Shara couldn’t get ahead of herself. She had one last thing to do before she could finally take out Iden.
The meeting hall where everyone had gathered at Goren’s orders seemed especially quiet today. Mostly everyone was unnerved by Earl’s recent execution and no one was happy with being stuck in one room for nearly two full days now. Especially since Goren wouldn’t even explain why they were all stuck there.
Well, Shara thought, I know why.
They’d agreed that Shara would be the one to start it. There had been a...disagreement between her and Philico, but Shara had ultimately won out in that argument. And so she had the right to the first blood in what would be the worst massacre in recent history.
She gripped the medallion hidden in her pocket. That had been a more recent find, and thank Harmony for it. The medallion had come in handy, especially after her secret powers as a Thug had come out. She tapped the stores hidden in the metal, walking so she could get a better sightline for Dann. She grabbed a glass of water, discreetly mixing in the bits of steel one of the others had gotten for her. She downed it quickly, her nerves seeming to rattle, her heart pounding. She hardly even noticed that her hair was falling out of her neat bun on the top of her head.
Shara grabbed the coin hidden in her other pocket, took it out, burned steel, and turned to where Dann was. And she stopped for a moment, everything fading away as she saw Iden standing there next to him. Iden, who she had worked so hard for for so long, yet he didn’t care to do anything to help anyone but himself. He wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for her. And so, she changed her plans slightly.
Moving quickly, because there wasn’t much time and the others could be impatient, Shara moved to get a new angle on Dann and Iden. She needed to do this right. She didn’t have much power left in the medallion, probably enough for one shot’s worth to spare before she’d need the rest for the chaos afterwards.
She flicked the coin up into the air, and then pushed it as hard as she could. It flew through the air, shooting straight through Dann and into Iden’s chest behind him. She didn’t see Dann’s reaction before he dropped, though there probably wasn’t much of one considering the shot had killed him instantly.
Iden however, seemed shocked, a look of pure confusion on his face as he clutched his chest and fell to the ground. Shara ran to him, tapping pewter to push others out of her way as people began to realize what was happening. She barely heard the gunshots from the rebel guards as they turned on the few Loyalist guards that were left.
Iden was struggling on the ground, clearly struggling to breathe with the coin lodged in his chest. It was a pity that Shara’s shot had missed his heart for a bit.
“Shara...why?” He said. Even those two words seemed to be painful for him, and he coughed up blood after.
Shara could hardly make herself look at him, nonetheless talk to him. She forced herself to anyway, kneeling down so Iden could see her face clearly. “I’ve been wanting to kill you for so long. You’ve done nothing but help yourself, and help the others who profit off of the work of so many people below you. I worked up from nothing to get where I am now. And you wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for me. You couldn’t even spare a thought for my family, or for the countless other families out there who have been even worse off than mine. It’s finally time that we help people, Iden.”
Shara scooted away as Iden let out his final breaths. It was finally over. Or at least, the first step in their grand plan was finally complete. She still had work to do.
After what felt like an eternity of running and hiding from all the chaos, Yoden finally managed to find Goren in the confusion. The man didn’t even seem to be breaking a sweat.
“We need to evacuate.” Yoden insisted. “There’s too many of them - your blockade isn’t going to keep the Sympathisers in, it will only lead to a massacre.”
Goren returned a level-headed stare. “My job is to keep the problem contained. The situation is… unfortunate, but will be dealt with shortly. If we evacuate now, the Sympathisers will spread all over the city, spreading havoc everywhere they go. For now, it’s contained.”
“Is this what you call contained?!” Yoden yelled. “It’s a massacre! If I didn’t know better, I think you’d want everyone here dead.”
There was a pause. Slowly, Goren smiled.
Yoden backed away slowly. “Goren… What is this. This… isn’t something you’d do. You’re here to help people.”
No response. Yoden tried the door, opened it, and felt it slam shut again. Goren was almost on top of him. “We’ve had our disagreements, but we’re colleagues.”
Goren smirked, and slowly started to walk towards Yoden. “You have no idea how long I’ve had to put up with your idiotic blathering. Your questions. Your pathetic attempts at policy. I’ve dreamed of this day, when I wouldn’t have to put up with it anymore. And it seems the Survivor has finally smiled upon my request.”
And with that, Goren plunged the dagger into Yoden’s chest. Yoden wrapped his hands around the dagger in his chest, clutching it in disbelief, slowly sinking down against the wall as his vision went black.
Juno raced to hide when the screaming started. But they seemed to be everywhere, with nowhere to hide. If she’d been a little quicker, a little smarter, a little more willing to run when she had the chance… Nearby, one of the Senators screamed as a Boxing shot through his torso. Juno’s own Jacket should be able to protect her from the same fate for so long, but only if she found a way out first.
Juno rounded a corner, and found Goren and Yoden standing by a doorway - could it be an exit? If anyone might know, it’s possible they did. Juno raced forward - maybe this was her chance - but something was wrong. Yoden seemed panicked, pleading, as Goren grabbed a dagger he was carrying and plunged it through Yoden’s chest. Juno stopped, but before she could turn away from the scene, Goren turned and Juno saw his dark smile. Running wouldn’t do any good.
