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Crowen Antillia

Paladin of a lost faith, seeking his way in the world.

0 · 584 views · located in Nazria

a character in “The Age of Change - Year of the black march”, as played by Oborosen

Description

Name: Crowen "Ravok" Antillia
Age: 243
Gender: Male
Height: 6"ft 8"in
Weight: 223"lbs
Race: Vahn





Physical Description: Crowen is easily discernible as one accustomed to life long hardship, his flesh is pecked and marred from a severe number of encounters and his body is solidly built due to his years of training and reluctance to give up his martial pursuits. Though heavily pale, his skin is held snugly across his entire body and the only aspect of hair he has that is visible, belongs to the length of hair growing out of his scalp. This is thanks in part to his physiology not allowing for much more hair to grow anywhere else.

The hair from his head is an intensly lite shade of sandy blonde and left to sway at full length, can reach the full span of his back. He usually lets it hang free when he is away from the field or asleep in his home. But in armor or expecting combat, he keeps his hair in large interlocking braids against his back and held fast with a large silver braid clasp. Thanks to his birthright, Crowen's facial features are extremely sharp and chiseled, a fact that he holds with pride despite what it may cause many onlookers to think. His eyes are a vastly deep emerald green that was inherited from his father, save for a pale grey and black iris that sits in each eyes center.




Class: Paladin (Way of the blue star)

Equipment
Hooded Cloak: A moderately sized brown cloak that extends from the back of the neck and down to the small of the back. Out in the tundra the cloak helps protect the wearers head and face from biting blast of sand borne in the air and even comes with a small piece of grey fabric that can be pulled across the face to help with protection.

Half Plate: Several polished steel plates of armor that sit over a lite set of chain-male, that extends to cover the arms to the base of the forearm and right below the nape of the wearers waist. The largest of the plates protect the chest, shoulders, shoulder blades, ribs, upper arms and with two plates that hang over the thighs. They are fastened with both steel links and thick leather strips. Two small pouches, on the left side help hold certain items an a slightly larger singular pouch is on the right.

Linen Tunic/Trousers: Normally worn as basic attire at home. This set of dark brown & green clothes are basic in function and form. Allowing for ease of movement and possessing several pockets for carrying items that can fit in the palm of a hand.

Leather Boots/Gloves: A pair of gloves normally seen in regulated armies around the continent, though made of two thick pieces of leather a piece. Both pairs of items are easy enough to move in and to use on a day to day basis, without worrying about them degrading quickly. Each pair are laced with a leather strip to allow for snug fits and the boots come with an outward facing steel toe.

Side Satchel: A satchel that can be both worn and hung from the wearers side, via a strap that can be lengthened to sling over the other shoulder. The satchel is large enough to contain up to three days provisions of water & food for the wearer. Plus a small pouch is known as an apothecary's bag, containing room for small vials and or tinctures.

Items: 5"in red wood pipe, 4 linen rags, box of tobacco(sweet), 4"in flint rod & steel spool.




Arms


Bastard Sword: A sword more commonly seen on soldiers planning to see larger beast or cavalry. This swords handle and hilt have been lengthened to allow for Crowen to wield it with both hands and can usually be seen slung loosely on his back. Though drawing the weapon requires him to remove it from his back, scabbard and all. Its blade is 55"in long and the weapon weighs 10"lbs as just the sword alone. The scabbard is another 3"lbs thanks to its thick construction.

Parma Shield: Shields like this were normal for front line troops and other armored soldiers. It has a slightly beveled shape more akin to a short bowl and is constructed out of tightly wrung wood boards, placed over two sheets of fabric. One being of leather and the other being of thick wool to allow for some degree of padding. Its outside is a glazed finish with a steel plate in the center to secure the boards and a lite steel band around the outside of the shield to hold it tight. The shield has a small iron handle for the wielder to grip and a second iron loop for them to help brace the shield on their arm. This loop is usually used to hang the shield on Crowen's back, by running his swords grip through it.

Flanged Mace: A weapon measuring 2"ft in length and made of rout steel, possessing a solid formed steel head weighing 10"lbs by itself. This weapon was used during the last few wars, mainly as a method to deal with armored foes. Because the force of the strike could fracture bone, as well as denting and sometimes destroying sections of a soldiers armor. In more recent years, weapons like this have seen prominent use against the undead. Thanks in part for its ability to turn a walking skeleton into flailing shards and powdered bone. The mace head has nine concentric edges, helping to increase the force of its blows. This weapon weighs 17"lbs and is 3"ft long, head and all. It is usually hung from a steel ring on the right hip, threaded through the ring.

Book of Blue Tears: An item held from his days as a paladin and brought here in search of his new life. Crowen keeps this book on his body at all times and is unwilling to let other read from it. The book is protected by some form of magic that keeps it from burning or being destroyed and in some cases can protect itself by sealing its mass in a block of dark blue ice. The book can only be opened by Crowen and if not being held, it can be found handing from a slack silver chain that keeps it attached to his left hip most of the time. Looping over his belt, the chain encircles the book once before securing itself with a latched hook. The book itself is massive, nearly 8"in thick and measures 13x10"in. Its cover is heavily colored a deep blue with the image of a crystal tear, shaded an even deeper color of blue and turquoise. In warmer weather the book puts of a thin mist as it cools the air around itself and can freeze water if submerged for long enough periods of time.

-This book gives Crowen access to many sigils and incantations that he has created and modified over the years, with its use. Some can boarder on miracles, while others can boarder on vast acts of wrath. The book is no more an item then it is a doorway, allowing him to reach into the realm of his patron god and pull forth the power he needs to cast his divine acts. It is said though, by people that see him in the dead of night. That he can be seen speaking to the book and caressing its cover, like his bond to it is far more then what the world currently knows.




History/Bio

In the past, Crowen was a member of the Way of the Blue star. A highly reclusive and secretive holy order, following teachings left behind by their own deity many generations ago. Though the monastery in which this order was housed, also contained the houses of several other orders of knights. Many with their own teachings and unique abilities. They all shared a massive story for the origins of their teachings and reasons for being.

Crowen was raised for this life, coming from a large family and being the son of a "Cidra" otherwise known as a high born countess. He barely was with want during his early years in at home. However when the time came for him to start training for his future as a holy warrior, he was taken for a powerful culture shock. Life under the lords of the monastery was intense and painful, the Vahn's barbaric nature coming out in the training process. This lead to the deaths of many aspiring Paladins. To which it seemed Crowen was more then capable of, being strong of body and will, he shirked off his old life of ease and knew what it was like to live for the first time. He excelled at his studies and outstripped many of his instructors near the end and eventually he was given his own book, to make his own and bind with. A weapon to fight for the cause and end the end he was released upon the world to fight for his peoples interest.

This however became a problem when he joined the crusades nearly a decade later. The leading cast of his people had seen a great plague of races growing in the south and he was drafted along with over one hundred thousand other soldiers to lead a march into the vast expanse of Nazria. Not much is known about what happened to shake Crowen's belief in his faith, or what made him return to his people only to sever all ties and flee from his homeland to seek penance in the land he tried to conquer.

Strangely though is the fact that he can still call upon the vast acts of faith that were available to him during his years in the service of the monastery.

So begins...

Crowen Antillia's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Jolai Revthi Character Portrait: Garem Nocht Character Portrait: Aki Sifa
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The evening drags on in this isolated section of the world, people are returning from their days in the fields while others still are fast asleep in bed. The land of Nazria is still in its throws of daily movement and none are stopping to pay heed to the changing winds or the the cooling air of the night. For those that stand watch however, it is just the beginning of their duties. The small city of Kontr sits idle, holding its position as it always has as one of the most diverse trading locations in all of Nazria. Behind its sandstone walls, beaten by the arid winds rushing in from the western planes. Sits a city filled to the brim with people of all cultures and walks of life.

But be it a butcher or a tanner, the hunters to the clergy.
Our story starts were many stories do.
In a well known tavern sitting in the center of the city known as the Purple Wurm, patrons talk and drink themselves into a stupor to forget the troubles of life and celebrate another day of harsh living survived.


