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West

"It's not the end of the world... But you can see it from here."

0 · 157 views · located in Etherea

a character in “Etherea: Dragons Tale”, as played by RiPjAW 0x3

Description

Name: Unknown/NA
Alias: "West"

Appearance: West is a relatively tall individual, and very noticeable when not trying to be undetected. His brown hair is quite short, only a half-inch in the longest places. He has a small amount stubble. He wears long sleeved, slightly rough dark-colored clothing, helps him blend in. His green eyes make him stand out slightly.
Differences from photo: No WWII stuff obviously, but other than that, that's him.

Age: 22
Height: 6"
Weight: 187 lbs
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Green
Body Type: Flexible, Agile, Toned
Fighting Style:
Prefers to stay hidden, using uncertainty and surprise to his advantage. Mainly a CQC fighter, being skilled in knifeplay and hand-to-hand. His use of random objects and the environment to supplement his attacks is as creative as it is deadly. Can throw knives, although he does this as a last resort. His fighting style in one word? Unorthodox.

Personality

While not exactly an assassin, West's work makes him approach objectives a no-nonsense manner. West has little patience for corrupt individuals and/or stuck-up people high up in governing bodies. He maintains a cynical, jaded and sarcastic sense of humor about the covert, illegal, and often morally ambiguous nature of what he does.

At the same time, he is highly loyal and a staunch believer in the ideals his work ultimately protects. He can also be viewed as slightly idealistic, viewing his work as for the greater good. He is quickly angered by the casual slaughter of civilians or unarmed military personnel by his enemies.

West is a loner, preferring solitude than interacting with others. Further (but definitely limited) contact will reveal to be perceptive and sharp, but also a bit cold. It takes a while for him to warm up to anyone, and even then he seem will regard them cautiously.

He is not afraid of the dark, and nearly welcomes it, as he uses it to his advantage often. He dislikes mercenaries and bounty hunters in general, they are paid to kill stuff, although there are a few he respects. But in general, extended social contact with them (or anybody), appears to make him uncomfortable, or at least wary.

All of this probably came to be with long periods of intended or unintended isolation, and most people he encounters trying to kill him.

Equipment

West carries a balance-adjustable knife with a 6-inch blade given to him by his brother along with a small mirror. He wears simple dark-colored clothing with no patterns whatsoever. He has a few coins on him, but don't expect him to be able to get a room for the night. He has a small field journal, which he writes in occasionally.

History

Training History:
Much of West's "training" was more "on-the-job" than formal, but it was rigorous nonetheless. When he was young, he often engaged in play knife and fist fights, becoming increasingly complex and eventually involved the real thing (Much to the disapproval of his mother). Then Noctis, his city (or perhaps just a glorified town), even though it had no real need for a standing army, the hierarchy was practical enough to at least expose the young boys and men of their city to combat. When he was eight, he picked up his first sword. Mind you, it was wooden, but a decent training tool nonetheless.

Training sessions were available weekly for the more interested, but otherwise it was just the required monthly. Interestingly enough, West and his brother avoided going to the weekly sessions, as West viewed the style being trained too rigid and impractical for actual combat, and his brother (having the opposite problem), was seen as too direct and a little brutal. The trainers were strict, however. Whether they liked it or not, they were becoming good with a sword. Different options were available to the brothers, though.

Such as each other. Remember the knife and fist fights? They never stopped doing that. Although they usually ended in West ending up in a elevated place such as a tree or the loft in the attic and laughing and taunting, plus his brother yelling at him and calling him a dirty, unfair fighter, it gave him a taste of actual combat far before any of the other boys Noctis. He was still a part of a farmer family, however, and he mostly farmed for the early years of his life. Gave him a good body structure and musculature, though.

When West left home at 17, and starting engaging actual hostiles at 19, his official training was over, but the real thing had just begun. His tactics and fighting starting developing into what they are today, guerrilla and unorthodox as you can get. He had to be, as he frequently got into scrapes that would've killed anyone using a traditional style. While you might ask why the traditional style wouldn't be just as effective, the traditional style doesn't encourage to cling to the ceiling or other strange maneuvers.

As a result, he became extremely adept at disarming swordsman, although weapons with longer reach can give him trouble. He has learned using hostiles as shields when the odds are stacked against him can work very well. Even after all this, he usually incapacitates enemies, and sometimes steals clothes and/or armor for a disguise. For silent kills, he goes for the base of the skull, thus severing the spinal cord, as slitting throats causes targets to flop around and make unnecessary noise (he learned that the hard way).

History:
West lived a relatively normal life during his youth. He grew up on a farm with his parents and a brother. Despite the dark times Noctis was left relatively untouched, besides the occasional bandit attack and having to work harder. Saying his goodbyes, he left at 17, looking to start a life of his own elsewhere. Upon visiting other cities, he was slightly shocked to see the state of them.

Determined to find out the cause of such happenings, he settled on corruption, bands of thieves, and the like, slightly disregarding the old legends. Taking matters into his own hands, he started waging a personal war. At first, he mostly acted cautiously, and of his own accord, secretly sabotaging plans of underground black markets and revealing locations of bandit hideouts to nearby military powers. He took a few things, such as money and food, from the places he compromised. Reason being he was lacking a real job, and he was only getting what he needed.

After becoming more familiar and experienced in the art of stealth, he started becoming more bold, stealthily incapacitating leaders of thieve's guilds and even corrupt politicians. He refrained from any actual killing, not sure he had the skill nor the want to pull off any actual assassinations. In one venture gone awry, he was forced to kill the leader and two of his goons of an underground society in order to escape.

A high-ranking military official took notice, and instead of taking him down, he suggested the idea of using him to their advantage. A deal was struck. They'd supply him with any necessary materials and he was to continue what he was doing, and they would turn a blind eye toward it. He was originally against it, but seeing the options as being hunted down, and a chance to continue, he accepted.

West and his work is generally unknown, usually diverting credit to famous bounty hunters or rival thieves guilds. As a result, any enemies rarely are prepared from him. He currently is following a lead, heading toward the general area of Etherea.

