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Vault Hunters (OPEN)

Dice System
Custom

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Memories -

A dark alleyway, two figures wearing Penny's masks hurrying towards him, their shadows swift across the lantern lit walls of weathered purple stone.

Behind them was the light of a distant fire, the sounds of footsteps and doors opening in the main street, as people went out to to gape at the flaming side of the Cerberus Tower. Across the starry night sky, the silhouettes of griffin riders scoured the city from above. "Fire in the tower!" said the waking folks; "What's going on?"; "Thieves broke into the tower!"

"I have the book." said Penny's panting voice from the first masked figure. She patted her backpack, her gloves streaked with blood, as she and her companion ran past him. "And the rumors were true, the key isn't there anymore."

"Well, at least you two got one thing right in this whole fiasco. In the wagon, now." said Manuel's voice quietly, snatching the bag from her impatiently. Waiting behind him was a small group of what seemed to be a family with a priestess --- no, ruffians disguised as a family and priestess.

"You two will love your disguises." said the breathy voice of one ruffian. "You're going to be corpses."

"Slater, let's move." cut in Manuel. The ruffians all took their positions, as Manuel took out two small sickly red vials and handed it to the two masked thieves.


* * * *

The wheels of the wagon grinding up a slippery slope up under heavy snowfall . . . a bridge in the distance . . . a familiar giant spider like machine . . .

Later, Manuel strode into the ruins, pass the mindless working drows, and into a warm chamber flanked by floating Katulu Archeons, the most masterful mages of these disgusting octopus people Theosebia had enslaved. And there in the center was a beautifully decorated steaming pit, but within it . . . a mass of flesh and eyes, decorated with rings and necklaces of gold and precious gems . . . nesting a pile of dead drows . . . it's many arms waving, creating the same spell sigil, as the whispers of many women rose from whatever semblance of a hundred unseeing and nose-less faces bubbled out of its glowing green flesh like bubbles. Various soul stones of all colors and shapes rose from the corpses as they were being eaten.

"I'm back. And I have the book. All that's left is the other one, and the key."

"VERY GOOD. YOU HAVE DONE WELL TO BRING ME CLOSER TO SEEING MY DARLING ONCE MORE . . ." whispered the voices. "OUR EXCAVATIONS HAVE BEEN FRUITUITIOUS. THEY HAVE FINALLY DUG UP THE LAST BRUMESTONE WE NEED TO LIFT BARAD EITHEL INTO THE SKY AGAIN."

Wordlessly a set of doors opened, and a group of slaves came bearing a heavy amber yellow crystal much like the one that encased Vidya's arm, and the one that encased Magni, though this one was cut into a beautiful oval and was smaller than Magni, just about as big as a wagon wheel.

Manuel examined the crystal with much interest. "I wish we had more. This is a better source of power than having to collect and meld dozens of soul stones for the goliaths."

"ALAS, IGNORANT FOOLS HAVE CHIPPED AWAY AT THE BRUMESTONES IN THE FALLEN CITIES, THINKING THEM MERE TRINKETS FOR THEIR RINGS AND NECKLACES. SOULS WILL HAVE TO SUFFICE FOR NOW. WE HAVE MANY. AND I HAVE SAVED THE MOST TROUBLESOME ONES FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH."


* * * *

Floating in the obelisk chamber within Malus . . . watching the katulus work, as he directed them . . . Every now and then he'd look at his spell book again. There were drawings, plans, a diagram of what looked like . . . like Loki's eyes. His real eyes . . . There were arithmetic calculations . . . adding up the spell power of about six obelisks . . . if it was enough to seal him . . .

* * * *

Manuel walking through the many passages of the brass and gold-patina ruins, past pits where smoke rose from the smelting of tons of metal, the hammering as slaves worked to repair the fallen flying city . . . past the working portal where they were bringing in lumber from The Highlands, felling down the ancient trees to fuel their forges . . . and outside, on what seemed to be four square blocks of the ancient city leveled and straightened, there stood the largest portal he has ever seen, big enough for goliaths to pass through nearing completion. The runes around the gateway marking the path that will open to the Void . . .

