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Through the Mirrored Glass and Back Again (IC)

Zeitgeist Blue

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Magic Club Room, Claremont Academy

Bayview, Freedom City, New Jersey

Monday, November 5, 2018


5:45:13 PM


Nicole Whitfield-Hall slammed Bellios' helm on the school table in front of her, causing it to wobble. She ignored the wobbling, instead turning to meet the eyes of everyone in the room that Claremont's Magic Club called home.


It was, as club rooms go, nothing too magical. The walls were painted white and the floor was covered in wood paneling. Light fixtures did a good job of lighting the room in white fluorescent and the windows were open to let the fall air in. Couches and cushions littered one side of the room, fluffy in bright colors. A large whiteboard dominated the opposite side and it was covered from end to end in Nicole's scribbly handwriting -- notes to herself and metaphorica-logic based tandems used to navigate her type of magic. The two wooden tables were pushed to the wall, freeing up the middle for the current occupants, a bunch of monoblock chairs that matched their numbers, and one table in the middle of it all.


Nicole's eyes were a little bit crazed, like those of a powered up cultist high on otherworldly drugs and gods. Too much caffeine and too little sleep frayed the edges of her features and she sniveled her nose, ruddy with the cold she had been harboring for the past few days. She was sitting in her wheelchair, in clothes that could have been a day old or three. A gray sweater and blue sweatpants completed the I-just-woke-up look, though for her it might as well have been a I-haven't-slept-for-two-days look.


"Right, so, I've gathered yo--" She stoppped, bringing a hand up to cover her mouth just as she sneezed. Taking her hand away with a sniffle, she reached for a handful of tissues to wipe at her nose. There was a few seconds of awkward silence as she did so and pocketed the used tissues before she looked up again to continue her explanation. "Right, so I need your guys' help. And I really need your help so I'm glad that you came here today no matter what we think of each other." And at this she looked pointedly at Huang, before muttering under her breath. "Jerkass."


Then she continued, tapping at the helm on the table. The helm gleamed a bright red and their faces were reflected on its purple-tinted visor. "See, Bellios over here has been acting up ever since a thing I did last week, if you know what I mean. Now, I've fixed most of the problems but this last one is tearing my hair out. It's honestly pissing me off and it's been doing so for two nights now. And there's no way I'm going to a faculty member after Summers' drumming after the assembly."


She paused and shivered, having experienced how scary Summers could really be in a locked room. Alone.


"So," she said, picking up again. "I think you've got the skills. Is why you're here. And the magic obviously, this would be so much more complicated if you aren't. Some of us are touched by magic through the sympathetic bonds you've created with your... things." She threw a thumb at Elizabeth and Veronica. "And some are dripping magic like sweat after P.E." And here she tilted her head towards Abigail.


"You're what I got and if you're thinking of walking back out the door right now we can deal. You scratch my back and I scratch yours kind of deal. What do you say?"


She met their eyes again, clearly expecting them to either agree or "deal" in her words.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Veronica was seated in her chair, dressed as she usually was as if she were about to head out into some wilderness or to explore some ruins.  She had been rather curious when Nicole had asked her to come to this meeting, having not had much opportunity to interact with the older student thus far in the term.  The teenager could easily sense the powerful magic within the suit the older teen was wearing, and it was taking a bit of willpower to not look even deeper than that to analyze the nature of its magic.


She listened as Nicole gave a very general explanation of why they were all there.  Again Veronica felt an urge to more carefully scan the battle suit, but again held off for the moment, though she suspected that she would be helping to examine it much more closely at some point.  When the other girl finished, stating anyone that wanted was free to leave if they chose, Veronica spoke up first.


"Well, members of my family are typically not ones to walk away from something unusual or even potentially dangerous, and I am no different.  So, you can count me in."

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Elizabeth nodded sagely, reaching out to pull a white World War II helmet out of thin air; she plopped it down on her head and pulled it low to cover everything but an ear-to-ear grin. "We shall fight it on the beaches!" she said, "We shall fight it on the cafeteria grounds, we shall fight it in the gym and in the garden, and I don't actually remember the rest of this quote."


