize for someone else's mistake. Won't make anyone happier." His words were more tender than even he was used to. He got careless, lost in his words, and felt the sudden sting of exposed tissue and blood on his finger. It didn't sting as much as it did when he was a child, so he ignored it for a moment and finished cleaning up the glass. When he finally stood up, he pulled his handkerchief from his pocket and quickly wrapped it around his finger, the bloodstains blending into the dark fabric as he gave the servant a soft smile and turned away, his scowl returning as he briefly glanced towards Caralynn before scanning the room for Maya again.

Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Stern Algorithm
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Stern Algorithm Loquacious Aggression

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Sara, Daughter of Aliya

Theobald @Xiro Zean, Hollyhock @OwO

The rest of the ceremony proceeded without a hitch; Sara received her crystal and walked behind Theobald, wishing the whole time for the pomp and circumstance to finally be over. But the night was still young, and they were whisked away to Gile Manor. Though Sara knew how much Theobald fought to contain himself, she sometimes wished he were less obedient, that he would burst from his social fetters and flee off into the night, and that Sara would be 'forced' to follow him. That way they could both escape the tedium of social events. Expectedly, he dismissed her as soon as they arrived, and Sara obliged, trusting the soldier in him that he wouldn't do anything untoward, though she secretly wished he would. Left to her own devices, Sara pondered on the supposed 'high spiritual honor' of being a templar. Though she was glad to serve Incepta by being a protector for one of her Scions, she wondered if all this...fluff...was really meant to be a part of it. She thought back to part of a conversation she had heard during the anointing of Sir Tyler, how Incepta selecting young Rosemary to be a Scion has robbed her of her childhood. Sara shook her head. No, it is the expectations of the royal family that has robbed Rosemary of her childhood. Nowhere in the scriptures did it say that the Scion of Light had to be a monarch, nowhere in the scriptures did it mandate the establishment of the nobility. No, unworthy humans who wished to greedily suck from the teat of Incepta's blessings crawled out of the woodwork and surrounded the Scions, using their proximity to the Scions to elevate themselves above others. Sara wondered if all this was Incepta's plan. This was a theological question to be sure, but as someone of Kaudian descent, not an easy one for her to ask of the clergy for fear of seeming like she wanted to tear down the foundation of the Estoran Federation. And she did not, to be honest, have a strong grudge against the nobles, but she did wonder if they were necessary, if they should be entangled with the scions, and if there was a better form of government that could do without them? Of course, the various states ruled themselves differently, so maybe it was fine, maybe the social experiment is ongoing, and Sara simply needed to be patient.

Of course, it didn't do to engage in deep introspection at a party, and as a 'celebrity', Sara figured that she should at least make herself available for interaction at this dog-and-pony show; at the very least, she should partake of the amenities so as not to appear rude. Sara found herself at the buffet table, holding a plate with one hand and adding food with the other, though she did so sparingly; rich foods did not suit her palate, and overindulging would only cause indigestion and regret. As Sara was taking her time, someone else in the line caught up to her, Hollyhock, the Scion of Wind. Her hands full, Sara tilted her head in greeting and said, "Your Holiness. I hope you are enjoying the festivities." Remembering Holly's penchant for giving her Templar the slip, Sara added, in a tone that she hoped came off sounding more teasing than critical, "Sir Jannick is taking quite the risk, leaving you out of his sight. Though I do find myself sometimes wishing that my Scion was a bit more...adventurous. Who do I protect, when my charge not only never gets into trouble, but is also more than capable of protecting himself?"
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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As Lucas threw his little tantrum, Tyler couldn't help but grin. He doubted the prince was fishing for pity, but he managed to vomit his woes all over Tyler's shoes in place of physical vomit anyway. And then he stole his drink, how adorably pathetic. Lucas must've been a crying drunk and Tyler had absolutely no patience for those even when he liked them, let alone when he didn't. Plus, he'd just made the very fatal mistake Tyler had just warned him about; he was squirming up a storm in full view of his enemies ('enemies' being Sir Tyler Morris, of course).

"You have got to be the biggest lightweight I have ever met in my-" Tyler started, only to be cut off by the light of the prince's sigil. They were gonna do this here, huh? They'd have space enough for three fights in the span of time it would take security to break them up if Lucas really wanted to accelerate, which was a blessing for Tyler's spiteful side as much as it was a curse for his responsible one.

Tyler shot a hand forward to stuff Lucas' head down preemptively, though he paused just short of jabbing the prince right in his eye when his head lulled around to settle an absent stare back at the Templar. Had he just fallen asleep? Took a power nap in frozen time? Ah, hell, he was talking in his sleep. Tyler paid it no mind until the mana around them bore down on him, eliciting a sharp wince on his part. That was certainly a trick Theo had never done. He should've hit the fucker when he had the chance.

Though, Lucas seemed to be suffering from his own spell even worse than Tyler was. Which... meant it might not be his own spell - were they under attack? Tyler clenched his jaw as tightly as he could and craned his neck around vigilantly despite the metaphrical knife digging itself through his ribcage, only for the assault to suddenly cease. Lucas shot up and promptly almost doubled over, though Tyler made no move to catch him, instead turning to face- Prince Ezekiel. Not the mystery assailant he'd been expecting.

Lucas brushed off the event in stride and promptly vacated the area like a fucking idiot. Hardly a few hours into this appointment and Lucas was already trying to get himself killed. Tyler almost followed him until Ezekiel spoke again, to which he barely suppressed his annoyed sigh. Quite frankly, there were very few members of the royal family Tyler wouldn't tell to blow it out their ass at this point, especially since he doubted they had a particularly high opinion of him to begin with, but he couldn't make an enemy of Lucas' father quite so soon.

A pleasure indeed.

"The pleasure is all mine, Your Highness," Tyler lied in turn, "Though I'll be reserving any pleasure in my reappointment until after every one of Theodore's murderers has been scoured from this planet." What did Tyler have to be pleased about? His Scion was insufferable, his status had arguably gotten worse rather than better, and now he was party to strange psychic attacks.

"And speaking of my position, I should attend my Scion before he ends up passed out on a bathroom floor like the common rabble. By your leave, we'll have to continue this chat at another time." Tyler dutifully bowed his head at that and waited to be dismissed, though his courtesy wore thin.

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by OwO
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@Stern Algorithm

Hollyhock had been approached by Sara. Unlike Sara's usual ward, Hollyhock didn't immediately engage in scorn and contempt. Rather, the first thing Hollyhock's eyes went to was the plate of food that Sara had been meticulously building. It was full of simpler foods that had less oil, butter, and seasoning. Hollyhock approved. It was a good plating. Someone like Theo would have probably filled his plate with rice, chicken, and broccoli that had all been boiled together.

"I enjoy it about as much as I can. People outside the church seldom approach a Scion wearing a veil. I just honour the push and pull and have my fill."

Hollyhock grabbed a small bowl of pasta and placed it on her plate.

"Jannick does a good job even when I give him the slip. Once he bites into something, he never lets go. Like a uh... honey badger." Hollyhock mused. The man wasn't quite a wolf. She moved her head a little while she digested Sara's comments about Theo.

"If I may offer a little sage advice: sometimes, people need to be protected from themselves. War makes a man's body strangle his soul."

She paused for a moment to gauge Sara's response. It was quite a long pause considering that Hollyhock spent that moment to shovel some Pasta Reggiano into her mouth.

"That line was from Ophelia. From the part where her father was sending her off to her arranged marriage to the mad duke. Though I suppose it's not a great source of advice. That the play was a tragedy, after all. What would I know?"

Her head turned to the noise of glass shattering. In the distance, it had appeared a servant had collided with someone. She watched as Caralynn admonished the servant. Hollyhock's mixture of smug smiles and breezy glances had been replaced by a grimace. Really, making a scene about that kind of thing was something awful. You just become the centre of attention in a negative way.

"Though I do suppose Jannick's presence at my side would defend me from that awful wench."
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony sea wench

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To Jannick’s chagrin, the night was not passing as quickly as he’d hoped. It started off fine, his conversation lively, his partners interesting and interested enough, and a little champagne helping to lubricate things never hurt, but as the night wore on, the clock seemed to grind to a halt. The polite giggling of the ladies gradually went from cute to grating, he was pretty sure the band was playing the same dull, droning string arrangement on a loop, and Jannick was starting to get a little tired of polite insistence that his stories really were so interesting.

All of a sudden, he jumped at the sound of crashing glass, jerking sharply from his lacklustre conversation with one hand on his holster as he searched for the source of the noise. Not that he should have expected much, but it turned out to be nothing; just a waitress who dropped some glassware and pissed off one of the nobles. Jannick took a breath, playing off his reflex to grab his sidearm by adjusting his uniform jacket as he watched Sir Edmund come to the fair lady’s rescue; apparently everything from his past to his outfit was old-fashioned. Jannick himself would have been content to let the janitor - or scullery maid or whatever rich people have - take care of it, but he supposed he couldn’t fault the guy for being nice.

Maybe he was just on edge. A cigarette sounded good; these girls were pretty but boring, and the single flute of champagne that had barely touched him to begin with had certainly worn off by now, as had the couple of smokes he’d had on the way over. Maybe whoever was keeping watch outside would be more interesting to chat with.

After politely excusing himself, Jannick began making his way out, but not before checking in with his charge. Despite wandering off, he wasn’t a total latchkey Templar; he’d been keeping track of Holly somewhere in the back of his mind, and even better, at an event like this he always knew where he’d find her: hovering around the snack bar.

With company, apparently. “Evening, Dame Sss…” Jannick began to greet the accompanying Templar, realizing too late that he forgot her name. Sasha? Sierra? No… Oh! Sssara. pardon me; strong drinks,” he excused, gesturing at his head and rolling his eyes before turning quickly to his Scion.

“Everything good over here, Your Holiness?” he asked Hollyhock, his decorum betrayed by his casual - or more aptly, antsy - demeanour. “Figured I’d check in, but I’d hate to interrupt.” He cast a token smile to Sara, although the pleading look in his eye and the way he thumbed the cigarettes in his pants pocket made clear his true motive.

Hidden 3 mos ago 30 days ago Post by Hero
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Ezekiel watched Tyler, ambivalent to his words for the most part. He didn’t dismiss him right away, though his eyes did flicker towards the door Theodore had hurried to. He made a noise of affirmation and looked back at the party, ultimately deciding that Tyler’s priorities were in the right place.

“I hope your previous experience will help you wrangle your new charge. He’s about as foolish as they get–you have my sympathy,” He stated dryly. “A word to the wise, however: once you’ve come to the castle, you should dismiss any notion of vengeance. The prince is to remain at Estora Castle until he’s cleaned up his act.”

