Anima: Beyond Malaz

Love and Loss

How can someone keep fighting when everything they fight for has fallen to ash?

• Day 216 inside the Arena Fragment preparing to battle Esorchan, Suitengu, and his massive iron chest, having had Fragment of Annulus activated.
• Elspeth has had a near aneurism due to the sudden lack of 3 personalities that were helping her keep her brain working. Balthazar and Vincent both couldn’t even move, as they were essentially being tenuously being held to the world via the power of the Reality Fragments that contain their own essence.
• All of the Fragment possessing parties feel like absolute garbage after losing all of their fragment powers had been stolen from them. Bo’sun pretends he isn’t injured, and Emack feels even more injured and useless then the rest, and Jack is very much smaller.
• Jack wants to know how this fragment that can turn off all others fragments exists even why. Esorchan informs them that it was an artifact in his old world that was bred to destroy gods and greater artifacts, and thanks to the powers and help from Vincent, cowering down on the floor, also helped him do it. They ask if there is some way to take Vincent and Balthazar out of the field of the Annulus so that they won’t die, but Esorchan says that there is no way off, and he won’t turn it off because he figures they won’t let him turn in back on before fighting them again (which Emack does admit would probably happen). Esorchan does scribe some mystical mathematical formulae in the air, and puts Balthazar and Vincent into temporal bubbles so that they feel less of the passage of time on them. Esorchan then teleports all of the crew back into the real world, to ensure that they are safely out of the way for the conflict.
• Due to the massive pain and suffering of the loss of the reality fragments, none of the pirates are really in fighting shape for a while. Esorchan says that he will allow them to rest until they are feeling better.
• They all decide to take an incredibly long nap until they feel better.
• 10 hours go by.
• They have a bit of a breather and feel much better.
• Monad is first, appearing disturbingly fast in front of Bo’sun, faster then Emack can throw up a shield, and brings her bound arms down on Bo’sun for a hit, that his armor soaking up a great deal of the damage. Ryn fires an arrow at Esorchan, which tears through his chest, dropping him to the floor. But a ring on his finger glows, and he stands back up at full health and unharmed. She sees a small white cat ring wrapped around his finger, so Ryn backs up slightly. Jack charges Esorchan, jumping behind him, and trying to disarm his massive, Eveningstar weapon, knocking it away from Esorchan. Jack says someone should probably try to pick it up. Fynn runs over, picks up the very heavy crystal weapon, and stashes it in his backpack of holding. Suitengu then flies over to try and charge Elspeth, but Emack throws up his shield for Elspeth, Bo’sun, Jack, Ryn, and Applejack, and then tries to block Suitengu’s blood wing barrage. Emack is able to save Elspeth from certain, blood-wingy doom. Emack nods satisfied by a job well done. Applejack charges Monad to try and attack it, but Monad dodges it and wings out with a countering armored limbs, but Emack is able to stop the attack, which further damages the restraints. Applejack then begins to transform. Esorchan scribes mathematical formulae in the air, and fires a Dark Beam at Fynn, but he Sleight of Hands the beam away. Everyone is impressed, and Esorchan takes off his half-moon spectacles. Bo’sun passively accumulates Ki and flicks baldness sweat at Monad. Jafar accumulates Zeon. Monad is first once more, jumps away in order to reach Fynn to try and get Eveningstar back, but Emack casts another shield to protect the rest of the party, and the attack gets through but doesn’t hurt Fynn, but it does break the bindings that were holding her arms at bay. Fynn begins to passively retreat, so Monad swings out with her now free hands, but Emack helps to keep the hit from hurting Fynn, but it does keep him close. Jack then runs over try and attack Monad, jumping behind her, slicking the blade into her to carve through her armored bonds, and then with his second attack pierces Monad’s chest and drops her to the ground. Ryn fires another arrow at Esorchan, this one