And the Cracks Begin to ShowStarted by Kassandros Essair at May 17, 2019 12:56 pm
Einmanudur 17, 76
Merenwen was slightly amused, but she kept that to herself. Samudra hadn't been by in a long time, most of the newer slaves hadn't yet met her, and perhaps now was bad timing for introductions. Yes, they were on a time limit, no doubt. They shouldn't be wasting too much of what time they had.
Somewhere toward there, Samudra had gotten close to the coast; however, she didn't land in the walls of House Essair, instead dropping into the sea, and walking the rest of the way, so as not to completely displace the small non-dragon creatures on the land with her wing-flapping.
"What you want?" she almost immediately demanded. "I was taking a nap, it was a very nice nap, and you woke me up. Very loudly. Bad little cute ilim. ... I don't recognise half of these. Hello small creatures."
"Kassandros is in danger," Merenwen mentioned. "We'll have to take a house on, and their walls."
"Walls, you say. What walls, you know walls mean nothing to a dragon, nothing. How many of yas is goin, ey, hey, maybe I can fit you all up there, go go, we fly right over those stupid walls, ain't no wall gonna stand in a dragon's way." As she spoke, Samudra flopped down into the grass. "Climb up the wing there, see, follow the ilim."
Okay. Or they could fly. That'd be a bit faster. Merenwen murmured her thanks, and then scrambled up her wing, vaguely remembering how to. "Do you want some ore?" she asked.
"Oh no," Samudra answered. "I can just use magic." It was easier. "Time's a wastin', right? If Kassijassi dies, who the hell else am I gonna make fun of?" Like, seriously.
Inetkaes smiled and nodded frationally. Yes, she could show him how to do that later. The were supposed it was highly likely that doing something like that would be quite helpful for him to learn thanks to his own height.
Gods above that really was a dragon. Sandalio wasn't sure how to - it didn't really matter. There was a dragon and thw as seemignly content to help once someone had explained the situation to her. that was nice, and certainly she could be very helpful in this situation so okay fair that was.... that was nice.
The dragon could change the fact that they have to contend with the walls.
Okay, Sandalio wasn't really sure about this, but he did carefully follow Merenwen up the side of the dragon. Settling into a place and remaining still while Inetkaes climbed up as well. Sandalio wasn't sure if he was impressed by the view up here or terrified about the fact that most people would be eaten for attempting what he was currently doing.
At some point he really wanted to hear the story behind this one. For now though... for now Sandalio was content to be quiet. They would attack Cassimer, and with any luck it wasn't already too late to save him. Sandalio knew that he had tried his best already.
"... This is a really strange place to end up." Of all the positions that he'd expected today, on dragonback was definitely not on the list. Sandalio just felt the need to admit that, honestly. Though, dragon priorities were ... she ws helping so she would still make fun of Kassandros. That was.... hm. Well the help would be useful enough that perhaps it didn't matter why.
It is neither hardship nor enemy that drive a man to evil; it is his own mind.
This one seemed fairly familiar to Leon and Merenwen. He did incline his head, slightly, when the green noticed the rest of them, but it seemed Merenwen was going to do the short explanation. That was probably for the best, they didn't really have time for the longer version. Surya looked slightly perplexed, at this odd turn of events, but eventually seemed to decide to go with it. There wasn't much time to quibble about it, anyway, and maybe it didn't really matter.
"So, when exactly, did you guys get a dragon?" Tihaan asked, very quietly, leaning over toward Leon.
"We didn't get a dragon," Leon answered, following Merenwen up Samudra's wing. He scooted behind Merenwen, as she was smaller, and he wanted to make sure she didn't slip off (Samudra, of course, did not have scales). "Kassandros did."
Uhuh. Well, she'd come in handy, he supposed, so Tihaan wasn't really going to complain too loudly. Instead, he just got up there, and decided maybe questions were silly about now. They didn't really have the time for them, either.
With her taking them over the walls, that saved a lot of time in breaking them. If she could manage to deal with the Cassimer defenses outside the estate, that'd also save them a lot of time getting into it, and the only problem from there would be finding Kassandros. With two weres and two ilim, though, Tihaan had a feeling that wouldn't be too difficult, and they were going to end up following someone's nose.
"Hey, Samudra," Leon started, "You won't fit in the Cassimer estate, so maybe you could deal with the guards out front."
... sometimes, Leon was a mind-reader. Tihaan snorted, settling into place, Surya following right behind. Dragons were somewhat common around Haradi, so, he wasn't quite as stunned to see one as everyone else. ... admittedly, they generally did not let you ride them, so this Samudra must be quite fond of making fun of Kassandros, despite apparently not doing it very often.
