It was not long before the 'lesser' races began to fight back, however. Those races whose capitals had not been utterly destroyed, the lamia, dark elves, humans and gnolls rallied armies against their oppressors. Cities were reclaimed and rebuilt over time, and the mortal races started anew. This beginning was not without loss, however. The dragons devised a horrid, complete method of genocide that common folk refer to as the Slaying Spells. Massive amounts of magic that require a copious sacrifice in blood to complete. Within two years, the magics eat away at a specific race. No matter how far, how well hidden or how strong...none could survive once afflicted with the curse. By the end of the rebellion, the dwarves had been annihilated down to the very last man. Still, life had to go on. The new mortal leaders called the Paragon formed a specialized militia known as the Legion of Ashes to recruit every able-bodied man, woman and child to fight the dragons.
I'll skip over the gory details and get to the present. It's been about twenty-four years since the Day of Ashes. For the moment, the battle between the races of the Paragon and the Children of Fire seem to be at a stalemate. The Paragon control the western half of Norr, as the dragons have the east. It seems as if the dragons could call upon the power of Slaying Spells only once every decade or so, or else we would all have been killed long ago. Dwarves, goblins have gone extinct...minotaur are the latest victims of the horrific magic, and will be gone before the year's end. Humans and gnolls were proven early on to have some innate immunity to mass spells, although mankind's was more complete than that of gnolls. This came to light when the dragons created a curse that affected the mental stability of the gnolls over the course of a decade...now the canine peoples are less than feral animals walking upon two legs. Although humans could not be affected by such magic, they were actively hunted down by draconian forces. This genocide has left humans beaten and fear-stricken, their population severely reduced. The dragons, a rarity even during their resurgence, have drastically improved in terms of numbers. Although not as powerful as the dragons first seen, these smaller beasts are still deadly in their own right.
For now, we fight. The war for godhood has been put on hold as a struggle for mere survival is waged. Whose side do you stand on? Will you bring an end to the dragons once and for all? Or do you see the wisdom of these greater beings and seek to aid them in their right to rule? Perhaps the scars of the last war run too deep and you cannot bring yourself to work with those of other bloodlines? The next chapter of the story has yet to be written...what part will you play?
Things to know about Norr
Norr is a single, mega-continent that could be likened to Pangea. Other lands include the Ruins of Imperian, a once great country that is now little more than a series of destroyed castles and settlements. Terra is the great mountain range that divides Norr into eastern and western parts, which is in a state of perpetual war between the forces of the Paragon and the Dragons. The Ashwood is a massive forest that has been partially burned down, creating an ash layer coating the forest floor. The Jurial Plains are the most heavily occupied region held by the Paragon, housing the major cities and the council that controls the Legion of Ashes. The last land is at the most southern portion of Norr: Umbridge. A warped jungle of darkness, man-eating plants and home to the Nightmarians. All throughout Norr, lying underneath is a layer called the Sublands. It is a maze of tunnels and caves that house the deep humans, dark elves and once upon a time, the dwarves.
The current leaders of the Paragon are: Shokunen Helvaras of the lamia, Diloxi Ebon of the darklings, Lince Hekari of the deep humans, Kocarah of the elves and Sunwing of the harpies. The nightmarians live in a state of isolation aside from a few individuals who set out on their own, and have no say in the Paragon. The halflings and orcs are purely mercenaristic and do not wish to place all of their coins in a single purse, so to speak. Lastly, humans are too widespread and decimated to have any true governmental power.
The current dragon lords, the oldest, most powerful dragons are as follows: Nihalistrix(female) the Black, Heliotheris(dead) the Blue, Gurthenemon the Red, Astara(female) the White and Baelenforethus the Gold. Each holds a certain portion of eastern Norr called a territory, and each has their own personal portion of their standing army of Children of Fire. Every dragon lord has a Thane, a general to which they imbue a large amount of draconic power directly. These individuals are unknown as of now due to constant shifts in power.
Races of Norr
Civee Bloodline Elf- The survivors
Once upon a time the elves were a race of peaceful and frail beings who lived alongside nature and preserved the forests of Norr. What exists of them today could scarcely be likened to the delicate creatures of old. Since the Day of Ashes many things have changed, and the elves were not without exception. A sort of survival instinct embedded deep within the core of the elves awakened, causing the race as a whole to evolve. They grew in height and muscle, forsaking the refined arts of the arcane for drastically increased martial ability. They now appear to be tall, primal cratures with toned muscle and long, tapered ears usually with brown skin although a few fare-skinned members of the race still exist. The elves now exist as large bands of powerful and deadly hunters seeking to slay any dragons they catch unawares and to reclaim their homeland. They live about 300 to 500 years.
Racial Abilities: Sense- Higher senses than average, allowing them to track by smell as well as sight, see clearly in dim light and hear minute sounds over longer distances.
Dreamless- By forsaking the dreaming sleep, elves can enter a meditative state in which they gain the same restorative qualities of an eight hour rest in only two, making them excellent sentries.
Favored Classes: Ranger, Berserker, Barbarian and Druid
Primah Bloodline Nightmarian- The hidden
The nightmarish forms of these insectoid creatures is the stuff of legends and, as a whole, the race has always been enigmatic. With the relatively recent advent of the dragon incursions upon the jungles they call home the Nightmarians have become even more of a rarity. They are still much the same, strange and diverse half-breeds of humanoid and gigantic insects. Females are built larger than males and most individuals have dark skin and hair. Despite their inhuman strength and senses the Nightmarians have been forced to hole themselves up within the massive hive city Ecclavaria, the largest colony of their kind, to defend themselves against the dragons. The weakest castes of Nightmarians, Ants, beetles and flies live only about 30 years as the higher castes of spiders, mantises and scorpions can live up to 200 years.
Racial Abilities: Tremor Sense- Instead of using their eyes to see they can utilize special sensory organs in their neck to 'see' the world in vibrations, from the smallest grain of sand shifting to the wind rubbing against a human being.
Arc Shell- Their carapace's and exoskeletons have an innate resistance to arcane magic, reducing the amount of damage they take from that category of spells by about half.
Favored Classes: Fighter, Guardian, Mage and Psionicist
Civee Bloodline Humans- The hunted
Once a proud and numerous race, mankind now teeters on the brink of extinction. Hunted to nearly the last man, humans were the primary targets of the dragons and suffered the worst of their fury by far. Only a handful of human settlements hidden away in the most obscure reaches of Norr have managed to survive. Even then, surviving is a generous word. The race still varies in appearance and mood greatly, although the general feeling is that of creeping despair and the realization that the end is near. The race is relatively short-lived, their lives spanning only around 75-90 years.
Favored Classes: Any
Primah Bloodline Harpy- The watchers
A feral species that combines the fury and predatory flare of avians with the cunning of humanoids. Locked in a near-constant war for control of territory with the dragons, harpies have begun to enslave the rare males of their race to be used as tools for breeding. Due to this new practice the harpy population would have exploded, were not their numbers being depleted nearly as fast as new members of the race are born. Harpies generally appear to be females with wings sprouting from their backs or the edges of their arms as well as cruelly taloned hands and feet. Plumage varies based on region, and skin colors are just as diverse as that of mankind. Those who forsake the pointless struggles for territory usually end up as mercenaries or bandits, each reknown for their skill with the bow while in flight. Harpies grow excessively fast, maturing at the age of six months and can live up to 200 years, the oldest known harpy only being a century old due to their previous infighting.
Racial Abilities: Raptor Instinct- Smell, hearing and mainly sight are drastically superior to that of humans. They can spot prey from miles away on a clear day.
Jet Stream- By compacting the fibers of their wings, they can dive at extremely high speeds to capture prey completely unaware with great force or escape superior-positioned foes.
Favored Classes: Archer, Scout, Warrior, and Witch-Doctor
Civee Bloodline Dark Elf- The conspirators
Unlike their pale-skinned cousins and like the lamia, darklings have thrived in the wake of the dragons. In their underground caverns and tunnels, the dark elves were relatively safe from the beasts and their agents. Having forged an alliance with the lamia, they retain a large foothold on economic power and are even more numerous than elves due to the shift in power. Darkling skin ranges from black to grey to dark blue, as their hair is generally white. Their eyes on the other hand are warm, bright colors such as red, orange and yellow. As a race they excel at stealth and the arcane arts, though as of recent years they have been taught of more primal powers by their allies. Dark elves usually only live about 600 years, but exceptional specimens have been reported to have survived a millenium.
Racial Abilities: Dark Sense- Allows for higher overall senses, the ability to see in utter darkness and to hear over relatively long distances--even through solid stone.
Grip- They can scale sheer surfaces and adhere to ceilings much like a spider, allowing for excellent climbing and multiple avenues of attack.
Favored Classes: Warlock, Assassin, Tracker and Mage
Civee Bloodline Deep Human- The waiting
Descendants of those humans banished to the depths of Norr long ago, the Deep Humans are recognized by their bone-white hair. This used to be true for their skin as well, but as of recent years some darker-skinned members have arisen. Still, all deep humans have the same pale hair. They still live in close conjunction with the dark elves and humans. As a result, the race has experienced mixed results with survival. Those remaining with the darklings remain pale-skinned and live relatively sheltered lives. Those who remained above ground to defend their human bretheren were crushed along with them. These 'surfacers', had developed darker tones to cope with the sunlight and live grim lives. The average deep human is slightly more compact than a human, and their lifespans range from 90 to 150 years.
Racial Abilities: Deep Sense- Allows for higher overall senses, the ability to see in utter darkness and increases their sense of smell.
Fear- Calling upon an ancient pact, the user induces a state of supernatural fear within the target causing them to cringe helplessly for a few seconds.
Favored Classes: Mage, Arcblade, Rogue and Warlock
Primah Bloodline Lamia- The leaders
Easily the most well-off race since the Day of Ashes, the snake-bodied lamia have come out virtually unscathed by the dragon's wrath. Their alliance with the dark elves and access to new, arcane magicks have served to keep the behemoths at bay and even allowed them to lay claim to new territory. The lamia appear to be attractive humanoids of varying skin-color with a serpentine tail beginning at the waist. Royals have bone-like protrusions on their skull, although all lamia share immense strength despite their appearance and a venomous temper. Normal lamia can live up to 300 years of age, while royals can live up to a millenium.
Racial Abilities: Sense- Higher senses than average, allowing them to track by smell and taste as well as sight, see in darker conditions and feel minute movements over longer distances.
Strike- Using retractable fangs lamia can lash out with a highly potent, poisonous bite up to three times a day. The type, paralytic, cell-destroying or hullicinagenic, varies from individual to individual.
Favored Classes: Archer, Warrior, Cleric and Sorcerer
Primah Bloodline Orc- The guardians
Since the very beginning of their existence the orcs have been warriors. Be it for pride, gold, or even just the hell of it, the green-skinned brutes have always taken up any and every cause to sink their blade into something. The dragons changed all that. As a race, they were forced to make new alliances or die. The majority of orcs now live in large convents in or just outside of lamian and deep human cities, serving as guards, soldiers, hunters and just about any other physical job they can find. Those are in no short supply given the constant destruction wrought in this dark age. Orcs are burly, green or brown skinned humanoids with hard features and depending on the purity of their lineage, tusk-like fangs protruding from their bottom jaws. They live about as long as humans do and share many of the same beliefs in chivalry.
Racial Abilities: Sense- Higher senses than average, allowing them to track by smell as well as sight, see in darker conditions and smell faint scents over longer distances.
The Cold Rage- By severing nearly every nervous connection in the body as well as several hormone glands and utilizing a second set of internal wiring, orcs can negate any sense of feeling or touch and rationalize every move in the heat of battle effectively making themselves the perfect warrior for a roughly a minute, reusable once every hour. The process is draining and leaves the user vulnerable for a while afterwards. .
Favored Classes: Shaman, Hunter, Warrior and Cleric
Civee Bloodline Halfling- The fearless
Jovial and carefree were the words that came to mind whenever halflings were involved. Such thinking is non-existant in this new age. The halflings have gone from a diminutive race of pranksters and stalwart friends to one of cold-hearted slayers and pragmatists. What was once "Live and let live, and shy from the immoral." has become "Let no slight go unavenged and if it works; Use it." They now serve most other races as assassins and mercenaries. They are still governed by a council of magi though, although the representatives have changed to match their race's new outlook. The race as a whole has suffered far less than expected during the rise of the dragons, given their knack for disappearing when things get particularly desperate. Their skin colors are usually normal shades and hair colors range across the full spectrum. Halflings are anatomically identical to humans, only on a smaller scale standing at a height of roughly three and a half feet and living 90 to 100 years.
Racial Abilities: Fearless- Halflings are extremely hard to intimidate and are immune to all unnatural fear-based magical effects.
Unfocus- By fighting in a group halflings can blur their bodies somewhat and make it harder for their foes to hit them.
Favored Classes: Assassin, Ranger, Scout and Mage
Civee Bloodline Dwarves and Iron Dwarves: The first races to be slain by the Slaying Spells of the dragons twenty-one years ago.
Primah Bloodline Goblins: The second race to be eradicated by the Slaying Spells eleven years ago.
Primah Bloodline Gnolls: Afflicted with a race-wide Feral Curse, making the gnolls little more than bipedal beasts.
Primah Bloodline Minotaur: The third race attacked by the dragon's Slaying Spells one year ago. The race has almost been wholly eliminated by the fel magic, and less than one-hundred minotaurs still live.
CHARACTER SHEET- First of all, no character should be above the average soldier in terms of equipment and fighting ability.
