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

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"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 Masters don't make big storms and wind and stuff. If they want it to rain, it just rains."

The weather outside had turned to hell. At least, that was what Gabriel had picked up on. Joining Fei at one of the open windows, it looked pretty much like it sounded out there. A lot of lightning, black clouds and rain that sounded about as heavy as physically - or magically - possible. Gabe ran through the possibilities as to what was causing it. Perhaps some Hydromancer was out there, long since gone crazy with power and reveling in the chaos they had created. Or something else was going on that had nothing to do with them.

Or this was another part of their trial.

"Do... do you think it's something to do with us? The trial? Should we go out there?" Gabe queried. "We can't stay here if there's something we're supposed to do." Finally. By Alainia's tears, that took far longer than it should have. Proper coherent sentences.

"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."

Nydia could not help but feel a sense of dread upon hearing the mans response to her question. Had the humans truly pushed the mages so far that they had no choice but to unleash that abomination upon the world? She had witnessed first hand how despised their kind was but it still seemed so extreme to her. Was their truly no other way?

She had no answers for Cale's question of why they were there either. This was obviously a part of their trials but what were they supposed to do? Was their goal to prevent this sort of catastrophe? If so they had obviously failed and curiously enough others would have been placed on the opposite side with a goal contradictory to theirs. Or perhaps this was inevitable and their objective was something else entirely. That thought appealed to her much more than the idea that they had failed and were now doomed so she decided it best to operate under that assumption.

But now what? Cale seemed to be pacing back and forth, pondering that very same question. The Nightshade though seemed to have given up and merely sat down looking a bit dejected. To be honest, Nydia wanted nothing more that to sit down and wait all this out herself. But as she gazed up at the darkness that shielded them, listened to the chaos that reigned beyond it and thought of their fellow mages who were still out there, she knew that she could not simply stand idly by if there was another option. Perhaps there wasn't much she could do on her own but the effort needed to be made all the same.

Though if the two Earthshapers had no way of escaping than perhaps there truly was no way out for them. And that idea was beyond frustrating to Nydia. "So we must simply do nothing as the world crumbles around us....?" Her fists clenched tightly at her side in irritation as she muttered the question to which she already knew no had an answer she would like.

The explosion that the large rock created shattering against the force field was shocking, but for some reason it didn't have the kind of effect that Raven thought it would. She didn't even flinch as it impacted in front of her, she just stood there, still holding the hand of the Pyro that was leading her back into the battle.

Wow, that was huge...but I can do this. I can handle this. We can handle this. Me and Seth. We can get some of them out to safety. Even the Sunsuckers.

"Well partner, as good a time as any to change your mind and get away from my foolishness."

Raven felt a squeeze on her hand, and that warmth still circling through her body. Even if this is going to be the death of me, I think I'm all right with that right now.

Seth's hand got a squeeze back. "After all the stuff I did back in the academy, I think I'm ready for some foolishness," she informed him. "Let's get in there."

"He is stable, not fading and not growing. For the time being that will do. I shall try to learn as much as I can about the history of this place. Though I ask to be directed to a historian so that I might gain a bit more perspective than if I am just thrown into a library." Then two names were mentioned, names Alexander had obviously not heard before.

"Who are these two men, and why would they be coming here?" He asked, more curious than anything else.

The Earthshaper barked a laugh as it seemed that everyone had started to give up, with Cale suggesting that they had to simply sit there and wait for it all to come down to them.

"As a Blade of Darius I'll be damned if I just sat here and rotted away. Earthbrother, I will need your assistance. We need to launch this rock to the opposite side of this cavern. I can't move the earth on this side.....too close to the ritual. I imagine better luck on the other side, but as you can see....bit of a jump, and I figure it would take a lot of work to just manage to move us like that. If you are...." He paused as a gust of wind struck nearby, causing the Earthshaper to again bark a laugh.

"A wind rat underground? That is a sense of humor fate has right there. FOOL OR FRIEND?" He challenged, chuckling as he brought a stone out of the platform, obviously planning to do some damage with it.

"A pity." The cloaked figure over Phebe said, still sitting and awaiting for Phebe to rise once more. "What happens now is simple. You ask for what you seek in these trials, and I will tell you the price. Quite simple, isn't it? Some would say too simple! But, I hope you are not quite as foolish to think so...." Behind the shifting cloaked figure, the dealer continued to shuffle the cards, and spread them out once more. Looking them over, he seemed largely unhappy with the dealing, and redid the cards once more.

The shadow next to Phebe rose, and offered a hand to assist her in standing. As always, it regarded her silently, but seemed to at least want to be of some assistance.

Seth nodded, and with one last jump, the pair were through the barrier, and into the hellfire outside. As they did so, it became obvious that while the world did fall apart, some things did not change. Some demons still lingered about, some of them falling to their knees and chanting, and others still trying to bring down some mages that had yet to get past the chasms that now had opened, or at least get past the demons that lingered, or the humans now fighting for no other reason than vengeance.

As they stepped into the fight, Seth released the hold on Raven's hand and let his flames fly about, instantly burning a demon who had thought to catch them unaware as they stepped out. As a fireball flew towards them from the sky, Seth did what he could to redirect the blast away with a grimace. "Damned....strong...." Seth muttered as he turned towards the sound of airships, only to see something...unexpected. The creature that had come from the sky had turned its attention towards the airships, and prepared to release its terrible power.

