09/24/20 - The Crystalline Dark Syvaa Jero


The Crystalline Dark - Syvaa Jero

The legend of Syvaa Jero's founding and creation has been passed down for generations and generations. Long ago, your ancestors lived in the Heavens with the Overdwellers, taming the land and the beasts, negotiating with the flora and fauna. They could sustain the pain of the Light, and their eyes sparkled in diverse jewel-like tones. The Light would not burn them as it would do to you now without protection, but only darken it. They were powerful creatures, able to control the landscape at will, free to explore the Heavens at will. But slowly, gradually, the environment began to punish them for their hubris. Down and down your ancestors dug, using their powerful strength to burrow deeper and deeper into the earth until the cradle crystal was found. Even though the work became more difficult, your ancestors were fueled with their desperation for shelter to dig ever deeper until they broke through far enough to find the great cavern they named Syvaa Jero, words in their old tongue that decribed the depth and darkness they embraced. They dug homes in the caverns, bridges, paths, and tunnels, all inlaid into the smooth, faceted cystalline face. It was quite a grand construction that only expanded over time, a tiered village built into the walls that surrounded a great underground river.
Over time, your people lost the favor of the light, gaining that of the darkness, the Deep honing the bodies of your people to live in its confines. Their eyes grew dark and gained the ability to see within the depths, everything cast in a spectrum of deeper, darker jewel-tone colors. Your skin grew pale and took on more of a gray tint, and the minerals of the Deep started to soak into your bodies, manifesting in horn structures on your heads that were different and unique to each person. Most of your people were and are Lalafell, yet there still remains some diversity and some taller folk. Over the years as your people lived on, they intermingled, therefore everyone remains a bit diminuitive thanks to racial mixing. Ears grew longer and pointier over time, hearing grew more acute, and your culture developed around the environment flawlessly, like water taking the shape of its container.
Your ancestors sought a source of energy after a time, for the Deep was not meant for life like the Heavens were. They found a way to bring waters down to the city, to construct waterways and control the flow with their advanced mining techniques, to harness its unforgiveable flow to their advantage. As the years went on, your people developed technologies around it. Controlling its pathways more acutely, building hydraulic weapons that enabled your defenses to have complex movement and operation - automatic spinning blades, lances that could extend and retract with the push of a button, pistols and projectile weapons that could fire ammunition and water itself at piercing speeds. It turned wheels that operated bellows that kept fires stoked and allowed for metallurgy. And your people needed these technologies. For the Deep was not built for life, and your people had to visit the Heavens occassionally to sustain life. The divinity of water alone was not enough to sustain them all.
But you and yours are the ones living there now in the present day. When you wake in your home, you would first hear the rush of water. Syvaa Jero is always echoing with this sound. It is the first sound those born here would hear, and if they are lucky to stay safely below, the last sound that would cradle them into whatever lies beyond. It can be heard anywhere within the settlement's bounds. To be out of the water's voice is to be out of its protection. Water has memory - it can heal, it can tell stories, it can convey messages, and it can divine deep truths. Water is the key to all life. Without it and its protection, one traverses the world without armor.
The Heavens are where the sound of the water cannot reach you. They are impossibly wild now. Twice a year, hunting parties composed of the most adept hunters would make the long climb up into the Heavens and explore the surface. Their job would be to obtain meat, seeds, and other resources from above, remaining out of sight of the Overdwellers, bringing them back down into the cavern to sustain the people for the next half a cycle. Most of the hunters are women, as they are smaller, lighter on their feet, therefore giving women more power in society for their ability to contribute more readily to it. Unable to see in the light, they wore blinding equipement and used echolocation to navigate, your people possessing a language of calls and noises that sometimes crept into the everyday speech, bird-like in nature to blend with the natural noises and stay out of the suspicious ears of the Overdwellers. The missions were always obscenely dangerous, and there were always deaths. There were always those who lost their way in the Light of the Heavens. But thankfully, most of the denizens were spared these trials. They spoke little of the horrors they saw above, but you could could see it in their faces when they came back. True horror and haunting terror.
With that in mind, as you awaken, your turn begins in the deep darkness of Syvaa Jero. You feel grateful that you hear the water, that you are within the protection of the Deep. That you do not have to endure the Light. It feels like home, and love, and family. You know this place well. The memory of the water runs in you, and you are connected deeply to its heritage. But today, there exists new memories within you, sidling up next to the life you have always known.


Sitting up groggily, Tod clutches his head, a cacophony of unfamiliar noises and feelings washing over him. In the distance, a flow of water both comforting and unnerving. More closely the repeated clangs of metal on metal, as someone labors to hammer the imperfections out of their craft. Atop his head, a pair of horns that he rubs unconsciously. Sizing himself up, he finds himself a little large then normal, his skin a soot grey from the ashes of the forge he awoke to.

Glancing around the loft, he finds a simple bed cut into the surrounding crystal, and further along a rack of tools. Despite not remembering using any of these in his present life, he feels they would not be out of place in hand. Taking a couple moments to gain his bearings, he finds himself far from what his “normal” life was. Judging by his memories though, this was as normal as his other life was. Glancing around he looks for a pair of clothes before getting up to get a better sense of his surroundings.


A feminine voice awakens with a gasp, wherever she was, her solid onyx eyes dart about her abode. A hand instinctively finding the grip of a pneumatic pistol strapped to the side of her nightstand, the weapon sloshes with water as she trains the sights for familiar entries, searching, waiting for a target that never comes. Wicked light, what's gotten into me? She exhales a breath and her arms fall, lazily she stares down at her ashen grey hands. Diminutive things, weathered and rough from her experience as a huntress.

Focus on the babbling of the Deep, Gaelle…it's just a trick of the light

She can't escape this feeling, these memories, these feelings. I don't have a son, if I did, I'd never- She shuffles quickly to the side of her bed, doing a quick examination: in particular feeling her horns. Like a ram's, curling inward on on themselves, wrought of a hue akin to a yellow topaz.

“Heaven's light heralds doom for our kind…so why? What is this longing for-” She clutches at her throat, as if to choke the words from herself by force. The Warden, her…Truth? Our truth?

[DM - Eligor]

There was an echo of voices loud enough to be heard in each of the respective homes of the two, followed by the loud echoing of what appeared to be a bell of some sort. The bell was a summons for everyone in the area to attend an emergency meeting. The Speaker, one of the elderly figures within Syvaa Jero, had an announcement.


A further inspection of the forge, leads Tod to find some trousers and a heavy apron, intended for use for the furnaces. Deeper in the forge, a string of curses echoes as the hammering slows to a stop. Footsteps echo towards Tod, as he glances around for the reassuring presence of a weapon, but finds none, instead finding solace in a hammer and tongs. An elderly man walks out of the forge, before glancing up to Tod in the loft. “Get down here boy. We are being summoned.”

Recognizing the elderly man as his teacher, Tod nods mutely, before clambering down and following his master out of the forge. Stepping out of the forge, Tod is greeted by the seemingly familiar expanse before him. In the middle of the enormous cavern was a glistening river, flickering a myriad of colors as it danced lazily in the dim light of the crystals on the wall. Following his master down a confusing series of paths and bridges, they make their way towards the assigned meeting place.

Glancing around, Tod is reminded that this was his home, as well as Eorzea. Networks of caverns and forges and farms stretch out onto the horizon as he glances around. Finally, he and his master arrived in the designated meeting place, an ancient plaza with a raised platform at one end, currently unoccupied. His head spinning, Tod looks around at the people gathered, and interesting collage of horns and vaguely familiar faces.


A hundred battles, gods felled, a man of the sun… Gaelle can't help but audibly growl and grumble at the latter part of that thought, the sun's existence has been naught but a pox on her and her senses. The bell tolls, ringing through the stony walls of her stony abode, formed by the channels of passing water. Her “front door” not even a solid thing, rather a sheet of water that falls from on high. An underground waterfall she needs to cleanse herself in every time she departs for her duty and returns to rest.

Gair Brandt…he's…we're, why does this feel like more than a mere dream?

She's troubled and quiet as she makes ready for the emergency meeting, arming herself in her usual manner with her pneumatic pistol strapped to her hip. Ready to listen to the wisdom of her elders, and if need be, pledge her being for the good of their community. When she would arrive at the gathering, she would be mildly damp, briefly bathed in the gift of the Deep.

