A Pack Bonding Mission

[-singularity-] Last time on As the Maelstrom Swirls…

Kate’s doors opened onto the Great Hall of Calvin de Provence, Silver Fang King of the Gleaming Eye House. Yet upon her entry, courtiers gathered within began to bow to her, hailing her as the Queen. Katherine denied the illusion, accepting it as false as she approached the throne, only to find the apparition of her father stepping from behind the throne.

Identifying himself as Christopher Bellamonte’s spirit, the ‘ghost’ then instructed Katherine to sit the throne, claiming that it would symbolize her acceptance of her destiny and her father’s pride in and plans for her. When Katherine again refused the throne — repeatedly — and instead claimed her own path in the world, apart from anyone else’s plans for her, Christopher Bellamonte grew wroth and denounced her as a coward and a traitor. Flanked by her pack, Katherine resolutely departed the hall even as the crowds began to turn on her, hurling invectives and makeshift weaponry at her on her way out.

Once out of the room, Lukas warned the packmates that his room would be next, and self-identified rage and violence as his own weaknesses. He instructed that the packmates strengthen themselves with gifts and talens, setting out his stash of Gaia’s Breaths (3) and soak talens (6) for the pack’s use. Sinclair warned that his weakness may not be what he thinks it is.

[Honor’s Compass] [Let the records show:

Kate still has Luna’s Armor activated for +4 Soaking
Activating Resist Pain as we speak
Taking a GB in case as well as a Soak Talen]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Sarita has no Gifts to help her. She is simple taking a GB and a Soak Talen and activating the Soak Talen.]]

[Brutal Revelation] [Let the record also show:

Sinclair took a soak talen (+3)
Steelfur is active (+5)
Resist Pain is active
She has her own GBs]

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [Maddox:

* Offers up 1 extra GB per Garou (5 (including Margaret)), has more
* Has own soak talen, -1G +3 soak
* Shifts to Crinos
* Rolling for Faerie Light]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [And for the record, Lukas currently has:
– Resist Pain
– Luna’s Armor +7
– Soak Talen +3
– Spirit of the Fray
– Bloody Bandage +6]

[-singularity-] Hands reach forward, talens taken and given. Small bursts of light as spirits are released. Faint rustles of steel as Sinclair’s fur changes; a dark-bright glow on the walls as Lukas’s Armor joins Katherine’s. In the end, the Shadow Lord takes his somewhat depleted bag of talens back, tucking it back into its dedicated form. Even in hispo, his eyes are crystalline blue, meeting each of the others’ in turn.

Okay,” he rumbles quietly. “Let’s do this.

When they come around the corner, the door is before them. Where the ones before had reflected the minds and thoughts and — sometimes — deepest darkest feelings of those who had stood before them, this door is strangely plain. Just a slab of metal, with no visible knob or handle, polished so brightly that they can clearly see themselves reflected in it.

As Wyrmbreaker nears, he raises a paw, puts it against the door. As soon as he touches it, it opens — a whisper of sound, and then a subaudible tremor in the tunnel, the floor beneath them, as the immensely heavy door slides upward.

It’s a room inside. Not a forest, not a Great Hall. Just a room, but far more enormous than one could have imagined. Threesided, one vertix of the triangle to either side of them; the third directly ahead. The walls are dark. The floor is dark. Everything is dark, and deathly still, and everything gleams faintly wet. Stinks faintly of corruption.

Two things wait for them in that room. Standing in the center of the room, direwolf-form, forepaws braced wide, head bowed, is Wyrmbreaker. He looks larger than their Wyrmbreaker, stronger and faster and far more rageful.

Suspended above him — drooping in midair as though hanging from unseen wires — is Maddox. He is unconscious. He’s bleeding at the side and from the leg, the exact places where their Maddox is bleeding. Where their Maddox’s blood is black, though, the unconscious Maddox’s is red. And though they cannot smell Wyrmbreaker’s scent on his duplicate, they can smell Maddox’s on his suspended double — stronger, more vibrant, more alive than the scent on their Maddox.

There’s no question about it. The Wyrmbreaker in the room is not Wyrmbreaker. The Maddox is the room is the true Maddox. The one they have been with all this time —

something else.

Not-Wyrmbreaker lifts his head. His eyes burn blue.

“He is my packmate, and I will protect him,” he snarls. “I will not allow you to harm what is mine.”

[Brutal Revelation] Sinclair would brush or bump against Wyrmbreaker, the real one, if her fur weren’t hardened, refined metal right now. So she just chuffs, standing alongside him: “Told you.

[Honor’s Compass] Honor’s Compass, adopting her Hispo form as they slip into this last, worst room, takes one glimpse of what is there, bristling, readying to protect the dangling Maddox; the real Maddox, if blood and scent were to be believed and swings her great head to bare her teeth at the imposter entering with them.

She’s rounding on him.

Wordless, her teeth are very sharp as she snaps her jaw at him.

[Echoes of Laughter] She looks as they walk in, and her eyes widen. Back tenses. Jaw more or less drops open. Someone else may have seen this one coming. The Strider is not ashamed to say that she didn’t. Maybe she should have, but she didn’t.

“Oh, fucking hell.” She takes a deep breath as she steps up, going into Crinos. Her back curls place her stance as that of a power position, ready to act in whatever way she has to.

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] They enter the room, and Maddox shifts upward. He grows taller, adds to his musculature. He’s hideous in his war form. What should be powerful, even for a weakling like him, is wasted, emaciated. They can see the bones of his ribs and pelvis, even through his reddish fur. The skin of his head is pulled taut, accentuating his skull. He offers up talens and things, prepares for combat with the rest of them, grumbling all the while. He renews his little blue light.