As the many Airships came, with their hundreds of crews all seeming to be intent on cleansing the area like they had done many times before, they saw what they had begun to always expect. Mages, demons, and all manner of a mess. Destruction on a more massive scale, but the crews had done it to towns and mages before. As some of them began to turn their guns to blast down both the barrier and the odd creatures around it, the energy beast struck.

A flaming stone was suddenly grabbed by the beast, and launched towards an airship. It effectively ripped through the airship, but the many others were undaunted as the ship came crashing into the ground nearby, soon being swarmed by demons to collect what they could, while meeting with the surviving crew. To the creature, it decided that it was not happening fast enough as some ships released a volley of blasts upon the creature. As it bounded away from the blasts, the form shifted, this time to a dragon. Rearing its head back, it opened to release a multitude of bolts into the sky, striking down many ships. The storm itself also seemed to get in on the destruction, with boulders slamming into some ships and crippling their flight. For many of the crews, the shock began to sink in.

No longer were they the great equalizers of war. Now, they were nothing more than birds to be brought low by magic. The survivors might carry this lesson....if they survived the crash and demons trying to loot, as well as mages left outside trying to get to the barrier.

"Minister Ivan is...well, to put it plainly, he is my political problem. I would say be wary of him, but I get the feeling he is here more about security at this point since he will have heard of the assassins and thought to have gotten information...." The Prime Minister shook his head now. "Much more likely, it is...'King' Devon. He's....a scoundrel, to put in an overtly generous sense. Likely here to either brag, or express his distaste that I won't allow his assassins to roam the upper courtyards after this particular attempt on the lives of those living here."

As the elevator gave sounds of it slowing down, it was somewhat plain to see which it was, as a man carrying a small set of knives across his chest, as well as wearing some kind of combat boots, with a metallic gauntlet covering his right hand. The man looked very little like the many cleaner folk of the upper areas, instead looking much more like a man who had fought enough battles to have earned his spot. With his grizzled beard, less than properly cared for brown and grey hair, and a scar notably on his cheek, the roughly dressed, armor wearing individual seemed to smirk as he opened the elevator doors.

"Ya know, these damned elevators are a hell of a security thing too. Long ass climb up here. Howdy mage, ya arn't one of them testy ones, are ya? Regardless....Primey, I need to talk with ya. Bout them...problems ya been havin. Scuse me son, but we more powered individuals have big business to discuss....unless ya want part? Its not too excitin, not like cards or fightin or....whatevar ya mages tend to."

Alexander made a small bow to the man before speaking.

"I'm not one of the angry ones, I'm a healer. As for your business, I don't think it is any of mine. So with yours and the prime minister's permission I will leave the both of you to it." He at that point got his permission and made his way to the elevator. Making his way back to the previous area full of scientists to find Joseph and ask if he knew of any historians specializing in the more ancient history.

As Alexander made his way down to the area where the scientists where, his sleeve was suddenly grabbed by a familiar looking woman. She had been working on the crystals of light before, and had recognized Alexander rather quickly. It seemed that she had set up something rather complex with all of her crystals bouncing light one way or another. They all seemed to be aimed towards a particular rock.

"Excuse me....could I kind of...borrow you for a second? I need you to try and do something for me." Without waiting for an answer, she tugged him back towards her experiment. "Ya see, I'm seeing how different kinds of light will effect different things. However, when I try to put this type of stone here when it bounces this many times, it seems that the light has no effect at all. I was wondering if it was maybe a power thing for bouncing the light around too much, or maybe it was something in particular you knew something about?"

The woman stepped over to a few of the crystals, seeming to turn them and focus the light in different ways, changing the color in some instances, and changing the direction of the light for others. "Since I figured you an expert, I thought maybe you could show me something different? Maybe a new way to do these things? Or maybe supply some extra power so I can do this stuff....well, differently!"

"A wind rat underground? That is a sense of humor fate has right there. FOOL OR FRIEND?"

Cale shook his head before going alongside the Earthshaper. "Friend..."

Cale focused his energy to help bring the platform up. The Earthshaper was right, the platform was indeed more than one Earthshaper could manage unless they were a master. Together, though, they raised the platform just as he intended but as they did, Cale could hear the commotion above increase. He could hear the thunderous booms of the cannons, the roar of the beast above but most importantly, the grind of the earth platform above them.

"You know..." Cale said while bringing the platform up. "I never caught your name."

"Oh yes, of course. I'd be happy to help. Perhaps you can help me in the process. I'm looking for a historian specializing in ancient civilizations for the region. Do you know anyone who may be in that field, or at least some books on someone who is?" He tried to shoot light through the malfunctioning rock and saw that indeed nothing happened to it. He began to look over the apparatus and once again had to admit he had never seen anything like it.

"So what exactly is this meant to do? I'm not very up to date on non-magical ways of experimenting with light." He said jokingly.

Drew kept his guard up upon hearing the unfamiliar voice. "I'm whatever you make of me. I'm not here for a fight, in fact I'm here seeking help. But if you want to go at it, I'm happy to oblige!" he shouted back, rising along with the platform. "But I'd wait a little bit before going up! It's gonna be raining several tons of wood and steel for a couple minutes!" As soon as he said so, he saw the first couple ships get ripped from the sky and crash miles away. Like fucking clockwork...

