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"I left Lycia before the formation of that cult and only had cursory knowledge of Sir Adrian. I did what I did for her safety, even if you feel she can take care of herself. If you could have thought of a good time for me to say, 'Hey, she's a dragon,' without putting her life on the line, making me seem like a crazy person, or making me think you're the crazy one for actually believing that, just tell me. I'll be over here not naively trusting a person I've known for a few hours. Got burned on that before in a big way, not gonna happen again," Lennox retorted, recalling his cousin's treachery that led to his father's death. He didn't need their trust. Honestly, it would be better they go their separate ways after this. With the relic seekers chasing him, Raye following him around, and Carla intending on following him(despite running off), it really threw off the lone wanderer aesthetic he was aiming for. When Renata chimed in, he took in a deep breath. No reason to tread old ground again, he thought. Apparently he misjudged the situation they were in and thought the three of them could handle the morphs without needing an ancient destroyer to do their killing for them.

He tuned out the others as they walked, remaining oblivious to Tiras' brush with magic. He kept walking ever closer, not realizing the target in the distance was a mage. When the air around him shifted, he returned to actually paying attention. When he saw the arcs, he barely had time to toss aside his weapons before it struck. His cloak, with it's chain-mail interweave took the brunt of it. Sections of his cloak went up in flame as the chain-mail was heated up and burnt threw both sides of the cloak and began branding parts of his skin, most notably his back. He struggled to throw of his cloak as fast as he could. He stood there afterwards, struggling to cope with the pain. The burns from the heated chain-mail caused the most immediate pain, but as he tried to move, he felt things threatening to move not like intended. Things were moving on their own, but that died down in quickly enough. He looked at the burning cloak with regret. Maybe I shouldn't have said 'Got burned on that'. That was begging for trouble. "Guess this is your home now," he said to himself. He turned back to the others. "I'm charging through that thing."
Tiras shook out his tingling, burning arm. He felt the sluggish response of his muscles and cursed his luck. He ran towards the caster, as fast as he dared. He knew that tomes like that had a specific range limit, which included a minimum range that was well away from the caster. Such magic was dangerous if cast too near, after all. If he got inside that little bubble of space around that creature, he knew he could kill it quickly. Soon we'll be off this godforsaken rock. Please, Elimine, let that time come quickly.

The air changed again, and Tiras knew the caster was aiming again, though he didn't know where. He heard the bolt, but it wasn't on him. He slowed and turned, seeing that Lennox had been set on fire. It made the spite in him smirk. But he turned back around and kept going towards the caster just the same.

Just then, more figured joined the caster, but they were armed and armored, if the moonlight were anything to judge by. Looks like Hyperion was right. Figures. Tiras grit his teeth as one of them moved to attack him. The other three ran past him towards the others in the party. As the armored spearman in front of him attacked, Tiras had to dodge the halberd's head. He wrapped his arm around the shaft and struck for the wrist of the man. The spearman let go of his spear and raised his leg. Knee stomp! Shit! The squire let go of the shaft and punched at the plumed helm of the abomination while twisting his left leg harmlessly out of the way.

Steel fist connected with steel helm as the warrior stumbled back, but quickly recovered. Strong, Tiras thought as his downward strike was blocked by the halberd's haft. He pivoted the blade so that the pommel would strike his opponent's helm, just as his opponent was twisting his halberd so the head would strike Tiras'. The result was that the pommel glanced off the helm and only the shaft struck Tiras, and not even a very forceful strike. The two were off balance, and each disengaged, only for the morph to go on the offensive again.


There were three other morphs, each with heavier armor and weapons that were strong and un-decayed. At Lennox ran an agile spearman clad in armor. At Renata came a robed figure, wearing a muscle cuirass, shrouded in dark magic. At Raye ran a woman with a sword at her side and a bow in her hands.

As they each attacked their chosen foe, they continued the mantra, "This is a message from Lord Nergal, 'I await you at the Dragon's Gate.'"

And as the battle was joined, the air grew almost greasy with static electricity...
It seemed that the sudden reveal of Raye's true form was not as well accepted as she thought it would be. In fact, given that Lennox was already in the know about this it just served to drive a wedge in the group at a time where they really didn't need it. She watched back and forth as they complained. Before she could say anything, a lightning bolt came out of nowhere.  "Uwaaaaaah!" She said, her voice sort of being projected from somewhere.

