Journey of the Elementals RP (Pm if Interested, Started)

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Silvana raised a few walls of darkness, having a little trouble with the flames due to their brightness, but she held them off while Seth was talking to her. Sure, it sounded like a good idea to work with him than to fight him. But could she trust him? She'd only just met him earlier, and true, he did seem friendly enough. But she still had some doubt. "You bring up a good point. But can I be so sure that you won't go behind my back?"

A bit more testing was needed, she felt. She spread darkness across the ground towards him and as it was spreading, spears appeared out of it. The darkness was spreading quickly and if he could dodge it, she'd be impressed. If not, then it was a shame, but she'd move on.

Drew had been hovering when the ground shook, increasing altitude to try and avoid an attack. "Ok. Powerful stuff. Remain in the air..." he said, starting to work a strategy. Ok, so I've got a good eye on the situation and a decent idea of who can do what. All I need is a way to work what we've got to counter what.........wait a minute. Maybe I don't know everything I need to know. He started heading towards Silvana and Seth, noticing Silvana's attack. "No time to say anything. Earth's softened up from all the shaking. Sorry, Silvana..."

He focused a small whirlwind around Silvana, trying to pick up enough dust and gravel to distract her from striking. He floated above her, in front of Seth. "Ok... now before we go any further, perhaps you can fill me in on a couple details. You said we're not here with the same objectives. So do tell: what is your objective?" These folks we're working with seem about as trustworthy as a back alley salesman, so maybe we're on the wrong side here... I wouldn't be surprised. Still, perhaps his allies don't have our best interests in mind either He held his crossbow out in front of him, but kept it down.

While Gabe tried in vain to move the water, Fei was deep in rambling thought.

Memories... I aced this class, years ago! Am I supposed to remember what I did in this class? I remember everything from it! Like when Lisa taught me how to make bubbles, or when Ms. Sandi gave me a B because I couldn't get all the water out of my clothes... it was hard! So why are we still here? Am I not remembering things right? Am I forgetting something?

"GABRIEL!" Fei suddenly shouted, disrupting what little movement he had made, and upsetting the bowl of water. "I'm forgetting something! What is it?! I'm imagining everything right, all our classmates are here, you aren't very good with water yet, but I am, because I study all the time, but I'm good at it, too, because you know, it's not all you know, but there's something inside, that you're born with it, so you can do magic better than others, but my brother helps me sometimes too, it's easier if you have someone to practice with. Maybe if we practiced together, I would be better, and you would be better too! Because, because 2 are better than one, especially when they're helping each other and stuff..." She rambled for a while.

"Maybe there's something I need to remember? A memory, but not a memory? What do I remember from history class? Um... hm... the most recent event... um... the establishment of the school? The... the... it has to be something that happened here, since I'm at the Academy. What else happened here...? Gabriel!" Fei snapped her fingers in front of his face. "Gabriel, in your opinion, which of the wars involving where the Academy was built is the most important? I personally think that the Battle of the Seas, in which the North and East divided up their shipping routes was pretty important, but the island wasn't really involved, since we were pretty much an Eastern territory. The North didn't really have any reason to fight here, we were a big supplier of weapons though... but there's also the Silver War, or the Ciralean War..."

Gabriel kept quiet while Fei rambled on about memories and wars and their magical abilities... she sounded like she was trying to remember something in particular. Maybe that was what was causing them to jump between her memories: the fact that she was remembering them.

"It has to be something that happened here, since I'm at the Academy." Trying to figure out what she was saying half the time, Gabe flinched when she snapped her fingers at him. Talking in her child voice wasn't helping matters.

"Gabriel, in your opinion, which of the wars involving where the Academy was built is the most important?" Wars, eh... Gabe couldn't recall much about old conflicts off the top of his head. He looked around to one of the other pairs of students, but they were engrossed in their own conversation. He tried listening to them, but all that was coming out of their mouths was a jumbled mess of words and background noise. He and Fei were practically on their own.

Think back. Which of the old battles featured Hydromancers in important roles? Not many of the stories put their element of choice in the spotlight. Though there had been the Hurricane War, in which Hydromancers and Airshifters worked together to create colossal rainstorms that had wrecked dozens of fleets. That had been centuries ago though, maybe even a thousand years. Gabe had no idea how Fei would remember something that had happened before she was even born.

Again Gabriel worked up the courage to speak up. "C-Could it have been the... the Hurricane War?" Again with that damned stutter. He mentally slapped himself. You aren't going to make any progress if you can't get your speech under control.

"The Hurricane War? I don't know... it was historically significant, but... no. Maybe? No. Something... bigger... oh yeah! How about the Defense of the Chasm? Remember? It was the first time that the elements fought united against a threat! The first masters did this super awesome secret ritual that combined all the different magics and sealed the forces of evil! Or... or is that from that storybook... no, no, that's right. It was between the mages, some non magic people, and some monsters! Remember? My mummy used to tell me stories about it. It happened right here I think. Some of the island formations are even from that battle." Fei put her arms around her knees, running her hand along the rim of the bowl. What little water was left started spinning again.

"I heard almost everyone died. Well, obviously, they all died, but I mean, I think a lot of them died in the fighting. What if it happens again? I mean... people still don't really like mages. What if we have to fight in a battle, or a war? Like earlier kinda. Maybe that's what's happening to Kerbones? They need our help because there's people that don't like them... or so that there's not a big war again?"

As Cale prepared himself for the strike that was no doubt coming, the Earthshaper couldn't help but laugh at his attempt to ultimately take him and the Airshifter down, who was quickly freed with minimal effort. He slammed his foot, launching a wave of rolling earth towards Cale, slamming into the shield and hitting a few of the human warriors behind him. The ones that continued standing fired their arrows, only for the Airshifter to collect the bolts, and then launch many of them back, but taking one in particular to charge with its own spinning force, and launched it at Cale and his rocky shield, sending him spinning and rolling to the ground. She then turned her attention to Seth's opponents, and noted the second airshifter Drew flying about.

"Try your winds against mine!" She challenged Drew before launching a small tornado of her own towards Drew, blowing him backward from the more personal battle. Her intention was to give Seth a chance to simply deal with the Nightshade, which he glanced at her for a moment, but decided to take what he could get.

Seth didn't even bother trying to dodge the attack, and instead decided to just rip through the attack itself, launching a large wave of fire, the light burning away the darkness as it attempted to approach him, and also came at Silvana as well. While Seth did not notice, his shadow had assisted in this particular flame, and seemed to grow more warlike and involved as the fight went onward. He now bristled with armors, with distinct flame signs on the armor, and the flames encircling itself seeming to grow more furious as they fought. He couldn't help but grin at Silvana as they seemed to have a nice back and fourth as the battle worked forward.

"I can tell you that I won't be screaming at you to kill those whom you have stood against, and that I wouldn't strike down someone who stands upon my side." Seth said, noting Drew being launched backwards and instead deciding to focus more on Silvana as an ally rather than worrying about Drew being...inquisitive.

As Raven finally arrived back to her shadow, the line which she had been drawing was pulled towards the master of Shadows. It seemed that it was something that was being mimicked across all of the elements now, with the Masters taking the rings that had been made and seeming to take the now pulsing orbs of energy and push them all forward and together. As Darnell began, there was a slight pause to address Raven directly. While the tone was still largely emotionless, it seemed there was deep meaning behind these instructions.