Time seemed to freeze. Goren’s awful grin, Yoden, clutching the dagger in his stomach with a look of disbelief and betrayal - dead, but still standing. Juno’s feet seemed frozen to the ground, until she noticed the thin sheen that seemed to lie between Goren, Yoden and herself.
She turned, and saw Philico standing behind her, seemingly uncaring of everything in his surroundings. One of the traitors. Either that or something much, much worse.
“Philico found your intrusions… troublesome, you know.” Philico said. Only, Juno could see now, it wasn’t Philico. Slowly his face started to shift and switch. First, Sweeper, then, faster and faster, a display of faces. AraRaash, Panini, Shara, his own face, for just a moment.
Juno’s mouth was dry. “So you were the kandra all along. I thought you might be.” Juno tried to put more confidence into those words than she felt. “You’re a… Slider, though. I thought you were a thief. Or, the person you’re pretending to be was a thief. Whatever.”
“A gift that came with this current body - he and his friends were great fans of playing with toys they didn’t understand. It’s… handy, though. I might keep it for a little while.” The kandra slowly collapsed out of a human form entirely and became translucent, revealing a nauseating mix of bones and, briefly surfacing, a spike, before it got pulled into the swirling mass once more.
“Are you here to kill me?” Juno assessed her options - against a Kandra, they weren’t good. And even if she somehow won, Goren was still waiting outside the moment the time bubble dropped.
The kandra seemed to consider the question - its faces moved between several emotions in rapid succession - joy, anger, fear. Eventually, it seemed to settle on an answer. “You humans attract chaos like a Koloss attracts flies. Any chaos I did, any that I could hope to do, was far outweighed by the chaos you caused amongst yourselves.” A rumble seemed to emerge from the writhing form. After a moment, Juno realised it was meant to be a chuckle. “No, you’re far more interesting alive than dead. Particularly with what’s about to happen.”
Somehow, Juno didn’t feel comforted by that answer. But the kandra went on. “The Sympathisers are wearing green armbands so they can identify one another during the massacre. Acquire one, by any means necessary, and you should make it out of here alive for what comes next.”
Juno paused. “Thank you. I think.”
“Perhaps we will meet again someday, human. I would take great pleasure in adding your bones to my collection.”
“Next time, you could just say goodbye.”
The kandra briefly materialised Philico’s face to smile, and deformed back into a blob-like entity once more. Then, faster than Juno thought possible, it dashed past Juno. She watched the bubble fall as all the sounds of the outside world came rushing in once more. The blob dashed at Goren, and before Goren had even taken a single step, a fist seemed to emerge from the mass, giving Goren a swift upper cut to the jaw. As Goren collapsed, the Kandra kept moving around him and the prone body of Yoden, leaking through the underside of the door, and was gone. In a moment, there was no-one else in the corridor beside the prone bodies of Goren and Yoden, and the discarded bones of Philico.
Juno forced herself to walk down the corridor towards the scene - she felt Goren’s pulse - there was still a beat there, so not dead, just unconscious. She grabbed the armband off his arm and then left to find another exit.
AraRaash once again found himself in the midst of a bloody battle over the fate of the Elendel Basin. He had seen many things over the course of his lives, and once again this was one of the deadliest moments he’d found himself in. He was tired of being important when it came to this planet’s people, but well...he did what Lamentation told him to.
And so, he found himself talking in the corner of a room to a man with a puppet while people died around them. It was a strange experience, to say the least.
“You’re a Rebel, aren’t you?” Bagel, the puppet said.
“Well, yes, I am.” AraRaash said. “If the gun I was holding to your head...or, well, to Panini’s head wasn’t indication enough of that, surely the fact that none of the rebels are trying to kill me should’ve clued you into that fact.”
“If you kill me,” Panini said, his face grim, “Bagel will hunt you down and enact revenge.”
“And how exactly will he do that? He is attached to you, you know.”
“I’m right here you know!” Bagel said. “You can’t talk about me as if I’m not here. I’ll make sure that no one ever remembers you after this, mark my words.”
“Well,” AraRaash said, “I’m the one with the gun, and because of that, you two are going to do what I say.”
Panini quickly ducked under AraRassh’s gun, going for AraRaash’s legs. AraRaash sighed, bending his legs unnaturally around Panini so he just slid under AraRaash. He quickly rearranged his body so that his torso twisted around to face where Panini now was.
Panini gasped, and Bagel beat him to speaking. “You’re a Kandra!”
“We’re going to tell everyone that you’re a Kandra,” Panini said. “No one will ever trust you again. All your plans will be ruined. You won’t get away with this!”
AraRaash rolled his eyes. “Of course I’m a Kandra! Do you think I care if people know that? I’m not even the only one here, though I think MarRiis was trying to keep their involvement here a secret. Anyway, everyone here will be dead by the end of the night if things go according to plan.” He paused. “You know what secret really matters, what’s really important?” He crouched down, and leaned his face closer to Panini and Bagel’s. “Bagel, you aren’t even real. If I’m fake, you’re even more fake.”
Bagel gasped, starting to shake his head. Panini looked horrified, and went to cover Bagel’s ears, but nothing could seem to console the puppet.
