It had taken some significant set up but after what seems like a couple of days at the Monastery all was prepared. The method of interdimensional travel will of course be familiar to Kythzyx. It’s a resonance gate. Something that uses specially harmonized crystals to rip open the fabric of reality.
“You will emerge onto a quazi-elemental plane.” Their hosts are explaining. “Once there you will need Kthzyx to listen for the hum of the Titan’s heartbeat. I expect it will be difficult to navigate there, so stay close to your guide. Once you have defeated the Titan the portal’s resonance should guide you back. Be aware that we can only keep this open for an hour or so, so do not delay. Are there any questions?”
The room is bare but for these crystals and the students at this monastery are… elsewhere. For safety’s sake. Aiden is standing off to the side, arms folded, listening. No. He doesn’t have any questions.
Kthzyx also has no questions, though that may be partly because she’s making sure she’s memorized the different resonances correctly. She can’t help but feel that they will succeed or fail depending on what she does or does not fail to do, so she’s extra concerned. Knowing that she’ll be the one that leads them back to the resonance gate makes her especially concerned. She’s just a COOK, for quartz sake!
But still… “No questions.” She’s as ready as she’s ever going to be.
“Sounds simple enough,” Varos says, smiling crookedly. Execution-wise, they’ll certainly see. His own position mirroring Aiden’s, folded arms and all, the visored sometimes-clothier tilts his head, considering anything that might be good to ask.
“Any tricks or things we should know about this Titan we’ll be dealing with? Or do we simply hit it with all we’ve got?” Doable, certainly, but it helped to know one’s opponent’s weaknesses.
Slaine looks slightly less tired than she has but she’s quiet and withdrawn as she stands there. On her brow sits the Crown of Command – a beaten metal circlet that’s not much to look at all, but a piece of jewelery that has given Aiden cause for concern in the recent past.
“Any side effects of this that we should know? If ye don’ mind me sayin’ it seems a migh’ too easy. Kill a Titan to reverse the deification process …” A might too easy, the Mystic says. If the others stop to think about it, she’s possibly not wrong. Sure, the task of killing the Titan is difficult but is that all it really takes?
“Does anyone else think it’s rather suspect we learn this after Aphrodite tried to, and gave me, a potion that makes us weak, listless, and so on?” ELpida is wary. Aphrodite had been helpful. POSSIBLY TOO HELPFUL. And possibly making it easier for them to get eaten. “And didn’t try to give Varos one, did she?” a glance over at Varos. Not that she blames him. But she’s, you know, a little worried.
“TOO EASY?” she says to Slaine, like that’s an absurd definitnion of too easy, you know. “…as long as I stop getting prayers about dragon nookie…”
“It’s biggest weakness is that it’s likely starving.” The Elemental powering the gates explains. “Which means it will be easily baited by potential food. Beyond that… it’s possibly easier to hurt while you’re inside it. If you survive getting there, that is. Since you are not yet ascended it won’t be able to steal your power and use it against you. But it’s fairly strong all the same.”
Aiden nods and makes a face. “Right well… let’s get going, shall we?”
The crystals hum and the gate opens revealing a landscape of floating motes of earth, crystals and intermittent lightning. It’s like a forest. Inside a cave. Made of stone. And in the middle of a thunderstorm. Really pleasant.
As soon as they’re through Zyx seems perhaps a bit unsettled, but after just a moment of listening to the resonances around them she knows exactly where to go. “I know where we need to go. Is everyone ready?” She looks at the others, and is already entirely willing to offer any (all?) of them a lift if it will help them feel a bit more at ease travelling through this place that to her feels like a disconcerting juxtaposition of her home dimension and that of her friends.
“I’ll take us through the quickest and safest route I can find.”
“That’s because Aphrodite had other ways she thought of being helpful to me,” Varos points out as he turns his head towards Elpida, his tone dry, further accented by the tilt of his smile. If he still owes anything to the goddess, he supposes he’ll just have to work that out when the time comes. First things first…
“Lovely!” Somehow Varos manages to make it sound like he means it, even with Zirgron’s suggestion that taking the Titan on from the inside-out might work to their advantage. He’s not quite sure he’s committed to that tactic but he supposes they’ll certainly find out soon enough.
As the crystals hum he’s sure he can feel the rush of transient energies, and for what he can see of things beyond the gateway once the others look, it’s an amazing sight to behold. Licking his lips, he grins and steps after the others, waiting for Kthzyx’s lead, that familiar buzz of adrenaline stoking his eagerness to do something reckless. He gives their crystalline guide a nod.