[DM - Eligor]

No one knows how long the speaker has lived. It seemed that she was there as long as anyone can remember; A woman so thin it was apparent even through her baggy yet equally ratty yellow robes. She kept her true appearance hidden so well that not even the other elders of Syvaa Jero seemed to remember what she looked like, but her appearance always remained as the constant truth of what was coming: Disaster. Something awful. She was no taller than an elezen child, yet the appearance of this woman almost always meant despair was not far behind.
When she spoke, a voice that struck like a whip snapped across the murmuring crowds gathered around her and commanded them all to silence. She placed a hand covered in metal on her chest and despite almost everyone having gathered, her voice would have carried across the cavern like a booming megaphone in an echo chamber.

“We have been found.” Even with the new memories of this new life, neither Tod nor Gaelle would have an understanding of what this meant. An understanding that seemed to be shared among most of the younger generation, save for the warriors who travelled to the surface who all seemed to snap to immediate attention. The elderly however immediately began to gasp and flinch–some even falling to their knees. The Speaker continued with her cold voice, but even this stone-like figure of Syvaa Jero betrayed a hint of concern. She has never cracked before.

“The overdwellers have found a way into our great caverns, and they are coming. We have time. It will not be easy to break through to this place…but once they do, we will be exposed to the light.”

Murmurs echoed worriedly throughout the crowd, but no one seemed courageous enough to actually speak above whispers.


Gaelle was one such warrior who snapped to attention, heels clacking together, but she instinctively held a salute that was foreign and familiar to her, a fist held over the heart. Immortal…Flames? She adjusts her posture and maintains herself in a parade rest, hands clasped behind her back. Amid the murmurs, a look of mild disdain crept over her features. All this babblin' 'an no plan from our elders.

The half-elezen would step forward, daring to speak up now. Authoritative, as one might expect from her given station. “Then we use this time to secure the safety of our people, to the last huntress if need be.” After a pause, she asks of their cold-toned harbinger of the end. “Have you a plan? If not, we must make ready for war.”

[DM - Eligor]

A metallic hand rose into the air.

“We have a plan, but it will require sacrifice. The elders anticipated that one day the overdwellers might find us, and so we placed hydronic compressors in the old city.”

The old city referred to the abandoned tunnels and caverns that lay abandoned several levels higher than the current Syvaa Jero, close to the surface. Any hunter or huntress would be familiar with the place, as it was impossible to pass through to the surface without passing through the ruins, which served as both a monument to their history and a warning of the horrors that lay waiting on the surface.

“It will seal off the caverns and meld the rock together, preventing the overdwellers from infiltrating further….but it cannot be activated from here. Nor will any who make the trip be able to return. Should they survive….the ones who make the journey will need to survive on the surface until we can dig a new tunnel—a process which would take months at the very best.”

She falls silent before gripping the nearby railing, speaking up once again.

“I will go. But I will not make the journey if I go alone. I realize what I ask. Effectively, we will die for our people. But this is what must be done. The overdwellers cannot be allowed to take our home. Not again!”


These foreign memories, a man of the sun, an overdweller who by all accounts, should represent damnation. Self sacrifice for family is a virtue they both understand, something they both live by. And so after considering this elderly woman's words, Gaelle and Gair swiftly salute once more, fist over heart.

For our tribe.

“I'll go with you,” They answer with Gaelle's voice. “We'll return when a new tunnel has been made, or when the Deep carries us back.”


Tod glances around nervously as the news was broken. Eyes flicking from the crowd, to the elder, and then to his master repeatedly, he realized the gravity of the situation. Recalling that his master had once taught him about hydronic compressors, he looked up questioningly at his master. The grizzled man ran his hand through his sooty beard, face unreadable.

Upon hearing Gaelle, his master looks down to Tod. Sizing him up. Then he nods, as if to say If you want to.

Breaking into a nervous sweat, Tod thinks it over, panic evident on his face. I am only an apprentice. I can't remember how to operate a hydronic compressor off the top of my head? And what if I fail? Syvaa Jero falls. And what if-

His thought is interrupted as he is lifted by the scruff of his neck. Looking around in a panic, he sees his master holding him above the crowd. His master calls out, “I will make him ready. I am too old to go, but my apprentice will take my place. You will have someone to help operate the compressors, and trouble shoot if needed.”

Tod turns as pink as his horns, though neither would be visible beneath the coating of ash from the forge. After what seemed like an eternity, Tod felt his feet touch the ground, after which he dropped to his knees, breathing heavy.

[DM - Eligor]

At least three more men—hunters all—stepped forward and offered themselves before the volunteering was done. Whilst everyone was nervously looking around for the next brave soul however, a little boy tugged at Gaelle’s waist. It was Reak.

Reak was Gaelle's cousin here in Syvaa Jero. He had lost his parents–hunters both–to the overdwellers, and for better and worse became a child of the caverns. His story was not at all unique however, and despite him being cared for by the community physically, there was little that sustenance could do to mend a lonely boy's scarred heart. Perhaps it was because they were family, or perhaps it was because Gaelle had reminded him so much of his parents. He had grown quite attached to her over the four years since they were lost, and meekly followed her around like a lost puppy whenever he could. Now those lost puppy eyes were staring at Gaelle, silently begging her not to do this. Not to leave him like his parents. Without speaking, he pointed at other people randomly in the crowd, as if to say “there are plenty of us. Let them do it instead. Stay with me.”

Tod was the next to be interrupted from his reverie, albeit in a different way. It was a woman slightly taller than he, but notable for having slightly more pinkish skin amongst the gray tones typical of the citizens here. She was considered a local beauty, and now that beauty was kneeling next to Tod, getting her cute dress dirty to rub him on the back. It was Yoa.

The girl had always been the object of desire for the many men in Syvaa Jero, and found herself constantly hounded by courting and wooing. Eventually, what was once the light jokes or genuine understanding of other women turned into jealous stares, not-quite quiet enough rumors, and the silent treatment. With no place to relax anywhere, she took to wandering places pretending she was busy. That changed when she stumbled into the shop of Tod's master.
The grumpy old man didn't pay her any heed and, to her surprise, it seemed as if Tod did not either. Working to learn his craft and treating her as another normal person became a sanctuary in her bleak world. She found herself coming to this place more and more often, if only to stare at them working. The old man might have understood what was truly going on at some point as he never shooed her away, but did Tod? He might not have noticed or wanted it, but eventually her quiet glances turned into something more. A need. A longing for him. Endless advances outside, yet the one to claim her heart was the man who had seemingly not tried to make any advances at all.

The woman did not make any attempt to stop him or change the decision made for him, but it was clear she wanted to. For all her attempts at comforting him, she was hunched over crying silently, looking one miniscule nudge from scooping him up and running away as fast as she could.


Tod’s vision begins to swim as panic takes hold, his breathing fast. The sounds around him fade, as his vision begins to go dark. A soft touch on his shoulder brings him back to his senses. Turning he finds Yoa, a dear friend of his, kneeling behind him tears running down her cheeks. Bristling with rage at the injustice of it all, he stands up grabbing Yoa by the wrist, before shooting a glare at the one who volunteered him, the crowd that refused to stand up, and at the speaker for announcing the end. Shaking his head, he begins to run, dragging Yoa behind him, tears stinging his eyes.

A surge of memories rush through Tod… no… Xander’s mind as he runs. He remembers running errands for his master, winding through the many streets of the city, his first time hearing tales of Yoa. The jealousy. The desire. He had never thought much of them, but remembered her name, only to be surprised when one day she showed up at the forge. At first, Tod was wary of Yoa, wondering if the rumors were true. However, after months and years of Yoa’s presence, he gradually grew to enjoy their time together, enjoying his few breaks from the forge with her. Yoa’s presence was refreshing and kind, and Tod eventually found himself happy just to see her at the forge.

