|The Well of Souls|
|What: Kilroy seeks aid against Mammon to destroy the well of souls.|
The Portal of Zentral Inal is one of those curiosities, like the 'why do we have that level' or 'why did we put traps in this well traveled corridor' in that it is a vulnerable portal to the outside, but what people rarely realize is that there is a need for such curiosities, with a small community in the isolated community in the Rockies that maintains it. Sometimes you want to go "elsewhere" and can't get there on your own. But what the portal specializes in that most others do not, is that it can get you in there entirely undetected...And so it is that Kilroy has found himself here, with a few other invitees. The price has been paid...and the portal opened. He stands on the threshold and explains while the portal master watches on the side.
Kilroy takes a deep breath and puts a hand behind his head, "Mammon is a heavy hitter. His demons are strong, tough and extremely evil. They can also possess most folks without a strong enough will. I've bought one shot charms for most of the major hazards; the fire, the possession and the cursing...and the other good news is that because Mammon violated the contract, we can hurt him and his minions with regular weapons, but they can still hurt us. He's also expecting us, but he doesn't know we're already bypassing the City of Gold and going straight into the back door of his palace. I don't expect that to last very long. We're looking for the well of souls. It's a device my father created with Mammon that channels souls that arrive in this part of hell to various demon lords as currency. It requires other magic to work...My plan? Not sure, but potentially to destroy the thing and let them go back to whatever they used before it existed. What I do not plan to do is agree to Mammon's demand that I recharge the thing. Questions?" Lunair really doesn't get a lot of this. But se tries. And she places her trust in Kilroy. She seems fiercely protective of Kilroy, oddly enough. And today, she's wearing her body armor. Lunair listens intently, hazel eyes a little wide. She nods. Right. Charms. Possession and curses bad... And the scary part is, there's not much she can do about either besides shoot the mage or demon in the face before she gets cursed. Which tends to make people frown at Lunair. A lot. Nevertheless, she seems to get the gist of the plan and nods. She seems to understand. "Hm. Does this mean I should use blessed weapons?"
Having brought basically an entire trunk of gear with her, Brynn is dressed for battle, armor plates and chainmail pieces all about her body. The trunk is open, with half a dozen swords, a couple axes, shields, and armor pieces that can be strapped on, fastened to legs, arms, shoulders and such.. all within said wooden container. "If he is such a heavy hitter, then by all means, those who desire it, feel free to select anything you wish from my supplies here." she states, gesturing to the trunk. "I have no skill with magic, but they are well forged, and very durable weapons and plates."
She then turns to Kilroy and offers, "I can cloak myself from detection should you require someone to be stealthy." And yeah, she doesn't seem to have the subtle aspect to her personality. "But I am not an expert on your magical beings. However, I can heal the injured, though not quickly. Keep that in mind should the need arise. Aside from that, I will defer to the experts about where I should be put to use." "As for the charms. Save them for the others. I should have no need of such." adds Brynn.
Zatanna Zatara - hat tilted at a jaunty angle, and painted lips pursing with thought, had listened to most of what was said. And the woman was left with a little smile tugging up the corners of her lips. A long pause, and she gives her head a shake. "I'm not sure I agree - wading into a demon stronghold and trying to cut our way through their host is... foolhardy at best. If we can do it, we can do it, but..." Zatanna flickers her eyes from person to person. "The souls that this machine attracts. Are they innocent, or are they already hellbound?" she asks.
Kilroy answers the questions in the order that they were received. He winks affectionately at Lunair but nods to her. "Blessed is good. I've already got 4 gallons of Holy Water. Silver is good too. Holy symbols for anything you have faith in work too."
He nods to Brynn, "If we go stealthy, cloaking your presence is good. And that healing will likely be necessary but I think if we stop we're dead."
He turns to Zatanna, who knows to this point by reputation only, but her reputation is sufficient that his voice carries a tone of definite respect. He thinks a moment on her words and then says,"It's about 99.9 percent hellbound with .1 percent 'gray' so that they might be viewed as innocent by me but somehow managed to get down here in the first place. And I'm all for subtle. I've already given Mammon quite the black eye, but my primary objective is to get him off my back so he stops targeting me to get me to recharge this thing.
