Root and Branch.   Posted by Terradyne.Group: 0
Agrona
 player, 41 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Wed 16 Sep 2015
at 20:52
Root and Branch
"My gendarmerie are the epitome of virtue. They shall perform admirably." Agrona declares, before sending along the message instructing them to assemble and move out to where Maya determines best.
Terradyne
 GM, 120 posts
Thu 17 Sep 2015
at 18:28
Root and Branch
"I'm sorry, Agrona, but there's nothing close enough to really make much of a difference. At least, nothing with any significant number of Guard aboard."

She makes a slightly thoughtful noise. "The closest is probably the Dauntless; though they're not ours, exactly, they have a few aboard. They'll take a little while to get here, though."

With immediate reinforcements not an option - and your Gendarmerie hours away at the best speeds they could manage, you are force to make do with what you have. Not that the forces you have assembled are in any way trivial, they are merely small in number compared to what you could deploy with time.

***

Tracking Reid is not easy, even with excessive surveillance. Although the path is littered with cameras, several of them seem to have suffered momentary glitches at various points. While you should have been able to use this to track him, they weren't entirely in sequence, making it a little harder than it should be.

You'd almost suspect him of teleporting somehow...if that wouldn't have been incredibly obvious. You haven't felt or detected any psychic disturbances, so whatever he's done is probably low-key.

You've almost reached the end of your subtle options when a perimeter sensor chimes, having detected what seems to have been a sneeze as something passed through a patch of some rather prolific flowers. Whatever else they may have been intended for, they have a tendency to provoke a mild histamine reaction in just about any human, and whatever else you may suspect about Reid, it seems that this is still true.

With that data-point, the cameras and his departure time, you have a definite outer limit for how far he could get in the time it will take you to arrive, putting you within very close range. Now, you must plan your attack on a potentially unknown factor.
Maya Adderson
 GM, 74 posts
Thu 17 Sep 2015
at 18:56
Root and Branch
"And people said that decorative gardens are a waste of money"  Maya grinned at that, before getting back down to business.

"I'll take point, he'll want me, you follow along closely, and be ready to intervene if things get too hot, he probably doesn't know you're here, and the lack of reinforcements is likely a blessing in disguise.  Between you, me, and my robots, we should be able to handle likely outcomes."
Agrona
 player, 42 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Thu 17 Sep 2015
at 20:06
Root and Branch
"Bait out his patron if you can. There is naught in all the world I cannot harm with my blade, if you but give me one clean strike."

Agrona draws the shadows tight against her, seeming to almost vanish from sight.

"I shall be right behind you."
Terradyne
 GM, 121 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 07:32
Root and Branch
You step out, walking into the wilderness beyond the colony. A hillside sparsely covered in trees, it is somewhat of an unusual place for a confrontation, yet here it seems, it shall be. Light twists as a figure reveals themselves - Reid, yet...different. A crest of feathers has half-replaced his haid, and something else resides behind his eyes, an altogether more sinister presence.

"Really, Maya." he says, smirking as he raises a hand, lines of force snaking out to hold you in place, far beyond anything that he should be able to conjure. "You shouldn't have come out here alone."

But he has underestimated you, and your counterstroke is far stronger than it would have been before your transformation, your staff pulsing in time with your thoughts. Power crackles down your connection, and with a single massive pulse you disrupt them, pushing the building cage aside.

He sighs. "This would be much easier if you'd just submit. I'd rather not waste your potential."

***

With the creature distracted dealing with Maya, you slide slowly into position. Its power is surely immense, but with that has come a degree of unearned arrogance, and cloaked in shadows as you are, it does not seem to have sensed you - or even looked for you at all.

And so you place yourself behind the growing struggle of wills, ready to strike at the opportune moment.
Maya Adderson
 GM, 76 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 07:41
Root and Branch
"Please, if I had brought an army with me, you'd have either rabbited or turned them on me" Maya retorts, the Adjutant's Primium-sheathed edges glowing in time with the inner crystals, as traceries of light spread across the black metal casing.  "The only way I'd pin you down in one place long enough to bring you down is by giving you bait that you couldn't possibly resist".