Now though, his stable, comforting life was being ripped apart, and Yoa away from him. Chest heaving, Xander finally comes to a halt in front of the forge, finding Yoa behind him. Cupping his hands beneath a nearby waterfall, Xander washes the streaked mask of ash and his sooty horns, before taking a deep breath and turning to Yoa. “I-I am sorry. I don’t know why master…” He trails off, emotions whirling inside, before muttering to himself. “It doesn’t look like I have a choice though. No one else volunteered.” Xander looks to Yoa apologetically. “I am sorry for dragging you up here. For doing all this… If you don’t mind waiting here, I have some things I would like to give you. Things I should have given you a while ago… Under better circumstances.”


Gaelle's brow furrows as a trio of men step forward, this is a woman's job. They huff out a breath and shake their head. The disdainful introspection on the males cut short by their little niece- no, cousin. The face of a sandy-blonde Miqo'te comes to mind, who is she…? All the same, they are both young, they are both to be safeguarded at all costs.

“Little droplet…” They utter with Gaelle's voice and kneel down, laying her calloused hand atop his head. “This isn't the time to be selfish, as much as I would love to stay and watch over you…” They smile sadly at Reak and shake their head. “I must go, precisely because I must protect you.” Something of Gair shines through, an easy resignation to this task at hand.

This is goodbye, A'thasr- Reak.

They reach out to embrace their little cousin for what is perhaps the last time.

No tears, not in front of him.

[DM - Eligor]

Loa is pulled along, slightly surprised by this sudden enactment of her recent family coming to life. Were they really doing this? Were they truly going to let it all go and run away, never looking back? Her heart raced with confusion, guilt, and happiness all swirled together at once, and despite not being able to keep up with his little legs she ran as hard as she could, even as lactic acid began to build up and her lungs burned, she ran. But all good things come to an end of course. Eventually, Xander came to a full stop…and they were not out of Syvaa Jero. When she heard him speak, she could not even muster the will to fight his decision. She knew, as he must too, that all of this was for the greater good. Greater beyond them both. But no matter how they both felt, he had to leave, so she nodded and gave the most convincing smile she could muster.

“Of course! I'll be right here!”

She gave an awkward sort of cheering gesture with her arms, but it seemed all the more pitiful with her strained smile. Both devoid of energy or truth, but trying desperately to go through the motions.

[DM - Eligor]

Back with Reak and Gaelle however, things did not go nearly as smoothly. The little boy yanked at her leg, shaking his head wildly.

“No! They said the same thing and they never came back! Let someone else do it!”

He turned to the crowd frantically, shrieking at everyone loudly enough for his voice to carry throughout the caverns.


His shrill voice began to break from the strain of suddenly screaming so much and so loudly, but he continued to try to yank Gaelle away–to make her stay. Eventually Bishop, one of the men who regularly brought food to the children of the caverns had to come and scoop him up, nodding to Gaelle once before leaving. Reak was still screaming at the top of his lungs even as he was carried into the distance and away from the crowd.

It was a strange scene. Quiet and meek as he was, Reak had never acted out before and was more comparable to a shadow than some spoiled child, but even he was doing his best to hold onto his cousin, no matter how it looked. How powerless must he have felt being carried away by Bishop? How horrible must it have felt to have the only family left to you volunteer for their own doom?

Bishop was a seemingly cold man. He seemed to have no interest whatsoever in other people, and made no effort to connect with the community. Except, of course, for providing food for many of the cavern's children. Perhaps it was because he was one himself, but even as he offered no warmth or coddling for the children, he was their foremost caretaker, providing them with food and clothes far beyond what was required by everyone. When the colds of winter came, he often had his hearth filled with so many children snuggled next to each other on his rugs that it was not strange to see him sitting next to a campfire built just outside of it, having no room left for himself. He was not a social man, but it seems he at least understood that Reak making a scene would only make it harder for everyone.


Xander looks sadly at her, before mutely nodding his head and entering the forge. Climbing up to his loft, he retrieves a hair clip and a pouch. Carefully climbing back down the ladder, he glances once more around the forge. It was his home. And now he had to defend it. Solemnly, he steps back out to face Yoa, before smiling weakly. “I have two things I want to give you.” he says softly, reaching one hand to gently pull her hair back behind her ear, and then fasten a hand crafted clip to hold her hair in place. He steps back, before nodding. “The first is a hair clip I made a long time ago. I had originally intended it as thanks for keeping me company in the forge. But now… now you mean so much more.” Then, he carefully opens the satchel to reveal its contents to her; two shining lumps of metal, and a gem. “I love you Yoa. I had been saving these for when I was a better smith, to make rings for the both of us. However, I want you to make them while I am gone.” He offers the satchel to her before continuing.

“I remember as a kid when you first came in to the forge. At first I thought it was odd, because no one really comes to visit. I was lonely. But you started to come by, and watch, and it felt like someone cared about me. We started to spend time together, and I learned how kind, and compassionate you are. I never could say anything because I was afraid you were too pretty for me. You deserve better. But…” he trails off, then shakes his head.

“Know that I love you Yoa. I will come back, and then we can run away. Away from this place, so we will never be separated again. And… I am sorry that I need to leave.”


As Bishop takes up the mantle to carry off the young Reak away from the gathering, they can only offer a polite dip of the head in silent recognition. You're a kind soul, Bishop. They wore a wan smile on their features until Reak was entirely out of sight, they couldn't risk cracking there in front of the boy. While the newcomer wasn't fearful of the sacrifice, Galle was. It was an odd feeling, haboring the memory of a man with such weighty fetters of the soul. How can someone value their own life so little?

“He's a good boy, he'll grow into a good man.” Gaelle asserts on Reak's behalf, her glassy gaze tracing into those who remain. In particular the volunteer, watching Xander assure his beloved. Opting to try and offer some assurance and mirror Bishop's example of easing this emotional scene.

They bring hot air from a distant desert to bare, bravado only a champion gladiator could bring to bare. We've gotta be like the rock, unwavering, the very bedrock. “You'll just have to get those pretty little hands of yours dirty and help dig us out when the new tunnel gets planned!” They tell Yoa with a cocksure smile, a fist thumped over their heart.

[DM - Eligor]

Yoa continued to cry quietly, overwhelmed by the duality of the situation. The mutual affirmation of afection, the necessary sacrifice and loss. The promises that are filled with words that are honest and hopeful, yet ring with that twinge of a deception. An uncertainty–a lie hidden just underneath the sweetness out of view. But it would not do to tarnish the hope of the moment, the happiness to be shared through the dreaded feeling of loss rising from her core like a stalking beast, so she swallowed it down and mustered another even better smile, allowing herself to distract herself from the horror of the moment with her genuine happiness.

“I-I love you too!”

She clutched the gem to her chest.

“You'd better be ready though! I'll need you to help me make this ring sparkle on my finger. It would be so embarrassing to be the only one wearing such a wonderful ring! So you absolutely must come back ok? You absolutely must.”

“I'll get started right away!” Yoa wiped the tears from her eyes and stepped into the forge, seemingly having reached her emotional limit for now. Her gaze left Xander and moved entirely towards the forge, already inspecting tools and coals for her coming work.

The speaker turned her helmet towards Reak as he was being carried away before addressing the crowd again.

“If half of you were as determined as that boy to keep your families safe….no, it does not matter. Make no mistake, those of you who have come forward are nothing short of heroes. But time is not on our side. Make your peace and your farewells, we meet here again in six echoes.”

Echoes are hours.


Xander takes one last look at Yoa before sitting outside the forge, head in his hands, and beginning to weep. Eventually his master approaches the forge, and Xander glances up. Jerking his head towards one of the side rooms, his master heads inside, indicating for Xander to follow. Cupping his hands with the waters from the fall, he rinses his face, takes a deep breath and glances wistfully at the enterance to the forge, before following his master. Inside the simple room, his master is busy digging through scrolls, attempting to find the proper one. Xander takes the moment to hang up his smithing smock, and instead donning a light set of mail under his shirt. Keeping the hammer and pliers at his side, he feels the urge to find a pair of knives, but finds nothing suitable.

Behind him, his master clears his throat. “I am sorry for volunteering you. I believe in your capabilities though.” Then, he hands over a scroll wrapped in a water proof skin. “If you don't mind waiting, I have something to give you.”

Glancing up at his master, he weakly shrugs, instead attempting to distract himself with the plans he had been given. Vaguely remembering the way to operate it, he reseals the canvas as his master returns bearing another long thin package. Unwrapping this, Xander discovers a perfectly balanced sword, with a simple pommel and scabbard.

