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12th chapter of IW Season 2.

Old DustyEdit

Jaden/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

He heard a familiar voice behind him, turned, and nodded.

At least his ally had a disguise. Jaden was going at this straight-up Sheikah style.

"We need to get his sword and make sure they get out safe. Armory's locked, dunno where the key is. No heroics. In and out. What's your plan?"

His tone was very hushed and dampened. With his mask up, it filtered out most of what would make his voice carry. And even then, it was very quiet.

Horus/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

Horus groaned as he tried to straighten his back whilst still crouching. His back popped painfully as he did, and the sensation made him shiver. He tried to ignore his pain as he outstretched his hand so Jaden could see it in the corner of his eye. His hand was covered in noticable dirt, ash and burns, along with paint that covered his naked hand in the natural color of a Twili's. As he held his hand out, a several black slug-like streaks ran along his arm, and came together to rest in his hand, in a perfect, onyx circle. It had a gel-like consistancy, but was obviously sentient, as it stretched out a small part of itself, which twitched about like the head of a rat scanning its surroundings.

"In my inexplicable absence, I gained a mysterious, but very useful ally. Her ability to stretch, grow and shrink will prove her invaluable in time.' he stated as the creature came into view, 'simply show me the way, and Constance will silently take care of the lock while we hide in the shadows." His voice became increasingly gravely in tone as if his lungs had sustained damage when his sentence ended.

Jaden/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

Constance...whatever that thing was that Horus befriended or took into himself (or it embedded into him)...something just seemed off about it. But he wasn't going to question it right now. If it could pick a lock without him having to pickpocket or incap someone, things would work out a lot better.

"Damn, you sound like you swallowed a lantern. I have a theory. Be careful when using force. Their scryers could very well see what their troops see. I know the way to the Armory and Panoply. Follow me. And when we get out of here, I'll give you a check-up."

He went without an aura as he feared giving off a magical signature would give him away. It was bad enough he was carrying starmetal pigments in his left arm now, but without using any of his lunar artes, his ink would remain mostly inert. 

Slipping out into the hallway, he used the shifting shadows given by torchlight to his advantage. Patrols were sparse. And since Horus was fairly convincing in his disguise, he didn't have to worry too much about skulking like Jaden did. 

Even with his weapons in tow, nothing clinked. His armor was designed to give off very minimal noise, even with a dented and fractured thigh plate. Getting that fixed would require a magesmith or a very hot forge. 

Jaden noticed something else about how the Twili kept their inventory. Some of their crates were lidless. One happened to be empty and have a small hole in the side...

Minimizing noise, Jaden flipped it over and hid underneath it as a patrol of three troops walked by. One stopped to investigate it but the other two talked him out of it.

"Probably vermin scurrying about. Leave it. We're under attack!"

He stayed there for a few more moments, looking around to see where Horus was in all of this.

Horus/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

He smiled at the Sheikah as he scanned where Horus had been. He mentally patted himself on the back for how he had moved just ahead of Jaden in the time it took him to look around. But just as he smiled, he frowned once more. This was no time to show off. He cleared his throat to alert Jaden of his location, and spoke.

"You have little need to worry about me, my stride is silent and swift. As long as the blue magic I was injected with still pumps through my veins, my movement will be like gliding across the ground. No matter how many soldiers are in the area, I will only be a curious breeze...and no matter how much weaponry you make me bear, I will not make a sound until my stride ceases."

He sniffed the air.

"In fact, I could stay in this very spot, and I could cover the ground you will make tonight in seconds, by simply following your scent."

He closed his eyes, as if he grew weary of looking at Jaden.

"That'd be the only way I could do it though. I as I speak, I can feel the very potion I just boasted about...fade. I only have enough to make the cleanest, and quickest getaway you've ever seen, but nothing more."

He finally opened his eyes, and slowly fell to one knee. He stared at Jaden from his hiding place, waiting for Jaden to take action. The Sheikah obviously knew their destination, and he had already slowed progress by stopping to speak. Constance split into small leech-like pieces once more, which slithered down Horus' arm, and into the darkness of his robe, out of sight.

Jaden/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

The box trick was one of his personal favorites. Especially if one of the fools decided to pick it up; they would've been in for a nice surprise had he been able to afford to spill blood on this op.

He slipped out from under the box, taking Horus' word for it that he'd be able to follow effectively. Now wasn't a time to ask questions. Talking more would slow it down too much. Getting out of here would require them to run like Keese out of Death Mountain. 

Mirroring footsteps and slinking through shadows was too easy. Clockwork, even. The Gerudo were smart with their architectural design, but so little was known about them. After the war was over, he was determined to make another trip out here to selectively borrow their techniques in masonry. Hidden Kakariko needed some more tunnels.

The troop presence was too light; after the diversion was discovered to be just that they'd be swimming in heretics. 

Clinging to the corner of a wall, he saw another pair of troops patrol by without looking behind. After they were clear out of sight, he was able to analyze further sentry lines. It was a skeleton crew, and one that would turn into a hornet's nest if kicked. The armory was close, and with the alert status and all the troops outside, it wouldn't be guarded too heavily, if at all. 

Maybe it'd even be left open, but the Twili weren't that dumb. Jaden had to give them a little credit. 

Summary: Jaden moves closer to the armory while taking mental notes on Gerudo masonry and guard patrol patterns. He also realizes time is short, so he slinks along. 

Lynn Hothlight/Morning 6/The Fortress

Twili poured out form the opened gate to meet with the limited, yet threatening, opposition. While they faced only a handful of foes, the enemy was of intimidating stature. A giant goron, a dragon of ice, a large automaton. And an undead Zora and lone Sheikah woman. The Twili, individually, were intimidated. As a whole, their victory was still assured.

Lynn knew this, but she was aware of the greater goals. They were to serve as a distraction, not to win the engagement. Archers and mages mounted the parapets and battlements, ready to repel the invaders. A wave of troops charged the few Hylian troops. Lynn, in turn, charged them. The combined roar of the Twili battlecry was intense, almost a physical attack of itself hampering her forward motion. The clatter of their run only added to the wall of sound.

But some small swathes were cut from their ranks, by diving attack from Ruhk or beams of ice fired from the dragon. It was something, to be sure, but the broken ranks were filled instantly by more as the Twili continued to swarm outward. Lynn came within twenty feet of their forward lines, and threw her hand into the air. A halo of light surrounded the appendage before exploding in a flash that far outstripped any Deku Nut. The Twili flinched, covering their eyes, and the war-cry turned to a cry of pain from the front rows. Lynn dove into their ranks, then, her swords drawn and biting into flesh.

She only had to confuse them, cause a scramble instead of an organized charge. It was working, but it could only last so long. Her actual goal was infiltration, and it would require much concentration. She closed her eyes, and pulled her hands to her chest, focusing on the magic coursing through her veins from the Light Spirit's Blessing. Thrusting outward with her palms, she let loose another explosion of light that dazzled the Twili surrounding her. Then, the real test of her abilities began. She even prayed to Garo that its power would suffice for the task.

Light bent around her, and she felt the powers of the Blessing escaping through her pores as she pulled it to the surface. It perforated her skin, like ants crawling all over her body, but left no visible wounds. Then, the bending power of Light peaked enough to distort her image. With a vast exertion of will and expenditure of her energy reserves, Lynn wrapped herself in illusion, appearing as nothing more or less than the most basic of the Twili soldier around her.

When the eyesight of the soldiers returned from the blinding flash, they found, as much as is told by legend, the Sheikah warrior in their midst had disappeared, right from the middle of an army. It would seem impossible for any but the elite shadow troops of the Hylian Royal Family. Holding her gut to feign injury, Lynn moved unseen in plain sight through the Twili troops, making her way to their fortress, once the stronghold of the people she had massacred only a day prior. It was some odd coincidence, she considered.

The Twili continued their battle against the Hylians outside. They worried over the disappearing Sheikah, and thus were not as coordinated as they could have been. Sadly, word also spread through the ranks to the Fortress proper. The sentries were warned; a Sheikah was likely trying to infiltrate the camp. Lynn, in her guise, spread the rumor herself to further her cover as a soldier, and to spread what disarray she could among the defenders. For her own merit, she made her way to the most secure location first to catch her gaze: the armory.

Giga/Fortress/Morning 6

Giga took up his ground in a fight he had no intentions to win. The initial strike had been loud and explosive, the perfect ruse to lure out whatever the camp had to offer. That number, however, turned out to be quite large. It didn't take very long before hundreds, if not more, Twili were organizing themselves for the counter-strike, starting with their archers and mages barraging the Hylians. Giga would normally have some concern for the others in this situation, but he realized suddenly the manner of soldiers he was fighting with.

The Ice Dragon seemed ancient and magical in origins, arrows did nothing to it, and he doubted individual mages could harm it much. The same could be said for the bird. This beast was certainly not organic, and thus Giga could once again put his heart at rest. Eventually numbers would take the five down, but for now they could hold out.

Wait, there were five of us! 

Giga looked around frantically for the woman who had been with them, but discovered to his horror that she had disappeared. His distress was short lived, as the bird spoke again. 

"Remember our mission. We must hold out here until those inside have finished their work. The future of Hyrule is hinging on this infiltration. We must not let it fail." 

Giga nodded at him, turned towards the army, and confidently took up his stand with the other two, and the Zora on the dragon. Here Giga waited patiently, for someone, anyone to attack. The first who did he vowed would be smashed into nothing. Giga kept his promise.

Jaden/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

One would think with the fortress on high alert that patrols would be stepped up more. 

Jaden approached as standard routines had gaps that he couldn't help but take advantage of. It wasn't really that slow-going at all. And while the Armory had a guard stationed in front of it, it was only a matter of time before either they decided to take him out or create a distraction to draw him away. 

He wasn't doubting his hypothesis about Twili scryers. If it were correct, they'd know he and Horus were in the fortress already and bearing down on them. Or waiting to spring a trap.

Jaden analyzed patterns for a minute or two and realized he stumbled into a perfect hiding spot. Another crossed hall to the left of the door allowed for a nice approach. 

Often, the simplest trick to distract was the best. A stone the size of Jaden's fist lay near his feet. He picked it up and thought about where to throw it. 

Now there was an element of calculated risk involved. Considering where Jaden wanted to make the diversion, the guard would have to run by them. They'd have a couple of minutes before he came back. And if he did before they were done, three things would happen: an alert, a neutralized guard, or both. 

Jaden knew precisely how to muffle a death cry or an incapacitation. He was leaning towards incap to avoid making too much of a mess. 

With a short wind-up, he let the stone fly. It hit in a near-perfect spot, bouncing a few times. When the guard looked around, Jaden was silently hoping he'd go investigate. After a moment or two that seemed like a silent eternity, he did. And did not notice a thing out of place as he passed by. This opportunity was used to slip by. 

As he was crouched against the armory's side-wall, he awaited Horus' next move and hoped the proposed plan went without a hitch.

He then realized the guard he distracted most likely had the key. Or the clearance to get it. Even if it was tactically flawed, that was one option. After all, if requisitions were needed, red tape in a secondary fortress was a bad idea. 

Lynn Hothlight/Morning 6/Twili Fortress

Lynn slinked around the corner of a corridor. Simultaneously a Twili turned the same corner from the other direction, nearly running into her. Lynn's instant reaction saw a dagger blade buried deep into his gut. His eyes widened in surprise, but her other hand clasped tight around his larynx, choking away the sounds of his death. He slumped against her as blood leaked around the dagger onto her hand. Lynn cursed under her breath at the sloppiness of her actions.

"Perfect. The idiot just had to be patrolling right here, right now."

She lowered him to the floor and took a brief moment to search his pockets and pouches. Other than the normal soldierly accoutrement she found an item of particular interest: a key. She tore the keyring from his belt and peeked around the corner he had rounded. There at the end of the hall was a large locked door.

"Ah. How fortuitous. Just what I was looking for."

Leaving the dead Twili in the middle of the hallway, Lynn walked toward the door to the Armory.

Jaden/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

"Come on, Horus. Whatever concoction you chugged had better come through here!"

Jaden thought to himself as he waited for his Rito ally to show up. Any more time than this and the lockpick kit would have to come out. With a portcullis and a lock opening the size of his wrist, there had to be a lot of tumblers in there.

That lock would take at least two minutes to pick provided he heard all the right clicks...

Things suddenly got even more dangerous when he saw a familiar face walking towards the Armory. What was she doing here?

A familiar smell accompanied her presence. Blood was so hard to mask due to its iron content. If there was a time his theory was to be put to the test, it'd be now. And he couldn't reveal himself just yet. Her awareness was good enough that she'd probably notice him as it was. His specialties were in tactic and kinetics, and others were far superior in stealth techniques than him. He wasn't horrible at it, though. 

"They see what their underlings do. And if a thread of communication is severed, they swarm like flies on a fresh corpse. She wasn't around to hear my theory. I can only hope this does not cost us."

orus/Gerudo Fortress/Dawn 6

"Get in there! Constance unlocked the door!" Horus exclaimed in a panicked voice.

As his voice echoed through the halls, what appeared to be black liquid spilled from the lock of the door, and slithered away. Moments after it slithered out of sight, Horus slid into view, shooting a strong blast of wind at the door, nearly breaking the hinges. From within his robes, he pulled his staff from his sleeve and readied it, staring down Lynn with a look of hate.

"Grab it and let's go. Who needs stealth if I can get us out of here in the blink of an eye?" 

[b]Mid-Morning 6/Spirit Temple[/b]

The Sage's Chamber deep inside the Spirit Temple shook. Then again, more violently. Then a long, continuous rumble rocked the room. The door from the main temple shattered open, spreading a large cloud of concealing dust around the entrance. The vague shape of a man was silhouetted in the dust.

"[color=#800000]Sage of Spirit! I come for your power![/color]"

Darrel Mytura - Twili Fortress - Sixth Day

Blood sprayed from the ruined face of the reeling Twili sentry as the Sunrise Knight's chain bound fist connected with his left cheek and jaw. Even before the flailing body hit the stone paved floor Darrel was whipping the chains from around his left hand and forearm and throwing them around the neck of the gendarme behind him. As soon as they lost slack he threw his weight forward and pulled the weight of the kicking Interloper up onto his back and crushing his windpipe. 

When the kicking finally stopped he straightened back up and let the weight fall back off of him.

"There are others up ahead. We may be nearing the armory." Mirra's voice sounded in his mind as her tiny fairy form flitted hither and thither around his head and presided over his killings.

He nodded. "Other lights? Or more Twili." When he got no answer, he only nodded again and wiped the bloody chains on the clothes of his victims before taking a deep breath. "I guess we'll need to take them by surprise then."

He was fleet of foot as he swept down the smooth stone corridor and approached the next bisection. Peering around the edge, he caught sight of a number of familiar faces that he hadn't been expecting. Finding reason to present a wolfish grin for the first time in what felt like ages, he rounded the corner and walked toward them.

"I hadn't thought to see you here." He declared, looking from one face to another and then jerking his thumb toward the door at which they stood. "Armory?"

