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Pandora Ex Machina

Wilderness

a part of Pandora Ex Machina, by MartinVole.

The untamed lands beyond the walls, yet to be conquered by the Talos, home to the natural fauna of this world, in both its wonders and horror.

MartinVole holds sovereignty over Wilderness, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Wilderness is a part of Pandora Ex Machina.

There are no Places in Wilderness.

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Overgrown since Talos occupation, this is the land beyond their great walls now. Citizens are typically forbidden by Talos law to go here, warning of its dangers, but it would appear something out there worries even these pristine conquerors. After all, it isn't their home...

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Character Portrait: Viktoriya Character Portrait: Kaenid Alopex Character Portrait: Eskja
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The Wilderness. The last bastion of what used to be, before those extra-dimensional beings just... appeared from elsewhere and started making this world exactly like their own. The civilized parts were the easiest to tame, of course. But the wilds, hah! These miraculous beings did not realise how utterly unprepared they were to even set foot in these untamed lands. It wasn't just Nature stubbornly being Nature, always reminding folk just how fleeting life is.

No, the Aether of this world was a force in it of itself; although one could argue that this is just a derivation of Nature... Still, the old Aether permeated many parts of the Wilderness in many different (and deadly) manners. This particular patch of woods, somewhat close to Solium yet removed from the main throroughfares, was quite odd. The trees were grown in all sorts of weird shapes: trunks at strangely perfect right angles to their roots, twisted sickenly around themselves and their neighbours, effectively barring progress at times, and some were alarming hues of all sorts. Furthermore, a foreboding thunderhead hovered above this bizarre landscape, almost like a guardian of sorts. Closer to ground level, at the heart of the woods, a bank of fog gathered, seeming even at a distance to be impermeable.

Steadily making headway through this melange toward a small clearing well past the fringes of this Aether-touched wood a hooded figure walked. Neither moving stealthily nor announcing her presence, merely moving with confidence and an unapologising air of just... belonging here. Or at least having a reasonable pretense.

Any place that the Talos aren't, that's the place I'd like to be, eh? *rimshot* Oh, wait, I'm just thinking at myself...

With a bit of a start, the Ranger realised she couldn't be certain if she had internalised the outburst, that it was just as likely she did speak aloud. Just as quickly, she dismissed it with an outward shrug as neither here nor there; it would only lend credence her open and non-threatening approach. The traps she had spotted, she sidestepped without springing them, save for one which received a subtle thwack that was like a courtesy knock before letting oneself into a friend's home, unbidden. There was no accounting for the traps she hadn't seen, of course.

There were many uncertainties here (not least the fact she could be dead wrong on all accounts), but the few certainties Kaenid did have were enough. The flora was enough of an interest, for she already knew that was simply a direct manifestation of the wild Aether, not to mention the fauna that might abound. The weather could also be attributed to that, but it didn't feel quite right. Add in the stories the local woodcutters tell about this 'haunted' wood -of sudden winds and sudden lightning when they dared venture close for the exotic wood- and Kaen knew she had to check it out. Something... or someone... could be here, and it seemed they preferred their solitude.

So... Kaenid continued unobtrusively into the clearing, still a respectful distance from the heart of the woods. Lit a small fire using fuel already fallen from the trees. Killed a rabbit or two with a rock (still unthreatening), skinned them, and set them to slow roast over the fire. The smell already causing her stomach to grumble loudly, reminding her she had skipped breakfast this morning. But she would patiently wait, allowing the scent to drift all over. Yes, she would wait, maybe even spend a few days here. The Talos surely wouldn't be far behind Kaen if her intuitions turned out to be right...

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A tall and muscular shadowy shape would drop to the forest floor near Kaenid's fire. The gloom of the night was pierced by the distant rumble of thunder, and the clouds swirled into a deep gray mass.
This creature- no, this person, appeared as a young woman of a strange form. She appeared as some strange cross between a Western Lylange, an Eastern Lylange, and a Human. She wore bits of hide, snug against her body and only covering the essentials for better maneuverability.
Lightning cracked; the sudden flash illuminated a hateful scowl. "This is my forest," said the Windwalker. "Stay out of it."

