Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

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The lull in the war has ended, and the Orsa of Terminus is on the rise once more. Will the battle hardened Patronus remain strong, or fall under the growing might of this renewed threat? A mature roleplay. This forum is one large roleplay within a set world and designated story lines.

Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:50 pm

Forest of the Fall

(Post co-written by Tiko and Zephyr)

From the forest border Ruan could make out the furious retreat of his comrades and the dark shadowed masses of the swarms closing in on them. The voidlings were closely dogging their heels but if they kept their pace they would make the forest line. Unfortunately, what lay behind them was the lesser of dangers next to what lay before them. If they didn't change course, they were heading straight into a stretch of tangle root that appeared to infest much of the forest borders.

Notching an arrow and drawing back his bow string, he took careful aim. After only a moments adjustment he released it with an audible twang to imbed into the earth not a pace before the feet of the forerunners. The shot was followed up with a sharp signal whistle to draw his allies around to his position and clear of the strangle root.

A flash of worry ran was visible within Niv's otherwise composed expression as the signal whistle sounded. "Why would you think to bring them here if they've a league's-worth of voidlings tailing them?" The cocky half-elf seemingly joked, though all who knew him would find the sarcastic concern in his tone valid. "I mean, I'm sure they can handle themselves." He slowly drew his hunting knife in preparation for the imminent onslaught. In a situation like this, they'd surely hang him for deserting, and so retaliating against the masses was beginng to seem like the greater of two terrible options. Yet still, this didn't seem to ease the large knot now forming in his stomach.

“Because it's the only safe stretch of wood. Now make yourself useful, unless you want to go off and see how well you can handle yourself in a patch of strangle root. There, that tree behind you, cut a few of those bulbs loose and don't let the sap get on your hands.” Ruan disregarded Niv's sarcasm in favor of focusing on the situation at hand.

Slinging his bow over his shoulder and tossing his pack to the ground, Ruan grabbed up a sturdy branch. Pulling his sash free he rapidly wound it around the branch in a rather crude, but functional torch. Though any fool would know that a fire would attract every voidling for miles around.

Niv groaned, giving the man a look of utter distaste, before turning his back and stalking off towards the aforementioned tree. "Aye..." He muttered lowly. With a swift slash, he cut free a few bulbs, careful of the viscous and adhesive liquids they contained, all too aware of the rather unpleasant rash the stuff would cause should he get any upon himself. He turned back to face Ruan, nearly dropping the bulbs in realization of his companion's intent.

"Woah, what exactly do you think you're doing? Setting these aflame will draw every Voidling for leagues!" He protested worriedly.

While Niv went to work on the bulbs, Ruan upturned the pack and spilling the contents out onto the ground. Grabbing up a flask of what could only be assumed was a flammable fluid, he swiftly began dousing the torch followed by the pack itself.

“That's the idea. Put those in there,” Ruan instructed as he tossed the pack to Niv, not bothering to waste time explaining. They had only moments more before their allies reached the forest line, and the voidlings with them.

"Ugh..." The raven-haired half-elf grimmaced as he tossed the bulbs into the alcohol-drenched sack, holding the two entities as far from his body as possible. He ever so hated getting dirty.

Once his task was completed, he closed it up and tossed it on the ground, a look of sheer distate on his face. "There." He shoved his right hand into his pocket, his other still clenched firmly around his knife.

Grabbing up a hunk of flint from his discarded supplies Ruan swiftly drew his dagger and struck a few urgent blows against the steel to spark off a fire on the torch. Snatching it up the lanky scout swung up into a weather worn and gnarly tree.

Already the flicker of the torch light in the dark was growing to illuminate their position and it wouldn't be long before the voidlings caught sight of it. “The pack!” he called down to Niv urgently.

"Yeah, yeah..." Niv replied lowly, snatching up the pack and hopping up into the tree. With a shake of his head, he handed the pack to his companion, glad to finally be rid of it.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:52 pm

(Post co-written by Script, Tiko and Zephyr)

Emma's eyes stayed focused ahead of her - her magic gave her sense enough of the approaching voidlings to know that they didn't have the seconds stopping to look back would cost them. So when Ruan's arrow landed, it immediately caught her attention. Strafing to the side on a reflex - to put off potential attackers' aiming - she quickly realised the source of the arrow as her thoughts caught up to her instincts.

Then, moments later the torchlight bloomed, and Emma pointed her staff towards it, "There! Toward the light!" she shouted to the rest of the group, changing course to move towards the gap in the trees.

The approaching horde of creatures was close enough now that their snarls and shrieks were clearly audible - the frontrunners coming into sight, claws and tentacles flailing viciously in their attempts to catch the fleeing party.

The group reached the forest-line at a sprint, the initial sparse collection of trees blurring past as they wasted no time in pushing further in. The flames from the torch soared over the stragglers' heads, along with smouldering clumps of bulbs - both on a path to meet the charging swarm.

“That's our cue! Jump!” Ruan called loudly over the turmoil and chaos that had erupted below him and Niv. The smoldering bulbs rapidly flooded the area with a thick noxious smoke that threw the voidling swarm into a frenzy, tearing into itself in search of an enemy that didn't exist. The burning embers would buy them only minutes of distraction, but minutes would be enough to get deeper into the wood.

As the voidlings swarmed and clawed blindly in the smoke, Niv and Ruan swiftly hopped from ledge to ledge, burrowing deeper into the gnarl of trees to reunite with their retreating party.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:33 pm

(Post co-written by Tiko, Zephyr, Arrow, Imehal, Conumbra and Script)

As the group staggered its way into a small clearing and took pause to catch their breath, Brent was amongst the last to arrive. The soldier offered little more than a sympathetic grunt as he passed Kirae's form to Arrow. “We can't leave the others out there,” he called out after a moment of gasping to slow his breathing.

Substantially less winded than his comrades, Ruan wasted little time interjecting as he swung down from a tree overhead. “There's no way back that way, the swarm will take days to disperse, and there's strangle root growing thick in these parts. It would take us hours, if not longer, to navigate our way around it to reach the others. If they haven't gotten to safety by then, they didn't make it at all.”

Ruan's words only served to fluster the burly soldier and Brent angrily waved back towards the way they had come. “Amber's out there, we can't just leave them and not try!”

Niv landed gracefully with a soft thud beside Ruan, looking around and sniffing the air. "Is someone burning... vegetables?" He queried, an eyebrow cocked.

Arrow took Kirae into his arms with a tenderness that belied his military background, lowering the fragile girl gently to the ground. Green skin was torched and blackened, and her chest moved only fleetingly - barely noticable. When she touched the ground, the plantlife seemed to react, weeds and flowers stretching to brush against her form.

"Kirae?" Arrow knelt beside the girl, touching her neck to feel her faint pulse.

Golden eyes flickered, opening slightly to meet Arrow's. The light behind them was dimmer than usual, faded and dull. "Sir Arrow .." her faint voice was jolted and forced, "Hello. Ah ... I wasn't quite ... expecting-"

"Enough, don't waste your energy." Arrow interrupted, glancing up, "Parlina?" he called, "My healing isn't up to this, please, can you help her?"

The druid, who had been watching the Aelorans debate toward a rational course of action, glanced down at where Arrow had settled Kirae, eyes unreadable. "You shouldn't have to ask that, Sir Arrow!"

Within seconds Parlina was knelt on the opposite side of the charred girl, stave in hand as she called upon her spirits. Quick, but not frantic in her work, she watched as the green spirits descended downwards into the damaged girl, charged with taking stock and lessening the more critical injuries as a priority.

Peridot eyes that had been focused upon Kirae tightened and looked up at Arrow, looking almost as wretched as she had when Narruk had fallen. 'Try anyway.'

The spirits that were normally so vocal fell silent and withdrew upwards, ignoring Parlina's silent plea. "No, no... please no," she whispered, grip tightening on her stave. "Lady Kirae, you must fight! Please!"

Ever-dimming golden eyes drifted towards Parlina, the smallest of smiles forming on Kirae's tired features. "It's alright," she said softly, "This is just ... another adventure." The sylvari's eyes seemed almost to nod at this, though moving her head would have been effort too much. "I am honoured to have known you all ... and ... it's not your ..."

Then the light died behind Kirae's eyes as they faded to dull brown emptiness. Her final word escaped from her lips with a whisper of golden light, "...fault."

In the moment of her death, Kirae's body fell still, quite literally wilting into the foliage around her as it grew to join with her. The sylvari was gone, and her spirit passed.

