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Other FULL [IC] As the Dust Settles; A RWBY RP [M] [FINALE - WAR] Page 10

Started by Foxrally December 13th, 2015 6:41 AM
  • 235 replies


Age 20
a Torterra's back
Seen 2 Weeks Ago
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
2,585 posts
6.3 Years

Jairo & Sahn Xill


"Oh, I know I'm not the only one seeing this!" Sal exclaimed, sporting his usual grin at the sight of the colossal Grimm. He and Brooke had emerged from the trees just as the Roc made its dramatic arrival, making him forget about his earlier exhaustion. Brooke took a moment to check her ammo, making sure her weapons were all fully loaded.

"Stay sharp, Sal. This could be the biggest threat we've ever faced." She put on her leader voice, her bravado masking her dread. Sal shattered that with a nonchalant snort. "Nah. We've fought bigger. Remember the Kraken?"

Brooke shook her head, holding back a sigh. Sal was always one to jump the gun, and being with him required a less delicate leadership approach. "First off, we had our whole team that time, plus Team BOMB. Secondly, this is much bigger than that, Sal! There are undoubtedly several teams fighting that thing, so get over your ego and let's go kick some ass!" Sal saluted, grinning wickedly. "Yes, ma'am!"

The pair rushed back into the town, Brooke putting aside her concern for the absent members of her team while she focused on the challenge at hand. She would caution finesse, but Sal was all brute force and rage, a gun in need of pointing. "Sal, circle around and attack from behind. We only get one chance at a surprise attack." She sent him one way while she went another, looking for an elevated position to shoot from. There were other teams, as she had surmised, but little time to coordinate with them, especially with Sal doing his thing.

Sal rushed straight in, launching a fireball as soon as he got a clear view of the Roc's legs. The cannon shot exploded on impact, the heat bloom scorching the scales on the Grimm's legs. It squawked as it spun in place, smacking Sal with one of its massive tail feathers. The impact knocked him through a wall, out a window on the opposite wall, and in through another window before he stopped. He groaned as he stood up, grabbing a handful of vines and draining the energy from them. "Sorry, Ozzy. But I need the pick-me-up."

Suddenly, a bullet whizzed past the croc faunus' ear, burying itself into the wood behind him. The building he had landed in was all but collapsed, with large chunks of the walls missing, rubble and furniture scattered around the hall, and vines growing over the debris. A hoarse but visibly exhausted voice called out from where the shot had come.

"Die, you- oh." Jairo stopped as he noticed Sal's scales. The spider faunus was battered and bruised all over from the Roc's previous attack, which had thrown him out of ABAK's reach and into this large school-like building. Unapologetically, he lowered his weapon and hopped over to Sal. "I'm heading to camp. Wheres the rest of the faunus?" he asked.

"Oh, you know." Sal replied cryptically, still hearing a ringing in his ears. "Here, and there, and by the bird, and probably some at camp." He looked over the Ozzy-sized spider, noticing how battered he was. "What's a little guy like you doing in a warzone like this?"


After seeing Sal get knocked away by the Roc, Brooke put her own assault on hold to go after him. Even amongst all the destruction, it was hard to miss the holes Sal had punched through the buildings. She gracefully leapt through the window Sal had "opened" for her, pointing her gun at Jairo. She immediately lowered it when she noticed his extra arms, relieved that Sal was okay, but angry that he'd disobeyed her. "Damn it, Sal! What the hell were you thinking?!"

Jairo squinted. "Wait, I recognize you two. Team, uh, SOBR, ROBS, whatever Mira's friends with you, yeah?" he asked, addressing Brooke. "You seen her anywhere?"

"Team BROS." Brooke corrected, Sal's unapologetic smile telling her she wouldn't get a satisfactory answer from the croc. It took her a moment to remember Mira. "I haven't seen Mira in a while, let alone around here. With all the action around here, though, we're trying to meet up with our own teammates. Why don't you come with us, and we'll look for them? There's safety in numbers, after all."

"Yeah!" Sal chimed in. "Especially when your numbers are as big as me! Stick with us, Jared!" Brooke sighed, shaking her head. "Jairo. His name is Jairo. Forgive him, he takes time to learn new things."

The boy momentarily considered the offer, wondering if he was better off finding ABAK again before realizing they were probably busy fighting the Roc. "Yeah, sure." he said, holstering his gun. Almost instinctively, and without realizing it, he slung himself over the croc faunus' shoulder and onto his back. To his credit, Sal accepted Jairo's actions without complaint. The spider Faunus was surprisingly light, and Sal barely noticed his presence.

Brooke looked on, baffled, but shrugged it off. There were more pressing matters, and it was slightly heartwarming to see Sal's fraternal side. "Alright, let's move out!" She ordered.

Sal followed Brooke's lead, starting to enjoy giving Jairo a ride. "So what're you doing all the way out here? Shouldn't the rest of your team be with you?"

The boy took a while to answer, still trying to get comfortable on Sal's rough skin before muttering out a reply. "We got separated. The other two are in camp."

"Well, that's funny! We got separated from our team, too! They should be at camp. Or they're still out there, one of the two." Sal pondered that for a moment, losing his cheer as he did. "I hope they're doing okay. I'd hate for either of them to be out there, still fighting. Mostly 'cause I don't want them getting a higher body count than me. Mostly." He perked back up by the end of his thought process, as though he was forcing himself to be in a good mood. His last statement did give Jairo some perspective - as far as he knew, Mira and Nel were worried sick about him, and still couldn't case less. As he shuffled around some more on Sal, the violin case on his back bumped into Sal's head, with more weight that he had expected.

"Hey!" Sal complained, a low growl bubbling in his chest. The impact snapped him out of his introspective funk, and he finally got to a point he should've reached minutes earlier. "Wait a minute, don't you mean other three? Brooke and I have two team mates in camp, but you should have three, right?"

"No. Three." Jairo snapped, finally deciding to check what had weighed down his case the whole time. He opened it up, finding a set of vaguely familiar brass gloves. He looked at them for a moment in confusion, before realizing who they were for - Sahn.

"Hey, take these." he motioned to Brooke, tossing over the pair. "You made 'em last winter. We don't need them anymore."

Brooke caught the gloves, taking only a moment to recognize them. Being much quicker on the draw than her teammate, she reached the logical conclusion almost instantly. "Oh, Jairo... I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. What... do you need to talk about it?" She held onto the gloves, unsure with what to do with them just yet.

Sal didn't quite get it. "You guys okay? There a problem with the gloves? I mean, they're not your size, obviously, but..." Seeing Brooke's face helped him understand the gravity of the situation, if not the context. She wasn't glaring at him, instead giving Jairo her attention. "Someone gonna fill me in?"

"It was... because of me." Jairo uttered. "Sahn died. Because of me." he said, his eyes turning black as he fought back the dark tears welling in them. "That's what happened. I should've stayed back, but I... i didn't, man, psyduck, I didn't!"

"Oh..." Was all Sal could think to say. He hadn't known Sahn, and he'd never really lost anyone before, so this was new to him. "You can't blame yourself, man. What good is beating yourself up gonna do? I think you need to find someone else to beat up. Turn your anger into something useful!"

"That's enough, Sal." Brooke ordered quietly. "That might work for you, but Jairo isn't you. You can't just punch a loss like this away." She stepped closer, but let Jairo have his space. "While I agree that you'll need to channel your emotions into something, that can wait. I've been there before, I know how much it hurts. You're going to be going over everything that happened, wondering what you could have done wrong, what you should have changed. But you know you can't change it, it's already done, and that knowledge, that helpless, hopeless feeling, hurts more than anything else. And this is gonna sound strange, but you need to hold on to that hurt, you need to embrace it, because that's what's going to make you strong, that's what's going to get you out of here. That's how you know who you're going to be."

Jairo frowned, initially confused by Brooke's cold 'consolation', but his expression softening as he took in what she meant to say. In a way, it was nice having someone who'd gone through this before. Clearing his throat, he replied a word he hadn't uttered in ages till now:


Brooke nodded, offering a small smile as she did. "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together. Now let's move out!" She turned back toward camp, eyes on the sky in case the Roc came back.

Sal had nothing to add, so he just followed Brooke, carrying Jairo as comfortably as he could.

A joint post of Godzil and Foxrally
Paired to Ice and gimmepie
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All is dust...

Seen March 18th, 2018
Posted October 23rd, 2017
9 posts
2.5 Years
Walking out of Hell... Part 1

You killed them all! I had friends on that ship! exclaimed the faunus as she pointed her submachine gun at Varik.

It was us or them. The Brackmans would not allow me to survive if I would no longer stay under their thumbs, and you coming with me meant they would have ended you a well. I wish I did not have to take such drastic measures but I had to do it to protect my family, replied Varik calmly despite Blair pointing her gun at his head.

But you could have gotten Nilya and returned to the ship, replied Blair tears falling from her eyes.

They would see Nilya and her family as a liability or as bargaining chips to use against me. People are tools to them Blair. Remember how Gustaf offered you up as a replacement? He was not joking. Do you really want such soulless disconnected people having as much power as they were working toward? Especially after this war concludes? asked Varik.

And you would be different? spat Blair.

I dont want to be a leader. I used to, but I saw what that power can do to people, replied Varik his voice filled with conviction.

Then what do you want? asked a confused Blair.

Right now to be there for my wife. Perhaps one day I would like to be a father as well For now that is it. However I have an obligation to those we already promised safety from the coming storm. I will put my gifts to fulfilling that promise, but I do not want to be the one in control, replied Varik.

Blair stared at Varik her mouth hanging open, So the man who invented teleportation like it was nothing, a man who could likely just blow up this planet if he so desired with some crazy device, or could take over the world just wants to be a ordinary husband.

Being Nilyas husband is anything but ordinary. I am a human and she is a faunus in a world that our two races are so unaccepting of each other we are going to war. As far as letting my gift go to waste I feel like many of my decisions made in the name of good intentions have caused more pain. This world is not ready for the massive technology boost I could evoke. People would just use it to solidify power and create tyrants, and in the process of doing so create untold bloodshed, replied Varik softly.

Why are you giving up on our kinds? asked Blair.

I am not, but now is not the time for an era of great technological advancement, stated Varik. Either way I must focus on saving Nilya, added Varik.
Blair sighed and asked, Why are you so obsessed with Nilya?

Varik was silent for a moment before he responded We are both flawed, but she completes and grounds me. She is my souls anchor to this world She is the reason my soul has not been replaced with cold logical processes or fiery destructive anger. She questions me and helps guide me so I do not lose myself to my intelligence or passionate whims. I can be an unbalanced monster that fluxuates between pure cold logic or unchecked emotions, but when Nilya is with me I am more at peace. She is my shield against myself, replied Varik calmly. If I am to apply my gift approately I need her help.

While this conversation is a good one to decide where we stand, I fear it needs to end. It appears the emotional events of the day have attracted the Grimm, remarked Cadivus as he looked off in the distance with his artificial eyes.

We have to get to Nilya now strength in numbers, replied Blair as she lowered the weapon from Variks head.

Varik nodded and motioned for the other two to followed him to Nilyas location, using her scroll as a tracking device.


Nilya watched silently as the Nara said her goodbyes to her former team. When Nara walked back to Nilyas side the white haired faunus said, Nilya we might have our differences, but we are family. In this craziness and hate I think it's best we stick together. Let us go find your husband and get out of here.

Nilya smiled and nodded before sprinting off with Nara not far behind her. Varik had teleported pretty close by, but their movements had brought them further away from him so they had a little ground to cover. As they approached, the air suddenly filled with the sounds of weapons fire. Nilya knew that had to be Varik with some allies as most of the weapon fire did not sound like normal weapons. That doesnt sound good, remarked Nara as they sprinted toward the fight.

Nilya drew her blade and held it with the blade heading toward her elbow and the blade pointed to the ground as she charged toward her husbands position. It did not take her and Nara long to reach Variks group and Nilya immediately rushed toward one of the ursa grimm. The bear like grimm was too focused on Variks group to notice the fox faunus attacking it from behind. Nilya focused and encased her blade in solid darkness before striking. She closed into point blank range and struck with her blade that cut through the back of creatures left leg with ease. Just as the blade completed its swipe through the creature, Nilya spun the blade using its momentum to change her grip to the sword forward of her body and brought the blade back toward the the ursa delivering a second strike to its right leg. The monster roared in pain as Nilya pressing her attack by hopping on its back. The fox eared faunus used her weight to force the ursa to collapse forward while launching herself into the air. Coming down with her blade striking the back of the grimms neck before she landed on its shoulders insuring most of her momentum was devoted to the blade. The blade drove straight through the creatures neck slicing through its spine and throat, killing it.

As the grimm faded into black dust, Nilya launched herself forward toward her husband, but she suddenly stopped and looked back to make sure Nara was still behind her. Just as she looked back, Nara ran past her and quickly moved to join the trio unleashing gunfire into the approaching grimm. The three had clearly been expecting Nilya as the appearance of the fox twins did not seem to shift their focus on their targets. Nilya followed after her sister and they quickly joined the other three. Blair was unleashing a hail of bullets surrounded in energy fields from twin submachine guns. The additional mechanical arms seamlessly reloading clips as she ejected depleted ones, and allowed her to easily kill off the large number of creeps and occasional beowulf. Meanwhile Cadivus used a powerful pistol to help kill off any tougher grimm that Blair was unable to kill quickly.Varik used his rail rifle to kill rare tough grimm that appeared.

Good to see your okay Nilly, said Cadivus as he glanced at his wife. Nilya stopped next to her husband and was about to say something when a roar interrupted her thoughts.