He has come in contact with other races, and seems to know a fair bit about them, although when and how is anyone's guess.

So begins...

West's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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West was in a tavern. That was relatively normal.

Doing an awkward split-jump between two of the beam supports near the ceiling was not normal.

Apparently, West's (other) alias, Briar, had gotten a bit too infamous, and now there was actually a bounty on his head. At first, he wasn't that alarmed, but apparently his operations had earned him twenty sovereigns of worth. Hence the bounty hunter after him and the split jump. The “Wanted” poster was probably out already now. They most likely only had a vague description and a "Activities Classified", as no one had stopped him yet. In any case, West had walked in here hoping to lose him. Bad choice.

This bounty hunter probably celebrated failures, (or maybe he just thought he had a lead) by getting a few drinks. A few being about 15. West was used to being in uncomfortable positions, but after nearly two hours, it was getting hard to hold it. Plus, to top it off, almost nothing had happened for him to get down unnoticed. Well, there was that girl, possibly an elf, walking in. That turned a few heads. But not nearly enough. He was hoping maybe one of big guys would start a fight.

Otherwise, West might have to resort to just dropping on the guy and taking him out. But that plan didn’t exactly scream stealth. And the other patrons would probably be a little bit suspicious of the guy that just dropped from the ceiling. But what other choice would he have? No one had looked up yet, and it was dark enough up in the rafters that no one might notice, but if he was here long enough someone was nearly guaranteed to discover him. How things could get any worse, West couldn’t see.

Then, as if on cue, three figures burst in through the door. Probably city guards and sentries. Not the ones that go to taverns saying they’re “investigating”, and drink up half the bar and grope any maid foolish to come near. No, these ones looked like they actually cared. Great. People who actually did their job. What was the world coming to?

The guards didn’t actually make much of a scene, they just went from table to table, seat to seat, probably asking for him. The people shook their heads in response. At least that much was going for him. West shifted, judging what to do. They probably wouldn’t look up, but then again “probably” had gotten quite a few people a blade to the neck. They were nearing the spot he was above. He had to do something.

He looked around in this dark place. An idea formed. He drew his knife and wedged the blade between the space of a stake and the wood beam. Using it as a lever, he used his hand to pull it the rest of the way out. That action probably dulled the edge, but a dull knife was better than a dead you. He readied the stake in his hand.

They approached at the table the possibly elven girl was at. He caught snatches of the words.

“Ma’am have you heard or seen anything of the criminal known as Briar?” The lead guard asked her.

He started to say something else, but West didn’t give him time to finish. Their backs were turned, and the opportunity was perfect. The stake he threw traveled fast, most likely no one saw it. It impacted and bounced off one of the tops of the barrels of mead behind the bar, and it sputtered and a started leaking in response. The commotion caused by the bartenders and liquid was enough to get everyone’s attention.

West was down by that time. He softly impacted the wooden floor, causing it to creak slightly. The sound wasn’t loud enough to be heard over the commotion, but he had landed about seven feet away from a rather big person in a corner table. He may have heard, but most reports of people materializing out of nowhere were usually discredited. He looked back slightly as he walked to the back entrance. No one had seemed to have noticed him, and one of the guards was even helping the bartenders out.

Time for Briar to disappear. West thought to himself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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#, as written by Ion
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Etherea—Thorned Rose Inn



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The cloaked man watched the newcomer’s passage with vague interest. A beautiful woman, certainly, but one learned to get used to seeing those. What was more interesting was the way she walked—clearly, someone had trained this particular lady to combat. She didn’t have the look of a mercenary about her, nor soldier, but then he didn’t know that much about how the elves trained their soldiers. Either way, he marked her presence, but then proceeded to ignore it, turning back to the book in his hand and his dinged tin tankard, presently full of what passed for decent ale in this part of the city.

He’d had worse.

Of course, once he’d confirmed that the woman wasn’t the source of the annoying little itch in the back of his mind that alluded to someone watching him, it returned. This, also, he ignored. He was often watched; people tended to instinctively track the movements of those they perceived as threatening, and at his size and with a large weapon leaning against the wall next to him, there wasn’t much he could do to appear harmless. That occasionally made things difficult, but given the kind of work he usually undertook, it was not an insurmountable obstacle. Like everything else he hadn’t chosen for himself, he simply dealt with it.

The tapered candle burning on the wall indicated that the dead of night was not far off now, and this was what he waited for. The bar was growing a little more crowded, only moreso when three guardsman decided that bursting was the proper way to enter a tavern. Under the shade of his cowl, Lysander’s eyebrow ascended his forehead, and his head shook nearly imperceptibly. That was a good way to put everyone on the defensive against you; and precisely the reason why he usually moved much more slowly and carefully than he was capable. Few people enjoyed sudden surprises of the armed variety.

They crossed the room, and spoke in authoritative tones to the woman who had entered not a few moments before. At first, Lysander thought that they must have been there for her, but she shook her head and murmured something in return, which apparently satisfied them. They were about to turn and move on elsewhere when one of the kegs behind the bar burst. The vampire spied a stake in the barrel, and tracked its likely trajectory with a flicker of his eyes, only to watch as a man dropped from the rafters.

Well, that explained the feeling of being watched. He didn’t say or do anything in particular; this wasn’t his business, and he didn’t know anything about the situation. Interestingly, when his amber irises again travelled back to the woman, she was looking at the door, a slight furrow to her brow. Her own eyes, a deep green, shifted and locked with his, and she raised a shoulder slightly, as if to shrug, then turned and made to help the barkeep and one of the guards contain the mess.

At least he knew he wasn’t seeing things, he supposed.

The resultant noise was all a little much for Lysander’s liking, and he had an appointment to keep, anyway. Standing as unobtrusively as it was possible for a man like him to manage, he exited the establishment after the man, though with no intention of following him.