“I had been working on it for a while, but it seems like it is needed now. When you get back you can make a better one for yourself.” Xander glances up at his master, before nodding. Fastening the sword to his side, he retrieves a small packages of snacks for the road. “I guess I should get going…” Xander trails off, heading for the door.

“Know that I am proud of you Xander. Thank you for your service.”

Bowing deeply to his master, Xander begins his slow trudge down towards where the Speaker had made her announcement before, opting to wait glumly in the plaza until the designated meeting time.


Gaelle spent only a single echo in preparation, returning home to her solitary home, a place with rooms unused, halls once filled with kith and kin. Now only the Deep babbles endlessly, her only company for for the last few cycles. Keepsakes of lost family, her mother, father, her brothers. Something plucks at their heart, a song Gaelle doesn't know, but one the new voice knows well. One with the weight and baggage of a mountain, it speaks to directly to their nostalgia for family and loved ones lost.

O come ye wayward brothers, Bereft of hearth and home, Beneath yon burning star there lies…

“…A haven for the bold.”

She returns to the plaza, dressed for nothing short of war, bedecked in cloth armor interwoven with steel plates not unlike a brigandine. The same sidearm strapped to her belt as before, with a form of longarm projectile weapon slung over her shoulder. In her hand, she tests the mechanism of short spike of a device. Flicking it to the side, it hisses, snaps and extends on either side as pressure fills the device. Extending to be nearly twice her height. It's a rather portable spear that she retracts and then fixes to the longarm over her shoulder as if it were a bayonet.

Gaelle would step up, noticing Xander waiting rather glumly, she only passingly knew of the craftsman for his work. Not the best with her words, she opens with, “You're rather bold…for a man.”


Xander glances morosely up at her. “I am bold? What did I do?” Rising to his feet, he feels a rush of anger. “I was volunteered. I am not a warrior like you. I spend my days hunched over a forge, preparing your instruments of war, not using them. Why am I being dragged along to risk my life?” Fighting tears he continues, “I can't even tell the people I love that I love them. So why am I bold? I am nothing but a fool. One whose master decided to risk instead of going themselves.” Clenching his fist tightly, Xander slams it into the wall he was leaning against, before slumping to the ground. “Just… go. Do your warrior thing. Become a hero. You don't need me.”

Glancing over her attire Xander grimaces. The long heavy armour. The fire arm. Somehow these felt wrong to him. While the sword at his hip was simple, he felt a sort of familiarity with the blade, that he hadn't before. It felt right, not clunky like the woman standing before him. With a huff, Xander gets up, and moves a little ways outside the clearing, hoping she didn't follow. Then, he draws the sword, feeling it's balance in his hand for the first time. Despite all of his anger, he felt an appreciation for his masters work. It was perfectly balanced, and felt light in his hand. Feeling a little silly, he took a few practice swings, and was surprised that it felt somewhat familiar to him. Sheathing the blade once more, he returns to sitting glumly in the courtyard, picking at the moss growing there idly, to wait until the designated meeting time.

[DM - Eligor]

In the first echo, all was quiet. The murmurs of the of worry and the occasional scuttle of the citizens preparing for some unseen threat might have pushed against the oppressive silence, but nothing truly broke through it.
In the second echo, only the sound of rushing water throughout the city, down the halls and floors, providing power and life to the residents. The fear had quieted down somewhat, but the anxiety had risen in the ambience of the waiting. More men that had prepared for the mission gathered in the meeting place, doing their best to remain resolute and silent. Everyone avoided looking at one another.
In the third echo, thundering cracks tore the silence into wretched bits. The wide cavern ceiling that served as the sky for all of Syvaa Jero was splitting and breaking apart. With an awful splitting shear screaming across ancient rock, a pair of massive fingers would poke through, grasping at the jagged edges formed from the forced entry and make themselves visible to any outside. The Speaker was wrong. Time was not on their side.

I doubt that you could even imagine it, little one.

Bathed in the glory of the light as you are, it might seem naught more than a distant nightmare, hidden just beyond the reach of the sun. But, I tell you true my dear…of a scourge. A blight upon all that is blessed in the light.

Imagine with me, unpleasant as it may be, a bug. A squirmy little thing covered with little welts and filled to bursting with icky juice. Imagine how you might feel if it crawled on you, spreading its nasty, weak, and slimy little essence all over you. It digs under your skin and soon it infects you as well. It fills you with pus and goo. Even if it you are spared, what about your neighbor? What of our crops? The bounty blessed upon us by the glorious light?

Now imagine there is not only one little bug, but hundreds. Thousands. These bugs know how to do nothing but take and take and take. They are creatures of the dark, hiding beneath our feet and stealing our lights bounty. They will corrupt everything we have. They will destroy our world if left to breed. They must be destroyed down to the last. To the very root. Like any infestation, they must be burned out, crushed, and left to purify in the the sun's glorious embrace for the good of the world. Remember this, Saren.

Saren remembered. All through the years as she trained for this day. Through the nightmares that plagued her. But it became real when she saw the “bugs.” True to the tale, they were stealing and corrupting everything they touched. This would not stand. When Saren's mother caught sick, the bugs were to blame. When the crop was not healthy, the bugs were to blame. When the glory of the sun gave way to weeks of rain and thunder, the bugs were to blame.
It was with glee that she tore through the caverns. Years of training to hunt these bugs had taught her well how to feel their taint. She could SMELL their filth permeating the caverns. Roil in rage at the sight of the water they pilfered from the surface with their wicked ways.


They told her to rest, but evil never rests. She would see this blight ended. This mistake of nature corrected.

Burn them out. Crush them. Kill them all to the last. Tear them. Snap them. Twist them. Pop them. Throw them against a wall. Purge them all!

A giant figure burst into Syvaa Jero from above, bringing down clouds of dust and broken boulders of rock with it. Screams immediately filled the air as it landed near the meeting place. Once the dust had cleared a bit, it's form would come into full horrifying view.
A massively giant creature, easily nearly twice the size of any of the normal buildings in Syvaa Jero. Its skin was pale and chalky, as if it were carved from pristine marble, and as if carved in the image of perfection its arms, legs, and exposed abdomen displayed an almost artisan form of veins and bulging sinew, all accompanying what was a decidedly feminine figure. Bright pink eyes were nearly hidden under a thick mane of long black flowing feathers that seemed to cover the majority of the woman's body, including a set of wings protruding from her back. Her mouth was strangely wide, as if an awkward mixture of eagle's beak and carved stone-like lips produced a maw that seemed simultaneously grotesque and attractive. What appeared to be gashes lay exposed on the bridge of her nose, and extending from her eyelids appeared to be several small tentacles instead of eyelashes, each glowing a bright yellow at the end and swaying about ominously. The woman shrugged off the debris that came down with her and looked around, those tentacles swaying about until her arm suddenly shot out and into the building nearest to her. After some screaming and a moment of rummaging around, the giant had her prize: A small, terrified boy. It was Reak. He was bloodied from being suddenly yanked through debris, but was very much awake and clearly terrified. It seems that he managed to sneak away from Bishop to at least watch Gaelle for as long as he was able. Until she left. The giant woman looked down at the squirming little Reak, observing him briefly in her hand.
What might be a smile slowly began to creep across her lips.


Gaelle had nothing more to say to Xander, there wasn't much point in indulging a man's emotional outburst, to her. He's right in many ways, and wrong. Many of the women chase glory, but here you are, shouldering a duty that's been foisted upon you. She would shadow him and watch from a polite distance, something passingly familiar about the stance and the form of his swing. Why do I feel like we've fought once before?

Gaelle's gaze would dart around as the rumbling begins and the figure bursts in from above, she was used to being ambushed, but this- this threw her off balance for a moment.

“REAK!” She would yell out, hearing her little cousin being plucked from a building as if he were little more than a rat hiding. She didn't care how big this thing was, she's a huntress. Her longarm rifle was already shouldered, with an audible clack she cycles a round in the chamber to fire, her sights trained on the monstrosity's arm.