He gave Tyler a small wave of dismissal as he turned to leave, though he added before he departed, “If he’s on the floor, leave him there. Goddess knows that’d be the least embarrassing outcome of the night.”

Tyler had to hold himself back from scoffing. Dismiss any notion of vengeance? He was the sword of Theodore Estora the Ninth, now and forevermore; his present assignment didn’t change that, nor did it change his priorities. The fact that Lucas was evidently on house arrest was a curious development, but given his temperament, it certainly made sense in hindsight.

Either way, Ezekiel was gone, and Tyler was free to seek out his charge, preferably with some answers waiting for him upon his arrival.

Lucas was at one of the sinks closest to the stalls, vigorously brushing his teeth and looking annoyed. He actually felt a lot better now that everything was said and done, but he still felt a little weak. He debated on whether to retire while he could still walk or to tough it out, but he couldn’t ignore the problem any longer. If these visions kept escalating they were going to end up crippling him. Or worse, he’d end up with mana poisoning. And then what?

He was brought out of his thoughts by the bathroom attendant’s look in the mirror. “Should I call for someone, Your Highness?” The man asked him as Lucas gargled some water.

Lucas nearly spat on the attendant, throwing him a glare. Did he look like he wanted anyone seeing him like this? He ended up spitting in the sink, shaking his head. “You’re not going to tell me I’m the first guest to blow chunks in this shit place. I remember Giles’ little shindig after passing some green initiative–if you didn’t see Duke Stern holding onto the toilet for dear life or Duchess Enderton blowing some guy in a stall here, then you must be new,” He went on his mini-rant, pushing the toothbrush and paste aside before splashing some water on his face.

Tyler threw open the door to the bathroom and scanned the room with practiced vigilance. No mages throwing a hex down upon Lucas, at least, nor tedious onlookers save for the sole attendant.

“You. Out.” Tyler ordered, pointing at the attendant and then the door in succession. His tone left little room for debate, though he approached with full intent to toss the man out by force if necessary.

The attendant bowed his head at the order and made to leave, only stopping in place when he caught Lucas’ glare. “Ignore him, I need a comb and towel,” The prince stated before he continued to scrub his face.

Tyler sighed. “You’re not getting any prettier, Your Highness, nor are you getting out of this conversation. Give it up.” He turned back to shoo the man away again. “I’d hate to have to remove such a dutiful worker myself over your stubbornness.”

The man stiffened considerably at Tyler’s statement, and with another bow, speeded out of the bathroom, making sure to take a wide path to avoid the pair. Lucas looked up from the sink, unamused.

“Chicken shit coward,” He muttered, wiping off any dripping water from his chin before running his hands through his hair. He did, however, glance at Tyler through the mirror. “What, that you’re not even going to let me shit in peace for the rest of my life? I’ll live somehow.”

Tyler didn’t even bother to feign a smile, and instead approached to grasp for Lucas’ shoulder and physically turn him around. “I’m not interested in the size of your logs, idiot, I wanna know what just happened back there. You don’t seem too worried, so I have to assume you know something I don’t.”

Lucas outright rolled his eyes, albeit he didn’t appreciate Tyler touching him. “Getting doubled over after a prophecy’s just the norm for me now. Would’ve been nice if I had seen anything, but it’s just flashes again,” He replied, albeit he was more annoyed at himself as he talked about it. His hand absentmindedly touched his throat as he scowled. “Didn’t think you were the caring type.”

“It’s quite literally in my job description,” Tyler spat, not too happy about it himself, “I thought we were under attack.”

Lucas opened his mouth to shoot back, but stopped, eyebrows shooting up in sincere surprise. “...’we’...?” He uttered in shock. “What do you mean ‘we’? That’s–wait.”

He looked around the bathroom for a moment, taking a few steps towards the empty wall and placing his hand on it. His sigil appeared on his forehead once again as he recited, “Nemo audiat,” and a light blue ripple emanated from his hand, covering each wall and lightly fading away. Any noise that could have gotten through sounded much more muted than before. Once he was finished, he stepped back and turned to Tyler again.

“It’s not an attack. Or I hope it isn’t, at least,” Lucas admitted. He didn’t say anything else for a moment, thinking to himself. Eventually, he continued. “I’ll tell you if you don’t go running off to Marge about it. I don’t want to get hounded and prodded by Goddess knows what.”

Tyler narrowed his eyes incredulously as Lucas tried to explain. This idiot didn’t even know he was spilling his magic into anything nearby. Or maybe it was some facet of the Scion-Templar blessing that did it, given Ezekiel seemed none the wiser that something less than mundane had occurred. Theo’s impotent ineptitude was a blessing compared to whatever that was.

“Yeah, we, your little display hit me too. And you’re about to be hounded and prodded by yours truly if you don’t get to the point.” The fact that he was worried Tyler would immediately tattle to the Church told him that the prince was definitely doing something irresponsible with his magic, though he had no idea why, given it seemed to wreak havoc on his body.

“I’m not fucking around,” Lucas snapped. “I need you to serve me, not the Church. If any of them got wind of it, I’d end up imprisoned or under house arrest or shipped off to Doumerc for them to study or–” He caught himself before he got too frantic, pinching the bridge of his nose, but he eventually dropped his hand.

“I need to know you’re on my side,” He finished.

Tyler was under suspicion of serving the Church too well? Could he get that in writing? A social media post maybe? Theodore might’ve been wrapped around his little finger for reasons Tyler still didn’t understand, but that certainly wasn’t at the Church’s behest. Though he had to admit, the prince’s doomsaying piqued his interest. Making himself vomit was that juicy, huh?

“Your father gave me the impression you already are under house arrest, but I digress,” Tyler mused dismissively, “Fine, I’ll bite, shall I genuflect for my accolade now or will you accept that I have very little reason to kiss up to the High Cardinal?”

Lucas let out a very long sigh at the news, but didn’t seem all too surprised at it. He clearly wanted to comment on it, but figured he’d focus on the more urgent matter. Instead, he turned back to the mirror, placing the tip of his finger on the surface. The Holy Sigil appeared with its usual coloring, but there was what appeared to be lettering surrounding it. It expanded as Lucas pushed his hand through the surface, and he pulled out what looked like an extremely old tome. He opened it as carefully as he could once the sigil disappeared from the mirror and reappeared on the cover, and his fingers tapped the first page.

“I’m not sure if Theo ever showed you this–he wasn’t supposed to, if he did. I’m not really even supposed to, either, but whatever,” Lucas shook his head as his eyes looked for something specific. “The Scion of Time works a little differently than the others. We’re bound to stricter rules due to our ability to see the future, and the strongest of Time Scions have been able to outright reverse time, allegedly. As such, there’s an edict called the Order of Finality–it’s basically an ironclad rule that tells the Time Scion that they can’t do anything to alter the future no matter what they see. If castles crumble, it shouldn’t be stopped. If people die, you can’t try to prevent it. Going against the Goddess’ plan is…well, blasphemy or whatever.”

He tapped the pages, the words lighting up. “I’ve violated the edict. Several times, apparently–anytime there’s a violation, this book records it,” He carefully flipped it towards the end of the book, shaking his head. “And it wasn’t until this morning that I understood why. I’m not supposed to be the Scion of Time.”

No, Theo had never shown Tyler the magic mirror book, surely because he had the good sense to know any dusty old tome shoved in Tyler’s face would be shoved right back out of it. The explanation that accompanied it didn’t do much to assuage that urge. What a stupid idea, to neuter the gift of foresight so egregiously. Did any of them happen to note that the Goddess’ plan also conveniently included said vision being witnessed in the first place?

He shook his head; theological gripes aside, he didn’t see what that had to do with anything. How exactly did that tie into magic headaches with fucking area of effect damage?

“Seems a bit moot to swear me to secrecy when there’s a magic book that’ll tattle on you anyway. Don’t suppose you can burn the thing and be done with it,” Tyler muttered, only half-joking, “How exactly did you violate a law that’s only applied to you for a week? Did you foresee pancakes for breakfast and eat bacon instead?”

Lucas stared at Tyler for a moment, closing his eyes to resist rolling them again. “The book tattles when the Scion goes out of their way to change the future. They can warn people about natural disasters, I guess–that’s what a lot of my predecessors did–but otherwise I don’t know. My assumption is that it’s something that alters the future or something, but who the fuck knows how you’re supposed to judge that.”

He paused. “There’s some other things, but I think I’ve already lost you,” He shrugged. “I’ve been a magic user since I was a child, but once I became a Scion, my mana’s been going haywire. That’s that ‘attack’ you experienced. Granted, I didn’t think it’d affect other people,” He let his mind wander for a second as he tried to remember something. “Arthur didn’t react, nor did the butler who was around. I wonder if it’s because you’re a Templar, or if it’s because of the blessing…no one’s seemed to notice otherwise, so I can’t be entirely sure about it.”

He trailed off, letting himself think. After a moment, he gave Tyler a deadpan expression as he snapped the book shut. “You’re awfully nonchalant considering I just told you I’m using magic that isn’t meant to be mine,” He commented as he put the book down for the moment. “...at least, that’s how I’ve felt since that day. And then, this morning, I saw Theo with Rosemary speaking with the Shadow guy, K something.”

A weary expression crossed Tyler’s face as Lucas concluded his explanation. “I mean this in the least disrespectful way I can - no one on this planet knows that magic shouldn’t belong to you better than me.” Rather than hang his head as he wanted to, he sucked in a breath and straightened his posture. “And what do you mean you ‘saw Theo’? I doubt you meant to taunt me with the fat one, and he was talking to the Commander anyway.”

Lucas tilted his head as he understood the lack of reaction. Right, right, he needed to be clearer. “Anytime I mention ‘Theo’ it can and will always be the superior one–Theodore Estora,” He decided to get that out of the way first and foremost.

He made sure to place the book down first before he crossed his arms. “That room we were gathered in was supposed to just be a waiting room with no blessing taking place while they did whatever church stuff they did with the Templars’ crystals. All the Scions and Templars were gathered around and talking after that one chick brought her cookies in. I saw Theodore elbow you and motion towards the cookies, you left him, and the Shadow Scion approached Theo and they spoke about some book or whatever. Rosemary was running around, and Theo stopped and picked her up the same way I did,” He explained. “Basically…Theo was in my place in the vision, interacting with the same people.”

The prince made sure Tyler was paying close attention to him. “When I say I’m not supposed to be the Scion of Time, I mean that in the literal sense. Theodore is meant to be alive here and now, and I’m not guilt tripping or being wistful–I’ve taken his place.”

