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/qst/ - Quests

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You are the O5 Council. Voices in the darkness, lights for humanity to follow across the hungering void. And in their eternal defense, you die in the shadows that they may live peacefully in light.

Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=999+Quest

Currently however, you are O5-10, known most commonly as the Archivist. And you are in the grounds of a library, courtesy of a front company of the Barrett Commission. What are your first actions?
Check the books to make sure there's nothing in them that the public shouldn't know about.
>Check the books to make sure there's nothing in them that the public shouldn't know about.
You move over to one of the shelves and you start going through the books therein, scanning through one after the other in a consistent pattern. And once you are done with that, you move on to the next shelf.

The books vary in terms of content, and whilst most are normal, you came across quite a few detailing haemovoric entities and the like. Though, given how you suspect most of the people involved in the company this library is contained in to be Commission members, the chances of an average member of the public coming across this information, let alone giving it any merit, are quite low.
>you came across quite a few detailing haemovoric entities and the like
Put them in the fiction section just to be safe.
>Put them in the fiction section just to be safe.
Resolving to do so, you pick up the small stack of texts detailing haemovores and you move over to the fiction section some few feet away to start putting them in there. Better to be safe than to be sorry.

You're almost finished putting all the potentially compromising books away when a sharply dressed man walks up and removes a book from another part of the section and then begins to walk away. And unlike other cases, you know this figure very well.


The man stops for a moment and turns his head to face you, eyes strangely sparkling as he does.

"Ah, good to see you, 10. Though, this is likely the fifth time that we have began interactions in such a manner, within the confines of a library. But never the same one."

You quietly sigh. Four was well known for being cryptic and mysterious at even the best of times., and it seems like this would be no different.

"But I digress. Would you not like to come sit with me, 10? Reading together greatly helps in gathering information and growing as individuals. Except for those particular instances where it does not, but that is neither here nor there."

>Take Four up on his offer to sit together. You could use the counsel
>Accept, but ask him some more questions whilst you walk
>Politely decline for the moment
>Take Four up on his offer to sit together. You could use the counsel
>Take Four up on his offer to sit together. You could use the counsel
Sighing some more to yourself, you decide to follow after Four, who has already started going over to a large wooden table situated in the further end of the room. You don't even bother to try and maintain the idea that you could match his stride, seeing as how Four has made walking faster than everyone else an art form.

By the time you get there, you see that Four has already taken his seat and has cracked open the book he had taken. 'A Proffessional Guide To Dragons?' What a strange title.

"Strange indeed." O5-4 responds to your unspoken thought. "But quite interesting all the same. Please, 10. Have a seat and let us engage. Partake in some tea and cookies if you desire."

Tea and cookies? What tea and cookies-

-You look at the table again. And sitting inconspicuously on it are a large teapot and an even larger tray of cookies. That you simply know were not there before.
"Please, help yourself 10. They don't bite. This time at least."

Actually looking at the cookies on the tray, you see that they are all varying colors. Some are pink, others yellow, whilst yet more range from vivid reds to green to blues to deep browns and even some that you aren't sure are part of the visible spectrum. There's a lot of variance for this tray of sweets.

>Try a pink cookie
>Try a yellow cookie
>Try one of the brown ones
>Red doesn't look all that bad, thinking on it...
Try a blue cookie.
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>Try a blue cookie.
The other options do look interesting you'll admit, but you decide to reach out for one of the blue cookies all the same. Just seems like a fine choice.

You raise it to your mouth, and you can smell the slightest hint of blueberries as you bring it closer, and then you bite into it. A strange taste floods your mouth then, like the spray of the seas and the foam along their surface and very sweet berries, bordering on sour. How very very strange.

"Four, are these-" you decide to ask, though Four does raise a finger for you hold. Taking his cup off the table and laying his book down, you watch as he takes a sip from a cup that you are again certain was not present before, before turning to you.

"Yes, the cookies have a mild anomalous effect. But nothing severe I assure you. It fades almost immediately after consumption. The specific recipe requires it, I hope you understand."

You frown a bit at that, but say nothing more.

"Please sit down, 10. Have another cookie if you want. I suspect you have some questions for me, and it would be best we move through them."
Have a cup of tea and try a green cookie, we can probably trust him.

Ask him between sips "So, is this book actually about dragons?"
>Have a cup of tea and try a green cookie, we can probably trust him.
>Ask him between sips "So, is this book actually about dragons?"
You sit down at the table, picking up your cup and taking the teapot to fill it up. After that has been done, you take up a second cookie, green in color, and stsrt munching on it. Forests, jungles, and limes this time. Four has weird tastes.

Taking the time to swallow, you turn to Four, and you decide to broach the first question you have.

"So, is this book actually about dragons?"

"Mm. Not really. It's more about a civilization that predated our own that we call dragons for the lack of anything else to name them. A fun little way to pass the time whilst we wait on our guests."

Wait, guests?

"Surely you noticed the other seats and plates, 10?" Four waves a hand, but does not move his attention away from his book.