Lunair seems surprised! But famous is famous. She listens. She smiles politely to Brynn and Zatanna. She beams at Kilroy's wink, and seems fond in turn. She nods. Blessed, holy or silver. She's not sure about the symbols. She never really got exposed to religion. Either way, Lunair knows what to bring this time.
She looks to them, thoughtful. For her part, Lunair is more listening. This mystic stuff is over her head.
Nodding, Brynn falls silent for now. She looks to Zatanna, and then to Kilroy, interested in the answer of the innocent vs hellbound. She doesn't really get into the whole... afterlife ideals, since her people don't do afterlife, they just... keep waking up after dying. Finally, she speaks. "I cannot cloak others. Only myself... should I do so and take point?" she asks. And then she nods to Kilroy. "You mentioned silver, so every one of the weapons in the trunk are forged with edges of silver. But which are as hard as diamond. Take anything you like.. any of you." That said, she turns and looks in the direction the plan dictates travelling in, and merely... waits.
"If we're taking votes on what to do - sneaking in and disabling or destroying it would be my way to go. But as always - anything that messes with these demon guys, I'm more than happy to help with," says Zatanna, a showwoman's smile dancing up on her lips. "If we're talking invisibility? I may have a trick or two..." Zatanna flicks her hand, showing the queen of hearts card now caught in her fingertips. "Up my sleeve. I'm ready when you all are."
Kilroy thinks hard. Long and hard. Finally he decides, since someone should and this is his mission after all, "Let's try stealth. I can't do invisible, but if we're spotted, let me distract Mammon. Lunair, you can have my back while Brynn and Zatanna, you two can find and deal with the well of Souls." He hands Brynn and Zatanna two coins, "These will grow cooler the closer you get to it..."
He smiles at Brynn and, while there are some NICE looking weapons in there, he goes for what he knows and picks a slender but sturdy silver staff. "This is great. Thanks Brynn."
And with that, Kilroy steps through the portal. It is hot, insanely hot but the charm he's put on his neck protects him for now. No demons have found them yet. He moves with the group towards a set of giant double doors on the far end of the room. There are some noises of conversation up ahead but not moving or coming closer.
"I think I can make my own, I would feel bad taking yours," Although - Lunair's weapons may have less 'soul', they have the advantage of being around as needed. For now, she slings a super soaker full of holy water over her shoulder and keeps a silver shotgun in hand. It's probably loaded. But she doesn't point it at anyone. "I'll watch your back then," Lunair promises. She seems content to act as a guard, then. She is pretty protective, and all. With that, she will quietly follow Kilroy. And hope not to meet the Saint of Killers, get fried alive or anything like that.
It's a good thing that Brynn doesn't take offense when folks don't want her toys. She loves making them whether they get used or not. It should be noted that she is also not carrying one and not selecting one herself. "Kilroy... if anyone should act as decoy if the need arises, it is me. Eternals do not stay dead even if they are killed.... so I am the logical choice." That said though, she steps through the portal, psionic illusions starting to flicker until she steps out the other side and fades out.
For Zatanna Zatara's part? She did not choose any of the weapons offered, none of the holy water, none of the other things. "I'm quite strong enough on my own," she says with a wink, as she brings a hand up to wave off the weapons. "And I may have brought a trick or three of my own along, if I need it," she says, turning her eyes towards the valkyrie proper, holding up the coin that Kilroy provided. A wave of her hand - and the coin disappears, Zatanna's hands empty entirely, the woman giving her a cheeky grin.
She did take the heat charm, however. And the one against possession.
Tugging the brim of her hat down, she steps into the portal as well, her eyes flickering with only the slightest bit of hesitation. She had been to hell before. Not a place she was hoping to visit again.
Kilroy peeks through the door. He considers what to do. He whispers, "There are two demons in there. Let me try something..."
There is a brief bit of conversation and they move away. Kilroy chuckles, "They fell for it."