The dragon they were just talking about being such a terrible secret to keep started looking around a bit frantically as she calmed down from the sudden lightning. She had done such a good job against those weird people before but she had just been thrown off by the electricity. Even more Morphs started running at them with one aiming specifically at Raye! All she could think to do was just breath more fire and hope that it worked, so that's what she did, turning towards swordswoman and letting lose another stream of flame.
"Dragon!" For the first time, it seemed, one of the creatures was expressing some sort of emotion. The realization that there's a dragon looming before you, Renata supposed, could make anyone—

"...'s Gate. This is a message from Lord Nergal..."
Never mind. Renata dryly grunted the incantation to assail the shaman approaching her with a burst of light. No sooner did she turn to distract another one of the approaching foes than it had already disappeared under a blanket of fire and steam, courtesy of Raye. Fire and... steam? The second incantation Renata had been preparing was immediately dropped in favour of a warding prayer. She may have had plenty of past experience dealing with anima magic, but a spell as powerful as the one her gut told her was trained right on her was of a threat level all its own.

Up against a slight incline, Renata opted to dive in whichever direction gravity could take her quickest and leaped at the shamanic morph, sword out. A proper human foe might have been caught off guard by the maneuvre, but the morph simply kept at its task and conjured a soul-draining cloud of darkness to catch her. Lightning rent the air just beside the combatants, a few stray arcs finding their way into both of them as they staggered to re-gain their footing on the incline. To Renata's horror, her adversary was basically unfazed.
Lennox barely had time to grab his weapons when the halberdier charged at him. Lennox dove out of the way towards Dyrnwyn and grabbed it on his way back to his feet. The halberdier was in a ready stance sizing him up. Lennox took advantage of the pause and attempted to lock the halberd down into the dirt. He thought he had the morph set. All he needed to do was turn the blade and swing up. But the morph moved first, maneuvering the hook of the halberd behind his leg and pulling it. Lennox lost balance and got a bit of a gash in his leg as he broke the lock and backed off. If that weapon was in a less worn state, that could have done much more damage. "Never fought against a halberd before. Didn't realize how versatile they were."

"This is a message from Lord Nergal."

"That's about the response I expected," Lennox sighed as he actually took time to examine his opponent. He had a knife on him. Shit. If I go and grab the halberd, he'll grab the knife. As he examined him, a familiar feeling came over him. As he realized it, the halberd came swinging down towards his head, which Lennox narrowly blocked with Dyrnwyn. It hit him. He just locked him down in place for that damn magic lightning. The halberdier broke the lock as the spell struck Lennox, dropping him to a knee as the bolt struck through him. His grip tighten on Dyrnwyn as the lightning coursed through him and the sword. The halberdier backed off, turning his attention briefly towards Tiras. He began approaching him from a blind spot, before he heard Lennox moving again.

The morph turned to see Lennox, this time with a large almost spiderweb like scar going down his chest, with Dyrnwyn in flames in his hand. His greatest fortune with that blade was that it's fire doesn't burn it's wielder. The blade was hot in hands, but not enough to leave serious scarring. But the lightning caused Dyrnwyn's own flames to spark, leaving an ignited sword in his hand. The halberdier returned to his ready stance and waited for Lennox to make a move. It was fortunate that he did, because, at the moment, Lennox can't move. Not properly anyway. His heart was racing, his breathing was much harder, and his focus was anywhere but here. He can't take that again. Sure, he presently can't feel the pain where hit new scar his, but the sensations he was feeling was all over the place. He attempted to power through what he was and wasn't feeling. He was on his feet. He had an iron grip on Dyrnwyn with his right hand. Sure, his left had an iron grip on itself, but that wasn't the point here.

He lifted the sword over his head and swung towards the halberdier, firing a discharge of fire at the morph. He dodged it and Lennox repeated. Yet again he dodged and he moved in to attack. Lennox lowered his guard and the halberder went for an overhead strike with the halberd. He's obviously thinking that if it was blocked, he could always thrust the spear tip right into his face. But Lennox side stepped and swung up at the shaft of the halberd and cut right through it. He stepped back a step on the upswing and swung back down again into the face of the morph, finishing him off. Lennox fell with the downswing as the morph faded away. His legs began twitching as the weight was taken off of them. Someone has to gut that damn spellcaster.
Tiras felt the tingling greasiness of the lightning spell wash over him twice. He didn't let that slow him down. He and the halberdier were nearly completely evenly matched. His armor kept him from taking great injury, but he was going to have a welt in several places after this. The halberd came at him from below. Tiras dodged using the returning step, coming in as his opponent's weapon was away. Reverse strike to the forward wrist and it broke, even through the gauntlet. But, then, these were unfeeling morphs. Tiras grabbed the halberd and wrenched it out of his opponent's hands.

