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Freedom Forsaken

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Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Alacer Phasmatis on Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:55 pm

((Link to OOC if you're interested. You don't have to read everything, I went wild. Freedom Forsaken OOC))

Night had spread her fine cloak over the land, darkening forests, adding mystery to the oceans, blackening fears. In the forest of Ædónï, small creatures went to sleep even as nocturnal life began to waken. The eldritch howl of a solitary wolf wove itself into the complex fabric of the twilight, sending several rabbits running for cover. A chill breeze snaked through the leaf-bare trees, caressing the tightly-furled buds of greenery; the nights and days of trees differ greatly from those of other beings. The wolf sang his song again, and now another joined the melancholy melody—perhaps the creature had some companion after all. A peaceful forest, a sanctuary in troubled times…

It was all an illusion. The earth thrummed with the vibrations of approaching horsemen, and soon the voices of men shouting and cursing became apparent. Then the steeds themselves became manifest as a lone rider’s beast rounded a bend, traversing with great effort an enormous log in its path. Eyes pinned on the trail ahead, bay sides soaked in sweat and mouth foaming, the horse was clearly giving its all in evading the two men in pursuit, urged onwards by his rider. His face was concealed by a traveling cloak of thick wool, whipped into frenzy by the wind and speed of his mount. A ball of pulsing cobalt energy flew by him, shattering the ground ahead. Swearing in a strangely soft voice, the man directed his spent horse around the obstacle. As the fine-boned bay skittered around, the moonlight caught and was reflected by two snowy wings.

A rough, coarse voice shouted in a foreign language, before switching tongues to Common. “Halt your beast!” He roared. “And there may be mercy for you yet!” The faery refrained from giving a reply, instead tightening his grip around a large object hidden within his cloak. Foertis, where are you? Though the mounts of his hunters were large enough that their long legs could easily follow his smaller steed, he was not entirely helpless. Nudging his right knee into the heaving sides, his horse veered off of the easier path and into the woods.

In the skies shone countless stars, bright diamonds lending splendor to the inky expanse, scarcely dimmed by the full moon’s glow. Through the black bars of the trees, the faery could see, as well as hear, several large birds of prey working together to deter an enemy. Raptors and other solitary species, all of them… yet they band together in this moment, against their will. Truly we are surrounded…

Then a bright tongue of flame scythed through the darkness, followed by the sounds of avian bodies falling to the earth. The faery wrinkled his nose at the odor of burning flesh. Taking a detour has won me time, but precious little. Foertis, hurry! Then another bright blue bolt of energy soared past him, breaking up the ground and splintering strong tree roots. With a shrill scream, the lithe horse pulled up, nostrils flaring, even as more earth was broken, making escape on land impossible. Continuing shrieks from the skies told him that flight was out of the question. Drawing their trembling steeds to a walk, the two men approached him carefully, as though he were a danger. “So you wish to fight?” The faery murmured. His hand, pale as ivory, snaked away from the object beneath his cloak to reveal that it held a long pole of ebony. “You do so at your peril,” he hissed, stalling, buying time. Tightening his grip around the middle, he twisted it, two shimmering steel blades sliding out of either end.
Laughing softly, one of the two men mocked, “oh, so the faery wishes to fight us now, does he? Ah, but he isn’t using magic.” This last comment was directed with arched brows to his companion, a stocky man of sleek, noble looks. “My good healer,” the fellow continued in scathing tones, “you seem to be under the delusion that we’ll do combat under your terms. Pitiful.” Dropping lithely down from his horse, the elven mage approached the tensed figure. Grinning with the languid air of one who knows victory is his, he raised his hand, summoning an orb of incandescent light, his elegant face thrown into stark contrast with their shadowy surroundings.

“Oh, that won’t be necessary.” A flash of fire, and another faery landed heavily on the ground, summer-blue eyes mixed with an orange inferno. With an oath, the other man ran to aid his burning fellow, but the new arrival turned on him, creating a ring of flames that, despite their white-hot hunger, never went to consume the dry leaves liberally covering the floor, nor to devour the bud-spotted branches. “No!” Roared the caged man. “Please, have mercy!” Clenching his hand into a fist, the faery allowed the flames around the elf to die down, leaving a putrid corpse, black and glistening with grease. With slow, deliberate steps, he entered his own ring, the fire parting to allow him safe passage before resealing.

He wore a tunic the blue color of midnight, and around his neck hung a thin leather necklace, on which was tied a white stone of quartz and a lock of hair like spun silver…he had azure wings, eyes no longer consumed by an inferno, though fire was now reflected off of golden hair. The trapped man stared at him then blanched. “You’re… you… I thought Leannán killed you.” Foertis Deus looked calmly at the trembling coward before him and scoffed, “Interesting theory, but do I look that bad?” The hungry circle tightened, turning into the man’s funeral pyre. A strange, derisive cackling reverberated from Foertis—ages ago, it would have seemed out of place on his once-comely features; now it matched. He turned to the cloaked figure. “There are sentries all over the skies,” he stated. “Keep to earth and—good light, man, what happened to Lysander’s horse, the poor creature looks fit to die!”

Lifting his ghostly hands, the other faery lowered his cowl. An angelical face looked back at him, it beauty enhanced all the more by the brooding grief that played across it. “You’re a fine one to ask. Maybe next time you should consider the dangers of the skies and stick to the ground, that I might not tax my mount so much.” Sighing, his accomplice replied, “no matter. You have them?” A soft, fiercely protective look settled on the angelic one’s features. “They’re right here,” he whispered, drawing back the cloak to reveal his precious bundles.

Curled tightly on either side of him were two young children, held in place by his arms. Raising a tear-streaked face, the little girl asked, “is it…gone?” Laying a cool hand on her cheek, he murmured, “almost. Soon you’ll be safe…” Her tiny face scrunched up as hot tears began to course down her round cheeks. A small, chubby hand reached out, firmly clutching that of her sleeping brother. “I w-want m-ma-mamie,” she choked out, trying to suppress the salty flow. It was futile. All of them knew it was; the Rau-lass wouldn’t have left the child’s parents alive when they ordered her capture. Wordlessly, the pale healer dismounted, turning to face the night. “Where do you think you’re going?” Foertis hissed, gripping his shoulder. Raising the cowl again, the other said softly, “We’re but twenty minutes away from the border of Occalus. Where do you think I’m going?” The shorter man stood there for a moment, mute, until the child called, afraid, “d-don’t leave me!” Casting his friend a dark look, he dragged him back to the exhausted equine. “Signum,” he muttered, embracing the quietly sobbing toddler, “I can’t take all of the children on my own.”

“I know,” Signum replied. “It’ll be fast. You can expect me back before the morrow. The Rau-lass are but a day’s march from here, and when they come, I don’t entertain wistful notions about any Pardai being left to live. I—it’s what… it’ what she would have wanted.” A terrible grief washed through the man’s soul; he averted his grey eyes from Foertis’s. Gently, but with an inflection of steel, the other faery said, “Sorea is gone, Signum. If you must go to fetch Anahita, don’t do it for her. Do it for our people, for hope. Not for a memory of what was.” The hood shadowed Signum’s pale face, making his expression inscrutable. “Signum? Answer me.”

“Fortune keep you,” he said, his impassive tone brooking no argument. Turning away, he was swallowed by the darkness. Foertis hesitated, and then grasped the weary horse’s bridle. “Go to sleep,” he told the frightful girl. Her eyes were haunted by pain, a pain everybody seemed to be feeling these days. With a heart-felt sigh, he mounted, nudging the horse to a walk. “Only a little farther,” he muttered.

Only a little farther, yet so great a distance.
Last edited by Alacer Phasmatis on Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ShadowPhoenix on Fri Oct 03, 2008 5:24 pm

((Samir; if you haven't read what I said about Samir and Lilith in the OOC, go do so. EDIT: This is taking place six months before everyone else, or a month after WoLaD, if you prefer to think of it that way.))

With a sigh of relief, Samir dotted the final period on the sheet of paper in front of him, then added it to the stack on his left. He leaned backwards in his chair, stretching his arms above his head. In the small room--made even smaller by the stacks of paper that towered to the ceiling--five heads all whipped about and fixed him with a desperate gaze that almost broke his heart. For a brief moment, she was tempted to tell them what they didn't want to hear. However, she resisted the urge.

"We're finished," the albino said, standing up. There was a whoop of joy from one of the shifters, and everyone relaxed, relief on their faces. However, no one actually expressed their joy in words. The Avelate would hear about it, then make them write up more reports to spite them.

The other elf in the room shooed everyone out, mumbling something about needing space to go through and organize everything. "I can't tell you how glad I am that that's over," Akio murmured, trailing Samir out into the hallway, rubbing his hand. "I thought that I was gonna die in there."

Samir grinned. "You can say that again. I was beginning to think that my arm would fall off." Glancing up, he looked to the far end of the hallway, the smooth stone walls seeming a bit distorted in the flickering firelight. "I'll race you to the end of the hallway," he said, pushing up his silver-framed glasses. Akio eyed the far corner, then his elven friend. "You can't beat me like that," he said, "but if Lilith were here..."