The air of the tavern is filled with spiced meats and the aromas of sullen drink. Buxom woman pass with the slightest winks, carrying their load of drinks from table to table, only stopping to swat the idle hand and blow and pressing kiss. This place is a testament to the mix of the lives within the city, with the visions of so many races within the multitude of faces in this crowd. One must concentrate to catch a glimpse of the passing elf, or the towering warrior that ponders by. However all of these faces and all of these lives are the usual in this town, always here in this tavern at this time and only a few are here by chance, or providence if that is more accurate.

The entertainer sitting idle at his table however, was pulling attention his way.


Because in the back of the tavern, there sits a table that is nearly devoid of patrons scrambling around it. All that sits there is a man no one knows and more interestingly, no one had seen arrive. He sits in his seat, with a large mug in front of him and several silver pieces scattered beside it. He plays a guitar and keeps his head held low, drumming out low notes and humming to himself as if the whole world did not matter. His visage however was what drew the most attention from those around his table, eyes locked on his tattered clothes and the look of his skin stretched thin on his boney hands.

His voice on the other hand was clear and smooth, every sound his voice made seemed clear and precise. Those that plied their attention were caught in his story and listened with great care.

"The winds of change are blowing my friends.. and soon all with cease to be as you know it." He strums several small times before tuning his guitar for the third time that night. Each pluck of the strings, letting a fine trail of dust free from the instruments frame. "But do not fear, for all this change is exactly what has been seen before and will always come to pass."

"The real question is, where will you be when the march comes through?" He says with a draw in his breath, laughing at the blank stares from a number of onlookers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Jolai Revthi Character Portrait: Garem Nocht Character Portrait: Aki Sifa
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#, as written by Alligot
Atma






The Purple Wurm. The Prancing Stallion. The Red Lion.

The Vibrant Lotus. The Timid Mouse. The Opulent Guardsman.
The Hopping Stag. The Gilded Dragon. The Three Points.

Which was it, again?


The names of all these inns and taverns often blended together for Atma. Memories that were never hers often collided, fighting like wildcats for her attention, her notice. Though these places never truly seemed to change regardless of distance or even time. There was always the smell of spiced ale and sizzling, fatty meat. It was always incredibly dim - almost too dim for her poor eyesight. They were all even named in similar ways.

The same people. Different faces. Different names.

Always the weary drunks, the frilly serving girls.
Always the tired farmers, the cautious traveler, the boisterous entertainer.

Atma personally knew nobody here. Once in a while, she'd see a face, and hear a whispered name, recall the memory of another. In the dim light, it was too difficult for this. Yet it wasn't too difficult to quickly and efficiently stereotype everyone currently inside. After all, taverns were always the same.

Like all taverns, there was always someone playing music. Here, she could hardly hear it over the noise and bustle. The gentle, precise touch on a guitar, the owner of which seemed impossibly old - even to Atma. She had not paid him much mind. She'd heard worse. She'd heard better. The man was quiet in both tone and play.

Then he spoke about the march.


The March of Darkness.
The Black March.
An omen brought on by fog.
Ask.
It never hurts.
It's what - - -


Atma shut her mind - closed the gate. It could never truly drown out their gossips, forever lingering in the back of her mind, but at least she could ignore it. It was strange, though. Most, from what she had heard, had started to flee the fog - the death that reportedly came alongside. She seemed to be the only one heading straight for it.

She again glanced around at the patrons, taking a sip of cider.

How many of them are fleeing? And how many of them are as foolish as I?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Garem Nocht Character Portrait: Veran Del'Lok
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#, as written by RCJJ23
Image



s
The Purple Wurm

Veran sat in the corner of The Purple Wurm watching as the patrons milled about. An empty tankard sat in front of him, and he had waved away all of the barmaids that had come over to refill it. He just didn't feel like drinking anymore. After arriving in the city after clearing out his latest Goblin nest, he'd planned on making the trip over to Perona to continue his freelancing duties when it turned out that no one had wanted to go there for the past few months, and any who did never came back unless they turned around before hand. With no work to be had for the next few days, Veran decided that he'd take a few days to simply relax, and enjoy life for a little while. The thought of doing nothing soothed him for the moment. Then something knocked into his table and knocked him out of his thoughts. He looked up for the one who had bumped into the table but they'd already melted into the crowd. A slight spark flit between his finger tips from his agitation, but the slight tingling on the back of his hand reminded him of the consequences of using his magic.

Veran sighed.

He scanned the tavern once again, the dim light not hampering his sight in the slightest. His Ranger training more than accounted for that. His attention was briefly caught by a young looking but well weathered Human woman, sitting at the bar counter. Though his skills at projecting magic were dulled, his prowess at sensing it, as it was with all Kin, was not lessened in the least. The lingering sense of darkness surrounded her, like one who regularly dealt with curses and the darker sides of magic. This put him on edge slightly, but he also sensed a lighter magic that put him at ease. While he did not have the precise sensing magic available to more magically incline Kin, he still had the general feel of magic around him. He turned his senses elsewhere.

Despite a relatively normal tavern scene, one irregularity caught his attention. At the far end of the tavern was tattered, weathered, thin man. His sickly skin was stretched to an almost disgusting degree, and his clothes tattered so much that it barely clung to him. What was strange was that even from here, over the noise of the tavern, he could hear every word that the man said.

The winds of change are blowing my friends... and soon all will cease as you know it.
But do not fear, for all this change is exactly what has been seen before and will always come to pass.
The real question is, where will you be when the march comes through?


The man chuckled after that. Veran merely shook his head.

He felt like drinking again. He did not know if that was good or bad.

He waved over one of the serving girls to bring him another round.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Jolai Revthi Character Portrait: Garem Nocht Character Portrait: Veran Del'Lok Character Portrait: Aki Sifa
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#, as written by piearty
Sitting in the back corner of bars, head low, hood up, hiding in the shadows, was never Jolai’s favorite thing; it made him feel like a common criminal. But when sitting out in the open, even with his wings curled under his cloak, he tended to get, to put it mildly, rather unwanted attention, and he assumed the patrons at The Purple Wurm would think just as well of heidroxes as the next bar over and the next—that is, not well.

He had been wandering around aimlessly again for a few weeks, sometimes with people, sometimes not. When he was with people during that time, a topic became more and more apparent on travelers’ lips: a march. A fog. Something on the horizon, and, from the fearful way that people often spoke of it, something bad. They wouldn’t speak very much of it, if he asked—only that they needed to get away. It made him curious. He wanted to know more. And, since that was a purpose as much as any, and he had been purposeless for far too long, he meandered over to the nearest city to try to find out about it.

First a rest and a drink, he had thought, and this was how he ended up in the Purple Wurm. He figured after that he’d speak to whomever seemed friendly or knowledgeable (preferably both) around town.

He hadn’t expected to find someone of that description so soon.

For here in the bar was a man strumming a guitar and singing—singing of the march! Though Jolai was quite a ways away from the singer, he heard the words quite clearly, and when he heard mention of the march, he pricked up his ears and listened harder.

The man’s words were quite vague, and he chuckled as if he enjoyed this fact. Jolai supposed if he wanted to know more, he’d have to get up and ask him. The thought did not make him happy. Drawing attention to himself in a tiny, enclosed space with a lot of people? He drew back into the shadows at the thought of it. Not that he didn’t like people, of course. He just liked the ability to run away quickly when it turned out they didn’t like him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Jolai Revthi
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The path Atma travels on is slightly devoid of people, everyone heading home to bed or those starting their night on watch with the guard are all that can be seen. Though the odd passerby from the enjoying the nights festivities is not unheard of and she was could see them stagger by with a drink still in hand.

The western gate was soon in sight now as her feet padded on the cobblestone below and the chapel itself was even more close. As she looked, the men on watch would peer on both sides of the large walls to check for any trouble that could be present. There was an odd commotion though, people coming with with a haste in their step and though she was too far away to hear them, or see their expressions. It was simple enough to know that something was wrong with the way the night was turning out.

* * * *


As she rounded the corner and crossed the street to get to the chapel, she could see it was a decently sized gathering place for the people on this side of the city. It was one of the only buildings in the city save for the barracks and municipal building. In fact it was one of the oldest as well, being there since even before the walls were a thought on the citizens minds. It was a large elongated building with stain glass windows gracing each side and a thick large wooden door, painted red with a matching carpet cascading down the steps to the street. The pride of the chapel was its tall bell tower that sat high above the cities skyline, catching the light of the sun with its large polished brass bell. Her feet made it to the base of the stair before looking up to see figures conversing at the top.