Looking around, you see seven other chsirs situated at the table, along with plates and cups for each. Seven seats for seven other individuals that Four says he's waiting on.

But that just raises the question; who are these 'guests?'
"Are you inviting the rest of the Council to your little tea party?"
>"Are you inviting the rest of the Council to your little tea party?"
"Mm, hardly." Four responds, flipping another page in his book. "1 is busy grooming that boy we took in into either a head of revived MTF operations or perhaps as a cover, akin to a Factotum. 2 has taken to wandering on her own, traversing the spaces, whilst 5 and 6 are out establishing relations and changing the Commission to better suit us. 3 has hooked itself into every instance of hardware and software we could reasonably get our hands on and has become our eyes and ears into the wider world, and 7, along with 8 and 9, have gone out to investigate the situation with these haemovoric presences we've heard about. Finally, 11 and 12 went back to go secure both the contained anomaly and the volatile drives we left behind. 13 is as we left it."

"No, this meeting involves other guests, from very far off Lands." Four took another sip of tea, resting his book a moment, and closing his eyes. "Ah, the first arrives now."

You look over to your side, feeling a sudden disturbance in the air, and you see her. A woman dressed all in red, and stunning in a way you can't quite put to words. Strange as it is, the woman seems to radiate a form of raw 'perfection' just from her mere presence, the essence of her clearly unnatural beauty causing the very world itself to inch away from her being. But despite all that, you feel something else in the air, a subtle trace of wrongness coating the mysterious woman.

Doesn't help that her eyes are pitch-black voids filled with stars either.

"Are you the Overseers?" The strange woman said. "I have come to help you."
Ask her what she wants to help us with, and how.
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>Ask her what she wants to help us with, and how.
"My name is Oreute Bryde." She replies. "The Healer. And you are in terrible danger."

You merely give her a flat-look. That's your entire existence in a nutshell.

"We have to move quickly." Oreute responds, looking hurried. "Six more of me will be arriving all too soon to kill you. The Assassin, the Brute, the Knight, the Judge, the Thief, and the Diplomat. I'll try my best to protect you, but I'm not sure how long I can last. You're in very great danger as it stands now."

You look over to Four, who has just gone back to reading his book about 'dragons', and is seemingly paying no mind to the current situation. You turn back to Oreute. You need to get all the info you can.

Choose two
>Six more of you? Explain what you mean
>What are you, and what is your purpose in this dimension?
>How did you get here?
>>What are you, and what is your purpose in this dimension?
Turning in for the night. We'll continue in the morning.
>>What are you, and what is your purpose in this dimension?
She seems a bit nervous at your probing, or perhaps at the answer itself, and starts looking to the sides as though expecting her six other 'selves' to appear at any moment. Finally, she turns back to you and sighs.

"Strictly speaking, I'm a Shard of Oreute Bryde, the Healer." she replies, fidgeting the slightest bit. "The other six are also Shards, but they work to further Oreute Bryde's plans. I don't, and I try to stop them and mend the damage their schemes bring go the world."

"And what is Oreute Bryde?" you aren't expecting a proper answer, given the nature of most anomalies, but you ask anyway. Better to be safe than sorry.

"Oreute Bryde is what you might refer to as an Excrucian, specifically a Warmain." she says, wincing the tiniest bit at the name 'Excrucian'. " We have our own titles back Outside, but thats not important right now."

"Are there any others?" she looks at you, those pits filled with falling stars somehow managing to radiate worry. "Any other Overseers? Because I'd prefer having you all here when my other selves get here. I'll answer any other questions you have to the best of my ability in the meantime."
>How did you get here?
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>How did you get here?
"I walked of course." she beams at you, clearly unaware of the non-answer she provided. "Though the magic obscuring this place made it difficult to find at first. That was you, wasn't it?"

You slowly nod to her.

"It's rare that normal magic users can manage something like that. So the other six might have similar trouble getting here." her head bobs a little as she speaks. "Not much, but it's something."

"Anyway, if there are any other Overseers, then you should probably contact them. We likely don't have much longer before they get here-"

A distortion in the air causes her words to fall short as she stiffen, a yawning coldness that has set into the very air. Behind the Healer, the world goes blurry and indistinct, and you feel the exact same wrongness that clings to the so-called 'Shard' thicken and grow. Something is coming.

"The other guests have arrived." Four chooses now to speak up, having started on a second cup of tea. "10, be a dear and welcome them in would you?"
You look to the Healer, and she looks back at you, worry playing across her face as clear as day.

"Okay, so lost time than I had thought. Alright, before they get here, I can at least give you this." She sighs, though it seemingly does nothing to do away with her own fear. "I-my totality-has always possessed great skill at invading and infiltrating Creation. With even the smallest piece of myself in the world, I can cast seven shards into it. Each of us then has a role to play towards the completion of our plan. The Knight wears blue and pursues its ends with honorable force. The Judge wears green; acts with discretion and seeks poetic endings. The Thief wears yellow and indulges in cleverness and guile. The Diplomat, in orange, seeks to divert Oreute’s enemies through bluff, persuasion, and barter. And I’m the Healer, in red, and do not serve Oreute’s purposes at all. I oppose the others and strives to defend and heal the world and all things caught in our schemes.”