"Gather those whom you care for, student of the shadows. Otherwise...there may be no tomorrow for them. Help them, and get them here. Go." And with that, Darnell seemed to focus all energies towards moving the ball of energy forward, along with all the other Masters doing the same, with the students from before all seeming to turn their attention to different things. Some went to the defense of stopping the demons from climbing over the walls, others made their way to the entrance to stop the charging humans from coming forward and firing more bolts. With humans now in the mix it seemed like a full out war would break out here.

The sky above seemed to respond the worst to the now gathering of mages, the winds beginning to pick up around the canyon, with the storm now in full swing and the rains starting to fall, with the thunder starting to rumble. The humans still shouted and fought with some demons as they tried to get to where the ritual was taking place, but with more mages it seemed that a full on war was now happening. Demons burned, or were swarmed by the earth, or humans crushed.

The ground... no launching...just the ground...

Cale picked himself up again, throwing a body of a human aside that laid on top of him. They could laugh all they want but Cale was ready to go as far as he could to defeat these people, even Seth if he had to. Cale launched a medium-sized boulder at the Earthshaper.

The experienced Earthshaper chuckled once more and grabbed the boulder mid-flight. He hurled it back at Cale but Cale ran forward and used the boulder to jump off from for his attack. Cale brought his fists back over his head and back down into the ground, creating a controlled cascade of shifting earth towards the Earthshaper.

'It sounds like my life. My parents were metal-smiths and I spent a good portion of my life with them, and the woman in white could be a teacher or classmate. As for being a healer, think of it like this. As a healer we can do more existing than we can when we don't.'

He noticed the continuing fade out from his shadow and looked at the crystal just in case it would show any sign of what might be happening.

"He's continuing to fade, but our minds are separating more. I can more easily tell which thoughts are mine and which aren't. But the visage and even his voice are now fading. The crystal may be fading or it may have used too much energy, I can't say for sure." He then looked to the prime minister.

"If you feel this is best conducted in private, lead on."

Drew found himself slammed against the stone closest to him, managing to stop himself from falling. "Sonuva..." he muttered, looking at his new challenger. Ok... straight-up fight might not be the best approach here. She's probably as good as I am, if not better. Plus I'd have to deal with the Earthshaper, and maybe even Seth. And the peanut gallery I'm working for might try and 'help'... He started gaining altitude "Fine. You wanna go? You're gonna have to catch me first." he said, blasting another stream of dust in her face to give him a few seconds to get a head start.

He started looking around the terrain around the canyon. He noticed a nearby forest. That might work. Need a suitable amount of branches. Thick canopy. Better than flying into the canyon and risking running into one of her friends... he started heading towards the trees. Try and stay near enough to the ground. Debris and dust could work as distractions in case she catches up. I need a couple seconds with her off my tail for this to work...

Silvana had to bring her arm up to her face to block out the light from Seth's flames. They might as well have burned her for what they did to her darkness and how bright they were. "You may have a good point there, but I'm still not entirely sure I can trust that you're the real Seth. You could be tricking me into trusting you. I only just met you right before the trials, and even then I barely know much about you aside from your name and which magic you use."

More testing, although by now she was probably just being stubborn and wanted to keep fighting since she rarely got a chance to do so against proper opponents, especially when she had the disadvantage to challenge herself. She focused and brought up two hands made of darkness on each side of Seth and had them grab him tightly. She was sure he would use his flames to keep them at bay, but she wanted to see just how well he would do when she focused more than usual.

Nydia quietly followed Cale ahead, still tending to her earlier wound. It seemed to have healed up quite nicely but the large tear it had left in the side of her robe made her somewhat uncomfortable. All thoughts of that left her mind though as they reached their apparent destination and she saw Seth with some others she didn't recognize. Her heart soared at first, glad to have found a familiar face, though that quickly changed as the man they had come here with stormed forth angrily to fire upon Seth only to find himself dead by Seth's hand.

The sight was so unexpected that Nydia froze with shock as chaos erupted around her. The Nightshade they had been with engaged in combat with Seth as Cale fought with another Earthshaper and the Airshifter turned her human allies bolts back at them. What do I do? She thought still frozen in place. Do I aid Seth and turn on Cale and the others? Or do I aid Cale and turn against fellow Mages? What's the right thing to do here?

Her time to think was cut short by a bolt flying past her face, barely missing. The time to for thinking was over. Her life was endanger here and she had to act. Her combat experience was minimal so she would likely only get in the way trying to assist Cale or the others against the mages so her first instinct was to aid the humans against as they attempted to break through and stop whatever it was the mages were doing.

She began by attempting to protect them from harm, shooting down some of the bolts that were turned against them before they could harm anyone. After that she turned her attention to the wounded, hoping to get them back into the fight and that her efforts would help turn the tides. But the casualties were astounding and no matter how many she healed there were so many more wounded to tend to and even more dead. But every time she thought about pausing to rest, she looked up at the ominous black sky and knew that she had to keep going so whatever the mages were up to could be stopped.

"Gather those whom you care for, student of the shadows. Otherwise...there may be no tomorrow for them. Help them, and get them here. Go."

I...seriously? Darnell is telling me to get who I care for? There's no one here I really care for...except... Attention turned to where the battle was raging. There was magic flying everywhere and it wasn't clear where Seth stood, but he was sure to be in the midst of it. He wouldn't have any way of knowing what was coming forward. I have to go warn him at least? Shouldn't I? The shadow looked with an icy stare and seemed to nod towards the battle. Raven hesitated slightly at first but soon took off towards the area where her trials partner was fighting.

Upon approaching near where the battles were, it seemed that to get clearer that whatever powers that be were in charge of running these trials, they got lazy with the custom crafting. What the- what is going on here? There was the Earthshaper who had helped dispatch the attacking guards in the main hall. There was the Airman, the one who always had that little girl tagging along with her. There was the sunniest of the Sun suckers, darting along the battlefield trying to heal people. There was the other Nightshade, firing bolts of magic directly at...Seth? Oh that bitch! I'll fix-wait! Not the time Jenn! Not the damn time! What am I going to do here? Is there time to get Seth away from her? Maybe, a different approach. It could be better to try and get all or nothing. I have to try. I don't know what is coming there, but if those other old masters are worried, there shouldn't be anything left to chance.

Raven spotted a mound that offered a small platform over where the energy was flying. It might be a ripe target or the result of an Earthshaper move, but for now it would work. The Nightshade moved towards it, realizing as she ran that she couldn't exactly see what her body was doing. I should probably try and get rid of the shadows or something if I'm commanding a presence. Not sure they'll be believing a blob of dark. But it did slim me down somewhat. Of course, Seth's pretty visible and they are still firing at him...whatever. I'll keep it for now, and see if I can't get rid of it if they need more convincing. Speaking of which, how am I going to convince them? I don't even know what is going on up there...Can I wing it? I...yes, OK, yes. I will. I have to.

