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Mercy Yan'vega

The drunken Nightmarian is back.

0 · 409 views · located in Norr

a character in “The Gift: Chapter Three”, as played by Arke

Description

In Description...
Full Name:Murecialga Yan'Vega

Age: 117

Gender: Female

Race: Nightmarian

Class: Guardian

Physical Description: ImageA hybrid between what appears to be a human and spider, Mercy retains a normal human's head structure, however she (strangely enough) has only six red eyes on her head, all allocated on the upper side which can see 180 degrees perfectly while just staring ahead. She has jet black hair, cut short so the longest only reaches the top of her neck. She has four inscizor teeth, instead of the normal two, and has a very light frame. She is thin, pale where there is skin and has a huge abdomen, about twice the size of her upper torso in volume. She has six thick legs, and two thinner arms. Her entire body is lined with natural armor save for her front torso. Her armor is known as exoskeleton, which is something spiders do not normally have. However, this exoskeleton is thick enough to reject anything cutting through it. The armor covers her legs very thickly, to avoid damage and all the way across and around her abdomen to protect her vital organs. Her waist can swivel 360 degrees to face foes trying to sneak up from behind to intimidate them.

Think of her as like a Centaur, except the horse part is the spider part.

In Personality...
Lewd and Obscene, Mercy is temptress with a drunken heart. Not a day goes by that she doesn't tease those that she knows, and sometimes going as far as to tease those she doesn't know. She enjoys making people uncomfortable, as she thinks they look cute when they are awkwardly silent or blushing. She is an avid drinker, and can often be seen drowning herself with alcohol until she is in a pitiful stupor. She loves it when she's allowed to indulge. She only gains a sliver of seriousness when fighting or on a job, and even then when the situation allows she will taunt and torment the enemy with her words. She enjoys eating those that she has killed, as she believes it fills her up more.

Not optional:
Faction: Paragon

Moral Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

In Equipment...
Starting Armor: She does not don armor, she is naturally armed with a layered exoskeleton that deflects magic and weapons. Known as the "Ark Shell" for many Nightmarians, it proves to be an effective armor when combating both physical fighters and magical fighters. The armor is naturally black to blend into the night. Mercy's most vulnerable spot, her abdomen, is covered in very thick and large layers that protect her from any fatal strikes. Her torso and head often remained uncovered unless in open combat- then she seeks chainmail and a helmet.

Starting Weaponry: Mercy has many weapons, all of the momentum weapons. She prefers swinging loose weapons, much like shooting web or swinging it around. Since her abdomen is large, she can easily carry these weapons around her body.

Her main weapon is the nine-section chain whip. The sections are connected by sturdy metal rings for flexibility, and each link is about six inches long. Thus, the whip has a powerful reach of four feet. The last link is sharpened to a point, able to cut if a victim is unfortunate enough to be just at that outer edge to get slashed. To gain momentum, the whip is spun around and around. Very versatile, can keep many people at bay and requires one with a large knowledge of body mechanics.

Her second weapon is a scary powerful weapon. Known as the Mourning Star, this was just one of her replacement weapons after she lost both her Meteor Hammers in battle a while ago. essentially, it is a spiked ball on a chain, attacked to a long iron and wood handle that could be used for striking and blocking. Without armor, the Mourning Star could easily kill somebody, able to crush a skull with one hit and send brains across the ground with another.

Her third weapon is a sling. two long, identical ropes tied to a shallow leather pouch to throw stones, glass, any solid projectile. Despite it's looks, it's very silent, accurate, and can cause more physical trauma than an arrow in certain situations. It's also great for stealthily causing mental trauma, silently causing damage with no identifiable projectile in sight.

Her fourth weapon was recently acquired, due to losing her second Kusarigama through a rigged portal is a three-section staff, which is three short and hardened metal rods attached with short chains. Measuring at about nine feet, each section is around three feet. The middle section is used for blocking, while the two outer sections are used for striking and trapping. It can be swung like the whip chain, but with less effectiveness.

Of course, when worst comes to worst she can use her own webbing as a sticky solution to any problem. Simply even just slinging some weapon and hitting a target would be f

Fighting Style: If at all possible, she prefers to sneak onto the target. In open battle she uses her multidimensional body to fight on all sides, using her thick armored legs and webbing. If the enemy is close enough, Mercy can bite and inject a strong neurotoxin to paralyze any foe foolish enough to wander into her grasp. She specializes in medium range and close quarters, and mobility is her strongest asset. Her sling is her only method of long range attack.

Weapon of Choice: She specializes in momentum weaponry, but her best weapon is her Nine-Section whip.

Other: She often stalks prey for sustenance, but in cities she usually has more than enough money to pay due to her ridiculously high hiring prices. She usually carries something similar to a sack tied to her abdomen, carrying basic essentials when traveling. Flint and Steel and Water are primarily what she stores along with some food in case hunting is scarce.

In History...
A drunk at heart, Mercy was born before the conflict. When they began to take sides for the war to claim godhood, Mercy gave the opportunity to join her fellow Nightmarians in battle the finger and left. She wandered from tavern to tavern, often drinking herself into a stupor and having to pay a huge tab for it as a result. She realized, after barely being able to pay her most recent tab, that she would have to find some way to make money. Being too prideful to return to her land and fight as a soldier, she became a mercenary. Her first few missions were fraught with naivety, often making careless mistakes. However, when she shaped up and stopped thinking about the alcohol she became a feared mercenary. Her prices were extremely high, because she often would use over half her reward to go drinking. However, she was also efficient. Her mission completion rate after her first few beginners missions is 100%. Known as "Arachna" by many bounty hunters and mercenaries, within a few decades Mercy had worked up quite the reputation.

Surviving the Day of Falling Ashes, she took up residence in the Haven where she worked with an architect in building structurally sound buildings. It wouldn't be long before the Heliothris invaded with his disciples, and as a result, she had to flee the city.

It has been twenty-four long, grueling years where hunting has been sparse and attacks have become a daily ritual. She decided to take up arms once again as a soldier instead of a Mercenary. Due to her reputation, her demands for a increased wage were promptly agreed on. She rose and became an esteemed fighter amongst her group, and was promptly taken by command to be assigned a new role. She was placed in a Special Ops division. She acts as a substitute officer, and a assassin for the remaining forces of Paragon.

She still hasn't given up drinking, as it's one of the few ways she is able to escape her past.

After her capture, she was redirected with Shokunen- an acquaintance from the short past and told to merge with the armies of Wrath due to the fact that they were to move toward Ecclavaria- the Nightmarian Capital. It is a forest she has not seen in over fifty years, which has bound to have changed a lot- especially when times of war come. She does know that being an outcast- her welcome won't be warm. Though she does have friends back at the capital, it is likely they are off fighting, maybe dead, or they have been brainwashed with stories of her treachery.

So begins...

Mercy Yan'vega's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image The deep human's hand immediately clapped to his forehead, stemming the flow of blood that poured like a sheet down his face. He let his squad handle the Children for the moment, as he quickly shifted his grip and sheathed one sword to let the wound clot until the battle was officially over and he could find a healer. Unfortunately, he could not stem the flow entirely. Luckily, he did not need to engage with the children- his squad had easily managed to hold them back, by luck or otherwise. Even as the last child fell, grabbing at several fatal stabbing wounds on his torso, Kisikoni sheathed his last sword, smiling at them in congratulations. "Well, now that some of you have fought your first Child, what do you think?" he asked amicably. The responses varied from caution to confidence.

"I wasn't expecting it to be this easy."

"I don't see why you put so much emphasis on caution if this is what we're going to be fighting."

"I'll tell you once I'm forced to fight them by myself."

Kisikoni allowed himself a short laugh as they reassembled into formation, preparing to sweep the prison for any more inmates or Children. Even as he did so, another knot of soldiers came and confirmed that the last of them were being subdued in the courtyard. He motioned to his own squad, rushing to the courtyard where he arrived just in time to see the last of the Children encircled and at the mercy of the Paragon- something that hardly ever happens. Brimming with pride at how well his squad did and how well the Paragon did overall, he quickly observed them being quickly beaten into submission. Shrugging once, Kisikoni figured he wouldn't have been able to do much anyways. What was more important was that he needed to find a healer before Lily came and-

"So this is how many battles now without a egregious injury?" came the taunting voice. Forcing a smile, Kisikoni was about to respond to the quip but she had bounded off before he could do so. It wasn't as if he didn't know where she was going, but altogether it worried him a little bit. She and Turha alike have become so dependent on each other Kisikoni was loathe to think what would happen if one of them were to perish in battle. Then again, both were skilled veterans hailing from the Legion of Ashes. Kisikoni quickly reassured himself that as long as they didn't do anything stupid, they would be fine. Despite this, he decided to ask Lily to share a cup of tea the next chance he could get.

Even as he left his men to their own devices, he turned to face a burly Orc wearing a red cossack. The robes contrasted with his deep swampy green skin, but it didn't seem to perturb him. Before Kisikoni could sigh with relief and offer his head the orc wordlessly touched the wound on his forehead and started chanting. The skin prickled and itched severely as Kisikoni did his best to remain still. Suddenly, the Orc withdrew his hand, and Kisikoni instantly started touching the healed area as if he couldn't believe it. Grinning slightly, he looked around. People were milling about. Many were standing without orders, simply waiting for more. Shrugging, he walked back into the prison, searching for something to do. Assisting with various things such as helping prisoners of war, checking the bodies, and organizing the crowds, Kisikoni occupied himself with small amounts of busywork until he received his next orders, or until he could find Talae. The voice was quiet enough, though Kisikoni could tell that it watched with cold interest. It always did.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Smacking her lips smoothly, Mercy raised herself from the struggling mass entangled in her webbing. The Child didn't seem frightened, but all the same he continued his frenzied bucking against the extremely resistant webbing. Mercy watched him struggle for a bit, teasingly using one of her legs to poke at his head until she got bored. Leaning back over him, she breathed slowly down his neck, trying to elicit some sort of reaction aside from zealous intent to kill. Receiving none, she huffed slightly in frustration before sinking her fangs into his body, sucking greedily at his blood and consuming his meat until his wild struggles fell still. Using the back of her hand to wipe her mouth, she smiled and turned her voluminous red eyes to meet that of her squad members, who waited patiently for her to finish.

"Yes?" She asked without skipping a beat.

Shrugging, one of them answered "Well, the Commander says it's all clear. The last of them have been captured in the courtyard, and something else about taking them alive." He jerked his head at the fresh corpse. "Looks like you're in for a mouthful."

"Oh please. You know how I get." Mercy replied, rolling her eyes playfully. Another member of her squad chuckled inadvertently, before they all continued back down the stairs to where the bulk of the army was. Standing on a balcony overlooking the mess hall (which is now ruined by wild battle), she lazily saluted her men and allowed them to be at-ease until their next calling. They quickly moved down toward the wandering red-robed Children for healing, while Mercy crossed her arms. Deciding on what to do was troublesome for her, as she really would want to get a drink- but there was probably no liquor present. If there was, it'd be very poor tasting beer- the kind only a prison can have. Not even the bibulous Nightmarian could lower her standards that far just to get drunk. Tapping her chin, she decided to pay a visit to her Commander.

Yes, she would do that. Even as the sly smile spread across her face, she disappeared from the balcony, moving outside and along the walls her voluminous red eyes had no trouble quickly ascertaining the identities of faraway individuals, including Wrath Liu-Wen, who had walked away again to check the perimeter. Or so she assumed.

It didn't take long for her to travel the quick distance climbing over the wall and landing with a resounding "thump" in front of the young General of the Paragon. Hands on her hips, she looked him over quickly before smiling brightly at him. "Well now, dear, aren't you quite the responsible young man, doing this all by yourself." She commented, tilting her head to the side as if trying to get a better view of the Commander. She towered over him, her height augmented by her large abdomen and legs that propped her well above his line of sight. She had to lower herself toward the human, ignoring his aloof aura he exuded by tilting her body toward him- much like a dog would.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


Blocking an overhand swing with his shield, Safir felt the shock rattle all the way down to his toes as he turned the mace to the side, and rammed the man with his sword, sending him flying with the force as the steel clawed his innards. Twisting to the left, he deflected another attack with his shield, following up with a vicious overhand chop that nearly cut the elf in half lengthwise. Withdrawing his sword, Safir stuck to the same basic strategy- block incoming attack, put pressure on the opponent and stick a sword in their gut while they are on the defensive or off balance. Lashing out with his foot, he caught a deep human off guard, causing him to clutch his stomach and leave himself open for a chop that broke the skull and sent gray matter splattering onto the ground. Caution worked it's way into every fiber of the human's movements, easily catching movements at his height and stature. However, the halflings were the biggest problem, as they had a knack for sneaking up on things and slitting throats before the victim could notice them. Stories of the famous assassins like Sibius Marvell were dwarfed by the legendary halflings whose natural stealth skills made them hitmen of the highest caliber.

Dresinil had called him. Well, "human' was a general term but considering the circumstances, Safir felt that it was safe the elf was talking to him. Listening to his request, Safir nearly choked in surprise. Backing up against his elfish comrade, he saw the axe defeat a halfling that had escaped his field of vision. Making a quick mental note to be more aware of the quick little bastards, he shook his head slightly. It was only a couple of seconds before he could respond, but it was still quietly vehement.

"The blood is getting to your head, friend." Safir replied carefully, blocking a hit and using the edge of his shield to break the attacking elf's arm. Shoving the man back, a teammate quickly killed him, though who it was exactly was unknown. "Have you not noticed the pile of bodies around him?" He tried to explain as best he could, but in the massive din of battle and often short breathing time between foes, it was very difficult. "He's a Child, but yet he's a captain of a bunch of us." He quickly traded blows with a Nightmarian, slightly put off that it had it's own natural armor. "That's suspicious. Especially since he acts like a complete air-head. No normal person with those traits would be put in such a position."

Of course, none of the Children were normal themselves- most having a fanatical devotion to the Children. Safir was not as mindlessly loving of the dragons, but he did respect them. There really wasn't much influence of the dragons in his upbringing. However, Safir was fairly certain that the Dragons did know who to put in control of their armies and who they shouldn't. Haphazardly appointing useless generals was a surefire way to lose a way, and as he knew it, the Dragons were smarter than the average garden snake he encountered back in his home. "I suggest we wait it out." Safir could afford no more words, as the Nightmarian rounded back on him, attempting to kill him but failing to bypass the shield that Safir's fighting style relied on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Thalion Simonides
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image Tugging at the packaging, he allowed the salted fish to be hauled away by men with stronger arms than himself. Kisikoni knew that the fish would spoil soon, but it they still had enough time to consume it before moving on to the more well-preserved rations that the Paragon had. It would bolster their resources temporarily, and salted fish wasn't the worst thing to eat- especially if it was a change from vension or hard bread. Checking the back of the storage room, his sharp eyes swept the dark shelves and found nothing more that could be salvaged. The spirits, as requested by Mercy had all been taken earlier- though by the looks of it Kisikoni estimated about a quarter had gone bad from poor preservation. Nobody liked the taste of bad champagne. Grinning slightly, Kisikoni entertained himself with the thought of becoming a chef when this was all over- due to the many years on the road and away from a home he became quite knowledgeable on what spices made a food taste good (because eating the same broiled meats would have driven him nuts) and how to preserve them well.

Reality was not quite as generous, however. The end was still a long way to go, and though the war may end some day, for better or worse, he still had his own inner demons to worry about. Closing the door, he took a paintbrush and slopped a big, red "X" on the rotted, wooden door to indicate that it had been cleared out. Moving out into the courtyard, he saw that there were still a multitude of supplies left to move around. At this rate, they could be finished before-

"Pack up and be ready to leave. We march for Talos City in six hours!"

Yep. Enough time before they moved out. Talos city was their destination, but Kisikoni was quite sure he had heard it somewhere outside of the books. Where, he could not remember. However, he did read an amusing epic recommended by Alistair about a human named Talos that became a god through his great deeds across a fictional continents. He also did remember the elves being very petty about it. Sadly, the author, Beth Es'da had yet to finish the epic as detailed to him by the androgynous harpie. He would have to seek it out when he had the time.

He looked over, tilting his head slightly to get a crick in his neck and noticed the white-haired elf that stood idly with some sort of mount. Was it a mount? He wasn't too sure, but the thing didn't look too friendly. He remembered him from recruiting, as very few people in general had shock-white hair. Beelzes did, but it was because of all the magical stress during the Siege of Herrick.

"Hey, Private Thalion! Get over here and help me with these bags, boy!" He said, mustering up the most mature and booming voice he could. He pointed at the pile of supplies and the wagons in succession.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Mercy returned a smile in kind. As often as she gave smiles, this one in particular was warm. It felt almost foreign on her face, as one so accustomed to lewd notions and drunken grins. Speaking of drinks, once again Wrath decided to comment on her habit of consuming half the spirits in stock within a single night again. She rolled her eyes, running a hand through her hair. "The soldiers don't taste half as good." She replied, waving away that notion. Both she and Wrath knew that she lead her own soldiers well enough, though they lacked the steely discipline that Lilly recently began to command from her troops. They were comfortable (mostly) with her, and she was very comfortable with them, and that was how it should be.

Even as she followed the General as he began his slow walk, he turned back and noted that it was growing again. Mercy shrugged slightly. It wasn't like Nightmarian-Human crossbreeding was normal, but it wasn't rare. Chitinous plates were an unfortunate by-product of the event, but she wasn't exactly too stressed about it. Like any mother would have, she did worry at first- but even after extensive research that she did while traveling to meet up with Wrath's legion, she found not a shred about it, or any implications it had. So, she decided to worry about it when the time came, as there was no point in babying him because of it. He wouldn't like it very much either. He did seem to be rather concerned about it, and it looked so cute.

It was very hard to resist cuddling him like a stuffed animal.

She followed him, eventually coming upon the disguised Red: Iridanias. Mercy was impressed with her morphing ability, which would have been more than useful for herself in many occasions. However, unlike Wrath she didn't seem to care much about her amazing figure. Mainly because Mercy simply thought she looked better, and that she wasn't homosexual. She was still slightly annoyed by her comments, despite how true they were.

"Apologies, but do I detect yearning? I have heard unsettling comedies- er, tales about dragons in heat." She commented snidely. Whether Iridanias would respond to that or not, she still settled back and listened to the report intently. As Wrath queried the Big Red's intentions with the Imperian, her voluminous red eyes sharpened considerably at the Red's remark. For a brief moment, she wondered what dragon's blood tasted like. It was an interesting thought, though she suspected it would be many times hotter than that of Children's blood. She never did handle spicy food well. She calmed herself down. Trying to avoid staring daggers into the dragon's eyes.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


Safir did not have time to react as his elfish comrade was easily beaten by a martial-artist who used nothing but a set of knuckles and his limbs. Dresinil fell, unconscious just as Safir was busy tangling with the Nightmarian, which was, in all cases, bad. However, he had a nightmarian of his own backing him up- the Moth from earlier that had so helpfully doused him and his team with orange spores. He was almost hopeful, if it weren't for the fact that she was busy as well, fighting a halfling that was smart enough to use the weaknesses of Pylarea's weapon of choice. Grunting, he managed to throw the Nightmarian that battered uselessly against his shield off for a precious moment.

"An eye for an eye!" Safir bellowed, feinting an attack on the Pugilist and twisting around the moth-girl, attempting to distract Yulni by throwing a fearsome haymaker that threatened to pummel the lone halfling if she did not dodge. However, in that moment Gatan realized his folly, redoubling his efforts along with the Nightmarian- who raised his sword-dagger combination. Safir snarled, glaring at the both of them as he readied his dented shield. A shame, the one his mother enchanted would never have bent so easily.

Gatan rushed in first, attempting to dance around his shield. However, unlike Dresinil, Safir was more level-headed and defensive compared to the elf's raging offense. Though the fist-fighter was quick, his eyes were quicker and he quickly pivoted, swinging the sword around to where his shield would have been. However, Gatan easily rolled under it- allowed the Nightmarian to jump on his exposed back. Safir had not forgotten about the ant-like warrior, as he twisted again to bring the shield up and bash his armored arms. The dagger flew from his hand, but the Nightmarian had more than his sword to fight with. Hissing, the bug grabbed the shield reflexively, rooting Safir to the spot. Roaring, the knight tried to hoist the shield away from the Nightmarian, but failed to push away before Gatan could recover and dash back, landing two crushing blows to Safir's side and face. The shock caused Safir to cough, clearing his mouth of what liquid there was. He recovered quickly, because unlike Dresinil, his body was trained to ignore blunt trauma- Knight armor had the ability to block cuts and scrapes, it could not protect somebody from blunt force, which was why Safir had been conditioned to deal with it as best he could. Retaliating with a sword swing, The pugilist easily dodged it, but Safir used the Nightmarian as a pillar of balance and launched a leg sweep that caught the Pugilist off-guard, full in the face.

Grinning slightly, Safir watched him roll across the ground completely stunned before bashing at the Nightmarian's fingers that gripped the shield. The trick to dealing with the martial artists was to catch them off guard. Whether it be kicking dust into their eyes, going for a drop-kick, or biting his hands as he tries to grapple you. He managed to force the Nightmarian to let go of his shield, before proceeding to take quick jabs at him from behind the cover of his shield. The nightmarian was forced on the defensive, but even as Safir thought things were going well, He felt a hostile presence and realized that his leg sweep was a lot less paralyzing than he hoped. Forming a chokehold on him, Gatan proceeded to throw the Knight off balance, while landing as many blows as he could on his exposed back. They hurt, pretty badly. Roaring, he raised his shield arm to throw the Pugilist off him but a cutting voice told them to cease.

Just like that, the test was over. Children garbed in red cossacks began to pour into the battlefield, tending to the injured. Safir looked at the Nightmarian, who shrugged and sheathed his weapons. He then turned to the pugilist, who promptly hopped off his back and began shaking himself off. "Nice sweep." the fist-fighter admitted grudgingly. Safir grinned at him.

"Not so bad yourself, martial artist." He replied in kind, before searching for the unconscious Dresinil. He found him being tended to by the children, though still unconscious. He shrugged. At least that meant he was still alive. He took a look around, hoping Pylarea had survived her fight in with the Halfling- it would have been a damned shame if his brief distraction didn't help in the slightest.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Feng Tao
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image Whether or not the white-haired Child deigned to assist Kisikoni or not, the bags were still packed and ready to go in a timely fashion. He did not get to talk to Talae, and their exchanges were disappointingly brief as they tended to their duties. Marches were the worst part of being part of an army. The battles held the shadow of death over each soldier's face, but at the same time the march foreshadowed the upcoming trials, and how tiresome it was to move such long distances by foot or horse. Even though he was a captain and thus be allowed a horse in any regular situation, the Paragon was not so well equipped and Kisikoni could never understand the damn beasts anyways. Riding had always given him the worst sores and the shortest of tempers. A good leader should never lose their cool, after all. The days passed by as the monotonous blur of travel overrided his senses.

Even as they arrived to Talos City and set up an encampment, Kisikoni's work never really ceased. He was always working on something to keep his mind from wandering into more cynical and darker areas. It seemed to be happening more and more often, not because of the presence in his mind, but because of the situation as of late. Everything just seemed to be so grim. Nhil Derenthi, one of the few original Generals from the Civie-Primah wars had turned on the Paragon and the Primah, had turned his back on the Paragon. Whatever was going on through his kinsman's mind, he did not know. However, when examining the situation it seemed inevitable that the Paragon would have to conflict with the Civil Armies and the Children- both sides having powerful numbers and magical augments. The Primah were of a concern too, but after Derenthi's betrayal there was no way they could wage an aggressive war until they had more numbers.

Even as he finished unloading a wagon of supplies near the mess hall, in case the soldiers did not want to waste their coin dining in the city, he realized that they were low on salts and preservatives. Scowling slightly, he knew that if he didn't do something this would be nagging on his mind the entire day. He walked to the stables, borrowing a pack horse. Throwing some saddlebags onto the horse, he lead the beast from the stables. It was slightly uncooperative, but it's training and years of experience told it that resisting was just a bad idea all around. At least the human wasn't riding him.

As Kisikoni walked the horse toward a town, he noticed somebody moving to catch up with him. To his surprised pleasure, it was Talae. "Yeah. Can't have our meats spoiling at this point." He responded to her query. Perhaps in the past, he would have attempted a poor joke, but with all this tension weighing him down he just didn't have the heart to make one up. The question itself wasn't what he really wanted to discuss, either. What he wanted, and decided to talk to Talae about was very hard to put into words coherently. Worst of all, he didn't want to really burden her with his problems now that they had so much responsibility as captains. However, if he didn't tell somebody, Kisikoni felt he would probably go mad.

All the better for me. It taunted, a malicious glee entering it's tone as it reveled in the Deep Human's dilemma.

"I guess it's time to make good on my promise." He said plainly, in an urgent and low voice. "Listen, Talae- something happened back at Herrick. Maybe even before that, I don't know. Something is inside me, and I'm not sure what." He tried to explain it as best he could, even as the walked down the path toward the city and down the cobblestone roads inside it. "I'm trying to control it, but it seems to laugh at my attempts. Like I'm a child. Each time I use it's power I feel myself ripping up, physically and literally. It's so strong it accidentally breaks my bones and tears my muscles." He looked away, pretending to search for the markets. They were fairly close at this point. "I'm sorry for dumping all this on you. I've been meaning to tell you when we were... not so occupied, but our wyrds have a different say in the matter." He apologized, leading the horse toward the salt stall. As occupied as he was, he would have been completely unaware of the hitmen moving throughout the crowd if it weren't for the voice.

