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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:05 am 
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The Awakener listens to the situation, no hint of emotion showing on its mask. Once the Elders cease and the others announce their intentions, the Awakener finally speaks.

"This is unlikely to be coincidence - it is almost certainly design. This is an attack that the Arbiters cannot ignore - one which will potentially end the entirety of our organization. However, it is one that may potentially be responded to. It is clear that the individual who created the core is intelligent - they have hidden this power from even the eyes of our greatest Elders, and created a system of extreme complexity designed to end every Arbiter. However, the individual did not make it strike immediately - it is counting down. If the intent was truly to obliterate us, why would it not have struck immediately upon sending out its tethers? A true attack would be instantaneous and unavoidable. Instead, there is the potential that it can be mitigated, or even stopped. Why?"

The Awakener's mask then stares towards the Elders. "To force those with the ability to do so to respond. You are stuck here, unable to react to the attack on Asgard. We will be stuck here, unable to react to the attack on Asgard. The most powerful Gods in Existence and the only Gods with experience in dealing with the Blighted Crystal are forced to remain behind to respond to a threat, while our enemy has free reign in Asgard. This suggests the true objective is Asgard, and not this attack - which means our foe's goal in Asgard is more important to it than whatever benefit it would gain from the annihilation of every single Arbiter."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:46 am 
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Chandi's eyes remain almost resolutely glued to the floor as she enters the council-room, and they begin to speak, an almost subconscious reaction to the situation. "It's always seven, isn't it." She murmurs incredibly quietly to herself. Her head turns slightly away from the position where Lady Destiny sits. When Elder Riordan attempts to shake Chandi's hand, she bows deeply, and says something incomprehensible to everyone in the room, a reverent, harmonic, and unearthly tone to her voice. Chandi doesn't seem to realize she's done anything, and quickly returns her gaze to the floor. The scarred Goddess only begins to look up when the Elder Viata mentions the soul tethers for the bomb. Chandi's head shoots up, and she finally looks at the faces of the Elder Council. The rest of the news only makes Chandi grow paler as she bites her lower lip. As the rest of the Arbiters make their stances known on the situation, Chandi gazes from one Elder to the next, focusing, thinking. Finally, as the others finish, she bows. For a brief moment, she states something yet again in the strange tongue, before realizing her mistake, and continuing in a more comprehensible language. "I humbly apologize for speaking out of turn, but I must make a request." Chandi makes her plea from a bowed position, not once raising her head. "I know that a god of my place has no right nor reason to make requests of ones so much mightier than myself, but I wish to ask your permission to see these soul tethers. I believe it may be within my power to examine these tethers, but it may allow me to see your souls, even if only a small portion. May this humble servant ask that of The Seven?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:21 am 
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Destiny smiles sadly at Harmony, "If we can resolve the situation quickly enough here, we can all go save Athena." She then turns her attentions to Lumina, "I don't know a thing about it yet... but we're going to dive into it to find out. Keep in mind, a collapsed core is normally only dangerous during the collapse. Afterwards, any God can go inside it to try and remove the Souls. Normal ones just enter you into a realm of sorts packed with sleeping mortal Souls... this one however, I expect there to be traps. As well as the three Goddesses who we're caught in the collapse. How you can all help, however, is through the fact that you all aren't connected to it... so the traps may not work against you all. Beyond that - you've all dealt with the Black Crystals before, and extra eyes are always helpful."

Yasuhiro nods slowly, "I agree with the armor. This is designed to keep us from Asgard. Yet, there is naught to be done about that fact until the threat has passed here."

Riordan grumbles, rubbing his belly out of habit, "Bah! I don't like being forced into a corner. Whoever did this will have to deal with all of us when we're done here!"

Chandi then speaks in her odd language and draws a few curious looks, before voicing her thoughts in a way the others can understand. "...hah. Ha ha! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" Elder Arkadius is holding his sides with laughter, "Get a load of this one! Girly you don't gotta be THAT formal! We ain't gonna bite yer head off! Even if yer asking us to get all soul-nekkid for ya!" He grins.

Elder Viata stands, "I would think... with the nature of this connection, all seven of us revealing our Souls would be a very bad idea. Not to mention, the weight of our powers may harm you. However, I shall let you see mine - as I have the most control out of all of us here."