Polaris/ Fortress Gates/ Mid-Morning 6

Things were going better than even he'd expected, the small group of them were holding their own rather well. Their ranks took a hit when Lynn seemingly evaporated in the midst of sever Twili soldiers. Polaris had a sneaking suspicion that she'd disguised herself and slinked her way inside. Not a matter to concern himself with at the present. He needed to replace the body, they were doing well, but not great, they were surviving against the endless tide of grunts that flowed forward, but they needed the sword that left when Lynn departed. 

The Red Ice Dragon soared high above the battle field, and the duo picked off archers and mages posted on some of the further off parapets at will. But the group on the ground was in danger of being overrun if things didn't change quickly."Will you continue the work up here, friend? I must lend our comrades aide, they grow weary. We tread upon the edge and are at the brink of teetering over. I pray that Jaden and Darrel return swiftly, for if they do not, things may take a turn for the worse."

With those final parting words, Polaris patted the beast on the neck and leapt into the blue of the desert sky, his arms outstretched in a swanton dive the ground rapidly approached. In one fluid motion he pulled his legs in close to him and rotated, finishing the somersault and landing with a wince, on one knee. Cringing as he stood, two red ice mikhairas, the backwards curved long knives took form, one in each hand. The General turned to face those that stood with him, "You have all fought hard, and valiantly, but this a battle we cannot, win by force, make no doubt about it, eventually, we will be overrun. Let us hope that by then the Sunrise Knight, Jaden and Mirra will be at our sides, for only then, shall we retreat in victory. For now, I say do not try and hold the lines, strike quickly and move away, stay in no one place for too long and for Gods sakes! Watch your backs!"

With a raucous war cry he surged forward, spinning and slicing with his frigid crimson blades, numerous soldiers were rent clean in two with the upper portions of their bodies plopping to the ground beside the lower portions with a sickening thud. The mikhaira, although not as comfortable or versatile as his preferred hand and a half, were excellent hack n slash weapons and made for great offense in situations such as the one he found himself in.

As a group of Interlopers encircled the General, Polaris stood there, gore caked on his inked body, bllod dripping from his mouth, some his own, most of it not, the ranks were slowly being thinned out as both Rukh and Llach-Gelu had resorted to dive bomb tactics swooping in and grabbing Twili soldiers in their massive talons and ripping them asunder before tossing their remains out over the battlefield. Llach-Gelu chose to blanket the approaching lines in a thick spray of red ice, rendering hundreds either dead or immobile, but more Twili still came.

Polaris ducked and dodged, leapt and rolled, all the while chopping his way this way and that, here and there, yet there was no end in sight.

Jaden/Armory Vault/Morning 6

The door opened well enough, even though it'd probably never lock again. Jaden saw Darrel and Mirra join the group shortly before peering over his shoulder into the vault. Three things stood out at him in that glance. Darrel's sword, an artifact that looked like something of Lunar origin, and a shimmering celestial figure that was posturing at him.

In any event, there was some really valuable stuff in here. But there wouldn't be enough time to grab it all and go. Especially if the figure was a sentry.

He turned around, drawing his blade, assuming it was hostile.

"I've been expecting you, Starcaller."

The wizard appeared to have Sheikah mystic garb on, with the weeping eye embroidered into his tabard. And he lunged at Jaden rather quickly; the resulting illumination manifested as a swirling and pulsing white and pink vortex.

Jaden/???/Morning 6

While on the outside it may have looked like Jaden got sucked into an alternate dimension, the transition didn't knock him off his feet at all. Or his wit.

The ground was white and glassy with no limit to its expanse, with a chill to the air. There was no visible sky. Only swirling pink and white clouds, with moonlight-infused lightning bolts crashing in the distance.

"Who are you and why did you bring me here?"

The celestial wizard chuckled lightly, pointing his staff at Jaden.

"Manners obviously aren't your strong suit, Starcaller."

"Why are you calling me that?"

Jaden held in an offensive stance, studying his opponent.

"Because that's who you are. The one who has power to commune with the Major Arcana. I am the Mesmer, at least as your paradigm would allow you to understand me."

It suddenly became clear. He had found one of the Four that Felix had told him about!

"Glad to have found you then. But you picked the worst time to take me here...I may have to escape an enemy stronghold alone."

"Maybe. But if you prove yourself worthy, we will be one in spirit. And you won't be alone. My test is simple, if you can understand it...but considering I have been in existence since your universe was created, you will have quite the challenge."

Jaden nodded, still readied.

"And this test is?"

"Obviously, you must best me in a duel. Isn't that what you're so gifted at? Taking an opponent apart one on one? Show me how you do it. I'll even let you take the first blow."

There had to be more to this than what it seemed. And he wished he had Kae's ability to communicate with otherworldly entities, as he had no clue how to address anything like this.

Jaden knew this was going to be a bad idea, but he attacked the Mesmer with a diagonal downward slash. As sword met stardust, a current traveled back through his blade, knocking him from his feet and disarming him.

His celestial enemy laughed rather casually.

"Your opening attack would devastate a mortal. But you're not dealing with something that bleeds. And you're not your sister...even with a sword forged of starmetal you won't be able to harm me like that...open your mind, and defend yourself!"

Jaden's sword was not too far out of reach, so he crawled, picked it up, and saw a glowing orb of death flying right at him. He rolled to avoid it, and another came. It seemed like an endless barrage as he kept evading these projectiles.

"This is not a game, Starcaller! Are you truly worthy of what I have to offer?"

"You'll find me more cunning than that."

He spoke too soon, as the Mesmer unleashed an attack that he couldn't quite avoid. A bolt of arced lightning flew from his fingertips, completely surrounding and knocking him from his feet once more. It hurt pretty bad, but not enough to take him out of the fight.

Celestial laughter echoed again in his mind. Casters never fought fair. They couldn't. In a straight fight under normal circumstances, if a melee combatant got in a caster's face, they'd be dead. 

Activating his Wisdom enchantment, Jaden's blade was shrouded in a pale blue light. He also threw up his Subversion Aura, hoping to mitigate any more unavoidable attacks. 

Another orb came flying at him fairly quickly, but he kipped up and swung his sword at it, knocking it away.

"Don't you have to be somewhere? Finding me again will prove difficult. This time, I sought you out, because you will need me to escape this fortress."

Jaden did not respond. He merely stood ready once more, and another orb went flying in his direction.

Maybe he's like me. I'm technically under the Light paradigm, just in a Lunar subset. Solar stuff wrecks me bad, but the stuff that hit me was definitely Lunar. If there's a way I could hit him with his own...hmm...let's try that."

Pulling his shield from his back, Jaden was prepared to test out his new plan once the next glowing ball came at him.

Jaden/???/Morning 6

In a way, it was like playing tennis. The first time Jaden tried it though, he realized the Mesmer was well prepared for this kind of counter.

After about six volleys, his opponent hit back with such velocity that Jaden had no choice but to hit the dirt to avoid losing the battle.

"You're very light on your feet. But that won't save you!"

Arcs of lunar-powered lightning cascaded from the Mesmer's fingers as Jaden rolled to the side, escaping danger again.

Engaging in another deadly dance of volleying orbs, Jaden was dealing with two at once. And they increased in speed each time they were hit. His reaction time had to be perfect; his placement even more precise. When their velocity reached a speed to his liking, he aimed one at the legs and one at the feet, trying to anticipate where he'd go. 

They both hit. He was smoking, but not done for yet, and still on his feet, as though he didn't flinch.

"This must be what pain feels like. Amusing that while I understand the sensation due to my ability to redirect it to others, it had never been experienced."

Jaden stood ready. There was no way it could be over yet.

"If you'd like to feel a higher degree, throw a few more of those orbs at me."

"No, the lesson has been learned. On your end and mine, Starcaller. I will lend you my power, but may Din have mercy on you if you misuse it. Your heightened awareness is a privilege, not a right. And if you rely on it like a crutch, then you'll be just like your sister. Only through a balance of your gifts will you succeed. Share that awareness with others, and you will truly understand why I think the way I do. And why Nora grafted my likeness to you. You are logical and of sound tactical mind, yet lack the magical prowess of others who follow my path. Open your mind and you'll understand as they do."

"Very well. How will I call on you when I need you?"

The Mesmer chuckled, removing his hood and turban. He shared Jaden's likeness, strangely enough. 

"We are one. When the time comes, the way will be made known. Look at your blade."

A pink flame began to etch a sigil into the bottom flat of his sword, and when it finished, there was a glow that shared its shade.

"Remember. You are the Starcaller. My friends are waiting for you, and for your sake I hope you find them. Now go, help your allies escape."

Reality as Jaden knew it began to splinter and fragment as he was enveloped by celestial miasma. The Mesmer had summarily removed him from this distorted plane of alternate existence, and he was on his way back. As he traveled back, he mused about being lost in time and space.

Don't Forget Edit

IC: Rukh / Twili Fortress (Desert Province) / Not Yet Noon 6

Behind his burlap hood, Rukh's mind was racing. He swooped around the outer walls of the fortress, harassing the drummers and hornblowers who issued rhythmic orders to the Twili swarm, then curved inward to spiral over their front line. In the din of slaughter and battlecries, he heard a wave of rage howl up from the front and center of the Twili corps, as the Demoness Lynn made a frontal assault. He conceded a moment of admiration to the Sheikah's blunt tactics.

Then, more trickery. The corps was startled by a flash of light that crashed over them like a cymbals, cutting into the undercurrent of fear that lay beneath their bloodlust. The combined power of the Thunderbird, the Giant Goron, and the Undead General on his glacial mount had effectively struck fear into the Twili's hearts. And now Agent Annei's parlor tricks rent confusion in their ranks. With every ***** in their unity the Twili turned their attention more to their own skin. Rukh wondered what it would take to bring their morale down to every Interloper for themselves.

He cursed the ground where the Sheikah had stood. Whispers spread through the air of a Sheikah infiltrating the hold. As more guards were diverted to the interior, Mirra and Jaden's time grew shorter. The fuse had been lit. Now it was just a question of how long it stretched. He turned to face the towering Goron and Zora General at his side, as Llach-Galu unleashed a pallor of frost that bought them a momentary lull.

"Remember our mission. We must hold out here until those inside have finished their work. The future of Hyrule is hinging on this infiltration. We must not let it fail."

Stunned by light, misled by rumor, and slapped by a sheet of Red Ice, the Twili were falling into disarray. But then the sound of two great drums being struck near the entrance to the fort, at the back of the encampment, snapped Rukh to attention with a flare of his comb. He listened closely to the currents of the air as they passed across the surroundings, and trembled with the sudden rumble of a timpanic drumroll. Rukh reached into the minds of his stalwart companions.

'Something's up. Brace yourselves.'

OOC: Rukh frets over Lynn, but notices that Twili morale is waning in her wake, until some new strategy begins to percolate through their hive mind. He tells Giga, Polaris, and Llach-Galu to brace themselves for Round 2.

Mirra Lemeris / Twili Fortress (Desert Province) / Slightly Less Prior to Noon 6

Throwing caution to the wind, Horus blasted the door to the Armory Vaults open with a gust of air, just as Darrel, Mirra, and Lynn joined him and Jaden. The door opened from the right, and Horus's airburst swept down the right side of the hall as it crossed the threshold, extinguishing all of the torches along that wall. Upon entering the first room of the catacombs, the group beheld the glittering Morning's Edge, alongside a luminous sentry whose figure seemed spun from starlight. Jaden was summoned into a vortex by the astral wraith, leaving the Rito, Fairy, Sheikah, and Hylian in the dank cell.

"Grab it and let's go. Who needs stealth if I can get us out of here in the blink of an eye?" Horus shouted, a note of panic in his squawk.

'It's not that simple,' Mirra spoke into the party's minds, communicating without a sound. 'Sir Mytura has overheard the Twili talking of the Goronite ore,' she relayed some of the information she had gleaned from Darrel's memory while she healed his soul with the light of her own. 'We cannot leave until we have the Goronite. With Castle Town in ruins, the greatest ground force in Hyrule sleeps in Death Mountain. The Goronite must be taken to the Goron Elders. The fates have conspired to bring the Fire worshippers' master smith into our midst.'

Mirra sought out the mind of her warbird in the battlefield beyond, and through his cloaked gaze turned her own inner eye on that of the Giant Goron outside. 'Lord of the vulcan forge, your destiny awaits,' she prayed to the swordsmith, transmitting her thoughts through Rukh. Giga may not recognize her voice, but she trusted that a pragmatic follower of Din's Arcana would recognize the hand of fate behind her anonymity.

"Now, Darrel Mytura, the sword! May the Sunrise Knight lift the Morning's Edge once more!" Mirra's voice rang out from her tiny point of light like a bell.

Darrel reached one bloody, chain-wrapped hand for the sword lying unbound on the stone tile floor. But as his fingers neared it, the Twili runes adorning the links of his chains in thin lines began to glitter, and the sword suddenly disappeared into a cloud of smoke that emerged as a cackling Poe. The shapeshifting haunt wore a rusted knight's helm over his faceless scalp, complete with a tattered plume of black feathers, and swung the Morning's Edge around the air with sadistic glee.

He took one swipe at the troop, then vanished down an adjoining hallway in a peeling echo of maniacal laughter. He swung the Morning's Edge about once more, and the Twili runes on the Armory door behind them suddenly illuminated. The unlocked door slammed shut behind them, but its jammed lock crunched to a halt before it could lock them in. A gust of air from the slammed door shot down the left side of the hall, taking out the last of the torchlight.

The only light remaining was the thin seam of light that marked where Jaden had entered a rift in the fabric of the Realm, and the pinpoint of light that glistened from Mirra's body. Darrel, Horus, and Lynn could see no more than inches in front of their face.

"A hex on the weaponry!" Mirra lamented aloud. The Twili had bewitched their Armory with a clever ghost, the first of many sophisticated traps. Mirra trained her mind on the hallowed blade despoiled by the Interloper's counterorthodoxy. The Twili Arcana loved contradictions. 'How can we track down something that belongs to Darrel without a map or a compass?' she thought, her doubts and questions echoing freely through the minds of her compatriots. 'We need to seal this door from the inside to keep from being followed, and find a way to track that Poe wherever he zigzagged off to.'

'Your excellency, Agent Lynn Annei,' Mirra said, finally addressing the Sheikah who had worked her way into their group, 'much has transpired since last we met in this Desert. It seems like only yesterday, but we have both changed much since then.'

'And Horus, thou Rito, I place my promise of gratitude at your swift feet. Together, we shall restore the Sunrise Knight to his full greatness, and harness the Goronite. I do not forget the rare talents you displayed at the Battle for Castle Town.'

'Lady Lynn, prithee shine thy newfound light upon this darkness; and Horus, your excellency, train your rarefied avian senses on the scent of the Sunrise Knight. He is newly healed, and the violent reek of blood still haunts his flesh. Working together, we shall deliver the Alliance to the Morning's Edge.'

Horus/Twili Fortress/Noon...ish 6

Horus grumbled in the darkness, silently lamenting his display of ignorance.

“If I had known this armory was actually a full-blown catacomb, I would have used less forceful means.”