I'd hate to interrupt your touching moment, but I'd expect to see a blade or otherwise very soon. Though the words were formed in a joke, the tone was very serious.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Mercy didn't take too kindly to the Red's disdain, but her obvious lack of self-control was reward enough. She couldn't stand the dragons, prideful and condescending that exceeded even her own levels. However, even as Iridanias left, Wrath shot her a look that almost made her flinch back in guilt before she reminded herself that she was the boys mother, for the love of the Queen. She stared back as coolly as she could, but he was already gone. That disappointed look Wrath had given was so similar to that of his father it brought back a flood of memories. She signed, parting once more. Maybe he'll be in a better mood when they reached Talos City. Moving back toward the prison, she quickly scaled over the wall and landed in the courtyard with a soft thump. Humming a quick tune, she began stretching out each limb in preparation. Spiders were not accustomed to traveling long distances, due to their ambushing nature. However, Mercy had grown to adapt to it since she left the dark recesses of Umbridge and had to hunt instead of wait for food to come. Traveling had been no different.

The march was long and hard, as she expected. No matter how many times she would do this, she still hated it. By the time they had stopped and camped at Talos City, Mercy had sweat enough to attract every firebug from Ecclavaria with her scent. Her legs were tired, and her luminous red eyes were half closed with fatigue. She knew she needed a bloody drink, or she'd pitch over and die. However, first thing was first. She quickly moved to a nearby water source, as cities and towns depended on them for power, food, and cleanliness. She quickly tossed away her things onto the shore, and hopped in, cooling herself. The summer heat was nothing compared to the sticky humidity of the dark forests that was her home. The cool dip was to relieve her limbs briefly and to wash away the sweat. it was the worst for her abdomen, as her ark shell didn't allow anything in or out aside from the end where her webbing was generated. It felt like a furnace back there. Getting out, she cupped her arm over her bare chest and winked slyly at the men who tried to sneak a peek. Half of the blushed furiously, much to her delight. Tossing back on her clothes and bags, she skittered quickly toward her tent. She flipped open the flap, setting down on the stack of hay in the middle. Sighing, she grabbed one of the multitude of bottles she had retrieved and stashed in the stack. With an experienced finger, she flipped the cork off the bottle and began consuming the contents in large gulps.

It wasn't long until she experienced the faint buzz, and a pleasant heat building up in her face. That was just what she needed. She'd resisted the bottle until they actually stopped traveling, as it wouldn't do to get blindingly drunk while marching. It nearly killed her, she had intense cravings at various intervals, and she couldn't help but feel that her son did this to torment her. Flopping foward, she lazily turned her waist, rotating a full 180 degres so she could lie lazily on her back, downing the rest of the bottle. That really did hit the spot. Blearily, she reached for another bottle, her hands patting the area around her for the familiar smooth surface. However, lingering fatigue from the journey claimed her before she could enjoy getting drunk. Her hands fell still, and her breathing became slow and heavy. It was midday.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


Safir could not find the Nightmarian moth, so he shrugged and decided to outfit himself with some armor. Finally. He reached the table, and thankfully found his mother's shield, which had not been taken. Retrieving it, he quickly belted that on his back. Never again would it leave him voluntarily. He did not find his father's set of armor, but he did find something very similar to that. It was newer, which was a plus but it didn't have the reliable feeling that his father's armor did. Snorting, he realized he was standing there comparing armor though he was no blacksmith. He took the set, hefting it and checking it for breaks and weak seams. Finding none, he smiled and decided to fit himself to it, strapping the belts and whatnot under his robes. It went quite nicely, easily molding to the curves and heavy fabric. His old armor would not have been able to do that, admittedly and the Children seemed to value the idea of an army acting as one. The uniform probably was meant to enforce that ideology. Either way, he grabbed the matching helmet and strapped it on, as well as grabbing a good broadsword. The sword was light enough, but was dense and forged well. Sheathing it, he carried that with him to a bed of his own, stuffing the stuff in the chest at the foot of the bed.

He immediately proceeded to clean himself off, taking a brief but hot shower. Stepping out, he quickly dressed himself. It was odd- the people around him were standing in nothing but their undergarments. The very same people that were trying to kill him not an hour earlier. The sense of security was almost palpable, and even if Safir had the intent on murdering somebody, he probably could not muster up strength to do so under this calm atmosphere. It was almost as if everybody trusted each other to a degree. Perhaps it was because they fought each other, and acknowledged each others ferocity. Leaving the locker rooms, he proceeded back to his own bed, where he stretched out his sore limbs and threw himself under the covers to get some rest.

The wake-up call wasn't as bad as he had thought it would be. The entire days worth of sleep helped him rest off the fatigue very well, though he was still tight and sore in many places. The bruises that he had decided not to heal due to its trivial nature were purpled and slightly sensitive, but Safir had gotten used to those types of injuries by now. Tossing on some good clothes, he put on his robes over them. He decided his armor was probably not necessary yet.

He did not see Dresinil, who was probably still recovering or dead. He didn't know what was the fate of his battle brother, but he was fairly certain the elf wasn't dead unless Gatan had punched him so hard he had a heart attack. A gout of dragonfire interrupted the Knight's thoughts, which had been directed at the androgynous captain. The movement was so fast and graceful Safir would have thought the man had simply stepped out of the way in pure coincidence. Forced to grudgingly acknowledge the man's skill once more, Safir's breathing slowed conspicuously as he noticed the change in atmosphere. Whatever ritual was announced, it was beginning. Altogether simple, it was nevertheless impressive. Even as the Dragonsblood filled up the space, waiting to be consu

wait.

what.

He had to drink that? The local apothecary at his village didn't brew anything that looked this vile. Even as he hesitated, many were already cupping the unholy liquid. The crazed witch-doctor was one of the first. He sighed. He was in this deep, there was no excuse to duck out now. He plunged both hands into the liquid, sucking in a mouthful and swallowing. By the dead gods, there was no way he could describe this taste. However, the surge in his innards was the worst. Looking around, he knew that he was taking this change the worst, by far. His body never really was fit for all that magic business. Even as he caught his breath, displays of almost laughable accidents happened. An elf tried stretching, and his jaw dropped as both arms popped out of it's sockets. A nightmarian accidentally sliced her own stomach open when attempting to scratch it absentmindedly.

Well, this was new. Safir saw this, and tried to be careful- but his body now felt foreign. Light. Stepping forward was so disconcerting, that he stumbled, falling forward. On instinct, he threw his arms out to break his fall, and as a result there was a resounding "boom" as his arms cracked the stone floors slightly with the impact, leaving very faint craters. And sprained wrists with broken fingers. He now realized the reason why mages didn't just give the soldiers superhuman strength and speed the hard way. Getting up, he angrily refrained himself from swearing as adrenaline turned into pain. He was already regretting this, now he'd need to train himself to get used to this change.

First, he needed to find a healer.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Torga Earth-Mender Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Feng Tao Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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The Children of Fire
The Tower of Nihalistrix the Black



For a few more minutes, Tao let the recruits get some sense of what was going on with their bodies. A few cracked bones in their overzealousness and lack of familiarity, and he recalled with a distant kind of fondness that much the same thing had happened upon his initiation. As if on cue, a single silenced appeared at his shoulder. He knew who she was without having to look, and spoke with his eyes still fixed ahead.

“Carmen, please see to the injured ones.” The youthful woman, one of the few true Clerics (and few true humans) in the ranks of the children, nodded and stepped forward, scanning the group and first picking out a man wearing armor who appeared to have broken one of his hands. Tao, not being the sort of person who could remember names most of the time, immediately labeled him Big-Shiny-Target, Shiny for short.

The effectively-mute Carmen approached Safir and gestured for him to relinquish his injured limb to her. As soon as he did so, she prayed. Now, the reason there were so few clerics left in the world was fairly obvious: the gods that they prayed to were long-dead. Nevertheless, whether it was because she had some command of holy magic on her own or for some other inscrutable reason, she was still able to do exactly what her father and grandfather had done before her. Safir’s more delicate bones rearranged themselves with only slight discomfort, set into place, and were good as new within seconds. She smiled at the knight (having been taught that such people were usually of a good kind), and moved on to the next. There would be many more before her day was over.

As soon as everyone was patched up, Tao spoke. “Not very nice, at first. That’s what the rest of today is for, though.” Glancing at Jivven, he nodded slightly. “Short-Snarky has anticipated how to handle it. If any of you know martial forms or katas, now is the time to use them. If you don’t, I’ll teach you some. Call Carmen if you accidentally wound yourselves.”

Speech quite thankfully over with, he proceeded to teach those that did not know a series of basic, smooth movements, designed to flow from one right to the other. Understandably, the pace was to be slow, since it was all an exercise in control. They really just had to get used to their own muscles again, and gain a consciousness of where they were in relation to other things. It wasn’t physically taxing, so he did not stop them from speaking to one another. Occasionally, someone got a bit too ambitious, and Carmen would again flit through the crowd, healing an injury and returning to her place a short distance behind him and to his left.


The Paragon
Talos City, Supply Caravan


Hm. The orc complained of steel-melting fire. This much, she could understand; it melted arc-shell as well. Much as she liked to pride herself on the fact that her natural armor was as much weapon as defense, she was no better off than any other in this regard. Pausing for a moment in her motions, she glanced sideways at him. “Generally, nothing does. The easiest way to deal with a fire-breathing Child is to slit the throat before they can exhale. It backs up and immolates them.” She shrugged. “Otherwise, stay out of the way.”

She scanned the steel he was holding, and thought about it for a moment. There were precious few smiths willing to do work for the Paragon, and even fewer still who would do so on the move. “Take it to Mialee. If he can’t do anything about it, he might know someone else who can.” Turha was mostly an artificer of golems, but that required a wide knowledge of how to work materials, and there might be some kind of enchantment that could fix the thing.

His lingering inability to make a decision was vexing her, though, and she gave a small exasperated sigh. “If it is effectiveness you seek, versatility is important.” If he couldn’t figure out that she was suggesting he not carry two weapons of the same kind, that was his loss, and she wasn’t going to do anything about it.

A familiar voice broke into her mind before she could say anything else, and her red eyes flickered to the opposite side, her face cracking into a not-entirely-healthy smile when she caught the characteristic twang of a crossbow being fired. The arrow stopped in midair inches from her left eye, and she sent it flying back at the offending orc, still trying to look nonchalant so as to (presumably) escape notice as soon as she died. He’d have to try a little harder than that. Though Neira desired to lodge his own projectile into his throat, she embedded it within his shoulder instead, causing his grip on the crossbow to slacken.

“You. You can do earth magic, yes? How about stopping this one from going anywhere, hm?” Technically, she could have bound his limbs herself, but that would require constant upkeep, whereas a spell would be a simple matter of cast-and-leave. Though killing the fool was an attractive option, the chances were slim-to-none that there was only one traitorous moron in their midst. They were like cockroaches that way, but the talking ones could be painfully interrogated.

Check on the general. Technically, she couldn’t really order Xeron around, but this was about as close to a polite request as Neira ever got, and he was unlikely to refuse to do something that actually made sense when it mattered.



Talos City, Markets


The tone of Kisikoni’s words immediately set Talae on edge. She had never known him to inflect anything for dramatic effect alone, which meant that whatever it was was of grave important. She listened quietly, without response until he’d concluded. Even then, it took her a moment to process everything, and she hadn’t realized she’d stopped walking until he was continuing ahead of her.

The revelation hadn’t been turning over in her mind for more than ten seconds before her sensitive ears picked up a sound that did not belong here, and she immediately dropped to the ground. “Kisikoni!” she shouted, but any further words would be useless as a warning. The bolt intended for her embedded itself in the wooden side of a nearby building, and she was back on her feet in seconds, drawing the sword from her back, eyes tracing the trajectory of the quarrel, only to see nothing.

Puzzled, she looked around, and determined that the moving cart had to be the target. Gritting her teeth, the dark elf woman bounded after it, launching herself into the bed of the cart and immediately shoving one of its occupants off with her foot, leaving two. One was too shocked to react quickly enough, and the business end of Abel was shoved into his throat for his trouble. The other was quicker on the uptake, though, and drew a one-handed sword. The close quarters meant that the advantage was his, for the smaller, more maneuverable weapon would work within the confines much better than her hand-and-a-half.

She’d never stepped down from a challenge, though, and she wasn’t about to start now.



Paragon Encampment, Soldiers’ Tents


Fak’ir, having been raised in an arid desert climate, was not particularly bothered by the heat that seemed to have everyone else moving sluggishly. So instead of attempting to sleep it off after his little check-in with the general and Captain Sid, he figured taking a walk couldn’t hurt.

Squinting and looking upwards, he gauged it to have just hit the middle of the day, not that the time was of any particular consequence. It was just one of many habits he’d picked up and retained over the years. Glancing back down, he passed a couple of villagers in what appeared to be the summer clothing of this region. Suspicion being another of those things he’d never bothered to lose, he wondered what they were doing so close to this section of the camp, anyway. This wasn’t where the Paragon conducted business- this was where the soldiers slept.

With a deft flick of his wrist, the halfling pulled and twisted the shadows immediately around himself, slipping into the shade of a tent and disappearing from view. For now, he would simply follow, and watch. If they moved on, he’d perhaps berate himself for being too cautious, but if they didn’t… they’d have a surprise on their hands, now wouldn’t they?

Jumping from shadow to shadow, quietly enough to be concealed from all but the most acute eye, he waited. They seemed to be moving further into the camp, but his immediate inclination to kill them was tempered by his Captain’s voice in his head, reminding him that taking life was often necessary but never ideal. When she’d decided such a thing, he had no idea, but he respected her enough to heed her advice.

When the two figures drew knives and sprang upon a single tent, though, he felt quite justified in blinding both of them with his command with darkness. They were making enough noise on their own to alert whomever was inside that tent, so he decided for the moment that remaining hidden was to the best advantage of both himself and whomever he was inadvertently assisting here.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image The distracted deep human barely registered the voice in his head, which had long since lost it's malevolent edge on Kisikoni. However, he knew a serious voice when he heard it, and pulled himself out of his simmering thoughts back to reality. Not a moment too soon, Kisikoni heard Talae's cry of warning as well, and he instinctively crouched low, just in time to feel a single bolt whip past the left side of his face. The other slammed into his upper right torso, sending him reeling. Unluckily for the deep human, his light mail was not able to stop the penetrating power of the bolt, slicing cleanly through the links. The first bolt barely missed the pack horse by an inch, causing it to panic and charge down the streets. Kisikoni gathered his wits quickly, standing up despite the wound and wildly looked for his partner- which had bounded off for a cart. He noted the lone bolt embedded into the side of the building, and decided three assailants was not a very good match up, even if the lone fighter in question was one of the best fencers he knew. The horse could wait, it was trained to return to the tents and had nothing of real value anyways. He broke into a run, avoiding unnecessary movement on his right side to avoid having the arrowhead slice his flesh too much. However, even as the cart and Talae carved a path through the crowds, One of the riders was tossed off by the silent dark elf. Kisikoni proved to be too slow to catch up, but even as the man rolled to his feet, the deep human was ready for him.

Though not primarily left handed, Kiskoni could fight well enough with the rest of his limbs as he drew one of his butterfly swords. His right arm dangled uselessly, to avoid unnecessary trauma. The man, a deep skinned elf began the duel with a high horizontal chop with his short sword, something Kisikoni easily ducked. Spinning around, the elf used the momentum to bring his sword around into a quick low cut, which Kisikoni twisted to block. The deep human retaliated with a heel kick to the elf's side, sending him stumbling back. Following up, Kisikoni charged in parrying a quick stab and falling into a slide that knocked the elf off his feet. The elf rolled over, attempting to get up but Kisikoni had already turned to land back on his feet, bringing a knee to slam the side of the elf's head and finishing him off with a downward thrust of his thick blade into the man's back.

Shoving him off, Kisikoni scanned his surroundings, ensuring that there were no other mercenaries that meant him harm. Convinced that there were none at the moment, Kisikoni began making his way toward an alleyway. This would be a bad idea in general, but he couldn't make it all the way back to camp without the pain and the bleeding getting to him. He needed to perform some proper first-aid first. Doing it in a public area was just asking for trouble, be it from the city guard or meticulous shopkeepers or assassins. Leaning against the wall, he slid down until he was sitting, letting a hiss escape his mouth as he grasped at the bolt. The head was designed like a harpoon- quick to enter, a pain to get out. Pulling it out would rip out more flesh than he would like.

Let me do it. It's faster. it said irritably. Kisikoni immediately threw up a mental wall, trying to block it from doing anything, but even as he tried to, he felt his mind go numb. A deep stink of what could only be described as fear for anybody close enough began to exude from the deep human, as his breathing became more labored and the bolt began twitching and turning unnaturally. Eventually, as the aura of fear became more palpable, the bolt slid smoothly out of his body, accompanied by the forming of a scale-like scab. Kisikoni heard the bolt clatter to the cobblestone ground, and immediately stared into a puddle formed from dead-gods-know-what. A monster stared back at the deep human, or rather, faced him. The eyes were completely missing, leaving naught but a black void- and his skin was as dry and cracked as a lake during a drought. Blinking once, Kisikoni steadied his breathing, and felt his face return back to normal. The scaly scab that the arrow left was gone, leaving only bare skin where the bolt had pierced through his mail and clothes.

"Never do that again."

Why not? I saved you the trouble of-

"Never do that again! You have no right to consider what or what doesn't trouble me, you monster!" Kisikoni shouted angrily, his calm composure completely shattered.

Harsh words for a hypocrite. Our fates are intertwined, mortal. You cannot tell me to do anything. You have less control than you would like to believe.

"Shut up! Shut up! SHUT UP!!"

Kisikoni stood up hastily, feeling the presence take extreme pleasure from his distress. He cast his eyes around quickly, and noted with some cheap relief that nobody had taken much notice of him. Avoiding the topic that clouded his thoughts, he decided to look for Talae and the pack horse. Flexing his right arm, he confirmed with some lingering disgust that it was working as well as it was before the ambush. He found his horse fairly close to where the ambush occurred, where it was calmed down by two fruit shopkeepers interested in stopping the horse's rampage before it destroyed their inventory. After apologizing quickly, he paid them to look after the horse until he returned. With his mind as clear as he could get, he delved back into the streets, following the commotion in an attempt to trace Talae and the Wagon's trail.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image "You know, all this work can't be good for you." She said, staring at a slim figure sitting at a desk. Pieces of blueprint paper were scattered about the room, some neatly piled in one side, others thrown carelessly about. The figure shook his head slowly, his head of jet-black hair shading his face from further recognition.

"I've seen harder days before Haven." He replied curtly, the quick motions of his quill never ceasing.

"Suit yourself, but why?" Mercy asked, tilting her head and leaning over the paper to get a better view. He did not look up, but rather continued writing as if she wasn't currently in the room. In truth, he was well aware of the fact, more so than the average person would be.

"Because I still can serve." He paused. "I'm getting soft." He commented, raising a hand to indicate her leave. "I have work to do."


The commotion just outside her tent roused the drowsy Nightmarian from her stupor. She returned to reality reluctantly, blinking heavily at the entrance flaps, which showed two figures moving erratically. She almost laughed if she weren't in such a daze. In this sorry state, she recognized some urgency. Why would two belly dancers perform outside her tent? Unless they weren't belly dancers. They burst through the tent flaps, clawing at their face with daggers out and flailing wildly. Well now.

She huffed slightly, raising her arms slightly and allowing both to trip and fall over. The would-be assassins tried to regain their balance, but failed to do so as they met a face full of a mixture of hay and arc shell. She twisted around, grabbing one and casually twisted his neck as he recovered. He fell to a clump, dead instantly. Mercy didn't have the patience for this bullshit, frankly- very few people dared to interrupt her drinking binges, and even fewer avoided seeing her fangs as punishment. The other had already stumbled to his feet, blindly stabbing with his dagger, but Mercy twisted, using her amazing flexibility around her waist to avoid the blade completely, grabbing the man and twisting his arm. The man spun around once, landing on his back with Mercy's arms securing him from the shoulders down.

The man struggled slightly, before he felt something pierce his neck. Instantly, fear began to seep in. This was definitely NOT what he signed up. He began to struggle with a feral instinct that was almost pitiable, because even if he could break the Nightmarian's iron grip he would not be able to make it outside of the tent before her Paralytic poison deaded his limbs and left him unable to move. Even as his flailing weakened, she rose, reaching back to grab some of the webbing she was secreting from her abdomen. She gently began wrapping him up, lazily observing her assailant's face as he realized he was being enveloped in the sticky secretion. "They're going to have fun with you, dear." She murmured softly into his ear, giggling mockingly. His expression was priceless, as was her many other victims. She finished securing his body with a mass of webbing, before tossing the man out of the tent, along with the body. She didn't particularly care she had just survived an assassination attempt, or that the assassins were unusually clumsy. However, now that she was awake she did have something she cared about.

She popped open another bottle. Immediately downing a quarter of it, she lamented drowsily how they couldn't have just killed her. It was such a pleasant dream.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


Dresinil's entrance and graceless fall did not entertain Safir's poor humor as the pain in his hand began to grow more and more pronounced. He did, however deign to grin, as it was partially his fault for blocking the way in the first place. He noticed a couple of dark elves leaving, though not so subtle now that they've more or less lost control of their bodies. Safir took solace in the fact that assassins, who valued their precise movements much more than he did as a knight were suffering the hardest. "You only say that because you know I won't bite your head off." Safir replied, grunting as he stood up carefully. He was going to invite his elven comrade to find a healer with him, but apparently the Captain had already arranged such a thing.

A woman, a silenced with red robes approached him in all his inglorious appearance and quickly mended his bones. Safir's face twisted slightly, discomforted by his bones moving and mending at unnatural speeds. Well, it beat having to splint it and nursing it for weeks. The woman seemed to smile at him kindly, which brought a warm feeling to the knight's heart. Well, at least it seemed like she enjoyed what she did, despite the circumstances. He watched her heal Dresinil, slightly interested in how she manages such strange magics. His mother, an enchantress never spoke of her trade, and Safir himself didn't have a lick of magic within his veins. He wondered what it was like, to have such power no matter how slight it was.

He wasn't brooding for long, because before he knew it, Dresinil also sprang up fairly quickly, careful with his movements as well to avoid another injury. Tao's explanation and suggestions were feasible enough, and Safir decided to entertain himself for the day by getting reacquainted with his body- however strange that sounded. Dresinil offered to go with him, as training was less of a chore when done with others. They walked carefully, adjusting and fine-tuning their movements. As they searched for a good spot, they caught a glimpse of Jivven.

"Good dancer, but I've seen better ballerinas back home. None so pretty, though." Dresinil commented, and Safir could not help but chortle.

"Yet here you are, barely able to walk." He replied, attempting a light punch on his shoulder. Dresinil stumbled from the force, his face reddening slightly. "Oh, I did not mean t-"

"Gotcha." The elf laughed, righting himself carefully. They were already far enough away that they couldn't hear the dark elf's pattering feet. They decided to walk back to the general area of the healer, Carmen. The way people like himself and Dresinil trained was very different from that of Jivven's, involving more injuries. However, that served only to strengthen the body. Martial Artists like Gatan often beat themselves with special wooden rods to temper their nerves, becoming nearly impervious to medium amounts of blunt trauma. The two began with stretches and basic exercises, to get a feel for the new strength. More than once, Safir overexerted, pulling a muscle and ligament- or even throwing so much force that limbs popped out of their sockets. Carmen had to make more than one trip down, but whether she was disgruntled or not was hidden by her calm facade. He could not say the same for Dresinil, who was beginning to think of this blessing as something of a bittersweet curse.

Even after an hour of this, they were still apprehensive about trusting themselves with swinging around a weapon. They watched as a light swordsman whipped out his sword so hard, he hyper-extended his arm and had to be treated by the healer. Weighing his sword and shield with his hand, he was surprised to conclude that his sword felt like it weighed no more than a reed, and his shield was nothing more than a plank of wood on his arm. Dresinil expressed the same surprise, but at the same time seemed very happy about it. "This seems to have put you in a good mood." Commented Safir.

"Yes. I fear for the durability of my axe now that I can wield it with such strength." He said, a gruff excitement in his voice.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Zulii Ma'kaurubaen Sleekfeathers Character Portrait: Torga Earth-Mender Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Feng Tao Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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The Paragon
Talos City, Supply Caravan


Neira watched without the slightest hint of pity as the terramancer encased his foe in an earthen fist, following up with blows from his own, much fleshier ones. If he was in danger of killing the fool, she supposed she would intervene, as dead men told very few tales, at least to anyone but that Darenthi bastard.

A series of wet cracks and pops were all Torga received for his trouble as it seemed the brigand was not speaking. With a whispered sigh, she approached and placed an hand on the orc’s shoulder. “This is accomplishing nothing.” She squeezed a bit, and her facial expression, mostly neutral but quite serious, made clear the double-intention of the gesture. She was at present standing with her hand over a vital pressure point, which she could manipulate at her leisure, and he would stop his assault on the prisoner. “I recommend you save your vengeance for those against whom you need the edge, not the hapless souls already at your mercy.”

With a shrug, she released him as soon as he backed off and oversaw the transport of the fool, now thoroughly subdued, to where Xeron was working his psionics on a few more prisoners. Interesting; not an isolated incident, then. That made sense, as while quite confident in her skill, Neira was not terribly important in the grand scheme of this army, and targeting her alone would have been beyond stupid.

Xeron’s verdict surprised her somewhat, but she did not question it. If that was what he’d seen in their minds, then that’s all that was there. She knew well enough that he was skilled in his trade, and no such folk as these would be hiding anything from him. The fact that they had yet to capture the captain was somewhat disheartening, or it would have been if she considered herself to have a heart at all.