striking him solidly once more. Applejack goes after Suitengu, staggering him for no damage with claws, but he blocks the bite with his blood wings. Emack waits. Esorchan shakes off his stunned self and begins scribing symbols again. Suitengu offers the party 5 Billion Gold if they let him kill Elspeth. Jack considers it, Fynn says they would need to do 5 Billion Gold each. Suitengu counters by saying that he could give them 2 Billion Gold each. Fynn doesn’t think its enough, Jack still considers it, Fynn suggests the crew should also get a share, Jack rolls a pair of dice to see, but he figures he can’t let him do that. Emack is pleased by all this by the fact that he wouldn’t have to try and block all of Jack’s attacks. Bo’sun charges Suitengu to kill him and protect Elspeth, driving Rah’s Lawgiver into his chest solidly, staggering the man, but the blood doesn’t go on the blade or fall from his sword. Jack and Bo’sun then have a poignant discussion about size mattering or not mattering, and how you use it, and Jack’s recent size changing. Ryn has surprised many people for her trio of arrows, firing at Esorchan, tearing through his arm and killing him, but the ring glows and he gets back up. Then the second arrow fires, striking him to nail his right foot to the floor after hitting him again, and then the third arrow drives through his head, but the ring picks him up again. Jack charges Suitengu, flipping behind him, and then attempts to disarm Suitengu’s blood wings, tearing through and dispersing them, but then they reform. Jack pouts and mutters “Damn” as he saves his extra two attacks. Emack accumulates Zeon. Fynn charges Suitengu and attacks with both of his weapons, Baby Nail and a +5 Short sword, Baby Nail driving in heavily into Suitengu’s chest, not paralyzing him but Fynn’s Electricity Damage does shock his system some more, so that when the short sword swings around it tears into Suitengu’s shoulders and drops him, his blood pooling beneath him like a normal human being. Esorchan, seeing all of his allies falling around him, removes his Ring of Nine Lives, drops it beside him, and holds his arms out to the side. Bo’sun charges in with the Lawgiver of Rah, unleashing his vicious strikes attack, and tears into Esorchan’s left hand as it tries to block, tearing completely through his arm, and into the body, and then destroying all of it. Esorchan’s destroyed body remains on the ground, his face slightly melancholy, but also nearly happy. Bo’sun smiles thinking that he was finally able to give someone joy.
• The Fragment of Annulus then falls to the ground slowly, and reverts back to its broken form. Then all of the pirates collapse again as all of their Fragments turn on at once in order to revert them back to their evolved stages. It hurts so much.
• Bo’sun wants the Eveningstar from Fynn, and so offers Fynn 1 Million GC. Fynn accepts that offer, and says they should deal with it later when they are back on the ship.
• They take the Fragment of Annulus, and also grab the Vest of the Archmagi, Ring of Nine Live off of Esorchan. Emack wants the Vest of the Archmagi, but Jack puts it on and quite likes it. Emack says that he can really use it better then everyone else, but Jack says he might like it, and then decides to say that he will give Emack the Vest, and then just hold it over him for all time about giving it to him.
• Jack gives Bo’sun the Ring of Nine Lives to take advantage of the not dieing, and Emack examines it to inform Bo’sun that there are 4 charges left on the ring.
• Emack recasts his LP and Resistances buffs on the entire party now that he has even more massive Zeon Regeneration. Emack also gives them all a Damage Barrier of 100 on everyone else.
• They then look at Suitengu’s golden cigarette case, so Fynn takes it, and Bo’sun wants to get to smoke one of the cigarettes. Fynn says he needs to pay him 100,000 GC (the number written on the bill wrapping the tobacco), which Bo’sun allows, takes it, and lights it with his eye, and smokes it for fun, wondering if he looks cool now. Fynn keeps the other 8.
• Fynn also takes Suitengu’s feather lined coat, but Bo’sun thinks Gutter might like it. Fynn says if Gutter can pay enough he might part with it. Black doves popped out of the lining as he put it on with Style. Fynn caught one of them and put it back in the pocket.
