Lumin-DN Posted August 8, 2017 Share Posted August 8, 2017 This Story is a few years old - it details the events of the Aion 4.8 Upheaval patch, from Lumin's perspective. This is a tale that will be told in three parts. It may contain disturbing imagery. It also may contain amazing imagery the likes of which you have never dreamed of. Reader discretion is advised. UPHEAVAL: THE FATE OF PRADETH FORTRESS ----- The air rang with the sounds of battle; daevas screaming, dying, and dying again moments after being brought back. The tall, proud walls of Pradeth Fortress stood firm, while at their base, the melee swirled. Asmodian Archons engaged in a bitter battle with the Elysian Guardians. The massive front gate of the fortress remained unscathed, the Archon forces unable to push past the sortie of the Elyos. Despite the tactical disadvantage of being outnumbered, the Asmodians were locked into a stalemate with their Elyos counterparts - pound for pound, the Asmodians were stronger, tougher, and faster than their weak-blooded kin. Unseen, a diminutive daeva crept toward the mighty walls of the Elysian bastion. Shadow-swathed, she paused a moment, sparing a glance over to her comrades, glowing eye sweeping over the bloody throng. A sudden roar spooked her, as an explosion smashed the soil apart a few meters from where she lurked. Her mismatched eyes swept up to the top of the wall eyeing the cannon that had fired the shot. The Elysian war-machines would turn the tide, that much was obvious. The daeva’s compatriots were too focused on what was in front of them that they didn’t bother to look up. All along Pradeth’s walls, Elyos defenders were loading and manning siege-turrets. The closest machine swivelled and fired again, its aim corrected - it unleashed explosive death on the Asmodian forces. Thankfully for the shade-cloaked woman, that meant the daeva within was unaware of her presence. She skittered forward, hunched low to the ground, the brim her pink hat shading her mismatched eyes as she tilted her head up, bright, wide eyes scanning, searching for what she knew had to be there - a weakness. A manic grin played across her dark lips - she could smell the blood and burnt flesh and it was wonderful. The screams of the dying were almost attractive enough to distract her, but she knew that if she succeeded, she’d get to hear even more screams - most of them from Elyos. And Elyos made such wonderful cries of terror and pain. Her nose wrinkled as she moved along the edge of the great fortress’ moat. Suddenly her pupils contracted, eyes stopping, focusing in on her goal. Weakness. There, a damaged section of the wall, and a lone elyos keeping sentry, away from the fighting. Keeping the shadows about her, she hopped out over the roiling, ide-infused water of the moat, landing adroitly on a bit of fallen masonry from the damaged section of the wall. Silently, she drew her knife and blade, then wiggled in place, like a kitter about to pounce on a mouse, mismatched eyes focused intently on the Elyos guard. She clacked the piercing in her tongue lightly against her teeth once, twice, then suddenly she twisted, ripping through space and appearing behind the guard. Her sword planted itself inside the man’s body, bursting out of his belly with a crimson spray. Before he could muster a cry, her dagger was on his throat, opening a bright red smile. She wrenched her blades free, and even as his body was dropping, she ripped his shadow away quickly, her booted feet stepping lightly as she ran, using the dead Elyos’ shadow as cover - but the trick wouldn’t last long. She dodged past two guards - both oblivious for now of their fallen companion, and the assassin in their midst. She couldn’t spare time for them, the dead man’s shadow wouldn’t last much longer. There.. Ahead, behind one of the roaring siege cannons, the gatehouse. Before the Elyos knew what happened, she ducked inside, abandoning the tattered remnants of the guard’s shadow for the cool dark of the unlit stone chamber. Outside, she could hear a new cry, different from the sounds of fighting - they’d just discovered her handiwork. The gatehouse was dominated by a massive mechanical assembly, all chains and handles, designed to keep the heavy gate of the fortress up. Sticking her pierced tongue out, the pink-haired daeva danced around to the primary release. Slipping her blades to her back once more, she grasped the release lever in both of her clawed hands, and began to pull. Nothing. The monstrous apparatus of chains and levers refused to budge. Outside She could hear the Elyos Coming. With a flustered squeak she threw her tiny frame at the lever, smooshing against it with all of her diminutive might. "Mooooove!" she whined, and finally with a great clanking sound, it did. The massive chain keeping the fortress gate secured began to ratchet down, and once its momentum started, there was no stopping it. With an echoing, heavy thud, the gates opened. Asmodian war cries resounded as the Archon forces pushed the Elyos back towards their now gaping gate. Routed in fear and panic, the Elyos fled before the Asmodian tide. The battle was not won yet, but a major obstacle was overcome. Above, the pink-haired daeva tossed her arms up in triumph, bouncing around victoriously. "Woooo yaaay I did it Yay Lumin!" Her beaming smile watched the chains. Then a shout at the door reminded her that she was in peril still. Her mismatched eyes swept to the door, three of the Elyos guardians were there. Her dark lips twisted in a wide, joyful grin, she threw out a tiny orb towards her assailants. The orb exploded soundlessly, giving off a blinding flash of light. She ripped into the shadows of the room as the Elyos clutched at their eyes, disoriented. Still beaming brightly, she rolled between the two heavily armored ones, to the marksman in the rear who was already tracing a rune of sight over his eyes. But it was too late - the moment his eyes were opened to the unseen, the assassin's dagger was half an inch from his eye. He screamed as the ensorcelled blade plunged into his eye-socket, and the last thing he saw with his remaining eye before he died was her pixie-like face, tongue between her teeth in the most childlike, joyful expression imaginable Blood splattered across her features as she wrenched the blade from the dying daeva's face. Then, before the burlier warriors could respond, she