“Chances are, he’s around somewhere, though… I think there might be bigger problems to deal with.” She eyed the group of approaching civilians speculatively, then turned to the general. “Might want to use your words here, Captain. Unless you’d rather I talk to them?”

Dead gods knew that wouldn’t go over well.

Talos City Markets


Talae, thrown from the moving cart, landed rather less jarringly than she’d been expecting. Her vision swam for a bit, though she was acutely aware that the only injuries she’d actually suffered were blunt traumas, and she wasn’t bleeding anywhere. Still, she lingered on the cusp of consciousness, scarcely able to make out the swirling shapes of the black tattoos that moved as if alive across the fair skin of Beelzes’s face.

As soon as her breath was once again properly situated in her lungs, Talae squirmed out of the warlock’s grasp, feet alighting on the ground without difficulty. When she attempted to support her weight, however, she lurched forward, only able to compensate with years of training in balance and fluidity. She wasn’t doing herself much credit right now, but that was a matter to be ashamed of later, not now.

She cast her glance to the side, noting her unconscious opponent. “Thanks. That one… back to General Wrath,” she garbled, then shook her head slightly. “Koni. Where is he? I think he was shot. I need to tell him…” she’d forgotten what, exactly, but she’d remember soon enough. Right now, her priorities were to reassure herself that he was alive, then drag the prisoner back to camp. Then, maybe, she’d actually go get those supplies she needed.

Paragon Encampment, Soldiers’ Tents


Chaos had erupted inside the tent, and Fak’ir could only surmise that the blinded assassins were being roundly dealt with. He wasn’t exactly sure whose dwelling this was, but as soon as one of the former combatants was ejected from the premises covered in spider silk, he had a pretty good guess. Of all the targets… the fool should count himself lucky to be alive.

Not that this would necessarily remain the case for long. Relinquishing his cover of darkness, the sun-darkened halfling approached the confined man, who had taken up shouting while trying to free himself from his bonds. Unamused, the desert-dweller dealt him a measured blow to the temple with a knife-hilt, rolling his viridian eyes when silence at last reigned once again.

Were he a different kind of man, Fak’ir might have complained about doing janitorial duties for someone else, but as it was he was a soldier till his last breath, and so he saluted the tent (or rather the half-sane nightmarian inside it) and set about moving the gift-wrapped assailant to the center of camp without protest, figuring that Captain Yan’vega was unlikely to bother doing so herself. For someone of his diminutive stature, he was no pushover, and transport was more a matter of finding the leverage than the strength. Eventually, though, muttering a string of colorful oaths in a lilting language quite different from the common tongue, he was able to roll the unconscious man into a line of similarly-indisposed individuals awaiting mental examination by the weird dark elf man who had apparently defected from the Children.

He caught the nightmarian’s words and scowled. “Probably won’t make a difference,” he pointed out pragmatically. “You ever known the populace to listen to reason once they have it in their heads to lynch a body?” He spoke from bitter experience, but masked it with general gruffness.

The Children of Fire
The Imperian, a Ghost Town That Shouldn’t Be



Three days after their powers were bestowed upon them, the Aesr were deployed for the first time, transported to a location just outside what was once a thriving trade center in the Imperian, and an early conquest of Nihalistrix. Aesr herself, presently shaped much like a dark elven woman, had been at the forefront of this conquering army, and had expected the sight of the town to bring her much satisfaction.

As it was, she was screaming like a banshee and like to tear someone’s eyes out. They’d arrived at the periphery of the town before she’d known that anything was wrong, but when her suspicions had been confirmed, she’d been positively incensed.

There was nobody here. The entire town, still intact and standing, bore not one trace of mortal life, and it was as if they’d all spontaneously vanished. Doors to buildings hung open, swinging eerily on their hinges in the westbound breeze, and though her eyes darted back and forth over the landscape, Aesr could not pick out the reason for the desertion.

“What is the meaning of this?” she shrieked to nobody in particular. This was not how her first solo command was supposed to go. They were supposed to march in, crush the small Paragon resistance that resided here, reestablish their hold on this place, and leave again, blooded and ready for greater things. Glaring about at all of her soldiers, she grew increasingly frustrated when none was able to provide her with a satisfactory answer. Not even that idiot- wait. Where was her Captain? “Tao!” She grit her teeth when there was no immediate response, and rounded on Carmen. “Where is he?”

The Silenced’s ridiculously-blue eyes went wide, and she shook her head emphatically, holding both hands up and in front of her in an attempt to placate the angry dragon. Aesr realized that a trail of smoke was coiling from her nostrils and took a deep breath. Turning back around, she bumped right into the object of her search, who’d apparently heard her summons and appeared. Aesr’s hands curled into fists; she was surrounded by imbeciles. Her angry tirade was forestalled when the deep human pointed at something. Following the trajectory of his arm, she noted scorch marks on the ground not too far from where they were.

“The rest of the city is likewise marked,” he informed her, and he sounded so inappropriately chipper about that that she considered tearing one of his arms off. No, no, he’s more useful to me whole. They all are. It was a few moments before she realized exactly how humiliating this particular revelation was.

Her mouth worked for a few seconds with no resultant sound before it caught up with her brain. “Of course,” she said, covering her shame with arrogance. “Magical interference. Fine; we march further, then. We’ll find who was responsible for this, and punish them.” Her words were firm, but the Captain raised a speculative eyebrow. This was directly contradictory to her mother’s orders; they were supposed to avoid no man’s land. But, untested as her soldiers might be, Aesr was approaching desperation to prove herself, and beyond the tactical repercussions, she cared not how many she had to lose to do it.

Tao himself shrugged and motioned to the rest of the troops, setting out at the front of the group. Ordinary march pace, problematic only to those who weren’t used to it. Carmen fell back to mingle with the others, allowing her presence to soothe in the way it sometimes tended to. Besides, she was not much of a combatant: though holy magic did have destructive capabilities, she was not accustomed to using them, given the rarity of proper healers. She wound up beside the knight from the other day and the pretty purple moth-woman.

Shasarra marched a distance behind, being one of the only people comfortable walking within ten feet of Zulii, though she hadn’t tried making conversation since the second day of training, and that hadn’t gone too well. Instead, she spoke to Jivven. “Something tells me this wasn’t the original plan,” she drawled with a hint of sarcasm. That much was obvious from the fit Aesr had been throwing, but she wasn’t exactly sure what they were supposed to do now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Feng Tao
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image The runaway wagon carved a path of confusion in it's wake, and while there was the poor soul that was run over there was no lasting damage until it promptly crashed. Kisikoni was barely able to keep up, and was slightly relieved when the wagon's rampage came to an end. At the same time, a bud of worry erupted in Kisikoni's chest, wondering the fate of Talae until he noticed a crowd gathering around a separate area. He pushed himself near the front, looking over the shoulders of spectators and saw Talae in the arms of Beelzes. She didn't look terribly injured, and Beelzes was cheerful as usual. Satisfied that Talae was in good hands, he attempted a quick signal at the deep human before disappearing back into the crowd. Truth be told, after everything that had recently transpired he wasn't too eager to be alone with Talae. It would be incredibly awkward, and she definitely needed time to take in everything she had told her. He also had a horse and preservatives to retrieve, and it would be best if they were separated. Other enemy assassins or bounty hunters would be forced to split up, thus weakening their forces. With Beelzes, Kisikoni was certain that Talae could take on any threat.

Eventually, he would have to talk it out with others- his specter problem wasn't slight enough to be brushed off, especially with it laughing in his head at the notion that it could be tamed. Talae was the only one he trusted so implicitly with the full weight of the knowledge, though he was aware that the Paragon had an inkling of his state. After all, Pel had been assigned to him as a personal medic. He cringed slightly at the thought of the halfling, halting the guilt before it could take root in his heart.

The elf he had killed would be of no use to the Paragon, but the unconscious dark elf may yet yield some answers. The third man, who had been impaled by Talae's blade was unlikely to have survived, and even if he did, would probably have been gone by now. He jogged past the stalls they had been attacked, without giving the body that was still sprawled on the cobblestone a glance. He would have to either bring the body to Xeron or Wrath to determine whether he would be of use, or bring a report back. The man was dead, and from what he could tell did not look anything special- especially so due to his average level of skill in fighting. He retrieved the pack horse, thanking the shopkeepers once more. Though they looked disgruntled, their day brightened considerably when Kisikoni tipped them a couple of coins for the trouble. Leading the horse back around, he brought it over to a merchant who was selling spices. After a quick exchange, Kisikoni dutifully loaded several bags of salts onto the horse, which seemed to take on a slightly disappointed appearance. He took the last one and threw it onto his shoulder, using a free hand to grab the horse's reins and begin leading him back out of the city.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image What in blazes was all the racket about? Mercy groaned, blearily rubbing her voluminous red eyes. The entire camp was in an uproar for one reason or another, and Mercy resolved to find it and squash it so she could go back to sleep. A half-empty bottle was clenched tight in her left arm as she got up unsteadily and burst through the flaps, eyes fiery. Seizing a nearby soldier, she inquired about current happenings. The soldier, unused to the generally lewd nightmarian's antics gave a nervous response. She supposed the idea of assassins would explain the rude intrusion earlier. Speaking of which, the web-wrapped men she tossed out earlier had not remained in front of her tent, so she assumed they were taken away to be questioned. A pile of turned over dirt, no doubt a trail left by somebody attempting to move the web-stricken individuals lead her to where all the action was happening.

Stumbling over, she took a swig of the increasingly light bottle and clasped a hand onto who she believed to be Xeron. "You're tellin' me, that our security is so bad letta'couple of guys enter my tent ta'tryna kill me?" She slurred, trying her best to sound indignant but failing horribly. Half her eyes were unfocused and dormant, which wasn't helping her attempt either. Releasing her grip on Xeron's shoulder, she swayed slightly while turning to regard the bunch of captured men. She burst out laughing when she saw one that was beaten to a pulp. "Who, who did that? He or she deserves a promotion!" she cried, slapping one of her knees in mirth. Sighing, she drained the rest of the bottle and used the end to poke one of the prisoners gracelessly. "I dunno' fellas, none of these guys look like they know anything." She slurred, incredibly late on the uptake. She quickly lost interest in the faceless goons, taking a more prominent interest in finding the leader so she could sleep in safety. Whoever saved her probably wouldn't be there to catch her when she fell if it happened again. "Hoo, well I'll go an' check the storage and check the storage to see if he's stealing anything." She said, turning and raising an unsteady hand.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


Three days was just enough time for Safir to regain comfortable control of his body. No longer did he accidentally crush his bones in a fall or pop a joint out of it's socket with a swing. He could not say the same about Dresinil, but he seemed well enough off to join them on the mission that was announced to their leader- the unpredictable and unnerving Aesr. Once again, magic was utilized, and they were transported to a huge city. Safir's first emotions were that of frustration. Why the hell did they go through that triple-pace march for hours if they could have simply teleported to the tower? His second thoughts was that of how quiet everything seemed. Looking around, he finally noticed that indeed, everything was empty.

What were they doing here? The only logical assumption that Safir could make was that they were doing some grunt work and hauling supplies. However, the city looked long abandoned to the point where most of the food would have spoiled. Safir glanced at Dresinil, and to the rest of his comrades, but Aesr seemed absolutely outraged by the turn of events as well. Once again, the heavy-lidded knuckle head that was their captain had to placate the disguised dragon, who took the form of a catching elf.

For all their strength, by god did they have an equal amount of pride. Their disguises were uncannily beautiful. Shrugging slightly, he gave a reassuring nod to Carmen- their healer. Though clad his his armor and shield, such desolate silence made him feel vulnerable. Carmen's presence made him a lot more confident than he would be without her. They were off again, marching toward nowhere. He wasn't sure what was to come or make of this event, but Aesr certainly seemed agitated about something and Safir figured it might have something to do with this area. Safir noted that he was beside the moth woman as well as Carmen, and decided to converse with her to pass the time. "Three days enough for you? I think I broke more figures those past few days than the entire Civil armies throughout the war." He said, flexing his digits confidently.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Liliana Bloodleaf Character Portrait: Torga Earth-Mender Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image There was no time left to waste. It was aware of the dying halfling over his arms, and before long the wench would be completely consumed by the necrotic magics. It would earn him an earful from an unreasonable deep human over something he could not control. Even as it planned a method of escape, his blades continued to sing, lopping off heads and crushing skulls without so much as a pause for breath. It considered the state of the body it inhabited, which was already pushed to a dangerous limit. Well, a maimed host would be better than a dead host, even better if he is injured to the point where he is to be detained somewhere safe. Somewhere inside his mind, Kisikoni recoiled at the thought violently.

Rounding a corner, he quickly knocked a ghoul to the side, impaling it before turning to face Lily and her Sunwing, whom had just came around themselves. A pause occurred, while both adjusted and assessed the situation once more. The elf did a good job in adapting to the air of fear that it exuded, and even as they relieved it of the halfling. The elf made a quick comment, drawing a bow. It was impressed with her bravery, giving off a rough, rumbling sound that exited out of the holes on his face. A knuckle tapped against the lumps on his belt.

What are these, mortal?

"Magical Flares. We need to get those outside and call for help.

Without another second wasted, the deep human dove back into the oncoming horde. The growths on his face and armor became more and more pronounced, as he hacked and slashed with little restraint. What a weak body. The war was progressing too fast to allow enrootment the time it needed to completely attach to the host. And thus, he was stuck with this. The blades were visibly battered now, dark blood staining and drying on the deep human's hands and crossguards. Climbing up the stairs, he occasionally threw a backwards glance to make sure the elves were in a good position. Grabbing one of the small flare, it pulled the string that would ignite the fuse and threw it down a corridor. It exploded, but didn't provide the reaction that was satisfactory to the deep human. Hissing, he watched a couple of ghouls examine it briefly before returning their attention to the possessed deep human.

It wasn't long before they had progressed to the main level. Unfamiliar with the layout, it took a while for the deep human to navigate, minding the dire levels of stress the body was taking. Screeching in frustration, it took the second of the three flares Kisikoni brought with him and ignited it, throwing it through a window. Perhaps it would give the mortal's incompetent army time to realize something was wrong. The man's body was waning from it's angry pace. He must have killed more than a hundred of the damn things, but they showed no signs of letting up. Calculating furiously, it finally made it back into the main reception hall. This was the best place for the survivors to meet up, but even as it took the last few steps, it knew it could not hold this form any longer. Withdrawing voluntarily, Kisikoni stumbled from his dead sprint, and while the growth disappeared from the deep human, the full experience of the body's stress came crashing down on him. His vision flickered, and he dropped his swords. His battered muscles twitched, his arms reflexively clutching at his chest before they gave up and allowed him to hit the ground. Though his body remained whole, his muscles threatened to rip themselves apart as complete pain and utter exhaustion plagued Kisikoni's unconscious form.

Weak.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Mercy sighed, watching the two men catch up. Was this all that remained? Hellstriker was a given- he was one of the original members of Wrath's squad and Blackguard. However, with only Jack at their side, they were doomed if they were to continue for the rest of the night taking this many losses. It was at this point, Jack attempted to lighten the grim joke as they caught their breath, looking around. Her voluminous red eyes regarded the ant for a second, before breaking out into a foolish grin. "That's the spirit." She cooed tiredly, patting the nightmarian on the head. A new noise registered in the spider's ears, as she looked up and saw an orc. She recognized him, scrutinizing the man as he came up behind Jack.

"Well. I take it by what you said that Beelzes sent you here?" She asked rhetorically. She already knew the answer- the deranged deep human hadn't quite been the same after Talae's sister Faera had vanished. "Either way, you're stuck with us, honey. What you see now, is all that's left so far. Might be others, but until we can find them they're just as good as dead." She said, wiping her forehead.

"Here's the situation, private. Our two men that had signal flares went and disappeared during this chaos, and we've got to find them, or we'll die trying to hold out until Wrath decides he should check the place out." With that, she heard a dull explosion somewhere below. Was that a flare? Well, blast if that was the case somebody must be alive down there. The ghouls may have tripped it, but the odds of that were so unlikely it must have been a conscious operator. However, before she could decide whether or not to pursue that noise, she heard another explosion. A second flare, this time somewhere around them instead of under.

"Looks like we have some fighters!" She said, giggling. Elbowing Thanaros, she motioned to Torga and Jack to follow her as she used her Nightmarian vision to pick her way through the darkness. Without the moonlight outside fully lighting the way, it would prove difficult for those without night vision to navigate the ruined area. Eventually, the group could hear the sounds of bowstrings twinging. Turning the corner into the reception hall, they saw a prone body that looked so bad she almost mistook it for a ghoul. Examining it, she muttered, "Looks like Ayalen, but I don't see Grimsmirk anywhere. Bowfighting is going on, but I can't see the Sunwings." With that, she moved in to clear away the ghouls surrounding the unmoving deep human.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


The fight was going extremely well. With the cleric's magic backing his sword and his armor protecting him from the ravenous claws, Safir didn't even realize he had burned his way through group after group of the undead ahead of his allies until he found himself fighting deep near the heart of all the activity. Tao and Vortigern were fighting alongside them, and Safir had the rare opportunity to behold both his commanding officers engaged in the heat of battle. A style far more graceful and precise than his powerful rough n'tough style of fighting. Safir could only hope he could be so ruthlessly efficient without the help of Carmen, who he was genuinely grateful for. With his sturdy armor and powerful enchanted shield and a powerful enhanced sword, he allowed the bloodrage to consume him. This was the ideal conditions. If he could, he would fight every battle like this. Even as he roared, smashing a rotting skull in with nothing but the hilt of his sword. Even as he blocked a swipe that wouldn't have hurt him much, and gutted the offending renevant and stepped on it's head.

However, things would change. They weren't the Civil, one of the major factions if they were this easy to take on. The ground shook as some unholy magic tore apart the stones under their feet. A skeletal beast rose from the earth, burning red eyes giving it a perverted semblance of life. However, it's impressive size and undeniable strength to displace so much earth left an impression on the knight, whose bloodlust cleared enough for him to hear Vortigern's commands.

As much as he hated to put the healer in the fight, he knew it was directly necessary. There was something about a the Children that had a sense of family and protectiveness. It was naught but a day after they had been fighting each other to the death that they were protecting each other from it. Gripping his sword tighter, he yelled in affirmation as he sized up his opponent. The Dragon was not smart or sentient by any means, but made up for that with a lack of obvious way to kill it and power. The area had cleared up well, though. In it's flashy entrance, the dragon had knocked the surrounding ghouls away, and now it was Safir, Carmen, and Oraun.

"Any ideas, human?"

"Let me test it out. I have the most armor."

And with that, Safir directly engaged the beast. Lunging at it, Safir ducked a powerful horizontal swipe, attempting to cut at the bone with his holy sword as it passed over him. It seemed to have done some sort of damage- though the bone could not be cut the magic did seem to leave a scorch on the bone that seemed to stimulate the skeletal wyrm. Once again, he had Carmen to thank. "Tough deadwalker." He grunted, dodging another swipe. Evading the beast's attacks was definitely the best method in taking it out. Though he was clad in armor, many mistook it as a fact that his speed would go down. While that was true in a sense, he still retained his flexibility, as armor without any leads to broken bones and sitting targets. He was also stronger now, the armor felt more like cow leather clothing. However, as more cuts appeared on the Dragon's claws, it began to smarten up slightly. Instead of strokes, it opted for a more dangerous smash. Safir barely dodged the skull-crushing bones that caused the ground to rumble, stumbling backward. Stones bounced off his visor. He wasn't getting anywhere wildly swinging at the wyrm's arms, he had to go for something else. Perhaps, the eyes. A small target, but it was the only place worth noting that the dragon might take some considerable damage.

"You have a plan."

"I do. Distract it while I try to get it's eyes."

The elf snarled, rushing the beast, and attempted to rain heavy blows onto it with his axe. Ducking low, he raced toward the dragon once more, his blade streaking for the monster's right eye.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Liliana Bloodleaf Character Portrait: Zulii Ma'kaurubaen Sleekfeathers Character Portrait: Torga Earth-Mender Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Feng Tao
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The Paragon
The Imperian, A Collapsing Castle


The dampener that had been keeping magic from properly functioning here… it was located in that? Neira had to give credit where it was due; the ingenuity of their foes was something to be considered worthy. A skull in a mausoleum like this was hiding in plain sight. It was perhaps simply too bad that it wasn’t hidden well enough.

Xeron was intently focused, and she did not need to be asked to spare her questions for the moment. Briefly, she even considered assisting, of lending her own mind to the effort in an indirect way, but refrained for two reasons: first, she knew he was capable of accomplishing this on his own, fatigued though it might make him, and second, the action itself would have implied a level of trust she gave to nobody. Communing with one’s mind to the extent that mental energy could be shared was a relinquishing of a great deal of secrets and privacy, and it reminded her far too much of her birthplace.

So instead, she wordlessly moved to the dark elf when his task was done, observing his signs of exhaustion even as her own vitality returned. Still without speaking, she grasped one of his arms and slung it over her shoulder, stilling the pieces of rubble that had begun to fall from the ceiling. Suspended there, as if in some viscous liquid that deprived them of all motion, they made for what seemed a frozen moment in time.

Then, she pulled the both of them through space and out of the castle, and everything where they had been resumed.



Talae followed a half-step behind Salim as the two ducked and wove to reach the tethered horses. From the way the ground was shaking, it wouldn’t be too much longer yet before the entire structure came down around the others, and that worried her. She still had friends in there, people whose lives were of more importance to her than she would ever willingly admit.

It was easier, she thought as she watched her charge swing astride a beast of burden, if you didn’t care at all, but alas no matter how she tried, reaching that perfect equilibrium where nothing mattered was impossible for her. To this day, she blamed her sister’s influence for that.

She hesitated, half-tempted to duck back into the castle and get the others out or die trying. A foolish notion that the pragmatist in her detested, and yet…

The appearance of the nightmarian Captain Neira was a temporary distraction. The woman appeared uninjured and not in the least fatigued, though the same could not be said for Xeron beside her. Talae approached the two, indicating with a gesture that the psionic man could be led to a mount if he wasn’t up to that floating thing he tended to favor at the moment. Neira shrugged, stepping away from him and letting him do as he pleased.

An idea occurred to Talae right then. If she was still in the kind of shape to be teleporting places, then…

The nightmarian rolled her red eyes. “Fine, Shanir. I don’t have to read your mind to know what you want. It’s all over your face. Where are they?”

“Underground. If you-” she was cut off by a small huff, and a chitin-encased hand touched her temple.

“Show me.” Talae thought of the route that would be necessary, closing her eyes and visualizing the path that Kisikoni, Sid, and the others with them had taken to the underground part of the castle, before she’d been forced to leave them behind and chase after the former mercenary.

When Neira stepped away, she was frowning, but nodded anyway. “Make sure the idiot doesn’t do something stupid while I’m gone.” It wasn’t necessary to ask who ‘the idiot’ was, because as far as Talae knew, Neira only regularly associated with Xeron, the General, Mercy, and Thanaros, and only one of those people was in her immediate proximity at the moment.

Once the woman was gone, Talae at last deigned to answer the swordsman’s question. “I acknowledge your skill, but foolishness impresses no one.” Hopping up onto another of the horses, she tried to quell the small feeling of guilt that she was not in that castle, fighting to get her comrades out of it.



Neira zipped through the collapsing passages of the castle structure, less concerned than most people would be at the impending demise of the structure. If something would have hit her, she simply threw it aside with a bit of telekinesis, or else moved around it using her presently psychically-enhanced limbs.

Coming at last to the spot Talae had seen their comrades get drawn underneath the structure (or was it outside? Perhaps there was more to this architecture than there seemed to be), she followed the path down, landing with a solid but muffled thud upon the floor.

The place was nothing less than a disaster. Bodies lay all over the place, though the greatest portion of them were nothing but dust now, thanks to Xeron’s work. Still, no longer was there anything down here. Muttering a few choice obscenities, most of them directed at Shanir’s poor sense of direction, needless concern, or both, Neira took off running down the passage, rounding a corner and coming upon a set of stairs, which eventually led her back to the main level. As she cleared them, a large chunk of stone fell from the buttresses high above, effectively closing off the passage.

Thankfully, she was close enough at this point to pick up some stray thoughts from Lily, captain of the Sunwings, and knew she was probably on the right track. Locking on to that location Neira willed herself to it, appearing just behind the elf-woman’s lieutenant, apparently running back the way they had come with Sid, the second-in-command of the entire damn army, unconscious and slung over her back.

“No good that way,” the nightmarian informed the woman- Adel, was it?- curtly, then gestured ahead of her. The two took off again, running across what appeared to have been the site of quite the confrontation.

“Damn, looks like I missed all the fun.” Kisikoni was also unconscious, and very heavily wounded from the look of him, while several others were still standing and in various states of good and bad repair, including Lily herself and Yan’vega, who Neira would willingly admit she preferred alive to dead.

Swiftly assessing the situation, she tossed the deep human captain over one shoulder and addressed the rest. “I can get him, archer girl, and Sid out of here. No more than that, though. The place is coming down, and your best bet is to take advantage of that. From here, Torga over there can break a hole in the wall, and Thanaros should be able to float you down. From there, well… run like hell, kids, unless you fancy being squished.”

“You, you’re with me,” she told Adel, and wasting no time hearing any protests the girl might have had, grabbed her by the upper arm and dragged the lot of them back to the retreating line with little more than a thought.

Of course, “little more than a thought” didn’t mean it required a small amount of effort, and by the time she was able to pass Koni and Sid off to be treated by a medic, she was crankier than usual and in some serious need of sleep.



