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Current I don't understand how Tumblr RPing works. It boggles my mind. O.o


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And here she is! I felt I could've done more with the background, but I was REEAALLY trying to keep it in as few paragraphs as possible. I have ideas for her though, so the rest will just have to be discovered or revealed in character! I hope you like it! If you have any concerns or nit picks with the character, let me know I can happily make edits.

Also, I'm sure one of us can find a very easy way to leave Serrice without her bodyguards, money, or both. Perhaps that can be how she ends up with the crowd. A deal with the Sycamore's gone south, a rival dealer thinning out the competition, another mob attempting to sabotage the Sycamore supply train. The possibilities should be quite exciting if this character gets approved in her current state.

I can always downsize her operating area from the entirety of Asia to just the Pacific coastline if you're not too keen on the original concept.
Will have my app up tonight.
My interest has been captured! I will definitely begin working on a CS!
[Mood Music]
Chapter 7
A Bittersweet Respite

Topesh's jolt of aetheric energy into the footman's body did well to make him lucid for a bit longer. But the man was fading too fast to get all of the information they needed out of him. Gwynne raised a brow at the mention of Valdi. For once, it was a name she was unfamiliar with. She wasn't sure if the man the soldier mentioned was after any one chosen, or after the group in its entirety. It left a strange feeling in her. Gwynne was half expecting the man to mention her own pursuers; after all, she had just fought for her life against them mere hours before joining with the rest of the chosen. If the magi were still near, then it was likely they were involved in some way. Perhaps they were aligned with Valdi's goals? It was too hard to say, and there was too many if's and but's in the theory to really come to a solid conclusion.

Nevertheless, there was a new piece on the board. Gwynne called out to the other chosen who weren't gathered around the footman. "We have an enemy with a name, everyone. We need to learn more about him, and I doubt this soldier is able to give us any more. Is anybody here familiar with Valdi? Gwynne looked around at the chosen, hoping at least one of them would know who they were up against.

Her eyes traced over the other chosen who were busying themselves with other things. Nobody ever talks about what work must be done after a fight. Collecting fallen friends and finishing fallen foes, attending to injuries, and looting and maintaining equipment were only just a few chores that needed to be seen to. The smell was always rank. The feeble cries of broken warriors, who had somehow survived the battle despite their injuries, added a very somber and humanizing atmosphere that could make anybody question their own morality. Worst of all, was when the combat high came down, as adrenaline levels lowered and the fighters all began to uncover things they hadn't realized in the heat of the battle. Minor and grievous wounds, bruises, scrapes, and sores all became apparent. Worse yet, the realization that the only thing keeping a person standing, was their grit and sheer force of will. More would fall and die in the minutes following the battle.

While Gwynne was calling out to anybody who might know Valdi, she started becoming more and more aware of just how battered she was. Her body was shaking as both adrenaline and aetheric energy wore off. The injuries she had sustained while she was surrounded stung at first, then felt hard. She felt over her shoulder, looking for the wound given by a spear piercing through her shoulder. Instead of a bloody hole, she found a hard, crystalline surface. The crystal was flush with her body, and seemed fused to the skin. "Topesh... What is this?" She asked as she looked down at the injury on her leg. That wound was also crystallized.

"T'would seem the energy that flowed through your body used your injuries as a form of escape."

That seemed familiar to Gwynne. She ran her fingers over the surface of the crystallized injury, "Much like the convergence point of a leyline..."

"Indeed. Use this as a lesson, Apostate. If you're willing to contain aetheric energy within your body, don't go getting yourself injured in the process. I've no doubt in my mind that if I supplied you with more, that crystallization would only be more prominent."

Gwynne bit her lip while she studied the injury. "These injuries are never going to truly seal... Is it possible that aetheric energy will continue to bleed out from them whenever I use magic?"

"It is possible. For now, I suggest you observe the crystal formations." Topesh's voice had a lack of surprise in his tone throughout the conversation.

"You knew this would happen... Didn't you, Topesh?" Gwynne said in a scolding tone.