"I do not know whether or not I will succeed, Overseers." she looks at you after a while. "I have never yet succeeded against all seven, and I do not know what shall happen should I manage to do so. But I will try."

The wrongness grows and grows, writhing patiently. You suppose you should go and greet it. Or perhaps let it come to you? Give you time to prepare? What choice will it be?

>Go out and greet your guests as Four suggested. Better to get it over with now
>Go out and greet them, but take the time to prepare yourself, gather yourself and ready subtle thaumaturgic wards and sigils in preparation for combat
>Stay here and let them come in on their own accord. Best to let them wonder
>Stay and ready what defenses you can beforre they arrive ahead of time

>Go out and greet them, but take the time to prepare yourself, gather yourself and ready subtle thaumaturgic wards and sigils in preparation for combat.
When we find them say "Hello there, I wasn't expecting you. But we do have some tea, some cookies, and some crumpets. At least I think those were crumpets."
>>Stay and ready what defenses you can before they arrive ahead of time

I have a feeling these guys aren't friendly, despite Four's attitude.
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Time to break the tie, I suppose. 1 for just going out to meet the motherfucking rainbow brigade, 2 for staying and readying defenses for their arrival.
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Guess we're building up those defenses after all. Which is probably a pretty good plan in all honesty, given what you're dealing with. Writing.
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>>Stay and ready what defenses you can before they arrive ahead of time
You decide that you'll stay back and set up some defenses and wards in preparation. Subtle things, nothing too blatant, but potent enough that you can call upon them when the time is right to defend yourself. As you close your eyes to begin work, you fainyly catch the Healer looking at you in clear worry. A needless gesture.

In a few minutes, you have interwoven the runic patterns and defensive sigils that you desire into the base framework of reality, a pattern akin to a sphere around the general area you are present in. And just in time too, as you open your eyes to a group of six figures advancing towards you.

True to her word, the Healers fellow 'Shards' are adorned in different colors. Not only that, but each possess their own style and their own physical form as well, to the point that had it not been for the Healer explaining their nature as facets of the same whole and your own encounters with similar entities, you'd think them separate anomalies. Helps that they all share the same void-like eyes.

Six hostile anomalies, and possibly seven assuming that the Healer has been playing you for a fool this entire time. Not a preferable situation to be in, and even with Four's help, you doubt it will be easy to overcome them. Especially given your lack of knowledge regarding their abilities or what they might be able to bring to bear. But you will have to make do all the same.

You'll just have to go with whatever Four is planning. And to do that, you'll need to play the part of an excellent host, at least for now.

"We weren't expecting guests." you beam at them cheerfully, lacing lies with trace amounts of truth. "You are the Healer's friends so I take it?"

They seem momentarily taken aback by that, and that one moment of genuine uncertainty was all it took for their little wall to part. You'd seen it before in a few other anomalies that played at groups or teams. They would also designate one amongst their number, typically considered the most 'personable' of them, as the mouthpiece that they'd use to start up a discourse. Such a tactic had become common enough that you could separate the brains behind things just from who got sent up.

As expected, heads turned and shifted to one direction, bodies part and step aside in a manner almost expectant of something, and the figure in Orange steps up. Male, skin pale like death like the rest of of those he came with, but not a single loose hair or such dotting his face and bright muddy hair adorned his head, gleaming. His height wasn't notable at all, and he somehow managed to convey the feeling of a lawyer presented before a court despite the entirety of his attire being orange. Orange jewels dotted his ears and wrung around his fingers in bands. Upon his head, a crown of some strange shifting material of alien make that you couldn't recognize, and a suit and tie that were once again, entirely orange.


"Ah, there you are, O' Overseer. Sister," The Diplomat turned however slightly to greet the Healer. "Your safety is a joy. I see you went ahead to talk with our dear friend here."

You had to suppress the desire to raise an eyebrow. Already trying to turn you against what may be your one ally in this situation, and twisting the meaning of your own words to do so? Under any other circumstance, this might be considered a blow to your defences. But as is, it was so much child's play.

"I cannot quite remember our being friends. Are we truly?" you look at him, beaming still.

The Diplomat looked almost struck, having been caught off-guard by your words.

"Please forgive me, O' Overseer; I made a hasty assumption," he replies, head partly turned away out of seeming embarrassment. "My sister was here and I thought...Please forgive my nastiness. I was...

He cuts himself off and entirely looks away, seemingly embarrassed.

"Hmm?" you ask him to continue on, mostly trying to get him to move to the point.

"Forgive my utterly unacceptable behavior." he passes you another apologetic glance. "I merely ofund it odd that you would welcome one of our number, but none of the rest. It's a very...unusual sight, for s multitude of reasons."

"You seem to have misunderstood me, Diplomat,." you reply casually, this situation quite familiar to you already. "I merely wish to now; are we truly friends?"