AraRaash stood up. “Yes, that’s right. You’re not real. You thought you could come here and blackmail me with all the little secrets you learned, but I had the greatest secret to blackmail you with. Your own unreality.” AraRaash nodded to himself, watching as Panini and Bagel slowly started to unravel, muttering to themselves reassurances about each other. “And now that that’s done, I can make my way back to….”
He trailed off as he turned back to the rest of the meeting hall. There were significantly less living people left. They must’ve spent a lot more time talking than he’d thought.
“Rusts,” AraRaash said. “He really did manage to trick me into wasting time. I missed out on all the fun.”
AraRaash made his way through the melee, killing anyone who tried to stop him and wasn’t wearing the blood green armband the Rebels had agreed to start wearing once the massacre had started. Once he was outside, he began to feel the pull from Lamentation once again. His part here was done, and he was needed elsewhere. But that could wait until the murdering was done. So he waited.
As the sun began to rise on the next day, not even a week after the news of the rebel attack had reached Garmet, Goren and the rebel survivors made their way out of the building. Most of them were covered in blood, and they’d lost a few of their own, but the mission was mostly successful.
Goren turned to look at the others. Some of them still seemed a little restless, as if they were almost disappointed that the killing was over. Most of them just seemed tired and ready to be done. There was still so much work to do.
“Shara,” Goren said, turning to her. She had been an invaluable asset to the Rebel cause, and her discovery of the medallion had served them well. “I want you to draft up a plan for how to deal with this city. We’re taking it over.”
AraRaash walked up. "I wish you all the best with that." Goren and Shara looked over at AraRaash with surprise. "Unfortunately, I have... other business I need to attend to."
Goren looked at AraRaash. "You've been of great service - I don't suppose I could change your mind?"
"Unfortunately not. You seem to have things under control, though."
"Then go well, AraRaash. May you bring message of our victory everywhere in your travels, so that others may replicate our success."
AraRaash nodded, and left.
Shara paused for a moment. “We are going to do this better than they did, right?”
Goren smiled. “Yes, we are. Work on making sure no one gets left behind in our improvements for this city. Even the poorest here will benefit from our coup.”
“And as for the rest of us,” Goren said. “We’re leaving the most political minded of our team here, along with a healthy force of soldiers, to rebuild this city from the ground up. I want minimal casualties and minimal destruction. And I want to recruit anyone we think would be helpful to our cause and is willing to make a long trip soon.” He paused, mostly for dramatic effect. “Because our next goal is to make the very long trek to Elendel. We’ve got more work we need to do there.”
Dannex was killed! They were a Loyalist Duralumin Gnat/Sparker Twinborn!
And that’s the game! Congrats to the Rebels, Ashbringer, Biplet, and Lotus, for winning! And an honorary congratulations to Matrim’s Dice as well, even though he got Kandrafied shortly before the elims won.
Oh, and a huge congratulations to Striker for running such a fantastic game. It was a blast getting to co-GM with him again.
GM thoughts will come later.
@Ashbringer - Rebel Soother/Skimmer Twinborn
@Biplet - Shara, advisor to a representative of the third Octant, Iden. Rebel Thug
@Szeth_Pancakes - Earl Euphemie, a journalist from the Elendel Daily, definitely not a highly trained assassin. Loyalist Nicroburst/Subsumer Twinborn
@Matrim's Dice - Philico, here to steal Faleast's Kandra thunder. Rebel Thief turned Kandra with a Slider Spike
@Lotus - Josephine, definitely not out of her league. Rebel Pulser/Pinnacle Twinborn
@Araris Valerian - Sweeper, a lowly cleaner of the political chamber building. Kandra
@The Unknown Order - Walker, who...walks. Yeah. Loyalist Slider/Gasper Twinborn
@DrakeMarshall - Juno, member of the Board of Somethingorother, and an enthusiastic protestor. Loyalist Archivist
@Jondesu - Myra, not witty or even particularly bright, but she’s honest. Loyalist Rioter Misting
@Archer - The Great Panini, wealthy patron of the arts and amateur ventriloquist, accompanied by Bagel. Loyalist Smoker/Sentry Twinborn
@Illwei Loyalist Seeker Misting and Hemalurgist
@Experience - Zara, questionably loyal, but in extreme ways. Loyalist Tineye Misting and Investigator
@Devotary of Spontaneity - Magrait, an amalgamation of Adomert and Inedze through their stored memories from a coppermind. Loyalist Spinner Ferring and Thief
@Azmine_king Loyalist Hazekiller
@Mist - Lumen, a secretary who's trying her best and wants to bring justice to whoever needs it. Loyalist Leecher/Soulbearer Twinborn
@|TJ| - Loyalist Lurcher/Trueself Twinborn
@manukos - Bill, Bill Door. Probably shaped like a triangle. Loyalist Augur/Connector Twinborn
@Dannex - Loyalist Duralumin Gnat/Sparker Twinborn
@Flyingbooks - Veren, assistant to the Elendel representatives, playing both sides to get the nobility less influence in politics. Loyalist Oracle/Windwhisper Twinborn!