A bit of history for this scene. More than 100 years prior to this, we had done an RP arc where Lexen's angel essentially switched places with him, taking on a manifested form in order to hold his soul together and allow it time to mend. (There were several even longer and more convoluted arcs involved in him tearing his soul to pieces, but that part is less impactful to this story). After Lexen reasserted control, his angel was never seen again. He didn't talk about it much, and rarely tried to call on her, so as not to draw attention to her absence.
More recently, he had spoken to Iames about being worried about her absence, and Iames had promised to try to help find her. Also recently, Lexen had a series of run-ins with a sciomancer that had been messing with him with shadow magic, but when he started coughing up bits of shadow, he was too focused on the goings on of the Tundra engagements to get it properly looked at. This scene takes place right after one of the Howling dreg raids, as he promised to have himself properly taken care of AFTER the dregs were dealt with.
This takes place in Lexen's perspective.
A quiet, sunrising study - the City of Esterport
An ocean-toned sofa sits here, back curved and seating fat. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. The shining figure of a guardian angel floats in the air here. Squire Iames Gallant is here.
You see a single exit leading west.
Iames folds his arms across his chest as he walks into the study, the look of discontent clearly
upon his features. "She will be here shortly."
Aloli arrives from the west.
Lexen seems to be simply out of breath, and he leans forward, resting his hands on his knees for a moment before straightening once more. He wipes his brow across his forehead again, clearing away the sweat and causing his hair to stick lightly to his forehead. "Aye... " he
murmurs, then draws his gaze up at the Angel. Frowning, he takes two tentative steps towards the guardian, as if testing what it will do.
A figure of blinding light puts her things by the door and looks between Iames and you after coming up.
Aloli abandons the veil obscuring her form, becoming visible once more.
Watching you, the guardian angel puts herself directly between the path of you and Iames. "Thank you for coming." Iames says quietly to Aloli, watching a moment at the shift in the guardian’s behavior once more.
Lexen's gaze narrows slightly, regarding the angel with a pensive look before he asks, "you can see it, can't you?"
Aloli is confused about the interaction between the angel and you, she flickers a gaze at Iames with a silent question, then interprets the conversation as being directed to her. She answers kindly, "Of course, I can see the angel." However, she adjusts her glasses and stares more intently at Lexen, scanning.
Aloli adjusts the focus of her goggles as she peers intently at you.
Iames narrows his eyes alarmingly as his guardian nods her head, though she does not move from her defensive stance of the Yeleni. "What did you do?!" he barks finally, taking a step forward only to find resistance as the angel has other plans for his advancement.
Lexen seems to practically melt in relief, and he drops to his knees with a sigh, then plants one hand on the ground while the other covers his mouth for a harsh cough. Wheezing, he asks the angel, or at least in the direction of the angel, "is she okay?"
Iames begins to be visibly pushed back one step at a time as his discontent begins to boil. "Is who okay?!" He senses the conversation is not with him, however, as he watches the guardian shake her head. Still the distance is drawn until he is nearly the room’s width away. His fists whitening as they clench closed. "Why is she pushing me away from -you-?"
Lexen looks absolutely miserable at that last head shake, his hair matting against his forehead and his eyes watering slightly from the agitation clear in them. "My angel. She can see her... ".
Aloli takes a careful, instinctive step back from you when she sees and hears the cough. "Iames," she gasp as she finally understands why the angel is guarding him. "Can she check his vitals?" She still crouches down on the floor by you, but a few feet away.
Understanding why he is distanced only frustrates Iames further. "She found her before I could..." he mumbles to himself, remembering his promise. His gaze finally locks with his guardian's, trying to piece this together properly. "Y-y-you." his attempt to speak is only met with stuttering. "I told you I would bring you back if... -why- WHY?" he hisses while pushing past his own protector to tread closer to you.
Aloli quickly grows tired of these half uttered words and random questions. She stands up from your side and flatly asks Iames, "Are you saying your angel is seeing his lost angel?" She points at you accusingly. "Did you not see what he just coughed?" She now looks straight at the guardian angel and almost instructs, but there's a clear motherly request in it, "Don't let him close until you can burn it out."