"I know of the phenomenon. But worry not, Apostate. You are a talented fighter. So long as you refrain from leaping headlong into a group of trained soldiers, you shouldn't get so badly hurt. Thus, you shouldn't require aetheric energy to keep you standing. Thus! You shouldn't see this condition spread!" Topesh let out a little chuckle.

Sara made sure Fiona was ready. Things were about to get far more intense than anybody had prepared for in this operation. She nodded assuredly to her, "We're gonna clear the troops on three, then sprint for that ramp. Clear?"

Sara peaked over the edge of the window and saw two troops running to help the burning soldiers and scientists. The screams echoed in the burning warehouse. If Sara wasn't so committed to the end of ADVENT, she probably wouldn't have had the stomach to keep listening to their screams. "One... Two... Three!"

Sara lifted her MP7 over the ledge of the window and let out a short controlled burst into one of the assisting troops. The other trooper didn't even have time to realize what had happened to his companion. The combination of alarms, pained screams, and roaring fire completely covered the sound of her suppressed SMG. The second trooper dropped dead not long after. Sara was already on the move. She placed one hand on the shattered windowsill, glad that her gloves were able to stop glass from shredding her hands, and vaulted over it into the main section of the warehouse. She looked right, then brought her MP7 to bear on the left as she moved with purpose toward the top of the ramp. In chaos of it all, ADVENT was far too occupied dealing with other things than to notice their movement in the open. The sound of mag fire at the neighboring building told Sara that David and Carlotta had engaged the enemy. Reports on their radio confirmed her suspicion.

When the report came in that the supply truck was secured, Sara spoke, "Stand by and be ready to charge the front gate. We're going to need quick egress out of this base once we're done here!"

Sara turned to face down the ramp, her MP7 quickly doing the same. The fire suppression sprinklers were in full effect down there, doing what they could to minimize the fire. It was working, but not very well. The two would practically have fire licking at them while they'd navigate the corridors underground. Sara looked back to Fiona, "It's your call if you want to go in there. If not, go and assist the other two at the power station. I'm going in."

Sara took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she clipped her MP7 to her harness, and unslung her Benelli M4. She pumped a shell into the shotgun's chamber and started moving down the ramp. Sara would support Fiona's decision either way. While she certainly would appreciate the assistance down there, she couldn't blame the younger woman for not wanting to willingly go into a tight corridor filled with flame and ADVENT. Sara only hoped that the initial explosion and resulting fire had thinned or wiped out the security underground.

A large blast door was at the bottom of the ramp, but it was jammed open by a forklift that had been tossed to its side by the explosion. The ten ton lead counterweight in the forklift would be enough to hold that door open despite its best attempts. Sara climbed over the forklift and immediately felt the heat. Guide lights blinked in succession, leading the way to the blast door Sara had just climbed through. The corridor was tall and wide, allowing plenty of room for trucks and other vehicles to deliver their supplies. There was only small access out from the loading bay, a double security set up obviously in place to keep unauthorized people out, and to sterilize the ones who were authorized before going in. The doors had held against the explosion, but all of the windows around the security checkpoint had been blown out. She climbed through the busted window and slipped to the other side of the checkpoint. A burnt body laid over a row of security consoles, while another was completely blown apart into multiple pieces. The smell of burnt flesh was rancid and made Sara want to wretch.

Beyond the checkpoint, things were far stranger. The corridor's architecture was less human in design. Support struts were far more rounded and curved, even the metals looked like they weren't from Earth. While most of the fires burned orange, some fires were burning as a bright green. Plasma fires. The corridors ran in two directions, but it appeared as though they only ran the perimeter of a series of labs, and connected on the end. "Falcons. We've stumbled on something big... Moving deeper, keep them busy."

It was a tall order. Sara knew the squad was good, but they weren't equipped for a protracted firefight. They'd need to move quickly to find out whatever was so important in this underground lab. As she moved deeper down the corridor, Sara felt something nagging at the back of her mind, that despite how stupid it was to be in this burning alien facility, she was on the right track. "There's a long row of labs down here, most are destroyed from the explosion or burning."