[mostly posting w him to get it in his thread tracker rofl]
That was a quite satisfying level of awe. At least they weren't rude small-creatures, but then, most everyone from this particular Dalmascan house often wasn't. Merenwen had helped Kassandros save her, as had Leon, several others that weren't terrified of her and not currently present, but most of it was Kassandros. Oh, she liked to say she only liked him because he was fun to tease, but the truth was a little different. Not something a dragon was going to admit to, however.
Once they'd all gotten up there, Samudra craned her neck back, nudging one or two one or the other way, to make sure they weren't going to slide right off. "Guards, you say, my this is quite the venture," she said. "Do they like dragon tails? I have one and I like to share. Hold on, I take off somewhat roughly." Somewhat roughly was perhaps a tiny understatement; with this much weight up there, it was liable to be notably uncomfortable.
"I will get you over the walls, and drop into the yard, somewhere with a lot of space," she continued. "The rest is up to you, I really won't fit in your doorways and halls, but I can distract the guards out front, for sure." That wouldn't be too difficult for her. While hume weapons could damage dragon skin, it took a lot before they reached lethal stage. Fortunately, at least for dragons, humes hadn't figured out how to more effectively kill a dragon.
Right then, the Cassimer estate, and it wasn't coming to them. "Cassimer is the one with the hawk, right?" she thought so.
"Yes, that one over there," Merenwen answered, pointing at it.
Samudra looked slightly pleased. That was a very big yard, it should be more than enough space for dragon-landing. Alright then, she shuffled around, carefully climbing up the side of the Essair estate (fortunately, it could hold her weight, and she only broke a window on the way up), and then jumped clear off the roof, her wings opening, and catching the air. Samudra pulled at the air with sorcery, causing them to go up instead of simply fall, and off they went.
The noble estates were well-spaced apart, actually quite the distance on foot, but on the back of a dragon, it seemed to almost take no time at all. Very shortly, they were flying over House Asheron (Samudra liked them, too), and within a handful of minutes, they'd reached the walls of House Cassimer. Samudra flew around the side of the house, landing with a very notable thunk on the roof. The small defence force below squeaked and scrambled like little rats. This'll be fun! The dragon climbed down the side, being far less careful and breaking more windows and chipping the stone as she went, and then landed with another loud thunk onto the grass, just in front of the doors.
"Go on! Jump!" Samudra said, pulling her tail back and slamming it into several soldiers that came to deal with the draconian intruder. Boy, their day was going to suck. Merenwen squeaked and slid right down her wing, rolling across the grass slightly back onto her feet.
"Thank you!" she squeaked.
"Less talk, more rescue!" In the meantime, she was going to have fun out here, playing a game of how far does a soldier fly if you hit him hard enough...
This turn of events would make their attack far more effective. A dragon from the sky was nearly always a surprise - and Dalmasca wasn't used to defending against Airships, not really. That fact alone made this far more simple than it might have been otherwise. It was.... however a very strange occurrence to be sitting upon a dragon. Being at her mercy was somewhat unpleasant and it also seemed rather disrespectful. Then again, she had offered.
There would be time to thank her later, Inetkaes supposed.
She did listen to the brief exchange about how they ended up with a dragon - but it was left mostly unanswered. Later, maybe they'd hear that story, too. For the moment though, it was best to focus on the task at hand. This woudl provide something of a shortcut for gettign the battle started - that was for the best. It didn't mean they had time to waste.
Landing was marginally better than taking off had been, but only barely. Inetkaes slid down immediately, landing in something of a crouch on the ground not far from Merenwen.
It didn't take all that long before Sandalio and Lycaon had joined her. Once they were on the ground, they began to move towards the main building.
"When we get inside, look for a way down." Inetkaes called - just loud enough for it to carry to the group of them, mindful that more than a few of them were Ilim or Were. "Kassandros is.... down." She gestured slightly in the direction his aura was coming from. Some sort of a basement or a cellar, apparently. Inetkaes wasn't really looking forward to whatever they might find, but the faster they found it, the faster they could fix it.
"Noted." Sandalio didn't question it, if she said down then apparently down it was unless someone else contradicted it while they were moving.
Away from the dragon and towards the building. The quicker they got away from her the less likely they were to be caught in one of her attacks on accident. Sandalio's sword was out and ready - after all, it was doubtful that all of the soldiers were rushing to attack the dragon.
There is strength in standing alone, but there is much more in admitting when you can't.