“Here we go…”
“I didn’t take the potion, remember?” Slaine points out to the Gorgon. She hadn’t wanted to take the risk of a double cross. Maybe she’d been right. Either way she’s not feeling ill or weak because of that. She’s just *tired* “What’s dragon nookie?” The redhead frowns.
Some words simply didn’t make it through the dark age.
With a nod, the Mystic steps through the gate only to glance at the other elemental on her way through “What do ye mean ‘inside it’ ….” which is why she trip and stumbles and gets hit with arc lightning as she does.
She swears loudly as smoke starts to rise from her leathers and the smell of singed hair comes from her.
“You okay Half Pint?” Aiden says as Zyx guides them. There’s a sort of crackling spurting noise ahead and lighting strikes at a scorched spot on the ground making Aiden frown. As they move he keeps an eye out for more such spots and sure enough. There’s always a popping sound that precedes the strike.
“Reminds me of an old story of a cursed place. What was it called… ah yes. The fire swamp. They said no one made it out alive.”
Possibly not something for him to be muttering here.
Zyx’s routing is good though and before long they’re approaching an area clear of both cystal growths and lighting points. In the middle of the clearing which must be a football field across there’s a giant pile of boulders.
This is where the noise Zyx was tracking is coming from. They’re here… where’s the Titan?
“I know you didn’t but still,” says Elpida. She is also tired, but seems to be weathering it all quite well, for the time being.
She clears her throat, then adds, “…you don’t want to know, Slaine. You really, really don’t want to know.” On the subject of dragon nookie.
“This is the place,” Zyx tells the others quietly, her voice having gone more synthetic sounding again. She looks out over the open area, focusing specifically on the boulders and trying to ‘hear’ if they’re the Titan itself just kind of laying about. She … kind of hopes that’s the case and not that the creature has heard them coming and is hiding ready to jump out and scare them.
“I’m… not sure if that is the Titan down there or not. I may have to get closer.”
Varos doesn’t need to glance back to see what had happened to Slaine. He’d seen it firsthand, which in turn elicits a wince from him in response. Casting a concerned look towards the mystic, he otherwise refrains from repeating Aiden’s inquiry. “Come on, keep moving if you can,” he instead urges. Best they not get too far behind from Kthzyx, being that she’s the only one who seems able to properly navigate the place.
“You sure know how to lighten the mood, Aiden.” Varos smiles in spite of himself, continuing along as he gauges surroundings through the collective perceptions of those with him.
A clearing as large as they one they come upon is suspicious enough in its own right, and the boulders beyond get a careful frown. “…only one way to find out,” he murmurs.
“Huh? Oh… I don’ know…” Slaine answers, a little dazed from the strike. It’s Aiden’s mutters about that story that gets her focused. “That’s not jus’ a story, Aiden. I’ve spoken to people who say they’ve been there. There’s three dangers that we have to watch out for …”
It is just a story that made it through the dark age. Funny how ‘nookie’ didn’t but the fire swamp did.
“The fire bursts, the sinking sand an’ the ROUS.” She sounds like she knows what she’s saying, right? Picking her way carefully along, she leans occasionally on Zyx. That stench of singed hair just won’t dissipate though.
“ugggh,” is what Elpida says. She mnlooks at Aiden. Just looks at him. Like: did I hear waht I thouht I heard? THen she shakes her head. No doubt he means an actual fire swamp. Probably. She pinches the bridge of her nose. And then… and then Slaine starts talking about ROUS and she just stares before laughing helplessly.
“I think the ROUS…” Which he proninouces as Rooooos. “Were from the east. There was a war that involved a lot of ice. Ice war? No… cold war. Anyway…”
So much history lost or conflated.
Why they’d live in a fire swamp and have a cold war is beyond me. Maybe they didn’t like the cold. Now, where is…”
The ground starts to rumble and the boulders sort of… lift themselves up. And up. And up. And… up.
There’s the titan.
It screams – a sound like an avalanche – and makes a grab for Zyx. Snack, anyone?
Given how casually they’re talking, Varos supposes subtlety’s pointless. He stops walking the moment he feels the ground tremble, lips pulling into a frown again. “Uh-oh.”
Well, his hunch seems to have proven correct. That at least takes any further guesswork out of finding their quarry.
Hah. Get it?
“Ah. It seems that we failed to ask what sort of embodiment this thing would take,” he notes, watching as the rocky being makes a move for Kthzyx. He has to wince at the sound, that’s extremely unpleasant. Well, so long as it’s reaching down…?