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Kiara was always a light sleeper, as the door of her room ( it was for of a cage ) opened, she quickly sat up. it was Kyle, the person who always came in to feed her give her a shot and the one who always looked at her and sadly smiled every morning when she asked " will I get out today? " as the normal routine of questions and eating, Kyle was looking at her strange. " today" he announced"you get out!" Kiara perked up, surprised. as Kyle opened the door, Kiara gave him a hug and whispered " thank you." before running into the woods, she glanced back quickly to see him waving, she waved back and kept running.

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So it didn't really take all that long, after all. This... Lylange... human...? Was rather quite territorial -not that Kaen was surprised nor did she blame her. It was obvious this woman had undergone some terrible experimentation. So maybe this was just a waste of time, after all. But still, Kaenid at least owed her a fair warning.

Even so, she took her time pulling the rabbits off the fire. Profferred one to the other woman before voraciously tearing into her own. Only after she was halfway finished with her rabbit, did she look up and say, with respect, but also a mischievous smirk playing about her muzzle: “It is an honour to meet you, Mistress of the Winds. I am Kaenid. I have heard a tale or two about you...”

A delighted little laugh started to follow this, but was drowned out by a horrendous *crack* coming from the far side of the woods. Then an odd little trill came from the axes at her hips, which also seemed to be giving off a strange dark green aura. More snapping sounds followed, but none quite as fearsome as the first.

“Well, shit... it sounds like some of the rampant Aether is waking up,” Kaenid said, all seriousness now and rising, rabbit forgotten. “I don't know if you're familiar with your roommates or not, but I suggest you stay near me for the time being. These things tend not to want to talk...”

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The Windwalker scoffed. "Please," she said. "I know this forest. I rule it. Nothing would dare attack me here."

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as Kiara kept running, she heard voices near her, she crept toward them, seeing two people bye a fire.

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Fragments rise and fall in the depth of the mind... incomplete, barely substantial enough for cohesive thought. Faces, places, names, all memories, falling and fading slowly like a snowfall composed of mirror shards, remaining facets of humanity. This is what dreams were for the beast, or what could be considered dreams as she rested, as the mind tries to sort itself out. And there were two names repeated over and over:

Vitaliya... Roksana...

Then suddenly, rudely, there was a stir, something in the air, shaking her from her long nap. Opening her eyes, she awoke to a damp cave, dug out by the flow of water through it. With her mighty claws she pressed against the floor, pushing up her massive form, grumbling as she does, stretching. Taking a moment she taps the side of her head for the comm implant, murmuring something only to receive silence as a response. Her ears draw back, a guttural sound deep in her throat as pieces in her mind fit together, there's no one there anymore, I'm alone.

With a sigh, the creature lowered her front-most limbs, gleaming eyes narrowing, ready to return to her waiting sleep, when something glimmered into her eyes, causing them shoot open again. A green ghostly glow was in the air and water, like foxfire and fireflies in spring. The markings in her body began to react, glowing dimly, energy returning to her tired body. Reaching out she scooped at it with her claws, uttering a small inquiring yelp, before opening her mighty jaws and greedily inhaling it, as if instinctively, the entirety of her body tingling. Pieces of rock dropped onto the top of her head, snapping her from her feeding, her attention snapped upwards, her four big ears pointing erect now as sounds could be heard from the surface. The sound itself now was reverberating throughout the hollow caverns.

Enemies..!

Hurriedly, she scrambled out from her cave, her heavy steps echoing throughout the cave as she made her way to one of its vertical shafts, clawing her way to the surface and pulling her large body out into the dim light of the surface. Her breathing grew shallow as she watched and listened, blue eyes adjusting their pupils to narrow slits. Several several smells she gathered with a whiff, several voices came to her ears, and sounds as if the earth itself were shifting.

Destroy!? her mind screamed, eager for a confirmation her commanders, a confirmation that they will not be able to deliver.

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The Windwalker turned a disapproving eye towards Kaenid. "I believe that I am not most likely to be hurt in this situation, and rather it would be you." Her glower deepened. "Get out of my forest, interloper. I will not ask again." Lightning crashed; thunder rumbled. While it was intended to scare off - or at least intimidate - this strange fox woman, it also would possibly scare off whatever strange being was rumbling around in her woods. Her eyes glowed with a fury almost divine; she was one with the storm. The storm was one with her.