She deploys three telekinetic constructs, jagged-edged globes of fractal-lined force.  As she gestures with her free hand, the Staff of Forgotten Stars held behind her as her favored avenue of attack prepared itself.

"So, rather than just let you bounce around, cackling like the crow you are while you continue to give me a headache, I'd rather just resolve this all in one go, for better or worse."

She didn't blink--but two of her constructs lashed forwards, expanding into twin saws of reality-shearing force--while the third remained on standby to serve as an active defense against any counterstroke.
Agrona
 player, 43 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 08:56
Root and Branch
Agrona says nothing as she ghosts around the confrontation.

She has one chance. Though arrogant, her foe will know the second she discards her cloak. So she must make it count as best she can.

A clean strike. She waits, coiled and tense as Maya and the enemy struggle. Waits for when it commits too much, for when it cannot respond without opening itself to reprisal. For the moment when it must choose between two fates, each devastating.

She strikes at that moment, silently rushing across the grass as the shadows bleed away. Her sword cuts the air, parting the world before it as it seeks its target.

One clean strike.
Terradyne
 GM, 122 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 09:15
Root and Branch
The twin spheres race forwards, sharp enough to cut through anything - real or unreal - and with enough energy behind them to force them through a mountain.

The daemon-possessed Reid cocks his head as they fly towards him, batting them aside with an errant gesture, his lips curling up into a cruel smirk.

He clearly wants you to think that he did so with ease, but you can feel the strain that it took. No matter how composed it may seem, how much the smirk may claim that you are an insect before him, you are evenly matched in power, here. With the crystal to draw upon, you may fight this beast on equal grounds.

"Do you think that you may win a psychic duel against a servant of Tzeentch, girl?" it says, voice overlaid with another, one that you have heard before. "Why would you want to? Surely I know many things that you would wish to learn..."

It raises its hand with a crackle, and the world turns white. When it flickers away a moment later, the ground for a hundred metres around you is blackened glass, trees burnt or turned to ash by the heat. But your sphere protected you from the blast, though it has been sacrificed in the process.

"...such as the exact arrival time and place of your foes."

***

The moment comes, the enemy distracted with its attempts to persuade Maya, and the aftermath of the lightning storm it unleashed. You lunge forwards, Anaris ahead of you, gleaming in the sunlight as your shadow-cloak dissipates. A moment passes as you feel it sense you, pivoting around in a most unnatural way.

It cannot block Anaris, but as it raises a hand crackling with lightning, you realise that it does not <i>need<i> to.

The bolt smashes out, force enough to crush lesser minds and bodies, to render them into naught but ashes. Anaris flares as the circling runes flash and collapse back to the sword, protecting you from the worst of it, yet even they cannot absorb all of this.

You are thrown backwards, hitting the ground with jarring force, driving a rut through the earth and coming to a halt fifty paces away.

And yet perhaps you have done something, for it is a momentary distraction, if nothing else...
Maya Adderson
 GM, 77 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 09:25
Root and Branch
He lashed outward, catching Agrona's stroke with his own psychic power and casting him aside.

But in that very moment, his attention was not on Maya--and she was waiting for a chance like this.

She generated a spark of bio-lightning, and cycled it into the Staff's matrix--a split-second's charge as she prepared the largest charge she could muster--and as Agrona's body was cast aside, and just as the Daemon turned his attention to her.

"Block This"

She cast her hand out--Warplight sparking from the staff to her hand.

And a bar of jagged, soul-melting lightning erupted from her hand--enveloping the Greater Daemon, and passing far beyond him--taking a chunk out of a nearby mountain as it stretched out well into orbit before the power finally diffused enough to fade.
Agrona
 player, 44 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 09:35
Root and Branch
Agrona hisses in pain even as she discards sizzling warding plate, runes of protection disrupted and mangled past usefulness.

She shifts her grip on Anaris, entering a more cautious stance, even as she draws on Shadows again. If she can only strike at the enemy's attention, then so she will.