You observe his eyes, a smile upon your face all the while. Stars danced and flickered in those voids, twisting and whirling in clear patterns. If you possessed more knowledge of what kind of entities these were, perhaps you could come to interpret them given time. But as it so stands, his expression was entirely unreadable to you.

He looks past you, a low murmur in his throat as he observes the Library area around you, and staring directly behind you for a good moment, you're fairly certain he catches sight if Four (whom you note is still still flipping through that book of his). He seems suspicious of all this, however slightly. Which you are fine with. Suspicion helps you here more than it hinders.

He turns back to you, looking you up and down, glances at the Healer and then turns to look at his comrades. A vague feeling passes in the air then, and you can tell that there was *something* exchanged there, but you can only tell that it was there. No specifics. When he turns back to you, he meets you with a smile of his own.

"I would deeply enjoy being your friend, O' Overseer, should you allow it." he says. "You seem like a very fine woman. Surely there are many who would love to sing your praises both here and amongst our own, spies and all."

"And you, a fine man with tales of his own I'm sure. Do you intend to flatter me more today?" another beaming smile, another carefully placed lie, ignoring whatever trap his last few words tried to place.

" Oh yes. Ah, but how can we if we do so if we haven't been set at the table? May we kindly?"

"Sure, sit down. Have some tea and cookies."

Lets just play along with their bullshit waiting for them to actually make their move.
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Update's going to be a bit. Maybe six-seven hours from now.
>"Sure, sit down. Have some tea and cookies."
"Ah, simply excellent." a smile, slow and oh-so-painfully beautiful plays out across his face as he speaks. The stars in those pits shimmer and dance as they fall.

>Lets just play along with their bullshit waiting for them to actually make their move.
And so you do. The seven take their seats along the table, and after letting them get settled in you finally take your own seat across from the Healer. And judging by the heat and vapor rising from their cups, tea has already been poured for the guests.

Looking about the table, you make note of how everyone is seated. Four is positioned such that he's at the front and center of the whole thing, a subtle power move if you've ever seen one. Directly across from him on either side, you see figures you assume to be the Knight and Judge guessing by their colors. Next to them and coming down, two figures dressed in violet and indigo respectively, who the Healer had taken the time to reveal to you as the Assassin and Brute. And beside you and the Healer, the Thief in yellow and the Diplomat in orange, the latter still smiling to some joke you have no knowledge of.

Again, an entirely unpleasant situation to be in. You take a sip of your tea to soothe your nerves, as the Diplomat takes a sip of his to match yours and then places his cup down, before turning to you.

"Thank you again for taking the time to have us, O' Overseers." he says, looking immeasurably more composed and knowing than he did earlier. "I can only hope that you weren't too busy today, as those like us may tend to be. I only hope we haven't interrupted anything of yours that is too pressing."

You can see what he's trying to do, but you really cant afford let the subtle jab unsteady you. So you just need to make polite small-talk for however long this lasts.

Now then, what's a fitting way to respond to his question as it stands?
Just keep playing along with them, pretending that we're falling for their bullshit.

Tell him that we weren't doing much.
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>Just keep playing along with them, pretending that we're falling for their bullshit.
If they really think they can outwit an O5, then they clearly haven't been in the game long, you muse to yourself. Perhaps the Healer overestimated their general threat?

>Tell him that we weren't doing much.
"We were not doing much prior to your appearance, Diplomat." you take a sip of tea and pick up a cookie, a rainbow of colors swirling across it. "Though if I may ask, why exactly have you sought us out, my friends? It is quite strange, your appearance here if I am to be honest, though not unwelcome."

It is actually quite unwelcome, their presence here. But you keep silent as to that fact.

"We had hoped only for the honor to bear witness to you, Your Authority." the Knight is the one to speak this time. A woman dressed to fit her role, almost entirely in azure plate-armor with the exception of her head. Strange diamonds and sapphires gleam brightly around her neck and breasts, and an odd crown blossoms upon her head much like the Diplomat's own, except this one has seemingly been coated in the same blazing blue as the rest of her. Most disconcertingly however, are the twin flowers that have taken bloom in her hair. They capture your attention with the aura they radiate. An alien magnificence that you can only call perfection, terrifying and utterly sublime at once. "We heard of your status as ones of authority, as kings and ladies, and immediately wished to have an audience with you."

"Perhaps we once entertained the idea, but we found that it wasn't for us in the end, unfortunately." you punctuate the statement with another dainty sip of your tea. "My thanks for your respect to us, Lady Knight. But surely we aren't the only lords and ladies you could have chosen to meet with. There are countless others out there, I'm sure."

"It seemed poetic, mayhaps." the Judge replies. Another man, but looking far younger than his peers, garbled in a judge's robes. In fact, you'd say he's less a 'man' and more an actual youth sitting at the table, just from how smooth and young he looks compared to his peers. Upon his hand, he wore three rings, two purely green with no other features save that color and one with a jewel of green embedded in its center. His silvery mop of hair has no crown upon it and he wears no earrings. But at his hip, you see what looks like a ritualistic blade, broken and fragmented in some places, and held together only by thin trails of a wispy green substance. It radiates an unpleasant aura to oyur senses, as if the whole thing was coated in the foulest thaumaturgy. "There are certain degrees of romanticism in the Lands Beyond this regarding the Lords and Ladies of Creation and all in it."