Grinning to himself, Varos dashes forward, sweeping an arm out from his cloak, red light lancing around his forearm before curving outwards and back in a vicious looking scythe-like blade. Looks like he means to leap up the titan’s arm and use it as a bridge on up.
Some days, Zyx hates it when she guesses correctly. The boulders ARE the titan. When it screams, she pushes Slaine away as gently as she can so the giant can’t grab them both at once, and doesn’t even try to avoid the grab. She can’t exactly scream counter-resonances back at it when she’s right next to the soft-bodied humans, after all. She’s worried that doing so would injure them. Besides, if the thing’s focused on her, they might have a better chance of killing it.
When the moment’s right, she’ll start trying to use a dissonant resonance to destabilize the titan’s structural integrity. And, if it does ‘eat’ her, well. She’ll just have to go spiky inside its stomach.
“…of course. It’s a giant rock monster with no weak points. Maybe I ought to build a lathe.”
Elpida is quoting a different movie now, of course, not that it’s likely to matter. She has no idea what to say to that. She just stares for a long moment anmd grabs for her pistols. “I guess I just shoot it, then,” she calls to the others. IT’S A FRIGGING TITAN. AHHHH. That’s her thought process.
Slaine staggers to a halt as the titan forms in front of them. “Well there he is …” she says as Varos decides to play pirate. “We have to be inside that thing …” There’s no way Slaine could be that agile, but she flings herself at the creatures paws, catching its fingers and pulling herself up. It’s far from elegant and she scrambles, nearly falling a couple of times. Then she’s off, following the blind tailor along the precarious bridge.
Hopefully Elpida doesn’t shoot them.
The titan is huge which probably doesn’t surprise anyone. Aiden melts away for the moment – presumably he’s watching Varos and Slaine as they make their madcap dash up the creatures arm.
It’s meaty, or is that rocky, fist comes down ever so close to Zyx. She might not be able to dodge it but her singing certainly starts to have an effect – the arm the two athletes are on shakes and rattles, its integrity starting to fail. If they fall from this height, it would be bad.
Slowly though, it’s hand moves to its mouth as it roars – in pain due to the bullets from Elpida’s gun.
Slaine see’s their chance and dives …
“Oh, so that’s the plan for certain?” First he’s hearing it, but now that he finds what they’re up against, Varos doesn’t think it’s too terrible an option. His psyblade might cut through rock but that option will probably take too long.
Nimbly skirting his way along the behemoth’s rocky limb, he watches his balance as the thing grasps Kthzyx, but he’s soon enough at the thing’s shoulder and leaping up to its head. He doesn’t want to be the first one down, mostly because he’d literally be going in blind. As his perch shifts in reaction to being shot, Varos swings his psy-scythe into the rock to help keep him steady. It…might not like a blade between the…does it have eyes? But it’ll have to deal.
If Kthzyx and Slaine make it in, he’ll use the Titan’s next roar to slip in after.
“Ahh oh fuck ahhh,” is waht Elpida is yelling at the Titan. It’s horrifying. She’s just opened fire and kept firing. Blam blam blam, crack crack crack go the energy infused bullets from her gun. Sci-fi guns are fun.
She’s actually not a terrible shot either, this ‘six-gun gorgon dynamo’. “Fuuuuu…” And then shde hears what Slaine says about being inside it.
“ARE YOU FUCKING WITH ME?”
Zyx stops trying to shake the titan’s arm apart when she realizes that both Varos and Slaine are climbing that same arm, then just starts hurling insults at the thing in her native language to get it to focus on her some more.
For the record? Getting eaten isn’t very pleasant, but better her than Slaine… nevermind. Maybe she can make the whole ‘swallowing’ part a bit easier on the mystic — and Varos once she realizes he’s following suit as well — and starts up again with the counter-resonances to further destabilize the thing’s structural integrity. But this time from the inside out.
Oh, and just to be sure, she presses back as much as she can at give the others room to get past her, then spikes out along her spine. Just to add insult to injury. Hopefully.
Elpida sees the three of them disappear inside, not that she has long to think about it. A giant foot swings in her direction, followed by a hand and then its other one. It roars in her face as it tries to catch her – suddenly beset by a very bad case of indigestion.
One that seems to get worse as one hand grasps for its throat – just as Zyx does her echidna impersonation.
The three tumble down, landing on a ledge. Slaine groans as she rolls to her feet.