He made his way into the golden dome, past the old clockwork gears of this giant building of a machine, the great swirling blue rings of energy that powered this place that the old ones had used to command the goliaths as one and slay Titan centuries ago. It had changed the land and more importantly changed a people . . . the ten thousand survivors of that age that still reside in Theosebia . . . who cast away their bodies in a moment of desperation, and took refuge within the Vault Key . . . trapped inside until that fateful day forty years ago that set Theosebia free . . .

He thought about their very first meeting, when he was still a young man eager for the power of the Age of Arcana, finding Theosebia in the sewers of Barad Eithel . . . the knowledge she had contained . . . and learning . . . that she was the Vault of Memories . . . Hers and the memories of the ten thousand survivors within her remember . . . and the stories they told him . . . it was a much better world than the one he lived in . . . and to see how far they've gone to bringing it back . . . once Theosebia takes in Loki's soul . . . she will become as powerful as and Ancient . . . and then they can remake the world, and make it beautiful once more.

Katsuya Katsuya
 
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Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

Isa froze in front of the merman’s view after slapping himself with Manuel’s hand. Eyes completely dazed with pupils thinning into slits; unable to see.

After a few seconds of stillness, Isa quickly stood up, ran to the door to open, and fell to his hands and knees. Vomiting outside as he ignored the stinging tugs from his stitches. His skin became paler and clammy at the touch, covered in sweat that dripped from his chin and forehead. Autumn red hair started to be matted down by the sweat. His eyes closed shut tightly as he couldn’t handle what he saw and discovered from Manuel’s mind. Shock and anxiety wreaked the redhead from within as thoughts of fear and loss invaded his mind.

What did he just see?! Those plans- no! A-and that-that thing eating people-

He has read about demons and their methods of taking people’s souls but this...Theosebia was something much more worse to look at, knowing what she was trying to do. She gonna do it again, she’s trying to seal another Ancient...his Ancient...

”Sor-sorry, Moss. Breakfast-“ Isa heaved, unable to finish his sentence. Breathing heavily as he clung onto that thought. He just wanted to know the dome’s map! But this was something important! He held Moss’ knife tightly, knuckles turning white. “Th-they’re...Titan a-and Loki- blegh-!”

Zer0 Zer0
 

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Moss Adamaris -

"Isa?!" Moss glanced at Manuel, he had passed out from the fire, but to be certain he tied a gag around his mouth quickly, before rushing outside.

A warm hand rubbed Isa's back, as Moss knelt beside him in worry. "Did you see something?" he looked at the ring he had put on before he suddenly rushed out and puked.

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

His shaky back flinched at the warm touch as he heaved heavily. His redhead bobbed silently, trying to catch his breath. Focusing on the warm hand instead of what Manuel knows.

Once he could talk, Isa described what he saw and Manuel’s thoughts. Not wanting to leave anything behind. “I think she lied to use Manuel. They’re gonna kill another Ancient. Loki.” He groaned weakly, feeling his stomach churning at the thought of losing any connection with the Ancient again.

Zer0 Zer0
 

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Moss Adamaris -

Moss offered Isa his shirt to wipe his mouth with, saying it's alright, he'll just clean it. His eyes widened the more he listened, and he could vaguely notice Leonid's music growing weaker, until it stopped and all the sound there was in the tent was Isa's voice.

"But that's . . . dangerous . . . isn't Loki the one who holds the realms together? What if it goes wrong? What will happen to our world?"

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

Isa just leaned on Moss, weakly gazing up as he listened to his kind words, and gave in. He felt too sick to argue. Gently wiping his mouth on Moss’ shirt. “I can clean it though... Thank ya.” He did notice how Leonid eventually lowered the volume of his music and he faintly wondered if he was listening in.

“When Titan died, the land became a wreak. Earth floating in the sky while the once lush green fields became snow covered frost. I can only tremble at the implications, should Theosebia manage to seal Loki.” Isa gravely replied. “Remember that creature a few months ago? More of them might come here. Gravity will be crazy. Even the sunlight- it’ll bounce into different directions and not make sense. Every realm...will be mushed together...and it’s gonna be a mess.”

”We might not even survive the collision of realms as it happens. More lives will be lost...just like the ten thousand survivors that decided to give up their bodies to be safe somewhere else.”