Lexen's eyes widen at the instructions, and the moment the word 'burn' passes through Aloli's lips, Lexen shifts back, losing his balance in his attempt to put distance between himself and the angel. He rocks back into a kipup, but almost falls with his balance so off, only barely managing to regain his feet. "I ... I'm sure there's another wa..." his protest is cut off by another harsh cough that clearly pains him by the way he presses his hand against his chest.
"She won't do it." Iames answers, as his guardian betrays the command and trust of Aloli in allowing him to stride closer. The mixture of emotions are apparent within as he looks for the right words. "Do you remember the last things I told you after mother sent you to speak with me?" he asks, his question calculated and precise. As his grip lessens briefly, there is a warmth about them that is not normal to him. "I will take whatever punishment is handed down upon me for this, but I will bring that out of you one way or the other."
Lexen's retreat is anything but dignified as the usually stalwart Idreth backpedals until his back literally hits the wall. There is a fevered, panicked look in his eyes at either Iames' intensity, or hands, or both, and he holds up his own hands to implore--well, practically beg, "don't do this...Iames. Find another way."
Aloli considers how much she can help Iames when she looks at the terrified reaction in you. "No more talking." She walks over to you and steps behind you, putting two firm hands on your shoulders. They are small hands but firm and powerful, all while bearing a touch of peace and reassurement as she pats one hand down, "Close your eyes?".
Lexen seems to be about to fight Aloli as well, already turning partway into a twist to break Aloli's grip before another, deeper cough wracks his frame. This bout drives him to his knees with his hands folded over his chest, and he coughs out a few globs of oozy, phlegmy shadow, which almost immediately dissipates.
It is apparent that this hurts Iames too. "I cannot watch you suffer either." he murmurs, as a look
of fear tinges his consciousness. His guardian lingers by the doorway, disapproving of her charge’s actions. "I don't want to fight you," Iames intones as he watches you kneel from the coughing. Stopping a footstep before his Vanguard, he focuses intensely and begins a silent prayer. "I will not fail -you-" he says softly as if he were comforting a fallen brethren. Reaching for the shoulders of the Idreth, he attempts to offer his purity through Devotion.
(The Gallant Vein): Alexsandor says, "You guys are alright there?"
Lexen tries to push himself away from Iames once again, though this time he only manages to solidify his position for Aloli to be able to get a firm hold on him. His entire body shakes as the heated warmth of Iames' hands seems to bore into him, and he tries to writhe away in pain, his jaw clenched against the internal anguish.
(The Gallant Vein): Aloli says, "We're fine, playing with fire in the house."
(The Gallant Vein): You say, "Aughhh no..."
(The Gallant Vein): Aloli says, "Yes."
(The Gallant Vein): Alexsandor says, "Is she forcing you to play with fire?"
(The Gallant Vein): You say, "Alex...."
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Alexsandor, "...stop them."
(The Gallant Vein): Iames says, "Stay away."
(The Gallant Vein): Alexsandor says, "Hey, someone has to be the clown."
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, Alexsandor imparts to you, "Stop them from what?"
(The Gallant Vein): Luas says, "Is everything alright?"
(The Gallant Vein): Alexsandor says, "What are you guys doing to him!"
(The Gallant Vein): Aloli says, "Cleansing him."
(The Gallant Vein): Alexsandor says, "Oh ok, do you need a blazing sword?"
(The Gallant Vein): Iames says, "Adhering to my solemn vow."
(The Gallant Vein): Aloli says, "Everything is fine, if he stops fussing."
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Alexsandor, "I can'... can't breathe... make it
stop. MAKE IT STOP."
Aloli tightens her grip on your shoulders and eases him back onto the ground. "Son, I can't stay
long because I'm being called away but I'm going to mind lock him and pacify. The problem with this is that it will break the second I leave."
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, Alexsandor imparts to you, "Hang in there!"
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, Alexsandor imparts to you, "What they're doing is probably
(The Gallant Vein): Alexsandor says, "Guys. You better hurry you. He thinks he can't breathe."
(Tells): Luas's voice reaches your mind: "What have you done."
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Luas, "... I ... duty."
"Why did you stray?" Iames asks with such an innocence that it is nerve rattling. "Why.." he mumbles once more before his lips move silently in a Rite and he continues to channel his essence into you. "I warned you I would do this. I..." his words are cut short as he intensifies the channeling while he stands the chance. In doing so, the palms of his hand begin to grow warmer with each passing moment until it becomes even uncomfortable for himself. "I need -you- damnit!" he breaks finally as the Devotion begins to tap into his spark and its cleansing fire begins to caress the fingertips until it is brought to life within you.