Where Parlina had voiced her distress, Arrow fell only into silence. The soldier closed his eyes for a few moments longer than a standard blink, clenching his fist and rising. His composure faltered for only an instant, before the bundle of sorrow building in his chest was violently caged. Grief was not for the battlefield, and they were still very much in danger.

Rynhart moved up behind Parlina and rested his hands on her shoulders comfortingly. “You did all that you could.”

Meanwhile, the brief argument between Brent and Ruan died down as the cold chill of death stole over the group. The burly soldier had the rationale to know that his emotions were clouding his judgment, but furthermore, he had the decency to not pursue the matter in such a heated manner given the circumstances.

“I'm sorry I couldn't do more,” he offered awkwardly to Arrow. Simply spoken, but the sentiments were there.

All Parlina's words of frustration, desperate to escape, were reined in at Rynhart's touch and the small girl shook faintly. She watched Arrow rise and, feeling irrationally guilty for not being able to help when it had been most needed, broke from the elf to move carefully around where Kirae had once been, enveloping the warrior's torso in a hug as she reached him.

Arrow took a moment to process the druidess' embrace, tensing slightly before lifting one hand to her back. "We should not tarry," he said simply, "We need to put ground between us and the enemy." After speaking, the soldier gently extracted himself from the hug and walked to the group of Aelorans.

"Where now?" he asked, eyes hardened once more.

Ruan too seconded Arrow's question, though he more pointedly directed his inquiry to Emma. As much as many of the Aelorans might wish otherwise, the chain of command left Emma in charge for the time being.

Marxan took a brief moment to say something to Arrow, after Kirae's death. He said, in a smooth voice "I can give her a decent plaque to remember her by before we leave, if that's what you want." Not bothering to say anything else, he walked away from the discussion. He didn't know very much about this strange world or its locations. He wouldn't be of any use in determining their next course and wouldn't be able to add anything to the conversation the others wouldn't know to say. Besides, right now he had other duties.

Emma glanced down at Kirae's motionless form, having felt her life blink out and drift away to wherever it was her race went after death. "Now?" Emma looked up, and around the group, "The only way I see is onwards. We didn't come out here to lose lives and then run home because we can't cope with it. We have a mission to finish."

"And what of the others? They could still be alive out there," Brent interjected.

Emma met Brent's eyes, tapping her fingers against the side of her staff. "If they're still alive out there, chances are they can stay that way. We certainly can't go back for them without getting ourselves killed in the process. If I know Ciela, she'll find a way to get back to Tai'emroth."

Brent grunted his displeasure at Emma's decision, but offered no further objection.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:33 pm

(Post co-written by Tiko and Conumbra)

While discussion began, a frail and unobtrusive figure had separated from the main group to stand alone at the clearing edge. Rubbing lightly at something on her forearm, the wispy figure of Whisper stood silently watching back the way they had come with a distant forlorn expression that offered little insight into how she was taking to the situation.

Marxan walked away, looking for Whisper. This was likely one of the only times he could speak to her alone. Maybe he could get some actual answers out of her about where she had gone previously. Who knew, maybe without everyone else around, she might answer him. After a few seconds of searching he found her standing by the edge of the clearing. He approached her, his armour still on him, partly because he wanted to be ready for another attack, partly because he didn't trust her to stay placid.

He noticed she was rubbing the back of her forearm, where the mark was. Seeing that mark brought up all sorts of memories he would rather have forgotten, of her submitting herself to a demon, of him being told of her betrayals, of her attempts on his life. He forced those memories back down where he could forget about them once again. Then he cleared his throat, hoping to get her attention.

"I suppose this is the best time to finally get some conclusive answers from you. So tell me, just where did you disappear to back at the city? I don't know whether you've been wandering in a daze or whether you actually did something sinister. I'd just like an answer, something that rings of truth for once."

Whisper turned to face Marxan, uncertainty filling her eyes. Sylvire wasn't present any longer to ease the situation, and though her eyes briefly shifted to the others, Arrow it would seem was absorbed in discussion with the Aelorans. For the moment anyways, it was just her and Marxan.

“I just needed some time to think...” The nervous shift of her eyes betrayed her discomfort at the conversation, but she stood her ground.

Marxan sighed. "I would like to believe you; in fact I probably would, if it had happene* at any other time. Last I checked you vanished right before the mass of voidlings attacked the city. You needed some time to think right before we get attacked without any warning? Please, if you're going to offer excuses, at least make them more convincing. Besides, you would have come back after you'd have heard the sound of an attack, wouldn't you? I don't think I remember seeing you helping fight them off like everyone else was."

Whisper averted her eyes and turned away, returning her gaze to the forest beyond as they spoke. “Natalie told me to stay behind, so I did. I don't know what more you want from me. I left to think.”

She seemed intent on sticking to her explanation, despite her apparent discomfort. Her fingers continued to lightly trace the mark on her arm, almost absentmindedly.

He gave her a look and tried to get across with his body language that he was getting fed up with her excuses. "Fine, let's say for argument's sake that you went off because you needed some time to think. Alright then, then why couldn't anyone find you when they went looking? Where did you go that neither I nor Natalie could find you? I can understand you wanting to hide from me, but why her? She's shown you nothing but compassion even with what you've done. Don't tell me you don't trust her."

“It's a big city. And I told you. Because I needed time to think. Nothing I say is going to appease you,” she replied softly.

"But you're an empath, you can sense other people's emotions. I bet Natalie was worried about you; shouldn't you have sensed that?"

Whisper could feel his agitation and distrust which had her on edge, but there was something else nudging at her senses, something foreign and it was approaching fast. “We should go.”

Turning she called louder to the rest of the group. “We should go!”

He waited for a reply but was unable to get one in before she spoke up to the rest of the group. He gave a long sigh and pointed a finger at her. "We're not done with this. Not by a long shot."
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:24 pm

(Post co-written by Script, Tiko, Imehal, Conumbra, Zephyr and Arrow)

It quickly became apparent what Whisper had sensed, as the very ground seemed to shudder with approaching footsteps. In the distance, the sound of trees falling to the ground, trunks snapping and wildlife scattering became audible.

Emma turned towards the direction the sound came from, stretching out her magic to sense the incoming presence as best she could.

And as far as she could tell, there was nothing out there. Nothing that far away, at least. The blood mage frowned - the only presence she could sense was almost already at the clearing-

As if on cue, the edge of the clearing was suddenly broken, a figure leaping out of the bushes at the edge only to skid to a hasty halt as weapons and magic were pointed en masse in their direction.

Though the darkness made it hard to make out, the new arrival was clearly elven in nature - refined features and barely-visible ear points jutting through a long head of silver hair. The elven man was armed, carrying a bow and with two swords fastened at his hip. His expression betrayed astonishment - clearly he hadn't been expecting to encounter a group of the likes of the Patronus and scouting party - whilst he was clearly flustered from running.

"Who in the Light's name are you people?" he exclaimed.

Emma raised an eyebrow, "I should think I ought to ask you that - you're the one who just jumped out of a bush at a party of heavily armed individuals."

The elf cursed, "We don't have time for this - you need to move! There's a monstrosity heading this way! Can't you hear it for Light's sake, what are you standing around for?!"

“He's right,” seconded Ruan loudly. “But there's nowhere to go back that way.”

“Then we fight,” Brent replied gruffly as he turned to face off against the approaching commotion.

Parlina nodded her agreement, not trusting her voice. She moved toward the back of the main group as green sparks manifested around her, but their appearance made the little druid appear more anxious than prepared.

Niv groaned, rolling his eyes dramatically. He placed an agile hand upon the back of his neck and lolled his head limply. After a few seconds of seeming deliberation, he sighed, his shoulders rising and dropping.

"Well... I guess I really don't have a choice in the matter..." He unsheathed his knife in a show-offy manner, twirling it around his fingers casually, before tossing it up in the air, the whetted blade spinning madly as it rose and fell, landing safely in his firm grasp. "I guess I'll keep your asses alive for a little while longer."

Marxan was distracted by the sudden appearance of a strange elf he'd never seen before. He was about to start asking the elf some questions when suddenly his mind was interrupted by vibrations that were large and made by something not too friendly. He walked away from Whisper towards the front of the main group. He'd be able to absorb a great deal of damage from whatever was coming; he might be able to act as a makeshift shield.

