[Balamb Garden surged forward through the black predawn hours, racing across the Great Plain of Esthar. 22 years ago, mobile Gardens had no access to the continent, but in the course of the decades and the increased goodwill between Balamb and Esthar, a large portion of the rocky cliffs had been demolished and graded, making an access ramp for the academies.]
[The night was completely black. The moon was new, and thus not out, and clouds covered the sky from horizon to horizon. In the distance, though, a sickly white-yellow light illuminated the low-hanging cloud cover.]
[The Time Compression distortion above Tears Point lanced into the sky past the clouds, a mighty finger of warped light that stood literal miles high. At its base, Tears Point faded in and out of view like a mirage.]
[The Ragnarok and the Chaotix docked with Balamb as the academy shuddered to a halt just outside of the projected worst-case scenario blast. Already loaded with supplies and ready for transport, the two airships held motionless just long enough for the combatants to board before lifting off, as the first rays of dawn ran across their hulls.
[Visible to the south, on the opposite side, three other airships raced to Tears Point: two literal sailing ships with propellers in place of sails, and one mighty large enough to engulf the other two a dozen times over. They landed in formation, and the army of Sol Invictus -- not just foot soldiers, but mighty vehicles and weapons of war -- emerged from its depths to form lines.]
[Not intentionally, but simply as a matter of the ebb and flow of the tides of war, Balamb Garden and Sol Invictus struck at the same time.]
[At first it was to no avail: the machinery of Tears Point, meant to repel the Lunatic Pandora, had been resurrected and repurposed; the mighty field they formed served as a mighty wall, repelling all efforts to breach it. But as Lunatic Pandora had ultimately overwhelmed it, so too did the field seem vulnerable to the massed might of its foes. From the SeeDs, blows, spells, and an abundance of rockets smashed into the field, weakening it with each impact, while on the other side Sol Invictus unleashed an astonishing fusillade of technological and magical might of their own. The generators whined and hummed in furious protests, their engines straining to counteract the onslaught. A couple of ranks in, the first machine to fail popped in brilliant flare of light, electricity arcing across its neighbors and smoldering metal shotgunning outwards.]
[As if signaled, a wave of monsters -- almost literally, the way they surged outwards between the protective devices -- passed through the one-way field effortlessly, smashing into the assembled lines. Though numerous, they were comparatively week; the might of Sol Invictus, and the training and discipline of the SeeDs and cadets, met their attack and repelled it with minimal loss. The monsters, however, seemed endless. Time Compression continued to surge and write, depositing wave after wave of foes to harry and harass those who opposed the Time Compression Mage's ultimate goal, and though those monsters could not dispatch his enemies, they accomplished their purpose nonetheless.]
[The great Time Compression Distortion abruptly shuddered, then without warning, disgorged a massive shape all at once, more like that great form had always been there than as if it had in some sense emerged from the distortion. Three miles tall, one and half wide; a gargantuan metal structure than shone as if with veins of light, almost obscuring the symbol of Esthar on its side.]
[At once, the field machines short-circuit in a pyrotechnical display that would have been awe-inspiring if not for the appearance of the Lunatic Pandora itself. The sudden shift of tidal forces was gut-wrenching, enough to drive weaker people to their knees from vertigo and nausea. In the sky above, the new moon burned a brilliant red, a long finger stretching from its surface towards the earth.]
[The field is down, but the monsters continue to surge forwards. Somewhere inside, the Time Compression Mage harnesses the massive tidal forces generated by the Crystal Pillar for his own ends. An army with a common goal fights on the opposite side of the pillar, but is the enemy of your enemy your friend?]
[The Lunar cry has begun.
][OOC: Post to the threads below, or start your own if you have a scene you wish to do. There is no tagging order; respond as you see fit. Mod tags may come at any time. You may also NPC monsters or encounters yourselves if you desire. If you are specifically requesting a mod tag, please put some indication in the subject line of your comment. The OOC planning post is here!]