The elf in question aimed a punch for the raven faery's head; she preferred it when he didn't mention the fact that she was both Samir and Lilith. Dancing away, Akio started to run down the hallway. "You're on!" he called back.

Samir grit his teeth and sprinted after him.
Last edited by ShadowPhoenix on Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ShadowWake on Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:13 pm

((Hylas))

Oh my... good Light...

Springing into the air, the lithe, sepentine form slid through the shadows with a flash of creamy underside before landing, tiny clawed feet scrabbling at the ragged bark. The fine talons were all but worn down and the small brown form slid inexorably over the edge, long tail swishing wildly between hind legs that scrabbled desperately at nothing. A look that spoke almost of concentration flashed across pointed, cat-like features and, with a shifting of dark fur, a larger figure flickered into being, tanned arms wrapping themselves tightly around the slippery tree limb.

"Shit..."

Rough bark digging into the sensitive underside of his arms, Hylas cast his dirt-coloured eyes warily on the ground beneath him - a full thirty-foot from where he hung - and ignoring the impending sense of vertigo, swung himself so that his left leg hooked over the branch. With a huge amount of effort, the young lad heaved himself up, sweat beading upon his brow as the ground tried to do somersaults below. Eventually he was secure, though his arms remained seemingly stuck to the tree between them as he lay trembling upon his stomach, another tear in his shirt revealing the scratched and bruised skin beneath.

"No more running," Hylas whispered softly, squeezing his eyes tightly shut to stop the world spinning, his slender chest rising and falling swiftly with each breath and his heart hammering in his ribcage, "No more. Not today."

His stomach growled ominously, a frown winkling his brow at the sound. It must've been at least a day since he had last eaten but no matter how far he seemed to be ahead, they always seemed to catch up somehow and snacks caught on the run never lasted long enough. He needed to eat something soon: he could already feel the exhaustion of constant running settling in like a heavy blanket over his body and more than once now he had misjudged a jump. One more mistake like that and it would be him feeding the crows, not the other way around...

The sound of birdsong filtered reassuringly through the forest and, before he knew it, Hylas was drifting off to sleep, his tired body gradually succumbing to the slumber he had long been denied as he perched precariously in the tree, arms dangling in the breeze.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Hedya on Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:20 pm

((Pyrei))

So much time. It had been so much since then. Pyrei had never seen Selan again, although she had been trying to find her.

Pyrei walked out of the cave. She had joined a group. They intentions were to help the poor, with food and protection. Of course, they had to fight. That's the reason Pyrei wanted to learn to fight. She could, sort of, do it now. Although she used a light sword as if it was a two-handed blade, much to her companion's surprise.

"Hey! Lak! We're going to the city!" -the old Oestin, of course- "are you coming today?"

A voice came from inside the cave, followed by a shadow of a tall man. You go alone today, Pyrie, that will be your lesson today.

"Ugh...! One day I'll get killed, and it will be your fault!" Pyrei laughed and started to walk away, down to the city, again.

You could never die. You're protected by the Gods. Not answering, Pyrei kept walking, waving goodbye to Lak. This was a particularly cold year. Winter had been strong, and there was still quite a lot of snow. She had to be careful. One of the main rules was to erase the footsteps, so no one would find their hideout.

Once in town, Pyrei found the same she found each and every day she had been there. Burnt houses and trees, people who were starving, and all this sort of miseries. Of course, Pyrei kept offering food to those she could. Today shouldn't be a fighting day. However, one could never know what the future had to offer.

A feeling of danger filled Pyrei every time she came to the city. It was as if her body was giving a warning. Enemies could actually appear anywhere, at any time. But lately, there was a new problem. There were this important families, who tried to join the enemy, by punishing virtually every human in the city. This led to a huge amount of deaths, and humans losing their faith here and there, meaning the were losing their most important strength; belief.

Have you heard? It seems that Lord Carel was killed yesterday. It's already the seventh one... and then the misterious deaths of the high lords. There were rumours. Some people said they died by the Rau-lass' hand, some others said it was some sort of beginning of a civil war between humans, while others said that they, the Aeylies, were responsibles for the deaths.

How dare they? We're risking our lives to give them food, and they blame us?! Oh, Selan, if you just were here...but do not worry, I will reunite all your friends, and someone surely will know where you are, right now.

Pyrei! a strong voice came from behind. A tall, strong, red-haired man, was running towards the square they were at. Pyrei, do you know it? They've killed Carel this time! "I know, Luk...what on earth is going on now? Everything's getting so much worse, lately...and...aren't we supposed to avoid this kind of incidents happening? Even if the ones who are being assassinated are our enemies?"

For the time being, her question remaind unanswered. Luk and Pyrei turned back, and started their way "back home".

------------------------------------------------

((Dark-haired woman))

Darkness. The perfect ally to kill. No one should be able to see anything. Seven had already fallen. It was time for the eighth one. She knew it wasn't the right way, but there was no other way. Much more people were dieing because of this. In fact, all of them had tried to kill her, capture her, or...other things. She felt menaced, and just like a wild animal, the decision was to strike back.

Standing on top of the roof, she had to make sure no one saw her moving up there. With a quick movement, her hair swinging in the air, she entered the house through an open side window. Once inside, everything was nearly done.

"You knew I would come, didn't you?"

Why yes, you had already killed seven, there was no reason to think you'd stay away from coming here. A shining sword, glittering in the darkness. A bearded man was holding it, adopting a defensive stance.

Swords clashing, the fight was tough. The dark-haired woman was struggling to fight, inside this place where movement was restricted. In a few minutes, the room was badly damaged. While the man relied in brute strength, his female opponent seemed to be trying to save up strength for something, even if fighting with passion. Finally, she was able to disarm her opponent, after swinging the sword from the floor to the imaginary skies.

The woman raised her sword, which started to shine with dark black light, and then threw an attack to the now weapon-less man.

"Remember it when you get to hell. You defied Lady Anelia!!" . The last thing the man saw were the woman's eyes. He didn't suffer. Lady Anelia didn't want it.
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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Alacer Phasmatis on Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:13 pm

((Anahita))

Come on, come on... you can do it, the young woman thought, silently urging on the small spider with a silent cheer. The minuscule arachnid crawled forward, a gossamer thread of webbing stretching out behind itself-- then it slipped. Almost automatically, Anahita followed the tiny creature's descent with her sleepy gaze. Unfortunately, slumber was long in coming. Out of boredom and the sheer difficulty of attaining unconsciousness, she'd resorted to trivial entertainments. Again the spider crawled, eight legs moving with single-minded intent...

Sighing, she sat up to rested her forehead on her knees and draw her wings close, unbound hair tickling her lashes. Slowly she slipped out of bed, cringing as the cold floorboards met bare toes. Her tanned, callused hand slid beneath the soft expanse of her pillow, groping about until she found what she'd sought: a dagger. Anahita wasn't exactly sure what she'd do with it if she ever was attacked (her private hope was that the mere sight would stall intruders) and she prayed never to find out. However, in the past five months, it had proven foolhardy to not have something sharp nearby. Treading on tip-toes to the living room-come-forge, she thought blearily, I doubt that'd ever be a problem here.

The faint embers of a fire still glowed orange, their scant light lending a warm, comforting glow to her surroundings. The soft gleam it brought to sword blades arrayed on the wall, the glimmer of honed halberds and the sheen of weapons as yet unfinished-- all of it served to soothe her. Creeping to an over-stuffed armchair, she shifted a covey of throwing stars onto a low table (once used for evening wine, now hosting unfletched arrows) then sat down, tucking her feet up. Nesting deep within the warmth of her feathers, she blinked once... twice... slowly, like evening mist, sleep came.
-----

Like a bell heard from afar, a voice called, softly, gently... now closer, her name could be heard as a man hissed, "Anahita!", his large hand roughly shaking her shoulder. The young woman arose with a start, hand flying to the dagger she'd brought-- but no, the stranger had already snatched it. Heart hammering a terrified tattoo, her mouth began to form the words, "who are you?" Yet they never came.

The instant the veil of sleep had dissipated completely, she'd recognized him. How could she not, having had known him all her life? "Signum," she breathed, though her emotions were guarded. "What are you doing here?" The expression on his face bore a dull light that she had yet to grow used to, especially considering he'd been gone for the better part of six months. Nonetheless, his quick glance at every object in the room bespoke alertness. When again he looked at her though, it molded itself back into the apathetic cast it usually bore, though scant emotions played across it. "It looks like an armory in here," he noted, picking up a bastard sword with a stormy expression of sorrow. That's right, Anahita thought, Sorea's sword was of that make, wasn't it?

"It should," she said in guarded response. "If we hope to repel the Rau-lass, then the military needs a constant supply of arms, no?" Pulling her night-gown tighter about her, the young woman shivered and stated, "please answer my question, Signum."