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Despite all the huster and bluster from the crossbreed, Kaen was focused on what was happening, most of it was drowned out by more foreboding snapping and cracking and creaking anyway. It sounded as if the trees were uprooting themselves from the ground, which was what was happening, actually. Except that these weren't quite trees, but more on that when we see them shortly. Kaenid had come across these things once before (not that that had turned out too well), and knew those harrowing sounds.

No, something else caught her attention by appearing in the middle-ground between themselves in the clearing and the cracking sounds coming closer: a thing that was like a dragon but not a dragon. Contrary to the looming danger, Kaenid burst out laughing, thinking she had stumbled upon a big fluffy dragon with an extra set of forelegs. Definitely not a dragon, for surely if it was a dragon they'd already be toasted or boiled or flayed (if not all of the above) alive by now. Most dragons would happily gobble up this easy meat sitting on the doorstep of their hibernation lair. And it seemed more surprised at seeing them there than anything else.

Kaenid caught a glimpse of something vaguely familiar pulsing like a tattoo on the fluffy dragon's forehead, then all hell seemed to subsequently break loose and the creature became something on the edges of her awareness. All she could tell at the moment was that about half a dozen tree-shaped things came upon the fluffy dragon from the edge of the clearing. At that point, about six more appeared closer to the pair near the fire, coming from behind Eskja.

These things had wooden bodies like trees, their “feet” masses of roots that moved in clumps like several legs, and limbs that swung like massive arms. Several had more than one pair of “arms”, grown in tiers up their trunks. All of them were coated in swathes of thick moss, many of course [comically] sporting thick green beards. The biggest and tallest (therefore oldest) of them sported a crown of thick, writhing green vines. Z'ychuula, crazed Aether beings trapped in trees, had awoken after an apparently long slumber. These guys have definitely been sleeping much longer than this storm witch has been living here, that was sure.

That was all the time Kaenid had before the first Z'ychuula made a long horizontal swipe toward the windmage. Without a moment's hesitation, Kaenid leaped across the fire and literally drop-kicked the woman out of the way, aiming her feet at the hip to minimise injury. Probably unneccesary, but for her it was an attack of oppurtunity. Landing quite painfully on her back, she didn't even wait for the pain, was already latched on the receding arm and climbing. Not fooling around, she quickly reached the head of the shambling tree and began hacking away with both axes, holding on with her legs. It took a bit of chopping, but not overmuch, to reveal the “brain” or “heart” of this thing. It only takes about one good whack to break open this core and release the trapped spirit within to dissipate in the rising sun.

The wind shifted as she rode the falling tree-carcass down to the ground, bringing a scent to her not insensitive nose of somebody else being near. A troubling scent of cages and cloying medicine and... youngness. Kaenid paused only long enough to look in that direction and call: “Stay hidden, little one! We shall handle the Z'ychuula, but if we don't, keep running south until you get to the walls and tell them!”

With that, Kaen was already fending off another attack from the next Z'ychuula, scuttling up its side...

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Eskja clambered up, grunting. She already felt a bruise appearing on her hip. Who the hell does this woman think she is?! she thought as she watched Kaenid deftly climb on top of one of the strange tree beings and hack at it. These creatures are not of my forest; I do not recognize them. They must be interlopers, like this annoying fox woman.
Well, if these things were interlopers, she'd do her best to fend them off, even though the woman called for her to get out of there. "Little one"? Exactly how lowly do I seem to her? she mused incredulously as she rose into the air, arms outstretched. Lightning crackled from the dark whirlpool of cloud that appeared above her from the sky, and then Eskja performed one of her weather techniques, one she had learned that was best for fending off a large crowd:
Chain Lightning.
A flash of blinding light accompanied by a shower of sparks and a wave of lightning appeared from the clouds. They rammed through the crowd of tree creatures, burning or killing many of them or, if they were lucky, extremely weakened. She did her best to avoid the fox woman, but did give her a tiny bit of an electric shock as payback for the kick.

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keeps hiding v.v

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The creature stood pensively as some of the tree creatures surrounded her, her markings glimmering with slowly intensifying light. She was not attacking, still awaiting confirmation, which came only after one of the tree creatures got bold and swung down upon her. As if like a trigger pulled, Viktoriya reacted immediately, her claw swinging out and digging itself into the wooden body, cutting deep into it, bark and splinters of wood sent hurdling through the air. Spinning around rather elegantly for her size, she uses her massive tail to whip the tree creature, cracking into its now compromised form and toppling it into a heap of wood, the aether bleeding out of its riven body. The others became enraged, more than they were, at least, bearing down on her now in force. As big as she was, it was hard for the tree creatures not to land blows, a strike against her face with their long twisted branch arms, and one into her shoulder causing her to recoil back.