As he finished his sentence, he noted a small glowing orb next to the group. He looked closely at it, finally identifying it a few silent moments later. He couldn’t believe what he laid eyes on. The very woman he had released from an icy prison, and tried to save from a fiery demise was alive and well. He puzzled for a moment about why, of all forms to take upon resurrection, fate had chosen a fairy for Mirra. He quickly dismissed the thought before he could look further into it. What was done is done…but he felt privileged to witness a fairy’s presence in person. He had heard stories about them, and how one had befriended the Hero of Time. He never heard the details, so he never understood the significance of that fact, but damned if he still felt privileged to see one, after he was certain he wouldn’t see any in his lifetime. He inhaled deeply and shivered. He could smell a hint of what Mirra had spoken of, along with the smell of death, not unlike the strange aroma that accompanied what remains of Castle Town.

“Well, with that poe up and about, whatever lurks in these catacombs will know we are hostile. I suppose that makes this cloak and robe useless from here on out.”

Horus removed the hood of his disguise and loosened his posture. The sheer size of the robe caused it to fall right off of him, in a pile at his feet. His apparel had changed since his previous appearance amongst the people around him. His white, baggy pants were replaced by identical brown pants. The leather armor he wore in Castle Town had been discarded, revealing his decidedly skinny build. He wasn’t scrawny, but he wasn’t exactly an intimidating looking opponent either. What was left of his blue potion, which rested in a pouch in his belt, glowed radiantly, making it the second thing visible in the darkness that he was aware of. He hoped he did not alarm anyone when the room was illuminated, for he still wore paint that covered his entire body. This paint made his skin look identical to that of a Twili, although his long hair, which was still in a ponytail, remained blonde. Although the paint did well in disguising him, it did nothing to disguise his burns, which covered half of his face, his entire right arm, and much of his torso. His wings on his back were not spared either, which were mostly blackened by fire and ash. He half expected someone to comment on his physical damage, he wasn’t too thrilled when he saw his reflection earlier the previous night. He held his hand out as if he was holding a glass of wine, as Constance slithered from the robes and into his hand. When it reached his hand, it reverted back to its leisurely sphere-like shape, as if awaiting orders.

“When you are.” He stated, nearly choking on the end of the small statement. His lungs had somehow taken a beating as well, and wasn’t going to do him any good, especially if half of the things he predicted to be down in the catacombs were present. It hurt to breathe, and he knew it would only get worse if he was winded.

Polaris/ Fortress Gates/ Mid-Morning 6

The minutes had turned to hours, the fighting was non-stop, Polaris' visage no longer held the cool calculated demeanor that most were accustomed to seeing, he was something else now, something more, yet something less. He was fierce, savage and unforgiving. He'd resorted to his baser instincts, it was simple, kill or be killed. Lunging forward Polaris dealt a death blow to the final soldier standing before him, sure fighting was all over, Rukh and Llach Gelu rained hell down upon the Twili from the heavens as Polaris and the rest fought it out tooth and nail on the battlefield. Wave after wave of Twili soldiers flooded out towards them as the sonorous boom of two massive war drums rattled Polaris' brain. Whatever was coming, was not good.

Polaris shot into the air on a spout of red ice, alighting atop the back of his glacial mount, Polaris pulled back on the reins bringing them higher and higher until his line of sight extended several miles in each direction. Searching out the source of the sound and the location of the war drums, Polaris was taken aback by what he saw. "Shit." He muttered under his breath, moments before he turned into a dive, screaming towards the ground, he swooped over the tops of his compatriots, which was still a substantial height above the ground, what with Giga's ridiculous height. "Fall back! Fall back! Take up defensive positions, and listen to Rukh, brace yourselves!!"

Giga/Twilight Fortress/Somewhere around noon 6

Giga's slow, steady swings came fierce and with no mercy. The Twili seemed to be running thin, at least for the moment, and every one he sent flying was just another bought second for those inside. He hoped beyond hope that they would find the Goronite, that most precious of gifts, and that he could fulfill his purpose. He only prayed that the goddesses would understand that his fighting was a necessary means to obtain the elements. He knew it was against his purpose, that he had strength and power too great for the wars of men, that this was not the reasons Giants were created. But he also knew that his friends lives could be saved if he helped in the fight, and so he continued.

The Bird, dragon and Zora were each doing their part as well, each one contributing to the further prolongation of this distraction. But something happened then that he did not fully understand, he heard a voice inside his head. It was not the hearing of it, but the sound he heard and where it was coming from. Almost simultaneously, he felt the presence coming both from Rukh and from somewhere inside the fortress. 'Lord of the vulcan forge, your destiny awaits.' He did not understand fully what was meant, but he felt safety in the speaker. It was as if, though he knew not who was communicating, that they each were working towards the same goal.

He had no time to ponder further, however, as a steady sound came to his ears. The drums beat rhythmically, soon becoming a monotonous merging of reality and a dream. Above him, the Zora came flying down near his head, yelling to retreat and to listen to Rukh. Giga stood for a moment, trying to strain his neck to see what had frightened him so badly, but to no avail.

Giga ignored the few remaining Twili on the front lines before balling up and rolling away from the fortress.

Jaden/Lost in Time and Space/Morning 6

This feeling was not too different from Nora's hijacked spell when he was astrally projected. Of course, having the body there with the mind added a slight element of awkwardness. Would he hit the ground hard? He was moving rather fast. As light approached at the end of that rift, his question was answered rather peacefully.

Gerudo Fortress Armory Vault

In a bright flash, Jaden landed on his back, not being able to see a thing.

After the light had dissipated, he realized he was in a dark room. And that he wasn't alone somehow. But he did not say anything; he waited for his eyes to adjust and rose to his feet. Somehow he'd be able to orient his surroundings. His eyes were trained to be able to see in low light, so if he could get some sort of source to illuminate the area he'd have something to work with. He could feel the Mesmer working within him; his sword felt different in his hand and his arms were tingling with cosmic energies. The merging was complete, and he'd be able to call upon that power when it was needed most. Somehow, the way would be made known to him, but he wished it was more obvious.

Polaris/ Fortress Gates/ Mid-Morning 6

As the rest of his team fell back at his command, an all too familiar feeling gripped the General. He was once again reminded of the massacre on the banks of Lake Hylia, this skirmish was turning out to be not unlike that one, he was leading a small group of elite fighters against forces that out numbered them hundreds to one. No matter what they did, no matter how hard they fought or how skilled they were, the enemies advantage in numbers was so superior that being the superior, more powerful warrior didn't really matter. Sure, he could tell his men to resort to hit and run tactics, guerrilla warfare would buy them more time yes, but time for what?

The continuous thumping of the war drums reverberated throughout the desert, yet, nothing happened. The new threat never presented itself, were they content to sit back and think that they'd scared Polaris and his fighters away? Why? What were the waiting for? Polaris pondered this for some time, finally drawing himself away from his thoughts he chanced sticking his head around the corner in an attempt to sneak a peak at the approaching army. Seconds after he left his shelter, the sheer rock face of the cliff he'd hid behind exploded in a hail of stone and dirt that threatened to rain down upon him. 

Swinging his hands up above himself in a wide arc, Polaris created a thick dome of red ice which shielded him from being bludgeoned to death by the boulders or smothered by the dust that filled the air. The time for thinking had passed, action was required, he turned to rally his troops for the retreat, only to find that he'd been completely cut off from them by the avalanche. "Damnit, that complicates things." 

Polaris realized he'd made a grave error in turning his back to the battlefield, only seconds before a massive rock smashed into his back and sent him hurtling into the pile of rubble separating him from his allies. He slammed into the boulders with a sickening crunch and slid to the ground below. Pushing himself up on his forearms Polaris got the first look at his attacker, it resembled a giant spherical stone eye with innumerable small stones that spun around it as if in orbit around the central force of gravity that was the eye. In an act not fitting his situation, Polaris chuckled, "Damn, these golems, or whatever the hell they are, sure do get uglier and uglier." Brushing himself off, Polaris rose to his feet and unfurled a massive roiling beam of ice magicks directly at the eye. In an instant, the boulders surrounding the eye began to spin rapidly, easily deflecting the beam and sending it smashing into the remnants of the cliff, causing another explosion of rubble and only adding more rocks to the orbit of the eye.

"This is just great."

Polaris/ Fortress Gates/ Mid-Morning 6

As the stones crashed down from the flash frozen section of the cliff, the majority of them were sucked into orbit around the horrid looking, rockbound oculus encapsulating it even more, solidifying its defenses to nigh impenetrable levels. The monster, slowly at first, began advancing on Polaris' position, as it did so, the boulders once again began to rotate around it completely obscuring the eye from view. Perplexed, Polaris fancied a whip out of the frigid crimson element that was his own, lashing out with it, he managed to wrap the end around a single piece of debris and rib it from its orbit, with a flick of his wrist, he smashed it against the cliff base, reducing it to rubble. "Hmm...so they can be removed as well...interesting." That thought was cut short as Polaris was forced to leap out of the path of the oncoming juggernaut. As Polaris landed and rolled to his feet, he watched the beast smash into the pile of rubble and bounce off, freeing several more of the stones that surrounded it. The monster, although well defended, was not intelligent by any stretch of the word. There was a flurry of movement as multiple whiplike tentacles sprouted from the body of the Red Ice General, in unison the all lashed out towards the Stone Arrghus, simultaneously all colliding with the creatures earthen armor, retracting countless stones, leaving large open gaps and lines of sight, and more importantly, openings for attack, on the beast. 

As the multitude of stones smashed into pieces, the Stone Arrghus went on the offensive, multiple stones hurtled forward directly towards Polaris, who tried to roll out of their path to safety. Unfortunately for the General, his dive wasn't entirely effective, as one medium sized stone, slammed into his shoulder sending him rolling and skidding across the sand. The impact stung and rattled his bones, Polaris, thoroughly perturbed, rose to his feet, cringing as he did so, and launched an all out offensive. Surging forward, Polaris' hands glazed over with a thin layer of red ice, and he leaped high above the Arrghus and unleashed a hellish crimson blizzard, freezing the obriting projectiles of the eye in place, as he did so, Polaris launched himself into a double fisted strike, connecting cleanly with the eye and stunning the beast. As he ricocheted off of it, Polaris shot two quick sharp lances of frigid energies toward the center mass of his foe, both projectiles found their mark. The beast, screeched in agony dispensing all of the remaining stones towards the now recumbent general, a multitude of them connected and slammed into his back. Heaving with his face in the sand, Polaris reached out with his mind, gently brushing against the consciousness of his dragon..."A little help, would be nice. Finish him."

The gargantuan Llach-Gelu, the Flame Frost serpent, the aged Red Ice dragon burst through the wall of rubble that had separated him from his Rider, a skull piercing shriek reverberated throughout the atmosphere as the Dragon unleashed a massive wave of crimson hoarfrost that briefly stunned the Arrghus, while the dragon swooped in and wrapped it's large meaty claws around the eye and began to squeeze the life out of it.

IC: Mirra Lemeris / Twili Catacombs / So Close to Noon 6

Mirra's light faltered as the cloaked Horus before her shed his cloak, revealing a gaunt and aquiline figure scarred by the fortunes of war. His great wings spread with shuttering difficulty to the height of the stunted tunnel in which they cowered, cringing under their own weight as the charred tissue was stretched.

"An angel among terrestrial beasts, brought low by the fires of hell," she sighed, drawing close to his withered build. "My lord, with gratitude for your sacrifice of the flesh to the goddesses, I present to you my humblest gifts as a sworn healer of the Realm. Spare the potions with which you're equipped for another day; it is my honor to mend the wounds of an ally."

For a moment, Mirra's orb of light withdrew on itself, shrinking until the slender silhouette of a woman was revealed, a pair of emerald eyes in a shimmering viridian shade. Her robes fell loose along her hips and shoulders, wafting on the air with her streams of hair and gossamer wings. Like the Queen of the Fairies, Mirra's newfound wings drifted in long, fluid strands, and it was from these strands that her light began to glow anew, a radiant golden starburst replacing her green hue from earlier.

Against the singed and painted flesh of the Rito cum Hylian, Mirra cast the healing rays of the Sun that warms the Golden Land, that arc of light which turns all the sky to gold and in whose bosom the very Triforce are said to lie. Clenched in the rot and gray powder of Horus's hands, Mirra glimpsed the mischievous substance of shadow that he had been utilizing earlier. A part of her mind drifted then, to the Shadow works that had cost her the body that had been given her.

In this diminished form, she could feel the limits of her healing sphere approaching faster than usual. Enough of her energy was devoted to levitation to hinder her ability to move while projecting Light. Even with the Mask that the Great Fairy Queen had carved from Rukh's beak and brow, the immobility that the Interlopers had won from her would haunt her duty to heal. Humbled, she spread her wings wide, and murmured to the brutalized man standing before her.

"Step into the Light, Horus, and be healed..."

OOC: Mirra offers to heal Horus, and discovers that she has to hover in place when she wants to emit Healing Light. If Horus would like HP, he can step into her aura. This happens just before Jaden pops back in from the Mesmer training, while the team waits on Lynn to light the tunnel (so Horus can sniff out the Poe Knight with the Morning's Edge).

Ok? Ok.

IC: Rukh / Twili Fortress Gates / So Close to Noon 6 I can Feel It

Rukh dove into the foray of swirling boulders that had rounded on Polaris after bursting from the cliffs. Llach-Galu plunged into its ocular heart and began to crush it with his rugged tail. Rukh spread his wings mere meters over Polaris, and a fusillade of falling rock bounced off his formidable feathered armor. Closing in his wings again, he touched down before the General, then spiraled his wings outward facing the opposite direction to spray a volley of lightning into the swirling vortex. A wide swath was carved out of his defenses on the left and right sides.

"Giga!" Rukh called out to the Giant Goron for aid.

Giga/Twilight Fortress/Apparently it's not noon yet 6

Giga never fully understood what was going on. One second, he was retreating to take up a stance against whatever the drums were signifying, and the next he was being thrown aside by a freak rock slide. The force of the impact cause his ears to ring and his vision to blur as he tried to regain a sense of where he was. When he came to, he realized that he was now alone.

The rocks had separated him from his Zora companion, and Rukh had evidently flown over the rock wall. His fear, however, was short-lived, as minutes after another explosion came from the other side of the rocks, revealing the cause of rock-slide. Giga quickly gauged the situation and understood why he was being called for; his size would surly be advantageous against such a beast.

He took Rukh's words to heart and cautiously approached the eye. The rocks were swirling at incredible speeds, and several of them were big enough to knock even him off his feet. But in a couple spots, the defenses were thinned, it was merely a matter of waiting for the right moment.

He called to the ice dragon who had latched itself upon the eye's head. "On the count of three, I'm going in!

Giga studied the pattern, making absolutely certain that he could reach the eye before being struck. "One! Two!....Three!"

Giga leapt between the mini satellites at the same time the dragon released his hold. He tackled it with the full force of his weight behind him, bringing both of them to the ground in a thunderous explosion of rock and sand. All around him, rocks were falling from their orbits, suddenly powerless without the guidance of their master. Giga wrestled the wriggling beast, managing to get his arms around the backside. He rolled over holding the creature with its eye facing outward, almost as if it were a shield. He faced his companions, waiting for either of them to make the final blow.