She shrugged, leaning forward on folded arms and looking around as if the helmet wasn't placed firmly over her eyes. It was somewhat incongruent with her simple t-shirt and pale blue jeans, but at least it met her color scheme requirements, and if the mask at her hip had any objections to competing headwear, it wasn't betraying its feelings. "You get the idea, though. I'm in! It sounds fun."

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Huang folded neatly into his own seat as Nicole began her rather explosive explanation of why she'd called upon them.  Tempted though he was to extract and draw out her request for aid more explicitly, particularly in light of her rather prickly commentary to himself, he refrained and looked over the helmet curiously where it sat.  Turning his hooded gaze back to the artificer behind the suit he raised a brow, "Obviously we're here to help."  he confirmed as well because if he hadn't been willing he'd likely not have attended the meeting in the first place.  


"So what exactly did you do?"  he queried curiously refraining for the moment from a deeper analysis of the magics before him.   "Assuming you know what you did."  he added a bit backhandedly perhaps but he was fairly certain she still counted as starting it.

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She wrinkled her nose slightly. "Your description of me is... certainly colorful," she said, looking thoughtfully at the helmet.


"I'm not an artificer," Abigail said leaning back in her chair, the word yet hanging in the air unspoken.  The young mage seemed more relaxed with this smaller, more intimate group.  "Not to say I am uninterested in helping, I just want to you understand where my skill set lies."

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"Thanks!" Nicole said, practically beaming at Abigail. The young artificer gave an internal sigh of relief, expecting that people would be asking for something for exchange and being pleasantly surprised when none did. Veronica and Elizabeth's easy agreements helped her mood and she wiped the sweat beading on he brow, reaching forward to flip the helmet upside down.


"Well Jack,"" she said, knowing it would irk him, before diving back into her explanation. "It wasn't so much as what I did as what was done to me. See, it was supposed to be an easy bust but my uncle was expecting me and he'd brought friends, this skeevy technomancer and her partner-in-crime technopath. No problem but Uncle Will must have cooked up a ward set to my signature and it looped around all my protective layers to hit Bellios where it hurts."


"I'd be impressed if I wasn't so annoyed." There was a small rune-shaped jack at the helmet's edge, where the head fitted into neck, and she pointed at it. "Right in the Self. Big S here. Technically speaking, this isn't the armor I wore last week."


"And this is where you guys come in." She set the helmet back on the table and looked at each of the members, giving Veronica a knowing smile. "You don't need to know anything about what I do because right now I don't need artificers, I need fighters to go right inside my helmet's central interface."


She waved a hand in mock humility. "Study all you want when you're inside. Once it's fully operational again, it'll be a pain to open it up like this. Really, you're only looking at the most complex creation of the greatest smith this side of the Prime dimension. Bet not even the Master Mage has anything half like this. Right, Jack?"


She leaned back as she ended her explanation, letting the whole thing sink in. Then she gestured to their chairs. "Carved underneath each one are multiple runes that together would bring your Selves, and everything on you right now, near where Bellios' Self is. I need you to bring my helmet and let it merge with the representation of the CPU."


"It'll take some time and protect it while it does." She sniffled, her hand hovering over something that looked like a lightswitch on the table. "Oh, and one more thing: its electronic defense systems are still active and it's going to give its all, especially this close to the CPU."


"So here's your World War Two in a shell, Liz. Keep that helmet on. It's cute but I'm teaching you camouflage next time we're in the Danger Room."


There was a pause and then Nicoleo gestured impatiently. "So if no one's got anymore questions, someone grab the helmet and I'll flip the switch."


(OOC: Feel free to post IC. If you're scanning the thing, any description would do. With magic, it'll probably change to fit the perception of the scanner. I'll be putting up the next GM post in a few days.)

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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The switch flips and you find yourselves in whiteness.