The Children of Fire
The Imperian, Town Center



Knossus stared down the strangely blank-looking little man from a distance of about ten feet. Empowered by the strength of his casting, he knew it wouldn’t be all that much of a challenge to snap the fool’s bones with his bare hands… and that sounded like exactly what he wanted to do at the moment.

“So, cave-brother, what say we settle this after the ways of our kin? No magic,” he held up his hands as if to indicate that he would use none, “no weapons,” the crimson radiance of his pupils scanned the equally-red length of the liuyedao in Tao’s right hand, “merely the strength of our limbs and our minds, hm?” Of course, given that the redhead appeared to be a bit simple meant that such a confrontation would hardly be fair, but then anyone who wandered onto a battlefield like this one had to accept that as a matter of course. In fact, every advantage was one for Knossus. He was larger, the residual effects of his enchantment made him just as strong as a Child of Fire, and he had years of experience in matter of war.

Tao merely blinked at him slowly, then flicked the blood off his sword as best he could and sheathed it, pressing his palms together in front of him and bowing at the waist. Knossus mirrored the gesture, then stepped back with his right foot, bouncing a little to keep himself in constant motion. His opponent took the opposite stance, alerting Knossus to the fact that he was left-side dominant, but seemed disinclined to move much at all.

Flowing forward, the larger man lashed out with his right foot, attempting to hook it over and around Tao’s corresponding calf and drag him downward. Rather than simply stepping back and out of the way as he would have expected, however, the shorter of the two stepped into the maneuver, stopping the now-abbreviated motion cold with both of his hands and twisting. The uncomfortable wrench caused by the more-than-human strength of the Children forced Knossus to twist and fall, lest his leg be broken while he simply stood there. Tearing his foot from his opponent’s grip, he rolled to the side and then back onto his feet, which the strange man in red armor seemed perfectly willing to let him do.

This time, when he lunged, sudden and powerful as a summer thunderstorm, he aimed high, thrusting for Tao’s neck. The latter blocked, crossing his arms slightly above his head to block the downward momentum, and stepped forward quickly, jabbing his foot for Knossus’s shin. Eyes widening, the larger man jumped backwards, sacrificing stability so as to remain uninjured. He was punished for it when Tao shifted his weight from one foot to the other, slamming the opposite knee into his abdomen.

The blow itself was not overly injurious because of the angle at which Knossus had been standing, but it effectively shattered his stability, and this time, he fell forward even as Tao stepped back, hitting the ground and feeling the unfortunate crunch of his nose breaking on the stone tiles.



That there woman? Vortigern shook his head to himself. It seemed like every time he was around the ladies, his grammar went out the window. Of course, he always had the brogue, but that was just his upbringing.

But never mind that. There were things to be killed, and he was just the man for the job. It seemed that the comely little purple lass had an idea, and he was perfectly content to follow, as long as the end result still involved bathing himself in the blood of his foes. Almost literally.

She was kicking up some kind of dark purple mist-dust, and while he didn’t really understand how she was accomplishing that, the fact was that it was still happening, and the sensations that entered his mind unbidden after that made about as much sense as anything. He grinned when her mental voice accompanied them, and thought back to her.

I may not be the mos’ cultured man on the continent, lass, but I’m not stupid. I know a good plan when I see one… or when the other guy don’.”

So saying, he sank into that peculiar state of mind that characterized his own berserker tendencies- not overly loud, but certainly what most people would class as overly aggressive. This whole mental communication thing worked surprisingly well- he was able to latch onto the small pings that were being sent his way and follow them with all the determination of a bloodhound. When his shortsword and tomahawk bit deep into Quwall’s flesh, then, her shriek didn’t faze him in the slightest.

The fact that she proceeded to summon hellfire and light the purple cloud with it was marginally more troubling.

The move was irrationally stupid, and luckily he saw it coming, else he’d have been a pile of smoldering ashes. As it was, he was able to duck and avoid the first gout, and even as the acrid stench of burning powder filled his nose, Weylin did not tarry in his task, dispensing with most of the flashy stuff and slitting her throat.

Er… Pylarea, lass, I’m gonna need a way outta this, or chances are good I’ll burn ta death, if ya take my meanin’.



A short distance away, though not close enough to be affected by the flames themselves, Easkr, the semi-sentient summoned skeleton of a dragon, had decided he didn’t like the shiny one. His steel hurt. It had been quite some time since Easkr had known pain; even in his lifetime he was among the mightiest in his clutch, but that had been eons ago now.

From the corner of his eye, he caught another making for his face. With a soundless snarl, Easkr swiped at it, the mighty heave of his claws sending Oraun back to the ground. His tail lashed behind him in frustration, and he tried to do the same to the tin man, concentrating his attacks there. One, two, three… Safir was battered from side-to-side, though his armor was making it difficult for the dragon to tell if he was getting injured or not. At least it had stopped the annoying needlepricks of his weapon.

He was raising a fist to crush the foolish human when he was dully aware of something crashing into his left side. Turning slightly, he got an eyeful of half-crazed harpy. Had he a mouth, Easkr would have grimaced. As it was, he made to kick her away with a hind leg-

PainpainPAIN! All of a sudden, the world didn’t make quite as much sense anymore. The three he’d been dealing with- angry-dark-man and shiny-painful-man and annoying-bird-woman were encased in golden spheres If he looked closely enough, their wounds appeared to be disappearing. More concerning was the fact that his right wing-bones were missing, sawed right off by virtue of an equally-aureate blade, apparently insubstantial except by virtue of magic.

Well, that decided it. The red-robed woman had to die first. Dismissing all of the others, Easkr recklessly charged Carmen, whose eyes went wide as she dove to the side, out of the immediate path of the pale-boned beast. He wasn’t about to give up that easily, though, and she was forced to relinquish the healing shields she had around the others in order to successfully stave off the next attack, causing the taloned claws to rebound off the holy aegis she’d put up. The sword also had to go, but at least she was easily the biggest distraction possible, hopefully giving Safir, Zulii, and the others enough time to get at its weak point, whatever that might be.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Liliana Bloodleaf Character Portrait: Torga Earth-Mender Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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Jivven Noda'Razzr
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Jivven circled in tune with the creature he may have once call kin. He would not be caught off guard by this thing. How would it look if he was surprised by an affront to his ancestors? Sure, the dark elf may have put survival ahead of honor and reason most of the time, but that... Thing was a different story. It'd be like spitting on his mother's feet if he allowed this thing to kill him. Heh, looked like the dark elf did have some sort of honor after all. A twisted kind, but hey, there it was. As it stood, everything else around him faded out, and the sounds of battle became just a dull hum in his head. There were only two, him, and the creature.

The assassin glared at the creature over his hands wielding his dagger and short sword, pulled up close to his chest in an preparation for anything the mockery should do. The thing was fast... Faster than he was. That seemed to be a theme recently, him being able to be outpaced by anything with legs (or talons, in the case of Shasarra). Still though, he clung to the belief he was more agile and graceful than them all. If the thing was to advance, he felt confidence in his abilities to dodge around the thing and counter attack. If he couldn't outrun his enemies, then he sure as hell wasn't going to be there when they struck.

As they circled each other, both approaching ever so slowly, a thought struck Jivven. They were doing much of the same thing. Looking for an opening, a weakness to strike at. The very idea made Jivven want to curse and attack the monstrosity. The fact that they were even slightly similar sickened Jivven. Yet he kept himself in check. Rushing now would give the thing the advantage. However much he hated it, he circled along with the creature, waiting for an opening.

When the thing seemed to make out to attack him, Jivven braced himself and awaited the attack and readied the inevitable counter-attack. Instead of commiting though, he turned and let out a howl. For whatever reason he did it for, it provided Jivven the advantage he needed. He had managed to forget the cardinal rule in a fight. He turned away from his opponent. You can bet Jivven would take this chance. Without waiting for anymore response from the creature, Jivven darted. His stride was long, graceful, and light, and in mere moments was soundlessly at the back of the creature. With little fanfare or warning, the assassin's short sword shot forward in an attempt to skewer the creature through spine, cutting it in half like butter. In the same motion, the dagger whipped up to the creature's neck and waited to sink it's teeth into the vulnerable flesh of the neck. The forward moment of the short sword through the spine would force the creatures neck into the dagger.

However, Jivven refused to believe this would be the end of the affront. With the aclarity he used to appear, Jivven wondered if the same could be used to disappear. Like the survivalist he was, he wouldn't believe the creature was dead until it lay bled out at his feet. Over the creatures shoulder, Jivven caught sight of Shasarra smirking. Later, he would put two and two together and realized why the creature had turned around, and would have to thank the harpy. He wasn't above using these underhanded tactics after all. As it stood, as he plunged the short sword forward, he gave a curt nod at the Harpy.




Liliana Bloodleaf
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For once during the entire castle excursion, Adel was quiet. Though, Lily was quite unnerved as well. When Koni charged ahead slaughtering everything that managed to get in his way, some of the pressure his fear had brought on alleviated. In fact, being in such close proximity with Koni in this state had set Lily's hands to shaking. She tried her best to hide it away from Adel, though the girl herself was trying to get over her own fear of Koni. She took it a lot harder than Lily did. An aside glance proved the girl's eyes still wide in fear and her breathing ragged. The motion of Lily's head though brought their eyes together. Lily put on a shaky smile- the first one she managed that night- and said, "At least he's on our side, yeah?" No verbal response, just a sharp dip of the head.

"Follow," Lily managed to eek out before following (well behind) Koni's swath of destruction. Her bowstring was kept taut in case something sought to intercept them, but Koni was so thorough, they didn't meet much resistance. She only had to plant an arrow into the odd skull of a Ghoul Koni didn't completely eviscerate. Thankfully, this didn't require the trained steady hands of the Huntress, as she still was affected by Koni's fear.

Before long, they made it to the group of Mercy, 'Ros, Jack, and Torga- When did he get here? Whenever he did, Lily was happy to get another hand in the fight. "Get behind them. Protect Sid at all costs," She said, slowing down and turning sending an arrow downrange into some poor ghoul's eyesocket. Before she had time to pull another arrow, She was face to face with another ghoul. There was... Hesitation though. It didn't seem focused on her, but at something behind her. Lily took this time to grab an arrow, and instead of nocking it, looked to jam it in the ghoul's skull barehanded. There was no impact however, as the arrow passed through a grimy dust where the ghoul stood. "The hell?" She asked. Instead of relishing the moment of quiet, the roof groaned in defiance. That's when Jack said something about the roof.

"You've got to be kidding me... Dead gods blast it all!" She said, irritated. She looked back. Neira had arrived and at some point had abducted the Sunwing's second, with Sid in tow, and was already grabbing Koni as well. Lily looked at Adel before they departed, "You get a free trip out. Keep Sid and Koni safe, and tell the others I'll be there soon." Before Adel had time to open her big mouth, she was zipped out of the hall. She looked to the others, "Now that we don't have to drag anyone- Let's get the hell out, yeah? Torga. Behind you," She said, giving a soft glance to the orc. That man reminded her of Caine, jumping headfirst into a situation like this. She liked him.

Back at the camp, Sid was lifted off of Adel's back and was taken to the medics along with Kisikoni. She looked at her savior, a miss Captain Neira. She nodded her appreciation and said, "Thanks for that. I owe you one," and began walking in the direction of the medics. Lily did say look after Sid and Koni, and she wasn't about to disregard her captain's wishes. "And if you see either Lyn or Landion, tell them to meet me where the medics are stationed. And to bring an extra quiver," She said taking her leave.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Feng Tao Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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The Paragon
The Imperian


Bastard was hiding something from her, and she had no doubts about that. The only problem was, she wasn’t exactly invited to the party wherein he’d be likely to deliver that piece of information, whatever it was, and so she was presently trying to find something else to do.

It was easier if she convinced herself that she didn’t care, but that took considerably more effort these days than it used to. Nevertheless, Xeron and Wrath and that snotty dragon wench could keep their secrets if they wished to; Neira was going to give them some berth until she became convinced that she wasn’t going to be tempted to assault on sight. Impulse control had never been her strong suit, mostly because in her early years, that sort of thing had been done for her, and after that, maintaining functioning relationships with comrades hadn’t really been necessary.

Scanning the back of a particular cart, she ran her chitinous hands over several of the glass bottles in quick succession, producing a series of audible clinks. Tilting her head to one side, she spent a single moment later in contemplation and then grabbed two, tucking them away in a small sack of her personal items. The march began in a matter of minutes, and she intended to find a certain spider before then.

As it was, she managed to catch up to Mercy no more than a half-hour in. Holding one of the bottles out by the neck, she offered it to her fellow nightmarian with a sly grin. “Ecclavarain vintage, almost a good century ago. It’d burn a human’s hair off, but I thought you might like it.” Neira shrugged nonchalantly, as if to indicate that it didn’t matter much if she didn’t.



Talae’s eyes were unfocused, most uncharacteristically off somewhere in the middle distance. She was fairly certain that Salim had been attempting to make conversation, but she frankly didn’t care. This, she had been told, was the face she wore most often when her sister was on her mind, but presently Fae was about as far from the dark elf’s thoughts as she ever got these days.

The object of her worry was someone else entirely, but then it would be foolish not to concern oneself when one’s closest comrade was possessed by something that frequently injured him. Subconsciously, she grit her teeth together. She’d have to tell him she didn’t like it. Of course, it wasn’t her choice to make, and she respected that a good deal more than most people would. But if he valued her opinion like she valued his, he’d want to know.

Attuned ears picked up on the General’s approach, and she was mildly surprised to find that he indeed seemed to be seeking her out. Though she had no more against him than she did the average person, he had never seemed keen on her line of work, which wasn’t exactly uncommon. Perhaps it was for this reason that it took her a moment to respond to his words.

“The irritating one is mildly correct; all tools have a use. All the same, I can see why you might not wish to utilize my particular sort. Do not concern yourself with it.” A pause, and something that sounded suspiciously like her sister’s voice reprimanded her in the back of her mind. “But thank you, even so.”

She sent a curious look in Salim’s direction, rather nonplussed by his interjection, but ignored him, sinking back into her thoughts and entirely unaware of the exchange between the general and the mercenary.



The Children of Fire
The Imperian



This was getting ridiculous. Knossus, before he’d apprenticed himself to a Civil necromancer, had been one of the best brawlers in his village, but this entire exchange was proving to be the most frustrating thing he’d ever endured. Not because of the condition of his body: while he was bleeding unceasingly from a broken nose and nursing several swelling bruises elsewhere, he had endured far worse before. No, the reason he was so increasingly enraged was because of the mental war that his opponent was waging on him and clearly winning. The smaller man before him had yet to lose an exchange, had no visible injuries and what was more refused to attack except exactly as far as was necessary to fend him off.

It was more than he could handle, used to winning as he was. It was time to break the rules, then. Quickly forming a plan, Knossus lunged forward, feinting a kick with one foot before abruptly shifting his weight and using the other. Tao, as expected, knocked it to the side with the judicious placement of a forearm, moving back and the shifting in to strike at Knossus’s chest with an elbow, which positioned his hand in such a way as to aim at the man’s already-injured face.

Rather than trying to avoid or block the fist, Knossus took a moment to summon the necrotic magics to his hands, ready to use their proximity to rot away the little fool’s body from the inside out. Just as he was reaching for Tao’s abdomen, though, he was brought up short by a fierce sensation of tearing flesh. Looking down, he saw the other man’s sword, somehow unsheathed in the time it took him to summon the spell, had found a new home in his belly.

Glancing back up, he saw the redheaded Child regarding him with something akin to infantile curiosity. “You, too… always too slow…”

Knossus didn’t have the vitality left to respond, instead collapsing to the ground in a crumpled heap.



At around the same time, Dark fell at Jivven’s hand, half-living body no longer able to respond to his commands. He was saved from the questionable dignity of being raised as an undead by Shasarra’s axe, which cleaved his head wholly from his body. The injured harpy glanced up at Jivven, gesturing to the enemies still about them.

“I’m not going to be much help with these wings, friend. But you might make a difference yet.” They were probably the nicest words she’d yet used on him, and she had to admit to herself that even if he was a groundwalking little slip-fish, he was rather good at it.



Easkr lumbered forward with surprising speed towards the cleric, ready to rip into her with his skeletal jaws, but was frustrated by the shield she had erected against him. He knew, though, that it could not stand forever, and while the dragon thundered away against it with single-minded determination, he felt something prick the back of his consciousness.

It sounded like a gastly wail, though a minor annoyance more than anything, and he might have dismissed it, had he in his distraction not missed the approach of two elven men, both armed with dual weapons apiece.

Oraun smashed bodily into the dragon’s ribcage, hacking away ferociously, though without much efficacy, at the massive curved bones that had once protected Easkr’s heart. Even as the dragon turned from the cleric, now pinned under one massive forepaw and struggling to breathe, he felt a weight bear down on his neck, forcing his jaw and face closer to the ground. Vortigern’s momentum was such that he’d recovered well enough from his toss at the grace of Pylarea, caught on to what the others were doing, and directed himself as well as he could to fall atop the dragon, landing in a crouch at about the middle of the series of vertebrae that made up its neck.

He was not so heavy that the pin would last forever, though, and fortunately, Safir made it just in time, the sword still imbued with holy light puncturing Easkr’s glowing eye-socket with what sounded suspiciously like a crack as it cleaved the bone beneath. The knight’s blow, not the fastest or the most graceful, did what speed and grace would not have been able: from the bottom of the eye socket and down through the cheekbones, Easkr’s skull was cracked and shattered, part of it crumbling away to the ground.

Without his necromancer to lend him the necessary force, it was enough to do the undead dragon in, and he went rigid, unable to move, even as the unlife left his stark-white body and dissipated under the force of the purification. The skeleton gave a great shudder, then crumbled into nothing more than the pile of bones it had once been under the ground.

Carmen, more than a little enfeebled from her exertions, struggled to free herself from underneath the still-heavy claws of the dragon, at last managing to wriggle free with a fair amount of creative contortion. Standing on shaking legs, she gave her rescuers a weak smile and set about examining the Children immediately closest to her. Most were all right and would not require immediate attention, but a few did need a bit of patching up. The magic of her earlier enchantments faded as she drew the light back into herself in order to heal where needed. Pain would slowly return to her comrades, and enchanted weapons would lose their extra properties, but if they took but a moment to look about them, they would know that such things were no longer necessary.

A few stragglers remained, but were quickly being finished off. The undead had fallen, and the Children of Fire were victorious, for the moment.

Tao stood, directing those of his troops that were still sufficiently able to draw the bodies, friends and foe alike, into a great pile for a funeral pyre. For those in the service of the dragons, burning was the only fit way to be sent off, and it had the added bonus of preventing the reanimation of corpses, something that they were all more wary of now that their greatest foe was capable of raising armies of the once-living for his own purposes.

Aesr reappeared at some point in this process and informed everyone that they would be setting camp in this village for the night, and that they were permitted to take any salvageable supplies they could find from the surviving buildings. She then ordered Tao to set up a watch and vanished again, presumably to sulk.

This wasn’t supposed to have happened.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image As it turned out, the deep human had nearly suffered total heart failure, brought on by overexertion. While he should have died, some unknown force kept his heart beating unnaturally, until an electric charge was applied and restarted the heart. None of the medics were quite sure where this power stemmed from, but nowadays nothing was sure about Kisikoni. His entire body, though not visibly injured was damaged on the inside. muscles were swollen and inflamed, stretched to the very limits. Some broken bones from limbs that moved faster than the body could catch up, and a dislocation of the left arm. Deciding not to waste pain medicine, Kisikoni had been put to sleep to allow the wounds to heal naturally.

And so, the deep human remained in his slumber for the duration of the trip.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Spending most of the night frustrated, the Nightmarian Spider finally decided to get a check up after getting a couple hours of rest. God knows when they'll move out again, but in the Paragon, "we're moving out" was a phrase used almost as often as "yes sir". Mercy had not suffered any particularly bad wounds, just bruises and scrapes. Thankfully, many of the ghouls attacked her armored abdomen, and before they could tear chunks from the tough chitinous plates, she successfully fended them off with her powerful legs and flail. She refused bandaging, asking only for sterilization. Her body regenerated fast enough that the fabric would simply be a waste.

She entered her tent once again, sleeping for another period of time before the call was made. They were moving out once more. Mercy was not a morning person, but she rose all the same and forced herself awake. The life of a mercenary still had it's traces on the spider, who blinked her voluminous red eyes in protest against the rising sun. Commotion and chaos began to flood the encampment as things were packed, the wounded were prepped, and the army mobilized under the watchful gaze of Wrath- now devoid of his second-in-command. She debated going to him and keeping the poor boy company, but she spied the red glint of that Red. She decided to avoid her altogether, they just didn't seem to mix very well. She sighed. She could use some company, Spiders were hardly ever accustomed to long migrations. Actually, scratch that. She knew a spider back home whose kids traveled by parachutes made of webbing. Light little brats they were.

It wasn't long after they started marching that a familiar companion drew close to her. Neira, the pugilist that had been spending her days joined at the hip with Xeron finally tired of his odd mannerisms. Well, it wasn't exactly true, but it was where the Spider spied the dragonfly nowadays. It was a good sight to finally be together. However, what really suckered Mercy was the bottle of vintage Neira drew from her bodice, causing her voluminous red eyes to flare with desire.

"Oh Neira! You shouldn't have!" She exclaimed, enveloping the dragonfly in a fierce hug. Right after, she grabbed the bottle, smacking her lips. "Nightmarian Vintage! Haven't had this in years! The dumb loafers at the local bars say it's too dangerous!" She rambled happily. Her morning had gotten exponentially better, perhaps this war was worth fighting after all. With an experienced finger, she popped open the sealed bottle, taking a swig and sighing in contentment. "Well now, I certainly owe you a favor, dear." She said, grinning at the dragonfly.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


The blade sunk right into the bone without effort. Enthralled by his success, Safir bellowed, using his waist and arms to drive the sword in even further. Even with his very rudimentary grasp of magical theory, Safir knew from the impact and the reaction from the undead dragon that he had achieved an edge. However, instead of an advantage, he realized that as the bones collapsed and the dragon ceased to move. Hardly daring to believe his eyes, they eventually took in the crumpled corpse. Safir Garethson! Slayer of undead beasts!

He backed away from the corpse in a wary manner all the same, but after catching Carmen's tired grin, he figured that it was done for good. After all, she was the magic specialist. During the entire conflict, Safir had been ignoring the enemy ranks to engage the dragon. They didn't worry him, as his armor protect him well from most blows the zombies could muster up- and the skeletal wyrm was definitely more of a threat if left unchecked. When he turned to see that they were mopping up the last of them, he was surprised. Looks like the Necromancer had been defeated, which meant he didn't do it all by himself. Technically. Safir wanted to believe he had a fundamental role in stopping the beast. Soon, orders wafted around their heads, allowing them to take refuge for the night. Lifting the helmet off his head, he figured it was all clear now. "Phew. What a fight, wasn't expecting that for my first battle." Safir said to the air. He quickly began work on the mass graves, throwing bodies in before tagging out with another soldier that had acquired a place to sleep.

Wandering among the wreckage, he eventually found a fairly-close house off the main road where he fought Easkr. Fitting for a building once part of the Imperian, it was fairly tall and almost proportionate to how close it was to the main road- where buildings tended to be bigger. Entering, he found that though it was abandoned, it was fairly clean. All Safir really needed was a bed he could claim at this point, which he found upstairs. Throwing a set of his Children's Robes onto the covers to park his spot, he went downstairs. Poking around, he discovered a jar of honey, a half-empty case of spirits, and some smoked meats. Though half the meats were spoiled, the honey and spirits should still be alright. Smoke was now rising in a thick column outside, a signal that the pyre was now well underway.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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The Paragon
The Imperian


A soft grunt escaped the dragonfly as she was engulfed in spiderly affection, if you could call it that. She considered a (comparatively) good-natured crack about addictions, but in the end declined.

“Hm… don’t say things like that. I’ve been known to actually take people up on debts,” Neira replied dryly, working the cork from her own bottle with a single pointed digit. She didn’t drink nearly as quickly as Mercy, though, mostly sipping on the brew sporadically throughout the day. Not that it mattered; the stuff was so potent that she spent the majority of the afternoon pleasantly buzzed. Made marching considerably more tolerable. Once, she would have been able to waste away her days in this manner if she so wished, for people of her stature were not required to assist in manual labor. It was amusing, in a bitter sort of way: she’d always wanted to be a soldier, but that had never been allowed. Now she was, and she was almost nostalgic for the old days when slaughtering things wasn’t a daily reality.

Wait… what? She looked down at the bottle in her hand and shook her head, causing the world to tilt slightly. That was a passing fancy of incredibly stupid proportions. She wasn’t good at anything else, so why bother to long for days when she had to pretend to have a head for diplomacy and the graceful arts of conversation?

“Do you ever miss it? The Hive?” she asked suddenly, though her words were enunciated clearly still. After that slip, though, she clamped her mouth shut and said nothing for the rest of the trip, though she would admit to being interested in the answer.



The Crater


“Hm. Pretty,” Her voice was a drawl, laced with something approaching disdain. “But does it have a use?” Neira hopped down over the ledge and into the crater Wrath currently occupied, able to avoid falling off-balance by sheer dent of practice and muscle memory. The body remembers what even the mind forgets, an old man had once told her.

She glanced again at the stone, but whatever fascination it held for him wasn’t hers. She blinked slowly, and a silence stretched over the space, until she broke it again, handing the general the remnants of the liquor, still a good quarter-full. “If you’ve ever had a mind to learn about the other half of your culture, I’m in a foul enough mood to talk about it. You can start with this. Keep it to a couple swallows, though, because I don’t know how inoculated you’d be against it.” The fact that she could still use the word ‘inoculated’ was perhaps overridden by the fact that she was offering to talk about Nightmarians.

