We Are Our Avatars VI (Closed for Good)

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Taking Loki's words as basically 'go ahead', Nybeth attempted to creep up behind the Xiphatian soldier who was accompanying them. He drew his dagger from its crystal form on his wrist, then tried to drive it into the back of the soldier's neck.

"Got it." Jessica replied as she continued working. She finished the circle and activated it, setting it to lead to an area outside the borders of Fourside. "At least Tophat can track the guy so he can't get the drop on us."

Ness nodded as she, the Rookie and Tophat all walked through. Before she did, she activated her voice modulator. "Yeah... good thing too. If I'm going to die... at least let it not be a backstab..." She remarked as her eyes turned green while she walked through the portal.

Jessica cleaned off just enough of the chalk outline to break the portal, figuring that getting blamed for defacing a hotel room was low enough on her list of worries to not be worth the time. She then teleported out to where she had sent Ness and the others. She hadn't bothered to put in her contacts or don her eye-patch, as they hadn't left the room and for now she felt they would only be a distraction.

Having no reason to mistrust Nybeth, the soldier never saw his intents coming. When the dagger was plunged into his neck, the soldier fell over, dead. Fortunately, Loki and co were far enough away from the airship for the pilot to not notice this. Loki himself didn't even bat an eyelash at the deed. Instead, he watched the clouds of poisonous gas rise from Fourside.

Ness watched the clouds billow from Fourside with gritted teeth as she waited for the clouds to disperse, keeping a hand over her mouth as a subconscious precaution. All these people dead due to one asshole...

Rita watched the gas clouds rising into the sky, not saying anything at the moment.

Tophat set a waypoint for Jessica, Ness & the Rookie using the mental link, pointing towards Loki.
(To Jess, Ness & the Rookie: I will deal with Loki. Vanessa, you hang back and give support fire. When you feel it's needed, move in and join the fray. Jessica, you take James and go in close. Got it?)
The Rookie loaded a shell into the chamber with a clack, then nodded. He set off towards the waypoint after Jess & Ness.

Nybeth cast a spell to reanimate the remains of the soldier he just killed. He seemed to come to an epiphany of sorts, but simply shrugged to himself, not really caring about his own realization. He yawned as he looked out at the billowing clouds of toxins spreading around in the city off in the distance.

"Got it." Jessica drew a circle of chalk on a nearby rock. After activating it, she hopped through to test it. She appeared a fair distance from where Loki, Rita and Nybeth were positioned. Having tested her portal, she teleported back next to it and ushered for Rookie to head through.

"Understood." Ness replied flatly as she entered the portal after Jessica, holding her sniper on her shoulder. Afterward, she'd teleport to a position a long way back from both Jess and Rookie. "You and the Corporal, be careful. I've got your back, but don't be careless." She telegraphed to Jess before setting herself up.

"Well, I say our work here is done. Time to return and wait for the uproar this will cause." Loki remarked once the clouds dispersed on the wind, sounding rather pleased with himself. He turned around and started walking back to the airship.

Rita turned and followed Loki. "How much of the area did you manage to hit with the gas?"

The Rookie entered the portal, and hid behind some cover.
(To Ness: Try to focus on high-value targets if you can.)
(To Jessica: Keep on the move. Let James draw attention, then you flank them and take them down. Oh, and one last thing: If I die, and we win, I'd like my remains to be given to Erica, or the College of Winterhold if she is unavailable.)
(To the Rookie: Stay low, use your training and don't take any unnecessary risks. The other two can handle themselves, you worry about your own hide, alright?)
The Rookie shoved his rucksack slightly in response to Tophat, then peeked up and checked how many enemies there were.

"That was my plan from the beginning. Provided there isn't a giant horde, I'll be able to end this quickly." Ness telegraphed in response before calmly looking down the scope of her light sniper.

Nybeth wordlessly followed after Loki and Rita. Finding his own method of travel to be preferable to sitting in an airship, he cast his Black Plume spell and shifted into the form of a crow. He flew up onto the airship near the entryway and glanced at Loki and Rita.

"Understood." ...Erica's out of the question though. Probably doesn't want to ever speak to me again after how I ended up treating her...Goddammit! Focus! Jessica hid next to Rookie, waiting for him to take action and keeping watch on Loki's group as well.

