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Template:PostIn CatH Post 43 two dark Æon, Sootik Kassuin and Aellisin Koure, battle for the fate of the planet Tangris. Clear tries to stop the superweapon of The Hopeful, which Koure had activated to destroy the planet below. However as she does so, Koure snaps her leg from its socket. Despite the injury, Koure is distracted enough with his fight against Kassuin that she is able to shut off the weapon. Clear manages to struggle towards her friends, Ffion Heul and Kokoro Lymn, who are fighting below. Clear passes her pouch of datura powder to Lymn. When Heul strikes, Lymn doesn't move and allows Heul's ruhand to pierce her stomach - much to the surprise of Heul herself. Lymn forces the powder into her friend's mouth. Kassuin flies across the room and strikes the far wall and Koure decides to punish Clear by yanking her second leg from its socket. Heul opposes him, now free of his pheromones because of the powder, but ultimately she agrees to serve him as she believes she has killed Lymn and lost her soul. While Koure goes to deal Kassuin the final blow, Heul stands over Clear and is ready to kill her, despite the tears in her eyes. Lymn is not dead, fortunately, and throws Heul across the room. Likewise, Kassuin used soul project to fool Koure into attacking a decoy and he slays Koure. He forces Clear's legs back into their sockets but he is no healer. Instead he allows Lymn to project her own soul into Kassuin and thereby forcing healing energy through him and back into herself. They are all taken to the Medical Bay but it turns out that Kassuin's student is missing and has stolen a ship. Clear offers to give chase with The Hopeful.

Post

The Dark Side

Aellisin Koure, with ruhand in one hand, opens his other palm.

Kassuin: "Powerful you have become, Knight. Great darkness I sense in you."

Koure: "I have become more powerful than any Lord. Even you."

In his open palm energy begins to surface and crackle. He lashes out suddenly and red lightning springs through the air. It twists and writhes as it screams across the room, striking the metal floor, computer consoles, the ceiling. Clear herself is jolted backwards by a rogue snap of soul-induced lightning. She rolls across the metal grates until she comes to a slow stop where she tries to look up to see what happened. Lord Kassuin has his own free hand stretched out and the lightning is being absorbed into a white sphere. When he's done the lightning is gone and the room seems all the darker without it.

Kassuin: "You still have much to learn."

Koure: "Hm. It is obvious that this contest cannot be decided by our knowledge of the soul... but by our skills with the ruhand."

Aellisin's mane flares red and he leaps into the air, crossing the distance between him and Lord Kassuin in an instant. Kassuin's ruhand rockets upwards to block the Falleen's downward strike. Block made, Aellisin jumps back a step, avoiding a counterstrike from Kassuin. Aellisin holds his ruhand with two hands, placing more weight into his strikes, while Kassuin continues to use just one hand, giving him more agility.

Clear turns from them. She just hopes that Lord Kassuin is up to the task. If he isn't, then she can, at least, stop her own ship being the demise of thousands. She runs across the grates towards the consoles at the far end. She looks at the screens and finds the countdown. Then the power levels. She presses a few buttons and lowers one of the power coils, resulting in a satisfying 'powering-down sound'. She accesses a second power coil but is suddenly whipped up into the air. Aellisin must have caught her in the corner of his eye. She manages to wriggle and struggle, evidence that his grip on her is weaker this time, but she's still unable to do anything while suspended helplessly in the air.

Koure: "Stop your attack or I kill the salmitton!"

From where she is she can see Aellisin standing off from Kassuin. Kassuin looks over to Clear and then back to Koure.

Kassuin: "I care not for the girl. I am no daoine, Knight. You mistake me for someone else."

Kassuin thrusts at Aellisin but he dodges out of the way. Clear suddenly finds herself flying through the air with great speed. She collides with Kassuin, bowling him over. Her roll ends, this time, next to the railing and legs swing off. She's able to grab the metal bars before falling and glances down at what would have been her demise. She sees her friends fighting each other below. Their ruhands are being projected without the use of their hilts and their attacks seem just as ferocious as the older men. Kokoro Lymn, however, seems less able with her sword than Ffion Heul, though Ffion seems to be clouded or holding back whenever it looks like she is in an advantageous position. Clear notices that while Kokoro's sword is stark white, Ffion's has a soft pinkness to it.