There was a sound of rattling just ahead of her, causing Sara to stop in her tracks and throw up a closed fist to signal Fiona behind her. Even if Fiona hadn't come, it was second nature to signal anyways. Sara kept her shotgun pointed on the source of the noise. There was a quiet chitter, and then a screech. "Sectoid, sectoid!"

The small gray alien was perhaps only three feet in height and skittish. Sara was less concerned for the sectoid, and more concerned for the armament mounted on its wrist. It spotted Sara, and quickly crawled to cover just as Sara had fired a round off. The buckshot sparked and scattered down the corridor, missing the sectoid. She heard the sound of the plasma pistol charging up, and dove for a piece of debris. When she heard it fire, Sara didn't see any plasma coming her way. The plasma shots kept ringing through the corridor. Sara peaked around the cover, and saw the sectoid shooting into the lab. It seemed far more focused on whatever was inside to fight Sara. She used its distracted state to her advantage, and sprinted toward the sectoid. The gray alien turned its bulbous head, and let out another screech when it saw the muzzle of Sara's shotgun at point blank range. She pulled the trigger, spraying yellow-greenish blood into the lab.

"Sectoid down." Sara called out. She looked into the lab, trying to see whatever it was that the sectoid was shooting at. She spotted a humanoid shape laying on an operating table. It wasn't human, but it looked close. Multiple parts of the body were completely destroyed by the sectoid's plasma fire on it. Clearly the sectoid was trying to destroy this project before Sara could find out what it was.

Sara stepped into the lab and got a closer look at the body. Its skin, while mostly burnt, was noticeably grayer than a normal human's. It had a wide jaw of human teeth, but no lips to hide them, giving the face of the creature a haunting grin. Its eyes were black and wide. "What the..."

There were two other tables in the lab with bodies laying on them as well. One was human, obviously an ADVENT trooper, and the other was a squat sectoid. Sara was able to run the numbers, it really wasn't that difficult. Laying on the table in front of her was a hybridization of human and sectoid DNA. Connecting to the back of the hybrid sectoid's skull was a long, luminous cord that stretched up to the ceiling, and further down the corridor. She noticed there were more cords meeting in a bundle before running out of the lab. She followed the other cords around a corner in the lab, and spotted a row of tables. There were a dozen of them, all carrying bodies of hybrid sectoids. All except three of them. The cords were dangling, fresh greenish blood dripping from the inputs. "Oh shit... Falcons, be advised, new hostiles are in the AO. Human-Sectoid hybrids. Stay sharp."

Sara knew that if she didn't see them come out of the blast door after the explosion, then they were either in the facility with her, or they had escaped through a different access point. That nagging feeling returned in Sara's mind. Whatever the feeling was, it was telling her that the hybrids weren't the reason for going into the facility. There was something else. She looked back at at the luminescent cords, and decided to follow them to their source.
I have a particular weak spot for modern superpower RPs.

"We might not have time for that, but it's your call." Sara heard Fiona say.

Sara nodded and mulled over the thought of going down to investigate. Before she could come up with an answer, she heard Jimbo speak up over the radio. "Lancaster, that supply truck isn't going to hijack itself. Make a decision ASAP."

She bit her lip. Looking back to Fiona, Sara came up with her answer. "Jimbo, immobilize the truck. Lukas, secure it."

They needed that truck more than anything. The supplies it carried alone would keep Falcon going for another month at least. If they could secure the truck, then it wouldn't matter if they got any extra goods from the base. "Rifle team, be advised. Once you incap that truck, it's likely the base will respond. Expect a patrol to come and investigate."

Right after she said that, the lights in the corridor began to flicker and die. Eventually, they died out completely across the entire base. ADVENT troopers stopped what they were doing, and began running to their officers for instruction. The four troopers that were in a gaggle behind the crates seemed to be the first into action. They were leaving the warehouse through the large garage doors, and headed for the power station. "David, Carlotta, you've got company. Four troopers closing in with their rifles raised. We're going to be going loud soon, get read-" Sara was cut off by a horrible shriek over the radio.