In addition to the site-provided guideline, please include the following:
- Code: Select all
[b]Age:[/b] (at least 18)
[b]Race:[/b] (Any race listed excluding the dwarves, goblins and gnolls)
[b]Class:[/b] (a general synopsis of your abilities, such as Spy, Warrior or Wizard)
[b]Physical Description:[/b] (Can be a description, picture or both)
This entire section is completely optional. You can make up your character's personality right now, or develope it as the roleplay progresses.
[b]Starting Armor:[/b] (The clothing or armor you begin with)
[b]Starting Weaponry:[/b] (The weapons you begin with)
[b]Fighting Style:[/b] (How does your character engage in combat? Hand-to-hand? General soldier training with martial weapons?)
[b]Weapon of Choice:[/b] (What weapon or lack there of is your character most proficient with?)
[b]Other:[/b] (This includes travelling provisions, poisons and the like)
Just some basic background information.
The Gift: Part One for those of you who care enough to look in on past events and characters.
Side Note: I am Ghaarme :o sooo, i'm not ripping this off of the roleplay that ended a few months back, it's actually the same dude continuing it. Go figure~
2) Please try to post a minimum of a paragraph. I can understand if you can't though, as some circumstances make this permitable, such as a dialouge-heavy scene.
3) No more than two characters per person.
4) If you aren't going to be at least moderately active, please say so. It's rude to leave people hanging.
5) Keep it PG-17 at the very most in-thread, sex can be assumed but not acted out.
6) As the creator and GM of this RP, I reserve the right to revoke, refuse, destroy and manipulate as I see fit. No questions asked.
7) Alot of other things are just common sense. C'mon, you know what they are.
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Which all disappeared into nothingness when they were called to form up, her own particular group moving to the side of the heavier unit, at first for unknown purpose. Within a few moments, though, the reason became abundantly clear. Talae was left with a moment of feeling rather useless, being out of throwing range for any of her knives or flasks of poison. This, too, was remedied, when the Lieutenant shoved a crossbow into her hands.
Talae was caught off-guard for a moment; she had absolutely no idea how to work one of these things, and spent a few moments watching Kisikoni load a bolt into his before she thought she might have some inclination as to how this was properly done. Right... so this mechanism goes... fit the bolt in, and... more than a little apprehensive, Talae took careful aim at one of the children, deciding that the throat was as good a target as any. At Sid's word, she sighted down the shaft of the bolt and slowly depressed the trigger, sending it flying in what she took to be at the very least the general direction of her target. She did not watch to see if it connected though; she'd need all the time she could get to reload and fire again.
The kickback was a bit unexpected, and had she mot been wearing the armor, it might have bruised something. Making a note to be ready for that next time, Talae reloaded, noting that the Children were getting closer. Though this was far from a good thing, she might actually be useful soon, which could be considered a small positive in an otherwise irritating situation such as this.
Though... she really would rather they were all dead by then. Not that she was holding out hope for any such thing, mind.
Faera, much to her chagrin, was so footsore that she was relieved when the group halted, or at least she was until she realized exactly why they were halting. Straining her ears, she could just make out the sounds of movement some distance beyond, and knew that couldn't mean anything good. But scant moments later, the group was split, and she was following the much softer noises of Sid's devision through tall grass, apparently setting up to fight at a perpendicular facing to the others.
She took a spot behind those with ranged weapons, trying to calm the frantic adrenaline-fueled beating of her own heart. The tension was palpable, and she could feel it acutely. It was almost a blessing when she could at last sense the Children approaching, and the characteristic clicks and twangs of bows and crossbows were at least better than inexorable silence. At the word fire, Faera couldn't help but think to herself that in weather like this, ice would be far more useful.
It was, of course, but a standard phrase, and even she was not quite so uneducated in the arts of war to know that, but she thought it all the same. For her own part, Fae called her magic to her palms, gesturing in somewhat odd-looking patterns. It wasn't completely necessary, but without eyes to direct the flow of energy, she found that directing movement with her hands helped her keep a finer control over what she was doing. She gathered together the droplets of rain on the Children's side of the field, then with a flick of the wrist, sent a pulse of magic through the collected water, freezing it into sharp icicles. A sweeping downward motion propelled the missiles toward the ground- and the oncoming children. This was Faera's strength- she would not hit all of them, and some icicles would doubtless strike naught but ground. Some of them, though, would hit, and probably do substantial damage.
When the group split, Neira realized with a degree of irritation that nobody had ever told her what damn squad she was in. Oh well, that just meant she got to choose, as she saw it, so she lined up in the middle of the more melee-oriented group, because despite her appearance, that was exactly where she belonged. Ranged combat was for people who didn't enjoy crunching noses into faces.
The line began to fragment, the general rule of strategy seeming to be "pick off the ones on the edges whenever possible." She noted the abrupt change in behavior of the children, and slid her eyes to the Captain. Psionics? Huh; now there was something unexpected. Her favorite sadist's grin crept over her face, and she decided it wasn't really fair to let the others have all the fun. That druid was doing something to impede progress, so she figured she might as well take advantage of it. Picking out the most-impeded looking Child, Neira launched herself forward, employing her wings for a burst of speed, intent on pummeling the lousy pale flesh-creature for as long as it took to overcome that damn endurance of theirs.
The initial blow, a punch aimed squarely for the center of his face, was accompanied by a string of virulent curses that would have made a sailor blush. She'd learned a lot over almost fifty years away from her own people, and the coloration of her vocabulary was fairly impressive by any standard. Which was good, really; she was no berserker, but there was nothing quite so satisfying as getting a sustainable level of irritation going during a fight. A nice refrain for the sound of crunching bones.
She followed up with an elbow to the jaw and a kick to his kneecaps, not sure yet exactly how much damage these hits were doing, but stubborn enough to keep at it until one of the two of them was stone-cold dead.
"Excellent!" Said Kisikoni, bowing to Talae. "Thank you! Er, you already know my name, so why don't you..."
After introductions, Kisikoni had tried to make idle chit-chat with the dark elf in order to understand her better, but she was quiet and eventually the amicable Deep Human gave up. He would talk to her later, but she seemed more concerned for Fae, who was her sister. He wasn't deaf, and despite his eavesdropping he knew the more he could gather about his squad, the better. She wasn't exactly too seclusive about that, either. By the time they had stopped, he was getting rather winded. Deep humans weren't meant to cover such expanses of land in such little time. Rubbing his forehead, he heard the order to follow his captain, and took off after the halfling commander. He threw himself into the ground. As they took out long-range weapons, Kisikoni was glad that he brought his crossbow with him. He laid it out in front, taking comfort in it's familiar form. All these drills, all this training came down to this.
He pulled the string back, carefully loading a standard bolt. It was wise to start with the basics. The tickle trigger lightly rested on the deep human's fingers, and he quickly took aim and shot. The bolt flew, but by then Sid's initial shot had already alerted them. He got up, put his foot in the ring and drew the string back with both hands to reduce the time it took, then loaded another bolt. He took aim and fired. He did not check to see if any hit, rather focused on looking down and making sure he loaded his bolts quickly and aimed for the closest approaching Child.
He kept checking to see how his partner was doing as he loaded a bolt, and figured she was doing well- if it came down to a fight he'd have to make his way to her, or find a partner if the fight became too heavy. At some point, vice-commander Sid made a snide comment about how her own weapon was larger than Kisikoni's. Kisikoni didn't really care in the thick of battle, but before he caught himself, he heard himself replying "It certainly does seem like you're compensating for something." Beelzes, one of the deep humans caught wind of the reply and chuckled before concentrating on her own devices.
The trees blurred in and out of her view as the Nightmarian Spider continued to lead her pursuers on a wild goose chase. There seemed to be no end to them, but she had to escape somehow. This was important stuff, and she had to get it somewhere before she either died or got caught. Twirling around a tree, she shot a globule of webbing into another child. Sadly, with this rate of exhaustion Mercy knew that shooting anymore unless she made it into Laeral or something would make her too tired to even speak coherently. The day had not passed quickly, and her strength had waned. She was completely wired on adrenaline now, and the pure will not to be captured.
Dropping from a branch, she landed on a unready Child, his sword skating off the armor on her abdomen. The sword was twisted out of his hand, and Mercy raised her fist and gave the man a nice punch to the face. She tore a hunk of flesh from his neck, and started chewing on it aimlessly as the Children of Fire swarmed around her. They finally had the Nightmarian cornered. Well, at least she would kill this one before they caught her. The Child pinned under the sheer mass of her body struggled, blood spattering from his open neck wound irregularly. She winked at him, grabbing his head. The man's hands clasped weakly on her arms as she ripped the head from the body, and crushed it with one of her many plated legs. This man was definitely dead. The body flopped slightly, and before she knew it, the Children were upon her.
"Well, I guess they did want me alive. I can tell you boys now, I'm not the best playmate." She said, smiling vivaciously at one Child. The Child scowled. She had been turned upside-down, and her eight legs had been bonded by some very strong rope. They carted her around by tying the rope to a large log that several carried on their shoulders. She was backwards as well, so she rotated her body to watch out for incoming foliage to dodge. The vain spider didn't want her head to be full of lumps this early in the game. Her arms were tied, her weapons were tied to the end of the log for compact travel. She could still fire her webbing, but that would only exhaust her and most of it would simply miss.
"Poo. The legion has sure does have some useless soldiers." She pouted.
Water began to splash in the face of Caine. He looked up and watched as the heaven's themselves began to cry tears. It had started to rain... Which only made Caine a little bit more frustrated. He already had a headache from the hangover from the following night, now it was beginning to rain... "Of course," He grunted... He did always manage to get the short-end of the stick whenever luck was involved. Caine grunted again, for good measure. It continued to rain for the rest of the march, progressively making the march a little bit more difficult as time wore on.
Mud was beginning to gum up Caine's boots and leggings, and generally gave them a gritty feeling. He was, however, dry thanks to the live leather or whatever the leather he wore was named. Fit almost like a second skin. Even so, the mud only add to the frustration Caine was experiencing... It was raining on him, he had a headache, he felt awful, and now even the mere process of walking was being hindered... It was a godsend when Captain Wrath ordered them out of the rain and under some trees.
Even so, this proved too good to be true as Wrath ordered Sid's team into the forest. Something was clearly... Off. Caine felt the beginning pangs of anxiety, waiting for what would happen next... Wrath mananaged to relieve him from this as well, as he ordered them to form up. He gave a short and curt whistle to Gilleas and prodded him with a elbow before taking his position at the front line. There, he waited, like Captain ordered. By then, Wrath had began a song on his lute. This was no ordinary song as it felt of something... Fey, something dangerous. A prickle ran up Caine's spine as he himself drew his weapon's, the Saber and the sword in his right hand and his left respectively.
The next actions were just a blur, as something burst from the woods. A halfling, injured from the looks.. Then an arrow flew over the collapsed small folk and towards Wrath. Deflected rather easily. Then, their enemies revealed themselves. A group of snow white children charge Wrath. Caine felt the itch at the base of his skull, he wished to be in this battle. The sight of the enemy had planted seeds of anger, of fury, held in check by Wrath's own admission to "stay put" in his war song. A war song that had decapitated a minotaur... Which if Caine would have been in the normal mindset, he would have found that rather interested, but as it was, he just wished to be in the fray himself.
Then, Wrath jerked his head... Caine rolled his blades in a circle, popping and stretching the bones and muscles in his wrists, the saber sang and the sword whispered in the wind. It also looked pretty intimidating, but what was that to a bunch of fearless sods? Then, a loud twang. He looked back just in time to see a large bolt completely destroy a child... Must have been the contraption on Sid's back.
By now... A couple of children had made their way to Gilleas and Caine. Caine pivotted on a foot in order to bare his back to the Guardian... The last rational thought that was not tainted by a primal fury was that of hoping the Guardian could watch his back. The various factors today had panned into Caine's berserker wrath. The hangover, the rain, the mud, the nasty day, and even the mere sight of the children lit the fires of Caine's fury.
Caine himself, upon witnessing the approach of the children, had begun to settle into something... More primal as black treacly anger began to course through his mind, taking control of his arms, of his legs, and of his mind. As a result, he uttered a guttural, primal growl as one particular child began to approach. He retained enough sense to realize that allies were near and did not completely lose himself to his berserker fury, but he was far enough gone to see a red haze where the child was... Then the battle was on.
Caine, running on pure instinct, reflex, and anger, only augmented slightly by Caine's military training. He threw up the longsword and savagely deflect a blow. The clang of metal had signaled the beginning of the war-drums in Caine's head. The drums only Cain could hear within berserker fury went very nicely with Wrath's own war song. Each movement, each deflection, each thrust, was accentuated by a raise in tempo and tone within his mind. The child again tried to strike at Caine, but he deflected this with the saber. If Caine had been in the right mind, he would have noticed these strikes were stronger than a normal persons.
Then he growled a feral growl, signaling the games were over. He snarled as he slashed upwards with the saber at a diagonal angle and immediately afterward he plunged forward with the sword, hoping to cut the thing in half and skewer it at the same time. The war-drums began began to sing with the carnage of battle.
That was the last she said before lining up and beginning the march. She moved gracefully each step seemed light and well placed. Her feet rarely made a sound as she stepped and the march was easy for her. Marching as she saw it was simply a menial daily task, her tall and powerful legs used to the long walks. The rain on the other hand, while she delighted in the cool mist as her skin became covered by the rain, did manage to make the march tougher. The sudden stop made Laila realize exactly was was about to happen.