The mound was ready for a sermon delivery as Raven stepped atop it. The storm that had started during the ceremony was in full swing and it would be tough to be heard over any of the rain and wind. OK, big breath Jenn. You can do this. "MAGES!" she shouted out as loud as she could. She wasn't trying to be raspy but she was trying to intimidate. Considering how long it had been since she actively used her real voice, it was going to be tough to tell if it would work. The lightning bolt that came right after she shouted helped though, as it seemed cause to pause slightly. "Humans! You have failed! The circle has been completed...and the portal is opening as we speak! The destruction of the landscape will begin in a short time and you find yourselves with a choice! You can embrace this new era, and come pay tribute to the creature as it comes forth to purge this world of impurities! Or! You can continue to struggle, and instead become frozen in place as you become the first of many sacrifices to the Great One from Beyond! It is up to you to decide!" As she finished yelling her improvised declaration, Raven looked over to where Seth was, hoping that he got the message and would retreat with her, even if none of the other mages present took her up on the offer.

As Cale changed tactics and launched a ground wave, it was the other Earthshapers turn to be tossed into the air for a moment. As he landed, he couldn't help but give Cale a small grin as he stood once more to face Cale and the human attackers who had begun to fan out around the canyon walls.

"Not bad, brother earthshaker. Least the humans hired somewhat worthwhile opponents..." The Earthshaper said, bringing a pair of boulders out of the ground and sent them rolling forward, and then sent another pair towards more humans who were attempting to fire at any mage they could get a shot at.

While Drew turned to get away, the Airshifter decided that if he would run it was not worth the concern, and turned her attention back to taking care of humans, since it seemed Seth could handle himself. Her winds launched several more humans in the air, but from her point of view it was obvious that the many humans now knowing where they were would surround them. And when Raven shouted, it seemed that the rest of the mages took it as a sign, and pulled themselves back from the edges. Some of them had indeed fallen, to the arrows that the humans had been firing. It seemed that the camp of mages now all stood around the circles, which were all being pushed towards each other.

The Prime Minister looked over Alexander a moment before seeming to decide once more. He turned, with nothing more than a gesture and proceeded with Alexander on to the elevator. However, this time the ride seemed to take much longer, and when they stopped it was obvious they were on a completely different floor. What was quite noticeable was that they were in a location for those primarily with wings. Some seemed to enjoy jumping off the upper floor to fly to the areas below, or just simply take a flight for the view.

"Hopefully this area will suit you better, Alexander. Is the.....shadow doing better?" The Prime Minister asked, now slightly curious with Alexander seeming to note its presence.

The shadow seemed to have paused in its fading, though he was much more faint than he had been initially. It seemed that even the thoughts were much more distant now, giving only limited communication to the more ghostly figure. Though, the crystal in Alexander's possession seemed to keep its odd glow, though the consistent shape seemed much less consistent along with the fading shadowy figure.

"But heal....we must....Remember the danger.....healing others? Weakened from.....vengeance."

As the darkness crept around him, Seth couldn't help but laugh at her statement of being the "real" Seth. He wasn't sure what she was trying to get at, but at this point it didn't matter. As the hands attempted to hold him, he decided to let the flames again take care of the problem. Lighting himself nearly on fire, the hands left as he let the flame encircle him. While the hands were indeed persistent, he wasted no time in making sure those holding their leash would not be able to concentrate only on those.

"You are quite odd, worrying about things that make no sense. Guess my flames will decide the 'realness' of this scenario." Seth pulled his flames to himself, to unleash them in three quick fireballs only to be caught as a voice he had not heard in a while shout out.

....Jenn? What is she...? Seth turned his attention to Raven, and noticed right away she had put herself in a position to get shot. And several of the men did not take kindly to her threat and fired. As a bolt slammed itself into her leg, Seth was already moving. Silvana was no longer a concern, and as a second bolt found Seth's side, he tackled Raven behind the podium, losing his breath as he did so. While Seth himself had gone to save Raven, Seth's shadow stayed looking over Silvana, and for a moment she could nearly swear to see a much more warlike Seth standing before her before suddenly fading again. The Shadow of Seth, however, didn't have such limitations, letting loose a torrent of flame towards Silvana in Seth's stead as he went to assist Raven.

As Seth found himself looking right at Raven after the jump, he would have scowled if the pain of being hit didn't cause him to wince instead. Damned Crossbows....armor is damned useless now...
"...Erg...told ya I could help with....more than flames...Didn't think it would that." Seth said, not bothering to try and stand and taking a small respite behind the natural rock cover. Though, Seth quickly knew that it was probably stupid of him to jump in front of Raven like that in the first place, but it was all he could think of at the time. She wasn't dead, and he imagined that the bolt in him might have been some partial thanks for that, for which he wasn't sure if he would be grateful or regret that move. As he slid to the side, he couldn't help but wince again, as the bleeding continued. Not the best scenario for himself, but it had done what he needed it to. Shifting, he began trying to take the armor off. All it would do is restrict his movements now...and keep the bolt firmly planted in him where he didn't want it.

After that moment, it seemed that the humans took the opportunity to get in a surrounding and somewhat commanding position, and while the fighting still raged around the circles, it seemed a royal general had come to the front, riding a horse as he did so. Upon hearing the announcement, it seemed he planned on making his own.


As the man finished his own little speech, the elements all seemed to slide together, for a moment seeming to completely vanish, as if the large energies never existed there to begin with. It only lasted a few moments, as suddenly the energies all seemed to spin together and launch themselves into the air. For a moment, the round object seemed to take the shape of a multitude of beasts as it took off into the sky, until it finally entered the clouds. As it entered them for a moment, the storm seemed to oddly grow and began to change colors as well. While some of the humans glanced up, the continued rain and little other effects seemed to only slow them for a moment.

However, with the ritual apparently complete finished, the masters turned to the defense of their fellow mages, raising suddenly barriers, causing storms to turn bolts away, and icy cover and waves of fire in tandem. Though surrounded, they seemed quite the threatening force in their small set of circles holding many of the mages.

"He has paused, but he is very faded and his thoughts very distant. Let me try something." Alexander focused some light energy used for healing on the crystal, seeing if it might react to his energy and let him balance things a bit between the two of them.

'There is no healing needed here, just try and relax. Give yourself time to recover.' He thought to his shadow, hoping at least the idea would get through.

Cale caught the boulders on their way to him but unfortunately could not stop the other pair from hitting the humans around him. This angered Cale, bringing his blood to a boil. Too much fighting, too much bloodshed and it had to end now. He ignored the speech the human general had said, focusing on the task at hand. He brought the boulders into each other resulting in an explosion of dust and rock. Cale had enough of this Earthshaper.

He pushed the fragments forward in a blast of rocky shrapnel, speeding at a high velocity towards the Earthshaper. It was a wall of sharp rock and dirt coming towards him and behind it was Cale charging forward, sand whip drawn once more ready for confrontation.

Oh hell... this sounds bad. Really bad. Still, there's at least one immediate problem I can take care of.... Drew hovered above the man who seemed to be leading the humans. He noticed the storm, hoping it's mystical nature didn't affect the physical properties. "So... I'm assuming by 'mages' you mean all mages. Including we humble folk who went out of our way to help. And the sole reason your men aren't getting slaughtered by those mages out there." Doesn't take a master psychologist to know this asshat is going to start killing indiscriminately. Still, anything to hold his attention for a couple seconds... His hand held behind his back, his fingers starting to spark under his cloak. I'm just really hoping this stuff doesn't keep nature from running its course...