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Etherea—The Grand Library of Miithreal



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Lyn wasn’t sure if it was possible to ever grow tired of books, but if so, she had yet to reach the point where it was, and she’d done quite a lot of reading in her lifetime. This place seemed to almost sanctify the knowledge held within it, and that was something the monk could certainly understand. Knowledge was sacred to the Goddess after which this place was named, in a way, and she couldn’t help but consider that an apt selection of something worth dignifying so.

Not that her opinion was of any consequence to the gods, of course, and she didn’t dwell overlong on the thought, instead spending many of the next days flitting through rows upon rows of shelves like some elemental spirit of the library, ash-blond hair blending with the hue of parchment under sunlight, muted fabrics not so far from the spines of books, tread whisper-soft by design, navigating the rows as though she’d known them all her life.

The monastery library was not so grandiose as this, but she’d been pleased to find that they used the same organizational system, and so she perused the stacks at her leisure, talking the time occasionally to tuck a spine back in that had been reshelved poorly, or else select another for the growing pile under one of her arms. After a while of that, she’d retreat to an unused corner of the place, near the ancient lore section, and settle in a comfortable spot, pulling the first of many works into her lap and losing herself in it, just for a while. She was half-conscious that occasionally someone else would enter the area, but she left them to their devices as they left her to her own; while she enjoyed meeting and speaking with others, libraries were generally not the place, and she doubted anyone who came all the way back here really wished to be disturbed.

And so her next week or so passed, and in the evenings, she walked about the city, seeing the sights as they could be perceived from the street. ‘Twas a lively place, and if it had been her first time in a major population center, she was sure all the sensory information would have overwhelmed her. As it was, she processed it still as a tourist would, though she went to lengths to avoid being perceived as such. Even she, in her naïveté, had learned that such perceptions placed an unearned target on one’s back for the less-lawful segments of the populace, and she had little desire to be robbed. Though she cared not for possessions, she did need to live, and preferred to avoid confrontation where possible.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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West had been to the Capitol only a few times before, but it was as big as he remembered. Large crowds, barking dogs, merchants shouting their wares, it wasn't a task blending in. He walked through the streets, head down but eyes searching. Even then, he still felt uneasy. Maybe it was the incident back at the tavern. West berated himself for not waiting for a better time. Now that he thought back to it, it was almost guaranteed that man had saw him. He didn't come after West, and he probably didn't see his face when he exited the tavern, but less people knowing about him, the better.

No, it was something else, he felt that something was amiss. Even though it was just a few hours past midday, something felt... dark. It was like that feeling you get when night was about to fall, and you wanted get inside as fast as you can. Something West hadn't felt since his days on the farm, when his brother would tell him that the wolves were going to eat him. He shook his head slightly, as to shake off such memories. And it was growing worse. He ducked into a near into a nearby empty stall. For some reason, he was breathing hard. He sat down. Although his face was unchanged from it's it's normal orientation, it did not reflect his internal feelings.

Attempting to recover and to not attract attention, he exited the stall. He would've regretted the decision, if the world hadn't gone dark, and a massive... for lack of a better word, anomaly appearing. He pulled out his mirror from his jacket. Instead of it's normal chrome sheen, it was pitch-black. West looked up as screams polluted the air. While the rational part of West screamed at him to run, (calmly of course) the rest of his mind and body remained unresponsive. His eyes and feet remained firmly planted where they were. While people ran past him, he stood there, arms at his side and face turned slightly skyward, fixed in a scowl. It took all his willpower just to stay in this position.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, West reflected on how stupid he must look to everyone else.

West's scowl only deepened when a serpentine head emerged from the disturbance. A roar pierced through the air. He finally fell to his kneeling stance, looking down and gasping, unable to withstand all of stimuli coming. How he did it, he didn't know, but he slowly, painfully looked up. Giant eyes bored into his. West felt like it was looking at him. Personally. He stared back what with little defiance he could muster.

He didn't see see much after that. Maybe it was better that way.

..........

It's not exactly a good sign when you wake up with a 3-inch wood long chunk protruding just little above the hip. West had coughed up a storm before he even noticed it. The skin around it was mostly numb, but every time he moved, or touched it, that pain that flared up like it was a hot iron poker instead. It probably wouldn't be safe to pull out until he could get his hands on some surgical tools. At least he wasn't coughing up any blood. He did, however, also had multiple deep scratches and stab wounds, with no visible external cause. His outer jacket was in rags. West propped himself up on (what was left) the wall behind him. He waited there for awhile, taking in the landscape he was presented with.

West was nowhere near the position he was last. He was able to identify the gates three stone throws away, although it was a mere remnant of their former glory. Buildings lay in ruins, and many bodies were visible. Why he had survived, he didn't know, but there had to be others alive. Groaning slightly, he stood up. He saw knife laying not far from where he was, covered in dried blood.

It wasn't his.

He stumbled out of ruined two-story building he was in. Breathing heavily, he scanned the landscape for signs of life. Silence greeted his search. He felt an urge, a push to search over at the gates. That place good as any, slowly, he made his toward them. Warm blood trickled down his leg as he walked. He stopped, breathing heavily. He pulled out his mirror. It had retained it's former sheen, reflecting nothing but the ambient light. He returned it to his jacket. He continued his slow walk toward the gate, albeit him gripping his left upper hip.

West still had his knife drawn, hilt resting in the palm of his closed fist, and the blade hidden behind his wrist. He confident almost nothing survived, but you couldn't be too careful.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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Shadow


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“What we saw… Was that… what I think it was? The young woman asked him.

Shadow thought to answer her, but it was then that another group of people appeared. The man heading their way looked a little shady, but then again Shadow was quite apprehensive right now so it wasn't at all surprising to him that he was overly suspicious of anyone and everyone at the moment. After what he just lived through, nobody could really blame him for it if they were feeling at all the same way. What surprised him was that the other young woman who was approaching was doing so on the back of a rather large animal he could only identify as a white lion. It was rather odd to say the least seeing a lion with a girl riding on top of its back, let alone a white one. Shadow was rather impressed by the sight for a moment, but was quickly brought out of his thoughts upon the approach of a dwarf from what used to be the tree line a short distance away.

