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Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed

Terra

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a part of Orsa of Terminus: The War Renewed, by Tiko.

Terra

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Terra
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Terra

Terra

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Arrow, Moonscar and Script)

A remote path

ImageThe only warning Arrow had received was an ominous yellow glow about the Sword. Before he had even had a chance to draw the weapon from its sheath fully, the shadow creatures had begun pouring from the rocks to either side of the pathway. Swearing, Arrow fell into a defensive stance, casting his eyes around for an escape route.
ImageThese events were growing more frequent. Anomalies that allowed the Sealed One's minions to pour through. Like little bubbles of evil.
ImageThe first creature met an end upon the sword's tip, practically throwing itself onto the blade as Arrow thrust forwards. Pulling the weapon free he spun into a slash, catching a demon about the neck and casting it down. There were more than a dozen of them now, spilling out into the air like a tide, and the archer narrowed his eyes. This wasn't going to be easy.



ImageNot so far away from the ruckus walked what seemed to be a creature made of shadow and darkness. It nearly matched the height of the trees, and could have almost been mistaken for one. Indeed, even its skin was chipped and wrinkled, with the same texture as bark.
ImageThe nine foot tall giant swerved its head, which was mounted upon a long, skinny neck. It caught sight of a skirmish, and swiftly leaped into action. Upon long, skinny legs did it run upon, taking six foot strides. When it came to battle, it already had its battleaxe out, and swung it down onto the first anomaly, the axe biting deep. Briefly it turned to look at the princely lad, but not for long. It went back to hacking at the demons.
ImageArrow's eyes flashed towards the lizard-like creature for a brief moment, but only long enough to see that it was on his side. Using his unexpected ally's attack as a distraction, Arrow darted backwards.
ImageHe sheathed his sword in a swift motion, and with his hand now free, a flash of light formed in his grip, holding for a moment before his bow appeared, arrow strung and drawn already. A quiver appeared on his back in a similar fashion. Levelling the weapon, Arrow fired. His arrow shot forth, impacting a demon in the neck and dropping it. A second swiftly followed, then a third, each meeting its mark with impeccable accuracy.
ImageEvery shot laid a demon dead and their numbers, while not visibly diminished, were no longer growing. That was a good sign.
ImageThe giant caught the lad's action from the corner of his vision, which extended much farther than one would think for a being without eyes. As he worked to clear a circle around him for which he could work at hacking and chopping more accurately, (because fighting too closely with long limbs is much more difficult) he kept in mind to steer away for the arrows.
ImageHe did not think the lad saw him as a threat, but was wary. It was often that those he helped did not get that he was, indeed, trying to help.
ImageAs Narruk stepped back, he did not take notice of a demon that stood behind him. This gave the thing a chance to attack his ankle and calf, which it did, causing Narruk to let out a high pitched roar which sounded like the rumble of thunder and the scream of a wild creature combined.
ImageWith a twang, the demon that had struck Narruk found an arrow embedded in its neck, and croaking sickeningly it slipped to the ground, dissipating into shadow. More demons began to close on the wounded warrior, and Arrow scowled.