As Seth let go of Raven's hand, the weight of exactly what she had stepped out into hit her like a demon. Or like a demon was about to before Seth blasted it. OK. Don't panic. You can beat them if they come at you. Seth can help. Together we can do this.

Raven moved off to the side. The few poor soldiers still above ground were at the mercy of the beasts, getting toyed with like mice in a cat's paws before being ripped apart. Fuck where are they? I know they were out here, and I don't think they would be stupid enough to be caught like the meat shields out there. The noises weren't helping matters. There was booming sounds above and the weird grinding tone from below. What the hell is grinding? I can understand the booms at least. The sounds appeared to be coming from a chasm about twenty feet away. Well, I can at least blind the fuck out of whatever pops up.

As the noise got louder, human looking figures emerged from the ground below. Raven was ready to fire, until she made out the identities of the risers. "Earth mage?" she asked, recognizing her fellow combatant from the Grand Hall again. "You're alive! Come on then! Are there any others? We have to get back within the barrier before it collapses back to the portal." A loud bang erupted above the field as another airship took a direct hit from a demon, explosions riddling the vessel as it started to plummet towards the earth. "Right now! Let's go! Seth!"

"OHMYGOSH LOOK!" Something big had appeared out of the sky. She couldn't tell what it was, but it was massive, hovering near the horizon. It was... blowing fire, and blowing tornadoes, and... magic things. "What are you talking about, Gabriel! We NEED to go over there! We need to find out what's happening!" Her shadow hovered over her shoulder, nervously staring out as well. How are we going to get out there? We could... swim, I guess, but that would take a lot of energy especially if we used out powers to help us out. And the waves are getting bigger...

When she looked up, they were alone in the classroom. The bowls of water were toppled over, and there were books and chairs strewn all over the place. "Gabriel! Where did everyone go?!"

A pair of large red eyes rose in the windows, flooding the room with red light. A deep laugh echoed through the empty halls. The eyes disappeared, replaced by rows and rows of jagged teeth. "RUN GABRIEL!"

The teeth parted, and they were swallowed into darkness.

Fei opened her eyes. It was all dark. Were they... dead? Was this how it ended? It wasn't bad. She was still kinda sore all over though. This had to be hell, because heaven wasn't dark and gloomy, and you always felt good in heaven, and happy. Wait, was she in hell!? She wasn't a nightshade! SHE DIDN'T BELONG HE-

The mage jumped up. Wait... I know where this is...

"Hello, young ones! It is a pleasant surprise to see you making it here! Been a long time since I had such...spirited people make it through....So, now the real question is, what did you try to get through all that for? Just remember that there is a small price for what you wish, as nothing is as free as it seems, as history is more than willing to show us..."

The card place! Fei scrambled up to the table where the cards were before, but this time it was only the dark figure. Lame. Did they fail? Did they have to take the test again? Did they have to pic a different card? Oh no, wait, he was asking them what they wanted for a pri-

"WINGS! I WANT WINGS!" Fei demanded, practically getting up on the table.

The Earthshaper gave out a laugh as Cale asked for his name as they proceeded upwards, glancing back at Drew as they did so. Shaking his head, he gestured upward before going back to helping push the stone slab up the side of the wall.

"And when those airships come down, where do you think they'll be going, wind rat? Back into the sky? I'm pretty sure they'll end up on top of us down here, so might as well see it coming!" As they proceeded upward nearing the top, he gave Cale a small look.

"Not as easy as you thought it would be huh? I had to work fast to get this set I didn't quite pay attention to what I was grabbing....Though if you want a name, you'll have to do more than help get out of a hole to get that. Pretty sure we were on opposite sides a tiny bit ago, trying to smash each other." He replied with more than a hint of sarcasm. As they arrived at the top, they were greeted by a ship slamming into the ground relatively close behind them, sliding off into the pit with the surviving crew shouting and attempting to escape.

"Well Shadow Raven! Didn't expect you out here, though I see Blade Darius has made himself at home!" The Earthshaper said with a laugh, stepping forward bringing his stony armor back around himself. "Guess its time to let this all wipe the slate clean...."

"History? You'll probably want to meet up with...Jebb? I can't recall his name. J-somethin. He looks into all that old stuff, and tends to keep it all stashed in his private library. Doesn't even let the Prime Minister in there, the stuffs so damned old...." The woman said, watching with some small fascination as Alexander tried to make his own light work before going back to her crystals.

"Well, this is actually some ancient stone stuffs that supposedly dark magics made or...something. Said to do something with the power of light. I am not....exactly sure what it is, to be honest. What I do know is that this stuff was supposedly made into a legendary armor. Anti-magic stuffs. But in order for that to work, it had to be cut in a very particular fashion. So far, its been tossed off to me, and a few others around here. So, I'm seeing if I can focus the light to shape it in some way...or at least dent it. So far, stuff seems pretty indestructible...." She adjusted another crystal, and for a moment light seemed to pass through the odd stone before going solid again.

"SEE?!? You see that? That is exactly why I asked for your help. Could you mimic that?"

Seth had taken it upon himself to step about, clearing away any lingering demons, or humans that survived and still thought a parting shot at a mage was a way to go. Seth was more than happy to prove that it would have been better to run as he let his flames fly forward, practically consuming whatever wreckage was left as the humans tried to scramble to use a cannon or whatever they could grab against him. He felt....different out here. His flames burned brighter, he was more dangerous, making waves of fire which before he would not have considered.