Two men stood at the door of the chapel, holding a conversation between one another and paying no mind to the patrons as they left that nights service. One was easily determinable as the deacon, thanks to his bright red garb and singular golden chain. The hair upon his head, unshaven or trimmed for several seasons was long, gray and thick with time. The same was for his bear too, nearly draping over the amulet hung upon his chest and he spoke with the usual air of authority, despite his calm demeanor.

"Well Crowen, I'd like to thank you again for helping with Morgans vassals. It was unfortunate about dear friar Hagen though.. such a shame." He handed over a small purse of coins to Crowen who accepted them with a measure of piety. "I know, if only others could learn not to play with powers they don't fully understand. That would make both our lives far easier." The deacon nodded in a solemn response before lifting his head to the night air. "I think its time to tend to the rest of the flock.. go in peace Crowen" "And you as well father Janos" The two shake hands and part with the deacon returning inside and Crowen walking down the steps till he reaches the bottom.

"It is considered rude when you listen listen to the conversations of others." He says as he turns an eye over to Atma, while producing a small red pipe from a pouch on the side of his armor. "If you've come for absolution then you'd best hurry. Father Janos will be closing the doors soon.. and its in your best interest to get inside"

* * * *


Several voices clamour for attention from within Atma, some speaking of a voice that he does not speak with and a voice that follows him, just like the others that follow Atma from time to time. However one voice can be heard speaking above the others, for it had only one thing to say, repeating on calm words. He knows

* * * *


While inside the tavern, Jolai kept his eyes locked on the musician as he slowly played and laughed. "Its okay young man, things always look bleak before the light comes.. here" He grabs a silver from the table and flicks it through the air, twirling towards Jolai. Causing him to catch it in response and look back at the musician as he tips his head once again. "Just hold tight and enjoy the ride young man, the night is far from being over."
In that instant a group of men, guardsmen clad in their armor pour in through the door of the tavern. A commotion easily caused by their entering, but they said very little. Instead they went through the crowd calling out names and picking faces from the crowd. Some responding with a title that draws them to the guards and others names being called with the word militia on its tail. It seemed the guards were calling their men back into action and organizing some sort of militia from previous names.

Jolai hears the musicians voice once more as he laughs again, only to turn and see that the odd man was now gone. The only evidence of his existence now was the large mug, now turned over and draining its contents on the table.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae
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#, as written by Alligot
Atma






The mute eyed this man. Pale as paper, with hair that seemed to take the color from the very stars themselves. Maybe when she was younger, she would have thought this man a vampire with his extreme complexion and incredibly angular features and incredible height. He also wore a significant amount of armor. Well-made, well-kept armor. He seemed like a knight of status, and seemed to even stand regally - at least, in Atma's opinion.

A giant.

A wall.
Destined to fall - as all are.



Yet, this was not too strange. Interesting maybe. But there was an issue more pressing than the man's hair color, or even his armor and status.

He knows.


The voice. It didn't come from her, or her conduit. She could feel it - the touch, the footprint that the other mind left, like a slowly fading burn. It came from outside, a spirit that had found a hole into this world. She'd exorcised many. Crushed and ruined the minds of many more. Spirits did not belong in this realm, after all - and they typically did not last long, usually withering away. Atma just hurried it along before one could do any damage in a maddened rage.

But this one - it was not feral. Either this was a separate spirit, or the man himself contacting her, somehow touching his mind with hers. Something Atma did not truly know how to do. She carefully circled about the man, walking up the steps until she met his eyes evenly.

Curiosity?

Foe?

She closed her gate, slipping a hand into her pouch. She could almost hear the imagined crash of iron as it slid shut, muffling the melodies that graced her. As if it would hide her now.

Withdrawing her hand, Atma revealed a thin slip of paper, small tongues of fire starting to trickle from her hand, tracing through the fragile paper. Instead of bursting into flames, only precise, angular strokes were burnt away. The flame eventually ceased... and one who took a proper look at the paper could make out faint, hollowed script.

Who are you?


She tossed the paper towards the man, careful to keep her distance. She didn't believe in coincidence, after all. She knew this had something to do with the singer in the tavern. And, like the singer, this man somehow knew something he really shouldn't.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Veran Del'Lok
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Begrudgingly, Veran had been brought up to the outer ramparts overlooking the main gate into the city Kontr and many hold their breath as they look out into the night air. The sight of several small bands of people huddled together around each of their own torch lights, scrambling towards the gate as fast as their scurrying forms can muster. The massive wooden gate swings wide as several guardsmen usher them in and they hurry to pull the frame back and lock it fast, several keep their eyes stuck to the imaginary horizon off in the distance. As the last light of day had left the sky and blanketed its retreat with a moonless night, devoid of even stars. As if the heavens themselves were unwilling to see the oncoming events unfold.

Veran can hear the voices of the less seasoned men, talking of what might be out there. Only for a stern voice to call out and shush them "Quiet all of you and ready yourselves, the dead are coming." The words came from a man dressed in full battle regalia, with two axes resting at his sides and clad in a full set of steel armor. This man was the Captain of the guard, a fact driven home by the crest of lions on his chest and a long red plume extending from the helmet in his hand. This human of later years bore the mark of a veteran soldier and the large scar crossing his face was proof enough for that. Continued to stare out into the void of the night and kept his words simple. "The refugees say its a mass of walking dead coming this way, swallowing up farm and field alike..." His words are pierced as soon as he sees a younger man on the wall reach for him and call out. "Sir.. we have lights, torches on the crest just coming over the last hill."

Everyone nearly topples that section of the upper wall as they adjust to see and slide ever closer. Many having to strain to see beyond the limit of their own sight. Veran and a few were more gifted in that respect as they could pick out three small burning rings of torch light, gaining in distance. Only for the small figures in the furthest light be snuffed out, as if swallowed by the darkness itself. Though sound did not reach, the whole of the gates attendance could see the frantic motion of bodies running for their lives and several forms become lost as they are trampled by the others. Only for the next light to disappear into nothingness. So with only the last of the torches left, men begin yelling and cursing, drawing what attention they can. Some begin urging the runners on and others ready themselves, knocking their bows and drawing blades alike.

Cries for help begin to reach their ears now as the last few figures begin to make shape and two of the three running succumb to exhaustion before their features become less then blurs. The last of which is easier to tell, as her dirt stained dress drags on her legs from the caked mud and filth. She runs as fast as her legs can usher her, the torch she holds like a beacon reflecting from the crimson red stains in her hair. Her shoulder and face are cut deep and though she still runs, the taxing state of her body causes her to falter and she falls to the ground, with a grip locked on her single source of light. The damage is done however, she no longer possesses the strength to stand and run, only enough to hold the torch in front of her like a shield against the darkness and that too is failing. From the top of the gate they can see the ring of light become dimmer, until one could barely call it a flame at all. Soon though, only a shrill scream fills the air when her form is toppled to the ground and a mass of dark things begin to pile upon her. Many of the soldiers either avert their eyes or bow their heads in disbelief of her dying so close to her salvation.

Soon after the screaming had died, others things start to come into sight. Deep into the dark, there came approaching small pin points of deep red light. So small and focused one could see them beaming a cutting red glow that pierced the dark far outside the glow of the cities walls. These were the lights of dead eyes reflecting in the light of the city, all belonging to an undead creature marching towards the walls.

The captain sets his gaze back on the soldiers as the wave of remorse washes over them and speaks "We cannot allow these things to breach the walls, glory and honor to the man who stands with me on this night and lives." He makes a display of arming with his helmet and raising his fist high and though it garners action from many of his men, many are still lost in the moment.

* * * *


Crowen stands there are the base of the stares, with his pipe held fast in his moth as he takes a puff from the new stack of tobacco and crosses his arms. A messenger running from the gate is telling people to get inside and he offers the same message to Atma and Crowen alike as he passes by, the full huff of speed in his legs. Crowen on the other hand just stands there and keeps looking like he is waiting on something.