Rather than doing so, he laid a pole-weapon-- I recognize that!-- against the wall then proceeded to swing the sword, testing its balance and reach. Hefting his double-bladed staff once more, he procured a sheath out of a neat stack, sliding in the sword with a soft rasp. Quelling the spark of irritation that flared within her, Anahita repeated, "what are you doing here, Signum? I'd really like to know, considering," she said forcefully, "that you've more or less invited yourself in after a six-month long disappearance." In fact, she thought belatedly, how did he even enter the city without having to go through the sentries?

"Take this," the faery said, tossing her the arms. "And go get dressed. I'd suggest warm clothes, ideal for travel." Dumping the load on the ground, she exclaimed, "good light, make some sense! You can't honestly expect me to-- you just came in here, for goodness's sake! No warning, no preparation, not even so much as a by-your-leave! And now you think that I'll--"

"Thank the heavens," Signum growled, taking her wrist and dragging her through the hall into her room, "that your master is currently occupied. That would make this business so much harder." His muscular arm snaked around her waist and heaved her onto the bed. For one wildly irrational moment, she was afraid that he'd hit her, but he chose to throw a bundle of clothes at her instead. "Sort out something from those," he murmured impassively. "I'll be selecting proper arms for you."

"What the bloody..." Disregarding her vestments, Anahita stormed forwards, taking a fistful of her now-unwanted visitor's tunic. "Are you drunk or something?" She demanded. "To come barging in here at the middle of the night, ordering me too--"

"Dammit!" He roared, "just change!" He shoved her away with such force that the woman had no choice but to meekly oblige him whilst he sorted through arms in the forge-room. Once she was clad in a warm woolen tunic and slightly sooty breeches, the faery crept out of her room to stand mute in a corner, observing fearfully how he took a dagger and wrist-sheath, a throwing knife whose magic-imbued blade he tested on his own flesh, a small stiletto blade to conceal practically anywhere. Pulling her away from her shelter, he began to brusquely lay them on her, with the perfunctory request that she work the buckles. With fumbling fingers she complied.

Once all was in place, she said softly, with downcast eyes, "please, please, please, Signum. You're scaring me, I'm completely lost right now. What's going on? Why are you forcing me to leave on no notice at all?" He lay an ivory-white hand briefly on her cheek, with such tenderness that for a moment it all seemed to have been a dream, and that the Signum she was used to was back. Then he spoke, and his voice was as empty as a hollow mountain. "You must leave," he answered, "because Occalus is going to fall tonight. Don't protest, for I can see right now that that's what you're opening your mouth to do. Listen to me: the faeries are fools to think that the Rau-lass can be resisted. Can a pebble survive in the ocean? It is just a city, now one that is full of misplaced vagrants and war-refugees. What's to stop the well cared-for armies of the enemy from taking them with a single blow? You know second-hand, being a weapon-smith and the sister of Sorea Pardai--" here he paused briefly, voice choking, "what a proper army requires. Honestly, if seven months ago, when a semblance of the alliance still remained and we couldn't repulse them, what's to stop the Rau-lass now?"

"Nothing," she whispered. Even so, she took an instinctive step back, away from he, towards the familiar and safe. In response his hand shot out, wrapping around her upper arm. "I'm leaving, Anahita Pardai," he stated flatly. "Like it or not, you're going with me." And ultimately, she did.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ShadowWake on Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:22 am

((Aerain))

"Rai'alssa! Rai'alssa!"

It was though the bellow brought a ripple of energy, thrumming through the ranks like the aftershock of an earthquake, and with a single purpose the faeries rose to their feet, feathered wings cupping the chill air.

Head turning lazily - like that of a cat studying a passing mouse - Aerain watched her brethren stand, deep amber gaze surveying the mages disdainfully as they each took up their arms. The chill wind carried the scent of burning upon the air, filling her dark, twisting curls with tiny motes of ash, but she ignored it, turning instead to peer through a slit in the stone parapets.

"Lueila," came the call, the sharp note holding a trace of anger, and a shadow moved to stand behind her, large wings blocking out the breeze for a brief but welcome moment, "Do you care to join us?"

Slowly - purposely unhurried - Aerain unfolded her legs, their strength alone pushing her into a standing position. "Aerain," the faery repeated brusquely but she ignored him, her pale hand reaching for the long stave propped against the rough stone. Settling the spear in her palm, she caressed the dark rod, allowing the familiar feeling of the miniscule, smooth-edged carvings to bring back life and memories to her emotionless appearence. Then, with a small smile, she turned, tilting her head slightly to fix a piercing gaze upon the faery before her.

"The Rai'alssa have not yet come into range," she answered bluntly as the dark-haired man met her eyes without baulking, his ragged buzzard wings fluttering slightly in the wind, "But when they do, believe me, I will be ready."

"We stick to the ground," he warned as she cast her eyes once more to the approaching shadow on the horizon and her eyes snapped back in a fierce, predatory glare, "Yes, Aerain, that includes you: the skies are too dangerous now. We have magic enough to hold them back. I don't want mages killed just because of some obscure sense of honor; you stay right here with us."

His dark eyes rested briefly upon the fist clutching white-knuckled at the black length of wood before returning his gaze to the simmering, angry gaze before him. "Aerain?"

"Fine," she spat, her full mouth drawn into a tight line, "I'll try to keep my feet on the ground. Is that good enough?"

The faery sighed, though no sound emerged from his lips, and nodded, his tanned fist pressing to his breast. "Fortune keep you," he answered in a more gentle tone and Aerain inclined her head with a soft grunt, "May we meet again when this is over."

As he turned on his heel, returning to the small group of gathered mages, horns blasted from the far end of the city, their haunting call signalling the arrival of the shadowed demons they had all learnt to despise.

"Mages! Ready your arms!"

With a single hand, Aerain slid each of the swords at her waist about an inch from their sheaths, replacing them gently to ensure ease of movement. The battlements stilled, the soft whistle of the wind and the gentle snap of cloth the only sounds upon the walls of the city, and softly, Aerain stepped up beside a faery with midnight-black raven's wings, her free hand resting gently against the chill stone. Below, the Rau-lass army stood, human bodies cloaked in armour and the shadowed atrox milling eerily beside them. Purple mage robes flickered in the dim light of torches, the archers before them already training their arrows upon the faint line of faeries on top the crenelated walls. And behind them - always holding the rear - the swirling mass of the Rai'alssa, writhing tentacled hair visible even from so far.

And with no movement or sound to show it, the Rau-lass gave the order to fire, arrows singing their way with an unnerving hiss through the frosty air to clatter against the parapet stone. Immediately, magic snaked it's way out from the faery mages, fire ripping through the arrow feathers like lightning and crumbling each to ash, the narrow staves dropping from the sky like metal-tipped rain. But there were too many; already there were screams, agonised moans as some of the arrows found their target in faery flesh, and the robes of the healers began to flash past as each sought to heal as many injured as they could.

Still gripping her spear, Aerain held a pale palm towards the ground, focussing on the long, powerful bows of the archers and it seemed at though the air shifted. Slowly, the arrows stopped pummelling the walls and cries rose faintly from the ground, the springy yew-wood dissolving to nothing more than a mud-coloured puddle in the humans' hands as the faery's magic snapped out to grasp at each. Sweat began to bead upon her brow, the effort of using so much magic already starting to take its toll, and eventually the aerial bombardment virtually ceased, the faery mages regaining the upper-hand.

But the Rai'alssa had more in store. "Watch the mages!" came the single shout, and it was just in time: in unanimous sequence, the human mages loosed their own magic upon the city, the odd tongue of holy magic slicing through all to strike down specific individuals. A sudden flash catching her eye, Aerain sprung behind a stone pillar and the spear of ice slid past her open wing with barely an inch to spare, shattering to pieces upon the floor. The raven faery beside her wasn't so lucky, an icicle shard as sharp as a needle and as long as a sword burying itself into the soft point of his throat; eyes wide as saucers and as blue as the summer sky fixed on hers, a small trickle of blood emerging from his lips as he staggered to wall. With the grace of a dying butterfly, he dropped over the edge and was gone.

That was enough for Aerain. With a roar of animal rage, she sprung onto the ledge and cast herself into the air, osprey wings pressed close as she let herself drop through the frigid skies. A lone shout echoed from the parapets as the wind whistled in her ears and immediately a shield formed itself around her, deflecting each spat of magic as it attempted to lick her flesh. Eyes fixed on a mage below, Aerain drew back her arm and cast her spear, the long line slipping through the air to plunge itself into the throat of the more-than-surprised human. Twisting, Aerain opened her wings, her booted feet landing with an audible thud upon the chest of the individual, her knees automatically bending to soften the landing. Crossed hands clutching at her swords, the faery bared the blades, already spinning on her heel to meet the next attacker.

She be damned if she was going to die behind walls like a coward.

With a laugh that was more like a bark, Aerain began her slaughter.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Alacer Phasmatis on Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:54 am

((Foertis))

There was, Foertis thought sullenly, a great deal of wind these days. The transition between cold winter to warm spring would be welcome when completed but until then, he'd have to grit his teeth and suffer through the cold. His glassy wings trembled like leaves and were as cold as ice, though he pressed them tightly beneath his thick cloak, which was shared by the two children his partner had rescued. He didn't dare light a fire or even use magic until they were on the move again...