"...show off." Arkadius grumbles.

Elder Viata floats over to Chandi, shutting her eyes and letting her corporeal form phase out... floating there in its place seems to be a mass of flowing water that casts a blue hue over everything in the room. It shines with an internal light that seems to have no source; even with Elder Viata's control, Those Who Remember are slammed with an instant headache, even Awakener. Leading from her Soul, however, is a black mist that coils on the floor and seeps through the wall. As Chandi focuses, she cannot see any sort of Memory Chains upon it - but the mist itself feels exactly like the blight they encountered on Utopia, but far more concentrated.

Before she can stop the viewing, however, a piece of the black mist splits off and points at Chandi, like some sort of headless snake. It strikes fast, screaming towards her like an arrow before bending backwards, bouncing off her Soul as if there were an invisible barrier around it. Defeated, the extra tendril soaks back into the mass streaming from Elder Viata's soul; Viata fades back into the room and the blue glow ceases, as well as any trace of headache everyone else may have felt.

"Intriguing." Viata ponders, "So it is aware you are there... but it cannot connect. Athena mentioned in her report that you were all afflicted by the blight on Utopia," she glances at Harmony, "And that one of you even turned... yet you were able to drive it off. Whatever that process did, it seems to still be in effect. You are all our greatest weapon against this bomb."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:00 am 
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"I -" says Alexis. His Sonic rune plays the short word in Tiranade's voice, at high volume; Alexis stops himself immediately, and deactivates his rune. He takes a brief moment to see if any of the Elders had been able to hear the word; if any of them had winced, jumped, or flinched. "Apologies," he continues. He steps forward, shifting his wings nervously. His Cloak of Shadows slinks off his tail and pools on the ground, then rises up in Dark Doppleganger form; as a perfect copy of Alexis. "I can't quite be in two places at once -" he begins, tapping into his Sonic rune to create a Sonic Link with the Doppleganger, allowing it to speak and echolocate, and allowing Alexis to hear what it hears.

"- but I can send my Shift to one place while I go to the other." says the Doppleganger.

"The process isn't perfect yet," continues Alexis, "it can be a bit confusing..."

"...and tends to divide my attention..." adds the Doppleganger, continuing the alternation.

"...and I'm not even sure if it'll work through that shield..."

"...but it might be possible..."

"...when I go to help defuse the core..." says Alexis

"...to send my Shift in to Asgard..."

"...perhaps see what's happening..."

"...possibly provide some slight aid..."

"...I can cast runes through my Shift..."

"...though it'll probably be limited to healing..."

"...or, more likely, just looking around..."

"...my Shift is very good at hiding in shadows..."

"...and wouldn't be trying to attract attention." finishes Alexis. "I don't know if it's a good idea, but it's an idea."

And after that, he expects that the eyes of all the Elders are on him, and, more specifically, not on Harmony, and not looking for MUSE.

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:42 am 
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None of the Elders react in the slightest to the sudden loud noise from Alexis; they seem to have not heard it at all. Elder Riordan leaps to his feet, chuckling. "Oh hoh!" He skitters over to Alexis, looking up at the bat. "OH HOH!" He walks around Aleixs and his Shift, lifting wings, poking at tails, sniffing legs and grinning like a madman the entire time. "Why! It's a Shift! Not a Shell!"

Elder Viata sighs, "Dear... now is not the time..."

"Oh hush my love! There's always time to indulge a fellow student of the doppelganger arts!" Alexis looks twice, and suddenly there's a ten foot tall rocky golem behind Riordan, speaking in the little mans voice. "If I'm not mistaken... you went and had some fun with my student Magus! Little tyke always playing with his half-sentient Shell... what was it? Senkoumaru?"

Elder Aurora facepalms, "...Riordan... my son's Shell is supposed to be top secret..."

"Oh pish posh! These are clever kids! I bet at least one of them has it figured out already!" He shoots a wink, a large rocky wink, at Harmony. A Satyr then walks into the room, lifting up Riordan on his shoulders. "I can control many Shells at once young man!" He looks down at Alexis, "But even I cannot control a Shell that long of range... specially with that nasty bubble round the planet." He snaps his fingers and the two Shells disappear into Ether; the little rolly polly man does a flip and lands on his feet, dusting himself off. "Maybe one day! I can teach you to boost the range of your Shift - but it's not even a Shell son. The moment it got off world, it'd disappear and return to your Soul! Sorry! I know you meant well!"