Looking in the direction of the sound Nilya saw a large winged Grimm heading toward them. Dragon, said Nilya a chill going down her spine.

The massive creatures body was producing a large amount of icor that fell to the ground as it moved toward the group. This black substance was spawning large numbers of weaker grimm that pressed the group. These smaller grimm upon spawning charged ahead of the dragon to engage the five hunters.

Cover me, I will deal with the dragon, said Varik as he ejected the half full clip of solid metal rods from his rifle, and replaced it with a special clip that carried a single round. Once the clip placed in the rifle a small circular design right above the magazine holder began to rotate as the edges emitted a faint glow.

Nilya nodded at her husbands command and charged at a pair of charging beowolves while creating a shadow clone of herself. The two struck down the weak grimm as Blair dropped her current submachine guns whose barrels glowed white hot, and grabbed a second pair to continue unleashing a storm of bullets. Varik then began to take careful aim at the dragon, who realized that Varik was the immediate threat. As it sped up and headed directly for Varik. The smaller grimm began to ignore Nilya, who was out front and all of them made a straight line for Varik.

The human focused, as he stared down the scope and patiently waited for to make the shot. Slowly pulling the trigger he phased out all other noise as all attention went into this one vital shot.

A boarbatusk rolled past Nilya and headed straight for Varik as a spray of energy enhanced projectiles sprayed across its body, not stopping its relentless advance. Nilya called out to Varik, but he was zoned in on his shot. A mere second before the boar like grimm struck Varik the sound of the Variks rifles magnetic rails discharging a round filled the air. The dragon had no time to react and Varik had calculated where its momentum would place it. In the middle of the creatures head a burst of energy formed as the specialized rail gun rounds unique payload created a tear in reality that quickly collapsed. The portion of the grimms head caught in the energy was completely removed and left inside the other side of the rift. This specialized distortion bypassed all the creatures defenses and teleported a portion of its head away its body started to crash to the ground, but as it impacted the hard earth it was nothing more than black dust.

Varik however was hit directly by the rolling boarbatusk with a bone shattering impact that launched him backwards. Varik! screamed Nilya who was trying to fight her way back to her husband, while Cadivus leveled this weapon to the boaratusks head. The grimm was recovering to its normal standing position after its powerful attack. Cadivus fired three times into the Grimms head at point blank range quickly killing it.

Varik laid on the ground struggling to breathe with multiple broken ribs. Nara rushed to his side and without hesitation began to heal him. Nilya was still desperately trying to fight her way to her wounded husband, but without the dragon commanding them, the grimm lost all sense of order and most decided to attack the closest hunter: Nilya. Surrounded, but not alone due to the supporting fire of Blair and Cadivus picking off many of the grimm trying to get to her. To Nilya the grimm seemed endless, and they were preventing her from getting to her badly wounded husband transforming her fear into anger.

Fear and anger flowed through her as she struck down a beowolf only to get scratched in the back by a glancing blow from a ursa. Nilya had no reason to hold her emotions and she let it flow through her veins like a poison. Looking back at the ursa with a piercing gaze Nilyas additional tails began to dissipate. Slowly the area around her took on an aura of darkness, and her power turned the area into one of purel darkness. She charged the ursa enveloping both of them in her darkness. The unnatural darkness spread around her and created an area of solid black that enveloped. Mere seconds later the orb of darkness shrunk back into the faunus, leaving her standing there alone looking like a form of pure black until the darkness collected behind her as additional tails. The dozen weaker grimm that had been around before the darkness consumed them. If it was the darkness or Nilya that killed them no one knew. Nilya quickly ran over to her husband as Blair and Cadivus finished off the last of the grimm.

Varik! Are you okay? talk to me! exclaimed Nilya as she kneeled next to him fearing the worst.

Settle down, Nilya Do not force him to speak as he is in a lot of pain, and breathing is hard for him right now, calmly remarked Nara as she healed the wounded human.

Looking over at Nara with a look of worry in her eyes, Nilya asked, Is he going to survive?

Yes I might be a coward but I do have good healing skills, replied Nara with a sigh.

Youre not a coward. You are here and not hiding under some rock, remarked Cadivus as he inspected his pistol. Not all of us are cut out to fight, he added as he holstered the weapon.

Once he can move we need to get moving things are only going to get worse and we are mostly blind. We need a plan, added Blair as she picked up her previously discarded weapons and began the process of replacing the barrels with a set of spares she carried.

I thought you would be evacuating us, remarked Nilya her focus still on Varik.

Your husband insured that wasnt happening, muttered Blair.

What do you started to ask Nilya before Cadivus interrupted her.

We can discuss that later, for now let us focus on survival. I suggest we acquire an aircraft and get out of here, said the pilot as he looked over at Blair.

The faunus was already working on hologram screen being projected from her right wrist. Okay there is a nearby human supply base that we spotted WHEN I had connection to the drone. Maybe the grimm will have the defending hunters distracted, but honestly everything is a calculated risk at this time, said Blair before she got quiet while staring at something.

Its the best chance we have right now, said Cadivus.

Well here goes nothing, remarked Blair. Just so you know I HATE the feeling of being blind.

Honestly it's a little exciting, replied Cadivus who received a glare from Blair.

We need to get going, gasped Varik as he reached over and squeezed Nilyas hand.

Rik please be careful you are badly wounded, pleaded Nilya as she ran her right hand through his hair while squeezing her husbands hand with her left.

Dont worry about me Nilya. Your sister is doing a great job, and we cannot stay here long so I will have to start moving soon regardless of my condition, said Varik his words coming out easier than before.

In a few minutes, Varik was able to stand up with help and the five moved toward the small human base with Blair and Cadivus leading the way. Nilya held onto her husband as they walked together as Nara walked behind the two, still healing Varik. The small group of five trying to find a way out of the hell that is this battlefield.


Dapper bowler hat

Age 28
Arizona, USA
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 7 Hours Ago
1,365 posts
9.1 Years
Oswald Carotene and Mira Cullous

Mira sighed in frustration as the nurses finally left her. She glanced at the bandages around her waist before slipping her vest back on. The medics had given her a few nondescript pills to 'ease the pain, which seemed to do their job so far. Her vision was still blurry without her glasses though, and the medics hadn't gotten anything for that. Dammit, I knew I should've packed my other pair. she thought to herself, strapping on her boots.

She exited the tent and looked around. The hastily-set up faunus camp was full of hunters, medics and their superiors running around barking orders, all the while gunshots and screams echoing in the distance from the battle. Mira breathed and tried to remember which tent Nel and Nina had been sent to, so she could at least regroup with one of her teammates. Jairo was still with ABAK, but she trusted the team would bring him to camp safely, if faunus camaraderie was anything to go by. The plan would be to stick together for the rest of the battle, stay out of danger, then leave when evac was ordered. She found the tent after a few minutes, labeled 'level 2 injuries.

Many patients were inside the tent, most of them either complaining about their wounds or how they were still fit to fight, but neither Nel or Nina could be seen anywhere. Mira got the attention of one nurse, a rather portly elephant faunus. Hey, did you have a falcon and mouse faunus carried in here earlier? I'm looking for them. she asked.

Oh, those two girls? Yes, and they didn't stay long. The poor mouse darling left as soon as she woke up, and her friend just flew off a few minutes ago. They frankly didn't look in a fighting state at all, but you know the youth. Poor, unfortunate souls. she shook her head solemnly.

Gritting her teeth, Mira hastily thanked the lady before storming out of the tent. She threw her weapon on the ground in rage. In one day, she'd let one of her teammates be stranded with another team, another run off on her own, and another

She had no time to contemplate her failures, however. Out of nowhere, a blaring alarm sounded around the camp, as lights near the tents began to flash red. Mira looked around, confused. Wha?


Ozzy made his way back to the camp, but he was concerned that he hadn't met up with his team yet. Reese had told him they'd rendezvous back at camp, but he'd hoped not to have to make the trip alone. He hefted the heavy spear back up onto his shoulder as he walked, once again debating the logic of keeping it. It made no sense, but he couldn't bring himself to get rid of it.

As he walked, he passed by dozens of other Faunus, all of them in worse shape than him. It made him feel a little guilty, and again like they shouldn't be here. This whole plan was a mistake he muttered to himself, avoiding the medical tent. He could hear what was going on in there, and didn't want to see it.

With his head down and his ears laid flat, he was taken by surprise by the lights and alarm. He leapt about ten feet into the air, landing in a terrified crouch. Faunus were running everywhere, and he quickly ran to get out of the way, almost tripping over a girl as he turned a corner. I'm sorry! He blurted out instinctively. What's going on?!

The owl faunus had caught him mid-fall and seemed just as panicked as he was. I dont know! Maybe the humans are att- oh, crap!

Her sentence was cut short as she suddenly felt the ground underneath them tremble. Leaping to the side, she grabbed ahold of Ozzys jacket, pulling him with her. Instants later, the earth below them cracked open, letting loose a swarm of Creeps who had chewed through the dirt. She barely had the time to go for her weapon as one of the Grimm jumped at her.

Ozzy fell gracefully from her arms as she went for her weapon, landing on the ground with his feet under him and his spear pointing toward the Creep. Too clumsy and stupid to change course, the Grimm managed to impale itself on the sharp end, gasping for air before falling to ash and mist. Ozzy dropped the spear and grabbed his shovel, firing shotgun shells into the swarm until it clicked empty. He focused his Semblance on the Creeps, thorny vines sprouting from their skin. His breath came quick and ragged, still tired from the skirmish in the town. We're not safe here. He panted, looking at the camp as more Grimm started showing up. We gotta get out of here!

A loud, gruff voice called out from behind them. SOLDIERS! EVAC ORDERED, GET THESE PEOPLE BACK TO THE AIRSHIPS! The man looked like an eagle faunus in a military outfit, with feathers jutting out of his hair as he spoke. HOLD THE GRIMM BACK!

Mira turned to Ozzy, unsure of what to do. We- we cant just run! she stammered. We need to help the people out of the tents!

As the words left her mouth, the earth shook as a massive Roc landed on one of the tents, crushing everything and everyone inside. The Grimm let out a loud squawk of aggression and glee, relishing in the pain and fear. Ozzy went pale, but grabbed his oversized spear from the ground. Terror and duty battled for control of his mind, but his better nature won out in the end. O-o-okay let's get these people out of here! He pointed to the main medical tent with the spear, grabbing Miras hand with his free hand. Stick close? We'll be safer together.

Mira nodded, squinting at Ozzys face. She couldve sworn she knew him, but without her glasses, it was hard to figure out details.The Roc in front of them squawked again before taking off, the gust from its wings nearly knocking the two hunters over. We need to take this thing out of the skies before it crushes any more of the tents! Mira said, looking at Ozzy. Ive dealt with something like this before! You got any way of piercing its eyes? she asked.

Ozzy looked at the spear in his hand, remembering how he had used it to pierce the Death Stalkers eye. Unwieldy as it was, it had proven effective. I have a couple. I could use this spear, or I could grow a vine, give it some thorns, something like that he trailed off into uncertainty. Sensing a difficult fight ahead, he let go of Miras hand to dig through his seed pouch. He produced a small bean that looked and smelled like a coffee bean. He popped it in his mouth, grimacing as he chewed and swallowed. He felt instantly rejuvenated, his fight or flight instincts on high alert. He didn't even notice his body was pushed to it's limits, but he would when the effects wore off.

Whoo, okay he breathed, hopping from one foot to the other. I'm ready for this. Terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought, but ready. You know a way to get up to it? This thing doubles as a sniper rifle, but I don't think I can handle the recoil. Not as I am, anyway.

Mira could clearly sense he was nervous. Where youre going, you wont be needing the rifle part. she said. Grabbing Ozzys hand, she concentrated for a moment before encasing him in her Semblances blue aura. Sorry about this!

Before the rabbit faunus had a chance to reply, he was launched forward like a rocket, straight towards the low-flying Roc. His first reaction was surprise, followed by terror, which seemed to catch the Grimm's attention. Hopped up on his super bean like he was, Ozzy recovered his wits quickly, holding onto the spear for dear life. Without taking his eyes off the Roc, he rummaged in his seed pouch until he found what he needed, just in time for the Grimm to snap at him with its vicious beak. He twisted his body, spinning in midair and dodging the attack, driving his spear into the Rocs eye like a Tactical Rabbit Strike.

The bird shrieked in pain, giving Ozzy the opening he needed: an open mouth. He threw the acorn in his hand down the massive throat, vines extending from his armor to anchor him to the colossal bird. His hands glowed green, accelerating the acorn's growth, making the Roc spasm in pain as a live tree started growing in its chest. Flapping the massive wings became laborious as the chest began to swell and stretch, until massive roots began tearing their way free. The Roc had to tilt its head back as the upper branches forced their way out of the throat, green leaves stained with black blood as the mighty oak sprouted from the beak like an overgrown vegetable. The tree shuddered as it split, the two halves continuing to grow up and out, forcing the beak open farther and farther until the jaw broke with a terrible snap. The red glow faded from the eyes as the Grimm died, falling clumsily out of the air toward the camp. It dissolved into black mist before it hit, but that left Ozzy without anything to hold onto.

His vines trailed from his armor as he fell, his immediate thought being What would a brave Faunus like Reese do? With a flash of inspiration, he grappled onto the tree falling beside him, using his Semblance to reverse the growth, turning sturdy wood into a massive pile of red and orange leaves. The leaves surrounded him as he hit the ground, absorbing the impact and leaving him dazed but alive as leaves scattered everywhere. His spear hit the ground with a clatter not far away, but he didn't want to go after it just yet.