Entering last, he’s the last to see…

himself. Suspended in midair like a forgotten puppet. His dark eyes widen, his jaw drops, and before he can say or so anything

Kate is rounding on him. The others are adopting positions of strength, readying for something more. He backs away from the Silver Fang, backs up toward the door they left, which is no doubt gone now.

[-singularity-] Lukas has nothing to say in response to Sinclair — just a quick snap of his head around. He looks shocked. Perhaps horrified.

Yet when Kate rounds on Sidewalk’s End, he lets out a low, rough bark: “Stop! Whatever he is, he kept the light faithfully for us. And whatever he is, every wound he’s taken has mirrored itself on Where the Sidewalk Ends. We get the real one back first. Then we worry about the double.

Across the room, not-Wyrmbreaker takes two menace steps forward, head lowering until his skull is level with his shoulders, until the bristle of the fur along his back stands taller than his ears.

“He is my packmate.” Foam flies from not-Wyrmbreaker’s jaws as he snaps his teeth. “I will protect him. He is mine, my duty, my responsibility, mine, and I will not allow you to harm what is mine!”

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] By all accounts, the Maddox with his back to the wall, with the light floating gently near his shoulder, who has snarked and snarled and huffed at the others most of this night, is the false one. He’s empty on the inside. When he bleeds, it’s black sludge that seeps from the wounds. The Maddox suspended up ahead is the real one. He smells right. He bleeds red blood.

The Maddox with his back to the wall doesn’t feel not-himself. Even the attitude change, which has gotten worse and worse, doesn’t feel not-right.

In fact, he gets angry when the not-Lukas snarls at them, comes forward with menace. The real Wyrmbreaker calls Kate off, and the Other steps forward.

No,” he says, though he doesn’t step past the frontlines of the Unbroken. This isn’t his room, or isn’t supposed to be. That’s how the pattern went, anyway. “He is me, which makes him mine. Nobody can have him but me.” His tone, in the High Tongue, says No one else deserves him.

[Brutal Revelation] Sinclair’s comment when they first came in and saw what this room has for them was offhand, but not as flippant as it could have been. Dreadful, in a way, gnawing at the fact that, well, she was at least partly right. She didn’t turn on Maddox — Lukas is right. Whoever or whatever this thing with them is, he has been faithful. He has not backstabbed them. She isn’t, in fact, even convinced that the thing dripping real read blood is actually the Maddox they came in with.

Striding alongside Wyrmbreaker, she says as much: “We not know sure. We be careful with both.

Not-Wyrmbreaker menaces, threatens, snaps his jaws, and Sinclair barks right back at him, a flurry of short, sharp roars threaded through with the sound of steel-on-steel. “We not harm. He ours, too! Wyrmbreaker ours.

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine stops when her Alpha commands it, but she’s still bristling. There’s a low growl thundering in her chest; she chuffs and slides her claws over the floor. She is eying the Other Maddox with mingled mistrust and wariness as he steps forward and addresses the Other Lukas.

The Silver Fang rounds, and comes forward.

Her ears flatten against her skull at the threat implied by her not-Alpha, but she stands firm. “Not your duty. Part of Pack. Not yours to care for alone. Lukas not alone. Never alone.”

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [C’mon, glow ball, stay on!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 6, 6, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] Sarita is usually the one who talks. A little joke, a well-placed comment to make sure everyone’s keeping true…whatever. Right now, she’s not talking. Actions speak as loud as words, and the Strider takes up position with her packmates. Her brothers and sisters.

Her lip curls, and her body tenses. She’s just waiting for the sign. She doesn’t need to reiterate what the others have said; Maddox is theirs, and they will not let him go.

[-singularity-] “The pack is mine!” the not-Lukas snarls. “Mine to guide, mine to ward, mine to protect, mine, mine, my, MINE!

It’s hard to say who moves first, or if they move at once: both black hispos lunging forward, terrible claws flaying the floor open, all that mass moving out of sheer muscular strength, sheer power. Snarls explode from two throats at once: two rallying roars as both Wyrmbreakers charge for the other.

The Unbroken charge with Wyrmbreaker. But not-Wyrmbreaker has his own allies, and it’s not the unconscious, broken Theurge suspended in midair. As the pack roars forward, the ground shudders and shakes. A deep black crack splits the room, splits the walls, tears open to reveal

a nightmare. A flashing, insane world where black is white, and white is black: where the walls are wet and heaving, where the floor beneath their feet trembles and spasms like a living thing. A monstrosity rises out of that floor: eyeless, headless, more an octopus than a man; a snapping, screaming mouth at the end of each arm, an enormous devouring maw in the center of its body.

Six arms, they might notice. Six arms, and one ravenous hole.

Seeing it, Wyrmbreaker instantly changes direction. “Stay with me!” he barks. “Let me take the hits. Flank it, destroy it!

No more words. Wyrmbreaker lunges, teeth flashing —

and falls right through the creature, goes sprawling on the other side.

The shock is cold in the mind. He can’t touch them.

Meanwhile, the not-Wyrmbreaker comes snapping for their throats. Kate’s, perhaps, or Maddox’s. It doesn’t matter. He plunges right through them. Hits the floor — what’s left of it — hard enough to slam a grunt out of himself.