ImageWaving his hand over his next arrow, the archer's hand glowed golden briefly, as did the arrow. When he released it, it met the attacking demon's body with a burst of flame, igniting it and causing it to flail in panic. As it brushed against another of its fellows, the magical fire leaped over to the other, creating a chain reaction of burning demons that scattered even as they fell.
ImageBefore long, only a few arrows later, the demons were fallen and the anomaly - apparently - ceased. Arrow let out a sigh, dispelling his bow in a flash of light and making a hasty way over to Narruk.
Image"What are your injuries?" he asked with concern. That the creature had been wounded coming to his aid put him in his (or her?) debt.
ImageThe giant had gone down to one knee, his back hunched, and yet still managed to tower over the lad. He opened his mouth - revealing a row of jagged, sharp teeth - in a sort of pant, a silent grit as the pain hit him.
Image"Forgive me, sir. It is only a flesh wound," he said this as the bark-like skin on his calf fell away, revealing white bone. No blood. Being a proud warrior, Narruk fought to not show pain. His voice had the same thundery rumble as before, but echoed. "Do not worry, sir." More skin fell away.
ImageArrow frowned. "Do not let your pride be the end of you, warrior." he said, "Come, my home is not far from here. If you will allow me to apply healing to you, you can rest there until you recover fully. My healing is not extensive, but it will prevent you from doing further damage by walking on it." The archer's hand began to glow with a blue light, "Do I have your permission to continue?"
ImageNarruk looked down upon Arrow, expression unreadable. He did something of a nod. "Indeed, you may. I thank you, lad. Who might you be? It is not often I see... anything at all, dwelling within this area," he inquired, sheathing his blade, which looked more like a tooth tied onto a stick then an axe.
ImageArrow worked as he spoke, healing energies moving from his hand to gather over the wound. While it did not heal over, the magic would protect the wound from further damage, and soothe the pain.
Image"My name is Arrow, Arrow Flight. Me and my sister live in what used to be a farmhouse near the lake." he explained, "So when I said not far, I meant that it was within walkable distance. Closer than the city, anyway."
ImageWhat would most likely be mistaken for the sound of wind rustling leaves would be a sigh escaping the Giant's teeth-filled mouth. "Thank you once more, Arrow. I am Narruk Skinn. Forgive me if I was more trouble than help. The taller they are, the harder they fall most say," he said, detaching the large, crooked staff upon his back and using it as leverage for his damaged calf. "I will try not to slow you."
Image"Do not worry, without your aid I would have been forced to tackle them all with my blade. I am far more skilled with a bow. Your help was appreciated." Arrow nodded his head, and gestured, "Come - don't worry about slowing me. It is a time of goodwill, after all."
ImageArrow quirked a smile. While he was unfamiliar with the Christmas tradition, since he had come here he and his sister had adopted the holiday. It was certainly a good excuse to eat well, and lots, and to meet with friends.
ImageNarruk nodded his head slowly, moving ahead alongside Arrow. Every step made a soft thump, his knees creaking like branches. One of his strides easily equalled eight or nine of the proper lad's own, covering quick ground even with Narruk's wounded leg and slowed pace. "I am glad I was able to help, even slightly." said Narruk, adjusting one of the skins that hung off his neck.
ImageNarruk was also unfamiliar with Christmas. He came from a world mostly devoid of tradition altogether. Celebrations were much, much different than the ones there. He hadn't any idea what was there to greet him. That is...if he could fit through the door.