As the group moves farther in to the compound, they take a set of stairs down and then end up in a long corridor. There are cells on either side with bars. There are moans from multiple people, and a large vaulted door with two HUGE demons in front. Sneaking past these two will be almost impossible.
Lunair is watching over Kilroy, and minding any wayward demons since she's not any use at this magic stuff. She will have her charms handy, though, silver shotgun in hand. And then her eyes widen as she watches Kilroy charm the demons. Hmm. Those are huge demons. "I guess we'd have to bluff or -" She looks to the others.
Well, there are times for stealth, and there are times for being obvious. Brynn floats forward since levitating is silent. She has an idea, and she gestures towards the vaulted doors while cloaked, and telekinetically pulls upon them to try to open them. Either way, the doors should either open or rattle if they are like... you know.. locked. She yanks on them with a solid ton of force, and is already moving towards the two guards... the plan? Make them look at the door and then dispatch them -quickly-. Her Asgardian blade is summoned to her hand, and she moves... not with supernatural speed, but the sort of speed of someone confident with her movements, and her skills... blade whistling towards the torso of one demon, lengthening so that the single arc stroke should... (if all goes according to plan) should be able to sweep across both targets. IF she can take them both down before anyone calls out a warning, that's her version of stealth! The magicienne follows the others through the damned halls of the fortress, and the others might pick up a hint of anxiety from her, forever hidden behind her showwoman's smile. For all the tricks she had, demons at heart were more difficult than most. It was harder to overcome them naturally, but what she could do? As Brynn kinda steps out like that, Zatanna's eyes widen quite a bit. Stepping forward - she was trying to keep her magic low-key so as to prevent being detected by the surge in very human magic that she had, Zatanna closes her eyes, and points a hand out - fore and middle fingers split to point at both demons. "Laets eht ria morf rieht sgnul dna dnuora rieht sdaeh!"
If it worked the way she wanted it to, the demons would find their lungs - if they had any, and the area about their heads to be suddenly devoid of air. The magic ~shouldn't~ be touching the demons at all. But that meant - if they used similar ways of talking that humans did - that they would suddenly be unable to roar or cry for help. The good news is that the group is able to dispatch the demons rather quickly. Brynn is not noticed as she approaches and dispatches one, though it recovers quickly and is about to shout before Zatanna ...does that...squirky thing on their lungs with no problem. The demons technically do not need air...but they do need their insides to be inside and are still quite....'dead'...they'll be back eventually but for now they're writhing around in dispatched pain on the floor.
Kilroy gives a thumbs up and walks forward, past the cell cages.
"MERCY! LET US FREE!"
There are, in the cages on either side of the wall (about eight cells between the far vault) about 9 humans, 4 demons, and 3 ...weirdly humanoid creatures probably from non terran worlds. They all clamor for release from the iron bars though there is no immediate lever to release them. Kilroy isn't immediately sure what to do but if the racket hasn't alerted the guards it certainly will soon.
Kilroy asks one of the prisoners, "How do we free you?" He isn't sure this is a good idea, but he isn't going to leave someone innocent here either.
"There is a key good sir, on the guard's belt...hurry! Please hurry!"
There is indeed a key on the belt of the guards, but to those in the group with mystic senses about half these people radiate evil..and to those with...shall we say a good judge of character, all of these people are...questionable at best.
Lunair is - on guard duty then. She listens, to the screams. And even Lunair seems a bit uneasy about letting these folks go. She frowns, shaking her head. She doesn't quite know what to do. She puts a fingertip to her lips, as the prisoners talk to them. "Hey ... hey ... for us to get the key... you have to be absolutely quiet, okay?" She says nothing of freedom or release, but then - it's not likely they're going to sneak past the guard, now are they? Nevertheless, she shifts the shotgun to rest over her shoulder and pulls the much quieter Holy Super Soaker. If someone else attacks, she'll follow up.
Shaking her head, Brynn just says. "Do we really need a -key-?" She tries to cut through the bars with her supernatural strength and magic blade. "Perhaps they can take the portal back?" she asks as she steps towards the doors the two giants were guarding. Re-cloaking (and without turning left like a Romulan even!) she goes to peek out and see what's beyond. Zatanna wasn't quite trying to suffocate the demons - more trying to keep them from making noise.