As it pulled back on the halberd, Tiras thrust the point up through the groin. He felt the sword grate off of armor and bone, then wrenched it out again and thrust under the right arm. He let go of the halberd and gripped the blade of his sword with his now-free right hand, then thrust the pommel into the morph spearman's face.

Its helm, a simple but effective sallet, was knocked off at last. Swing to the left for the tip to cut the face, and a final thrust through the eye, and it was fading away. The armor and halberd clattered to the ground. Tiras took the halberd, sheathing his sword, and looked back to find one of the other morphs and Lennox nowhere in sight, and the other two morphs attempting to fight with Renata and Raye the Dragon. Raye's opponent was on fire. It dropped a burning object (possibly a bow?).

At the same time the air grew greasy again.

"All of you hang on! I'll be back after I deal with that spellcaster!" he shouted.

The shout was probably lost amid the din and panic.

He turned and ran towards the fortress ruins where the spellcaster lurked. As he did, the greasiness faded. He hoped that didn't mean it had struck at his comrades. Tiras's lungs burned, his body ached, and he was soaked in sweat, but he had to keep going.

A chill breeze struck him full in the face, his armor amplifying the sudden cold.

Tiras flung himself to the side as a massive pillar of ice coalesced around the space he'd just been in, and then shattered. The squire hurtled to his feet as he closed with the magic-user. At least I'm not as hot anymore, he grumbled in his thoughts. Strike from above left, passing step and strike from below right, and step in with another strike from above left, and the morph in mage robes faded from the blows of its former compatriot's halberd.

Tiras staggered suddenly, his vision going dark for a second, and stumbled back out into the field. Then, he fell to his knees, to flat on his face, and passed out.


In the dark of Tiras's oblivion, there was a voice. So, boy, thou seeketh power?
Raye's blast of fire engulfed the morph that was walking towards her. Most things, after having been covered in the flames of a dragon's breath, would probably be in a lot of pain but that seemed like a foreign concept to whatever these things were. Even as it and it's already rotting belongings burned, it kept shambling closer and closer to the dragon girl.

She let out another blast of fire. And another. And another. Each blast pushed back the morph a bit but it kept moving, albeit slower and slower, until finally it fell before her in a smoldering heap. Finally safe she gave a sigh of relief before remembering that there were others there and they were fighting more of these things. Everyone else seemed to be having a tough time. She didn't know who to help, looking around as Renata fought with one, Lennox finished another off, and Tiras fell to the ground after having finished the spellcaster. The panicked dragon just looked between them not sure what to do in this unfamiliar situation.
Wasting no time (though it seemed like an eternity all the same), Renata went for a broad slash to discombobulate her adversary before it could re-gain the composure required to cast another spell.
"This is a message." In the heat of things, Renata had once again made the mistake of assuming that this creature was more human than it was: it did not attempt to parry or dodge, but instead held up its tome, a black sleeve falling to reveal an unprotected hand. Despite the flying fingers and parchment, the morph's undead gaze remained calm and fixed as its remaining hand pulled forth a concealed dagger: compared to the other weapons Renata had seen these things wielding, this one appeared terrifyingly well-preserved. Renata gasped as the morph began a frenzied series of stabs, crying out as one managed to pierce her armour, which apparently wasn't what it used to be. Fighting the instinct to fall back, she leaned forward for a stab of her own, the apparition disintegrating as her blade connected with the base of its neck. On the ground again, she wasted no time wadding as much cloth as possible into the stab wound after removing the dagger, which was unfortunately very real. Perhaps it would come in handy later.