Holy crap! Mira exclaimed as she zoomed over to Ozzy on her staff, helping the faunus up. You really pack a punch, Ozzy! Thats your name, right? I remember Brooke telling me- She stopped mid-sentence to stab a creeper that had snuck up behind her, -about her team. I figured the little guy with the plants must be you.

Ozzy graciously accepted Miras hand, a vine snaking off his armor to grab his spear and return it to his hand. Yeah, that's me. He grabbed his shovel and blasted a Creep that thought to sneak up on Mira again. It's actually Oswald, but everyone calls me Ozzy. I like it. I'm really wired right now, what do you say we get these people out of here?

Yeah. We can't let anyone else die on our watch! she said, nodding.

A joint post of Foxrally and Godzil


Age 20
a Torterra's back
Seen 2 Weeks Ago
Posted 3 Weeks Ago
2,585 posts
6.3 Years

Jairo & Sahn Xill

Mira Cullous Nel Phelia


Evac plan is all good, right Gaige? Isa casually asked, checking her watch as the two entered the decrepit but quite large building. The walls and ground were lined with plantlife that had taken over and rubble across the entire room. In the corner, a long staircase led to the high roof of the building, meaning this was probably some sort of industrial place.

Yes, Isa. We should be getting the signal soon, hopefully, so I doubt that little interaction did much in terms of delay. Gaige nodded.


An enraged scream came from the corner they had just turned. Before she could react, Isa was tackled by the immense force of Nels wind charge, sending the two shooting across the room and crashing through the wall. Nel got up from the rubble, her clothes torn and fist bleeding from the impact, wind blowing around her. PEOPLE LIKE YOU she screamed, breathing heavily. ...ARE WHY THIS WAR IS HAPPENING!

Nina arrived just in time to see Gaige, who had dodged the charge, raise his arm to conjure a dragon at Nel. Oh no, you don't! she called, dashing over to him and delivering a swift kick to his head. His aura took most of the hit as he fell backwards to face his former teammate. Time to settle some old grudges. Nina said, cracking her knuckles.

Gaige stood up and rolled his shoulders, Don't worry, I don't hold any grudge. He squatting down to touch the ground and getting swallowed up by his own earth dragon. It lashed it's tail out at both Nel and Nina away from Isa.

Isa conjured up a large Ursa Grimm, her own injuries slowing her down. The Grimm huddled over her defensively as Gaiges dragon allowed her to climb onto its tail. Her breathing was heavy as she spoke, You don't need to flatter us that much. She said with a grin, There's no way I can take all of the credit for this war, no matter how much I want to.

Nel gritted her teeth and hopped into the air to avoid the thrashing dragon. She threw out an airblast towards Isa, the woman dodging all her shots as she stayed on the tail with surprising balance. Nel hadnt paid attention to the Ursa behind her though, and was met with a sharp set of claws to the back of the head. Yelping out in pain, she fell forward, nearly faceplanting in the process before pushing herself back up with her semblance.

Gah! Nel reeled back as she touched the wound on her head. The blow had gone right through her aura, which she hadn't expected from a regular Grimm.

Dodging a second slash by the Ursa, Nel retaliated by conjuring a whirlwind underneath it, sweeping it off its legs and spinning it midair. Then, at the right moment, she jumped forward, kicking the monster in its bony face with an airblade connected to her foot.

She fell back to the ground, panting. She had no time to react to the the thrashing tail of the monster, which came straight for her. Nina quickly reacted to this, dashing over to her and stopping the tail right in its path. Using the leftover momentum, she pulled the tail up then slammed it down, releasing a shockwave along the dragon and knocking Isa off.

Before Nel or Nina could get an attack in on Isa, two more dragon sprung up from the ground, attacking with much more ferocity.

Nina looked over at Nel who was about to get bit, and gave up her opportunity to kill Isa, instead putting everything she could into closing the distance and pushing Nel away. The speed was so fast that nobody was able to perceive it, and Nina stood there holding open the jaws of the dragon, feet dug into the dirt. The second dragon went for her back, while the third came at Nel from an angle that would make it difficult to protect herself and Nina.


Meanwhile, Vigor creeped through the weakening field of gravity, making his way towards the source. When he finally came across Archers body, he opened his jaws, deciding on whether it was better to kill or save here. Finally he settled on going for Archer's throat with a solemn apology.

Archer came to his sense and gripped open the maw of the monster. Finally I get to come out with a clear mind. Archer said with an animalistic grin. He slammed Vigor into the dirt, held it by the neck, and stretched his body, filled with a level of excitement. The field of gravity diminished, until it was completely under control. The team of five quickly moved in to surround him. All my friends are here. He said loudly with a grin.

He's not supposed to be talking right? Not if he's out of control? Lucina asked, pulling a chain from her right arm.

I don't know, I've never seen him smile like that before. Niko responded with a high degree of fear and courage.

Archer made the first move, picking up a rock and slinging it at a high speed directly into the body of Lulls cello, causing a hole that greatly reduction the sound. Alright then, let's get this settled, are you going to kill both of us or lock me away again? Archer asked as his excitement grew, Because I can tell you right now I'd rather die than be repressed again.


A loud slam echoed through the building as Nel was smacked with the earth dragons body and thrown into the wall, the stone cracking with the force of the impact. The other dragon, which Nina had successfully parried with a kick, charged instead at the falcon faunus, jabbing it's horns into her stomach before she could fully recover.

Gah! Nel screamed as the horns managed to pierce through her aura, stabbing her in the gut and dropping her to the ground. I'll KILL YOU! As she got to one knee, the air around her began turning thicker and foggier, the humidity quickly increasing. Before the two dragons could attack her again, Nel threw her cloud forward, cloaking the dragons and dodging their charge.

Nina noticed what she was doing, and realized what her plan was. Still holding Gaige's dragon by the jaw, she called out, Nel! Get down!

Just as Nel ducked down, Nina hurled the dragon at its twins, the humidity-weakened earth creatures colliding into each other in an explosion of dirt and mud. The two faunus both fell to their knees, panting.

Gaige, who had used the distraction to help Isa up, winced as all three of his creations were destroyed. Isa, they're out of action. Let's get out of here- before the Grimm arrive.

No. I want to make sure theyre dead first. she snapped, wiping the blood off her mouth and glaring at Nel. Id especially like to make sure they cant identify that one when the fight is over.

Suddenly, a rumbling noise which had been echoing in the distance for the past few minutes suddenly got louder. Sounds like a thunderstorm, or some kind of earthquake Nina thought, slowly getting up.

Nel coughed, also getting up. Suddenly her eyes grew wide, as her enhanced hearing kicked in. It's hundreds! No, thousands... Thousands of footsteps? What? she muttered, concentrating despite her injuries.

Gaige sighed, grabbing Isas shoulder and motioning upwards. The rabbit faunus nodded, releasing five creeps at Nel and Nina before stepping backwards towards Gaige. The human crouched down and summon a large dragon directly beneath them, swallowing the pair as it rose and crashed through the ceiling.

Where are they going? Nina asked, backing up as the creeps got closer. The roof?

We need to get to higher ground! Nel exclaimed, clutching her bleeding stomach. A Grimm- she stopped as she dodge rolled away from a leaping creep, A Grimm horde is coming! Like, a lot!

Nina nodded, charging forward to kick one of the creeps in its bony face, the force instantly turning it to smoke. She grabbed the tail of another and ran at the wall, stopping right before collision to slam the creep into it. As a third one charged behind her, a large ball of wind collided with its side, followed by a second, larger one.

Nina turned and let go of the creep in her hand as it faded away just in time to see the ambusher die. Phew, thanks. she said, grinning at Nel. Suddenly, a loud bark sounded from the next room in the building, followed by dozens more and the sound of running steps.

Don't- mention it! Nel replied. She kicked up a gust underneath another Creep, sending it flying towards her before cutting through its body with her blades. Come on, the horde is here! Let's go! she yelled, motioning towards the staircase. Nina nodded, instantly running over to the fourth Grimm to finish the kill and and zooming past Nel to the staircase. She could feel her semblance weakening the more she used it, worsened by Grimm interaction.

Just as she did, the door which they had come in from exploded behind them. The sound of hundreds of Grimm echoed through the streets and building as beowolves began flooding in from all entrances.

Nel, come on! Nina urged, her focus on both the fleeing Isa and Gaige as well as the Grimm.

Coming, coming! The hawk faunus looked behind her in panic as the horde approached. Man, that is a lot of -oof!

Her sentence was cut short as a black claw grabbed her leg and tripped her, dropping her to the ground. Wha?! Nel turned around and saw the fifth creep which Isa had summoned clamp down on her ankle, snapping viciously at her.

Nel, hurry! Nina screamed. The horde was mere inches from the hawk faunus now. Nel took out her guns and unloaded them in the Grimms face, killing it and loosening the grip on her leg.

Alright, I'm free! On my w-

Those were the last words Nina heard before Nels voice was drowned out by the Grimm and the ravenous pack of Beowolves jumped on top of her, burying her in the black and white mass. She looked on in horror as even more Grimm rushed to where she was, blood splattering over the walls as they mailed her.

NEL! she screamed, her eyes wide with panic. Mortified, she slowly stepped backwards up the stairs, before being forced to run as more the Grimm got closer.


The beast within Archer, was finally free, and unlike his out of control outbreaks, his mind was clear. His first instinct was to escape, even as the five former friends and Lull circled around him. He charged immediately at Lull and her broken cello, intending to break through, although a wall of flame formed in front of him and then rapidly crept around him. Lull looked Archer in the eyes, Archer come home. She said quietly, starting to reach through the flames, which lowered for her.

The bestial Archer backed up suspiciously, Were not going to just make it easier for him to try and kill us again. Archer dashed aside as Vigor lashed out from his side. He was at a severe disadvantage, but a fallen Nevermore served as a possible way to even the fight. Archer moved towards the wounded bird-like grimm and gathered the feathers around him, letting fifteen circle around him for use as a weapon.

Archer, quit being such a pain. Esraella yelled as spikes of earth shot up from under him. A faunus girl hed never seen was looking at him with her hands on the ground, We can take you somewhere to get you fixed.

Lucina hopped into the circle with her chain shot gloves on. Vigor snapped at Archer who kicked him away desperately and used his feathers to inflict a bit of damage. Archer made himself lighter and attempted to leap over the wall of fire, but Lucinas chain latched onto his ankle and slammed him directly into the ground, which began to swallow him up. She walked up and grabbed his hair while her boot kept him down, The reports stated you would be out of control. She said with a frown, You seem to be thinking alright to me. Archer struggled as Lucina pulled her phone out. Archer noticed a familiar canister that he had used to recover before, and realized that their intention was never to kill him. I think we have him She said as they all felt a rumbling on the ground.

Ciena, Zierra, and Esraella were quick to react, and the area around them was soon enclosed in a massive wall of stone. Lucina was distracted enough for Archer to get loose, swipe the canister, and escape as she had no choice but to help Ciena keep the wall up as grimm swarmed into it. He quickly climbed up to the top of the wall and looked out at the mass of grimm. The bestial Archer looked out at it all and saw Nina and Nel climbing up to higher ground before Nel began to get swallowed up.

Even this side of Archer felt its heart drop, and with a bit of hesitation, looking out towards freedom, he leaped out towards the building, making himself lighter at the jump and then making himself heavier as he crashed into one of the grimm, using his feathers to kill of two more. One of the grimm latched onto his arm and he grit his teeth as it failed to sink its own into his metal bones. Archer focused on the area around him and collapsed roof above the stairs at both the top and bottom, blocking them and killing some of the grimm. The one on his arm was easy enough to kill as he grabbed its neck and squeezed until it disappeared, leaving the two of them in. The two of them set, bloodied, in a staircase overlooking the swarm of grimm who were unable to climb through the hole in the wall due to Archer.

He took a deep breath and looked over to Nel. While this side of Archer had watched second hand everything that the true Archer did, he was still perplexed at his own need to take action. He looked at his arm, which wasnt bad enough to cause him to die, but definitely enough to make it hard to escape from all the people, then he looked at Nel who was covered in injuries. He took out the canister and injected Nel, angry as her wounds began to recover while he was sure to get captured.


The true Archer walked through his own memories and tried to process the words of the beast in his mind. He was sure he knew who his mother was, and in his memories he could clearly see her in his mind, but the more he remembered the more he realized how little he could remember. She had sung to him, but he barely remembered her voice, he remembered her face, but the last time he saw her was so long ago. Archer looked through his own eyes, this time as a secondary observer as the beast fought in his stead. The beast looked directly into Lulls eyes, and Archer began to put the pieces together.

Archer began to think of the possibility that Lull was his mother. A technopath like his father could definitely restrict any sort of ties relating to her if that was the case, and a psychopath like him would certainly feel the need to do it. Archer frowned, the easiest way was to induce a current and short out any sort of electronics, but there was no way for him to easily do that. He sighed and went through his research on the brain he had to do to help make Nina and his eyes.

A joint post of Foxrally and Khawill
Paired to Ice and gimmepie
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Dapper bowler hat

Age 28
Arizona, USA
Seen 7 Hours Ago
Posted 7 Hours Ago
1,365 posts
9.1 Years
Team CAOX - Cassandra Alexandra, Azrael Marjorie, Orion Romanov, and Xyra Coronis

Xyra lead Cass, Orion and Azrael through the ravaged town. She had scouted the place out before the fighting started with the help of her Chrominions, so she had a fairly good idea of the town's layout. She led her team on a winding path she had assured them would avoid the worst of the fighting. Azrael grumbled at one point that they were going in circles. Xyra notably didn't comment on that. Cass sighed, once again annoyed by her airheaded underling. "Enough, Azrael. We'll follow Xyra. She knows where to go."