But of the three - possibly four right now, Zatanna looked a bit disgruntled with the plan of setting the prisoners free. Stopping by the bodies of one of the demons, she does fish out that key - "Lunair, catch!" only to toss it towards the other woman to make her decision with.
But Zatanna had a sharp look in her eye - not on any of her companions at the moment. But there on the prisoners. Lips pursed, eyes watchful. "I feel we should leave them in there - and just hurry," says Zatanna. "Or throw them the key and let them free themselves," she says, kinda wincing as Brynn starts her cutting.
Kilroy considers this. Which is more important, freeing these folks, or ending the suffering of many on Earth and a few in the confines of the machine. Reluctantly, he nods and moves on towards the door.
In the doors beyond there is a large cauldron of the celtic variety in the center of the room. There are holes here, ones Zatanna recognizes as portals for souls...thousands of them to enter and leave here, now currently shut. There are also runes in a bright green ring here. The runes form an almost unbreakable force spell....but as her eye moves along the wall, ley lines lead out to the cells. A simple lever can open the gate, but it will cost the lives of those trapped in the cells.
Also, in Kilroy's defense, most souls who end up here... are probably best left here. Lunair pauses, as Zatanna fishes out the key. She catches it neatly. Lunair looks thoughtful. "We probably should leave them be. The last thing I want to do is release a bunch of -" Pause. "Really bad dudes." Dudes being general gender, mind you. "And we would probably piss off a lot of judges," She points out quietly. "We can help some if we have time," She offers. Which is to say, it's probably better not to let a bunch of bad dudes out. Most 'decent' folks aren't in here. And Lunair wonders if she'll ever meet the Saint of Killers or end up here.
Either way, she'd also rather not duke it out with someone like a judge or Ghost Rider or something. And also, they have a mission not to let these folks get used as mystic batteries. She pauses, looking to the others. "What does this thing do?" She asks quietly. Brynn takes point back through the portal making sure the way is clear. It's a good thing she did, because there appears to be a trap as more than a dozen demons are now guarding the entry room, though they do not notice her and are not looking directly at the entrance. She comes back and says, "There's a dozen of them between us and the gate but they could be in here rather quickly; I'm prepared to kill them either way."
"There, you see the lines of runes?" Zatanna says - gesturing to those points along the walls. "It leads back to those cages. You pull the lever, the gate opens - but those in those cages die," says Zatanna, glancing back to those cages and frowning, tilting her head to one side. "But..." Zatanna gets that showwoman's smile again, and she gives Lunair a wink. "If they can't get out on their own... get ready to open the cages and pull the lever," she says, bringing her hands before herself and cracking her knuckles.
"Derutpac sluos emoceb sevod!" she says, waggling her fingertips. If the spell works - and it may be enough of a blip of magic to get the attention of some Very Bad Things, the captured prisoners would (maybe painfully) become doves. Doves that could squeeze through the bars of the cages and be more or less harmless. Maybe.
Poof. The force field is still up around the cauldron, which is now recognizable as the Well of Souls, but the doves immediately fly through the bars. They have slight features that their original selves did, such as the demons possessing red and gold feathers. They're all flying around the room, agitated but...happy? Hard to say since they're birds.
Lunair pauses. Must. Resist. Urge. To shoot. BIRDS. Although, the Stevie Nicks song was pretty okay. She just has some reservations about freeing a bunch of bad dudes. Then again, she gets paid to hunt bad dudes. So it works out for her. She looks to Zatanna and smiles at the wink. "Okay," She nods. She will wait and watch, key and salvation soaker at the ready (oh ho). "I guess this is our well?" She peers at it. "Should I douse it with water or something?" And if given the okay, she will. But Lunair's watching over Kilroy and also not keen on bein melted Nazis at the Ark style.