Tyler stared in Lucas’ general direction. Ordinarily, this would’ve been called looking at him, but Tyler wasn’t. The templar’s gaze peered through Lucas, as if he was hiding a lie on the inside of his skull and Tyler could rip it out with only his eyes. His failure was a literal divine comedy, a blemish so catastrophic that the Mother Herself refused to acknowledge it. Tyler could’ve laughed. A weaker Tyler would’ve cried. He did neither.

In that instant, he hated the Scion standing before him, viscerally and truly. What use was the sanctity of his soul when it had been sullied so thoroughly already? He could despise the man without regret or guilt. Then he paused, and the feeling was gone. His eyes slipped shut for a few moments as Tyler fought for his composure, then he reopened them as he spoke. With any luck, there was an opportunity here.

“So your very existence is a violation, is that it? Which means Theo’s death was a violation, which means the perpetrator is recorded, right?”

Lucas frowned at Tyler, though he didn’t respond to his change of demeanor. Instead, he tapped a line, the words glowing in the book.

“It’s not here,” He replied. “What is here is that Theo drove to Serenity Springs alone. I agree with your line of thought, but I have a different conclusion.”

He didn’t bother pausing, but he was a touch hesitant before he stated, “I think–with absolutely no proof–he’s alive.”

Tyler wanted to smack him. This was the exact brand of copium that he thought they’d all moved past months ago, and he didn’t need it thrown back in his face just so he could swallow another bitter draught of reality.

“The blessing faded. I felt it. You’re the Scion of Time. There’s nothing else to discuss,” he snarled, perhaps unduly harsh. What bothered him more was the specifics of the record. Theo wasn’t supposed to go alone. That meant he’d foreseen himself in the car with someone else and decided not to allow that for some asinine reason, otherwise it wouldn’t have been a violation.


“But you won’t need to speculate - I will kill every last person involved before the Goddess takes me. Pry the answers from their lips when I do, if you still have the stomach left to dream.”

Tyler’s response caused Lucas to look away, his gaze elsewhere. “Right,” He replied quietly. He then let silence fill the room, the only sound he made was closing the book and returning it to his rightful place. Taking in a deep breath, he turned back to the mirror, fingers dragging his bangs down into something still messy, but more to his satisfaction.

“That’s the long version of why that ‘attack’ happened. I don’t know when it’ll happen again or if you’ll keep getting affected,” He stated. “...whatever the case may be, I’m not planning on sitting around. Once the New Year passes, I’m going to Doumerc. Fyodor is still looking into things quietly, and he’s got someone at one of the academies looking into the circumstances around Theodore’s vehicle.”

He straightened up, shrugging at his reflection. “I hope you’re good at climbing out of windows. If Father wants to put me on house arrest, we’re going to have to sneak out,” He said, eyes on Tyler at last.

The mention of Fyodor broke Tyler from his quiet sulking. That old bastard was good for something after all, and he hadn’t told Tyler a thing. Probably because he knew exactly where Tyler would be the moment he learned, but he could hold it against the man for a bit anyway.

At the mention of Lucas’ plan to break curfew, Tyler merely offered a sly grin. “You forget who you’re talking to, Your Highness - and who you are. I could strip the man down to his underpants before he even noticed I’d entered the room if I felt like it.” How delightfully middle school.

Lucas looked back at his own reflection for a moment, slowly nodding. He pushed himself away from the sink and stood straight. He looked like he wanted to say something else, but decided against it. “Good. Then we’re in agreement,” He said as he pulled out his phone, noticing the time. “We’ll leave after the countdown to the new year, I don’t feel like shit anymore so you won’t have to drag me back after all.”

“Glad I could be of service,” Tyler muttered. He’d been given a lot of information, and none of it felt worthwhile to linger on yet all of it felt relevant. Ultimately, it didn’t mean anything. He and Lucas were in accord, in motive if not in personality, and that was enough for him. If he couldn’t move heaven and earth for Theodore anymore, the least he could do was move the royal family and put up with a moody brat to avenge him.

“Will you be returning to the party now?” he asked with little expectancy in his tone, as if the prospect of watching the countdown on his phone over a urinal was equally enticing.

“Tragically so, someone said I wasn’t pretty so I need to go make myself feel better by standing against the wall doing nothing and have people flock to me,” Lucas replied, regaining some of his previous energy–he hadn’t realized just how tired all of this was leaving him. He wasn’t entirely serious, but he didn’t doubt it wouldn’t happen since he had a tendency to draw eyes to him whether he wanted it or not. “Think I’ll grab a drink or two on the way,” He muttered to himself, motioning for Tyler to follow him as he walked to the door. He only stopped briefly to dispel the magic he previously had on the walls, allowing sound once again to leave and enter before pushing the door open and walking out.

The young woman watched Edmund warily, listening quietly to his words as she focused on picking up the smaller pieces. She hesitated for a moment as she noticed Edmund's cut, frowning to herself. She followed suit as Edmund stood, pausing again as the lights flickered. "I wish someone had told me that a long time ago," She admitted quietly, though Edmund would certainly catch it. She looked up to the ceiling as the lights flickered once again and took off her white gloves. Letting them fall to the ground, she replaced them with a black pair, the seams glowing a faint light blue as she pulled them on.

Raising one hand, she snapped her fingers, and the lights finally gave out and plunged the room into darkness. Everyone was confused, but remained in place, with some insisting that there was no way Giles didn't have a backup generator. The instance was treated as more of an annoyance than anything, but the entire room came to a halt as dark shadows began to cover the multitude of windows. They disappeared as they all shattered at once, a multitude of soldiers clad in masks and red cloaks threw themselves into the ballroom. It took all of two seconds before a panic ensued as the masses began to move. Security made an attempt to descend onto their charges, stopped by the soldiers as more of them poured in. Any attempt at organization was gone as people hastily tried to save themselves, screams ascending as bullets started getting fired.

Sonia couldn't believe what she was seeing--or what she wasn't. Rosemary woke up at the commotion and leapt out of her seat, holding a tiny hand up to the ceiling and squeezing her eyes shut as the holy sigil on her cheek glowed. With a great amount of effort, a giant orb of light hung above, illuminating their part of the ballroom. Guards immediately encircled them to protect the king, though the soldiers closed in quickly. Sonia recognized their movement as she realized their efforts were concentrated into trying to overcome the guards surrounding her and Rosemary instead of the ones protecting the king.

One slipped past, weapon at his side as his hand reached for Rosemary. To his shock, the little girl disappeared before his eyes, and he never got the chance to wonder as a pillar of mana pierced out of his chest. He was casually tossed aside as Sonia beckoned the next one, finding delight as he raised his gun at her. A flash of light was the only thing seen as Sonia moved in the blink of an eye, driving her mana sword into his arm and twisting it downward. She ignored his scream as she looked around, a comatose thrill reawakened in her.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were targeting my princess," Sonia said out loud, barely containing her grin. "Now, is it just her, or are you targeting the other Scions, too?"

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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Obscene Symphony sea wench

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While it was a chore for some and an anxious obligation for others, for Maya a gathering like this was a prime opportunity. This many relevant people in one place was an almost never event - in this case, literally once in a thousand years - and she was making the most of it. It was no wonder Edmund lost track of her; while some of her contemporaries spent their evening huddled in corners or stuffing their faces, Maya spent the night dancing around the room like a butterfly on the wind, touching just down long enough to share warm pleasantries, some earnest small talk, and (if she played her cards right) a picture or two before taking off again. She spent the entire evening that way, hobnobbing with figures from royalty, government, and even a few of the Scions she hadn’t met earlier in the night.

Erica Bachmeier, Scion Rosemary’s older sister and one of the Estoran Princes’ wives, was a doll who had warmly received her and insisted that Maya guess her baby’s gender (it was a boy); Maya’s followers would love those photos, although she’d been sworn to secrecy regarding the baby. Of course, she would obey: Maya wasn’t much for bonds of honour, but she was even less for getting on the royals’ bad side. That being said, Princess Belle of I’m-Better-Than-Yous-Burg had come over to exchange some veiled insults, the two young Scions trading disguised blows over lipsticked smiles for a few minutes before parting ways equally frustrated. Marchioness Lucienne made some wise cracks after that, something about the follies of youth, which Maya entertained only because she didn’t want her cutting clapback to be the last thing the old crone heard before she took a heart attack in the limo tonight or some other crap she’d have to hear about on the news in the morning.

Maya had a large social appetite, but even she was starting to fade. At long last she decided to take a breather, finding an empty chair at a table and sinking gratefully into it, draping the black fur stole that had been adorning her arms around the back of her chair. She flagged down a passing servant.

“Sparkling water please, with lime if you have it,” she smiled sweetly at the man as he bowed, the universal high society sign of ‘thank you, now get out of my sight,’ and promptly turned her attention to her smartphone, fanning through the photos she’d taken so far.

The servant didn’t return before a sudden flicker in the lights made her blink, and at first, Maya thought nothing of it. But it was followed by a second, and a third, and before Maya had the chance to wonder how Giles managed to find the only corner of Veradis backwoods enough to have power bumps, the lights went out completely.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake…” she hissed, her expression of deep contempt illuminated by the cool glow of her phone screen. The room reflected her mood, a low and displeased murmur rising from the crowd until the sound of breaking glass turned everyone’s grumbling into screaming.

Maya’s heart jumped into her throat, and she jumped out of her chair reflexively, wide eyes prying into the darkness as she pawed with shaking hands at her phone, trying to turn the flashlight on. For a moment, there was nothing around her but inky blackness, and all she could see were the vague shapes of figures that moved into the glow of her screen, jostling against her as they stampeded through the dark. Then, somewhere nearby a light appeared, dimly illuminating the area just in time for Maya to come face to face with a hulking masked figure lunging toward her.

Maya screamed, ducking backwards; she kicked her chair as she did so, hoping to slow the figure’s advance, but when she turned, another blocked her path, catching her arm with a painful grip. Panic seized her; images of men with guns on the Larme flashed before her eyes, and she squeezed them shut. She held her breath, hands balled into fists, and her Holy Sigil flashed over her eyelids; in an instant, her feet left the ground, and she heard a male voice yell in surprise as they all suddenly hurtled straight up.

Maya gasped, and her eyes flew wide as she fell, managing to right herself just before she hit the ceiling. It wasn’t a good landing; she yelped as her ankle crunched painfully on impact, and again as her chair came hurtling down - up? - on top of her, missing her by mere inches and shattering into splinters beside her.

It took a moment for Maya to get her bearings, stuck on her knees with her ankle crushed beneath her. It was darker than it was on the floor, but she had landed upright - or rather, upside-down - on the vaulted ceiling, its ornate molding forming uneven footing at least three storeys above the chaos of the ballroom. The darkened chandeliers formed a sparse forest of golden trees around her, casting misshapen shadows across the disorienting curves and of her ornate ceiling-floor.