Truthfully, she didn’t know if he was even interested, but what the hell? It wasn’t like she had anything better to do at the moment. Maybe she’d just talk at him for a while, and see how long he’d listen before he up and left.

She’d always been called insufferable, after all; might as well make an effort to live up to expectations every once in a while.


Medical Tent


Fak’ir and Talae entered the tent together, though they were there for quite different reasons. The halfling with the desert complexion was running supplies for the healers, being without an active assignment at the moment. His captain was there on a more personal matter, but of course he wasn’t about to ask her about it. Captain Shanir was known for two things: her swordplay and her reticence. As far as he could tell, she spoke easily with about three people, and of those, one was dead and one was off marshaling a force of harpies to aid the Paragon. The third was presently unconscious in this tent, as he’d told her when she asked.

The shadowmage passed the cot where that earth-rending orc had been earlier in the day, only to find it empty. Shame; he’d been interested in bringing up elemental theory with a fellow practitioner. Maybe he’d catch him later.

He saluted Sid when he walked by, which should have been awkward with his hands full of blankets and apothecary’s supplies, but wasn’t because of his balance and training. Being taught to move fluidly through and with dark spaces had the occasional fringe benefit. “Captain,” he offered, and nodded to Beelzes not too far away. Unlike his superior officer, the Lieutenant was rather social for a wetboy. He didn’t see the correlation between killing for a living and ignoring the living.

The supplies were dropped carefully onto a table slightly further back, and he fastidiously checked the labels on everything before he let them be. It wouldn’t do to mistake wort for nightshade, or vice-versa. Especially vice-versa.

He caught a brief glimpse of the captain at her old partner’s bedside, but if he registered anything more than this barest of details, he would never mention it.



Due to what was quickly being recognized as a ‘special condition,’ Kisikoni was somewhat removed from the rest of the patients. No need to provoke suspicion among the other soldiers if he accidentally sprouted extra limbs during a particularly bad dream or something. To Talae’s knowledge, this had never occurred, but she supposed it was worth being paranoid about.

She’d hoped to find him awake, but it seemed that he’d been out for most of the afternoon. The attendant nurse was sparing with the details, and she didn’t seek after them. There was a stool by his bedside, though, and she took it, perching on the edge like she might at any moment have to flee or fight.

“I’m leaving,” she said aloud, then halted, a bit surprised at herself. Nevertheless, she saw no harm in it, so she kept speaking. “I’d wait until later to tell you as much, but that time is a luxury I don’t have. Solo mission this time though, so… well, I should be back shortly at any rate.” And you’d better not be in this state when I get back.

“About the other thing… I understand why you didn’t say anything. I’m… glad you did, though, eventually. I’d match a secret with a secret, but the point would be moot right now, so… later.” If you die, I won’t forgive either of us.

Sighing softly, Talae rose slowly, slipping her fingers across Koni’s palm and squeezing briefly, touching the knuckles of his hand to her forehead. It was an old gesture of familiarity, one used often among the people of her village to bestow luck. “Fortune be with you, partner. We shall need it.”



The Children of Fire
The Imperian, On the March



Carmen gently touched the tawny feathers and flesh that comprised Shasarra’s wings, barely grazing the surface. Even so, the harpy hissed and cursed low in her native tongue, causing the healer to send her an apologetic look. For some time now, Camen had been in the peculiar Zen-like haze that characterized one of her healing trances. Her teacher had called them a special gift from the gods themselves, but of course the gods had been dead by the time Carmen was born.

Godsent or not, it allowed her to stave off the weaknesses and frailties of her own body long enough to complete her tasks. The soft, aureate glow of her holy magic seeped into the harpy’s bones, rearranging the shattered fragments like a series of puzzle pieces, and slowly, so slowly, knitting them together. The flesh followed, but Carmen knew not how to reattach feathers, so a few of those would have to regrow on their own. It shouldn’t interfere with flight, though, so she wasn’t too worried about it.

Shasarra flexed the limbs with surprising ease, and shot a glance at the blond woman. To all appearance, the healer did not belong in an army: she carried no weapons, had little musculature, and though her stature was relatively tall, it was not sturdy. Her hands were without callus, her hair and clothing free of battle-debris, which frankly perturbed the harpy, so used to being neck-deep in the gore of her foes. Nevertheless, she grudgingly acknowledged her respect for the cleric with a nod, taking off to stretch her sore muscles.

Carmen was just thinking about how nice it would be to sit down with a cup of tea, and perhaps play a signing-game with the Captain, when she was approached by a panicked-looking dark elf she recognized as Jivven. Unlike her superior officer, she was very good with names, even if she never got to say them. As soon as the words ‘Safir’ and ‘Pylarea’ were out of his mouth, she was running as close after him as she could, scarcely needing to be pulled along.

They came upon a standing structure of about two stories in height, and she was ushered in the front door without any further ado. The scene that met her eyes confused her, but she did not bother to hesitate. By now, she was completely exhausted from the exertions of the day, but she would not give that more than a passing consideration. Pylarea seemed to be bleeding from the head, but she was still conscious. Safir looked to have been tossed like a rag doll, and his neck was displaying a very worrisome injury, so it was to him that she went first.

His breath was shallow, and a closer examination of the wound revealed a pattern that she had never seen left by a physical weapon, blunt or sharp. This caused her brows to furrow, but right now the important thing was not what had happened, but how to fix it. Breathing deeply, Carmen closed her eyes and laid the pads of her fingers over his windpipe. Normally, contact was not essential, but because the wound was as much internal as external, it would be easier this way. Her own magic circulated around her lungs and heart, an unusual center for something that was usually found in either the head or the belly. Drawing it out in threads, she willed it to repair the damage, but it was slow going. A solid five minutes later, Safir’s throat was once again fully functional.

Attempting to stand, Carmen staggered, catching herself on Jivven’s shoulder, and tried to smile reassuringly at a rather traumatized-looking Pylarea. Motioning for the Nightmarian to lower her head, Carmen placed an index and middle finger on each temple. This was more delicate work, because she was working with anatomy around the brain, though it was far enough away from the vital functions that she felt comfortable healing it in this state.

The wound was jagged, and Carmen had to resist the urge to shiver. It looked like it had been torn off, not merely sliced. Stopping the bleeding was simple enough, but she didn’t know if the psychological implications would be as easy to cope with. That wasn’t really her area of expertise.

Cutting off the flow of magic, Carmen lowered her hands with that same mysterious smile and managed to conduct herself to an unused corner of the room, where she promptly curled up on the floor, hugging her knees to her chest and falling asleep.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


--




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image "Nonsense, Nonsense!" Mercy bubbled, lightly punching the conservative dragonfly. "Call me up on that favor any time!" She shared the pleasure of the Vintage with Neira silently afterward. The stuff was far more potent than she recalled, but her extremely high tolerance to alcohol she built up over the years allowed her to down three-quarters of the bottle before the buzz started to set in. Once it did, it didn't take long for her to reach the boiling point. The rigid pace she set for herself never faltered, Mercy was quite used to drinking herself into a stupor while on the move. The concentration it took, however, killed some of the pleasantness of the vintage. However, she wasn't too far gone to ignore the company Neira provided her. Though she remained quiet for most of the journey, it was by no means awkward as Mercy constantly supplied a stream of inane rambling.

When Neira finally interjected with a question, Mercy had opened her mouth to reply, but surprisingly, had no answer. Scratching her head lazily, Mercy's face tilted toward the sky as she pondered about how to answer. Humming in unfocused thought, she took a swig of the near-empty bottle. "I'd say I think about it, but I don't miss it." She began, "This life and my past life are separate." Blushing slightly at the coherent poetry, she continued. "All my friends back there are probably dead now; A century is far too long to be gone when you live in the moment." Sighing, she took another long draught of liquid. "Even under these circumstances, I'm quite sure I can never return anyways."

The sun had set once more, but vision still came poorly to the drunken Nightmarian. Her voluminous red eyes winked erratically, and she let out a loud exclamation of relief when they finally stopped for the night. With the empty bottle swinging haphazardly from her hands, she stumbled over to the crater where she slumped over the edge, looking down at Neira and Wrath. "Hmm. Hmm." She hummed contentedly, observing their exchange with more interest in Neira's attempt at small talk than anything else. She had no real plans to conceal herself, She was far too inebriated to even try to do so. Just as well, She was far too exhausted to bother moving toward her tent, which she had very clumsily set up. In the end, one of her men had to help her, and though he said it was no trouble, the Nightmarian thought she sensed an irritable air from him.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


Still reveling over the triumph earlier, He did not notice Pylarea come in. It was only when she offered to take the bed nearest that he raised his head, and gestured for her to do so. There was no need to be selfish, even such a small bed was enough for the big Knight. Setting down the food, he gestured for Pylarea to help herself while he quietly thought about what would happen next. However, Pylarea seemed a bit more talkactive than she was before all this. He wanted to answer, but her questions, unlike his own, were complex. The civil, as he knew it were not evil in the past. However, this begs the question "What truly is evil?" That was something Safir didn't know. Perhaps he spent too long formulating an answer, as Pylarea lost interest when Gatan entered. The human pugilist seemed like he wanted to crash or otherwise. However, before he could react, the man had gone for the food he had scrounged up.

Suddenly, a foreign impact sent Safir flying into the shelf nearest to him, and he was suddenly in a world of pain. The last thing he could hear before everything collapsed into a blur of pain and ragged breathing was Gatan. Did Pylarea do that? Why would she? Even as Safir's eyes squeezed shut and his face wrinkled to express his distress, he could not help but feel so betrayed. The rest of whatever happened next was lost to the Knight, as he struggled to merely continue breathing and trying not to die from suffocation.

As time passed, eventually he heard a voice break through the buzz of pain, an unfamiliar voice. Not too long afterward, he felt relief from an unknown comrade, and when he finally could breathe comfortably once more he opened his eyes. The dark elf, Jivven was present, as was Carmen. Massaging his throat, he felt that all was in order. As expected of the healer to perform her role so well. However, looking around he saw Pylarea. Before his rage could swell up, he noticed something off. She was on the ground, and one of her mandibles were missing. The way Carmen and Jivven fretted about her immediately stopped Safir from punching her in the face. He directed his ire toward Gatan instead, who had disappeared. He was about to say something about it, but his logical nature spoke to him. Why would Gatan attack so suddenly? It was more than likely he had created an alibi. He noted that Carmen had finished her duties, and decided to sleep in the corner.

"We all are equal, my ass." He grunted, picking her up and tossing her lightly onto the bed he claimed. Soon after he strode toward Jivven. "Thanks for calling for help." He said, raising his fist and lightly tapping him in the shoulder. As grateful as the Knight was, his visage was alive with anger and thoughts of revenge. However, going up to Gatan and slicing his head off would prove to be a bad idea. He would have to wait. His eyes finally turned toward the pitiful-looking Pylarea.

Safir could not possibly know what was going on in her head, but by the dead gods did she seem broken. He knelt down in front of her, trying to catch her gaze- but it proved to be an impossible venture. "It was my fault. I let my guard down around that bastard." He said after a minute. "Later, I request that you tell me what happened.. I could not see after the bout of telepathy. This won't happen again." He rose. Safir was far too angry and restless to sleep now. "I'm going out for a bit." A walk would do him better than lying awake and allowing his hateful thoughts to get the better of him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image Kisikoni wasn't too sure when he became aware of it, but when he did, he was aware of a very heavy cloud in his head. It numbed all coherent thoughts, and deadened his limbs. The fogginess persisted, attempting to relax him back to nothingness, but Kisikoni had the desire to know where he was. Incidentally, he finally found out how to open his eyes with that thought. Lifting his heavy eyelids slowly, his sight slowly adjusted to the new environment. He lethargically became aware of the fact that he was in the medical tent. After some extremely sluggish deductive reasoning, he came to the conclusion that he was drugged. He must have been in a lot of pain. Nobody was around, he was secluded. Confused as why he would wake up in the middle of a drug session, he was even more perplexed at why he felt like he couldn't fall asleep again. With half-lidded eyes, he let his head lie back after having it move around to ascertain his location. Perhaps this was a good time to reflect.

It felt like an eternity since he became a part of the ostracized legion and cooperated with the Reds. It felt like multiple eternities since his quiet life in the tunnels. The darkness, the dampness, and the lack of space seemed almost hostile to him now, after spending so much time above ground. If Kisikoni had figured out how to work the muscles in his jaw, he would have sighed. His thoughts eventually drifted to more mundane things, such as life, death, friends, and foes. He had almost forgotten the snide voice in his head, but eventually it wormed it's way through the fog in his mind. It began talking in a mocking tone, but in his half-conscious state, he couldn't comprehend anything it was saying. Instead, he began chuckling foolishly at the buzzing in his ear, and the voice fell silent. The laughing continued well after the voice stopped talking to him, but eventually his thoughts allowed him to focus on his situation, and what he actually was. At the moment, he was half-inclined not to care. There was so much death and sadness that he almost wanted it to overtake him, and leave him completely and blissfully ignorant to everything. On the other hand, he met so many unforgettable characters. It was a mental back-and-forth that happened almost every time Kisikoni was alone now, and what tipped the balance in the favor of staying in control was one thing. His one anchor.

His expressionless gaze sparked slightly, but he continued to lie in his bed, unable to move.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Before long, Mercy was utterly bored of the exchange. She was quite amused when she saw Wrath readily accept the liquor, seemingly for the first time, but when Neira started rattling off about things she already knew, Mercy realized that nothing that would keep her interest would come up. The rock that both Wrath and Neira were examining was interesting, to be honest, but in what way would a simple meteorite help or hurt them? It was a bloody clump of minerals. She was, to some degree, aware of another presence. One that wasn't of the drunken three hanging out in a bloody crater. She turned and took note of a robed person, who almost immediately thereafter wiped himself from view.

"That doesn't work on me, hon." She sang in soft tone, turning her gaze back toward Wrath. Struggling to focus in her drunken stupor, she could have sworn she saw Wrath's pocket shift slightly and a soft glow emanating from the pocket suddenly vanish. Blinking erratically, she decided to question the General later, if she could even remember. Either way, it was very surprising that whoever-it-was hadn't noticed her rather promiscuous form. Maybe it was her ark shell. She always did take care to dull the pieces so it blended perfectly with the darkness.

There wasn't much to do here anymore, so she decided to turn her voluminous red eyes away and stumble back toward camp. Passing along the rows of mostly dark canvases, she heard some rather revealing noises every now and then. Mercy allowed herself a silly grin, regretting the fact that she had no clue which tent was which and therefore could not tease them later on. Staggering along, she finally reached what was believed to be her tent. Peeping inside, she saw her pack of belongings, and sighed in relief. Settling herself right down, she tried to drink from her bottle before she realized it was empty. Pouting, she chose to go to sleep instead.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


The night air was refreshing as Safir stomped his way around the outskirts of the camp, taking unconscious care not to disturb anybody in their sleep. To be honest, the thought of revenge at this stage wasn't considered in total seriousness. His sword, unbuckled and prepped to be maintained was left back on his bed, and the straps on his armor were loosened to allow some comfort and easier breathing. He was fuming quite badly over the events despite the cool air and calming atmosphere, so much so that he wondered if he could beat the Nightmarian in a fistfight now and teach him a lesson. However, in a straight beat-down, Gatan surely had the advantage.

After making a lap around the city, an impressive feat with an entire suit of armor and a fatigued body, he made back for the building. If he wasn't so tired, he would have noticed Jivven, dozing lightly on the roof of the building. An amusing sight indeed, though unnoticed by everyone nearest to him. Entering the building, he noted the irregularly large form on his bed. Carmen wasn't that fat. Apparently, Pylarea had decided to snuggle up with the healer, and now retrieving his sword was just that much harded. Slipping it carefully out from under Pylarea and Carmen, he unsheathed it and inspected it. Safir took the sword and exited the building once more, where he re-sharpened the blade with deft strokes of the grindstone he carried around. While he did have his blade enchanted, slashing dragon bones was still a pretty dumb idea. When he was finally satisfied, he sheathed the blade and walked into the room. He undid most of his armor, and placed it on another bed. How funny it would have been if he decided to flop down with Carmen and Pylarea. How short his lifespan would be when they woke up and saw him like that.

Throwing himself there on the unoccupied bed, he drifted off into an uneasy slumber.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image A day ago, the order was issued that the army would be mobilizing, and healers were distributed to accelerate the healing of the wounded. A day ago, a healer watched in horror as her healing magic seemed to cause her patient, Kisikoni Ayalen, much pain and distress. When that healer left for some assistance that day, she came back to a perfectly healthy deep human, who dismissed her "ridiculous" assumptions that she wronged him in some way. How she handled the situation was known only to herself, as that day for Kisikoni was spent in rehabilitation. And perhaps, some more bedtime in that tent. Since he had been wounded and unconscious, nobody felt the need to erect a personal tent for the deep human, as the medical tent has become his own. This is the most likely reason why his was one of the last to be taken down a day later.

Walking back toward that medical tent was not at all easy, as it stood ominously with the scents of sterility about it. It gave him the worst thoughts, and the time to mull them over. As he approached the entrance, he took note of a few people around it. His eyes squinted slightly, but all the same entered right after them. "I'm right here, Captain." He said, catching her words directed at the nurse. A dark elf appeared, handing him a set of vials and a note. Before Kisikoni could ask for the specifics, he disappeared. Before Grimsmirk could respond to his arrival, he popped open the note and gave it a scan. So the man's name was Fak'ir. He smiled slightly at Talae's gift, wondering if they would have any effect on him at all, despite her effort. He redirected his attention at the halfling. "What is it do you want?" He asked, moving past her to gather his belongings.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image There wasn't much to say about how Mercy spent her two days. She woke up with a bad hangover, washed it down with lots of hot tea and water, and proceeded to look for Neira. When this endeavor was unsuccessful, she was thoroughly suspicious. Not a single soul knew where she was, and unlike most characters, she wasn't very secretive. In a rare, sober state, she did try to recall memories of the night before. She remembered drinking, watching, and noticing something very strange. She slapped the bottom of her left fist into her right hand when she remembered, humming contentedly at her impeccable memory, even when blindingly drunk. She wasn't senile yet, at the very least.

There was some mentions of a confrontation last night, but they were mostly rumors, visions of drunkards like herself that had spent the night partying away with their comrades. Unfounded, and with no real reason to believe them. That is, of course, if there were other sources to consult. While Mercy was nothing if not lewd, cunning did play a factor into the spider's tricky way of manipulating others with her personality. She didn't even have to act to get the gears grinding for many to recall the events of the night before. As it turned out, nothing useful could be gleaned, and the day before the day of mobilization passed without much event.

She had already packed her things, and with much difficulty, figured out how to tear down her tent without breaking important structural pieces along the way. She still hadn't heard a thing from Neira, which was odd considering how they were supposed to be drinking buddies. Mercy had secretly been hoping she would bring more of that Ecclavarian vintage. Good stuff, that was. Asking around once more, she got the same response. Deciding she had nothing better to do, she decided to ask Redscales about it. She soon found out that the lusty draconian maiden was out preparing for battle.

"Drat. Out of options." She muttered, blowing a loose lock of hair out of her face.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
Image


The rousing wake-up call brought Safir up from his uneasy rest. Bolting awake, he made sure he was still in one piece before allowing exhaustion to overwhelm his senses. Perhaps staying up to sharpen his sword wasn't the greatest idea, but when he found out they were moving out right after, he debated about becoming a psychic afterward. He quickly changed , wolfed down some of the food, and geared up. Carmen had gone, but apparently he was one of the first to be awake. He had no idea if Jivven, who had rested outside (the fool), was up and about yet. Looking outside quickly, he assumed he already was. That man did have a tendency to be on top of things.

He paid no mind to Pylarea while he was preparing, mostly because of the time crunch. If she was still sleeping by the time half of the hour had passed, he would have given her a sharp slap on the shoulder. Whether it was necessary or not, he had finished on time and was just strolling out the door when the army had begun forming up to begin it's march.

Safir was quickly reminded on why he hated marching. The mindless jarring as his feet moved in tune with the man in front and away from the man behind got on his nerves. What was worse, was when they showed no hesitation at the smoke that billowed out in the distance. When he realized the commander intended to attack when she voiced that opinion, it was all he could do to hold back a sigh. While he wasn't exhausted, the march had left him winded. And he was put on the front lines. Well, at least he had his sword, sharpened fresh last night. Donning his helmet, he flexed and stretched slightly as he got into position.

And then, as one would say, they were off. Safir was still amazed at the speed the dragon's blessed him with, flying up toward the Civil encampment with a speed many sprinters could only dream of. And he was by no means a sprinter himself. He hadn't been able to see Dresinil in a while, and when he saw him running a little bit away, it heartened Safir far more than words could have. Smashing into a guard with his shield, he felt very little resistance as the man dropped aside like a ragdoll and was trampled by the initial assault. A poor way to die. His blade sang as it cut through the unprepared Civil, who reacted faster than the strike of a whip. It was quite impressive, and judging by their numbers, very bad news for them. Letting loose his own war cry to combat the Civil, he knew that with his augmentations, his comrades, and his armor, these ants stood no chance. Somewhere back in his mind, Safir wished he had the ability to shoot fire- it would have made his life far easier.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


Image Captain Grimsmirk's orders surprised the deep human, but it wasn't altogether unexpected that his disability would make it to the higher ups. However, Sid's words did not end there, as she revealed to Kisikoni her activities while she was also recovering from her wounds. The papers she scattered about the ground was like a blow to the chest for the Deep Human, instantly recognizing the handwriting. "You could have just said it." Kisikoni hissed bitterly. He shrank slightly as she berated him for transforming, though it was the very same thing that saved her life. So now he was her personal manservant. Fitting, for a monster such as himself. Now that people were catching on to his secret, it would not take long for the cat to finally get out of the bag. Already, his contact with most other Paragon members have been depressingly sparse, due to his special circumstances that seemed to occur every battle now.

With the presentation of the bolt, Sid left the tent. Kisikoni was left to his own devices, where he knelt town and carefully gathered the strewn papers and folded it up neatly. Sticking it into his rucksack, he turned slightly when somebody entered the tent. More visitors than he had any right to expect, but it wasn't Lily, Talae, or Sid so it must be a message. Taking a good look at the girl, he realized it was one of Lily's Sunwings. He was extended an offer for tea after the next conflict, which greatly surprised the Deep Human. Trying to relax, he smiled at the girl and accepted the offer, suggesting that he would bring the equipment necessary for the appointment. When she left, the acerb thoughts that plagued him became apparent once more. So Lily was fine on her own. She didn't need his help to get over the brief slump that she found herself in. In many ways, he felt nothing but relief for her mental recovery from that cold and cynical elf that fought alongside him for a time. In many other ways, he felt even worse that there was nothing he could do to help her doing that time.

"Damn it all." He said, brushing away the unpleasant thoughts that soured his mind. Kisikoni decided that he must be lying in a cot too long- dark ruminations had been running through his head quite frequently now.


While on the topic of dark things, Kisikoni stepped out into what seemed like a haze of black matter. It shrouded the sky in a restrictive fog, something even Kisikoni's sharp eyes could barely penetrate. Such an unnatural occurrence definitely means magic, and such an impairing power means danger. Immediately, his thoughts flashed to the safety of his squad, whom he had not seen in days while he was unconscious and restricted to bedrest. He rushed to find somebody, and ran into Rishaati, a female deep human who fought through many of the battles the Paragon faced. Since she too had the sights of a deep human, she had no trouble noticing and identifying Kisikoni. "What's going on, sir? I can't see anything!" She exclaimed, blinking rapidly as if to fan away the black mist.

"I'd think we're under attack." Kisikoni replied. "The bad news is that Grimsmirk made me her personal attack dog, so I can't command you this battle." He avoided saying that it might be permanent, as it would distract her and the rest of his squad. "I leave everyone in your hands." The surprise on her face was pronounced, and she was only just recovering when he unsheathed one of his swords and handed it to her. "They won't believe you unless you have proof." He said, flipping the blade to hold the handle out. Rishaati grasped it, her movements seemingly dazed. Gently slapping her in the cheek, to bring her back to reality, he saluted to her briefly. "Do me proud, Risha." Kisikoni ordered, his voice taking on a sad tone. She said nothing, and merely saluted in response before she disappeared in the haze to organize his squad. Her squad now.

Screams began littering the lines as he approached them, and Kisikoni had no idea what was going on. It was hard enough to see, let alone discern the enemy. However, it seemed as if his help would help keep the line from breaking as they threatened to do. Despite this, he held back. As passionate was he was about assisting his fellow comrades, he dared not strain himself just yet and earn the ire of his commanding officer. However, it didn't take long before a red streak pierced the dark sky, and began glowing.

It did not take long for Kisikoni to make it over toward the beacon-like signal. A very odd bit of magic, but it did not take much for the Deep Human to recognize a pair of pale monsters that bore down on Thanaros in a flurry of white limbs. Kisikoni instantly recognized them to a point. There was no Deep Human that hasn't heard of a vampire, the monsters of legend. While tales of their prowess varied considerably, the description was always the same: pale skin, elegant wear, and bloody red eyes. Captain Grimsmirk said that he could not transform outside of the shitter, but to be honest, Kisikoni had no idea what that meant. Slang was not something Kisikoni was very familiar with. Not trusting himself to fight such a fearsome beast, he instinctively thought of that voice.

You are in luck, mortal. Being bedridden allowed me to adjust to your flimsy body. the voice whispered. Kisikoni stiffened slightly as he faced the Vampires, drawing his sword. Your paper-like limbs should be able to take this a lot better.