This is your last order: Face your enemies, and destroy them! her mind screamed, a final order echoing from long ago, now louder now than ever before. Her blue eyes flared furiously, and flinging her neck around, mouth agape, a thunderous shriek filled the air, drowning out even thunder. Shards and chunks of gnarled wood spray through the air as one of the Z'ychuula's bodies are caved in by an unseen force, flung backwards before Viktoriya lunges forward and onto her hind legs, digging all four of her claws into it, and prying it in half with a loud crack. Tentacle-like roots wrap themselves around her front limbs, trying to hold her. But she twists around to face her captor silently, spinning one arm to intentionally wrap her upper right limb tighter to get a better grip, digging her claws in, and tugging on it with as much force as she could muster. The tree monster's body creaks as it is dragged along by Viktoriya, roots digging into the earth as it tries to hold its ground, her own hind leg claws digging into the ground. With several loud snaps, the roots are torn off the cursed tree, finally giving from the strain, and like a slingshot, the released force sends the tree airborne, flailing against its comrades violently as they are battered with their own kin brutally by the Kaymbdenite monster, one in front bashed through as the other two were pushed along.

Slamming the creature onto the ground, she flips her massive form over onto it, and with clinched claws, begins to pound away at it like some street brawl, pulverizing the tree monster's face to mulch, but splintering her knuckles in the process. The others were still rattled by the swing from earlier, left open to being hit by their brethren's remains as Viktoriya charges into them with it, like a battering ram.

In the chaos, she barely noticed the others, her wild glimmering blue eyes glancing over Eskja and Kaenida as she charged through, contemplating what part they play in this battlefield.

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Of course the storm witch summoned a storm, when things would have been simpler with an axe or other bladed weapon. These were spirits trapped within trees, destoying their bodies was akin to destroying nature. A little hacking was necessary, sure, but lightning was a bit overkill. They'd have to worry later about the fires that sprang up on the Z'cyhuula that were struck. And of course there were the Talos to be concerned about. They would surely notice the storm and the spike in the Aetheric activity here.

Of course there was also the angry trees still trying to kill her, Kaenid could only see the rest of the situation at the edges of her perception. She could feel all the electrical energy around her, even felt that payback jolt and let it launch her from her current kill to the next Z'ychuula. Which, thanks to the storm mage's storm, happened to be the biggest and baddest one of them left. This one was occcupied with one set of arms beating out the fire that had burst out on its beard, so Kaenid nearly made it to the crown of python-like vines before it even noticed her axes cutting into it.

A surefire way to get a tree demon's attention, also kinda dumb. The vines whipped out and tried to wrap around her, but she chopped those away, which just pissed it off even more. That was when Kaenid heard the shriek from the big fluffeh dragon, drowning out whatever pissed off noises the Z'ychuula was making. It also basically struck her senseless for a moment or two, drilling into her sensitive ears. Which was more than enough time for the big bad to fling her out and away from it.

Tumbling through the air, Kaenid couldn't quite make anything out until she struck the gray-white wall of fur. There was a sickening crack or two coming from her chest, then she began rolling down the fluffy dragon's back, oblivious to everything but the pain.

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Eskja immediately summoned a wall of lightning that repeatedly crashed into the ground between Kaenid and the strange, roaring creature. Hopefully, this would keep the creature at bay for a little while. Just to be sure, she extended it in a thick ring around the creature.
Meanwhile, she flew down and gently picked up Kaenid using wind telekinesis. It appeared from her gentle gruntings as she was lifted that she had broken a rib or two. Well, that's what she got for going in close quarters with so many enemies rather than blasting them from afar.
Eskja quickly evaluated the situation in her mind. A bunch of strange creatures not under her rule were attacking her and this infuriating fox woman. Obviously, she had to vacate the immediate area. Fortunately, she had other hidey-holes otherwhere in the forest.
She flew off, the winds shielding her as they carried her into the distance.

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  1. How many miles is this, holy crap! Why are you wandering so damn far from everything else? You are practically in another RP altogether!