With the order given, she followed her captain into the tall grass. She moved swiftly and gracefully through the field and reached the rock quicker than most of her squad. She pulled one of her quiver's off her back and removed the leather straps that held the arrows within the canister. Strapping it at her side for quicker access she pulled a single arrow from its sisters. She readied her bow and notched the arrow, pulling slowly on the string she aimed at the path in front of them. Hey body became a statue from anticipation. Her aim was focused and the first creature that dared to show it's face would be quickly taken out.
She noticed the dark elf was, preparing as well. Her elven senses could smell the adrenaline flowing though her body. Her heart was beating quickly.
"Relax a bit. You'll do fine." She said letting go of her arrow and striking an enemy square in the neck causing the child to drop to it's knees and gasp for life.
Gillias stood by Caine, his shield was raised and his sword arm ready. He led the blade outwards behind his back. Pulling back almost like and archer does with their arrows. He was ready for the first child to come foolishly seeking to confront him. As one did he was greeted by the forceful swing of the guardians anticipating strike. The mud was an advantage for him. He was a very stationary fighter and did not need to maneuver in the mud. The same could not be said for the children, he watched their feet noticing that it was effectively slowing their moments making them clumsy. Gilleas immediately began to take notes on the battle, forming strategies in his head. There were a lot of factors that favored his chances o survival. He liked that.
He stood by Caine, as he surrendered to the bestial nature his berserker skill provided. The guardian would do as his name suggested, whilst Caine became a massive attacking force he would be the unmovable defense that ensured his survival. Another child charged him, he held still and waited for the lunge of the blade. The sword crashed feebly against his shield. The enemy took a step back and asserted the situation. While he waited to attack again one of his friends joined him. Gilleas held his shield firm, slowly he prepared his blade to strike at the first opportunity. One more blow was deflected by his shield, before he could attack, the other child charged him as well. Gilleas moved his shield from one side to the other deflecting their blows respectively. He trust his blade out, leaving a large opening in his defense, he managed to stab at the child. He quickly pivoted on his back leg and held the shield close to his body. He extended the shield and managed to deflect another blow, and knocking the child to the ground. He then attempted to slash but had to lift his shield at the last moment as his friend cut in.
They were trying to flank him. Caine was preoccupied at the time so he would have to take care of them. He prepared his stance and became watchful of the two. One of them to his front the other was behind him. If they attacked at the same time it could prove problematic. As expected though the one behind him charged and swung his weapon for Gill's back. The guardian turned to block the blow and skillfully counterattacked driving the sword deeply into the child's' side leaving a massive gash in it's skin. It fell to the ground. Taking the opening his companion had given him the child attacked at Gill whose back was completely open for attack. Not wasting a single second Gill thrust his shield into the mud, it stuck vertically out of the ground. Gill then vaulted over the shield and took cover on the other side just in time to block the opponents attack. Gill then kicked the shield forcefully knocking it over as well as the child, he then leaped onto the body and slashed at it's neck cutting a deep and fatal wound. The guardian stood and recovered his shield rushing over to Caine's side to help his ally.
Illeyssa stood just outside the "limits" of the nameless town. Her eyes staring down the path the Legion had just taken. Since the unit had left she was thinking about that boy's face and why it seemed so familiar to her. What was left of her thought pieced the remaining pieces of her prediction, letting them slip into place. A fractured Premonition would be needed to glean what little influence was needed to avoid those circumstances, yet she wasn't so certain she could avoid it any more. Right hand resting under her chin her left hand propped up her elbow as she thought, Silvyar a few steps behind and her guards nowhere to be seen. The name Fong prodded in her mind and she paused to think about it closely. Fong was a hard man to read and she only caught glances of him when she walked the markets during midday to encourage those who were not of her orcs to seek her out if they needed comfort or insight. She took the boy's face, her own mental picture from when she glimpsed him and compared it to the man, finding similarities between the two.
"Shawoman." Silvyar's voice splashed over her connections between the boy and his father.
Illeyssa dropped her hand away and looked around, her apprentice's face etched with worry, "Have you come to a conclusion child?"
The girl nodded, "I do not know of how or when this is, but the Orcs will suffer a great loss, either of one of their own or the race as a whole. The War of countless years and the struggle with the dragons has claimed the future of untold numbers of youth, the vitality of the races as a whole, beyond individual success or failure, is crippled and weak. And for the last part I do not know... but the implications fill me with worry for your life Shawoman. What if you are-" Silvyar's voice was cut off with a wave of Illeyssa's hand and the apprentice fell silent.
For a girl as young as this one to grasp at fractured interpretations was almost unheard of, yet her conclusion was almost identical to her own. Although, her interpretation of the first and last point seemed too personalized, not surprising considering almost all others with the gift of foresight had been removed in the last 24 years. No Illeyssa, saw the first warning for what it was: Within this time one of her guards would die... And the final portion warned of an even more grave threat. In his death a gap would be opened, one that her unknown foe would use to come directly for her. If things couldn't be prevented she feared the impact over all. Something cold splashed on her cheek and her fingers rose to touch it, drawing away with moisture clinging to her skin. Rain.
She turned around without waiting for its fellow drops to fall and soak her completely, bare footsteps taking her back into the town towards the Inn. Her eyes looked forwards but her mind began to brood over what she was given, unaware that her guards emerged from their positions and fell into line.
Her ears picking up, yet ignoring, Silvyar's worried whispers into Dormund's ear about what she thought about Illeyssa's prediction in her own words.
So easy to play simply dancing with flame,"
Wrath's fingers were a blur as he worked the finely tuned strings of his lute. The man's eyes constantly switched between those of the roaring Child on the offensive and the enemy's sword. Wrath had never been one for fancy foot work, but he knew how to dodge as he worked his magic. When the orc cultist came in for another slash Wrath used the mud to slide under the high attack and pop up behind him. At the word fire flames surged in a cone shape at the robed foe, engulfing him in a screaming mass despite the rain. The bright flames dissipated as quickly as they had formed, leaving behind a thoroughly scorched orc who glared balefully at his attacker.
"Be sure not to get careless, you just wasted your turn,
I suppose I should add to the pain of your burns..."
At that verse the enraged, crispy Child rushed in to maul the bard. Wrath's ghostly weapon rematerialized once more however, forming between him and his assailant to skewer the orc. A high note from his lute sent a magical command making the spectral weapon twist violently and yank, disemboweling the enemy. As the orc scrambled to push his guts back into his torso Wrath surveyed the battle. Things appeared to be going well...for all of five seconds.
"Haha!" Iriana swung for the third time upon the skull of a Child she had wrapped in the crushing embrace of her snake tail. The deep human bared his bloodstained teeth in defiance and gnashed like a savage animal before laughing in her face. The lamian woman scowled at this, and raised her weapon to deliver the finishing blow when the Child opened his mouth wide to scour her upper body with a jet of dragon fire. Iriana instinctively shielded her face and shrieked in pain as the supernatural fires heated the metal of her vambraces to a an angry red and traced burns across her arms and neck. When the fiery breath subsided the Child laughed some more, the coils wrapped around him slackening...and stared into the face of one very angry snake-woman. Suddenly her tail tightened around the man once more and with a powerful swing sent him sailing across the forest floor to crash into a tree with bone-shattering force. He mumbled and did not move again.
Iriana gasped in pain and anger and retrieved her maul from the ground. Her head whipped around at the sound of a high-pitched voice wailing so hard that the sound hurt her ears. Near the edge of the grass the halfling of the squad--she hadn't bothered to learn his name yet--was writhing in agony as five more Children engulfed the little man in blasts of dragonfire. His screams died quickly and the newly arrived Children joined the fray, immediately orienting on the nearest legionnaire: Iriana. The lamia hissed and met their charge--joined by a battered Qinn, whose plumage was alight with green fire.
Hannan rushed in at Duran and would have fallen face-first on the ground due to some unseen impedement had not the same enchanted grass wrapped around his limbs and torso. The Child roared and lashed his tail, the lamian cultist steadily tearing free of his makeshift prison. He had dropped his sword and was using his claws to rend the foliage when the first hits rained down upon him. Wet cracks sounded off in rapid succession and the lamia didn't quite register the pain until a fractured skull, a broken arm, a shattered tail-bone and seven damaged ribs burst into pain-filled life. Eyes opening wide in shock--well, eye, as the other had burst under Neira's assault--and breathed deeply to release stream of fire not only onto the nightmarian, but into the tripwire grass. Again, as if the conflaguration ignored all moisture, the grass bundle and it's lamian occupant were alight in a fireball in seconds. Hannan hissed and laughed as the fires consumed his bondage and flesh at once and lashed out with a fire-covered tail to swipe Neira away.
Another Child, whom Caine was embattled with called out in surprise as his broadsword went skittering away in the mud. The human he faced was of greater strength than anticipated. The Child breathed in to gather strength for dragonbreath which came to an abrupt end as Caine buried his own weapon into the cultist's throat. Skin bubbled and seared as the fire bubbled out of the new opening in the Child's neck. He collapsed before Caine with fire devouring it's own summoner's head.
The pair attacking Gillias stopped for a moment in confusion as the deep human managed to slice one of their throats. The human Child who was now wounded did not so much as flinch, as his harpy partner who had been stabbed shot him a knowing glance. As one they raised their palms and unleashed twin blasts of dragonfire upon Gillian. Or, more precisely, his shield. Under the combined assault the metal warped and cracked in the sudden heat and cold of the rain. It was half melted and far beyond use now...and both Children came in quickly to slash at Gillian's head and stab at his kidneys, relishing the now defenseless man's horrid luck.
"Shit, shit, shit in a basket." Sid held her bolt and tried to hold back the panic in her voice. A halfling in Wrath's squad was already dead and one of the three orcs was slumped against a tree unmoving. More and more Children arrived from the grass and woodwork by the moment. Peering through the rain, the halfling tried to count them all. She applied a shot to the spine of an arriving Child to render him a null combatant while at it. Achiru spoke a number that made his commander's stomach sink.
"Thirty. Not including the three dead. Two incapacitated." The harpy whipped back his hair and took aim, loosing an arrow that grazed an advancing Child's side. The enemy glared and returned fire with fire, a gout that came up short of the squad's position. Still, Achiru ruffled his feathers and winced at the heat. "This is not good, commander Grimsmirk."
"No shit." She had nothing more to say as she loaded another bolt and trained on another more distant foe. "Melee range! Weapons free!"
The new command issued, the legionnaires dropped their ranged weapons as one and began to engage the enemy at mid range. One enemy, a vicious little halfling whose robes were stained with blood appeared as if out of thin air before the elf Laila. "Die bitch!" The words came out as little more than a gurgle, an arrow protruding from the Child's throat. Fired roared from his palms to blacken the elf woman's legs and waist. Horrible blisters rose on the scoured flesh in moments, the attack rendering her all but immobile for the time being. The halfling lost all interest in a crippled quarry and set his sights on Talae. He whipped both curved blades around and leaped at the dark elf.
Kisikoni and Talae's original target watched with passing interest as a pair of crossbow bolts tore a slight rip in her robes, and ran up to attack--and screamed in shock when icecicles stabbed into her gut and leg. The Child behind her cried out as well, but advanced. Back at the rock the pale Beelzes smirked and patted Faera on the back. "Nice!" She raised both gauntlet-covered hands and a fel-energy permeated the air as she called upon her patron. The rain water gathered in much the same way as Faera's spell, but instantly manifested as reddish black ice jutting from the wounds of the two Children the dark elf had harmed. The ice emitted a grotesque sucking sound that could be heard even over the screams of it's victims. Within seconds the Children lay shriveled husks in the grass as the hellish ice crystals had grown. The sodden Beelzes stuck her tongue out. "Vampire Ice! Or..." she took out a pair of black-tinted eye-glasses and levelled a serious stare at her fellow. "Nos-frost-tu."
The weather was absolutely dreadful. At first Zakair had been ecstatic at the possiblity of a light shower, but this deluge was ridiculous. The elven Child shrugged and prodded his newest captive. At least that helped brighten his mood. "You're a chatty one, bug. Would you mind very much if I cut out that sharp little tongue of yours? Or better yet, put that pretty fanged mouth to a task better suited for-"
The sound of battle somewhere ahead caught the leader's attention. It seemed that the next fools had stumbled upon their doom. Zakair looked to the two Children carrying Mercy, then at the crimson-robed arcanites. Scowling, he nodded the latter over. "Attack from the air." That said, they wordlessly moved off towards the combat and disappeared.
A roar echoed throughout the immediate area as Caine ripped the sword from the throat of the Child he faced off against. Caine had howled like a beast, announcing his kill and surrendering a little bit more to his fury. He had tasted blood and death, now his bloodlust would not be satiated until all who opposed them lay dead or dying at their feet. The war drums' beat had heightened and raced as Adrenaline merged and mixed with the black treacly anger. As skin and flesh bubbled at the Child's face, no doubt due to the combination of it's fire breath and Caine's tear at the Child's throat, He stepped back out of instinct rather than personal safety. Fire had such odd effects on beasts like that. A stray glance here caught the Lamia, Iriana, beset by a couple of children. This did nothing but exacerbate Caine's fury. If he had been in a calmer mood, he would have wished her luck. In his current mood, he wished her their ]blood.