It was a reckless move, that was for sure. It seemed to be a developing pattern since leaving the academy, which didn't make sense. Why am I doing these things? I stay to the shadows for years, I spend all my time just trying to get my dark energy to the right levels, and in the past few weeks I go out into school combat, I fight these guards, I run out into the middle of god damn battlefields and shout like a banshee...why? It's amazing the disconnect in time and reality that allows for this sort of thought once someone gets shot.

Once she hit the dirt, Raven snapped back into reality, the searing pain in her leg and heavy weight on top of her restricting her movements.

"...Erg...told ya I could help with....more than flames...Didn't think it would that."


The Pyro rolled off to the side and appeared to be struggling to remove his armor, a task made more difficult with the arrow in his side. Raven looked down at her leg finding her own arrow to deal with. She reached down, and with a grimace removed the bolt from her leg. She could feel the blood trickling out of her wound, although she couldn't see it through the shadows initially. As her body's energy focused on more pressing matters, her cloak of darkness faded, allowing her to see the full scope of the damage. It was a clean shot, but it managed to miss her tibia. There was still a lot of blood though.

Some jackass sounded like he was responding to her earlier threats with more violence, but there were bigger things on the Nightshade's mind. She tried to move over to where Seth was fighting to get the layer off, but the pressure on her leg was unbearable. There was no standing on it, so instead Raven crawled over to where the Pyro was still battling.

"Seth? Are you all right?"

As she said that, Seth lifted the top part of his armor off and set it to the side. "I'," he assured her with a smile. "Just a little blood...right?"

Raven smiled back. Of course he's smiling, he'd laugh while they were sawing his leg off...I...I hate to admit it, but he might be why I'm doing this kind of stuff...Huh. Doesn't sound so bad saying it in my head. "I'd hate to see your definition of a lot, but I'm glad you'll remain amongst the living. I didn't study anything regarding bringing back the dead."

"No transfer of....regeneration eh?....Guess I'll just have to bleed a little more. What about your...problem?"

Raven was about to answer when loud movement from just beyond her makeshift pulpit drew her attention. One of the humans had broken through with sword drawn to where the two mages were assessing their respective wounds. He let a solemn yell as he approached Seth but all it did was telegraph the attack. Thinking quickly, Seth grabbed the piece of armor he managed to take off and turned it into a makeshift shield, blocking the weapon. A couple more strikes were parried by the breastplate, as the man grew frustrated.

"Devil spawn! Take your defeat!" he said between swings. "Accept that your time of judgement is now and prepare to face your creator!"

"...You talk too damn much." Meeting the swing with the armor, Seth grinned. "Burn for your foolishness!" The Pyro had the awareness to ready a fireball during his opponent's little speech and Seth unleashed it right at the end of the warrior's windup, catching him flush in the chest. The weak leather armor did nothing to prevent him from being cast down to the ground beside where Raven lay. The man moaned on the ground writhing from the force of the blast, but his world was going to go from bad to worse.

Taking the opportunity to repeat her feat in the grand hall, Raven had readied her life-leeching spell and once the man hit the dirt, she lunged on top of him with the ferocity of one of those bimbos from back home. Instead of their intended targets, the Nightshade's hand found the foolhardy fighter's throat and was quickly was extracting the energy from him. Wow, even faster this time. I can feel strength returning. I guess dumbasses are good for something. I should keep something left to block arrows on the retreat though...Wait shouldn't there be arrows already?

Raven looked out over the battleground, which an absence of arrows landing in front of where they lay. Looking up, the arrows were still coming, the humans weren't going to let up that easily, but they appeared to be turned back by the rain itself, bouncing off an invisible shield and landing back towards the opposing forces. Gazing around for an explanation, Raven saw the air master muttering something other than warnings about beasts from beyond with his hands raised to the sky. Nice to know he can do something other than be worried. She looked down at the man, now a shell of his former self. His skin had become pale grey and sickly, his eyes almost rolling back in his skull. Most of his body weight was gone as his body was little more than skin and bones. The flow stopped for a moment as Raven's gaze met the meagre one the former warrior could muster. ...Don't look at me like that. You brought this on yourself...and your compatriots should know it. But I guess you're lucky that they never will. She went to finish off the man and his eyes completed their rotation back as the body began to disintegrate into ashes, leaving nothing but a pile of clothes.

Raven stood up, no pain apparent thanks to the gained energy taking care of her injury. Her surrounding shadows returned as she moved back to Seth. "Seth here." She offered her hand. "Let's get back to the circle. These bastards can keep fighting but there's no hope for them. So let them futilely fight till the end and we'll see if we can't find a Sunsucker to get you patched up."

Perhaps she had been foolish to doubt him and attack him. Had she really needed to do as she had been told? Was this going to affect her trial negatively? Whatever she had started doing, she needed to put an end to it soon. Silvana blew air out through her nose when Seth's tone implied to her that she wasn't focusing on the right thing. Mostly because she felt he was right. If she had been worrying too much about the wrong thing, after the trial, she would need to apologize to him.

Right now, though, she had to think about what to do regarding Seth. The statement that was boldly made from someone had distracted both of them from their fighting, but when Seth started running off towards them, there was...another Seth fighting her. "Okay, what in the world is going on here?" A second Seth, and this time she really wasn't sure which one was real. "Look, I realize now I was being stupid, but whichever Seth you are, if you're an ally, then I promise I'm going to help. I'd rather not see a fellow mage fall in battle."

Seth's shadow paused for a moment in the small barrage, to turn and point towards the circle of summoning, and then towards the original Seth who had just dealt with the approaching guard. With the apparent "threat" dealt with, the shadow seemed to take several steps back to the original, vanishing as he did so.

Silvana followed where the shadow pointed towards, and now she felt really stupid for just focusing so much on attacking Seth. Right, there's no time to feel sorry for myself. I need to help the others. As she stood there, a couple of guards went at her with raised swords. She took a moment to focus, but she performed the same trick on them as her last one on Seth, having two hands made out of darkness more solid than her usual darkness come together to hold them in place. "See what happens to those foolish enough to attack me." She crushed together her hands, and the darkness hands did the same, crushing the men with audible cracks and screams of pain from them before their lungs got crushed. She let go of them before preparing darkness all around her on the ground in case someone else tried to be a smartass and tried to attack her as she made her way towards where Seth and the other person were at.

Fei kept going on and on, mostly to herself, going through what she remembered from school. A shiver ran up her spine. It was weird, something was weird, with the weather. The wind was picking up, prompting their teacher to start closing the doors. But that didn't stop it, as usual. Everyone's hair was whipping back and forth, and there was lightning and thunder in the distance. It was kind of scary, because the thunder was loud, and some of the lightning looked like it was hitting the ground instead of just going in the clouds, but Fei reminded herself that she could make lightning too. Just not as big or noisy yet. But they were getting better. She stood up and went over to one of the last open windows, trying to see what was outside. "Gabriel, don't you think the weather's being funny? It's like someone's using magic on it, but I don't think anyone is. Because the Master's don't make big storms and wind and stuff. If they want it to rain, it just rains."

As Alexander attempted to put more energy into the crystal, it seemed to do nothing more than just take the energy that was being focused within. Though the shadow did not seem to react in any way, it did appear as if there would be no more fading away for the shadow. As the shadow seemed to finally sit down to rest, the Prime Minister seemed to decide something and tapped Alexander's shoulder.