Xyra grinned at the compliment, turning a corner and stopping dead in her tracks as she saw a group of Faunus searching bodies. Her team cautiously peered around the building, wondering why she'd stopped. Cass frowned, shaking her head. "No she doesn't."

Azrael nervously drew his pistols. "Uh... or she'll lead us straight into a warzone." Cass glared at him before quietly and sarcastically clapping. "Good job, Xyra."

Xyra let out a nervous, apologetic laugh as she snuck forward, hiding behind a beat up old truck. Cass and Azrael followed, with Orion hanging back by the building.

A particularly ripped Faunus, some kind of ape, perhaps, was looting some human bodies for Dust or other supplies, when the human groaned and reached for a weapon. The Faunus jumped in surprise, punching the human in the face, again and again. "Get some, motherpsyducker!" He yelled, his eyes wide with rage. Cass clenched her fists at the display, getting angry herself. Xyra covered her mouth as she watched, seeing the ferocity of the Faunus. Azrael slunk down behind the truck, leaving only his eyes above the truck bed.

"I'm gonna smash your damn skull!" The Faunus yelled, delivering one final punch. The human lay dead at his feet, and he was panting heavily from exertion, looking disturbed as he stared at his blood-soaked hands. "Oh, gods... I don't know what came over me... what the hell did I do to him?"

Another Faunus came up to him, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Don't think about it. You did what you had to do. You don't wanna attract any Grimm, so just stay calm."

While the three in hiding looked on in horror, anger, and disgust, Orion noticed some Faunus looking in their direction. "Cass!" He whispered, leaning out from cover. "Pull back before you are spotted!"

Azrael glanced back at Orion, then at the pair of Faunus talking to each other. "Maybe they don't see us?" He whispered to Cass hopefully.

"Hey! You shouldn't be here!" One called out. The Faunus started shooting at CAOX, making them duck behind the truck for cover. Orion sprinted over, creating a shield by the tires. Azrael winced, trying to sound hopeful still. "Maybe we can still sneak away?"

"HEY!" A loud voice rang out. "What's with all the gunfire? WE'RE TRYING TO BE INCOGNITO HERE!" A large bull Faunus came running down the street, carrying a metal club. "Humans, sir!" One Faunus replied. Bullrush stopped when he saw Orion peering up over the truck, remembering his last encounter with CAOX. "Oh, you're goin' nowhere, humans!" He transformed his club into a rocket launcher. "Say hello to my Boom Tube!" He shouted, firing a rocket straight at the truck.

Cass popped up to see what was going on, her eyes widening when she saw the rocket launcher. "Psyduck!" She yelled, bracing for impact. Azrael teleported away, while Orion grabbed Xyra and surrounded her with a spherical shield. The truck exploded, sending Cass and Orion tumbling. Xyra's shield shattered, but she remained standing.

Azrael appeared in one of the buildings, going to the window and looking outside. He saw the truck explode, wincing at the carnage. He saw his team scramble for cover after the explosion, glad for his mobility. He heard a low chittering sound behind him, turning to see several Grimm roaches emerge from the shadows and rubble. Each roach was roughly 2-3 feet long, with sharp pincers and mandibles. One leapt for him, its wings buzzing as it flew toward his face.

"Oh, muk!" He cried out, drawing his pistols and blasting the bug out of the air. The other bugs rushed him, and he was forced to shoot and slash his way through the swarm, teleporting around the enclosed space rather than head back out onto the streets.

Bullrush took aim at Xyra, exposed and alone as she was. "You die now, human! This is for smearing paint on my face!" He fired a rocket at her, but Xyra dropped low to avoid it. She rushed forward, swinging Painbrush to throw a spurt of white Dustpaint at Bullrush. The paint formed into a large, muscular humanoid form between her and Bullrush. He fired another rocket, blowing up the Chrominion and splattering white paint everywhere, including over several Faunus. Xyra slid across the ground, taking cover behind another truck. She flipped a switch on Painbrush, rotating to red paint, then popped up to take aim at Bullrush. She launched a glob of paint at him, striking him in the face just as he took aim for her. His face started to sizzle and smoke as the Dustpaint started burning him. Bullrush shouted in pain and rage, furious that Xyra hit his face with paint again.

Bullrush tried to wipe the burning paint off his face, when a small amount of it formed into a blob with two legs and an arm. It scurried down his arm, pulling the trigger on his gun and firing a rocket into the ground at his feet. Unbeknownst to Xyra, Bullrush often used his rockets to aid in his jumps, and the explosion was strong enough the send him flying into a nearby building. The explosion and subsequent crash dazed Bullrush, temporarily taking him out of the fight.

Xyra stared at what she'd done, the Faunus that had been hit with her white Dustpaint encased in ice where the paint had hit. The explosion had shattered one, leaving frozen body parts strewn across the street. She could hear the sad piano piece from "Mad World" playing as she looked on with horror and sadness. Suddenly, Cass slid in next to her, grinning proudly. "Nice! You're a hero, Xyra!"

Somehow, there were even more Faunus, who opened fire on the truck. Cass hauled Xyra down, starting to get mad. "Alright, psyduck these people!" She snarled, punching a hole in the side of the truck. She rummaged around in the engine, pulling the power core out. "I think I can make a grenade out of this."

Xyra looked at Cass, unsure if that would work. "I don't think it has any power, Boss..." Cass shushed her, fiddling with wires and connections. "Give me a minute..."

A Faunus leapt over the truck, swinging and embedding a machete into the side of the truck right next to Xyra's head. She let out a surprised yelp as she fell on her butt, holding Painbrush like a shield. The Faunus pulled a second machete, ignoring Xyra in favor of Cass. "Time's up, rattata!"

Orion charged in outta nowhere, smacking the Faunus with his hammer and knocking him away. He stepped on the Faunus' chest, smashing his head with an overhand swing as bullets flew past him, a couple bouncing off his armor.

Xyra stared, slackjawed, disturbed by the change in her friend. Cass, getting annoyed, continued working. "I have no idea how to fix this stupid psyducking... is there even any power in this thing? You're right. Hang on..." Cass used her Semblance to charge the power core, which started to hum and glow. "Alright, there we go! I feel really good now."

Xyra rolled her eyes, muttering sarcastically under her breath. "Yeah, true fear is known when you hold a car battery in your hands, Boss."

Cass ignored Xyra, throwing the battery with all her might, which landed at the feet of the Faunus. It took them a moment to realize what was happening, but when the battery started glowing brightly and emitting a high pitched whine, one helpfully shouted, "Look out!"

The battery exploded, lighting one Faunus completely on fire and slightly igniting the other, catching just his arm. The second one tried patting the flames out, but bullets rained from above, Azrael shooting him in the arm and head from the second story window. The first one staggered about, screaming, until a shot from Azrael hit him in the throat, dropping him to the ground.

A trio of Faunus were taking cover across the street in an old diner. One of them seperated her rifle into a pair of pistols, getting frustrated. "Muk... We're losing people!"

Her partner grabbed grenades from his bandolier, gauging the distance to the truck. "I got this, keep shooting! Give me cover fire!" The third, who was trying to defrost his frozen arm, was starting to panic. "We should run! It's game over, man!"

Behind the truck, Cass grabbed the machete, ripping it free and charging it with electricity, grinning as she stood.

Grenade Faunus pulled the pin, nodding to his partner, who popped up to shoot at Cass. "Flush 'em out!" She yelled. He pulled back his arm, calling out, "Eat this!"

Cass threw the machete like a throwing knife, the blade embedding itself in Grenade Faunus' forehead. He fell to his knees, eyes wide, dropping the grenade as he slumped to the ground. Gun Faunus looked at the sight in bewilderment, when Frozen Faunus grabbed her shoulder. "Let's get the hell out of he-"


Gun Faunus found herself on the ground, coughing, injured but alive. "Ugh, what the fu- " She was interrupted by Orion, swinging his hammer like a golf club and swatting her aside. Frozen Faunus struggled to rise, when Cass came and uppercut him, knocking him onto his back. She fired a shell from her gauntlet into his face, blowing a good chunk of it off. Suddenly, Bullrush appeared, grabbing her by the head.

"End of the line!" He growled, one hand on her face and the other on the back of her head, slowly making his fingers meet. Cass struggled, in intense pain as her skull was being compressed. "No, no no no!"

Azrael teleported in, shooting Bullrush in the face. Bullrush dropped Cass, staggering back. Azrael pumped his fist, grinning proudly. "Nailed it!"

Bullrush roared in annoyance and pain, glaring at Azrael. "You zippy little bastard! You're gonna pay for that!" He charged forward, aiming to trample Azrael. Azrael fired more shots into Bullrush's chest, until his guns clicked empty. Just before Bullrush overran him, he teleported behind the truck with Xyra, who was hugging Painbrush close to her chest as she rocked back and forth.

"Cass!" Azrael yelped. "I need help!"

Orion transformed his hammer to rifle mode, opening fire on Bullrush. Cass started punching shotguns shells into him, staggering him. He summoned more force armor onto himself, taking fire from two sides. Seeing that he was the only Faunus left, Bullrush decided to fall back. He turned to run, his force field at his back as Orion kept shooting. One lucky round hit Bullrush in the back of the leg, blowing out his knee. He tripped, hitting the ground hard.

Cass smiled at Orion, a genuine, proud smile. "Good job, Orion." Orion nodded grimly, returning his rifle to hammer mode.

Bullrush struggled to stand, angrily muttering to himself. "Are you kidding? Bullet in the knee?" He was knocked down as Orion hit him in the back of the head with his hammer. Cass called out to him from across the street. "Take that, you muk!" Her voice dropped to a low whisper. "I'm the strongest now."

Cass lifted up the truck, exposing Xyra and Azrael. "Whoa, what?!" Azrael exclaimed, stumbling back. Xyra looked up, stunned. "Boss?"

Cass walked over to Bullrush, lifting the truck over her head. She looked down at the Bull, her voice low. "Look how strong I am." Orion stepped forward, reaching out to her. "Cassandra, wait!"

"Wait just a second!" Bullrush protested, trying to get up. Unable to stand, he formed a barrier over his head. Cass slammed the truck down, grill first, compacting the front end. The glass and Bullrush's barrier both shattered, and a spray of blood burst from under the smashed vehicle.

Cass turned to Azrael, breathing heavily. "And where the hell were you this whole time?" Orion went to Xyra, but she remained catatonic, staring at the truck in shock. Azrael shrugged, reloading his guns. "I portal'd myself into that building, trying to get a vantage point, but it was full of bugs. Grimm bugs, specifically! Can you believe that? I mean, you'd think trained Huntsmen would've noticed if there were Grimm nearby!"

From a nearby building, a 15 foot tall Grimm leapt down, landing behind Azrael. CAOX turned to look at it in surprise, with Azrael stumbling back in terror. "Oh muk!"

The large Grimm was roughly humanoid, covered in reptilian scales, with two forward pointing horns on its head. Its arms reached nearly to the ground, with massive claws each roughly the size of a human torso. It had a long, thick tail, and a mouth full of sharp teeth. It roared at the group, who clustered together, except Xyra, who Orion quickly put inside an overturned car.

Cass pumped her fists to reload her guns. "Hold on, no, hold on!" Azrael hid behind her, fully aware that he had tempted fate. "Where did that...?!" Orion interrupted Azrael's panic. "Cassandra! I do not think we can fight a Diablo!"

Cass took that as a challenge, suddenly filled with determination. "We're gonna have to fight a Diablo." She rushed in, shooting shells into the Diablo's face. It snarled, swiping at her and pinning her to the ground with a hand on her chest. It raised the other hand, claws blinding in the sun, but rifle shots pinged against the back of its head.

Its eyes went wide, and it turned its head toward Orion, who slowly backed up as he fired on the Grimm. The Diablo swung its tail, clobbering Orion and making him stumble. It struck him again making him drop his gun, then smashed its tail down on his head, pinning him and leaving him in a small crater. Orion groaned in pain, reaching for his weapon.

Azrael teleported beside Cass, trying to lift the heavy claw. The Diablo turned back toward her, seeing Azrael and growling. He fired his guns until they clicked empty, which did little but annoy the Diablo. He scrambled to reload as it slowly leaned toward him, opening its mouth while keeping the other two pinned.

A glob of red paint splattered against its face, making everyone freeze. The Diablo looked up sharply, roaring in anger. Xyra stood beside the car, various colors of paint swirling over her body, granting her wings and large muscles. She gripped Painbrush, glaring angrily at the Diablo. "Get away from them, you rattata!"

The Diablo stared, confused. Cass also stared, dumbfounded. "Xyra?"

The Diablo slowly glared, shifting its weight as it crouched low. Xyra copied it, paint wings flaring behind her, then leapt into the air, brandishing Painbrush as she flipped gracefully through the air, rushing the Diablo. It charged, letting out a loud roar. The others watched as the two drew closer, Xyra winding up for a swing as the Diablo raised one claw. She spun in midair, swinging Painbrush and knocking its claw aside. It kept running, chomping down on her, its jaws snapping shut with just her legs hanging out, her entire upper body inside the Grimm's mouth.

"NOOOO!" Cass screamed, reaching out toward Xyra, watching her severed legs hit the ground, splattering into red paste.