As he stepped back, he felt Gilleas brush against him. This merely registered in his mind for a split-second before whipping his head back and realizing it was, indeed, Gilleas, now Shield-less with two Children converging on the Guardian, one aiming for his head, the other his kidney... Whether the thought raced through the enraged Caine's mind or not, it was his turn to get his fellow Legionnaire's back. Caine spun on his heel and caught the weapon of the Child who was aiming for Gilleas's side with his saber. With the saber, Caine pushed downward and away at the weapon, causing the weapon to miss Gilleas, unharmed... One would figure the guardian could protect against a frontal assault to his face. Caine didn't figure that, as he was reacting on instinct and the child after Gilleas's side was the closest... The war drums slowed as Caine took more action.
Following the catching and deflecting of the child's blade, Caine stepped forward to Gilleas's side, savagely rushing and pushing at the child he had engaged, looking to put distance between Caine and the child. To try and put even more distance between the them and the Child, he kicked savagely at what should be the knees of the Child... Caine was too far into his feral fury to distinguish features such as feathers from a harpy or skin from a human. He just saw an enemy. An enemy who was about to die. In such a blood fury, the war-drums pounded their song, urging him to slay, urging him to kill.
With distance hopefully put between them and his Child, Caine grunted a few words to Gilleas, assuming he had evaded the other attack. "You get one, I get th' other," He said, words slurring. Caine's eyebrow was furrowed in anger, his lip twitched, and a vein was throbbing on his forehead, signaling the adrenaline coursing throughout his veins. He growled again, a low, violent sound from him belly, at the Child. Another monstrosity dared to breath on this battlefield, his battlefield. It was taunting him by merely living, by placing itself in front of Caine as if to challenge him. The idea that Caine was actually the one who put himself in front of the Child never crossed his mind. He was too far gone for such rational thought. The beats began to urge and tug at his hands. Kill, kill, kill, they sang rhythmically.
Next, without warning, Caine took a quick step looking to close the distance between the Child and him. Caine proceeded to heft the saber into the air, broadcasting the hew that was to come with the downward swing of the saber. This was a farce however, looking to try and draw attention to the saber. At the same time with the longsword, he quickly whipped it horizontally right to left, hoping the slash would open up the Child's midsection, or at least take the Child's mind off of the saber for a split-second... A split-second was all that he needed to split the Child's head vertically. Each strike was punctuated with a thump of the drums. Whatever the result, Caine shouted something at the creature. It didn't have any tangible form or diction, it was just a wordless shout that had escaped from his mouth.
Faera heard a few of the icicles hit, though the knowledge brought her no measure of joy. Rather, she felt a little sick, but ignored the stirring in her stomach as best she could. The woman next to her made a joke, and she seized on the thought, giggling slightly. "I'd always heard that vampires were horrid, but you seem an 'ice' enough person," she replied, feeling a bit silly, but deciding that was far and away better than 'about-to-vomit.'
The creatures were still coming, though, and she picked up on Sid's conversations with the male harpy. That didn't sound good at all. Thirty of them, and only three dead after all that? It sounded like they were going to need a lot more firepower- and quite a dose of good fortune.
The sound of broiling flesh hit her ears a millisecond before the awful smell reached her nose, and she did retch then, but not badly enough to bring up breakfast- not yet anyway. She realized with trepidation that both were issuing from Laila and gasped, picking her way over the ground between them to the other woman's side. Faera's heart began to race, and her blood thundered in her ears. It was too familiar- the smell, the sound, all of it. It was just like the last attack on the village; she was helpless, she was despicable, it was all her fault, she- no!
Berating herself for the train of thought, Faera forced herself to focus on what was going on in the present, and began the litany for a complex healing spell. Her hands once again orchestrated the gathering of the power required, and her gestures appeared to pluck magic from the air and gather it together before spreading it, palms down, in the air over the injured area. Flaring her fingers, Faera set the spell in place. When it worked, it was a bit on the slow side, but the pain should start to subside almost immediately. At least, she hoped it did.
"I'm sorry, Laila; just lay still for a while. They haven't broken the line, yet- you should be okay until you're ready to move again. I have to go now, though; we're not doing so well." She bit her lip and stood, trying to regain her bearings. Everyone was much closer together now, which made her job a little more difficult. Her best bet would probably be single-target spells, aimed at Children who were off to the side for some reason or another- most likely already somewhat injured.
The wet crack of bones was a satisfying sound. The first time she'd beaten a foe to death, Neira had been sickened with herself, not for having done what was necessary, but because she had enjoyed it so damn much. Now, sadism was just another tool of survival. It prevented her from succumbing to something much, much worse and getting herself or someone else killed. Blood and gore spattered her face, but she simply smiled past the crimson stains, unrelenting.
The lamia upon whom she was laying her particularly slow brand of agony was not about to give up, though, and that only made it better. So much more satisfying when they didn't go down like weak maggots, writhing in the dirt and returning from whence they came at the slightest touch. No, this was most excellent indeed-
Neira hissed and muttered a string of oaths under her breath, using her wings to propel herself from the gout of fire with rapidity, though she did not miss the heat on her face. Seeing that the idiot was self-immolating, she assumed people would be smart enough to avoid him until he was nothing but a heap of ashes and hovered overhead for a moment, looking for another opening to take advantage of before she became a target for arrows or something. No cure for stupid, and if he wanted to be all kamikaze about it, she wasn't going to stick around.
Spotting the most likely bet- a black-clad lamia and harpy were beset by no less than five sodding Children- she made a beeline for them, landing noiselessly on the ground behind the fire-breathing freaks. She grabbed the nearest one's head and wrenched, intending to break its neck cleanly. One was making a swing for the harpy, and she decided that the numbers were enough to justify the annoyance of scrambling brains in an entirely different sense.
You don't want that attack to land, she projected into the Child's mind. Usually that was enough to do the trick. At the very least, there would probably be some minor hesitation, even if her suggestion were eventually dismissed or rejected. That was the thing about psionics- she couldn't actually force anyone to do anything, but most hated the feeling of having their minds invaded. It was almost laughable, actually- she'd met people who shied away from her the minute she mentioned this little sub-specialty of hers. As though she wanted to spend time in their boring minds or something.
Immediately following the assault, the cultist seemed to have lost whatever mind it had left. Duran was taken aback when it took a deep breath and proceeded to set itself on fire. More than likely this was a horrible accident; The gout of flames was clearly aimed for the Nightmarian that had just concussed the Lamia into believing that setting itself on fire was a good idea. It was possible that the flames were magical in nature. In this case, it could mean any number of things. Perhaps it had a resistance to fire of some kind, perhaps it was completely immune to its own fire, though that hypothesis was becoming less and less plausible as he could see the Snake-man's flesh being eaten away by the fire.
Immediately, several strategies entered his mind. There was the obvious one; Wait for the Lamia to cremate itself. Then there were several others, all of which did not have the considerable amount of strategic heft that the first plan did. There was no doubt, however, that the Lamia knew he was there. It had charged for him, after all. Perhaps in its rage, it would attempt to kill Neira. Maybe it would just continue to be insane and, suffering from a pugilist-inflicted brain injury, it would simply flail around until it would be able to neatly fill an urn or two.
Despite the many extravagant battle-plans floating around in his head, Duran held up his shield and spear, intent on a defensive reaction rather than an offensive strike against a flaming zealot of a snake-person.
Talae's breath took its exit with a slight huff as she noted the scant accuracy of her crossbow shot. When the icicles impaled the same figure, she embraced the irony of Faera hitting a target she could not. At least it meant her sister was adapting well enough.
Sid called out for melee weapons, which was marginally better for Talae. Removing two knives from each boot, she decided to take advantage of what was far and away her best skill- mid-range projectiles- while she still could. One of the blades went sailing towards an incoming harpy Child, the other on a direct trajectory for a halfling busy spilling fire from its palms at Leila. She did not have time to debate the wisdom of following these up with flasks of poison (though the knives were coated in a mild neurotoxin, she did not necessarily count on it to work against Children), because the halfling with firepower was coming at her now, blade in each hand.
Talae's hand flew to her lower back and she grasped the double-bladed knife there, sidestepping to avoid the initial charge. Using her new placement to her advantage as much as possible, the elf kicked at the Child's exposed back, intent on perhaps sending him to the ground, from where the next move would be as simple as stepping on his arms and stabbing him in the back, as many times as strictly necessary. Of course, if she hadn't kicked hard enough or he had excellent footing, she'd have a problem on her hands.
She wasn't exactly built for full-on melee, to say the least. It was certainly possible, and she had trained for it to an extent (if teaching yourself what you could learn from watching others counted as training), but it was definitely not her preference.
A dark elven Child approached, and she grimaced as the woman swung a longsword, intent on hacking Talae to pieces. The first few blows she blocked, but the fourth caught her shallowly across the ribs, and she stumbled. The swiftness of reflex embedded in her body from a lifetime of running, hiding, and striking from the dark was the only thing that stopped the next blow from being fatal, and instead she dived out of the way, landing rather uncomfortably on an exposed root. That would leave a bruise.
Gritting her teeth, Talae drew a glass flask of acid from her belt and threw it with steady hand. While it could be blocked with the woman's shield, she was at least reassured that it could not be deflected and hit someone else. Regaining her feet, Talae glanced around, checking the area for Kisikoni. Hopefully, he was presently a little better off than she was.
Despite how calm he felt, Kisikoni's shots still went slightly. His hands were shaking, and the distance was just outside of his regular bolt range and too far inside the arrow-mode range. Growling to himself, he loaded another shot and fired it off quickly as his commander began to shout expletives- notifying him of how grave the situation was. While cocking his crossbow, he was told to get into melee range. He dropped his crossbow, the string snapping back and nearly lashing his fingers. He drew out his Butterfly swords in a smooth fashion, despite the internal panic that seized him. Calming himself, he knew he would only look bad if he continued to let fear hardwire his reflexes.
He moved closer to his partner, Talae as she threw her throwing knives. Covering her flank, he saw a lamian Child attempt to flank his partner with slithering motions. Intercepting the lamia's movements, he nodded slightly. The action was mostly out of habit, because it was customary to greet your opponent when fighting underground. Even the bitterest enemies back home in Kisikoni's village would give a firm handshake and bow before fighting. That was the way many disputes too deep for words were solved.
The Child did not react to it, rather charging him and initiating the conflict with a deadly overhead swipe of his tail. Kisikoni barely managed to duck, despite his nerves sparking him the moment that Lamian Child moved a muscle. With instinct coursing through his veins, he pushed forward, jabbing one sword toward the Lamia. The lamia easily dodged by dipping it's serpentine body back, and attempted to strike Kisikoni with the epieu (short spear) it held in it's hands. Kisikoni swung his left arm, deflecting the blow with his second sword and locked it in a fluid motion. The lamia wasted no time, dropping the spear and grabbing it with it's tail. The dextrous Lamia then slashed at Kisikoni, who barely dodged the blow. He felt the live leather armor shear as the blade came within centimeters of splitting flesh.
Stumbling back, Kisikoni remained wired- staring at the Lamia who spun the epieu once with the tail back into it's left arm. Kisikoni couldn't tell if it were a man or woman, since the robes were rather baggy and the face was androgynous-like. The spear-tip hummed, and once again it clashed with Kisikoni's sword. Kisikoni trapped the spear with both swords, ducked the punch the Lamia threw, and used his waist to tear the spear from it's arms. The Lamia retorted with a tail whip to the face, which sent Kisikoni sprawling. Rolling over, he got up just in time to avoid a deadly elbow drop from the Lamia, using the tail as a lashing weapon to keep the Deep Human from striking it while it was on the ground. The lamia got up, and slashed at Kisikoni again with it's tail. This time, Kisikoni swung the swords to meet it, the heavy blades sinking deep into the musclebound tail of the Lamia. The lamia screeched, And Kisikoni recovered from the shock he had absorbed from the tail attack, and abandoned his swords to deliver a stinging punch to the lamia's neck. The lamia tried to fall back but Kisikoni was upon it. His fists were his deadliest weapon- learned from just a lad, he used his body to become a force of nature. The Lamia hit the ground with Kisikoni above it, and without warning, a flurry of hard blows rained down on the Child's head. There was resilient thrashing, and Kisikoni even received a few blows himself, but through his mental training his fists kept flying. With lamia blood dampening his hands, he contined to throw punch after punch on the grounded Child, feeling bones break. Soon the lamia was only throwing token resistance. The damn thing was only almost unconscious after Kisikoni's attack!
Jumping back up, he staggered back and yanked his blades from the Child's tail. Suddenly, the lamia's eyes blazed as it's tail flashed once more and smacked Kisikoni across the face. Falling, Kisikoni found himself under the Child's serpent-like embrace. One arm was free, and with his sword, he stabbed the Lamia in the gut and dragged the sharp, heavy blade down it's waist. Blood poured out, and withdrawing, the Lamia merely got closer with it's venomous fangs. Desperately, he shoved the blade into it's head as it's fists held down Kisikoni's head to keep from avoiding the teeth. The Lamia reacted instantly, it's eyes of fire instantly wiped clean of thought. Kisikoni felt it slump over and hit the ground next to him, and he wriggled out of it's grasp. Standing upright, he felt his vision blur slightly as he held his head. He recognized the blood that stuck to his hand as his own- the lamia's last tail whip had caught him pretty hard. Raising his blades, he nodded at Talae tiredly as she gave him a quick glance.
"Keep your eyes forward, Talae!" He shouted hoarsely. "I've got your sixth!"
Zakair, the leader seemed like such a poop-head. Arrogant, yet cold and calculating like those stories she used to be told as she was tucked in by her mommy. They were usually the ones that were eaten, because only the dead reserve the right to be emotionless.