Lymn: "You were supposed to balance your soul, not leave it in darkness!"

Heul: "I hate you!"

Lymn: "You're my sister, Ffion! I love you."

Their swords clash. Clear scrambles up and stares down at them. She glances back to the consoles. On her hip she feels the pouch and opens it up. It seems Kassuin didn't use it all up when restoring Clear's senses. She has to get this into Ffion. But she has to save the planet first...

She runs across the grates again but, again, her movement attracts the attention of Aellisin and she's suspended into the air. Kassuin, however, uses his own telekinesis to bring down the ceiling ontop of Aellisin. It doesn't do much damage to the dark knight but it does distract him enough to drop Clear. She lands on her feet like a cat and rushes to the console. Another cylinder powered down.

Koure: "NO!"

Aellisin again snags Clear's leg and yanks it hard, pulling it out of its socket just before he has to resume attention on defending from Kassuin. Clear screams out in agony and falls to the floor. She wants to stop the pain but there's nothing she can do, no way to put the leg back. She writhes as pain washes over her mind. She can't consider anything else. Blue tears stream from her eyes.

It takes a while for her to push her mind back into focus and she pulls her back up against the console bank. Putting her weight onto just one leg, she climbs up the machine and hits the slider for a third cylinder of the weapon. It powers down.

The room suddenly erupts in red explosions. Blasts appear in thin air and explode in small bursts of flame and force. One explodes not far from Clear and she is thrown back down. Kassuin jumps and dives out of the way of them as they congregate around him. As one bursts in front of him he manages to absorb it as he had done the lightning. But this act leaves him temporarily exposed and Aellisin runs at him with a sudden thrust of the red ruhand. Kassuin twists to the side but his waist is seared.

Koure: "I have first strike. Are you concerned yet?"

He laughs and attempts to strike again but Kassuin is able to quickly block the strike and uses his telekinesis to blast Aellisin back. Clear gets to her single foot again and powers down the fourth, and final, cylinder. The lights in the room, that remain, flicker wildly for a brief moment before the voice of Mother is finally heard.

Mother: "Weapon off-line."

Koure: "Stupid ingrate!"

He shouts at her.

Koure: "Once I'm finished with this Æon fool, I'll render the rest of your limbs obsolete, salmitton!"

Clear tries to walk along the grates but falls down without the use of her second leg. She begins crawling, crying and moaning in pain the whole way.

Koure: "You've only delayed the inevitable. Once you're dead, Æon, I'll reactivate the weapon and your corrupt little planet will be annihilated."

Kassuin: "You won't defeat me, Knight."

Clear reaches the edge of the second tier again and peers down. Kokoro and Ffion are still fighting. She's trying to decide how best to get down there when Ffion glances up and spots Clear. A nasty smile appears on her face and suddenly she uses her own telekinesis to pull Clear through the railings and tries to drop her ontop of Kokoro. The consular, however, holds her hand upwards and is able to use her greater powers of the soul to lock Clear in place.

Lymn: "You'd attack Clear too, Ffion? You have allowed this dark knight to twist your mind and you've become the very thing you swore to never be!"

Heul: "Don't lecture me, Kokoro! I see through the lies of the Æon Lords! I no longer fear the darkness as you do. I will bring peace, freedom, justice and security to my new empire!"

Lymn: "Your new empire?"

Heul: "Don't make me kill you."

Lymn: "You know I won't betray the Æon Lords..."

Heul: "Then, if you're not with me, you're my enemy."

Lymn: "Only an Aos Sí or a daoine deals in such absolutes."

Clear reaches down towards Kokoro.

Lymn: "I will do what I must."

Heul: "You will try."

Ffion hurtles forward and, suddenly, her ruhand sinks through Kokoro's stomach. Ffion looks shocked and horrified, evidently expecting her friend to deftly avoid the attack. Kokoro reaches out and pulls Ffion closer with one hand, with the other she quickly forces the datura powder, which Clear had dropped when she reached out to Kokoro from above, into Ffion's mouth. Ffion recoils, spluttering. The ruhand pulls cleanly free and Kokoro drops to her knees. Slowly Clear is lowered to the ground until, abruptly, she plummets the last metre. She lands with a howl but she sees that Kokoro's eyes are closed. Pink goo oozes from the ruhand wound, which has pierced straight through her body. Clear reaches out to try and shake Kokoro awake.