Atma's toss of her message lands silently and without awareness, though its goes unanswered for several moments as the wind blows its remains away into the night. This emptiness is filled though, with emotion and thought that is hard to comprehend for the first moment its his. As if someone was pondering the question in great detail, before responding and such an answer did come.

"I am cold..and"

Crowen quickly springs to life from his stance and brings a heavy hand down on the book at his side, almost muting it completely. He cuts his eyes back at Atma for a few moments and turns to face her, only to raise a finger and wag it at her like she were an impertinent child. He walks towards her slowly as he repeatedly taps the brim of his pipe on the edge of his shoulder guard, breaking free loose ashes as he moves. You should be worrying about your own self at the moment little miss.. I suggest you get inside, as tonight is not the best night to go for a walk." His head rises as the sound of the alarm at the gate begins to sound and that in turn causes others to sound around the rest of the city.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Veran Del'Lok
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Atma






Atma wanted to do a great many things. Throttle the man, for remaining so condescending. Follow him, though - she could feel it. Like a pressure slowly encroaching upon her mind - she'd lose him in the horde to come. Like trying to follow a single torchbug in the midst of locusts. Take the man's book, for she had never known an object to speak. Leave him - and find out what was going on before it was too late. Though, unfortunately, she might already be too late.

She gave the pale man a last, hard glance. It still bothered her, a little, minute thing that shouldn't bother someone like her. She was standing here in armor, with a well-crafted weapon. It was clear she was no child who had just picked up a sword. But this minor irritation was almost silenced by the sounds of horns, bells, and turmoil throughout the city. The alarms have struck.

Bastard. She thought. It was a single word, one that Atma felt did the man more than enough justice. She tore her gaze away with a huff, sauntering inside the chapel. I'm in here for their protection, old man. Not the other way around. She heard the large, wooden doors behind her start to screech and shudder across the stone, two red-faced boys starting to pull them to a close.

She tucked her glaive under her arm, a quick walk breaking into a run as she made a bee-line for the back of the chapel. She nearly knocked aside an elderly priest in her haste, but paid it no mind. Her mind was in turmoil - for even the dead in another realm seemed terrified by the horde that bore down upon the city today.

She took the stairs with two, no, three steps at a time. The quicker she got to the towertop, the better.

She would never forget what she saw when she got there.

This was no army, nor even horde. To call it a wave would be a disservice. It seemed like a sea of ungodly death. Despite her ailing eyesight, and the obstacle of the wall in front... she could not see the ground and sands beyond the wall. It was a pulsing, shifting mass of failing flesh and vengeful, alien souls, where nothing would dare touch the ground before being greedily devoured. She could feel them in her mind - a mindless, constant pressure threatening to break her own walls just as they assaulted the ones below.

Fear. Flight. Run - don't hide. Flee - don't fight.
Hiding never worked.
Fighting was doomed to fail.








She hoped that the walls would hold.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Veran Del'Lok
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Anyone could feel the panic above the gate as many more of the undead shambled into sight. Their dead eyes fixed on the wooded walls of the ample city, like a vast meal that just waits to be consumed. The captain throws orders out as each man who is capable, begins to pelt the undead mass with arrows and bolts alike. "I want every man to make his shots count, aim for the head and keep firing." He grabs hold of a man in leather, though man would be a stretch of the term for him. He was most likely a porter of some sort, outfitted to run messages between units of the city militia. "Go to the western entrance and make sure it is shored up tight, I will not risk those thing getting into this city." The young man sprang back with a salute and ran as quickly down the stairs as his feet could carry him.

He passed by Crowen on the way down as the paladin made his way up, pressing around him without so much as a word.

The alarms of the city were still ringing as he stepped onto the top of the gate and he pressed his way passed several militia men to make it to the front, barely brushing Veran aside to make room through all the clamoring bodies. He tried to get close enough to peer over the edge of the wall, only for the armored hand of the captain to grab him by the shoulder. "Crowen.. I thought you would take your time before coming here to gloat." Crowen slowly stared back at him, before removing the captains hand from his shoulder. "If I had come to gloat Captain Reinald, I would not have come armed." Several of the men start to whisper between one another when the two look at one another."The guild masters were the ones to ignore the warnings, while you and your men at least listened. However if it makes you feel better.. I told you so." That phrase nearly drew a laugh from the captain, however a heartfelt sigh was present instead.

The two became quiet for a moment as they contemplated the fate of the city and the sound of the undead horde beyond the wall became more prominent. Soon the sound of several hands clawing their presence away at the wall could be heard and the gate itself began to groan at the weight of the mass behind it. "If you have any ideas, I suggest you offer them up now."

Crowen nodded as he peered back over the wall and looked down in front of the gate. There were bodies piling in behind one another to get to the wall, each one an undead slave now. Those that looked up at him showed no sign of life or thought, just black empty eyes gazing back as the began to wear away their own fingers on the fortification. "You need to thin their numbers before they get close to breaching the wall. Fire pots would serve, but your men must throw them far from the wall and shoot down the ones that bring the flames closer." The captain agreed with a stiff nod as he looked on to several guards at his left, they had been paying attention long enough to warrant doing this task themselves and three of them quickly ran off for the supplies. Crowen slid his mace from the ring on his side and choked his grip further up the shaft. "I will do what I can to prepare for them breaking through the gate." The captain agrees with one last solemn nod before letting Crowen go on his way.

* * * *


As Atma looked on at the undead army that slowly began to swarm against the walls of the city, she could hear steps being made in pursuit of her up the tower steps. The familiar face of the chapels dean popped up from the open stairwell and he had a look on his face that was slightly frantic. "There you are.." He breathed a content sigh as he finished ascending the stairs and looked out towards the gate. "By the gods.. its far worse then I had imagined." He said.

"He said the undead would swell their numbers as they marched, but this is shear madness." As Atma stood near him, voics began to speak up about the dean.

Lies, troubled past, deceit, death.
He atones for past sins, he is the last.


The dean looks at Atma for a moment before speaking up. "The city is in for troubled times, I can just feel it." He begins to choke up on his words, as if he was going to say something else and caught himself in the process. "Miss, everyone is taking refuge in the main hall, I suggest you do the same." He said as he began to walk back down the stairs of the tower.

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Atma








"Troubled times" is a bit of an understatement. She thought. The dean could have been talking about a monetary crash, or a blight destroying crops. With a besieging force large enough to cover the city twice over, Atma would not have blamed the man for somewhat stronger language.

Isn't this what you wanted? To see it up close?

Nobody can get closer than this.


Her gaze lingered on the steps, where the dean had just stood a moment before. Not many of the cloth were as pure or chaste as one would expect. The most pious tended to be the greatest sinners, after all. Curiosity prickled at the back of her mind, urging her to discover his story. Maybe it'd be like all the sinner-turned-pastor stories she knew. Maybe it was different. Still, she had no time to indulge her curiosity, not with this threat looming upon them all.

She could see the gates buckling. She hoped that so far they would hold. For no matter how many undead there were, you needed more than raw weight and mass to break down these fortifications, after all. No, the horde would need a siege engine to break through, and she doubted the undead could operate such machines.

There was a flaw in every armor, however. A crack in every stone. Eventually the dead would find themselves within the city, either through brute force or sheer luck. It was only a matter of time.

She followed the dean's steps, sauntering back down the long stairs. Upon reaching the lobby, she almost felt deafened. Scared voices, confused and panicked voices were reaching her ears from all around. Even if the chapel was a large building by the city's standards, Atma still felt stifled as she pushed and nudged her way through stray refugees, packed in tight like cattle - cattle for the horde's fancy.

It was only a matter of time before every face in here had the same pallid complexion as the beasts outside. Every story, snuffed out. Forgotten. Converted into nothing more than a mindless, cannibalistic machine. No, Atma would not let it happen. She couldn't keep them out of the whole city - she was just one person. But this one person would be enough to keep them out of the chapel.

And, well, it just wouldn't do for the dean to perish - for everybody had sins to atone for, debts to be paid. Atma's just happened to be due now.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Veran Del'Lok Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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The dean of the cathedral had left Atma's sight for several moments. His form carving its way through the crowd and they parted in their fearful state, being led away from the main door by the sister of the parish. Their whit and red robes leading them each to a place to rest themselves. These people were all members of the faith of Nariss the patron goddess of forgiveness. The tell tale item of all members of this sect was the same as the Deans, being a flat gold medallion strung around the neck. The center piece being a white tear stone pearl fixed to its center.