The Diablo turned back, its white mask smeared red around its mouth. The remaining members of CAOX leapt to their feet, fury and vengeance in their eyes. They all took aim at the Diablo, Cass shooting solid slugs from her guantlets that caused it to cover its eyes with one arm, Azrael teleporting in to shoot into its open mouth, and Orion slamming sniper rounds into the exposed belly. The Diablo snarled, slowly forcing its way forward through the barrage of bullets. One slug hit it in the eye, causing it to throw its head back in pain.

"Yeah!" Azrael cheered. "It doesn't like getting shot in the face!" The team fired on the exposed neck, the Diablo recoiling from the hits. Even the relatively softer underside was still armored, and the Grimm tried to take cover behind a building, attempting to get around the team and attack from cover.

Orion charged up his Semblance, forming a large spherical force field in front of the Diablo, making it solid, and striking the Diablo in the face, breaking several teeth. The force field shattered, slicing into the Grimm as Orion charged forward. He formed a staircase of force fields, running up and swinging his hammer, which glowed as the head was encased in a force field stronger than diamond. The hammer slammed into the Diablo's jae, sending it reeling as Orion jumped back.

Azrael stepped up, black smoke and turquoise energy leaking from him as he charged his Semblance. He teleported above the Diablo, firing a rapid fire stream of blue plasma from his guns, appearing to hover as he continuously teleported to the same spot in midair. Small wormholes opened, depositing several bundles of grenades at the Diablo's feet. Azrael took careful aim and fired, blowing up one grenade and setting off a chain reaction of explosions, making the Diablo roar in pain. Finally, he teleported back to the ground, leaving a bus in midair. The bus smashed into the Diablo's spine, knocking it to the ground. It stumbled back upright, shaking the bits of bus off it.

Cass was next, unleashing a bolt of electricity from her palms that struck the Diablo, shocking it and creating shackles of lightning that bound its arms and legs together. She rushed forward, propelled by lightning, kicking it in the face with the lightning bolt and leaping upward. Lightning surrounded her hand and formed a massive fist the size of her torso, which she slammed into the Grimm's skull as she landed. She jumped clear, looking into the beast's eyes as it died, dissolving into ash and mist.

As the dust settled, the team was shocked to see Xyra laying where the Diablo died, no longer in her Rainbow Huntress form. Orion rushed forward, helping her sit up as he cradled her in his arms. Cass ran up, dropping to her knees in front of her wounded teammate. "Xyra! What the hell were you thinking?!"

"Heh... yeah, that was kinda dumb, wasn't it? But hey, look on the bright side! Think of all the money I'll save on shoes!" Xyra laughed, which made her cough and since in pain. "I guess that'll be my legacy... I lived making boneheaded decisions, I'll d-d-die making boneheaded decisions."

"Xyra..." Orion gently chided, struggling to maintain his composure. "Shut up." Cass snapped, trembling. "Talking is using up your strength. You don't get to come into my life, annoy the hell out me, make me care about you, then die on me! We're getting you back to Beacon, and you're gonna be fine! That is an order!"

Xyra chuckled weakly, nestling against Orion. "Whatever you say... Boss..." Orion stood, picking Xyra up. Cass ordered them to move, double time, grabbing Orion's hammer as she did. Azrael picked up Xyra's Painbrush, noticing the smashed truck had been tipped over. "Hey, where's that bull Faunus?" Cass pushed past him, grabbing him and dragging him along. "Psyduck him. He can crawl off and die for all I care."

The team tried to make their way back through town, Cass and Azrael dealing with any Grimm they encountered. They made their way back to the extraction point, Cass shoving her way to the front of the line. "Out of my way! We've got wounded over here! We need a medic!"

"Cass..." Orion softly intoned, catching her attention. She whirled around, looking at Xyra clutched in his arms. She lay totally still, having succumbed to her wounds on the way back.

"Uh, excuse me..." One of the medics stepped forward. "Do you still need a medic?" Cass turned away, trudging toward the airship. "No. We don't. We need to go back, and bury our friend."

Orx of Twinleaf

Branch into Psyche

The Corner of Hither and Yon
Seen February 20th, 2018
Posted February 8th, 2018
228 posts
3.3 Years
(condensed for reduction of clutter and broken in the middle for your convenience)

The wind shifted queerly, bringing on it a strange heaviness. Fajio looked at the horizon, and at the darkness of the land in the distance. Fajio was not the best hunter, but he was still a hunter, and he could feel the Grimm presence. In fact, he could feel it almost as well as he felt a second knife going into his thigh beside the first one as the Faunus man broke through Phosthyon and Azoo and pulled him back into the moment.

Fajio fumbled, dropping his borrowed musket. He cursed liberally in the dirt while his allies moved to form a more reliable wall against any attempt to land a third knife. The Faunus was saying something that was no doubt insulting in the extreme, but Fajio happened to see past his leg to the grassland where Evegy and Rimer had engaged the Faunuss teammates. From here he could only make out Evegy evidently binding one of her opponents while Rimeror, at least, the Gut-Grinder poking out of the grass that was all Fajio could seestood by.

Fajio cut off Phosthyons retort to get everyones attention. Sir, I believe you are beaten, Fajio said, although with markedly less calm than he would have liked, courtesy of the two blades in his leg.

The man glanced over his shoulder and his expression fell. He turned back to the humans opposite him. You mean to take me prisoner, he said flatly.

Phosthyon scoffed. We don't take

Yes, Azoo said with heavy finality. Phosthyon frowned, uncertain, but a look over his shoulder told him Fajio was also in favor of the idea. Phosthyon shrugged and went to help Fajio up.

Fajio grunted angrily at the protest his leg put up to his standing. He had to keep Phosthyons musket after all, to lean on. Pull these things out, he barked in his metal cough of a voice. Phosthyon went to try but Fajio resisted. No, let him do it.

The Faunus man hesitated, but evidently decided he shouldn't be petty in this situation. With the distraction of their scuffle out of the way, he had cast his own glance toward the shadowy horizon. Fajio thought it more than likely that the man was rather certain they'd all be overrun by Grimm anyway, whether or not he cooperated. Under Azoos watchful eye, the Faunus came to Fajio and roughly yanked out both the blades he had shoved in the humans thigh.

While Fajio caught his breath from the operation, the Faunus gave his hands to be shackled by Phosthyon, who had ran to get a set of cuffs from the wreckage of the cockpit. My name is Perry Fletchynn, the Faunus said as Azoo moved towards Evegy and Rimer with three more pairs of cuffs, leaving Phosthyon to guard the prisoner.

Phosthyon Gasp, the lanky pilot replied, finally getting back his musket as Fajio opted to seat himself on a chunk of the wreckage.

Fajio Rekstum, Fajio said humorlessly. But you knew that already.

Evegy was there, of a sudden. She was roughed up but well, much to Fajios relief. Rimers hurt, she said, rushing in and interrupting the scene with nary a glance at Phosthyon or Perry or even, as Fajio had sort of expected but would never admit to have been looking forward to, with any fuss over Fajios own well-being.

Rimer was indeed hurt, it turned out. After Azoo had carried two unconscious Faunus and a very conscious and loud one back to the wreckage he had gone back to get FEARs chainsawman. Fajio was more bemused than worried with the wound, though, as were Azoo and Rimer himself, for all Evegy was worried. Some sort of caustic spike had apparently gouged into the side of his leg and smacked up against his shin bone before leaving the whole thing full of appalling greenish ooze.

Hahahaha, you'll need to show me who made your cane, Rimer mused. For all he smiled, though, it was obvious he was in pain, if in no imminent danger.

Go sit with the prisoners, Fajio told him. Just take it easy.

What's the plan then? he asked.

Fajio paused a moment and simply repeated himself. Go sit with the prisoners for now.

Rimer did so, collapsing into the dirt next to the Faunus. The woman was hysterical with Perry, but Perry was taking it with perfect stoicism.

They'll probably hang you for all the spying you did!

They won't hang you three, though. And they might even let me off the hook if our captors let them know how cooperative and well-behaved we were.

Fajio knew that was a long shot, and he was rather certain Perry knew it too, but it was enough to quiet the woman. Fajio turned to discuss their next move with the others and found Evegy up in his face with her hands on her hips.

You're eventually going to die doing that stuff, Fajio! I thought you all died there: I saw Azoo and Rimer go falling out of the sky and then I saw you go crashing into a flaming mess! What was I supposed to do if I tumbled out here all by myself? Those Faunus were waiting for me, I'd be dead if you all

Her voice hitched and she stopped herself before she let herself break down. Fajio knew it had been a harsh thing to do and a difficult situation to put her in. FEAR was very nearly all she had, and to spare her a shared fate might arguably be an act of cruelty rather than one of mercy. As far as Fajio could tell her attitude was perfectly justified. However, it was also terribly mistimed.

He put up his arms in a quelling gesture and she rushed into him, crying her little eyes out. Phosthyon politely looked away but Azoo was looking to see how Fajio would respond. As much as Fajio was unmanned by this manner of intimate contact, there were more important things at hand, and he managed to keep his head. He grabbed her by the shoulders and looked at her. It's alright, my dear. We're alright now. Go sit with Rimer.

She looked down, embarrassed with herself, and went over to speak quietly with Rimer and, Fajio noted, the two Faunus as well. That was good. Fajio had always prided himself on keeping a team that wasn't needlessly prejudiced. It gave him a little warm feeling inside.

It made the situation all the more bittersweet. Will we be alright? he asked Phosthyon.

Phosthyon smiled, but it was the sort of smile one might see on a duelist that realized his pistol misfired. It was the kind of smile that said that one didn't have to have taken three semesters of engineering courses to know the front half of a smashed flier wasn't coming off the ground. It was the kind of smile that said that no, they would not be alright.

Azoo stroked his beard. Is the signal beacon okay?

Fajio had not thought to ask that because Phosthyon had given the kind of smile that said that they were all doomed to the Grimm, but Phosthyon shrugged and said, Yeah but by the time anyone that could see it could show up to get us out of here the Grimm will run us over.

It's our only hope, Azoo said. Fajio privately felt as if it was a slim chance himself, but it was still a chance.

Phosthyon, though, was evidently a little more defeatist than that. All it would do is draw Faunus over here to tear our throats out. At least if the Grimm get us they'll kill us and have done; I don't want to be at the mercy of those beastmen.

We currently have those beastmen at the mercy of us, Fajio said. And if we are taken by them it will be better in the long run to rot in a cell than to die in the mud out here.

Pfeh, the tall pilot said. They don't take prisoners, except to play with them like a cat with a mouse.

Perry spoke up, proving true Fajios growing suspicion that their steadily-rising voices had stopped being private. He's right. The Faunus they sent out here are on kill orders. Only a handful of them will even consider bringing you in.

Right, Phosthyon said, gloomily. Were dead either way. The best chance we have is to run for it and hope we find somewhere to hide. I hate to have to put it that way, but I'm not staying here to wait on my death.

Yes, Fajio said, you are staying here, sir, because I am the only acting team leader here, and that puts you under my command. You go bolting off there by yourself and you will die. You stay here and you'll probably die. It's my job to get us all out of here if there is indeed any way to do so, and the only way we're getting out is if you put up that beacon and stand here with us to defend it.

Fajios disgruntled tone was not unjustified. He usually did not like to stand on rank when it came to other teams, but he had to make Phosthyon obey. Phosthyon was the only one who knew how to start the beacon, and even if he had been a useless dolt Fajio would sooner beat him into staying put than let him run off to be torn up by Faunus and Grimm alike. For all the justification he had though, it did not make it any easier to do. His metal voice had managed to quell everyone there into a shocked silence, but Phosthyon only scowled. Fajio had always considered the pilot one of the few people who didn't outwardly disdain him, but it seemed he could do so no longer.

As you wish, sir, he said, sketching a sarcastic salute. He turned and went into the wreckage to find the beacon box. Azoo followed to both assist and make sure he wouldn't bolt. Fajio rubbed his leg tiredly. He was still without a cane and couldn't get up from where he sat. With himself and Rimer disabled, Evegy distraught, and the Faunus likely unwilling to assist, it was up to Azoo to hold the line while Phosthyon ran the beacon. Azoo against a wave of Grimm so voluminous as to be visible even now as a creeping blackness in the distance, like some sort of reverse sunset.

Fajio would have opted to run, just as Phosthyin suggested, but they couldn't carry Rimer and the Faunus. He would not abandon the Faunus there cuffed and facing death, and he couldn't trust them not to run them down if he unbound them and ran. Moreover, Azoo was big but not that big. He could only carry Fajio or Rimer, not both at once. It meant someone would need left behind of their own party, but Fajio knew that if he tried to elect himself to stay behind Azoo and Evegy both would rally to stand with him and they'd all die together. There was no way to save any of them unless he forced Azoo to side with him and vote to leave Rimer, as that was the only way he might get Azoo and Evegy to safety. And of course that was simply out of the question. And so here they were, all going to die together, for no other reason than Fajios backwards morality. He felt bitter for it, angry at his lack of resolve, but he would not go back on it now.

Fajio realized the camp had fallen quiet. The Faunus and Evegy and Rimer were all looking at him with various expressions. He wondered at it indeed until he noticed they were looking past him. He followed their gaze and saw four people perched atop the wreckage, above where Phosthyon and Azoo had gone in.

Team TRAP, said the short man at their front, rapier drawn, Team ABAK is here to assist.