Screams and shouts rang in his ears, though the sound came from a great distance. In response, his ill-controlled magic leaped up, seeking to devour flesh and bone of enemies as it had during the Wars. Control... Were it not for the profusion of trees, he'd have been able to watch things unfold. Control... A great many twigs snapped behind him. With a start, Foertis turned to look about, then relaxed as he found that it was only Lysander's horse, venturing with ears pricked forwards to the end of its tether. Following the direction of the beast's attention, he murmured, "what do you see, that I can't? Do you say they're coming back?"

Nostrils flaring in the wind, the bright-eyed bay champed his teeth in excitement, nervously pawing the ground. Not daring to rise, Foertis cautiously called upon a tendril of magic, though the amount necessary was so small that it took more energy keeping back excess power than the actual spell did. Through the fiery sheen of trees and the blue-bell flames surrounding chill leaves, he could make out the brilliant white fire of two faeries approaching, though their silhouettes were marred by tree trunks in their path.

Releasing the flow, the faery mage leaned back in satisfaction, drawing the thick material of his cloak ever tighter. As soon as they were traveling again he could use his magic to stay warm, but only until then...
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
((Anahita))

Anahita trudged after Signum with the strange wakefulness that comes of staying up excessively late, panting from the weight of the weaponry he'd armed her with. They'd been walking for the better part of half an hour, with she focusing on the brilliant white of his wings to keep from getting lost. The wind was bitter, chilling her fingers despite her sturdy cloak. Indeed, it was the thick, cushioned warmth of her feathers that kept out the cold more than anything else. Signum himself seemed not to mind it. His swan-feathers were very slightly raised which, although it retained more heat, reminded Anahita of fluffy ducks waddling through snow, their puffed plumage lending them the appearance of children's' toys.

He slowed for a moment, allowing her to draw even with him. Laying a hand on her shoulder, he murmured, "listen." Casting a confused look at him, she complied.

Oh, gods! The distant sound of screams rent the air, peppered with the clang of weapons and death. Shivering, she didn't resist her escort when he extended a wing around her, nudging her onwards. "I just thought you ought to hear that," he explained tonelessly, "so that you might know of what might have happened to you."

"This is too sudden," she whispered, feeling a hard lump in her throat. "I knew-- everyone knew-- that Occalus has scarcely a chance of surviving, though we deigned to fight. But-- this is too sudden! I wish you'd realize that." Signum tossed her a cynical look that was so unlike him, she wanted to fly away. "Are you saying you want me to coddle you?" He mocked, before dropping the strange expression for something far softer. "The outcome," he murmured, "would be no different. Sudden or not, it is what fate willed. Do you prefer it being worded that way?"

Quivering in upset resentment, Anahita shook her head. "No," she whispered. "No, I don't." Shrugging, he continued on, though his stride was perhaps a little faster now. After the elapse of what must have been ten minutes, he said, "we need to pick up our other companions, then continue to a safer place before we rest." No sooner had the words left his mouth than he slipped into a clearing, his charge close behind him.

A blond-haired man sat cross-legged on the ground, his pensive stare snapping immediately onto her, then flying to Signum. "Finally," he said in an elegant voice, like a tiger's. Rising, he deposited two small children on the ground before him, gently urging the infants onto their feet. I know you! Anahita thought, shocked. Seven months ago, Signum had returned to Occalus and called for a meeting between the Arandein Melchios and the immediate family of Sorea Pardai. That had been the day she'd heard of her sister's death... Signum had spoken to them alone, but there had been two men waiting for him in the reception room, a faery and an elf. During the month he'd spent in Occalus before disappearing, he'd introduced her to the men. True, the faery's face had been more handsome by far, but there was no mistaking the scrutiny in those eyes, nor the quality of his voice or the protectiveness which radiated from him like an aura whenever his comrade was near.

Now Foertis slipped to Signum's side, whispering something in his ear with an arched glance in her direction. What happened to him! The man's hawkish visage was no more, for his refined bone-structure seemed to have been altered like clay in a toddler's fist. Yet there still remained his characteristically bizarre motions, as though he spoke to a lover, and the way his eyes were held half-lidded, giving him an unsettlingly romantic air. On the whole, it felt as though he would propose to you the minute he'd look at you. Except that when his gaze fixed on Anahita, his lip curled in the trace of a sneer, and the lover's air gained a vicious spice.

"Let's get a move on it, then," he said, untethering a striking bay who currently carried the two children, swathed in Signum's traveling cloak. The Northerner seemed not to mind at all his exposure to the wind, turning to face it with the same nonchalance he did most things. "Anahita?" he called, extending a marble hand towards her. "Come, now." Lowering her head to glare at the earthy floor, she did as he'd bid, falling into step beside him. Her heart warmed just a little bit when he reached out to lightly cover her wings with one of his own, to give her additional coverage against the wind. Yet that failed to completely allay the turmoil of negative emotions she simmered in.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ShadowWake on Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:17 pm

((Hylas))

The crunching of twigs woke Hylas from his slumber with a start that nearly threw him from his perch. Gripping onto the bark with trembling hands, the young boy peered cautiously over the edge, keen dark eyes surveying the ground below for the danger his animal senses told him was there. A pale form moved through the tangled undergrowth, white flashing in the dim light like a beacon and instantly, Hylas' stance changed, his eyes following the tiny fawn hungrily. It stumbled, wobbling legs unsteady on the uneven leaf-litter, and a low, soft growl emerged from the boy's throat, his form rippling to that of a wolverine, fur as black as his hair covering his skin in a motion akin to water.

Instantly, the deer's ears pricked, head snapping up as its velvety muzzle scented the air, large nostrils flaring and gentle brown eyes wide in fear. Slowly - silently - Hylas crept his way along the branch to the tree trunk, his dark eyes fixed on the quivering form, and made his way down the tree, soft pads making no noise in the rising howl of the night wind. Eventually he stilled, suspended no more than a couple of metres from the dappled fur of the fawn's pale back, the scent of fear attacking his nostrils with an acrid tang.

And in the same instant, both predators pounced.

The young doe squealed and, already airbourne, Hylas recognised the sound: not as the terrified call of an animal prey but as the desperate cry of someone in terrible danger. Tawny hair shifted and morphed, the fawn disappearing only to be replaced by a young child - younger even than himself - cowering upon the damp forest floor. Black fur thudded into black shadow as Hylas twisted desperately to avoid hitting the girl and, immediately, a sharp pain pierced his side, the smell of burning fur assaulting his senses.

A sickening crack reverberated through the woodland as the shadowy being hit the ground, its head striking something hidden beneath the deceptively soft litter, and Hylas threw himself away from the now still form, wolverine body shaking in fear and exertion.

He had no idea how long he stayed thus: eyes wide as the doe's, fixed unwaveringly upon the motionless form of what could only be an atrox, and his whole body trembling. Gradually the animal reaction in him began to wane and his body changed with it, the frightened young boy emerging once more.

Rising slowly from his crouch, Hylas turned warily, his brown eyes settling upon the young girl behind him. Tears ran in channels down her freckled cheeks, her large, round eyes mirroring the fawn's so closely that there was virtually no difference. Indeed the child had a similar look about her - pale gangly legs tucked up beneath her and thin arms curled protectively around her body - and she couldn't have been more than six years of age.

"What's your name?" Hylas asked, holding out a hand, but the girl merely started, her gaze flicking around the shadowed woodland. The crack of a twig suddenly made Hylas aware once more of how much danger they were in and stepping swiftly over to the cowering child, he grasped her hand, dragging her unceremoniously to her feet. "Come on!" Once again, Hylas started off into the forest at a run, this time tugging a tiny frightened child in his wake.

And behind them, the shadows writhed.

((Aerain))

Aerain's sword slid off the steel blade with a sing that rose the hairs on the back of her neck and, putting her weight behind her, she pushed, forcing the leering female to withdraw. Heavy wings snapped out to connect with the jaw of another as she launched herself forward, dual swords crossing briefly over the Rau-lass' tender flesh before emerging in a spray of black blood. Without giving her a pause, the next demon slipped under her guard and Aerain reeled at the new assault on her mind.

Come, my little bird-wing... surely you're tiring... wouldn't it be easier just to...

The seductive woman got no further, Aerain's magic sliding into her distracted mind and causing a tiny pinpoint haemhorrage as she turned a small section of brain to nothing more than liquid. The Rau-lass gaped without expression - looking remarkably like her own followers - and in one swift motion, the faery removed her head from her body, the writhing tentacles falling instantly still. The scent of burning down met her nostrils and, turning, she placed a well-aimed kick at the atrox's shin, shattering the bone before plunging her blade into its abdomen.

And still they kept coming. The Rau-lass were the worst with their twisted thoughts, attempting to embed themselves in a mind already sore from previous assaults, but the unending press of the atrox seemed to wriggle through her guard, scalding her flesh like hot metal. And the humans... they were stronger, definitely. She had come across more mages than she could count and those that didn't have magic to aid them were swathed in armour from head to foot and as practiced in combat as she. She was barely a few feet from her original landing point, the long stave of her spear serving to remind her - and those upon the battlements of the city - of her original position.