Shadow stood up and watched the Dwarf's approach, unsure of what to think of him as he came towards the group with a large pair of axes drawn. Shadow's dagger was still sheathed behind his back and he had no intention of drawing it as he was in no mood or condition to fight. His injuries from the event prior left him with an achy back and at least two cracked ribs to contend with as he took in a breath and let it out on a slight rasp from the pain in his chest constricting his lung expansion. It was uncomfortable, but workable and he knew that a few days of rest would be able to clear things up for him. He turned his attention to the others for a moment as the dwarf continued his approach and watched as the young woman who had followed him here asked if she could help with the injuries the others had seemed to suffer from.

Shadow himself was a bit reluctant to engage in conversation at the moment as he was still trying to find a way to wipe the carnage from his mind, but with reminders covering literally every square inch of the ground upon which he walked and even in the skies above his head with the smoke and ash still floating about over what was once the city of Etherea, Shadow had no such luck in ridding himself of such horrible scenes in his mind. Shadow decided it was best for him to keep to himself for the moment and so he sat back down cross legged and straightened his back as best he could to keep his airway straight. With his lungs only being able to expand to about 85% capacity, he had to work for his breath a bit more than he was used to.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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There were people alive. West was nearing the gates. His stride had long since improved, as the wood fragment did not impeded his breathing in any way. He did make it a point, though, not to put too much stress on his left leg. He wasn't sure how far the wood had gone in, but the fact that he wasn't feeling any pain coming from it was not a good sign.

Six. Including me. Thought West as he approached the group. He had heard from North that a disaster might occur, but even he wouldn't have thought that an entire city would be razed to the ground.

Six. Hhn. Well over a 99% fatality rate. West slid had his knife up his sleeve beforehand. He didn't perceive these individuals as a threat, although he felt that he recognized the one with the cloak. You couldn't be too careful. Especially around Dwarves. Little Mace and Axe-swinging bastards. He recognized that he had only come in contact with two of the many Dwarf Clans, but you were hard-pressed forget an experience like that. Or survive it.

He stopped about 4 feet away from the nearest of the group. He cast his gaze at the girl... with a lion? His expression was mostly neutral, although he did raise an eyebrow. He scanned the rest of the group, looking for any more familiar faces. Surprisingly enough, he did. Shadow. Then again, it was nearly impossible not have at least heard of him. No one could really miss the red eyes. West perceived the one with the cloak as a vampire. He had read about their traits, but he had only encountered one before, so he wasn't sure.

He wasn’t going to be the one to introduce himself, in fact, he didn’t feel the need to. He had no intention of staying any longer with this group. He would stay long enough as to not look suspicious, but beyond that, he was off. His whole purpose of coming here was to look for survivors. And he had succeeded. Although his wound could be a potential problem, he had other things to worry about. He folded his arms and cast his eyes back toward the city, looking for movement.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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"I can help, if you’ll let me," said the woman who had been standing next to the red eyed man.

She had such a gentle expression on her face. Peace was the first word that came to Tallulah's mind when she made eye contact with her. Kindness was something Tallulah held into high esteem and kindness coming from strangers was even more honorable but also scary for her. She didn't know if she should tell her that she already had a pouch filled with medicinal herbs and powders and creams. Tallulah was about to tell the woman that she could help her when she noticed a red haired short man running toward them with big axes in his hands. There was also another man running with a limp to his left leg.

Fear was starting to build up in Tallulah's eyes. Luckily no one was actually looking at her, they mostly were shocked by Babur who came closer to Tallulah after feeling her fright intensifying. In total they were seven, counting Babur, all of them were impressive compared to Tallulah. She felt inferior and thus nervous and on edge.

"My name is Tallulah and this is Babur," Tallulah ended up saying, "I have medicine for those who need it."

She noticed the red eyed man having a hard time breathing or in any case, trying to find a way to ease his breathing to a normal state. There was also the man with the bad leg. When he came closer Tallulah saw that her had a shard of wood deeply embedded into his leg. Then there was Tallulah's arm. Tallulah had more than enough to help everyone but she knew none of them. Could she give them medicine? Were they trust worthy? The other woman didn't seem so bad, but then again neither does rose who hides her thorns.

Tallulah was cautious, she didn't want to have to fight any of these people because she didn't want to kill anyone, not on this tarnished soil already reddened by the blood of its people. And she also knew that all of them could easily make Tallulah's left arm look exactly like her left in no time.

Finally, Tallulah took out her pouch of medicine from her bag trying to move her right arm the least possible and repeated softly and shyly, "I have medicine. . . for those who. . . need it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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#, as written by Ion
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Outside the Ruin of Etherea


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Lyn could read the wariness and caution on the young woman’s face, and that alone was enough for her to back off a few steps. What they had all seen was incredibly traumatic, and being surrounded by strangers, while something that she herself was so used to that it didn’t bother her anymore, seemed to make the elf uneasy. So she raised her hands slowly, holding them in front of he chest, palms out and a kind smile adorning her face, as if to say that she would go no nearer if she was not invited there.

There was a shifting behind her, and it was not long before two new people arrived from opposite directions. Frankly, Llewellyn’s reaction was the opposite from Tallulah’s; she was simply relieved that more had survived, though it would seem the dwarf had arrived from outside the city. An unfortunate time to arrive, though perhaps better than to have been here just a few hours ago.

She turned back to the other woman in the group when medicine was offered, and shook her head to say she did not need any. “I am pleased to meet you, Tallulah.” She couldn’t say ‘it was good,’ because very little about these circumstances was good, but it was indeed the case that she counted herself glad that she was alive, and they as well. She didn’t need to know anything about them to have occasion for thankfulness that they lived. “My name is Llewellyn Vanharel, though that’s a bit of a mouthful. Lyn is fine.”

Glancing around, she took in the various injuries accumulated between the lot of them, and thought to add to the already generous offer. Turning over one of her hands so the palm faced the sky, she lit it with the violet-white light of her healing magic. “I can assist as well, should anyone require it.” Closing her fist, she extinguished the light and stepped back, so that she with the rest were forming a rough circle.