She gasped from the piercing sound and pulled her headset off. She looked to Fiona, "What the hell was that?!"

Seconds later, a rumble could be felt in the building as a bright purple light blasted out from the access at the bottom of the ramp, followed by a fiery explosion. The flames billowed out toward the guards at the ramp, causing them to dive for cover. Scientists and troopers and staggered out of the brief blaze waving in dismay as they caught fire and burned alive. Fire alarms in the warehouse began ringing, and suppression systems spewed water in every direction. Sara hurried to get her headset back on, "I don't know what the hell you did, Carlotta, but things just got chaotic inside the warehouse!"

There was another rush of purple light from the access, and this time Sara could feel something. A massive shiver ran up her spine. It was familiar to her for some reason, like she had the feeling before but couldn't quite explain what had caused it. Sara clenched her teeth and looked to Fiona, "Supplies or not, we need to investigate what's down there."



The Executor walked through the metallic corridors of his ship. On his left were long windows, which gave him a view of the great expanse of space. A large nebula of orange and green dominated the backdrop, while a fleet of hundreds of ships occupied the foreground of the view. He always felt a rush of pride whenever he looked over his Grand Armada. It was a fleet the Executor had built from the ground up in the Elders' honor. Once the fleet of the elders could have been stopped. But since his ascension, their might had become insurmountable. Each warship in the Grand Armada was capable of punching above its class, and each one could act as a vanguard for invading new worlds. The Executor was at the head of it.

He was the Elders' mightiest fleet admiral, and the best commander his species could offer to the Elders. The Executor had fought in countless battles even before his ascension, the first of which were against the very masters he now served. There were no regrets. Not anymore. The Elders had improved the Executor in more ways than he ever could have dreamed. At first, his ambitions were small in scope compared to the Elders' vision. He wanted to rule his homeworld, the cradle of life for his people. But when he was chosen, he was granted the resources and tools needed to conquer more. His sights were no longer set on just one single world, but rather the galaxy in its entirety. He was successful thus far. And his name was feared throughout the expanse: Sempra-Tor.

While he looked over his armada of thousands of ships, he felt a calling in the back his mind. The Executor knew what it was. Something had caught the Elders' attention, and he was being called. The Executor let out a low growl, and dropped to one knee. His quill-like furs of his mane lifted slightly as psionic energy gathered around him. There was deep rumble, and a pillar of light engulfed him. When the light retreated, the Executor was gone.

"It is rare to be pulled away from my duties, masters. I inquire... What is so important that you call away the admiral of your fleets?" the Executor said as he emerged from the psionic rift in another chamber.

Towering over him was a halographic display of an Elder. Its regal robes and mask hid its appearance, but its presence in the room was absolute. The Elder turned its head to look down on the Executor. "Sempra-Tor. You have been a faithful servant to us, and we wish to extend our gratitude to you."

The Executor kept his eyes on the floor, "I am honored, my masters. But there is no gift so great that could match my servitude to you. Although... I will concede. How do you wish to show your gratitude?"

Another hologram appeared in front of the Executor, this one much smaller. It was a planet, marvelously blue and green. The Elder spoke while the Executor studied the orb, "This world is one of our newest acquisitions: Earth, as the inhabitants call it. More importantly, it holds the key that we have been searching for for the past millennia. The importance of this world is greater than any you have conquered for us. We grant you rulership over this world. Subdue it, and ensure it does not fall to the Great Enemy."

The Executor bowed his head again, "If that is your will, my masters. I will redeploy the fleet to ensure its safety."

"Good. We know you will not disappoint us, Execu-" the Elder was cut off as it keeled out and let out a shriek of pain. The Executor quickly stood to his feet.

"Master! What is it?"

The Elder clutched its masked face, "The Key. It is threatened... Go now, Executor! Travel ahead of the fleet to Earth, and ensure the Key's safety! We cannot replicate it yet, it is fragile!"