"Alexander...while I understand you are watching out for your shadow, I do have a more pressing matter that I wished to discuss with you. You have...well, more or less become at best my liaison for mages overall. Whether you like it or not at this point, I imagine." The Prime Minister said, turning to look over the city.

"So, I must ask what you think of the task I have set before you, and my city itself. I imagine you have many questions, and I would like you to be relatively well informed of....well, what should be known of my city. And in a similar position, I would like to know what I can about mages and more specifically what I am dealing with now. For example...I imagine the assassins did nothing to help my city's reputation. And since we are....relatively alone, I would like to know what should be done now before your mission is underway..." The Prime Minister paused, seeming to contemplate something more before going onward.

"And....all others expressed odd interest in going to the trials, and while it is understandable with your wounds and weakness, it seems that even prepared you have no wish to go. I would say this is odd, but even more odd was everyone wanting to go attempt them."

As the battle did rage, things seemed to pause for a moment. While mages and humans still fought, the shining light which shot down before seemed to return. This time in the form of...a demon? A dragon? Perhaps a manifestation of the storm? Whatever the case was, it became clear that this is what had left them before, and this time it meant to stay. The figure seemed to simply start charging about, as a wolf with a quick stomp causing the earth to fall beneath many individuals, Cale, Silvana, and the earthshaper opponent all seeming to fall victim to it. Its attention seemed to shift to many places, setting fire to soldiers, then launching them away with winds. All elements used as weapons.

However, this did nothing to dissuade the general, who attempted to lead a charge with his men, only to be launched back by an explosive comet falling form the sky. Soon, many others began to follow, and the canyon became a killing field, with black lightning striking down individuals and turning them to ash, or ice spikes slamming into some of the soldiers and demons, or even sudden boulders just slamming into the ground. It was an apocalypse.

As Silvana, Nydia, Cale and his earthshaker opponent fell, the earthshaper focused and brought the earth out of the newly opened walls to catch them. As they landed with the thud the earthshaper seemed to sigh in relief. Standing, the earthshaper glanced upward, then looking back to Cale.

"Well brother....seems this war is now over, one way or another....We might want to get going, those on the surface are now probably going to start dying."

As the small group now sat in the newly created pit, the above area had the masters largely doing their best to create a barrier around the ritual circles. Stone, Ice, and other such physical blocks were made. The mages that had made it seemed to sit back for the moment, watching as the world around the barriers erupted into chaos and death, with some humans trying to get to the ritual only to be blasted away at times, others trying to run and meeting generally the same fate. A grim view for those inside, with many deciding to turn away and cover their ears. Seth, who now lingered in apparent safety with Raven, looked downward at his healed wounds before looking back up to see the destruction. He turned, looking to Raven's reaction before muttering to himself. "Is....this the ending I am meant to see? Is this our cause? Humanity must burn....for...what?" Seth clenched a fist as he muttered, before relaxing it once more, and then whispered. "Jenn...did we do this right?"

For Phebe, she had the view of things going to deathly results from her viewpoint, and also watch as the storm expanded towards herself. The shadow had apparently resigned her fate, seeming to have fallen asleep as they had sat in the tree.

Drew was about to strike down the general and his squadron when things suddenly went insane. Drew managed to get up in a spot relatively untouched so far. "Fucking hell..." He saw the elements rain down from the sky, the humans running in retreat and a strange character that seemed to be the source of all this. Of course. Of FUCKING course it had to be the end of the world! Drew shouted out in primitive frustration right when a black bolt of lightning struck him. However, unlike the rest it struck, it moved through him like any other lightning bolt would. What the... feels... similar. I can feel the magic but it moves... His train of thought was cut off.

"Out of my way, you abomination!" the general, it seemed, had endured, most of his armor missing and chunks of his steed and his men staining what metal was left. He raised his weapon but was quickly blasted back by Drew. The lightning within him started arcing outwards, making the hairs on his arms and beard stand on end.

"You know, I tried to play along. Just went in here to look for my idiot sister and her idiot new friend. And when that didn't work, I made the most of it. Played this stupid little trial, even trying to play it smart. I gathered intel. I scouted around. And when that idiot Seth showed up, I tried to reach some level of understanding of just what was going on. All to try and keep people from getting hurt if they didn't need to. To keep your worthless army's lives intact, get this shit over with and get on with this trial nonsense with my idiot companions taking as little damage as possible." Drew was mostly talking to himself, but he took steps towards the fallen general.

"But no. No. Nobody wants to be smart. Nobody wants to make sense. Everyone wants to rush in gung-ho, get in fights and show off their magic by ripping each other's guts out. And now its raining EVERYTHING." Several stray bolts of lightning shot out of him with that last word, and he was stomping towards the general now. "And you've proven yourself to be one of the biggest idiots here. Planning to backstab the people helping you. People who outclass you by ways you can only dream of. Trying to fight something that's causing this. And now trying to pick a fight after that thing hands you your ass."

Suddenly he stopped, still a good few feet from the general. "You know, this whole time, I've been telling myself 'this isn't real, this isn't real'. Well, that sure helps keep my conscience clear..." he lifted his hand up, a bolt of black lightning going through the man's chest, leaving a burning hole in him. The wound expanded, turning what was left of the flesh to ash like all the others who had been struck by this lightning.

Drew grunted when the last of the electricity was discharged. Under normal circumstances he'd observe how this lightning seemed more powerful, burning right through the man instead of electrocuting him like his lightning typically did. But right now Drew wasn't in an observant mood.

DAMN I needed that...

"Well for starters I don't mind having questions asked of me and being something of a liaison. Though I think a pyromancer by the name of Seth would be another good choice, he is about the same rank as myself and has the more offensive perspective of magic from what I've seen. Though I would suggest not mentioning any decisions on this front to the group, competition and resentment can abound between the schools of magic. May make your life harder to be doing something that could be seen as picking favorites.

As for why I didn't want to go into the portal while the others were excited. I saw nothing I wanted from the trials. Besides all that which I have to trade is precious to me, and there is little to nothing that could convince me to part with what little I have." A hand subconsciously went to the suns on his shoulders.

"Why the others wanted to go in. Some did it for the challenge, some did it for the promise of gain, some did it because others were going, and some did it just to be able to say they did. All the reasons why your people might do it outside of the possibility of a tradition are why they did it.

As for questions, I have a few yes. Like what those assassin's wanted, they seemed too well equipped to be simple brigands or malcontents. In regards to our mission it is more what connection you think this portal has to the storm, anything we should expect, and anything else you may know about either the portal or the storm you haven't already told us."

Upon observing the battlefield, with a giant wolf-like creature bursting from the circles and into the fray, while causing vaporizing lightning to fall down on their opponents, Raven could be forgiven for cursing herself for not using her bluff on something a little more selfish if it were going to come true like this. But that was far from her mind at the moment. The devastation that this beast wrought on the humans should have filled her with apoplectic glee at the sight. But it wasn't there. Instead, there was a sense of dread at what she had a part in bringing into this world.

"Is....this the ending I am meant to see?"

Is he talking about those cards? Well, I'm pretty sure this is what Death looks like. But this is madness. This is insanity. This isn't what I imagined at all. How could I imagine this? How could I-


"Huh?" she let out, not used to hearing her own name.