Lynn Hothlight/Then/There

Lynn took in the faces of each gathered around the entryway to the Armory. Darrel Mytura, the Sunrise Knight, bound to the fate of the Kinslayer and forever leashed to the fate of Hyrule. Jaden Bryseis, brash and confident successor to the rule of the Sheikah Tribe and brother of the Scion of Nayru. Horus, a Rito from the City in the Sky, ally of Hyrule but touched by some unknown darkness. And Mirra Lemeris, Steward of the Sacred Realm, reborn as a fairy.

None bore the Taint. It did not further her aims, but aiding them would behoove her, and she had come here for that purpose. For Kae's sake.

She traced her fingertip over her lips, and they began to glow a dim silver light. She licked them, embracing the chill sensation of moonlight sunk into her flesh. Then Lynn light-footedly sashayed to the floating Mirra as her healing radiance spilled out from her green aura. An odd tingle caressed her skin as she passed the barrier. Lynn leaned toward Mirra and kissed the fairy, transferring the enchantment on her lips into Mirra. Mirra's fairy aura grew in intensity, becoming a true beacon of light.

Lynn then stroked her left hand, and behind the caress the appendage emanated a similar silver scintillation. When she balled her hand into a fist, the glow increased to a coruscating effulgence. She smiled, self-assured by her abilities, and spread her fingers once more to diminish the effect of the luminous magic.

"Mirra, my lady, this glow bestowed on you should suit our purposes in the vault, and if need be the enchantment on my own hand will light our way in the deeper hollows of this subterrane."

Polaris/ Outside the Twilight Fortress/ Must be noon

Several things happened at once, first Rukh, the mighty Thunderbird and aerial mount of the Goddess hand maid Mirra swooped in to shield the General from yet another avalanche of earth and stone. The Arrghus reared and fought against the frigid needle sharp talons that threatened to squeeze the life out of it, the battle was a back and forth of wills. Still not in his true form, Llach-Gelu did not possess the strength that he soon would and the monstrosity proved a more than even match in strength and threatened to wriggle free. As the dragons grip was loosening, the oculus again beckoned to the stones that littered the battelfield, when they began to take their place around him, the pelted the Red Ice dragon leaving large bright red welts on his otherwise pale red hide. Seeing that the battle was not going as well as hoped, the General rose to his feet seconds prior to the explosion that rocked the courtyard and threatened to bring him back to a knee. Turning towards the source of the blast, Polaris saw that Rukh had opened a massive gap in the mound of rubble, one large enough for the thirty foot Goron that now charged through it, promptly taking the dragons place in the wrestling match with the Arrghus. The beasts futile attempts to overpower the gargantuan rock beast were stamped out quickly. Polaris and Rukh were left to gaze upon Giga holding the defenseless and unshielded eye to face them. 

Polaris nodded his approval to his massive ally and strode towards them, placing the palm of his hand on the creature, Polaris spoke, "Giga, you have done well. Please, release the monster so this can be finished, I dare not risk harming a compatriot so noble as yourself. You have done well." It took a bit of doing, but the MegaGoron freed himself from his entanglement with the Arrghus and strode a few long strides away, the Arrghus however, remained rooted in place the entire time as it held the Generals cold emotionless stare. A rush of cold that felt utterly out of place swept through the valley as icy tendrils spread forth from his palm and snaked their way around the orb, the monster blinked once, then froze in time as it was encapsulated in a block of regular ice. Polaris chose not to imprison his foe in his true element in fears that what was next to come not working, as he retreated back a few paces, he looked at the majestic metallic Thunderbird, "This, we do together." Polaris raised the Thunder Rod high above his head and almost immediately the sky darkened and the wind picked up. The tiny granules of sand kicked up and swirled around him until a massive whirlwind rotated around his body, only now and then could you catch glimpses of the Zora warrior standing stock still inside, arm still raised with the Thunder Rod protruding from the top of the funnel cloud. 

Rukh needed no signal to know that now was his time, he screeched into the once bright desert sky and called down the power of the heavens, the mighty thunderbolt entrusted to him by the Goddessess struck his outstretched face and spread across his body, the air popped and crackled around him with electricity, the air bore a very sulfuric tinge to it when it crossed the nostrils of those looking on in silent wonder. Rukh seemed to revel in the glory and sheer power of the heavens as it reverberated along the length of his body for a few moments until he finally channeled and focused it all into his talons, the full force of which he shot forth, striking the blunted surface of the Thunder Rod causing a soul rattling sonic boom to cause the very anchors of the earth to tremble, the sound was so loud that it echoed across the desert and into Hyrule Field, even those who were much farther away heard something, a low rumble that they could not quite place, possibly their own stomach crying out in protest of it's emptiness, or perhaps something more sinister? None knew exactly what the sound was, but all heard.

The rod grew hot in Polaris' hands, the power that coursed through it was something fearsome to behold, this kind of destructive force was not one many ventured to tame, and definitely not one many ever had the pleasure of holding. The light inside the twister was blinding as it rotated faster and faster whipping up more and more sand until he stood in a crater some ten feet deep with what was one the ground now orbiting around his head, the thunder and lightning that absorbed all of the atmosphere around him prickled, popped and stung his skin. Taking one last look to assure himself Giga and the rest were at a safe distance, Polaris lowered the rod, pointing the end of the near cataclysmic power directly at the Stone Arrghus who was now actually a few feet above him because of the force of the winds. In an instant the whirlwind was sucked up into the head of the rod and all the force of the most ghastly thunderhead exploded towards the poor being propelled on the wings of a tornado the thick crackling bolt struck it dead center and the eye exploded outwards sending a spray of mud, blood and gore out in a wide swath. Polaris, mud caked face and all, grinned from ear to ear as he climbed out of the hole and saw that the only one who took any notable damage was in fact, the Arrghus itself. 

Lord Grem/Around Noon 6/Twili-Gerudo Fortress

From a look-out post in the Fortress, Lord Grem lowered his spyglass. The Stone Arrghus had fallen. It was disappointing, yes, but to be expected. These were the so-called Light Warriors, the elite operators of the Hylian Army. If they fell to that simple beast, it would be embarrassing that this war had gone on for as long as it had. The four of them seemed to be enjoying a breather after the battle. The Twili army was cut off, for the moment by the same rocks that had served as a trap for the Hylians.

"Well... we can't have that, can we?"

Lord Grem turned to the man at his side, High Mage Kazeem, current leader of Grem's Battle Magistry. "It's time, Kazeem. Bring down the sky around them."

Kazeem grinned wickedly. The Twili sorcerer lived for such displays of vulgar power. "As you will, my lord."

He curled his fingers, forming between his hands a ball of gleaming shadow which he then dismissed skyward. At the sign of this signal, hundreds of similar orbs rose into the sky from multiple points around the fortress. They disappeared into the cloud cover above them.

Kazeem's arms remained upraised. Out of sight in the sky above, the shadow was forming together, power channeled and drawn from the many mages under his, and Grem's, command. As the most powerful of their number, it was Kazeem's duty to guide and shape the swirling mass of energy. He did so with a practiced perfection, sweat beginning to form on his brow.

Grem watched the canyon through his spyglass. The Light Warriors were collecting themselves, and the Twili soldiers were clearing a way through the rockfall. At this rate, there would be a small clash, but the four would escape. Perhaps if...

Grem's thoughts were cut off as a runner charged into the post, immediately lowering himself to the floor before his lord general. He waited for permission to speak, which Grem gave.

"My Lord! More Hylians have infiltrated the Fortress, as feared. The prisoner light mage has been freed. They make way for the vault."

Grem issued a quiet, guttural growl. "The sword..." He addressed Kazeem, "I leave this battle to you."


[b]Twili-Gerudo Fortress; Armory Hallway/Noon 6[/b]

A repetitious clunk echoed down the hall, the cadence of approaching footsteps. Those gathered turned to look down the hall as a figure formed from the distant darkness. His armored anatomy offered an appalling appearance of approaching abuse. As Lord Grem came into view, he unsheathed his massive broadsword, amused by their steadfastness in the face of imminent demise. He slammed his sword into the wall, cracking it from foundation to ceiling, and spoke.

"Light Warriors! You are fools to come here! You are fools to face me! Your friends outside have already tasted the bite of a Twili blade!" A lie, perhaps, but it should serve to hurt their morale, and perhaps make them fight harder so the coming battle would at least be interesting. "Soon, you will know as they have known!"

He then launched himself forward, almost seeming to hover as he closed the distance between himself and the Hylians in a remarkable display of acrobatic strength given his heavily armored form. Once within striking distance, he heavied his deadly broadsword in a body-cleaving strike at the Rito, the Light Warrior closest to him.

He'd kill as many as pleased him now, and the troops could deal with the remaining after those outside were finished.

[hr] [b]High Mage Kazeem/Twili-Gerudo Fortress/Still Noon 6[/b]

The storm had properly formed, and grown to the proper volume. It was time. He brought the storm falling down into the canyon, a dark miasma of shadow. It fell across the Light Warriors gathered there, and cast a pallor over them.

"The Dusk grows closer..." Kazeem prayed, "Creatures of our Holy Realm, teach these heretics the truth of your powers..."

In the canyon, Warp Demons began to tear into shadowy reality. Twisted creatures of claw and fang and gibbering madness, intent on tearing apart the ordered world around them. Their focus, naturally, fell first upon the paragons of reality, and thus did their ire fall on life itself. The demons, slavering abominations they were, fell upon the Light Warriors.

Jaden/The Vault/Morning 6

After being flat on his back for a moment, a supernatural illumination filled the vault, revealing all present. Lynn, the Rito who had snuck in with him, Mirra in a new embodiment, and Rukh.

There wasn't much time to respond and regroup before clanking was heard coming up the halls. Apparently there was a secret passage behind the Armory...

He could feel his new Celestial powers reacting to the new presence. It was at that point Jaden understood why Kae would have bad feelings about something or someone. This presence had a profane resonance that would turn Kae into an indignant aggressor. He was glad he had more restraint. 

When the figure came into view, he understood all too well what this would mean. With armor so thick and skill with a blade so proficient, there were three options. Surrender wasn't one of them. Stand, fight, and probably die was the first. Not too appealing. The other was to intercept this man's attack against the Rito and sacrifice himself so the others could get away, and the third was just to run outright. 

With no knowledge of the underground and being in enemy territory, there would be a disadvantage to running. Maybe he could intercept the attack and then they could try to run. It'd be better than certain death here.

Jaden quickly readied his shield and dashed on an intercept course between Horus and the Twili. He had no intention of engaging in personal combat beyond that.

"Everyone run! I'll catch up."

His eyes glinted with a shade of light pink as he moved to block the attack.

Horus/The Vault/Day 6

"No! I got this!"

Horus barely had any time to think. In what was only seconds, he had shed his cloak and had been offered medical attention, only to be interrupted by the horrifying footsteps of a creature that was obviously bigger and stronger than the already intimidating Darknut. He faced the armored attacker, whom was only three steps away, sword ready. He heard Jaden rise to his feet and try to run in the way, but Horus' pride was too great. He had to prove himself at least once that he could do what his deceased father could: Stop a darknut mid-swing.

With one hand, he reached to Jaden's chest and fired only enough wind to cease his stride, the looked forward, palm ready to fire another to knock the Darknut back. As he turned back to the darknut, he had realized what a horrible mistake he had made before the unbelievable pain struck him. He looked into the eyes of his attacker, which had a victorious look in them. He looked at the blade that had been swung, and noticed that he could not see the tip, but what he saw was far more horrifying. The closest to the tip he could see was covered in fresh blood. 

It was everywhere. Not only was the sword within his shoulder, it had cut where he was burned the most. The pain was indescribable, but he could not even squeak in pain before everything went black. The black blob that rested in his pocket squirmed in what appeared to be panic, and swiftly slithered up Horus' chest, and stopped at his shoulder. A part of it moved about as if it was a head, scanning the situation. Before anyone could make anything of it, the blob thinned itself to that of paper, and slithered past the sword that remained planted in Horus' limp shoulder. A sickening suction sound could be heard as it disappeared within Horus.

Constance-Horus

His eyes opened with a jolt, which were now glowing purple. His face of shock changed to that of rage, which looked into the eyes of the attacker. Despite having a sword in his shoulder, confidence was all that could be comprehended. As blood spurt from the wound, Horus opened his mouth to breathe deeply before speaking. Curiously, his voice was now that of a middle-aged woman, although that did not make the event any more unbelievably frightening.

"My son was not born to be felled by the likes of you!" He spat.

He reared back, with wind whirling around his fist, almost at the velocity of a tornado, and thrust his fist forward, into the chestplate of the knight. The impact caused a great shockwave to burst from the punch, causing a thunderous roar...But nothing happened. Not because the punch was inneffectual, but time and physics had to keep up with what had just happened.


Rukh / Twili Fortress / Noon 6

"One! Two! ...Three!" Giga roared.

Rukh did not see, but felt the sheer gravity of the gigantic Goron's leap as it thrust itself into the air and latched onto the hovering Arrghus eye in a burst of gravel and sand. With a thunderous concussion he and the wriggling ghoul smashed into the desert sands, sending shockwaves up the length of the wide canyon in which they made their assault. The rocky crags overhead seemed to tremble at the impact of the rockman throwing his weight around.

Without hesitation, Rukh spread his wings and reared back on his haunches, ready to strike at Polaris's command. The weathered General had made short work of the Arrghus with the aid of his ministering Dragon spirit, and now it was time for the heavy hitters to finish off this last defense of the Interlopers.

While Giga held the eye to the ground, Rukh and Polaris readied a coup de grace. Polaris called to Rukh over the roaring winds off Giga's recent impact.

"This, we do together." Polaris shouted.

Leaping into the sky, Rukh called down a thunderbolt and fired it into Polaris's Thunder Rod. With the combined might of both sorcerers, the lightning exploded into a tempestuous shockwave that dwarfed even the booming eruption of Giga Goron's attack. In a splash of earth and ichor, Polaris ended the nuisance eye, and sauntered up from the crater of his own making in a boastful, if muddied, stride.

Llach-Gelu joined Polaris at his side, and blasted the dirt from his captain's face with an icy snort. Polaris mounted the wyrm, and together the three goliaths stood on the outskirts of the Twili base, readying themselves for what came next with uneasy grins of confidence.

Llach-Gelu was the first to notice it, as a being with so much of his essence in the spirit world. The clouds above twisted from the crackling grey that Rukh and Polaris had wrought into a most disturbing blackness, unsettingly mute. Then Polaris, touched with the finger of the undead already, heard the gathering energies of Twilight and Dusk that so perturbed his draconian companion. Giga, next, tied to the soil and still bound to this earth by a living, beating heart, felt an ill wind fall over his mortal soul as Twilight swept the sands.

Rukh was the last to feel it, the blind machine without a soul. But in his hooded mind, he heard the Prayer.

"Creatures of our Holy Realm, teach these heretics the truth of your powers..."