    2018-07-15 19:27:23 by MartinVole

  2. It's still inn the forest

    2018-07-18 03:43:00 by Abraxas_Axis

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At last, after a long three or four hours of flight, Eskja had reached her base. It was a cave, a rather large one. A giant boulder blocked the entrance, but Eskja used her storm magic to roll it out of the way. She flew in, and let the boulder fall back into place with a crunch.
Eskja immediately set to work. She set Kaenid down on a bed of fur and hides, got some flint and tinder, and got a fire going. She quick went back out to kill a rabbit or two. Then, she flew back in, hung an iron pot she'd stolen from a traveler a long time ago over the fire, and started to make a stew. While it cooked, Eskja looked over Kaenid's wounds. She poked and prodded a bit, but didn't find anything other than the broken ribs and some scratches and cuts. She began cleaning out the wounds with a cloth.

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Character Portrait: Kiara Abinichia Character Portrait: Viktoriya Character Portrait: Kaenid Alopex Character Portrait: Eskja
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  1. NOTE: The parts pertaining to the "monster" are solely MartinVole's work, not mine. End Note

    2018-07-15 21:20:29 by Riverstyx777

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For all Kaenid knew, her body could be getting trampled underfoot by the fluffy dragon and the remaining Z'ychuula. Thankfully, yet unbenknownst to her at the moment, she happened to be plucked up by the storm witch. Not so thankfully, however, was the fact that they were leaving the clearing, but that's a matter for later. Right now, Kaenid was dead to the outside world...

At first there was nothingness. But with pain, and plenty of it. Not just her ribs threatening to poke a lung, or her back, when she landed awkwardly on the ground. Kaen's head hurt pretty bad, too. Well, obviously she hit her head at some point, which added “potential concussion” to her list of injuries.

”I don't fuckin' care anymore! I just wanna sleep or wake up. Not be in this limbo bullshit!!!” Kaenid thought angrily into the nothingness around her.

Then suddenly, as if in response to her thoughts (but surely not), there was a blinding light. Blinking away the flash of light from her eyes, for suddenly she could see now, Kaen looked around to find herself standing in a bizarre landscape. She felt none of the pain from before, but she felt... almost whole. Almost like she was physically here, though something was missing. Above her, dark foreboding clouds filled the skies, casting a weird inverted light upon everything. They sometimes dropped black rain upon the blasted lands around her, but for now it seemed dry where she was. Twisted, blackened trees, most likely dead or dying, lined what seemed a path leading deeper into this weird place.

“Am I dead?” Kaenid wondered aloud, her feet carrying her onto the path almost of their own accord. “I can't be dead! They didn't hurt me that bad... And that fluffy dragon needs help!”

She stifled whatever other outburst that was surely coming, for the path led her to a circle of rocks. And within that circle, a terrible voice rose up. Both in her head and projecting around the area.





"...Be it this tribe or another, dragging in all their twisting tendrils of deceit and wanton... such much louder now with them, how the silence would be divine! A purge, to cut the voices back, maybe then..." the voice says with a low grumble, tones harsh, angry, cutting like knives. Before the twisted forest, an image forms from the black rain, manlike as it was monstrous, with wings large and black that could blot out the sun... if there was one here, eyes flared in a red haze, and hair flowing against the wind. Feathers molt from its form, and float downwards, dissolving into the earth below his feet. A feeling permeates this being, as the forest itself: rage. He grinds his teeth, pacing around aimlessly, arms crossed, but tightened against his chest, scratching his arm. "Who's fault in the end would it be? By their works they brought it upon themselves!"




Something deep inside her bristled at the voice, at this physical manifestion of... rage. Pure and unfiltered, of course it affected Kaenid to a certain extent. She was, after all, quite possibly dead, most definitely out of her own body at least. This... being also struck a familiar chord within her, though she had never seen this guy before. This all also could just be a mad fever dream, which could also easily explain why she did what she did next.

”Purge? Purge who?!?” Kaen shouted, climbing atop one of the rocks while reaching for her axes, which she was dismayed to find were not there. No matter... the rage was with her. ”I know you, beast! We have never met, but I know you! Throw off that costume you wear and put aside your vague words! Speak to me true, as one of the last Rehnir to walk this world!”