• Bo’sun takes some of Monad’s leathers and bindings as new S&M gear.
• Fynn also steals the massive technomagic chest that Monad was stored in.
• Emack learns Natural Maintenance, and Unlimited Zeon Metamagic Spheres.
• When Emack looks at the chest that Fynn gathered, he sees that it would be incredibly useful with his necromantic research. He and Fynn begin bargaining over how Emack can get it based on the training and education in the mystic arts Emack can provide for Fynn.
• They then realize that they haven’t divided up the Reality Fragments they got from Lucanor yet. Emack would like Chime, Bo’sun Golden Throne, Jack or Fynn both like the Sphere. None want the Tome just yet. They also want to figure out who should store the Annulus in order to hide if from everyone, so they choose Fynn’s backpack. Bo’sun gets Golden Throne in order to gain a +30 All Action Bonus thanks to being better at everything, Emack gets Chime and uses it to learn All of the Spells in any of the Books ever, Fynn gets the Tome and looks at it too find the entries for all of the party members entries, and is able to remind him of earth. Then they spent a lot of time looking up all the other Crew Member’s backstories mostly for shits and giggles. Jack gets the Sphere, and Emack tells him how to solve it.
• Having powered up with their new fragments, Bo’sun wants Millenium to come by so that she can try and read the Fragment of a Cookbook again in order to try and find some more valuable information in it. However, when Bo’sun called for Millenium she didn’t answer. All the pirates thought this was odd, but since it was Bo’sun they were too terribly surprised that someone would ignore him. Then they had Ryn call for Millenium, but there was still no response. Now all of them were worried. They decided it was about time for them to return to their ships in order to see what is going on. They have Bo’sun activate the Fragment of an Arena to take them back to their ships.
• As soon as the pirates returned to their ship outside of Ankara, they saw just why Millenium hadn’t answered. The city of Ankara was under attack, and this time it was not the measly force of a pair of elder demons. Fires engulfed the streets and buildings of the city and smoke stained the heavens and brilliant metals. Screams of the suffering and dieing also filled the air. A wall of light divides the world, hovering behind Francisco’s tower temples. Before the wall of light charge a horde of monsters serving the power of the Alabaster Wanderer: dragons, Forkrul Assail, Tiste Liosan, demonic entities of all forms, and swarms of humans. All had decided that The Alabaster Wanderer’s purpose was the only true meaning to what remained in existence, so they wished to help usher in the age of purity. They attacked the citizens of Ankara with abandon, and countless citizens were now dead, decorating the streets and ruined buildings. The humans didn’t even stand a chance against the forces arrayed against them.
• Turning to look out over the bay, the news only got worse. The pirates were upon the deck of The Wicked Wench, but neither it, nor any of their other three ships were in good shape. The Falling Dragon had almost entirely sunk, its deck ravaged and crew slaughtered. The deck of The Price of Knowledge was covered in the corpses of bhok’arala, one still standing upon the pile, dieing of countless wounds, still holding tall a banner waving the flag of Vincent Valentine, surrounded by the dead of both sides. The Black Pearl had suffered full crew casualties, and had numerous enormous holes in the side of the deck, taking on water and sinking slowly into the waters. Blood covered the deck of The Wicked Wench as well, and only two figures remained on deck. One was a massive, four-armed Great Imperial Demon, bearing a trio of fierce weapons (an enormous axe, a great sword, and a huge mace). The other figure was Gutter, but he was not standing. His lower torso lay upon the deck where it was torn from the rest of him, while his torso was having the entrails plucked at by the Imperial Demon’s forth arm, Gutter twitching feebly with every gesture and movement of the demon’s massive fingers.
• Upon noticing the arrival of the main pirates, the Imperial Demon smiled over to them all, Gutter still in his grasp. “The Alabaster Wanderer sends,” began the demon. He was never given the chance to finish his sentence. Bo’sun threw the Lawgiver of Rah into the demon’s chest. In the time it took for the blade to fly through the air Jack and Fynn had both crossed the distance to the demon as well, putting their potent magical weapons deep into the creature, along with several of Ryn’s arrows. The High Demon was dead before its corpse ever hit the floor, disintegrating into ash during the time it fell.