The dark words crept throughout the swirling black clouds, and what had been a maelstrom of the Light Warriors' own design became a sinister breach in the walls of the Light World. Whoever summoned this new terror, it would not end until they had been defeated.

From every direction, it seemed, slithering and slobbering Warp Demons came lurching out of the shadows. Rukh took to the air as red and wiry hands cringed upwards from his own shadow and reached for his feet. Llach-Gelu and Polaris hopped from the ground as well, but Giga had no such means of evading his own shadow.

"The enemy has unleashed Hell upon the Light World! Giga, keep moving! Let's roll these hellspawn back into the ground where they came from!"

Rukh fired a bolt of lightning from the still-storming skies into the ground at Giga Goron's feet, illuminating the area and cutting off the demons' entrance. Giga raised one massive foot into the sky. The hoard that had managed to creep through Giga's shadow before were thrown back by the light, but the sturdy Goron was unharmed by a measly lightning bolt.

Giga's shadow returned as the sudden light faded, and more fingers began to inch their way out of the shadows cursed by the Twili Magistry. Regaining his balance, Giga put his foot down on the percolating demons, and they were pummeled back into the abyss by their fingertips. Giga raised his foot up again, but before Rukh could feel the rush of wind from its descent, all of his senses went black.

The telepathic link he felt with Mirra, and through her with every Light Warrior inside and out the Twili Fortress, was severed. Already in his blindness, Rukh became mute to the world as the real power of the Twili Magistry was unleashed on the Light Warriors. No telepathy. No extrasensory perception. And sheer, unrelenting blackness to cloak their very eyes.

Darkness had been unleashed upon the Haunted Wasteland, a darkness that reached beyond sight to include the mind. Already, their minds were visited by the deceptions and angst of the Haunted Wasteland, and now they were assaulted by the power of the Abyss itself. Like the wild demons of chaos that swiped at Rukh, Polaris, and Giga, they were senseless. Twilight had reduced them to what little they could gather from the darkness of their immediate area. They would have to fight with naught but sound and touch, like madmen.

Worse yet, there was no way out. Trapped in all-encompassing darkness, the Light Warriors had no option but to fight for their lives, and pray that some Providence guide them out of this new horror.

With that grim resignation, Rukh flew in Giga's direction. He hoped Llach-Gelu and Polaris would too, but he had no way of knowing. Finding the Goron by his haggard breathing, and the unmistakable crunch of his stomp on brittle Demonic bones, Rukh poised himself at Giga's back, and the two began fending off enemies together.

"I'll try to hold an outer rim, you take out anything that makes it through," Rukh yelled over the darkness.

While Rukh took out minions at random with long-range thunderbolts from his beak, Giga catered to short-range attacks on anything that got through Rukh's offense.

Suddenly, Rukh's lightning bolts failed, as a power surge in his machinery temporarily overloaded his engines. He dropped to the ground at Giga's back, and a demon from the underworld leapt into the air to come down on him with a large axe.

OOC: Rukh's angle on Billiam's last post for Giga, red's last post for Polaris, and DEG's post for High Mage Kazeem. Rukh and Giga start attacking the Warp Demons, but Kazeem's summons also comes with a Twili block on all telepathy and psychic awareness, on top of the total darkness. We're fighting blind, and cut off from the Raid Team. The only way to lift the curse is to defeat Kazeem directly, and he's hiding all the way back at the top of the Fortress, at Grem's watch tower. Otherwise, we'll have to wait for some deus ex machina to show us a way out.

IC: Mirra Lemeris / Twili Catacombs / Noon 6

"Mirra, my lady, this glow bestowed on you should suit our purposes in the vault, and if need be the enchantment on my own hand will light our way in the deeper hollows of this subterrane." Lynn whispered kindly, lifting up her newly radiant hand to reflect with the Moonlight she had inspired in Mirra.

By her Intimate Embrace, Mirra had acquired a searching insight into Lynn's mind. She came to know her as Lynn Hothlight, a truly transformed person, as opposed to the Demoness she had met before, on the twilight of yesterday.

Still, the wheels of fate set in motion in that twilight massacre would not finish running their course any time soon.

"Madame Hothlight, I thank you for your gift of the Moon," she said aloud. Then, Mirra confided in her, telepathically. 'Prithee, Madame Hothlight, is there no Shadow left about you after the full consumption of the Garo's Blessing? Have the Shadow and Ice that haunted you before become a more harmonious Ice and Light? If so, accept this ray of Sunlight, and as your kiss of the Moon gives me a measure of the full power of the Light principle, so may my Sun blend with your Moon to give you the full power of Light...'

In return for the Moonlight that Lynn had given her, Mirra extended the Sunlight already beaming from her body into Lynn's eyes. She drew closer, and upon the Sheikah's lips, she placed a delicate Fairy's kiss. As the Sheikah of the Moon greeted the Fairy of the Sun, so the Fairy would greet the Sheikah.

But before she could see the reaction of her Sun powers on Lynn's new alignment, and whether any lingering Shadow did persist to resist her Sunlight, a terrible clanking came clambering down from the entrance to the Vault behind them. Mirra's heart stopped as a terrible evil echoed down the hall in laughter.

"Light Warriors! You are fools to come here! You are fools to face me! Your friends outside have already tasted the bite of a Twili blade! Soon, you will know as they have known!"

Mirra panicked. The healing moment she shared with Lynn was shattered as she felt for the others outside, and found nothing. Rukh was out of reach. Had they been captured? Killed? Worse?

"Everyone run! I'll catch up." Jaden called out.

Before she could find out more, Jaden leapt into action, putting himself between Grem and his attack on Horus. This was all happening too fast! The Lord of the Interlopers had struck before the Alliance could be formed, before the Knight could be restored. Once again, the fates had frowned on the fortunes of Hyrule. Mirra began to wonder if the fates favored them at all. Could there come a day when preserving the unity of the Realm was itself a sacrilege against the Triforce?

"No! I got this!" Horus yelled.

Her mind raced over these questions, just as Jaden was knocked aside by Horus, who absorbed the full force of Grem's blow. The dark commander of the Twili forces was then heaved back as Horus, in the blink of an eye, resumed his strength and cackled back at Grem in a new voice.

"My son was not born to be felled by the likes of you!"

A spiraling spear of wind shot into the heavily armored wizard, knocking him back in the direction whence the Light Warriors had just come.

In a temporary reprieve, Mirra's mind immediately turned to the dark presence that had overtaken Horus's body. A twisted influence now haunted him, the dark shadow she had sensed on his person before. Without hesitation, she gathered the Moonlight which Lynn had given her into the Sunlight of herself, and lunged into Horus's chest with power of Light itself.

She could not permit the contamination of another Light Warrior with some shadowy influence from the netherworld again. Already, all hell had broken loose at the hands of such Interlopers, and she would not abide the corruption of one her own Allies.

Mirra drew her arms and legs in tight within Horus's chest, then swept her limbs wide and let her ethereal wings spread to their full length through his hands and feet, beaming the light of Sun and Moon together into the depths of the evil Constance that spoiled his soul.

'Be gone from this fair feathered flesh, demon! Render your unwanted aid in some other host!' she sang into the Rito's rapidly beating heart. Mirra's light pumped Horus full of healing magic, pushing his power to its limits while confronting the opposite energy of Constance.

Polaris/ Twili Fortress/ Noon 6

The brief moment of triumph in which they'd all shared and in which Polaris had hoped would provide the opportunity for them to gain a brief moment of respite was struck aside quickly as an all encompassing darkness spread throughout the haunted valley in which they fought. After a brief spell of disorientation, he and the dragon decided to make for the largest landmark in the ink black shadow that surrounded them. Giga. It was difficult to mask his presence no matter how murky the lines of sight were. He heard the labored breathing of the Mega Goron alongside the crackling thunderbolts of Rukh. His men were still fighting. Good. Hope was not lost even with the sun blotted out and all around them black as pitch, they battled on. Swooping ever lower Llach-Gelu bore him faithfully to the site at which his comrades sought to repel the forces of shadow. It was then that the mechanized warbird sputtered and coughed and went immobile. The increased output at which he unfurled his bolts seemed to have shorted him out. Hopefully only for a time. 

There was moment for pause though, as a hellish creature of the shadow leapt towards the incapacitated Rukh, axe held high it lunged forward with obvious intent to maim. The General did the only thing that seemed plausible and he too leapt. Leaving the back of his draconian mount, Polaris plummeted like a missile tearing through the darkness and slammed into the side of the unaware beast, sending them both rolling and thudding across the sand. He tried to reach out to the consciousness of the dragon, but it was to no avail. Whatever sorcery now tainted the land had severed the link between them. "Dragon! Protect the hindquarters of the Goron and shield Rukh from any forthcoming attacks! I'll handle this abomination myself." He yelled into the darkness, hoping that his verbal message would not die out in the abyss as well. His eyesight had betrayed him, but his ears and nose had not. The creature of darkness moved with ease in this world of night and quickly approached. Polaris wheeled, swinging the Thunder Rod violently out in front of him as he turned in all directions, causing small bursts of wind that sent sand and other detritus swirling. None of the blows found their mark, and the beast continued to move about, the only sounds made, the crunching of the sand beneath Polaris' own feet. 

All at once it was upon him, it was all Polaris could to fend off the blade of the axe which meant to sever him in place of the malfunctioning Rukh. Stumbling, he pushed the beast away with a burst of arctic magicks, the purplish hue that the otherwise crimson element took on in the suffocating blackness had an eerie effect to it, if only briefly it lit their surroundings and it was then that he gazed upon the face, if it could be deemed that, of his attacker. Empty and more dark than that of any void Polaris had ever peered into. The emptiness of it's gaze proved one thing, it was a beast without a soul. The cool tendrils of death and the grave that was oh so different from the cold that emanated from the General himself, yet with which he was so accustomed, emanated from the creature as it let loose a low hiss that rose and fell in pitch but never went above a whisper. Laughter? Goose bumps rose on his skin as he felt the demon drawing near, fear was it's weapon, plain and simple. A red tinged hand shot out from the creature and before Polaris could act, it had wrapped itself around his neck, squeezing the energy out of him, its grip tightening like a vice as the beast moved in for the kill. Polaris was at its mercy now, the more he struggled, the more he did to cinch in the deathclutch. "Kneeeeeelll before the power of the massster. Feeeaaar he who commandssss the creaturesss of the Ssshadow. Diiiee now for the High Mage." It was a voice Polaris would not soon forget, but it was also one to whom he would not succumb. 

As soon as the creature was within striking distance, Polaris swung wildly with the Thunder Rod, this time the staff found its mark and collided with the night that made up the creature. A blinding flash, followed by a sonorous boom, swallowed up the beast as it melted away into the momentary flash of light. Relieved to still hear the sounds of his allies fighting and the guttural roars of the stone bodied Goron, Polaris stumbled, still catching his breath, in their direction. His voice was ragged when he called out, but it still held an air of authority, "Come, face us, the Warriors of the Light, so that you may all taste that which you deserve. Savor it heathens, for death and not our flesh, will be the taste that lingers in your maws. And if he dares, let your High Mage show himself and fight, not with tricks of the night, but with his own hands." 

Crouching into a defensive stance, Polaris readied himself, back to Giga and the dragon, the three formed a tight circle around the felled Rukh, and prepared for what was to come next. It wasn't long before more of the Shadow beasts came like moths to the flame. 

Constance/ Horus' body/ Noon 6

It wriggled vainly through the veins of its host, which was rapidly filling with the purest of magic. As the burning white spread throughout every turn and route Constance could find, it had to make a quick decision; exit from where she came in. She wriggled through Horus' body, going straight for his right shoulder. As she reached the shoulder, she realized that the great crevice within her host's flesh had mended in a most magical manner. Fear and regret fell down to what would have been the sliver's stomach, as the white, burning light closed in. As the red of Horus' blood rapidly became a blinding radiant white, Constance tried to gather it's thoughts. It tried to remember what had led to this moment. It tried to recall its ventures in death and life, and as soon as it tried, the most important details began to fill Constance's mind. Of all of the memories that returned, only one persistantly beat within what would have been its head.

"I cannot fail mother now! There is still much to learn..."

Light burst throught vein that Constance rested, and filled all it could see with blinding white.

"Only one chance..."

The light burned Constance's flesh with an intense, almost microwave-like heat as it wriggled and swam like a fish through veins and arteries. Arteries became organs, and finally, after several vastly excruciating seconds, the stomach.

"Up...and...out." Constance thought weakly. The voice of Mirra rang out and echoed throughout Horus' body, ordering Constance to begone as she reached the esophagus.

Giga/Twilight Fortress/Noon 6

Giga felt the darkness before he noticed it. It was a strange coolness, a reason to be dejected despite the recent victory over the rock-eye. Within him, every inch of his body, rock and flesh alike, had grown stiff, creating an apprehensiveness that was greater than anything he had ever felt.

And then it happened.

Shadows grew everywhere as the darkness spread. Above him, his two allies had taken off, but he had no such choice. Suddenly, he felt a sensation on his foot, as out of his own shadow a monster was forming. It was clawing at him, scratching eagerly to move up his skin. He tried to swing at it, but he became quickly aware of the sudden darkness that had engulfed him. He was blind, forced to swing at nothing and hope.

But despite his fear, his teammates had not quit. Rukh shot a bolt of lightning at his feet, momentarily illuminating the area and allowing him some respite from the fear. And then they were together, bird and giant, side by side. With his presence, all of Giga's fears seemed to wash away. He listened carefully, and acted on instinct, seeming to have the edge on these mindless beasts of shadow.

And then something happened that he did not fully understand until much later. He felt Rukh fall to the ground behind him, then heard Polaris scream as if he was in a charge. A burst of ice again lit up the area, but Giga wasn't able to see anything. All he could do was hear Polaris' cries, "Come, face us, the Warriors of the Light, so that you may all taste that which you deserve. Savor it heathens, for death and not our flesh, will be the taste that lingers in your maws. And if he dares, let your High Mage show himself and fight, not with tricks of the night, but with his own hands." 

Giga breathed slowly, trying to get a grasp on the situation. He was surrounded by allies in a field of darkness, but he could still hear. He could hear the strange distortion emanating from the sky, he could hear the steady exhalation of his allies, and most importantly, he could hear the approach of more shadow-beasts.

He was ready for a fight.

Darrel Mytura - Twili Catacombs - Sixth Day

"Everyone STOP!" His booming command echoed in the confined chamber. Mirra had entered into a magical embrace with Lynn, and then turned her power on Horus, who seemed to have been overcome by the bizarre creature he carried in his initial assault against the armored Interloper. "Lord Grem is too great a foe!

"RUN!"

The way back was blocked by Grem's hulking form, and they had but one choice left to them, lest they were to die upon the Twili's blade. They could do naught but face the long dark of the catacombs. Somewhere down there that cackling Poe Knight had his blade, and the key to unlocking his magic again. If he could but get his hands on Morning's Edge...

Down deep and cramped tunnels they ran, the thundering footfalls of the Twili General following after, each one a tremor that rained dust and particulate soil down on their heads. They could no longer see him in the darkness of the catacombs behind them, untouched by Mirra's radiance, but they knew that he pursued and the threat he presented drove them forward.