Some time later...

ImageArrow approached the door of his house, and immediately noticed the problem. "Hmmm..." he murmured, glancing from Narruk to the door, and back again. "You may have to bend down. Sideways. Apologies." The archer chuckled lightly, slipping inside and calling out. "Aliana! Do you have a moment? We have a guest who needs a bed. Several beds. There were demons on the pathway, he aided me in fighting them."
ImageFrom a side-room, a head poked around the corner, pale green skinned and with white hair framing a pair of curious golden eyes. "Sir Arrow! You are returned! I hope that the attack was not too taxing, I am sorry to have missed out!"
ImageArrow raised an eyebrow at Kirae, the Sylvari who now fully wandered out into the front hall. "Oh! And you made a friend! He is very large, isn't he, Sir Arrow?"
Image"Ah, yes. He is that." Arrow glanced back to Narruk, "Narruk, may I introduce Kirae. Kirae, Narruk. My sister should be here shortly."
Image"It is not a problem, I encounter this problem many times. It is easier to do so in Elven and Human homes, however, than it is within a Dwarf's..." He explained, giving a smile to the little Sylvari. Instead, it looked more like a hungry snarl for his lack of cheeks and row of fangs.
Image"Greetings, Kirae. It is nice to meet you," he told her. Despite his appearance, Narruk was a perfect gentleman, though his politeness was often wasted on those fearful of him. In fact, he was quite surprised no one had gone off screaming already. He pondered on this as he crouched deeply, knees jutting up into the air as he poked his head through the door. Narruk was tall, yes, but skinny as sticks.
Image"A guest?" A woman's voice came from a doorway to the opposite side of the room, and was soon followed by the woman herself. With reddish brown hair, Aliana was a handsome woman, garbed in a rather less traditional manner to Arrow himself. The bard was out of her leather armour, and wearing a simple top and jeans combination. There was no point in wearing armour when you had no intention of leaving the house, after all. Unless you planned to be preparing any particularly violent turkey dinners.
Image"Oh, of course. I'll go and shift things around, we don't really have that many beds. But I will see what I can do. Ah, and good day, Narruk. I am Aliana - a pleasure. I'll talk more once I have prepared you somewhere to rest." With that, the bard disappeared off upstairs.
ImageKirae smiled brightly to Narruk, "And nice to meet you too, sir!" she said happily, "I must say, you are impressive! You are like a norn and a charr in one, but with the scales and head of a raptor!"
ImageThe sylvari seemed very interested in Narruk, but Arrow waved her aside. "Give him a chance to rest, Kirae, before you bombard him with questions." he said, chuckling. Kirae nodded in response, and Arrow turned to the creature.
Image"What brought you to the pathway that we met on, then, Narruk?"
Image"Good day to you as well, Aliana," said Narruk, returning the greeting. Somehow, he managed to squeeze himself through, though he had to remove the furry skin around his shoulders and lay his staff flat upon the ground. He let out a chuckle, which sounded more like rocks grinding once another as Kirae chattered. "As you are yourself, little one," he said before Arrow waved her away.
ImageTo his questions, he answered: "Searching for evil, sir, in whatever manifestation it so chooses to take. It seems I have found it more than once in these lands."
Image"Searching for evil? You certainly found it. The demons we fought, they were minions of an Evil that deserves a capital letter of its own. The Sealed One - a dark god of some sort, that seeks to free himself from a prison that he has been locked into. I am part of a group that guard the keys to this prison. We seek to end him for good, if we can."
ImageArrow smiled, "But then, all in a day's work."
ImageAliana descended the stairs again, shaking her head. "I don't think that he'll fit upstairs." she admitted, "We don't have a bed large enough, but perhaps the sofa-bed might work?"
ImageSeeing Arrow's blank look at that - her brother spent so little time at the house (thankfully for her sanity, she wasn't sure she could deal with his technophobia and damned-eternal serenity twenty four seven) that he had yet to figure his way around modern furnishings, let alone the television, radio and computer. Aliana had a friend at Academia Celestia to thank for that -- who would have thought that one could 'download' music, and have a device play it for you? - Aliana shook her head, and walked over to the sofa towards the centre of the expansive front room. After some degree of wrestling with it, she extended a bed section outwards.
ImageOn its own, it was not large enough to accommodate Narruk, but thankfully, there were two of them. When both were set up, Aliana nodded. "You can lie here, or sit, if you wish it. There your wound will have chance to heal with Arrow's magic, without being put under strain."
Image"The Sealed One, hm?" Narruk thought aloud, leaning onto his staff, bending the knee to his damaged leg. "A group of people put together to fight this evil power... how very interesting. It makes me proud to hear such a valiant act being put forth, however. Is everyone in this household part of it?" he inquired again. This certainly caught his attention- Narruk was a lone wolf that searched out such things, as he had said. If there was any way he could help...
ImageTo Aliana, he nodded, giving her another one of his nightmarish smiles. "Thank you, miss. I appreciate it greatly. Receiving such kindness is rare."
Image"Only myself, officially. Aliana has helped me on more than one occasion, but Kirae has only expressed a ... wish to." Arrow gave the Sylvari a glance, "Far too enthusiastically, in my opinion, such is the way of one who has not experienced much conflict."
Image"Untrue!" Kirae frowned, "I have experienced plenty of conflict! I am battle tested, Sir Arrow, I will have you know!"
ImageArrow chuckled, "And yet, you have never been to war. But I am not here to suggest that makes me superior. If you wish to join us, I am sure the others would not protest. I know you well enough." The archer turned his gaze to Narruk, "I would welcome your aid, though I cannot say the same with regard to my knowledge of you. I think perhaps it would do to wait a while before I introduce you to the others. I do not mean to offend, but we have suffered from double agents in the past. I need to be certain I can trust you."
Image"It is not a problem, sir. I was a captain in another world. I suffered from similar problems, and I understand fully." He replied, resting the staff onto the opposite wall, which he reached quite easily, as he sat down. The shrunken heads and skulls and feathers upon the staff rattled, then stood still. He took a while to look around the room, nodding once again, and for the last time that night. "Again, thank you, and a million times more. If you will, to regain my strength, I shall take a nap, if I am not so rude."