"Well, mister," Mercy huffed, "I'm very grateful for the offer, but I don't deal with short-sticks." She smiled suggestively. It would take all the bonds in the world to secure her vivacious personality. She heard fighting in the distance- perhaps it was the legion she had requested. A letter before the attack had said the "Fortieth Legion" was coming to reinforce her. She had no clue, and didn't care who was in it, because they were all merely just obedient allies. Now, she was counting on these unknown soldiers to save her before lord-knows-what.
She tiredly spat out a globule of meat that had refused to go down. It was still spicy from dragon-magic pulsating through his former body.
Once again Illeyssa found herself in the room of this establishment, though her mind was elsewhere as she moved past the owner and for one of the open table. The place was slightly less crowded and noisy with the leave of the Legion but the faces that were gone for a night's sleep were here now to catch their first glimpse of the orc. The Owner watched her move past with a suspicious eye, but since she didn't engage him, he didn't bother with her. At this point the light in here was the same as out there to her, the difference in weather more of a minute detail to be overlooked. So much time now had to go into her predictions, thoughts and questions that seemed natural to her before were ever present with the influence of dragons on Norr. Such a strong distortion was troubling and she felt like an apprentice again. Of the world around her, she could feel the presence of Dormund and his Worgs close by, and she had no doubt Silvyar was hugging close. Maybe Brack and his brother Gormun had moved off for a meal or drink. It had been a day since they had eaten.
Her mind was reflected in, ignoring what her eyes saw, of the picture before her as Dormund waved off Silvyar and the startled apprentice moved over to the brothers instead, their heads turning to her as she waved them close, speaking to them about something. The pair watched each other and rose, hands close to their weapons as they opened the door into the beginnings of the rain and departed. The apprentice watching them leave the door, before returning to a seat close by Illeyssa, a faint smile on her lips as if she was self assured about something.
She had watched her apprentice do all this but she didn't focus on her reality. As her thoughts wrapped about her to assure and calm the storm of her mind, it seemed like the storm outside was just beginning.
Wrath's throat was raw and his voice was a hoarse rattle. It could have been minutes or hours, the passage of time grossly warped in the heat of battle. At some point the bard had taken a punch to the neck and was forced to make due with humming and instrument alone. Presently engaged with a lanky deep human Child who fought like a man posessed, Wrath could just barely create a magically manifested parrying dagger instead of his usual longsword. The Child advanced step after step however, knowing that he had the advantage in every aspect. Except allies, Wrath thought as a wicked bolt from an unseen crossbow blasted through the deep human's midsection allowing him to open up a long gash along the Child's neck. Wrath panted and turned to engage the next combatant of a seemingly endless pool of foes, to find none in the immediate vicinity.
The largest of the three orcs on his squad, Junte, was still resting against a tree spattered with mud and blood with a tear in his head that was trickling crimson. Ferka, his sister, and the ranger elf Melian were trading blows with a trio of Children. Wrath decided to risk damaging his vocal cords a little more to force out the last powerful spell he had prepared that day. He sucked in his breath, "What once was--"
A blinding flash of light and pealing thunder stunned the captain before he could enact the spellsong. When his vision cleared, Ferka was reeling in shock along with the three Children. Melian was not so lucky. He stood motionless, still gripping his blades in a battle position, but he was blackened beyond recognition. In moments the rain sent portions of the fried elf sloshing on the ground in steaming chunks. Ferka was already upon the Children before they could recover, the orcish woman displaying her battle experience. Wrath however, was looking to the sky.
Thirty feet above the ground two shapeless robes of bloody red blew in the wind, scarred hands pointing down towards the battle. Wrath was still trying to piece together what just happened when the smaller of the two charged arcane energy and loosed a beam of gray light. Wrath hastily murmered the words to a foolish rhyming song and erected a barrier that deflected most of the attack. A thin ray slipped through and struck his left arm, the nerotic energies causing the appendage to go limp. He was forced to sling his instrument and halt the song. Spellcasters. They have spellcasters...
These heretics were putting up a better fight than expected given the horrible odds. Mikana laughed and parried Caine's savage slash with practiced ease and backed away before his cut could do any damage to her legs. The elf was surprised for a breath when she saw her opponent ready such an obvious attack...then smiled fiercely. A powerful strike clashed against Caine's horizontal strike and sent the weapon spinning off into the murky gloom. With her free hand, Mikana caught Caine's large wrist--which was supposed to deliver a strike to rend her skull in twain--in her delicate palm. The elf, who was barely a third of the berserker's size, caught and held him like an adult would a child with a tantrum. She released a pulse of dragonfire that seared the skin of Caine's forearm from wrist to elbow, her grip tightening. "Do you feel it? What it's like to be powerless? That's how I felt when barbarians like you," this word was punctuated with a burning look at the Legion symbol on Caine's armor, "Came into my village and killed our men...defiled our women...defiled me..."
The Child looked to be on the verge of tears when she raised her sword in a strike that would cleave Caine in half. A spectral hawk the size of a hound tackled Mikana away at the last moment though, freeing up the damaged berserker. A few meters away the sorcerous harpy Qinn nodded at Caine and flew up to engage the enemy spellcasters. Gillias was still being beaten back by the other Child.
Even burning at a feverish rate, the lamian cultist only cackled and fought on, as though the pain of being burned alive was something to be celebrated. He was going to strike at the nightmarian bitch who broke his bones when she fled. Ourusse turned his burning gaze on Duran and the wolf, smiling the smile of a maniac, he simply waved at the druid before disappearing into thin air. High above, one of the arcanists completed the spell that made the flaming Child invisible before being summarily slammed by a lash of green fire. Quinn screeched and dove at the other red-robed enemy, tearing rents in their flesh with sharpened talons.
Two more Children ran from the forest behind Duran to attack, brandishing longswords and spitting fire.
Her target having flown away, the Child turned her blade on Iriana. A sudden thought struck her...a very odd one. Why wouldn't she want to attack a heret-- "Die!" The thought ended abruptly as Iriana's mace splattered the Child's skull. Neira's target was caught completely unawares, neck snapping like a dry twig in winter. Despite empowered bodies, anatomy still held true, as did weak points of the human body. An absurdly large harpy of a Child oriented on keeping Iriana busy as the other two cultists focused fire on Neira. Quite literally. One jumped high and the other came in at ground level firing draconic heat on the nightmarian. They had taken her wings into account and nullified any avenue of escape bar one: Backing up.
That hope was quashed instantly when the martyred lamia, still somehow in one, flaming piece, appeared behind Neira with his arms outspread to engulf her in a deadly embrace. Do nightmarians feel fear? Ourusse thought in the moment before he would end Neira's life. His query would never be answered despite it's interesting premise. Head, legs and tail seperated from torso in an instant, the body parts splashing to the mud with a sizzle. A dark blur flashed past Neira to plant itself in front of her. The dragonfire parted around the silhouetted figure for a long moment before guttering out. The Children furrowed their brows in confusion. Thanaros, the same orc that had spoken to her at the bar, rose from his crouch with polearm in hand. Without looking back he said, "I'm glad you took my advice. Even more so to find a fellow praticioner of the Power Within. I would like to speak with you more on this later."
His voice was hollow and level, but his words were spoken with the conviction of a man who knew only fact. Not presumptuous hope. The battlemind focused his psionic power in his muscles and moved with preternatural speed once more to bear down upon one of the enemies. The other widened her eyes, glinting with fear, and charged at Neira without a second glance at the battle-numbed orc mutilating her companion.
Sid cranked the last bolt into her wallarmbrust and loosed a string of curses of such vehemence Neira would've been impressed. She looked back at Hokunn and Laila were propped up against the rock, both badly wounded. The male elf had been disemboweled and was fighting to keep his innerts inside his stomach. It was a miracle he was till conscious. Returning to the battle, the halfling aimed at one of the arcane Children intending to take them out of the fight...but thought better of it. Instead Sid took the legs out from under an advancing orc Child. The enemy noticed that Sid's squad was doing the most damage and was surrounding them. Even more had wormed their way out of the woodwork, Achiru counting sixty or more before flying off to aid his fellow harpy against the floating spellcasters.
"Dead gods above, why is this happening? We weren't supposed to be involved in anything like this. We're going to die..." Sid had intended the comment to be fore herself, but it carried above the rain to every nearby legionnaire. Beelzes scowled at this and, peering past her shades, motioned for Faera to look at the inexorable approach of the Children of Fire's battle line. "I will handle the groups. My patron gives me many spells that bring mass pain. You try to ward us against those who had broken the line...like the trio upon your sister." With nothing more to say the warlock made a slicing gesture with her hands at the nearest group of enemies. Four of the six fell to the ground clutching bloody gashes that had opened up across their bodies.
The halfling Talae had struck with her thrown knife hissed an unintelligible curse which devolved into a scream when the flasks broke against his open wounds. The harpy Child swerved in midair to avoid the projectile and moved to attack Faera. The halfling was blinded and slashing wildly with his own weapon, and was stunned when he was tripped and stabbed repeatedly. The feeling in his legs was gone...arms too...all the cultist could do was growl in frustration as he lay bleeding on the rock. Dark elves, however, were more refined in their technique. The new Child raked at Talae with her longsword with methodical strikes and parries until she finally landed a blow. With a laugh the white-robed dark elf allowed the flask to splatter on her targe and rushed Talae with blinding speed. Bladed shield--one steeped with Talae's poison now--coming in high, sword sweeping low for a flawless trap. With Kisikoni now at her back, the legionnaire dark elf would have nowhere to go without bowling him over. Taking advantage of the situation the Child sucked in a breath to engulf them both in a fiery conflageration.
The end of a dagger slid out of the cultist's glowing throat, wrenched up and sent the dargonfire spewing harmlessly into the air. The weapon, now warped with heat was withdrawn and an ebon-covered hand wrapped around the dark elf's neck and gave another hard tug. The neck snapped audibly and her body dropped to the ground limp. Above the corpse, with one arm gray and lifeless, Wrath glared at Talae as if she had done something wrong. Without a word he stalked off toward Sid. Laying a hand on the halfling's shoulder, every symbol upon each legionnaire's armor began to glow red. The commnader proclaimed loudly, "We're leaving! Thirty seconds to prepare for the translocation!" All wearing the armor of the Legion would be able to hear his call...hopefully they would still be alive in thirty seconds.
Sid nodded, slapping the dragon skull symbol on her chest so it turned blue. Beelzes and the half-concious Hokunn did the same, the elf also smacking Laila's mark. Across the field beset by hostiles on all sides, Iriana, Ferka and Thanaros engaged the magic that would allow them to be taken when the spell was ready. The trio had formed a circle back-to-back, including Neira in it. Above the melee the arcanists hurled bolts of force that were only narrowly dodged by the harpy legionnaires. Each took a preicous moment to activate their own runes and resumed keeping the spellcasters occupied with charms and arrows.
25 Seconds remained, and seven Children leaped up on to the rock and looked for targets.
Finally. Having been skulking in the mud and leaves for the entirety of the battle, Pel Mekillot, another halfling in Sid's squad, halted in the shadows of a high tree a few feet from the Children holding Mercy hostage. Using her hands she made an intricat shape and blew through it, mimicking the low chitter of a spider. Hoping to catch Mercy's eye, the halfling gave an unconvincing smile and mimed her unbinding the nightmarian. All that was left was to think of how to do so while not getting killed by the sary looking elf...with a narrow time limit.
Pain. A searing pain engulfed his arm, causing him to drop the saber on reaction alone. Caine howled in a mixture of pain, agony, and rage. He was slowly beginning to lose himself to the red haze. He snarled as the the Child spoke to him. As she spoke down to him, holding him like he was some errant infant. The thought made Caine rage, a mixture of pain and anger. He wanted her dead. He wanted her dead, now. She spoke of things. Of defiling her village, of defiling her. She had called him a barbarian, which sent a streak of anger into his eyes. He tilted up his head and looked down his nose at her. If this was to be his last moment, then dammit, it was going to be a defiant one. He growled, "I am no barbarian... I am a human." He said simply and locked eyes with the child. He was not about to give her the satisfaction of fear, of doubt, of weakness.
Then she was gone. The had been tackled by something, a bird perhaps? He scanned around looking for some sort of clue as to his savior. He was answered by a nod from a nearby harpy as she flew up to meet some airborne attacker. Now free, Caine cradled his scorched arm. Weary of his injuries, he knelt and picked up the saber he had dropped with his opposite, his left hand. While his right hand was the main hand, he was still proficient enough with this left. Though it still put him at a disadvantage. Held the saber with one hand, extended to fend off attackers and hugged his injured arm close to his chest to avoid further injury.
The attack, the relative ease he was injured and the helplessness he had felt came in waves. However, each wave only angered him further. He felt weakened, and that made him mad. He had been rendered helpless for moments, and that provoked the beast within. Caine's anger welled and raged within in a maelstrom. If he had been uninjured, there was a good chance that he would have just lost himself and given in to the torrent. Yet, he knew better. To lose himself now would mean certain death. Now was not the time for blunt rage, but cold ruthlessness.
His berserker torrent had died down and warped into a cold fury. He had to think, he had to keep his wits about him. He straightened out, became aware of the battle that surrounded him. He became aware that he was on the losing side. He grimaced, he hated losing and losing here would certainly mean death... Or worse. He spun the saber in his left hand confidently, effectively throwing a big middle finger to fate and holding the sword blade downwards, a defensive stance to be sure.