The two black wolves scramble to their feet, eyes wild, teeth bared. They pass right through their foes — both of them. There’s a panic in the air, crackling like rage; a burst of almost-incoherence on the totemlink, have to protect can’t let them fight alone they can’t, and then both Wyrmbreakers are wheeling on their haunches, lunging again, catching each other in midair, slamming together in a vicious snap of tooth and claw.

It’s impossible to tell who says it; or both. Perhaps it doesn’t matter:

No. NO! Not like this. I must protect them. Let me protect them!

[annnnd we should init!]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Init +7]]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 4

[Honor’s Compass] [+9]!
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 7

[-singularity-] [THE NOMFIEND! +10]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 4 (Failure at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [+5]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 3

[Brutal Revelation] Stay with me! Let me take the hits! their Wyrmbreaker roars, and Sinclair snaps her jaws at him, thinks more than says

and Maddox and Margaret can’t hear it, but the others can, the thoughts she has no time to say aloud: LISTEN TO YOURSELF.

She’s not little-sistering him. She’s dead serious.

But there’s no time. He lunges and cannot touch the thing. Not-Wyrmbreaker goes right through her and she shudders. Wheels on the thing that their Wyrmbreaker can’t touch, at least knowing that not-Wyrmbreaker can’t touch them. Instantly, she rallies, barking aloud: “Sidewalk and Midnight Sun stay back, heal us if you can! Echoes, Truth, flank or get behind it. GO!

[+10]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 10

[-singularity-] [Midnight Sun in Crinos: +8!]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 1 (Botch x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [Inits:
Sinclair 20
Kate 16
Nomfiend 14
Sarita 11
MS 9
WtSE 8]

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [Stay behind the fighters!
1a:
1b:
1c: GBs as necessary]

[Brutal Revelation] Sinclair, lunging towards the six-armed beast at point, flicks her eyes suddenly, shouts mentally to the two packmates who are attacking with her, the sisters she runs with: Try to take out the arms first. We’ll finish it off together at the end.

[-singularity-] As the pack charges forward, seamlessly following Sinclair now, tight on her heels, the beast rears to face them. An obscene, shrieking mouth snaps and spits at them from the core; six others ring it.

They are not created equal. One is dark, corded and bunched with muscle. When it slams the ground in threat, the shudders threaten to knock them off their feet. Another bears a sickle-claw. A third is streaked in white and gold; gleams in the faltering light. A fourth: the mouth gibbering and snarling, spitting obscenities that cut the ears. A fifth, dripping with black sludge. And the last, trailing darkness where it writhes.

[Marge declare:
1a. Mother’s Touch on someone!]

[Echoes of Laughter] On it. It echoes across the pack link as she charges, ready to dodge and aiming to take out a tendril. And she sees one that’s just her size.

[1: Save for Dodge
R1: Claw the shit out of the arm with the potty mouth]]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[If change is allowed; not the potty mouth one. Clawing the shit out of the sickle-claw one! If change not allowed–disregard!]]

[-singularity-] [Nomfiend!

Strong arm: Slam!
Claw arm: Slash Sinclair!
Pretty arm: Bolster Dark Arm!
Pottymouth arm: GIBBERHOWL at Katherine. (aka Something Evil.)
Sludge arm: holding action til later
Dark arm: Something Evil at Sinclair!

Core: 1) Quake!
R1) NOM Sarita
R2) NOM Sinclair]

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine streaks around the monstrosity, ducking and weaving those deadly arms to come around flanking them. The Silver Fang’s pale eyes quickly absorb the waving limbs, zoning in on one in particular. She lets loose a terrible snarl and leaps at it; jaws wide.

1a.
b.
c. — all bites on the white and gold arm
R1.
R2.
R3. — same again unless it’s destroyed, moving to dark one.]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a.
1b.
1c. — bites on Pottymouth, switch to Dark if Pottymouth goes down
R1.
R2. — bites on Dark, switch to Strong if Dark goes down]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a. biting pottymouth arm.
dex + brawl -3 (split), +1 diff (steelfur)]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 8, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6) Re-rolls: 2

[Brutal Revelation] [damage. +3]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [pottymouth: OW soak]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 5, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [1b. same!
dex + brawl -4 (split), +1 diff]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 3, 3, 3, 4, 8 (Failure at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [1c. mother of god.]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Botch x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [1-5: sinclair
6: sarita
7: kate
8: sidewalk
9: midnight
10: target]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 2 (Failure at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [ow! fuck!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 6, 6, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 7 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [1a. Biting W&G Arm! -2 Split, -2 Behind, +1 TOO MANY SPLITS]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 3, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 3]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 3, 4, 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [i’m so pretty! *soak*]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [1b. Again!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 4, 6, 6, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The first to draw blood is Honor’s Compass — snapping from behind, a startlingly vicious wrench of her jaws.

Only it’s not blood. It’s blackness, a cold pitchblack viscosity that oozes slowly from the wound. The mouth at the end of that squirming, fleshy tentacle howls.

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 5]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 4, 6, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] — but not for long. The Fang’s next bite tears the arm off at the root, flings it to the ground where it writhes, shudders, melts away. Nothing but a dark stain left.

[for the record: Pretty would have bolstered Strong for +1 die per success (diff 8 roll)]

[Honor’s Compass] [1c. WHO’S THE FAIREST OF ALL NOW? Biting that Dark arm]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 2]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [OW! NOT THE MOUTH!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 3, 3, 4, 4, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] In seconds, one of the arms has been reduced to a stump. Another is bleeding darkness, squirming back into the shelter of the others. The obscene mouth at the core of the thing screams, howls — its arms lash out viciously, as one, in every direction.