The Focused Aura Beacon of Light and Energy (or FABLE) was at the time a relatively recent invention and it was in this conflict that it saw its first use, mostly by advance human forces. The FABLE was a large metal box constructed of Dusted steel and mithril that contained an Auric mechanism that could be fashioned from copper and stone by any person with a creation-type Semblance by following the guidelines set up in the FABLEs schematics. When any Aura-trained individual fed their Aura into the device, it opened up and extended a long spire upward that emitted a bright beam of light, visible from a great distance. The FABLEs operator could not use their Semblance during this time and had to pay close attention to the attached input panel to keep the beacon in the correct color pattern, a list of which was drilled into every pilots memory and also provided in the signal book every pilot carried. The most used sequence by the FABLE was red-white-blue-yellow, otherwise called the rwby sequence. Flashing this sequence requested convergence of all units that could see it onto its point. This was pivotal in uniting scattered forces to defend against Grimm scavengers while awaiting rescue fliers. The FABLE has in modern times been replaced by the Laser-Emitting Gearbox of Energy-Nullifying Discs (or LEGEND), but its contribution to the reduction of lives lost is forever remembered through the development of the laserbox, a light-making childrens toy designed around the FABLE."
from Cage Cast Open: The Revolution of the Faunus
Fajio recognized the Faunus team before him from FEARs misadventure on Menagerie. Unfortunately, there was no Archer here this time to draw them away. He was hoping they wouldn't recognize him. He could pretend he was a Faunus under his mask, pass Evegy off as the same, claim Rimer was a prisoner. He could talk loud enough to make sure Phosthyon and Azoo heard and knew to lay low. He could explain away the other Faunus as having been cuffed by a human team earlier, and they were looking for the key to

Hey, you're the guy that was with Archer on Menagerie! cried a wide-eyed Faunus girl with a tail and a long gun.

Damn, so much for that. Wait, no, he could still pass himself off as Faunus, they didn't know for a fact he was human. And as long as they didn't recognize Rimer as being a part of

And it's Whymar, too, cooed the other girl of their party, showing off her large, beak-like tooth.

Fajio was about to say that he didn't know who she meant, and did she mean that human? Because he actually wasn't with them, she was simply mistaken because all humans look alike but

It's Rimer, Agirlshy! Rimer called out.

It's Agurolishi! the girl replied, bringing out some manner of chain weapon with a sickle.

Fajio moaned. There was no fighting this team in their current situation. There was one thing he could do. It was a slim chance but the only chance. He opened his mouth to say the only thing that might work. We

Skybruiser! said an echoing bellow from within the wreckage. The place the Faunus team was standing on dented outward with enough force to throw the short man in the front forward. Before the other three could get their bearings, a mess of red fists erupted from under their feet, scattering them about in a hail of metal as Azoo leapt out of the hole and into their place atop the wreckage, Phosthyon coming up behind him, musket in hand.

The apparent leader had landed in front of Fajio. He had white feathery hair adorned with a crest of shocking red running back over his head like a stripe. Rather like a cocks comb, really. He was on his feet with his weapon pointed at Fajio before Fajio could even process that the man was still conscious. You are at ze mercy of Antonio dEyuul, human. Draw your veapon and defend yourself!

Fajio had no weapon to draw, but he was interrupted in his attempt to say as much by the Gut-Grinders screaming engine. Antonio flinched from the noise in pain. Fajio turned to see that Rimer had started it up and revved it with the apparent intent of subduing the Faunus. It had succeeded in knocking out the other two prisoners and stunning Antonio, but the other three Faunus were too far from it to do more than wince.

Agurolishi twirled her weighted chain and flung it out farther than it had any business going, Fajio thought. He noticed belatedly it reached so far solely because she had thrown it entire. It struck the Gut-Grinder with a thud, forcing Rimer to drop the chainsaw to catch the sickle that had been sailing toward his chest on the chains other end. The girl was on top of him blindingly fast, sailing into his chest boots first and sending him away into the wreckage.

You got yourself hurt, she sneered at him as she pinned him under her, wrestling for control of the blade. Were gonna have to amputate.

Rimer was drooling from the pain the thrashing was inflicting on his open shin wound, but still managed to cackle in response. Hahahahahaha, you first! While she had been vying for control of the blade, Rimer had secured the weight. He lashed it out at her neck and forced her head down toward him so he could sink his filed teeth into one of the fleshy tentacles of her hair. She screamed, trying to force the sickle down into Rimers chest. Rimer deflected the blow with his own hand on the handle, but doing so only brought the blow onto his shoulder, leaving a red gash deep into the meat. He let go of his clamping bite on Agurolishis hair to yell out his surprise, but kept his grip on the chain so she couldn't get up and away from him. She struggled against him and then spat ink into his open mouth. Rimer gagged and flailed, gaining enough momentum to roll them over so that he was on top, coughing ink over the ground. With his pull on the chain reversed, Agurolishi freed her neck and gained control of the weight, thrashing Rimers chest with it. Rimer got the advantage of the sickle and tried to shove it downward into her face between swings of the weight. She jerked her head out of the way and kicked off the ground with both legs, flipping them both over their heads and coming up again with her in top. They continued their brutish fight now with slightly less chain, much of it having wrapped around their backs in the tumble.

Azoo had watched this exchange only long enough to notice the one-eyed scarfed Faunus, Kab, was en route to intervene. Azoo launched himself high and brought all his fists over himself into one mighty ball of power. Meteor Drop! Kab dodged away as Azoo smashed a crater into the ground. The viper Faunus hissed angrily before swelling outward to thrice his usual size, bulbous club in hand. Azoo caught the initial downswing on all his hands, reeling two back to jab Kabs stomach. They rebounded as if off metal so that Azoo was forced to jump backward out of under the huge weapon. He felt a stinging pain in his back, followed by a hot sensation deep in the flesh.

Bea had shot him with one of her anti-Aura rounds but found herself diving for cover before she could do so again as Phosthyon sent his own explosive ball into the metal sheets beside her. It exploded in a flash of light while she peeked around the corner of a smashed crate and returned fire. Phosthyon was muzzle-loading and took the shot to his arm, flinching and cursing. Bea aimed through her scope at his face for her next shot and was perplexed when all she could see through it was a strange green light. Phosthyons fireball would have hit her in the face if she hadn't dropped her weapon in panic and thrown up her hands. It engulfed her gloves in acrid smoke and she tore at her hands to get them off. It didn't seem to be hot so much as painful, and it didn't leave marks on her, even though it ate the gloves away with an almost sentient hunger. The inky smoke made her tear up so that she couldn't find her rifle as a second fireball caught her coat and she had to hurry to strip it off.

Phosthyon saw she was running out of things to cover herself with and knew that if he could hit skin with his next ball shed be out of the fight. He worked his mouth, focusing his Aura, and was sent rolling into the wreckage by Kabs oversized right hook. Kab laughed at how the lanky man crumpled about like a tumbleweed but was forced to return to bucking like a mad beast to shake off Azoo, who was clinging to his back with a whole mess of stretching arms.

Azoo was a little guilty he hadn't called out a warning for the pilot, who had lost his advantage and was now back to trading shots across the field with Bea, but justified himself with the success he was having against Kab. The giant Faunus was slowing considerably as Azoo tightened his grip, his Auric arms lashed around Kabs waist and limbs like demon seat belts. He squeezed harder and harder to try and buckle Kabs resolve and maybe knock him out of his Semblance. Kab either found the loophole in this strategy or was genuinely becoming tired, though, because he collapsed backward, smashing Azoo underneath him. It was Azoos turn to flail and buck under the press of Kabs swollen body while Kab caught his breath and tried to keep from being rolled off.

Meanwhile, Evegy had taken a disheartening amount of stabs trying to fight off Antonio after he had stabbed Fajio through both armsFajio had crossed them to guard his chestand kicked him away into the dirt. She had never been very good at fighting people; she had spent most of her training against Grimm. With each of the short mans practiced blows it became more and more obvious that Antonio was a duelist more than a hunter. He was aiming at her joints, feinting toward her face or hands to make her open her sides, parrying her attacks away in a direction that made her twist to keep from dropping her weapon. He was going to kill her.

You are slowing, Antonio said, not at all out of breath. Surely zis is not ze best you can do?

She wanted to answer him, but couldn't spare the breath. His rapier cut through her Aura in no time, and she didn't even have enough to throw one cloud. She needed help against him, but everyone was dealing with their own opponents. Everyone except

Fajio! she cried in desperation. Switch him!

Fajio was on the ground, bleeding from three limbs and dazed, but Evegys voice brought him back into the moment. He struggled onto his rump and looked at the Faunus fencer, who was regarding him with curiosity as he easily blocked Evegys shaky blows without even looking at her. Switching him would be the only way to kill him. With Fajios own body as wounded as it was there would be nothing he could do to stop it from happening. After that, Evegy could assist someone else and subdue each other Faunus in turn until they either surrendered or were killed. It was the only way to win this fight.

And then they would be even worse off when the Grimm came, with Fajio unconscious for an hour after using his Semblance.

Fajio had known that the only way to win this fight would be to accept death by Grimm. He also knew that the only way to get out of death by Grimm did not involve winning this fight.

Fajio! Evegy screamed to get his attention. Antonio wasn't even facing her now and was still parrying her attacks. He was narrowing his eyes, likely trying to be ready to block whatever Fajio would throw his way.

He couldn't have known that it was unblockable.

But he wouldn't have to block it at all.

We surrender, Fajio said.
A Cup of Dreams, Pour in Your Soul, a Pinch of Knowing, Stir in with Hope,
and Drink to Despair and Celebration: Drink it All and Stay Asleep, Drink in Parts and Vomit it Back
Joy, Relief, Fury, Fear, Sorrow, Longing, and Pain, Colors that Forever Cope
Despondency and Guilt with Ambition and Pride, No One of this World and Species may Truly Lack


All is dust...

Seen March 18th, 2018
Posted October 23rd, 2017
9 posts
2.5 Years
Walking out of Hell, Part 2

The small mixed group of humans and faunus approached the location where the human camp had been. The ground shifted to a strange rock like substance that was various twisting shades of purples, blues, and greens. What plant life that remained moved unnaturally on its own like tendrils seeking the grasp at anything that got close. The camp soon came into view and the scene was horrific, what had been human hunters and soldiers were twisted spots of fleshy material that have integrated into the strange mix of living and nonliving ground that twitched and moved. A few victims of change still stood and moved around aimlessly hissing or screamed in torment. In the middle of the camp stood the massive demon responsible for the scene. In its hands was once a hunter that it was carefully molding into a monster that would be pleasing to its twisted mind.

“What the hell happened here?” asked Blair staring at the scene in front of her.

“Blair and Cadivus go around the edge of the camp and locate one of the ships we can use to escape. I will talk to Gareth. Varik dear, stay back and be prepared to give us cover fire, and Nara I need you...” ordered Nilya her expression stern.

“I am going with you,” announced Nara.

“Are you sure? It is no telling what he will do,” said Nilya her face betraying her concern for her twin.

“I know him better than you,” replied Nara. Nilya gave her sister a reluctant nod and started toward the monster while Blair and Cadivus moved around the outside of the nightmare to see if there was still a functioning airship.

“Gareth!” yelled Nara as they approached.

The two head monster turned and faced the two fox faunus as his hands continued to mold a twisted beast from the flesh and bones of his victims. “Why do you seek me out?” asked one head as the other asked, “Are you here to serve a god?”

“A god? No, sorry we stumbled upon you here. We are trying to leave the battle so decided to steal a human transport aircraft. You seem to have beaten us here so here we all are. I and Nilya thought it would be impolite to walk past without saying proper farewells,” responded Nara calmly.

“O I see I am in your way. You already said your rude farewell when you told me to leave,” replied one head. “Why should I let you pass?” asked the other. Both heads sounding equally hostile.

“I am sorry Gareth but there is so much going on. Your transformation was shocking, and you have always been a little strange which doesn’t help. We just got freaked out by your new form,” replied Nara.

“Regardless you are not here as an ally or a servant. You came here because you see me as a potential threat,” said one head thoughtfully. The other head sudden hissed, “You could be an enemy. Perhaps they would end us if they found a weakness or discovered a method to destroy us.”

Nara shook her head and said, “No we are not here to attack you! We just want to make sure you knew we were not enemies so you did not attack us while we flee this battlefield.”

“And that is why one of you watches from a distance in cover with a weapon easily able to reach me? Or why you sent two around the camp toward the transport while you distract me?” asked Gareth as one of his spindly arms reached out and pointed a finger at Nara as he spoke.

Nilya’s ears shot up as she grabbed her sister’s arm. Nara remained calm as she could, “Gareth we did not know how you would react so we wanted to be careful. You have changed a significant amount and while I am glad you have met your goal it takes a lot to get used to. Your new form is just…”

Nara was interrupted by Gareth unleashing a bolt of energy at her. Nilya grabbed her sister and yanked her out of the way of the bolt. The sound of Varik’s rifle discharging filled the air and one of the heads jerked back as a hole was blown through its eye and out the back of his head. “How dare you attack my sister when we came to you in peace,” hissed Nilya as she drew her blade.

Gareth laughed as the damaged head quickly reformed to its original shape. The monster summoned a vast amount of energy around itself as its faces smiled in unison. “I dare to do what I want worm,” replied one head, while the regenerated one added, “I will turn you into my little toy.” Gareth then launched the ball of energy at Nilya, who dashed out of the way and moved toward Gareth quickly as she drew energy into her blade. The bolt impacted the ground turning the earth instantly into a twisting mesh of liquid that solidified with the appearance of dried blood that spread toward Nilya but failed to reach her as she sprinted toward Gareth..