The harder it is to see her, the harder it is to strike her, and the harder it is to protect against her.

She shifts and moves cautiously towards the enemy again. Waiting once again to exploit an opportunity.

She just has to drag it out for long enough. In the end, weight of numbers and of power will see them prevail.
Terradyne
 GM, 123 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 11:47
Root and Branch
As the light fades, you find that somehow, impossibly, he has. No longer does Reid stand before you, but instead a great bird-like beast, the daemon's true form. A great staff is held in one hand, and lightning crackles along it.

It stares down at you, feathers singed and burnt, flesh wounded, and roars its anger. A bolt of manyhued light streaks forth from its staff, boiling towards you with anger, rage and the power of Tzeentch.

A hastily raised shield blunts the attack, scorching you with the mutagenic corruption within the flames, but preventing it from doing the worst of its work upon you. You are left slightly weakened, scorched, but quite alive.

The colossal daemon steps forwards, ready to attack with its giant staff.

***

Hold on, Agrona! shouts Fionn telepathically. Almost there!

 Already hurt by the impact, and nearly blinded Maya's giant blast of power, you are knocked backwards by the shockwave of the latest strike. Yet it is something that you can prepare for, now, and it only slows you down.
Agrona
 player, 45 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 12:08
Root and Branch
Agrona winces at the enormous amount of raw power being thrown around. It is inelegant and exceedingly dangerous, but she can appreciate the effectiveness of an inelegant solution.

Unfortunately it does not appear to be a solution. Not just yet, at least...

Fionn's voice is most reassuring in her mind, as is the presence of Lileath - always there, but felt more keenly at this moment - lending her a certainty that they can prevail... but she is growing less certain of how much it will cost. The daemon might well make it an expensive proposition.

And she cannot reach it with Anaris.

Standing up to her full height and stretching slightly, Agrona removes the faceplate of her armour and clears her throat.

She draws in shadows. Innumerable shadows, a dark and obscuring mist rolling in from seemingly nothing at all, obscuring light and sound and soul.

It cannot reach the epicentre of the struggle, it is burnt away clean by the vast powers flung about. But that is alright.

If the shadows are thick enough, the daemon will not see Fionn and the Priests and the Seers until it is too late. And it will not see Agrona as easily.

And then she begins to sing. To draw on the warp in the most delicate of ways. She will not contest the combatants in power. But who still in the world of the living could claim to match her in finesse?

All it takes is a tiny alteration to trigger catastrophe, a single weak point in the workings of the daemon, and she will compromise it.
Maya Adderson
 GM, 78 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 19:46
Root and Branch
"Damn" Maya frowns.  "I suppose you had to be at least this strong to have such a fancy title and name"

She waves the staff--and in a glimmer of light, the burns and mutagenic forces were purged in their tracks, cast out from her form and restoring her--body and soul to her original state before making contact with the flames.

"But I'm hardly out of tricks just yet."

This time, she doesn't worry about sheer power, focusing instead on saturating the Daemon's position with lightning--to scorch and dismay it with the attacks while she came up with a better idea.

And of course, the staff attack--but she had been practicing for this very incident--hopefully she could parry it.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:49, Fri 18 Sept 2015.

Terradyne
 GM, 124 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 20:13
Root and Branch
You draw forth the shadow from its own realm, clouds of darkness gathering, obscuring much oft the hill, a great fog of shadow that pervades this place, cold and merciless. But though you can focus upon the shadows, call them forth and direct them, your ability to affect the battle itself seems stunted, the thin probes that you send forth batted aside by simple turbulence. Without a more direct means to strike, you cannot touch your enemy.

But perhaps you will not need to, for passing through the exterior of your field, you feel a welcome soul approach. Fionn strides through, clad in war-plate and wielding a staff crackling with latent power. At her sides are the priests and seers you mobilised, here to destroy this daemon, sending it back to whence it came.

"Agrona. Do you need help?" she asks, whispering through the shadows, yet as clear as if she were next to you.