And Terailan's shield was waning. Though it was little aid against physical attacks, it had easily deflected the various spates of magic thrown her way, but no more: she could already feel each of them as they connected with the faery mage's protection and it would not be long before the first would pass completely through. Usually a strong mage, Terailan was either injured or exhausted to produce such a weak guard and neither boded well for her companion or Occalus itself. Gradually she was beginning to believe what she had previously shied away from: Occalus would fall and it would fall this night.

Then the horns sounded once again from the city, the faint haunting refrain signalling retreat and, as one, the mages took to the skies, the first flakes of snow beginning to fall from the heavily laden clouds. Spinning, Aerain sliced a path to her spear, gripping the roughened hilt and pulling the steel from the dead mage's body with a heafty yank. Arrows were already flying, the mages' broad wings a beacon to those on the ground even in the darkness, and using her spear as a staff, Aerain leapt into the air, clawed hands clutching for her feet as they passed.

"Aerain!"

A heavy figure collided into her own, veering her off course, soft caramel feathers enveloping her own as something heavy whizzed past. One of the faeries screamed and Terailan released her in time for her to see the figure plummet to the ground, a steely harpoon embedded in his chest. With renewed vigour, Aerain beat her wings hard, darting into the skies with buzzard-winged Terailan close beside her, his bright eyes shadowed with pain and fatigue.

"Since when did the Rau-lass have harpoons?" she hollared through the howl of the wind.

"Since now," came the simple reply and then they were into the frozen clouds, the bloody ground disappearing as though it were never there.
Last edited by ShadowWake on Tue Oct 07, 2008 8:10 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selothi on Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:38 pm

Booted feet stomped the moist earth, upturning soil and cracking many a dead leaf under their weight. Behind him, Abileith had seen the true horror of the war, in all its gory splendour. Not often did the reclusive hunter venture into cities, but he'd needed to then. Needed to sell some spare pelts for gold, and a few pounds of fine venison. And of course, the best trade was found in cities. And so, with a heavy-laden burden, Tarn had set off to Oestin, following road or heart, the stars and the sign-posts. However, not once had he expected to meet the sight that greeted him; and what a horror it indeed was.

Walls once rising proud from the earth to the sky, their rough stone an impenetrable barrier to any and all. Or so he'd thought. Those had been ripped asunder, cleft in twain by the might of who knew what devilry, be it magic or siegework. Inside, for Tarn had dared to step inside the boundaries of the ripped-open city, houses had been razed, bodies had been left strewn acros the muddy floor, filled with arrows, or charred by flame or lightning. When he'd entered, rather than being hailed by the guard, he'd been met by a flock of crows, flying off in a mass of black feathers at his arrival. How long had that city lasted ? How long 'till it fell ? And who attacked it ?

The hunter had the answer to that. He'd heard rumours, rumours of fell beings, the Rau'lass as some called them. Fell beings that had cut a bloody swath through the once peaceful land, had paved their road to conquest with the bones of the common folk, and the armies. He'd heard of the alliances, the battles, the grand stands, and all the while, the hunter couldn't help but grit his teeth. Grit his teeth at the idea of a race so foul, as to hunt and kill any who stood in their path, and for what reason ? That, Tarn did not know, only knew that the men and women, hair a mass of writhing tentacles and skin ashen black, their very being shrouded in shadows, who comprised this force, had to pay. One way or another, he kept saying, as his steady feet, beating a quick and sharp rhythm on the wet turf, brought him ever further away from the ruined city, home now only to looters and those who coveted the waste that war left behind.

Slowly, a looming mass of green had met the hunter's eyes, his legs now propelling him at ever grater speeds, his burden left back at the ruins, for the animals to eat or the thieves to steal. He didn't care, all he cared about was finding ... Well ? Finding what ... He didn't know where to go, didn't know what to do, just knew that something had to be done. For the sake of the people of this land, their peaceful lives ripped asunder by the machinations of a power hungry monster.

After a few more minutes of trecking, fleeing the burnt out husk of a city, crumpled walls bearing nothing inside aside the stench of death, the bodies of the fallen, and the charred remains of the few houses that could be seen, Tarn had the fringe of a nearby forest in sight, to the south of Oestin. Quickening his pace, he'd leaped into the leafy embrace of the forest, branches delicately brushing his tough skin, depositing the dew that glistened on their surface, on that of the hunter's. His pace had slowed, and Abileith had taken the time to admire the woods he found himself in, to let the swaying trees lull him into a sense of security. He knew this place to be safe, knew that Nature's embrace could only ever be a safe place. But now, he needed to move on, to cross these woods, and find whatever life might still exist in this god-forsaken land, its heart bleeding from the wound of war that had torn it open.

---

Crouching, Tarn let his ear press down against the earth, trying to discern if anything could be felt coming. Nothing ... All was silence, save a few birds that quietly chirped high up in their trees, nests so far from the horrors that plagued those who lived down under. Getting up with a slight "humpf", Tarn's amber eyes scanned the horizon, the few meters in front of him not obstructed by foliage. His gaze then darted to the nearest tree trunk, where he spotted moss, growing mostly on the side facing him. Abileith wished to go south, so he would continue along his course.

Starting at a slow pace, Tarn made his way through the woods, weaving in and out of the sunlight that managed to beam through the leafy coverage, to form small patches of light on the ground below. His footsteps were as silent as those of a doe, treading silently over the dead leaves and the earth, as if he were more a ghost than anything substantial. Tarn continued on, progress unhindered, always finding a way to counter any obstacle that might bar his way. Slowly, he entered deeper into the depths of the forest, slowly progressing ever further from the ruins he'd seen a few minutes previous.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Hedya on Sat Oct 04, 2008 7:51 pm

((Pyrei))

Finally back to the cave, their hideout, Pyrei and Lak were received by the other members of the group.

"So, how was it today?" a man who was carrying a book asked. He was the keeper of information; named Jahz.
"Let's go to the archives 'room', I'll tell you about today. Guys, we'll be back in a minute." Lak went with the book man to the back of the cave, to where all the books and information were kept.

"Oh boy, I don't know why we're supposed to keep track of absolutely everything we do. It's so freakin' useless!". A really regular man spoke, this time. His hair was dark and, by what he had said, he had known Selan when they were kids. He didn't have anything strange about his looks. He wasn't tall or short, his hair was dark, and his eyes were also dark. He was not beautiful, but he was not an ugly one, so he didn't really draw many attention. "Oh-oh! I forgot to tell Lak how many times I peed today!"

"Hande! Stop it, it's gross! And you should know why we're keeping track of all. This way, all the valuable information is not lost even if one of us leaves or gets killed."

"Ah, my Pyrie, my small Pyrite, you're like a precious stone. You've got so mature since you joined us. This Selan person would be proud of you, of that I'm sure." Lak came back, followed by his companion, who spoke to Pyrei. "I thought you'd help me in here, but it seems that, unless me, you learned how to use a sword. I can't really fight, so I stay here working with the information we have. I have been investi--"

"Hey!! Everyone!!" a voice called out, and a woman stormed out inside the cave. "They've done it again!! Another one has fallen!"

Following the surprising news, everyone sat down in their planning room. This woman was called Olanea, and she was the group's spy. She explained all the detailed about a new 'lord' assassinated.
"It seems this time was someone named Lord Ilyea. He was found inside his home, not more than one hour ago, it seems he has been fighting someone...or something. I'm not sure, but this looks bad. Too much people is getting killed. I know they weren't exactly what you'd call good people, but still... "

"Wait, there was such a man named like that?! Selan's name is Ilyea! And...well, mine sort of is, too. What's the meaning of this?" Pyrei looked at everyone, confused.

Lak, who served as a leader for the group, stood up. "It's late now. We're going to call it a day, or tomorrow we won't get up early. I promise that tomorrow we'll start to investigate this Ilyea. Pyrei, I'll be sending you and Olanea to check some things tomorrow, alright?"

Everyone was getting ready to go to sleep, when suddenly Olanea spoke, having remembered something. "I saw a man while coming back here. He came into the same direction as me, as if he was leaving Oestin, or what's remaining, anyways. He looked like someone who was really used to walk through the forests. I never really ran into him, but rather saw him in the distance. Do you think he could be with the assassins?"

Sighing, Lak answered. "Alright, let's go to the back. Jahz, Olanea, come. We're noting everything we know about this guy. Pyrei, Hande, you go to sleep."

Soon, Pyrei was half-asleep in her personal place to sleep. What they had couldn't be called 'beds', but those were still sort of comfortable.

------------------------------------------------

((Lady Anelia))

Quickly running away from the house where she had been fighting not that long ago, Anelia finally got out of the city. She had a small cabin up in a tree, in the forests surrounding what was left of the human capital. Entering the cabin, she left her sword right by her side. There was a bag with some herbs, and a couple of loaves of bread. Anelia took a bite of bread, and drank a bit of water. She was feeling exhausted. She thought it was funny that she would probably be feared in the city, and yet she was unable to fight, after a whole day of activity. There was almost no food, and that had had an effect on her, as well. Over the last months she had been losing weight, and she didn't know how long she would last, if things went like this.

