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aloy!eridani in horizon zero dawn
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Oh, that asshole.

Maybe she can jump down from the top of the wall...

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It's pretty tall, and it's also unclear if anyone would try to stop her. If they don't, she could probably use the same trick as when she rappels though. 

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Any sign of that whatever-demon they're talking about?

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There's smoke in the distance, and trees moving oddly; it's unclear with how short a time she's been up here if that's normal now. 

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She's gonna hazard a guess that probably not; that's how her luck has been going lately.

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A slow rumble does begin to build up, drawing the attention of lookouts - and then several striders burst out of the trees, galloping hard - 

They look like they're fleeing.

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Yeeeah she's gonna stay on this side of the wall for now. Maybe shoot a tripwire down on the approach in front of the gates, just to be safe.

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She's not the only one with that thought - and the area around the village's more heavily fortified than when she arrived for the proving, like they've been frantically preparing for a siege.

Preparations that turn out to be useful, when a bizarre machine - entirely black with only little flickers of red indicator lights, its movements somewhere between fluid and insectoid, running quickly on at least six legs, a long and vicious tail whipping out behind it - 

Most machines look like they belong in the world. Their shapes are plausible, like flesh and blood animals rendered in metal. This thing...

Is really, really not.

And it's attacking the Striders, too - it shoots beams of twisting red light at them, and they collapse and writhe and change

And when they arise, there's red light dripping from them like blood, and twisted bands of red wrapped around their joints, echoed in their eyes.

They seem under the spell of the strange machine, now, and they turn as one - eerily coordinated - towards the gate, before they begin their charge.

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Uh oh. Can she get a quick Focus scan in while she's swapping to her bow?

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The Striders aren't able to break through immediately, and the demon machine isn't attacking the defenders on the ramparts yet, so, yes. Her Focus informs her that it's weak to fire, and generally at high risk of overheating, and its heat core is mostly shielded but also a major weak point, especially since her Focus suggests that exposing it would be the main way the machine vents heat that exceeds operation parameters. Other weak points are its spike launcher and grenade launcher - which does mean it'll have ranged attacks as soon as it deigns to use them.

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"Hit it with fire," she calls, nocking an arrow and taking aim at the grenade launcher. Aloy would prefer to not get grenaded, thanks.

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There's an early volley of fire arrows at least, though their stocks aren't infinite - there's others trying to shoot down the Striders in the very front, especially the ones that have hit Aloy's tripwire, probably trying to make a log jam and slow down the machines breaking through - 

But they're not fast enough, and the Striders finish battering down the gates as more Braves rush into the open square and the non-combatants retreat back up the hill. The demon follows after them, immediately laying into the Braves around it. (Aloy's doing some damage to this thing, but it's also the toughest machine she's ever fought, and apparently that red stuff dripping off the Striders is highly toxic by how the Braves who stumble into it react.)

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That's... not good.

She'll just have to keep aiming for the weak points her Focus identified, and be ready to swap to fire when that heat core pokes out.

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She gets that chance eventually - especially as the Braves take down the Striders and open the machine to attack from more sides; it's fast, but spinning between targets uses up a lot of energy. 

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Go go exploding arrow power!

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She lands a direct hit, destroying the cooling mechanism - 

And after that, it's pretty easy to set up a feedback loop the demon can't escape from. 

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Haha yes, that's how we do it!

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It goes down, and the Braves set about securing the wounded and the gate in case of another attack. Aloy's got an opening to investigate the demon more closely if she wants. 

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She does want. Must be some unique parts on this thing. Maybe she can figure out how it turned those Striders, too...

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The part in question is fairly easy to find, given it's where the bolts of red light shot from to override the Striders. It's small, easily fitting in her hand - and when she scans it with her Focus, it looks like she should be able to override it, connect it to her Focus instead of the demon machine. 

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Huh, that could be useful. Let's get that done, then, and maybe she can tie the part on to the butt of her spear. Shouldn't throw the balance off much.

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This works pretty well, actually.

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Course it does. She's kinda good at this sorta thing.

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Around her, people are getting the bodies removed - pushing the Striders to the side - and the gate's mostly intact; it failed at the hinged, so they get it more-or-less working again just as Aloy finishes attaching the override to her spear.

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Guess it's take two at trying to get out through it.

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