was off, dancing over the flagstone pathway atop the wall. She hopped onto the rampart and lept off, massive, darkened wings unfurling from nowhere as she sailed down to her compatriots below, crying a giddy "WOOOOOOO LUMIN YAY ME!" ----- The fighting was intense, but brief - dismayed, many Elyos fell to Asmodian blades as they ran for the secondary curtain wall of the now oh so penetrable fortress. Massive, floating siege engines, tethered to Asmodian controllers began their attack on the Inner Gate of Pradeth. The survivors of the route fled up towers, regaining some small resolve to stop the Asmodians. But in all of Atreian history, Elysian resolve has never matched Asmodian Resolve. The inner gate crumbled before the onslaught of the shadowed warriors and their machines of war. Asmodians streamed into the inner courtyard. A few arrows and spells slammed into them from the odd stray Elyos who had not managed to ascend to the throne room, but the surge of the Archons could not be stopped so easily. Up and up the Archon battlegroup pushed, forcing the Elyos to give ground. Finally, all of the defenders were felled, save a heavy contingent guarding General Dux. The mighty Elysian Guardian could be heard bellowing orders to his people, though the Asmodians had no idea what the massive Deity General shouted. Through all of the swirling, chaotic melee, the tiny pink assassin danced, giggling and laughing. Lumin loved the cries and screams of the injured and the visceral sensation of imbedding a blade in the back of a fleeing Elyos. The knowledge that she'd been the one to infiltrate and make the bloodshed possible excited her beyond measure. The fighting grew more intense, the defenders desperately clinging to their entrenched location. But momentum was on the once-outnumbered Archon's side. The Asmodians pushed again and again, cutting the now beleaguered Elyos defenders down over and over again. Lumin slipped out from the throng of Asmodians - she didn’t like this part, when everyone was crowded together. It wasn’t nearly as fun. Her wings unfurled, and she leapt, gliding from the highest tower to a nearby one, mismatched eyes scanning for any fleeing Elyos that she could play with. As the Archons engaged General Dux, the Asmodian victory seemed imminent. The great Elyos Battlelord could not stand up against a small army unsupported. Spells smashed into the gargantuan armored daeva, blades pierced his massive body like pinpricks, but it all took its toll. The Guardian Deity lost his footing, falling to one knee. Asmodian victory was at hand. Then the earth began to shake. In the far distance, massive explosions could be heard. At the cusp of their victory, the Asmodians paused. The trembling of the earth grew worse, and a terrible rumbling sound could be heard, growing louder and louder. Even General Dux looked up, as the attacks against him faltered. Outside, Lumin looked about, momentarily panicking. Then she saw it. The assassin's mismatched eyes were wide, transfixed. There was a line of darkness approaching from the horizon. It seemed almost...blue-ish. The Sauro Mountains to the west began to crumble and fall, and to the south, a wall of blue-ish darkness was rushing towards Pradeth Fortress. The Asmodian forces were silent, transfixed. Suddenly, a tiny cry came Lumin as she threw her arms up in exasperation. "I didn't do it!" Moments later, the tsunami hit. The magical wards of the great castle crumbled beneath the sheer power of the rising ocean. Stone crumbled and was flung away. Her tower crumbled beneath her, and Lumin leapt, landing lightly on a massive piece of masonry that was being washed away. She kept jumping, dancing from bit of flying, swirling debris to bit of flying, swirling debris, but even the assassin’s reflexes couldn’t protect her from the disaster. A massive chunk of rock slammed into her head, and she fell. A dark shape flitted over her vision as she began to sink. Darkness took her. UPHEAVAL: ESCAPE FROM IRC ------ It wasn't the pain that woke her up - it was the odd sensation of something wet on her face and her hair being gently but constantly pulled. She could hear a soft snorting, like some large monster was nearby. Something wet and warm splashed down onto her chin. Slowly, groggily, her mismatched eyes opened, peering up at locks of her pink hair being pulled up into the air above her face. A dark shape hovered over her, and she could just barely make out a sharp fanged maw with a few gibbets of torn, raw flesh stuck between the teeth. It seemed to be eating her hair. She blinked. A fat dollop of warm saliva dribbled down onto her nose. The beast chewed at her hair quietly, not seeming to be trying to eat it, just...mouthing her pink strands. A long moment of confusion set in before realization smashed into her befuddled brain. "R-Ruffles...?" She squeaked out. The snuffling and snorting stopped, and the beast opened its toothy maw, letting her wet hair fall down and splatter against her face. The black Pagati rumbled quietly, and Lumin beamed up at him through her saliva-soaked hair. "Ruffles! You saveded me!" Her dark lips twisted into a smile, she raised her arms and hugged the massive head, burying her face into the scaley beast's neck. He rumbled happily, and as she let him go, he gave her face a long, slobbery lick. "You're such a good boy yes you is! Yes you is, yes you is!" She crooned happily to draconic beast. His thick tail thumped happily against the stone ground. Slowly, she pulled herself up to a sitting position, amethyst and silver-blue eyes scanning their surroundings. A moment later, the pain hit full-force, sending her head swimming. "Nnrrrg....I'm all hurty. Not in a good way either." She gave her head a shake, trying to dismiss the pain. The pagati sat on his haunches to her right. Water was lapping at her feet, and she realized that she was completely soaked, her leather squishing with every movement. It was terribly cold. She shivered, her mane bristling to trap some air against her skin. They were in a large, dark chamber, of well-hewn stone. There were several halls and doorways scattered through the chamber,and two massive doors on either end. The ceiling was partially crumbled, and water was slowly pouring in, gathering near the crumbled entry. It took her a moment to recognize the place - this was Beritra's Idgel Research Center beneath Pradeth, the