Next to her bag, Anelia had some spare clothes, and some maps. There was also a small pot. She probably would not be needing it the following day, though. Soon after that, Anelia fell asleep.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selothi on Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:31 am

A few minutes ago, Abileith had been on the ground, but now, it was from tee to tree that he made his progress. It was always so much easier for him, and so much more fun ! A simple climb, and many, many jumps to move farther on. At the moment, he was sitting atop a sturdy branch, legs dangling to the sides, as he gazed outwards upon the forest, his higher vantage point offering him a view so different to what one could see from down below.

Still, this was no time for reverie, Tarn had to go on, and so,propping himself on his arms, leathered-hands firmly on the bark of the branch, he propped himself up, and elegantly placed his legs under him. Brushing a stray lock of hair out of his face, the hunter immediately leaped, closing the gap between him and another tree in mere instants, as he landed on another thick branch, the thing creaking a bit anyway, crouching, all four limbs holding onto the wood that was his only support from the hard, hard ground below.

He slid around the trunk in one deft movement, sliding down from it onto another branch a meter below, again leaping off the appendage to grab hold of another one. Both hands grasped the woody limb firmly, before heaving the rest of his body upon it. And so it went, Tarn evolving from one tree to another in seconds, jumping, catching, slipping, so unlike anything else. And the birds voiced their protest at his unorthodox methods, flying away in a cloud of grey feathers every time he approached, every time he landed on the tree they called home. And Abileith pushed on, going ever further, ever deeper, and always away from Oestin.

What pushed him ? He didn't really know ... A sense of duty, to find somebody somewhere to alert ? And what if they knew ? Or what if there wasn't anybody to alert, what would he do then ? Seriously, he had no idea, but it was good to fel the rough bark on his skin, the wind in face, and to just travel ...

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Alacer Phasmatis on Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:25 pm

((Argenti))

Cold wind nipped the faery's clear wings, chilling them despite the heat of several torches, whose flickering light lent a supernatural perspective to the world. Hungry shadows winked and spun, their inky voices shuttered from his thoughts, though a strange sense of anticipation that wasn't quite excitement tugged at him. Elves milled about, but it wasn't a disorganized sort of wandering (however much it seemed to be thus). Rather, it was with a solid sense of purpose, a sense heightened by the light-weight weapons held in their hands and the armor they donned.

He himself was clad in a much-worn cloak and somewhat ill-fitting tunic, both of which had lasted him since he and Phoenix had left the standing-stones to find their old comrades. They'd both been in sore need of vestment, considering his shirt had been shredded to provide bandages for her numerous wounds and she herself wore the same garb that clothed her body during her torture. As such, one couldn't be too picky. Their progress through the forests would have been slow in any case without trails but his companion's lingering weakness hampered them. Argenti's gaze slid to the side where his fierce-eyed Phoenix stood, observing the elves' preparations with an inscrutable expression. The corner of his mouth quirked in a slight smile and he laid a hand on her shoulder.

Softly, he said, "I guess we should be leaving, then." Otherwise, we'll be so much carrion for the Rau-lass. After much deliberation the pair had simultaneously agreed that despite the kindness of the elves in sheltering and feeding the two on their journey, it would be courting too much danger should they remain for battle. And even as he commended the warlords' courage, he felt that it was all in vain-- the initial shock at the news of the Rau-lass's speedy take-over had subsided after a few days and it seemed to him that were the immortals not so stubborn, they too would see the futility of resistance.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ShadowWake on Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:10 pm

((Phoenix))

It was cold, the night wind holding a chill in the air that the thick wool cloak did nothing to dispell, icy fingers weaving their way around the folds to lick at already goose-pimpled flesh. The shirt she wore was too large for her and, as such, allowed the stiff breeze to filter through the open sleeves devoid of tightening vambraces. Emerald eyes fixed on shifting figures, Phoenix instinctively rubbed her left arm, her still wasted muscles aching: an old wound that, though healed, still lingered with a phantom pain.

She longed more than anything to find the others: Sorea - that stalwart commander who even through many disagreements, still remained a close friend - Rae - a brother she could barely remember from her childhood who seemed to hold all the enthusiam that she had misplaced over the years - Demon - her first companion and her longest friend - and the other wolves he roamed with; good light, sometimes she even longed to fight among the humans once more...

Steel glinted wherever she looked - the elves not seeming to mind the cold, their lithe, graceful bodies deceptively hardy as they focussed solely on preparations for the imminent battle - and, musing silently to herself, she watched each man and woman take up their arms, resisting the instinct to wrap her hand around the hilt of her own blade.

But it wasn't her sword, oh no: that had disappeared several months ago in the process of her capture, leaving her defenceless and, even more worryingly, somewhat lost. Indeed, if it hadn't been for Argenti, she wasn't sure that she wouldn't have lost herself completely: after all, the healer was the only thing so far that remained of both her lives. Jasmine Ambey had once again been forgotten, her legacy sent adrift with the lack of substance to link it to, and all that Phoenix had left of herself was him.

And the constant murmurs that were the shadows...?

They belonged to neither life.

A cool hand rested gently upon her shoulder, starting her out of an apparent daze, and Argenti's warm tone followed, lightening her heart as it always did.

"I guess we should be leaving, then," he said softly and Phoenix covered his hand in her own, a heavy sigh clouding the chill air. Turning, she settled her gaze on his - the silver pools glittering gold in the twisting lamplight - noticing as she did so the smile that curled the corner of his lips. Feeling her own twitch in response, she nodded.

"I guess now is a good a time as any," she answered, squeezing his hand once briefly and then releasing it, frigid fingers gripping the hood of her cloak to draw it up over her long, flaming hair. The shadows clamoured, returned once again to their haven, but Phoenix ignored them, focussing instead on the bright beacon of her companion - a silver rope among the churning waters of her mind. "Which way?"
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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Hedya on Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:47 pm

((Olanea))

Olanea had been trying to sleep, after working in the information they had, but there was something bothering her. She saw Pyrei sleeping. Poor girl, she finished every day exhausted, and she was driven by hope, a kind of hope rarely found this days. Then suddenly something came to her mind, like a blow.

But what are we doing here?! There was this man in the forest, who could be one of the responisbles of the last deaths, and yet we allow him to flee?! What is Lak thinking about?!!

She decided to leave,and wrote down a quick note, leaving it in their planning table.


I went out. Checking on the mysterious man in the forest.

Olanea



The woman, an expert in the art of walking through the forests, went close to where she had seen the strange man. And from that place, she choose a direction to search for him. He sure was stealthy, too, for there wasn't a single footstep.

Suddenly Olanea noticed some bushes moving, but no luck, just a small rabbit.

But why exactly didn't we set up a party to go search for him before? We're becoming bad when it comes to action. We've been too focused with the food. Or maybe Lak has a reason?

Olanea kept moving fast around the place, although she didn't know whether she'd find the man or not.

------------------------------------------------

((Lady Anelia))

Sleeping pacefully, today was one of the few days where Anelia had been able to recover and rest just like she needed to. She was really tired. The reason, other than the food, was unknown. It was just like this, and every morning, Anelia woke up feeling dizzy and tired. That's why, in her dreams, she was sort of glad; because she was being able to rest. Finally.

But something hit the tree where her cabin was located. It wasn't actually hitting, it was more like something climbing it, or sliding, perhaps. What she felt at that moment is that it hadn't been what one would call 'hit'. For a moment, Anelia was surprised, so she got up, and took her sword, going to the edge of the cabin, her hand grabbing the frame of the door. She wasn't wearing many clothing, her body barely covered by two pieces of fabric, so she was cold in her arms, stomach, and legs, even if she used a small blanket to protect her body from the cold. The reason was that since there wasn't that many spare clothes, and cleaning them took a lot of time, the more time she would wear clothes, they would wear out, and, most importantly, she would be easily detectable by the smell, so she tried to wear them as least as possible, as well as trying to clean them in a nearby brook. However, she didn't remember that, when she stood at the edge of the cabin. She saw a man who was quickly moving, using the trees, trunks, branches, and other things, to keep going.

"Hey, you! Who are you? What are you doing here?!"

Anelia was hoping that she wouldn't have to get into a fight, since she hadn't been able to properly recover. However, it was very strange to have someone wandering through this place.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selothi on Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:18 pm

"Hey, you! Who are you? What are you doing here?!"

The voice rang out, echoing off the boughs of the trees. Abileith stopped in his tracks, spinning on one foot, the damp branch letting him do so in mere instants, as he grabbed his bow from off his back, and strung an arrow in the blink of an eye, legs bending to set his now still body in a crouch, as his eagle-like peered through the leafy canopy of the forest. At first he didn't see her, and though the arrowhead weaved about the air, hoping for a mark, none came, and Tarn was left with the element of surprise unused.