Keep moving. She had to keep moving. Although it would normally be prudent to wait for the bleeding to subside, to rest here would be suicide, besides the fact Renata doubted her makeshift bandage would hold for long. She didn't know if there were any more morphs lying in wait, but if that were the case, she would have likely met her end at their hands anyway. Slowly, painfully, she came back to her feet, cringing as much from the lingering constrictive pain of the dark magic as from her flesh wound, to shamble towards the gates of the dilapidated fortress where Tiras lay.

"Sir Tiras... You mustn't..." Fearing another host of morphs was set to burst from the stonework at any moment, she urged him to stay conscious until she had drawn close enough to see he was down for the count. They had all fought several foes by this point, but she wasn't sure what exactly had done the squire in. He seemed alive, at the very least.
So, boy, thou seeketh power?

Tiras opened his "eyes" in the visionscape of his mind. He was shrouded in darkness, but in that darkness, he saw a large shape. No colors, but he could tell he wasn't alone. The shape appeared like unto a throne, and upon it sat a regal, feminine shape. He couldn't see clearly, though her question reverberated through him. Only one thing was on his mind, however.

"Who are you?"

One with a great deal of power to give. But is power what thou seeketh?

Tiras didn't need to think about his answer. His being was enveloped by his growing frustration and hate. "Yes. Everything was taken from me. Even with everything I know and had, everything I was taught, I couldn't protect anyone. My father's likely dead on my account, my mother and sisters are probably on the streets, my master is dead, and now I'm stuck on a deserted island infested with abominations and working with people I don't know very well, some of whom I can't trust! I must pay those bastards back. For that, I need power. I will have power!"

... The figure shifted, but it was too dark to tell how. He felt like he was being scrutinized.

"What is it?" he asked, feeling anxious the longer the silence went on. A few moments more, and there was another shift. The feeling of scrutiny went away.

Thou art lacking the strength necessary to accept mine own. However, thou carriest a source, and there is another I wouldst guide thee to. Follow the hidden path northeast. Thou wilt find her in yon Dragon's Library. She calleth out for thee.

"She?" Tiras asked the dark spirit, perplexed. "She who? What library? What source?"

"Sir Tiras..." A distant voice called to him. Tiras turned and looked up and saw a light in the darkness, shining..., shining... "...you mustn't..."

His head throbbed in sudden agony, and with a groan, the squire in green armor awoke. He hefted the halberd up, using it as a balance to pull himself slowly, slowly to his feet. Renata stood by him, and everything looked fine in the field. No glittering eyes, no figures he couldn't recognize. There was a burning fire in front of Raye, but it was slowly burning itself out. The grass was moist, and mixed smoke and steam rose from the flames, but could not obscure her silhouette. Lennox was nowhere to be seen, but Tiras was certain he was alive. He was too big and strong to let himself die in this place.

The squire raised his visor and immediately took a deep breath through his nose, before asking, "Is everyone alive? Are you alright?"
'You're not going to let that slow you down, right? I was almost cut in half. What's a little magic spell to a Hyperion?'

Shad's voice annoyed him. It was his own stupidity that almost killed him, not some mage hiding in the dark. And Bolt is a higher tier of magic than Shad can manage. "This isn't one of your run of the mill fire or wind spells."

'When has semantics stopped you before? Get yourself under control and walk it off. Weren't you looking for me?'

Now Carla?! That cousin took too much delight in having younger relatives. It's too bad she's tiny. "No...You had me looking for someone else. Then Cassie got involved. This isn't something a normal person can walk off."

'Lennox Hyperion...I've heard your name before. Wielder of the greatsword Dyrnwyn. Rumored to be a total monster.'

Lennox wasn't expecting that last voice. Illya of the Mahsa, if he recalls. She was the one that Carla sent him to find. The one they split up to find. He can still remember the stark white hair, the stunning blue eye, and her contrasting black cloak and boots. She was waging a one-woman war on the Emperor. What was it he was doing with his life? Going to the damned Dragon's Gate on behalf of the Lycian Cult. She had more courage the he did. He was just running away, a drifter. He was a walking disaster. Perhaps she was right. He was a total monster. Death followed him regardless of if he wanted to or not. So why wasn't he directing that power towards a target. He had a weapon that was made to match any of the relics the emperor may deploy against him. Lennox wasn't deserving of Tiras' trust. He wasn't worthy of being Raye's guardian. Wratt's scorn was not misplaced. He was a monster.