Zer0 Zer0
 

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Moss Adamaris -

Moss just gave a huge sigh of ohhhh maaan, his arm around Isa. "Alright, let's wait for the ladies, and then let's plan."

There was a fwip, as the tent flap opened and Leonid's concerned face peeked out. He had in fact been listening in. "Is --- is that true? Our world may crash into --- into other realms? Soon?"

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

Isa silently nodded, frowning as fear and anxiety tangled together into knots inside his sensitive stomach. “Okay.” He sighed, nuzzling under the merman’s chin. Movement from the tent flap caught his eyes and he peeked up, seeing Leonid’s head peek in.

The redhead stared at him seriously. “ . . . Yes. If Theosebia reaches Loki, it might happen, but I believe in everyone in this group.“ He smirked devilishly, eyes gleamed in his determination as the rising sun’s light hits Isa’s pale face. “That’s why our role, Leonid, is very important to do, since we’re gonna be distracting the giant monster inside the dome and strike it down with explosives and obelisks.”

”Though it would be nice to have a few more hands for help . . . But barely anybody here would believe us anyways and I’m unfortunately a criminal here.”

Zer0 Zer0
 

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Moss Adamaris -

"I can," said Leonid slowly, "talk to some people. If it's supplies you need I can help get those. Excuse me fellows." And he went inside his tent, and then quite as suddenly poked his head out. "Oh, and I'm giving you your goods back for the disguises. Consider it free, I had no idea what you all were doing was saving the world." and with a grateful and solemn nod at the two, he went back inside.

Moss held Isa and smiled at Leonid. "Thanks, buddy."

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

“Wait- Leonid, that‘s- eh?!” Isa stuttered, surprised at the sudden change from the other man. He wanted to stand up and convince the tiefling to at least take back the payment but his knees couldn’t support his weight yet. He stumbled back down after an inch of lift. Now feeling the stinging tugs from his stitches in full and regretting the fast movement. Little stars teasing the edges of his eyesight as his stomach lurched again. He huffed weakly and laid his head on Moss’ shoulder. He felt Moss hold him up and keeping him steady.

He’s gonna have to give up for now. Else L might actually kill him for messing with her stitches.

”. . . Thank ya. ” He replied quietly, his soft frown lifted to an appreciative smile. “ I owe ya one, Leonid.”

He’ll think of something to give to the Teifling . . .

Zer0 Zer0
 
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Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Moss Adamaris -

"You're welcome, dears!" said Leonid's voice, his fingers poking out of the tent and waving tralala.

Moss' foot dragged dirt over Isa's puke until a good pile was covering it. He consolingly rubbed his back. "Do you want to go back to the bedroom?"

Katsuya Katsuya
 
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Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

The redhead shook his head. Stumbling as he stood up, being careful with the stitches. He peeked over his shoulder, staring at the small caravan door that’s slightly open. As if he could see Manuel still laying there. “He has to stay alive for now. Best to have as much information as we can get. Plus, I have a weird feeling that she might read into his soul should he die right now. Might find our location again.“

Taking a deep breath, Isa tried to climb back inside the caravan. Moss could tell that he was tempted to get a sort of vision again despite being this shaky and paler than before.

Zer0 Zer0
 

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Moss Adamaris -

Moss nodded. "Alright. I'll be glad once this is over and he's gone." He noticed Isa trying to climb up. "Hey~" he said soothingly, walking next to him and rubbing his back again. He supported him. "Do you want me to carry you to bed? Maybe have a break?"

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

Isa blinked owlishly, his glare softened to surprise as he felt a hand rub his back and then was supported up. He looked up at Moss with a confused frown. “A break?” Should he have a break? He looked at his hands, seeing them shake violently and sighed.

“ . . . Yeah. A break sounds good . . . But I’m coming back after a few minutes.” He stated stubbornly. They need that map information.