• Gutter smiled up sadly at his beloved Captain and other friends. He feebly began trying to speak to them, but they tried to keep him silent, telling him that he could tell them later. Emack tried his old healing magic, but found that all of it wasn’t enough to repair the extensive corrupting energy that had damaged Gutter. Therefore, Gutter pushed through the pain in order to tell his dear old friends all the things that he felt he needed to. He pulled an object from inside his now ruined bird jacket. It was a small crystal wind chime, which when rung gave off the sound of children’s laughter. Gutter smiled with bloodstained teeth. “The crew and I found this Fragment of Laughter when you gave us our last shore leave. We had so much fun, that it just kind of came to us. We were all planning on giving it to you as a surprise once you made it back to us from getting all the fragments from those other guys. It was going to be a surprise, so that we could see you all smiling again. Sorry it turned out like this. It was an honour sailing with you all.” “The time sailing together can’t be over yet,” muttered Jack as he took the Fragment. They only needed two more now. “Emack, isn’t there something that you can do?!” “”Maybe.” Emack searched through all of the new knowledge that he had gained from the fragment obtained from Lucanor. And found a new spell. He used it, fully recreating Gutter’s body from the molecular pieces of it left in the world, and then helped to transmigrate his soul back into the new body. Gutter, and all of their, relief was palpable. Then, began the planning on what to do next.
• Fynn took to the skies as a dragon, and began to assault the other serpents that dominated the sky. Bo’sun flew over to The Black Pearl so that he could begin working some quick repairs so that it wouldn’t sink, they would need its Warren traveling abilities to reach the final 2 fragments before things were too late. Jack organized strategies, and gathered up the bodies of his longtime crew, so that Emack could work his healing arts to bring back those that had been traveling with them the longest, and that had had the most impact upon their hearts. Elspeth unleashed waves of Light Beams in order to try and strike down any enemies that grew too close. Ryn ran up to her crow’s nest, calling for Millenium along the way. Millenium arrived bearing dozens of wounds that should have been fatal to anyone else. The traditional sparkle in her eyes had faded, and for the first time she sounded exhausted, apologizing for not being able to answer the earlier call. Ryn and Jack both wanted a damage assessment, so that they could learn exactly how much of a chance they still had.
• Millenium’s assessment wasn’t good. Nothing that any of the people that remained had tried was doing any good against The Alabaster Wanderer. Since its arrival no one had even been able to slow it down, and any that approached it were cleansed in his powerful light. She has been trying to help as much as she can, but has only been able to inhibit the paths of some of the minions coming towards them. There are still a few scattered pockets of resistance, but she doesn’t expect them to live much longer. Also, it sounds like Deckard Cain, Francisco the Magnificent, Kaard Lightblade, Kazrith the Infernal, and Madness are planning to assault The Alabaster Wanderer in order to try and delay it, seeing as they are the most powerful people in the city not directly linked to the Fragment gathering. Millenium then vanishes in order to try and provide what help she can to those that are still fighting.
• Hearing that his old friends are going into a battle that they almost certainly will not return from, Jafar turns to Jack. He removes his Fragment of the Gauntlet The Justice and hands it back to Jack. “I can’t allow my old friends to face a divine being that will lead to nearly certain destruction without me. We’ve done it before, and we will do it again. Going with you all has been very interesting, although not terribly safe for my health. This has been a very rewarding experience to slay numerous gods again.” Jafar then headed deep into the city once more, to try and help his old friends. Nearly a dozen dragons descended to hover above Jafar as soon as he got a ways into the city, unleashing a torrent of breath weapon fire down upon him. When the smoke cleared Jafar was still trudging forward, only his shield showing some worse for wear. A volley of attacks from Fynn helped repel some of the dragons, but soon the cloud of them then focused on Fynn.