It fills everything but yourselves and the others with you. It is the ground and the sky, the world inside the helmet.


"Ah, visitors. I was not expecting any." A man's voice speaks up, well-tailored and smooth, and when you look around you see an older gentleman, sitting on a plush velvet armchair, who definitely not there the last time you checked. He is a darker skinned man, gold-rimmed glasses perched on the bridge of his nose and neat dark hair, graying at the edges. He wears a dark blue robe and fluffy, bedroom slippers. His slim fingers hold a newspaper, dated today, which he folds as he stands from his armchair, still regarding you, and you realize a cutting intelligence hides behind his eyes.


"Apologies for the mess." He blinks and now his outfit is a sweater and cardigan, much like that of a professor in a university. The armchair and newspaper is gone. "Better."


"Now," he says, strolling towards you, arms open in greeting. "Where are my manners? I am Arthur Whitfield, though you may call me Arthur just fine. And whose acquaintance do I have the pleasure of making? What brings you to this humble abode?"

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Veronica had listened as Nicole provided a bit more information about the situation, reveling what it was that she needed them to do.  Turned out it was not exactly their skill in magic or analytical abilities she needed to help her with her problem, she needed them to go into her suit and provide a fix.  Of course, it sounded like it was not just going to be a stroll in the park, even if only half of what the older girl was bragging about turned out to be true.


But, regardless of that, the teenager Danger had agreed to help, and she was not about to back out of that now.  Besides, how often did one get the chance to go inside a powerful magical suit and study it from the inside?  It was certainly interesting how the suit was a combination of both technology and magic. 


Reaching up, Veronica picked up the helmet on the table.  "Okay, lets go."


It was only moments later that everything went white and they then found themselves in the strange world inside the suit, greeted by a man who seemed to be quite a home there.  As the man changed his appearance with but a thought, Veronica began scanning him and the area around them. 


When the man introduced himself, she assumed, given the last name, he had some relation to Nicole, but did not comment on that at the moment.  Instead, she gave him a faint smile, taking on a faint bit of formality as she played along with him for now.  "So very nice to meet you Mr. Whitfield.  I am Veronica Danger."

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"Huh! I expected more...voom." Elizabeth was looking around in open curiosity, hands in her pockets and her mask sitting jauntily on her hip, attached to her belt. It was also floating just above and behind her shoulder, translucent, and it mimicked every movement of her head - the tilt, the turn, always a half-second behind like it was caught in her tide. She didn't seem to notice. "I kind of like it this way, though. Hello!"


She waved, finally catching up to the man's appearance. She was pretty sure nobody had mentioned living people in here; was he part of that security system? "I'm Elizabeth. We're all here to help."

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Huang rolled his eyes slightly at the Artificers boast, "Certainly not bad if one can't work actual sorcery certainly."  he agreed dryly before they were one with the machine.


He looked keenly at the surroundings and the individual who seemed both to have command of it and he suspected should not.   "Ah I think that's what she needs help with."  he pointed out cautiously to Elizabeth, "She did say something infiltrated the suit when she fought a relative."  he let out a small sigh, "Kind of her to give us all relevant details before sucking us into her toy."

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"Oh of course," Arthur said, turning to look everyone in the eye as he shook Veronica's hand. The action was familiar, like Nicole had done, but more controlled and with a glint that hinted he knew more than he was letting on. "Help. That is something everyone needs and with a Danger here I doubt events would degrade so much as to be unsalvageable."


He let go of Veronica's hand then and stepped to the side, directing their attention to a space in front of the group with a slow wave of his hand. He shakes his head. "The first time she had brought any of her friends and it is to do her dirty work. But I can hazard a guess as to what you seek. Little it is not."


A circle appeared before them, and like a window hanging in space it opened to a view of another layered dimension. The horizon is dark, black where yours is white, and where structures, large as skyscrapers swung and floated as if there was no concept of gravity or up or down. They were crystal and brushed steel melded into one, pulsing to a heartbeat you could not see or hear. Concrete and glass entombed the crystals inside the structures, and where the crystals showed and pulsed it was in colors that spanned the rainbow - blue from green to red and back to purple. They dwarfed you and what little you could see from your side of the dimensional window could not see an end to the skyscraper structures, their bases hidden from view.