Zer0 Zer0
 

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Moss Adamaris -

Moss wrapped an arm around him. "Alright." Gently he helped him, maiden carried him if he wanted to, and helped him to bed, where he cocooned Isa in his arms. His hands soothingly caressed him all over, as though to put him to sleep. He kissed his forehead. "I'll wake you up after ten minutes, alright? So you can sleep in peace~"

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -
“Napping”​

He hid his face into the crook of the merman’s neck as Moss maiden carried him inside, flustered. He knew he was tired, but he didn’t expect his legs to buckle after a few stubborn steps. Landing on his knees with a pained hiss. As his boyfriend helped him to bed and tucked him in, Isa snuggled onto Moss’ chest. Loosely wrapping his arms around his waist as he felt warm and secure from the merman’s cocooning arms. Hands lulling him to sleep with soothing caresses.

Isa groaned, a corner of his lips quirked up into a soft smile from Moss kissing his forehead. Listening to his quiet words and steady heartbeat. “Mrph. Okay...thank ya....” Right then and there, Isa fell asleep. Feeling safe.

———

After waking up around ten minutes, Isa felt better. Less shaky on the knees too. So with a piece of paper and pencil, he walked into the living room and drew up the map. Writing everything he remembers from Manuel’s memory. The girls are going to have a shocker of their lives, that‘s for sure.

———-

Far out at the desert, where there’s seemingly no life around them, Isa rode on Pluplu with Leonid. He told the tiefling to hold onto his shirt or around his waist. “I rather ya didn’t fall off.” He said back at the caravan once the ladies returned. He has told them of what he saw—- L scolded him for walking around—- and showed the map he managed to create. When he heard of what they know, Isa sighed.

They have to revise the plan, and they did. Having a few adjustments here and there.

So now, with their new plan, the group became ready. Isa, Leonid, and whoever else that decided to come with them went to the closest Goliath that the redhead could remember on the older version of the map.


Zer0 Zer0
 
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Zer0

Haiku Hitman
a7183ab2a7001901a10668692170e86a.jpg
- West of Barad Eithel -
"Sunset, December 28, 600"

Moss dedicated his day taking care of Isa, getting whatever he needed for the map, and sitting with him across the kitchen table where he had laid some desert berries, bottles of gummy jams, cactus fruits, flowers, spices from the market, and other local delicacies. He had brought his foodie journal from the bedroom, and then tasted and took notes. He was refining the gummy jam and jelly recipe he had taken an interest in from the orange berries in the Ebony Oasis.

When Isa was hungry, he offered him falafel and a drink he liked, and if he didn't like the falafel, Moss easily made whatever he wanted. Sometimes, when Isa wasn't busy, Moss would ask him to taste what he was experimentally cooking, and take more notes about what he thought.

Isa was surrounded by the easy-going sound of cooking and the occasional scratch of charcoal on paper, Moss's footsteps moving around, and the, "Hmm?", and "O!", and "Mmm~" he made while cooking. Every now and then Isa'd catch him looking at him and he'd just make a funny face to make him laugh, or smile and comb his red hair. Sometimes they'd chat, just about random things again, like "How would your friends over at the sect describe you?"; or "If you could live anywhere on Leor, where would it be?"; and that if Isa preferred quiet nights at home, or going out to taverns.

* * * *​

The ladies were shocked about what Isa learned, but were glad that they now know what exactly they were dealing with. Indeed they had to change their plans, but for Isa's part he only had to concern himself with the goliath. The ladies were going to take care of the slaves and drawing Theosebia for Isa to seal her. Meanwhile, Leonid had talked to some friends who agreed to provide them some armaments, and asked the group for a list of things they needed and what time they need it. Hopefully it'll come soon.

Now, with Leonid, disguised as a red tiefling, all excited and clinging behind him, Pluplu squawked and ran west, Okami panting and following behind with Moss in another disguise following behind.

Dust rose as they made their way across the hot sands to a looming silhouette in the distance. A giant of a man-like-thing, with a great sword that looked like it can easily cleave the golden dome in half. The goliath Gaius. And it was slowly lumbering after a group of coyote riders. There was a camp on a rise of red rocks. In this vast sandy plain, there was no way for Isa and gang to approach in the clear light of the afternoon without being spotted. There was a larger group of coyote riders here, waiting, just watching the goliath being led around in circles.

And then a horn blew, and Isa could see another smaller group from the camp go down towards the group being slowly chased by the goliath. They seemed to exchange places, because then the first group made their way back to the camp, their coyotes looking tired, while the second group, a pair of them transformed into giant desert hawks and clawed at Gaius' eyes to grab its attention, and then fly back towards their fellows. Gaius now chased them in the same circle.