• Numerous attacks then proceeded to descend upon Bo’sun, his tough hide taking a great amount of damage as he was too busy working on keeping The Black Pearl afloat to be able to try and defend himself. With every revived pirate Jack began to have more of the crew working together in order to prepare for a rapid departure.
• Ryn made it up to her crow’s nest to find that both Sparkly and Snuggly had also been killed in the struggle. Tears brimming in her eyes she found one final gift from them between their small bodies. It was a massive quiver of Spear-sized Dragon Slayer Magical Arrows, a dozen of them. Jack grabbed the small bodies so that Emack could bring them back to life, and Ryn began firing the arrows. Every attack struck a dragon and resulted in the enormous creature erupting in a column of lightning, and the Magic Arrow returning to Ryn so that she could use it again. Soon all dragons that were within Ryn’s enormous range were struck down, allowing Bo’sun to continue his repairs largely unmolested. Jack also had Emack heal the bhok’arala that had stood against so many foes upon The Price of Knowledge. Emack did so.
• Fynn came back to the ships, turned back into a human, and grabbed every munition that he had left. He then flew out over the city, carpet-bombing all collections of Alabaster Wanderer warriors that he could see in order to try and help any pockets of resistance that were still there.
• As progress on the ship repair continued well, Ryn spotted a massive collection of enemy forces moving towards the docks, and it would not be long before they might prove a great distraction and possibly even threaten to overrun them. Emack had brought all the key crew members back to life by this point and Bo’sun had mostly made it so that The Black Pearl was at least sailable. In order to destroy all of the approaching enemies Emack once more tapped into a new spell. This time, for one of the only times, Emack used an offensive spell, and summoned a meteor from the heavens in order to strike down the approaching army horde.
• It was then after that stage that all of the pirates’ Book of Cain pendants burst into smoke and melted from their chains. To further demonstrate what had all happened, all three of Francisco’s glorious towers vanished into the wall of light of The Alabaster Wanderer.
• Now that The Black Pearl was repaired enough to be Warren worthy, and their important crew members were revived, Jack pulled out his trusted compass, and demanded that the old hunk of junk point him towards the next reality fragment. It pointed forward, and as Jack walked around the mast the compass always pointed towards the mast. Jack looked up, and saw another flag flying below his own pirate jolly roger, a tattered and battered flag that was actually the Fragment of Bravery, rewarded for their standing within the city, and trying to help everyone else that they could. They grabbed the flag, and then Jack came to an important realization. He addressed the crew, and informed them all that he expected The Alabaster Wanderer must be in possession of the final Reality Fragment that they would need to make the new world. Jack therefore gave everyone a choice, the ability to stay at the docks and try to protect themselves, or to ride in with Jack to attempt to do battle with an enemy that seems invincible, that has the power to destroy worlds, and that they probably would not survive against. Not a single person left, they all agreed that they would sail with their captain to the very end. The powers of The Black Pearl’s warren travel chair had it so that it began to fly in to the city. Fynn asked Emack if he would like bo have The Wicked Wench carried into battle by a dragon. Emack accepted, and the two ships began to fly through the air towards their final opponent.
• As they began traveling forward, Balthazar informed Jack that thanks to one of his powers given by his incredibly potent Divine gift from C’iel to be able to initiate a Yihad, calling forth all powerful individuals that have a share in their interests to arrive in order to try and strike down the enemy with them as well. Jack has him do so, and so Balthazar calls forth as many powerful people as he can. He summons the dragons and forces of the Tiste Andii, powerful mages such as Bauchelain, Korbal Broach, and Iskaral Pust, the Malazan Army and Claw, and countless others.
• This tact inspired Bo’sun, and so he grabbed Jack, told Ryn to get her scrying mirror ready for turning into a portal again, and then Jack and Bo’sun vanished into the Arena Fragment.