Two walls of rock appeared in front and to the sides of him, allowing whatever was making its way there only a small passageway through; unless it decided to simply break through them. Rocks from the ground gathered together to form a large mace that he held in his hands. Besides that, he could do nothing else beside wait for the creature, its large vibrations pouring into the ground.

The silver-haired elf gave Marxan one look and shook his head, "I wouldn't recommend it, buddy - best plan? Get the hell out of the way!"

With that, the elf darted away towards the side of the clearing, "And that goes for all of you!" he shouted over his shoulder.

Emma stared at the retreating elf, then back at the shaking trees, "He might have a point." the blood mage said, turning and briskly striding away, "Take up positions, spread yourselves out! Let's not line ourselves up neatly for this thing!"

The other Aelorans followed Emma's cue, the spellcasters and ranged fighters backing away and finding themselves space, whilst the melee combatants hovered hesitantly nearer to the point of approach - unsure what to expect to burst from the trees.

Niv looked around him as the members of his party scattered towards their positions and sighed, again rolling his eyes in dismay. "We're all going to die." With that, he leapt up into the foliage of a nearby tree and quickly cloaked himself, waiting silently.

Arrow took up his bow, glancing to Parlina and Rynhart with a nod. The archer didn't move from his position, instead drawing an arrow in the momentary lull before the battle.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Script on Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:46 am

(Post co-written by Script and Conumbra)

The thundering footsteps that approached the group grew ever louder, and from the side of the clearing, the elf that had arrived on the scene just before called out to Marxan, "Last chance to get out of an early retirement!" he shouted, thumbing over his shoulder to suggest that moving might be an idea.

But by that point, it was too little too late. The trees before Marxan shuddered and bent, wood splintering as a monstrous form burst from between them. Approaching thirty feet in height, with skin that more resembled rock than flesh, the ogre-like creature swung one of its arms like a tree-trunk out at the rocky barrier that blocked its way. The backhand blow shattered the stone and demolished the blockade, most likely sending Marxan flying in the process (and giving him at least slight concussion - even in a rock shell it was hard to shrug off the equivalent of a car-crash), and the creature barely slowed.

Beady yellow eyes scanned the clearing full of tiny figures and with a bloodthirsty roar, it charged straight onwards, making a beeline for the wraith-like form of Whisper.

Marxan had thought that he had adequately prepared for what was coming. He may have been mistaken about that one little fact. As the ogre crashed through, the force sent him flying back into a nearby tree. The armour protected him from most of the major injuries he would have sustained otherwise, although he didn't come out of it without a scratch. The one thought swimming around in his head was 'That could have gone better'.

He struggled to get back up from where he had been thrown by the ogre. His head couldn't seem to concentrate on any one thing. Was he supposed to do something...something important? Why was he seeing flashing lights in front of his eyes? He wished someone would turn down the volume on the world for a few seconds. He stumbled, leaning against the tree with one hand and rubbing his head with the other. " time let' something better than that." he said.

As Marxan flew over the clearing, Emma rolled her eyes. Looked like there was some A-class talent coming with this new folk. Two of them had already died and one of them was taking acrobatics lessons from an ogre. Hopefully they were just having a bad day.

Lifting her staff, the blood mage cracked her neck. The ogre was already past her position, but if she had anything to say about it, it wouldn't get much further. A golden glow erupted from her staff as she brought her force magic to bear, locking around one of the creature's arms as it loped forwards. With a jerk, she snapped her staff backwards, pulling on the arm and ...

... falling forwards, tugged entirely off of her feet. "OW."

Emma righted herself almost instantly, tossing her hair and giving her staff a shake. "Nobody saw that." she muttered.

A suppressed snigger was barely audible as the white-blonde Lianna watched Emma fall, but the shadowmancer put her amusement to one side - there was a battle going on, after all. Shadows began to twist around her form, oozing out of the ground and gathering into the beginnings of a projectile.

Talos stood dignified at the edge of the clearing, watching the creature and assessing it. The Brother made no move to act yet, but were anyone observing him closely, they would see that his eyes had dilated to pure black. Observation was the key to forming a strategy, and action without strategy was simply idiocy.

As far as Erina was concerned, that particular line of thinking was what got mages stabbed in the stomach before they'd even decided what spell to use. A spray of arcane missiles shot from the elf girl's hands towards the ogre, peppering it with magical explosions. Though the attacks left the creature's skin singed, it hardly even seemed to notice.

The last of the Aelorans, Nihm, opted out of launching her own assault and instead crossed the battlefield to make her way to Marxan's position, lifting her hand as she neared him and - without so much as a hello - making to place it firmly on his forehead. A rush of restorative energy would seep into him, banishing the disorientation and the painful bruising that he would be suffering from after the hit. "Go!" she instructed sharply, her job now done, "Back to the fight!"

Marxan felt the disorientation vanish from his mind as Nihm worked her magic. "Thanks for that." he said. Someday, he hoped that he might be able to do what she could do. Right now though he had some sort of ogre to kill. With his head clear he could finally think of a strategy. Brute force might work on something this large but then again it might not. There had to be a smarter way to get around the creature's durability; he just had to think of one.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:34 pm

(Post co-written by Tiko, Imehal, Arrow, Zephyr and Script)

Confident in Parlina's position and safety, Rynhart disengaged from his allies to make for the open center of the clearing with swift measured strides. Falling to one knee he buried his sword in the earth as a thick cloud of purple miasma engulfed his form and a bone rattling roar filled the night. As the fog rapidly dissipated into the air, where the nimble form of an elf had knelt moments before, stood a towering behemoth of a bear – albeit a purple one.

With Marxan so easily swatted aside, the shapeshifter had swiftly adopted a more formidable form than the frailty of an elf.

Choosing wisely to remain beside Arrow than venture out alone, Parlina watched with mystified eyes as the creature made a beeline across the clearing toward Whisper, reaching for her connection with the spirits to attempt to do something about that.

'Stop that creature.'

Parlina turned her attention toward where she might be needed next for only a few seconds before realising something rather, well, important. "Something's wrong," she said aloud, her voice easily lost in the clamour of the ogre's resounding charge. Alarmed, she tried to speak to the spirits again, keeping her eyes on the creature as her panic began to rise.

Arrow's eyes narrowed at the arrival of the creature - it was larger than he had expected, and he had been banking on something significant enough in size to cause those vibrations in the ground. He doubted his arrows would do much good. On their own at least - but thankfully he had more than simple arrows up his sleeve.

As he aimed, the projectile in his bow lit up, and spread outwards, two more arcane arrows appearing beside it upon the string. Moving his aim along with the moving creature, Arrow waited for a moment, before loosing the arrows. All three sailed true, striking the creature in the side as it charged Whisper. Charged with force, the arrows punched into it and left three small grooves where they impacted. Possibly the equivalent of a scratch, for this ogre.

Well, at least it was a start.

Overhead, Niv's eyes were wide with shock as the beast charged through the clearing towards the white-haired girl. He had been expecting something big, but an ogre? His measely knife wouldn't do much, if any, damage against a foe of such formidable size and strength. He pondered for a mere second, before snapping his gaze up to the foul monster's head. What he planned on doing was a bit of a long shot, but it was worth trying nonetheless.

He delved into the wellspring that was the source of his meager magicks and called upon as much of it as he could muster, directing it at the massive brute. A blinding flash, followed by a deafening crack would sound, but none but the ogre would perceive it. The beast blinked a few times, but seemed otherwise unphased as it continued barreling towards Whisper. Niv heaved a sigh.

"Well, that was a bust..."

In the meantime, to the edge of the clearing, the elf who had seemingly been the creature's prior target had found himself a perch in the branches of one of the trees. His bow was in his hand, and his eyes narrowed. There weren't any obvious weak spots on this thing, but one spot that was almost universally vulnerable was the eye. The problem lay in hitting it. It was a small target.

And it was facing the other way.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:41 pm

(Post co-written by Script and Tiko)

The ogre-like creature had been unphased by the group's attempts to stop its charge, and it barrelled through the clearing without pause, continuing its path straight for Whisper. With an almighty roar that near-deafened the party, it swung its massive fists forwards at the small girl.

The creature's fists slammed into the ground and entirely obscured Whisper's form, even as its momentum carried it into the treeline beyond her position, trunks snapping like twigs under its weight before it pulled itself around to face the group once again. No trace of Whisper remained - most notably, no blood, and no corpse. Once more tiny yellow eyes scanned the assembled individuals, locking onto the most obvious threat - the larger form of Rynhart.