laboratory that neither Elyos nor Asmodian daevas had been able to purge. Bodies were scattered through the main chamber - some were clearly ide mutants, others were balaur and a few were Elyos and Asmodians. That gave Lumin a moment of pause. "Ruffles how come there's dead daevas?" She looked to the pagati a moment, as if expecting him to answer her. Instead, he slobbered and nuzzled his head against her face. "Awww I love you too Ruffleypoo! But daeva bodies don't stay around when we die we go back to wherever our souls are bou---" She stopped mid sentence, mouth opened in surprise. She closed her eyes a moment, and felt her own aetheric field. All of her aether was here. Her eyes opened again, this time in panic. "Oh no Ruffles the obelisk in the Danuar Spire! It's gone! So's The Battle Kisk I was soulbound to! I don't wanna disappear again!" She clutched desperately at the slobbering pagati's neck, hugging him. "I don't wanna be in the cold and dark again. Being dead sucks! Mega Ultra Whammy Pow Sucks!" She stayed there, buried against her pagati for along while. The only sounds she could hear were her own breathing, Ruffles' breaths, and the slow gush of flowing water. Her left foot felt especially damp, and after a moment she felt something moving against the leather of her boot. She peeked her eyes up from Ruffles' black,scaly neck to look down. Her foot was submerged in water. It hadn't been a few minutes ago. The water level was rising. "Oh no, Ruffles! We're gonna be drownded! And we'll be dead for real real, not for play play! We gotta find a way to get out of here!" Galvanized, she pulled herself to her feet, and nearly fell back down, woozy. The pain in her head flared brightly. "Oww...." She reached up, and felt thick liquid seeping from her hairline. "Ruffles I musta gotted cut pretty bad or hit with a rock or something. Prolly a rock 'cause that'd explain why I feel all woobly." She glanced around and saw her pink hat amidst the rubble. She scooped it up and plopped it down on her wet hair. "Maybe there's something in here we can use to escape, Ruffles! The pagati looked up at her, his slitted, reptilian eyes watching her. He bobbed his head. She nodded. "Yeah! We can totally escape Ruffles! You're right." The pagati slowly stood, stretching its massive hind legs. It padded over a few feet and plopped down with a loud thump next to an Elyos corpse. He promptly pulled the dead Elysian's arm up with his foreclaws and began to gnaw at the flesh. "Good idea Ruffles! We'll prolly get hungry! You're in charge of getting provi---provisio---yumyums! I'll totally look around and see if there's something we can use to get out of here!" The pagati’s slitted eyes looked over to the pink woman, pausing a moment in his gnawing to slobber all over the dead flesh. Then he went back to gnawing, giving silent accord to her plan. Carefully, she made her way through the dark, her mismatched eyes shining in the gloom. She could see fairly well in the near-pitch, though some of the broken walls and debris were half-submerged in the growing pool of water. She took each step slowly, knowing that there was a distinct possibility that some of the test subjects - or their handlers - could still be alive. As she moved through the broken facility, she could spy the corpses scattered among the fallen debris - balaur researchers, Elyos and Asmodians likely washed in from the disaster, and even worse things. Crushed beneath a massive chunk of fallen masonry, she could see the remains of a massive tricorn, its hide swirling with idian colors even in death. The soft sound of something slithering through the rubble caught her attention just before it leapt at her - a massive, pale clodworm launched itself from the rubble, trying to attach its rounded suckers to her flesh. With a squeak of disgust she hopped back, batting it aside, her claws raking a few shallow cuts in the worm's soft, pasty flesh. It screeched, trying to turn on her, but she raised her spiked heel up and smashed it down on the worm's head, crushing it. The two foot long helminth thrashed a few times before going still. More movement caught her eye, and she spotted several more of the parasites attached to the corpse of the idian tricorn, sucking away at clotted blood and devouring dead flesh. "Eww. Ruffles we got worms!" The pagati looked up, uninterested, then went back to gnawing his Elyos arm. She slipped into the shadows, sneaking past the feasting clodworms. Her explorations led to more bodies and cave-ins - but nothing useful. One corridor led to a flight of stairs that were wholly caved in, another led to a simple chamber with a host of dead Reians piled into a heap. She was about to head back to Ruffles, dejected at her failure to find anything of use, when she spotted a door half-hidden behind some caved in masonry. She slipped beneath the fallen arch, and pried the door open. Within was an armory of sorts - balic weapons lined the walls, with a massive cannon taking up one corner. A torn open metal crate dominated the room, marked with balaur writings. She crept in, her usual smile widening to a massive, toothy grin. Eyes wide with wonder, she moved over to the crate. Within were long, wide metal tubes, each capped with a conical shape. Missiles... Her mouth opened as her smile grew wider and wider, eclipsing her face, eyes shining down on her find with a mad joy. "Ruffles baby we're gonna get out! Woooo Asplosions! Yay Lumin!" She called out to the pagati, whose attention was focused on ripping a bit of gristle from the Elyos' bone. Glancing around at the armory, her mind began to spin as a plan began to rip and tear its way through her mind. Her eyes danced from instrument to instrument, searching for what she would need. "Gots everything...but it's gotta be red so it goes faster..." Blood was red. And there were lots of bodies down here. And there were rusty weapons that were corroding in the sea water. And oil in the armory for maintenance. Yes. Lumin began to work. ------- Ruffles slobbered over the thigh he was eating, his thick saliva splattering onto the torn open muscles. He gathered the food-thing up against his chest as he laid half atop the corpse, and craned his head in to tear at the flesh. Sudden banging from the other-place where his mother had gone made him jerk his head up. He heard her making the happy-sounds though, so she wasn't being