It was at that time that Atma caught sight of the Dean once again, having sat himself down next to the center isle of the main hall and keeping his eyes fixed on the door. Two priest, young men despite their occupations penance towards the elder. Were closing the latches on the main door, before sliding a heavy crossbeam on a set of mounts to hold it shut. The beam was new compared to the rest of the door, indicating that it had been added not long before this night began.

The Dean kept his eyes fixed on it though and Atma could see that he was preoccupied with heavy heart and memories. He looked as tough he could cry at a moments notice and in his hands there sat a long, thin, black crystal. Almost reminiscent of a wand, though its form was strangely worn by time and use. He focuses on the door, wringing his fingers around this little keepsake all the while. Only for a moment does he take his eyes from there to look back at Atma "You best be ready to run when the time comes. Though by the looks of you, your will to fight may hold out."

"Crowen will do what he can to keep them at bay as long as possible."

He rolls the crystal wand over in his hand, revealing that the brim of its head is crowned by small white objects. On closer inspection, these small objects appear to be polished stone, but instead are revealed to be five dagger like teeth that meet one another at the wands top.

* * * *


On the eastern edge of the city, the gate sets closed and secured, with its ramparts manned and ready. A line of militia men stand on its peaks and watch the inky blackness of the moonless night. Their number is abuzz with the information they receive from the main gate to the west and each of them banter with the possibility of what may transpire tonight.

Among them was one of their number who had just arrived to the city that night.

Nylle sat on the coaches seat of an abandoned merchant wagon, last of the few to be allowed into the city before the gates came to a close. Her feet dangled from the side of the cart as soldiers and militia alike moved back and forth, sending word from command to front as they went. Her appearance in the city being one of the topics within the rank and file, but she can hear them speak about her from time to time as they think its under their breath.

She has yet to retrieve the rest of her items from the wagon and due to the original owner abandoning it, she is the sole person left to take advantage of the situation. It owner already having disappeared somewhere deeper into the city to seek shelter.

* * * *


Back at the western end of the city, things were far more different.
The gates of the city slowly pulsed with the weight of fleshed pressed against the other side of the barrier and the sound of limbs being struck against its walls were mounting every passing moment. The soldiers had already retrieved their supplies from their barracks and were now well into their fourth volley of throwing firebombs into the crowd of undead amassing at the walls. They would toss the bombs far from the walls and gate, with the flames spreading through the ranks of undead as they marched ever closer.

To say the least, the smell was not in the least way appetizing as corpses fell to the roiling flames. However the tactic was working its magic on the ranks of the undead, those that fell spread the fire to those that climbed over them and the further they marched the more undead they passed the flames on to. Veran could see very few ways that the undead could possibly deal with this threat and did his part with the other militia to drop the burning walkers from reaching the walls or gate.

His face distorts with a wince as something flies past his head, causing him to shift his stance. A question that he cannot formulate in his mind starts to wander, before he realizes what has happened. The soldier to his left falls with little effort in his way to stand. A long twisted bolt stands erect from his left eye, as whats left of his life drains from the new hole in his person. It takes Veran a moment to peer over the rampart before ducking back and he can instantly see what is going on.

There is a line of undead approaching, not at all like the ones before. They march in rusted and pitted armor, still bearing the holes of the battle that took their lives originally. A large force of them marching in formation, like that of a seasoned army on the move. Those in the back of the formation possessed crossbows, pelting the walls and ramparts with a near endless volley of flying death. While the ones leading the formation wielded the weapons of distorted iron, using their own arms to cleave apart the walking undead in front of them. Clearing the way for themselves and the troops behind.

Crowen on the other hand had spent the last few minutes at the back of the gate, kneeling and praying with his book in one hand and his weapon in the other. Though the look of him was a man in prayer, no words escaped his lips and though they moved no sound was uttered. The only thing that could be seen, was a frosting mist that poured forth from his mouth as he prayed. He held his mace, facing its head towards the base of the gate and as he slapped his book closed, the weapon came down. As it made contact with the ground, a sheet of its formed were it struck and the ice traveled up the face of the structure. Long ridges of ice formed as it encompassed the gate and as they reached the top, the growth of the ice came to a stand still.

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As the last of the frost came creeping up the gates surface, forming a thick sheet as it interlaced with the rest of its form. Crowen backed away and took a moment to admire his work, though the time between performing rites and using any of the knowledge he gained from his formative years. This moment was ended when the sound of beating fist and scrapping nails renewed his idea of that singular moment in time. His eyes trailed down to the gates base as he could see small pools of darkened blood pooling from under its edge. The dead army on the other side, not caring whether or not its collective arms are beaten too a pulp before the deed of battle could be realized.

His heavy boots tread back a few feet as the sand riddled cobblestone of the road began to darken with each passing second and he slid his mace back into its ring on his hip for the time being. Letting his left hand rest on the cover of his book, for the moment all he could think about was finishing his smoke.

Crowen keeps his eyes fixed all the same, listening to the tell tale sounds of war on the other side of the gate. Hoping that what the guards can manage to do to the horde on the other side, will be enough to tip the scale in their favor, should the battle spill over into the city. The sound of bolts striking against the ramparts becomes more apparent as he looks up for a moment to see small glints of metal wring by. This told him that the more valuable dead, have finally come into contact with the city guard. A damning and saving grace, seeing as he knew that it meant the armies numbers were getting spent clashing against the wall. While also meaning as well that the more powerful specimens cannot be too far behind. Though, for as long as the wall holds one can admit it does add a momentary reprieve.

After some time staring at the gate, the sound of marching began to reach Crowen's ears and he found himself concentrating on the large door in front of him. However he was soon surprised to realize that the sound was not emanating from before him, instead it was coming from behind and as he turned his head he could see them. A detachment of guards formed into a phalanx was set, marching towards the gate. Though he could see that the look of them was not that of a group determined to fight the black march on this night. His eyes focus to see someone standing in their path, a woman by the look of her silhouette and as the site becomes more clear she is one of the Heidrox as well. Though her spent wings and form show she is ready for combat as well, he can see she is running on nearly nothing and possibly using some other means to keep her stamina up. One of the men in the phalanx push her to the side roughly, a display of discontent that is sometimes unanimous in the city.

The heavy march of the armored guards brings them to a halt nearly a few yards from Crowen's position. The men being in absurdly heavy gear, wielding spears and shields, all pointed in defiance towards Crowen. As their number split to reveal a smaller more well dressed man. Who Crowen could easily pick out from a distance as Ruthverd. City crier, treasurer, assistant to the Duke of Kontr and more or less a pain in any decent mans ass. His primp and powdered face framed by that garishly done hair was not enough, seeing as he wore the same damning grin that he did when stepping on people underfoot and though he was a blatant bastard.

The Duke himself was worse...

Crowen looked on at Ruthveryd as he returned the stare as usual, looking down his nose the whole time. "I warned you.. twice even and not one of you would hear of it. I guess an apology is rather late though I am still open to the fact."

Ruthverd spoke back, with barely a chance for Crowen to finish his words. "No apologies specter.." Crowen's lip winced as he registered the derogatory statement. "We know you had something to do with this.. and the fact your trying to leave, proves your guilt all too well." Crowen takes the time to free his pipe once again, still warm from its last use and proceeds to lite and smoke the remainder of the tobacco. Ruthverd continues unabated however "You are to hand over your arms and come with me to be escorted to see his eminence."

Crowen laughs at the use of such a title, it being hammered home more by the fact it was Ruthverd saying it.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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She had been pushed. It took a full sixty seconds for the thought to be processed successfully from her clouded thoughts and register entirely. She had been pushed, shoved like some kind of mongrel; like a commoner no less, and far worse. She’d been pushed by a human. It took everything in her somewhat civilized mind to prevent herself from throwing herself in amongst the well armored phalanx and tearing them to shreds. Part of her drug enhanced, and clouded mind knew she would be killed; there was certainty in that. However she knew quite well that within this state she could clear a third of those men before they could kill her.