With a guttural roar and a ground shaking impact, Rynhart surged forward, colliding with the creature. Deep furrows were dug into the ground by the pair as Rynhart strained against the much larger form of the ogre-beast. Claws raked against its hardened hide with little effect while Rynhart tried to utilize his bulky form to grapple with the towering behemoth.

In sheer size and strength, however, the creature had the clear upper hand. Though the earth itself gave ground, tough feet digging into the forest floor, with a growl, it shoved forwards. There was a moment where Rynhart's hind legs would leave the ground, before he would find himself flying through the air, bound for the edge of the clearing.

Howling angrily, the creature glared after the shapeshifter, eyes still focused upon him and neglecting the ant-like others in the clearing.

The creatures eyes were wide - it was the chance the silver-haired elf had been waiting for. Lining up his bow, the archer took aim and --

The arrow shot wildly into the air, disappearing into the distance as the elf was tossed unceremoniously from the tree. So focused had he been, that he hadn't noticed the path Rynhart's form was taking -- the shapeshifter had slammed into the base of the tree he was on, toppling it backwards with a creaking of breaking wood. Landing in a hard roll, he regained his feet slightly unsteadily, scowling. "So much for that one then." he muttered.

In the moments of distraction that Rynhart had created, more attacks rained in on the massive beast. Lianna's shadows rushed forwards, climbing its form and wrapping thickly around its head and neck, crushing inwards. The damage dealt seemed negligible, but the ogre was blinded - blackness totally obscuring its vision.

Ruan, Erina, as well as Emma, all peppered the creature with attacks. Erina's arcane bolts and Ruan's arrows rained in as dozens of tiny pinpricks on the tough skin of the creature, whilst Emma produced a fireball the size of a small child to throw forcefully at its chest.

The flames burst upon it, scorching the tough flesh - a roar of pain sounded from the creature, but rather than impeded by the burn, it only seemed enraged. It snapped its head backwards and up, pulling free of the shadows that obscured its sight and unbalancing Lianna on the other end. Angrily, its fists slammed into the ground, creating a shockwave that tore through the earth and underneath the party to unbalance them all - and knocking the already unbalanced Lianna backwards.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:42 pm

(Post co-written by Imehal, Script, Arrow and Tiko)

'Stop that creature. Please!'

The spirits were there chattering as always but any request Parlina made failed to produce any result; the earth spirits that she had managed to summon prior to the battle's start had even gone so far as to disappear in the ground. There was, however, no time for the druid to ponder on this distressing turn of events as Rynhart connected with the gigantic creature, and subsequently ended up doing what Marxan had done only seconds before.

'Catch Rynhart!'

Trusting the spirits with his life - they had never failed her before after all - Parlina wisely turned her attention back to the massive creature, knowing that taking her attention off of it could prove fatal. She could not make herself strong like Marxan and Rynhart; without her spirits she had hardly anything at her disposal. Its eyes, she realised in her panic, were still upon Rynhart and there was nothing she could do! The spirits would not answer her, the tunic was no good against natural claws and the javelin...

In a matter of seconds Parlina had the artefact in hand, hoisting it high as she aimed before launching it through the air towards her target. She had not had much practise with the javelin but hoped that the size of the target would make up for that.

And indeed it did. The javelin struck the side of the creature with an almighty crack of lightning. Letting out a shriek, the ogre lurched to one side, a large black burn left where the artefact had made contact, before it rounded on the source - Parlina. Roaring vengefully, it charged forwards at speed, its massive size allowing it to clear the distance with surprising speed.

A massive fist was launched down towards the fragile girl - however, before it struck her, it was met with resistance as a brightly glowing shield appeared in the air between them. Arrow's physical shield was raised and glowing, guardian magic flowing through the air. The force of the blow shattered the protection, but the resultant exploding energy of the spell halted the initial swing.

Unfortunately, with anger came relentlessness, and down both fists swung again. The attack easily broke through what meagre shielding Arrow could produce in time, and slammed into the ground at the pair's position.

The time afforded by his two shields had only been enough for Arrow to take a few small steps away, and as a result, the force of the blow impacting the ground only feet in front of him sent the warrior flying, landing painfully a good number of metres away and rolling to a halt in a heap with a groan.

The first shield that Arrow had thrown up had given Parlina enough time to start putting as much distance between it and her. The second attack struck the ground that she had fled from, but that did not save her from the effects of the shockwave. Parlina landed roughly with a cry of pain, tumbling unceremoniously across the clearing to a stop. There was no attempt at movement as she lay on her side.

Meanwhile, across the clearing Rynhart righted himself with a dazed shake of his head. Though dazed or not, Parlina's sharp cry of pain swiftly brought him to his senses. Surging forward, the shapeshifter was once again engulfed in a thick purple cloud of smoke that marred him from view as he moved to rejoin the fray.

As the ogre-beast closed in on the fallen druid, foot raised to stomp down on her prone form, Rynhart redoubled his efforts and a small roc soared out of the miasma with a shrill shriek. Taloned claws raked at the ogre-beast's face, causing the behemoth to step back with enraged waves of its massive arms.

Nihm cursed as, Arrow and Parlina were batted away, running forwards from her position once again. The massive foe was closing on the fallen druidess, and so it was to her side that the white-robed priestess raced, dropping quickly to one knee beside her and erecting a shield to buy herself time. A hand was pressed to Parlina's chest and healing energy raced in - the speed at which it was administered most likely jarring and unpleasant, but necessary. "On your feet!" Nihm shouted, "Move, now!"

Parlina did not need telling twice, nausea fading as she scrambled to her feet to get out of the way of the distracted behemoth, nodding to Nihm as gaily as could be managed as she tried to reclaim some grasp on the situation. A silent call returned to the javelin to her hand, Parlina recognising the colour of the bird distracting their foe as she retreated to ensure that the creature did not get another chance to take her out. She raised the javelin, hesitating at launching another attack with Rynhart so close.

It was with a growl of irritation that the rocky-skinned creature reached up and roughly plucked the large bird from its face, tossing it aside with a growl. Its vision cleared, the glowing sphere of Nihm's shield immediately drew its attention. Roaring, both fists were slammed down onto the barrier of light, buckling it under the force.

Nihm staggered as her shield took the hit - even though protective magic was her speciality, the sheer strength of the blow was beyond her to hold for long. Down again the creature swung, this time shattering the shield entirely and plunging through.

Off to the side, Emma shouted angrily and lashes of golden light pulled in vain against its arms even as Talos finally launched his attack, a beam of channelled white energy spiralling towards the creature's side. The unmistakable crash of the creature's fists hitting the ground sounded just before the beam hit, knocking it aside with the force of the attack. The beast stumbled, knocking a nearby tree to the ground. It was then, with the creature staggered and Rynhart clear, that Parlina threw the javelin again, again aiming for its body - the largest target available to her. Recognising the repeated attack, however, the creature knew enough to do something about it. Grabbing a piece of the shattered tree-trunk beside it, the ogre swung, swatting the javelin away with another explosion of lightning that blew the trunk apart, raining splinters down around the recovering beast.

The dust around where it had stood before cleared, however, to reveal that the strikes had been too late. There was no chance that Nihm had survived.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:43 pm

(Post co-written by Conumbra, Tiko, Zephyr, Imehal and Arrow)

Marxan had been peppering the creature with boulder after boulder, but they shattered against its skin and it was soon apparent that something like that would probably not work. He thought through his options quickly; going up close was likely to send him flying against another tree, and ranged attacks would likely just stagger it. He could try to entrap its feet within the ground but there was a good chance it might use its strength to simply rip free or it could attack him before the process was complete.

He then decided on a more subtle approach. Hopefully this ogre had some way of breathing through its mouth. He gathered the left-over sand and dust around them and whipped it into a finely controlled cloud around him. He gathered the small chips of rock, the bits of earth lying across the battlefield and then he unleashed it. He moved so that he could see the beast's face; he'd need some sort of visual for this to work.

Then he sent the dust into the beast's face, attempting to send bits of dust and small chips of rock into the ogre's eye with the force of a bullet; it didn't take much energy to get particles this small to go so fast. The cloud split off before it got to the face however, as dust and small rocks were sent into the creature's mouth with the intent of choking it. If nothing else he might be able to distract it long enough for someone else's attack to succeed.

Unfortunately, it did little more than enrage the beast further. With the ogre twisting about and swinging its trunk like arms through the clearing so recklessly, most of the rock fragments hit off mark and pelted harmlessly against its hardened hide. What few made it to his face and mouth offered little more resistance than the annoying sting of an insect swarm.

