Listless silver-cyan rays ripple the streets. Horned figures cluster around a half-finished scaffold of Archean black stone. Into this a hero comes: out from from the squirming depths of the bluish midnight lying upon the shadowed buttresses. Between the glinting silver spires, across the bas-relief bridges crossing the chasms that plunge down and down and down towards the distant seam where cobalt nova burns at the heart of Machrae Diir.
The shine of an unseen sun burns golden in his golden hair. It sets off the rich green of his jacket from the burnished dark steel of his armor, and glitters in the crystalline blue of his two-handed sword. He ignores the specters leering in the sky morass. Blinds himself to the inverse ziggurat beckoning on the distant horizon, and the titans with their melting flesh who surge up to grasp at it.
His sword’s point finds the back of the first demon he sees: tall and curling-horned with lightning phantoms cavorting inside her stained-glass skin. Crystal on glass shrieks louder than her cry of agony. She looks over her shoulder, first in shock, and then?
“Someone please bind him,” she sighs. “I swear, I was this close to figuring out what I want to do for this whole community invigoration project.” She shakes her head while other figures pounce. Snaring cables of dark energy and rose-pink fire snare the invader. He snarls, squirms, and has no one to blame but himself when he falls on his face.
“We should put some sentries out,” suggests a human, a witch with bone symbols woven into her braided black hair and marked in white ash on her dark skin. “Probably should’ve done that sooner.”
“Kai normally funnels them straight to Kdalthach Carogdem,” a handmaiden observes. Her veiled blue robes rustles with her shrugs. Her white tail hugs her ankles, rubbing up and down in embarrassment. “We’re not always sure what to do yet now that they get to roam freely.”
“Y-you should be destroyed!” the hero interrupts, spluttering. “T-this is the sword of–”
“Yes, yes, it’s some special relic sword that’s supposed to banish demons,” the first devil mutters. She reaches behind her. Her fingers sizzle briefly when she clamps them on the blade. Then the sizzling stops, and her touch opens empty spaces in the crystal’s magical glow. She wrenches the two-hander free with a last wince and casts it to the ground. It thunks rather than clanging, much dimmer for its troubles.
“Look, firstly,” she lectures as she turns to face the hero, “when you banish a demon, you return them to their home plane. Where we are already standing. Secondly, you… you do realize your blade’s power needs to overcome mine, yes? This isn’t a binary thing, it’s a contest of opposing force, like an arm-wrestling match, it’s…” She trails off, considering his confused stare.
“Now I understand why Kai is so angry every time she talks about the outside,” she says, rubbing her brow. “I swear, people put no thought into their powers or magics or what-have-you and then expect us to be overcome! We’re the children of the Lambent Halls, the kindred of the Galespire Sanctum! We–“
She stops. Takes cleansing breaths. “Enough. Let’s keep the spirit.” She baps the trapped hero’s nose. “Young man, I hope you learn something from this. The Lady taught us to look after ourselves. As for you…” She folds her arms. Notes the subtle widening of the hero’s eyes at the effect on her figure.
“You know, Kairlina’s far from the only lust-devil in Machrae Diir,” she purrs. “Maybe it’s time we stopped relying on our Queen to handle all the corrupting, and,” she bends over. Wraps her clawed fingers around her new toy’s chin. “Learned to get our own hands dirty.”