"Roughly a third of the city. How much cassualties actually resulted from this, however, I cannot say. We will hear of it before long, to be sure." Loki answered Rita as he walked.

OoC @Drakmorg: The pilot is still alive. The one who detonated the bombs was a different person.

Marcus and Xyleena were still a little ways away from Fourside, approaching from the south.

Tophat mentally prepared himself, cleaning out all unnecessary thoughts.
(To the Rookie, Ness & Jess: On my mark: Three, two, one, MARK!)
Tophat entered Loki's mindscape, pulling him in as well. It lost all knowledge of what was going outside as it focused all it's mental power on keeping Loki trapped in his own mind.
"It is about time we meet." - It said to him, taking the appearance of it's old body in pristine condition.

The Rookie took his last grenade and lobbed it at the zombies before moving to cover closer to the enemies, firing a shotgun blast to draw attention.

"Hmm, that's pretty good I guess." replied Rita.

@Nailik: Right. Last post has been edited.

As Nybeth only had one zombie with him at the time, it was torn apart by the grenade exploding near it.
The explosion and following shotgun blast gave Nybeth-Crow a start, causing it to crow and holler as it flew up and backed off further onto the roof of the airship.

Having gotten the signal to move, and only seeing one other target, Jessica teleported behind Rita. She made to grab for the girl's hair with her left hand and try to grab hold of her right arm with her right to try and restrain her.

Seeing that the commotion had begun, Ness sighed to herself before quickly aiming at the pilot of the airship and firing a single shot toward his head.

As Tophat entered his mind, Loki stood still, a neutral expression on his face.
Loki's mindscape appeared not as a constant, but an ever changing myriad, the only thing that did remain the same being the influence of the Tessaract. Loki stood within the center of it all, looking mildly confused at first, but quickly catching on. "The interloper reveals himself. Within my mind, no less. Curious, yet foolishly suicidal. You toy with forces you cannot possibly comprehend."

Rita yelled out when she was grabbed. As Jess pulled her Rita's whip and clothing glowed as her magical energy was amplified by all of the mythril, and the ground beneath Jess rose up to attempt to grab her legs and arms.

Tophat looked around, examining the Tessaract influence a moment before looking back at Loki.
"Perhaps I am in over my head, but minds is the one thing I truly know. Though I must say, it has been a long time since I saw a mind this complex. In any case, we may as well relax and wait."
The Rookie looked up at Crow-Nybeth, and having seen him shape-shift a moment ago, decided to fire a pair of shotgun blasts at him.

Jessica kept hold of Rita and was grabbed as well by the arms of earth she conjured up. Jessica growled and tightened her grip on Rita, as well as activating an effect on her arm. Jessica's right middle finger started to lightly glow yellow, at which point Rita would feel like she had just been struck by a taser.

Nybeth, seeing that Loki had somehow become entirely unresponsive, that his zombie was destroyed, the pilot of the aircraft being taken out, and Rita being held up in a grapple, decided to cut his losses and flee the scene. As he did so, one of the Rookie's shotgun blasts clipped his wing and sent him to the ground. Enveloping himself in a cloud of black smoke, Nybeth emerged from it, coughing and clutching at both his chest and a wound on his arm. "Bring the pain to blood and flesh, this demon cast from mortal coil!" He chanted, firing off a bolt of his Word of Pain spell at the Rookie, which would cut up his armor and slice right through the lighter sections and cut his flesh if it hit.

"A diversion?" Loki asked, then laughed mockingly. "This is your plan? Foolish indeed." Loki began walking around the mindscape, which changed from a indicernable mess towards something that focussed on something the Tesseract had made him feel, a hatred for humanity. This manifested as the image of a city in ruin, smouldering. Everything was shaded blue, to various degrees. "Naturally, I shan't indulge you here. I have a world to conquer. You will be expelled soon enough. Either that, or you will be erased entirely. Who can say?" Indeed, Loki began expelling Tophat from his mind, slowly, but surely.