 
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Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

He perked up at the sound of a plate being placed on the table, looking up to see desert berries, bottles of gummy jams, cactus fruits, flowers, spices from the market, and other local delicacies. Then he silently looked at the notebook where Moss wrote all his cooking notes. Isa smiled warmly at the merman, his tension slowly leaving his body as he spent time with Moss. Taking moments to taste his experiments and give Moss his opinions on the jams.

Isa definitely took the falafel and ate them peacefully, sometimes looking at the map to see if there were any mistakes and corrected them to be accurate to Manuel’s memory. Whenever Moss went to the kitchen to try and experiment with his “O”s and “Hmm”s, the redhead would draw sparkly heart-shaped berries on the page. One of the berries even had a cape and pointed with a leafy arm like he was about to fly off to the none existing sunset. Then he returned to his map making, sometimes peeking up and see-

M-Moss was making a funny face this time. Isa couldn’t hold back his laughter. As the merman combed his hair back affectionally, the redhead thought how relaxing it is to be around him. Even when they knew the world might be in stake, he still felt relaxed and calm. His smile gently, face flushed pink whenever he caught Moss staring at him.

“My friends would say that I’m either an black hole for food or a brilliant troll.“ Isa chuckled. “We still consider each siblings though...”

”If I could live anywhere in Leor . . . Anywhere near the shores, but I’ll always want to travel sometimes. When possible, of course.” Isa choose quiet nights at home but he liked going to taverns too. If only to see the funny drunken fights and talk with the bar owners.

Moss is slowly becoming Isa’s reason to protect this realm: to have this peace with him.

————-

Isa had asked if Vidya still had a piece of that crystal that was stuck on her arm before and if he could use it. When Leonid called for some help from others, the redhead was surprised but asked them if they could keep an eye on Manuel and put him back to sleep by knocking him out. Less trouble that way. He did ask for another disguise and armor upgrade if possible, grateful to the tiefling.

He wanted to pay this time whenever Moss’ friend liked it or not!

He also checked out Manuel’s items, seeing what he can sell and what to keep in case it was useful.

“Keep the knives with ya, in case ya need to deal with the kutulu jerks.” Isa told the ladies before riding off with Leonid and Moss. Into the open desert! Once they were close enough to see the camp and the group exchange, along with the group of coyotes watching the running around in circles; the redhead had them slow down a bit. Making sure the watchful coyotes haven’t noticed them yet and smirked impishly.

“Looks like Theosebia has people waiting for us.” Seems like Vashur had his mind read after all. The redhead felt the pressure now, time was ticking. Theosebia needed to stay in the dome for whatever reason and Isa is willing to strip that away from her somehow. That starts with the human-like Goliath they see from one of the few short rock formations that were nearby to hide behind.

He thought for a moment and took a deep breath before facing the other two men and their mounts. “Do ya trust me?” He asked as he pulled out his staff, the raven’s eyes glowed. “Once we are close over there, imma summon a large dust storm.” Before he could get Leonid or Moss’ words, the redhead held onto Moss and Okami before a large indigo portal swallowed them whole from below-

- and the group finds themselves being poof in the middle of where they were and where the coyote riders can see them. “Move!” He yelled and urged Pluplu to do so. Probably surprising the enemy riders and taking advantage of that, Isa lifted his staff and muttered his spell. Winds started to pick up dangerously fast, kicking up the sands as the dust swirled in the middle of the coyote riders that is being chased and blew them away. The eye of the storm becoming bigger as it blew away the enemies and not affecting the small area where Isa is; the trio and the mounts were safe from the storm as long they were near Isa.

Health: Fresh | Toughness: 10 + 6 = 16| Spell Power: 21 |Manna: 10/10
Condition: 0 | Roleplay Points: 1/3

Main hand: Raven staff
Off-hand: Necklace of Colorspray
Armor: Dyed Leather armor

INVENTORY:
Alchemical = 438
Metal = 74
1. x5 trauma kit
2. x4 traps
3. Toolbox
4. Hiking gear

On Pluplu:
  1. Field medic book
  2. Camera
  3. x1 potion of healing
  4. Moss’ food | Isa is going to eat them after his plan of going inside Gaius works.