Over the comm, Lunair and Kilroy will hear Brynn's voice. "They were expecting us. They have inserted a force behind us at the portal to keep us from escaping. Do what you can there with your plan. I will.... open the back door." she states, rolling her neck as she adjusts the shield on her left arm. Then she just steps out of her illusion, appearing to fade in visually. "T'was a good plan." she tells the demons. "With one exception... me." And then she's among them. Cutting, ripping. It's a full on one woman against the world charge. And it's ugly.
Zatanna Zatara wasn't quite sure it was the best move she had ever made in her life, but. As doves - they had a chance of escaping until the spell wore off. Or being caught again. Or eaten outright. And they were probably in hell for a reason, but... Zatanna shakes her head, turning her mind back to the task at hand. With a heady sigh, she moves to pull the lever. At least they wouldn't be the ones to kill them. "We have to destroy it... or... break it somehow. Do you... have any idea how?" she asks, mostly of Kilroy.
Despite this being a 'trap' the demons are NOT prepared for the full on assault and a full three of them are badly wounded by the sword, cut nigh in two though not dead. But they are trained, and well trained at that, and after their instinctive burst of flame which did naught, they begin to work as a team, slowly working back the Eternal's defenses. Singularly they weren't much of a match but together? Far more skilled than one might suspect.
He smiles at Lunair, "couldn't hurt."
As Zatana asks Kilroy how to destroy the thing...he suddenly stops her from pulling the lever. As it does, a giant sucking sound is heard as the cells attempt to suck the life out of those inside...except there are no souls...so the vortex continues...the doves fly out into the room with the demons. Two are zorted by flame, but the rest are quite agail but they do somewhat distract the demons leaving a small opening for Brynn. Kilroy thinks, "You know, if there were demons in the cells...could we put Mammon's soldiers in there? I could also try Rai stoning the thing to crack...maybe if we combined our powers you could make the rai stone heavier or the like...."
Lunair smiles back to Kilroy. She nods. "We could potentially." She pauses. The sucking sound makes her a bit confused. "We could use them." experimentally, she will try squirting the well of souls with her salvation soaker. It will hiss, even crack a tiny but but it is far from done. "I'd offer to help Miss Brynn but she might be unhappy and think -" Think Lunair thinks she can't do it and Lunair has no inclination to upset the valkyrie. Although, she is also watching Kilroy's back.
Training as a team -is- important, but there are ways to mitigate the threat of overwhelming numbers. It helps to be able to fly, but demons likely can do that too but then... the ability to change the weapon, and to focus her power cosmic through the blade itself. That can even the odds. So the sword becomes a spear without warning, trying to skewer one or two of them demons, before Brynn catches an attack on her shield, trusting her back and breast to protect her from a shot which gets through her defenses. In fact.. by now, she has several wounds on her body after only the first minute or so of battle. A minute of battle can feel like years though. But then she grins and from her eyes... beams of pure force lash out at her enemies. Honestly? She's not trying to beat them all. She is trying to keep them focused so that when the time comes for her friends to make their escape, these demons can be simply overrun.
"Apparently," says Zatanna to Lunair and Kilroy both. "We need to get some souls in this machine, to break it. Maybe we shoulda just kept the old ones in there," she says, furrowing her brow in a look of thought. "Maybe - maybe we can get one of those warriors from outside?" she asks the others, pursing her lips at the sound of battle.
Kilroy has no difficulty whatsoever in using the ones outside. He contacts Brynn on his comm, "Guide them to the hallway! We need them to go into the hallway!" Kilroy seems quite pleased with himself until one of the portals in the main room opens up and demons begin to drop out.
The nine remaining demons attacking Brynn are quite frustrated, grunting but working over time to hurt her...and hurt her they do but they don't understand why she isn't running. Mammon, however has begun to suspect his trap isn't working...and a bellow of rage is heard far above the group. Something is descending."The birds are gone - or mostly gone, without a quick spell or something to yank then into the cages... when Brynn provides such things. "Hurry hurry - close the doors!" she coos, her eyes going towards the ceiling as that presence of the demon lord draws nearer.
Zatanna would throw the switch, however, if the demons manage to get encaged.