[Strong arm: slam! special roll first: each suxx = 1 person affected]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [1-2 Sinclair
3-4 Kate
5-6 Sarita
7-8 MS
9-10 WtSE]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 3, 4

[-singularity-] [Kate, first shockwave!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [Soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [second shockwave!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 2, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [Soak 2!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [Claw arm: slash Sinclair!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [BLOW ME]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [additional effect, yes/no?]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 1 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [all subsequent healing is halved for 1 turn.]

[-singularity-] [pottymouth, GIBBERHOWL at Katherine. -1 die to actions per suxx, for 1 round per suxx.]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 9 (Failure at target 8)

[-singularity-] [OKAY APPARENTLY THE SILVER FANG IS IMMUNE TO GIBBERS.]

[-singularity-] [Sludge arm: taking action now — healing dark arm!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[Brutal Revelation] [OH THE IRONY.]

[-singularity-] Dark arm: Something Evil at Sinclair!
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [Sinclair: blinded for rest of round!]

[-singularity-] [Core: Quake again! Everyone gets hit by this one.]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 3, 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 9 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [Soak! JAYSUS!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [SOAK MY GOD SOAK]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] soak!
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Blow Me Soak]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 3, 5, 5, 7, 8, 8, 8 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [MS soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] Somewhere in there, the clawed tentacle slashes at Sinclair. It bites — though not very deep. It hurts like a bitch, though, even through her gift: like poison burning into the skin.

Somewhere in there, the ground shudders. The dark tentacle, trailing smoke, rears and spits in Sinclair’s face. Her world goes black. She can’t see, doesn’t know if she ever will again —

and then the world turns upside down.

The monstrosity rears itself on all its tentacles. Slams itself down — a blow tenfold more powerful than the one its strongest arm unleashed. A wave of destruction spreads in all directions, buckling the last of the floor, sending the last of the walls shuddering down in ash. All that remains is a mad world, lit by strobe-flashes of a sort of lightning, dark rather than bright.

And the shrieking mouths. And the writhing arms of the beast.

Sinclair goes down, unconscious. Midnight Sun beside her, hit so hard by the sheer shock of it that her bones are pulverized inside her skin. And Sidewalk’s End —

Sidewalk’s End seems to explode in black blood. Falls to his knees, retching and gagging, blackness leaking out of every orifice, every pore. A hand comes up to his mouth, tries instinctively to hold the tide back, but then

his mouth splits at the corners, his bottom jaw comes off, he collapses, loses form entirely, comes apart at the seams.

Dies.

Blackness for him. No rage, no flicker of survival, however faint. Nothing.

And then — ex nihilo — consciousness again. He’s coming back. His eyes are opening. He sees the scene from above, high above. He sees the ring of destruction around the monstrosity; his would-be packmates wounded or unconscious. He sees what remains of the thing he inhabited for so long.

He sees the two Wyrmbreakers howling as one, a roar-scream of fury and horror. He sees the smaller struggle toward the others; the larger drag him back, beat him down. They turn on each other, snapping and clawing. Every wound they open mirrors itself on the other.

And then his feet touch the ground. He’s alive, in control of himself again. He feels again. The last few hours — like a dream, or a nightmare. Over now. Time to wake.

Time to fight.

[Congratulations, you have your body back! You can pick up from your previously declared actions, unless you want to change them.]

[-singularity-] [and midround summary:

Strong: OK
Claw: OK
Pottymouth: OK
Sludge: OK
Dark: 2A
Pretty: x_x
Core: OK

Sinclair: 3A, 4B, KO
Kate: 5B
Sarita: 5B
Midnight: 2L, 5B
WtSE: is Lazarus! OK]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[New action +1: Claw the shit out of Claw arm!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[DAMAGE GRR RAWR!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 9, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [claw soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] His feet touch the ground, and he is himself again. Tall and gangling, not covered in sludge. Wounded, but not so badly as before. Fleshed out and whole. He takes just a moment to look around, assessing. In the other body, he planned to heal those who needed it. Now that he’s whole, he’s got choices.

Well, not really. He told Lukas that he wasn’t much of a healer, or a fighter. His strengths lie in dealing with spirits, in the barter and trade with them. There’s only so much he can do.

Wyrmbreaker! Stop killing yourself!” he shouts. Then, the reddish Crinos wolf rushes toward his fallen comrades.

[1a: GB Sinclair (and when he notices it doesn’t heal much)
1b: GB Sinclair
1c: GB Kate; -3G]

[-singularity-] [+4 to sinclair in all 3B remaining; +4 to Kate, 1B remaining]

[Brutal Revelation] [R1! biting dark arm!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [+3]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 7, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [OW]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 2, 4 (Botch x 3 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [R2!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [+4]
Dice Rolled:[ 12 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [claw soaks!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [R1. Biting Claw!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The dark arm — the one trailing black vapor, spitting blindness — drops next. Wilts to nothing under the ferocious Walker’s jaws. Fades to a stain.

Across the room, the two Wyrmbreakers look at Maddox as one. There’s a beat of stillness. Then the smaller lunges toward the battle; the larger drags him back again. There are words in those snarls, half incoherent —

No!
Have to —
— help them!
My pack —
— they can’t —
— have to protect them!

One sinks its teeth into the other. When it snaps its head back, it tears a strip of flesh free. The same wound, the exact same, opens like stigmata on its own shoulder.