Yet even then they did not demand all your attention, for in the middle of it all was a Dyson-like sphere. The skyscrapers revolved around it like planets to a sun, knowing that they were but periphery to the center of the universe. The sphere was smaller, like a house in the middle of America suburbia, but there was something about it that screamed 'Important'. It too was covered in metal but it reflected its surroundings perfectly and you could see the skyscrapers on its surface. Circuitry ran along its body, a constant golden stream of glowing neon blood, and runes swam in it, forming meaning in how they collated and branched off around and around again. A wide slit in the middle separated the top and the bottom portion of the sphere, and here the golden glow of the circuitry became a torch in the dark, harsh and almost painful to look at.


It rotated slowly, perfectly, as if on a vertical axis.


And as it did you see a scorched area reveal itself. It is a hole in the sphere, where metal curled inwards into jagged edges and the circuitry terminated with sparks that seemed to glitch midair. It was no bigger than an SUV but even as you looked, you could see it expanding ever so slowly. A tumor in the machine.


"There it is, the source of all my daughter's sleepless nights. It had broken in a two nights ago and had completely shut down the secondary systems less than a day since." Arthur explained and you could see he held a simple wooden cane in one hand. "It is only a matter of hours until it finishes what it has started."


He lifts his cane, crook first, and the window widened into a doorway. "Take this and take care. Something else wanders through the armor while this-- this self-perpetuating spell bashes its head into a wall. Most likely it will come when it senses its cousin in danger. I suggest you enter with a plan to receive the stronger spell, do not think that with the state the Bellios' Self is in that you could walk out of here successful merely spell-slinging."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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"Well, I think we should be glad there is less voom for the moment."  Veronica replied to Elizabeth after she shook "Arthur's" hand.  "I imagine we will get more than enough of that before this trip is done."


Stepping back as the image of Arthur continued to talk, Veroncia glanced over to Hurang.  "I am not so sure he is part of the problem.  He seems more part of what is binding the magic in the suit together."


Looking out through the doorway Arthur had formed, she studied the scene for a moment as she continued.  "The magic of the suit stretches out all around us, patterned much like circuitry in a computer."  She glanced back at her fellow students as the simulation in front of them seemed to point them in the direction they needed to go.  "Well, shall we?"

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Elizabeth peered into the window dubiously, reaching out to pull a wide-sleeved open robe of white cotton out of thin air; she slung it over her body and brought her mask up to her face. The translucent mask over her shoulder had disappeared, now shimmering slightly over the surface of her artifact.


"Guess we should!" she said, flexing her hands. "Hopefully the big thing's not very smart; maybe we can keep it distracted for long enough, or at least knock it off its game. I don't think I like the look of that...magic...cancer virus thing," the girl added, wiggling a finger at the gaping hole in the sphere. "But at least the problem's easy to spot. That's something!"

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Ouroboros looked between Victoria and Masque with uncertainty but slowly nodded, "Perhaps you are right."  he admitted and glared slightly at the spirit or whatever it was, "I am disinclined to put much faith on one bearing that name however."  he explained as he stepped toward the rift and peered through it a low chant in archaic latin stirring in his chest as his eyes shone with otherworldly light.  He looked about the constructed space they found themselves in with some trepidation and a slight grimace, "A miracle the whole thing doesn't just collapse."  he mused quietly to himself.


He pointed through the portal though at exactly what was perhaps less clear.  "We'll need to bolster the supporting pinions."  he offered firstly, "And probably best to get the suits defenses back on line far more likely to succeed there than trying to face that thing directly."  he wasn't sure how exactly the spell so long cast continued to draw power ot function but had a sinking feeling it was drawing it's animus from a source not dissimilar to Belios itself.  