But she wasn’t alone. There wasn’t the collateral damage of the Larme Incident this time, but she’d brought a few hitchhikers with her, the masked men chasing her down. Maya fared a bit better than her assailants: the one that caught her by the arm landed on his head and served to cushion some of her own impact, and with his neck bent at that severe of an angle, he wouldn’t be a threat any longer. The other one landed on his side, a dark mass crumpled atop one of the curves of the ceiling. At first, Maya thought she might be safe, but after a moment, he started to stir.

Behind her, Maya whirled around to a chinking noise, and saw what looked like a grappling hook latch on to a chandelier.

A desperate shriek rang out through the darkness, audible even above the chaos of the ballroom. “Edmuuuund!!”

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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Mcmolly
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Mcmolly D-List Cryptid

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It wasn’t a great start, having her hand crushed in the soldier-Scion’s grip, but she wouldn’t have survived the embarrassment of wincing or pulling away or, Incepta-forbid, saying ow. So she grinned and bore it, and a good thing too. Theobald didn’t soften in the slightest, he had a face carved from stone that she guessed only cracked with emotions like rage, or gleeful bloodlust. Dragomir had been the same way for most of her life; maybe it was a hollowing, or pride, or perhaps it was just the way of soldiers.

But she didn’t miss the honesty in his answer, or the miniscule lilt in his words. “What do you think would be easier? Teaching a solider to dance, or a dancer to fight?

She didn’t expect an answer, really, and when he asked after her stunt at the ceremony, she couldn’t help preening just a bit. “Oh, super, yeah. Everyone’s so nice! I mean, everyone I met, anyway. Guess I’ve gotta bake up another excuse to touch base with the rest, huh? Oh speaking of, do you like—

Ionna blinked. Her skin prickled like she was standing next to a cold window, and for a moment she swore her vision tinted blue. Arcane instinct pulled her head, and then her attention, towards the Scion of Time as he steadied himself against the wall. Worry struck her, then confusion. Her father had a saying about coincidences—there weren’t any—but she didn’t have the expertise to put together why she thought the prince was connected to her little…glitch. Anyway, he was off in a huff moments later, and Ionna realized she had rudely left her conversation with Theobald mid-sentence.

Sorry,” she said, snapping her focus back to the former commander. “But, yeah—cookies. So are you more of a snickerdoodle man, or—?

The lights flickered, and this time it wasn’t a trick of the mind. That was weird, right? A place like this might have been important enough to have its own grid, or at least layers of contingencies to keep the power steady. But they flickered again, and again, and just as she made to remark on it, they went out altogether.

She got another, different chill then. When the windows shattered, hers was among the first screams of surprise—she’d never been any good with horror. But she wasn’t a kid anymore, watching from under a blanket. The panic made her acutely alert, which was good because otherwise she might not have seen the figure rushing her with a blade. She slapped their hand on a reflex, sending the weapon clattering to the ground, and for a moment just stood there, staring. The figure reached for a backup on their belt.

Now, hold on. You wait a second, mister.

Manalight burst to life along the blade’s edge, and they swung again for Ionna’s head. Time wasn’t her domain, but all the same, she felt it slow for her now as it often did in her duels. No time to deploy her own blade, and dodging now might put Theobald in the way, or put her in worse positioning. Like with most things, she chose to trust her gut first, and then figure out why later. Her arm came up—her real arm—to block the blade’s path, and before she could lament her own idiocy, she remembered that her armor was manawoven. With as much thought as one gave to their own heartbeat, she channeled mana from not only her armor, but also her own pool, into her gauntlet just as the blade hit—and stuck.

An inch of edge dug into the arcane metal, but stopped there. She took a strong stance, pushed to keep the rest of the blade away from her face, and then wrenched her arm aside, tearing the sword from the assailant’s hand for the second time. Despite the mask, she thought she could see the bafflement on his face, briefly, before she slammed her metal hand into it. The material cracked, the lights in the eyeholes buzzed out, and he fell to the ground groaning.

Stay down, please!” she snapped, as her focus redistributed her mana and her armor reformed. The mana blade fizzled out and fell to the ground.

There wasn’t time to gloat, more figures approached, and a terrible worry gripped her. Dom. Ionna scanned the dark in vain, but it was useless. Rosemary’s light didn’t reach the whole ballroom, and everything else was a mass of shadowy panic. She cast a glance back at Theobald, and the attackers approaching them, and grit her teeth.

He was a fighter, Dom was a dancer. Dragomir would call it triage, but Ionna still felt guilty leaving him on his own. She slipped back towards the old soldier, metal arm snatching one of the figures by the neck. With more strength than befit her, she hefted them up into the air, then slammed them onto their back. They shouted, writhed, but didn’t get back up.

I have to find Dom!” she shouted to Theobald. She hoped he would understand.

Ionna left him then, dashing towards the ballroom’s bulk. She leapt up onto one of the tables, hoping the higher vantage would help her spot her Scion.

Dom!” she shouted into the dark. “Dom where are you!

@Xiro Zean@Abstract Proxy
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Raijinslayer
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Raijinslayer .

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addressing:Bianca, Soldiers@Hero

Justinian had thought that spiting on the Prince with his gift would make him feel at least a little less awful or moody—some brief catharsis to get him through the rest of today. Sadly, while he managed to put on a good enough showing during the procession, whenever a noble or businessman came to greet him during the party, the young Scion felt barely any better. If anything, the outburst made him feel worse as he looked back on it. As much as Lucas was an unsufferable shit, he had known Theo far longer than Justinian had. Throwing it in the Prince's face was the height of selfish entitlement, no matter what Justinian thought about the man's conduct.

And so, the scion was making his best impression of a wallflower with Bianca at his side, taking a sip of wine every so often, and debating on when would be a good time to leave and go home. At least then he could sulk in peace without having to put up a front. He watched the rest of the ballroom with some disinterest. People were chatting, the royals were fussing over the king, and business was as usual. The new scion of Time seemed to make a quick exit, but Justinian was done worrying about the man for now. Probably forever, if he could help it. An apology would not be welcome nor be fully genuine, and whatever his misgivings about his own behavior, Lucas was still an asshole of a high caliber. If they never had to speak to each other after this moment, all the better.

It wasn't until the lights started to flicker that he felt it. A prickling dread spread from his chest down to his arms, born from delving into dark caves alone, where the beasts of nightmares often tread. Something was coming—something bad. He could feel it. As the second flicker came, he turned to Bianca.

"We need to start moving people out of here." His voice almost cracked at the urgency in his tone, finger clenched as the lights flickered for the third time. In his mind, he could feel the door straining behind him. The splintering crack of wood and rock being crushed behind a creature of enomous strength. On instinct, he spread his senses through the earth, feeling the vibrations that resonated through the whole of the mansion."Something bad is goi- HIT THE DECK!!"

His outburst came as the lights went out, causing some of the guests nearby to look at him in confusion. Then the soliders came through in a barrage of gunfire and broken glass, throwing the entire ballroom into turmoil. The Scion of Earth, however, burst into action. Amber mana spread through the marble flooring around him before it burst upward into a circular wall around him and the guests nearby. Reinforced by magic, it proved capable enough of resisting the barrage of gunfire that smacked into it soon after. However, through his vibrosenses, Justinian could see that the rest of the ballroom was not so lucky. There were so many soliders flowing into the room, people heading every which way in terror, and even more seemed to be coming by the second. The smart thing to do, he knew, was to stay put with his Templar and try to stay safe. But all Justinian could see in his mind was that thrice-damned door.

"Bianca, don't stop me."

Justinian strode forward into the wall, which cracked, bent, and shifted around his frame. The amber energy reshaped and catalyzed around the marble armor he formed, giving it a crystaline shine as the Scion of Earth approached his aggressors, Incepta's blessed sigl burning with great intensity upon his chest. His would-be captors, recognizing their target, moved forward as one, believing in their armor, their numbers, and the cover of the dark to aid them. 5 soldiers, Bianca as backup, and guests in the marble barricade to protect. He had to handle this quickly, then go help the others. He could already hear Maya calling out for Edmund as a bunch of guests and enemies were sent hurtling to the ceiling. He wasn't losing anyone else.

Not. Again.

Dropping into a low stance, Justinian made two motions. Lifting his arm up caused the marble to rise up around the solider's feet, clamping down with a vice-like grip that stopped them all in their tracks. They barely had time to react before the second motion—a practiced twist of the hand that he had done countless times before. It was a tactic he had used time and again on his monster hunts, taking advantage of the fact that most beings need their footing in order to move effectively. The sickening snap of bones that followed soon after was not something he was used to hearing this close, nor were the cries of agony that followed as his assailants fell to the ground. Bile rose in his throat, but he fought it back as he made another gesture to raise the marble up around the fallen soldier's hands and necks like shackles, keeping them tied to the ground.

He didn't waste time checking to see if Bianca was following behind as he quickly moved to engage the next group of soliders, another amber-infused gesture causing several marble tiles to rise up behind him, cracking and splintering into a barrage of hardened projectiles that he would send flying towards any enemy he could see, aiming mainly to disable arms and legs through targeted attacks to the joints. The creeping bile at the sounds they made when his blows struck home was fought back as he focused on the task at hand. He could deal with that later, but he had a job to do now. When he had a chance, he would raise makeshift barriers to try and protect any of the panicked guests he could, trying to cover their escape while cursing the fact that his access to Earth was so limited.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Xiro Zean
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Xiro Zean Redundant Writer of Redundantness

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Interacting with | @Hero as Some Poor Saps | @Mcmolly as Ionna | @Stern Algorithm as Sara

If there was something he could respect in a person, it was when they toughed it out through pain they could clearly feel. So when the redhead asked Theobald a rather innocuous, shoot-the-breeze question about whether fighting or dancing was easier to teach, his thoughts returned just seconds before when she had smiled through the audible cracking of her fingers.

"To teach someone how to fight well is not simple. It takes dedication, suffering, and the right teacher." It was clear the old soldier put some thought into the Templar's throwaway inquiry, his gaze rising to watch the nobility who danced beneath the candlelight with narrowed eyes. "A child can be taught how to fight in an instant when their life is on the line, but the time and experience required to mold a good soldier from someone who only knows how to move is too long compared to teaching how to dance. Soldiers are disciplined, and the experience of fighting is not unlike dancing. It is an easy choice."

His hands balled into fists, unsatisfied with the answer he came to despite knowing it was correct. Bringing up the fact that such a peaceful era no longer needed soldiers would simply add fuel to the fire that burned constantly in his heart.