attacked. He bent back down to tear a strip of food from the food-thing, and the banging resumed. By the time the banging stopped, he had stripped the carcass of its best food-bits. His head perked up as his mother appeared out of the other-place, smelling of sweat. He was sleepy. The scary-things had happened this morning and now it was very late. His mother curled up against him, and he drooled happily. "You know Ruffles, we're gonna get out of here. My plan's totally gonna work! It's gonna be so neato-sweeto you'll see. And you're gonna love your new harness it's super duper extralooper spiffaroonie. But it's gonna take some time, 'cause I think something really bad happened! Like, I think that tidal wave made us totally underwater! I'm not sure though. But the water keeps getting higher in here. I think we got a couple days still afore this place is all watery but I think we gots enough time for me to finish. Luckily you got lots of yumyums to eat. I'll be ok I think. Though my tummy's getting awfully grumbalicious." His mother murmured to him. He didn't know what her sounds were, except for his name. And yumyums, he knew what that meant. Food-things. But she sounded happy, and that made the memories of the scary-things that had happened today a bit less scary. She closed her eyes and so did he. Together, they slept, as the water slowly poured into their temporary refuge. When he woke up, his mother was gone. But he could smell bad-fire from the same other-place that she had been yesterday, and he could hear her making the quiet-happy-sounds. He could also smell metal melting. But he had eaten a lot of yumyums, so he just closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep, digesting his feast. He woke up when his mother laid down with him. She smelled tired and he could hear her belly rumble. He was sad. She couldn't eat any of the food that was slowly rotting in this cave-place. She didn't make any of her usual squawky sounds, and that was very unlike her. She simply laid against his flank and slipped into slumber. He turned his head and nuzzled her, getting slobber over her pink jerkin. He stayed there, awake and watchful for hours as she slept, and the water crept higher. Eventually, he fell asleep too. Cold. Wet. The water woke him. A slitted eye opened, then the other. His feet and belly were in the cold, salty water. He lapped at the liquid. Blechh! He grimaced in the way only lizards can, tongue extended. He coughed, then pushed himself up off the now wet ground. He could smell blood - lots of it. But it was old blood. His mother was moving around the bodies, and the bucket she carried smelled of rotting blood. When she saw him getting up, she paused, her mismatched eyes gleaming in the dark. “Don’t worry Ruffles, he’s almost done! And your harness is done, I maded that first ‘cause it was harder. We’re gonna get out of here soon!” She squawked happily. He padded over to her and nuzzled her face. Her eyes were sunken into her skull, and she looked thin. Famished. He whined a little, and she set the bucket of blood down and hugged his head against her shoulder. “Don’t worry Ruffles we’ll be okiedokielokie soon!” He gently pulled away, drooling onto her hat a bit. Then he padded away and picked up the remains of the arm he had gnawed the first night - nothing more than some crunched up bone. He tossed it up in the air and across the room, then scampered after it. When he caught up to it, he crunched it beneath his feet. He sniffed the air, and began to inspect the remains of the crushed poison-horn. Its hide was stripped by the clodworms, which were all dead around it. He sniffed them, and hopped back. They were poison. Poison like the poison that his mother had put into her. But most of her poison was gone. These were full of poison. They wouldn’t be yumyums. They were bad-things. He moved over to some fallen masonry, and selected a rock, then picked it up in his jaws - getting slobber all over it - and carefully moved it over to the clodworms, and carefully put it down atop one of them. He repeated the action over and over, carefully burying the poison-things. Poison-things were bad. After he finished, he carefully moved to the highest spot in the room, and settled down onto his belly, and slept. -------- The smell was starting to bother her. All of the corpses were rotting now, and that made them way less fun than they were when they were fresh. She splattered the last bucketful of red over her escape plan - it was sure to go way faster because everyone knows that red things go faster. Her stomach growled loudly. Hunger had been hounding her for days, but she didn’t really have any solutions to that - she wasn’t a cannibal after all, and what few creatures that were in the ruined research center were tainted with Ide. She felt a connection with the stuff, ever since the balaur had experimented on her, but she didn’t think it would be safe to eat ide poisoned flesh, and she couldn’t take the risk of dying. Death now would be death forever. She’d been there, done that, and wasn’t going to go back to the cold and the dark and the loneliness. On the bright side, Ruffles had had plenty to eat. He looked positively pudgy. It had taken her days, but she was pretty sure that she was finished. The water was starting to get into the armory now. She knew she needed to hurry, but another growl from her belly reminded her how hungry she felt. She stood back, looking to her creations. Her constant smile widened and widened. This was totally going to work. "Ruffles! Here boy!" She called out in a sing-song fashion. A few moments later the pagati's dark head popped into the doorway, a half-gnawed Asmodian leg hanging from his jaws. Then he shuffled into the room, and carefully set leg down, as though it were some sort of precious treasure. He even nudged it towards Lumin. Her heart melted a little at how adorable he was being ahd she bounded over to him, giving him a big hug and a kiss on his nose. "You're so cute Ruffles. Looky looky we got our escapeamajiggs!" She wrapped her arms around his neck, and half-turned, motioning with her other hand towards the three large objects that now dominated the armory. She had cannibalized the cannon's chassis, and combined it with Ruffles' saddle and harness. There were half a dozen black, ide-powered rockets attached to what had once been a cannon, and was now a