"Right now! Let's go! Seth!"

Seth turned back to see what Raven had found, noting that the other mages that had apparently come along were up from the well as his earthy ally. Leaping to the side as some ice spikes slammed into the ground where he had been standing, skidding to a stop as he watched the storm now intensify. Turning to get going as Raven had said, he paused as soon as he saw why the storm had gotten worse.

Another energy....thing. This one was shaped mostly human like. Except for the wings which seemed to be made of fire. Seth made a quick run over to Raven, shaking his head as he did so. The storm had intensified, and now the other energy figure didn't even need to direct the storm to strike, it was throwing so many elements down on the ships they were going down to the dangerous bolts alone.

"Well...Think its possible for me to keep him busy while you jump through the shield? Cause it looks like that works..." Seth said, looking back over at the group of mages as they made their way away from the pit. "Nice of ya to join us...too bad its a little late now." Seth toned his flames down...slightly. Still, an inferno seemed to circle around him, largely just to from time to time throw flames up to blast an icy ball from striking too close.

"Wings? That is quite the interesting ordeal....I think wings would suit you nicely...something feathery like your company has?" The dark figure made some angelic wings fly about, giving a small flap here or there to stay in the air. "Well, you can have the wings, but unfortunately those wings are going to need some time to catch up with you. And that is time you'll have to give up. Say about....five years should be enough. After those years are passed, you'll have some fine wings for yourself! Shouldn't take too you find that agreement acceptable, or are you more attached to those years than the wings?"

The shadow figure made a bit of a show now, seeming to chuckle as the wings came to themselves and showed as a large leathery type. Giving them a small flap, he looked back at Fei, seeming to shake his head.

"I must warn you, young one. These wings will hurt when they first start. But after a few minutes pass the years...they'll grow to a better size and state. Much more fitting for your form at that time, to be sure...."

The sense of relief that Raven felt upon discovering the presence of other mages was somewhat swept away with the emergence of a second threat that was sending ships crashing down with twice the efficiency of the previous attacker. The one that crashed at the other end of the chasm will live in the Nightshade's memory for a while.

"Well Shadow Raven! Didn't expect you out here, though I see Blade Darius has made himself at home!"

"I am a mage after all, Earth Shaper," Raven commented, trying to cover the fact that despite being on the same side, she never got the other mages name. "I won't be contained to the protective circle like a newborn buffalo, especially when my brothers," she spotted Silvana and the Light woman behind the Earthshapers, "and...sisters are in peril. Come now, let's make haste back to safety."

"Well...Think its possible for me to keep him busy while you jump through the shield? Cause it looks like that works..."

Raven jolted her head at Seth's latest declaration. Seth, why? Do you need to keep it busy? We have some of the mages, the shield's close enough, we don't have to do this... The Pyromancers' look was steely, his mind was already up. As sure as the flames that were rising around him, he was set to test himself against whatever the abomination wanted to throw at him. Seth, I don't understand...are you actively trying to make that card shark's prediction come true by ending yourself? ...I guess that's kinda hot, but still... She looked back up at the figures flitting around the sky, still swatting vessels like flies. Damn it, Seth.

"Earthshaper, take the rest of your party up to the circle where the ritual was performed. Get them to that safe harbor. Myself and Blade Darius will buy you time to do so."

Raven moved back over to where Seth was still cranking out the heat. Well, we might as well make our predictor two for two on the record then. She waited for a break in the inferno to get in close quarters with the Pyro. "You're making it very difficult for me to see this partnership lasting more than a few minutes, you know."

It sure was chaos up there once they arrived out of the pit. Silvana stood up, and she hadn't done so sooner before demons and humans had noticed them and attempted to attack them. She started with creating many large hands of darkness that rose from the ground to grab her opponents and crush them to death. For some of the others she used darkness spikes on that popped up out of the ground and stabbed through them. And for anyone else who got close, she would use her draining ability to drain them off their energy, leaving nothing but clothes and bones from them.

"Earthshaper, take the rest of your party up to the circle where the ritual was performed. Get them to that safe harbor. Myself and Blade Darius will buy you time to do so."

"I'll assist you two." Silvana said. She couldn't just leave the two of them out there to give everyone else time. Perhaps they were strong enough, but she felt having a third mage attack would still be better. Perhaps she only did it because she felt she had to make up for what she'd done earlier by attacking Seth, but it was still better to be three than for there to be two. Seth's flames were getting too bright for her, but she would still help them.

"Alright so you are basically using light to try and shape the stone then? I think I can help with that. Also thank you for your help in finding a historian. It should prove useful." Alexander then focused his energy to make a very thin but somewhat powerful laser. Hoping to make a refined cut to the tip of the stone just as a proof of concept that his light could actually do something to this stone.

"I'll assist you two."

"Really? That was some lovely assisting you were giving us earlier," Raven commented in a snarky tone at the other Nightshade. The confidence she was showing in her voice was diametrically opposed with how she felt about the current situation, but in line with how she was feeling about herself at the moment. "Yeah, I think we're good. You want to help? Make sure you and the others get to the circle."