It was easier simply to listen to his new companion ramble, rather than address the feelings he held within, nodding along to show he was at the very least lending his ear. Only to notice, as the Templar had, the disturbance in the air. His hand had come down to his gunblade before he could even recognize what happened, the fake flash of blue causing the Scion to furrow his brow. Moving his gaze just a bit to the side, the crumbling Scion of Time filled his vision, the former soldier releasing a scoff before loosening his grip on his favored weapon. What was the use of power if you couldn't control it?

Not that he had any say to be thinking that.

But the moments of flickering before the darkness, unlike the strange surge of power from the newly minted Scion, were very tangible and real. With the Templar's sentence cut off yet again, the older man didn't bother warning her as the first break of a window caught his ear. The nobility, who once were merry and celebrating with lavish food and drink, became nothing but civilians. Screaming distractions that obfuscated what was real and what was fake.

Theobald closed his eyes. Listening for familiar voices beneath the cacophony, the sounds of gunfire music to his ears.


He was home again.

The flash of light that filled the room coincided with the opening of Theobald's eyes, his gunblade leaving its sheath and pointed toward the approaching shadow with their weapon glimmering from the sudden illumination. With a click of the hammer and a squeeze of the trigger, the heavy slug from his weapon caved in the would-be-assailant's chest, armor and all. In the same motion, the old soldier used the force from the blast to clash his blade against that of the assassin who attempted to sneak into the redhead's blindspot, his own unnatural strength combined with the recoil-boosted swing collapsing the unsuspecting intruder's guard and neck in a single swing. Protecting her just as she had him.

Magic or not, rusty or not, the Scion of Fire wouldn't allow himself to be caught slipping in front of his junior. She'd earned his interest within but a couple of minutes, and with how she'd been able to defeat her opponent with little to no injury, she would undoubtedly do so again in the future.

Theobald eyed the last three nearby assailants slinking in the dark, staring them down through the eye sockets of their masks with outward contempt. Slinging his gunblade up to his shoulder, the soldier held not a single ounce of worry in his body, even taking his eyes off of them to glance down at the Templar who seemed more than a bit skittish. It took him a moment to realize she was probably looking for her actual Scion.

A thought that didn't take long to come to fruition, the redhead choke-slamming one of the remaining three who attempted to approach them as she left his side. The old soldier let out a whistle of approval, seeing how to floor had cracked from the force of her blow. Speaking of, didn't he have his own Templar?

Understanding from their body language and focus on his person that the intruders were undoubtedly there for the Scions, and not attempting to take any nobles as hostages, Theobald merely kept them in his sights as he roared with a commanding voice. "Sara! Protect the Scions! If I see you fully intact when this is over and any of them are missing, I will kill you myself!"
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by webboysurf
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webboysurf Live, Laugh, Love

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In Collaboration with @Hero

"I wish someone had told me that a long time ago,"

The lights flickered as Edmund finished wiping the blood off his hand. His gaze turned back towards the servant, as he watched her pull off her white gloves. His eyes narrowed slightly as he watched her pull out black gloves and begin putting them on. When the lights flickered, the hairs on the back of his neck stuck straight up. Something was wrong here. In the flickering light, the gloves began to glow. Edmund reached under his coat, hand resting firmly on the grip of his revolver. "Whatever you're about to do... I'd recommend against it."

"Unfortunately, I don't answer to you or your Goddess," She told him. Raising one hand, she snapped her fingers, and the lights finally gave out and plunged the room into darkness. "It must feel good to wield power given to you on a whim. Not everyone is as fortunate as you are."

Edmund quickly drew his revolver with his left hand and pointed it at the spot he had last seen the stranger, though he hesitated. In the dark, and surrounded by all these people... firing off a shot in the dark was a recipe for disaster. In that moment in time, as tensions were high, Edmund instead stared directly at that spot she had stood to let his eyes adjust to the dark. More importantly, in the panic, he focused on his other senses. He still felt her presence close by. That was a good start. "You didn't do much research, if you think I was given a blessing on a whim." Edmund reached his right hand into his jacket pocket, pulling out the fist-sized crystal and slamming it into his chest, pouring in just enough mana to let the armor begin to melt and form around his body. At this point, without endangering lives... the only thing he could do is take proverbial shots in the dark. His voice rang with a metallic hollowness from inside his helmet. "Who are you? Kaudian? Come to take more Scions like you took Theodore? Or are you here for the Royal Family...?"

"You're more clever than you appear, Edmund Silvaine," She chuckled. "Estora will be crowning a new king after this year is done, but that will be a consequence of his poor health. Of course, no one will believe as much after tonight, and instead they will be pinning the blame on Kaudus and reigniting the flames of war once again." Her gloves glowed all at once, covering her body entirely in a light blue glow. As it faded, her silhouette changed. "I am Salome, daughter of Termina. And I will liberate Gaia from the false Goddess."

At that moment, the sound of shattering glass surrounded him, as soldiers stormed in. Edmund, though, stood motionless for a moment. Through no coercion of magic or force, his body felt like it weighed ten times its normal amount. Thoughts even felt forced and painful. Surely this was just another devotee of that crackpot cult he had read about in the paper... but the sincerity in her voice and the gravity with which she spoke shook him to his core. She spoke about her beliefs the same way he spoke of his... as of late, she seemed to speak with more conviction. While his muscles and mind desperately struggled to catch up, the screams and cries of the crowd felt distant to him. He felt like he was on the verge of drifting back into the same nightmare that stirred him from his slumber this morning.


Edmund was jolted into a state of lucidity, as if waking from a dream. His eyes immediately tracked up towards the location of the sound, until his eyes caught a few of Maya on the ceiling. It was hard to tell precisely what was happening... but two soldiers were clinging to the ceiling with her while a grappling hook seemed to be fired up towards her direction. He clutched the revolver close and immediately sprung into action, running towards the nearest wall. Just as he was about to run into it, he cut into a diagonal line and kicked off the ground. His holy symbol glowed through the armor on his left hand, the purple seeming to pulse along the fringes of his armor. He felt the pull of Gaia's gravity shift slightly as his feet landed on the wall, never breaking his full sprint. He ran in a diagonal line up the wall, the direction of his gravity shifting with each step from below him to above him. As he was about three quarters of the way towards the ceiling, Edmund kicked off the wall and rolled as he landed on the ceiling.

The moment Edmund felt steady with his new personal gravity, standing upside down on the ceiling of the ballroom, he sprang up and raised his revolver. He had the foresight to adjust his eyes to the dark, and hardly got a good look at the burst of light Rosemary had created. The chandeliers obscured his vision a bit, but he saw a much darker figure clinging to the ceiling and beginning to stir. Edmund broke into a run, getting within a few feet of the soldier. He stopped, lifted his revolver, and fired two shots into the back of his head. When the figure's head slammed back into the ceiling and stopped moving, Edmund turned his sight to the line of the grappling hook and Maya. He didn't have enough time to assess her situation, other than making the quick observation she wasn't moving much. As he stepped close to the now dead soldier, he felt his personal gravity seem to increase in scale. Maya, without much surprise, was keeping this area firmly rooted to the ceiling. He dismissed his personalized gravity, relying on Maya to keep him rooted to the ceiling for now.

Edmund recognized the faint mechanical whirring sound as the grappling hook's line seemed to be drawn taut. He appreciated the company. Another soldier was speeding towards Maya, and Edmund leaned over to reach towards his ankle. With a small glow from his sigil, the metal armor shifted to reveal his pant leg, and Edmund rolled it up to pull out the combat dagger strapped to his ankle. He walked over to the grappling line and cut it. The soldier, about two thirds of the way towards them at this point, seemed to float in the air for a moment. Edmund's sigil glowed as he motioned his revolver to the soldier, and the tiniest nudge of gravity sealed this soldier's fate. He plummeted the ten feet to the ceiling, unable to shift or catch himself in time before falling face first at Edmund's feet. With an uncomfortable professionalism, Edmund aimed at the upper back of the soldier at his feet and fired two shots. He proceeded to sheathe his dagger into a hilt that formed on the hip of his armor.

Edmund's eyes turned finally to Maya, after assessing that the three armored assailants in the immediate vicinity were all dead or incapacitated. One look at the way she was kneeling, and the slight twist of the ankle, gave him the information he needed. He knelt down next to his Scion, helmet hiding his calculating stare as he met Maya face to face. "Can you keep us up here a little longer? I need to find you a way out." He reached towards his chest, another miniscule exertion of mana opening a hole in the armor for Edmund to reach into another shoulder holster under his coat. He unclipped a small handgun, Maya's sidearm, from its holster and held the grip in her direction. "I was hoping you wouldn't need this tonight... but I'm going to need your help to get you out of here, Maya."

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Scribe of Thoth
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Scribe of Thoth It's Pronounced "Thot"

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Tyler kept to himself on their walk back from the bathroom. It seemed he and the prince had traded roles; Lucas wanted to grace the party with his royal presence for a bit longer and now Tyler was the one who urgently wanted to leave. Not that it would do him any good - Theodore wouldn't suddenly haunt him less once he was alone with his thoughts. As the lights flickered, he thought perhaps the Goddess had answered his pleas. A power outage would certainly put a damper on the festivities, and sure enough, moments later the lights shut off entirely. Weird that it happened in the absence of a storm, unless this was some dumb party trick manufactured by the Duke's staff. Maybe Scion Nadine got too drunk and fried the building - women could still be party animals at the ripe age of a hundred, right?

Tyler sighed and pushed open the door to the ballroom, half expecting to see some gimmick he wasn't quite in the mood for starting up. The sound of shattering glass rid him of that notion very quickly. As the first screams rang out, Tyler threw his arm back and shoved Lucas toward the wall of the adjoining hallway, behind the cover of the doorframe. His other hand fumbled in his pocket, wasting no time in slamming his crystal into his chest. The armor unfurled, sleek and elegant, unhindered by the pointless trappings of ceremony it was earlier. Gold manalights pulsed from the suit's decorations, flaring with the power of the sigil of Time.

"We're leaving. Now," he ordered back toward Lucas, only to be cut off by the sounds of the Scions screaming for their Templars over the clamour of frightened nobility. They were the targets? For animals, the Kaudians certainly did know how to make an entrance. "Scratch that, I'm going in."

The ballroom exploded with light, illuminating their attackers at last. One of them had already drawn concerningly close, doubtlessly tipped off by the flash of Tyler's armaments. Worse, he weaved to and fro between panicked civilians on his approach, meaning Tyler couldn't just shoot him and be done with it.

Poor guy.

Tyler again left one arm backward to attend (read: manhandle) his Scion as he grasped for a weapon. As his assailant lunged at him with a blade, Tyler shoved Lucas back further as the attack skimmed the trim of his forward pauldron. A torrent of mana burst forth from the device in his other hand, writhing in undulating ribbons until it stabilized into a brilliant golden blade, not quite crystallized but not entirely energy either. His attacker dodged a quick upward thrust from the newly-manifested manasaber, and responded with a few hounding blows as he very obviously tried to flank Tyler and force him into playing human shield for Lucas.