"We could use the birds or the demons," Lunair agrees. She is not leaving Kilroy's back open. She nods at Zatanna. "I think we are about to make a friend. One whose words we should not listen to," She admits. Lunair seems concerned about Brynn, peering around, frowning and trying to see. And now that they have demons pouring in, she'll pull out the silver shot gun. DUAL WIELDING! Any who get too close to Kilroy are going to get maimed at best.
Well, battle and strategy is all about deception. Wiping at blood on her forehead before it can get into her eyes. Brynn psionically sends through the comm: "Very well. Incoming. Be ready." and she lets fear show on her face finally, her right arm appearing to weaken a bit. Perhaps she is tiring... She swings at one more enemy and then turns to flee on foot, allowing her foes to keep up. Her plan? To skid to a stop just past the cages. To turn, and then a Telekinetic slam to place demons... 'where they belong'. Granted, others likely have the caging of them planned their own ways.
"The birds are gone - or mostly gone, without a quick spell or something to yank then into the cages... when Brynn provides such things. "Hurry hurry - close the doors!" she coos, her eyes going towards the ceiling as that presence of the demon lord draws nearer.
Zatanna would throw the switch, however, if the demons manage to get encaged.
Normally nine souls wouldn't be enough, but it is enough to start the effect. The pull of the lever slowly begins to crack the shield around the dome, and Kilroy begins to hammer at it with an invisible Rai stone...more cracks appear.
As Lunair engages the silver shot gun, the choke point of the hole makes it such that she is able to oblitterate them almost as fast as they enter, but then Kilroy gets an idea. "Go for the legs and wings!" Limbless, they are easily conveyed via floating Rai stone into the other end of the portal. The twelve souls are obtained. Not easily, but with a bit of luck and pernicious telekinetic manipulation from Brynn. Once Zatanna throws the lever all the way again, the dome cracks and the well falls to the ground.
The room begins to shake as Mammon descends through the ceiling, quite irate. 20 foot tall here, it roars with rage and tries to attack the three before him...but can't. He is bound by the contract violation and so the three heroes are protected. Not to be deterred, Mammon begins to shake the ground...which begins to crack and crumble.
Taking a breath, Brynn seems to be healing her wounds already. She looks back over one shoulders, sees the well there and nods. "We should finish this and go." she remarks. The sword in her hand shifts and remolds until it looks like a javelin. With a turn, two steps and a grunted, "Errrrr!", Brynn hurls the javeling right at the well. She's a good shot with such a weapon. Her plan is simple, she maintains a connection to the Asgardian relic, forged by the same dwarves who made Mjolnir. Once her throw strikes the well, she closes her eyes and channels her raw power through the weapon. In essence she is turning it into a javelin-grenade. Pushing until she expends more of her energy than normal, and verily, is weakened by it... but the power released from the javelin's tip is immense.
"Alright, alright - this is going from bad to worse...!" Zatanna calls out. "Kilroy - everyone...!" Throwing her hat up into the air, she gives Mammon a wink as lavender smoke starts to billow out of it, starting to blanket and area and conceal most everyone from view. And in the smoke, there were added shapes flickering and cascading through it. Hopefully, it would be enough to block demon vision just for a moment, a moment for her to think of home and... "Ekat su emoh. Nnyrb, Yorlik, Rianul, dnnnnnna ~iom~," she says, kinda closing her eyes... and when the smoke clears... hopefully there wouldn't be demons. Just... the front lawn of Zatanna's manor. Shadowcrest.
Lunair's efforts with the choke point give Brynn and Zatanna enough room to take their respective efforts. Kilroy holds Mammon in check with a series of striking staff blows to the wings and face, as the Demon's strength is considerably weakened due to the contract violation, but weakened...he is still stronger than Kilroy and the staff is knocked lose....only to hear Mammon's horror as the Well is destroyed, a destructive wave that collapses the cavern and disperses Mammon for quite some time. As the travel spell takes them all at the last moment, the last thing the demon sees is Kilroy, writing in 30 pieces of silver that burn on the Demon, "Kilroy was here!"
And when everyone arrives on the front lawn, the sword is once again in Brynn's hand. Magic is awesome.