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:51 am 
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Asch impatiently taps her foot. "This is fine and all, but as you so deftly pointed out to us, time is of the essence."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:34 pm 
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"Yes." agrees Alexis. "We should be going." His Shift changes shape, flowing around himself again, wrapping him loosely. To Elder Riordan, he adds "I'd love to learn to use it at longer ranges but... now is not the time."

"I think - I think I know why the Blight can't touch us. When we met it last time, we created a tool - a knife - designed to prevent re-infection by the Blight. I think - perhaps - it was more successful than we'd realised at first. It, um..."

He looks across at Serpico.

"Those things that you draw - they vanish after a bit, don't they? So... the knife would have vanished by now. If we get the time, we should really try to re-create it, in a more permanent form."

He thinks about this a moment longer, and then says "Let's go defuse that core, then."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:48 pm 
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As the headache subsides, Chandi bows once more. "This humble servant thanks you. It has been enlightening for one such as myself to be beholden to the soul of one above me." She raises up, but her eyes, yet again, remain downcast, away from the Elders, as though looking at them would burn her eyes from her sockets. "Harmony is our leader. I will follow her instructions." And with that, she closes her mouth, and grows silent, holding her place.

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:58 pm 
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Harmony gives a short nod, then looks over to the others. "I may be the team leader, but I will not force you to follow me to diffuse the bomb. Anyone who wishes to go to Athena's aid may do so. Except, however, for Asch. I do want you here helping me. There is, after all, a mystery to solve." She gives Asch a short nod. "Everyone else, however... it is up to you. So what is it going to be?"

Harmony looks at the others.

"Time is not on our side here, Lady Destiny not included. We need decisions, we need them fast. Who is going, who is staying? Either all stay here and try for the bomb as quickly as possible, or we split. If we must split... I suggest three here, four at Asgard."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:00 pm 
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"I will go where you wish me." Chandi responds, quickly and resolutely.

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:00 pm 
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"Very well."

Destiny ticks off her fingers, "That is at least Asch and Harmony with me. What about the rest of you? Please decide."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:25 pm 
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"The choice should be obvious... Athena dedicated her life to the Academy, and she would want us to defend it no matter what..." Lumina crosses her arms, clearly somewhat bothered. "But at the same time, I somehow doubt I'd be all that helpful at defusing the bomb. Such things require subtlety. Tact. And I like to charge into dangerous situations wielding dual nunchucks with bulldozers for handles. Not exactly helpful when dealing with bomb defusal..."

"If there's going to be an Asgard team, it would be best for me to be sent there. My talents, while flashy and destructive, would put me at my greatest use there." Lumina sighs deeply, rubbing her forehead to hold back the headache that's building up. "Forgive me, Athena, but I must go where I would be most useful..."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:32 pm 
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Asch considers Harmony's words, and responds. "Not so fast, Harmony. If you're going to be the leader, sometimes you need to make decisions. If you cannot, it falls upon me to make them."

Turning to the group, she says, "As such, let it not be a suggestion, but an order. Three of us shall remain here to assist Destiny and the rest shall go to Asgard. As to who shall come with us... Lumina, Serpico and Alexis are all well suited for the mission to Asgard, so that leaves Chandi and Awakener... Tch. Both I'd rather have on Asgard as well... but nevertheless, Chandi, I would like you to assist Harmony and myself."

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:34 pm 
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Serpico gives a rather cheerful little salute, that belies the subdued expression he wears. "Right! So, see you on the other side, then?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:44 pm 
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Destiny smiles, "Alright. Chandi, Harmony and Asch? Come with me."

"Serpico, Awakener, Lumina, Alexis - please head to the teleporter in the back room with me." Arkadius stands and opens a hidden door in the wall. "While you're getting set up, you might wanna decide which of you four are in charge since both yer leaders are going into the bomb."

Solarus stands slowly, leaning on an old wooden cane. "Good luck... all of you. I wish you all a safe return."

All seven Elders bow to Those Who Remember.

And the team splits.

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