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"Not taking the cane then?" Arthur shrugs. "Very well, if you believe your powers sufficient then I won't keep you."


Then you are off, flying and teleporting in quick succession past the doorway separating the dimensions, through the air and skyscrapers, inside the sphere and the layers that compromise it. It is a trivial use of three teenagers' powers but Masque, specialized in illusions, has to be carried by a linked shell of energy by Ouroboros, the shell defending against outside interference through the energies of the Void.


Inside they pass by a massive, empty cavern and hundreds of feet of vertigo. Rays of light cut through the darkness from broken pieces of the outer shell. The light is blinding to look at unprotected sight and you quickly avert your eyes whenever you find yourself looking too long at one.


You pass an inner shell spinning within the darkness whose surface is burnt and broken much like the one outside, through fields of electricity spinning and shooting out of what looks like arcane conduits, twisting spires and gemerators standing atop floating islands.


Then you sense the doorway, wedged between four spires forming a diamond, in the middle of the largest spire that supports the inner shell from diameter to diameter. Static sheates the door, and unlike Arthur's you cannot see what is past it, but it looms over you all the same. As you look at it, you see several spires grow dim, refusing to generate energy even as stray bolts hit it.


A bolt of electricity arcs from the gateway but with a gesture of her hand Arcana forms another bolt and they both collide, exploding harmlessly like fireworks far above them.


Linking her various curio, Veronica creates a disc for all of you to stand on, allowing you to stand on something solid. Ouroboros assures you that the gateway possess no harm but you still feel the hairs on your body stand on end as you cross it. Uncomfortable.


But you find yourselves in a much smaller room, but still as large as Claremont's auditorium. You find solid ground, bronze and polished and telling of the armor's history in arcane languages, like a watch's watermarks. You step on it and before you, you see two pinions, one opposite you and the other above you, each as tall as a person. The remaining pinion lies broken, shattered on one end of the room, and the gears and its doorway remains inert.


From the doorway leading into the CPU forcefield you can hear something like pistons hammering at blistering speeds. The gears holding that doorway opened is half-melted, running only by the power of a pixelated spell that covers the pinion itself. You can tell, that if you were to remove it then the forcefield doorway would close to this layer, yet further damage the pinion itself.


Above you, you see a cieling filled with various cogs and gears, though none move. You feel that they are replacements or something of the like, like wheels in a car shop for different uses.


(OOC: Updated OP in OOC thread)

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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  • 3 weeks later...

Veronica Danger


The portal quickly moved the three through the layers of the armor's system, binging the group toward the center of the system.  The trip was a combination of exhilarating and terrifying, an experience Veronica, like most Dangers, tended to thrive on.


Once she had summoned a disk for them to stand on as the approached the CPU, Veronica began more carefully studying the area around them, reaching out with her various magical systems and studying the damage to the area around them. 

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Ouroboros flowed into the room behind Veronica gathering his magic around himself in a  glimmering shield as he observed the state of the area they found themselves in.  "I'm not keep on fighting whatever is in here without doing something to get those back in shape."  he motioned to the pinions.


He examined them for a moment and his eyes flitted over the runes all over the area with a sigh, "Can you make sense of that chicken scratch?"  he asked really either of them though most likely Veronica would be their savior there.  Taking a deep breath he peered at the broken pillar and tilted his head slightly, "I wonder ..."


He began a low chant in latin his words and hands shaping the dimensional energies he called from somewhere, else.  He began to shape the energies to those with the sight to see it into a twisting scaffolding around the broken pinion as he fed the energies of hte void he truly called home into the negative space left behind.  The void he was always able to shape why not shape it here.  It certainly could have resulted in a rift sucking them and the forces powering the armor into that endless emptiness, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

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"I'm not going to be much use in fixing stuff," Masque confessed; she'd been peering around the room, all runes (which made her brain itch, and she didn't know why) and gears (which she'd have a hard time sorting out if they were mundane, much less...all this!), and her normally-impassive mask was, for once, fairly fitting for her actual expression. "It's pretty great but it's really not my area."