Lennox got up to his feet, still unsteady. Pain was the only thing he felt. His hand still had Dyrnwyn locked in his grasp. "You know what, Illya. You're right. I should embrace that more. I'm going to die fighting, but it's not this day. Not this place." He said to himself. He glanced to Dyrnwyn to see a bright flame emitted from it. Perhaps it's reflecting the renewed spark in Lennox, but it was a welcome sight in the dark. He walked over to his longsword and grabbed it, securing it to his waist. He then made his way towards Tiras and Renata. He looked down at his chest on the way and saw the damage he sustained. He tried poking at the area, but it was very sensitive. Guess he's not wearing a shirt for a while now. He eventually heard Tiras' question and responded. "Alive yes. Alright, that's subjective. Mages with lightning spells are much higher on my enemies to kill first list than they were before. Maybe followed by people with halberds."
"For a moment, I thought you weren't," Renata admitted as she slumped against the nearest wall to unceremoniously slump to the ground. "Maybe I should've become a cleric after all... I'd kill for some holy water right now." The words idly slipped out as Lennox shared his newfound (newly-rekindled, perhaps) hate for lightning magic. Her eyes, gazing blankly at nothing in particular, rested on a statue. It struck her as some sort of obelisk at first, until she saw the blank, weathered space where a face should be and the gashes where arms and wings presumably once stretched out proudly. "I don't suppose this is the Dragon's Gate," she murmured wistfully as her gaze turned towards what had once perhaps been an entry hallway. It was a gate, but it was no Gate, so to speak.

"Master Lennox." Your Grace? Your Excellency? She didn't know what title he would technically go by, but something gave Renata the feeling he wouldn't care for the honourific anyhow. "I don't care what house you're from, but— but a dragon..." She sighed. "I suppose I don't care about that either. You're right. We would've called you a madman if you'd told us." She looked to Tiras, hoping he was more in the mood for reconciliation after his brush with unconsciousness.
Things finally settled down. Raye could finally take a deep breath that didn't have to be followed by an exhalation of fire. She moved over towards where they were, with Tiras having woken up. That was reassuring. The dragon girl finally had time for the guilt of having to hide what she was hit, given that the others would probably be less hurt and exhausted if she had helped earlier.

Still standing a bit back she turned back into her humanoid form and looked over at them and then away a couple of times. 
"I..." Raye looked down at the ground. "I'm sorry for hiding what I am for so long..." Even though things seemed relaxed with the group, she was afraid that the lack of more pressing matters would flare up the reactions that Renata and Tiras had... Well Renata seemed to have calmed down, but that didn't mean the same would be true for both of them.
Tiras sighed.

"Raye, don't worry about it. You're fine. Lennox was right: if people knew who and what you are, they would be scared. Fear makes some people do very stupid things," he said. The squire glanced at Lennox. "Say very stupid things. Things that seem logical at the time. So, there's no apology necessary. I apologize instead. I wasn't fair to you or to Lennox." Tiras bowed slightly, acutely aware that too much tipping in his armor, and he would be off balance. The squire turned, and said, "Come on. Let's go inside and get some rest. We're not out of the woods yet."

Inside the structure was not a great deal. A few empty rooms where some supplies might've been housed once. An upper room with an abandoned altar. There were no beds in the place, and no doors left after however many years. He set himself down and propped himself up in a corner. He removed his helm, set the halberd to leaning, and unbuckled his sword, setting it across his lap. The squire fell asleep in seconds, aching all over, hungry, thirsty, and tired. He snored, but not loudly enough to be heard from the entrance.

His sleep was pleasantly dreamless. Until...

Master Lennox? That was a new one for him. Well, not really. It wasn't one he heard since he was a boy, anyway. Most of the people around the Hyperion estate since Shad came into power know that Lennox hates honorifics like that. "I said it to Wratt before, it's just Lennox. I'm no one's master, no ones lord. Just a man with an ancient enchanted sword," Lennox said to Renata, looking down afterwards. In his head, he thought that last part was a lie. He wasn't a man. He was a monster. But despite that, he couldn't bare to hear Raye apologize. She saved the day, she shouldn't scared that the others were going to hurt her.