Passing the time idly, Xander creates a moss free ring around him, before hearing the cracking from above. Glancing upwards, he sees something drop down towards him, hopping over the wall he was leaning on for shelter. As it slams into the ground, Xander sizes up the unfamiliar creature, before it begins to move, shrugging off debris, before the tentacles smash into the nearby buildings.

Hearing the woman from before scream, Xander peers over the wall to observe in horror the creature standing before him, dangling the young boy by his leg. Remembering him from before, Xander leaps over the wall, reaching for his hammer, before swinging towards the back of the creatures leg.

[DM - Eligor]

The giant did not react in time for either attack, but it mattered not. Both barely grazed the creature as it turned it’s gaze on Xander, a glint of malice flickering in its pink eyes. Raising Reak above its head, it threw the boy like a rocket towards Xander with an enraged growl.


With Gaelle's shots doing little but to graze the beast, she can only yell out as the boy is yeeted at incredibly high speed. Her feet move to purpose, trying to rush between Xander and the young projectile. Arms wide, she would try to dampen his trajectory with her body.

NO, NONONO! This isn't happening!


Xander sees the boy get thrown to him, and tosses his hammer aside, preparing to cushion his fall. Seeing the woman from before charging to catch the boy, he recalls her having mail on, and steps in front to try to cushion the boy first. Bracing himself for impact, he prepares for the boy to crash into him.

[DM - Eligor]

Reak lands rather safely in Xander's waiting embrace, but the speed of the throw was still enough to floor both of them–or it would have, had Gaelle not been behind them. The giant creature was very pointedly displeased with this bloodless outcome, and after a brief scraping of it's arm against the building debris launched a large chunk of building at the three.


Xander feels the wind get knocked out of him as he is slammed between the woman and the boy. Vision swimming he staggers to his feet, grasping around for his hammer. Watching the arm pick up and grab rubble nearby he staggers to his feet, pulling the boy in close and beginning to move away from the woman. Tossing the hammer towards the beast, Xander then pushes Raek away, diving on top of him to protect him from the rubble.


Gaelle was something of a wall to crash against for Xander, an arm outstretched to keep them from hitting the ground too harshly. Her gaze flits to Xander quickly, a flash of gratitude across her features. Thank the Warden. Leaving the handling of Reak to the proactive Xander, she folds in behind her rifle and shoulders it again. Giving the creature more disparate targets, she breaks to another direction.

“I'm over here!” She shouts as she squeezes the trigger, the water-powered rifle keening as projectiles are fired out in a controlled burst. She's thrown caution to the wind for the moment, soly relying on her armor, whether or not it's effective.

[DM - Eligor]

The giant creature seemed poised to descend upon Xander, but Gaelle’s shooting had managed to strike it on the patch of flesh that served as the midway between the giants tough skin and its feathers. This seemed to be an area of sensitivity, as the resulting screech echoed loudly throughout the caverns. Opting to retreat for now, the massive thing turned around and rushed through some unfortunate buildings behind it like they were stacks of empty boxes, leaving dust screams and rubble in its wake.


Standing up, Xander offers a hand to Raek, before surveying the damage briefly. Then, he turns back to Raek and kneels. “I know you didn't want her to go, but you could have died there.” He admonishes the boy, before smiling a little warmly. “Can you do me a favor? Can you go to all of the houses away from the monster and tell them to hide. Your sister and I will help chase it away, and then go save the village and come back for you okay?”

Xander then stands, surveying the damage, grimacing a little. Glancing at the woman he shakes his head. “Apologies for the outburst earlier. I am Xander. I believe we should chase that thing out, and get on with our job then?”


Gaelle wasn't the best with kids even when she wasn't under the adrenaline rush of a combat high. Her finger work the lever on her rifle and an empty magazine clatters onto the ground, from her belt she slaps in another full up with pressure-driven projectiles. Her words were cold and almost mechanically delivered, speaking with rough and plain language one would expect from a fighter in a theater of war. “Listen to Xander,” is all she has to say to Reak, he was a distraction and a liability right now.

Her attention trains on the man, he's got some mettle. “Gaelle.” A pause, she adds awkwardly after his apology. “We should, seems you're braver than you thought you were.”


Seeing Raek run off in the direction he indicated, he looks around in the wreckage briefly, before finding his hammer, and returning it to his belt. Then, he nods curtly, before replying. “Pleasure. I wouldn't say I am brave. I just have something to protect.” Then he cracks a small smile. “Plus I have to help repair this mess when I get back. The less that thing destroys, the less I have to help fix up.” He begins walking after the monster, looking back at her. “Shall we?”

In his mind he wonders, Where are the others? Weren't there a few more warriors to help take this thing down?

[DM - Eligor]

The Giant woman did not follow further even as the shots continued, growling in irritation. She bent forward, a strange rumbling coming from her chest before she reared back, bellowing out a terrible scream that echoed throughout the cave before jumping straight up towards the crack it had broken through, screaming again at the hole as it grasped onto the opening with powerful hands, managing to latch onto the surface with her feet.


Gaelle let the affirmative clack, clack! of the bolt on her rifle slamming forward to compound her answer. “That makes two of us.” No sense sending out a warning signal, every warrior will have heard that. She immediately pushes forward onto the rubble of one of the buildings that the giantess had blown straight through, turning on heel to Xander to call him over. “With something that big, we might have to drop a section of the cavern onto it, or a whole building!”


Xander glances at her, slightly annoyed. “All I have is a sword. If you want to drop the cavern on it, why not do it while the thing is trying to go back up. Though, there could be more after it.” He looks at the surrounding buildings to see if any of them have been damaged to the point where they could be toppled on the monster.

[DM - Eligor]

The terrible scream began to grow louder, but it was not from the giant itself. Above it, from the crack it broke through earlier, a cacophony of growls and roars broke through the opening. The crack the giant had broken through grew larger by the moment, and with a terrible bursting of rock, the crack became a gaping hole through which several giants began to flood through. The rest of the volunteer squad had somewhat broken off nearby to deal with the immediate destruction caused by the single giant on its own, but now they stood in silent horror as no less than ten and counting began to rain down from above.

All seemed hopeless, but the world went a dark blue, followed by a burning bright yellow. Both Gaelle and Xander would feel their consciousness snatch from their bodies as time seemed to slow to a near stop.


[DM - Eligor]

Gaelle would find herself booted back into her body like she were slammed there, followed quickly by a sudden surge of memories. Memories of dying against a fallen family member….but more importantly, the combat skills learned during that horrible time, accompanied by a surging rush of strength flooding her body…through which a voice soon began speaking to her, whispering to her.
Xander on the other hand, seems to have ceased existing. He disappeared in a sudden flicker of darkness, and in his place a blue-furred creature appeared, smacking against the cold ground unceremoniously as the horror of the world around them continued to descend from the sky. Blue has arrived.


Blue had felt the sweet release of her throat not being crushed by Alia's gravity if only to find her body in all its entirety folded and crumpled and simply blink out of the existence of the sand tribe in favor of a dark crystalline cavern. Though the woman was a shapeshifter and was used to contorting her body in a series of ways, Blue hadn't been prepared to be bent and broken over and over if only to flop back into existence here and so suddenly, gasping for breath and staring up at the giant…creatures raining down from above.

If the canine noticed the other woman beside her, she didn't immediately react to her, staggering painfully back to her feet with the careful sway of her limber form. She rubs at the injury at the back of her neck, wolven ears perking as she tilted her muzzle over in Gaelle's direction. She glances over at her finally, blue eye and markings glowing faintly in the darkness. “I want to tell you what I know. I want to guess what soul rests inside you. But there's no time.”

She takes a shudder of a breath, clenching and unclenching her fingers. “Will you fight?”


They didn't give us anything, only more of the memories that man…possessed of his inner shadow. What was their name again?


And what is ours? Hear my name, our name…

Gaelle hit the ground in complete silence, save for the clattering of her form and her armor clanking on the ground. She emitted a low growl of irritation as she starts and pushes herself something resembling verticality. There was a renewed vigor in her that she hasn't felt in years, possessed of vitality and passion both. She was at a stand by the time Blue had regarded her existence, seemingly more interested in the own palm of her hand for a few moments. Her eyes have taken on a dull red hue, an unamused glare offered in answer.