Silvana knew that Raven would mention how she'd fought Seth earlier. And it probably wouldn't be forgotten soon. But, hindsight is 20/20. Now was not the time to argue, however, and she was going to help them. Even though she clearly felt that she wasn't needed. "And let you stay here and get more hurt than you already are and would otherwise get? You clearly don't know me." She would help them secure that the others would get to the circle, but she would also help Seth and Raven. Maybe she was just being stubborn, but so be it. She wanted to at least try to make up for earlier.

"Hello, young ones! It is a pleasant surprise to see you making it here! Been a long time since I had such... spirited people make it through... So, now the real question is, what did you try to get through all that for? Just remember that there is a small price for what you wish, as nothing is as free as it seems, as history is more than willing to show us..."

Did that mean they had passed their trial? It seemed that way, since Gabriel and Fei were back at the bizarre void with the card table, and they were their older selves again. Instead of the dealer from before, there was now just a human-looking figure shrouded in mists. Gabriel was a little skeptical. Could this just be another facet of the trial, since he and Fei had been here before and she probably remembered it?

Fei seemed to know what she wanted easily enough. Gabe, however... he had no idea what he wanted. Two of his concerns he had shared with the spirit aboard the airship would come with time, and he'd proven to himself that the third could be overcome. For now, he remained silent while Fei held the figure's attention. A little bit of extra time to decide couldn't hurt.

Drew had reached the surface, seeing his new objective ahead of him. "Right. Safer place. Can ask things then. Now what about..." he looked and saw the others near a thing like the monstrosity he saw before. Seth had started trying his luck trying to fight it. Is he insane? We're right there! he groaned. Much as I wouldn't mind seeing him get a little toasty for getting us in this mess... He focused his powers, creating a tornado, swirling it around him. "Sorry, Seth, but the dramatics are going to have to wait..." He barreled forward, charging straight at everyone, catching them in his cyclone as he dashed past the beast. He shouted to Seth, Raven and Silvana ahead of him "Coming through! Enough with the melodrama and MOVE!"

The force of the winds picked up all those in front of him, knocking them off their feet. Drew strained with all the additional weight. Just one last push... He used what momentum he had left to blast the mages right towards the barrier, sending them flying. Drew tried to land on his feet, falling and rolling a little further into the dome, hitting a stone wall. "Gyyaaaaah... ow..." Please tell me I didn't miss anyone... they were all practically in a line.

"Aaaaah..." Fei stared at the wings with wide eyes. They were so pretty... like bird wings, but not. They were like bird wings made out of pillows and cotton! She jumped up, briefly touching them before they whooshed away. A bright feather was caught between her fingers, lighter than air, brighter than lasers, softer than... air. To be honest, she didn't hear anything past 'You can have the wings'. "Can they fly!? Can I fly with the wings??? They're so pretty! And so white! I want them! Pleeease!"

"Hang on a moment," Gabriel spoke up, addressing the figure with one hand raised, wagging a finger. "Before we cut any deals here, I'd be interested in hearing a bit more about these terms of yours. 'Years' could mean anything. Years of servitude, time spent waiting for them... heck, for all we know you could be about to trap F-Fei here in some kind of void and we wouldn't see her again until the time was up." Fei seemed to have little regard for the consequences of obtaining a pair of wings, hence his interjection.

Gabe turned to look at Fei. Just relax. Focus. You've done this before. Under different circumstances, but still. "Let's just... just hear this out a bit more. Find out exactly what he means before jumping into a decision." His stomach churned, but he held his composure and inwardly cheered. Congratu-flaming-lations. It took you this long, you moron, but you managed it. Next test: Prove to yourself that wasn't a fluke.

"You're making it very difficult for me to see this partnership lasting more than a few minutes, you know."

"Well, at a time like this I guess....Making it isn't quite the first thought on my mind. And everyone has to get to the barrier somehow, might as well be with someone keeping a monster busy." Seth said with a small grin before the conversation between Raven and Silvana started to have a...less than nice tone. Seth wasn't really too concerned with it, as it seemed Silvana was...oddly understanding of the whole ordeal. Though, he knew for a fact that Raven wasn't going to let it go.

"Hey, happy to have you along for the ride, even if it is a little....late..?" Seth found himself being pushed by a sudden strong force of wind. He knew who it was before they even said anything. Good old Drew, trying to get things done in his usual no-nonsense fashion. As the group was launched forward, Seth couldn't help but note that the creature seemed to turn in sync with them as they flew past, with Drew slamming into the...more secured area of the dome rather than the opening that was just a small distance away from them now.

Seth was already thinking of the beast they had just slipped past, and was pulling Raven back to her feet from the sudden landing as the winds seemed to completely die. That probably took a hell of a lot out of Drew, meaning that his part in this might be completely over. Sure hope he wasn't an idiot and chose the death card.

"Thanks for the lift Drew....Try not to drop dead, as I should probably buy you a drink." Seth said, taking a small step to the front of the group of mages. "Get in the damned barrier!"

The Creature, in the meantime, had begun a slow leisurely walk towards the mages, not seeming to mind the destruction as it continued to rain down around it, and nearly on top of it at some points. What was obvious that it was obviously interested in the Mages, and Seth had no plans on lingering any longer than they needed to...meaning that if that creature got close, they had already messed up.

We...just might make this! Gods, we just might make it out of this intact! C'mon, lets go!