• When they arrive Jack wants to know what he has to do. Then he sees what Bo’sun called. Bo’sun pulled in with them every individual that has ever felt oppressed, looked down upon, or rejected, all of the outcasts of the world, so that they can stand and fight against what claims to be delivering purity and unity by destroying everything. Jack expresses these sentiments to the gathered crowd for Bo’sun, and the huddled masses (which include the circus of the Fallen God from back in Unta) to join them in the assault also. They have Ryn use her Scying Mirror to turn into a portal so that all of them can join them upon the ships in order to begin the battle.
• Upon return this massive collection of the world’s remaining champions, they all loomed above a single, man-sized entity. The Alabaster Wanderer continued to walk forward patiently, its glowing white robes, hidden hands, and basking light where its face would otherwise be standing as an incredible beacon of purity in the surrounding destruction. It stopped walking forward when it saw the arrayed forces before it. The Alabaster Wanderer inquired if these foolish mortals believed that numbers would be enough to help in vanquishing them, when nothing from any previous world had been able to so much as tarnish their robes. Bo’sun said that it couldn’t hurt to have numbers on their side. The Alabaster Wanderer then set about informing its opponents just how out of their league they truly were.
• “You foolish entities believe that we refer to ourselves as multiple entities out of some kind of arrogance, such as royalty of some of the worlds. This is a mistaken concept.” A second form of The Alabaster Wanderer then appeared beside the next. “We are the vengeance of Reality, and there is one of us for every world that ever was, that ever is, and that ever could come into existence. Each of us holds the power to destroy a world within our grasp.” More and more Alabaster Wanderers continued to appear. “Any one of us has the power to end what was started so long ago. Now this world, and the one final one hidden behind it shall fall. Only one of us needs to survive in order to complete the work, and none of us have ever fallen. What makes you think that you have any hope against us.” At this point there were a seemingly endless number of Alabaster Wanderer’s standing before the wall of light. “Now you, the final impediments in our path will die.”
• Jack attempts to inspire his forces to begin the final attack, but The Alabaster Wanderer is in no mood to allow these filthy, corrupt entities to speak, and so a wave of Alabaster Wanderer’s surge forward to strike Jack, their hands one glowing pure black, and the other pure white. Fynn comments that its hands hold too many absolutes for them to judge. A wave of magic shields, and projectiles lash into the Alabaster Wanderer’s, many having to change their course from Jack as the power of the Reality Fragments allows the pirates to interact with them. Another Alabaster Wanderer appears behind Jack, and thrusts forward one of its hands. How blood splashes across the deck of The Black Pearl.
• Kruppe falls to his knees, a massive hole in his chest from The Alabaster Wanderer’s attack. Kruppe sighed, and in as shortwinded a manor as possible for Kruppe he said that he didn’t expect to go out like this, but that he leaves the fate of the world in the hands of Jack and his friends, and that he has a secret for them, because he knows where the last Reality Fragment is. As Kruppe’s smile begins to freeze on his lips, the final Reality Fragment appears before Jack, the Fragment of Miracles. With all 100 Reality Fragments gathered the Fragment of Miracles activates before the next wave of attacks could come from The Alabaster Wanderer.
• From the power of the Fragment of Miracles, all the powerful individuals of all destroyed worlds were able to arise and get one final attempt to fight back for the sanctity of the worlds, this time being able to harm The Alabaster Wanderer. As each collection of defenders of worlds appeared they pulled one of the Alabaster Wanderers into a sub-dimension with which to do battle against them. Vincent and Balthazar vanished to fight with the colleagues from their own world, and all of the other allies from Malaz took their own fights with other Alabaster Wanderers as well.
• When all was said and done there was only one Alabaster Wanderer left, and it stood against Jack, Emack, Bo’sun, Ryn, Elspeth, Fynn, and Applejack. The Alabaster Wanderer reminded them that only one of it would need to win in order to destroy all the worlds, so their fight might hold no meaning. All the pirates simply gave it a serious looked of unabashed intent, except Jack who grinned with his usual flair.
• It was time for the end to get underway.

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