Seeing Nybeth emerge from the cloud, Ness calmly and quickly fired a shot into each of the necromancer's knees, aiming to disable him long enough for Rookie to finish him off. She looked over at Jessica and Rita struggling and calmly began to move from her cover to a better angle to assist her friend, being unable to get a good one. She also took note of Loki seemingly standing still.

....That's not a projection... I'll end it then..

"Loki was the name, correct? I do think I'll stay around a tad longer."
Tophat held against Loki, placing old useless memories in the way. This erased those memories, but slowed Loki down as well.
"So, just to pass the time: What do you think I am? My body was killed, as you well know."
The Rookie ducked back down in cover, the spell taking out a chuck from the rock he was hiding behind. He drew his pistol, and took aim. He fired a shotgun blast at Nybeth and a single bullet at Rita's knee, not able to shoot anywhere else for risk of hitting Jessica.

Jessica's attack would have been much more effective were it not for the mythril lining in Rita's clothes, which diffused the shock entirely. At this point the earth would attempt to pull Jessica away from Rita and to the ground.

Once more Loki's mindscape shifted, this time to reflect a feeling of his own, the hatred of Odin, his adoptive father. Thor, his adoptive brother, and to a lesser extend, Asgard in general. This manifested as the grand throne room. What was once gold, now was a lustreless dull grey. On the opposite end of the throne room, where one would normally see the city of Asgard from the balcony, there was a black void. Although his feelings here were his own, the Tessaract altered Loki's thoughts on the matter, this manifesting in the shadows of the throne room being blue. "I truly care not who, or what you are. You will fail, as will your conspirators."
As Tophat lingered in Loki's mind, the Tessaract began touching it as it did everything else in Loki's mind. The cosmic forces began singling it out, slowly beginning to transfer it to a mindscape of the Tessaract's own making.

A little burden released from him, Loki regained enough of his mind to look around.

Tophat grunted, and its mental image became transparent as Tophat moved around to dodge the Tessaract. It launched waste memories to clog up, thereby blocking, Loki's control of his body.

Nybeth fell to his knees as he was shot in them, cringing and groaning in pain all the while. Before he could ready another spell and cast it, The Rookie violently planted a load of buckshot in his chest. Nybeth let out a few pained choking and gurgling noises as he spat up a fair amount of blood, then fell face forward onto the ground and stopped moving as a pool of blood soaked into the ground underneath him.

Feeling herself trying to get pulled off of Rita, Jessica tightened her grip on the girl. Being pulled in the opposite direction, she ended up tugging forcefully on Rita's hair and forearm, pulling her back with her as she was pulled to the ground.

Making her way to her new cover spot, she noted Loki moving his head and quickly took aim toward the one weakpoint of his she remembered: his eyes. He might be able to notice a small white light flare up as she charged up and fired off a Titania Cannon, sending the beam bullet streaking toward his face and threatening to pierce through him. If it hit and wasn't powerful enough to tear through him, it would explode once it stopped.

Knowing that she had given up her location, Ness quickly created a portal under herself and popped out under cover on the other side of the scene, still behind cover. She kept an eye on Loki to ensure he had projected himself before taking a look toward Rita.

Rita fell back along with Jess with a pained grunt as her hair was pulled. Once on the ground, the earth formed into spikes that began to attempt to stab into Jessica.

The Rookie dropped his shotgun and aimed his pistol two-handed, then opened fire on Rita with a few accurate shots.

The cosmic forces of the Tessaract removed the set of memories swiftly. Memories were insubstantial, as easy to remove as they were to alter or fabricate. While Loki himself worked on pushing Tophat from his mind, the Tessaract continued to pull it into a pocket mindscape, this resulting in Loki's mindscape fading, the area becoming a barely vissible silhouette, while a clear blue sphere surrounded Tophat.

Loki sluggishly moved around the battlefield, just in time to see the white flash in the distance. He warped to the side. He saw that Nybeth had been gunned down and grunted in great annoyance. Seeing Rita was in trouble, and not about to loose another asset, he turned invisible. While Loki's mind was still too occupied with ejecting Tophat to place a full shroud on himself, he could manage a simple invisibility spell. After making himself invisible, Loki warped behind Jessica and attempted to stab her in the side of the neck with the blade of the scepter.

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