“No, I'll run and piss myself,” Her tone is dry and utterly unconvincing as she strides forward with purpose. Grasping the spiked bayonet that was once fixed to the rifle she bore. Holding the point ilms over her heart, as if she were about to plunge it into her chest. “We'll play twenty questions after we've slaughtered these things.”

[DM - Eligor]

The giants landed to a welcome of terrier screams and dull crashes, roaring a small distance away as buildings near the main square were crumpled to and cracked open like walnuts, only for their contents to be crushed launched across the massive cavern.


Blue winced slightly at the woman's tone of voice before simply nodding. She made to transform into the fiercest shape she could recall…but the change simply wouldn't come, concentration broken by the shrill sounds of screams in the near distance. With a staggering step forward, she gestured for Gaelle to move ahead of her. “I'll…catch up..” The shapeshifter dropped back, sharp ears taking in all of the rumbles and the chaos taking place not so far away.

Come on….get it together..the shapeshifter attempts to rally herself. Her fears and anxieties were making it impossible to act on her abilities, both recently learned and born with- and she'd be more of a liability to all the worlds she kept getting yanked into. She looks up at the giants once more as they rampage, taking one steady breath and then another. I've got to help.

The shapeshifter tries for an easier shape. Fur furls outward into yellow feathers, canine muzzle replaced by a beak. Long, lengthy talons protrude out from where the woman's legs had been. A rustle of fluff and a battle cry in the sound of a rather vicious KWEH and the chocobo launches itself for Gaelle, hoisting her up onto its back with her strong neck and making towards the ruckus proper.


Every cry and scream, every crashing building was fuel on the fire that was starting in her heart, from mere embers to a roaring inferno. Her hands trembled as they clamped down on that spike, trepidation at taking the plunge, literally and metaphorically. He did it…just like this.

And so we both will.

A shadowy form of a humanoid kneels down in front of Gaelle, easily six fulms in height and clad in an armor of a familiar silhouette, to those from Eorzea. His formless gaze locks onto her and they rest a hand over the butt of the spike. Moving to purpose, they plunge it forth as one, the spike sinking into a dark void in the middle of her chest. As if Gaelle were some sort of humanoid stone from which to pull a sword from, they draw, and from that void emerges a wicked blade of red and black aether, nearly twice her height and featherlight.

She was already marching off, right until a chocobo kips her up onto her back. Strangely familiar, and riding bareback, she holds firm to the bird's sides between her knees. Bearing the hellish sword heavensward, ready to inflict bloody retribution.


In addition, she lets out an audible, “Hyah!” on instinct.

[DM - Eligor]

The first giant was nothing like the grotesque beauty from before. Clearly masculine and covered with ratty feathers, the giant gray-toned creature snatched one of the earlier volunteers from a ruined home with one hand, quickly jerking their body into the building until it became a chunky pulp. It reached into the building again, pulling another young man from the crumbled ruins who was now missing an arm (likely pinned under the rubble) and placing him inbetween the giants hands, clearly aiming to squish the screaming man slowly.


Blue made for that first giant, nonplussed by the size of her foe and flapping her wings as the distance closed between them. Beady eyes stared at the gooey pulp of a person against the side of the building, and this seemed to incense the shapeshifter into action as she hopped and jumped on the building itself, using it as a stairway of sorts to get higher off the ground and more level with the giant. It was one major jumping puzzle, but once the chocobo and her passenger had reached the very top, she'd launch them both straight for the giant's face. Maybe they could save the poor man in between its hands, maybe they couldn't, but they had to try.


Gaelle tucked her great blade in close, letting the aetheric hilt of her blade pin under her armpit as she holds a hand to the back of both of them. Immediately a foreign mantra is repeated in her mind, furious as a blaze, O' Warden, grant me your fire! From the palm of her hand, aether crackles and the smell of a white-hot forge fills the air moments before several explosions erupt behind them, a brilliant flash of fire that would blind most dwellers of the crystalline deep. “Whoever the hell you are, be about your wits, were to fly!” Aiming to aid Blue's final leap and rocket the pair right for the giant's head. Her intent to crash their combined might, talons and aetheric blade couched like a cavaliers lance in full tilt.

[DM - Eligor]

The pair very quickly and with an unreal sense of ease tore through the giant’s head like a hot knife against a water balloon filled to bursting. The giant dropped the one armed man on the ground, but now a headless corpse was poised to slowly but surely collapse on top of him. Meanwhile, the other giants hardly seemed to take notice, continuing to terrorize their victims not far from the airborne pair.


Blue had thrust up her talons in the joint effort to tear deep into the giant and gouge them proper as a follow-up to Gaelle's aetheric blade- but when they ripped right through its head with such ease, the chocobo gave a confused little “Kweh?” And flap-fluttered, trying to hard-brake from the exertion Gaelle had helped propel them with.

With the now-headless giant leaning forward and about to drop, the Blue swings her head around frantically, trying to locate the whereabouts of the one armed man as they dropped back onto level ground. She'd speed towards him, clearly intent upon saving the life of at least one while there was still time.


Gaelle was rather caught offguard as well, trying desperately to re-orient and attempt to correct mid their trajectory with Blue's flaps. Her hand outstretched in opposition to the direction they're travelling through the air, a steady gout of flame trailing a brilliant arc through the air. Flames sputtering as the brightness of the fire flashes before her, she was accustomed to warding against sunlight, but this was a different thing altogether for her sensitive eyes. The focus on the spell is disrupted and weakened by this distraction, clearly an element that doesn't come as easy to her as it does the wayward soul she has had an intimate look into.

[DM - Eligor]

the burst of aether from Gaelle would begin to flow into Blue as well somewhat United in their purpose, Blue would enjoy a burst of speed carrying her towards her target. The man was still bleeding out of his stumpy arm, but there was already one of the remaining volunteers running towards the trio.

All around the cavern, sounds of water piercing through flesh could be heard, as well as a series of explosions somewhere near the outer edges of the city. It seems the people of Syvaa Jero had already begun adjusting to the chaos and were readily beginning to fight back. They would not go down without a fight.


Blue was uncertain of this odd flow of aether bringing further spring to her step, but she wasn't going to deny it either, letting it boost her further towards the one-armed man and letting Gaelle make the grab for him when they drew near enough to do so. Blue had to focus on darting out from beneath the giant and towards the volunteer heading to them.

The sounds of fighting all across the cavern fill the shapeshifter with deja vu, though the elements of the chaos and the people fighting had been quite different.

Inky black eyes stare out at the madness while the one armed man is deposited and a small flicker of a moving picture would flow into Gaelle's mind.

The expanse of a bright, sun cast desert followed by the Battle cries of a tribe who fought against armored invaders with jet black birds for mounts. A lalafellin woman who looks remarkably familiar, as if seen before not that long ago. The flicker of two brave warriors who sought to change their fate.

<You're like them.> The chocobo remarks mildly in Gaelle's mind before setting off in the direction of the fighting once more and the next moving monumental challenge.


Whether or not the man was to survive his wounds, Gaelle would reach down to pluck up the survivor from Blue's back and drag them from their fate of a slow crushing to death. She was no skilled surgeon or fleshmender, dragging them from point a to point b will have to suffice. He never saw a chocobo shape shift, what the fuck is she? That thought was interrupted by the images of battle, she was thoroughly dazed from her perch, carried listlessly upon Blue for a long moment as the voice is processed.

“You aren't a chocobo,” Gaelle exclaims, “just who the hell are you?!”


Blue stops in her tracks at the question, and a deep well of sadness would fray along the edges of Gaelle's mind as a result. Her thoughts drifted over to the two souls back in the sandsea, plucked from that world when the situation was at its most dire. She turns her head to stare at Gaelle and one could see odd yet familiar blue markings resting on the bird's face, glowing dimly.

<…I'm Blue. Have you learned the name of the soul in you yet? I think I found A'erina and Lami…before I ended up here..>

<…But even if you remember me, you prolly wouldn't have known I was a shapeshifter. I think I was scared to tell people..sorry..>

In a weird way and in spite of all the danger in the worlds she kept plopping into, this fragment of a soul was the truest form of Blue, the one who no longer had any secrets to keep and the freedom to flow into any form without restraint. Shuffling and stamping at the ground with her taloned feet, the Chocobo starts moving towards the chaos again.