The hologram of Earth showed a red ping where the Executor was ordered to go. "At once, my master. Your Key will be safe under my watch."

Another beam of psionic energy engulfed the Executor. Just as fast as the beam of light had appeared, it vanished, along with the Executor.

Gwynne Lancet

[Mood Music]

The aetheric energy flowing through Gwynne's body was indeed taking its toll on her. Even though Topesh's gift had allowed her to contain more aether than the average human, it was a power that she had never gotten quite accustomed to. There was rarely a moment when Gwynne had to rely upon containing aether, but then again, there was rarely a moment when she was outnumbered ten to one in an ambush. She was breathing heavily, and the red glow in her eyes flickered as the energy tapered off. Her posture had dropped, it was was obvious that the containment had physically exhausted her. She looked at the surrounding footmen, knowing that their opponent was on her last legs.

Gwynne clenched her teeth, "Come at me, imperial dogs! Your job isn't finished here until my blood touches the ground!"

Much to Gwynne's surprise, an arrow passed by and grazed along one of the soldier's neck. The suddenness caught the rest off guard, long enough for another of the chosen to come charging forward to help her. Two soldiers broke off from fighting Gwynne to confront the new threat. It didn't matter if they formed a defensive line to keep him cut off from Gwynne. Salvio broke through them easily and fell in right next to her. She nodded to him, her breath heavy as she spoke, "Thanks...".

With his assistance, there were only two footmen left. Gwynne caught her second wind, reinvigorated now that she had an ally to fight alongside. Even though the aether in her body had mostly dissipated, Gwynne still had enough left in her to make her somewhat stronger and faster. Now that she had an ally, Gwynne could focus on one footman, while Salvio took the other. Gwynne stepped forward aggressively, making the footman think she was pressing into a direct charge. He lunged forward with his spear, but what surprised when Gwynne expertly sidestepped the lunge. She grabbed the shaft of the spear, and brought a powerful palm strike down on the shaft. Normally, a palm strike like that would do nothing to a properly made spear. But Gwynne's aether enhancement granted her enough strength to splinter the wood around her strike. The spear broke in two pieces, and Gwynne had the end with the steel tip. The soldier gasped in surprised, but expertly dropped the spear to unsheathe his short sword.

Taking the spearhead was only to force him into another action, distracting him long enough for Gwynne to build up aetheric energy in the palm of her hand. The air around her hand condensed and turned to frost. The small cloud of frost condensed further, turning into a cluster of razor sharp shards of ice. The footman was waiting for a stroke from the spearhead, but instead received four frost bolts. Two shot low, piercing clean through both of his knees and sending him to the ground. The third ripped through the bicep of his sword arm, while the third stuck itself into his thigh. The bolt in his thigh punched into the ground to keep him pinned there. Gwynne chose not to worry about the other footman, confident that Salvio would be capable of dealing with him. The red force orb floated near the pinned footman, and spoke aloud, "Playing with your food before you eat, apostate?" The soldier shivered in fear from the sinister voice emanating from the crystal ball.

Gwynne nodded, "He'll provide us with answers."


Armandus Treyathal

Armand sat on horseback just outside of the battlefield. He rode alongside the regiment commander and his entourage. The entourage consisted of his flag bearer, a body guard, and a messenger. Armand was taken by the sight of the battle. "These are no simple cultists, captain."

The captain glanced sidelong at Armandus and nodded slowly, "So it would seem... No cultist is capable of besting my men in such a way. The magic..." He trailed off in thought.

Armand saw fit to keep the captain's words going, "Is the work of a greater, far eviler power."

The captain took a deep breath and watched the battle ensue, "What are you not telling me, my lord?"

"Excuse me?" Armand said, looking back to the captain.

"You said it yourself, these are no normal cultists. Not only that, but when we happened across you, one of your battle magi had been severely crippled, and you seemed quite eager to leave her behind to pursue these cultists. There is a greater purpose for your being here, and I will not be a simple pawn rushing blindly into a conflict I know nothing about."