Gareth stomped the ground with his right leg that sent a shockwave of energy, that Nilya easily lepted over. Gareth summoned another burst of energy to hit Nilya in mid air, but a slug of metal crashed into his hand with incredible kinetic force ruining the limb and dispersing the energy gathered in it. One of Gareth’s heads looked over at Varik with a look of contempt as the hand regenerated. Gareth motioned his hand toward Varik and unleashed a sudden burst of energy after a quick focus that struck the human’s rocky cover. The rock instantly grew vine like tendrils that reached around and wrapped around the human before turning black and hard like a stone again, pinning him in place. “Watch as I torment your wife in ways neither of you could imagine,” mocked Gareth as Nilya leapt toward him her blade brisling with dark energy. Gareth’s one head just smirked at her as he swept his other arm toward her. Striking the incoming arm, Nilya removed the limb with her dark semblance, but she did not expect one of the head’s to attack with its long sharp beak. Holding up her blade, Nilya barely blocked the attack with her blade, but the impact sent her flying backward and she impacted hard into the earth. She started to stand as she saw Gareth blast her nearby blade with a casual flick of his fingers that sent several tiny crystals of energy into it. The blade twisted and shattered into tiny glass like fragments. He held out one hand that gathered energy as if to taunt Nilya with her coming death, but as he began to unleash the bolt a bright flash blinded him, and Nilya rolled to the side so he would miss.

Nara held her right arm at her wrist with her left as her palm dimmed from her attack. Gareth’s bolt missed due to Nara’s blinding blast, but it suddenly changed direction as it arced around to toward Nilya again. Nilya stood up as quick as she could and dove forward, barely avoiding the bolt. However Gareth unleashed another attack at Nilya as she tried to recover from her hasty dodge, but before it struck her Nara stepped in front of her sister holding up a shield of light. The shield quickly failed against Gareth’s power and it struck the white haired faunus.

The faunus fell to the ground screaming in pain as her body began to twist unnaturally. Nilya screamed for her sister as she held her hand to her dying sister. Nara looked over to her twin and fought through the pain, “Nilya… I love you… live for both… be the legend.” Nara took all her energy and forced it into her sister with a bright blinding light. As Nara did this Nilya with a heavy heart unleashed her own energy to destroy her sister’s body, end her suffering, and prevent her from being completely twisted into a monster.

The suddenly bloom of powerful light that made Gareth step back and cover his eyes with a hideous laugh. “That was easy, not for the oth…” started Gareth as the light dimmed.

“Silence demon,” spoke a ethereal voice. As the light faded ashes of Nara’s remains floated around her now standing sister. Reaching up toward the sun, Nilya looked as if she was trying to grab it.

“Awww acting all powerful and threatening... “ started to mock Gareth as his eyes grew big as the light in the sky began to dim. A ball of darkness formed in Nilya’s hand that suddenly shot toward her the sun and suddenly the world changed around them. Everything took on hues of white, black, and grey, and forms of everything seemed to become more like shadows than actual physical forms.

“What is this?!” asked Gareth unsure of his new environment, the amount of power create something like this was immense, and Nilya seemed to do it effortlessly. Looking down at the faunus Gareth noticed she was holding a long thin bladed sword as she stared up at the demon.

Slowly she lifted the blade to her face as Gareth reached out with his right arm and unleashed a powerful blast of energy at her, but instantly he felt a sharp pain in his chest. Looking down, he saw the blade sticking out of his chest. Then another pain in his back, “This is where light and darkness meet, demon.” Gareth tried to defend himself but Nilya seemed to just dissappeared and reappear all around him, each time thrusting a different blade into his body. Suddenly he saw a chance, and he grabbed the faunus from mid air when she appeared in front of him.

“Now I will kill you like your sister,” gloated Gareth and he clenched his fist to crush the faunus. Her body offered no resistance as it turned into a black mist. His eyes showed pure fear for the first time as the illusion faded from his hand. The feeling of another blade stabbed into the back of one of his necks. “How?” hissed Gareth as he began to summon all his energy to strike out at the faunus. With one burst he unleashed a giant blast of power clearing all the blades from his body and shattering the shadow clones, but not the strange twilight realm.

Nilya stood in front of Gareth her nine black large fox like tails swaying in an invisible wind as they glowed with a white light like the moon does on an eclipse in unnatural power. Nilya slowly walked toward Gareth as a blade of twisting light and darkness formed in her hand. Her silence torturing Gareth’s thirst for knowledge.

“I am a god you cannot defeat me,” screeched Gareth’s heads as he powered up an attack with both hands. Before he could attack Nilya charged forward and slashed upward with her blade unleashing a massive wave of dark energy that leapt up like a wave hitting a rocky shoreline. The energy cascaded through Gareth’s hands, erasing his building power then smashed into his chest, devouring most of it with the corrosive dark energy. Depleted of dark energy, Nilya’s blade burned brightly with pure light as the pressed the attack on the stumbling enemy. Nilya delivered a series of of burning blows to the monster’s chest, scorching away his unnatural flesh with ease. She then focused her power as Gareth’s bleeding body tried to stay standing. His ability to regenerate was severely reduced by her blows and his body was failing to regenerate quicker than Nilya was destroying it. Once again she held the blade up to her face for a second before her form dissolved into the shadows of the world around her. Once again her strikes came from all angles without warning, and without mercy. Each stab leaving behind alternating blades of light and darkness. Suddenly Nilya reformed behind Gareth from the darkness of this world.

“Goodbye,” said Nilya as she condensed all the power down on Gareth. The blades drove themselves deep into Gareth as the sky fell into him. His large form was simultaneously dissolved and burned away as a small raven tore itself from the beast’s body and fled into the sky.

Nilya’s head lowered as her anger faded as the world and her own form turned normal. With Gareth destroyed her mind turned to sorrow. Tears began to pour from her eyes as she cried out, “Varik?!”

“I am still over here,” he yelled back from his pinned position.

Nilya started to stumble in his direction her hands waving around as she called out his name again.

“Nilya I am here, keep coming this way, keep coming,” yelled Varik back as he realized his wife was using his voice to find him. After several minutes she got to him and used what strength she had to dissolve the pieces of stone holding him down.

“Rik, she is gone, Nara is gone. I finally reunite with her and she is gone. I never got a chance to show her how much I loved and missed her. I never got to make up for all those lost years I hide from her,” cried Nilya as soon as Varik sat up. The blind faunus collapsed in her husband’s arms her eyes producing twin waterfalls of grief. Varik squeezed his weeping wife. Varik only let go of his wife long enough to grab his rifle and put it over his shoulder. He then cradled his wife in his arms as he stood up, and slowly carried her to the waiting transport.

Climbing onboard no one spoke as Varik non verbally communicated to Blair and Cadivus it was time to leave. Only the sounds of the airship’s engines and Nilya crying could be heard as the crafted lifted off from the ground and slowly spun as it climbed into the air before its engines swung forward giving it forward momentum. As the airship flew off, Blair looked down at the war below. Hordes of grimm supported by massive monsters that towered over the battlefield. “It looks bad down there,” muttered Blair with a frown.

“That is someone else’s war. We need to focus on our own battles. We still have to find a way to create that haven and create a better future,” replied Cadivus calmly.

“Why?” asked Blair looking over at Cadivus.

“I want more than a life of killing or delivering people to kill others for someone’s often secret agenda. I’ve seen enough death without understanding the full story. I still believe in Varik and Nilya’s dream, and while they might not be the most noble of people their dream is rather noble,” replied Cadivus as he piloted the craft away from the fight.

Blair looked over at Cadivus and said, “Fair enough, I hope this means your not going to settle down and become boring.”

“Nope… I will just use my skills for goals and aims of my own choosing,” replied Cadivus.

“Good because if I am coming with you I don’t want it to be boring,” replied Blair.

“What if I want to go it alone?” asked Cadivus.

“I’m not giving you the option and I know you want me to come along so you don’t get lonely,” replied Blair looking over at Cadivus with an uncharastic serious face.

Cadivus nodded and said, “I would have it no other way.”

Orx of Twinleaf

Branch into Psyche

The Corner of Hither and Yon
Seen February 20th, 2018
Posted February 8th, 2018
228 posts
3.3 Years
(condensed for reduction of clutter and broken in the middle for your convenience)

“I said we surrender,” Fajio said tightly, hand up harmlessly, the other bracing him against a piece of the airship wreckage to keep the weight off his bad leg.

The Faunus party had lined up opposite FEAR. Phosthyon stood to the side, a knife pointed hesitantly at the platypus man Perry, where he and the rest of the captured Faunus Team TRAP watched with grim attention. FEAR and ABAK sized each other up in the ceasefire: Rimer and Aguorlishi were sneering at one another through bloodied lips, Azoo and Kab were puffing out their chests in an attempt to outswagger the other, Bea and Evegy gripped their weapons tightly and darted looks around at the assembled company. Antonio still had his rapier pointed at Fajio.

The rooster Faunus lowered the blade thoughtfully, glancing around at FEAR’s line up, and at his own team’s nervous tension. “Zis is not a trick?” he asked finally.

His voice seemed to have been the trigger for a rush of shouted responses from all sides, Antonio’s team shouting that humans were to be killed and not taken, FEAR’s members trying to assure that they weren’t false flaggers, even some of TRAP’s members trying to pitch in with their opinions while Phosthyon tried to keep them quiet. Antonio frowned and raised his hand. Although he was the shortest one there besides the snail boy on TRAP, the gesture carried an authoritative weight that brought silence back to the area.

He eyed his teammates censoriously a moment to communicate his lack of a desire to be interrupted again in such a manner. He looked at Fajio meaningfully. “Zis is not a trick?” he asked again.

“No,” Fajio said wearily, “no, this is not a trick. It would only take a moment for one of you to cut our prisoners loose and then you would outnumber us eight to five.”

“Numbers disadvantage alone vould not have you throw yourselves on ze mercy of Faunus,” Antonio said slowly, but considering. “Ve among us tell tales zat humans are honorless and prefer blood over parole; I have no doubt you all say ze same about us. You cannot expect mercy.” He said it not threateningly but questioningly, as if beginning to understand Fajio’s position.

“And yet you see we have taken your colleagues prisoner, in defiance of those rumors,” Fajio said, with the uncomfortable feeling that this conversation was as much a martial fencing match as Evegy had been having with the man moments earlier, and just as deadly. “I’m sure I can make a gamble that there are also exceptions to violence and cruelty on your side of things.”

Antonio tapped his rapier against his foot. He turned to TRAP and addressed the pitch-black woman with the dangly thing on her forehead. “Have zey treated you honorably, Tammy?”

She opened her mouth to respond, her needle-toothed grimace more than communicating what she was about to say, but she stopped herself, abashed, when she noticed Perry watching her. Perry said, “Be truthful.”

She licked her lips and looked down. “Yes,” she said quietly. “They haven’t done anything to us since they tied us up.”

Phosthyon, growing impatient either at having to parley with Faunus or at the notion of the Grimm surely closing in, broke into the tense exchange. “Why couldn’t we have just ransomed these dolts to make the rest of them submit to capture?” he complained to Fajio.

Antonio raised a brow at this interruption but addressed Fajio about it. “Why indeed. I am sure zat ze humans know Faunus are very attached to one anozer. How was it that human woman at ze docks put it zat one time?”

“She said we were ‘pack-minded,’ ” said Kab sourly.

“Like dogs,” added Bea.

“Right,” said Antonio, not dwelling on the civil injustice of racial slurring for more than a moment. He returned to addressing the humans. “So you could have tried to ransom zem. Why did you not?”

Fajio sighed tiredly. “Do you mind if I sit?” he asked abruptly. ABAK consented and he gratefully slumped to the ground and let his leg rest properly. “The Grimm are going to fall upon us soon. We have no way of surviving if we’re at each other’s throats when they show up. We were going to try to call a human flier to come extract us but then you all showed up and tipped the scales.”

“Why not make a break for it?” Agurolishi asked. ABAK had since eased up a little, and her tone was conversational, as if she and Rimer hadn’t been tearing each other to ribbons a moment earlier. As if everything were going to be okay and there wasn’t a metric psyduck-ton of Grimm swirling ever closer to turn them all into a bloody jelly.

“They wouldn’t leave us,” Perry said, sticking his bill in. “They didn’t say as much, but that’s what it was. They took us prisoner and weren’t gonna leave us tied up here for the Grimm to have.”

I was,” Phosthyon muttered, “but Fajio pulled the rank card on me.”

“And we couldn’t just cut them loose, either,” said Fajio, not looking at Phosthyon. “I didn’t actually ask parole of any of them, and wasn’t about to insult them with it, so I couldn’t be sure they wouldn’t just shoot us full of holes as soon as we turned around. Not to imply the Faunus are honorless, of course,” Fajio said, apologizing to Perry who, indeed, seemed to be a particularly honorable individual.

Perry nodded solemnly. “No; of course. We would have shot you dead.” He smiled wryly. “Since we never gave parole.”

“So you gave up because you want us to haul you outta here,” Kab said tauntingly. He took a deep, long drink from one of three huge jugs on his belt. “Pretty damn cowardly if you ask me.”

Phosthyon sneered at this. “No one asked you, one-eye.”

Agurolishi hissed, smiling. “Ooooh, nice come back. Think of that one all on your own? Your mama must be proud of her witty little boy.”

“Prouder than yours was,” he snarled. “She probably swam off without even waiting for you to hatch!”

Evegy had only lately regained enough presence of mind to understand her surroundings. Antonio had given her a blow with his hilt into her head that had hit far harder than his stature would suggest when he had disengaged from her. It still hurt, but she could finally make out words again and could see that the Faunus and Phosthyon, and now even Rimer and Azoo, were starting to shout at one another. “Please stop!” she said before giving much thought as to how to make them do so if they didn’t listen.