Meanwhile, from his silent perch on the precipice of the forest clearing, Niv surveyed, contemplaying different ways in which he could assist the group in slaying the foe before them. Not that he personally cared for their general safety, but they were paying him after all, and dead employers wouldn't really prove to be of much use to him.

As the ogre's initial target faded from view, attacking in a frenzy, he knew he didn't have much time to think or act. Only one member's attacks had proven even remotely effective against the hulking beast, and with the situation as it was, the girl wasn't having much of a chance to get in a second strike. At this point, it seemed as though she was their only hope. He had to find some way to give her a clear shot...

Diverting his attention hadn't proven effective the first time, and he most certainly couldn't cast a large enough field to cloak all of his comrades from view, which would leave those uncloaked in serious peril. He had to think...

Then an idea struck him.

If I were to reverse the output direction of the Cloaking illusion, it might just blind him to everything outside the field!
Then again, if it fails, it might just make him invisible...

He mulled over the idea for a moment. He'd never tried anything of this nature before, and so there was a good chance that his ponderings would prove to be false. But at this point, it was looking like his best method of assistance.

"Well, here's hoping..." He muttered, closing his eyes and drawing upon his energy, then snapping them open and willing them towards the ogre. The field succeeded, engulfing the foul brute's head, his ugly mug disappearing from sight.

"Dammit..." Niv cursed with a grimace, refocusing himself as he tried to manipulate already-cast field. "I... need you... to reverse... you piece... of shit!" He hissed, his face contorting in strange ways as his concentration deepened. The ogre's head suddenly popped back in to view, its frenzy descending into thoughtless flailing, limbs stomping the ground beneath it.

Caught beneath the legs of the enraged creature Parlina immediately – and successfully – got clear of the trampling legs that threatened to remove her just as easily as Nihm. If we don’t do something right soon, she won’t be the only loss.

But what to do? Her spirits were ignoring her, and the attempt to help in spite of that fact had failed catastrophically. Everyone present was competent in their field but their efforts thus far had been impressive but ineffectual. She wished that Kento and Alair were here with Rynhart; she wanted Taima to be here. Together they had fought like lions despite the overwhelming odds put against them at the temple and Parlina knew that when they worked together they could accomplish anything.

“When they work together.”

It was not much of a plan, Parlina acknowledged as she rose from her crouch to make a beeline over to where Arrow had fallen after the shockwave, but it was all they had. Upon reaching the warrior Parlina offered him a hand to help him stand. This will work! “Sir Arrow, we haven’t much time. Could you please keep everyone back until the moment the javelin has struck?” Determination hardened her against her doubts, Parlina trying to banish them with unwavering faith in Arrow and Rynhart.

“Sir Rynhart!” she yelled as she called the javelin back to her hand, readying herself for what would come, “can you get me up high?”

Recovering himself, Arrow had regained his awareness just a few moments after his rough landing. At Parlina's approach, he took the offered hand gratefully. He remained silent as she spoke, finally simply nodding to her. There was no time for unnecessary words.

Parlina's sharp call had drawn Rynhart around and he swiftly winged his way towards the ground, landing alongside her. The ogre atop them spared them only a moments pause as a tree trunk of an arm descended blindly towards their position in another ground shaking blow.

Without time enough to await for Parlina to get fully astride, the moment he felt fingers close about his feathery plumage, Rynhart took wing once more. Banking sharply, he jerked Parlina into the air as he cut past the ogre's arm and made for the canopy with a shrill shriek.

Arrow, in the meantime, was decidedly more put upon to get out of the way of the falling fist, throwing himself backwards and being caught up for a second time in the shockwave of the impact. The soldier groaned, seeing stars as he attempted to right himself - Parlina and Rynhart were long gone, and he could barely string two words together, let alone inform the others of their plan.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:01 pm

(Post co-written by Script, Zephyr, Tiko and Conumbra)

Following the sound of Rynhart's shriek, as his vision was wholly obscured by Niv's spell, the ogre roared and swatted blindly upwards at the bird and its passenger. Its aim was off by a long shot, however, and instead crashed through the branches above - including Niv's own perch. The creature was enraged by its blindness, flailing and swinging madly around itself in a berserk rage, trying to hit anything it could.

Niv's expression was one of pure satisfaction as he watched the creature struggle; half of it was satisfaction with himself, the other half, sadistic amusement. However, this change quickly as he realised its flailing arm was headed for him. He hopped off of the treelimb as quickly as he could manage, but the current of air following the orge's strike buffeted him as he fell, adding much tribulation to his land. His feet hit the ground and caused his knees to buckle and give under him. The half-elf fell back and landed in his rump, this lapse in his concentration causing the field that was blinding their foe to fall.

A firm hand closed around Niv's shoulder as Brent jerked him back to his feet. “Nice of you to drop in,” Brent remarked dryly.

The small elf's body lurched as he was pulled upwards roughly, causing him to let out a strange noise. He staggered for a second, glaring at the soldier as he patted the dust off himself. He opened his mouth to remark in his oh-so-typically snide manner, but was quickly cut of by the soldier.

Brent's irritation at his assumption that Niv had simply been hiding as usual was quickly lost as the burly soldier practically shoved Niv into motion while he himself dove in the opposite direction to avoid the downward blow of the ogre-beast's fist. With its vision restored, the enraged creature seemed intent on smashing the first thing that had come into its view. Brent and Niv.

Though the blow missed its mark, the tremors it sent through the ground threw Brent and Niv off balance and the ogre swung his other hand down in an attempt to simply grab the nimble form of the elf before he could get far.

Niv stumbled to regain his balance as the ogre's first blow shook the ground beneath him, quickly correcting himself and taking off in a dash. He hopped over one of the ogre's meaty hands as it swung towards him, catapulting himself up into the nearby foliage again and leaping from limb to limb in attempt to escape the raging creature's range and sight.

"Going to fill us in on the plan, pretty boy?" Emma queried dryly towards Arrow as the ogre was freed from Niv's blinding. "Because from where I'm standing your friends just took off and left us to dance about this godforsaken forest with a giant ogre. Delightful of them, really. They know how to make new friends."

The blood mage grimaced, keeping her distance as the creature flailed about at the trees, regaining his senses. If that thing picked up momentum again, it wasn't likely to lose it before someone else was trodden on. Emma narrowed her eyes, turning to glance across the clearing at Marxan.

"You! Geomancer!" she shouted, "Get its legs bound with stone, keep it still for as long as you can. We need this beast on decidedly less of a rampage if we want a chance to hit it with anything significant."

Emma turned her attention to the other members of the group, "The rest of you, be ready to hit Tiny over there with something big. I don't care what it is, so long as it hurts - though do try not to ruin each others' spells. It's remarkable how ineffectual steam can be when a water mage and a fire mage decide to attack at the same time. We want this monster dead, not running his hand under a cold tap."

"Right, just don't take too long with whatever you're planning to do. I don't know how long I'll be able to contain it, or even if I can!" Marxan concentrated on the ground beneath the ogre's feet. First, to slow it down enough that he could get to work, the ground underneath it began to pull the ogre's feet down with considerable force. While the ogre was working at trying to escape the very earth that tried to pull it down, Marxan brought up stone from below. Rock piled around the ogre's feet and lower thighs, binding together and to the surrounding earth so that no seams were visible. He had to visibly concentrate to keep the rock bound together.

Striding forwards purposefully, Emma spun her staff around, channeling her magic as she moved. The moments afforded to her by Marxan's hold allowed her to take her time about the spell, positioning herself and unleashing it fully powered. The mage thrust her staff forwards, an onslaught of ice and forst poured forth, wrapping around the rock Marxan had already encased its legs in and further solidifying the hold.

"That won't hold for long, peo-" Emma didn't even get a chance to finish her sentence before with a roar, the ogre made her point for her, shaking itself free of the frost even as it continued to form. Its movement was slowed but far from stopped, and Emma was forced to abandon her position with a curse as a fist slammed down towards her. The sluggish movement, hindered by the frost, was easy enough to avoid - but as it shook more of the ice off the ogre was picking up speed again.

"I hope our fair-feathered friends and their lightning-stick decide to come back before more of us end up getting up-close and personal with the dirt," Emma commented wryly as she backed away from the creature's attempts to free itself from Marxan's bindings, "Get it? Because it sounds like 'fair-weather', and they just conveniently flew up into the sky while we're all getting pulverised? No? Just me?"