"Did we do this right?"

Seth seemed to be carrying the same feelings as she did at this moment. A sense that their end goals meant the end for so many others, others who might not have deserved such a fate.

"I...," she started trying to find some words of comfort, but she had never been given such a luxury before and now was not the most opportune time to try and find some. "I...I don't know, Seth. I...guess so, but... I don't know." After seeing all this, how could I know? She moved her hand towards his, not even wanting to try and confirm what she thought before. At least I'm not going through it alone. I have to remember that...

Silvana watched as everything pretty much went to shit, with lightning striking down, boulders flying around and ice spikes hitting many of the people around there. She didn't get much time to think about that, though, as the earth opened up beneath her and she fell down, screaming as she did, sure that she'd die. But then she was saved by a platform forming from one of the walls and saw that two others had fallen down with her, presumably one of them having formed the platform. She was very grateful for it, though her heart still raced due to how close death seemed to have been for her.

She started thinking of whether there was something they could do, but was there really anything? As powerful as she was, she couldn't exactly stop whatever was going on. It was simply too much for her. She could hear as everything she saw earlier was still happening, but nothing they could do from down where they were. She didn't want to die in a pit, though. "Can't you bring us up?" she asked the opposing earthshaper. "You were able to save us, and I do appreciate that, but we should be able to do something. Right?" She wasn't even sure of it herself, but she would rather not stay down where they were in case their help was needed in some way.

As Drew let the lightning fly into the now fallen general, the remaining soldiers already seemed to be shouting about the traitorous mages, and how they sought to join with the demonic creature which had changed shape yet again to a large crow which screeched blasting demon, mage, and human alike with flames. With a quick flap of the giant wings more were tossed about. Though Drew stood fresh from his victory, even he got no respite from the danger around himself as the winds grabbed hold of him and tossed him about in the air before finally roughly dropping him to the ground once more.

Meanwhile, in the pit the Earthshaper gave a small shrug at Silvana, looking upward as a meteor struck inside the pit causing a small rockslide to occur above them. While he knew little of the mages who had fallen with him and who he had helped save at this point, he knew nothing of the intentions...
"Look Nightlady. Saw you fighting with Blade Darius, so I don't know what you intend at this point. But going back up there? I mean, we could make a run for the ritual, do realize how dangerous it is down here, right? If it isn't safe underground, it isn't going to be much safer...." A selection of Ice Shards slammed into the walls above them, showering the group with small icy shards.

The Prime Minister listened for a moment as Alexander rattled off the quick statements. Mostly it seemed like it was done almost in a single breath. After the quick explanation, the Prime Minister shrugged, turning back to look over the city. He let a few sparks fly from his fingers for a moment, seeming to contemplate what was said only a moment before replying.

"Seth? While I figure you are a reasonable fellow Alexander, I do not figure Seth to be calm. I would hope if there is a leader, it turns out to be yourself, even though you seem to know that these rivalries will not fade..." The Prime Minister sighed, letting the small energies fade.

"And it seems your group is either completely foolish, or some kind of foolhardy brave. Mages jumping into the dangerous unknown for...well, no real particular reason isn't exactly the safest of things. I mean...I figure that Seth was the one walking in last. Somewhat odd with the weapon at his side...but then, I chose him because of the unique properties he does bring."

"However...the assassins are perhaps the biggest problem. They are part of a group that is much more certain would be better if we never opened our borders. As in, you mages would be dead right now rather than here in the palace. They are equipped so well because there are many places with which to become armed...not quite like they were, but reasonably close....Is that all for the concerns?" The Prime Minister said the last bit wryly, a small smile showing.

While there were some individuals still flying about, and a few airships taking to the sky, Joseph seemed still incredibly interested in what Alexander did or moved, as well as any of the movements or looks he gave. He was apparently busy making sure that Alexander was not doing anything tricky.

Back in the trials, Seth found his own hand drifting over to Raven's own almost instinctively. Finding her own hand already somewhat reaching for his own, he enveloped it with his own hand and gave it a small squeeze as he did so. It was nice to have someone who found his presence more than just a flame that was there to clear the way. As he stood with Raven for a small moment, with the chaos still going onward outside, he noted the nice warmth that came from the closer contact, which he almost for a moment forgot she was even a nightshade at this point.

"Raven...I think....Maybe I need to go back out there. The others were out there, and...I think that's what I'm supposed to do, maybe. Probably foolishly wrong but....I don't know, Raven. I just don't know." Seth said, his gaze darkening slightly as he said it. He knew it might be a death wish, with the damage he saw continue. Perhaps it was his fate to step back out into it.

Maybe those bolts should have finished me. Maybe Raven was supposed to leave me out there...I almost hope I'm horribly wrong.

Once the rush had worn off, Drew had little time to react before he was thrown about like a rag doll. He managed to slow his sudden decent enough that nothing was broken, but he was sore all over. He spat some dirt out of his mouth before getting up, moving his arms and legs to make sure he was still able to move properly.

He quickly decided that the first thing he had to do was protect himself. Strong winds. Works out very well in my favor. Most of my fighting style when lightning isn't involved comes from redirection of attacks. 'The force of the enemy is the greatest weapon of the Airshifter', all that good stuff. This wind will make it even easier. And ammunition is literally falling from the sky. Still, mystical nature of the elements might mess with that. Taking control of what he could, he created a barrier of wind, one current blasting to the left of him and another blasting to the right, swirling together at the back and surrounding him in a tornado. Seems to work fine...

Drew then weighed his options. Ok, I could find somewhere to hide. I have the means to defend myself. But I doubt that'd really help considering what's going on. If the earth doesn't open beneath me, something big would fall on top of wherever I'm hiding. Fighting that... Thing from Beyond is suicide. Whatever it is. Actually, what is that thing, anyway? It was probably summoned by the mages. But they've either ran or are dead. Or they'd run or attack if I tried to ask. The gears then clicked into place. ...But there is another source. Seth and the Nightshade. Raven, I think it was...Just hope the two of them didn't bite it.

He started heading back to where the fights were, trying to stay in the simplest path to avoid debris. The few close calls were agitating him. He tried to keep his mind occupied while heading forward. Stay focused. Focus your rage, Drew. Who can I be more angry at than others for this mess? First and foremost would have to be Seth. He clearly knows what was going on. And I even tried to get some info from him. Showed him a lack of hostility and willingness to listen. But did he listen? No, he would rather get in a slapfight with Silvana.

Speaking of, she's pretty high up on that list as well. Familiar face appears in front of you and rather than try and find out way, or better yet how, her first instinct is to try and murder him, the fucking Nightshade. And then there's Raven. Again, sees her fellow students from the Academy, knows of an impending doom. Does nothing. Speaks in the vaguest terms possible, and leaves the rest of us to our fates.

There's the humans who started the aggression... but they aren't a problem at this point. And then there's the wind mage who hit me before, who I thank gods is part of this trial because I'm going to roast her innards with electricity if I see her again and... Focus... want to keep the wind spiraling steadily. Can't afford to lose it in these conditions...