[and claw soaks!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 5, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [R2. Biting again!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 8 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [R3! COME ON KATE, DON’T BE PRISSY.]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [FINE. WHATEVS.]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 2, 4, 7, 9, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [ack!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 6, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] It’s the white wolf that takes down the clawed arm. It doesn’t want to go. Even torn off from the core, even fading to dust, it shrieks, it beats at the wet, heaving ground, it carves black-bleeding furrows into that oddly fleshy material until nothing is left of it

but a stain.

Deprived of half its arms, weakened, the core nonetheless lashes out again. Heaves itself wholesale from the ground it rose — or grew — from, pulls itself so long that they can see the striated muscle beneath skin stretched paper-thin. Its central mouth shrieks as it snaps at Sarita, that bloody howl muffling on her flesh.

[R1, nomf!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [dam!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[SOAKIE SOAK]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 8 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] R2. Same on Sinclair!
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 3, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [HEY. not cool.]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 9 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[CLAW Sludge Arm and -4 diff ’cause Damon said so]]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 6, 6, 6, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 8 at target 2)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Damage]]
Dice Rolled:[ 13 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [sludge soak]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 4, 5, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [End of round! 1 bashing autoregenerates. Summary in order of inits:

Sinclair 2B
Kate OK
Strong OK
Pottymouth OK
Sludge OK
Core OK
Dark x_x
Pretty x_x
Claw x_x
Sarita 4B
WtSE OK
Midnight 2L 4B, awake again

Go ahead and declare while I do a summary post! Midnight’s declare:

1a. Fuck this mother’s touch shit, GB myself
b. GB Sarita
c. GB someone else!]

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [1a:
1b: Claw core from behind, change to GB as necessary]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[1a: Hey, it’s not working anyway, so let’s try it again! Claw.
1b: Claw
R1: Claw]]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Oh, and all those on Sludge]]

[-singularity-] [Nomfiend:

Strong – Minor Quake again!
Pottymouth: Nomf Kate!
Sludge: Heal Strong!

Core:
1. Nomf WtSE
R1. Nomf Sinclair
R2. Nomf Sarita]

[Honor’s Compass] [1a.
1b. Biting Pottymouth!
R1.
R2. Same!]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a.
1b.
1c. — all bites on Sludge, switching to Strong if PM goes down
R1.
R2. — bites on Strong, switch to Pottymouth if Strong goes down]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a. -3 / +1 diff]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [+4 COME ON YOU WHORE]
Dice Rolled:[ 12 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [1b. -4 / +1 diff]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 4, 4, 4, 5 (Botch x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] It has no eyes.

Of course it can’t see very well. It bites half-blind — a glancing blow that barely nicks Sarita. But sometimes it gets lucky.

That terrible mouth finds Sinclair. It shuts with such speed, such force, that she should be pulverized. Utterly destroyed. Steel shrieks on steel; her head rushes with the pressure. Yet when the creature flings her aside — expecting her to be a sack of bone and meat, destroyed — she isn’t even touched.

The same can’t be said for the Hispos across the room. Fighting, snarling, rolling — sometimes passing right through the combat without ever affecting it. Fur flies. Flesh rends. A bone crunches, and both wolves limp. They come together again and again, snarling and snapping, words like must protect and MINE and —

and eventually they wear each other out. The blows come lighter with every passing second. The blocks and parries slower. Their teeth clench shut, each on the other’s shoulder, and they haven’t the strength to let go; they lean on each other, exhausted, panting, huge paws sunk into thick ruffs,

until some errant flash of fury lights in their eyes at the same time, and they twist their heads savagely away.

An explosion of blood, like a fine mist. Two black hispos fall side by side, dazed, glassy-eyed, red blood and black. They stare at each other, sides moving fitfully with every breath.

Across the room — without them, without needing them — the battle rages on.

[sludge soaks!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 4, 6, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [botch roll!]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage on midnight!]

[Brutal Revelation] [damage! ack.]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [yelp!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 7, 10 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [that pushes midnight’s health to 4A, 2L, 1B (shifting everything down!) — incap again!]

[Brutal Revelation] [1c. AUGH]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 7, 7, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 6 at target 6) [WP]

[Brutal Revelation] [AUUUUUUUGH. yeah, you like that, bitch? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGH!!!!]
Dice Rolled:[ 13 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 7 at target 6) Re-rolls: 3

[-singularity-] [ackkk!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 3, 4, 6, 6, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [aaaaugh, i said.]
Dice Rolled:[ 13 d10 ] 2, 2, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [This is Kate, nomfing Pottymouth! -2 dice, -2 diff (back)]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 3 at target 3)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [pottymouth soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 6, 7, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [second nomf!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 3, 5, 7, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] whoops, wrong diff. +2 succ. damage!
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [Strong arm: quake again! how many hits?]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 6, 6, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [and whom?]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 5, 10

[-singularity-] [Numbers were:

1-2 Sinclair
3-4 Kate
5-6 Sarita
7-8 MS
9-10 WtSE

— so Sarita and WtSE! This is for Sarita — ]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[SOak!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 9 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [and this is for WtSE!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 4, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [SOAK IT BETCH]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 4, 6, 6 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [and +3 because I’m a dumbass and forgot he’s in Crinos]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 2, 2, 5 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [midround summary:

Sinclair 2B
Kate OK
Sarita 1L 6B – KO
MS 4A 2L 1B – KO
WtSE 5B

Strong OK
Potty 3A
Sludge 5A
Core OK, but down 3 arms]

[-singularity-] [Pottymouth nomfs Kate! -1 dam mod]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [dam!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 8, 10 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [well DUH, Kate would never let a pottymouth nomf her.