Inside it’s dark but surprisingly roomy. The interior is just as rocky as the exterior but just over there something’s giving off a glow and it seems to be emitting a tone that Xyz can hear. “Is that a heart?” the Mystic asks.
To Varos, with his sight, he can see what Slaine sees but he can also see what she doesn’t register. It is indeed a ‘centre’ of somewhat with tendrils that span the inside connecting to all parts of the creature.
Perhaps oddly enough, Varos seems to be enjoying himself for someone purported to be a simple clothier. Then again most of those present probably know him a little better than that by now. He gives Zyx a wave in passing, all too happy to let her do her thing while he banishes his psyblade on the way down so as not to accidentally slice Slaine in half.
He lands behind her, light on his feet as he moves to allow space for Kthzyx on the ledge they’ve found to break their fall. Without raising his head he already sees what Slaine does when she points out the heart.
The glow casts its sheen across the metallic matte surface of his blank visor as he faces the thing, a slow smile creeping across his face as he nods. “As much of one as anything, so far as I can see,” he confirms. “It’s definitely serving as the central source to power this thing.”
You know what. They’re doing what they’re doing and Elpida is just gonna have to deal with it out here. Someone is going to need to keep its attention. She dives into a roll back from it, getting out of its immediate face and yells, “YEAH, WELL FUCK YOU TOO!” Her snakes open their mouths, hissing in its direction, as she twirls her pistols in her hands and fires off a few more cheap shots, baiting it into distraction and following her. It does appear to be working. “That’s right, motherfucker! I’M TASTY OR SOMETHING, RIGHT? COME GET IT — OH WAIT YOU CAN’T BECAUSE YOU’RE A WEAK-ASS STARVING ‘TITAN’. WERE YOU THE RUNT IN TITAN SCHOOL OR SOMETHING? I BET YOU WERE.” Not that it understands any of this, but the sneering in her tone, the mockery, is probably unmistakable.
Okay, so she’s not being particularly creative. She’s terrified.
Zyx follows the others once they’re past her, then turns to look at the ‘heart’. “That is it.” Her voice is sounding less and less human. She’s keeping up the counter-resonance so the thing can’t start trying to digest them, but she’s only too willing to stab that heart through with a few well-placed spikes.
But, how would it react? Would that be bad for Slaine and Varos? She’s not sure, and she’s not willing to take the chance.
What did the people in the monastery tell them would be needed to defeat this titan? She’s trying to remember, but ‘cramming’ for the resonances she’d need, well.
“Can ye affect Zyx, Varos? All I can see is the glow…” Slaine answers. They’re thrown around as the Titan continues its rampage after Elpida. They have to act and they have act soon.
They can, of course and they’re going to have to if they want to get out of here or lift the ritual.
Zyx can get the tone after she listens for a moment, she can work out just the right frequency that will make it shatter. Varos though could disconnect those tendrils that connect to the legs and the arms – surely his psyblade could do that?
“If ye can, I’ll try to call earth to catch us before we fall …” and don’t forget the grey eyed psychic is out there somewhere.
As for Elpida, her taunt works – if she wants to call it that. The Titan is enraged and incredibly uncomfortable. A big fist comes down, right by the Gorgon – so close she can feel the air as it moves. She’s thrown around as the ground shakes beneath her feet.
“Affect? I’m not sure what you mean… Unless you’re asking me to share my Sight. It doesn’t quite work that way, unfortunately,” Varos admits. He nearly bites off his tongue for all the sudden movement. “What the heck’s going on out there..?”
It’s reminder enough that they need to work fast. “Don’t suppose we can just hack right into it, hm?” he suggests, his psy-scythe coalescing back into existence, a vibrant red curve that hooks back like a mantis claw. “I’m going in. …although I do have to wonder!” He turns towards Slaine.
“If it’s supposed to eat us to…whatever. Ascend? I suppose? Then does that mean so long as it gets us all in here? Well I suppose it doesn’t matter too much, although best we make sure our dear Gorgon doesn’t join us soon. Right. Back to work! Zyx! Looks like it’s you and me! I’ll see if I can keep this thing from grabbing Elpida.”
He slides a foot back, adjusting his balance before he makes his move, lunging, his arm and blade sweeping outwards at the fine lines of power that branch out between the Titan’s core and the rest of its external limbs. Assuming the layout is obvious, he aims to cut out power to one of the legs and the arm above it, forming a psy-shield to use to rebound off of.