"We're leaving! Thirty seconds to prepare for the translocation!" He heard. He had no idea what translocation was, but he had seen other Legionnaires tapping the emblem on their armor, a feat Caine replicated with his injured arm. A burst of pain surged through the arm and threatened to engulf Caine once more in a Berserker's embrace. But thirty seconds... What could he do in thirty seconds? He glanced over at the Child who had threatened him earlier... Of course.
He skirted across to the Child, steps more sure and less boisterous than they had been in his wrath. He arrived at her side as she writhed on the ground, confused. He stood above her and stared down. An urge to kill her right now with a simple flick of his wrist. No, not that way, not yet. He stood, and spoke in a voice devoid of anger, a feat not easily accomplished. "I am a human," He repeated, "I defiled nothing. You," He began again, looking down at the Child. Their roles were reversed. Now it was him who looked down upon the grounded child. It was him who held the upper hand. However, he held no joy or pride in this fact. Caine's next words held hints of an overlying fury, the origins of his title of berserker, "It was you who took my Liera from me. For that alone, I'll kill every single damn one of you." With that, a wet squelch punctuated the sentence. He had stabbed the Child in throat in a fit of rage at the memory of this Liera. As he ripped the saber out of the slain child's throat, a spatter of blood landed on his scarred cheek.
He spun on his heels and began to walk. The walk turned to a run. The run to a sprint. In his cold mind, he began to think more rationally. He only had a few seconds left before the Translocation took place. What could he do in such little time? Surely he couldn't kill all of the children... But perhaps. Perhaps he could help some of the others survive the next few seconds... He was near Iriana, the Lamia who he had wished the best during the fight and two Orcs, Ferka and Thanaros, as well as the nightmarian Neira included. As he ran to the group who had backed up in a circle formation, he leaned to his left and hamstringed a Child from behind who was threatening the them, dropping the cultist to the ground in an instant and used the hole by sliding into the their formation, adding his strength to theirs, and making the four, five.
He leaned slightly on the Lamia and an Orc, still hugging himself with his injured arm. He pulled the saber across his chest, the blunted side of the blade running the length of his forearm and held in a defensive manner. He spoke in a gruff and tired manner, but still held the edge of dark humor and sarcasm, "How are we this evenin' ?" He asked those who's formation he had slid in, "Hope ya don't mind me cuttin' in like this." He said, a pun on the fact that he did, in fact, cut in, evidenced by the Child clutching the back of it's leg.
She was not. Her senses, sharper than most, were of the utmost importance in the dark home of her race, but here, in open combat, with bodies moving and weapons clashing all about, it was difficult to focus. The din hurt her ears, the constant motion begged her eye to be drawn, and she had to force herself to ignore what occurred in her peripherals unless it was immediately pressing. She could only imagine what Faera, deprived of sight and thus forced to compensate by relying heavily on the other senses available to her, was dealing with.
But though sound smell and sight might be troublesome, she could not allow herself to be so easily moved from her own task as to check on her sister. Rather than acknowledge Kisikoni's statement, she simply took his advice, resetting her focus on the enemies before her with grim determination. The halfling was near-fully debilitated; she was almost of a mind to end it mercifully, and soon. She was forced away from this course of action, however, by the realization that throwing acid at the elf's targe was a poor idea. Granted, the acid bit into and corroded the shield's surface, but not nearly fast enough that it was not a threat to her own health, and that of the man behind her as well.
She was cornered, and she well knew it- backing up could throw Kisikoni off his balance enough that it would end both of them, and she had no desire to be responsible for that. Instead, she slid one of her backup knives- the melee kind, not the throwing sort- from her left boot and decided to do what she could, come what may. The halfling, she ended with a well-placed slice to the throat, glad at least that his screaming would cease as a result. She was about to jump- despite the pain her acid caused, she was more likely to survive a blow from the targe than the sword- when the woman fell, leaving the captain in her place.
She did not understand why this man despised her so, though she had surmised it had something to do with her profession. A good guess was that someone he'd known had been killed by one such as herself, but she refused to be bothered about it. Her job was her job, and she did what she was paid to do, which in this case seemed to be retreating if the odd signaling mechanism were anything to go by. Observing the general pattern in the behavior of those around her, she too hit she red crest, which turned it blue.
Of course, thirty seconds could be quite a long time in the right situations, and she had a feeling this might be one of those. She could do nothing about the Children spellcasters- she had not even known that such things existed- as they were well out of range. Still, it wasn't as though they were about to run out of things to narrowly-avoid-being-killed-by down here either. That thought in mind, she parried the incoming thrust of a spear directed at her by an orcish Child who had apparently decided she made the best target. Talae, despite the ridiculous amounts of adrenaline setting her nerves on fire, retained the presence of mind to roll her eyes. The large ones always thought she made an easy target- why was that?
Ducking the next stroke and rolling clear, Talae contemplated her options for perhaps three of her precious remaining seconds before deciding that it was time to stop pretending she could fight melee and do what assassins did best- the unexpected, and the underhanded. Dashing abruptly for the nearest tree, she made full use of a dark elf's most unique trait- the ability to maintain a good grip on just about anything. The gauntlets and boots were actually a drawback here, but she was ascending so fast it didn't make a whole lot of difference. Pulling herself into a crouch atop a sturdy limb, she broke into a run, flinging herself off the limb with what probably looked like reckless abandon.
The orc, not having figured out what she was doing in sufficient time, was caught by surprise, and his stab went astray as Talae twisted, catlike, in the air, bracing herself for impact and hooking the business ends of her blades on the large humanoid's shoulders, her body weight only causing them to bite all the deeper. Immediately, he tried to throw her off, but before he could decide that backing into something solid was a smart idea (which it was) she relinquished the grip she had with her left hand and withdrew the third and final of her non-projectile knives, sinking it deep into the base of his neck at an upward angle that would surely hit his brain.
Her thirty seconds ended as she wrenched he blades from his shoulders, leaping lightly off him before he crashed to the ground.
Her casting was interrupted though, when the wind of the harpy Child's passage caught her face. Sucking in air sharply, Faera hit the ground in just enough time to avoid the rake of sharp talons, clutching the spellshield carefully to her chest like a treasure that had to be protected. She had major problems now, though, she knew that much, and she quickly flung it at the two injured elves some distance beyond- one less worry, at least for a time. The spell would likely hold for no more than a minute, given its hasty construction.
She needed her arms back, though, to defend herself. As the harpy dove again, it was hit full in the face with an enraged wyrm, Zek having been most displeased to be so forcibly dislodged from her shoulder. As ineffective as such an assault would be unless the tiny dragonkin managed to get at its eyes, it bought her the time necessary to summon the ice to her fingertips once more, this time taking the risk that she'd hit something else and firing a direct spell straight upwards as she rolled and staggered to her feet. From the distinct shriek that followed, she judged that she had probably hit some part of the harpy's anatomy.
She heard the Captain's orders, and felt some kind of strange magic issuing from her armor. A... transport spell? Perhaps... she was not familiar enough with the properties of enchanted objects to say for sure, and she touched the crest on instinct alone, deciding that it would probably be best to keep Zek attached to her shoulder from this point forwards.
Thirty seconds... what could she possibly do with thirty seconds besides try and not get killed (or deafened, for that matter)? She knew more than a few of their number would require what treatment she could provide, but it was probably best to wait just a little longer for that. She heard a gathering of Children on a stone some distance away... or at least that's what it sounded like; footwear on stone, and not fighting, which meant Children. The Legionnaires were far too scant in number for such a number of them to be doing nothing.
Well... she supposed that was as good as anything else. Stone, stone... she wasn't very good with earth magics, and so as much as she would like to coax the rock to bind their feet and legs, she didn't think it would work very well. Her best option pragmatically unavailable, she settled for something less practical, but perhaps more damaging- if it hit anything. Gradually, Faera began drawing raindrops to herself, much as she had done with her first attack, only she did not freeze anything this time. Instead, she directed the orb of water (perhaps six feet in diameter) to hurtle past anyone else in its way and smack into the cluster. The force would not be life-threatening, but it would be disorienting enough to leave anyone affected on the ground for a bit, and the point was to stay alive for just a few more seconds, right? "Cannonball..." she mumbled under her breath.
Shortly afterward, time expired.
Neira grinned her satisfaction at that lovely wet breaking sound that human necks made, releasing the now-corpse without a second thought. It would seem her little mind-game had provided ample distraction for one of the others to make use of it, which was also perfectly adequate.
Of course, they were far from out of the woods yet, and when she was flanked by two Children, she swore a rather colorful kind of revenge against the traitorous back-alley whores they both called 'mother' and made to back up will all due haste when her antennae informed her that this, too was impossible. Swinging around, she caught sight of the lamia emerging from his concealment, apparently intent on taking her down with him.
She could not speak for her species, but the primal drive to end lives painfully with naught but her hands and her mind knew not what fear was- only surprise, and the desire that if she were to die, she would go down bathing in the blood of her foes. As it was, however, no such sentiments were necessary, for the burning blighter was soon enough replaced by a familiar face, this one clearly a stoic in the face of danger. It was really too bad they were on the same side- she loved screwing with the stoic ones the most.
She carelessly licked the blood and bile from her lips (humanoids of all kinds tasted terrible, but it was something of an unconscious habit), raising an eyebrow as he spoke. "Whatever you say, kiddo," she replied with a shrug, backing into a defensive circle with the other Legionnaires in her area. She had a habit- some would say an annoying one, not that she cared- to bestow rather diminutive nicknames on the people she didn't hate quite as much as everyone else. Well, that or the ones she hated more, but those were usually not the monikers of polite conversation.
The call for thirty seconds came, and Neira issued an exaggerated sigh, tapping the sigil emblazoned upon her armor. "It was just getting good, too... here's an idea. Anyone who can take down one of these suckers in thirty seconds gets a drink at the next tavern we hit- on me, of course. Unless I do it first, of course. They have to be fresh, though... not fun eating scraps, hm?"
With these... slightly less-than-sane words, Neira picked her own target: an eleven child with a hand axe. "You'll do nicely," she told him with a wicked smile, launching herself into the air and deciding that a roundhouse kick to the head really was her favorite way to start a match. From there forward, it was much the same as always- find new and creative methods to pummel and skewer, all the while avoiding those sharp bits of steel that some people liked to use to slice others to ribbons. Pah.
Illeyssa blinked. In a rush the sounds, smells and warmth of the gathering room washed over her senses in strong waves. Warm and freshly made meals mixed with the aroma of ale and other spirits. The sounds of laughter, crashing mugs and the uneven paces of footsteps paraded around her. The roughly cut wooden table and the warm air pressing at her skin welcomed her with both discomfort and safety. Hey eyes adjusted as if shut away in the darkness of a cellar for the night and she registered shapes and blurred figures about her. She felt the air slipping in and out of her lungs, calm steady breaths through the nose as she blinked again, trying to bring the world into focus.
Silvyar sat close to her right, leaning over the table, practically draping herself over her own shoulders, "Shawoman?"
"I am fine apprentice..." She slowed down and looked around the room. Dormund was leaning close to a wall near a smudged window, the sky beside him a picture gray as the signs of rain tapped against it. Looking around something seemed, wrong. "Where are Brack and Gormun?"
Her apprentice shifted, "You were in one of your trances Shawoman, and I couldn't take the chances of your prediction to bear so I informed the two brothers that they should go out and make sure the land was saf--"
The sound of the slap called across the room and many of the patrons close by stopped, in their silence those that didn't notice looked over to see a tattooed orc female standing over the sprawled form of another orc female, the first of which had her hand raised.
Illeyssa felt the tingle of where her skin had collided as what little angelic power that was there slipped back under her skin. Her apprentice stared wide eyed and with fear stitched into her face, one hand softly touching where she was struck.
"You have killed them, broken my trust, and discussed events that were not in your right to discuss!" Her voice was cold, no anger mixed with it and her voice did not raise into a shout, yet each word hung with the weight of an anvil in the silence.
"Shawoman, I didn't-"
"You will speak when I say so. I fear i have been to easy on a girl like you, thinking just because you may have the gift meant you knew what was expected of you. Silvyar Fornest until a future time is spoken you are stripped of your privilege as my apprentice."
"You have no right to speak to me like my pupil anymore girl. You have set into motion things you will never understand. We are done here. Dormund, send out a worg and find us a path back to the Tribe. As for you." Her eyes stared down at the other, a soft green edge setting into them, "May the knowledge that you have sent two capable and strong warriors to their deaths. No. That you sent your brothers to their deaths. And from now until you can bear their presence on your shoulders will it haunt you."
Illeyssa moved off and away from Silvyar, leaving the girl with tears in her eyes where she lay without bothering to wait. Dormund moved to the door before her to open it and she stepped out into the cold wit little care. All the work she could have done here was lost.
Brack reached the edge of the forest first, back hitting the bark of the tree as he looked around, eyes sweeping left and right to make sure everything was clear as he rushed forwards. Dormund pushing ahead to a tree further in to scan again. Both their weapons were in their hands and ready as they pushed into the unknown. Minds worried of the news Silvyar had given them, from what they assumed was from their Shawoman. Unaware of the damage done by their action.
It was the only word that entered Duran's mind as the flaming lamia disappeared. He was sure he had the upper hand, since he had been informed that The Children had none. There were a few possibilities that crossed his mind. They had either learned magic or they had enlisted itm. This was no time to think about who was flinging the spells, however. Duran was beginning to smell charred flesh, and a thought occurred: If a human could smell a burning cultist, a wolf would undoubtedly smell one. No sooner than he realized this did the cultist reappear only to be cut to ribbons by one of the orcs from the legion. Immediately, Goma set Duran on edge as she turned around and started barking at a couple of incoming cultists.