A second voice howls in pain and then the body of Lord Kassuin flies over the top of the railing and crashes into the wall at the far end of the room. He then peels off of the metal and falls, face first, into the floor. Motionless. From the second tier comes Aellisin Koure, floating through the air as he uses telekinesis upon himself. He slowly and gently lowers himself to the ground, staring with happy malice at Clear the whole time.

Koure: "I see the Muovinian is dead already. It turns out the genetic mankeup of her species is immune to the pheromones of the falleen. I'll have to keep that in mind in future... as for you, salmitton."

He stands over her.

Koure: "Which limb is next? How about the other leg?"

Clear screams as her other leg is now pulled from its socket. She clutches her hips, then her head, trying to somehow deal with the incredible pain. She feels sick. 

Koure: "Next your arms. Then your neck. You'll be suffering when--"

Heul: "Get away from her!"

Aellisin looks up.

Koure: "Seems there must be some datura powder aboard. One female escaping my control can happen from time to time. Two? Student, you would dare to challenge your teacher?"

Heul: "I was not of my own mind. You manipulated me. I would never have allowed myself to be trained by a dark knight like you!"

Clear can see the anger and rage on Ffion's face, clearly upset by the death of her sister and being used by someone else. She extends her ruhand again, this time is is even more red than before. She growls at Aellisin.

Koure: "Good! Use your aggressive feelings, girl. Let the hate flow through you!"

Aellisin circles around Clear and Kokoro's body, focusing his attention on his student.

Koure: "Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant."

Ffion's hands begin to shake, torn between lust for revenge and the preservation of her soul.

Heul: "No..."

Koure: "It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You are now mine."

Heul: "No!"

She lunges with her ruhand. Aellisin easily avoids the attack and sheaths his own ruhand, causing the red beam to disappear. He seems happier than ever.

Clear: "Your overconfidence is your weakness, Aellisin!"

Koure: "And your faith in your friends is yours!"

He gestures towards Kokoro.

Koure: "This one defied me. She is no more. Even your Lord is... yet living it seems."

Aellisin's attention is drawn, Clear supposes, to the signs of life within Kassuin's soul.

Heul: "You'll have to deal with me first!"

Koure: "You begin to test my patience, Ffion Heul. You are my apprentice. My last student refused to yield too. He is no longer living. You would be wise to lower your ruhand."

Through tears of emotional pain Ffion, finally, gives in and lowers her sword. She's lost and confused and filled with regret. Clear doesn't call out though. Not yet. She doesn't want Aellisin's attention on her.

Koure: "Good. Deal with the salmitton. I shall finish off the Æon Lord."

Clear looks up at Ffion with wide eyes. Ffion watches her mentor approach the prone figure of Kassuin but then turns towards Clear. Her ruhand is still drawn and the young student looks down at it... then back to Clear.

Clear: "Wa-wait, Ffion!"

Heul: "I've lost everything Clear. My friend. My soul. My honour. My dignity. There's only one path left for me..."

She walks towards Clear.

Clear: "Ffion! That's not true! I know things seem desperate right now... but there's life beyond this!"

Clear tries to pull herself away from the encroaching student but her non-functioning legs are dead weight and she doesn't get far. Ffion stands over her, sword poised over Clear's chest.

Clear: "Ffion... don't..."

Ffion manages to speak through her own tears.

Heul: "I'm sorr--ack!"

Ffion Heul flies to the left, through the air, with such force that she lands amidst computers at the far end of the room. Clear turns, thinking she would see Kassuin, but it's Kokoro. The student lowers her arm back down and rests her head, once again, on the metal floor.

Clear: "Kokoro... are you okay?"

Lymn: "I don't think so, Clear. If you... if you speak to Ffion again... tell her I hope she can be better..."

Clear struggles to reach Kokoro and pull herself along side the other woman.