The mage shrugged. "Everyone's a critic."

"There's a time and a place, Emma," Talos remarked with a scowl, even as a pulse of magic shot from his fist and into the creature - the continuing outpour of attacks not seeming to hinder its impending escape from Marxan's hold in the slightest.

"Well if we're all going to die a horrible death crushed under the foot of a monstrous beast, I should think that I'm doing us all a favour that we might be able to die with a smile on our faces," Emma retorted, planting her staff in the ground and leaning on it with a raised eyebrow, "What, am I going to offend the ogre?" She flippantly thumbed over her shoulder at the creature, casually disregarding the ongoing battle for a few moments, "Somehow I doubt he has much of an opinion on the matter - or at least, not one that involves words with more than a single syllable that don't start with 'raahg'."
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:02 pm

(Post co-written by Imehal and Tiko)

Upon realising that dangling in the air beneath Rynhart was going to get them nowhere fast Parlina awkwardly resheathed the javelin to free up her second hand, using it to gain another handhold further up the wing. She moved her other hand to cling to the bird beside it, using the dual grip to drag her body up and onto the back of the purple creature, half-crouched in the centre of its back. Both of her hands maintained their tight grip; she would wait until the last available moment to compromise balance for attacking.

"I want to throw the javelin from high enough so that he can't see it coming." Parlina explained, crouching lower so that Rynhart would be able to hear her over the sound of rushing air as they flew.

Rynhart couldn't articulate his understanding, but with a surge of momentum, he banked sharply to avoid a tree and weaved higher through the canopy, aiming for the open sky above. Branches lashed painfully at the pair, nearly dislodging Parlina from his back in more than one instance, but at last they were clear and he used the open air to circle around and get a better vantage point of the battle below. His bulky size wasn't meant for navigating such confined spaces and he would need to choose his point of reentry carefully.

It had not been an easy ascent but Parlina ignored her discomfort, peridot eyes looking for where they could make a strike that the beast could not anticipate. Everything counted on it not seeing them coming. It was impossible to see anything distinctly except for the giant creature flailing mindlessly, and after careful searching she raised a hand to point to a gap in the treeline just big enough for them to slip into unnoticed.

It was a fair distance behind the creature - thirty feet away at least - and there was a dense copse of trees that would hopefully keep them from his sight whilst they closed in on him. "There! Do you see, Sir Rynhart?" Parlina called out, drawing out the javelin and pointing enthusiastically with it. "That's our chance."

He did. Parlina would get little warning as he folded his wings back and plummeted towards the canopy below. It was a perilous descent as Rynhart cut through the trees, deftly weaving and twisting to avoid thick branches that could knock one or both of them from the air – but Rynhart's keen reflexes and swift maneuvers betrayed his less than elvish nature and aerial aptitude.

As the pair closed in on their target, tree trunks blurred past unsettling close but at last Rynhart broke through into the clearing directly behind Groth. Unfortunately, he couldn't break momentum without throwing Parlina's balance off, and so she would have only one shot with the javelin before they were past and back into the surrounding wood once again.

The little druid kept as low as was humanly possible, raising as the creature's form flickered in her vision as trees impeded her view. Parlina raised the javelin, and as soon the time to take the shot came, she threw it with all the strength she possessed. Her breath caught in her throat, suddenly anxious.

But this time the javelin flew unimpeded and struck the creature with an almighty crack of lightning.

Having broken free from its bindings, the ogre was once more on the move when Parlina and Rynhart returned. Its attention was more on the attacks peppering it from all sides than on the skies, and so the javelin caught it unawares. The crack of lightning sounded, and the creature actually staggered, burn marks covering its body as it fell to the side, slamming into the ground on its knees. There it remained, clearly stunned, its thick fingers clutching at the dirt.

Parlina cried out in delight as Rynhart carried her away, turning away from the creature to reclaim her hold on her ally. "We did it, Sir Rynhart! We actually did it!"
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Script on Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:16 pm

There was little hesitation from the battle-hardened Aelorans. An opening had been granted, and it had to be taken. Magic burst from all sides, as Talos and Erina both unleashed channelled strikes upon the fallen creature. Twin beams of white light crashed into its side, knocking it fully to the ground and leaving it further vulnerable to assault.

"Keep it down!" Emma shouted, "Geomancer! Pin it, it can't use its momentum to break free from down there!"

"Now just kill the damn thing! Aim for the head, that's usually squishy!" Emma called.

In a rush of magic and the twanging of bow-strings, the group attacked. Violent bursts of power shot from hands and staves to impact with the fallen beast's neck and head, leaving visible wounds. The creature struggled against its bindings, breaking an arm free, roaring in pain.

Taking a deep breath, Emma lifted her staff and spun it around in her hand so that its bladed tip was pointing inwards. The mage closed her eyes and after a brief pause, she thrust it inwards. The blade penetrated her flesh easily, stabbing deeply into her body, and she bent over with a grunt of pain.

Her eyes lit up as she channelled magic from the blood that now flowed freely from the gaping wound down the length of her staff, and a dark crimson mist began to eb from the fallen ogre's head, draining and weakening its life-force. Now the attacks that struck the creature were wounding it severely - its resistances seemed to fail with Emma's magic upon it.

Finally, a sickening crunch sounded, and it became quickly apparent that one of the spells had broken the ogre's skull. Its struggles ceased, and it lay still.

Emma pulled her staff free of her stomach with a gasp, and crimson light illuminated the wound for a few short moments before it closed up fully, leaving nothing so much as a scar behind.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:17 pm

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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:17 pm

Forest of the Fall - Mira Village

(Post co-written by NotAFlyingToy, Gasmask and Tiko)

The darkened and heavily abused rays of light that managed to skim the ground of the forest illuminated the Mira's fur as they walked back from the ritual, their destination; the small encampment in which the Mira currently made their home.

At the lead walked Goliath, the current Sheif of the small clan.

Internally, he was glowing with pride.

Myst had performed admirably today, and he knew that none among their number could deny it. His cub had achieved every single hurdle expected of him, and he was every inch the proud father.

His exterior, however, was not so glowy.

"You're still not springing forwards fast enough, Myst. Your enemies must not anticipate the attack. Surprise is your sole advantage. A hundred times I've told you this, and you've yet to learn it."

"But... It was only a couple of seconds father, minutes maybe, I can't predict when they turn there heads, I know you've told me this a hundred times, and I see your point, there is something else I can do, why can't I just sneak past them? Leave them behind as I complete other goals." Goliath's son asked, waving his tail in curosity, the Ritual had been a gut-wrenching wait, waking up that very morning and eating breakfast with that sort of Nausea.

By the time the test had started those feelings had dissipated however, and Myst had found himself more of a warrior than he thought he had been, but still lacking the skill of his elders, but he had a bet with himself that by the time he reached Goliath's age, he would be stronger.

Not that his father would ever admit that, he'd always be a second off, always an enemy too more, and always that one percent off according to Goliath's opinion, and Myst tried to understand that humbling sense.

"You must learn to predict it, Myst." Goliath's tone was harsh, fierce. "And there are times when a warrior must be a warrior. You are light, true. Truer still, you are quiet. But you must be fierce alongside these traits.

"You are my son. You are a Mira. As one, we remain strong. We are as weak as our weakest link. You will not be it."

It didn't take Goliath and Myst long to reach their home within the village – as much as one could call a Mira dwelling home. Fiera, mate to Goliath, mother to Myst and Shamana to the Mira, was waiting for them in the doorway of the weather worn shack as they arrived.

There was a softness to her expression that was missing from Goliath's as she met Myst with outstretched arms in greeting. Grasping her sons forearms for a moment she reached up to untie a bit of cord from her neck, passing it into Myst's hand. Strung along the cord were several fangs and a blue crystal. It was a family heirloom that Fiera had long held close.

“Wear it well. You will make the clan proud to call you Shief one day.”

"Not if he doesn't work on that spring, he won't." The comment was biting, but the warrior Shief's eyes were soft, for but a moment, where his son couldn't see him.

"How fare you, Fiera? I'll have you know that our cub performed," he paused, weighing the words. "Acceptably." Profoundly.

Their son proudly shook his head and thanking his mother for the gift, but the lure of snapping back caught him. "I will work on it father, but I can't spring words can I?"

Myst's hands curled around the blue crystal, holding up to his eyes and slowly moving it to examine the other objects along it, he had always seen the crystal on his mothers neck for the longest time but never imagined he would wear it. Too busy trying to impress Goliath.