"How so?"

"There's a story, many stories really, that all of us know- of the Emperors and Priests of Atlantis. Do you know of them?" the Judge raises an eyebrow over those churning starry voids.


"We cannot say that we have."

"Ah, tis a shame." the Judge looks at you and smiles. "It is said that for uncountable ages, millions times millions of years, the children of that most ancient civilization were bound up in a cruel and terrible thing, a lie written into the magic of their civilization, that damned them all to illness and decay. All the children would inevitably meet their ends before their thirteenth day of life. And the emperors and priests, the overseers of their people, would contract the same disease come the death of their own children."

You can tell that the 'overseers' in this tale refer to to you and your fellow O5s. The threat is far too obvious for it not to be. Though given the nature of what sits before you, it could also be some wondrous failure to make small talk. Anomalies were made of strange quirks like that.

"How intriguing." you boldly lie. "But if this story is indeed as famous as you claim, then surely there is more to it?"

"Oh, indeed." he smiles again. "For you see, one day, a Strategist came to their world and whispered to the little ones, and their illness went into remission and all the children and emperors and priests followed her out of the world and into the purifying truth that lay beyond. So sweet and wondrous were the things the Strategist whispered to them, that they simply had to join her out beyond the painful lie of their civilization forevermore."

'Strategist'? You aren't familiar with whatever he is referring to, but the Healer did say that this Oreute Bryde she was a part of was a 'Warmain'. Perhaps these were the designations that these anomalies gave to themselves.

You sipped your tea and pondered on this line of thought for a bit, making it seem like you were contemplating the tale you were just told. At least up until the explosions rocked the library an the levels of unnatural wrongness in the air spiked once again.

Something had come.
Stay chill and ask the visitors

"Is this one of you? It seems they're quite late."
>Stay chill and ask the visitors
>"Is this one of you? It seems they're quite late."
"Perhaps they are, Your Authority." the Thief speaks up. A man dressed head to toe in yellow, his dress a dulled yellow hide or leather, with various pouches or pockets situated along it. A large case is strapped to his back, something any normal man would struggle for breath under but one that he doesn't even look winded from carrying, and upon his hands gold-lined gauntlets shine brilliantly, as he sits completely still and watched you. "Or perhaps they have arrived just on time."

"Hmm." you take a cookie and run your fingers along it, feeling it out. "As my guests, you will at the very least aid me should things escalate?"

The Assassin looks at you, nails swirling with violet hues dancing across the table. A cloak and good obscure most of her face, but those dark eyes are as clear as ever, colored with violet marks that drip down her face. Her gaze is intense and utterly silent.

"What if we do not?" it is the Brute next to her who questions, a giant of a woman with lips smeared in indigo colors, great armor larger and heavier than the Knight's and pulsating with blasphemous sigils. Upon her back, two slabs of iron are clasped, also engraved with elaborate runes and symbols glowing her colors, and around her neck tiny skulls are chained together, their sockets leaking blackness.

"Then you would simply be very poor guests. And poor guests are something that we can rarely find ourselves tolerating." you shrug your shoulders and pour yourself another cup of tea to sip at. "Especially after we've shown so much hospitality thus far."

The anomalous entities all look at each other and share amused glances barring the Healer, clearly taking enjoyment from some joke you have no part in.

"Are you saying that you would be willing to oppose us, O' Overseer?" the Diplomat says. "A potent Strategist and around a dozen Warmain Shards."

You merely sip your tea and meet their eyes with a gaze of your own, not even offering them a response. They've made it quite clear that they are your enemies here. Now to see how far they're willing to push their luck.

"They are here."

For the first time since the anomalies appeared here, Four has spoken, looking up from his book. Following his stare, you look behind you, only to see a frantically running and panicked man and a strange hounding woman dressed in even stranger garb. It only takes you a moment more to see that she has the same eyes as the other anomalies.

This must be the 'Strategist' then. Certainly an unpleasant entity, if that story held any accuracy.

What are your plans for dealing with the situation?
what they were born to do Secure Contain Protect
Still continue with the whole friendly tea party thing, waiting for the warmains to break it themselves.

Tell the newcomer. "Ah, welcome! You must be Strategist. Please take a seat."
>Still continue with the whole friendly tea party thing, waiting for the warmains to break it themselves.
>Tell the newcomer. "Ah, welcome! You must be Strategist. Please take a seat."
You wave over to the two newcomers, calling out for them to join you. The panicked man and the chasing Strategist stop dead and just stare at you. And from your own senses, you can tell that the Warmain Shards have done similar, with the Healer in particular feeling almost aghast at your casual reaction. Four is seemingly amused by this.

"Bryde, why aren't these people dead?" the Strategist turns to the Warmains and gives a disapproving look. From here, you can see she is garbed in a red vest, with a blue middle portion. Strange 'pauldrons' out from the suit's shoulder areas, and a red cap adorns her head, covering her mop of dark brown hair.