Zer0 Zer0
 
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Zer0

Haiku Hitman
dd.jpg
- West of Barad Eithel -
"Sunset"

Moss spotted the drawings and chuckled. He drew a chubby heart berry with a horn hugging Isa's berries, and a dangling one with lovestruck eyes, holding at the other leaf arm of the flying berry.

When it came to the random questions, Moss looked up from his scribbles on his journal and laughed, asking Isa to share some of his experiences that made them call him a brilliant troll back at home. When it was Moss' turn to answer, he scratched his chin with the wooden end of his charcoal stick handle, thoughtfully. "Before my friends said I was the prince of parties, no worries, no cares . . . when I came here . . . most of the sailors I got close with in the seas would probably tell you that I am very laid back, and that I like to show off when I cook." he smiled.

"I would like to live near the sea, too, and travelling sounds great! Your hometown sounds like a good place, Isa . . . With the southern lights and the hills~" Unbidden, his thoughts went to where the two could possibly live. He was happy Isa wanted to be near the shores. And he thought of traveling now and then, sitting behind him on Smoky under the sun, following him into the depths of ruins, and just listening and watching him be happy as he learned about the history of a place.

Moss liked going out to sea side taverns, he liked sailor humor and swapping stories. Also because most sailors liked to sing, and it was a jolly place where some random drunk guy sings and the whole place bursts into song. Though, lately, he just likes relaxing and having quiet-ish nights with Isa.

Their little moment felt really domestic, and once more Moss felt like he could get used to doing this everyday.

* * * *​

It was now sunset. And following Isa's lead, Okami stopped behind him, watching.

"I trust --- whoa!" began Moss. And suddenly they were in the shadow of the goliath. He needed no telling twice.

With Leonid exclaiming in surprise and holding on, the group was immediately screened by a violent swirl of dust and sand that swallowed their enemies and their entire camp.

BOOM

The earth shook as Gaius large foot landed before them. Through the eye of the storm, they saw his great head and glowing eyes loom down, searching, before coming to rest on the trio. A great rumbling of grinding stone, as he raised his obelisk stone sword ---

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

There it is~

The danger of possibly being hit by enemies, the urgency to catching a giant stone creature that’s about to kill them, the rush to get things done— the adrenaline ruled within the redhead. Pumping blood inside his body, pure with thrill and elation that he can only get when doing crazy things. Darkened black strands billowed from each harsh slice of the storming winds, highlighted by the indigo flames that emerges from his staff. His smirk grew excited as his eyes glowed bright indigo. Magic swirled around him—-he can see the thin faint traces of flames and smoke twirling the group at the corners of his eyes as Gaius raised it’s sword.

Moss and Leonid knew by his devilish expression that he was about to do something crazy again. Especially when his eyes followed that sword as it went up-

Like before, flames circled around them, swaying violently on the sandy ground-

Isa is planning to land on the blade and once they were close enough to the head, teleport on the head where he assumes the entrance would be. Where that triangle thing would react to the crystal that once encase Vidya‘s arm and now is in his pocket. Ready to be used for their way inside the Goliath.

“Moss, Leonid, try to see if there‘s that triangle thingy on Gaius and we’ll go there!” He yelled among the roaring winds. The portal swallowed them again-

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Zer0

Haiku Hitman
1123.jpg
- Gaius -
"West of Barad Eithel"

"Alright!" nodded Moss determinedly, and whispered something soothing to Okami; "Okay?!" Leonid yelled uncertainly and yet thrilled, hugging Isa's waist.

The two were caught off guard when they appeared on the great rising obelisk sword. This close, they could see that the sword was actually its hand. Howling wind rushed pass their ears as they were buffeted down, rapidly rising above the world --- the mounts raced to the top, as the sword straightened up --- too slow, they slipped! --- Okami yelped, clawing at the rocks; Pluplu fell gliding, flapping his wings; Leonid was screaming, "I thought we were going to the heeeeeeeeeaaad!" ---

Before another flash of flames, and the party tumbled on the great head of the goliath.

BOOM!

The sword exploded on the sand with the force of a hundred dynamite. Sand and dust flew everywhere, obscuring the eye of the sandstorm beneath them.