Sludge heals strong … useless, because Strong isn’t hurt. Dumbass Sludge.

Core nomfing WtSE!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 3, 6, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [SOAAAAAAAK!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 2, 4, 4, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [1a: GB on MS
1b: GB on Sarita? If they’re all in the same area and that makes sense]

[-singularity-] [sarita at 3B, MS at 2L/1B

sarita, take your turn!]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[OW OW fucker I claw sludge! -1 for wound penalty, -2 for split actions]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 7 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Daamage]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [onoz, i don’t wanna dieee!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 4, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] x_x

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Claw 2 on potty, -1 wound, -3 split]]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Damager]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [ow!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 8, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [MS:
1a. GB WtSE for 4!
b. GB sinclair cuz she’s getting nomfed next!
c. and sarita too for same reason!]

[-singularity-] [MS – 2L/1B, WtSE – B; everyone else OK.
strong – OK. potty – 3A. core – OK.]

[Brutal Revelation] [R1 you cat-loving whoreslut! YEAH I SAID IT. (biting the pottymouth)]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 6, 7, 7 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [+1 booooooo]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 6, 6, 8, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 4, 7, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [R2 COME ON.]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 4, 8, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] x_x!

[-singularity-] It’s a bitter, harrowing fight. Again and again, the wolves go down. Again and again, they help each other, break talens over each other, crunch them in their teeth. Again and again, they rise to their feet

and plunge back into the fray.

One arm after another falls. Only two left now. Two, and the core with its terrible mouth. Bloodstained. Hideous. The ground roils when it moves.

Across the room, the two Ahrouns laid out side by side, exhausted, destroyed. Melting down to Homid now, where they are almost mirrors of one another; hard to tell which is which.

One reaches out to the other. He cups his double’s jaw, the side of his neck. It’s a strange gesture; something like brotherhood, or recognition.

[Honor’s Compass] [R1. Biting… um, one that’s still up! -2 split]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 6 at target 3)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 5]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6 (Failure at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] […IDEK. +2 dice!]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 4, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [1 Damage]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 5 (Failure at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [R2. AGAIN. FINISH HIM!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 3)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] ack!
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 4, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The last of the arms falls away, thrashing, its death-throes sending tremors through the earth. Or what passes for earth here: fleshy, pulsating, beating with some terrible dark heartbeat of its own. All that remains is the core, naked now, a bulbous clot of flesh, muscle that sometimes seems to rotate and twist inside its sac of thin-stretched skin.

It is weakened. It has been stripped of its attendants. But it is not defeated. Its claws are sunk deep into this realm; it will not die so easily.

[R1 – nomf sinclair!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 6, 7, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [bitch, you ain’t shit.]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [R2 – nomf sarita!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 6, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 2, 2, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 7 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[SOAK PLEASENOWKTHXBYE]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 1, 4, 5, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Owwwww claw attempt -5 wound penalty]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 4, 5 (Success x 1 at target 3)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Damage]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [HDY I AM THE CORE!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 5, 7, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [annnd end round! summary, after bashing regens:

Sinclair OK
Kate OK
Sarita 6A
MS 2L
WtSE OK

Core OK – somewhat weakened getting arms torn off, but looks like it can take a hit still.

Init order (taking into account wounds):

Sinclair
Kate
WtSE
MS
Sarita

Declare while I post!]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[1a: Fuck you you don’t scare me bringer of my death I CLAW YOU!
1b: Yes, I know I have wound penalties I STILL CLAW YOU]]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[And R1: I CLAW MORE!]]

[-singularity-] MS:
1a. GB Sarita ffs!
b. GB someone else, and then i’m outta gnosis too!

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [If possible, reflexive: Take hits for Midnight Sun (HAELZ STICK TUGEDDER)
1:
R1:
R2:
R3: Claws on Core]

[Honor’s Compass] [Kate is:

1a. Smacking a GB on Sarita’s ass, cuz she’s sassy like that.
1b. Biting Core!
1c Biting Core!]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a.
1b.
R1.
R2. — eat the Core]

[-singularity-] [ack! belated! you guys can free-change if you want.

Core:
1. EARTHQUAKE, FUCKERS!
R1. Again!
R2. SPAM AOE! BLOW COOLDOWNS! FACEROLL! PANIC!!!11oneone]

[Brutal Revelation] [NOMF]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 7, 7, 7, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [grrrr!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The wolves array themselves around this last, terrible nexus of the realm. It is all contorting flesh and gaping mouths, all teeth, not sharp and white but blunt and yellow, which is somehow all the worse. Its smaller mouths shriek and gibber, no language any of them would want to understand.

Its largest mouth is purely for destruction.

And Wyrmbreaker can’t touch it. Neither of them can, just like they can’t touch their own packmates now. Their. He wonders when he began to think of them as that. Our. The face under his hand feels familiar; it should. It’s his own. He’s seen it a hundred thousand times in the mirror, shaves it, washes it, wears it like a mask for the predator he is, beneath.

“They are our packmates,” he tells his double softly.
They are.
“They are our responsibility.”
They are.
“We protect them.”
We do.
“We guide them.”
We do.
“We lead them.”
We do.
“It is our duty, and our honor.”
It is.

A pause.

” … but we can’t help them now.”

A longer pause.

We can’t.

“And they aren’t helpless without us.”

A very long pause.

They’re not.

Lukas smiles then. It’s strange to see it: that same smile, slow and warm and just a little sad.