***

You hurl forth lightning, a great arc crossing the distance between you, splitting into a dozen others. As one, then another strikes him, he rears up, screaming in actual pain as his essence is ripped into by the energy you project at him.

Not enough to kill - not enough to do more than wound - but you are slowly injuring him, and his position is worsening all the time. He lashes out almost blindly with his staff, the great stave passing far in front of you, missing you by over a metre.

The initiative has changed, it would seem.
Agrona
 player, 47 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 20:22
Root and Branch
"You are here. Good. The tide has turned, and now we must capitalize on our advantage. The priests and seers, they are not fit to struggle directly against this foe. Containment and binding, that shall be their task. Spread out and cover the beast in chains." Agrona whispers back, even as she shifts her grip on Anaris once again.

"You must aid Maya. None can truly do so except you. Strike at the beast, rend its soul that we might claim its essence. Keep it pressed and hurt it. I will wrap you all in shadows, and I will search for an opportunity to strike."

She shifts in alarm as the daemon recovers from Maya's attack, and with a final nod to Fionn, she shifts away into shadow, drawing it tighter as best she can.
Maya Adderson
 GM, 79 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 20:34
Root and Branch
Fortunately, she had no need to parry such a clumsy attack.  And with his stance so clumsy...  Was this an opportunity to turn the tide?

She shifted her posture, and thrust outward--if she could just make contact, she could burn this creature to ashes, and it wouldn't recover in time to be relevant to...  Much of anything likely.
Terradyne
 GM, 125 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 21:30
Root and Branch
"Right." she says, and you can sense the nod. Chains of power strike forth, seeking to restrain the daemon. But it shifts position, moving ahead of their strikes. Not even their precognition can beat the daemon, and any chain that lands upon it soon is shrugged off.

You pull on the shadows once more, but the daemon cackles, and you feel things change, and know that it can see through them with the same ease that you can, somehow copying your senses. Time is short, as it rears up once again, glowing with gathering power. It seeks to end this fight as soon as it can.

Fionn strides forth, but even she cannot face this daemon easily. It lashes out, and though she parries with her own staff, she is forced back away from it. She stabs out with the base of her weapon, striking it a glancing blow, but such barely does more than score the skin.

Suddenly, you feel her surprise, and she leaps at you, shouting a wordless cry of warning. Everything goes white, as something happens...

***

You lash out with the crystal, making contact with the daemon. As the staff crackles with psychic power, you feel the daemon's mind reach out through it, seeking to take you as its own - to remove you as a threat, and gain your precious, dangerous staff for itself.

But it seems that it has underestimated its prey, for as it inverts, drawing itself through the conduit you so thoughtfully provided, you feel surprise, changing to fear and then mortal terror as it passes through the great singularity of power.

The daemon is strong, yes, but the crystal is far stronger still, and currents of power have been building since the start of this fight, influenced by your own mind, and only strengthened by calling upon its power.

It touches your mind, almost desperate, now. Rendered mindless by sheer injury, it grasps at you, for you are the only point of safety in this place - or at least, the quietest point in a building storm.

And as things reach a peak, the crystal flashes, and the world seems to fall apart around you...
Maya Adderson
 GM, 82 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 22:19
Root and Branch
Maya's eyes opened, as she climbed to her feet, body and eyes still crackling with residual power.

"No time to talk, power's got to go somewhere, I need access to Lileath, now, I can do something to help us both"
Agrona
 player, 48 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 22:24
Root and Branch
Agrona rips off her glove as she makes a telekinetically boosted jump to Maya's position, wordlessly urging Fionn to do the same over their link. Her wings, her power, her channel to Lileath sprouting behind, through and in her as she moves, until she reaches out to grasp Maya's hand, glowing with the light of Lileath.

She does not see if Fionn does the same, for she is no longer using her body as aught but a channel for the Goddess. A gateway to her realm.
Maya Adderson
 GM, 83 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 22:31
Root and Branch
"Good, now..."  Her eyes explode in power as she begins to exert the power.