Shief. He both dreaded having a future as one and both loved the prospect at the same time like any other Mira.


The shout came from the borders of the village, where Gremroth and a small hunting party were making an early return. Drawing up to their shief, the young hunters fell back leaving Gremroth to speak with his brother.

“Goliath, intruders at the southern borders,” Gremroth said. “They slew Groth.”

There was no pause between his brother's words and the action of the Shief, a cold chill spreading between the hunter's shoulder blades.

"How far out?" As he barked the question, he was already taking a quick stock of his weapons. Furred fingers touched upon his bow, the battleaxe at his side that seemed to hold the darkness no matter how much light shone upon it, and a stone dagger at his waist.

Something told him that there would be bloodshed, this day. Lately, he wasn't wrong.

"How many? Are they headed towards us?"

“About a dozen in total, and I don't know. We returned to inform you as quickly as we could. We left two scouts to track their movements,” Gremroth replied.

Meanwhile, Fiera seemed taken aback by the exchange of news. A look of shock had crossed her face and her eyes grew haunted. Groth had long patrolled and kept their borders clear of the voidling menace that plagued the lands beyond. He was the last of the forest guardians and his death was an ill omen indeed. Change was upon them, and only time would reveal where it would take them.

“These intruders will spell our doom,” Fiera said as her voice hardened against their loss. “I must go,” she added without explanation before retreating into their abode, closing the door behind her.

Goliath nodded after his mate, letting himself look at the door for a split second as it closed. He felt it, too. With the fall of the beast, this didn't just mean the intruders would uncover them.

It meant darker things may very well, too.

Shoving that from his mind for the moment, the shief focused on the task at hand. "Brother, it's time for action. Gather the warriors. We'll rendezvous with the scouts."

With a jerky movement, he turned to face Myst, touching the younger Mira's shoulder. Affection of any kind from Goliath to his offspring was rare, and the gravity of the situation transferred through the weight of his hand. "Myst," he said, calling the boy by name. Another rarity.

"Prepare. We move swiftly."

"Yes, father." Slew Groth? Myst doubted that could happen! But there it was, right after his ritual that Groth had been slain. That was bad, outsiders work? Probably, it angered Myst as Groth was an ancient protector, how could that even happen? He'd only seen flashes of it, how could outsiders kill such a thing. Myst's face hardened, clearly these outsiders were more skilled than Goliath liked to tell stories about.

But he went to fetch his weapons like his father commanded.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:35 pm

The smell of burning incense and scented candle wax filled the air as the Shamana Fiera knelt upon the floor of her abode. Her mate and son had already departed for battle, but her responsibilities lay elsewhere and she was preparing herself for a task she had not performed since the day she assumed the role of Shamana.

To commune with the spirits of the dead was not an undertaking to be done lightly and she had taken diligent preparations for the impending ritual and posted two guards outside of her abode to ensure that she was not interrupted.

Surrounding her was a ring of candles and before her was a small tray of burning incense resting beside a bowl and an obsidian knife. On the other side of the bowl sat a small wooden cage containing a carrion shrike, a strange bird like animal with clawed fingers and a beak filled with needle sharp teeth.

She could not travel to where the spirits dwelt without having a spirit to lead the way. The shrike would provide the necessary sacrifice to take her across. Opening the cage she grabbed the shrike by the neck and pulled it out to hold it firmly against the floor. Ignoring the loud squawks of protest she began the soft droning whispers of her incantations.

The ritual wore on well through the morning, and minutes turned into an hour before at last the tempo of her words took wing and reached a fevered pitch. Retrieving the dagger with her free hand she raised it high overhead before driving the knife down into the shrike's chest, silencing the creature.

Her breath grew shaky as she pulled the knife free and rested it against her palm, dragging the blade edge across her skin with a hiss of pain. Holding her hand out she let the welling blood mingle with the blood of the shrike as it dripped into the bowl.

The power of the ritual was reaching a crescendo as she lay her knife down and retrieved the bowl with both hands. Hesitating only a moment she brought it to her lips, drinking the crimson liquid that had pooled within. The effect was immediate and her eyes rolled back in her head as she slumped to the floor.

While she lay there in a daze, a chill wind gusted through the room and blew the candles out. For many long minutes, nothing more seemed to occur, but as the wisps of smoke from the extinguished candles began to fill the air, a thick grey mist settled over the room and blotted out all visibility.

Rousing from her stupor, Fiera could hear the whispers of voices within the mist and images of faces long gone could be glimpsed before fading away. They were the ancestors of the Mira, come to pay visit to the one that called to them.

A weary haze settled over Fiera leaving her thoughts clouded as she found herself within the ether between the world of the living and the world of the dead. It was a place not meant to be traveled by the living, a place reserved for those passing. But it was also a place of answers, a place where a Shamana could gain insight from beyond.

Rising from her prone position, Fiera stood tall and called boldly.

“Great ancestors of the Mira, I beseech you, appear before me. Commune with me.”

Her words created a stirring within the spirits before at last one separated from the rest. As it stepped forward the grey mist peeled back leaving the pair to commune.

Even in death the Mira that had appeared to her was an imposing and dominating figure. His form was both toned and muscular, riddled with battle scars and his eyes, though grey and ethereal, held wisdom and strength.

'Why have you called us, Shamana. Speak your purpose.'

“A time of change has befallen our people. The last of the forest guardians lays dead upon our borders, and soon our lands will fall to void and shadow. I need to know, where do we turn from here?”

'Groth's sacrifice was a necessary one. Before you now lay two paths. One will lead to the Mira's destruction, the other to its salvation.'

“But which do we take?”

'You already have all you need within you to know the way. Your way is the way of the Mira.'

The words of the Mira seemed to fade away with each lingering syllable, and as the spirits began to recede so too did the grey mist until only Fiera remained. She looked haggard and weary from the strenuous communion with the ancestors of her people – brief as it may have been – but weariness was rapidly replaced by frustration and anger. Anger at the spirits for their way of speaking in riddles, or perhaps anger at herself for lacking the strength to keep them longer, to draw more information from them.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:31 pm

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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:59 pm

(Post co-written by Script, Arrow and Tiko)

Sticking her bloodstained staff down into the dirt with a weary sigh, Emma wiped her brow, "Well if anything ever took some damn killing, that was it. Light above."

Sparing Emma only a disdainful glare at her callous disregard for the casualty of the battle, Talos immediately turned away from Groth's fallen form to walk to where Nihm's body lay, crushed. The hooded man knelt, murmuring a respectful eulogy, before rising once again. He paused, as the other members of the group joined him sadly, exchanging a few words.

Emma watched Talos and the rest of the scouting group, and sighed. For once, disrespect hadn't been her intent. The blood mage plucked her staff from the ground and moved to join them. "It's how she would have wanted to go," she said as she approached.

Talos looked up, meeting Emma's eyes, and after a moment's hesitation he nodded. "The lives of others were always her priority," the man briefly - almost unnoticably - glanced toward where Parlina had gone, "Even those of strangers."

To the side, Lianna drew in a sharp sniff, quickly covered up by a cough. A tear forming in her eye was quickly wiped away.

Placing a comforting hand on the younger girl's shoulder, Talos brought his other hand over Nihm in a smooth sweep. Where it moved, the earth shifted, and the elf sank into a grave that formed around her. Where possible, the Aelorans always buried their dead. It was sickening to think of dead allies being devoured by the voidlings.

With Nihm buried, Emma rounded on the next port of call. "You there, elf," she called, striding towards the silver-haired archer that had arrived just before the ogre, "What in the name of the Light was that thing, and why was it chasing you? Who are you?"

The elf in question was standing with bow still in hand a short distance from the fallen creature, his expression one of vexation. At Emma's words, he looked up sharply, fixing his bow back onto his back and extending a hand - before quickly lowering it as Emma seemed to examine the appendage with (if it were possible) extremely pointed indifference.

"The name's Dorian Silverleaf. I'm a hunter for one of the forest settlements, Wraithholm. Am I right in assuming you're outsiders? From beyond the forest borders, I mean?"

At Emma's nod, he continued, "It's rare that anyone comes here from outside. As for what that was? I can't say that I know for sure. I thought that it was a void-beast of some nature, but I've since disproved that theory. I had intended to kill it by luring it into a nest of wards and traps designed to slay creatures of the Sealed One, but when it triggered them, they had no effect. Needless to say, it wasn't happy at that point. Whatever it was, it's gone berserk every time anyone's had the misfortune to stray near it in the past."

