Looking down over the remains of the Guardia Fairgrounds rests a naturally made cliff once home to a score of local legends about a pair of spirits that watched over the area and protected it. However, now things are a bit diffrent. Since the breakdown of time the side of the mountain seems to be covered with a slick black substance which no one can seem to remove. At certain times of the day the darkness shifts it's position like a living shadow clinging to this spot for some unknown reason. It's been said that standing on the cliff during one of these 'shifts' will distort the view of the countryside turning it to one of burning ruins. What could have caused this?
Tearnia's eyes snap over towards Magus as the fire explodes from his bdoy and engulfs her vines into flames! Her lips bare and her fangs grow out juuust a fraction longer, moonlight gleaming upon the end of one. The vines around Magus cringe and writhe away from the fire. Tearnia lets them go, she doesn't feel like hearing their agonized cries, and there's got to be less fighting blood around! Or, perhaps not. Tearnia looks around, Magus, Vashtearnia's dear love NNY, and the flying blue girl. Lucca's disappeared over the cliff. She folds her arms with a huff! "No FAIR! I'm still hungry and I want to play more!" She looks over at NNY, the vines that support her body flooding her over closer to him, ignoring his obvious rage, "NNY, make it rain blood, pleeease?" She says, her voice still that of a far, far younger girl than the body she possess'.
Johnny distractedly shakes his head while keeping his eyes locked on the woman before him. His mind still ponders her wording in confusion. Only one person had ever used that name... before he can think much further on it he stands and readies his weapons as a smirk plays over his lips from Schala's words. "You think that's neat, you ain't seen anything, bitch." Johnny holds his hands out to his sides and the daggers begin to pump that familar black substance over his arms preparing to shift his form to the shadows once again...
However, from the trail up the side of the cliff comes yet another person to spoil the fun. Beneath a heavy cloak and hood comes a pair of silver eyes burried beneath the shadows cast by her clothing. As she reaches the top of the cliff she glances back and forth between the group gathered there and begins to laugh. "Well, well... what do we have here? Two ancients, two naughty children... and a pathetic mutt? Now that would explain the glorious lights in the sky I saw from down below."
Stopping dead in his tracks, Johnny turns around and stares, "Oh, what the fuck now??" The cloaked woman glares at the maniac and she begins to whisper in some strange sounding tounge. Faintly the sound of bracelets clicking together can be heard. Johnny suddenly turns black and a bright red mark begins to glow on his forehead. With a tilt of her head Johnny turns and in a frightening show of speed charges accross the cliff passing through any vines in his way until his dagger is plungged deep into Schala's chest.
With a scream she tries to push the maniac away, but whatever had just happened seems to be turning her blood vains as black as Johnny's skin. With a twist of the knife he pulls back and her unconcious body falls face first to the ground...
... So many things that just happened in that sequence. The new woman appearing. The words she speaks, the way Johnny seems to freak when she appears... but when it's all said and done, there is only one thing that matters. And that is that Magus was not fast enough to save his sister. He does try to raise his hand for a spell when he sees the maniac charging after her, but it's too little too late. All of the searching he's done to find this woman, all to be for naught as her body falls to the ground, lifeless. "SCHALA!" he exclaims, making a mad dash across the face of the cliff to where Schala's body falls, hoping that he can grab her and possibly try to revive her somehow. If it's not too late... Nothing else matters now, just her.
Tearnia looks over towards the cloaked figure that enters. A new target! "Oh, nummy num!" She calls, a massive swarm of the green vines near the figure suddenly exploding into motion, moving to try and wrap around her body and impale her with thorns as well in order to draw blood. The vines have grown large, about the size of a young tree trunk now. Tearnia herself giggles, and then watches NNY zoom in and kill Schala out of nowhere. She tilts her head to the side, causing her white hair to spill over her shoulder, then watches Magus run after Schala, "Aww...poor boy lost his girlfriend..." She says, giggling.
The new arrival continues to laugh such a familar laugh as Magus rushes forwards. It only seems to stop once she notices Tearnia's vines charging towards her. With an agrivated glare she turns quickly towards them, the motion causing her hood to fall from her head revealing a surprisingly youthful woman with long silver hair. With a harsh tone to her voice she speaks that strange tounge again and with the faint sound of chiming braclets she casts her hands up holding an impassible barrier to prevent the vines from advancing.
Suddenly Johnny looks towards Vashtearnia and charges forwards putting himself between the barrier and Tearnia as if to protect the cloaked woman, likely to be cut opened or wounded heavily in the process. Schala meanwhile, is not dead... but deep and lost in unconciousness. Nothing Magus can do will heal her wounds or awaken her. Perhaps it's time to ask this strange woman for answers...
The lifeless, or at least seemingly lifeless form of Schala hanging in his arms, Magus tries to mutter some sort of life incantation, but he doesn't have much experience in such spells, so it really doesn't work. Whatever Johnny had done to her, it was too late to turn her back. "..." The mage's eyes burn with anger as he looks back up to the maniac, but something seems to hold him back... which would be the arrival of the new woman. It wasn't until she showed up that Johnny went on the offensive against his sister. When she is revealed, his mind settles on who it is. "... Mother," he says, pretty much snarling the word as he glares daggers right through the heart of the woman.