Surya, for his part, leapt off the dragon, and shifted into his lion form midair, landing a bit hard. His back legs slid a little, but then he went straight for the door, ramming straight into it. Surya-battering-ram, go. The wood splintered the first time; Surya backed up, ran at it again, and busted it the second time. Down... she was right, it was down, on the floor under this one, he could tell that a bit easier now. He was also sniffing for a trail, because if he could find how Marcus had gotten him down there, it'd save a lot of guesswork.
In the meantime, he was head-ramming into anyone he came across that wanted to be a problem. If they moved out of his way, he left them alone. About a minute or so after getting in, and ramming into two or three, Surya loose a low rumble, and then shot a specific direction, suddenly now seeming like he had a much better idea of where he was going. Tihaan scrambled after him, as apparently he'd caught a scent trail. The house sort of weaved around and turned in strange ways, but eventually, they came to a door.
"... 'at one's stone, my friend," Tihaan said. "I would not recommend slamming head-first into that one."
Surya loosed a very annoyed growl.
"Hey, I like your skull unfractured," Tihaan answered.
Well, he was sure many did. Fine. ... didn't Merenwen say she could break walls? Maybe stone doors were on the list, as well. With that, he shuffled out of the way a bit, and turned to look at her.
"Oh yeah!" Leon said, "Merenwen can break it!"
And maybe, they'd better take the chance to do some bracing, perhaps. Might be in the cards.
No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.
Soon as the friendly small-creatures were out of the way, Samudra started slamming her paws into the ground, pulling up large chunks of earth and displacing what little resistance she had to deal with. Mostly, she was aiming to knock them out, not kill them, though a few smelt like they'd taste good roasted in olive oil...
Merenwen hung back a bit, making sure she ended up behind Surya and at least a couple of the others. With Surya battering-ramming his way through it, though, they were making really good time, and hardly had much fight to deal with. Anyone with a brain generally got out of the way of a rampaging werelion, as it turned out, and if they didn't, they hit a wall for their troubles. Any other time, and Merenwen would likely be very amused by this. As it was, the closer they got to finding Kassi, the stronger that sense of dread in her stomach became.
What? ... oh, that was a stone door. Merenwen drew a breath in, shuffling closer to it, and held her hands out. Her fingers glowed green, and then she flicked them; the stone exploded inward, kicking up a load of dust unleashing the strongest scent of blood and metal ever. Despite that, however... she stayed there for a second, took a deep breath in, and then stepped forward.
Rows and rows of metal cages... and quite a few skeletons, actually. She tried not to think about it too much, or take the time to pay attention to the rest of it, she was here for one reason, and unburying House Cassimer's skeletons was not really on the list - unintended side-effect. Which - no she didn't even need to ask, scurrying down the middle of the cages, stopping at the second to last one, where the scent of blood was strongest. Oh gods that was so much blood, how much had he lost - "Leon, melt these bars! And quick!"
When one door closes, another one opens. And if it doesn't, kick the bitch in.
Why was he here? Come to think of it, where was here, because he didn't really remember, now. He did know, it was not a very welcoming looking place, wherever here was, and it was cold. Or he was cold, either one, he wasn't sure which it was. Not that it mattered. Didn't it? There was something important he was forgetting, and that would bother him. Oh, right, these chains... (was that it?) He shifted around again, tugging against them, trying to separate them from the wall, and yelped very loudly.
"Stop that," someone said.
Who was that?
"It hurts you to do that, you shouldn't be doing that."
But he had to go home... wherever home was. He did stop. He hardly had the strength to gently tug on them, anyway.
"Man, if I could get over there," the voice said. It echoed oddly, and sounded like it was far and close and maybe a little bit distorted, at least to him. "I can heal, you know, my mother taught me that. Sort of. Well, maybe I can't heal well enough for the kinda healer you need."
Did he need a healer? What for? Kass almost verbally responded, but all that came out was an odd grunt and a liquid-gurgling.
"Stop trying to talk, too," the voice said, sounding somewhat admonishing. "You're just making it bleed more."
What was bleeding? ... what wasn't bleeding?
Eventually, Kass slid down to the floor, laying his head against the stone wall. The voice went quiet, but sometimes, Kass could hear whoever that was hiccuping. They sounded young. What was he trying to do before he'd forgotten? Ugh. Gently, he raised his head, and tapped it against the stone wall, as if it'd jog his memory, but... that just made his headache worse, and he hissed.
"Sheesh, you're not much of a listener, are you."
Currently, all he could do was listen, so that was moot. It did, however, make him snort with almost-laughter.