“We are their Alpha. We are their friend. We are their brother. But we are not their shield, their shelter, their sole protection against everything.

And they don’t need us to be.

There’s no answer necessary then. Wyrmbreaker takes a deep breath. He can barely manage; a lung is punctured; he’s nearly killed himself. He holds out his hand. His double takes it, seizes it, ferociously hard, and —

Wyrmbreaker rises alone from the floor. He staggers toward his packmates; shifts; he rips a Bloody Bandage from his fur and as it unravels he picks up his pace, breaks into a run as it disintegrates. His fur is matted with blood and some darker, more viscous fluid. Even with the Bandage there are traces of wounds, doubly self-inflicted.

It doesn’t matter. He roars as he takes his place with his pack, shoulder to shoulder with them.

[Wyrmbreaker’s declare:
1a/b/c – shit ton of bloody bandages as necessary!]

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 3, 6, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [OMMM NOM NOM NOM NOM]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [I JUST WANNA DO DA-A-AM-AAAGE. :[ ]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [1a. Biting Core!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 5, 5, 6, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 5)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 5]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [ack soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 5, 6, 6 (Failure at target 6)

[Honor’s Compass] [1b. Annnnd again!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 5)

[Honor’s Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 9, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [EEEP]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 5, 9, 10 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] It’s not that the core isn’t strong. It’s not that it, stripped of its attendant arms, is defenseless. Is helpless. Is harmless.

It’s not that at all. It’s simply the fact that it’s outmatched.

The Glass Walker holds its attention. The Silver Fang shreds it from behind, splits it open, cleaves into it. Utterly savage, utterly terrible, Honor’s Compass rips into the thing, and the last bite, the deepest, finds some critical juncture. Some nerve-center that, once severed, makes survival impossible.

A hideous keening fills this unformed space, this region of corruption and foul flesh. It sears their ears and blinds their eyes, rings in their skulls until one by one they must drop to their knees, cover their ears, close their eyes lest their heads simply burst.

And then — just like that — it’s over. An enormous, soundless explosion sucks at their ears. Rolls outward from the core, peeling back the flesh, the ichor, the blackness, the corrosion. Burns it all away, clean as white ash.

When they open their eyes again, the world has changed.

The room is gone. The flesh-chamber is gone. All that remains is a limitless whiteness, and this being. Purified now.

Where the core seethed there now stands a figure. Humanoid; innumerable arms arrayed behind it. Six arms larger than the rest, prominent, flawless, svelte and strong. Each bears a talisman: a sword, an axe, a sceptre, a dagger, an orb, a torch. Six eyes in its head, glowing blue. No other discernible features.

It does not speak to them. It looks at them for a very long time, recognizing them, seeing them. And then — between one blink and the next — it simply vanishes away.

There’s a door left behind. It’s open, waiting. Through it, they can see a passageway leading upward, curving right.

[-singularity-] [Final summary:

Sinclair OK
Kate OK
Sarita 6A
MS 2L 1B
WtSE 1B
Lukas 1Aish?

Core – 15A +2
6 arms – 7A each (plus overkill here and there)]

[Echoes of Laughter] She’s been knocked down in the fight. She got up. She’s been nearly knocked the hell back down again and she was on the verge of death. And still, Sarita threw herself at it. There are times that she fights smart. She’s sneaky, she aims for weak spots, she dodges and blocks.

This was not one of those times.

She’s ready to claw. She’s punch-drunk and ready to swing for the fences, and then it’s down and Kate’s standing in front of where it was. She blinks a couple of times, smiles when she sees Kate. Breathes easier when she gets the Gaia’s Breath, and shifts back to breed form.

“Fuck me, that hurt. Thanks.” She clasps Kate’s shoulder (whatever form she’s in), smiles when she looks around and sees that everyone’s still up. “Mission accomplished, I’d say. Awesome.”

She looks at the door, looks to the others. Waits to accompany them out.

[Brutal Revelation] When all is said and done, the Galliard thinks dimly that she would be angry, her pride injured at multiple failures, if only…

well, if only her rage weren’t so depleted, if her will weren’t sapped. But mostly: if only she weren’t so blindingly proud of Katherine, so worried for the rest of them. She shifts her weight from foot to foot, dancing in place as the Core dies, horrifically, right before her. As the world burns away, as the figure comes in front of them. Steel melts from her body and she recognizes the axe held in one of its arms. If she wore a human face, it might be smiling gently at that. And at the torch, truth be told.

She bows to it.

And as soon as it’s gone, she goes to Sarita, a keening note in her throat, lapping at the other Garou’s wounds as though that would heal them better than a gourd. When Katherine breaks one over her, Sinclair whuffs in satisfaction even though Sarita is not completely healed, and bumps her head against the sister she was snapping at just — how long ago was it, now? A lifetime ago.

She gives Katherine a nudge, too. A congratulatory lick. Good sister good good very strong sister sister good yay. A bark, a yelp to voice what is only over the totemlink for a moment, and then she’s checking on Margaret, on Maddox, giving each of them strangely familiar nuzzles, brushing against their sides as though they are already pack, already bound.

But truth be told, they are stops on her way to Lukas. She stops before him. Then opens her maw and gently, familiarly nomfs the joint between shoulder and neck, holding on in a savage sort of hug, their throats together.

Told you so, she thinks at him, and even her spiritual voice is soft. More tender than anything most would expect of her. Maddox and Margaret sure will be surprised. She lets go of him and bumps her head against his side, but there are no other words then. She just stays. Mentally, she urges Katherine and Sarita to come close, be close, come, come, everyone be close. Out loud, she gives whuffs and faint whines that say the same to Maddox and Margaret.