terrifying abomination of rocket science. It looked unwieldy, and insanely dangerous. It was perfect. "That one's for my Ruffly Ruffles. You're gonna be the first ever ROCKET POWERED PAGATI! WHOOOSH ZOOM! YAY RUFFLES!" She hopped up and down excitedly, and the pagati, not realizing the horrors this would entail for him, danced from one foot to the other excitedly, too,mirroring her motions. "And that's my escapeamajigg!" She pointed to the single rocket. She had taken more time with it, because she had to control it more. She'd added stabilizing fins, a metal seat, and several control levers. She was proud of her work. Turning the idgel core into a source of power for the rocket's engine hadn't been easy. But most importantly she had painted it red. She'd even painted a face on it, a scary-scary face with a giant mean mouth with big teeth, and its belly was yellow and looked like fire. She had had to make the paints herself, using the oils in the armory, rust, and blood. Salt from the seawater made the white of the teeth and eyes. Yellow had been harder, but she’d managed. Now it was not only red, but the fire pattern meant it would go even faster than something that was just red. "Ruffles, meet Chompers! I'mma ride him so that we're both ROCKET POWERED YAY US YAY RUFFLES YAY LUMIN!" She squealed happily, before bouncing up and down again. After a moment, she calmed. "Okiedokielokie, Ruffles. We're gonna escape but I need your help we also gotsa take that -" she motioned to the other object - it was the rest of the rockets from the crate. Or, rather, their warheads, all detached and welded together onto a frame. "--and we gotta put it up near the entry so we can blast the rubble out. Then when the water's rushing in we'll rocket out and escape! Woosh!" She held her hand out and made it zoom around, spinning in a circle as she did, before having her hand go up and up until she couldn't reach any more and was pointing to the ceiling. "Just Like that! We'll rocket away to safety and be back at Danuar Spire by lunchtime. Um. Assuming it's morning. I dunno what time it really is. Maybe it's dinner time! We could be back by midnight snacktime. I guess that'd be midnight. Either way, GO US! WOOO!" She threw her arms up in the air happily. With Ruffles' help, she managed to get the makeshift bomb into place, the pagati dragging the rigging along the broken and rubble-strewn floor. Getting his Rocket Harness on proved to be a hassle. The pagati kept mouthing one of the rockets, trying to eat it. "Ruffles no no no rockets aren't for eating they're for escaping." She admonished, but he paid little heed to her words of wisdom. After the sixteenth try, she sighed and snatched up a bone and offered it to the pagati, who snatched it up in his mouth. Once he was cracking into that, she managed to get the elaborate harness onto his back. She'd added extra buckles to his old saddle to make sure it would stay on - thankfully the Elyos and Asmodian corpses had all had belts. She knew just his wings would never be able to give him the steering power he'd need- plus she was pretty sure they were underwater because seawater had been steadily pouring in, and so she'd created a long, metal tailfin assembly hat she stretched out along his tail - he'd be able to sort of steer himself using his tail and his wings. Once the rockets were strapped to Ruffles she squeezed his head like a mother would her baby and kissed his muzzle. Then she produced a pair of massive goggles that she'd rigged together, and carefully slid them over his head, strapping them on. He blinked his scaley eyes from behind the heavy rounded crystal goggles. "You're A-OK for Liftoff, Ruffles!" His only response was to drool more, and drop his bone. After a moment he made a rumbly growly hurrrrr sound. She giggled, and moved over to the almost shark-like red missile she would use herself. She slipped onto it and took a deep breath. She flipped the big,red switch, and suddenly the contraption roared to life. Fire burst from the rear and the machine began to float, its idgel core whirring within. "Wooo! Chompers, YEAH! ALRIGHT, RUFFLES!" She reached up and unhooked the goggles over the brim of her hat, and pulled them down, affixing them over her eyes. "We are good to launch Ruffles, Ten-For Good Buddy." She slipped up the little button that would send a magical pulse to the explosives. She bit her tongue between her teeth in concentration, then pressed the button. FWAWHOOOSHBOOOOOOM The explosion ripped through stone, wood, and water. Lumin gasped and laughed aloud in joy, her laughter drowned out by the thunder of the detonations. Water roared in, an almost tidal wave of sea water smashing aside the rubble. They were going to be crushed. "LIFT OFF!" she yelled, laughing as she hit the other button on the little device she held. the rockets attached to Ruffles burst into life, and with a terrified yowling screech, the pagati took off. Lumin pocketed the device and pushed the levers on Chompers forward as she took a deep breath of air, and she too burst forward. Together, they smashed into the onrushing water. The ide-powered rockets needed no air to burn, their magical fuel propelling them through the seawater as if it were slightly thicker air. The two burst out into the underwater remains of what once was Pradeth fortress. It was dark, and the pressure was crushing, but faint light could be seen above - the light of the sun. Her cheeks bulging with the last gasp of air she had taken before her start, Lumin angled Chompers upwards, rocketing through the salty liquid gloom. Ruffles was a few feet away, his rocket pack slower, due to his bulk. She passed him, and he instinctively began trying to follow her. Fish and other sea creatures swam and buzzed about them, even a great razortooth, but the Rocketeers were moving too fast to be in any danger from the massive predator. The light grew greater and greater, and just as Lumin's breath was about to give out, she burst up and out of the water in a spray of saltwater droplets. A moment later, Ruffles too burst out of the water, their cascade of spray forming a rainbow in the air about them. Lumin hooped and hollered in joy, as her rocket-bike descended down, and began to skip along the surface of the water, almost skiing over the ocean. Ruffles unfurled his massive wings, and began to rise up, trying to steer himself. He was used