Gaelle stares long and hard at the chocobo who'd been putting more than words into her mind, beady eyes narrowing as a result. After a moment of processing the information, she can do little more than huff and shake her head in disbelief. It's not like this is the weirdest thing today.

“I don't know about 'soul', but there are memories. Two men named Gair, or…a vastly different one from softhearted fool you likely now. Either way, we are Gaelle, for now.”


<Gair!? Though..I only know of one, not two of them. Still…> Inky black eyes stare at the woman once more before the chocobo rustles her feathers and begins to lope towards the closest sounds of fighting. Wouldn't be terribly hard to miss with the giants though.

<Gair was good. Strong and always there for his companions. Sometimes he had to leave to do important missions and things but he always came back to us.>

Blue kwehed quietly, thoughts drifting. These memories of others were vivid and intact, and she cherished each small insignificant moment she could afford to share.

<I'm a friend and I'm here to help. I'll do whatever I can, I promise!>

[DM - Eligor]

Above, the female giant screamed as she clutched at the ceiling. But slowly the screaming gave way to a strange kind of song. The male giants below began to scream back in unison, adding to the noise that was now beginning to shake the cavern, and they all began to glow a shimmering white. Up above, the female giant was cocooned in a ball of light, which gave way to an opaque barrier. Something was happening.


Gaelle let the glowing endorsement pass over her like so many droplets of rain, I know what he's done, he's not good…but he tries. She shakes her head in answer, far more interested in this cocoon of light that is clutched to the ceiling.

“Listen, I got more of his memories, his…strength, from a deal with some thing. It'll collect and I don't know what or when.” She points the tip of her sword heavensward to the female who'd sung her song and readied herself behind her barrier above them. “But first, we gotta pierce that, even if we bring down the fuckin' cave!”


Blue listened with interest to Gaelle of the dealing, her mind wandering a tad. I wonder if Apate was..

Before she could finish that inner thought, the song is heard, and the shapeshifter's eyes dart from the female above them to the males that had started to glow. At Gaelle's instruction, Blue warks in agreement and leaps into action- or at least, begins a flying charge towards the base of the cocoon.

[DM - Eligor]

As the two collide with the barrier in Gaelle’s attempt to repel them, they would come across a strange force along the surface of the barrier. A strange, foreign energy unlike the barrier of light before them. This was a violet and lightning-like energy that crackled in protest as the pair made contact and promptly repelled them both back down towards the cavern floor.


Blue had a feeling it wasn't going to be as easy to slice and dice whatever barrier the feathery woman had swathed herself in. It was proven as such when the chocobo rammed beak-first into the cocoon, only for what felt like the tickling of lightning against her nostrils before being thrust backwards. She hurriedly straightened herself in a flurry of feathery wing beats and dropped to the ground below.

<Sharp pointy objects might not work here..> Blue muses, though her mind wanders and something monstrous, ink black and sinewy appears in her thoughts as well.

<What if the barrier could be eaten away…or one spot weakened just enough to…>


Gaelle's aetheric blade is deflected, skittering off and showering red and black energy that cascades every which direction on impact. Shit! Suddenly at the sensation of being thrust back down to the base of the cave, she once more aids Blue's maneuvering with an extended hand down and a flash of fire to counteract their harsh descent.

“That fool learned some of how to disrupt spells and devour…aether. We could cut off the others and maybe weaken, or even…no.” She shakes her head in disbelief. “I wouldn't even know where to start with infiltrating that cocoon through the transmission of those males.”


The chocobo stills a moment before lowering her head sullenly, her thoughts constantly distracted by a flicker, and then a rush in her mind.

Whenever I was in trouble, whenever I really needed to fight for something…it was there. And it wasn't always good and sometimes it was really terrible and I hurt a lot of people but this is the situation it's there for…its my trump card. It's all I really have.

<This is life and death though, we've gotta try everything..even if we don't really want to…>

Almost immediately the highlander would feel the rush of contorting muscle and bone beneath her as the chocobo became something much less feathery. Gaelle might have to maneuver herself quickly as thick, armored plates erupted from the bird's back and she fell forward onto steadily-growing forelegs that looked more reptilian in nature. The sounds of bones breaking and snapping and the uncanny keening escaping the monstrosity's throat would be more than enough of a threat to most anyone else in the vicinity, but then the beast grew. The size of the giants themselves, the creature extended its long, sinewy frame to encompass what area it could within the cavern.

Blue's curled tail waved leisurely behind her as she acknowledged the cocoon before her. Her eyes narrowed and her jaws parted, and with a thrust of her massive head, she aimed to crunch down upon it without mercy. Black corrosive bile dribbled around the area she targeted, dripping down onto the ground and eating away at the ground in a steaming rush.


“You and him aren't so different in that way, you know. You both harbor something terrible you must keep in check.”

Heeding the words that flood her mind from the chocobo, Gaelle hops off of her in anticipation before the metamorphosis takes place. The intensity of her Darkside abating, the aetheric sword she once bore wavers in her hand and snuffs out. Holding the bayonet spike she had plunged into the void of her heart. This melding of thoughts reaching even Blue now, two voices speak to them, one belonging to Gaelle, the other belongs to an unrecognizable woman with a cold tone.

“A sword was his weapon, not yours.”

“I know.”

And fire, really?

“I know…

Then why do you shirk the gifts of the Deep? Call to it, as our people have for time immemorial…

“Go, Blue! I'll cut the men down and weaken that thing!” Balefully, she stares at the direction of the giants that remain on the floor, screaming, glowing and somehow resonating with the cocoon in the ceiling. And so she darted for them, moving alongside a stream that babbled down from on high, water was easy to find in Syvaa Jero: it's the lifeblood of their civilization. She drags the point of her spike along the water's surface to draw it toward her and shape a myriad of icy lances from the Deep. Which she hurtles into the fray of male giants.

[DM - Eligor]

Gaelles’s ice lances become spears of destruction imbued, tearing through the air with a speed great enough to create several small shock waves and impaling the male giants present. Twenty giants had jumped down into Syvaa Jero, and eighteen were each quickly impaled by the death raining down on them, piercing through them like a missile before the air froze behind each of them turning most into frozen sculptures that soon after burst into grotesque pillars of ice adorned with chunks of frosted feathers and flesh just beneath.

The frozen arcs connected at Gaelle’s launch point in a sort of ice bridge, but the power that apparently moved through Gaelle was not uniform. Two of the giants managed to not only survive, but seemed outright unaffected by the ice devastation.

The barrier had weakened quite a bit however from the death of so many, and with Blue’s corrosive bite eating away at the barrier, it soon gave way.

Within, the giant woman was in a kneeling position as if she were offering something to the sky. Upside down as she was however, this meant that Blue’s teeth sunk directly into her forearms, and with a sizzling crunch, the immediate pain response was a scream loud enough to shake the caverns once more. Shocked from the sudden pain and weight, she lost her grip on the ceiling and began to fall, the flesh around her arms rapidly melting away.


Blue tried her hardest to focus on the task at hand, and for once it seemed like the wrathful intentions of this form had bonded with the shapeshifter- at least for now. Perhaps it was because it was called upon to do what it did best, nostrils flaring as the arms of the giant woman began to melt away and it turned its slitted gaze to mouth from which the woman screamed in agony.

Too loud…

The drake briefly watches the woman begin to fall, readjusting its serpentine frame to get out of the way, if only to lunge after her, jaws outstretched and aiming to grapple the entirety of its mouth around her head, corrosive ooze bubbling and burning and eating away at the flesh there. If allowed, the beast would continue to crunch down like a vice, perhaps hoping to completely shatter the giant's head like a very hard melon.

Blue wanted to feel repulsed by it, but the creature she changed into felt no sickness nor fear. There was a comforting warmth in just letting rage take over, unburdened by all but one little thread tugging at the back of her mind like an itch.

“Don't hurt my friends, please.” Silence was the only reply.

[Sanity roll in 2]

[DM - Eligor]

As Blue’s mouth closed in, yet another arc of that strange lightning would pulse outward from the giant woman, repelling them away from one another.