At last, gazing down, bowstring still taut, he saw her, a young woman garbed with only a bed sheet and mayhap some other nothing underneath. She looked harmless, didn't she ? As if roused from slumber by Tarn's approach. He could see, from the glint escaping the door she was poised at, that the woman carried a weapon, be it sword, knife, or whatever else. That meant that she could be a danger, but the hunter doubted so.

Clearing his throat, Abileith looked the woman in the eye, lowering his weapon, but keeping the string firmly gripped and pulled, as to be able to loose at any time. "I could ask you the same, madam, so far in the woods, with but a sheet to cover yourself. Still, I apologise for rousing you, it wasn't my intention." He kept his voice clear, tone light-hearted, although an ounce of apprehension still lingered in that simple sentence, Tarn still not sure what to make of this woman.

A small breeze charioted through the trees at that instant, kicking up leaves and sending them in a twirling dance of turmoil, its eerie hands grabbing at the folds of the woman's garb, trying to pull it off her lither form, to join the fray, and gallivant with the myriad of leaves. "I'm am travelling, fair lady; he shouted above the clamour of the dance below, the leafy canopy above him the symphony, slowing down to a slower movement of the song, the dancers too slowing their pace, pulling tighter together as their "feet" brought them about in tight circles; away from the ruins of ... Oestin, is it ?"

He slid off the trunk of the tree at that time, in the blink of an eye clasping the mossy trunk firmly and letting gravity's firm grip bring him down. He caught the woman unaware it seemed, but that was of little consequence. "Please tell me, what has happened to that city ? It takes more than what most men can gather to tear down walls of stone and pillage a city."

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Hedya on Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:15 pm

((Lady Anelia))

The man Anelia had seen seemed to be unable to locate her at first, and after firing an arrow, finally he was able to do so.

He never let his bow off, but spoke quite lively. I could ask you the same, madam, so far in the woods, with but a sheet to cover yourself. Still, I apologise for rousing you, it wasn't my intention. Soon, a small breeze blowed through the place, between the trees. For a moment, just for single moment, the sound the leaves made mimicked that of the sea. It was only after the sound was lower, that the man was able to continue.

I'm am travelling, fair lady, away from the ruins of ... Oestin, is it? The following move took Anelia by surprise, because he brought himself down from the tree he was standing at.

Please tell me, what has happened to that city ? It takes more than what most men can gather to tear down walls of stone and pillage a city.

After this last question, it seemed the man had lowered his guard. She decided to go down too, although it was sort of dangerous. She had her sword, and he had a bow, so she hoped that she would hold a small advantage, or better if he actually didn't want to fight.

So finally she was standing down, relatively close to him, with her 'clothes', if those could be called that way, for she had left the blanket up inside the cabin.

"To answer your first question, I am actually living here, in the woods. I have my reason to be wearing few clothes -all of those are not to my liking- and there's no need to apologise. The only thing that bothers me is seeing a stranger around this zone. As you've seen, things are quite bad, so the presence of someone new is always something remarkable". Anelia gripped her sword tightly. She had been speaking too much, perhaps.

The wind blowing again strongly, and made her long dark hair dance along with it. She had to use her hand to avoid her own hair preventing her from seeing.

"To the second question... this is indeed what remains of Oestin. Around here, people call it 'Old Oestin'. It seems you must have been travelling from really far, for you cannot even imagine what brought this city down. It has all been work of the Rau-lass and their servants, the atrox. They came and raided the city, burning most of the houses, and killing an insane number of people. Our walls...they lasted nothing against them. And now, even though people still live there, or rather try to survive there, everything went wrong. There are some rich lords who are trying to make profit of this, and try to work for the shadows. Of course this brings nothing but more horror."

Anelia checked the stranger, before talking again. "So, I know some things, but who are you, in fact, and where are you heading?" There was something strange about that man, yet she didn't know what was it.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ShadowWake on Mon Oct 06, 2008 3:08 pm

((Hylas))

The trees that had once been his friends were now proving to be worse than those that followed, tangling their legs with raised roots and tripping them almost continually. The small girl sobbed quietly, dragged along in the reckless flight as though she had barely any life left in her, and Hylas struggled to bear both their weights. Urging did no good, the child now too terrified to hear his words, and in desperation, the boy skidded to a stop, his lithe body morphing back to that of a wolverine.

Move! he snarled, his stance stating his thoughts as clearly as though he said them aloud, and with a frightened squeal, the girl shifted too, springy doe legs catapaulting her into the undergrowth as Hylas snapped at her heels.

Large paws thudding upon the soft dirt as he followed the fawn, the young shifter risked a glance behind and instantly regretted it: the writhing forms he had seen before were now simply a black shadow, almost seeping through the forest like an obscure form of mist. That the atrox were joined by shadow mages, he had no doubt.

Thus doing so, he didn't see the heavy bulk of the man until it was too late; in a skittering of claws and a flurry of leaves, Hylas collided into the stranger's bare back, his form instantly shifting to one less heavy - and visible - in an instinct too quick for him to realise. The little fawn seemed to have been more lucky, and was standing - legs trembling - in between the trees, her bright brown eyes shimmering in fear. Not too far away stood a woman, her slim hand grasping a long, steely sword.

Brown mink fur virtually blending in with the ground, Hylas slipped over to the terrified young shifter and changed once again, becoming an eleven-year-old boy once more.

"Help us!" he panted frantically, his dark eyes settling on the well-built man before flicking over the bow in his hand, "The shadows... they come for us... atrox and shadow mages..." The girl stayed in her deer form, protected solely by the spread of the young lad's arms and, turning to the woman - scandily-clad as she was - his gaze pleaded with hers. "Please! I don't know what to do!"

-----------
((Aerain))

The world was plunged into a white haze that stung bared flesh with the sensation of blades. Dark wings puffed up as much as they were able, Aerain peered into the blizzard, the grey shadow that was Terailan hovering close beside her.

"Can you do it?" he hollared into the snow, the wind snatching away his words as soon as they left his lips, and Aerain nodded, her slim fingers holding the snapping tendrils of hair away from her eyes. "How far?" her companion enquired.

"Half a mile only," she yelled in return, half turning so that he could catch her words, "And even then, only for a split second. You have to look for me - I won't be able to."

The faery nodded in return and Aerain let her mind drift, allowing her magic to take hold. Faintly, she heard herself say "now" and the pulse shot from her, snow melting to sleet and then disappearing to nothing within the space of two counts. Sweat beading upon her brow despite the chill, Aerain fought to keep it going - pushing her magic as far as she was able - and in an instant, the muscles in her legs seemed as though they were made of jelly, folding underneath her as they failed to support her bodyweight. Firm arms encircled themselves around her waist, keeping her off the ground, and her eyes focussed once again on Terailan's tanned face, vision slightly burred.

"Was it enough?" she gasped as the faery hauled her upright, shielding her from the cold with his own wings as the beaded sweat upon her forehead began to freeze, and, once again, he nodded.

"The pass isn't far," he answered as they made their way back to the dark gash in the blizzard, "We've veered a little north but either way we'll reach it easily tomorrow. After that, it's only three more days to Duilliúir. It'll be easier once we've got off this mountain."

Warmth suffused her numb limbs as they stepped into the shelter of the cave, the crakle of the fire serving to raise her spirits in its attempt to drown out the howl of the wind. Only a dozen mages had made it this far - the majority of them being the weathered northerners - and even less would arrive at the elven capital. Those from the more tropical areas with their fragile butterfly-wings were used to warmer climes and were clearly suffering with the prolonged exposure to the frigid elements. One easterner lay huddled in the farthest corner of the cavern, her tanned skin holding a faint hue of blue and her peacock wings fluttering listlessly as an ebony-skinned southerner sought to warm her with her own waning magic.

Aerain watched without expression and Terailan followed her gaze.

"There's nowhere else to go," he murmured softly, his chocolate-coloured eyes holding the same anguish she felt but didn't show, "We must get to Duilliúir..."

"We shouldn't have to," Aerain muttered in return, the inflection harsh and angry, "We shouldn't have to."

Curling onto one side, the easterner gave a weak cough, her delicate wings lying still.

-------------
((Nstif'ikta))

Screams still issued faintly from the city as the army continued its assault, snow already settling upon the gory dirt of the battlefield and masking the scent of decay. The Rau-lass Queen stepped gracefully through the corpses, feathery down sticking to her booted feet along with the grey slush and clotting blood, and her eyes fixed firmly upon the last of the retreating faeries. A hollow thud echoed off the walls and a huge steely shaft shot into the sky, missing its target completely.

"My Queen," came the call and, crimson eyes still narrowed in a frown, Nstif'ikta turned, tentacles swaying lazily about her pale face. The soldier was human - what else, for the atrox did not call her so - and though his mind was simmering in supressed fear, his features showed none of it. "We found no human, accompanied by faeries or otherwise," he told her warily but the Rau-lass merely nodded, gaze turning to fix upon the city once more.