As he ran Darrel tightened the chains around his fists and forearms, lamenting that they were the only vehicle for his violence. Their Interloper origin hampered even his magically magnified physical abilities. He was just a man.

But he was still the Sunrise Knight.

Some ways down the tunnel opened up into a vast, vaulted cavern lined by pillars of rock that appeared to have been formed naturally and yet lined the walls in such a way, in perfectly spaced intervals, as to seem artificial in nature. To either side of the tunnel mouth the earth dropped away into a bleak, bottomless chasm. The only way forward was an arching bridge of stone that stretched across to the opposite side of the pit.

There, staring across at them from the far end of the bridge, cackling darkly, was the Poe Knight. Morning's Edge glittered in its grasp. So close.

Lord Grem's footsteps still boomed in the confines of the tunnel as he drew inexorably nearer. They had little time.

"Move!" He said urgently to his compatriots, stepping out onto the stone span. It was wide enough for them to walk across three by three, but they did not press forward with such order. The Poe seemed to wait for them, as though unconcerned that they would catch up to it. They were nearly upon the phantasmal foe when it let loose one last miserable cackle and then plummeted over the edge to its left and into the pit. Mirra's fairy form darted over the edge, illuminating what lay below them.

Beneath, stretching deep down into the earth, crisscrossing the chasm one after the other were innumerable stone bridges much the same as the one upon which they stood. As they stood and looked down into the pit it seemed as though there was a hole through the earth itself.

The crashing footfalls of the General's approach stopped. Darrel realized that they stood together in silence and looked up, back across in the direction whence they came and saw that immense, armored form standing on the far side of the bridge, sword in hand.

Memories and flashes of scenes and feelings ran through his mind at the sight of him. Their first meeting, while Darrel had been bound to the dirt, helplessly contained by the bonds of Twili magic that held him even still. Anger rose up in him, a desire for retribution all but overwhelmed him. The sessions he'd spent on the rack, tortured in ways that only the dark mages of the Twili could devise. The sudden onslaught of powerful emotions threatened to drown him. But it did not take him over, it did not control him. Even as he turned from his companions and stepped back out onto the stone bridge, back toward Grem, he wasn't ruled wholly by his emotions. He had done his friends and allies no good and a great deal of harm. He had been captured and had drawn them, prematurely, into a risky rescue operation that had pitted them against Grem and against an entire army of Twili soldiers and mages. He had done nothing yet to earn trust or respect from them.

It was time he took responsibility for the things he could. They had risked their lives to rescue him from Grem and the Twili. The time to repay that favor had come sooner than any of them might have expected.

"All of you go. Find the Poe Knight if you're able, and whatever else of value might rest within this subterrain. I'll give you the time you need." Without looking back to see how they proceeded, Darrel stepped further out onto the bridge, tightening his right iron bound fist as he let the chains about his left arm unravel. "You and I have business together Grem, here in the deep."

He was surprised to hear the sound of footsteps scraping on the bare rock behind him. He turned his head ever so slightly and in his periphery saw Jaden walking forward to stand at his side.

”I told you to go.” Darrel muttered out of the corner of his mouth. Jaden only glanced back at him.

“Not a chance.” Came his reply. “You have no magic at your disposal right now, but I do. We do this together.”

Darrel could only offer a grudging nod. ”Very well. Together it is.”

Rukh / Desert Province / Day 6

Rukh's bones were hollow. The miracle of Celestium was that it was both dense and malleable, allowing it to be shaped to the thinnest edge while still retaining the resilience of the sturdiest Goron alloy. It is said that the stuff of Rukh's bones and armor was drawn from the Stars themselves by the King of Hyrule, back when he held the Triforce in balance, and made the Thunderbird on the altar of his Courage. The Great King brought down Wind from the Sky, and launched the Thunderbird upon it.

In the emptiness of his bones, Rukh felt the subtlest changes in the air. The temperature, the currents and pressure, the very soul of the atmosphere flowed through every socket and vent in his machinery. With no sight, no telepathy, and all of a sudden no movement, Rukh could only rely on what he knew in his bones.

His heart had stopped. Being cut off from everything brought Rukh a strange sense of peace, but being cut off from Mirra brought a blind fury into his heart. Somewhere, he knew she was still alive--he knew it--the bond of the Dominion Rod would not allow him to think for himself if it were otherwise.

But he was terrified for her. With no knowledge of her condition, Rukh's warlike mind clung to the worst possible scenario, and the sense of peril electrocuted him to the point of catatonia. Wherever she was, she was experiencing the same panic. Tragically, the closer she came to her doom, the less control Rukh had over himself. And this was no time to lose control.

'Courage, Mirra!' Rukh thought feebly to himself, knowing in advance that his praises would not reach his Aviatrix' long ears.But to his surprise, he heard the groan of his own voice clanking over the din. "Courage, Mirra!"

He could speak! He found he could wriggle his head about, but his body was still immobilized. His wings clung close to his flank, and his legs were tucked up under his belly. But still he could feel the winds, and a renewed sense of power came into his bones.

Feeling over the swirling vapors of the air, Rukh apprehended the massive vortex of the Twili Magistry's ritual. To open a rift between the Realms, they had to have their highest warlock presiding over the ceremony. Rukh knew that somewhere in the bowl of that canyon, the High Mage Kazeem was at work, twitching his arms and wiggling his fingers in the perverse incantations of the Twili. Mirra's vision had foretold that this battle was not the end of the war, but Rukh wondered whether it might be the end of Kazeem.

"Polaris! Giga!" Rukh called to his allies' backs, as they fended off the encroaching demons, "the Twili have opened a rift into their Realm that has unleashed an army of demons upon us."

"Yes, Rukh, we gathered that while you were asleep just now," Polaris grunted, after flipping a row of the cretins on a sheet of ice and pummeling them away with a sweep of his Thunder Rod.

"The Twili are organized on a rigid hierarchy. They could not Trespass the Realm without the authority of their High Mage; he is the only one who can channel the power of the Magistry into one spell. He will be in a high, visible location so that he can easily absorb the magic of his minions from below. The High Mage Kazeem hides in the tallest tower of the Twili Fortress!"

"What good does that do us? We're still blind as Fire Keese down here!" Giga shouted over his craggy shoulder.

But Polaris saw it. Without having to say a word, they had hatched a plan. To the earthbound Goron, it may not be obvious. But its simplicity was exactly what the aeromancers, Rukh and Polaris, were betting on.

As he continued blocking and impaling Interlopers with Red Ice, Polaris began to charge his Thunder Rod with a surplus of electricity. Rukh felt the crackling frenzy that was his anguished heart, and suppressed it to a dull roar as he unhinged his newly mobile jaw. With a voice more booming and metallic due to his dislocated beak, Rukh barked to Giga over the Interloper howls.

"We must hold this line as long as we can," he shouted to the trifecta of warriors around him, "but Giga, as soon as Kazeem prepares his next attack, I want you to throw me as hard as you possibly can. Wait for my signal."

Looking up, Rukh displayed his extended beak to the sky, and widened the imbricated rings of his neck into a spindly ruffle of feathers. His empty eyes began to glisten in a flash of sparks as patches of lightning spread throughout the shadowy clouds overhead, casting a pale and fleeting light on the Allies. Streaks of lightning slashed down to the earth from the darkened heavens, finding their way towards the highest point in the canyon whence this thundering rip in the fabric of Hyrule had been spawned. This unforgivable Trespass would not be mended until the Trespasser himself had been dealt with properly.

"Ready when you are, General," Rukh shouted between thunderclaps.

Horus/ Twili Fortress/ Day VI 

As consciousness returned to Horus, he scanned his surroundings in a daze. His sight had changed, it was as if a radiant light was shining from within him; everything was bright and clear, even the features of his surroundings in shadow could be seen as if under direct light. He looked under his arm, to find Jaden still recovering from the blast of Horus' wind. Without a second thought, he looked at his shoulder, to find the sword that had felled him was still within his shoulder. He looked at it curiously, as it did not hurt or bleed, as if it had been there all along. He tried not to dwell on it as he looked forward and down the hall, to see his former attacker recovering from what seemed to be a powerful blow to the chest. 

Everything around him had been disturbed; every item that stood from when he last saw had toppled, torches that lit the hall had been exstinguished, and all dust the had settled was flying around wildly, with renewed life. None of this seemed to bother him somehow, for he could not find the power to form a solidified opinion about much of anything. It was like he had been wiped of everything, and his mind needed time to reboot. He sighed blissfully as the feeling of air expanding his lungs returned. He rolled his shoulders, which felt great. This puzzled him, for he had remembered that his wings had been burned. He outstretched one and looked, to see it in perfect condition, much to his suprise. Some strange force had brought him back to perfect health, but he did not care about the origin. He couldn't. Somehow, all he could register was bliss.

Said bliss lasted for only a few moments more, as his brain began to function properly, his mind raced. He was amazed that Grem had been knocked off his feet. He couldn't believe his wings had returned so fast. The fact that the sword in his shoulder didn't hurt worried him. These three things entered his mind, all mashed up in a colorless mass whilst smothered in regret. His wish to replicate the stories his father told him turned out to be the most foolish thing he had done in years. Horus had tried to be what his dad was, but he wasn't...strong. Emotion overcame him as he tried to remember his father, a man who was famed to be as strong as five gorons, and as fast as a swimming Zora. His father boasted all the time about how, one day, his son will be just as great a warrior as he. 

Horus was supposed to graduate the day after his father's death. It was going to be celebration of Horus' transformation from a child, to a man. It would've brought honor to everyone whom had worked so hard to reach such a point, Horus would've been taught an ancient art sacred among the Rito family. Horus was to be finally knighted, and drafted into the war; something he had dreamed to do for years. War took his father, and a dark force took his mother. Everyone else, other than the High Council that implored he stay, fled in fear, and into hiding. It had been only five weeks since that day. For almost five weeks he boiled in his anger and despair, until just yesterday morn. He had wiped his tears, grabbed his father's weapons from his grave, and dove off the side off of his dorm's balcony, ignoring the cries imploring he come back, lest he wish the same fate his parents suffered upon himself. In his blind hatred towards the Twili who stole his parents from him, he had narrowly dodged his own end, a mere thirty hours later.

All those years of training, and he couldn't even stop a swinging sword. Mirra was the only reason he was still standing.

"Father..."

Shame tried its best to overcome him, but his worries were instantaneously shifted. Horus wrenched forward and fell to his knees, as a horrible gurgling sound rang out from within him. The horrible sound of flesh stretching and tearing was heard as black goo gushed forth from his nose and mouth. He could only groan and squeak in pain as a human arm burst forth from his torn, gaping maw. The force of the creature's entrance from within its host tore his bottom jaw clean off, leaving a gaping hole, and a perfectly stretchable neck left. Horus gagged and shuddered as the human-like shape fell out from within him and in a heap before him, covered in black goo, blood and vomit. It looked like a woman, whom was entirely grey in color, clothing included. She struggled to her knees and turned to face her host, all while shivering in pain as her skin continued to sizzle and bubble from the pure light magic she had just escaped. Although her eyes were hollow and her entire appearance suggested lack of life, she gasped and hyperventilated as she sat there, trying to hold herself with her decaying arms. Her hair was singed and her skin was burned badly as it cooled and hardened.

As Horus finished making his observation of her, he felt his face in a panic, to find that it had already been restored to perfect condition. He looked down hatefully at the woman before him, and reached for the sword within his shoulder, and removed it. Despite the fact it hurt to do this, what was left of the injury was gone completely by the time Horus brough the sword to his side. The sword was suprisingly heavy, and weighed down Horus for a few moments, before his body changed due to the power that pumped through his veins. 

He felt the power flowing through him, and could feel it expand. Mirra's efforts in exorcising him caused his power to rise dramatically. His power began to go beyond his control, as the wind around him swirled around and pushed him few inches from the ground. Although he floated, his feet behaved as if he stood on solid ground. Despite such a powerful gust, it only existed in the immediate area around him. As his wings shed all of the burned and old wings, they were swept up by the powerful wind and swirled around Horus, almost as if attracted to him, stopped only by an invisible force a few inches away. As they floated, they change shape and appearance, gaining a glowing, wispy-like property about them, and they gracefully flew about before dissipating into nothingness.

His gaunt, skinny figure expanded due to the force of magic within him, giving him a slightly more muscular look about him. Somehow, this was not only for show, for the sword was suddenly much lighter in his hand, and was easier on him as he held it. He looked at the sword curiously at the sword as this happened, but immediately turned back to the woman before him before anything could be uttered. He switched the sword to his other hand, and thrust it forth, near the woman's neck.

"Horus?' The woman squeaked. She looked up at him, with a face of fear 'Son?"

"You do not have the right to call me by name, witch!' He barked in his renewed voice. His voice had lowered a few octaves due to the wind rushing forth from within, giving a slight echo to his voice, along with magnifying the presence. 

'You are no Constance, you're a demon! That bleeding freak-of-nature you call "Mother" is no better or trust-worthy than these bloody Twili that surround us now! Mark my words, your kind will no longer get sympathy from me! Your lying has caused me more pain than good this past morn', and as you finally begin to prove your worth, you dare possess me?!?' He stopped briefly before continuing. His voice went from angry, to a terrifying, yet calm voice as he spoke again.

'You best run before my moment of mercy becomes that of wrath.'

The woman hesitated, and scanned Horus' appearance. Horus could no longer hold it in as he too, took a second look at her.

'You dare to steal the face of my eldest sister? You dare to impersonate my mother!? YOU DARE STILL STAND BEFORE ME?!?" He raised his arm up above his head, and with a mighty swing, brought the sword down to the ground. With a horrible crunch, the sword hit brick. 

The creature had fled.

As Horus loosened his grip on the sword, he flicked his wrist, throwing forth the weapon, halfway down the hall towards Grem. His figure and power slowly began to dwindle back to normal as a glowing light fell from his chest. He noticed the glow and held his still muscular arms forward, with one hand over the other. As it gently rested in his hands, he looked closely, and much to his dismay, it was the fairy among them.

"Mirra...' Horus whispered gently. He cupped his hand as if to protect her in his palms. 'I did this...My stupidity and ineptitude has cause yet another soul pain..." He continued sadly, looking up at Grem, whom had recovered completely from the blast.

He looked on as Grem rose to his feet, and two of the team stepped forth. He walked backwards slowly as Grem began his stride. In fear, Horus, quickened his backpedal, before turning to see where he was going, with Mirra in hand.

"May Farore save us..."

Polaris/ Desert Province/ Day 6

An accord, born both of necessity and desperation, unspoken, yet agreed upon had been hatched with a mere glance between the two aged heroes, in unison the pair began to summon the power of the wind, thunder and lightning. The very heavens above them streaked with the web like tendrils of supercharged electricity, even the gale force of the mighty winds that swirled around Polaris as he funneled energy into the Thunder Rod weren't strong enough to wipe away the heavy sulfuric scent brought by the lightning, and laying heavily upon the air around them.