It wasn’t really certain what they should do from here, or even why they were all present, but someone had to say something, or at least she thought so. “Forgive me,” she started politely, “but does anyone know exactly what is going on? I presume that most of us saw the… dragon,” her tongue tripped a little on the last word, more from disbelief than anything, “but… what of this? I felt compelled to be here, somehow, and I do not understand why. Things move in the world beyond, but I cannot make them out.”

At that point, the tall man in armor shrugged. “Not sure there’s much else to know,” he said. “Looks like there’s a dragon on the loose, and a damn big one at that. From what it did to Etherea, I’d guess it fancies itself a destroyer, and there’s not much that can be done to stop something of that size.” He sounded thoughtful, though, and not nearly as dismissive as his words.

Still, she could not help but think there was some larger design at work here. She had been raised never to ignore anything she felt from outside the simple physical world, and whatever had tugged her here must have had a reason for doing so. She just wasn’t sure what it was.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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Kurgaz glanced around him shiftily as he neared the gathering. They were an eclectic looking lot, two females, three males, and a feline beast of a type he had never seen before. His steely grey eyes worked over every one of them, picking out weapons, equipment, and body language. They seemed exhausted, and upon closer inspection, were covered in dust, debris, and blood. Still, Dwarves were suspicious by nature. He slowed his stride to a walk, and stopped a few feet away from them. Out of the three manlings, one stood out amongst the rest. He was of enormous stature, adorned with fine armor, and seemed to be taking whatever had happened to them in stride. The other two seemed a bit worse for wear. The two females obviously carried elf-blood in their veins, and also seemed to be remarkably pulled together.

"I suppose you'd have to be of stern stuff to make it out of a sacked city alive. Either that or they're still in shock." He thought.

At the very least, they didn't appear to be actively threatening, or even suspicious of his approach at all. He replaced his twin axes onto his back, and addressed them. He wasn't sure who the leader of this band was, or if they even knew each other at all, so he didn't pick out a single person to speak to.

"What happened here?"
He growled out, a bit harsher than he had intended.

The Dwarf tongue was spoken with a much deeper tone and lower decibel than the language of the manlings; as such, Dwarves sounded abnormally guttural when speaking it. Kurgaz' question sounded like two rocks being ground together. He cleared his throat and continued, attempting to pronounce his words closer to the front of his mouth.

"What evil has befallen this place?"

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Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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Shadow


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"What happened here? What evil has befallen this place?" The dwarf suddenly asked.

Shadow's red eyes trailed over towards the dwarf for a moment after having watched the elves and the other men interact, but now that he had a reason to speak, he gladly did so.

"My name is Shadow, and this city was destroyed by what I can only call the ancient incarnate of Oblivion itself, the ancient Dragon Maglissos." He said, rather calmly.

"I had been feeling a little under the weather all day, which is unusual for me given how clear and bright the day began. It felt like my lungs were in a vice, only worsened when the skies opened up to reveal a dark void from whence Maglissos emerged, Thousands of his minions and dark creations appeared with him and tore through the people of this city not long before he opened his wings and flew away. The force generated was like that of a hurricane, and the city was utterly destroyed by a combination of the weight of Maglissos's dark energy, his minions tearing through it and its people, and the force of his wings as he flew away."

Shadow gestured to everyone around him.

"We were all lucky to survive the incident, but the entire city of Etherea paid the ultimate price for Maglissos's escape. From what I gathered in my research, Maglissos was sealed away by a combination of the powers of the Divine Dragon, and a handful of other powerful Dragons from ages past. That seal has since been broken, and I dread to know the reasons why."

Shadow took a moment to take the little Goddess figure on his necklace in his hand and look at it for a brief moment.

"I know it sounds crazy, but I believe all of us were guided here by an unknown force which I can only hope was the will of the Gods and not us going insane. Once we arrived, that feeling of being drawn here suddenly vanished. However, with every step I take away from the spot where I felt the presence disappear, I feel it coming back and drawing me back to this single spot where I stand now. Something wants us here right now, and I believe the best thing we can do now is wait and see who, or what, wants us here. With any luck, we'll get some more detailed answers about what happened here and why."

He let go of the figure on the necklace and turned his attention back to the dwarf.

"I seem to have forgotten my manners... Apologies." He said, giving a light bow of his head.

"By what name are you known?" He asked the dwarf.

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Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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Kurgaz let the man with the eyes of blood explain what had happened. It was an utterly ridiculous notion, a dragon; still, the man spoke with such surety that he found it hard to doubt him. Still, it was a lot to take simply at the man's word. Kurgaz couldn't deny though, that something had happened here just recently, something that completely razed the city of Etherea. Besides what purpose would the man have in lying?

"I seem to have forgotten my manners... Apologies." He said, giving a light bow of his head.

"By what name are you known?" He asked the dwarf.


"Kurgaz Skorrisson." He replied, returning the bow with a nod. "This is a bold claim you make, Shadow the manling, but I do not smell a lie on your spoken breath."

"If the Gods really do want to help why don't they take Maglissos themselves. They're gods aren't they! If they work together then can take on the beast! And how do you know they want us here? How can anything be proven that this was all in the Gods's plans!"

The she-elf erupted into a frenzied rant. Kurgaz's own surprise at her outburst, combined with the natural distrust their respective races shared for each-other, made his hand stray close to one of his axes for a moment. He breathed an almost imperceptible sigh of relief once he realized the elfling seemed content with yelling. He couldn't blame her, if what the man Shadow said was indeed true, than she was probably questioning everything she believed to be true right now. Not to mention simple shock straining her to the brink.

He held out his hands in a reassuring gesture.

"Calm yourself she-elf. It won't do to speak ill of the gods, especially after what has just happened to you." He replied. "Besides, if what this man says is true," He gestured to Shadow. "than is not your simple survival enough evidence that there is some higher purpose at work here?"

Kurgaz turned to face Shadow again.