"They're far more interesting than we had though, Lexiarchos." the Judge says without missing a beat, not a smidgen of shame to be found in his voice.

The now named 'Lexiarchos' sighs deeply and hangs her head for a moment. "I knew this would happen when we invited Warmains, but I'm still going to put the blame for this on you."

The Judge merely flashes her a smile.

The panicking male, having seemingly reacquired some of his wits, runs over to you as quickly as he can, and ends up beside you soon enough. Looking at him closely, you see that he's rather young, with some bare specks of hair starting to dot his still soft face. But his eyes, somewhat twisted with fright as they now are, tell you something else. Along with the amount of thaumaturgic and similar energies clinging to him like a haze.

"Alright, I get everyone is having their fun, but seriously, what the fuck is going on?!"

"A teaparty, my boy." you shrug a bit and pick up a cookie, holding it over to him. "Try one. Soothes the nerves."

"Fuck no."

You shrug a bit, and proceed to pop the cookie into your mouth. And just in time too, as Lexiarchos suddenly straightens up and leaps forward, hand raised (and you now see that her palms are leaking what appears to be blood) high, and you feel the shift in the world as she does so. The ground beneath her starts to come undone, going from full of color, to a dull a grey, and finally cracking apart into nothingness as the spread of the unmaking quickens and begins to race towards you. You'd give it a minute at most before it reaches you,
Activate all of our defenses and wards and attack Lexiarchos.
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>Activate all of our defenses and wards and attack Lexiarchos.
As the speed of the destruction quickens, you turn to Four and give him an unspoken question. He gives you an answer.

Four quietly taps the rim of his teacup, and with a subtle power that sparks and leaps into the air, the Strategist's wave if unmasking power halts, then ceases entirely, folding in upon itself and vanishing. The spreading grey and dull nothingness disappears, though the damage has already been done.

Lexiarchos looks upon this with mounting realization, eyes widening as she witnesses Four's power take hold. And then you spring the trap, the wards you had set earlier flare to life all at once around you, and thaumic lances spring from them and speed towards the Strategist, zooming through the air. Lexiarchos barely manages to regain her composure in time, vanishing into the air only an instant before the concentrated fire of spellwork hits her.

You wait patiently for a moment or two, silently (though the one young obvious spellcaster next to you is mumbling to himself) waiting for the next attack. Which comes soon enough as Lexiarchos appears directly next to you, hand outstretched into a pointed spear of that same abysmal nothingness she'd tried to use before. A spear made to pierce through you and keep going through Four. Four's eyes flash for an instant, however and you're gone, out of the way of the attack.

Looking around, you find that you're in another portion of the library, one that you're not sure has ever been here. And not only that, but your little table has now moved off the ground, floating under some application of thaumaturgy or another. Rising from your chair, you don't fall to the ground below, and instead hover in that strange not-space above the bookshelves.

With a potent scream of wrongness and twisting darkness, Lexiarchos steps forward into the space as well, clutching a hand to a side tinted with the colors of potent magic, and leaking a dark, foul-smelling mockery of blood. Hmm, so your thaumic barrage *did* wound her.

"You have Miraculous power." Lexiarchos says, expression cold and tone clinical, as if stating a fact. "Bryde, you did not tell me that these people had access to Miraculous power."

"We did not know ourselves until most recently, Lady Lexiarchos." that was the Knight.

"Indeed. We had taken them for merely potent practitioners of some mundane arts, but it seems that we were quite wrong." the voice of the Diplomat adds in.

Lexiarchos manages something between a scowl and a look cold resignation, and straightens herself up. Her wound is entirely gone, as if it had never been, and she cups her hands together, as a shape manifests above her bloodied palms.

You'd almost call the *thing* that appears a mace, if maces had bands of broken earth orbiting them in clear defiance of all physical law and radiated an aura of pure untempered evil. The shape of it is too perfectly symmetrical, and yet too sharp as well.


Merely looking upon the thing makes something twist and shrivel inside you. As if an entire world was buried within its framework, dark and dead and waiting. It's a awful thing, abomination itself and the mere act of letting it take shape causes all things to scream.

As it takes shape entirely, and the Strategist grips it in her hands, one word is whispered, either from the monster herself or form elsewhere, you cannot tell. And that word seeps into your mind like poison.


She raises it and brings it down, a tide of power pressing out from it and crashing towards you.
Attempt to create a magical shield to block the attack.
>Attempt to create a magical shield to block the attack.
You move your hands without further hesitation, weaving symbols and protective rites into the air just as the wave of reality-searing power crashes into you. The shield buckles and cracks under the force of it, but otherwise holds.

But those cracks are enough. Enough for some thin trails of that attack to push on through and emblazon themselves upon your skin.

When they do, you almost fall to a knee under the weight of it all. The weight of just *what* you are up against, what you have always been up against. The ever-present darkness, the crushing forces of decay and ruin. How could you have even entertained the tiniest notion that you could 'win'? That this was a war you could even survive however barely? All of this is hopeless. All that remains in your future, in all future's, is death and the terrible maw if oblivionarisingtofeastupon-

"10, Listen. Focus. We're Overseers. We do not lose."