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Stine, "STINE."
(Tells): Squire Stine D. Emerson tells you, "Yeah?"
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Stine, "... get him the Pit off.... off of me..."
(Tells): Squire Stine D. Emerson tells you, "What's going on?"
Aloli can't believe what she's watching, but her hands stay on you, "He needs to be cleansed with all the elements - this is what we do for the undead before we redeem them to live, to remove any traces of shadow from them." Her grip relaxes some on you as she explains, "Fire will burn, but you need water to cleanse, too." She looks down to check on you to see if she can use her hands and decides that she can indeed. So she takes her hands and prays for holy water.
Lexen writhes on the floor, his entire body shivering from sheer effort. His hands rise to lock against Iames' wrists, attempting to push the Yeleni away. With no leverage, however, he can't seem to do much, and as the fire begins to lace along Iames' hands, the Idreth lets out a howl of pure agony, the scream foreign to even his own ears. A trickle of the globy shadow starts to leak from his nose and the corners of his eyes.
A rippling energy can barely be seen as it wavers and courses with an ethereal fluidity down Aloli's arms, channelling through a pair of blackened steel manacles. Light flares around an Iron Ivy bottle,and when it fades, the vessel is filled with cool, refreshing water.
(Tells): Luas's voice reaches your mind: "Do I need to come there? Yes or no."
You suddenly feel a tugging from an entwined intricate chain tattoo, as its paired item pulls
The vague image of an intricate chain tattoo appears in the air, before Stine appears in a flash of magic.
Stine appears immediately at your side from nowhere, taking stock of the situation.
Aloli is sitting on the floor holding you to the ground by the shoulders while Iames is on him with
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Luas, "Fire... just get him... off of me."
Iames shifts one hand from your shoulder to grip firmly about the chain wrapped around the Idreth's forearm. It is clear that this strained effort is not practiced and his willpower drains rapidly in his attempts. Consuming his own spark to flood his Vanguard's body. Taking that threshold he is unafraid to cross. "I told you I would guide you back to the Light." he murmurs through his strained efforts, his body trembling as his eyes begin to water, fighting back the emotions that he is experiencing in trying to cleanse you.
(Tells): Luas's voice reaches your mind: "Fire-- ...Yes or no, now."
(Tells): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Luas, "N---ye---yes."
Now that Stine has had a few moments to take it all in, he immediately lowers his shoulders and uses his planted feet to spring forward and toward Iames. He has one clear, defining purpose in such a maneuver - to knock Iames aside and at least lessen, at minimal, the contact with you.
Luas arrives from the west.
Luas arrives at a dash, though comes to an abrupt halt in the doorway to assess the scene inside.
Aloli is utterly surprised by Stine's behavior, "Stine!" she calls out, but even in her firm, raised
voice, it is soft. "He's helping him!" She watches as Stine charges at Iames to knock him back and off you. She keeps her grip on your shoulders now and looks at Luas for help. "Luas, we can't get whatever is in his lungs out like this, stop him."
"NO NO NO!" Iames yells out as he is greeted by Stine's shoulder. The effort has succeeded except for the fingers wrapped within your chain, and clinging to your forearm. "He's sick, look at him!" he hisses trying to draw attention to the substance leaking from your eyes and nose. It is clear that his mind is made, and his efforts will be to save the man or perhaps die trying. The energy around the Yeleni waivers as his spark's fury begins to weaken further with each passing moment that the cleansing warmth is offered to his Vanguard.
Lexen takes a shuddering gasp of air and twists in Aloli's grip, smears of inky black shadow rubbing free against the floor, though it's barely visible against his near black skin. As Iames' hands pull away, the deep, awful scream dies in the back of Lexen’s throat, and he twists one knee up against his chest, trying to pull himself free of even the connection via his chain, though his movements are sluggish.
Stine catches an arm around Iames' midsection as their momentum is stopped by the grab against your chain. "I've got orders to get you off of him," the man states back to Iames, his voice low and straightforward, almost outright ignoring the presence of Aloli in his task. His free hand seeks to wrap around Iames'' neck and physically drag the man away if he can.