"I don't want your help." Kisikoni snarled, feeling worthless against his foe before him.

Do you have a choice? Kisikoni could not summon a rebuttal. Gritting his teeth, the exchange did not take long before Kisikoni let it take over.

Image


A blast of air exploded outward from Kisikoni as thorns erupted from his arms and legs, crowning his eyes and sending his skin awash with a deep maroon color. Fear was not something that was elicited at this point, it was something induced by a palpable aura. Kisikoni's left hand, which was free from the sword he had given to Rashaati, was morphed into a spear-like tip. With a wordless screech, leapt an incredible distance toward Cristophe at an incredible speed in an attempt to slice his head off.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Looking for Neira proved to be utterly hopeless, but Mercy promised herself that she would locate her eventually. It wasn't natural that the psionic dragonfly would just disappear without a word. Mercy remembered bits and pieces about that night, but she was certain she wasn't present when the pugilist vanished. This disturbed her greatly, because she was also fairly certain that she was with Neira for a majority of that day. She wanted to devote her free time into thinking about it, as she never really did anything else besides drink and tease her son. Speaking of Wrath, she had not seen him lately either. She was assured that he was out and about, but even the bibulous nightmarian had motherly instincts that told her otherwise.

Before she could dwell on these unpleasant feelings, she became aware that the entire area around her was shrouded in a black fog that clouded much of the Paragon's vision. Mercy herself had some good eyesight, but it didn't allow her to see the threat that was incoming. By the time she managed to get her bearings, the assault was already on. Puffing her cheeks out angrily, she decided that looking for the General and her friend would have to wait. Regrettably.

Mercy had finally managed to locate and lead her squad to fill in part of the defensive line that was getting weak. Zombies did not mind getting their limbs crushed by her flail, and it was also rather slow if one was careful. Swinging the damn thing too quickly and wildly often ended up with flesh on the ground that was not the opponent's. So, she withdrew her three-section-staff. They would give her some range, and they were quicker than her flail. Though her strikes were not fatal if they did not strike the head, her comrades easily finished them off while she used her great range to keep them at bay.

It wasn't long before the lines suddenly threatened to break from an unknown force. Mercy could feel it as the delicate synergy between the soldiers become lethargic as something else preoccupied their minds. Breaking from her position, she demanded to know what was going on, and nobody knew. She allowed a swordsman to take her place- Mercy really wasn't doing much else aside from whacking zombies and shouting the occasional warning to a comrade. Dashing through the camp so she could bring news of what was going on back to the front lines, she was attracted by a loud noise. She turned the corner and saw a lone figure fighting several automatons, most likely from the human artificer that she heard quite vividly one night. As grave as the situation was, she could not help but snorting at the thought.

In all her years, however, very rarely did she see the single figure fighting the machines. Vampires were rare these days, even in the seediest parts of the world where Mercy used to lurk. To see one on this battlefield against the Paragon was an ill omen indeed. She loaded a sizable rock, and begun swinging the sling around. Taking aim toward the Vampire, she whipped the rock at him.

"Yoo-hoo! Vampy! How about playing with me, handsome?" She called sweetly, preparing for the worst. Even with previous experience, she was not very comfortable with fighting Vampires yet. Though perhaps if he underestimated her, she could get a very definitive advantage.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
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The attack was much more successful than Safir had hoped, but even before he could wipe the blood off his blade and check his shield and armor for dents, a sudden dark storm overtook the skies, causing the knight to worry. This was an unnatural phenomenon. Even as his vision became clouded, his ears remained opened and to be honest, this situation completely terrified him. Not being able to see the foe he was focused on is bad in every possible way, and opens him for an attack from his blind spots. Suddenly, an order was made. Prepare the defenses, get ready to dig in. It was time to survive.

Safir did a lot of the heavy lifting himself, using his natural strength to carry multiple objects at once when wagons were not available to form a decent wall. His carrying ability was only augmented by his strength thanks to the dragons, but even then it didn't seem enough. The defenses were shoddy at best, but judging by comments made by glum defenders, it would be more than enough of an obstacle for most zombies. His sword and shield shall do much more killing in the later hours. However, before the zombies could reach within range, Aesr began a rousing war speech. Without thinking, Safir raised his sword and fire coalesced around the blade. He was deprived of a free hand, and it is said that the blade is merely the extension of one's hand. Why not apply it now? A boiling, giddy feeling rose up in Safir's body as he watched the fire roll along the length of the blade. He wasn't sure whether it would damage the sword or not, but getting replacements should be easy enough, and hot swords can still kill zombies. With a great sweep, a wave of fire joined the inferno the other children conjured and succeeded in searing through the first wave.

A dark, gnawing feeling now made itself prominent in Safir. Is this battlelust? He decided to dwell on it later, as now there was a battle to fight. The feeling of fear was gone now, replaced with a raging eagerness to cut down the zombies. As if on cue, a melted horde of five rushed through a hole in the wall, a monstrocity that Safir was all too happy to engage. Bringing himself low, he moved to the side and cut the legs out from under the zombie to send it stumbling. While the melted bodies struggled (some breaking free and attempting to regroup), it was a mean task for Safir to simply slash their heads off and leave deep gashes that disallowed movement as tendons severed. Two surviving zombies turned to rush Safir from opposite sides, dealt with by a powerful rush toward one, moving around the zombie and keeping it at bay with the shield and pushing it toward the second. With a burst of fire from his sword, the two ghouls stumbled and crumbled into dust.

It was thanks to Carmen once again that his blade managed to cut so cleanly through the undead, but Safir was so overcome in the heat of battle this time, that he simply did not notice. However, what he did notice was some odd ghostly prongs approaching another robed child. Immediately thinking of Carmen, he broke from his current position and ran to Tellion, stabbing the ghostly being before it could overcome the Silenced. As the ethereal being burst into wisps of festering energy, he identified the Silenced as not-Carmen. Still, he nodded toward the Elf and proceeded back toward his spot, preparing to gather flame on his sword.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Feng Tao Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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#, as written by Smith
The Civil

Northern Front

Moving as one, the band of pale women made their way across the battlefield. Each moved with disturbing unity with the next, the image of one being in separate bodies made real. Lesser undead parted before them like a gust of wind parting a field of wheat. Before long, the steel-eyed maidens stood face to face with the one black dragon that remained at the wall the cultist had hastily erected. The foremost of them, a gray-skinned human, waved for the others to spread out. All twenty-four of them surrounded the hatchling before it was even aware of their presence. The great wyrm loosed a throaty laugh and bowled over another group of skeletons as it advanced on a gray halfling.

The halfling, as well as the other maidens stood stark still as the beast moved within striking distance of the girl. The dragon, Vewenthras, snaked forward with blinding speed to snap the the undead maiden in half with his jaws. He caught a slight movement out of the corner of his eye before the world flashed white.

The shards of Vewenthras's consciousness fell back together to reveal the halfling standing directly in front of his nose. Vewenthras found that his bulk was spread on the ground, and he could barely move. The world still spun and the organs that served as his ears bled profusely. It was all the dragon could do to keep himself from slipping under again. He watched feebly as the halfling opened her mouth. Although he could hear nothing, Vewenthras's snout crunched as some invisible force smashed in to his face. He could tell that the other maidens were doing the same as other parts of his body were beaten and bones were splintered.

In seconds, the hatchling Vewenthras was nothing more than a slumped mass of pulped scales and powdered bone. He was distantly aware that the lesser undead, the zombies and skeletons, were swarming his body and gorging themselves on his prone form, but Vewenthras could not muster the strength to shake the pests off. It was then that Vewenthras met his end as a moth covered by ants.

The last he saw of his assailants before his eyes were torn out was the group moving closer to the wall.

'Ware, 'ware, the eyes so pale,
Their crushing melody,
They'll fell ye with a single wail,
Deathly scream o' the-



The Children of Fire

Northern Front

"Banshee!" Oraun clutched his bleeding ear with one hand and slashed at the nearest undead with the other. He was still reeling from the cacophonous screams the colorless maidens had released when the undead horde came on with the next wave. Those Children closest to the site of Vewenthras's death were affected the most, falling to the ground with ruptured eardrums and retching at the deadly waves of sound. In mere seconds an entire section of the wall was overrun. He looked to Jivven who was just outside of range of the banshee's wails and nodded his head towards the pale women. "We need to stop them, they're letting in too many undead!"

Oraun gritted his teeth. He could still see many of his brethren still fighting despite the wails, and he refused to watch them die. The dark elf swept his blade forward, beating back several zombies in the process. He hooked the toe of his boot under his sword and flipped it up in to the air, snatching the weapon up before the undead could regroup. Two more Children leaped down from the wall to aid Oraun. It gave him the perfect excuse to launch off towards the banshees. Fifteen were already jumping down on the inside of the perimeter when Oraun skewered the halfling that had stunned Vewenthras. "Get the other four!" Oraun roared to Jivven, indicating the five banshees guiding their lesser kin over the unprotected section of wall.

Oraun kicked the lifeless banshee off of his sword and swept around to gut a zombie that was creeping up behind him. four more banshees turned their gazes, filled with cold hate, on the darkling that dared to attack one of their number. Oraun bare his teeth and raised his swords in challenge. The other Children that were on this side of the wall were tearing through the horde like sharks gliding through a school of mackerel, but he was the only one that was close enough to deal with the banshees.

The first opened its mouth to scream, but Oraun was already on her. The deep human banshee whipped around, but too late. Oraun sprang and thrust. The cruel steel burst out of the back of the banshee's neck. Oraun swiped at another banshee that tried to step around her sister, then wrenched his short sword from her mouth. A gush of blood erupted from her mouth, eliciting a satisfied grunt as Oraun kept up his momentum. The warrior flowed past the falling banshee and sliced at the one that had tried to get at him moments before. His blade bit in to opaque flesh once, twice, three times before the banshee sank to the ground. Two more, Oraun thought confidently, a wild hope burning in his breast.

The last two banshees used the time he spent dealing with their sisters to put some distance between themselves and the murderous darkling. Both opened their mouths and screamed as one. A Child that appeared to have feigned death cut the feet out from under one just as she wailed, slamming her jaw shut in the dirt and allowing her only a surprised grunt, foiling the sonic attack. Still, it was a slight reprieve against the wall of sound that slammed in to Oraun. The darkling turned his left side to the banshee and braced himself as the destructive meldoy washed over him.

Several of the darkling's teeth shattered, his left eardrum was completely destroyed, and Oraun screamed in agony as the eye on the left side of his face burst with a gory pop. Oraun formed another scream of his own, exhaling fire as well as pain. Both banshees recoiled and fell as their bodies were consumed by the dragonfire. The brother that had saved him before was rising to his feet, as were a few others that had fought their way clear of the zombies and skeletons.

Seven out of the ten Children that had been attacked by the banshees stood once more to fight. Oraun's chest swelled with pride at his daring rescue. He turned to Jivven, expecting his fellow darkling to have finished his own foes, and graced him with a brotherly smile. "Nice work."

The other Children rushed towards, or away from Oraun with wide eyes. Before Oraun could determine what was going on, all sound disappeared from his world as well as sight. Oraun slumped to the ground in a boneless heap, his bones powdered and his organs reduced to pulp. Oraun died instantly. The banshee that he'd first attacked, the spitted halfling, grinned at her kill as the other cultists stabbed her to true death.


Tellion jumped slightly as both captain Tao and a brawny Child saved hum from a threat he had not even noticed. The elf nodded sagely at Safir, as if he was expecting nothing less out of the warrior, and allowed Tao a stitched smile. His question was innocent enough. By nature, the undead were indefatigable and without any sense of joy or boredom. The greater undead, such as vampires and liches, were capable of the full spectrum of mortal emotion, but that was-

Tellion abruptly raised both hands and launched a pair of howling vortexes of wind at a banshee. The silenced cursed and hoped the big fellow was still nearby, as well as the captain. Nearby Children rallied around Tao as the banshees that managed to scale the wall advanced alongside a sizable host of zombies. Tellion snapped his fingers and an orb of shimmering heat formed in his delicate hand. He sincerely wished that their reinforcements would arrive already.


The Paragon

Southern Front


South? No...North. Northeast. Yes, yes, that's good. No, you can't rest yet, my little prophet. Xeron wiped the blood that began to run from Wrath's nostrils and continued to probe the general's mind. He clutched a dimly glowing shard of crystal and maps coalesced in the psion's mind. Good, Wrath. Excellent. How far? No. That' won't do. That's much too far, boy! We need to arrive before the Pale One or the Dragon. Xeron snarled and slapped Wrath's unconscious face, achieving nothing more than bruising his pale flesh. What do you mean they already know?

Xeron broke contact with Wrath. His chest heaved with the effort of maintaining the spell for so long, and his own nose bled freely. The darkling shook his head and stomped off in to the embattled camp. He had to prepare, and quickly.


He dodged right with incredible speed, but was still had to backpedal desperately to avoid having his throat torn out. Cristophe stared incredulously at the hellish mockery of mortality before him, forgetting the half-orc entirely. Amaryliss could handle that one anyway. Whatever this thing was, it was powerful. The scent of divinity and fel taint wafted from its blood in nauseating waves. Cristophe almost wretched, his vampiric senses overwhelmed by the stench.

Instead, the vampire bared his fangs and came on in a rush of claws and kicks. Cristophe's blade-like claws were in Kisikoni's face in an instant.


A stone cracked Lyle on the side of the head as he danced around the ponderous swing of a golem. The vampire stumbled, almost tripping as he caught on his own feet. Lyle scanned for the source of such a barbaric attack and met the gaze of a predatory beauty. Lyle immediately straightened, slicked back his hair and sketched a bow, heedless of the already healing wound on his temple. "Well good day, mien fraulein."

A huge fist tore off Lyle's head as he arose from his show of courtesy. From beyond the squad of golems, Turha nodded at Mercy and began ordering his constructs elsewhere.

"Lyle!" the piercing shriek was almost unintelligible amid the chaos, but it was obviously intended to mourn the death of the male vampire. A female, sporting a bob-style cut that was popular several decades ago, tore through a dozen Paragon soldiers to kneel by Lyle's headless corpse. She sobbed as Lyle's body shriveled and turned to dust as the ages caught up with him. As if forgetting it immediately, the woman turned her scornful gaze on Mercy. "Bitch!"

Getrude raised both arms in Mercy's direction, hands gnarled in to vicious claws. Thin blades of ice shot forth, expanding as the went. Four in all, the first demonstrated their power by shearing straight through a pair of soldiers that leapt to Mercy's defense. What appeared to be a writhing mass of sludge surged upwards off of the floor near another group of soldiers nearby, reforming as a trio of human-like goliaths. The golems of roiling flesh and bone engulfed entire men and women as they attacked, leaving behind neatly stripped skeletons in their wake.


"This is it." Gertz pushed his way past the tent flap and entered the general's quarters. Two more vampires followed him in, glancing around warily.

"Someone has been here recently." the first said.

"They aren't here now, Petrice." the second retorted, sneering.

"Enough." Gertz shoved Petrice and Kallen aside and approached the motionless figure in the bed. He was unimpressed. The man's blood-scent was interesting enough, but it was obvious that the general was suffering from some sort of serious malady. He would not be leading anyone any time soon. The fact that no one guarded him in such a vulnerable state attested to this. Gertz snorted derisively and motioned for Kallen. "Kill him and let us get to the real fun."


Hundreds of feet above the squirming, embattled masses, Iridanias and four of her kin soared. Iridanias twisted her sinuous ruby body and dodged a blast of fire that caught her brother, Qualion, full in the face. Qualion screeched and lurched, falling from the sky in a blinded, writhing heap. Iridanias scanned the murk for the source of the attack. Analistacles roared in pain and began a rapid descent, his right wing a torn and bloody stump. The remaining three reds were hovering back to back now, roaring in to the darkness. What was picking them off? They were the proud sons and daughters of Gurthenemon the Red, and nothing in the skies was their equal.

Wingbeats from above was the only warning they received. Iridanias and Jormundir pulsed their powerful wings and rolled away, but Otullia was not so lucky. The smallest red was torn almost in half as a pair of black dragons pulled her in opposite directions. Iridanias and Jormundir roared their fury and dove at their dark kin, fangs and claws bared, but they were not fast enough. Aesr and Lalaliki disappeared in to the darkness once more. Iridanias could here the black's mocking laughter.

"Why hello there, red." it called out from the mists, "Fancy meeting you here."

Iridanias's mind raced. The cultists were here too? What could that possibly mean? Were they aware of Nhil's purpose as well? How many had they brought to bare? Her thoughts ended abruptly as Aesr streaked out of the mist and raked bloody furrows down Iridanias's back. She would have lost a wing had she not evaded in time. This was not good. A black was no match for a red in a straight up fight, but the dark kin were not one's to fight fairly. If this kept on, she would die an honorless death. So she waited. "Come then, burnt bitch."

A loud buzzing rose in her ears as the battle lust intensified.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


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It wasn't completely unexpected that the vampire would dodge. It had never personally fought any before, but he was surprised that it's heightened senses could withstand the notably horrid stench that rolled off his form. Cracking a grisly smile as Cristophe's visage turned fierce, it prepared for the counter attack by loosening it's stance. "Come brrrrrreak your fists against me!" it cackled, despite the fact that it knew Kisikoni's body still wasn't sturdy enough to handle a vampire's blows. Luckily, the Vampire did not know that they were on more of an even playing level than it appeared. The Vampire's assault would have been nearly instantaneous to a certain Deep Human, but for not for itself.

Twisting to the right, it pivoted as a flurry of blows just barely missed. However, Cristophe recovered neatly from the dodge, just in time to duck a wild swipe that would have separated his head from his body. Lashing out with a nasty kick, the vampire managed to catch Kisikoni in the stomach, sending it stumbling backward. Cristophe twisted to his feet and attempted to follow up with a couple of clean jabs, but they were quickly parried by the malignant being and was returned with a powerful knee to the stomach. Dancing backward, Cristophe decided that nursing the epicenter of that explosion of pain was not the greatest idea. It was already healing, and Cristophe made a great leap over Kisikoni's attempted stab with his butterfly sword. Landing behind it, Cristophe's attempt to plunge his hand into the deep human's back was halted as it screeched, loosing a sudden burst of fear that caused the Vampire to recoil in disgust. The deep human's body then turned around, using the opportunity to attempt to bring it's spade-like fist straight through the vampire's face.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Her coy smile did not falter even as Turha's automaton ripped Lyle's head from his body with a quick motion. "Always the gentleman." She replied to the body, blowing a kiss just as a piercing shriek ripped through the tents. Mercy could only assume that it was the late-vampire's name being called as a woman darted over to cradle his body as it crumbled away. Mercy had to admit the bobcut she sported was rather stylish. The female vampire screeched her grief at the Nightmarian spider, obviously intent on taking revenge. Was he her lover? She doubted it, as the first thing he did when Lyle and Mercy locked eyes was smooth his hair and greet him.

A blast of ice coming from Getrude's fingertips easily roused Mercy from her light musings, the sheets of power slicing clean through two soldiers stupid enough to come between them. She appreciated the thought, but they just wasted their lives when she easily dodged them. She had to work out some sort of plan, but before she could even begin to let one ferment, a trio of meat-golems rose from the ground. They consumed men (armor and all), leaving only skeletons behind as signs of their passing. Things just got a whole lot more complicated. Biting her lower lip, she would have loved it if she had some better backup right now, but instead she simply shrieked for all nearby soldiers to retreat from the vampire and what may be her constructs. Getrude's biggest target was definitely Mercy for inadvertently causing Lyle's death. "Damn it Turha!' Mercy cried, dashing away as a blast of ice shredded the tent behind where she stood.

The golems were the biggest problem- if they surrounded her, she was naught but a sitting duck as Getrude loosed blast after blast of magic attempting to catch up to the Nightmarian Spider. It was then when Mercy had a plan. skidding to a stop, she twisted her torso to look behind and carefully loosed a burst of webbing into the three golems. Of course, the golems absorbed the webbing quite easily, but what they didn't know was that it did not mesh will with the meat around it. Their movements slowed and stopped as the glue-like substance locked their limbs and prevented them from taking any more action. Now it was just her and Getrude, as her claws just barely missed her once more. She didn't trust her ark shell to withstand even one blow from these blades. Heck, there was rarely anything she allowed her once-trusty armor to take. Magic was quite a scary thing. She withdrew her 3-section staff, and attempted to keep her at range, but the vampire was simply too quick. She also sliced the slabs of wood and metal to pieces with her ice blades.

"By the dead gods!" She cursed, watching her mourning star get sliced to pieces as she brought it around. Reduced now to her fangs, legs, whip and web now. A formidable arsenal, but it seemed woefully understocked when fighting a revenge-fueled vampiress. Jumping back once more, Mercy attempted to blast Getrude with webbing, following up with a swing of her nine-section whip.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
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Safir, luckily was nowhere near Oraun and the likes when a ghastly scream nearly caused him to jump and shout in terror as well. Resounding cries of "Banshee! Banshee!" only multiplied the shock. The Civil were digging up banshees to aid them now as well? What weren't they going to pull?! Safir did not know whether the problem was localized, but he was sure he saw Jivven and Oraun around that area, and trusted them to handle the Banshees. So far the wails only came from that angle, so Safir assumed that the Banshee were rare enough that they didn't have more in reserve. Safir really did not want to be proven wrong. The elvish beserker, Dresinil made his way over, covered in blood and panting. "Human!" He boomed, his voice still nearly lost in the din. "Do you know when the reinforcements are coming?"

"I don't!" Safir shouted in return, running with the elf back toward the front lines. Dresinil cursed explosively, raising his hand and blasting a group of zombies with dragonfire. Safir rushed forward as the flame guttered out and bashed the flaming hord with his shield, sending all of them onto their asses where they crumbled to ash. Swinging his sword again, he cut through zombie after zombie, only distantly aware of Dresinil doing the same somewhere near him. He couldn't keep track of Pylarea, Gatan, Zulii, Jivven, or anyone else. It was simply too desperate to. He never imagined that the Civil had necromancers of such power, to reanimate so many bodies to bring to fight. Eventually, he was pushed back as the undead horde became too much for even his enchanted sword laced with dragonfire. Letting another Child take his place, Safir resisted the urge to take his helmet off and wipe the sweat that threatened to blur his vision. Now was not the time for such petty things, Lifting his visor, however, he saw Carmen not too far away healing bodies. And several ghasts ready to strike. Safir screamed at Dresinil, who's head snapped and saw the biggest threat to their healer. It was only thanks to their augmented speed and agility that they were able to cross the distance and intercept the Wights before they could strike. Dresinil tackled his surprised wight, and began dueling the zombie in a quick exchange that left him the victor. Safir, however clashed into the zombie more awkwardly, and severly underestimated the wight as just another undead. The thought that it had been sneaking up on the healer rather than straight bum-rushing her was nothing but a leaf in the rapids. Raising his shield, the intelligent zombie easily broke the surprised human's guard, and slipped one hand around the Knight's neck.

I've had enough of suffocating for one lifetime! Safir bellowed mentally, pushing aside the pain for one moment as he brought a flaming sword up and lopped off the draugr's arm. The zombie stumbled back as Safir ripped it's arm away from his neck and threw it away, following up with a wild slash that nearly went completely through the zombie laterally. With adrenaline pumping through his veins, he tackled the zombie over, and stomped on it's face with a metal boot, crushing the skull. Attempting to right himself, Safir was suddenly aware of a distinct pain in his neck and how his vision was narrow and blurred. The familiar feeling that he couldn't breathe returned, and he collapsed backward, unable to move.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Liliana Bloodleaf Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr Character Portrait: The Sunwings
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Jivven Noda'Razzr


"Dead Gods alive! What in the hells is that bloody noise!?" Jivven screamed using his elbows to cover his ears. Though the wailing was still powerful enough to distract him, he had seemingly fared a lot better than his darkling kin. While relatively still close to Oraun, Jivven had been just past the threshold of the range of the Banshees' wail. Still, he managed to acquire a splitting headache for his trouble. Would have acquired more than that if he wasn't the skilled assassin that he was. Instead of being cut down by an undead, Jivven managed to only escape with a rake across his chest. The assaulting party however, did not fare as good. He and those undead behind him received a gout of dragonfire as punishment. Jivven couldn't help but smile wildly at the feeling of empowerment dragonfire provided.

"We need to stop them, they're letting in too many undead!"

For once, Jivven didn't provide snide commentary or a quip for his darkling brethren, only simply nodding his understanding. Now was not the time to butt heads, and they could measure kill counts after the battle. Now was the time to act as one, and survive. And survival was the one thing Jivven understood. Oraun darted off to obviously take out a banshee, and when Jivven arrived close behind, he was ordered to take out the other four, whom were guiding the undead against their shoddy fortifications. Jivven hesitated for a moment, he wanted to yell, "All by myself!?" But held his tongue. Whining now wouldn't kill the banshees. Instead, he flipped up his hood, and stuck his hands into his robes. A flutter movement and his hands popped back out holding a number of throwing knives. He sighed heavily and set off to do his job.

He didn't like the position he was in, the assassin was beginning to take back his mind. There was no way he could assault the banshees with any semblance of stealth. As soon as he struck, all the banshees' attentions would be drawn to him like moths to a flame. As Jivven strode, the gears inside the mind of the Assassin began to churn. Unlike the quick warrior Oraun, Jivven neither had the speed nor the power to mimic his assault. He had to use his finesse, his grace. He had to get close, and stay close, dance around them. He can't let them gain distance on him once engaged, or be wailed to death. He also couldn't stay in front of them, he had to stick to the sides and back, else be assaulted by that damning wail...