The guy was fast, Tyler would give him that, but the Templar was beyond such mundane concepts as speed. Rather than continue his incessant parrying, Tyler ignited his sigil and ducked backward to let a swing sail past his face at a laughable pace. Too laughable, he had more people to kill than this. Tyler shoved the blade along its path with his free hand, forcibly overextending the man's arm before he dug his own sword into the man's flank and then ripped it out gruesomely.

A gunshot echoed closer than the others and something whizzed past his head as the first attacker crumpled to the floor in slow motion, though spray of drywall lethargically floating past tipped him off that the projectile had missed and struck into the wall. Tyler flattened himself behind the doorframe for cover and let time speed back up to meet him before he spoke.

"If you hear a gun go off, you slow everything down immediately until you're sure it's not coming at you, got it?" Ideally, he'd vacate the prince from the premises entirely, but then he'd have to leave him unattended while he went back in for the other Scions, which was historically a bad idea, especially if these were the same people.

His Scion sufficiently chided, Tyler pulled out of his hiding spot at preternatural speed to advance on the gunman from earlier. Separating from him was a risk, but it was much easier to dodge a bullet than smack it out of the air, and he couldn't do that with Lucas directly behind him. Two more shots flew past before the man switched to a bladed weapon, as if realizing the futility of trying to shoot a man that quite literally sees it coming with time to spare.

They locked swords as a second attacker joined them for an attempted cheap shot, forcing Tyler to disengage and strafe away to try and put the gunman between himself and the other attacker. The former-gunman lunged in a repeat their earlier tactic, aiming to tie up Tyler's sword so the other could exploit their numbers advantage. To that end, he momentarily dispelled his blade, letting his opponent's sword slip through the formless wisps of residual mana before it reformed past the man's guard and sliced across his neck.

Tyler released his throttle on the flow of time as the last man came in, no longer needing to cheat on a single opponent. He had to give them credit, they fought with fanatical morale; his attacker didn't even flinch when his companion died. Also meant they probably wouldn't talk, so Tyler had no reason to be anything but lethal. He met the man swing for swing until a parry sent both their weapons careening away from their center line, and Tyler followed up with a swift front kick to knock the man into a table of refreshments before follwing up with a downward slash to cut him down properly.

"No wonder you ducked me last time," Tyler goaded to the crowd as he caught his breath, hoping to draw the attackers in and away from the fleeing civilians, "I can do this all day!"

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Stern Algorithm
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Stern Algorithm Loquacious Aggression

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Sara, Daughter of Aliya

Theobald @Xiro Zean, Hollyhock @OwO, Jannick and Maya @Obscene Symphony, Edmund @webboysurf, Tyler @Scribe of Thoth

Though Sara was not familiar with the tragedy of Ophelia, she meditated on Holly's suggestion, that maybe Sara needed to protect Theobald from himself, that war has dehumanized him. perhaps, but she doubted that the man would take such advice from someone he considered the spawn of his enemy. Holly's next statement drew Sara's gaze towards Sir Edmund and...Catherine? Sara wanted to shake her head, but she didn't want to express disapproval of a noble in front of Holly, who was a noble herself. Even though Holly herself had called Caralynn a 'wench', it wasn't Sara's station to join in on vocal criticism.

They were soon joined by Jannick, who slurred Sara's name, though this only elicited a friendly smile. If he could barely remember her name, it likely meant that the controversy of her 'origin' was even further from his mind, and for this Sara was grateful. Sara could guess from his intonation that he would rather she continue to watch over Holly and temporarily relieve him of his duties, which she was happy to do, as Holly had been nothing but pleasant. Besides, there wasn't much to do at a party besides enjoy the amenities. Though that 'complaint' soon turned to ash as chaos erupted.

As the lights dimmed and armed assailants came crashing into the room, Sara heard Theobald's order bellow above the racket. On the surface this was a conundrum; the only Scion Theobald would allow to come to harm was himself, yet he is the one Sara was charged with protecting. On the other hand, of all the cions, Sara could rely on Theobald to take care of himself, so they were of one mind. As a caretaker of an orphanage, Sara knew that when it came to wrangling children, sometimes one had to determine which children were mature enough to maintain order and watch out for themselves, and which needed particular attention. Of course, the Scions were not children (save for one) and most were more than capable of taking care of themselves, but she had to prioritize, and she trusted leaving Theobald to his own devices.

Sara turned to Jannick, a look of apology in her eyes, as watching Hollyhock for the rest of the night in his stead was no longer a possibility. "Gather at Theobald, and then at Rosemary," Sara suggested. Getting all the Scions and Templars in one place seemed the safest, especially next to the royals, who undoubtedly would have the most protection. But Theobald was the largest and easiest to spot, so the easiest to gather at. It was a classic technique as a teacher, one chaperone goes looking for missing children, while one collects and protects all that had been found.

Sara tapped the gem at her chest and allowed her armor to form around her, revealing slightly over-sized gauntlets. During her training as a knight, Sara found that she had a poor aptitude for magic and since becoming the Templar of Fire, realized that the chaotic nature of pure flames was not something she controlled easily. So she focused on perfecting and honing two spells, heat resistance, so she could weather whatever spells her Scion cast as well as resist the heat from her other spell, heat metal, a way to concentrate the destructive power of fire into a solid form that she could wield more easily. Reaching towards her waist, Sara undid a clasp to reveal that the 'belt' that she had been wearing was a length of steel chain. Sara slammed her gauntleted fists together with a loud 'clang' while initiating the heat metal spell. The temperature of her gauntlets rose rapidly as they began to glow red hot. Due to the darkness, the typical mirage-like shimmer surrounding her arms could not be seen clearly, but the heat soon transferred to the chain as well, turning it into a fiery whip.

before she plunged into the fray, Sara heard a familiar, desperate cry from above. Looking up, she saw Maya, standing on the ceiling. Fortunately, her attentive Templar responded quickly and ensured her safety for the time being. "EDMUND!" Sara called out, "Get her to Theobald!" At that moment several red-robed figures attacked, so Sara but her forearms in front of her, allowing her gauntlets to shield herself and Holly from a spray of bullets. With ferocity unexpected of a schoolteacher, Sara lunged towards the assailants, every punch leaving an unpleasant hiss and a cauterized scorch mark on a limp body. Her mind ran through the Scions. She knew approximately where Rosemary and Theobald were. She also assumed Isabella was with Rosemary. She had told Maya and Holly to rendezvous at Theobald. She could trust Justinian, as a monster slayer, to defend himself. This left Nadine, Dom, Kasper, and Lucas unaccounted for.

her head turned on instinct as one of the ballroom doors was pushed open. Expecting to see more enemies, Sara was surprised when Sir Tyler fought his way back in, dragging Lucas behind him. Tyler seemed to be drawing attention to himself. perhaps this would be a good idea, if it were not for the Scion behind him. She thought of leaving Tyler to his own devices and ferrying Lucas back to Theobald herself, but with her fist glowing red, she stood out like a sore thumb in the darkness, and she could not hold the Scion's hand safely to lead him. Dispatching a few more enemy soldiers that had their attention drawn by Tyler, Sara made her way to the Templar of Time. "Glad to see you both safe. I've been telling every Scion I've met to meet at Theobald and Rosemary. I think it would be the safest, with all the power of the scions concentrated and surrounded by royal guards. I'm still looking for the Scions of Lightning, Metal, and Shadow. Have you seen them?" Sara asked, but even if they hadn't, she had at least relayed her message. Running things through her head again, she hoped that Kasper could defend himself, what with the darkness, but it might be wise to search for Dom first. Nadine would, hopefully, reveal her position the moment she tried to defend herself. With that, she leapt back into the fray.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by OwO
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@Stern Algorithm@Obscene Symphony

"It's about as good as the food from nobility can be." Hollyhock said as she gave a smile to Jannick. She knew how her Templar was when he was like this. Hand in his pocket, the glances towards balconies, all of the signs that he wanted a little break. "Go have a smoke. I'll be here with Sara. Though, I suppose you're also leaving me with Theobald if Sara has to return to his side. Are you sure you want him to be an influence on me?"

She stuffed her mouth with another forkful of pasta.

It was a pleasant party. Though, perhaps they should have planned the party better. The lights had shut off. Had someone plugged in a little too much into an outlet? Well, it would only be a momentary distraction. Someone would go and flip the breaker. The light would be back on. Hollyhock could stuff herself with some more food. Simple as.

Unfortunately, that idea was complicated by the arrival of party crashers.

Hollyhock shrieked as the windows broke and dropped her plate. The shattering of porcelain blended into the noise of broken glass as she instinctively covered her ears. It was a good thing that she did considering that bullets had nearly immediately began to fly.

"No smoke break!" Hollyhock immediately yelped out at Jannick.

When Sara gave instructions, Hollyhock was willing to follow them. While she usually wouldn't enjoy Theobald's company, he was perhaps good company at this type of party. Strength in numbers was usually a good idea. It was especially good if those numbers included a Scion who knew how to fight. Hollyhock wasn't going to be useful in an enclosed fight; her mastery of her power ranged from minute and accurate control of wind to devastating hurricane. She didn't exactly practice that useful middle range that wouldn't demolish the building.

Sara had left Hollyhock's side to deal with the party crashers using incredible violence. It was now up to Jannick to protect her.

She lifted the sides of her dress and revealed a set of Rosaria Force Twos that she had been wearing for the festivities. It helped explain why Hollyhock chose to wear a dress that went to the ground; she wasn't about to put herself in a pair of heels. With a glance and nod at Jannick, she went sprinting towards Theobald in a freakishly fast, low to the ground dash. Whoever was chasing after her wouldn't be able to keep up. Theobald was hard to miss, even with the orb of light casting harsh shadows on the party-turned-battlefield.

It certainly was an event to prepare for the new year.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 30 days ago Post by Hero
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Hero Sincerest of Knights

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Headache free and with a desire to get as drunk as he possibly could, Lucas begrudgingly admitted to himself that sharing his burdens had done wonders on improving his mood. He didn't believe Tyler for a second when he said it was his job to care--it was his job to make sure he was alive and little more--but having shared his secret with someone made him feel a little lighter. It didn't solve anything and he doubted it formed anything beyond maybe a working relationship, but he was surprised at how good it felt to voice his thoughts out loud. Granted, two weeks of frantic research and speedreading only to come to that conclusion had weighed him down more than he could have imagined. It was a joke, honestly; the man who prided himself on constantly telling others to fuck off was happy that he wasn't alone. Or something.