The being freezes in place for a few moments, before his eyes brighten, scanning the dreamscape for the source of the voice that addressed him directly. It is clear by his reaction that such a thing is not common to him, but it does little to stifle the feeling permeating this realm. He finally turns himself to look down at the Rehnir, and tilting his head, he forces a wry grin. ”So, a few stray pups still live to carry the torch? My, I should feel honored that it still burns after all these years! How brave! Hmn, a female though, suppose that speaks volumes about gender roles... or there's less males... suppose that one is my fault?” he says, a taunting tone to his voice. He then frowns, his expression twisting as his form assumes a more bestial state, the humanoid form replaced with claws and maw, a draconic beast of black feathers. Something was off about it, though, wavering, and a tinge of something else is felt underneath the fury. ”But... how is it that you intrude my... skull? Well, perhaps... hmn... you must hate me a good deal.”




That hatred suddenly rose up within her, fired further by that rage all around. She had known it was there smouldering all her life, but the sudden ferocity of it nearly engulfed Kaen anyway. Some small part of her knew that this being was manipulating her emotions and even feeding off of them. And that was what kept her from launching off the rock and attacking this... dragon, weapons or no. Barely.

“Hate isn't a strong enough word for someone that nearly wiped out my entire race, you beast!” Something about his manner and his question about being inside his skull made her bite off whatever other vitriol that was about to spill past her muzzle, still locked in a rictus of rage. ”Isn't it apparent, beast? Obviously we are connected, that much at least I can see...”




The creature stood unphased, narrowing one eye into a tight squint. With a clawed hand, he scratched his chin, before tilting his head and letting out a short laugh. "So... what? You intend to finish what your all-so-proud-and-mighty failed to accomplish, to hunt me down?" the creature asks, not even hiding his mocking cynicism. The monster then descends, dropping his massive body before the girl, his face meeting level to her, the contrast in size apparent. He blows hot air from his nostrils and bares his teeth. "Pointless."




The breath that washed over her, blowing back her hair and ears, reeked of rancid carrion. At least to her nose. His taunting words might also explain her next action. Even as the last word escaped the dragon's maw, Kaenid wound up and threw a wild haymaker punch into his nose. For a moment, surely no longer than a split second, it seemed as if her hand made contact with the scaly nose, the hand erupting in searing, burning pain. The next moment found her following through on the punch of nothingness and nearly toppling off her rock perch.

”W-what?!?” Kaen exclaimed, looking down at her hand. The fur on her knuckles was singed away, and the better part of the rest seemed to be blackened.




Struck in the nose the beast lets out a short snort, reeling his head back, and with the knuckle of a claw wipes his nose, and glances down at it, as a trickle of blood flows down from it. More than anything he seems momentarily bewildered, no howl or growl escapes him. He then narrows his eyes and chuckles to himself. "Here..? Guahah! First blood to you, pup!" He presents the blood to her and grins, eyes once again aflare, a different feeling, more frantic than before floods the world, confused, intertwined with the rage. "So, tell me! TELL ME! How does it feel?! You must have waited so long, dreamt of it, desired it, lusted it so strongly, to make me bleed!"




”Strangely humbled, actually...” Kaenid let out slowly in a long sigh, staring down at her injured hand, but then, as if feeling some of the forced cheer coming forth, a wry grin flashed across her muzzle. ”But I do not have first blood here, we have drawn it equally, so to speak!”

She profferred the injured paw forward for his inspection, yet at the same time her whole body tensed. Poised for flight, yes, but there was also plenty of fight left in this bewildered, somewhat frightened young Rehnir.




"Eh..?" the beast mutters, his grin fading, squinting one eye to look at her injured paw. His ears draw back and he audibly sighs, waving his hand, the armosphere almost dramatic in its change, a somehow... colder feeling, what was a raging fire, now was like smouldering embers. "What makes this flame so easily snuffed..?" He says, twisting his head as his head hangs down over the Rehnir, before he holds his head, letting out an agitated roar, the surroundings being now flooded now with noise, like a turbulent rain in static. "Damn it! For a moment's reprieve..!" he then casts a piercing glare at her. "Sod off, pup! This battle is not for the likes of you!"




The last thing Kaenid could see was the great dragon holding his head as if he had a ginormous headache, her hearing all but gone from the roar, before she found herself violently thrown back into that Limbo, with all the pain coming back with it. It was brief, yet still quite intense, the pain dulled a bit because she remembered it from before. But only somewhat.

