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Rowen ducks back down under the surface to avoid the astronomically hot blast of heat and fire. He hears a splash: another ugly. His side suddenly stings fiercely. The thing hadn’t even attacked yet! A mangrabber frames it’s waist, then wastes the thing. Cye grins at him from behind his faceplate, as the water briefly turn red as the flare flashes past overhead. Better get up... this is starting to sting a little. Cye motions upward. Rowen nods. Torrent grabs his arm, propelling him up out of the water so he’s first surfacing. Rowen hauls himself over the breakwall, feeling his mood deteriorate as he sees more soldiers running towards them. "God damn it," he pants. He’s running out of steam fast; he didn’t have all that great an endurance to begin with anyway. Now he had the problem of feeling weak from being out of his element. Before he can react, though the soldiers crash into something, falling all over themselves. "What the...?" Rowen leans heavily on Cye’s shoulder. A deep, familiar laughter echoes through the dock yard. Then the even more familiar spider webs of energy lance out in all directions, capturing soldiers in their area. Dais drops his illusion and brings his energy web back around to further cordon off the area. "Did you find what you were looking for!?" Cye calls to Dais, who nods in response. From the direction of the ruined warehouse, they see Kento emerge with a small girl in tow. A girl holding a kursari-gama and the Ancient's Staff: Kayura. The Warlords wander off to finish what’s left of the soldiers. Rowen staggers against Cye, wondering why he felt so dizzy. Kento and Kayura jog up, shouting greetings and customary trash talk about the enemy. "Hey, Ro’. You okay?" "My side’s stopped hurting. But... why... am I... so dizz...-*" Kento lunges forward to catch Rowen’s shoulders as he faints; easing him down to the ground. Sage, Ryo, and Cale emerge from the fog, looking fatigued. When they see Rowen sprawled on the concrete, however they forget some of their exhaustion and rush over. "What happened?" Ryo blurts, on the verge of one of his guilt trips. He had been supposed to watch Rowen’s back. Sage kneels, placing his hand on Rowen’s chest. His healing powers ripple outward in invisible and gentle waves of warmth and into his friend, bringing him back to consciousness. He helps Rowen to sit up, supporting him with a steadying hand. "Wha’ happened..." Rowen mumbles, his face still pale. Sage pours more of his healing energy into him to bring his blood pressure up. Sage pulls Strata’s arm up over his shoulders and hefts him into a standing position. "Passed out, man. You okay?" Rowen puts his hand over his side, pain turning almost white hot. He gasps the word "No." Kayura’s staff starts ringing and clanging, warning her about something. She whips around and starts running in the direction that Dais and Sekhmet went. "Dais!! Sekhmet!! Watch yourselves!! He’s here!!" she yells as loud as she can, putting on a burst of speed. As she rounds a corner, she hears Dais scream in pain. Kayura’s sprints faster, her lungs feeling as if they were on fire for the first time in her life. Finally across a good stretch of the dockyard, she finally sees Dais hunched over on the ground; his helmet gone. Sekhmet is facing down Zanaton, all of his swords slashing through the air; his two arms seem to become six. The rogue lord is pelting him with all sorts of telekinetically thrown debris. Then Zanaton must have said something to the Warlord of Venom, because Sekhmet explodes into an uncontrollable rage. "SNAKE FANG STRIKE!!" Kayura has never seen the Warlord use his Strike like this before. He never has unleashed this much power before. Yellow streaks of energy whip out at his enemy, so bright that they leave fiery after-images. She can barely keep track of which way the whip-like beam of energy is moving. Zanaton blocks the bolts with telekinetic shields, laughing and shouting something else; but she can’t hear what he says. "BUTCHER!!" Sekhmet howls, abandoning his swords, and actually managing to throw the lord bodily with his own telekinesis. Zanaton vanishes before he can impact anything though, taking his soldiers with him, still laughing at the Warlord’s