Clear: "You can tell her yourself. I'm not your errand girl."

She has no idea how to plug the goop. There seem to be no internal organs anywhere, just goop. In places it has begun to coagulate into a firmer mass. Clear puts her hands on the wound, trying to keep the goo inside. She looks over to Aellisin. He stands at a distance from Kassuin's body and has a large, pointed, piece of debris hanging over the Lord. He violently drops his hand and the debris crashes downwards, smothering the body. What he doesn't see, but Clear does, is the real Kassuin sneaking up behind him. Once the body is covered, Kassuin flicks his wrist and his ruhand springs forth. It cuts into Aellisin's neck where it remains for a long moment until Kassuin, satisfied with his act, spins to slice off the renegade's head.

Clear: "How..."

Kokoro: "Soul projection... He's an Æon Lord for a reason. Aellisin should have known better..."

Kassuin strides towards them.

Kassuin: "You both did well. Very brave. I'm impressed and I thank you on behalf of the Æon Lords and the Aos Sí."

Clear: "I think... we really need... Thrain..."

Kassuin: "Who?"

Clear: "Doctor..."

Kassuin crouches down and runs his hands an inch away from Clear's body until he finds the breaks. He looks into her eyes.

Kassuin: "This will hurt."

Clear: "It already hu--ARGH!"

He uses telekinesis to put the bone back into its socket. He runs his hand over the second leg.

Clear: "Oh no... wait... please... I ca--ARGH!!"

He does the same again.

Kassuin: "Do not move. They're back in place but you're going to need real medical treatment before you can use them again. That was the easy part. Now..."

He turns to Kokoro.

Kassuin: "I am no healer."

Kokoro: "I know..."

Kassuin: "But you are. I want you to exert your soul to boost mine. I know you've never trained for that, but I saw you projecting your own ruhand. You have the power. Think of it in the same way, just be careful not to project your soul in physical form or you'll wind up stabbing a sword through my skull."

Kokoro: "This isn't the time for... jokes..."

Kassuin: "I am not joking. No swords, please."

Kokoro breathes deep and closes her eyes to concentrate. Her face suddenly looks serene and trace-like. Kassuin's hands are now over Kokoro's wound and a faint blue glow ebbs from them. Clear can only feel hope at this point. She truly believes that Kassuin can save her friend. They've come so far...

Kassuin seems to strain as his forehead creases. Clear holds her breath.

Kassuin falls back and pants with effort.

Kassuin: "I'll never look down on healers again. I swear."

Clear looks at the wound. It looks terrible. But it isn't oozing anymore.

Kassuin rises.

Kassuin: "I've done all I can. The doctors will have to do the rest."

The next hour is something of a daze for Clear as she slips in and out of unconsciousness. As she does she thinks she remembers some of the time she spent under the influence of Aellisin's pheromones - leading him to the weapon room, giving him access to the systems, ordering Mother to accept his commands. She sees Alexis Thrain come in and start tending to Kokoro with bacta gel. Other Æon show up and start helping. Together they use their powers to carry Kokoro through the air, then Clear and then, finally, Ffion who is unconscious with a nasty cut on her head. She hears Alexis talking, mostly complaining about alien genetics being so foreign to her.

As she is carried from the weapon room she overhears Kassuin talking to one of the other knights.

Kassuin: "Where is my student? Why isn't he here!?"

Æon Knight: "He went back down to the planet, Lord Kassuin. He said you were sending him there on a mission."

Kassuin: "I did no such thing. What could he be up to at a time like this!?"

Another lord approaches.

Æon Lord: "Lord Kassuin, your student has gone awol."

Kassuin: "As I've just been disgussing."

Æon Lord: "I mean he's taken a ship and left Tangris. He's just jumped into hyperspace."

Kassuin: "What!? Why?"

Æon Lord: "I was hoping you'd tell me."

Clear: "Do you want to follow him?"

Kassuin looks down at her. The lift doors open.

Kassuin: "Yes. I'll tell the others they're free to leave in the next twenty minutes. Then we jump."

Clear: "Not a problem. Mother..."

Mother: "I am here."

Clear: "Prepare to jump."

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