"Yeah, I guess there's nothing else to do here but laugh at our own misfortune." There was a beat or two, and then the voice said, "What's that?"
What was what?
"I hear something..." Kass heard chain rattling from somewhere, that wasn't him, sat up a little. "I think someone's -"
And then the door exploded.
That was not how that was supposed to go... blearily, he sat up further, scooted across the floor. His vision was so damned blurry, he didn't think he could figure out - no, that voice sounded... really familiar - no!
"NNNNN!!" ... it was really more of a growl-type sound, but maybe it'd do fine enough, he tried to stand and yelped in pain and fell right back down. Instead, he gestured with the cuffs, toward the ceiling. There was a chain connected to that door. Then, he gestured at the cage across from his. There was a very heavy metal piece hanging above it, connected to that chain connected to that door. And in that cage was an ilim, maybe six or seven years old.
Do not melt the bars just yet.
It didn't take as long as one might have expected to find their way down. Probably thanks to Surya's lion form being able to smell the way down - but the semantics weren't important. What they found when they made it into the basement made Sandalio's blood run cold. And he'd seen a lot of horrible things in his life time. But this... this was an over the top cruelty that made even the Blood Fighter games look.... tame.
That was unsettling, really.
By the time they made it to Kassandros' cell, Sandi was already expecting the worst. He was alive, for now, it seemed. But he'd lost a lot of blood and that noise he made. Still, because of the noise he made, and the gestures, Sandalio looked up and followed the chain to the other door.
Oh. Of course. Of course Kassandros wouldn't want the Ilim to be hurt, and of course Marcus was sick enough to put something like that in place so Kass couldn't free himself no matter what he did. "Freeing the ilim first shouldn't take much longer." No, and it would make Kassi feel better about the situation. Sandalio didn't currently have any way of doing that himself but he thought Leon could manage both.
He hoped, really.
Quietly Sandalio knelt near Merenwen outside of the cell. Seeing what Marcus had done to Kassandros in his absence was... quite frankly horrifying, in a way that nothing really had been previously. There wasn't much he could say in any sense to be calming because what did you say?
Nothing was going to make this alright.
Maybe this would never be remotely alright again, looking at what he could see of Kassandros' injuries.
The scent of blood in the room was almost sickening and Marcus wasn't here. Inetkaes didn't like that, really. Didn't like that the perpetraitor of all this wasn't here to be caught bloody-handed. But they'd still found enough, and Master Essair was alive, for the moment. Golden eyes kept a quiet look out, not expecting Marcus to remain absent, they were rescuing his hostage after all. But perhaps he could. Perhaps as soon as they'd attacked he had fled to avoid being captured.
It was hard to say. She still didn't like it. It was for the best that they'd had little resistance though, she supposed. Making such good time improved the chances that Kassandros would survive.
There were times that Inetkaes wondered how Humes had fallen so far.
This was one of thos times.
Words mean nothing. It is easy to say, but many times harder to do.
For the love of fucking -
Leon was a bit less brave than Merenwen was, hanging back a bit, trying to steel his nerves enough to follow them. He honestly wasn't sure, if he was ready for this, but maybe he had no choice but to be. Merenwen asked him to melt the bars, and at first, he balked at the idea of going in any more than he already had; the blood scent was strong enough to almost make him sick, and he wasn't sure he wanted to see it. He'd have to, one way or another. Merenwen wouldn't want to heal him too much, here, just enough to make sure he made it home.
Tihaan reached down and patted his shoulder. Leon glanced up at him, and Surya bumped into his leg. Yeah. He could do it. Sandalio found the ilim across the way, and Leon shuffled over there first. The cells were just metal bars anchored into the stone very deeply. It was kind of a miracle that door could even hold that metal slab up there. What the fuck kinda psycho even was this jerk... never mind. Instead, he just reached out, grabbed hold of one of the metal bars on the ilim's cell, and melted it. "Give it a few seconds to get cooler before you get near it," Leon warned.
Then, he turned around, and instantly looked very upset. That was a whole lotta blood in there, and it was Kassandros', and Leon was distinctly unhappy about it. (He wasn't the battle-hardened warrior most of the rescue team was; even Merenwen was better at this than he was, being as she was a healer.) Kass needed him to get the bars dealt with, or he was going to bleed out and die. With that thought, his expression steeled again, and he shuffled over, looked at where the door ended, and then melted three of the bars that weren't part of the door. The ilim across the hall would need a bit before he could cross the molten metal without burning himself, but there were ways around that.
Gods he was so mad Marcus wasn't here. Somebody ought to cut that bastard into tiny pieces, and Leon wasn't fucking violent.