His thoughts drifted elsewhere as he took out his phone, debating on whether he'd actually bring someone else back to the hotel with him. It'd be funny if Tyler protested, but he was considering if it was even worth the effort. He was still pretty tired and honestly, a night to just sleep sounded like Eden right now. The sound of glass shattering got Lucas to look up from his phone just in time for him to get slammed against the wall. Tyler's sudden order killed any protest Lucas might have had before he could even voice it. He couldn't say this was his first time getting attacked--he still remembered the lessons his teachers drilled into his head about listening to his bodyguards--so he kept his mutterings to himself and tried not to fight Tyler's manhandling of him too much. But for fuck's sake, did he have to be so rough?! It was a miracle he didn't trip over himself once he was shoved back. Once again, Tyler gave an order, and Lucas begrudgingly obeyed, doing his best to stay back and as far away from the action while not straying too far from his Templar.

He did let out an irritated sigh, more annoyed than concerned. From what he could see--which wasn't much, he somehow missed the lights going out since he had been glued to his phone--he didn't recognize the armor their would-be assailants wore. They were aggressive against Tyler, but Lucas was pretty sure they were after him. The ballroom was in absolute chaos from what he could hear, which was likely intentional. What a pain. He hoped Tyler would change his mind and just get him out of here, the Veradis force was likely coming to join with whatever detail was being lent to protect the royal family.

"Rosemary," He suddenly realized that poor kid was likely terrified of everything going on and he even went so far as to take a step. No, running in was completely stupid, and that She-Beast was probably tearing off the limbs of anyone who got close. That and he was pretty sure Tyler would be the type to break Lucas' leg to keep him out of danger.

He took a step back, and he suddenly felt every hair on his body rise. There was this bizarre sense of foreboding behind him, like someone was directly behind him. The sound of a nearby shot sent him into a panic, and instead of slowing things down as was his intention, everything around him froze in place. Silence was the only thing accompanying him as nothing moved in the darkness, Rosemary's light no longer wavering. But that sense of danger was still on him, and everything in his mind told him he needed to move.

To his absolute shock, the sound of metal hitting the ground rang out, and Lucas' thumb mashed the side of his phone, turning on the flashlight function to see what that was. The sight of the dull-looking sword was already surprising enough, but what shocked Lucas more was the figure clearly moving, unaffected by time itself being frozen. The armor was poorly hidden underneath the suit, but the red scarf flowed around him. On a second look, Lucas realized the 'scarf' was pure mana flowing around the man, but it didn't seem to affect him in the slightest as he withdrew a pistol, aiming it at Lucas.

"It would be more prudent if you surrendered yourself to me," His voice was distorted into something more robotic-sounding. "Be reasonable. Our orders are to bring you in alive."

"How aren't you frozen?" Lucas couldn't help himself as he took a few steps away from the tin can. He could feel himself getting nervous, but let his shock be obvious as he continued to keep moving. He wasn't entirely sure if that gun of his was exempt from his time manipulation, but he had to assume it was an attempt to get him to obey Mr. Robot's orders.

"That is not your concern."

"I'm going to assume it's the armor letting you manipulate mana...somehow," It wasn't the most creative of guesses, but a pretty safe one on his part. "I've never heard of anything that could do this. Wouldn't it have been easier to try to get me alone if you could do this?"

The man finally started to walk forward, likely onto Lucas' plan on getting to Tyler. "Do not make this difficult. It would be ideal if you were unharmed, but so long as you are alive, no one will bat an eye to you return with broken bones," He stated, extending his weapon arm.

"Then do it," Lucas called his bluff, turning on his heel. He wasn't far, and he took the risk of getting shot. The man's bluff was just that, and once Lucas placed his hand on Tyler's shoulder, the Templar would see everything frozen around him. "We have a problem." Lucas said as he motioned to the armored man.

What a pleasant evening! Bianca carried her wine happily, watching the party unfold with little care for anything. Justinian was behaving, the wine was divine, and things were going relatively smoothly. She had opted to change out of the Templar uniform into a very simple, sleek black dress that she had bought a while back but never got the chance to use. For once, she was letting her hair down, relaxing, and genuinely enjoying herself.

So of course the night went to Sheol and everything was ruined.

That anyone would be able to ambush the Giles Manor with such organization was greatly concerning. Leaving the nobles blind had added to their panic, but Bianca was more concerned about Justinian immediately leaping into action. And to think she had commended him for listening to her. "What--No, no, don't!" She called out, but Justinian had already manipulated the floor. The magic didn't help the panic as people ended up scattering in different directions. They were blind and scared and like always her Scion didn't bother thinking!

Bianca immediately slammed her crystal onto her chest, moving as her armor formed and gave her the freedom of movement her dress didn't. Using firearms with so many civilians around was out of the question, and it took a lot of effort to try to undo Justinian's manipulations. Either he didn't realize he was the target or he was completely blind to the situation as a whole and driven by something else. At the moment, she had to worry for herself as two of them started to shoot at her. Their bullets were stopped by her armor and she stomped once into the ground, sending the pair into the floor and trapped them there. As she turned to Justinian, she was hit in the head by something--likely the butt of a rifle. While she reeled from the hit, she turned and made to tackle him, but instead she grabbed his ankle and yanked his leg upwards. The mook was unprepared and fell, though he found his limbs held by the stone as Bianca kept moving.

She found Justinian and got in front of him, only stopping herself from smacking him because he was encased in rock. "You're making people panic and you're going to bring down the entire place on everyone if you keep using your magic carelessly!" She yelled at him.

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Xiro Zean
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Xiro Zean Redundant Writer of Redundantness

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Interacting with | @Hero as Some Poor Saps | @OwO as Hollyhock

It was chaos.

The darkness hung over the ballroom like a curtain of death, with only the Scion of Light's ball of illumination, suppressed muzzle flashes and occasional glow of magic piercing through the gloom. People ran about with only the thought of their own safety on their minds, the lords and ladies that had once populated the halls absent in the veil of shadow.

Familiar voices could occasionally be heard through the mayhem, Scions and Templars alike shouting over the cacophony to find their partners, all the while under the assault of a still unknown enemy. To many, it would be a day they would remember for most of their lives, a trauma that would undoubtedly haunt them each night they turned off the lights, reminded of a fantastical party at the end of the millennium that fell to disarray.

For Theobald, however, it was a Saturday.

One that was losing his interest by the second, the two intruders left to deal with circling around him warily after seeing how swiftly he'd dispatched their comrades. To have been so bold as to break into a function with many of the highest ranked in society must have required a lot of guts, but it seemed that whomever was in-charge of this endeavor didn't share this enthusiasm with their servants.

"Will you not approach me?" From the weapons in their hands, these merry-men were well and capable of killing if required. And, from the unfamiliar sounds of gunfire unlike any of those in the king's guard's employ, it was clear that they were stocked with ammunition, but it was quite strange how they weren't attempting to kill him.

In fact, if he thought about those taken down beforehand, the only ones who came close enough to engage in melee had only attempted to eliminate the Templar in his presence, with the other having aimed to disarm him before the redhead had gotten in their way. Did they perhaps have some other motive for the Scions?

Well, he wasn't going to give it too much thought. That was the job of the investigators after the fact. As he drew himself into a lowered stance, the two assailants visibly tensed as he spoke. "Then, I shall come to you."

A man of his size should not have closed the distance that quickly, yet the strides he took were deceptively long, only requiring a few steps before entering one of the masked thugs' range. Sparks flew as their weapons clashed, his partner in the dance of death forced to follow the path of his swings as they reeled from the intense blows. Unlike his previous foes, who had been caught off-guard by his sudden burst of motion, the intruder was able to divert his strikes from killing blows even under constant duress, belying the skill those within the group possessed.

Even in their close quarters, however, the former soldier had not forgotten the other assassin, sending the man he first crossed swords with to stumble before catching the blade that had aimed for his hamstring with his own. With a grunt, he discharged a round into the floor, destroying the poor bastard's foot while his weapon rapidly disappeared from the blade lock as the recoil translated into a vertical slash the other direction, his rotary cuff immensely disliking the motion yet completing the devastating vertical slash down onto the first man. Their sword, battered and shaking from the assault they endured moments before, snapping in twain as their guard broke, the gunblade continuing its motion through the defender's collarbone down to the opposite hip.

Another immobilizing strike? This was not a coincidence. The thought crossed his mind even as he used his free hand to stop the final intruder's gun from firing into his shoulder, crushing the masked fighter's fingers in his grip and the bullets popping uselessly into the ceiling above. The man's scream rung in his ears, causing his eyebrows to draw closer while disarming the desperate swing made to make him let go of the assailant's hand.

As the assassin's sword dropped to the ground, removed by a measured strike to the wrist, the giant moved his crushing grip from the hand to the masked figure's neck. The yells became a choked wheeze, the interloper clawing at his fingers for a chance to breathe while he walked over to a certain spot, ending the struggle with a powerful slam that cracked the tiles beneath their feet.

After taking a step back, Theobald took a moment to compare the places of the new body crunched into the floor and the one from the Metal Templar, his frown deepening when he noted their near identical craters. Clearly, he was getting rusty.

A shout drew the lone man from his musing as his Templar loudly directed the Templar of Gravity to his position, and for a second the former soldier had to struggle with the rough mental gymnastics of either praising Sara for making him the center of the attention, or to berate her for gathering the Scions in one place for the enemy to prey upon them. He eventually settled with a classic grumbling, annoyed that the Kaudian had made him even think of her in the first place.

"Watch your six!" Theobald warned his, technically, senior Scion, noticing the approaching figure of the Wind Scion and the flickers of wayward shadows closing in to intrude her path rather than attempt to catch up to her speed. Closing one eye, he steadied his aim and fired heavy slugs into the floor as the brunette passed them by, cutting of the enemy's approach and allowing her to close those last few dozen feet of distance between them.

Acknowledging the woman with a brief nod during what was essentially their first introduction to each other, his gaze scanned the cacophony around him, eyes focused on the biggest patches of activity for any signs of the other Scions. There were a couple he hadn't heard a peep from, whether that be in the form of a fear-filled scream or a response to their searching Templars, and it was they whom the former soldier sought to look for specifically.

If these intruders weren't trying to kill the Scions, despite clearly targeting them and ignoring the other high-priority members of society, then they must need them alive.

That was the only factor that kept him from merely attempting to cut losses and gather the ones already accounted for.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Maya’s eyes were fixed on the grappling hook rapidly tightening on the chandelier, when, behind it on the wall, her focus sharpened on a glimmer of purple light in the darkness, rapidly approaching. Edmund! He bounded onto the ceiling, sticking to every surface he ran on like a spider, and ran right past her, a few shots ringing out behind Maya as she assumed he took care of the one attacker who survived the fall.