She would snatch her pack and clutch with one hand and her crossbow in her other and stalk towards the humans that dared annoy her this day. She already hated humans, despised them and their petty ways, this was just one more notch on her belt of reasons to kill each and every one she ever came across in the future…. Provided she lived through the coming invasion.

The soldiers split allowing a small man approach the ice magiker. She could not hear clearly what was being said but by the grimace on the magikers face it was far from a kind conversation.

“… and the fact that you’re trying to leave, proves your guilt all too well. You are to hand over your arms and come with me to be escorted to see his eminence.”

The magiker was laughing despite the face he was making, but she was too angry, too enraged to think clearly; instead she came to stop between the magiker and the little man with a snarl on her lips. Crimson eyes would regard the small man for a moment before traveling the guards behind him. She would speak with a growl, slowly to make herself heard clearly. “These are your men.” It was not a question; she would only pause for a moment before continuing. “They should be guarding your people not escorting around a whore in times like this.” Eyes would focus back on the painted man before her. “Do you not live in this town? Do you not see what is happening? You are under attack and yet here you wander freely.” She’d snort with laughter, the irony was appalling. “Who will serve you; whore, when your people are dead?”

The side effects of the herbs she had taken had not worn off. Her wings, which she typically kept tucked and folded against her back where erects, arched behind her. If they had been white and feathered they would resemble human art work representing their angels, however Nylles wings were leathery, torn. Both sets rose above her head nearly a foot and a half before arching downwards. Her right wing was cut short at her waist, tattered ends would flicker in the wind, whilst the left reached the ground around her feet, bend and dragging. Had they been undamaged they could be spread out to span ten feet from shoulder blade to wing tip. Nylle had little control over them, or feeling since she’d injured them nearly twenty years ago.

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The old priest Janos laughed for a moment as Atma sprawled too her feet and looked out of the adjacent window, standing himself he spoke. "If it were so simple; maybe, but Crowen and I were fighting to do good things. In a regretibly horrible world, which I'm sorry to say. May have been a little before your time young mam." He stepped to the heavy wooden door and gazed up at Atma, wondering what it was that caught her attention.

He opened the spy slot on the door, working his hand around some of the new additions that were meant to strengthen it and sighed as he peered out. "And that would be a testament to the more horrible aspects of this world." He leered closer to get his eyes as close too the viewing slit as possibly. "As always, Ruthverd never brings enough men..."




As Crowen looked on at the men in front of him, the soldiers pared off with him and the woman behind them. Holding their spears aloft and shields held bare in front of them, like a bulwark to any storm. The slots in their helmets, only visible from the notched edges on the sides of their shields. Ruthverd's face had become contorted at this point, with the added ideal that he had been ignored this whole time and his voice burst out with a broken shrill as he screams at Crowen. "Listen you damned ghost, drop your weapons and give in to his eminences law or die right where you stand. You will have till the count of ten... one.. two.." As the words began to leave his lips, a blast of force hits the gate and its weighted mass buckles, sending splinters of wood and ice flying. The only one not to turn is Crowen, as he knows all too well what that meant. Locking eyes with the winged woman on the side of the road, he nudges with a motion of his head for her to move. Another crash at the gate sounds, more splinters and ice flying. This time however, the act is accompanied by multitudes of guardsmen scrambling from the top of the gates rampart.

Everything goes silent for some time, as everyone, even Ruthverd had stopped making any form of noise. Crowen clutches his shield tightly as he readies for the hell that is to come and as if one cue, the gate erupts into a sea of flowing splinters and bolts. Its mass torn from the frame of the gateway and flung too the side.

What came crashing though was nothing short of a nightmare. It was a monstrously side undead, with the look and proportions of a man. Its size however was easily three times that of a normal solider and its body was a pale blue, like that of a sunken bloated corpse. its body bound with large trappings of stitching and leather bindings, while its head was completely enclosed in a massive, rusted, iron shell. It walked on misshapen legs, awkwardly connected too its own body.
Its gate was set off even more by the daunting weapon that it drug along its side, attached too the one arm it possessed. Its forearm had been amputated and a great iron ball had been affixed with a heavy chain, with which it swung around with reckless abandon.

As Crowen turned to face it, he ducked a wild swing by the monster as it slowed to right itself. The miss, causing it to nearly spin wildly in its stumbling gate. The armed guard on the other hand, had already clustered and ran. With Ruthverd being held in the center of their tight formation.

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The little man was fuming; she was pleased. She heard his words with little interest, something beyond the gate was drawing her attention and as the small man started to count the wooden gate groaned and splintered. She would not move, at first, from her defensive stand, she would not allow the humans to catch her off guard, however her eyes would flicker towards the magicker, the one the small man had called a ghost. He had not moved either, however he nodded his head towards her and she’d move as indicated, away from the man and the phalanx seemingly in the nick of time.

Men were running from the ramparts, shouting and screaming for others to flee; she couldn’t even begin to imagine what would case this sort of panic among trained soldiers. The men within the phalanx as well as the small man had fallen silent and still, like her all watching the gate in awe and confusion. As though some sort of karmic god were mocking her; the gate was thrown open, tossed to the side like it was made of cloth. Ice, wood and metal shattered forward and a leathery wing would draw forward to protect her eyes from the debris.

The thing that had come from the night was beyond description, a thing she’d never seen before and she was now cursing herself for even coming to this gods forsaken place. It shambled towards them and she instinctively backed away. She was no warrior, not equipped to fight in combat with this sort of thing. The man and his phalanx were fleeing, though this didn’t surprise her, however the magicker was standing his ground, shield held up she could only shake her head. Fool.

Pack was dropped from her hand tossed out of the way, there was nothing of use within it for the time being, clutch was slung over her shoulder, opening facing forward. She’d pull her iron helm from her belt and lock it over her horns, at least if it tossed any more debris her direction she’d be ready. Deftly her skilled fingers worked at restringing her crossbow and knocking her first bolt; regular ammunition. She could only assume the magiker knew what he was doing, that there was some sort of plan ahead, so she’d do as any soldier would: wait for her orders, if none came she’d work it out herself.

Her best guess was to disable the thing; a headshot would not be possible. It seemed as though it would be possible to destroy its legs, however using an explosive with the man within its proximity it would kill them both. She would do it if the shambling nightmare threatened her life, but as far as she could tell this magicker was of the same position as her. No choice but to fight for a city that could careless of their presence.

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Crowen leaned back on his foot to let the creatures swaying motion miss him again. Its obvious lack of mobility was only overshadowed by its unbalanced gate and every time it swung the metal orb, it took several moments for it to rights its own position. Crowen looked past its legs after ducking another swing and look on to see that several packs of undead had pushed in though the breach and splintered off. The guardsmen who fell were now prey to gnashing teeth as their screams could be heard from some distance away. Every large, wobbling step from the giant was followed by a swing of its wrecking ball and each step took them closer to the from of the cathedral.

The creature readied another swing as Crowen did the same, pulling his mace back and holding his shield steady, waiting for his opening. He tightened his grip on the hilt of his weapon as he slowly began to recite words of prayer and the head of the mace shined a dull blue. The beast swung its arm with great force, sending its weapon careening over its own mass and down towards the paladin. Crowen ducked forward rushed ahead of its impact, several pounds of dirt and cobblestone being flung into the air as the weapon came crashing down.

Crowen spun as he swung the mace, its dim glow brightening as it traveled. In the midst of the swing a large block of ice crystallized over the head of the mace, right before impact with the creatures knee. The resounding impact, was that akin to the sound of a dull thunder strike and the ensuing crash left ribbons of flesh and sinew flying through the air. The creature did not cry in pain, though its discomfort was evident. Lacking the ability to get its weight back, the iron ball was now an anchor tethering it too the earth and its weight threatened to buckle its one remaining knee. The beast feel with a strained thud, laying across its own embedded weapon and began to scramble in place as it tried to right itself with limbs it did not possess.

He looks on at the woman down the street, giving her a strange look. Partially mixed with a form of recognition and need, before looking back up the stairs leading to the cathedral. "Janos, open up. The gate.. has fallen." He yelled up towards the door as he looked back towards Nylle. "I think its time we dug in and got ready." Several of the walking dead managed to get closer, drawn by the commotion of the large bruisers actions. Crowen is able to dispatch them with swift swings to the head, before kicking one away and doing the same again.