Somersaulting backwards, Polaris unfurled a massive javelin of Red Ice, impaling the shadow beast nearest him, pinning it to the spot in which it stood, if only briefly. Llach-Gelu, the ageless namesake of Polaris' line, buffeted the ground , only adding to the vicious winds as the beast lowered itself in front of Polaris, "It is unsafe for me in the air now, the electrical storm is growing far too dangerous. I pray that your plan finds success." Polaris nodded, the immense heat emanating off of the Thunderbird caused Polaris to shield his face, the sheer luminescence, made him squint as he approached, yet the Thunder Rod which he held in his hand, and the as yet unleashed electrical ability which was locked deep within the General's aura, protected him from harm. 

"Ready when you are General."

Polaris grunted his acknowledgment as he slammed the butt of the Thunder Rod into the place once reserved for the Dominion Rod. This was a risky gamble, as neither he nor Rukh were aware of what would come next. As soon as it locked in place, Polaris was knocked back several paces as a near deafening thunderclap reverberated through the valley, in an instant the electrical storm that raged above was sucked up into the blunted end of the Thunder Rod and wound it's way around the staff and Rukh alike, the fine hairs that covered Polaris' body stood on end as a cavalcade of goosebumps exploded across the surface of his flesh and he was nigh awestruck by the sheer power radiating from the immobilized warbird. Even Llach-Gelu, who once restored to his own body would possess a power so ancient and great that, when combined with his masters was on par with even the greatest of warriors, was a bit impressed by this showing. His approval lasted mere seconds before he went back to pummeling the shadow beast he had trapped between his talons and the sand. 

"Giga!! Your great stony hide should protect you for the most part from shock, so fear not!! When Rukh gives the signal, grab him and throw him at the highest tower, and prepare to unleash hell!! For now, we keep up the fight! These heathens shall not claim victory over us this day!"

As the trio went back to fighting, goings were a tad bit easier as they stayed close to Rukh who lit up the entirety of the area like their own miniature sun. Polaris couldn't conceal the satisfied smirk that crept across his face even while he hacked and slashed, spun and flipped, ducked, dodged and fired frigid crimson projectiles at his foes. It seemed, at least in his mind, that the tide was turning, hopefully in their favor. Kazeems next move would answer that question. 

[b]Jaden/Fortress/Morning 6[/b]

After being knocked on his backside by Horus's unexpected gust, he realized what some of the other Light Warriors had been talking about more so than ever. While they all wanted the same thing, agreeing on how to do it was another issue altogether. 

He resolved to make do with what he had. And to protect Darrel. This was all to save him, and if Grem were to slay him, the Light Warriors would suffer a crushing defeat. Kae needed guidance on how to carry her title. Jaden needed to be able to lead while still being in the thick of it. Tactically, Darrel leading this group made sense. He'd been there before. Dealt with many of the evils returning in this conflict. 

And Jaden saw a lot of his personality match with Darrel's fairly well, at least from what he knew.

Rising to his feet, he briefly saw what had been plaguing Horus. It couldn't be helped, but at least Mirra would keep him safe for now.

Darrel was ready to be a hero, even when he wasn't at his best. Jaden couldn't let him do it alone. The others would be fine with Lynn's newest incarnation alongside. Provided this went well and Jaden had a good enough combat chemistry with Darrel, they'd catch up, or buy enough time to accomplish the mission and escape. 

He began to walk toward Darrel, armed with sword and shield. This was a defensive battle and from what he sensed this foe was way beyond them in power. He'd never seen anyone this strong, and he felt the presence of Primordial Ones days earlier. This one was different, reeking of the Profane in ways he couldn't imagine. 

[color=orangered]"I told you to go."[/color]

It was a firm order, one that he'd normally listen to. But he felt he needed to be here. 

[color=chocolate]“Not a chance. You have no magic at your disposal right now, but I do. We do this together.”[/color]

Readying himself and standing at Darrel's side, he saw his companion nod relucantly.

[color=orangered]”Very well. Together it is.”[/color]

As Grem continued to approach, Jaden tried to get a consensus on some sort of plan, speaking soft and hushed.

[color=chocolate]"This is strictly a defensive battle. We should probably lead him around; he's going to be pressing hard and fast."[/color]

Activating his Vigilance Aura, a light blue glyph briefly glimmered from his forehead as he extended his protection to Darrel, if he chose to accept it.

Mirra Lemeris / Twili Fortress Catacombs / Day 6

Mirra's own heart swelled as the power of Light flowed through Horus's veins. His muscles bulged and his spine stretched erect, extending his wings into a broad arch until they evaporated in the swirling air of the tunnel. Hovering within his ribs, Mirra felt the rush of emotion that flooded into Horus's renewed mind. She felt the memory of a mother and father, and all the love and hopes of his tribe twisted into a bloodlust for Interloper scum. And like a physical reaction to this sick rage, a black and slimy hand was suddenly belched up from Horus's gut.

Mirra's own spirit flinched as Horus's tormented soul regurgitated the foul demon that had overtaken him. And as flashes of this scorn that she had polluted the Rito's mind with entered into her own, Mirra heard a strange voice, as if coming from inside Horus, yet apart from him. Mirra felt she was seeing into the mind of vile presence she was now expunging.

"As I feared, he is one of the lightbringers. How disgusting, my other Me was one as well."

This feminine ghoul had poured a huge amount of dark energy into Horus, and this gave him a massive amount of power--power enough to withstand the full force of General Grem's broadsword. To flush this creature out completely, Mirra would have to meet that surge with her own, magnifying the Light within Horus beyond the shadow of Constance. She threw her out her arms and cried out in an angelic tone, sending the long and emaciated body of this grey witch out of Horus by force. But not before a last whisper from another place echoed through her mind.

"I must warn you...Chamdar Taliesin." Mirra did not recognize the voice, or the name. She wondered if Rukh might, but was cut off from him. "It won't be so easy to hurt me with pure magic...for unlike my children, I am flesh and blood."

Mirra could make hide nor hair of the words this haunting voice spoke. As she pondered this new mystery, Horus's own conscious mind rose from its nostalgia. She could only listen as he confronted the monster on the ground. The withered woman glared at them, and Mirra felt her vapid eyes peering into both Horus's mind and her own.

"Horus? Son?" she gasped, as if not recognized the eyes that met hers.

She was met with a new strength in Horus's response, a new spirit of resolve. "That bleeding freak-of-nature you call 'Mother' is no better or trust-worthy than these bloody Twili that surround us now!"

Mirra wondered still more at the "Mother" this demon Constance was connected to. Already, she had fought to keep General Polaris from succumbing to the influence of the wraith Hothnight, and Lynn had been forever changed by that demon in another form. Could there be yet another dark spirit plaguing the souls of Hyrule, some spidery succubus that had already tempted Horus with this banshee? And who was Chamdar Taliesin?

She needed to find Rukh and get answers to these questions quickly.

Mirra Lemeris / Twili Fortress Catacombs / Day 6

Mirra found herself rushed further into the dark of the tunnel, cupped in Horus's perfect hands. It was as if an angel of some higher order delivered her from the darkness that chased behind.

"May Farore save us..." Horus whispered. Mirra couldn't agree more.

Suddenly, the party entered a great chamber of ancient masonry, great pillars and arches reaching overhead as if formed deliberately by the winds. Smooth bridges of sandstone shot across a great chasm, reaching further down than their eyes could see into a pit of crisscrossing planks of rock. It was into this vertical maze that the Darknut who wielded their sacred Morning's Edge leapt headfirst, cackling madly.

Regaining her senses, Mirra leapt out of Horus's hands to give chase to the enemy. Nothing mattered so much as regaining that sword, and putting it in Darrel's hand. She prayed that Darrel and Jaden, equipped with whatever new skills he had gained in his sudden epiphany, would be able to hold off Grem long enough for the rest of them to catch the ghost and retrieve the sword.

Horus was filled with the power of Light that Mirra had flushed him with, and Lynn's lunar powers were amplified with the Sun that Mirra had bestowed upon her, just as Mirra was still energized by the Moon that Lynn had granted with a kiss. Together, the three Allies would use their power of Light to reclaim the Morning's Edge, hopefully in time for the Sunrise Knight and Sheikah Chieftain to ward off the Twili General for another day.

Zooming through the air much faster than the armored ghost could fly, Mirra hid under a row of stone, then sprang on the Darknut as he was about to sweep by. He threw up his arms in fright, still holding the sword aloft as Mirra backed him into the wall of the chasm.

"Alright! Somebody kill this thing so we can go home!" Mirra shouted, looking into the gleaming eyes of the crested Poe, pinned against the rock by her beaming aura.

High Mage Kazeem/Twili-Gerudo Fortress/Near Noon-ish 6

Eye half-closed and hands dancing before him to direct the currents of Dusk, the High Mage Kazeem stood poised atop the highest tower of the Twili Fortress. His body was filled with the sense of the Warp, each demon in the shadows below an extension of himself, as well as each Interloper magician below him in the Fortress. Below him as they should be, and with a thought and an errant twitch of a muscle, he could cut them off from himself. As a demon died, it no longer became part of himself, or the Warp from whence it came. But that power was drawn from somewhere, and with enough deaths, another Mage fell dead where he stood.

However, the time was coming. The portal had remained open long enough, and it had inundated the canyon with its corruption. The incantation was drawing to a close, and now Kazeem had to focus his mastery on sealing the Dusk in an acceptable manner. All the more the pity that everything within the Dusk Field would be drawn back into the Warp with the closing portal.

Then again, that was the plan all along. Kazeem smirked as his left hand twirled in a circling, drawing the giant orb of Dusk below slowly smaller with each consecutive rotation. His right hand lifted to present his middle finger in a final salute to the Hylians fighting futilely with the demons.

[b][color=darkred]Lord Grem[/color]/Still Same Time/Twili-Gerudo Fortress[/b]

The rest of the Light Warriors had fled further into the labyrinthine catacombs, but two remained to face the Lord General. One was a young man, a Sheikah warrior of no foreseeable consequence. The other was a familiar face. Grem uttered a low, rumbling chuckle.

"[color=darkred]Darrel Mytura.[/color]" Grem hefted his massive broadsword. "[color=darkred]You should have fled while you still had the chance. Or, better still, you should have joined us during your fun little sessions. I offered mercy before, now, I'm afraid, you have out-lived my patience.[/color]"

Grem swung his broadsword over his head, picking up momentum as he stalked forward toward the pair of Hylian defenders. The weapon whistled as it cut the air, and then it bared down on both of them with enough power to send them careening over the stone bridge before they would die from being bifurcated.

[b]Summary:[/b] Grem is Grem. Deal.

[hr] [b][color=#800000]Ganondorf[/color]/Mid-Morning 6/Spirit Temple Sage's Chamber[/b]

Ganondorf twitched with ire at this Hylian dog's words. "[color=#800000]Pig beast!?[/color]" As he rumbled out this displeased exclamation he closed to partial distance with his opponent. "[color=#800000]You damn Hylians are all the [b]same[/b]![/color]"

He emphasized his words with a sucker punch that slammed through the air toward its target.

Behind Ganondorf, a head peeked around the corner of the destroyed door. Telma's eyes grew wide as she saw the beginning of the clash.

Mirra's Air Ride Edit

Kae and Elly/Mirra's Air Ride/Morning 6

By this time the sun had established itself in the sky. Kae paid very close attention to its position, as time was ticking. Each millimeter over the horizon was one moment less she had to live unless she could find what she needed and get the right help from the right people.

Which begged the question: Why did she want to live so badly?

She had an established list of reasons, most of them selfless. If Din took her before her prime, who's to say that the Hylians wouldn't lose the war? She was fighting against a deity's established pattern for those who misused the artes. 

The Sheikah had one person alive among them who had their verbal history in their mind. Her. There were written records, of course. What Nora had transcribed along with the other wise women before her. But there was so much more in their lore that needed to be preserved on stone, parchment, paper, or something built to last. 

Someone had to save Lynn if she truly wanted to be rescued from the icy clutches of Taden. This new development would hold it at bay, but only for so long. Hardly anyone else thought it worth it to save her. Part of this was selfish to her due to personal reasons. But she truly believed that Lynn was going to be responsible for something that could turn the war in Hylian favor.

Nora had to be avenged. It was the Twili which forced her mentor's hand. 

At least Elly wasn't dragged into this. Willing guardianship was an asset Kae would need to rely on. After all, nearly everyone else had been torn from her in one way or another. 

And if Elly advised something, Kae understood that she needed to listen. Not listening to Nora or Lynn or others had only gotten her hurt. There were things she believed to be right and in some ways they were. But until her affliction was cured or she'd past the point of logical return, she'd have to keep her powers bridled and use other abilities to defend herself.

Having engaged Twili forces a few times, they probably had her profiled. Weather the storm and beat her. A metered approach instead of forcing her hand would serve her better. Reaching deep into the bag for a nuclear option at this point would only shorten her lifespan.

"Kae, snap it back a moment. What is that over there?"

Pulled from her thought patterns, she wasn't quite sure at first. But two indicators gave it away.

"Our friends are in more trouble than we thought. It looks like the Twili have been fooling around with the twisting nether of the Warp. There's so much thought noise coming from that place even from miles out...makes my head spin, compress, hurt. We have to get closer...just pray that I don't black out from the headache this is going to give me."

"I'm not an expert on this magic-speak yet, dear. What's the Warp? And thought noise?"

Kae scratched her chin while holding onto Elly a little tighter. Her head was starting to feel the pressure.

"Realms beyond ours serve different purposes. Some are mirrored dimensions, like the Sacred Realm. Others are extraplanar, like pocket mindscapes or the Underworld. The Warp is a hell of all things chaotic and evil. Nothing good comes of it. It is the wellspring of all things sinister and heretical. Demons."

Elly sighed as she realized it a lot better.

"So the Twili have been consorting with demonic powers?"

"How else could they have grown in power so quickly and unnoticed? I knew they were into a lot of dark things. This crosses lines even Ganondorf didn't."

"And thought noise?"

"Think of the mind as a pair of lungs. Through the processes, we stay sharp in one way or another. And the mind exhales. This exhaust can dampen an area to the point that certain practicioners of the artes are rendered unable to concentrate or tap into their well of ability. I am extra-sensitive to this. My purviews rely on strong mental energies, and if they are clouded with this exhaust, it inflicts a unique pain on me that I can't really describe. Think of it like...a migraine...yes, like that."

"You want me to take us into that then? That isn't exactly a good idea if you're going to hurt yourself again. I'll get us close enough to see what's going on but you had better tell me if it's too much. Don't just lie down and get beaten for their sakes. We need you at top-notch."

Kae nodded into Elly's back, bracing for a thought-noise induced headache and hoping it wouldn't be as bad as she was expecting.

Rukh / Twili Fortress / Day 6

The Dusk Field emanating from the putrid Warp soaked the atmosphere with its cerebral poison. From his immobile perch on the ground behind Giga, Rukh contemplated the currents of Kazeem's accursed Dusk Field as it was bandied about by the Baals and Beelzebubs blustering up from the breach in the Realm. Like a great column of gas, the Dusk Field floated in the canyon concealing the Twili Fortress, and Rukh could feel it changing.