Armand was impressed by the captain. It was easy to tell why he was in command of this band of soldiers, even if many of them had fallen. The captain spoke his mind, and understood that he needed to approach situations with all the cards laid out on the table. Armand looked back to the battle, "Very well, captain. I'm tracking one particular individual. That one there." He pointed in the distance to the single woman surrounded by six footmen.

"What about her?" the captain asked, taking an interest in the woman.

"That is the apostate Gwynne Lancet. Perhaps you've heard of her."

"I know of the name. Though admittedly, I left the care to a more capable group meant to hunt apostates down. You wish to bring her to justice?"

"At first, yes. But there have been developments. She may play a part in greater events to come, I'm trying to discern as to what role that is."

The captain looked over to his messenger and gestured something to him. The messenger nodded and rode off back down the road they came from. The captain glanced back to Armand, "I can have my men capture her. She doesn't look like the one to put up a fight for long- Gods Above!" He cut himself off when he witnessed fire blast out from Gwynne's hand and incinerate a man to nothing. Never in his life had he seen such potent magic. "I thought such magic wasn't possible!"

"That's part of my curiosity about her. Though her potency in magic isn't exclusive to her. My companion, the crippled one, claims that the aetherwinds around that apostate are more potent than that of any magi tower. It appears Gwynne has found a way to conjure the winds as they once were. At the heart of my suspicions is that orb following her."

The captain looked over at Armand, "Well, my lord, I would be for acquiring this witch and her orb. But unfortunately it isn't as simple as that when she is accompanied by a host of equally as capable warriors."

Armand nodded thoughtfully, "I suppose you are right. We should observe for now and study our enemy. I'm sure another opportunity will arise where we can strike. You should pull your men back, captain. It is clear we are outmatched today..."

“Ground team, be advised. Two tangos armed with MAG-3 rifles nearing your position at 200 meters away from your position. Bearing approximately 30 degrees on your position, south-west, over.”

Sara looked over and saw the patrol their overwatch was talking about. She nodded, "I see them. Once they passed into the shadow of the warehouse, take them out."

Sara motioned to Carlotta and David to start moving on the power station now. Luckily, the space between between the buildings wasn't just empty. There were a number of stacked crates and vehicles they could use for cover. Whenever a spotlight passed over the crates, there were plenty of shaded areas they could use to hide in. While they broke off, Sara pulled the body of the morning's first victim right up against the bottom paneling of the laser fence. In the low light, the ADVENT's black armor clad body should be quite difficult to spot right under the trooper's noses.

The patrol was one hundred and fifty meters out now. Sara and Fiona would have plenty of time after the spotlight made its next pass to rush for the warehouse's access door, and get inside before the patrol would arrive. "Let's move now, Fiona. We're wasting our darkness by standing around."

Sara quickly rounded the corner, her MP7 raised and ready to fire at anything that could come out from the door, or around the far corner of the warehouse. Once they reached the door, Sara started first by simply touching the console on the door frame. Usually doors like these were unlocked when bases weren't on alert. Sure enough, the door let out a quiet hiss as it slid open. Sara peaked in through the door and saw nobody on the other side. She nodded to Fiona, and moved into the back rooms of the warehouse. "We're in. Warehouse is clear so far. Close that door behind us, Fiona."

They were in a long corridor. One side of the hallway was dotted with windows which looked in on the warehouse. The other side was filled with offices and storage rooms. The warehouse was mostly uninhabited in the early hours of the morning. None of the office lights were on, which worked to cloak the rest of the corridor in shadows. Peaking out one of the windows, Sara could see a few troopers standing in a gaggle behind some crates. One was smoking, while the other told a seemingly excited story. The troopers all laughed. They weren't wearing any helmets, and it clear that the troopers were human. They all looked fairly young. It was possible they were once orphaned teens who volunteered into ADVENT for regular meals and a roof over their head. Sara could understand their position. But they chose the wrong side.