To her surprise, they did listen. All eyes turned toward her expectantly. She looked back at them all more than a little daunted. There was, after all, a very good reason FEAR generally delegated Fajio to do most of the talking. “Um …”

Fajio touched her on the arm. “Speak, my dear.”

She cleared her throat. “We’re gonna die to the Grimm if we don’t get out of here quick. We need to call in evac, and,” she struggled for more to say so that she wasn’t just repeating old information, “and it would make more sense if the Faunus picked us up since more of us are Faunus.”

“And it would make explanations that much easier if we were simply your prisoners,” Fajio finished for her.

“Human prisoners have given us a lot of trouble,” Bea said, wide eyes judging. “If Archer is any indication, they’ll always run away or break something sooner or later.”

“I assure you,” said Fajio, a ghost of something especially dangerous in his tone, “Mr. Ines is not someone to judge other humans by.”

Antonio waved his hand impatiently. “Alright, alright, you are right about one zing: ve do not have time for zis. I vill call an evac. You all stay right zere.”

Bea leveled her long gun at FEAR and Kab and Agurolishi brandished their weapons too while Antonio fished out his communicator.

“Zis is Team ABAK requesting evacuation. Ve are in ze east grassland near a downed flier. TRAP is vith us and ve have prisoners.”

He waited long moments. He was about to repeat himself when a strong, barking voice broke through the communicator. “Damn you, where were you a little bit ago?! Didn’t you get the call? Everyone to the evac points! You’re all going to the front to help the army proper fight off the Grimm surge!”

Antonio gaped, offended, but recovered enough to respond. “Ve had to turn off our communicator a moment for stealth. Ve are requesting an evac flier to ze east of ze ruins; ve vill join ze front after.”

“You’ll join the damned front when everyone else does! Get to the the evac point now, you and TRAP. Now! You hear me?!”

Whoever it was evidently didn’t feel like they had to introduce themself or even be civil. Antonio’s cheeks were growing ruddy with frustration. If Fajio didn’t think the joke was in poor taste and improperly timed, he would have said Antonio’s feathers looked ruffled. Antonio shouted into the receiver. “Ve have prisoners and cannot risk moving zem across ze plain, zere are too many Grimm!”

“Then shoot the human psyduckers and get out here, do you hear me?! No one told you to go taking prisoners and no one’s going to fly out of the way to pick them up. Get the hell to the evac point or you’re stranded out there, do you understand me?!”

As everyone else gave each other looks of surprise or disbelief, Antonio unhinged into the telecommunicator. “Who are you to talk to me like zis?! Prisoners are part of any combat, under the Wartime Mercy Treaty, and ve are not going to kill zem to jump through your hoops! Put me through to a commander, and I’ll tell zem all about your lack of protocol!”

“Commander? Commander he says! Listen here you insubordinate little muk, this is Rebel Captain Lorenzo Kouzmatoff of the Rebellion Aerial Squadron. I’m as commander as you or any of your schoolboy friends are gonna get and I’m psyducking commanding you to put a bullet in those filthy humans and get your sorry asses—”

Antonio hurled the communicator against the side of the downed flier, destroying it in a spray of metal parts. Bea flinched away from it. Antonio’s face was twisted with fury, but he kept his voice level as he looked about the present company. “Ve are not getting a Faunus evac.”

Rimer and Agurolishi were the only two boorish enough to snort at this. Fajio, though, felt all the horrible implications of it.

He cleared his throat, the sound coming through his mask like a cough of exhaust from an old machine. “Perry, does your team still have its communicator?”

The snail boy nodded and answered for him. “Yeah, it’s in my pocket. I turned it off when you tied me up so you couldn’t hear it.”

Fajio nodded. Antonio was breathing heavily, fists clenched as Kab and Bea talked in low voices to him. He didn’t seem to be listening. “Phosthyon,” Fajio said, “do you think you could rig the communicator to pick up the human channel?”

“It was this conflict that lead to the signing into law the Student Soldier Prohibition Act. The law prohibits any hunstman academy from drafting its students as psuedosoldiers and separates the military from huntsman affairs. The wreck of the Faunus and human huntsman forces in the first anti-ambush of the conflict lead to many grieving families to push for this law to pass. Many such families were armed with wealth and prestige, being as they were those who sent children to Beacon or other academies, and the law was one of the first acts by the reformed government once peacetime was attained. The movement was headed by Timereaux Tranxerton III, whose grandson Timereaux Tranxerton V was killed in a medical tent when the first and only ever recorded instance of what has since been named an ‘Antigod’ Grimm struck the human encampment. Since Timereaux Tranxerton IV was also killed in the war, in the trenches of the front, the Tranxerton line would die with Tranxerton III. Aged 76 when peacetime came, he liquidated the entire generations-old Tranxerton estate to lobby the governments to pass the Student Soldier Prohibition Act. Afterward, before dying due to cancers he no longer cared to treat, he gave his thoughts on the matter to press: ‘So ends the House of Tranxerton, and with it, I hope, the chance any other poor old man has to live through losing his son and grandson to a war with our brothers and sisters across the pond.’ Tranxerton’s will left what money was left to his name to Nungerfaldt ‘Mr. Mammoth’ Ixis to fund the Faunus Housing Program that helped Faunus immigrate to human lands after peace was established.”
—quoted from Cage Cast Open: the Revolution of the Faunus
“Geez,” Phosthyon complained, his bony fingers prying about at the insides of the Faunus communicator, “did you piece these things together from recycled naval radios or something?”

“I think that’s actually kind of what they did,” Perry said, thoughtfully. While Phosthyon had been fumbling with the communicator, Fajio had suggested TRAP be cut loose, since it was evident no one was about to go about shooting at people and he felt everyone should be able to defend themselves if Grimm showed up. Fajio had also privately hoped everyone might start chatting to clear the tension a little, but they all just anxiously watched Phosthyon’s thin back.

From what Fajio could gather, most of the Faunus were stunned into silence by Antonio’s earlier behavior. The little rooster Faunus was still red in the face and glaring at the ground where he sat on a piece of wreckage, his hands clasped together and shaking slightly. The other Faunus seemed unwilling to approach him, and just as unwilling to break the silence.

All except for Agurolishi, who was tittering quietly with Rimer about something or other off to the side. Rimer was similarly conversing with her, the only one on the human side who wasn’t waiting in tight-lipped anticipation. Fajio thought that it was rather like watching two sharks meeting on the open ocean, hanging about one another in their toothy savagery and revelling in the momentary reminder that there were others like them among all the other more boring fish in the sea after all.

Fajio was in the middle of imagining what the vile spawn of such a brutish and menacing couple would look like when Evegy’s voice intruded on him. He jumped, grateful no one could see the blush under his mask and readjusted himself on his chair of twisted metal. “I beg your pardon, can you say that again?”

He looked up. Evegy was standing with the huge-eyed primate Faunus. Evegy repeated herself. “This is Bea, the girl that Archer ran off with. Bea, this is Fajio.”

The girl raised a gloved hand in such a manner that made Fajio think she should have been a sheep phenotype and not whatever prosimian she was. Fajio nodded. “Pleasure. I hope Mr. Ines did not do anything untoward to you after he took you.”

Her face soured a bit. “I don’t want to talk about him.” She changed tacks before Fajio could apologize. “Evegy tells me you can bodyswitch people. Why didn’t you just do that when we showed up?”

Fajio looked at Evegy, but figured there was no use trying to keep it a secret anyway. He dimly remembered that Bea had looked at Archer and been able to apparently recognize something about his Semblance, so if she really wanted to know she would find out regardless. Fajio had the distinct impression that Evegy had less told her than simply affirmed it when she asked.

“We will need all the help we can get if the Grimm come here,” Fajio said. “My Semblance puts me and my target down into a sort of coma for a while after it ends, and I didn’t think there’d be a good chance for any of us making it out if I put your strongest fighter to sleep.”

“How could you tell who the strongest was?”

Fajio held up his arms. His Aura had staunched the bleeding, but there was still a very obvious slit in both through the gory coat sleeves where Antonio’s rapier had skewered them with a thrust that would have otherwise went through his sternum and into his spine. “I had a hunch,” he said dryly.

Evegy had apparently only just then noticed the wounds. She exclaimed with enough shock as to draw most of the nervous eyes from watching Phosthyon work. “There’s so much blood!”

She rather roughly invaded Fajio’s personal space to get a closer look and he struggled through the pain of it to push her away. “If you want to help, take Azoo and see if you can find something I can use to defend myself with.”

She fixed him with a forceful look. “No, you’re not fighting.” She seemed to read his mind when he thought of it as needless coddling. “It’s not coddling, either. You’ll be in the way.”

He shut his mouth, defeated. “I can’t very well just sit here.”

Before this exchange between people whose faces, Fajio thought, were far too close together, a rasping voice tore through the air. Evegy backed off to turn and look in surprise, as everyone else was, at Phosthyon. Even Antonio had looked up.

It took Fajio a moment to realize it was the communicator, and not Phosthyon. “We need help! There’s something here, it’s—” a particularly wet scream worked its way into a blast of static before the voice returned. “—two heads, it’s no Grimm we’ve ever seen before. It’s … it’s changing them! Somebody—” another wet scream. This time the voice seemed to be choking back sobs. “—anybody, please, it’s killing everyone. It’s tearing through the wounded tents. It’s gonna—” there was a blast of static that went for long, crawling seconds while they all stared at the communicator in disbelief. Finally, one last scream that strained the communicator’s speakers, and the communicator fell silent.

For what felt like hours, they all stood or sat in silence, shocked. Phosthyon sank down, rubbing his mouth. Antonio had closed his eyes; the angry color was gone from his face, but now without it he only looked gray and empty as the twisted metal around him. Bea was holding herself, Evegy beside her looking somberly at the ground. TRAP’s members all looked to their black-skinned leader, who stared into space while Perry put a heavy hand on her shoulder. Kab worked his big hands slowly, fumbling at the jugs on his belt but not drinking from any of them. Rimer and Agurolishi had stopped talking when the voice had started and now, in its absence, they only looked at one another blankly. Fajio shared a look with Azoo. Azoo shook his head and looked away.

Fajio cleared his throat. The inhuman, metal sound made almost everyone flinch. No one looked at him, but he spoke anyway. “For what it’s worth, it was an honor to have met you all.” His arms had holes in them. His leg was screaming into every nerve with the hot voice of pain. Several of his ribs were suggesting they might have been broken in the crash earlier. But Fajio felt only a dull, hollow feeling in his throat. He inwardly thought that the sensation of their being a lump was the origin of the term “hard to swallow.” He would have found it amusing in its way were he anywhere else.

Antonio opened his eyes and heaved himself to his feet. “Ze honor vas all ours,” he said. He looked around, through but not at everyone there. “Ve vill be proud to go vith such people at our backs.”

Fajio nodded. For as much as anyone was paying them any mind, he and Antonio may as well have been speaking with telepathy. “Let’s go down swinging.”

Evegy, who had been just as empty as everyone else, was following this exchange with more attention than anyone had, even the participants. “What, that’s it then?” she asked.

No heads turned. Fajio answered her, but looked straight ahead as he did. “The camp is routed and the Faunus have left. These are our final moments, my dear. I hope you believe me when I say I am happy they were with you.”

She did her best to ignore the last thing he said, although the color of her blush made it clear she had heard it perfectly, and went on. “We still have a chance. If we can hold out long enough, we can still make it out of here alive, right?”

“The Grimm that we saw coming in were too many,” Azoo said softly, comforting. “We will be overrun within an hour.” He said it steadily, but he wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“Well,” she said, grasping, “the beacon still works, right?”

“Beacon?” Antonio asked, although disinterestedly.

“A signal beacon,” Fajio explained. He sighed. “That will only make it easier for the Grimm to find us.”

“No!” Evegy shrieked. The volume of it drew several surprised looks, eyes blinking as if awoken from a deep slumber. “No, I won’t believe it! There is still hope! The Faunus are still evacuating; if they saw a signal beacon one of them might swing over to see. And there might still be human fliers in the air, or some of them might have taken off before the camp went down. If we put the beacon out then we have a chance of surviving this! And if we don’t because we’ve all given up then,” she sniffled, struggling to keep her voice from breaking, “then we’d deserve to be gutted by Grimm!”

Everyone stared at her for a long time. For a moment she thought perhaps she’d have to repeat herself, but Perry abruptly stood up straighter. “By heavens, she’s right! You’re all too young to be accepting death so easily. I didn’t make it to my age without clinging to hope like a babe to its mammy! Let’s get that beacon going!”

Phosthyon got up, pocketing the communicator. “Yes, of course! Azoo, you and the other big guy come with me and carry this thing out.”

“I’ll peak out and see where the Grimm are,” piped Bea. Two of Team TRAP’s members went with her. The group suddenly seemed extremely lively, as if having something to do, however slim their hope of survival was, was all they needed to swim against the current up until they reached land or floundered in exhaustion.

Evegy, spent from her rallying speech, fell back to sit in the dirt, stunned at the effect it had produced.

Fajio was still sitting there by her, as he couldn’t have gotten up to help anyone if he had wanted to. He leaned over and touched her on the shoulder in what she could have sworn was a warm gesture of affection. “Very well said, my dear Evegy.”
A Cup of Dreams, Pour in Your Soul, a Pinch of Knowing, Stir in with Hope,
and Drink to Despair and Celebration: Drink it All and Stay Asleep, Drink in Parts and Vomit it Back
Joy, Relief, Fury, Fear, Sorrow, Longing, and Pain, Colors that Forever Cope
Despondency and Guilt with Ambition and Pride, No One of this World and Species may Truly Lack
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