Aloli notices where Stine's hand is going--directly to Iames' neck--and everything in her flares to
life. "Get your hands off him!" She rises to her feet in an instant, ignoring you and the coughing
of disgusting stuff and instantly throws residual kai from her hands at Stine, forcing Stine away
from Iames, hurling him at the wall.
'Stop him' is what Luas hears. But whom? Stine, who charges to tackle Iames, or Iames, who is the apparent source of your present suffering. In a split-second decision, he barks the order of "Stand down, Squire," at Stine and Iames. But they're both Squires.
"He -is- -sick-!" Iames yells out this time, frustrated that his efforts are being interrupted, be it
by Stine or Luas. Though the partial headlock sends him away from you this time with the kai energy pushing his attacker backwards further. Slinking to his knees, both palms mashed into the ground he is obviously winded and drained. His eyes are wet as they look up to stare at you. "I said I won't fail you." his voice crackles with raw emotion. "Can't you hear me?!" With great effort, he begins to crawl, or try to, but he is weak already and his energies are low.
As Iames' grip comes free of Lexen's chain, the Idreth curls completely into a ball,then tries to roll further onto his hands and knees. Pushing on the ground with his hands, he only manages to raise half his body while dragging his face across the floor and leaving behind a smear of globby liquid shadow from where it is leaking from his nose, eyes, and now the corner of his mouth. His torso quivers from the effort of simply trying to push up and breathe at the same time, and another wet, wracking cough issues forth from his body, followed by a wheezing gasp for air. Along his back, there is the faintest glimpse of a shimmering image for just a few fractions of a second, as if some incorporeal being of light is trying to pry itself from his physical form, but failing to do so.
Stine's gaze slants toward Luas once his bearings were gotten again after the blast from Aloli that sent him onto his unicorns. There is a moment of hesitation before he scrambles to his hands and knees just enough to lunge forward and grab onto Iames' midsection with one arm, this time torn between attempting to stop Iames from further progressing toward you and helping Iames from outright falling face-first onto the ground.
Aloli has half the heart to go back after Stine and this time she's looking at the window. The
thought is occuring to her to charge and dash for the window so Stine and herself can leave everyone to actually get work done, but she is immediately distracted from her course by the way you slobber on the floor that disgusting goo. "Ugh!" She abandons everything else and reaches down to roll you onto your back again, this time pinning you down firmly with and by the shoulders, "I will paralyze you if you don't stop moving." She calls out to Iames, "Finish this."
Two insubordinations in a row -- Luas' week is off to a good start. He marches over to the struggle now taking place at ground level. As he goes, he jabs a finger at you and tells Aloli to, "Get him to the breakwater." Then, with a harmless sweep of one boot, he aims to kick both Stine's and Iames' supporting hands out from under them. Apparently, face-first on the ground is where the Knight would prefer the two Squires to be right now.
Lexen lets out a cry of absolute agony as he's twisted onto his back again, and this time, the shimmering form manages to fully emerge from his chest. The creature that drags itself out of the Idreth's physical form could barely be called an angel by most standards. Her form is warped, weak, and barely visible, as well as simply drenched in what looks to be more of the self same shadow that he has been coughing out. The separation seems to cause the Idreth further anguish, and the form reaches back into his chest and wraps a gnarled hand around something before giving a mighty pull and jerking more of the inky black shadow from the Idrethi male to her own arms. She then turns her eyes to the other angel, starkly pure in comparison, and gives a brief, sad nod.
Iames does indeed kiss the ground with the precision aimed boot. In the split second as he collides with the ground, his weak body lies flat to its surface. Watching his guardian shift to stand before him, he can sense her pain. Screaming and writhing amongst the ground the only coherent word he emits is 'NO' as his fears turn true. The understanding of why she distanced him from you lies before him plain as day and it's destroying him. His body trembles as the guardian offers its sibling a gentle nod before colliding into the shadow bathed 'angel'. The light only grows brighter and brighter by the moment, the intensity forcing him to look away only to realize there is only one guardian left behind in the wake of redemption. His.
Stine's attention is focused solely on Iames, with only sparing glances given toward you. Thus, when the boot comes swinging in toward his hand holding him aloft, he is easily and quickly made to sprawl forward and fall onto his front, chin smacking against the ground with a thumping sound. The display of the angels, however, causes him to cease entirely - to cease moving, to cease fighting, to cease listening to whatever order was given to him. He stares upward at the angel, slowly blinking, laying on the ground.