Come, come. Pack come.

[Honor’s Compass] Perhaps she’s simply reached her breaking point.

Perhaps ever since leaving her own ‘room’, her own test she’s been a little more raw, a little more savage and unwilling to compromise. Honor’s Compass is her name, but let it never be said she would not destroy what she must to find that compass. To ensure her direction is true. She fights, Katherine, fights alongside her sisters and future brother and sister.

She fights for her Alpha, as he wages a bloody and in the end fruitless war upon his own other self.

They fall, but they do not die.
They drop, but they stagger upright again.

How long do they fight for, she cannot remember only that at the end, the arms torn away, only this mass left behind the Silver Fang lets out a deep, brutal roar and sinks her jaws so deep, so deep she finds the heart of this corruption — and rips it out of the Umbral space it inhabits.

In the aftermath, in the clear limitless whiteness, the Silver Fang’s fur is matted with black ichor. She opens burning eyes, the Adren and blinks several times. Sees stars and dots and sways on her feet a little before she can see the true core of this Realm, the untainted version, at least. It looks at them, and they look at it.

Honor’s Compass tilts her great head to one side, her ear flicks; wet nose inhaling clean scents with great satisfaction.

After it is gone, the snowy wolf finds one of the Gaia’s Breaths she’d stowed earlier, breaks it over her No Moon sister. Nuzzles her Galliard sister, then follows after to rub against her Alpha. To study him in a manner that suggests see, see pack can do much, not alone.

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] There was a moment in there, when they were being hammered, and comrades kept falling to the ground and Maddox and Margaret rush to heal, that it was just too much. Too infuriating. They were fighting and fighting, and so was the creature. And Lukas was off fighting himself, literally. In that moment, Maddox’s Rage spiked higher than it’s been in a long, long time. By then, he’d tapped his spiritual well dry, and almost didn’t know what to do with that excess anger and wrath. So he spent it.

Unnecessarily, as it turns out. It doesn’t matter, though. Maddox drops to his knees with the rest of them, claps huge handpaws over his ears, flattening them to his skull, squeezing his eyes shut. When it’s over, when it’s all finally over and he lowers his hands, he’s dazed.

No more Rage.

No more gnosis.

He feels empty, hollowed out, lighter even than when he was trapped in that other shell. The one that was hollow inside, and wasted away after a cleansing. He stares at the being, his head tipped up, swaying where he kneels. Then he shifts, becomes homid again. His dark hair is askew, his clothing is a mess. He stares at it, hands dragging at his sides. The look on his face is one full of wonder. And then it’s gone. It’s over. It’s over and he doesn’t feel so cranky, bitter, or angry.

Maddox just feels like himself. More than, less than. He needs rest. He needs to meditate for a goddamn day. Sinclair nudges him, and he huffs, but this time it’s amusement and relief. The Theurge staggers to his feet. He looks from packmate to packmate to packmate, ending finally on Lukas, brows lifted in query. Sinclair treats him like he’s pack already, but the final judgment isn’t hers alone. Placing one foot in front of the other, Maddox makes his way mostly steadily to where the others gather around their alpha.

[-singularity-] To say Wyrmbreaker is relieved would be true. To say he is a little abashed — also true.

To say he is proud: an understatement.

He has nothing to say to them. He lays his chin over Sinclair’s back and closes his eyes a moment. Nips at Kate’s ear gently. Bumps sides with Sarita. Only a little pause, and then he pushes his nose into Midnight Sun’s ruff; puts his huge paw over the back of Maddox’s neck and pulls him into a rough sort of proto-embrace.

Let’s go, his whuff says when he drops all four paws back to the ground. Let’s go, the turn of his body says.

There’s no hesitation as he takes the lead; no glance over his shoulder to make sure everyone was keeping up, to make sure no one was flagging, to make sure no one was left behind, no one was injured, no one was weak.

They’re not weak. Of course not.

Upward, then.

Up the way they came. Every passageway broad and pristine now. From the bottommost and seventh room to sixth — the triangular space where Lukas first met his double.

Another male stands there. None of them recognize him, not even Lukas, though there’s something faintly familiar about him. Dark hair, blue eyes; he looks a little like Wyrmbreaker.

“Love the ones you love, Wyrmbreaker,” he says. “Do not fear for them.”

They run on.

The fifth room; four-sided. There is a figure in there. Katherine recognizes him even before he turns. He looks the way she remembers him. Young; not much older than she is now. He is not her father, but he smiles at her anyway.

“Your father is proud of you, Katie,” he says,

and they run on.

The fourth room; five-sided. A little girl stands there, and they see her clearly for the first time. She is lovely. She looks like her mother. She speaks with her voice, but it is a spirit that speaks through her.

“You did not lose your family, Midnight Sun. They were taken from you, but you will see them again.”

And they run on.

The third room; six-sided. A girl waits inside, blonde and blue-eyed. Not Sinclair, but reminiscent. She doesn’t say anything; she just winks at Sinclair as she runs past,

and they run on.

The second room; seven-sided. Sarita’s double stands there. Cocky grin, but only if you failed to see the kindness beneath.

“Guess there isn’t much you can’t do, huh, chica,” she calls,

and they run on.

And the first room; eight-sided. Nothing there but a torch, burning on: the torch the god of the realm held, so far below.

They run on: homeward.

[Brutal Revelation] [thank you again Damon!]