“Edmund--!” Maya cried, cut off by shock at her own panicked breathing as Edmund crossed in front of her and cleanly dispatched the attacker scaling the grappling hook. When he finally returned to her, Maya had never been so happy to see him in her life - even his helmet, blending into the darkness in all but the pulsating glow of the trim, was the most welcome sight she could imagine. When he knelt, she reached out and grasped his arm with both hands, clutching his armour with a white-knuckled grip; she barely registered what he was saying to her, hearing little more than the chaos on the floor and her heartbeat in her ears until she saw the glint of steel in Edmund’s outstretched hand.

Maya blinked at the offering for a second before everything rushed back to her all at once: it was her sidearm, her PPK/S the one she always wore - except for tonight, because it ruined the lines of her dress and she was apparently foolish enough to think Giles could protect his home from terrorists - and Edmund needed her to keep them on the ceiling. Right, good idea; bad guys on the floor, stay on the ceiling.

Nodding mutely, Maya took the gun, heart and mind racing as she fumbled through practiced motions with shaking hands. Right, finger off the trigger, muzzle down, pull back the slide - it took a few tries to fight the spring, and she jumped when a bullet flew up in front of her, having forgotten in the panic that she carried with one in the chamber. As she fiddled with the gun, the pair of them grew suddenly heavier; startled, Maya let out a small noise, and they became much lighter, the gravity holding them growing and shrinking in quick chunks like someone clumsily turning a dial. For a brief moment, Maya felt herself float just barely off the ceiling; remnants of the chair that littered the ceiling escaped her grasp completely, as did the corpse of the first terrorist Edmund shot, both careening out of Maya’s grip and to the floor.

Frightened by the prospect of falling, Maya let out a more audible squeak, and her Holy Sigils flashed, slamming them both firmly back onto the ceiling. “I’m fine,” she cut off any possible remark from Edmund, her stern tone undermined by the crack of fear in her voice. Strength was not the problem: Maya was quite sure she could rip the whole roof off the building and chuck it into space if she wanted to. What she lacked was control; much like the Larme Incident, reversing gravity seemed second-nature enough, but as soon as Edmund brought it to the forefront of her mind, she felt her control begin to falter. She struggled to put it out of her mind, striving in vain to let her instincts take care of it.

From among the tumult of gunshots below, Maya heard the sound of crashing glass once more, the chandelier just above the two of them exploding into a shower of glass. Maya screamed, ducking down to hide her face. A few more shots followed, chunking away at the ceiling plaster, tracing a line toward them.

“Your cape!” Maya suddenly remembered, looking up to Edmund. “It’s bulletproof right? Give it to me!” She scrambled along the floor as another grappling hook found purchase on a different nearby chandelier, but was distracted by a somehow-audible shouting from the floor.

"EDMUND!" Sara called out, "Get her to Theobald!"

“What!?” Maya blurted out incredulously, shooting an incensed look at Edmund, “Like Sheol you are!”

Another shot chinked away at the plaster dangerously nearby, and with a frightened noise, Maya scrambled painfully to the base of the nearest chandelier, hoping to conceal herself under its crystal umbrella. She barked at Edmund. “That bear-fucking bitch is crazy if she thinks I'm going back down there! Either that, or she was trying to make things easier for her gun-toting buddies on the floor.

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Obscene Symphony
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Jannick smiled gratefully at Hollyhock, relieved and surprised in equal measure that she released him for a smoke. He was well aware of her opinion on his habit - the first few cigarettes dunked in water glasses had gotten her point across quite clearly enough for his taste - so the party must have gotten her in quite the pleasant mood not even to make a snarky comment about how she could already hear the tumours growing.

Which, she probably wasn’t wrong, but…

He barely managed one step toward the balcony before a suspicious flicker in the lights stopped him in his tracks. Veradis, even in the poorer areas where Jannick grew up, never had trouble with the power grid, especially not on a calm night like this one, and especially not at the homes of the rich and powerful. Jannick squinted apprehensively at the light fixtures, hand wandering to his holster of its own accord when the room went dark completely.

Suddenly, glass crashed; Jannick ducked instinctively, and his gun was already in his hands when he whirled around at Hollyhock’s scream. A light went up somewhere in the ballroom, but it was almost worse than the darkness; it wasn’t bright enough to illuminate the entire room, and the long, kaleidoscopic shadows it cast of panicked civilians scrambling this way and that did more to confuse Jannick’s view of the situation than enhance it.

Gunfire filled the air, and Jannick’s instincts kicked into overdrive. He pawed for his radio to call in the threat, and when he realized he didn’t have one, found the next best thing; his armour crystal, slamming it into his chest. The situation was a policing nightmare: panicked civilians everywhere, gunmen coming out of the woodwork, and no way to call in backup - not that he had any to call in. And not that that mattered; his job was to end the threat or die trying, backup or none.

Before Jannick could tell Holly to get to the exit as quickly as possible, Sara chimed in with potentially the worst idea he’d ever heard. And what was worse, Holly immediately followed her instructions, which would have been excellent if her instructions made any sense.

“Wait, Holly--” Jannick reached out to stop her, but it was too late: she was already gone. Why on the Mother’s green earth would Sara want to collect the Scions inside the building?! The active shooter gospel for civilians was Run, Hide, Fight; Holly was very adept at the first one, but Sara seemed to want to skip straight to what was supposed to be a last resort.

“Fuck!” Jannick searched around in the chaos, gun already in his hands; he didn’t remember taking it out. More gunfire popped around him, suppressed, from several different directions, and suddenly, a woman collapsed in front of him, revealing a masked figure with a rifle.

“DROP THE WEAPON!” Jannick commanded, his training kicking in. He raised his gun, but it was worse than useless; in the dark, with so many civilians so close by, he couldn’t risk shooting. But the gunman didn’t care; he shot before the words had even left Jannick’s mouth, a burst of three shots peppering his shoulder ineffectively. The Templar armour was a lot more effective than kevlar, he’d give it that. Growling with in frustration, Jannick rushed the gunman, evidently inciting enough panic to make him hesitate and giving Jannick the chance to gain muzzle control on the rifle and pistol whip him with his Glock.

To Jannick’s considerable surprise, the gunman didn’t go down immediately; instead, he surrendered the rifle to disengage, stumbling back and producing a blade. Jannick only had a second to lament his lack of a melee weapon before the two of them had to duck to avoid falling debris; splintered wood and upholstery rained down on them from the sky, and a mostly-intact wooden chair leg fell at Jannick’s feet, as if sent by Incepta Herself.

That would work.

Hastily holstering his gun, the chair leg made for an effective club when the attacker ran at Jannick again, notably less coordinated this time; Jannick caught his blade in one armoured hand with ease and hit him repeatedly over the head with his improvised weapon, ceasing only when he was certain the masked thug wouldn’t stir again.

Jannick spared one pitiful glance at the injured woman before moving on; in these situations, there was no time to aid the wounded. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he remembered that he needed to find Holly, but dispatching the gunmen felt more important; almost a decade of police training was rooted far deeper than his scant year of Templar training, after all. But he wasn’t given any time to debate the two; two more red masks emerged from the crowd, charging at Jannick together.

Jannick got one of them with the chair leg; he stumbled, confused enough to relent for a moment as the other drew a shortsword. Jannick blocked the blade just in time, the metal biting deep into the wood of his improvised club, and he took advantage of the swordsman’s distraction to kick one of his feet out from under him, throwing them both to the floor.

Jannick quickly wrestled himself on top of the masked man, the attacker’s lack of training evident as he writhed and swung his blade erratically, Jannick just out of reach on his back. When he could get a hand free, Jannick produced his gun once more and buried it between the swordsman’s shoulder blades, shooting straight down until he stopped moving.

Relieving the swordsman of his blade, Jannick stood to find the one he’d bashed with his club on his feet once more. This time, Jannick went on the offensive, burying his new sword into the second man’s abdomen before he had the chance to collect himself for an attack.

“What the fuck are you people after me for?” Jannick hissed as he let the body fall. He’d have time to be confused about the attacker’s targeting later; for now, he tried to orient himself, diving into the crowd in the direction he saw Hollyhock depart in. “HOLLY!”

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Dominika Kovač Pignatelli

Small mercies, Dom thought as darkness enveloped the ballroom. Like a battery run for too long she had felt herself drained of all energy. Talking. Politely nodding. Laughing at the right moment. Perhaps such things came naturally to others, certainly she suspected to Maya or the Marchioness Lucienne, but they did not to her. The gunfire and screaming that followed spoiled the welcome feeling of relief she had felt for a fleeting moment. Showered by glass, Dom found herself crouching low on the floor. Fear ran through her, filtering into shock. Cold surprise that left her jaw clinched tightly together. Scrambling across the floor, she regretted agreeing to wear a dress again. Her left hand gripped tightly around the handle of the the fancy purse Catalina had handed her as she helped her change into an evening gown.

Dominika flinched as a chair came hurtling past her, splintering into a cloud of far less elegant and symmetrical pieces. Strong hands grabbed her and raised her to her feet. The quick thanks she was about to mutter died on her lips when she realized she was staring into a masked face. A design she did not know. A person she did not recognize. Her hands moved thoughtlessly, batting the armored hands away from her, and she shoved the figure as she stumble backwards. The unyielding firmness of a wall touched her bare shoulder blades and Dom pulled the revolver from her purse in a panicked motion.

"Don't, stay back," she managed, the snub nosed gun heavy, so heavy, in her shaking hands.

"You don't want to hurt us, put the gun down," the masked figure said, unbothered by the gun barrel pointed at her chest, a manablade in her right hand resting lazily against her leg.

Eyes full of unwelcome dampness, Dom nodded and lowered the barrel of the gun, setting it down gently on a nearby table.

"Good, let's do this the easy way," the woman wearing the mask sweetly beckoned, holding out her hand and motioning for Dom to come closer.

Dom shook her head. She knew better. She reached out with her magic. She felt the materials all around her. Metal armor crumbled, crushed as if by the great depths of the ocean, imploding in a sudden pop as the bones of her assailants wrist and hand were pulverized. Dom stood frozen with fear, fear at violence she had inflected, listening to the mad screaming of the woman as she fell to the floor. Over the calamity and horror of the ballroom, Dom heard her name shouted. Ionna called to her. Rousing her from her terror and summoning her spirit.

"Ionna! I'm here- Dominika shouted back, her joyous reply fading into a pained exhale as a baton thumped unceremoniously into her shoulder and sent her clattering across another table. She hadn't seen the pair circling her, stepping unhesitatingly over their fallen friend.

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