There was a deep hooming rumble from within the goliath. And they saw it's other hand rise up, blocking the sun, casting them in shadow and then begin to descend down on them.

"Jump down, on the neck, Okami!" yelled Moss, drawing rope from his bag and hastily tying it on the saddle.

Isa saw that there was indeed another triangle mechanism, this time it was on the right side of the goliath's face, underneath a stretch of outward stone-bone that could pass as some decorative ear. There had been people here recently. A stretch of rope-ladder was hanging from the longer outcrop of stone-bone above, and an unlit lamp. Unlike Malus' mechanism, this triangular one was surrounded by a dark protective sigil.

Katsuya Katsuya
 

Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

Hearing their responses, Isa‘s grin stretched. “Get ready, Pluplu!!”

He waved his staff and they landed on the large sword, the winds popping their ears by the speed. His breathe stopped in his lungs as he felt Pluplu stumble off the weapon and hearing Okami’s whimper. Leonid screaming caused Isa’s ears to ring-!

Another flash of flames whirled around the group and they landed on the head. Scrambled and windswept. The redhead couldn’t hold back his cry of excitement, sitting upright with his arms up. “WHOOOOOOO! That was exciting ~ Wasn’t it?” He asked Leonid and Moss as the sword hit the sands. He pushed himself up and walked closer to the frightened Pluplu, mumbling comforting words to calm the bird. Then . . . They heard the gears moving, groaning as Gaius’ arm raised up and looked over them.

Isa looked at Moss quickly before urging Leonid to tie the rope on Pluplu before grabbing his hiking gear. “Copy Moss! Imma check something!” He ran to the edges to see where it would be safe for the animals to jump towards and spotted the triangle mechanism underneath the large decorative ear. “This way! Jump this way!” He yelled before jumping down to have a closer look at the triangle thingy, landing with a roll. Then he stood straight and walked carefully to where the triangle mechanism is.

The redhead stared at the mechanism and took a deep breath. The hairs on his neck stood at the feel of that ancient writing, recognizing the words. “That’s a dangerous sigil.“

Zer0 Zer0
 

Zer0

Haiku Hitman
maxresdefault121.jpg
- Head of Gaius -
"Above a Sandstorm, West of Barad Eithel"

"You're crazy!" yelled Leonid at Isa; "This is insane!" yelled Moss, crouching on the hairy head of the goliath, rope in hand, not daring to look down, as the giant straightened up. That is, until he saw the giant hand looming down on them. Pluplu crooned at Isa, bending his feathery head down into his palm, frightened, then squawked at the sight of the hand.

Okami leapt pass Isa, Moss maneuvering the giant polarbear dog safely on the odd stone collar around the goliath's neck; Leonid, clutching Pluplu's neck followed down right after the red head as ---

SLAM!

Giant stone fingers brushed as loud as a boulder over the goliath's head where they had been just moments before. A deep irritated hoom rumbled from within Gaius; Okami and Pluplu cowered. Moss and Leonid quickly looped the ropes around the ear-like outward stone bone, as the goliath's wall of a head turned, trying to nudge them off like an unstoppable wall --- but the ropes held, and Okami and Pluplu were pushed off for a moment, squawking and barking, hanging by their saddles like bait on a fishing line before they swung back against the wall. The polar bear dog's claws and jaws gripped on to the hair, while the chocobo hooked its talons against whatever crevice of stone it could find and bit on the hair to hold on.

Leonid seemed to have reached the peak of fear because he was yelling and talking, but no sound came out of his mouth; Moss glanced to see if Isa was safe. Satisfied, he then gripped Leonid's shoulder. "We need you to keep watch, tell us if any of those flying mercenaries or Gaius' hand is coming for us!" he yelled over the wind and howling sandstorm beneath them.

Moss couldn't hear Leonid's small voice over the rucus, but the tiefling mouthed, Okay.

Content with this, Moss gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze, then swung over to Isa, holding on to the hair. "What's wrong?"

He didn't understand completely what the ancient runes meant, but he didn't spend some lazy nights checking out Isa's research while he waited for something to cook for nothing. The dark sigil was familiar to him, something he had read in Isa's research before, and after listening to his boyfriend's plan, he quickly offered to help dispel it.