to flying, but not at this speed. Both were exhilarated, Lumin's eyes wide with wonder and joy behind her goggles. Ruffles' tongue hung from his mouth, almost flapping in the wind of his passage. He beat his wings up a few times, giving some distance from the waves as he roared along, crying out a loud GRUUUUUUURRRRR of happiness. Lumin stayed close to the water, Chompers zooming along over waves, sometimes jumping, sometimes almost sinking into the water before the ide engine kicked in and Lumin tore his nose upwards. In the distance, she could see a massive, tilted and twisted spire of black stone rising high into the sky, like a twisted mockery of Aion, the Tower of Fate. Below the dark spire was a continent, a land she'd never seen before - even when she'd been aboard the Habrok and travelling from Gelkmaros down to Katalam. The strange new land was the only land she could spy, and so she pointed towards it, and yelled happily. “Ruffles, we gotsa go thataway, I think! I bet that’s big towerythingajigger’s what caused the waveajigg, ‘cause it totally wasn’t me!” Lumin called out to Ruffles as they blasted through the bright day. The Pagati arfed happily at her, and together, they zoomed through the air, the wind whipping Lumin's pink hair back behind her. Flocks of white birds burst from the water where they had been floating, and Lumin laughed joyously. Ruffles tried to snatch one in his mouth, but missed. Lumin giggle-snorted, beaming happily. Despite all of the horror and terror and hard work of the last...however long it had been, this moment in time was truly enjoyable for the pink assassin. As they sped along, a pod of sea-beasts burst up beneath the two Rocketeers, their grey bodies dancing through the ocean surf like clowns. Lumin beamed happily, looking from them to the beautiful scene around them. Ahead, the strange land was approaching. The massive, twisted spire of darkness rose, and faintly amid the clouds, her keen eyes spotted a shape. “Ruffles, there’s a Air Ship up there! In the….uh...East I think! I bet it’s the Habrok, there’s other survivors! I bet they got nomnoms! Let’s go!” She pointed upwards towards the dark speck in the sky, and twisted the modified rocket about, heading towards the eastern half of the strange, new continent. Ruffles followed after, drool shooting past his shoulder to gradually splatter into the ocean behind them. (Art by the talented Halimede) UPHEAVAL: A NEW WORLD FULL OF EXPLODABILITY ------------ "Well, Ruffles, that's totally not the Habrok." Lumin eyed the massive white-sailed ship that was passing over their heads. She could see the light-skinned people on-board, with their creepy, maneless backs and ugly clawless hands. They were, of course, Elyos. And the ship was mooring above a massive rocky gully. Lumin quietly sat atop Chompers, watching through the spray of the massive waterfall the two were next to. Inside the huge, open gully, there looked like a very large sea-shell fortress, the sort of thing one would expect to see in a dreamscape. The entire area had water running down through tiny holes in the rocky walls about it, and she could spy white-winged figures flitting about through aether-rich air, both patrolling and helping the Elysian airship moor safely. That meant that they were in enemy territory. "This is bad, Ruffles. We're in Elyos land. That means we're all alone deep in enemy lines and we gotsa survive using our thinkajiggs. I dunno where the other Asmodians are, but they gotta be somewhere. And if I were an Asmodian, and I totally am, I'd probably head towards the giant new continent with the creepy black evil tower thinger poking out of it. Which we totally did. But we're not all the Asmodians, so if I would do that if I were an Asmodian and I did do it cause I am an Asmodian then that means that the other Asmodians did it too and so they’re around somewhere, we just gotsa find where they are.” Ruffles listened to her totally logical argument, then ate a bug. "I dunno Ruffles, that seems awfully risky. But you're prolly right! We gotsa find our friends and the only people we can see are the Elyos but they prolly know where the Asmodians are so we gotsa ask them. But we gotta ask carefully 'cause they want to kill us." ------ She rifled through the unconscious Elyos' cube, searching for anything that she could eat. She didn’t know when the last time she had eaten was, but it was totally a long time ago and even with all of the adrenaline of the escape and the crazy new sea-continent she found herself on, she was feeling weak from hunger. She paused a moment, eyeing the unconscious man. He was an Elyos scout, she knew that. She’d followed him from their fortress-town, shadowing him until he’d been alone and far enough away that he’d not be able to call for help. She could have killed him, it would have been easier, but it had still been easy to knock him unconscious. The blonde haired man had poor eyes for a scout, and was weak, like most of his kin - knocking him unconscious from the shadows had been almost child’s play, and it was simple to bind his hands behind his back with the length of rope that she kept in Ruffles’ saddlebags. She gave a quiet gasp as she found something that looked like food. It was some kind of bizarre half-vinna half brommel fruit-like thing. She sniffed it, then straddled the man’s chest idly, knees on either side of his body. She nibbled at the fruit, then made a Blechh-face. It tasted sort of bad, mostly for its strangeness, but it didn't seem to be killing her, so she took a bite, then another and another, until she had eaten the entire thing. Her long neglected stomach growled, and her hunger pangs renewed. Just as she was about to try to find anything else to eat in the scout’s belongings, he began to stir, moaning quietly. "Look Ruffles, he's waking up!" She chirruped over to her dark scaled compatriot. The pagati just lounged nearby, sitting on the ground. He yawned, and watched on with dumb, drooling fascination. The Elyos jerked a little at her words, her voice, her language, cutting through the fog of his unconscious mind. He recognized an Asmodian's voice. The man's blue eyes shot open, looking around fearfully. He tried to jerk his hands out from beneath him, but of course, they were bound. Lumin clapped her clawed hands gleefully, leaning down against him, her bosom pressing into his clavicle. His eyes