Elysian Vanguard Nasazura's Rest: A Missing Comrade


Draconic Administrator/Mentor
Nasazura's Rest was a hive of activity on the day of the unexpected attack upon Westeria City, and the subsequent aftermath that swept the entire planet. While in recent times the temple had largely fallen into a state of general calm with many of their number having scattered across the lands to resume their lives while times had fallen to peaceful years. That had changed.

Many of their Order had already responded to Rhea's call. Those able had already begun to return to the temple to pledge their services once more to the Light in their time of need, but it would be days or weeks yet before many of them reached the remote mountain stronghold . Others had made contact already to voice intention to aid from afar, unable to make the journey for various reasons. The years had claimed many of their number though, and they would need new blood if they were face the perils that lay ahead. But that was a matter for later. For now Rhea needed to organize what she had at her disposal and prioritize the issues at hand. Once the immediate crisis was stabilized they could look to the growth of the Order.

The crisis in question at this very moment was that of one of their own, seemingly lost during the battle that swept through Westeria City. Turned against his own comrades if Elante's report was to be held as accurate. She had no reason to doubt his words though, even against the seemingly unlikely odds that Aeryn would betray them. Something was amiss.

Rhea had not overlooked the urgency within Elante when he had informed her of the situation, but neither could they afford to lose him as well if this unknown enemy could so easily sway one as devout as Aeryn. A plan and great care would be required in pursuing Aeryn, and for this reason she had instructed Elante to return to the temple before any further action be taken.

Word had already reached her as to his approaching return, but rather than summoning him to herself she opted to meet him out on the open grounds. It was good for morale to see her out and about rather than cloistered away in the Inner Sanctum, and she could certainly use the fresh air.

It was with purposeful steps that she descended the steps to the courtyard out front of the temple, and it was there upon a stone bench that she awaited Elante's approach.
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It was on the back of a great celestial serpent that Elante descended towards Nasazura's rest, landing just beyond its courtyard. Still clad in nothing more imposing than the shirt and jeans he'd been wearing when the attack struck, the young wizard was uninjured, but looked worn down from exhaustion. He dismounted from the serpent with some amount of discomfort - it had been a long flight, and the back of a couatl was hardly the most comfortable means of travel. The celestial turned towards him as he alighted, giving him an inquiring look.

'Do you require me still, Elante?'

He hesitated, but after a moment, shook his head. "No, you've done a great deal for me already. If I need your help again I'll call on you, but for now, you can go. Thank you."

The serpent nodded its head. 'I wish you luck in finding Aeryn. Light guide you, young one.'

With that, the celestial vanished, departing the plane with a flash of light. Elante took a moment to collect himself, rubbing at his temples and sighing. How had things gone so terribly so quickly? Just hours ago, his biggest worry had been Aeryn getting in trouble with the police for collateral damage again. Now, he was gone, and had apparently had his mind taken over by their enemies. He didn't even have any guarantee he was still alive, since he'd discarded his half of their heart's promise locket.

But there was no use dwelling on such possibilities. Straightening, he turned and hurried into the courtyard, quickly spotting Rhea and making his way over to her. "Rhea, do we have a plan? Have you been able to learn anything? I've asked Scarlet to try and find someone who can scry for him, but she hasn't contacted me yet, so I assume there's not been any luck so far..."
Rhea was quick to rise to her feet and to hold a hand up to stem the rush of questions and words from Elante. "Akosua is trying to locate him as we speak," she assured him. "The planar instabilities have clouded her visions though and she has traveled deeper into the mountains in the hopes of gaining some clarity. Syvil has accompanied her. In the meanwhile, I'm putting you in charge of this matter," she added. "You know Aeryn better than anyone, and you know his strengths and weaknesses. Get a team together, and you can leave the moment we know anything."
Elante nodded swiftly. "Right, yeah, of course." His mind whirred. Aeryn was undoubtedly stronger than he was by a not inconsiderable margin, and since his time in Lustre, he'd refined that strength with discipline. He was still himself, though, and despite having a far better mastery of his emotions than he had five years ago, he was still hotheaded. He tackled problems head-on, and was far from a tactician. He'd be a difficult enemy to overpower, but far easier to outmaneuver and out-think. Elante's expression twisted in a grimace, hating the fact he was being forced to think of his husband as an enemy. The situation demanded it, though. If he wanted to help him, he needed to be ready for the worst.

"Aside from his hot-headedness, he's an extraplanar being. Other spellcasters who can take advantage of that could be useful, if we have any on hand. Otherwise... he still has the elemental bracers, so anyone I do take needs to be confident in either avoiding that kind of power or withstanding it. Even without them, he can hit hard enough to break a normal person in two, and he's got the speed to match. And by what the WCPD told me, he's... not been hesitating to kill." His expression darkened, and he fished a small amulet from his pocket - the twin to which hung around his own neck. "Whatever's been done to him, I don't know how much of him is left, and how much he might have changed. He must have left this behind as soon as he realised someone was tracking him with it."
"The solution to the elemental bracers I believe lays here within the temple," Rhea replied. "Come," she added as she led the way up the steps of the temple with Elante. They didn't have far to go as she stopped before the doors to the Inner Sanctum, briefly moving her hand to invisible points upon its wooden frame, activating and deactivating a series of complex wards before the doors swung open smoothly.