He took in a deep breath. He didn't fancy getting hit by accursed dark magic, but no way he was going to let Isa face this alone. He held his hand supportively before they began, as once more they had to duck as the goliath tried to grab them. "You can do this, Isa!" he yelled. And readied his magic according to his beau's instructions, hands glowing white, as beneath his Leonid sponsored colorful garments, blue Atlantean runes began to swirl in the sunset.

Katsuya Katsuya
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Katsuya

Silly artist
- Isa Bianchi -

The redhead hesitated as he explained to Moss, brows furrowed the more he confirmed it out loud. “There’s a dark sigil around the triangle thingy! It seems like it’ll shot at the person who tries to disarm it and if that doesn’t kill them, it leave a curse that’ll affect the mind.” He did have a plan to how to dispel it . . . It’s just . . . There’s a huge chance that it might hit everyone if he messes up and he doesn’t want that-

Isa jumped, snapping his sights on a familiar tanned hand that’s his own. Then he ducked as the hand swept over them, trying to brush them off. However he didn’t look away from the determined merman. The sun setting light highlighted his cheek bones and strands of hair that were too unnatural for Moss. His breath was taken away, swooning at how cool Moss looked at the moment as white atlantean runes swirled.

Moss said he can do this . . .

Encouraged and soothed, he nodded determinedly. Holding and squeezing his boyfriend’s hand tightly as indigo flames gently swirl with the white runes. It was like watching water and fire dance together in harmony, one pulls as the other pushes. The flames guided the runes to lay around the sigil as the flames themselves searched for that one weak spot to strike. Like the waves crashing into the cliffs, the indigo flames strikes a line that seems to be loose as the Atlantean runes pushes it inside. The sigil changed from an intense black color to one of swirling white and indigo before it melted away. Isa grinned in relief and squeezed Moss’ hand.

He reached inside of his pocket and took out a familiar crystal that was on Vidya’s arm, shuffling closer as he held it up to the triangle mechanism. His grin grew bigger as he watched the triangle bloom open, revealing the acid-like potion inside. Dropping the crystal inside, seeing the same reaction as before on Malus. A shadow loomed over them again, ready to swiped them off. Seeing the growing and shrinking holes that only a mouse can fit inside change shapes as Isa peeked in-

“Got it!!” Isa yelled as he waved his staff. Indigo flames engulfed them just as stone fingers touched the ear peg-

And they were transported inside of Gaius. Licks of flames edged off of their clothes, fur and feathers. Isa landed on his feet and stood up straight as he held Moss up. He squeezed his hand comfortingly. Glowing indigo eyes looked around as small glowing balls of a warm yellow color floated around them.

Zer0 Zer0
 
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Zer0

Haiku Hitman
- Within Gaius -
"Above a Sandstorm, West of Barad Eithel"

When nothing happened after the sigil melted away, and Isa squeezed his hand, Moss relaxed. "Hooo! It's gone, get ready Leonid!" he yelled in the wind.

"Hurryhurryhurryit'sfingersarecomingagain!" shouted Leonid --- and then in a swirl of flames they found themselves in a steady dark chamber; the clack of talons, panted huffs of the giant polar bear dog, and the sound of someone slumping in relief echoed in the musty darkness among the muffled sounds of heavy machinery beneath them.

In the blossoming glow of the fire lights, Isa saw a familiar dusty stone bone floor, disturbed by old footprints, a dusty orb on a dais, and a pulsing moving wall: half giant brain encased in dusty moving glass, framed by stone bone-metal, and half a steadily rotating clockwork gear at the side jutting exposed out of the glass. There was the familiar layers of rings, each with different runes, and carved handles. Though unlike Malus' this one wasn't damaged.

Isa also noticed a link of very thin, hardly visible string, like a fence of trip wires near the entrance of where the base of the triangular mechanism was attached to the side of Gaius' head. The strings ran along the ceiling and on to a metal frame, out of place in the architecture of the chamber, where there were boxes jutting out, with small outlets that were pointing straight down at the chamber.

In front of them were giant closed circular spiral windows, and on the floor next to the dais was a closed metal hatch.

What would you like to do?

Katsuya Katsuya
 

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