Alexander's laser against the rock did not have the intended result. As he angled the beam towards the corner of the stone to simply see about chipping off a small part, it instead seemed to again become absorbed. Except this time instead of simply being absorbed and being the end of it, it instead seemed to make the rock slightly bigger instead at that particular corner. Almost as if the light itself was feeding the black rock to be more than what it was before.

"Whoa! Never managed to do that before! How big do you think you could make it doing that! I mean....I don't exactly have a lot of that stuff lying around, so if you could say add a few....well, additional stones? That would be very nice. Means maybe I could bargain some of them off to someone else...." The woman said thoughtfully, seemingly already deciding that Alexander knew what he was doing with the odd stone.

"Ahh yes, I haven't forgotten about you, Gabriel. Of course you would want to be a bit more cautious about the deals you make. Trying to be the older brother here?" The figure said with a chuckle, deciding that perhaps he could explain a little more.

"I don't need Fei in any solitude, or void, or anything like that. She'll just need to....age a bit before the wings would be able to take effect. In fact, if you want to be sooo picky about it, I could maybe lower it a tiny bit. Four years instead of 5, and just an aging is all. No stealing, or anything like that....But then, what would you like to get out of this, Gabriel? You managed to pass your test as well, much to my surprise. Thought you would be stuck in there a lot longer than...well, a couple individuals." He smiled at Fei's happiness at the wings, almost seeming to forget about Gabriel for a moment.

"So, seems you are mostly decided! You want nice feathery wings? Or maybe heavier leather wings? Maybe even something different! All because you asked nicely, which you would be surprised how often I don't get any of that! And of course you would be able to fly....with a bit of practice, of course."

When she went flying through the air, the first thought going through Raven's head was Over already? Couldn't give me a few more minutes? It was only upon landing that she saw the culprit was not the demon from another dimension, but the Airshaper. What's his name again? I can't remember.

The landing was a bit rough, but the ground had been well tenderized by battle at this point, so there was some give. Seth had stood up quickly and called to Drew. That's his name? I would have guessed Greg or something. The Windwaker was slow to respond, but there were more pressing matters at hand. The giant lumbering creature had run out of playthings on the field of battle and was heading for the mages.

"Everyone!" Raven shouted to people within earshot. "Quick! Get up to the summoning circle!" Quick was going to be a relative term for Raven, not exactly the most athletic of mages, but she was still beating a hasty retreat away from the approaching abomination.

As everyone made their way into the dome shield, an odd light overtook them as they jumped through. Seth paused a moment before turning to look at the odd creature which still seemed to wish to walk slowly towards him. Shaking his head a final time, he jumped through the shield.....and into an odd darkness. For a moment, he was certain he had made a mistake, that perhaps he had ended his journey when he decided to jump through the barrier to help the others. As he sat there, taking in a few breaths, he realized he was actually laying down on the darkness. Shaking his head slightly at what might have been some form of foolishness, he stood up, seeing that Raven who had entered before him was getting her bearings as well. Looking forwards, he saw the familiar dealer with his cards, but this time in front of him stood a constantly shifting figure....

"You know, it is quite interesting how closely you chose these cards. Since I am never allowed to handle cards of fate, I can only guess what they do...but it is still fascinating to see you both come through that mess as well as you are. I imagine you both have quite a few questions." The shadow spoke, seeming to almost laugh at how the pair were there.

"Hey, Raven....You OK? Everything still alright?" Seth asked, largely ignoring the shadowy figure until he knew more of how she was doing.

As Drew, Nydia, Cale, and Silvana made their way into the barrier, they were treated to much the same experience, with a sudden flash of light before suddenly finding themselves in a deep blackness. After a small while of silence, they were suddenly greeted by the sound of a slow clap of a lone shadow, seeming to be somewhat amused by their presence, which became much more obvious when the thing spoke.

"If I didn't know any better, I would say you were all lucky to make it through that. But yet here you are, at the end of your Journey, with the darkness truly being the victor over the day. Guess you didn't realize such a small action against mages during the war would be so....catastrophic. But, it happens, and you somehow made it through....less than flying colors, mind you, but you did make it through, so I guess I can humor your requests for a moment....Even if you are drained from the ordeal. Damned overzealous mages, not willing to temper their abilities....But, a deal is a deal, and here you are. So, I imagine you have questions? Concerns? Looking for a reward? Because now is the time to ask for it, and pending on how....well you did, the price might be acceptable for you. Perhaps."

With a small wave, out of the ground ghosted chairs, a couch, and a few other seating arrangements, seeming without care nor order. The shadow just chuckled, waiting for the wayward mages to address him...and stop wasting his time.

"Umm I can't quite explain what just happened myself, though I think I can safely say I won't be any help in cutting the stone." He said as he kept a fairly easy and minimal amount of energy going as he decided to try and see if he couldn't shape the stone in a different way. He adjusted where he was shooting to attempt to turn the lump of stone into a more rectangular shape. If only to see what would happen.

As soon as Drew hit the floor, he was in a completely new setting, hearing a shadow speaking to them. Oh, NOW we get someone who talks... "So we win? Well that's nice to hear. Now then, a few people that went in still aren't here. What happened to Seth? Or Raven? Or those two who came in with us? What about my sister and her wannabe boyfriend? And what exactly where you talking about when you were talking about a reward and a price?"

Drew had been steadily getting back onto his feet while asking these, brushing himself off, checking to see if his companions were ok. I remember something about a reward being mentioned. Maybe there's something I can get out of this...