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#, as written by Tiko
(Post written by Daimayo and Tiko)

Terra - A Precipice

ImageIt had been nearly three days now that Fade had been free. Three days since he had felt the Mist finally lose its grip on the earth where it lay, fading into nothing around the lost king with a scream of defiance and rage. He'd been unable to comprehend what had happened for those days - the Mist had become all that he knew. Its dark whispers and the darker visions it caused all that he truly remembered. He had barely held the energy and awareness to create a sealing weave over his eyes, obscuring them before the brightness of the moonlight that he'd been reborn into could damage them permanently. He'd needed to strengthen the weave not long after as the sun began to rise, and he realized how weak his magic had become. He was directionless now - his only objective had been to escape from the valley in which he'd been trapped for eons, and it was taking some time for Fade to discover that this may not just be some new sadistic trick of the curse in which he'd been trapped. It had shown him visions, yes, but never sunlight or moonlight; as far as the king knew, it couldn't comprehend those things.
ImageKing. The fact that he still managed to think that about himself made him smile bitterly. He was a king no longer. As soon as he'd emerged and his sensory weaves had felt out the surrounding landscape, he knew that much. There were some similarities to the landscape, but the flora had entirely changed, and the moon had been in a different place in the sky. Fade was a king no longer, not that it mattered now. He did not remember where his kingdom had been or anything about his subjects, merely that he'd been ambushed and watched his guards and members of the convoy claw at their eyes as they were eroded away, their lack of magical protection leaving them exposed to the full merciless nature of the Mist.
ImageHe'd been climbing for hours now. His desire to escape where the Mist had lain made him climb out of the valley despite his lingering, feverish weakness, the usually-cautious man throwing it away in a panic to be free. It was only now that he'd realized he had been unthinking in his ascent, and climbed far higher than he'd needed to. He looked down at the surrounding landscape from the sharp cliff face. There was not a soul in sight, and the man wasn't sure if that made him want to smile with good fortune, or weep with the need to see another living being. Looking at his hands, bloodied from the sharp rocks, Fade closed his eyes, extending the sensory weaves slightly as he felt fatigue grip at him. He needed sleep, but it was difficult to get rest with those people whispering in his ear... No-
ImageYelling with fear, the lost king scrambled back as if to distance himself from the voices present in his mind - his hand briefly slid off of the edge of the cliff he'd just surmounted. For a sickening moment his balance was thrown back, forcing him to clamber to keep from falling to his death. Gasping on the rocky ground he lay on his back, unseeing eyes gazing skyward. Was it night or day now? It all seemed like darkness to him. He was not free from the madness of the thing that had trapped him. He could feel it now, the curse hovering beneath his skin, black and oily, its thoughts now merged with his own. Turning his own sensory magic inward, the sight sickened him. It was as if the Mist, or at least a fraction of it, had compacted to fit itself into his body.
Image~Don't look at us~
ImageHe ignored the voice, grimacing. He could feel that the curse had been weakened immensely, partitioned into this tiny amount before it could escape into his body. Despite its weakness however, Fade suspected that it would get stronger as he got stronger, feeding off one another's energy. The thought made him feel ill. Turning his magical gaze outward, the king could not help but linger over the edge of the cliff. It would be easier. At least his suffering would be done then. The voices in his ear urged him to ignore his impulse, seducing and threatening simultaneously, and he shook his head to clear his thoughts. Yes, yes this would be easier than his alternative; jumping would at least ease his loneliness and end the voices finally.
Image~Another. Approaching~
ImageFade hesitated. Someone was coming? He extended his sensory weaves outward, his cautious nature also causing one of his hands to drift down to where he knew one of his blades would be. They were there, his artifacts having kept them safe from the Mist. Readying a single Cold shard to be cast quickly from his left hand should he need it, he turned to face whoever it was, still unable to feel them but there was only one direction they could come from. He found himself narrowing his eyes slightly out of habit, as if it'd let him see further with his magic. As he searched his surroundings, out of the dark came the gentle lyrical notes of a song. The melodious and soothing tune carried an oddly eerie tone despite the normally pleasant nature of the song lyrics.