Instead she knelt down near the pixelated spell, masked eyes glowing as she took it in. She really needed to put more practice into the practical side of magic, but she could at least feel them out... "Something's watching this spell," she said, finally, turning back to the others. Her mask had a furrowed brow seemingly drawn over the eyes in what looked like permanent marker. "Or it's watching itself. It doesn't belong here, and I'm betting if we mess with it, it'll alert its master. Bet we could fix the little gear, but I don't know if it'll notice that, too."

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Ouroboros touches the broken pinion and in short order you see the vampire's particular dimension flow into the cracks and crevices, filling the bronze workings with negative energies, polishing it into a shiny black glow. An unholy contraption, a fix that would not last. It was set into a foundation that threatened to explode at the wrong touch... but it was certainly more than enough for now.


Then the whole-yet-still-broken pieces were slotted into place and the gears began their slow turn to life. And the doorway once inert and leading nowhere but a wall, flickered open. Energy, white, and electricity contained. The entrance to the subsequent dimension stood ready for use.


Through the doorway to the Forcefield dimension the sound of pistons jackhammering continued. It reached a crescendo, getting louder, and at its height the room seemed to respond physically. A crack went from the doorway, and it snaked its way up the wall into the cieling. The gears above swayed perilously and off to the side one fell down and crashed down with a shower of sparks.


Then the pistons dissipate, softer than before, as if the effort could not be maintained.


What now?

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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As Ouroboros' fixes the last pieces in place, the doorway leading to the Electronic Defense System pulses and shifts, settling into a stable field that simulates a shape of a large door.


It is a tempting way in to the nearby dimension, but before anyone could step forward a hand pushes out from the doorway. Clawed and metallic, it grips the lip where the door meets the wall and pushes more of itself out. The whole arm is metal and stripped of much ornamentation, sleek as if straight from a factory.


Then a robot's head appears from the door. A sole eye dominates most of its head but you see an oversized jaw hanging loosely from the bottom, teeth ending in nasty points.


You see its eye swivel violently between the four of you. It pauses, body halfway out of the doorway, before its eye flashes into an angry red. Its jaw snaps tightly back in place and its warning rang through the room.


"Alert! Unauthorized entry! Intruders detected! Surrender or be terminated!"


It did not give much time to react though as it sprang into action, leaping for Ouroboros, who was closest. Behind it, more clawed hands reached and pulled and grabbed from the other side of the doorway.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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  • 2 weeks later...

Veronica Danger


Whatever feeling of accomplishment there might have been for the successful repairs quickly vanished as the manifestations of the defense program for the suit appeared and began attacking the four teens. 


Veronica rolled to one side as several came at her, their metallic clawed hands either missing her outright or being deflected away at the last minute by a mystical barrier that flashed into existence around her.


Getting back to her feet a short distance from some of the defenses, the teenage Danger began working her small trinkets into a new spell.  But even as she did so, a thought came to her and she spoke up to the others near her.  "While we might be able to fight our way past these defenses, more are bound to follow after, and taking out too many of them is not likely to be a good thing for the suit.  Maybe it might make more sense to try to fool them into thinking we are some of them?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ouroboros flowed out of the way of the oncoming hoard as veronica unleashed her spell driving back and destroying any that had escaped the doorway.  He glanced to Masque, "I can buy you some time, the defenses need to think we're part of the suit."  he suggested as he stepped toward the opening and made a series of arcane gestures of warding as he let loose a booming incantation, "From the scintillating sphere rise Flames of Phoros."  


With a final wave of one pale hand a shimmering wall of lambent iridescent flames rose blocking the doorway and for the moment at least concealing the teens from the defenses.  "They may have other ways through now that we've opened the door."  he pointed out with a shrug, "And that will only hold them so long."  he added as an afterthought.

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They swarmed through the doorway and over each other dozens of the defense drones, jaws snapping and claws scrapping against each other to create this unholy cacophany of sound.