Cale was greeted with the lone clapping of an individual. Solemn and confused was Cale because for all his struggles all he got or rather all they got was this lone person answering questions. Cale had many questions as he always does but the struggle made him tired and weary. He thought of the Earthshaper that he faced during the journey. He wondered if he was still alive to this day but Cale cast out those naive thoughts. Cale got onto his feet as another mage spoke out against the shadow and questioned the fate of the others. Cale looked around and saw Nydia as well. He helped her up, imagining she was also worn out from the ordeal. Once she was up, Cale turned to the shadow.

"I'm sorry but besides all the death and destruction, what was the point to all this? The war dragged on didn't it? What's one catastrophic event in a catastrophic war in general supposed to mean to us?" Cale asked.

After Cale and the other Earthshaper lifted them back to the surface things quickly spun out of control and Nydia found herself pulled along, or in one case being pushed by a strong gust of wind, until she found herself right back where she started with Cale offering a hand to help her to her feet. She took his hand and pulled herself to her feet and gave a word of thanks as she took a moment to gather her thoughts. They had been reunited with Seth and the Nightshade who had been called Raven but those two were not here now. Had they been taken to safety as well or were they still out there fighting that magical abomination?

The shadowy figure that greeted them seemed to willing to answer their questions and even reward them should they desire it. Though it had mentioned that they had made it through with "less than flying colors" which meant there was something they could have done better. Nydia stared down for a bit at her bloodied and tattered robes once more. She did feel that she had been of little use throughout their ordeal but she had done as much as she possibly could given the situation and what little information she had to go on. "And just what were we supposed to do in there? We all fought for our lives against our fellow mages and that horrible creature, what more would you have had us do?" She inquired, failing to keep the indignation she felt from her voice.

Why'd it have to be so bright?

As Raven slowly arose from her prone state, she put her hand to her head to try and shake off the effects of...whatever it was that just happened. The darkness was comforting, and the fact that there wasn't a raging battle going on all around them was a welcome respite, but there was still a bit of confusion.

What was that? Did we....did we win or something?

"Hey, Raven....You OK? Everything still alright?"

Raven looked over at the Pyro she had went on the trip with, standing off to the side. He made it! Of course he made it. We made it. "Yeah, I think so. Still a little woozy from that, but I've survived worse." She looked around the darkness, seeing only Seth, the card dealer from before and else? Something else? "What happened to everyone else? Didn't they make it?"

As Alexander began to weave his light about, molding the odd black stone into a more square shape, he could suddenly feel the stone began to eat at the light. As he finished the shape, it became increasingly obvious that the stone had begun to sap away at the light, seeming to take it inside of itself as if it were storing it for later. And as Alexander was doing so, the woman had grabbed a random bit of paper and had been scribbling notes down as quickly as she could manager.

"Ya know, I don't see why the Minister won't just let us have free access to you mage-types. Would make this kind of stuff so much easier. I mean, I could have been here for weeks without anything like this, and here you are doing it on a whim. Do you see or feel anything about it? Is it telling you things as it grows? Maybe sees you as a parent or something, or is it like a plant?" The woman seemed to be writing the questions down as she spoke them, wanting to take particular note of the answer.

In the meantime, another one of the inventors stepped over to see what all the noise was about. "Hey! Whats going on over here? Ya arn't the only one making breakthroughs and things, ya damned girl...."

The shadow laughed loudly at Drew as he demanded all sorts of explanations and answers. Stepping about them as if appraising some cattle, the shadow seemed to change to a familiar shape of Raven, and then spoke in a similar raspy tone that she often held.

"Silly flyboy, thinking that reaching the end is a win. Maybe if you actually did something you could answer those questions yourself. Did you ever wonder if those were your companions? Maybe they didn't pass? Perhaps a deserved fate, to be honest, seeing your miserable show of abilities." After saying that small piece, the shadow shifted again, this time to Seth, and shifted his attention to Cale.

"Was there ever a point in the first place? You can be sure the war continued...but not for long, not when everyone was dying at an accelerated rate. And remember, you came to me, not the other way around. So, you can take what you want from the experience....or learn nothing. It isn't my place to teach you, you learn your damned self." And as he moved over to Nydia, the figure shifted again, this time to appearing like the creature of energy from before. The voice it spoke in seemed to echo Nydia's but only faintly as it seemed to be less than a solid tone.

"Perhaps instead of saving lives, taking them? Or maybe you should have turned on the humans as soon as you could? There is always more to be done, though we are often blind to it till after the fact. Such as the war...Of course, I can't expect you to understand that, good healer. You don't understand the sacrifices that must be made..." The figure changed once again, this time being simply the shadow self as it approached Silvana and let off an odd chuckle.

"And then we have you, who became more than just a pawn. Capable, arn't you? As well as not quite as annoying as the others, for which I am pleased... So, I offer you the deal first. What is it you seek in these trying times? Power? Age? Wisdom? Maybe some wings, or more powers to aid you? Maybe you want to know your 'friends' deepest darkest secrets....Or perhaps a companion like they all have? I know you saw it when you fought out there. I'm sure you see how useful it is....Of course, maybe you don't want anything after that ordeal. Maybe what you saw was enough to tell you that magekind was quite good at stopping the war."