Image“God will save his fallen angels, and their broken wings he'll mend. When he draws their hearts together, and they learn to love again,” came forth the musical notes. The sound of footsteps were audible as Sanina made no attempt to conceal her arrival. The scent of death was not far behind; a faint whiff of decay and the stench of the grave and rotting corpses. “All their sins will be forgiven, in the twinkle of an eye. All the saints rejoice in heaven, when the fallen angels fly.” The song continued, growing louder with each step. Sanina could not recall where she had heard the song, but it seemed fitting this evening, for God had indeed sent her a fallen angel to mend.
ImageAs Sanina drew closer her song fell into a gentle, though melodious humming while she crooned lightly over a small bundle cradled within her arms - an infant perhaps. “Shhh now Jezebell dear, if you don't rest, you won't get healthy again,” she cooed with the gentle sing-song voice of a mother to her child.
ImageAt either side padded a wolf with three more further back, their flesh hanging loose, and rotted away right down to the bone. Sanina never went anywhere without the added security of her undead escort, and tonight was no exception. She had however left the majority of the pack behind, and soon even the remaining five fell away leaving only Sanina to cross the last few yards to reach Fade. “A fallen king, so lost and alone,” she purred lyrically, taking care not to approach too quickly.
ImageFade had been straining his magical senses to their limit when Sanina's music suddenly filled his ears. The shock of listening to a song after so many centuries of silence and whispers made the lost king nearly fall to his knees. The melody was beautiful, yet haunting and for some reason Fade felt like he'd heard it before, which made no sense as the language that this other person was speaking was completely unknown to him.
ImageIt was only after the sounds of footfall became too loud to ignore that Fade realized his weaves had become disrupted and unravelled as he was enraptured by the tune, leaving him completely blind. He widened his eyes, quickly reworking the magic; the former king had grown so used to the darkness that he needed to keep a constant awareness of his own magic to refrain from slipping back into it. Letting his gaze settle on this other person, Fade almost instinctively took a step back despite the cliff edge behind him - how had she gotten so close without him realizing it? He let his magical senses wash over her body, and a moment later took in the sight of the wolves behind her, though at the moment they seemed supremely unimportant compared to her.
ImageShe was beautiful - that much could be seen even with his own facsimile of sight. He could tell that she was of a different race than him, but could not place exactly what that race was. It seemed like a mixture or cousin to one of the races that he could faintly recall, but despite that, the sight of another person still made his heart ache. It'd been so long since he had known of the existence of anyone. It was a comforting notion, despite the clear danger that she represented. She had a scent to her that also confused the man - part of him was repulsed by it, recognizing what the smell was, but it was a smell that he'd encountered so many times in visions and mad hallucinations that it almost felt comfortable at this point. And the cursed being that now made up a part of his own soul found the scent entirely pleasurable. The mingling of his own feelings and those of the curse left him feeling confused as he regarded this girl with a strange mix of aching happiness for seeing another living soul, attraction to her appearance, her scent, and her song, and the urge to try to kill this woman, or flee as far as he could.
ImageTaking a long moment, he spoke, realizing that his ice magic had faded in his palm as well while he'd been distracted. She would notice him calling up the mana to do so again. "Who are you?" The hand that had been holding his weapon's hilt had slackened, and he tightened his grip on it. "Don't come any closer, unless you have no fear of death." He tried to sound threatening, looking down at her despite his mixed feelings. His survival might depend on it.