The vines, suprisingly, don't impale Johnny. Instead, the come to a wrighting halt just before him, so as not to actually slice into him or anything. As if confused, the writhe back upon themselves, then begin to spread out to the sides, slowly, as if unsure how to get past the barrier they're not allowed to hurt. Tearnia looks over at Magus and Schala, then over to Johnny and cloak woman. Oh, it's Magus' mother? Eegh. She stares for a few moments. Well, Johnny's protecting her, so she'd better leave her alone. "Arrrgh, this is SO not fun anymore!" She complains, stamping her foot on a vine, rose blossoms flooding out from where it impacts and traveling all along the vines. A small vine forest had begun, but now, the growth has begun to slow down, and the vines are not writhing as wildly as they were before.
The woman begins to laugh again as Tearnia draws back from Johnny's protective stance. That is, until she hears Magus's voice. Dropping her barrier she turns towards him letting a sly smirk play over her features, "Well... so good to know one isn't forgotten by her children." Realising the disguise is pointless now she throws off her cloak revealing the familar orange gown she wore during her reign.
With a snap of her fingers Johnny relaxes. However, her attention is now focused on her children. "Your sister got what she deserved. May that poision eat away the corruption in her heart. While she might be a little less... heatful when she awakens, should I let her awaken, at least that freeloading ancient inside her should be vanquished. Who'd have thought our little pet's weapons where toxic to our pure blood? Well... now you know why I kept them from you both." Begining to laugh again she shakes her head, "Of course I know your not my original son... I had to deal with him before I made my way here..."
Lucca finally climbs up to the top of the Mesa once again, panting heavily as she pulls herself up and brings the Wondershot to a ready position as she takes stock, "Zeal..." she whispers, making the word a curse. "Schala!" She then cries out, pulling a vial from her bag as she rushes over to Magus, "Is she alright?" The young genius asks, pouring the vial - a potion- into Schala's mouth, while still keeping her weapon trained on all three of the foes at the same time... well, as best as she's able, anyway.
As Lucca arrives by his side, Magus looks up to her. The look on his face seems bleak, without hope for the sister that he holds in his arms. Even as the potion goes through her, he doesn't seem too optimistic that it's going to work. As such, the mage lets go of Schala, resting her against the genius so that he can stand up and face his mother. "... Janus, nor myself, nor this girl on the ground next to me... we were never your children. Never your kin. Merely your playthings. Puppets, pawns... think of a word that fits, and you have it. But to call us your children... do not use the term so loosely. That you would want me dead... that you would kill your daughter, even indirectly!" he pauses, looking over to Johnny. "Is something that I can not forgive." The mage summons his scythe back to his side. It begins to pulse with the very same energy that the blade of the weapon is made from. "... Give me a reason why I should not strike you down right now."
Tearnia watches and listens to Magus as he speaks to his mother in such a way. "Aw, someone's upset." She says with a gentle giggle, then looks over to the uncloaked figure. She knows who it is, or she thinks she knows. That's a little disturbing. But, -she- doesn't care too much about it, not really. She and her throne of vines float over next to Johnny, though they don't get too close, she can tell somethings not right with him, so it's always good to be cautious. As Magus finishes his speel and looks over to Johnny, her eyes suddenly narrow, the vines in the area all writh and shift, the thorns along them thinning down and growing longer, far more like thick needles than thorns. "Tsk, tsk, silly Magus, you don't get to hurt him, she'd be very upset with me and might not let me wake up for -ages-." She says in a melodramatic trauma little girl voice!
Johnny makes no sign that he knows or cares what's going on. Clutched tightly in his hands his daggers drip with a strange thick black substance that one can only assume is the blood of Schala. The only sign of life upon him is the twisted smile on his face and the insignia burning on his forehead. Meanwhile the Queen is a bit more animated. Her eyes narrow as Lucca arrives and her smile fades to a slight frown of irratation. "That traitorous whelp stood in defience of all your father had helped to create. I plan to restore things to their proper order... I've come for you, to take the throne in your father's name. Schala, MY Janus, they where unworthy. But I've read about you, I've seen the respect you command amoungst the peoples here. All you've ever dreamed about is nearly in your grasp. If you want her to live, I have the anitdote. Take your place on the throne that I might serve our Lord, and she will be allowed to live. It's your choice, Janus... Don't disapoint me."
Lucca tends to Schala as best she can, which isn't very well out here. She may be a genius, but first aid is tricky without supplies. She growls, considering the options, then lowers Schala to the ground gently, walking up to Magus, "...Go with her." She says, whispering so that only magus can hear, "Make sure Schala stays with me, and let me give the antidote to her. Then, once you're bored and have learned what you can about Zeal and her plans, leave. " A small metal device slips from her hand into Magus' pocket, "Buzz this if you need assistance in making your grand exit. It'll tell me where you are." She pauses, and a bit of a smile quirks her lips, "Or you could just blow something up, and we'll come running."