She led them then across the Sanctum towards the back wall - and the warded door that led to a secure vault. It took her longer to unlock this door through the complexity of wards layered in a protective web-work that would have left even the most experienced of dispellers trying to unravel it for days. Unlike the main door to the Inner Sanctum, the vault was something they did not enter very often, and the stakes where much higher should an enemy gain access.

As Rhea finished de-activating the wards though, the circular door began to grind and various gears and discs began to spin and whir before it finally opened before them.

The interior was devoid of the extravagant decor of the rest of the temple, but the simple and unadorned nature of it seemed to only accent and punctuate the large array of artifacts upon display throughout the vast chamber. Some sat upon pedestals, while others hung upon the walls, and yet more where sealed away in chests and boxes specially crafted and enchanted to contain more nefarious energies.

It was to one of the many pedestals that Rhea led Elante though, and to a sight most familiar to him. Hovering just above the pedestal seemingly held up by invisible arcane energies was the Elemental Shield slowly turning in place. The artifact, matching in power equal to that of the Elemental Bracers, had within it the power to neutralize any attacks that Aeryn may unleash.
It didn't take a genius to realise what Rhea had in mind as they approached the vault, and Elante nodded to himself as he awaited the deactivation of the wards. The shield within would readily match the bracers, provided it had a wielder proficient enough to use it effectively, but it would prove a valuable asset in protecting the team from the bracers. It was a good start, and if he took the right people... well, Aeryn was only one man, even if he was among the more powerful of the order. They would be able to subdue him.

What they had to worry about more, was what company they might find him in. Whatever had turned him into an enemy side could still be with him, and if they lost their minds too... things would only get worse. "I can try and work on getting some mental protections for a team..." he murmured, half to himself. "Though without knowing the methods they used... enchantment magic, psionics... it'll be hard to guard against every possibility. Whatever it is, it must be something subtle- a brute force domination would never work this well on Aeryn, he's too wilful. Some sort of mental trick, then, subverting his mind rather than overpowering it. Likely harder to undo, as well."

There was a look of contemplation on his face, then, and he glanced across at Rhea. "Maybe Whisper. What do you think? She demonstrated a lot of strength of mind in recovering from what happened during the war, and her psionics could potentially be valuable in helping Aeryn come back to himself, as well as protecting us from suffering the same fate."
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"Whisper?" Rhea mused.

Whisper had certainly proven useful in the war against the Orsa of Terminus, once the demon's influence over her had been broken. The girl had largely opted towards more peaceful ventures since the end of the war though. Would she still prove as potent in battle? She admittedly hadn't much followed the girl's progress in the past several years. Given Whisper's penchant for avoiding the temple or lengthy involvements with her fellows, it had been easier to simply monitor her from afar and leave her to her work.

"Her abilities are undoubtedly powerful, assuming she's kept them honed," Rhea agreed. "She's currently in Windcrest, aiding the orphanages there. I can send word for her to return to the temple."
Elante nodded briskly. "Good. I'll see who else is available and get a shortlist to you before the end of the day, so that we're ready to set out as soon as we have a lead."

The young mage carefully lifted the shield from its pedestal, fixing it to his arm experimentally. He doubted he'd be the best choice for holding the thing in the end, but he was glad it was at least light if it came to it. "Let me know if you hear anything," he said by way of farewell, turning to Rhea. And with a final nod, he made to hurry from the room.
It was nearing dusk by the time Whisper had reached the temple, a feat that should have taken several days if not for the girls unusual mode of travel. Her appearance was rather abrupt, but hardly the strangest thing to go on about the temple on any given day as a distorted phantom form wavered like smoke upon the steps of the temple before solidifying into the form of a young woman with stark white hair and pale skin.

She didn't miss a step as her feet struck the stone steps of the temple and she ascended them towards the vestibule. She wasn't hurried in her steps, but such was the way the young girl moved that she could clear vast distances, or even short ones with minimal effort while remaining seemingly relaxed and unhurried in her efforts.

She had no need to ask for directions as she entered the temple and made her way towards the library upstairs. Rhea's summons had been enough for her to know whom it was she sought, and the familiarity of Elante made locating him a simple enough task. She could pick up on his urgency the moment she set foot within the temple, and she honed on upon it as she forsook the passageways in favor of simply phasing through the walls of the building as her form grew wispy and intangible once more.

"Elante," she spoke from the far wall of the library, announcing her arrival so as to not simply startle him by appearing out of thin air next to him.

It was the only word she spoke as she approached him with soft footsteps.

It was the first time they had spoken in several years, and she couldn't help but be thankful that it was temple business that had brought her here this day rather than a social call. It helped to ease an otherwise awkward situation. She hadn't really kept in contact with many of their Order, and had long ago turned to pursuits away from the temple to avoid the sense of estrangement that she often felt towards those whom she once stood alongside.
Elante looked up from the pile of books arrayed on the table beside him as Whisper spoke. The young mage had been passing the time it would take for the rest of his team to get ready by studying some simple divination spells. It hadn't been a school of magic he'd put much time into learning before now, and he didn't have the time to learn any of the more powerful spells, but even some simple tracking magic could prove invaluable if he was able to figure it out before they left.

He gave the girl a weary, strained smile of greeting, nodding to her. "Hey, Whisper. " If his stress hadn't been obvious to the empath before even entering the room, it would have been apparent to her from his voice and appearance. He'd hardly spared himself a moment of rest since returning, either chasing up people to recruit or otherwise finding something to keep him feeling like he was being productive. Like he wasn't just waiting around while gods-knew what was happening out there.

"Did Rhea fill you in?"