After her escape, Jasmine Ambey had simply disappeared, her soul-marked magic leaving no trace like it had done before. Nor had she used it, sparking the link within the demon's own being, and Nstif'ikta was beginning to believe she had been aided in her flight. Only a soul mage or a shadow mage had the power to mask Jasmine's essence from her and with Soryuu's plan already accomplished, that likely meant she was accompanied by another faery.

Snatching his words from his mind, the she-demon answered before the soldier had a chance to speak again.

"The harpoons will do no good now. Ready them for the elven city."

The man nodded, face part hidden by a steel helm. "And Occalus?"

Only then did the Rau-lass smile, her full, black lips curving into a slow grin, pointed teeth glinting in the dull radiance from the snow. "Burn it," she hissed.
Last edited by ShadowWake on Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Selothi on Tue Oct 07, 2008 2:11 pm

Abileith kept his bow in hand, though he pointed it down to the ground, two fingers hooked on the string, but not pulling it in the slightest of ways. His falcon-eyes stared at the woman, quickly drifting down to examine the rest of her scantily clad form, before snapping back up to her face. He nodded silently, and even solemnly, when she mentioned Oestin. A pang of regret hit him. He wasn't one for cities, but that didn't mean that those inside deserved to die.

At last, as she asked him who he actually was, Tarn decided to grace her with a few more words. Still, the news that these rumours were indeed most true, that war was indeed upon this land, didn't please him, and didn't bode well for the future ... "Call me Tarn, please. I'm a hunter, and was travelling to Oestin to sell supplies I had gathered during my stay here. I am ... a man of the wilds, shall we say. I travel the land, and trade pelts and meats for tools and thread, for example. Oestin was the closest city; I'm sorry to hear it fell, its sight was indeed not a pleasant one ..."

He shook his head, grip loosening on the string, as he mourned the loss of so many. "What do these ... Rau'lass and ... atrox, want ? Who are they ?! I've heard little other than what sounded like fishwife tales, of black demons with writhing hair raining death upon this land. I hardly thought it to be true, but this ..." Tarn knew of war, knew of the horrors it unleashed, but for some time, he'd been shielded of it. He'd stayed outside of the life of the world, aiming only to survive in his trips, and enjoy the short life the blood in his veins granted him. His gaze, which had dropped to the leafy ground, slowly rose, caressing the woman's, slightly thin, legs, before slowly mounting up to her face once more, locking with her own eyes. It wasn't lust that slowed his stare, just the pleasure of seeing another human being in so long, and a woman no less !

"May I know your name though ? You have mine, and my story, may I know yours ?" Indeed, Tarn was very curious. This slightly thin lady staying and living alone in a cabin lost deep in the forest, yet knowing of the fate of the city of Oestin. Still, most people around will have heard of the attack, will have most likely felt the tremors of the armies marching feet, the cries of those lost in the fight. Tarn slowly turned his head here and there, eyeing the forest, listening in on the sounds, and letting the rustle of the leaves, instilled by the wind with a will of their own, one to chime with sweet music, like rolling waves on a calm coast. He let the delicate sound calm him, soothe his worries, and let him be at peace once more, even though their long, monotonous chime could not fully wash away the fears, the doubts, the worry that still lingered within the hunter, at the far back of his mind.

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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Alacer Phasmatis on Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:28 pm

((Signum))

Icy post-winter wind nipped at his exposed back, numbing the pale-fleshed joints where man became bird. The low temperatures of the western mountains brought with it hard, unyielding ground that bore little solace for worn wanderers, whilst low-hanging branches stung their faces-- to keep off of a trail was better, but mobility was as a result somewhat reduced. Beside Signum, Sorea’s sister shivered, despite the ballast of his wing. One step... another step...

Held in place by Foertis, the two children slept on, their tiny faces frozen pink and white from the chill. Like her, he thought with a pang. Just like when she’d wait for me to finish lessons, standing alone in the cold… Shuddering, he whispered to his companion, “it’s a cold night for young ones. Perhaps you ought to warm them.” With a nod, the blond gingerly moved his arm closer around the bay’s precious cargo, sharing with them his heat, though he must have been loath to bare his arm further to the weather.

Hollow clomping sounds resonated from the frozen river which they traversed with practiced ease, though Anahita nearly slipped for an instant. Foertis stood on the far bank, waiting for them to finish crossing before darting quickly across the smooth surface, small pools of water left wherever his boots touched the ground, for the Easterner stayed warm by using his magic. Anahita glanced back in alarm, the last of the watery impressions reflecting her wide brown eyes. They held him, captivated him… so very like hers, yet so unlike! Sorea, he cried, her golden name swallowed by the empty blackness. Sorea, Sorea… His hand involuntarily reached up to twist a fistful of fabric, pressing hard against the ache of longing in his heart. Had he hoped to lessen it by bringing her sister? For her stinging presence, Sorea’s peregrine wings and liquid eyes so closely replicated in this woman only served to further it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

((Argenti))

"I guess now is a good a time as any," Phoenix answered, her frigid fingers wrapping briefly around his before drawing a hood over her vivid hair. "Which way?"

"We've tried the elvish cities," he murmured, "and the next place to logically go for is the western mountain range. I'd suggest we aim for Occalus, as Dei Pardai would without a doubt have gone back to Arandein Melchios. Signum should be there as well. I swear he hovers around her worse than I do you," he laughed. Then his face grew more somber. "I'm not sure how much I want to ask of you, though...," he murmured sheepishly. Resilient, self-reliant Phoenix had time and time again insisted on pressing on even when her wounds were only partially healed and although they were now no more than white threads of scars tissue, Argenti couldn't help but fuss over her.

"There are a few outposts and towns along the way," he continued. "We should make for Vegrandus, which I'd estimate is three day's walking from here. If we can get a couple of mounts, we should make it to Tervalos in two or so days. From there, we can either ride straight to Occalus-- maybe nine days?-- or make for Silvanos, only four days away from Tervalos."
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Re: Freedom Forsaken

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby ShadowPhoenix on Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:30 pm

((Samir))

"It's cold," Akio mumbled as they made their way out onto the ice. Samir tilted his face into the icy wind, his eyes straining to see something in the arctic night. Not that there was much to see, other than the stars and the flickering aurora borealis. "Not really," he replied. "Fall has just ended. I will agree that it's a bit chilly, and I wouldn't go so far as to call it cold." Akio mumbled something, his raven wings encasing his short, 5'4" frame like a cloak.

Samir skated away from Akio, and the faery fought to keep his balance. "Who's taking us across?" Akio asked. The Avelate had made a deal with the Devkto'ans; in exchange for free passage across the polar ice cap--on the far side was another continent, where the refuge was located--the Cetairiacelosians would trade various goods as well as a bit of information that the Devkto'ans desired. Since very few people could find their way safely across the barren patch of ice, the Devkto'ans would send guides to see the assassins to their own borders--which extended out onto a bit of the ice cap itself.

Samir squinted, and managed to make out a shadowy figure in the distance. "I think it might be Savk'ti," the elf replied. "Remember how much she enjoyed tormenting you last time?" Akio groaned. Then, with a sigh, he said, "At least I'm not a mage." He shuddered violently--and not just from cold. "Who knows what they'd do to me?"

Samir looked at him with curious eyes. "What would they do to you?" he asked innocently, his eyes gaining an unusual thoughtfulness. Completely missing this, Akio said, "Well... you know how assassins and mages hate each other, right? Devkto'ans make that sentiment look like an argument in the playground over whose turn it is to climb up the tree. They loathe mages with a passion not found by any other group of people on this planet." Suddenly, Akio caught sight of the glint in Samir's blood-red eyes.

"Oh sweet heavens," he whispered, knowing that he had just condemned someone to death. Samir's eyes instantly lost that malicious look. "What?" he asked, eyes now alight with curiosity. Akio shut his eyes, then opened them and said, "You just broke out of character, Lilith. I won't tell my sisters if you agree that next time you do so, you'll go tell them yourself."

If Samir hadn't been an albino, he would have blanched. Lilith had no idea what the twins would do to her, but it would be very bad. The two sisters had broken almost every rule in existence to help her during her Academy years, and they had had a lot to do with the creation of Samir as well. To say the least, they would not be pleased to find that all their hard work hadn't paid off. "Ok," Samir whispered as Savk'ti drew nearer.

----------------------------------

((Jael; he's in the same time scheme as everyone else.))

He waited, eyes focused, not moving a muscle. Then, in a silent explosion, he burst out from his hiding place in the tree, capturing his prey and landing with an almost impossible lightness. Spinning around, he sprinted back to where Kaedo was.

Halting in front of him, Jael breathlessly exclaimed, "Look at what I found! It's your cousin!" His hands opened to reveal a butterfly with blackish wings. Jael beamed at Kaedo. "And guess what else I saw? There was a-" he frowned suddenly, a memory working its way to the forefront of his mind. "But... Kaedo isn't a butterfly," he said hesitantly. Then his face lit up again as he said, "But I found the butterflies that he made a secret pact with, to gain his wings! Kaedo, where are we?" he asked, completely changing topic.
Last edited by ShadowPhoenix on Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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