"You've nothing to be sorry for, Raye. The blames falls solely on me. You only did as I told you to do." He reassured. He turned to Tiras who was glancing at him. Lennox let him say what he needed to say. He apologized, but Lennox wasn't going to sit there and take it. "You said it yourself. No apologies necessary. Besides, you lashed out at me. Nothing you said was directed at her. As far as I'm concerned, I could care less what you say to me in the heat of the moment. You can curse me up and down the the Bernese coast, as long as we make it off this island alive, I'll take it in stride. Being a little heated couldn't hurt in a fight anyway." Lennox said his piece and followed Tiras inside. He didn't stay inside for long. He stepped back out and ventured back to his cloak. He picked it up off the ground and gave it a look over. Thankfully it was more intact than he thought it was going to be. He donned the cloak once more, relieved it wasn't gone for good. Even if he seemed willing to part from it, it was the essentially the last thing his mother left him. "Forget what I said. This horrible island won't be your resting place. I'll just have to get you patched up is all. What's a little exposed chainmail?"

As he made his way back inside, he contemplated take a nap, much like Tiras had. It had been a long day, after all. And after hearing voices earlier, it probably was a sign of sleep deprivation. Lennox decided against it. He leaned Dyrnwyn against a wall and took out his longsword. He began training against an invisible opponent, the morph with the halberd. He was swinging at nothing, if the others saw him, but he saw that morph. At first. Eventually his visage changed to an older foe. Corrin Hyperion, the previous wielder of Dyrnwyn. Instead of reliving the fight they just ended, he was reliving the Siege of Cercium Keep, where he fought Corrin to the death while Leon and Carla watched. He zoned out almost everyone else and focused on his fight - his training.
"Fine," Renata replied to Lennox. She had refrained from the cheeky "milord" again, at least. To Lennox's credit, she should have done away with courtesy some time ago... about the time they had landed on the island, in fact. Or maybe when the ship had started sinking. Or when she'd decided to join a group of mercenary toughs on this doomed expedition in the first place.

After a cursory check of the environs to make sure nothing was lurking (not that she could see much in the dark), Renata settled down in the same room as Tiras, in an opposite corner. If something tried to attack one of them, the other would have plenty of time to react. That was what she told herself, at least. For some time, she reclined with head cradled by her bunched-up cloak; still, sleep eluded her. She felt a presence... no, more of a gut feeling. As if the island itself were disappointed the group was taking the evening to rest instead of forging ahead towards... wherever they were going. Which would likely be nothing more than their final resting place, all things considered.

We'll never make it off this rock.

Yes, you will.

Carefully, Renata raised herself up to seek out the others. Perhaps a little conversation would do her well. She first happened upon Lennox, who was absorbed in his training, before finding Raye. The real-life dragon. The one who, presumably, truly had business on this island. Even if it was the end of the line for everyone else, it was more likely not for Raye. "Is anything about this island familiar to you?" Renata floated the question. She was aware Raye had no reason to tell her anything. Perhaps if she shared something about herself first... "I served the Church, once." What an awful thing to share, given the reason they were all here in the first place. "But I— I don't anymore. I'd hoped to sabotage their mission, but... well, someone else beat me to that." She forced a mirthless chuckle.
There was a woman in his dream. He thought it was a woman. It looked like a woman. A very attractive woman.

She appeared out of the shadows. She had long, wavy blonde hair, skin pale as the morphs, glowing blue eyes with black sclera, and she was an unsurpassed beauty. Her black dress hugged her figure, but it had no shoulders, the dress wrapping around her arms and reconnecting in the back. The skirt was down to her ankles, but slit up one leg.

Tiiiiiiiiraaaaaaaaaaaas... she called softly to him, before being pulled away as if by force. Tiras felt himself rising, moving to go after her.


Tiras walked in body, wearing his sword, helm, and carrying the halberd, but eerily making much less noise than usual. He walked with sure steps, out the door, past Renata, Raye, and the training Lennox, towards the northeast. He rustled through the grass, leaving a trail of bent fronds.

There was no caution, no care, no fear.

Something was wrong.


Tiras wandered closer and closer towards the pale-blue glow of her eyes, feeling as grass was crushed under his boots. He had to reach her. She was waiting for him...

She called out to him...

"Per... se... pho... ne..."
Raye relaxed as it seemed like everyone was no longer so caught up on what she was. The mood still wasn't great but at least she could stop worrying about everyone turning on her as soon as they didn't have a common enemy anymore. Even though they were all still trapped there, the worry from that could still cause them to turn against her. There were reasons why Arcadia existed after all.