In essence, he'd have to be their shadow.

Jivven inhaled and allowed the assassin to take full control. The battle all around him began to drown out. Allies and enemies all began to dissappear. Soon, there were only him and his targets. He sent a prayer down to his matriach, dug his heels into the ground, and he was off.




Taking a page from Safir's book, the assassin bathed his throwing knives in dragonfire- whether it would hurt the blades or not was irrelevant, he wasn't getting them back anyway. Three in his left hand and one in his right (due to his missing digit, he'd have to ask someone if they could make a prosthetic) shot forward in a volley and slammed into the four banshees. A distraction as flame licked at their clothing. He didn't want to have to worry about being yelled to death on approach. As they ripped the flaming knives out of their flesh and batted the licking flames off of the cloths, the assassin injected himself in the middle of their group, both blades flashing in his hand. They couldn't wail at risk of crushing one of their number in this position.

Obviously, they would try to shift and try to position themselves to give them an angle at which to blast the poor assassin. This did not escape the sharp assassin's mind. He had never danced with four women before, and he hoped with a grin they would find his footwork... Adequate. His shortsword flash, catching a banshee- human- across the chest. A nonlethal blow, but still yelp escaped her and taking no chance Jivven spun around to her side, giving her a sharp elbow to the back of the head. Another banshee- elf- had shifted so that she had an an angle on him. Not for long as he performed another half-circle sending a viscous kick to her midsection. This left him wide open to the other banshees- an orc and a deep human- to wail him to death. He had managed to complete this circle and bring him face to face with the elf banshee. He grabbed her in an embrace thanks to their height difference (She had at least a half-a-foot on him giving him a great view of her... assets) brought him just under her wail. The wailing managed to catch his hood and tear it to pieces, not to mention a tuft of white hair, but he was relatively safe. Her shout was cut short as the assassin jumped, slamming the top of his head into her chin, shutting her up and dazing her.

He came up with his dagger, this time biting deep. She was still alive, but if the fight dragged out, she wouldn't be long for this world. A gauged action by the assassin, as if he outright killed her, he'd have no protection from the other banshees. Of course, this had certain risks, such as her throwing a feral hook right into his chin. He was seeing stars for a minute as her staggered. The assassin gained his wits quickly, as he was now being targeted by three of the four Banshees- the orc at the apex of her the wind up for her wail. He must have struck a nerve as they going all out with their shouting.

Jivven didn't give her time to finish, he chucked his dagger- nailing the woman in the chest, probably puncturing a lung. Try to wail with a hole in your lung, see how it works. Jivven then jumped straight into a cartwheel, giving no one the time to breath- because here a breath meant death for him. As his hands connected with the dirt, he grabbed a handful and once he was vertical again, chucked it into the open mouths of the two other banshees. They managed a ragged wail, which slammed into the assassin and disoriented him before they devolved into choking fits. His ears were ringing and his balance was off while a bead of blood dripped down an ear. Still, he couldn't stop.

He staggered forward and slammed a shortsword up the deep human's chin and out her skull, while he held out his free hand and belted the human with a gout a dragonfire. Two down two to go. Then, he felt a sharp pain in side. His eyes darted over, and realized the orc had used his own dagger to stab him. Cheeky bitch, he didn't even hear her coming. Probably because of the wail. Still, he had a job to do, he couldn't give up and die and give Oraun the satisfaction. He intertwined her arm with his and jerked visciously jerked, snapping her arm. She dropped the dagger still embedded in his side- he didn't hear her scream. The assassin then spun, ripping the shortsword out of the deep human's skull and ran it across the orc's throat. A spray of crimson dyed his hair pink as she slumped.

That left one. A ragged Jivven looked over and saw that the elf had regained her footing a looked at him with murder in her eyes. She took a deep breath and Jivven ripped the dagger out of his side. They attacked at the same time, the dagger cutting through the force of the wail. The dagger impaled the elf in the throat at the same time the wail threw Jivven to the ground. It was over

While the banshees were dead, Jivven had survived- if barely. All he heard was the ringing in his ears, his eyes darted around erratically, confused, and he was bloodied but he was alive.

That was a hell of a dance. A couple Children cut their way through the zombies to Jivven and hoisted him up onto their shoulders. He couldn't tell what they were saying, whether it was admiration, worry, or what. He shook his head as if it would help (it didn't) and violently pushed a child off. However, his stumbling indicated a need for help. He needed a bloody cleric. "Get me... To.. Carmen. NOW!" He yelled. The assassin wasn't done. If he could get her to restore some hearing, he'd be fine. He glanced over and saw Oraun yelling something at him with a smile. Whether it was pride or a jest, Jivven didn't know, but he needed to find out. He needed to get back into the fight. Why should he have to be tended after while Oraun was still out kicking ass.

He would not be outdone by Oraun, though he couldn't help but feel a pang of pride for his brethren.




Liliana Bloodleaf


"Vampires?! The hell do you mean vampires!?"

"Hah, it's like a badly written story..."

"Welcome to the story of my life, there is always room for things to get worse," Lily sighed. If there were vampires frittering about, that means their formation was obsolete, though it did explain the magical nightshade enveloping the battlefield. If one came upon them in this formation, they'd be too slow to be any effective against the thing They'd maybe get a shot off before getting overrun, not to mention the constant threat of lesser undead... So much for the Civil being civil... Who uses the dead as tools of war? Lily shook the agitation from her head and she began to issue orders, "Break formation, and hunt these vampires down. Stay close together and watch each others' back- as always. I want to see your pretty faces alive by the end of this," Lily said with a sweet smile... It managed to catch to Sunwings off-guard. Though the next words snapped them out of it, "Well?! Get on it!" She barked. "Ma'am!" Adel and Zyn yelped, skittering off with Landion in tow.

Lily turned toward where she believed Thanaros was located. Normally she'd take to the skies on the back of the Mark II, but thanks to the shade, that plan of action bordered on suicidal. Nope, she'd stick to the ground this time around. She approached Thanaros while loosing arrows at any zombie that dared approach. One could follow the path she took by following the line of ghouls with an arrow planted in their head. Before long she arrived at her destination, Thanaros- plus others.

Thanaros was busily engaged in combat with what she believed a vampire. A pale woman in finery- fit the bill. Plus, Kisikoni was their- or he wasn't. He was that... Thing he was when he was in battle. He was frightening and creepy as all hell when he was like that, and he seemed to be engaged with another vampire. Still, it was comforting to know she was close enough to aid if anything went awry. It appeared as if the Thing That Was Kisikoni had his vampire in hand, so she turned her attention to the vampire that Thanaros was dealing with. Then the elf had an idea. A fable from children's stories about vampires. She took and arrow in hand and snapped the steel tip off, leaving a sharp shaft of wood in it's place- a stake. She then nocked the stake-arrow and aimed at the vampire- letting go.

She watched in morbid curiosity as the arrow darted towards it's target. She wondered how the vampire would react to the flying stake.




The Sunwings set upon their task as impromptu vampire hunters quickly. Adel chuckled at the fact that the Sunwings were tasked with aiding the destruction of vampires. Zyn allowed himself a smile. Landion kept his silence. Their first stop was Turha. Once there, Zyn spoke to the group, "You guys hunt go find the vampires, I'll aid him," as if Turha needed help with his legion of golems. Adel narrowed her eyes and glared at him, "You just want to ride one of those golems." Zyn smiled and was off. Adel figured it was a decent enough plan. While Turha had close combat down pat, place Zyn on the shoulders of one of the golems, and they would be nigh unstoppable.

She shook her head in disappointed... She wanted to ride one too. Her saddness was erased with a rough hand from Landion, who pointed in another direction. In the distance, Adel could see something that looked like Mercy fighting something. Adel nodded and the pair was off. They were greeted by the Nightmarian fighting a thin pale woman- vampire probably- and a couple of statues made of flesh. Delicious.

A pair of arrows fired off from either side of Mercy towards the vampire as she lashed out with her whip. "You don't mind a little help, do you lovely?" Adel chimed in sweetly as she nocked another arrow.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr Character Portrait: The Sunwings
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Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


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With a rush of satisfaction, it watched the vampire clutch at his face and scream as it's hand sheared off a good portion of his visage. Before it could rush in for the kill, Cristophe all but vanished, retreating into the line of fighting paragon soldiers. He returned with two corpses and a refreshed countenance. With a smart remark, he dropped the husks in his hands. Suddenly, two blights rushed Kisikoni, but it made no inclination to move as they closed in. While these skeletal horrors were unnatural, they were but a candle in a gale compared to the vampire and Kisikoni's speed at this point. They were nothing but a nuisance. With a explosion of movement, the blights stumbled past Kisikoni as their ribs and organs were sliced clean through. The graveworms made to attack it Kisikoni, latching themselves onto the deep human's armor and attempting to tunnel through. Another blast of air and fell energy, and the simple monsters were thrown off, left squirming on the ground as the taint quickly overwhelmed their instincts and they fell still.

With a brief pause, it felt nothing but amusement. Cristophe made to attack but paused confidently as it loosed a keening laugh, clawing the air with it's fell notes. "So it is true! You nightworms are the cowardly maggots the stories make you out to be!" It screeched in hysterical mirth, as fleshy growths similar to roots began to sprout over Kisikoni's arms and body. Insulted, Cristophe made to respond but was cut off as Kisikoni rushed the pale maggot, jumping and scoring a brutal kick to it's chest. The vampire flew back several feet before regaining balance and twisting to divert the momentum back to his side, attacking once more with two swipes of his clawed hands. The deep human easily dodged left, attempting a wild swing that would have cleaved the vampire in two if he had not jump and scored a spinning kick to the deep human's jaw. Spinning away, it quickly grabbed it's dislocated mouth and snapped it back into place once it got up, in time to see Cristophe nearly on top of it. Bringing it's arms up in defense, it felt the vampire's claws rake across it's arms, causing a release of a vile stench and liquid, presumed to be blood. Flinging it into Cristophe's face as he recoiled, it attempted another kill, attempting to cleave the vampire into multiple pieces with two devastating swipes.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Squealing in delight when the web managed to successfully ensnare the vampire, she took notice of the Sunwing that appeared next to her. Mercy couldn't be assed to remember her name, but smiled when she interrupted with her question. "Aren't you cute, helping old ladies finish off hellspawn." She cooed, resisting the urge to take her eyes off the vampire and give the adorable elf a squeeze. Suddenly, four blights appeared, covering Getrude from further attacks as she made her escape. A soldier jumped in, ramming his sword through one of the blights and causing it to collapse. Mercy had to quickly wonder what was so special about these things as she kept them at bay with her whip before the graveworms started eating the soldier that had slain one of the blights.

"Oh. How unsightly." Mercy muttered, stomping the face of the unfortunate soldier in as he fell to the ground. Surviving graveworms attempted to attack her, but her ark shell was finally useful for something as they drilled and gnawed to no avail and simply fell off. "Watch your shoes honey, I don't want to have to see that happen to you too." She warned Adel, using her whip to easily crack the ribs that protected the blight's organs that contained the parasitic worms. Eventually, they were defeated, and the worms were left to rot. Mercy coated the organs with her webbing for good measure, as the viscous substance would not tear easily and cause the worms to suffocate.

However, her problems were not over. That vampire had escaped into the camp once more, and the Blights were causing paragon soldiers to rise up and attack their lines from behind. At this rate, even Wrath's army of powerful misfits would rout and become a thing of the past. She ground her teeth, deciding to forego pursuing Getrude and decided to work on the undead Paragon Troops that rose to attack their former comrades from behind.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
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Barely conscious, Safir was unable to register that next to him lay his dead friend, Dresinil. He was unable to see Carmen go through some invisible change. He was oblivious to the world in it's entirety as he waited for a wight to stroll in and take his life. However, with a flash of light that he couldn't see, Safir suddenly find himself invigorated, able to breathe once more. Opening his eyes, he managed to see Carmen bend over and touch his forehead. His bloodlust was completely gone, and he could only look up in wonder as his limbs were refreshed and he felt vigorous and eager once more. Her request was interpreted as an order by the awestruck human, immediately scrambling to his feet.

His head turned as his heightened senses caught his air-headed captain screaming a rally cry, which was very rare for the calculating and quiet officer to do. Safir instantly followed behind Carmen, who seemed to have changed entirely. The entire scene and general ambiance had changed- what was hopeless was now hopeful as the true children arrived, the faithful beserkers who were the cream of the crop. Roaring his own battle-cry, he raised his sword. It had miraculously escaped damage so far from the dragonfire on quick inspection. Charging with his comrades, he would never have felt such a strong sense of camaraderie if he continued to lie near death from his fight with a wight. Crashing into the line of the undead, his shield immediately threw two of the undead back with it's sheer force, another sweep of his sword killed several more as heads rolled, Once the initial charge's effect had worn off, he continued his wrath, blocking blows with his shield and tanking lighter strikes in his sturdy suit of armor. His destructive slices were calculated this time, unlike the bloodlust that had overcome him earlier in that desperate situation and most of the undead could not stand up to him. Making much further progress was the undeniable aura of Carmen, and not too far away was Pylarea, which was a sight that relieved Safir. Jivven, being the man that he was was nowhere in sight. The jolly co-operation that existed between the children as they pushed the Civil back was astonishing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Liliana Bloodleaf Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr Character Portrait: The Sunwings
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Jivven Noda'Razzr


The jarring sense of hearing suddenly being restored is a strange one. Equilibrium, balance, everything returned to Jivven in mere seconds. He knew Carmen was good, but... Damn, that was something else entirely. It literally catapulted Jivven from the hands of the elf back to his feet, with his shortsword shining instantly in his hand. He felt good, no, He felt great if confused. The deep cut in his side hadboiled away, leaving only the torn cloth as evidence. His jaw was no longer sore from the hook he had received. Hell, even the knot on top of his head where he headbutted right into the jaw of the elven banshee was gone. "What in the bloody hell was that!?" Jivven called waving his hands frantically. It was a hell of a pick-me-up.

A glance over at Carmen revealed his answer. She was awash in a golden glow, and everyone in her vicinity had received the massive regeneration. Jivven sighed deeply as he looked at the silenced- rather silenced no more. "I think I'm in love," he said before shaking his head. Now was not the time for puppy love, they were in the middle of a battle! He was then nudged in the shoulder by the orc, Gorthax, and implied he'd make a fine distraction for the assassin. Jivven grinned in response, waving the shortsword in his hand. "Good eye, I do believe- Shit! That bitch still has my dagger in her throat," he realized when his dagger wasn't in his other hand.

A moment passed to collect himself as the other Children of the fanatical zealot flavor poured from a portal and washed over the battlefield. While he was healthy as a horse, he certainly didn't seem that way. His black cloak was ripped, revealing the leather plates underneath. His hair was a sickening pink color from where crimson blood had sprayed his bone white hair. Flecks of dried blood trailed the corners of his mouth and hung onto the black clothing. He was a mess, but he was alive. Something the assassin was proud of.

A rallying cry brought Jivven out of his personal assessment. "I didn't think he had it in him," Jivven mused as he realized the cry had come from the normally reserved and not-all-there Tao. They all gathered around their captain where Jivven finally caught sight of Shasarra. However, he did not see Oraun. Where did he get to? Surely he wouldn't be the one to miss a rally. Jivven ignored the empty spot in the base of his mind and asked, "Where's Oraun," as he continued to survey his brethren. Brethren? When had that happened? He shrugged as Vortigern cried something about hell. He wasn't the one to get caught up in war cries and such. Though, he did allow his companions theirs without adding a snide remark.

Then they were off. This was their fight after all. They were here first and it was their battle to fight, though Jivven didn't necessarily dismiss the zealots. He was proud, not stupid. Aesr's children had formed up in a V, with Tao leading the charge. Organized, neat, and tidy. Jivven however, preferred a more.. Chaotic approach. Instead of particpating in the V formation, Jivven had positioned himself off to the side of the V, near Gorthax. When there was a V ripping through your lines with a large and dangerous orc cracking skulls with a mace, who would see a short dark elf slitting throats and arteries behind them?

The assassin did not have the speed and quickness of Tao, but he certainly had an equivalent amount, if not more, of grace. While attention was drawn to the V, Jivven punctured hearts, slit throats, pierced lungs all from behind. Even for those unfortunate enough to see the assassin and raise a weapon against him, would find their own weapon turned against them as he slid under their defenses and used his free hand to jam their sword or axe in them. The first time his shortsword elicited a very live yell, he grinned evilly. "Now we're getting to the good part," he told Gorthax as his assassinations brought him near the formation.

Who knew working with others could be so fun?




Liliana Bloodleaf


"Oh, that's interesting," Lily mused as her stake struck true. The ensuing paralysis and subsequent beheading answered her question. Vampires do not like stakes. She nocked another arrow, this time opting to keep the steel tip, and fired into the front lines. Thanaros was looking to make a push on the frontlines again, and while she was there, why not aid the charge the only way she knew how? She nocked another arrow and sent it flying into some poor undead sod. Then something else entirely appeared.

Undead canine like creatures. "Nasty little doggies," Lily quipped as she took aim on one and fired. They were quick too, making Lily actually work at trying to hit one. The had wasted a couple arrows before her bloated target finally bit the dust in a spray of disgusting giblets. She made a mental note to not get too close when they exploded, else get showered by innards... No telling what was in it, or how long it would take to get out of her hair. She took out a count of three arrows, dropped one into the ground, broke the steel tip of the next one, and nocked the last. She was preparing for more of those things and vampires, just in case.

She glanced over at Kisikoni and realized the vampire he was facing had returned, looking a lot better for wear. The dried husks in his hands answered her unasked question. "You damned hellspawn..." She muttered. They were her allies, not some kind of meal. However, what caught her eye was the undead canines rushing Kisikoni on either side of the vampire. She aimed for one, but was too late as Koni ripped through both of them. She made addition note not to get close to those things as disgusting worms tried to burrow into Koni. To no avail luckily. Koni's body began to shift and grow ever more gruesome. Then the vampire attack.

Lily dropped the arrow in her bow, substituted it for the stake, and aimed for the vampires head. Whether or not Koni managed to dice the creature, Lily planned on sending a stake directly into the forehead of the creature. Just to be sure. She had a tea date with that man, monster or no, and she was determined to see it through- on both of their ends.




Zyn

The normally composed Zyn had let the power get to his head. Atop the largest golem he could find, he was raining a veritable hell down upon those unfortunate enough to be within his range. All accompanied by a maniacal laughter and over-the-top boasts. "Run! It doesn't matter! You're dead anyway! You can't escape my reach! Haha! Know the name of your destruction! I am Zyn Reznal! Flee in terror!" Lily would be so disappointed, but she too was excited when she rode her first golem. However she wasn't near as blood happy as Zyn was. In the distance, Turha shook his head, wondering why he agreed to this, and wondered why elves always wanted to ride on his constructs...

Zyn managed to reign himself in when he realized a new flavor had arrived. Little dog things attacking various knots of troops. Instead of the maniac, Zyn shifted to the disciplined archer Lily had chosen for the Sunwings and began to target the quick dog-things. Before long, he would find out this new flavor had a surprise for them, as fallen allies became risen enemies. They would also become targets as Zyn hesitated minimally at firing upon their own troops. They had to cut the cancer out before it grew and threatened the entire army. He didn't know if these... Abominations had the ability to infect other troops nor did he want to find out.

The blood happy darkling had become quite somber as he set about his work.




Adel & Landion


"Well, we couldn't let you have all the fun, sweetheart," Adel answered. Landion on the other hand, made gagging noises. All of this gooey word talk was making him sick. Their target had shifted from a singular vampire to a number of blights. "Eww, nasty things, aren't they?" Adel asked no one in particular. A soldier managed to slay one, and his reward was becoming entangled by the worms within the blight. A disgusting sight- but what hadn't been nasty during this new development? Both archers made extra sure not to get close to one of those things an allowed Mercy to finish of the soldier. She had built in armor after all.

"Ah, don't worry. I wasn't planning on getting had closer than I had to," Adel answered. Suddenly, she was extremely grateful that she had chosen archer as her profession and a look from Landion said he was thinking the same thing. From a distance, Adel and Landion along with Mercy finished off the remaining blights, and they happily allowed her to coat the corpses with webbing. Both archers looked back to camp where the vampire had escaped and then looked to each other. Landion raised an eyebrow while Adel nodded. "Lily ordered us to hunt the vampires down," Then she looked back to their comrade and realized Mercy had a lot more on her mind than a singular vampire. Such as risen paragon soldiers turning against them. "Don't worry Merce' we'll get her for you," Adel spoke, "We'll get it done and come back to help out. We'll tell her you said hi too," She finished with a grin as both archers pursued the vampire, firing at the risen paragon the whole way.

Mercy had been fighting longer than the entire Sunwing unit combined, she would be fine.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Liliana Bloodleaf Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Feng Tao
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#, as written by Arke
Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


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The nightmaggot managed to trap it as it attempted to escape from his claws. His eyes widened as the nails sunk an inch into his chest, allowing a splash of dark liquid to fall from his chest. So much for the reliable Blackguard Armor. Hissing, it lashed out just as Cristophe jumped back, his breezy confidence returning as he made a smart remark and retreated. Even as the wounds stitched themselves up grotesquely and the growths began to retreat back into the chinks in the armor, Kisikoni could only fall to his knees in disbelief. It was one lone vampire, a single night hunter, and he couldn't beat it. Thanaros had been able to overpower and decapitate Amaryliss. Granted, he had assistance from Lily, but so did he. Punching the ground, Kisikoni could only beg an answer for the reason why he was just so weak. He had thrown away so much because he wanted power. It was the reason Pel lost her life. She would have been much more useful in this accursed battle than he could have been.

He had barely registered that Wrath had passed earlier, and that Lily left to join the attack, but Kisikoni could not summon the will to join them. His temper flared suddenly after smoldering for a few precious seconds. This is all your fault. You promised me power. Where is it? There was no answer. It never answered when he was asking. Gritting his teeth, he grabbed at the ground blindly until his hands clasped the crossguard of the blade, cutting his finger slightly on the enchanted butterfly sword. Rage at his enemies, the thing in his head, and predominantly himself. Ripping away the destroyed armor, he decided he didn't need it anymore. The disgusting worm in his head wouldn't let him die so a sword through the gut shouldn't matter too much. Standing, he grabbed one of the potions Talae had given him from his belt, and numbly crushed the frail bottle over his mouth and let the contents drip in. Simply using the potion caused Kisikoni's anger to flare-- once again only at himself for being so dependent. He wasn't a god damn toddler. Feeling slightly rejuvenated, he began stalking toward the front lines. The tiny shards of glass began pulling themselves out of his flesh and falling to the ground.

As he walked past the heaps of dead Civil and Paragon, he reached out and grabbed a wooden mace with iron spike bands without pause to replace his lost brother sword. Shoving his way roughly to the front lines, Kisikoni let out a battlecry as he dove headfirst into the enemies with abandon. He cut and slashed, and crushed every enemy in his way with complete disregard for strategy. Every cut, bruise, or magical wound he sustained was healed within seconds, sapping away at the deep human's reserves of flagging strength. Kisikoni didn't care, even as he continued to fight with a dagger sticking out of his side, he only had one thought running through his head: I don't want to be weak.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image It seemed as though the Gravewurms were endless in how many bodies they reanimated. It was very annoying to bring down one after the other, especially when she recognized some of the poor souls that were forced back into a perverted state of living. Her whip was dyed a polished red, sprays of blood flying off the tip as it screamed through the air in it's familiar circular motion. The wurms entry points often left the structural integrity of the legionnaires they possessed weak, which was very useful for simple decapitations or incapacitations done by her whip alone. Mercy was about to fall into her familiar rhythm before she was contacted by a familiar presence.

"Oh, Neira! I was looking for you!" She said happily to nobody in particular. "I was beginning to think you got assassinated. Well then, I'll see you tonight!" She immediately broke contact with the shambling undead, coating the ground in front of them with webbing. That will slow them down, at least. It looks like they were making one last hurrah for the Civil, and everybody was pulling out all the stops. Frankly, she was quite surprised that they haven't retreated or died yet, considering everything being thrown at them. "Oh bother. I hope my little brat knows what he's doing, letting them flank us from behind like this." She huffed, looking behind her every so often to make sure she wasn't about to get stabbed from behind. The Blackgards seem to be completely devoted to the offense. So the strategy was to make it to the heart of their camp before they get crushed from behind. Sometimes she had doubts on just how much of his father the boy inherited from him. Then again, there was a reason why the drunken spider and her luminous red eyes wasn't a commanding officer of the army. Not in a great sense.

With her allies rushing with her, she only whimpered and attempted to get in the rhythm of things once more.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
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Though he trailed behind his fellow comrades in the fight, he didn't fight any less hard. In an attempt to catch up, the great swinging motions that lopped heads off the Civil became much more frequent and he allowed his armor to take the lesser blows. The shield remained his greatest asset, as he easily parried and blocked any heavy blow that came at him, and even with these undead soldiers and their sentient thought, they would not be able to best the armored knight in a battle, not even in a group. The sparse gouts of dragonfire he loosed would always burn the soldiers to a crisp, and in such tight quarters there was simply no escaping the rolling flames that consumed nearly everything in it's path.

However, when Safir felt the battle slow noticeably, he in turn slackened his aggressive blows. He noted that most of the attention was focused on a duel, and the battle at hand had almost become a secondary objective. Safir didn't blame them- the battle was truly a show of skill on their captain's part, and at the same time a great representative of the tenacity of the Civil in Skali's side. There was no loser here, just a dead woman and a wounded Captain. He didn't watch as Tao left the field of battle to seek a medic for his wayward arm, but rather begun his assault once more, inspired by what transpired not seconds ago. Safir learned just how much he had to learn, and there weren't enough battles in the world for him to reach the level of mastery that he saw just then, in his opinion.