Sadly, in Magus's mind, it's not quite as easy as the way Lucca explains the plan to him. Zeal is much more perceptive than she leads on to be, and he knows that trying to play a coup on her won't work. She's the master of such actions. Nonetheless... his sister is quite possibly dying. If it weren't for that, he'd just kill the queen and assume the throne anyway, but since Schala was sort of a barganing tool at the moment... he'd have to play by her rules. "... Fine. You heal Schala. You bring her back. And I will serve you. But the moment you /think/ about crossing me... it will be the end." The mage's eyes glow with an abnormal surge of power, while his hand grips his reaper like blade. He is dead serious about this.
Tearnia looks between the woman and Magus, then over to Johnny, then back to the woman. She sits down upon her throne of vines, bored of the whole course of events! All of the vines in the area have begun to settle down, the one's that took root and became large vine trees are starting to sag over and just tumble down as they dry out rapidly. "Boooorreiiinnnnng..." She says, resting her elbow on her knee and propping her chin in the palm of her hand, she looks over to the Queen, "You, I want to leave, make NNY be himself so we can go before she wakes up on me and I go back to sleep!" She says in a pouty tone of voice.
Queen Zeal begins to laugh at Magus's words, "It is -I- who should worry about you, after all.. I'll be in no position to stop you once it begins, but that's beside my point. I have faith in you my son. I know your potential... get your sister and bring her with us. Restoring her will be complicated if not impossible if she is not with us." Looking over Lucca she shakes her head, "I'll let you carry Schala, Magus. I'll leave her safety in your hands..."
Overhearing Tearnia she suddenly turns and glares at the girl, "Oh, I AM leaving. But your little friend here is my pet and he comes with us. He is a servant of our Lord wether he wants to be or not, and if you wish to stand by his side you'll simply have no choice but to come with us. I'm sure we'll soon have plenty of meat to throw to the dogs once things are in order, you... like meat don't you? Bloody meat?" Laughing she shakes her head and begins to walk away. Johnny obediently begins to follow acting as if he where her very shadow...
Lucca holds up a hand to Magus' chest, "Zeal will repeat this tactic, now that she knows it'll work. Secure a promise for Schala's release first. Or it won't happen. You know this." It isn't Lucca's choice per se, however, but she honestly looks like she might shoot Magus if he decides to disagree.
"I will not let it happen again," is Magus's simple reply to Lucca as he walks over to where Schala is laying. He scoops up the body of his sister and carries it, cradle like, in his arms, to the side of Zeal. "... Refer to me as your son one more time, and I will kill you now. This is not about the throne. This is about Schala, and Schala only," Magus says to the insane woman by his side. Were there some other way, he would do it in a heartbeat... but he knows that if he crosses Zeal, he'll never have Schala back...
Tearnia hrumphs at Zeal and floats off of her throne, though she stays in her seated position as she moves over to float alongside of NNY. She glares at the back of Zeal, then looks over to NNY. "Well, this ended in a bunch of boreing stupidness." She whines, pushing some of her hair away from her face with one of her hands. She winces her left eye closed, rubbing at it with a fist. "Shut up." She intones, to herself it seems.
Shaking her head Zeal looks off at the horizon with a solumn vacantness. "Then perhaps my trust is misguided and a cure should not be delivered. I'd always hoped you could carry our Kingdom as your sister could not... but now is not the time to discuss this." Turning towards Magus the woman glares with such intensity only a mother could beam towards her children, "Know this. I am your mother, whether the one of this world or not. You will take the throne or your sister will be dead as well as our Kingdom, and your birthright. The power to be bestowed upon you is something greater than you can ever imagine, that of imortality. If for a moment you DARE TO BETRAY ME, I'll see to it, weakened or not, that this world will fall into such chaos that not even this puppet of a shadow beside me could even possibly repair." Raising her arms to the world around them she continues, "Do you think he could do all this on his own?? This was for you, accept it or not. Speak another trecherous word and it can all be taken away... These people are below you. They fill your head with lies about 'friendship' and 'loyalty' but they would all cast you aside if it ment to save themselves. Do as you wish but time is of the essence. We need to go..."
The thought of betrayal is all ready in the mind of the dark mage, but he does not voice it. It is possible that Zeal knows about it anyway, lest she be able to read his mind, but that's neither here nor there. The simple fact is, he wants Schala back... and when a man wants something he wants... well, as a great man once said. "Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell." Schala, to him, is not worth arguing over. "... I shall ascend the throne," Magus says simply in a cold tone. He turns back to look at Lucca one last time, then to his mother once again.
Lucca /glares/ at Magus as he walks away, "So, it's that easy to cow you, is it? A simple threat to her life is enough to let you sentance her to another gilded cage? You fucking traitor. Guess I should have listened to Crono and Glenn after all. You despicable, laughable disgusting son of a bitch." Meanwhile, Lucca's thoughts paint quite a different picture. /...Good luck, you crazy son of a bitch. Don't let her manipulate you./
"Oh, and Zeal..." CRACK, as a blast from the wondershot whizzes by Zeal's head, "Don't forget that there ARE those of us out here who will fight you. ...And we've already won once. Sleep with one eye open."