"They're everywhere." Duran thought out loud.
They were coming from all angles as far Duran could tell; the forest, the grass, even from the sky it seemed. There were dead and dying in all directions, casualties on both sides, but it looked bad for the legion. Realistically assuming that The Children didn't keep prisoners, they would probably all be dead in five or so minutes. No sooner had he thought about their remaining life expectancy did the captain yell,
"We're leaving! Thirty seconds to prepare for the translocation!"
Duran turned just in time to see Wrath tap the insignia on the armor, going from a red glow to a blue one. He immediately slapped his armor, and quickly leaned to Goma and tapped her underside to make sure it would work for her too. Duran was glad that he had thought so far as to equip him wolf with a set of the armor.
From this point on, the battle was not about winning or losing, but simply surviving. He had to live long enough for whatever magic that was going to happen actually did happen. His spell for fog immediately crossed his mind. If he blanketed the area, it would provide some cover for him and his fellow legionnaires. There were several potential complications, and Duran weighed them as quickly as he could in his mind.
If he did indeed drop a blanket of fog, everybody inside would be well protected from the sight of anybody outside; Legionnaires wouldn't get good shots at the Children inside, but the opposite was also true in the case of any spellcasters that may be left on the Children's side. Anyone inside the fog would not only be unable to see out, but see much farther than their own hand in front of their face while inside. With any luck, his fellow legionnaires would catch on, and would use the fog to evade any enemies for as long as they could until the translocation was ready.
He focused his gaze on the couple of incoming cultists as he invoked nature to come to his aid.
"Clouds to earth, from sky to ground, obscure the sight of those around!"
Immediately, a wall of thick fog erupted from beneath Duran and began to billow outwards and started to grow. It would take a moment to completely envelop the area, and Duran kept his spear and shield up to prepare for the worst as the distance closed between him and the two cultists.
The Deep Human was busy contemplating a quick formula when a quick command interjected. "We're leaving! Thirty seconds to prepare for the translocation!"
He remembered his training at the camp, and quickly slapped the insignia. He looked quickly to see the symbol begin to glow blue. He looked up, and the elf had drawn a rapier. The Elf opened up with a fireball, which Kisikoni dodged by throwing himself to the side. Hitting the dirt, he scrambled to his feet and managed to catch the rapier that jabbed at his chest. Deflecting it, the deep human tried to get in close but the elf danced away. Suddenly, a thick fog engulfed the field. He could barely see a thing.
"Shit. Shit. SHIT." Kisikoni cursed, blindly looking around. He was already having trouble seeing through with the blows the Lamia had rained on his head, but now he couldn't see an inch from his face. Kisikoni tried to use his ears, which were important in the tunnels because often light was absent underground, but the sounds of battle drowned out any distinct noises. He tried to smell, but all he could smell was his own blood. All he could do was wait until his thirty seconds expired and he could leave.
He faintly heard Neira the Nightmarian shout something, but he could hardly hear it. Suddenly, the fresh elf lashed from the side, bringing the rapier swinging across. The sound of the blade cutting through the fog was close enough for Kisikoni to react, but instead of dodging it and leaving the Elf clueless, he blocked it. He instantly knew he was in danger. The rapier's blade snaked around the short blade of his butterfly sword, and nicked his upper cheek. This filthy fog had rendered Kisikoni completely useless, and all he could do was try to back away- but the Elf followed him. After beating down a strong Lamia child, he was pretty drained and clumsy. The rapier darted out of the haze once more. Kisikoni deflected it again, and caught the blade. Driving the swords down the length of the rapier, he tackled the elf to the ground. Rolling around, he was forced into submission as the calm Child knocked him off and rolled upright, slashing at the downed Deep Human. The blade raked up the leather armor, the Child's unnatural strength slicing the fibers and leaving a nice wound on his chest. It wasn't deep, as the Rapier didn't reach too far, but as the blade came up and around into a stabbing motion, Kisikoni rolled over and narrowly dodged the blade- just as thirty seconds came to an end.
The Nightmarian Spider heard the sounds of combat grow desperate. Very faint cries and roars of magic could be heard. But the most stunning of them all, was the faint chittering of a spider. Slowly, her voluminous red eyes turned and regarded the untrustworthy-looking halfling that was only a few feet away. She blinked once, then turned her head back.
Wasn't the worst way to be rescued, but at least somebody was trying. She'd been dying to get back at that filthy elf for talking down on her, the pervert. Her arms moved slightly as she lifted her bound arms just a tad to allow the halfling an easier time to untie the bonds. She had no weapons save for her webbing, fangs and poison, but that really should be all what the spider needed.
"Time's up." With a small flash of light each legionnaire was whisked away by virtue of their enchanted suits. One by one in rapid succession those who had taken the time to activate the rune of translocation upon their breast was teleported to the designated meeting place of the Legion. Wrath and Sid were the first to go. Then those closest to their position. Faera was gone before the harpy, who had managed to avoid her counter attack gouged out her eyes. It would have been a futile gesture anyway. Kisikoni was kicked hard in the ribs by yet another Child arriving on the scene who had stumbled upon the deep human before his rune activated. By the grace of sheer luck, Talae was gone before the fire ball that Kisikoni had so narrowly avoided exploded where she had been standing only seconds prior.
All those within the defensive circle on the forest edge vanished summarily. When the magic permeated the air Ferka's eyes widened and the orc cried out in dismay. Thanaros realized the cause of her concern and looked to their brother, who was still on the ground prone in the center of their circle...his rune still red. He pushed his psionic augmentation to it's limits and boosted his natural speed to reach Junte. His hand was a hair's bredth away when he was wrenched away from the field by the magic that had saved the legion, and condemned his brother.
"Oh fuck it." Pel muttered a prayer to her patron angel for a boon of speed and charged from concealment directly at the three Children guarding her target objective. With her newfound alacrity the pretty young halfling dashed below and hopped over the drawn weapons of cursing Children. She made a great leap, stomping on the face of a particularly angry elf and landed on Mercy's abdomen. As the energies of the spell worked to bring Pel away from that place, the halfling shot up two middle fingers. "Peace!"
Then Pel, and the nightmarian she had anchored herself to, were gone. Zakair roared into the rain and reduced the nearest of his subordinates to cinders in his rage. When he moved to survey the field of battle, he stared down at a blue-haired elf girl with her throat cut. Zakair's eyes softened and he stroked her cheek. Without looking away, he called to the arcanites who were floating down from the sky. "Heal Mikana...heal my daughter."
Jurial Plains, North-Ridge
The legionnaires found themselves sprawled out on the floor within a large stone basin. It's interior was inlaid with runes that glowed faintly in time with those on their armor before both guttered out. Wrath stood slowly, shaking off the disorienting sickness that accompanied teleportation spells and moved to meet the thirty black-plated knights guarding the portal. "Liu-Wen, Wrath, captain of the Fortieth legion. We were ambushed. Given incorrect or outdated intel. Forced to retreat. Are there any other legions in the camp?"
A knight of the Legion stepped forward, removing her helm. A human with blonde hair that spilled out over her armor. She stared at the captain for a long while before answering. "Your identity is confirmed. No sir, thre are no other legions present, so the luxury portions of the camp are open to you until a higher ranking officer arrives." Creasing her brow, she hastily added. "General Derenthi was here earlier. He had need of the healers stationed here, so your troops will have to wait until tommorow when the new clerics arrive for aid. Captain Mercy, please, feel free to make use of the commander's tent in the center of camp. Drinks have been prepared for your arrival."
Wrath's lips tightened to a thin line. It was obvious he was angry. Very angry. Yet, the man simply smoothed out his ruffled hair and nodded. "Thank you."
Sid, having regained her footing, helped Wrath in helping the other members of their battered troop to their temporary quarters. Outside of the portal building, a camp of fourty or so tents of varying sizes was arrayed before them. It was raining here too. Wrath lead them to the center of a ring of good sized tents and made the troops stand in the rain while he took stock. Sid bowed her head in silence, Iriana, Quinn, Beelzes and Achiru followed suit. Thanaros simply looked into the gray sky with a grim expression, as Ferka wailed in sorrow.
"Private Eyegouger. Scout O'uneiran. Recruit Veldrin. Killed in action. We will remember. Private First-Class Junte Hellstriker. Missing in action. We will remember." Wrath lowered his eyes for a moment of silence, then snapped to attention. "Those with heavy wounds, report to sargeant Mellikot. I can deal with light wounds. If you are simply bruised or tired get to a tent and get some rest..."
Achiru and Quinn were immediately dismissed, as the harpies had surprisingly few burns for those who had done battle with srocerers. They retreated to a tent together talking about the battle in low tones. Ferka and Thanaros were similarly sent away without healing, having only suffered minor cuts and bruises. Thanaros looked completely drained and walked away to sit down cross-legged in the rain watching the healing as his sister disappeared into a dark tent. Beelzes had suffered a deep cut in her side, but if the deep human was troubled by it, she gave no indication. Pel administered holy rejuvinative magicks to her and Hokunn...she layed the elf in a tent out of the rain and bandaged the damage on his stomach she could not heal. It was unclear of whether the elf would survive the night. The same could be said for Laila, as her burns were severe.
With a sigh Pel slapped a hand on Caine's burnt wrist and poured healing magic into it. "Don't let them grab you dolt! Didn't they teach you anything in boot camp?" The wounded flesh shifted from puffy and red to a pale, slightly bloated scar. "The swelling will go down in a couple days." As Caine would get up to leave, Sid patted his leg and whispered a word of encouragement. Kisikoni was next for healing. Four broken ribs and a fractured skull. No concussion though..."Stop squirmin' ya skinny little..." Pel got a look at his face and paused mid-sentence. "Hunk of man...erm. Yeah..." several prayers set the bones back in place and mended Kisikoni's bones. "Just don't move around too much until tommorow...uh..." Before he could get up to go to a tent though, the buxom halfling squeezed Kisikoni's hand. "Although, if you stop by my tent I could be inclined to go against that advice..." with that in the air she let the deep human go. Pel sagged slightly, wiping the streaking makeup from her heart-shaped face and shuffling to her tent for some rest.
"Neira...go on. Duran...you should have enough magic to heal what petty damage you've suffered. Gilleas, just some bruises. Good to go." Wrath inspected each soldier in turn and dismissed them almost immediately depending on their state. As Faera walked up he smiled faintly. "I'm glad you aren't dead, mageling. Unscathed as well." his eyes met those of the darkling's drake familiar. "It seems even you got your claws bloody..so to speak. You may go sit down in the tent on you six' and wait for your sister." As Talae was called up to sit in front of him, the last to be healed, his smiled waned only slightly. A palm was gently placed against the rent flesh in Talae's side. The same hand that had been all but dead a short while ago, was now fully colored and moving. "Talk to Sid or Caine tommorow. Learn to use heavier weapons...it's a little too obvious that you are new to warfare tactics." Before any response could be raised Wrath spoke a children's rhyme and white magic pulled the darkling's flesh back together, leaving only a thin gray scar. "And I am sorry for the way I looked at you earlier."
Without any explanation the captain arose, stretched and went off to his own tent. He did not even glance at the bed as he shed his sodden clothing. Donning a thin cloth vestment and cotton pants, Wrath sat at a desk provided by the Legion and began his report. There was a fair bit he wished to relay, and even more he wanted relayed back.
Back at the battlefield, all was silent. The Children had moved on and only the steady rain provided a break in the rhythym of the forest. A body stirred, pushing itself up from the muck with a groan. Yanis moved to rub his throbbing head and yowled in pain when his forehead bumped the stump that was his wrist. That's right...lost that thing. Ow...
The halfling legionnaire used his remaining hand to pick up a nearby shortsword and slung it in his belt. He turned towards the forest. Gotta reach the tower...have to warn the Legion. Yaris was wlking unsteadily towards his destination soon after. A pair of orcs were hot on his trail, not that he would know anything of that.
Legionnaires were beginning to be whisked away one by one by the magic of their armor. It seemed that they would make it out alive after all... Most of them anyway. Caine glanced to the orc at his side and saw him break the formation and slip into the circle, heading to another, prone orc. The emblem on his armor, it was unactivated. Caine felt another wave of helplessness. He only managed to slide his shoulder slightly before he was whisked off as well. He did not see if the Orc, Thanaros, had made it to the other orc. He was gone, in a flash of light and a vague nausious feeling...
??? Sickness... Lost.
Caine had arrived to wherever the magic had taken them, sprawled out on the ground with the saber sticking out of the ground, blade first. He laid prone for a few moments, allowing the wave of nausea to pass. He then sat upright, and took stock. The circle he had been with before the translocation still seemed to be alive, except... The orc Thanaros was after was no where to be seen. A pit welled deep within Caine's being, another lost to the forsaken Children... He beat the ground at his knees with his uninjured arm, and cursed.
He then placed a hand on the buried saber and rested his head on the Pommel. It looked as if he was almost praying. And he was, but not to some God, but to someone else. Someone he had lost. Anyone could hear him, and most likely they did. Everything the Berserker did wasn't subtle. He spoke, "I'm sorry Liera. I know this isn't what we promised each other... I'm sorry. I've gotten three more, and there is more to come..." He said, speaking the woman he mentioned in the fight with the Child. He glanced at the Orcs who had lost their partner, and added something else to his prayer, "Please, look over the allies we lost today..." He said, finishing and placing his saber back in the loop. A bit difficult considering the loop was placed for his right hand to sheath it. His right hand still hugged closely to his chest, finally feeling the pain and weariness rushing into him. The burn throbbed with every beat of his heart and every breath of his lungs... That was nice.