"Well now, that doesn't mean that I can't try!" He roared in vicious delight as he redoubled his efforts once more, cutting swathes of enemies down with practiced motions.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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Kisikoni Ayalen
The Paragon


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Certainly, if the fist had been a sword, there would have been no coming back from such a blow. Regaining his balance, Kisikoni roughly grabbed his dislocated jaw, and snapped it back into place while it healed. Death Knights were something he had never heard of, but the armor they wore would certainly present the biggest problem yet in this battle. What was worse was that they were trapped, the Knights had the small unit of Paragon surrounded. To top it all off, Kisikoni was granted the pleasure of fighting three at once. It was impossible, not even with this unnatural regeneration and strength could he fight three large, armored opponents and hope to come out on top. Staring at the largest, Hul, he merely only readied himself for his fate, attempting to imagine all the possibilities to even stand a chance. Nothing, he could barely think in his bitter bloodrage, and could only see his body being cut to pieces. He readied himself for the first titanic blow, ripping another small bottle from his belt and downing the contents as the knights reached within range.

The sky, which had rapidly begun to lighten due to the dissipation of the dark mist suddenly became dull again as smoke covered the area. The Death Knights paused in their lumbering stride briefly, just as surprised as he was. However, that didn't stop them from raising their blades. It was only a flash of movement, but his heightened senses caught it. Reinforcements? At this grim time? Kisikoni was scarce for coherent thought as a couple of figures joined the fray out of his peripherals, taking on Kil and Ruv before he could. It didn't take long before his flayed brain could recognize his saviors. It was the best, and worse realization he had today.

Talae had returned from her mission. Assisted by her group of assassins, she staved off the biggest problem the deep human had- watching his flanks. Seeing her alive, well, and willing to take on a Death Knight made him happy, but at the same time dread that she may fail loomed on his mind. He didn't know how exhausted she was from her duties, but now he was forced to trust her, as she always did him as he turned away from her to look at Hul. He had finally closed the distance, and raised his large sword for a crushing blow. Catching up could be put on hold, this could not.

Side-stepping the overhand chop, he rushed in and attempted to test the armor the Death Knight wore against his strength and sword. The sword screeched as it skated off the chestplate, but the Death Knight did not react toward the blow, pushing forward and shoving the Deep Human away with his weight. Stumbling back, he regained his balance at the last moment, using his mace to meet the horizontal cut. The force of the blow was enormous, causing the Deep Human's wrist to shatter and the mace to fall from his hands. Resisting the urge to stop everything and screech in the following explosion of pain, he only congratulated himself that he managed to stop the blow. Even as his wrist slowly reformed, the Deep Human continued to exchange blows with the knight, this time with Kisikoni parrying or outright dodging the moves. It didn't allow him to close the distance as much as he'd like, but it was better than getting completely bisected. However, the drain on his strength was adding up, and Kisikoni could feel his vision blurring at certain points. He needed to end it, and end it all. If not, he was going to die.

Your pitiful performance was starting to grate on me anyways. It sneered, halting the regeneration of his wrist as his arm took on a strange, grey hue. I hoped to save this for when your body could take it, but it does appear this war won't be progressing any slower.

Kisikoni couldn't respond, only twist in shock as his arm began to flex and snap like a banner in the wind. The bones seemed to liquefy as Kisikoni stopped questioning what other unholy tricks it had up it's sleeve, and used it to attack. The snapping tentacle-like arm whipped forward, attempting to punch straight through the chain mail that protected Hul's neck.




Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image All this running was beginning to irritate Mercy greatly. This was certainly dragging on more than she had dared suspect, and her reserves of webbing were running low. Her whip and claw were continually darkening with blood, cutting their way through the Civil with an almost monotonous feel to it all. That was the most dangerous part of the battle- once it starts becoming the same, the surprises always hit the hardest. It all came to the thundering last stretch, as she finished off another Civil soldier the defensive line finally parted. Blinking her luminous red eyes, she listened and heard the call of her general, Wrath Liu-Wen to charge and risk becoming surrounded- much like what was happening BEFORE this tumultuous event. However, it was then that the sky contained the presence of not the Whites, Reds, and Blacks, but the harpies en masse. They had finally dared show their plumage, but luckily it was right where they needed it the most, cleaning out the back lines that threatened to destroy them from the rear. Unfortunately, this intervention caused many to deviate from the General's orders.

She may have fallen back as well to assist the Harpies in cleaning up the gravewurm menace, but at this point the battle in front was vastly more important. She didn't know the reason behind her boy's incredibly irrational tactical decisions, and she did intend to find out after this damnable battle. Undead, Vampies, even the wails of what may have been banshees a good distance away. Nhil of the Civil had not held back in his offensive-defense. Licking her lips, she seized a nightmarian Paragon soldier as he rushed back to assist the Harpies. Recognizing him, she roughly turned him to face the Nightmarian Spider. "Jack, you wouldn't go back on your orders and leave me behind, would you?"

"I, uh, what?" Was his confused reply, but his determination quickly crumbled under the peevish gaze of her red eyes. "Right. General's orders." He mumbled inaudibly, following the Spider back to charge the Civil camp.

After much running, she was surprised to see Wrath in the middle of his troops, instead of leading the charge against the deranged necromancer. She remembered hearing from a war cry that Miralight may have been killed. A damn shame that was, she was a nice girl. However, that was not the reason she managed to sidle up to the saddened General and grab him from the side as he ran. Planting a big kiss on his cheek, she released him soon after for him to take a seat on her abdomen so he could regain his momentum from there. "Dear, now is not the time for your melodramatic shenanigans." She admonished, raising a finger to wag as the soldiers in front of her cleared the way. She really wasn't sure if there were any shenanigans to begin with, but they needed a strong general to lead this crazy attack, and she saw quite the opposite when she laid eyes on him.




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
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In the heat of battle, Safir lost sight of all his comrades. Pylarea had been somewhere to his far left, Jivven had only moments ago flicked past his vision, sinking his blades into the neck of an enemy before dancing away. Carmen and Tao were back healing, Dresinil had been killed, much to his sorrow. The elven beserker had been Safir's first comrade in the Children's recruits. His subconscious grieving was cut off as wraiths were summoned by the necromancers to aid the crumbling Civil defensive line. Their sudden appearance and what they did surprised Safir to the point where he nearly retreated with his comrades, unable to figure out a way to deal with them. The wraiths were doing many things- cutting the soul with their vicious strikes, and raising the dead to fight for their cause. They were huge- the size of monsters unheard of where he lived.

His indecision to run was broken when a group of children blasted one of the ghostly soul-spirits into oblivion with a concentrated blast of dragonfire. Safir readied his own gout of fire, but the corpses continued to shudder and return to life a mindless revenants. Safir hacked his way through two of his comrades in desperation, trying to figure out some way to defeat this new foe. Aesr certainly would not enjoy it if her units routed, and Tao's wrath seemed much less of a threat compared to the black dragon's. Raising his shield instinctively as one of the soul-wraiths swung at him, he was surprised when he didn't feel some sort of internal coldness overtake him. He opened his eyes, realized he had squeezed them shut in fear of the blow and saw his mother's enchanted kite shield glowing as it repelled the attack with powerful vigor. Safir fervently thanked whatever muse that was responsible for his mother's inspirational shield enchantments. Feeling confidence rise up in him once more, he threw himself at the soul wraith, cloaking his sword in fire and landing a couple blows against the gigantic wraith. His kite shield repelled all the undead's soul attacks. His adrenaline faded as he felled the wraith, the last of it's ethereal energy fading into the sky. Safir realized now that the kite shield had absorbed quite a lot of his strength, and he very nearly collapsed from the sudden weakness in his legs. He looked toward the thirteen other wraiths scattered across Children lines, and decided that he wasn't strong enough to take it.

Shasarra was near him when he finally noticed several fighters surrounded them. Panting heavily, he watched them dance around the two eagerly, wielding their short weapons. Malice and cunning flashed in their eyes as they rushed Safir. The knight soon realized as the fighters attacked at the weak points in his armor that they were too smart for their own good. His armor had small weak points, but as long as they attacked them, Safir had a good idea of where they were going to attack. And that made them predictable, even if they were masters of cunning. However, taking on two or more at once was a big problem. As he cut at one, another attacked his open knee joints. As he attacked the other, the first would strike at his exposed neck. It infuriated Safir, whose movements are already sluggish and slow due to his fight with the wraith.

"Shasarra. You still alive?" The knight called, his breathing ragged and his vision focused solely on the two grinning fighters he faced.

The harpy replied with an enraged screech as her dirk missed it's mark once more and she was forced on the defensive, her buckler taking several blows before her pair backed off to eye her warily.

"Need to work together." The knight said once carefully. The harpy could hardly believe she had to deign to work with a human. A male human. However, if they didn't they'd eventually be worn down and skinned alive by the malicious team of fighters. She grunted in grudging affirmation. Casting a brief glance behind her, she watched the human parry one skirmisher's strike, and saw the other moving in on the knight's flank. Striking like a whip, the harpy's dagger flitted out in an attempt to intercept the second skirmisher while Safir turned in almost perfect synchronization to bash one of Shasarra's opponents with his shield.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Blackguard and Aesr characters Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Liliana Bloodleaf Character Portrait: Pylarea Character Portrait: Kisikoni Ayalen Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson Character Portrait: Feng Tao Character Portrait: Jivven Noda'Razzr
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The Children of Fire
Northern Lines


“My name is Daesino Alfangor, and my family invented your art. I have been a master since before you were a thought in your mother’s head, youngling.” The tones of the return greeting were far from accusatory or arrogant; indeed, there seemed almost to be a wistful sadness in them. I am also old, older than I should be, and ready to leave this world. Still, the last Alfangor could not slough off his mortal coil without knowing for certain that at last one remained who knew his techniques truly. If this child were to have that knowledge, that intuitive understanding of shadow that could not be taught, then Daesino would be only too happy to fall by his hand.

Still, there were a few things he could impart first, in the only way he’d been taught: in blood-lines, scored into flesh, reminders of every errant folly. He was covered in innumerable small scars, as would this young Noda’Razzr be, if he was worthy of them.

Jivven’s first swing met with only empty air, Daesino flowing away from it as though he’ known exactly where it would be. Flickering, the dark elf seemed to vanish from sight, the only mark of his passage a new, light nick on his opponent’s spear arm. Perhaps surprisingly, he did not press his advantage or try to cut any deeper.

“Again, only as though you mean it this time.”



Shasarra’s last throwing dagger buried itself in the arm of the encroaching skirmisher, and the one opposite him fell under the weight of Safir’s shield-bash, her nose shattered and blood pooling in her mouth. Spitting it, she tried to recover and scramble to her feet, but a heavy blow from a mace caved her skull in, and she crumpled like a week-dead leaf underfoot.

Gorthax grimaced appreciatively, nodding to Safir, Shasarra, and Vortigern, who, approaching from the other end, had finished off the harpy’s opponent with a savage grin and a swift axe-blow to the back. “We’re forgin’ ahead,” the too-tall elf volunteered, “but we’re supposed ta stay well clear o’ that.” He pointed to where the lich was unleashing its fel magic over wide swaths of Children less pragmatic than they. “Orders are to make a push for the camp, as soon as we can.”

That, of course, would be easier said than done. With the lich making a chaotic mess of the field, getting around it would mean walking into a pocket of Civil resistance fortified by the late-game appearance of a creature from draconian legend. Indeed, even as the group turned to meet their oncoming assailants, a fair mix of magi and elite physical combatants, there was no mistaking that these were not mindless undead or frightened rookies. Many of them were once members of Nhil’s personal honor guard alongside Daesino, though in his state he had precious little use for them anymore, and now they marched to battle like the rest.

“Come on, ladies and gents, let’s get while the gettin’s still good!” Vortigern at least seemed unfazed by the caliber of their new opponents, focused only on the next move, the next breath and swing and strike, and making it to their destination.



The man without a right arm soon found himself in the rather interesting company of a semicircle of magi, dodging spells with a rare alacrity that presented itself as careless abandon. At his back, the red-robed cleric shot off spells of her own, eying the lich with the air of someone driven quite nearly to distraction.

It felt so wrong to her every sense, but her loyalty was to these people here, and she would not allow herself to fail them any worse than she already had. A hand gesture forced holy magic into the very pores of the nearest magician, and the light seared him from the inside out, as though rending his soul before his body. Their advance had slowed, too slow now for comfort, but at the very least the lich had not reached them, and she would ensure that it did not, even if it managed to work through the swarms of Children that rushed it now.

Slow their progress might be, she reflected as Tao sliced through the last mage, but it was still inexorable. She had faith, real faith, that her friends were strong enough to make it, and she could not help but feel that the emphasis the captain always placed on supporting each other in his orders and his strategies was the right one. She had known groups of Children unable to take advantage of the bonds their initiations created, who were still competitive and individualistic even when they were supposed to be working together.

But not them. Not this squad. She could not bring herself to call them the Aesr, for the hatchling had nothing to do with it. They were many, and they were mightier than the sum of their parts. Somehow, she knew with certainty that only this would save them, in the end.



Thereafter, Captain Tao took his first step within the bounds of the Civil camp, and his squad with him. They had reached their goal, and now all that remained was to see what awaited them there.



The Paragon
Southern Lines

Alistair chuckled as he slung his bow over his back, donating half his remaining white-fletched arrows to Lily’s quiver in a smooth motion. The other ten, he kept simply to ensure that he would not be caught flat-footed at any time during the battle, but his true skill had always been with polearms, and his wickedly-pronged trident was in his hand momentarily, a wide arcing swing tearing a Civil soldier from navel to sternum, leather armor entirely notwithstanding.

“I am ever and always just Alistair to my friends. Rest assured that I wouldn’t miss it for The Gift itself,” he replied sagely, rotating his body and plunging the spear into the next woman’s neck.

It was then that the call came for the Blackguard to form up near Wrath, and for the barest of seconds, Alistair hesitated, looking to the sky. His kith and kin were being devastated by what appeared to be a siege weapon, fueled by unholy magic. He knew with grim certainty that there was nothing he could do for them, though each life snuffed was another weight on his shoulders. But, if Wrath and his legion could reach the camp, than their deaths would not be for nothing, and those that remained could be saved.

Alistair was in the air again like a shot, joining the formation and standing beside his old comrades once more. Time away from them had only made their continued fight more imperative in his eyes. Not all of his people agreed, and many were more inclined towards the elusive forces of the Savage.

He would show them that they were wrong.



Neira stifled a full-throated laugh at the spectacle of Wrath being treated entirely like a child by his mother, cracking a rare smile and waving at Mercy as the spider took off. Neira flanked the both of them, and it was not long before they and a few others managed to break free of the fighting and head into the camp.

Her consciousness alighted upon something most strange, then- a mind made like water or slick glass, one that she would not be able to manipulate without significant effort, if then. At first he wondered if this was Nhil, but the vampire she’d tagged, Gertz, was nowhere in his vicinity. Instead, she sensed that there were dozens of soldiers at his back, and at least one psychic.

“The Children have reached the edge of the camp,” she warned, even as the white-winged harpy arrived, a figure familiar to her as one of the few decent sparring partners she’d had back before her promotion. They were soon joined by three others, including Shanir and Ayalen, but she paid them small heed as they continued their march for Nhil’s tent, through the strangely-empty camp. Oh hell. This is going to go badly, isn’t it?



“I abandoned any notion of honor long ago, and the only sovereigns who hold my loyalty are the people I care for,” Talae replied to the Death Knight, uninterested in his hangups or his prejudice. Men who would be still corpses clung to all manner of foolish things, she knew that.

Before she could strike, Salim stepped in, and her tongue was halfway to forming the words of a harsh rebuke when he was struck, and they left her in a muted hiss. Before she could properly formulate a reaction to the new circumstances, she as pulled into a circle of teleportation, and attempted to hold onto her last meal as she, Koni, and Asera were pulled through time-space and deposited, rather unceremoniously, somewhere a short distance behind Wrath and the small squad he now led toward the center of the Civil encampment. Salim was not present, and she gritted her teeth, shaking her head and pulling herself to her feet-

-and finding herself in Kisikoni’s grip. Was the fact that she could actually feel that, feel the hands about her upper arms, psychosomatic? It hardly mattered, but the realization left her unable to properly formulate any kind of response. Then he kissed her, and Talae’s hands gently cupped either side of his face, and how she wished that were enough. She caught his wrist as he turned, and her words were nearly whispered. She had been keeping two very important things from him, but at least one of them was secret no longer.

“I… I love you too. Stay alive, Koni, please. Stay you, regardless of what your body becomes.” The other thing would have to wait, assuming they both came out of this alive. “I couldn’t bear to lose you as well.” And there it was, her greatest fear laid bare: that everything she ever loved would be torn from her in the same violent manner. Her parents, her best friend and erstwhile teacher Caine, her sister Fae. Talae had always tried to be realistic about what she could achieve and what she could not, and she knew with fatalistic certainty that she would not be able to withstand the weight of another loss. Especially not him.

The dark elf's lips tilted in a small, sad smile, and she released him, taking up her weapons and gesturing for Asera to follow her once more into the shadows of the battle, striking the few foes that thought to flank the main party as they progressed inexorably towards whatever awaited them at the center.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Important Characters of Norr Character Portrait: Neira Valtegan Character Portrait: Mercy Yan'vega Character Portrait: Safir Garethson
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#, as written by Arke
Mercy Yan'vega
The Paragon


Image Wrath shot off again, eager as he was. Mercy could only follow closely behind, taking care of lesser infantry that tried to attack from behind. Cracking the whip to release it from the blood that coated the weapon, she caught Neira's friendly gesture and returned it in kind with a blown kiss. There was not much to do at this point, but as they got closer and closer to Nhil's tent, Mercy became more and more eager. She could finally give that necromancer the punch he deserved after rigging the portal in the poorest of ways. A pity she could not eat him, necromancers would probably taste so vile with all that necrotic magic running through their flesh. It would be akin to feasting on week-old meat left in the sun. Mercy shuddered at the thought, a punch would have to do.

The tents were rather cramped, so she was thankful the pathways widened as they drew closer to luxury and rank. She had caught up with Wrath, falling in behind himself and Neira. The rest of the Paragon that could be spared joined, though it wasn't much. She considered the battle briefly, and was surprised that they even survived against these terrible odds. That was her boy for you. Neira piped in suddenly, Children, huh? The situation just became much more interesting. Would they help? Would they attack? Sadly, all of this was outside of the Nightmarian's control as her voluminous red eyes blinked lazily at the piece of news.

"Well, dear, there's nothing we can do about that." She said, getting the obvious out there before anybody would start sweating. "Can't we just get this over with? I'm long overdue for a drink."




Safir Garethson
The Children of Fire
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It was quite sudden when two more allies stepped in to assist Safir and Shasarra. For the briefest of moments, he mistook Gorthax for Dresinil, and felt a quick pang of sadness. Shaking his head, he berated himself hastily for assuming Dresinil was unique in being an elvish beserker. Vortigern seemed unfazed by the turn of events, and Safir quickly believed that he had reached a state of serenity that some soldiers achieved during battle. Hesitant as he was to follow him so carelessly, he nevertheless did it anyways as there was little for him to do back at his previous location. Safir could feel an ominous pressure, an unearthly magical aura that his shield reacted against by emitting a faint glow. There was something on this battlefield so strong in magical power that it caused the anti-magic enchantments on his shield to react. Safir couldn't think of anybody except for perhaps the leader of the Civil, but if that was the case his shield should have been reacting the entire time. He then realized that Carmen was gone from his field of vision, and in his worry, looked around to try to get a glimpse of her. As he caught up with Tao, he caught her a distance away dueling with a very disheveled and cloaked being that he had never seen before. Mouthing a wish for good luck, he entered the Civil camp along with Tao.

Before they could take another step, they were confronted by a group of soldiers. Standing as calm as they were, the knight knew that these were no pushovers. In fact, their varying statures and level of confidence as they stared down the Children suggested that they were the best the Civil had to offer. Safir considered that, and wondered why he would keep his best units defending the tents, unless there was something going on.

A young-looking halfling with dyed cyan hair hopped forward, smiling at Safir in a way that was rather cute. He almost smiled back from behind his visor before he realized that such a halfling was part of the Civil, and children were not drafted into their ranks while living. The tent behind the halfling suddenly exploded, revealing a gigantic automaton dressed sharply in the same black fur robes the girl was. With two lumbering strides, the golem stood easily at twice the Knight's size. Safir snapped out of his awestruck trance just in time to react to the swinging fist that the golem attacked with, knocking the Knight from the main group of Children and into a slightly more quiet spot. It was quite lucky he had the dragonblood blessing, otherwise that fist would have broken all the bones in his body and liquefied all his organs into an unsightly mush. Picking himself up from the wreckage of a tent he smashed into, he rose just in time to see the halfling bounce merrily over with her construct.

"Hello! I'm Ursula, a Civil Artifizzer!" She greeted.

Safir raised a bemused eyebrow. "Safir, Knight of the Children" He replied in turn, bowing slightly. The halfling giggled.

"You're inside our private camp, Sa-fear! Nhil tells me to keep guys like you out! Won't you leave?"

"Sorry, I can't do that."

"Oh, what a shame. Looks like I'll have to make you get out!"

Image

With a mighty motion, the golem raised a hand and a beam of light flickered into existence. Hurling the magical bolt at Safir, the knight raised his shield and watched as the bolt cracked and dissipated against it. The halfling's eyes widened, obviously very interested in the knight's shield, and tossed a couple more bolts in experimentation. Safir could only react quick enough to block the next few bolts, the force of the magic sending him staggering each time. After the third time, Ursula decided it wasn't working and decided to go for a physical approach. Gathering magic into her legs, she used it to propel herself up onto the shoulder of the golem, latching herself on and directing the giant toward the Knight as he braced himself. The fist would be deadly once it started racking up hits- plate armor was no protection against blunt force objects. Ducking under the hard right haymaker, Safir tested the Golem by slashing at it with his sword. With a screech, the steel protested as it grated against the hard armor of the artificer's machine. Ursula giggled at the Knight's efforts, and threw both her hands up. A sudden explosion of magic coming from runes on the golem's legs sent Safir tumbling back, damaging some of the joints on his armor. Cursing, Safir rolled to his feet and backpedaled desperately to avoid another powerful haymaker, realizing that his movement was now slightly limited with the damaged armor. While Safir was built and augmented to be a tank, his armor was not. Not compared to this monstrosity. Awkwardly sidestepping an overhand strike that shook the ground once it hit, Safir lit his sword with dragonfire, sending it roaring toward the mighty automaton.

Ursula spread her arms out to both sides, and a rune on the chest of the golem expanded outward, providing a barrier. The dragonfire easily burned through the weak shield, but what go through was not enough to damage the artificer nor her construct. Another fist, and Safir was sent crashing through another tent, heavily bruising his sword arm. He noted with dull interest that his helmet had dented enough that he could feel a portion of the metal resting against his head. he realized that the armor had saved him from getting his skull crushed by a metal object. pushing himself to his feet, he dragged himself clear of the wreckage just as another fist pummeled what remained of the tent to pieces. It seemed as though Ursula's definition of exit was death, which was technically correct in a very morbid way.

"You aren't much fun for somebody who managed to get into our camp." the alchemic artificer whined, loosing a bolt of magic that Safir instinctively deflected with a lazy swing of his shield. Struggling to his feet, Safir realized that the sword he got from the Children's arsenal had been bent beyond use, and was chipped heavily. Tossing it, Safir had to go at his opponent now with naught but his fists, fire and shield. Fighting the urge to simply fall unconscious from the heavy beating he took, he focused and attempted to think of a strategy. Barely dodging another swing by desperately stumbling out of the way, he threw himself under a straight jab that caused the dust to rise some feet as it struck the dirt. Under the golem once more, the Halfling raised her arms, but Safir raised his shield and dug in as the explosion of magic was absorbed by the shield. Raising his hand, he gathered a globule of dragonfire, and blasted it under the Golem, the rising flames overtaking the giant machine before the halfling to activate it's barrier. Safir heard Ursula's sustained screams as she too was burned, and rushed to get out of the way as the automaton became inert and crashed to the ground.

Picking himself off the ground, he clumsily moved toward the wreckage. Limited by his broken armor he was trapped in, he found the artificer. While not dead, she didn't look healthy in the slightest. The symbols on her arm must have been alchemical circles themselves, as most of her body escaped the terrible burns, but the left side of her face and arm were heavily razed by the flame. While it wasn't proper, he did feel sorry for the halfling. Perhaps it was why she was chosen. Her power, but also her appearance. Even so, Safir could not bear to just leave her in such a sorry state. The dragonfire was magical in property, so as a gamble, he pressed the shield up against the artificer's unconscious body. He felt his waning strength decrease again, and knew that the nasty magical burns were now just burns. He felt around for the satchel of medical supplies he carried around. Strange he still did, when he had Carmen and the likes healing. He quickly performed some first-aid, being careful to be thorough about it as well. He knew that this act of kindness could very well bite him in the ass, but now that he was in the situation, he couldn't help but do it anyways. With the wounds sterilized and bandaged, he stood up. Picking around the wrecked battlefield the Artificer had wrought, he found a longsword that was in as good a condition as he could hope for. Though he was loath to discard of his current sheath, the longsword he scavenged was too, well, long for the case, and he had to pick up the accompanying leather case the sword came with.

With that, he limped toward the direction of the main group, hoping that his comrades were more successful with their opponents than he was.