"You say a dragon did this, and that we've all been called here by the gods. Fair enough, I wasn't here, so I cannot refute you, and the others here seem to have seen the same thing." He began. "I came here to make weapons, not slay dragons, but you are right when you say that our meeting is not a coincidence. I've felt something in the earth, through my feet and in my bones. I knew I was meant to come here, and somehow I knew I wouldn't end up making swords for Etherea."

He was actually a bit surprised with himself, he spoke easily with this Shadow, far easier than with any other manling. He glaned around at the others.

"I'll stay here with you, and see if the gods do give us a sign."

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Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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#, as written by Ion
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Outside the Ruins of Etherea


ImageImageWhile a few of the others exchanged words, Llewellyn listened with an attentive ear and drew up to Tala to examine the wound, since the young woman had decided to accept her help. This was something she appreciated; Lyn had long held that it did her just as much good to provide aid as it did others to receive it, but accepting was much more difficult to do than offering. Tugging gently at the wrap covering Tala’s arm, she exposed the wound to the open air, examining the fractures and broken skin with a compassionate but professional eye.

It was not too troublesome to fix, though it would require some effort on her part. That was all well enough; things worth doing, she had found, were rarely ever easy. She was about to start to work when the talk of Maglissos and gods (certainly unusual, but hardly unwarranted, given the situation), caused her would-be patient to jerk her arm away in anger, shouting all the while. Ah, so this was a touchy subject for Tallulah, then.

After the newcoming dwarf with the fringe of bright hair had said his piece, Lysander nodded. He’d chosen to watch the proceedings with a surprisingly-gentle eye rather than participate, finding himself largely bereft of anything to say. Unlike Lyn, he was not so connected to the supernatural as to just be able to believe that an ancient and incredibly-powerful dragon had just been released from whatever fell prison held him, but his skepticism was not of the angry kind as Tallulah’s was, just the cautious sort.

“Seems like where there’s gods involved, people aren’t always meant to understand,” he contributed simply. It was his somewhat oblique way of trying to dissuade Tallulah from her anger and agree with Kurgaz. There was, after all, a healer still trying to work on the lass and sense in the smith’s words. When it came to things of a magical or supernatural variety, Lysander was trained to look to the sky, and this he did now, as if searching for something. Not the clouds that he would usually keep an eye on, nor perhaps anything ordinary at all. But that was the point, wasn’t it? It was something entirely out of the ordinary that they should be looking for, even if it was to be subtler this time than the destruction of an entire city.

When Tala’s arm fell still again, Lyn flashed a reassuring smile and went to work, setting her hands aglow with the selfsame contained light of her magic. Slowly but surely, the bones in the elf’s arm rearranged and mended themselves, but she would feel no pain, as the half-blood was busy weaving a numbing enchantment into the working as it happened. As soon as the bones had set, the flesh reknit, smoothing over into a uniform, seamless extension of skin, the same color as it had always been. The whole process together was a few minutes’ time, but the result was as though the wound had never happened at all.

Stepping back, Lyn let her arms drop and turned to the man with the leg injury, who had yet to say much or introduce himself, raising a brow with the query. “And yourself? Have you need or want of help?” Though she didn’t say it directly, it was clear from her actions that she also intended to wait out whatever was going on here. Anything in which such ancient powers were involved was of earthshattering importance, and she would never be the kind of person to simply walk away from that.

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Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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Shadow


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There was a lot of conversation going on back and forth about the legitimacy of the Dragon and the Gods having something to do with their current situation. Truthfully, though Shadow believed in the power of the Gods, he didn't really hold much stock in their power to influence the events of the mortal world. However, that didn't mean that he didn't hold respect for their power. While he wasn't exactly the devout religious type, he most certainly did not deny the God's existence.

Eventually, there started to be something of a stalemate reached about the whole conversation, and Shadow took advantage of it to sit down and close his eyes once more since he was no longer the target of a conversation.

During his meditation, he reflected on what he saw and what he had felt earlier. It was all a rush of emotion and physical sensations. Some of it had been outright nightmarish in nature, while others seemed like they were simply meant to be. Comforting, almost. It was an otherwise pleasant thought in an ocean of dreariness which now surrounded him. Even among those who were present, there could be no solid agreement on what had happened and why it was that this group was still alive. Shadow knew one thing for certain, but only this one thing: Time was against them.

As he thought about that single fact, there was a new sensation within his chest. Shadow's left hand unconsciously found its way to his heart as his breathing became somewhat forced until he finally shook it off. He had a new feeling, and it was an unfamiliar one at that. He felt that something was drawing near, but whether it was to be feared or expected he wasn't quite sure yet. Shadow opened his eyes and stood up slowly, looking to the skies as everyone else continued their conversations around him. For whatever reason, he was the only one who seemed to sense the approach of whatever it was that was coming. Nobody else picked up on it, or they would have looked to the skies as well. Either way, it didn't really matter that he was the only one who sensed this change as there was a sudden change in the evening air which would most certainly grab everyone's attention.

A warm feeling enveloped Shadow, as if the rays of the sun had suddenly pierced the clouds of ash in the sky though it had not actually done so. There was a sound in the distance which was drawing closer and closer, and it wasn't until it was practically upon the group that Shadow recognized it as the sound of beating wings. Whatever was coming was a creature capable of flight, and it was one which was absolutely massive as well, else they wouldn't have heard it this clearly. Shadow looked to the north, and sure enough the clouds of ash were breaking to either side in the wake of a creature hidden within its dark shade. Whatever it was stopped approximately one hundred meters away from Shadow and the group before it slowly descended from the dark skies of death which hovered in the air.

Foot by massive foot, the form of a primarily white, but still multi-colored Dragon descended from the ash clouds and slowly landed in the clearing a short distance away. Shadow's eyes could not believe what they were seeing. A Dragon with rainbow colored wings, which legends described as only one species of Dragon with said features: The Goddess Dragon. It landed softly for a creature of such mass, and laid its body down much in the same way a snake does with its upper third elevated into the air and the rest of it curled up on the ground for support and balance. The Dragon itself was well in excess of one hundred feet in length, and Shadow guessed it to be upwards of about seven feet wide at its thickest point in its long serpentine body. The Dragon looked down upon Shadow and the others with what appeared to be a calm, yet mournful expression as it slowly brought its face down and in close to Shadow, who was the most isolated of the group on the edge and nearest to the Dragon itself.