ImageSanina's steps remained slow and even, almost soothing in a hypnotic way, but she did not halt her approach. "Shhh," she crooned lyrically, her free hand moving to rest atop Fade's hand that had grasped the hilt of his sword. Close as she was, it became evident that the bundle cradled within the crook of her arm was the morbid skeletal remains of a dead child. Though clearly deceased, the care with which she held it wrapped in her cloak displayed all the love and devotion of a mother with her child. Her skin against his hand was smooth, but cool to the touch. The ease at which her soft administrations could turn necrotic was a chilling thing, but she was not here to hunt and had no intention of harming Fade. Her entire demeanor was both relaxing and soothing, from the sound of her voice to the gentle brush of her hand. Her slow movements were designed to lull him into a state of passivity toward her, and though she did not understand the language he spoke, she continued to talk.
Image“You have no need to fear me...” she crooned softly. “Would you like to be a king again?” she asked. Whether or not he could understand her wasn't her concern, for it was the tone of her voice that would hold the most weight as she tried to soothe and calm him. She was in a vulnerable position, given that she had taken no precautionary measures against the mana gathering within his hand, but his actions led her to believe that he was no threat to her at the moment.
ImageFade's eyes flickered, his emotions readable despite the blackened magical seals that covered them. Mild fear most of all as he regarded what was clearly a dead child. Why was she holding it so close to her, as if it was a part of her soul? The lost king felt fear and confusion, unused to this new world he'd been born into. He resolved that he could escape. If he turned he would not even need to attack her - he likely had the strength to use his magic and slow his fall, and with her bundle she would not be able to follo-
ImageHer hand touched his, and it felt like electricity had shot up his arm, but warmer somehow. He inhaled with shock, and the proximity of the girl let the scent of her fill his senses. Suddenly the world became much smaller. He could hear the voices in his head, unified and roaring with triumph, almost deafening him. He could tell that she was talking, her dark, soft-looking lips moving, but even if he could understand her language, he could barely hear her amongst all of the dark whispers. This woman meant no harm to him, she wanted to help. Her tone of voice wasn't violent. Quite the contrary; it lulled him, and he found that he no longer minded.
ImageHer hand was cold on his arm. He knew it, but his race's resistance to the cold made it feel comfortable; it was a temperature that he enjoyed. It reminded him of the cool stone that had surrounded his underground kingdom.
ImageEyes wide with the memory Fade looked down at her, all trace of fear lost in his sudden excitement as he listened to that melodic voice; looked at her complex and intriguing emotions and felt her smooth, addictively cool skin.
ImageHis arms slackened at his sides, all traces of his willingness to defend himself, both magical and physical, faded. The curse in him had won out, and the lost king knew that he was facing a slippery slope, but he was suddenly finding it much easier to give in to the cool, comfortable darkness.
ImageSanina kept her voice low and soothing, crooning her pleasure at his change in posture. “There see? Isn't that better?” she asked. Her hand moved from his to brush the side of his face gently, and she leaned close almost as if she would kiss him. With her lips hovering just above his, she lingered a moment before leaning up to kiss him lightly on the forehead. “Such a dear you are,” she purred.
ImageIt was not often that she found much interest or use in anything still living, but the necromancer realized the benefits of broadening her horizons beyond her affinity with the undead. There was a question of concern over her lack of control over the living, but from man's seemingly enamored behavior she suspected that would not be a great concern in this case. Drifting back from him, her hand slid away from his face as she offered it to him; to take it and join her. She knew she had him and that he would not refuse the gesture.
ImageHis eyes could not see, but his magic sensed her completely. The dead infant she held, the corrosive aura that surrounded her, and even the predatory nature of her movements, despite her acting more gentle for his sake. But every aspect of her invited him to follow. His senses were overwhelmed by how completely she appealed to the tarnished magic within him, and his own loneliness led him to give into it. He would join her, and embrace the danger he knew he was creating for himself. Fade already felt like he needed her.
ImageThe lost king could not understand what she had said to him, but there was no mistaking that she was offering for him to follow her. Only hesitating for the briefest of seconds, he reached out, taking her offered hand and submitted to the darkness within them both.

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