He had now reached a great split in the earth. "Well, that wasn't there before..." the sight of earth reminded him. Shit! Cale! Nydia! He tried to focus his winds to keep the cyclone around him as he lifted off the ground. He wasn't able to keep a complete sphere, something more resembling a twister. He took off the, looking down into the chasm. Ok, expand my objective: find anyone else. I'm going to need help. He was still angry at most of the others, but he still remembered they were allies. Fellow members of the academy. Even those he was the most infuriated with. Besides, he didn't want them dead. Just hurt.

Hearing him accuse her, or at least it sounded so to her, that she intended on hurting Seth or something worse made Silvana feel even dumber for not just helping him and instead fighting him. "Fine, whatever. I just wanted to get out to help the other mages if I could. I get that me having fought Seth earlier may make me look like an enemy, but I can assure you that I just want to get out of this hole and up there to save those I can."

Silvana made a roof of darkness over the four of them to not have the ice shards hit them before she continued. "And yeah, I did notice how dangerous it is up there, but that doesn't mean we should just sit on our asses down here and do nothing while all that is going on up there. At the very least, we could try and see if our fellow mages are alright." She was certain that he wouldn't listen to her just because of her fight with Seth, but she was trying her best.

"I have little wish to become a leader, though if I must I must. However I still think it more likely that Seth may take up the role, especially since he is in there with them now. As for rivalries, it is natural and in some cases I think a good thing. However those rivalries can become very real hatreds based on little more than what magic we practice. As for your opinion of their going in, many of them are a little more experience minded. Learn by doing as it were."

Alexander then stopped speaking to think a moment before he spoke again, thinking on what the Prime Minister had said last.

"Concerns I have plenty of. It bothers me that I know little to nothing of what we will find where we go, what the shadows are here for, and if our group is in any way prepared to actually face what is placed before us. Though it does me little to worry about them, so I instead choose to focus on that which I can actually have an effect on. I will ask though if there is something you feel I should know which I have not asked. You seem to have a better handle on things at the moment."

That squeeze back. That brief moment of pressure sent through her hand. That feeling of warmth rising up through her right arm. This is what Raven thought she was going to feel when that big beast came down from the heavens to smash those who opposed them. But it was coming now, and it was coming from Seth. She could sense it. Why was I ever fighting this? Why couldn't I have just embraced this from the start? Maybe...maybe those cards. I had such a hard time choosing between those last two... Is this their way of giving me both? That fortune teller's got a sick sense of humor. But I guess if I get both, it just might be proof that I've finally got some luck on my side.

"Raven." She almost didn't respond to her adopted moniker, that's how lost in the moment she was. But she turned to Seth. "I think....Maybe I need to go back out there. The others were out there, and...I think that's what I'm supposed to do, maybe. Probably foolishly wrong but....I don't know, Raven. I just don't know."

Seriously??? That's foolish! That's crazy! But what am I supposed to say? I was so choked up that you were OK last time! What if you get hurt again? What if...what if you're killed? What would I do then? I don't want to lose you already! I just got to this! I'd be falling to pieces again! I can't....I can't let you do it...I can't let it happen...At least not the way you want to.

"I think you do know," Raven said calmly as she looked back upon the battlefield that was consuming itself at the moment. "In fact I know you've already decided to go back out there. I don't know why, but I know it's true. Because that's who you are Seth. You see people in trouble and you reach out and pull them through. You charge right into the thick of it, without even thinking of yourself or your own well being. I don't know if I could have even attempted this without you pulling me through, but I know it's because you supported me that I'm still standing here in the face of the apocalypse. I don't know what will happen to you out there, if that thing we brought out will turn on you, if the other fighters will shoot you or if that field out there is going to swallow you alive. But there's one more thing I do know," Raven squeezed Seth's hand tighter. "I know I'm not letting you go back into that mess out there alone." Her head turned back to look the Pyro in the eyes. Seeing and feeling Seth was galvanizing her own thoughts as well, and for the first time in a long time, she smiled. "So let's get in there, partner."

Though Nydia had been working tirelessly to heal every wounded soldier she came across she was beginning to feel that her efforts were futile. Despite all she had done, the numbers of the wounded and dead were far greater than what she could ever hope to handle. Even those whom she was able to save simply headed back into the fray without so much as a moments rest or a word of thanks to her for saving them. Not that she was doing this solely for the recognition or gratitude, but the idea that these people disdained her so despite her efforts to save them was a bit disconcerting. "Is this really what I should be doing right now? I feel as though I'm only serving to prolong their lives for but a brief moment longer...." She pondered as she paused to catch her breath.

Before she had much time to think though, a bright beam of light shot down from the sky into the midst of the battle not too far from where she was. In the midst of all the fighting it was difficult to make out just what had descended upon them but it soon became clear that it was nothing good. Stray magics of all elements began to rain down upon the battlefield. Nydia's first instinct was to get as far from it as she could but she quickly realized that Cale and the others were still in harms way. Having realized that, Nydia began to run as fast as her weary body could manage into the chaos in search of her companions.

She had not gotten too far when she found herself confronted with the new threat that had descended upon them. It was hard to make out in the chaos but it appeared to have the form of a large wolf. Before she could react the creatures feet stomped on the ground with such force that the very earth crumbled beneath her and those around her, sending her falling down into darkness.


With a quiet groan, Nydia awoke unaware of her surroundings or how she had come be there. At first she thought that perhaps all of that had just been a dream but the soreness and exhaustion she felt suggested otherwise. As she slowly got to her feet, seeing the tear in her robe from the demon attack and the blood and dirt staining her hands and robes reminded her of her earlier struggles. Above her she could see the pit she had fallen into with the sounds of battle and destruction indicating that she hadn't been unconscious for very long if the fighting was still ongoing. It seemed that the chasm went even deeper as well and that she had landed on a platform though it didn't seem to be a natural formation.

"Who then....?" She murmured, looking around. Nearby she spotted a man she didn't know, the Nightshade who had come here with them, and.... Cale. For a brief moment she was worried about showing herself in such a disheveled state, especially to Cale, but she knew that this was not the time for such concerns and put the embarrassment aside for the time being. She put on a small smile as she approached them, though she didn't quite feel like it. "I'm relieved to see that you're all alright. What happened to the others though?" She asked before turning her gaze up to the hole they had fallen into. "And what was that.... That foul creature up there? I've never heard of anything with such destructive power before...."

The Earthshaper regarded Silvana a moment as she spoke, before going back to putting a hand on the walls to see if he could accomplish....something. He gave a small push, and groaned as it seemed the earth didn't shift in the slightest. "Hmph. Guess we won't be able to take the underground route to the ritual. Should have thought they would make it so that wouldn't be an issue...." He turned and leaned back against the wall, regarding the Nightshade.

"Perhaps you are one of Seth's 'sparring buddies', as he puts it. Odd fellow that he is. But the trick is up there is damned dangerous. I'm not sure who you plan on saving, because the airships will likely be here soon to try and rain death down on us. This time though....won't be quite as nice for them. Be torn from the sky, and shown that it isn't as much fun as they think to rain death down on those who actually give a damn to fight."

As Nydia came to from her awkward fall from before, the Earthshaper regarded her alongside Silvana, shaking his head slightly. "That is the final card. Masters didn't feel a need to explain it, and I didn't care to ask. What I do know is that it's going to end this war, one way or another."