The Adjutant was, in it's original form--a device made for the manipulation of life, forged by the Eldar, with a flaw inherent within it that allowed it to continue folding energy within itself nigh infinitely.  It was, however, fundamentally a blind, idiot device that required a will behind it.  Maya may be reasonably responsible with it's use, but she lacks the awareness and precision to use it with perfect mastery.

But with the residual skill of a Lord of Change--fading away, but still strong.  Maya had a chance of pulling something she'd have never considered before.

She could visualize Lileath's entire divine gestalt--and more importantly, the parts that were darkened by the encroachment of Chaos within it, and their endless attempts to seize anything that resided within the Warp for their own usage.

But with a divine tool of life, and the skill of an ageless sorcerer who delighted in such things--Maya had a chance to begin to fix this damage.  True, the latter focused mostly on spreading corruption rather than curing it--but to do it properly, he required to intimately know how it functioned.

And when you understand the function of a poison, you can develop a cure for it.

Her arts surged into Lileath's divine gestalt, exhausting the power buildup, but the orders had been implanted long ago, to restore it to a pristine state and repair the damage that had been accumulating over the march of the years since her rebirth.

With any luck, this would stave off any disaster for a time.
Terradyne
 GM, 128 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 22:45
Root and Branch
"That feels...extremely strange." mutters Fionn, as she holds herself completely still, posture iron-hard against the sheer amount of power surging through your link.

A single slip-up here could crack the crust of the world; destroy you all, for immense amounts of energy are being used to perform this cleansing. And yet the skill that flows through this link is second to none. Only a god could do better - and in this case, not much.

To sense the entirety of a deity is a remarkable thing, and for a few moments you see it all. Every thought, every intricate part of her. A marvellous creation, and a titanic living being, sprawled across the warp like a network of nodal structures.

Within that pulses the dark stain of corruption; the foul taint of Slaanesh, and his hold upon the Eldar. You sense more trickle in with each passing moment, a tiny stream, but one that has built into a lake. With time, perhaps it might have overwhelmed her, either leading to her destruction...or a worse fate.

But no longer. You breathe in, then out, and in that moment an eternity passes; a blur of action. When you open your eyes, the taint is gone, and so too has your taken power, burnt up, absorbed and processed.

And so, exhausted, you collapse to the ground.
Maya Adderson
 GM, 84 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 22:48
Root and Branch
"...  Okay, we good?  Any side effects?"

Maya lolled about on the ground.  "Because I would very much like to take a nap now.  I think I've earned it."
Terradyne
 GM, 129 posts
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 22:52
Root and Branch
Fionn blinks. "No. I think I'm fine." she says, twitching slightly. "That felt very strange, though."

"Agrona? Are you alright?"
Agrona
 player, 49 posts
 Crowned Champion
 Priestess Queen
Fri 18 Sep 2015
at 23:29
Root and Branch
"A little singed, but I don't think I was affected much by... that thing that just happened. Mayhaps all the power followed the path of least resistance?" Agrona says, climbing to her feet again.

"I think I will bring Maya to her home. If you and the Priests would but scour the Academy for any traps, I believe we might call an end to all of... this."
Terradyne
 GM, 130 posts
Sun 20 Sep 2015
at 20:48
Root and Branch
"Good." she says, straightening herself. "I was worried that some of that may have found a home in you; it was a most...scouring experience." Fionn shakes her head. "It would have hurt you on a most visceral level, like your soul was being abraded by sand."

She steps forwards, picking up Maya and handing her to you with surprising ease, her hair flowing in the wind and mouth gently smiling. She lays one hand on her forehead, nodding at the sleeping psychic. "Pleasant dreams, Maya. You have done a good thing, this day. More than one."

She turns "Take good care of her, Agrona, for she has done more than many could even conceive of."

"I will purge this world of any lingering influence that this late, unlamented creature wormed into its people. Those that were coerced, I will free." he expression turns stormy, and a crackle of suppressed lightning runs through her eyes. "Those that followed willingly...will not long survive."

And she turns back to the rest of the priests, striding forth with all the strength at her command. Standing taller than even before, she looks every inch the warrior-priestess.