Zyx studies the ‘heart’, sending spikes out from her feet and one hand to help keep her balance as the titan seemingly flails about (not that it’s helping all that much), then finally says, “I can shatter it, I’ve found the frequency. But the … inclusions that connect all the different pieces. Those have to be cut at the same time.” She gestures vaguely around the glowing crystal with her free hand.
She’s still sending out the disruptive resonance, varying it randomly by hitting upper or lower harmonics to keep the titan from getting accustomed to the sensation. She’s not sure she can keep it up for a whole lot longer, though.
Yelping in shock, Elpida promptly leaps onto the titan’s fist and proceeds to attempt to lift up and shoot it straight in the face! In the eyes, actually. Does it have eyes? Do those eyes hurt more when shot? Who knows. She’s trying to find out, though, while keep precarious balance on TitanFist.
“OH FUCK ME,” she yells, in desperate fear.
“No, no … break it or something.” Slaine answers. “The elemental said we have to had ascended for it to be able to didn’ he?” She steps back, beginning to chant, blue energy wending it’s way up her arms. Her timing … well, hopefully her timing is better than it usually is.
Everything seems to happen at once.
Varos’ blade slices the tendrils, he can feel the backlash of power as he does. It … blinds him. Not because he can’t ‘see’ anymore but everything is so bright and he’s swamped with ‘visions’ from the Titan.
Zyx gets right the resonance causing the heart to crack and then shatter. It causes an explosion that sends rock and debris flying everywhere on the outside. On the inside, that resonance is reflected back to the small elemental – she can feel her crystalline hide … crack.
On the outside, a massive fist is just about to drop on Elpida’s head. Well it does – but not with the force she was expecting. It crashes to the ground right beside her, the rocks that formed the Titans hide flying at her. Her own stony skin is pierced, deeply, by several shards.
Slaine’s spell is completed in an almost panicked yell. Arcane blue symbols gather rocks and earth to form a platform beneath them. It’s a drop but not much of one. It will hurt none the less.
“Ow ….” Slaine mutters as she shakes herself from her prone position. “… is everyone alrigh’?”
Is this probably a bad idea? Sure. Everything is potentially a bad idea, especially when it involves bringing a blade psikinetically formed to bear against some unknown energy of potentially god-creating properties.
Varos doesn’t exactly think about that until his blade arcs through the tendrils of energy, gasping as the world is suddenly washed in brightness.
It’s a good thing Slaine’s looking out for them, but regardless of how great or little a drop, it’s much the same when one can’t tell up from down, and it’s obvious that something’s wrong when Varos stumbles as his feet make contact, lacking in the elegance of his earlier movements. He can’t recover his landing, his blade thankfully having gutted out before he can do himself any damage as he falls, shoulder taking the brunt of his graceless landing.
“…I…am not sure how to answer that,” he says around trying to catch his breath, carefully propping arms up beneath him, but it’s as far as he goes.
The ‘heart’ shatters, and the titan falls to pieces. Unlike what seems usual for her, Zyx doesn’t move to stand again right away. And when she does move to get to her feet, the motions are slow and pained. Once she’s mostly upright the reason is clear: A large and very noticeable crack spans her torso almost all the way across the front, but luckily doesn’t seem to penetrate all the way to her back.
She tries to straighten and immediately hunches over again, her cracked torso actually making a faint crackle sound. “I–”
Her attempt to speak sounds like crystalline gravel. So she stops trying and reaches gingerly to try and help Varos to his feet.
“Oh, motherfucker, this is gonna hurt,” says Elpioda as the fist comes down towards her. The shards catch her off guard as she throws her arms up to shield herself and her face. She is impaled by a great many that embed themselves so deeply in her scaly hide that she is left on the ground, bleeding from numerous wounds all over her body and her arms.
She’s sprawled on the ground afterwards, left there panting and groaning.
“Oh fuck,” she says, trying to pick herself up off the ground with winces as the shards dig and bite deeper into her. “Oohghhh. Fuck,” she groans.
No, that says. She’s not all right.
“I’ll take that as no all roun’ then…” Slaine groans, slowly getting to her knees and painfully coming to her feet. “We can’ stay here … got to go.” Aiden’s around here somewhere.
They can tend their injuries later. It’s going to be a slower trip back to the gate. Hopefully, lightning won’t hit twice.
Preparations finally made, Kthzyx guides Aiden, Elpida, Slaine and Varos through an elemental dimension to confront and destroy the Titan before it can do the same to them.
March 10, 2412
An Elemental Plane