Emma frowned thoughtfully. Not a void creature? Odd that it had seemed so determined to kill them all then. A wild beast would have probably cleared out once they started throwing significant magic at it. The blood mage remembered another detail then, and turned towards Arrow with a raised eyebrow, "It certainly didn't seem pleased to see your white-haired friend, did it?"

She glanced at where Whisper had stood, "And she seems to have vanished into thin air."

Arrow had been somewhat occupied with suddenly noticing the painful amounts of bruising all over his body from being knocked flying during the fight. Being knocked several feet into the air and landing hard in a full suit of armour hurt something awful. "It isn't the first time," the soldier eventually responded, "Whisper is well equipped for avoiding danger. The creature probably saw her as the weakest-looking target."

And almost as if in cue, the vaguely ethereal form of Whisper began to materialize, much in the same place that she had vanished from. As she grew tangible once more, the figure of Whisper looked thoroughly perplexed.
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:01 pm

(Post written by Tiko, Imehal and Script)

Meanwhile the figures of Rynhart and Parlina were rejoining the group from the surrounding wood, the former having resumed his more recognizable form for the short walk back. The little druid's earlier elation had faded behind a somber expression, darting away from the elf without a glance back to where Nihm had fallen.

The absence of a body clearly confused Parlina for a moment, but all it took was a brief look up at the Aelorans to understand. The young girl paled, eyes flickering aquamarine.

"Spirits go with you Nihm," Parlina whispered, trying to maintain composure as she reached out for her spirits. "Something's not right about this place. I tried to... I couldn't do anything. The spirits weren't helping me."

“Perhaps even the spirits of this place have grown tainted,” Rynhart proffered as he approached.

"No," Parlina rejected his suggestion, shaking her head fiercely. "They just weren't listening. I can feel them all the time Sir Rynhart. I'd be able to tell if they were wrong in some way."

Emma gave Parlina a glance, drumming her fingers on her staff thoughtfully, before finally shaking her head. "I don't know anything about this place that would cause that," she said, "Ciela would probably have been able to say more. She's a minor druidess herself."

The blood mage looked back to the silver-haired elf who had introduced himself as Dorian questioningly, "What about you? You live here, could you explain that?"

The elf shrugged apologetically, "I've got nothing, I'm afraid. I know a druid back at Wraithholm who can use his magic perfectly well, but he's never been out here. It's quite a hike from there to the borders. Could be something localised, or something completely different. Magical spirits are fickle as anything in my experience."

Parlina wore a permanent frown as she looked between people as they spoke, patience wearing thin as she waited for silence to speak up herself. "They were chatting to me until I entered the forest. Everything was fine up until now. I've fought against necromancers and upon tainted lands. I've never been without my spirits. I've never been alone like I am now."

Parlina huffed following her frustrated outburst, looking down at the ground with a shake of her head. "Sorry."

Brent grunted from off to the side. “Sorry to break this up, but I don't think we should linger about here any longer than necessary."

Ruan nodded in agreement. “He's right. The voidlings are still out there. The sun will be up soon, and we best be well on our way before that happens.” Turning to Dorian, he continued. "You there. Dorian was it? You mentioned a settlement you're from? We should make for there, regroup and resupply. Can you get us there?"

"That I can," Dorian replied, smiling, "It's the least I owe you for dropping a massive, berserk beast on your heads, after all."
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Re: Forest of the Fall: A Journey Onward

Postby Tiko on Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:21 pm

(Post co-written by Tiko and Script)

“So, how did you come to be hunting that thing out here by yourself anyways?” Ruan asked.

A few steps ahead, Dorian glanced back over his shoulder at Ruan, "If it comes down to it, pride I suppose," he said, shrugging his shoulders with a grin, "And an overactive sense of adventure. I couldn't very well organise a hunting party just because I saw something that looked like a challenge, could I? We don't have the resources for that."

The pair had separated from the main group, scouting ahead to ensure that the route was clear. The rest of the Aelorans and their new companions weren't far behind, within ear shot, and occasionally eye shot save for Niv, who seemed to be nowhere to be found. A fact not gone unnoticed, or unwelcomed by many.

The scraggly wood seemed to only grow denser and more difficult to traverse as they made their way deeper into the forest, but fortune would have it that save for a nest of corrupted forest spiders that had to be skirted, their route had been devoid of obstacles.

“How large is Wraithholme anyways?” Ruan asked.

"Not very large. A village if anything, there's only a hundred or so of us altogether. There's a larger settlement, Eastvale, to the South-East that closer resembles a city, but it's only in recent years that we had the capability to found Wraithholme." Dorian replied.

“Huh. We have more than that just in soldiers back in Tai'emroth. I'm surprised your settlement can support itself. Don't you need soldiers out here?” Ruan asked. “Tai'emroth has been under siege for as long as anyone can remember."

Dorian raised his eyebrows, "You're a long way from home, ranger boy," he mused, "Tai'emroth... it's been decades since we've had anyone from there reach us. Longer, maybe. And in answer to your question, most of us are soldiers in some capacity. We're soldiers who also hunt, build, cook ... but we get by. We don't have a lot of trouble this deep in the forest, any void creatures are scattered. Most of the threat is from the wildlife, really. The invasion did some unpleasant things to the ecosystem."

“If that behemoth was any measure of things, I'm not sure how keen I am to meet your wildlife,” Ruan remarked.

"That thing? That's hardly the norm." Dorian gave Ruan a glance, turning to walk backwards for a few paces, "I've only encountered it a few times. Until now I thought it was some void creature, but when my wards didn't work on it ... well, now I just don't know."

Ruan gave a glance over his shoulder, but the main group was out of visual line of sight for the moment. “What I don't get is that we had a dozen men and women out there. A dozen, and it disregarded every one of them to single that white haired girl out. I can't quite get my head around her, she doesn't even carry a weapon as far as I can tell. I'm at a loss as to what she's even doing here.” Not normally one to be so open with strangers, Ruan found himself treating Dorian much as he might have Ciela, confiding his concerns to a fellow scout. But Ciela wasn't here, and this was a stranger. “It's probably nothing,” Ruan added in a follow up effort to change the topic.

Frowning, Dorian nodded. "If anything, I would've thought it would go after me, seeing as I blew up several dozen ward-traps in its face just five minutes beforehand." The hunter clicked his tongue, "Wait, hold up - you all aren't one group? Where are the others from, if not Tai'emroth?"

The hunter spared a moment to glance over his own shoulder to make sure he wasn't about to trip backwards over a tree-root. Even a fleet-footed elven scout had to pay attention when walking backwards through a forest.

Well, Ruan thought. It was a bit late to discourage Dorian's inquiries now. With a shake of his head, he resigned himself to the conversation at hand. “No. They're not from around here at all. Well, some of them that is. They claim they're not from Aelora even. It's a long story,” Ruan explained.

Dorian raised his eyebrows a second time, "Not from Aelora? Then from where? We've been cut off from the other lands for centuries, are they claiming they're from beyond the veil?"

The veil was the dark mist that surrounded the edges of Aelora, cast into place by the spellcasters of the past during the initial invasion. Once it became clear that Aelora was lost, the most powerful sorcerers of the land created a barrier to prevent the Sealed One's forces from spreading, isolating them entirely. "Does that mean there's a way out, or..?"

“I don't know. Magic of the magnitude to bring down the veil hasn't existed since the days of the fall,” Ruan said with a frown. “We found them in Amarathia, claiming to be the Patronus of old.”

"What? The Patronus?" Dorian stared at Ruan, taken by surprise enough that he stumbled over a rough patch of terrain, and had to spend a few moments regaining his composure. Walking backwards was impressive -- right up until the inevitable moment where you looked like an idiot. "Them? No offence to your people, but as a group, you seem far from ... the typical legendary hero types? They don't seem a lot like what I've heard of the tales ... and aren't they all supposed to be dead?" The elf frowned, "Do you believe them? I would have thought you must if they are travelling with you?"

“You're telling me? We lost half our numbers just crossing the plains of Amarathia. I don't really know what to believe, but until we find out who or what they are, we can't really afford to turn them out.” Almost as an after thought, Ruan added, “It helps if you look where you're going.”

Dorian nodded thoughtfully as Ruan spoke, lightly shrugging his shoulders. "I suppose you're right about them. Take what help you can get, and all." He chuckled, then, smirking at the final comment. "What, and spoil the view?" he teased, turning back to the route ahead with a deliberately corny flick of his hair.
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