Shadow's eyes tracked the eyes of the Dragon until its face was but a few feet from his own, staring deep into golden pools which were the beasts eyes until it retracted its head and returned to its original rest position.

"Welcome, my beloved Kin." Came a calm, soothing, female voice inside Shadow's head.

For a second he thought he was going crazy, but he realized as he looked around that everyone could hear it as well which ruled out insanity.

"It pains me greatly to see such a monstrous display of genocide..." The voice began once again.

"Our greatest fear has been realized... Maglissos has broken the chains which bound him, and the power of the Divine Dragon is beginning to fade rapidly as the servants of evil gain strength." She continued.

Shadow was quite shocked to hear this news that the Divine Dragon's power was weakening. The power of the Divine Dragon was supposed to be unlimited and linked directly to the power of the Gods... So how and why was it weakening just because of the servants of evil?

"Time is short, my Kin, so I will be brief. I must test your blood for purity. If you can withstand the force of my Breath of the Gods, then I will recognize your power and tell you what you must do next. Are you ready?" She asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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#, as written by Ion
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Outside the Ruins of Etherea


ImageImageDistracted as she was with the magical tasks before her, Llewellyn did not register the change in the atmosphere until it was in the air itself, and it caused her then to turn from the still-silent stranger to the sky, watching with a sort of innocent wonderment as the dragon descended from far above. Her… voice, perhaps, rang dulcet and sibilant in the monk’s mind, drawing from her a gentle sigh, as might issue from one who has long wandered and at last returned home.

Kin? The term was a strange one for a dragon to use to the likes of him, and Lysander would willingly admit that he didn’t understand the reason for this. All he knew was that the feeling of being bound here, to these people and perhaps even this place, grew tighter, constricting even, though it remained so for only a moment before slacking, as though he were loosely tethered to these events and these men and women in some odd sense of the word that made only half-sense at best. He was not an overly spiritual man, and he would not pretend to comprehend exactly what was going on here.

He watched with curiosity well-disguised as the monk took a step forward, then gracefully dropped into a deep bow, hands pressed palm-together before her. Seeing as it was polite, he echoed the gesture by inclining his head, though he took his eyes not off the general direction of the dragon. Benevolence was palpable from it, but he was wary by nature.

The news of some kind of test only further complicated the whole affair, but he saw no reason to decline. “Do as you must,” he replied evenly. He sought not his death, but at the same time, he had been without purpose in life for some time. The tie, the binding he felt here reminded him of the chivalric vows of service he’d once undertaken, and in this, they were comforting rather than abrasive.

Llewellyn agreed, rising at last from the bent posture she’d assumed and glancing between the others quickly, before settling eyes on the reptilian creature before them. She relied often on intuition, as it was just part of her life. Her initial estimation had been that something about this being, this dragon, felt like home, and she was more than willing to trust that. No doubt, whatever this Breath of the Gods involved would reveal something important, and she was well-accustomed to the practice of proving one’s worth via trial. Whether it would bear any similarity to these previous instances she could not say, but it was worth trying to figure out.

That much, she simply knew.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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Shadow


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The mighty Goddess Dragon looked to each member in turn, nodding her approval of their spirit and readiness, although she did chuckle at the dwarf's seeming defiance and readiness to combat her.

"Very well, my beloved kin. I wish you all the best of luck... Prepare yourselves!" She commanded as her expression changed to one of aggression.

Shadow's red eyes had been glowing the entire time, but as this change in the Dragon's demeanor occurred they began to glow even brighter. His jaw tightened and his body flexed, ready for whatever the Dragon was about to do as it began to bent its head towards the ground while arching its back.

There came a sudden change in the wind. Where it was once blowing south very gently, it suddenly began to blow west right into the Dragon at high speeds. The surrounding area seemed to distort as the Dragon primed its attack, and the very air around it began to churn and warp around its body until it began to glow in a myriad of colors from tip to tail. The Dragon then reared its head towards the skies and let out a mighty roar at the top of its lungs, but the distortions in the air prevented the sound from harming Shadow's ears. The Dragon's head came down slowly, staring Shadow in the eyes as they seemed to slowly glide from him to each of the others and then back to him as it slowly reared back. Shadow's heels dug into the ground in preparation for whatever was coming his way, and what actually happened was beyond anything he'd ever even dreamed was possible.

The Dragon's attack came in the form of a giant wave of energy which exploded at Shadow and the others in a constant stream of power and force. The attack felt like it was going to rend the flesh right off of his bones and was almost enough to knock him off his feet. His body trembled and quivered under the attack, and he found that he couldn't move a single muscle. His eyes managed to just barely dart to the sides to see the others, and they were all caught in the same lock up that he was, not a single one of them able to escape this attack. The intensity of it increased, and suddenly there was a flurry of new sensations. Shadow's bones felt like they were all breaking and were screaming out in pain and agony while the rest of his body followed suit. His brain felt like it was going to burst, his heart felt like it was about to split, and his lungs felt like they were being crushed by a thousand Dragons standing on them. His body was locked in place, unable to move or even fall to his knees in pain as the power of the Dragons attack intensified yet again.

The energy wave took on a more fire-like appearance as it began to change colors while the Dragon continued its relentless attack. Shadow's mind could no longer process information, and for the few more moments the attack lasted he felt like nothing more than a brainless rag doll. Unable to move, unable to think, unable to breath, and unable to even collapse into the heap he knew he would once the attack ended, Shadow was now completely helpless.

Then, all at once, it was over.

Shadow dropped to his knees and began to dry heave while his stomach and lungs were busy combating each other as he tried to catch his breath. He managed to get to one knee, but continued gasping for air for a few more seconds before he was finally able to calm his body and regain control of it. It was then that he noticed something about himself. Shadow could feel his body had been healed. His cracked ribs no longer bothered him, nor did any other part of his body which had received injury. Whether this was a side effect of the attack or a direct result of it was not yet known, but he had a feeling the Dragon did this on purpose. It wouldn't have called him and the others "kin" if it wasn't willing to help them in some way. Shadow managed to slowly rise to his feet and stare up at the massive Dragon who looked down on him and the others with pride.