The storm continued its rage, this time throwing a few bolts of lightning down, causing some eruptions of flames and ice to show where they struck. One of which struck near the chasm knocking some sizable boulders loose. What was obvious that the storm was not going to stop. In fact, it seemed to be expanding up above, enveloping more of the surrounding area. Above Drew, a familiar sound started to thrum through the air. The sound of Airships, which sounded slightly different. Heavier, better armed, and more of them than might be imaginable. There were already the sounds of cannons and explosions a short distance away, blasting away demons who had been trying to run before.

And in the unfortunate destruction, Phebe found herself finally being claimed by the storm itself, with lightning striking around her and seeming to vaporize everything. As the white flash faded, Phebe found everything fading to a complete darkness once again. This time, the card dealer was joined by a constantly shifting figure. The figure seemed to make a shape of a chair as it regarded the fallen mage, as well as the still demonic shadow next to her. The voice of the figure for now seemed to be cocky, mostly condescending.

"Well....seems it took a while, but here we are yet again. Seems you decided to make some...modifications. Tell me...did it work as you expected?"

The Prime Minister laughed as Alexander voiced small objection to wanting to be a leader. Though the conversation about the rivalries was somewhat concerning, the Prime Minister seemed to show little concern for the problem in particular. In fact, he largely seemed confident in the abilities of Alexander to handle the situation.

"Honestly, being a leader is something that one does not exactly step into. Though its probably hard to imagine, I didn't exactly want to be the Prime Minister. But here I am, and here you are as well. Though I know you don't have total control, or even official rank, but I would like you to try to temper your comrades if you can. I am not sure how often you mages have gone out and about, but people still remember the war long past. It makes them panic, and in a city like this, panic spreads destruction rather quickly."

As Alexander asked about what could possibly be lurking in the future, in the darkness, and more likely through the portal, the Prime Minister gave an odd half grin.

"I have a handle of things because a city like this requires one to know and control all he can. But, if there is one thing I think you should know that you haven't asked, it is something relatively simple. Whatever you will face in the portal, or around this city, you must know that this has all been built on the ruins of another. A lot has happened here, a lot of it buried or closed off, either on purpose or on destruction. I feel that we can learn from these relics, but as the current situation shows...these same relics could also be the reason that the city was made a ruin in the first place. With that in mind...learn from all the past that is here. If you can find a reason not to even touch that portal, then I would like to know."

The Prime Minister noted something about the elevator, and turned to be prepared for whomever was coming up it. "Seems that someone has decided to come pay me a visit. Has your shadow's condition improved? Wouldn't want him to be stepped...on or something of that nature. And it is likely either...Minister Ivan, or our local underground King Devon."

Seth felt the grip on his hand tighten, the warmth seemed to intensify as she did so which made Seth feel...different. It felt better, like someone at his back, someone at his side. Seth couldn't help but smile as he came to realize the simple idea that had started back at the Academy. Someone much like Raven who had stood at his side during the contest, who walked with him as he ventured around the Academy before moving onward. Whom he had walked with into these trials.

"Then..." Seth paused to look into Raven's eyes, noting her smile. "...I guess you'll just have to come with me, partner. Lets go finish whatever this is...and get some mages out of that mess." As Seth began to make his way forward, he heard a distinct call to himself. It came from the Warlord Vassar, who had noted the pair walking towards the edge.

"You damned mages don't be heroes out there! Get those mages, and get back here! This shield won't last forever, and we won't be here for long!" With her piece said, the Warlord seemed to go back to directing the mages to reinforce the barrier in particular spots, trying to get things organized.

Seth simply gave a small wave with his one free hand as they got to the edge, which got slammed with an exploding boulder as they got close. Seth gave one last squeeze on Raven's hand as they prepared to make the last move. "Well partner, as good a time as any to change your mind and get away from my foolishness."

C'mon Jenn....We both know this is a bad idea. I picked the End, and you picked Death....I want these trials to be done, and for all of us to be out of here. Before....whatever this finally plays out to.

It all happened in a flash to Cale. First the fighting, then the bright light followed by a monstrous wolf and the next thing he knew, he was being shielded by the same Earthshaper he was fighting before. He didn't seem encouraged to fight Cale anymore and that was a lifesaver. Up above Cale could hear the storm even past the Earth. He couldn't just hear the storm, he could feel it. The intensity above was overwhelming but before Cale could just sit there and feel it, he heard a familiar voice in the darkness. Nydia greeted them and Cale turned his head for his eyes to meet hers. Before he could respond, the Earthshaper answered her questions.

"What I do know is that it's going to end this war, one way or another."

"That's it then?" Cale rose from his seated position as did his voice. "We're just going to wait... as the world up above collapses and destroys itself."

Cale ran a dirtied hand through his hair and paced with an obvious lack of words to describe his emotions. Cale wasn't tired from the fight and in fact far from it. He was trying to calm himself, listening to the battle above him.

"How... why are we here?" Cale leaned on the wall that surrounded them. He turned for a second, feeling the earth with his hands only to sense the poundings of explosions going off on the surface. The earth itself was shaking by the second.

Silvana watched as the Earthshaper walked over to the wall and tried to do something. She wasn't sure what, but whatever it was, it hadn't worked. If he'd been trying to get them up, at least now he'd tried, and they were stuck down there. She listened to what the Earthshaper had to say, but she just sat down with her knees to her chest and her arms wrapped around her feet. They couldn't get out of this pit, so there wasn't anything else to do but to sit there and wait.

At the mention of her possibly being one of Seth's 'sparring buddies', it only made her think again how stupid she'd been to attack him earlier. She didn't mean to be hung up over it, but it just showed her how little she trusted these people that she'd met not too long ago. She couldn't really help it. They were new people and she didn't really know much else about Seth besides his name and what magic he used. He'd tried to convince her to battle with him, not against him, but she hadn't listened. And now she was in a pit, unable to do anything but sit and wait. If she'd been overly emotional, she might have been at least shedding tears right now, but as was, she just stared at nothing in particular while she listened to what the others were saying. She still kept the roof of darkness that protected them above their heads up just in case, but it was a little weaker now that she wasn't focusing as much on it.

Drew's search had yielded no results when a familiar sound assaulted his ears. He looked up to see many airships above him. Airships. Airships in the middle of a storm. Airships in the middle of a storm where every force of nature rains down the heavens. This can only end well. He started descending, hoping to get better results. Better find someone before it starts raining ships as well...

Suddenly he noticed something. It was small and hard to see, but it stood out from everything out. It vaguely looked like the outlines of people. There we are! Still, who is it? Might be friendly, might be one of those mages picking a fight earlier. He then got an idea. He held still for a moment, focusing a gust of wind before shooting it towards the figures he saw. Hopefully this would get their attention. If they're hostile, I'll have some distance to react...

Phebe had come to terms with how she had no escape from the storm, as much as it hurt her to admit a failure. She did not try to fight it much, maybe it was part of the test, maybe it wasn't. She hoped it was, but it turned out that she was wrong.

The new figure next to the carddealer mocked her, and asked if it had worked as she had been expecting it too. No, it had not. Her shadow still had the demonic shape, but that seemed to be the only thing that had changed. She had not.

"No, it did not. Although, I'm not sure what I was expecting." Though she had been wanting to change herself, not someone else. That was why she had gone alone. "What happens now?"

Would she get another chance? Was he going to ask her to pay a price? The shadow was certainly useful, but did she really want to pay for someone to protect her?

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