Four? That was Four's voice wasn't it?

"Focus. Pull yourself together, and let's get to work. This fight already has its victor, and it is not her."

'He's right', you resolve and push yourself up to your feet. The wave of power, the power form the abomination that is Blunderbore, is pushed back by the strength of your resolve, and you can see the Strategist behind it. Just by a mere look, you can descirbe the expression on Lexiarchos' face as being beyond rage and scorn. It's a cold, alien thing that only anomaly, a wound in the world such as herself could wear.

Without word, without sound, she charges, the abomination in her hands crackling with the hideous might of dead worlds as existence buckles beneath the speed and force she employs.
Attempt to kite her by throwing spells while running out of melee range.
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>Attempt to kite her by throwing spells while running out of melee range.
You leap out of the way, just as another crash of power tears into the not-space around you. The screeching essence of Blunderbore hungering for you as Lexiarchos launches up herself, speeding towards you.

As she does however, tendrils composed out of wispy motes of starlight wrap around her legs and arms, holding her back. Looking towards the table where the Warmains still sit, you see Four focusing intently on the form of the Strategist, an expression of his own will holding her back. You'll thank him for this later, you're sure.

You let loose another barrage of thaumic energy, the spells forming into birds and bees of aesthetic light that rapidly swarm over the struggling Strategist, who tears and erodes her bindings every passing moment, her bloodied hands undoing the bindings and your own swarm with every passing wave. But she can't do it fast enough, as your constructs start pecking and stinging away at vulnerable flesh, denting and staining her armor in dark blood from deep holes.

In a flickering movement akin to a broken or damaged VHS, Lexairchos vanishes from the biinding magic. But you can already feel her essence, feel the essence of the abominable weapon she wields. And so as you spin around, you launch a barrage of spells and force yourself away, the stream of reality-blazing power slamming into the Strategist full force in the face. And as you move away from the brilliant spectacle of lights and sounds, you cover yourself under a veil of mists, a fog that encloses and obscures all vision and light except for that of your own and Four. Beyond the protective covering, you can already detect Lexiarchos beginning of gather her bearings to launch another assault, though you doubt she knows where you are precisely.

You need a plan. Something to end this quickly and efficiently. But what?
Try to sneak behind her while we're under our veil and unleash another barrage of spells on her back.
>Try to sneak behind her while we're under our veil and unleash another barrage of spells on her back.
You dart around through the mist that obscures you from Lexiarchos, using not your own vision, but oyur ability to feel the overwhelming *wrongness* that is her presence in the world to guide you.

Flying through the covering fog, you allow several new spells to alight along your fingertips, letting them flow and bob along your hands, bristling with ancient power. But before you can set them to release and strike at your dark foe, startling rock shards trailing eldritch currents rocket towards you, almost homing in on your presence.

Dodging away from one, and knocking another off course with a hastily launched spell, you realize that they aren't your average shards of rock at all. They're the shards of Blunderbore, coated in that same unholy power that had tried to crush you under the weight of an entire world before. Seems she's decided to change up tactics herself.

You fly around, dodging speeding shards of the twisted weapon whilst trying to track down Lexiarchos. Closer, closer. Closer-There!

A flare of speed, and a burst of complex spellwork, folding and inverting reality until it breaks off into a million-million fragmented passages, and an utterly unnatural sound like absolutely nothing you've heard before all shake the air at once. The veil vanishes, and before you lies the Strategist, her body torn and shattered from that last spell. Her breathing is a ragged awful thing, and parts of her look like theyre only attached to her body by thin strands and sheer spite.

She looks up at you, expression filled with absolute scorn and loathing, and you notice something then, looking back at her. Where once there was unblemished youthfulness and an impossible perfection, now wrinkles and other hallmarks of age line the Strategist's face, distorting her once all-encompassing perfection into a drooping mess. This wasn't the result of your spell. This is something else.

"So," she begins, her voice scratchy and dry from her sudden aging. "You've managed to push me harder than anything else in this wretched place. Even that pathetic boy," she pointedly glances over to the young mage standing next to Four, who shudders back from her gaze. "couldn't have done this to me. So for that, you probably deserve this."

She rises to her feet, her starry eyes never leaving your own, and your body teens in preparation. Blunderbore is back in her hands now, and she lightly runs a hand across it before raising it high. As she does o, it begins to glow and bathe the space around in that hideous light of despair. Lexiarchos' mouth opens and closes repeatedly, whispering nonsense things that hang low in the air and begin to collect in that awful light from her weapon. All around you, distortion grows as the world begins to come undone, buckling under the weight of abomination that Blunderbore embodies.


"Y-You. You have to stop her no!" the have from earlier shouts as Blunderbore unfolds itself into an unnatural configuration of light and despair. "This place won't be able to handle that kind of power! She'll kill us all!"