were immediately drawn to her chest, then they jerked up to her face. She beamed down at him happily, her face only a few inches from his. "Hheelloo!” She shouted loudly and slowly, right into his face. “Mmee Lluummiinn! Mmee wwaanntt ttoooo ffiinndd mmoorree Aassmmooddiiaannss. Tteell mmee aannd Ii’lll Lleett yyoouu ggoo." The Elyos, of course, did not understand a single word that the pink abomination that sat on his chest was saying. Instead of speaking a response, he hocked back and spat at her face. She didn't blink as the glob of saliva landed just below her left eye. Lumin's beaming, wide-eyed expression never changed, even as the warm spit oozed down her cheek. "Spitting isn't an answer Mister Man, that's just rude." She chirruped cheerfully at a normal vocal pace. Then she yelled slowly at his face again. "Tthhaatt wwaass vveerryy rruuddee. Mmee hhuurrtt yyoouu nnooww." She even waggled a clawed finger in front of his face, admonishing him like a parent would a child. Then, still beaming happily, she tore his right eye out, claws sinking into the squishy ocular mass and ripping it apart like an oversized grape. Blood and aqueous humor sprayed into her still smiling, never blinking face. A droplet of his blood even landed in her ide-poisoned eye, landing without a flinch or reaction from the madwoman. It slowly rolled down her eye, then into her eyelid.. The Elyos, however, screamed. He writhed beneath her, trying and failing to reach up and cover his wound. He sobbed and sputtered in his own language, cursing the Asmodian girl one moment and pleading with her the next. Casually, Lumin peered at the torn globular bit of flesh in her claws, then she tossed it aside. Ruffles moved in an instant, snapping the eye up mid-air with a wet chomp. He made a happy sound. Slowly, she blinked, thrusting her face up to within an inch of his. Her smile widened even further. Slowly, he stilled, whimpering and moaning. Snot dripped down his nose. "I like playing fun games Mister Man but I really want to find my Legion-mates. Bossman Aadesh was gonna treat us all to superneato sundaes with sprinkles on top if we took Pradeth and we sort of did and I don't want to miss sundaes with sprinkles on top and nuts and hot fudge too so you should tell me what I want to know 'cause I can keep you alive for a superduperextralooper long time while I play with your nerves. There's this neatosweeto trick I know where I can cut into your back and there's this spiffariffic little nerveajigg in this bit of bone called the axial nerveadoodle and I totally know how to pluck it so that every inch of your your back and spine and arms all start screaming in pain and it's like super hurty, like a make-your-mouth-froth-before-you-pass-out-but-even-when-you're-asleep-it-still-hurts-and-your-life-becomes-a-living-hell-from-which-there-is-no-escape kind of hurty. It's neat." She paused, taking a moment to remember what she was supposed to be saying - hurting people got her so excited. "Oh yeah! So you gots to tell me where my people are." She blinked again, then sat up a bit. She pointed to herself several times. "Mmee." Then she raised a hand and cupped it over her eyes, mimicking the motion of looking into or searching the distance. "Llookk." She paused a moment, the cogs in her mind grinding. Suddenly she giggled. She reached around to her rear and slipped a hand about the bottom of her mane, tugging it over her hip and pointing towards it. "Ffoorr Aassmmooddiiaannss.." The Elyos sobbed in pain, but slowly nodded in understanding. Lumin clapped her hands together happily, a few droplets of the Elyos' blood falling onto her bosom. "Yaay! You get to help us then I'll let you go! Yay you!" She hopped to her feet,and whistled. Ruffles rose up lazily, scratching at the harness of his rocket pack. She fetched up the length of rope attached to the Elyos' bound hands, then reached down and pulled him to his feet. He barely managed to stand. She tugged him over to her red rocket-cycle, Chompers, and tied the rope to one of the grips. She hopped onto the floating mount of mass destruction, then made a shooing motion to the Elyos. "Go! Take me to my friends!" The seemingly broken scout seemed to understand, whimpering and hobbling forward. Lumin carefully eased the throttle up, floating along with the Elyos. Ruffles yawned, following after and occasionally sniffing at the strange, sea-like flora. After fifteen or twenty minutes, he chased after a giant flying puffball that looked sort of like a fish, but when he caught it and bit into it, it burst like a gore-filled balloon. Moments after the goresplosion, he began to sneeze up bits of pufferfish, shaking his head left and right. Lumin giggled. “Oh, Ruffles.” It took the better part of the day, but as the sun was drawing close to the strange Balaurean horizon, the Elyos motioned with his head, stopping at the base of a hill. Lumin hopped off of Chompers, and motioned for Ruffles to stay put. Carefully, she moved up the hill, keeping low, and tugging the Elyos close. She forced him down, and as were about to crest the top of the hill, Lumin stopped, tugging the Elyos still, as well. Lumin's eyes were wide, scanning the very large problem she saw before her. The Elyos wore a knowing grin of triumph behind her back. They were unseen, but at the base of the other side of the hill lay a sprawling military bivouac. Hundreds of Elyos soldiers were in various stages of preparation - Lumin could even see a few floating siege engines near the center of the camp. Their focal point was obvious - a huge, glowing blue rift, a tear in space that lead to some other place. Lumin had a fairly decent idea (in a general sort of way) of where that rift would lead. The Elyos took a deep breath as quietly as he could, opening his mouth wide to shout. Without looking, Lumin's left hand sprang up, claws sinking into the man's throat as the tendons in her fingers flexed, then she wrenched her hand forward, ripping a massive chunk of the scout's throat out - and with it, his larynx. His shout for help-turned-scream died before it could reach his lips, whistling quietly out the hole in his throat. She spun around, dropping down to the ground and tugging the Elyos with her. She slipped a knife into her hand and rammed it into the man's remaining eye. She cooed quietly for a few moments. cradling his twitching corpse, before slipping