Kazeem was closing the Warp. With Warp Demons ambushing them from every angle, and that maddening Dusk Field beyond, there was no way Giga and Polaris could make it out. Rukh wasn't sure what would happen to his machinery if left in Dusk too long, but he wasn't keen to find out now. Their only option was to locate Kazeem and cut off the spell at its source. Rukh concentrated once more on the gaseous shape of the Dusk Field.

Outside, Rukh felt the faintest sensation of a new party, borne on a westerly wind. But if someone were there, they were extremely light of weight, and displaced a minimum of air in their travels. In the aerial cacophony of Kazeem's Warp Demons, Rukh could not be sure who or what was entering the breach, or whether he had imagined it in the dizzying Dusk Field.

But as the mass of Interloper energies further warped and waned, Rukh could feel Kazeem bringing it in towards himself. A long arm of black cloud, crackling with lightning introduced by Polaris's Thunder Rod, burst over the air surrounding Kazeem's Watchtower. A jolt of blinding electricity shot up from the earth to connect with the tumbling clouds, and Kazeem's whereabouts were illuminated for miles around. Friend or foe, the newcomers Rukh detected would have no trouble spotting him.

"GIGA, NOW!" Rukh shouted, clamping his beak down on the Thunder Rod inserted into his neck. Fissures of electricity arced across Rukh's every bladed feather, though his wings and legs stayed pinioned to his side in a perfect missile fashion. Another bolt of lightning sprang down on Kazeem's Watchtower, and with it came one last great thunderbolt to energize the Thunderbird. If we can just take down that Tower, Kazeem won't be able to maintain the spell. By Farore, let's hope that's enough to dissipate this foul Warp...

Giga/Iwilight Fortress/Day 6

Giga took in his situation rapidly amidst the darkness, monsters, and bright flashes of lightning emanating from Rukh. He had his orders, all he had to do now was wait for the right time, the right moment to do what he had done earlier to that Senshi fellow. This time though, he had a target. He had first picked up on it from Rukh, who had started to stare at a far away tower, but Giga was perceptive enough to get the gist of what Rukh obviously already understood. That tower was the source of all this mayhem, and that tower was his goal.

It was easily reachable actually, and Giga waited impatiently as lightning continued flashing every few seconds. The only variable was exactly how heavy Rukh would turn out to be. He had worked out that this was no bird he was dealing with; his body gave off a certain sheen that indicated he was made of some form of metal. Even Giga was unaware of what could be done with metal if magic was involved, and he was fairly certain that there were some creatures in this world that were simply not made to be lifted.

But he had little time to delve over these thoughts. At that moment, Rukh gave the signal, and Giga went to work. He reached down and heaved the bird up, delighted to find that his worst case scenario was no where near being accurate; Rukh was fairly manageable for a goron his size. Lightning began to run around his body, affecting him very little as it bounced around his tough skin. Then Giga, holding Rukh like a battering ram, spun twice to gain momentum before releasing the streamlined bird as fast as he could towards the tower. He instantly felt a jolt of pain as the bird flew off towards its goal and Giga looked down at his previously injured calf which had since healed itself. The lightning had chipped away some of the new skin.

Kae and Elly/Gerudo Desert/Morning 6

"Kae, you're starting to twitch. You need to tell me if it's ok to get closer or not. I'm not letting you hurt yourself again!"

She was starting to shiver a bit. Part of it was the feeling of knowing she may be in combat soon. The other part was as Elly suspected. A very faint painful tingle was giving her the feeling of a headache. It wasn't a normal kind either. Lots of thought-noise and the fact that the area ahead was void of any psychic energies. They were being consumed by the Warp. And dying thoughts, especially those lost to that most unholy and chaotic miasma, were among the most painful to hear.

She had to cry uncle.

"Put it down a few paces back and I should be alright. Thank you for looking out for me. Many thoughts of death and dying combined with whatever the Twili are doing...that's all causing great pain to me. Hopefully our friends, if they're out there, will see us. We need to find things that can save me, and we need to figure out what they're all up to. It looks like the plan to rescue Darrel has hit a few complications."


Rukh / Twili Fortress / Day 6

Rukh's gears rattled as Giga spun him through the air and then unleashed him in the direction of the lightning bolt on Kazeem's tower. With Polaris's Thunder Rod channeling power inside him, every flash of lightning he absorbed along the way added to the wave of crackling energy that hurled him on. He relished the feeling of speed from Giga's mighty toss.

Knowing that Mirra saw a divine purpose in the Giant Goron, Rukh resolved not to leave this Fortress until they had retrieved the Goronite. Without contact with the others inside, Rukh could not assume that everyone was going to make it out alive. And in the event that the Twili claimed the Sunrise Knight, the Goronite would become more important than ever.

Suddenly, a jolt from the back of his mind scattered along his wings and talons, and he felt life and movement return to his machinery as his wings spread in two great sheets of electricity. With a cry that rang out over the accursed Desert, a sanctuary of Spirit afflicted by the forces of Twilight, Rukh smashed headlong into Kazeem's dark command post with his thundering warcry.

"Rukhukhukhukhu! Rukhukhukhukhu!"

Kae and Elly/Just outside the war zone/Noon 6

"Thank you for listening to me, Kae. Keep that up, and we'll get you out of this yet."

They both took in all of the insanity around them. At least with what could be seen. The others were facing a rapidly closing gate of the Warp which demons were pouring out of previously. There wasn't anything she could do to help or warn or anything. The area was completely flooded with thought-noise of unholy beasts. No traces of any of Polaris, Rukh, or Giga's thoughts could be read.

"The area's on an extrasensory lockdown. I could almost guarantee that most of my magic won't work in there, so I can't go in to help. And I wouldn't want you going in there either. Hopefully they get out of this or we'll have a bad report to give the others...if they get clear we can aid them in their retreat."

Elly looked back at Kae in disbelief.

"And what about the others who were part of that mission? Didn't they send people in to get Darrel out?"

Kae gulped and sighed.

"Hopefully the Warp Field didn't affect the inside of the fortress. Otherwise the ones who went in might be in more trouble than we thought. This is horrible that we can't do anything! I can't see Jaden out there fighting so he has to be inside. He wouldn't pass up on an opportunity to strengthen our forces. My mind can't reach out beyond what we see...this isn't good!"

Elly grabbed Kae's chin and set her eyes level.

"You need to calm down. It's letting your emotions get the better of you that causes you to over-reach with your abilities. And I can see that same urge in you now. Think of your lifespan like sands in an hourglass. If you tap into whatever serious inner powers you possess, you're shaking those sands down to the bottom faster. Let someone else carry that burden, Kae. That's what I am here to help you do. Don't get me wrong. I love your brother dearly and would be very happy to go in there and see what's going on. But until that huge purple field goes away, we're staying put."

Kae reluctantly nodded. Elly was getting through to her more than she realized. This was her last chance to take the advice of a friend or loved one. And the picture Elly painted with the hourglass rang rather true.

"Even though the Three have abandoned most of the people, we can still pray for our friends.

And with that, she began to intercede for all involved in this rescue mission. Even when all seemed dark, Kae could not forget the hope that Nayru promises for those who believe.

Kae and Elly/Outskirts of Gerudo Fortress/Noon 6

Shaking an hourglass by unleashing the power cosmic? Kae hadn't thought of it that way before. With her life on a short timer as it was, and her paradigm demanding her life force in return for use of some of her more powerful abilities, she couldn't afford to waste precious resources on things that didn't warrant them.

She had to overcome that over-reliance on magic. Sure, it made fights more winnable. It made them shorter. But from a mild cost-benefit comparison, some of her encounters took just as much of a toll, if not more, because she used what she thought would do best.

Exclamation points sometimes do not fit where periods do. Nuking an ice pillar instead of amplifying the means of others to do it, blasting the abomination outside of Hyrule Castle instead of using her sword to perform the killing blow, the list could go on, and that was in less than three days of adventuring.

To build her case that her life was worth saving, she'd have to utilize the other gifts bestowed upon her. This didn't mean she couldn't use magic, but it had to be Option B instead of A. 

Elly was confirming and reflecting upon these ideas with Kae for a few minutes before assorted debris began to fall around them from the distant Warp Gate, forcing them to keep control of a spooked winged steed and take cover.

Little did Kae know, she was going to get an opportunity to test out some of these gifts. Out of the wispy debris rose deep violet smoke, and three unholy warp demons emerged from said smoke. They looked fairly similar to this, standing about eight feet tall.

http://guildwars-inside.com/images/guildwars/pet/oni.jpg

"We've got to work together. Don't let them get the horse!"

Elly sized up the situation as the beasts closed in on the two Sheikah ladies.

"They were attracted by the horse and also my energy signature. We'd best send them back to the Warp!"

Elly wasn't sure how Kae could come up with a reason so fast, but she drew her pair of kukri and was ready to counter-attack.

Kae manifested the Starborn Edge and readied herself also, positioning between the horse and the demons.

"I know what you're thinking. Don't do it unless they reach our mount!"

She nodded, lightly imbuing her blade with lunar essence in an attempt to do more with less. Her blade gained a wispy violet-white trail to it as it moved, and she decided to go on the attack instead of letting one of the demons take the first move.

High-Mage Kazeem/Twili-Gerudo Fortress/Noon 6

His fingers and hands twisted to give some physicality to his control over the Warp mire, allowing a better visualization. It was a complicated process to properly collapse two overlapping planes of existence without causing an abrupt separation. The power fueled from the Twili mages below, many dying or dead as they gave up their very lives to this end, was channeled through through this man, and though he had trained his whole life for just these artes, it took its toll.

Still, the Hylians were mere moment away from eternal damnation among the twisting nether of madness.

But something had escaped his dark clutch. In its mystical feedback, he could feel the thing slip through his fingers as it slipped out from the Dusk. Something ascended from the darkness below, a speck that grew with immense speed.

"Rukhukhukhukhu! Rukhukhukhukhu!"

Kazeems eyes widened as he recognized the approaching lightning bomb. "Oh shi-!"

He tore his hands to his chest, and all of the Dusk below was torn away from those it tormented. Now, the whole field concentrated in his palms, against his breast. It burned as nothing from the material plane could burn, and he screamed out as his hands shot back away from him, throwing out that which harmed him. The Warp exploded from his grasp, and washed over the mechanical monster that assailed Kazeem. The tower collapsed, even before the Thunderbird made contact, though the additional impact did little to aid in maintaining its structural integrity.

Kazeem fell with the tower, beams of pure maleficence pouring out from his hands as the Warp dissipated from its summoning. The power channeled to him from the Twili in the Fortress had nowhere to expend itself now, and his soul begin to fill with the excess force. It had to be used, and for now it sprung unbidden alongside the disipating Dusk from his palms, burning his hands. His arms swung, and the energy of this evil expulsion propelled him to and fro, until sense came over him, and he directed the power of his minions, that which he still could control, downward to stall his decline. He landed with a thump, bruised, battered, but alive.

In the Fortress, the Twili who had channeled that power to Kazeem dropped dead were they stood. Where once the Dusk had encroached upon this world, Reality once more took hold. The Warp demons howled with a sudden burst of sanity, and exploded in gouts of acrid smoke.

Kae and Elly/Gerudo Outskirts/Noon 6

The pieces started to fit in Kae's head almost instantly. Though she'd only used her sword as a primary option two or three times before, it felt like a part of her body as she put it to use. 

Her offensive style was a mix of swirling defensive parries and flourishing slashes. She'd throw a few stabs in here or there, but it wasn't raw power like Jaden would use. It was very ladylike; almost a definition of finesse. The only drawback for this would be if she ran into strength-driven melee styles.

One demon tried to bring down both its claws on Kae's head. When she parried that attack, it reeled when it came into contact with her blade. The lunar essence infused into it burned unholy flesh even when hitting the flat. After all, her energies represented order and purpose.

As the demon reeled, Kae redirected her wrist from the parry and slashed diagonally downward to the right, causing her enemy to take a few steps back. She approached with a thrusting horizontal slash, and the demon fell over in pain. Flesh was sizzling. It was done. One downward stab and twist later left her first attacker swirling away in a haze of acrid, deep violet smoke.

"One demon purified."

Elly, on the other hand, was parrying and dodging her heart out as the other two demons were pressing hard to get to their mount. One saw Kae start to approach and rushed her headlong. Even with a perfect parry, she was knocked onto her back. When she rolled to dodge a stomping attack, foot claws slashed her right arm. As blood flowed, it was violet and of a crystalline slurry consistency, and it hurt more than usual. 

Elly saw this and finally got an opening to slash her assailant's throat. As demonic blood flowed, the body turned to haze while on its feet and was also carried away on the desert wind.

"Kae, hang in there!"

Rushing through that haze, Elly hurled a fistful of Sheikah needles at a wide-open back. That attack caused the final demon to flinch, but he didn't turn around. Instead, he brought both claws down at Kae, who proceeded to roll out of the way.

That was when it noticed the horse, who tried to look unimportant. This wasn't easy to do, considering it shone with a gilded luster. The demon charged at the horse with full speed, and neither Sheikah was able to get to it in time. But as it was running, a large explosion rocked the area, a battle cry echoed, and the demon erupted into a haze without being touched.

The horse was in shock at this point, having had to breathe an unhealthy amount of that acrid smoke. Kae had a bloodied arm, and Elly was rushing to assess the situation, as the Scion looked a little unsettled as well.

Kae and Elly/Gerudo Outskirts/Noon 6

They were victorious. Their mount was saved by a miracle of sorts. Kae and Elly both thanked the Three for this, but Elly had to tend to two injured parties. One, their horse, was shaken up and slightly sickened. Kae was clutching her head in her hands while her upper right arm was dripping celestial blood.

"Kae, what happened?"

She gritted her teeth and rubbed at her eyes a good bit while massaging her temples and forehead.

"All that chaotic thought-noise cried out in death all at once...can't see too well...head...hurts...help me up. Arm's a flesh wound, patch that up and I should be good."

Elly finally was able to lead the horse over to Kae and then helped her up, using their mount as a windbreak while she went to work dressing the wound. Four superficial lacerations were seeping a crystalline slurry and clotting fairly quickly. But where they were clotting, Elly could see the same luminescent flesh that appeared on Kae's left arm.

Not much I can do about the headache, but how long does that last usually?"

"Can't tell. Vision's still blurred, but I can sense you just fine. Until this clears up, the third, extra-sensory eye will have to do."

Elly put her hand on Kae's good shoulder.

"Don't shake the hourglass. Let me be your eyes for a while. Here, I'll help you on and we'll ride over to the others. Again, don't use magic that you don't need to."

The Scion's arm was dressed fairly well, even in the field. Most Sheikah had first aid training in one way or another. Kae was fairly well-trained in it while Elly had a lot of practice with Jaden when he was in rigorous training.

They were both mounted up, and Kae gave Elly the go-ahead to ride over. Their horse was hesitant to start, and coughed a little, but they took it easy as a precaution.

Kae shouted out to the others as they approached. Her eyes were shut, but she could feel them nearby.

"Are you all alright? We're here to help!"

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