"Perhaps they did. Perhaps in as good a shape as you two are....But then, perhaps not. Perhaps they made a mistake and are now paying for it. Can't one simply hope so?" The shadow said, tilting the head back and forth as it did so. "So, maybe now that you are out of that small mess, you can tell me what you have come here for....power? Knowledge? Maybe you are just here to prove your love or something silly like that? Wouldn't be the first time, actually.

Seth turned to Raven, giving her a small look as the shadow continued to talk. "Woozy? Need a hand?" Seth stepped over to offer an arm to help her be steady. "Guess we made it, and I guess that's the best info that we are going to get from him about the others." He whispered afterwords, turning his attention back to the shadow. "Maybe now you can....well, do what needs doing. I'm here with you, just as I promised I would be. ya go?" Seth said, giving a small shrug at the last part.

He didn't really know what he could ask for, but he figured this was Raven's task, not so much his own. He was just along for the ride at this point...

More than just a pawn? What did he mean by that? From what she could conclude, Silvana figured she'd not been under someone's control, then. But who knew if that's what the shadow really meant. As for what he asked of her, she already had power. She didn't want to change her age. Wisdom would probably be pretty nice, though whether it would change how foolishly she'd acted towards Seth was another matter.

Wings weren't something she was after, although more power did sound good to her. She didn't care for knowing other people's secrets, and as for the companion... She'd rather that happen by itself rather than being forced to happen. And indeed, he was right that it did seem like mages were quite capable of stopping the war. But what if it hadn't been enough?

The shadow was offering Silvana to start, and she'd take the offer. "I wish for more powers to aid me. So that I can further my relationship with the darkness and grow stronger." It was what she considered to be the thing she wanted the most.

Raven grasped Seth's hand and hoisted herself up as the shadow at the table kept on talking. He was promising power or knowledge or whatever the hell she could want. And there was a lot of that.

This is it. I can finally get the power I need to get stronger. To prove that I am talented and capable of demolishing those against me... She looked at Seth. I still need it though? What if I go for those wings at Seth doesn't like them? What if I become a monster to him? I don't want that. Not now.

"Seth," she whispered to the Pyro she was looking at. "I want you to be honest with me right now. Do you think...that I look all right? Right now? Like, is there anything that you would change? Cause I don't know. I don't know what I want to do, but I want you to be all right with me and if there's something I can do to change that, then I will do it. For you."

"So, simply aid in your powers? That is almost too easy....I almost wouldn't consider it worth the price of holding on to....Though, that wouldn't be fair to me, now would it?" The odd shadow drifted around Silvana, seeming to give the oddest of tugs at her clothes here or there until seeming to finally come to a decision.

"Since I like you sooo much, I think I'll give you a small choice. You can either be stuck forever seeing the shadows of others, or....lose those fancy eyes of yours. Such a simple choice, isn't it?"

With a small chuckle the shadow suddenly drifted back to Drew. "Now need to be all frustrated cause you weren't 'chosen first'. I think I can extend the same deal to you....Looking for something in particular? Or did you just come here to ask a bunch of questions? Because questions are boring...."

It then drifted over to Cale and Nydia, seeming to pull them both closer together. "And...what about you two? I can't imagine you came here for the same silly reason as to ask questions! These they call them, I hear, were not meant to be a game, but more of a reward....for those willing to prove their worth in times longer past."

At the moment Seth was certain that with all that had happened, he was done with surprises. They were out of the battlefield, the others were likely safe, and this was it. They were done....and then Jenn whispered the oddest of things to him. It caused him to flinch at the odd question.

"Do you think...that I look all right? Right now? Like, is there anything that you would change?"

Seth looked, and then turned to look at her closer, putting his hands on her shoulders to push back the hood that she would often wear. Hiding herself for....whatever reason. She looked fine, if not a little bit dirty from their diving about in the dirt...He smiled, shaking his head lightly.

"You look great, Jenn...Mybe once we get out of here wash up those robes, but I'm pretty sure that's my fault so....." Seth gave her a small nod. "So...what do you think? Do I look alright? Cause I imagine this is as good a time to ask with....well, ya know." He gestured towards the odd shadow, who seemed to be chuckling to himself at this point watching the pair discuss.

"Don't mind me, I got....well, all eternity actually. But so do you, so take your time. Just don't expect things outside to look the same after all that time though." The shadow said, going back to smirking at them quietly.

Drew waited patiently until Silvana had finished making her request. "Oh no, by all means, I'm not upset that I'm not going first. Hell, I'll let those two go next in getting their reward. Still, I've stood here and let you ramble on and on about nothing, and I guess it's only polite I respond... first, mind if I address a criticism you gave to one of my companions? 'Perhaps instead of saving lives, taking them', I think you put it... What lives? None of the other people we saw there were real. A simple retelling of a fixed point in history. Any lives saved there wouldn't matter, because here in reality, all people involved have been dead for a long time."

He waited until the shadow was done talking to Cale and Nydia before resuming "As for how the trial went, I don't know what else you would want. I tried to get us through this as fast as possible. Perhaps a little more boneheaded chest beating and swinging blindly at anything that moved would have impressed you more. Perhaps not heading to the barrier and getting myself killed to have a little moment of heroism like some people here did would have made you happy." he said, glaring at Silvana during that last part, turning back to the shadow. "But that'd waste time and energy. Sorry I didn't dazzle you, but I'm not here to impress you."

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