Then suddenly, her deep blue eyes snapped open and wildly looked about. Kaen found herself in a makeshift bed of hides, a fire puttering almost dangerously close nearby, filling the cave with a (for now) sweet-smelling smoke. There didn't seem to be any way for the smoke to escape as far as she could tell. Kaenid also found herself being rudely prodded and poked, and then a wet cloth being applied to some of her cuts. Being careful not to move in a way so as not to aggravate her broken ribs, Kaen slapped away the questing hands of the wind mage.

”You fuckin' storm bitch! How could you leave that poor beast to fend for herself against that Z'ychuula!” She exclaimed angrily, the sudden expulsion of air sending a wave of pain through her, followed by a somewhat gentler wave of nausea. “Ugh... great, I've probably got a concussion, too...”

Still cursing out the storm witch under her breath, Kaenid quickly assessed all of her wounds as she drew out her satchel. Drawing out a length of fairly sturdy fabric, she wrapped it around her chest several times, as tightly as she dared, not seeming to notice that she was partially undressed in unfamiliar company. After that, she chewed a somewhat bitter concoction of herbs that would dull the pain and kickstart the healing process substantially.

”I don't give two shits what you're doing, but I'm going back and helping that fluffy dragon,” Kaenid snapped, heading toward the entrance only to be balked by the boulder. Well, that explained the lack of fresh air...

It was only a momentary balking, however. Kaen spotted a small little bit of light to one side, where the smoke was making a valiant effort to escape amid the wind coming in. Simply a matter of leverage at this point, as she grabbed a stout piece of wood and wedged it into the gap. A bit of an effort (and maybe a little help from the Aether) the boulder rolled away and she was out into the forest once more.

Time always got a little funky in areas where a lot of Aetheric activity occurred in a short while. So what may have seemed like a few hours' flying turned out to be merely a moderate jog back to the center of the action. Stopping at the edge of the clearing, Kaen took just a moment to assess the situation. It appeared that only the big bad Z'ychuula was left standing, and it was advancing slowly on the fluffy dragon.

Reaching into her satchel again, she pulled out a few things and then cut off the bark of a nearby tree. Focusing on the Aether within her, Kaenid intoned in clear, precise terms over the items. After a moment, another towering Z'ychuula appeared in front of her, a mirror image of the other one. This doppelganger roared a challenge and drew the attention of the other.

Taking advantage of the foe's distraction, Kaenid ran towards the big fluffy beast...

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Character Portrait: Kiara Abinichia Character Portrait: Viktoriya Character Portrait: Kaenid Alopex Character Portrait: Eskja
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Viktoriya having grown irate at staring at the stupid energy ring, snorted and, with a swat of one of her claws, swatted it, receiving a minor shock that caused her hair to stand on ends, yet discharging it completely, licking her singed claw afterwards. Despite the inconvenience, she was quick to regain her senses, and awareness of the danger she still was under. Swinging around, she chuffed, crouching down ready to face the rest of the threats before her. One. One left. The largest tree creature was still slinking about... no wait... now there were two? Her eyes widen some, as out of nowhere another tree creature, equally imposing, facing the old one.

"K...kakogo cher...ta?" she mutters, with a voice deep and coarse, tilting her head to the side as the two start roaring at each other ready to fight. She then chuffed, now hearing the sound of little feet approaching her, fast, turning sharply to glare straight at Kaenid. "Chto ty!? O...opredelit'!"

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Kaenid awakened, and promptly began cursing out Eskja, saying she was going to go back and save the beast. "You shall do no such thing," Eskja scolded as Kaenid began treating her own wounds and getting back up on her feet. "I saved your life, but your wounds are not fully healed.
"And don't even think about trying to get out through there," she called as her patient began examining the boulder blocking the door, a wooden wedge in hand. "It's too much too heavy for you to - "
Kaenid wedged the wood into the crack and pushed, sending the boulder skittering away into the forest. She set off into the woods at a run.
Eskja stood amazed for a moment, mouth agape. Coming to her senses, she cursed and flew after the escaping ranger. "You fool!" She shouted at Kaenid. "It's too late! You won't be able to save her!"
Then, as Kaenid summoned a monster to battle the creature that had captured the fluffy beast, she swore under her breath. "I suppose I ought to help you. Sigh. Very well."