The female giant landed in a heap on top of an old looking building—one Gaelle might recognize as the home of an old widower—in a pained heap, heaving labored breaths as the corrosive bite had already melted much of her forearms down past the meat and muscles, leaving exposed a now slowly bleaching bone. One of the remaining two giants jumped over to her aid, attempting to pick her up as she gave a pitiful caw.


Blue thrashed with anger as she was repelled, angling her body to drop down near the giantess. Taloned claws curling around the rubble of the building she landed on as the creature hissed and made to snap at the woman once more, if not for the two giants who drew near to help.

<Gaelle,> Blue directed to her ice-spearing companion, tendrils of rage seeping out from that single word like flames licking upon skin.

<They come to protect her.>

The drake encircled the injured giant, tensing the muscles of her back legs as one of the giants attempted to pick her up. With a roar, the violent creature thrust her horned head towards his torso. If she didn't snare him on the pointy bits, keeping him away would do just as well.

[Sanity roll in 1]


The sight of the widowers home being crushed beneath the falling giant only served to fuel these newly found gifts in Gaelle. You've claimed enough, you piece of shit. Now that the cocooned woman giant is now a floored woman giant. She reaches for that stream one last time to call upon the waters of the deep, freezing a lengthy lance of ice to bear as a melee weapon.

Gaelle's balance with her inner shadow balances on the edge of a blade, she's in that middle state between control and unleashing her own inner monster. She was tiny, but dangerous, on distinctively light footfalls she rushed for where Blue is tangled with driving one male back. Intent to rush by and make an attempt on the mostly disarmed female. She mounts the rubble of the widower's home and make the plunge with her great icy lance.

[DM - Eligor]

Unfortunately for Blue, the giant man was more than prepared for her continued assault and tensed his entire body for the rush, barely managing to but still being just strong enough to stop her ongoing assault. His strength was completely devoted to keeping the blue creature where she was.

Gaelle on the other hand had far more success, although not in the way she had hoped. The remaining giant man leaped to his leader’s aid and like the first used his body to shield the injured female. The lance found flesh, but it was not the target’s. The remaining male fearlessly blocked Gaelle with his palm, causing the lance to pierce into it and split it apart, tearing through his arm until the momentum ceased near his bicep. With one great swing with his remaining arm, he aimed to smash down on Gaelle’s head.

During this time, the female giant had risen into a sitting position, puffing out her chest while her feathers began to shimmer and shine in the dark. Finally, she spoke to her assailants, and prideful malice in her foreign words. For but a moment, a tiny doll appeared over her head like an illusion and suddenly the intent behind her words became clear.

{Do you see now spawns of the dark!? Our warriors are proud! We fear not the end nor the pain, for we are pure! Rejoice! Retreat! Crawl and flee!! For we are your purge—WE are the end to evil made flesh! By the will of the great [Æłįæ] we are become the hammer of light in this filthy dark. We are but a fraction of the wave that will follow! Rejoice! You shall now be cleansed!!}


Blue growled as her serpentine body collided with the giant, unable to spear him proper yet violently wresting in an attempt to break the hold. Her eyes fell upon Gaelle, or more specifically her ice Lance as it thrust itself through the other giant- but not the one she was aiming for.

It was around this time that the manic haze of rage just barely processed the prideful words the giantess emitted, and Blue tried to process her thoughts, if only to be overtaken before she could.

What is this, claiming to be light versus dark, good versus evil.
They choose a side because they think it matters. They choose a side to defend their stances and beliefs.
Because they think they must so they may never call into question what is right and wrong for themselves.
They're all the same in the end.
They all cry and scream and die the same way.

The burning maelstrom within the shapeshifter seems to have boiled over entirely, and suddenly the beast twists around, wriggling and writhing and near spasming as the drake snaps her neck up and for the giant holding her, bile-filled mouth aiming to take a large, hearty chunk out of his neck.


“If purity and light is this maddening slaughter, I'll be-” Gaelle is cut off mid-answer to her mocking assailant, her left arm raising just in time to intercede the giant smashing down into her head. A barrier of ice coalesces in an instant, a barrier of the deep that shudders and cracks at the considerable stress put on by this tiny woman holding her ground by unearthly means.

“The demon you look out for in the shadows.” She just holds her defense right there, lifting the giant's arm just enough to show her baleful glare to the source of the taunting voice.

[DM - Eligor]

As Blue attempts to bite down on her target, she is repelled by yet another aura of light suddenly radiating from the giant. In sequence, the remaining giants too begin to glow and radiate light, so bright it illuminated everything around them—very quickly beginning to reach the intensity one might feel staring directly into the sun. Something was happening.


The beast snaps and snarls at the aura of light, licking over her jowls as she draws herself back and acknowledges the light illuminating the entirety of the world the drake had been thrust into. Talons clenched around the rubble of the toppled buildings from which both parties were making a mess of things and while the world went whiter and brighter, the dark drake simply found herself screeching out her rage-induced hunger, slitted eyes glaring with abject hatred for the giant feathered woman before it got to brilliant to do so. She couldn't do much from the position she was currently in and so blindly lashed her tail for the giantess, the spiked end threatening to run her through were the aura not able to defend her proper.

[Sanity roll in 2]


Gaelle was light sensitive, all inhabitants Deep were unaccustomed to bright lights, fire and especially the sun. She barely managed to shield her eyes in time to not be caught completely off guard and have her retinas fried by the sudden shift in brightness. “Damn this light!” She shrieks out in fury, eyes screwed shut as she desperately tries to retaliate against the giant who'd attempted to slam down into her head. The icy shield on her arm now wielded like a bludgeon as she steps in to try and return the favor on the male giant. Her weighty and ice-clad fist cocked back before she sends it forward haphazardly, she can't exactly see where she's throwing her punch now. There was only the chaos in the light.

[DM - Eligor]

Blue’s tail whip would be repelled by whatever the rising force in the giant woman was while Gaelle’s attack on the injured Would strike true, crushing his skull in unceremonious fashion. But it was already too late. Whatever was coming had reached its destination, and now the end was here.

There was no sound to speak of at first. No great expansion of all destruction. Only an ever encompassing light that quickly and quietly consumed everything. Or almost everything. Gaelle’s newfound powers, whatever they were, clashed against blinding white nothingness, the one wall lashing out of her body even without her intention. This was only a stopgap however. More would be needed to stop the coming end. More would be required to undo what was being done.

Time slowed to a crawl again, but Gaelle was still in place. Still conscious in this stopped moment.

Like a taunting whisper from the dark, the dolls disembodied voice broke through the silence, echoing in Gaelle’s head.

<So this is the result of your choice. I suppose all that’s left now is for you to make another. Will you stay true to the first choice which lead you here, or will you abandon all else, even yourself, to save what is left? CHOOSE CAREFULLY NOW.>


Gaelle had only a moment to swipe what remains of a giant's skull off of her ice-encased bludgeon of an arm, spattering the ground with a wet slap as she turns to direct her ire onto the giant woman. Half of her icy lance raised in defiance…right up until what Blue and her wishes to halt had come to to pass. Utterly frozen in her tracks in this vast white expanse, until a familiar and irksome voice reaches her. Two voices in her mind answer in unison.

<You counted on me straying all along, didn't you? You knew that to me and that man, our lives aren't some precious thing to us! You knew exactly what we would do when given this choice.>

[DM - Eligor]

<Possibility for mortals is remarkably simple to fathom, but that does not mean I counted on anything. I am simply here to help carry out your will.>


Gaelle gives voice to her answer in this void. It took her a long moment to consider her answer in full, not an easy one, given the path of another she has seen so intimately. “Then hear my will: I saw that man throw himself into the grave for nothing. Syvaa-jero will be lost even if I fall to spare it for now, the one who sent these things is still out there. Vengeance is all that remains, our pact for power still stands.”

[DM - Eligor]

<As you wish.>

Slowly, as those last words echoed into nothingness, time continued.

The encompassing white consumed everything in its path, swallowing the buildings, the people, and even the darkness. Blue and Gaelle however disappeared, flesh and all from the erasure. Whatever strange power that cloaked Gaelle has swallowed them both, whisking them away.

Everyone died in silence. There was no roar of victory, nor was there any cry of despair. There was only the endless and formless white.

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Temporary pause here while you both go to Byronic Machines.