anger. Sekhmet stands there panting, his body shaking with fury that he no longer has any direction for. Dust and debris leap away from him as he unleashes a telekinetic shock wave. He tips his head back and screams in insane fury. He rips some more debris off the ground and hurls it at the spot where Zanaton was before he vanished. Kayura chooses to leave the warlord to his deranged tantrum. She kneels by Dais. He’s gasping in pain; his hand pressed tightly to his eyes. Blood drips between his fingers. His eye patch is obviously gone, the cut across his forehead sliced right through the area where the strap had been. "Dais, let me see," she whispers, lightly gripping his wrist. Dais shakes and rises up just a little. He drops his hand, trying not to panic. His missing eye had taken most of the blow, but his right eye is rapidly swelling shut. "He ripped my helmet right off. Wasn’t any warning..." Dais gasps. Kayura glances around, trying to locate his missing helmet or what could have done this. There was nothing nearby that could have cut him like this. "How did he--?" "He used some glass or metal shards..." His voice barely audible; he’s starting go into shock. Sage kneels beside Kayura, and hold his hands in front of Dais’s face. He reaches back into his healing powers, hoping they could help him. He feels Dais start to relax, but suddenly Dais screams. Blood oozes from his good right eye; Sage stops his attempt to heal him. "We’ve gotta get him to a Med Center or hospital. I can’t heal that." Cale rips off a few sections from his cape and offers them as a temporary bandage. Kayura accepts it and carefully ties them around Dais’s head and eyes. "Ryo told me he thinks Rowen’s ribs are broken." Cale adds; then straightens and looks over at Sekhmet. "Um. What should we do about Naotoki?" "'Naotoki?' Who’s that?" Sage asks, suddenly confused. Kayura answers, "That’s Sekhmet’s real name..." She turns to watch the Warlord, who had gone to muttering to himself. Sekhmet wanders around in a kind of aimless path; his brain turned into a veritable maze on him. He takes off his helmet, lets it drop. He puts his hands over his ears and shakes his head back and forth. He starts to talk to himself again incoherently. "Cale, take him back to the Netherworld," Kayura orders. "Kayura, I don’t like this..." Cale says, backing up. He shakes his head, and begins to turn around like he wants to get away. He’s scared! Sage thinks, almost amused. Not that he could blame him, though. "Cale, I’ll help you. I don’t think he’s too much of a danger--" "I’m not," Sekhmet states, suddenly lucid in a startlingly fast transition. "I’ll go back on my own. I think I want to be alone anyway..." He teleports back to the Netherworld without another word, leaving everyone gaping. "Spooky," Sage whispers to Cale, who agrees with a slight nod. "Just like that." Cale helps Dais to stand, then walks with Sage back to the cars. Everyone sheds their armors and sub-armors, there was nothing else they could do here. Cale gets into Sage’s jeep with him, which was serving as the equipment vehicle. "Y’know, even after all this time I still can’t handle him. He’s been... unstable for as long as I’ve known him," Cale tells him as Sage pulls out behind Kento’s van. Sage nods, just listening. He hated to admit it, but Cale had become a friend. He wasn’t all that bad a guy, actually. "Any idea what Zanaton said?" Cale shakes his head. "No." He watches the scenery stream by for a moment. "Those weren’t normal soldiers. Did you notice?" Sage has to think for a moment, but realizes they were different. They were thinner and more streamlined. And even more brainless than the normal soldiers. Cale watches his face for a moment. "They weren’t being controlled very well, Sage. They were meant to delay us. Nothing more." Cale pounds his fist against the armrest in frustration. Sage has to agree, but this was starting to feel like this went farther than just simple infighting within the Dynasty. Much farther. End Chapter Four Hello from the authoresses (whatever) Jinx and I have been working extra hard in our dungeon to get this chapter and the next done between exams. If you find any mistakes please let us know! That would be soooo embarrassing! - Jedi, with Jinx leaning over her shoulder