"My kin, you have passed the test of the Gods and will now be told your fate."

Shadow wasn't much for letting others decide his fate, but never the less he opened his ears and his mind to what the Dragon had to say.

"You are all descendants of ancient Dragons from eons passed who took the form of mortal men and passed their bloodline down through the ages after the defeat of Maglissos so many ages ago. They knew, along with the Divine Dragon, that the seal was not permanent, and so in preparation for the day he freed himself they sacrificed their Dragon form to provide hope to the next generation of warriors who would combat his ancient evil power. As such, you all have access to powers and abilities which no other Earthly mortal will ever possess, but know my kin that this comes with a price. Your path is one of ever present danger of suffering, and I can promise that before your journey ends you all will have lost a part of yourself along the way. If you are willing to accept this fate, and challenge Maglissos despite the dangers to your being, then step forward."

Shadow's mind was ablaze with questions which seemingly had no answers, but never the less the Dragon's words rang true in his mind. Somewhere, deep in his heart, he had always known he was different. His grandfather before him, who passed shortly before his birth, was the same way. Red eyes, a seeming preternatural perception of evil and dark energy, and an unnatural talent for finding the worst in others and fighting against them. Shadow began to realize that regardless of what he had come to know as a human about his fate, he was now choosing freely to take it head on as he took a few steps forward and stared up at the beautiful and majestic Goddess Dragon.

"I am ready to accept this fate." He said proudly.

If it were possible for a Dragon's face to produce a smile, Shadow could swear that he was seeing one on the Goddess Dragon's face right now as it looked to the others.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurgaz Skorrisson Character Portrait: Tallulah Kyminia Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Lysander Ferrinas Character Portrait: Llewellyn Vanharel Character Portrait: West
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#, as written by Ion
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Before the Goddess Dragon


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There was a shift in the atmosphere before the wind changed, and Llewellyn swallowed. This was not going to be a simple matter, but she’d been serious when she’d resolved to undertake this. Kicking up from the west, the wind tore at her loose robes and the braid in her hair, forcing them all backwards to snap like multicolored pennants in the air currents. She had but a few moments to register this, however, before the dragon started glowing, and a rippling wave of energy cascaded through the space before them, tearing into the fabric of her being, so closely she could have sworn it gnawed at her soul.

She knew well the feeling of snapping bones and tearing flesh, and that was what she felt now, even as pressure built up in her skull, behind her eyes as though something were trying to claw free from there. It was a hundred thousand small agonies, or perhaps just one massive one, coalescing everywhere at once. White-hot ripples of pain moved outwards from everywhere, crashing into one another in some kind of discordant, jangling symphony.

But there was also something… else. Something gentler, kinder. She could feel the healing working through her as well, sensitive as she was to the movements of such magic, and though it did little to dull the pain, she understood still the underlying beneficence of the intent, and this helped her weather the splitting sensations. When it stopped, everyone seemed somehow affected. Of those she could see, Shadow dropped to his knees and retched, and the tall, armored man fell into a crouch, planting a fist in the ground and breathing as though he’d just run a marathon in all that steel plating.

Her own knees buckled, and she had the presence of mind to fall safely, rolling onto her side and bringing her knees to her chest. Her entire body was shaking, as though she’d worked every last one of her muscles until there was no strength left in them at all. She felt boneless and small and weak, but this was okay. She’d been made to feel so before; it was not how well one stood up to such trials in their beginning that proved one’s mettle, but how tall one was able to stand at the end.

Coughing and shuddering, Llewellyn managed to get both of her hands underneath her and pushed off with her palms, rippling the equally-strained muscles of her abdomen to get her feet squarely beneath her center of gravity. Pushing off with all four limbs, she regained her feet sometime after both men, but fortunately before the dragon started speaking.

The words were new to her, and in truth, had anyone but a dragon delivered them to her, she might not have believed them. She was not so arrogant as to ever believe herself so chosen by fate, but in some strange way, what she was being told made sense. She knew nothing of her parentage of family, and could not therefore bring any evidence to bear for a denial of who her ancestors may or may not have been. As for herself, well… she had always been told that the process of becoming a Vanharel selected inly for those of strong mind, body, and spirit, but even among her peers, she had always felt somehow singular, strange. She’d thought it nothing more than an idiosyncrasy of personality—the monks were not people who readily compared one recruit to another. But… but perhaps, something in this rang true after all.

Whatever the case, she was not very resistant to the tug of fate as a rule. She was independent, certainly, but only because she’d never felt that particular pull before. She’d never dreamed that fate might have designs on someone like herself. Why should it have? If it did, though…

“And I as well,” she echoed Shadow, stepping forth.

Lysander had a bit more resistance in him. The idea of tying oneself willingly to a dangerous path was not foreign to him, and indeed he’d done so many times before. Nor was the nobility of the cause in question. Properly, he had no reason at all to say no. What was he if not a wandering sword, given no purpose until it was bestowed upon him by another? He was simply a honed instrument, with perhaps the discretion to choose the hand that bade him to action. Surely, no worthier choice might lay before him.

And yet… even a tool, it seemed, could bear doubts in his innermost self. There were still things he desired from life. Simple things; trivial things, even. It was with a distinct sense of foreboding that he approached this question. He was not a terribly complicated man—straightforwardly a knight, straightforwardly the son of simple farmers, with a strange burning at the pit of his stomach that equally straightforwardly consumed without ceasing, temporarily slakeable but not extinguishable in any measure. Nothing about any of that put him in the right kind of position for a task like this. All he ever had to give was his sword and the unquenchable flame in his heart. He doubted it was really what this dragon was looking for.

He shook his head minutely. “I’ll do it,” he said, “but I don’t think I’m really what you’re looking for.”

cron