Much like Stine, Luas is arrested by the events taking place between extraplanar beings. Anything more he might have done to detain or at least discourage Iames and Stine from further action is forgotten for now. He's too busy staring. It takes him long seconds to realize that the twisted creature emerging from your chest is an angel, at which point he removes his hand from the hilt of Mercy on his hip. It's lifted instead before his face, shielding his eyes against the dazzling light of colliding guardians.
Aloli can't believe what she just saw. One angel destroying another and suddenly she fears the idea of ever learning more about hers. "I'm never going to bring mine around you guys," were simple words uttered in some humor but, she is already moving to pull your arm up to try to pull the you to your feet, she can't shoulder all the weight so she looks at Luas for help only to see the three men standing and staring like children. "Luas!" she calls out a little louder, "To the breakwater?" she repeats his instructions to her. She looks at her son now and swears to Stine, "I owe you one."
Lexen's entire body has gone slack, his features ashen and grave as he stares at the space where his angel had appeared for just that smallest of moments, and is now gone. Body exhausted, mind over taxed, and spirit quite possibly broken, the Idreth seems to move in a daze, only partially supporting his own weight as Aloli tries to haul him physically to his feet. "No... " he utters, echoing Iames' words, though his has the added quality of being absolutely shell shocked with a hollowed loss welling deep beneath it, as yet unrecognized.
Iames reaches for Stine, his hands shaking from overexertion. "Tell...tell me he's okay. Tell me
he's alive." he calls out to the fellow Squire, though his voice is soft and dull. His body and mind
shot from trying to purge the shadowy essence within you, and now the wound he caused one he trusts his life with. He strains and struggles along the floor on his side, trying to claw his way to the Idreth. He is stopped abruptly as his angel kneels before him, her hands resting firmly upon his chest and begging for his forgiveness. "Why?" he utters to it, as the full weight of what happened hits him, tears strolling down each cheek as he just lays there helplessly.
Stine barely gets through the first couple words of trying to assure Iames before the angel kneels down before Iames, who has crawled a couple feet in front of him. The Azudim shifts on the ground, moving to sit on his unicorns - on purpose this time - and lay his hands across his thighs. He glances over his own shoulder for a moment, knowing that in some plane of existence his own angel is right there behind him, waiting, watching, just as he is. His gaze does not return to Iames or you, instead of shifts down to let his sea-green eyes scan the floor in front of him.
Aloli's voice is enough to cut through Luas' confusion from what he just witnessed. He abandons the two reeling Squires to instead help Aloli, and the few quick strides it takes to bring him to you are full of purpose. As soon as he has a grip under the other Knight's arm and has yanked you the rest of the way up, he bids Aloli, "Go," confirming the plan of action.
Aloli rub a hand over one of the Unbound's gifted shackles, drawing light into the metal. Pivoting
in place, her vision goes white, eyes radiating a pale light as she walks away, as if the manacle
--Aloli, Lexen, and Luas depart.
Iames lies on the ground, visibly rattled to the core. His mind racing with unanswered questions, but knowing the truth as to -why- the other was put to rest. Dread, Guilt, Sincerity, Conviction all flood his body, he only tried to do right by his Vanguard. Was doing the right thing, necessarily the right thing? The silence between the Yeleni and his guardian is just as deafening as the screams he once wrought out. Before making the floor his semi-permanent resting place, he finally speaks. "Tell him... I am sorry, please".
Stine is lost in his own mind, perhaps considering the same questions. When does a Knight disobey orders? That one would weigh heavily on his mind as well. At hearing the words from Iames, the Azudim gives a simple, slight nod while replying, “It will be done.”
Iames begins the mountainous task of pushing himself from the floor. Weakened, weary, and emotionally battered this turns into a monumental feat just getting to his feet. Stumbling with each foot step, “I will be before the Grand Flame, in meditation.” his voice still quiet and low, and uncertain how he will reach his goal in his current state.
The movement from Iames finally stirs Stine’s body as well, lifting his gaze enough to watch you stand. “We can go together,” he tells Iames, shifting up to his feet with less trouble and stepping forward to offer you a shoulder.
Iames looks towards his hands, afraid to touch another after what just transpired or what they did to Lexen. “Thank you, once more,” he offers quietly while only standing stubbornly in pride, leading the way out of the Iron Ivy.