Tiras seemed to go off to sleep, probably not a bad idea for most of them giving how much fighting they had gone through, but Lennox and Renata stayed awake. Renata asked her a question, causing the dragon girl to jump a bit as she was looking around the the building they were taking shelter in. "No... Sorry... I've never been to this island before. It's part of the reason why I wanted to come along, to see the Gate and everything given... well I don't need to explain why it's important to me I guess... Oh!" She exclaimed, suddenly remembering something that happened earlier.

"But Nergal! Yeah I met a Nergal once! It was a loooooooooong time ago though. He was scary-looking so I didn't talk with him. He might be the same one these people keep mentioning."
"No need to apologise," Renata murmured with a shake of the head. She sat in thought for a moment. "I would have gone too, given the same circumstances." She thought of Laus. Though Thria was the place she'd come to know as home in her life, Laus was where she came from. It was hardly an isolated ruin at the end of the world, but... No. She was trying too hard to relate. Renata had no idea at all of what Raye must be feeling: there was no "Humans' Gate", as it were. All she could do was hope that Raye would find whatever it was she was looking for in this place.

"Interesting." She nodded in response to Raye's description of Nergal. "Well, here's hoping he's long gone. If he's the leader of those creatures— What the blazes?!"

Tiras had just shambled past them.

"Sir Tiras!" Renata hastened to catch up to the ambling squire. "What are you doing? Have you gone mad?!" When she received no response, Renata attempted to grab him by the arm only to find herself shrugged off effortlessly. His unnaturally steady gait wasn't marred in the slightest. She looked back to Raye, Lennox, and the ruined keep, then back to Tiras again, and decided to follow him. If she lost track of her other comrades, she could double back to the keep to potentially meet up with them again, but she wasn't about to let one disappear into the night with no questions asked. She stumbled upon uneven ground and struggled to keep up until her feet found the path that Tiras had already made... then he spoke a name. "Who is that?"

He's just sleepwalking. Just sleepwalking...
Tiras walked with sure steps for about an hour, leading Renata in silence to another ruin. Also small, like the last one, the smallish structure was overgrown with weeds. Even in the moonlight, the roof was discernably cracked open. Dark, abandoned, and alone. Not even the faintest sign of morphs here.

Tiras awakened, noticing that he was on his feet, and in a different place than he left. His sword and helm were on, and his halberd was in his hand. He raised the visor so he could see a little better. This was a darker, more forbidding place than the last time.



The squire looked around for the voice, noticing that Renata was standing behind him, her concerned expression mixed with fear. Yet it was not her that called to him. He looked around, and heard his name again, coming from deeper within the structure. He walked in, turned left, and beyond the throne room, there was a library. She called him again, and in the moonlight flooding in through the ruined ceiling, he saw a book, glowing to his sight. Black, with purple, blue, and gold accents.

Like her.

The squire wasn't sure where that certainty came from, but he grabbed up the tome quickly and went out the way he came.

"Renata, are you still here?" he called, looking around for her.
"Right here," Renata replied, also emerging from the ruins. Even in the dark of night, the unmistakeable musty smell of stacks and stacks of bound volumes had led her to tail Tiras into the library. Perhaps, in different circumstances, she would have felt compelled to browse the shelves, but books were a tricky thing. She still remembered the irrational fear the Church held for any tome whose pages had even the slightest chance of containing subversive information or forbidden spells, and she had no desire to disturb this place any more than she needed to lest she accidentally open up a book that awakened some vengeful ancient spirit... Besides the fact that it was impossible to read in the dark.

"Were you... looking for that?" Renata noticed Tiras was holding something. She had so many questions. How had Tiras found this place? How had he found a route that was perfectly invisible to the morphs? And who was Persephone? The brief sense of wonder she'd felt in the library was replaced by frustrated fear. What was he thinking? It's a wonder we're not dead right now! "Couldn't this have waited until—" She sighed, remembering the bizarre state Tiras had been in until he had become conscious again. Perhaps he hadn't been given the choice to wait until sunrise. Whatever the case, this was more than just sleepwalking. "What happened?" She looked back in the direction whence they came: without the ruins to orient herself, she would have found it difficult to retrace her steps. "Actually, let's get back to the others first. They'll want to hear about this too."
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