The berserker then grew solemn as he followed the rest of the legion into the circle of tents. He was positioned beside Thanaros, the orc who had tried to save his partner... Caine said nothing as he just placed his uninjured hand on the man's shoulder... And squeezed slightly. It was a knowing hand, knowing the loss of family and loved ones. He too looked up at the gray sky as the rain fell. As if the heaven's themselves were crying. And perhaps... Perhaps somewhere up there was Liera, looking after him... He shook his head after the procession. He was becoming soft. Becoming soft would get him killed and he knew it, but it was nice to feel again...
When Pel slapped his arm, Caine froze in pain and clenched his teeth together, flaring up his temper. He wanted to yell at the halfling but thought against it... The girl was healing him, after all. Instead, he merely grunted. He took the halflling's remark on the chin and shook his head yes, only saying, "They're quick." The arm was swollen and red, but the burn was gone and only a vague throbbing remained. A scar was still present, to which Caine looked over and sighed, muttering, "Oh goody.. Another one. It's not like I don't have enough." He nodded to Pel in thanks and patted Sid's shoulder in return for the encouragement she provided. Outside, Caine looked up at the sky once more... Still gray. Still raining... Fitting, considering the mood of the camp had turned somber.
Caine looked around, wondering what to do next. He paused outside of the tent and rubbed his healed arm. Giving up, he went to the center of the Tents, found a bench, and just sat. Sat and thought. He was still alive, and he had survived. Everytime he entered a frenzy, he fully expected to die. Just like he expected to die when the Child held his scorched arm and prepared to end him right there. Luck. That was all it was, luck, that the harpy managed to spot him in time to save him. Just a few seconds later and they would have said his name at the procession. He beat his now healed hand on the bench beside him in anger. He was useless in the grip of the child. They had lost people, friends, family, comrades, and he lived. By all rights, he should be dead too, why was he the one blessed enough to survive and the Halfling wasn't? Why did he make it out, and the orc was left behind? He hit the bench again, angry, pissed off at the world, at the children. At himself.
He leaned back, tired.. Sore. Mad... He'd have to make it up the next time he face the children... How many had they lost? Four? Then four children were to die by his hands... He hit the bench one final time, slightly cracking the wood.
There was always a moment, though, when she felt anxiety in the aftermath of a battle that she privately considered worse than the combat itself. It was an instant of panic, as she sorted through the faces presented to her sight and sought the one she would never be able to accept losing. Most of the time, it had been less necessary- Faera then had been but a healer,and was to be found without fail tending the injured in the wake of someone else's destruction. Now, though... now she knew she would have to accept that the possibility of not being able to find the one piece of familiarity she allowed herself. It was daunting.
She noted the Captain's irritation and wondered if perhaps the intelligence had been bad after all. Well, obviously it was bad, because they'd walked right into more Children than they could handle, and certainly more than anyone had seemed to expect. Was it mere incompetence, then, or something more sinister? It was in her nature to suspect the worst; it tended to keep a person alive. Still, there was nothing but idle speculation to go on, now, and so she dismissed the train of thought and filed into the camp area behind the rest. Studying the gash on her side, which was beginning to properly hurt now, she considered just having Fae deal with it, but decided that it would be an unnecessary burden. She'd barely been able to stand after her first battle, let alone do anything that required as much energy as magic.
She'd also been more than a bit traumatized, and though she had long since lost the majority of her sensitivity towards such matters, she did have enough of a soul to wonder with something approaching sympathy how many of her fellows were suffering that shell-shocked sensation at the moment. Talae filed silently into the line for lighter injuries, figuring that though it hurt like hell, it was far from life-threatening unless it got infected or something.
The pain receded, and she exhaled with relief. There was a scar, but she hardly could be bothered to care about that. "Talk to Sid or Caine tommorow. Learn to use heavier weapons...it's a little too obvious that you are new to warfare tactics." Talae simply nodded. Tell me something I do not know. Though he could not have heard the thought, the Captain's apology certainly qualified, and she blinked, the faintest traces of surprise appearing on her face.
"If looks could do harm, I would have died long ago," she replied with a hint of wryness. "Think nothing of it."
Talae considered making her way to the tent she'd been assigned immediately, but ultimately decided against it. She was weary, but not in the sort of way that meant she was likely to sleep anytime soon. Also... seeking her sister's company would probably mean that she'd have to help the younger one sift through her experiences- and she really couldn't do that just yet. It would mean, in all likelihood, a recounting of the first time she'd fought and killed someone, and that stood out among her subsequent experiences as a particularly ugly thing.
She glanced around camp; most people seemed to be going about their business or off in their own little worlds. She did not begrudge them this; as long as they stood up again and kept marching the next time, it probably shouldn't matter at all. Caine appeared to be having a minor fit from where he sat atop a nearby bench, and she sighed inwardly. She knew a little of the man- scant details, really, but enough to guess what he was thinking. It wasn't as though he were exactly subtle with it.
"Survivor's guilt?" though it was ostensibly inflected as such, it was not really a question. she stood with arm crossed, though otherwise she could have been talking about the weather for all her inflection. "It's still as useless as it was last time I told you so." She knew she wasn't helping, so she broached a more neutral, useful topic. "Boss says I have to learn to fight melee. I don't suppose you'd be willing to do an old comrade a favor and make sure I don't kill myself trying?" A white eyebrow forms a perfect arch over a red eye, and she plants herself at the other end of the bench, there to listen if he desires to speak. She wasn't good with advice- never had been, but that didn't mean she couldn't listen.
If he refused, she could always go to Sid, but she had a feeling the Lieutenant had more than enough problems on her hands already.
The pair of brothers were making good time in the forest, their lives spent guarding the Shawoman insured they wouldn't fail or fall prey to some obvious detail. Moving in leap frog procession they stretched forwards, hiding behind trees and surveying their surroundings. The land smelled heavy of decaying plant life and wet earth. Other than their movements through leaves there was very little in the way of sound. Brack moved to lead again, taking three strides and stopping. His eyes looked down and he raised his right arm up, battle axe clenched in hand. The signal to stop. Not looking back to see if his brother saw he lowered his arm and hunkered himself down, making his large frame at least a bit smaller. His footsteps were slow and purposeful, war hammer sweeping through the brush and leaves in his way until they broke away into a clearing. Stopping at its edge his eyes traced up to the signs of battle. Soldiers and children lay on the ground, more soldiers than children but the fighting marred the earth and trees and told the picture clearly. The soldiers were trying to move out of the forest, the children disagreed, for whatever the reason.
Bending down now he looked around carefully, eyes trying to find hits or details to depict of any children might remain. A twig snapped behind him. In a moment he was up, war hammer drawing back over his head as his battle axe spun around, and stopped before hitting Dormund clean in the neck. Their eyes locked and the younger brother lowered his weapons, nodding towards the clearing. The pair moved out together, back to back and weapons up, ready for a surprise as they made their way to the center. Confirming they were alone they searched the battleground, noting where the enemies and allies fell and summarizing these soldiers were herded like cattle more likely than making a retreat at this point. Looking up at each other they nodded in agreement. They would explore further before returning to warn the Shawoman of what they saw. Eyes sweeping the trees around them they moved deeper into the forest, taking them further from the scene and leaving nature to handle with its clean up.
Without hesitation, the wolf jumped off of the cultist, as a gout of fire blasted upwards where Goma's face had been. Duran could feel the heat from where he stood, and he knew that if Goma had stayed for even one instant longer, she'd have been caught in the flame and immolated. A rage from deep within festered and bubbled up to the surface. A hate the likes of which he had never felt gripped him, and he rushed in to deliver the killing blow to the cultist that had almost done the same to his beloved Goma. He lept through the air, his spear over his head, and came down on the cultist like crashing thunder. The instant before he felt the spear slide into flesh, however, he found himself in someplace he was not expecting to be in.
Duran landed on the ground with a thud, his spear still held in his hands as if he was poised to strike still. His head was spinning and his stomach churned. He immediately stumbled up and look around for Goma desperately. He saw her not but a few feet away, looking as puzzled as he was. He ran to her and inspected her head to paw for injuries. He gained his composure just in time to hear something about how there were no clerics available, which would surely complicate thing for the injured.
As Duran made his way into the camp, he thought about those that were not so lucky. He knew that it would happen, but he didn't know that the circumstances would be an ambush, which, it seemed, somebody should have known about before they set out on a mission that was sure to end in disaster. They had lost at least four in the battle, and it seemed that two were grievously injured. Duran couldn't find suitable emotions to react to what had happened. This is why he didn't want to get to know these people on the first night. This was the reason he slept outside. This is why he told nobody in his Order where he was going. People were sure to die. There was no "maybe" when it came down to a situation like this.
Duran felt guilty. He didn't know any of these people, but he felt powerless to help them. He was a druid. His healing magic was not nearly as potent as a cleric's magic. He could do nothing in a fight but cause some petty distractions. He could not wear heavy armor, he could not significantly heal the injured. What was he doing here? He had his reasons, but his revenge hardly seemed a worthy cause anymore.
"Duran...you should have enough magic to heal what petty damage you've suffered."
He couldn't look up. It was true; he hadn't suffered any injuries. No physical injuries at least. As soon as he was dismissed, he made his way to his tent with Goma. He sat down and looked her in the face and she whimpered.
"I don't know what I was thinking, girl. This is what I expected, but it's all so real. We survived today, but I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. This whole war...It just isn't right."
Goma responded with a soft nuzzle into Duran's chest as he pet her head.
Duran sighed and thought about his life. He worshiped nature, but more and more everyday, it seemed like nature was the problem with the world. The natural order of things was gone. The dragons sought to annihilate them all, and even if the other races managed to get rid of them, it would just go back to the race war between Primah and Civee. Balance was shattered, and there was no going back to the way things were.
Duran bowed his head, and prayed inwardly. He wasn't sure who he was praying to, or why, but he felt like it was the right thing to do.
"I don't know who's listening, but I know there is somebody or something out there. I just need to know that this is all for a reason. I can't just let this happen without justification. Just give anything you need to give to help me. A sign, a plan, a reason...the power to stop the bloodshed. The power to bring cessation to hostility. Don't do it for me. Do it for those that lay dying. Do it for those who have died. Do it for those that still live. I will give you whatever you need to bring my wish to life."
Duran opened his eyes once more, and lay down on the ground. Goma silently did the same, waiting for tomorrow, and presumably, another brush with death.
Most recent OOC posts in The Gift: Chapter Two
Abandoned by the Legion, befriended by dragons and most likely branded as deserters and betrayers to mortals everywhere on the off-chance that they had survived. The halfling barely noticed Wrath taking a seat next to her and wrapping a steadying arm around her shoulders. On Wrath's shoulder, Zeke chirped in distress. "...was I leaning...what the hell? What's on your shoulder?"
"What, it's just the lizard-"
"No, below that." Sid leapt up and proceeded to laugh her ass off.
"Wha-Oh my f*cking god! Cut, cut! It sh*t on me again!"
Only to come face to face with a group of Children. Lily ran into a room next to her with the Children on her tail. All of a sudden...
Yakety Sax. Liky runs into a room and out of another further down in the hall and the Children exit a room on the opposite side of the hall and enter the room beside them. Then the Children exits a room chased by Lily, who both enter a room further down the hall. Both the Children and Lily exit and enter a room at opposite ends of the hall. Then in the middle of the hall Lily and the children crash together, knocking both parties out cold
It is fun!
Beelzes pulled Fae up on the bar, and it wasn't long before she thought she might have gotten some grip on what was going on.
...Too bad then, that the movement made her head spin, and she miscalculated her position, falling backwards over the other side of the thing and passing out.
The next morning, she would wonder if the battle had really gotten that far into town, and what spell the Children had devised to make her head hurt so much even hours later.
Kisikoni saw Talae tap her Live Leather, using both the burst of speed and height of jump to her advantage to jump over the wall. Kisikoni decided that he would follow his partner's lead, especially since the ladders didn't look particularly safe. He called on the Live Armor, giving him the power that he needed to take a quick running start and powerful jump.
Kisikoni soon realized he miscalculated the jump.
A surprise ending, Lily evolving into a harder woman, and sadness everywhere.
Now I'm depressed.
I think this is officially the second thing I've ever been in that hasn't died.
Also, called the reds thing. But it was awesome anyway.
That's all she wrote. Excellent job gaiz :3 thanks for sticking with it!
You don't have to post anymore, but feel free to do an exit if you want~
...Imma bug ya'll when the next chapter begins.
"Hey babe, wanna see my pocket-sized dragon--WTF? WHY YOU SLAP ME, BRO?"
If Wrath doesn't want an adorable little mini-dragon, you can give it to Machina. -nods nods-
I'm just wondering whose side those reds are on, anyway...
A devilishly handsome drug, but a drug nonetheless.
I gots maybe one more post to do before I am completely done. Lily has to pick up Caine's silver saber. Her bow broke, so now she needs a replacement weapon until she can get a new one... Which is just me giving an excuse to carry a part of Caine into the next Chapter.
...Your dependence is amusing to me.
Yay for being almost done!
AND YAAAAY. We's almost done. Then we wait two weeks for Shiva to get his ass back here and then we begin the next chapter! Or not. I don't need yallz(oh god yes I do D:)
...I've become dependant.
Also, Good logic call with the Mikana thing. I'd nearly forgotten she was a Child...
I'll give points to Machina for most effective use of a swear word that is not the f-bomb.
Wait for me Kiku!