Yet their movements were not those of a wild horde, mowing through everything in its wake in brutal abandon. The drones moved as one being, fractals and patterns as they dove and leaped, sprinted and climbed over one another. Not one drone hampered another's movements.


But before they crossed the chamber to reach the teens, Veronica unleashed the finished spell from her trinkets. The verdant emerald wave pulsed outward, past her fellow students and into the incoming horde. The first wave were disintegrated, one second they were bearing down then the next they were nothing but fine dust to be pushed aside by their fellows. The second corroded their limbs into rust, holding the drones fast in place.


It gave Ouroboros the opening he needed to craft a barrier of flames against the doorway they had opened. Not too soon as frenzied claws ripped and tore at the magical construct. But it held for the time being.


It left the teenagers in the chamber with merely half of the drones which had come through, and seeing their fellow defences barred from entry they turned their killing intent on the creator of the flames.


Red eyes that glowed with menace, metallic skin ready to be slick with vampire's blood. They bore down on Ouroboros with the intent to shred and kill.


Half of them leaped in the air, borne by their comrades to descend on the vampire from above and behind. The rest took the fight head on.


(OOC: I think I should do IC posts after every PC IC during combat if done on a round by round basis. It helps set the scene.)

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Masque drew in on herself, watching the fight with growing concern. One-on-one she could probably take these, and she could even that out to two-on-two, but this many....


She concentrated, getting as good a look at their enemies as she could before reaching out to rest a hand on her friends. "If this doesn't work I can probably go invisible and run off with the helmet," she said, magic flowing out of her and the mask alike, "but I don't want to split us up if we can help it. It's most of what I've got, too, so, you know. Don't expect any fireballs or anything unless we want to break ranks."


The students were gone and their side of the barrier was full of fangs and claws, a set of human-sized defense drones standing around in search of intruders. The real intruders. "It's just an illusion, like a costume, and it's...probably sort of fragile. But let's see how simple a guard dog they are."

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Then as one they stopped and dropped to the brass floor, clawed feet clinking one after the other on polished brass. They straightened to their full height as they landed and for the first time you could see them clearly without their erratic movements.


Tall and thin, they looked like skeletons whose bones were made of stainless steel instead of calcium, long limbs ending in sharp looking claws. Blue tint ran through their bones, reflecting off the light as if it were veins made of cobalt rock. It cooled as they stopped moving and so did their one red eye cool down. It took up most of the space that was their head, looking just like an angular skull would. Their jaws loosened too, long and sharp teeth in a row hanging from the skull.


And they stood, silent in their vigil.


The sounds of clawing from behind Ouroboros' fiery obstacle had ceased as well and so too had the sounds of hammering from the doorway leading to the inner forcefield.


It was from this doorway that an eye flew into the chamber soon after the drones had cooled down. And unlike the drones that stood inert around you, this eye was heavily pixelated, like something rendered it out of an old 8-bit video game. It's surface was black and dull, and a bright light shone from where its pupil would have been.


As one, all the drones in the chamber snapped their heads to the eye. You could see them ready to fight once more.


"Alert! Unauthorized entr--"


But before anymore of the alarm could be raised you hear a woman's voice speak from the eye, drowning the drone's own alarm. "Initiate Code 87B-21TR. Shatak. Ra. Ios-45. Shenlong. Pink."


It was almost bored as it rattled off the code but at the last word the drones all snapped to attention, stock still as if in a parade. Then they pivoted on their heels and marched back towards the doorway they had come from, merging into single file before returning to their own dimension.


The eye flew to the doorway and from its pupil a set of pixel lines shot out, moving in angles before they converged on the lip of the doorway. Then it began to trace the doorway itself, melding it shut from this side of the two dimensions.


"If these pests burst out one more time," the woman's voice began as if talking to herself. "I'm breaking them. Breaking them and finally working in peace."


As all this was happening, the students' illusion stood, allowing them to take action or follow the real drones' lead.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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