the blade out with a bloody squelching sound. Already, motes of aether were flitting out of the Daeva’s body - he was bound somewhere. She had a few minutes before he'd be able to tell his people where she was. She had to act fast. She scurried down the hill, moving over to Ruffles. "Ruffles we gotsa problem!" she whispered hurriedly to the pagati. He blorped at her, then belched up a bit of pufferfish and spat it out. "There's lots of Elyos between us and a rift home and we gotta sneak past them....but if we do that then they can still mount their attack on our people! We can't let them do that, Ruffles, we gotsa stop them." She hugged the Pagati's head against her bountiful bosom, stroking it as she murmured. He slobbered all over her. "I think I gotsa plan but we got like two minutes so we gotta be super duper fast, Ruffles." She scurried up the hill, snagging up the rope that was left behind - the Elyos daeva was gone now, the only reminders of his presence being droplets of blood in the reddish, seaweed-like grass, and an indentation where his body had lain. She moved to Chompers, tying the rope about the handles of the modified rocket. "Ok Chompers I need your help for this!" she chirped to the inanimate object. She paused a moment, as if listening to its silent reply. Then she patted it on the nosecone, between where she had painted its eyes. "Okiedokielokie, Ruffles, Chompers, we gotta do this one go no retries it's gonna be superultramegadooper fun!" She beckoned the pagati over, and he shuffled to the pink haired assassin. He opened his gaping, slobbery maw and leaned down, taking some of her hair into his mouth and gnawing on it. Lumin giggled. "Later, Ruffles. We gotsa fly!" With that, she leaned over the red rocket, and looped the rope around the stabilizer, then she threw the throttle up to full and let go.The rocket roared to life, the idgel core within bursting into action. Chompers roared forwards, up the hill like a ramp, then it burst up into the open air, flying high. Lumin hopped onto Ruffles, and hit the remote ignition for his rocket pack. The engine burst into life, and they, too, were rocketing skyward, Lumin squealing with joy as the wind whipped up about them. The Elyos were shouting as the red rocket burst over the hill and into the air above their bivouac. Spells were being readied at this threat, when suddenly from the other side of the hill, a rocket-powered pagati and his pink-haired rider bolted skyward. Flummoxed and distracted, they hesitated, and what spells that were launched towards them missed wildly. Lumin had counted on that. She knew no one would ever expect a Rocket Pagati. Blazing a trail high into the sky over the Elysian camp, Lumin squealed happily, clutching at Ruffles' neck. "Operation Boom Boom Pow is a go, Ruffles! Weeeeeeeee!" With that, she slipped a knife out and cut the cordage of one of the rockets propelling the Pagati. It tumbled earthward. Then she slit another and another off, each rocket tumbling towards the Elyos camp. She nudged Ruffles, and he angled them towards the glowing blue rift. With a final slice, she unleashed the massive, modified cannon that served as the primary power source of his wondrous Rocket Pagati-pack. She clutched at his neck as his harness slid off. There was a massive jolt - they lost momentum without the primary booster, and began falling earthward with the device, but then with a HURRRRR of triumph, Ruffles unfurled his wings, and they glided towards the rift. The first rocket impacted into the Elyos camp, and the ide-blast of its detonation tore through flesh, bone, metal and soul. Then the second rocket hit, and the third, fourth, and fifth. The dead were silent, but the dying screamed into the wind, a sound that excited Lumin to her core. She loved screams. Lumin bit her tongue in excitement and concentration, clutching to ruffles' neck as the Rift dominated their vision - they were so close! The main rocket impacted, and the detonation was massive. As the shockwave raced outwards from the ruined Elyos camp, Lumin and Ruffles flew through the swirling Rift, and into a new land. Behind them, ide-flames roared, and an explosion burst out from the rift. They tumbled to the ground, falling flat on their bellies as ide-flames licked out of the rift momentarily. A moment later, Lumin squealed with joy, laughing aloud. "That was so awesome Ruffles did you see that we were all like whooosh zoom then BOOM BOOM BOOOM! Yaaaay us!" She hopped to her feet, dancing around happily.Then from the rift came a zipping, spinning sound, and another explosion. Lumin ducked, clutching her hat to her head as a spinning red object was hurled through the rift, which was wavering, its magic destabilized by the ide explosions. With a loud THUNK, Chompers implanted itself in the ground, half-buried on one side. Lumin blinked in surprise. "Chompers, you lived! Wow! Yay Chompers!” She danced happily over to the steaming red engine, patting the searing hot surface of it happily. “Yay Ruffles!” She hopped over to the pagati and pressed her lips against his muzzle. Then, she tossed her hands up towards the sky in victory, beaming madly. “Yay, Lumin!” Calming after a few moments, she could hear movement, nearby. Behind her, the Rift was tearing itself apart, its power waving about much like seaweed in the surf. She glanced around, taking in their surroundings for the first time. This new place was softer, blue-er than the Elyos held land. There were worn away rocks and ruins everywhere, and giant seashells. it looked like her ideal concept of what a beach would look like. She heard a few shouts from a short distance away - they were Asmodians! She giggle-snorted gleefully, and waited - within a few minutes, a dozen darkly armored Asmodian Archons appeared coming down the sandy beach, accompanied by half a dozen figures Lumin couldn’t recognize. They were almost ethereal - lightly built humanoids with pale blue skin. They were scantily clad, and beautiful in a strange way. They seemed sort of fishy to her. The party marched up close to her, then stopped.. Lumin beamed madly at them, her lips so wide that her teeth were visible, mismatched eyes almost glowing with joy. The Asmodians - and the Tehji - gawked at the scene. "Hi!" she chirruped. "I’m Lumin!" Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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