Sara stayed low, keeping her movements deliberate and measured as she continued moving down the corridor. Once they reached the next window, Sara looked out again. "What the..." she said, somewhat surprised by the sight.

Half of the warehouse was a vehicle ramp that led underground. There were more troopers standing guard at the top of the ramp. "Falcons, seems the warehouse has a structure underneath it. It's possible they keep all the good stuff down there."
Gwynne Lancet

[Mood Music]

Despite being a fierce combatant, Gwynne was still only human. Once the initial shock of Gwynne's magical attack had worn off, the footmen came to their senses and surrounded Gwynne. They closed in slowly, wary of the force orb covering Gwynne's blind spots. One footman stepped forward with a sword and shield. He let out a war cry and held his tight in front of him while lunging his sword out. Gwynne sidestepped and flicked her wrist, sending the orb straight into his shield. The shield splintered and caused the soldier to stagger, but now she was exposed from behind. Another footmen sent his spear forward, aimed at her leg. "Behind you, apostate!" Topesh said in her head.

Gwynne turned her gaze and dodged the bladed spearhead just in the nick of time. She felt a sting in her leg, the bladed tip had grazed her and drew blood. It was superficial, but it did well to remind Gwynne that despite being a Chosen, she could still be killed. Her sidestep and brought her dangerously close to another footman, who took the opportunity to try and grapple her. As a child, Gwynne had practiced for countless hours how to break from a variety of grapples. Gwynne dropped her weight and rolled forward, taking the footman down with her. With his grip loose on her, she rolled to the side, and yanked his short sword from his hand. The same spearman that had cut her tried to stab again. She deflected the blow with the short sword, then grabbed a hold of the shaft.

"Topesh! I need strength from the aether." she said.

"Are you sure? The human body isn't capable of containing aetheric energy for long. It could harm you."

"I'll be harmed if we don't try! Do it!" She ordered.

The orb pulsed, and a streak of aetheric energy could be seen connecting the crystal to Gwynne's body. She took a deep breath as her pupils dilated. The effect was near instantaneous. While holding onto that spear shaft, she gripped it tight and tugged it free from the spearman's hands. The footman tried to keep his footing, but was surprised by Gwynne's sudden strength. He staggered forward, meeting the stolen short sword in his gut. He sputtered and dropped to the ground, holding his grievous injury. Gwynne flourished the spear, and dropped the blunt end of it on the throat of the footman she had acquired the short sword from. With his larynx crushed, it wouldn't be long before he too would die.

There were still five more footmen encircling her, one of them having sustained a broken arm from having the orb slam into his shield. He was the weakest link, so Gwynne targeted him next. She turned to face him, then felt a spearhead stab into the back of her right shoulder. Gwynne let out a yelp of pain, and twisted somewhat to stretch out her good arm in his direction. The footman's face was immediately fearful, as he knew what was coming. There was no time for him to dodge, or even react for that matter. Gwynne siphoned off some of the aetheric energy within her body to unleash of blue-hot gout of flame at him. The skin on Gwynne's hand burned, but the footman was reduced to ash, along with half of the spear shaft embedded in her shoulder.

Gwynne's red eyes glowed from the aetheric energy flowing in her body. She almost looked like a demon as she spat out the flames from her hand. She let out little pants, clearly feeling the rapid exhaustion setting in from containing the aether. "Topesh... I need more..."

"Some things cannot be reversed, apostate. You understand that?" Topesh said cautiously.

Gwynne gritted her teeth and pulled the spear from her shoulder. The footmen were staying their ground, once again fearful of her. She eyed them. "I do. Give me dark aether..."

The orb's brilliant blue hue shifted to a crimson red. "As you wish..." Topesh said, his voice deeper now.

The aetheric energy pouring from the orb turned red as well. Gwynne let out a pained gasp as it flowed into her body. She could feel the wounds on both her shoulder and her leg sealing. But the sensation wasn't that of magic healing, but more like the wounds crystallizing over. She'd have to inspect that later. But for now, she had a fight to win.
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