'Noted.' your thoughts on the matter are calm and simple, though you must thank the mage for the info. Then this is surely the homestretch here now. But the question remains, even as Lexiarchos becomes a blurred shadow amidst Blunderbore's abominable shine, and the world starts to collapse into nothingness from the weight of another falling upon it;

How do you stop her? What shall be your plan for success in the face of this monstrosity?
Attempt to use magic to disarm her, put Lexiarchos and Blunderbore as far away from each other as possible. While she's disarmed attack her again with spells.
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>Attempt to use magic to disarm her, put Lexiarchos and Blunderbore as far away from each other as possible. While she's disarmed attack her again with spells.
You have a plan. It's probably a terrible plan, but it's your very best shot. You turn to Four, transmitting your thoughts to him, and receiving an affirmative in turn. A bright light envelops him then, vaguely humanoid as Four fades into the bright mass of power. So grand is its splendor that the mage has to scramble back from it, and even the Warmains seem put off by Four's transformation.

With that done, you turn back to Blunderbore and its master, both now totally eclipsed by the power they wield, a chaotic cacophony that drowns the world in its own inherent madness, and then erodes it down to nothingness. It is the laughter of mad, all-consuming gods, it is their hate and their blood, and it is their gnashing fury against a world that truly exists.

It is what you fight.

You reach out against the horrid sunlight of Blunderbore, that hateful thing whose every action tears at the world. And you take hold of it, gripping it in a strength of soul and will strong enough to fight back against its hateful desires. And you *pull*.

It writes and writhes. Lexiarchos writhes with it, and hateful arms of uncreation reach down to grasp and claw at you. Even as their touch tears away at your own being, even as they tear away at what makes you *you*, you still pull. When they try to push you back, you hold true and continue to pull. The world comes undone around you, and you still pull.

And when that vaguely humanoid mass of mawe of magic steps in alongside you and begins to pull as well, the being who is known as a member of the O5 Council, who is 4, you start to double your own efforts. And that awful weapon, Blunderbore, shifts slightly. Something that would be negligible in any other situation, but acts only as proof of your coming victory here and now.

The arcs of unmaking power, the bolts of dissolution continue to rain down. And yet you hold true to yourselves, you hold on to your will and spirit. The chaos falls around you, but you don't give in. Not even when the space gives way beneath your feet into a darkness deeper than the blackness between the stars that tries to drag you down into its fathomless depths.

When the young mage finds his resolve and steps into place beside you, reaching out with his own magic and essence, you hardly acknowledge it. All of your focus, between the three of you is directed at this one moment. And as the chaos twists and churns, as the world breaks down and divides into madness, you pull and you grapple against Blunderbore and its abomination of a master. And as you do, the weapon loosens and the three of you pull ever harder.

Blunderbore screams, Lexiarchos screams, the world screams, and you and Four and the boy stare it all down and push on through. Until the wall gives way and you pull it loose, tearing it away until finally-


Blunderbore goes flying through the air. A twisted yellow streak leaking the remains of quickly fading power as it hits the 'ground'. It pulsates once, then twice, and lies still.

Looking away from the now-disabled weapon, you turn to Four and the mage, with the former having returned to his 'normal' form and looks at you with a slight smile, as the mage looks past you at something behind you.

"So, what are we going to do about her?"

You turn, and see her sitting in a charred and blackened space, a gaping crack into unreality. You raise a hand for your two companions to hold, before stepping towards the Strategist.

As you approach, you can see the extent of her wounds, the damage done. Her skin is all but peeling off of her, dried up and wrinkled as strips of it flake off into dust. Her face, once immaculate and perfect, is a ghastly drooping thing dripping itself off into the void, as the black pits of her eyes pour downwards like tar, and the right side of her face along with a good chunk of her side, is just entirely gone. She does not respond as you continue your approach, but once you finally stand in front of her, her head raises however slightly.

"So, this is your victory, isn't it?" she questions, her tones sounding almost grandmotherly, were it not fro them being sickly saccharine and coated in venom. "Oh, how proud of yourselves you must feel."

You ignore the jab and simply point a hand at her. Symbols flare into the air around you, thaumic energy gathering.

"You're going to kill me?" she grins up at you, perfectly unnatural teeth stained with black blood. "Be my guest, it matters little. I shall simply soar out into the darkness, bearing the flag of my Lands, to inevitably return. Not to mention that even if I die, you will fall with me."

The energy condenses to a single point and you level it at her head. Containment would normally be your response to the sudden appearance of such an anomaly, but this one cannot afford the risk of breaching. You cannot afford the resource drain.

"Hehe, if you kill me, then they'll die all the same. Those other Overseers."

You pause. She knows about the rest of the Council. How?

"Though I have my disagreements," she wheezes a hacking sound caught in between chuckling and coughing. "I cannot say that Genseric is not a excellent planner. Yes yes, the others should be done with your compatriots even as we speak."

She looks up at you, and that horrible rights of a grin splits into the remaining side of her face and out into the void.

"You still lose. I have wo-"

She doesn't get the time to finish before the burst of sorcery you gathered completely incinerates her down to the molecule.

It's over. This battle is finally over. So why do you still feel so tense?

>cont (2/3)

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