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Atma





Atma had seen and heard much, both personally and in proxy. Yet, she had never seen such a brutish creature before. It made a fully-grown Heirdrox seem as dainty and fragile as a young child. Even so, the vampire had laid it flat with a single, catastrophic blow. Behind the beast, she could see the undead hordes leaking through the wooden remnants, cutting and devouring those who stood in their way.

"Janos, open up. The gate.. has fallen."

She could hear the muffled voice, even from behind the thick door. Though she was not the priest, she sprung up, ignoring the wails of fear behind her. One of the young men who had secured the door was in a heated debate with another, on whether or not they should open at all.

Placing her hands under the thick wooden beam, she lifted it up with a grunt, the beam almost too heavy for her as she was now. The second robed man assisted her, and after a minute, they managed to prop up the beam, allowing the door to open just barely enough for someone to enter.

"In, in! Quick, hurry!" The robed lad said, making a desperate, panicked motion.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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~Crowen~




As the door swung open, only to show a tight avenue to move though. Crowen reached out as he moved over to touch Nylle "Come on.. no time to argue." He pulled her along, making sure to scoop up her bag as it was nearly left behind. Undead began to climb the stairs to the cathedral as the would reach out for the door, falling over one another. Black slack jawed faces, with inky red stains trailed from their mouths approaching. Only for them to receive a few cursory shots with his mace as Crowen came barreling through.

He allowed Nylle to squeeze though first as he kicked away several unwanted hands, doing his best to keep himself secure from the ever growing mass of grasping hands and biting jaws. They were relentless in their pursuit of flesh and within the moment of the bruisers fall, they were now amassing from the broken gate. Fleeting figures of scared towns people could be seen between the latching of homes and alleyways. As they scrambled to find respite, either by locking themselves in or fleeing towards the center of the town.

As Crowen pulled his shoulder in the door, several gnarled fingers came chasing through. Trying to snatch at whatever surface they could gain purchase on and pull. Janos stepped forward, pushing his way between two priest and producing his wand. Shoving it through the door and shouting a singular word "Pulsus" a wave of energy get is released from his wand at this command and even the heavy door has a hard time stomaching the force. As the mass of bodies on the other side are flung away and scattered through the air. The door is slammed shut as Crowen lays his shoulder into it and quickly, the heavy bar and bolts are slid back into place.

Janos moves up and opens the slid once more to gaze out, only for a barrage of hands trying to find their way in, to force his head back. "This is far worse then what you warned about Crowen, where did they get so many?" Crowen shrugs slightly as he wipes a dingy red streak from the plate on his left shoulder and hangs his mace back on his hip. "I think they must have taken more settlements while on their way here."

"Those poor, sorry, bastards."


He places his hand on the door and a look of contemplation comes over him. "We should be able to wait this out here, its our best bet for now at least." Janos places his wand back into the sleeve of his robe and slowly begins to pace "This is insane, if only they had listened.. we could have had a full regiment here. Enough men to defend the gate and not a single dead would have entered the city." Crowen sits on the first pew that he could get too, rummaging through one of his pouches and packing his pipe once again. "This isn't a mistake, the duke most likely has them huddled around his manor." A slightly horrified look quickly passes over his face and he gains a somber expression as the end of his pipe lights. It seems that something has crossed his mind, though he does not speak about it.




Atma can hear a voice issuing from within Crowen, only for her to realize that it once again is coming from the book strapped across his side. "They will all die Crowen.. all of them, clawing at the walls of the dukes manse. If only he wasn't a vile little worm of a man.. all of those innocent people would survive the night." Crowen quickly places a hand on the books cover and all indication of a voice stops.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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#, as written by Alligot
Atma






If there was one positive thing about being trapped in this chapel, it's that Atma might finally figure out the secret behind Crowen and his book. Especially with how impenetrable the chapel seemed.

She could hear the undead outside striking at the windows, causing the spectators to retreat and scurry to hide behind benches and pillars in the center. Many of them were much too small for anything but a child to slip through. This, coupled with the unlikely case of them breaking in the first place - bound with iron that they were - left the windows as cause for little worry.

The tower above might actually be a worry, as it was wide open. But it was more than a few yards from the nearby battlements, and she doubted that any of the dead could scale the weathered stone walls. An exceptionally fit human might be able to make the jump, but even then, it wouldn't be certain.

Which leaves the door, so long as there weren't any underground passages. It was made of a thick, heavy wood. Burning it normally wouldn't work, and she suspected it would be rather difficult to strike or open it with magic. Many places of worship tended to be protected or blessed against such things. Some tricky bit of alchemy might be able to gain the undead some purchase - if she believed they were capable of such a feat at all. And a battering ram would be useless -

A battering ram. Atma thought, her eyes widening. She'd been an idiot to let it slip her mind - she'd just seen it happen a moment ago! Those gates were supposed to be invincible against any sort of ram. And they're much, much larger than this door.

Her gaze shifted between Crowen, Janos, and the woman who had accompanied the former. Atma had never seen too many of her kind. But from what little she knew, this woman was a bit short in comparison to others, and her wings were to be in painful tatters - though the injury seemed far from fresh. What's she doing in a human city, especially in the middle of all this?

Atma wished she could ask. Instead, she approached the trio, raising her left arm and snapping twice - a startlingly loud noise that even drew the attention of some refugees, as distracted as they are. She motioned out towards one of the windows - where the brutish, grotesque undead could still be seen tottering about, then pointed towards the firmly-secured door.

There's nothing stopping them from breaking open this one, too. She thought.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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There had been no time to consider the odds, no time to even think about survival; the horde of undead were pouring through the gaping gates, over running any man or woman that attempted to stop them. It had been her first thought, to turn and assist any remaining guards with keeping the swelling mass at bay but even as her crimson eyes turned back towards the gates she'd seen no men left. It was so confusing that she simply didn't move, she just stared. Where had they gone? It didn't occur to her that they were beneath the mass until she felt Corwen hand brush her, drawing her attention. She frowned as he spoke: Come on.. no time to argue." She was drawn along, and she would make no argument, he'd kept her from harms way thus far, no reason he wouldn't do so again.

Ahead the churches door was pushed slightly ajar, and she balked for just the slightest moment before she was being encouraged between the doors. It was a squeeze and once on the other side she was stunned at the masses huddled within. Several of the closer humans, those not part of the clergy or the woman whom waited near, step away from her, worried whispers amongst them until Corwen pulled himself through and the doors were closed.

This was most certainly not the place she wanted to be, though outside of the doors were not currently preferable, she'd been in situations much like this in the past and herds of frightened humans often did very strange things. She'd read of and witnessed humans sacrificing those not like themselves to their god for safe passage and it was easy to see she was the only one here not quite like the others...

Corwen was seating himself on a pew and speaking, she listened while keeping a wary eye on the humans near by, but something caught her attention enough to draw closer and hiss: "Wait it out? Stay in here?" This was not something she counting on, she'd though, she'd hoped, that there was some sort of exit from this church away from the attack, perhaps somewhere where they could redouble their forces and possibly make a better stand.

The woman approached, caught their attention with noise then motioned first to the window, or rather beyond to the nightmare beast outside, then to the doors she'd just squeezed through. A groan would escape her lips as she came to realize what the woman meant and she'd turn her attention back to Corwen. "Ice didn't prevent it last time, anything else that might? Does holy water work against this sort? Is that even a thing?" She'd give a side glance to the one name Janos, hoping she didn't offend the man in his place of worship, but she knew quite well the human god would not save her sorry flesh.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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~Crowen~





Janos slightly sighs with a smile, as Nylle raises the question about holy water. "Yes, it does. However that is only from an exceptionally powerful priest and one that specializes in banishing such things. The goddess of redemption does not forbid such things.." Janos clutches his hand lightly around the medallion framing his neck and looks on too Crowen. "She is right Crowen.. we cannot stay here for long. Something bigger is bound to come and then we will no longer be safe here."

Crowen still puffed away on his pipe for a moment as a look of intense thought could be seen running across his brow. He was not sure what to do, the walls here where thick and stone built yes. It was the problem that someone would do something stupid in the long run though and the numbers outside would not bode well for the city. He hated not knowing what to do, after all those years in service and following orders, he thought he had his life figured out by now.

His eyes landed on the winged girl who he brought in with him, she had the look of not wanting to be here as much as the others. Suppose though that he was the one to blame for that. He stood and knocked the last of the ash from his pipe, snapping it against his left gauntlet. "Well one hope is that you stay here while I make sure the alcove is clear, keeping it that way should be easy enough at least." He stowed his pipe away one last time before turning and looking dead at Nylle, approaching her slightly. Doing so, he caught the site of the young woman from before. She was on her feet and snapping her fingers for his attention, no less the attention of the whole gathering hall.

She pointed out the widow, motioning towards the beast of an undead as it still attempted to right itself. However due to its broken state, the chances of that were incredibly abysmal to start with.

He nods and replies "Yes, he is still there and I think we do have some time before something like that comes by. However I'm not willing to bet my life on it.. I have faith.. but I'm not stupid." He looks her over for a moment as sees that on closer inspection there is something off about her. Nothing dangerously wrong, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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#, as written by Alligot
Atma






Staring at someone is not a healthy habit, old one. Atma thought, holding the Vahn's gaze for a few seconds and cursing the fact that she currently had no way of knowing his thoughts. She wouldn't dare try tampering with such things - at least, not until she's figured out that book of his. Though, even then, she was too wary to even listen to spirits at the moment. She could still feel the horde upon her mind, washing over her like a current. They didn't notice her, they were too far gone for such things. Poor, trapped souls fueled by nothing but an animistic lust for blood. Maybe Crowen could notice this - just as she could hear his book.

No, that's foolish. You're overthinking again. He has a simpler motive. Most do.

She broke her gaze away. On a different note, the man seemed very sure of himself. And rightly so, though she didn't like to admit. While he hadn't killed the brute, he had managed to incapacitate the beast in a mere two strikes, breaking bones that were likely as wide as she was. If they moved a majority of the refugees into an alcove or underground, then it might be possible for him to stop another in the main hall - though, by that point, the doors would be destroyed, and even the finest warrior cannot outlast an undead horde on their own, no matter their skill or whatever advantage they had. Even Atma would eventually fall, though she hoped she'd give them a better run for it, at least.

She saw a few others glancing her way. Most missed what she had pointed out. Some seemed to catch on, their worried tones rising and falling around her as she walked through the aisle, heading towards the back of the chapel. After a minute or two of carefully checking doors and corners, she found a set of steep, narrow stairs that led downwards.

It was unlikely there was a tunnel. Though some small towns might have dug escape tunnels under their churches, she was skeptical this chapel would even have one, as it was so far from the center. It would be far from a staging point for a last stand in a traditional siege. And - well, if there was a tunnel within, she'd expect Janos to have known about it.

As the stairs grew darker and darker, she raised a hand, the familiar vibrant tongue of flame dancing and twirling through her fingers, casting a dull, red glow on her nearest surroundings, fading every so often when the flame would nearly flicker out.

Atma didn't really know what she'd find. Probably not a tunnel. Probably not anything. But it couldn't hurt to take a look. Though with every step she took, she could feel the pressure - the dull effects of the horde - ebb away ever so subtly.

Maybe that'll happen when I go underground. There's quite a bit of stone between me and them, after all. She thought curtly - though, she knew that's not how it worked.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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She was surprised to learn the holy water was a true human item. Being from a far different land than this one she'd been taught that humans used it to torture young heidrox children when they misbehaved. She'd come to believe that the infamous holy water was just a fable and it gave her slight chills knowing it was a real thing. She didn't believe that this faithful water could actually hurt her, it was simply off-putting that her mother had actually been right about something. The priest was also concerned for the well-being of those trapped within the churches walls, more so than Nylle herself, however she watched Corwen with interest as he answered. He seemed calm on the outside, smoking from his pipe as he regarded the priest, though she could only assume he was as lost as the rest trapped here.

"Well one hope is that you stay here while I make sure the alcove is clear, keeping it that way should be easy enough at least." He moved towards her slightly as he spoke and she'd give a small smirk and spoke "Where else would I go?" This small building filled with nervous humans made her nerves stand on end, perhaps the alcove would give her a calming sense, away from the people and their worried looks "I'll go with you, unless you don't need my assistance."

The other woman had already started off, the humans parting in her wake even giving her strange and off putting glances. This woman was much stranger than the other humans she'd met, not a word spoke, though this itself was not an oddity, she'd met plenty with such curses, however she made Nylle move cautiously, think carefully. She was never one to shy away from another being, it's the stubborn heidrox way, but this woman had something about her that made others, not just Nylle, consciously aware of her mood and mannerisms.

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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~Crowen~





Crowen looked on as Atma moved through the crowd and into the back of the main hall, she would likely find the center causeway that lead to the under croft. He looked back to Janos as if looking for a sign of recognition from him and the old priest gave him a somber nod of the head "Go, I will ensure that everyone stays safe and help barricade the door." Crowen nodded in return and motioned for Nylle to follow him through the crowd as well, showing her the entrance to the stairwell in the back of the room.

The stairs twisted downward sharply in a spin as they both caught sight of a dim glow and they could both see the hand of Atma extended, holding the flame as a candle in the darkness. He looked on as they closed in on her and continued to walk together, coming to a slow halt as the stairs bottomed out against a marble floor. Crowen laughed slightly as he stepped forward and reached out for a sconce, holding several small torch rods on the side. He takes one and casually holds it over Atma's hand, letting the flame spread. "Its felt like a decade since I've been down here.." He holds the torch out in front of him and it illuminates more of the passage ahead of them. Which quickly turns out to be the burial hall, large stone coffins and smaller jars containing ashes, littered the sides of the wide hall. Some withing their own alcove and engraved with a small name or symbol at the base.




Atma's ears begin to fill with a soft sound that is far removed from the chaos up above. The sound was that of a low hum and toned to sound like a song. Dropping and raising its tune as the notes carried on and soothing her slightly, like a friendly hand laid upon the shoulder. With time, the sound would prove to be actual singing, cascading from within the jars that lined the center of the walkway. With dozens, upon dozens of long burned out candles framing and dotting the path.




Crowen leads the two of them as he steps lightly around the jars in his path and around them to walk down the clear path. Looking back over his shoulder slightly and speaking "I must apologize for the way they look at you.. one such as yourself is a rarity these days, even in a city like this one. Don't feel bad though.. many of them are still uneasy about me." There was a wry smile on the edge of his face as he said that, like the truth of it was disgraceful to a point.

"I am Crowen by the way.. Crowen Antillia."

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Character Portrait: Crowen Antillia Character Portrait: Atma Gatae Character Portrait: Nylle Lyszt
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Nylle would follow Corwen down the aisle of pews mildly aware her wings brushed the backs of seats on either side of her. Quietly she'd step into the darkness behind him and carefully follow his footsteps down the stairs. Ahead was the strange woman, apparently also a magicker, holding a small flame of light in her palm. Of course I end up on my last day surrounded by humans in need, two magickers, and crawling around in religious crypts... She paused at the bottom of the stairs, the floor was littered with urns and jars of the dead and it unnerved her. Not death, she'd been courting that god for many decades now, but the ritual of keeping the dead with you always made her skin crawl.

She'd wait for Corwen to so show a clear path through and she'd follow, stopping suddenly at the first jar she came across, her right wing, the only one that still had it's full length had been dragging behind her and now it brushed across the side of an urn. She'd wince rather dramatically as she'd reached a gloved hand beside her and pull her wing upwards, bending it at the crook and tucking it behind her back, to keep it out of any further issues. Nylle watched Atma with curiosity, she was clearly attuned to another level of interaction, something beyond what Nylle could hear, or even come to understand.

Corwen drew her attention back and she'd only give a slight shrug and shake her head. "It comes often when you resemble so closely the humans "Devil"." Lips would turn into a slow smile. "Some days it's advantageous to look like you'd eat one of their children if they didn't pray to their God.... But today isn't one of those days." She understood how it felt. "Pleasure to make your aquaintence, Corwen. I am Nylle Lyszt" Once more she'd turn her gaze towards Atma, though she suspected the woman would not give an answer.