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The Ruins of Terran

Ruins, the forest and its magic.

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a part of The Ruins of Terran, by MercyKilling.

Central to the Ruin.

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Ruins, the forest and its magic., giving them the ability to make limited changes.

110 readers have been here.

Setting

Including the ruins, new and old forest, hills, turrets, burial mounds and luna calendar/temples.
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Ruins, the forest and its magic.

Central to the Ruin.

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Ruins, the forest and its magic. is a part of The Ruins of Terran.


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Iris was standing by the riverside tending to Madalene and Seamus.

“I’m afraid my place is in the forest I will however visit you in the garden after you all rest up.”

The dancer’s fast beating heart slowed down, remembering Nim’s words made her feel a bit disappointed. She came to adore the lively little creature and something inside her was aching to stay by its side. “I’ll never get Nim to go back home with me”, she thought as she was caressing Madalene’s forehead tenderly. The woman was breathing slowly. Even in her sleep with her clothes ripped on her beautiful body she was still looking like she was in control.
Iris liked the red haired woman and she felt strangely attached to her. Because her mother passed away when she was still a child Iris couldn’t find the motherly affection she lacked until she met Ms. Sparks,her agent. On the other hand, being as cold and rigid as she was, Ms. Sparks never filled that empty place in the dancer’s heart completely. Now she found this strong, sarcastic woman and Iris felt hope making its way into her soul once again. Although it was still too early to call it “friendship” Iris couldn’t help but feel the bond between them getting stronger and her devotion for Madalene grew in intensity.

The girl looked at the man lying next to her. The Irishman was peaceful and with his features relaxed he was almost handsome. She tried not to look at his body as he was still in his underpants and searched for his clothes instead. She was happy to have found them not far from them near the river, still wet from the rain. Seeing the two of them together like this she thought they look like brother and sister. Iris brushed off the dirt from his cheeks and felt his hot skin on her hand. It was fever. The young girl felt fear taking over again when she realized she was all alone in the forest with two people in need of medical care. The sun was about to set, the night would be upon them soon and she didn’t know how to act from now on. Nim went off searching for help, but who knew if she could bring any of the others back here. Some might scare her off or get scared themselves; others might even try to hurt the creature. She send away the last thought with haste : “All of them are good natured people, no one would hurt Nim.”

She couldn’t search for the others on her own, leaving the two in the dark. It was a bad idea to begin with: Iris didn’t know the forest and if she got lost it would be a big problem. Then there was Ezreal who went chasing off something dangerous and never came back. She looked fearful at the arrow still lodged in the tree, thinking of its owner. This was no Amazonian forest, nor were they somewhere in Africa. So why would anyone have such a thing and even use it against another human? Nothing made sense anymore. She was hoping, dreaming for a piece of Heaven when she first heard of the Ruins, but this wasn’t what she expected to find. Nim’s existence didn’t surprise her as much as it would have been normal because she always believed in mythical beings, just never thought anyone would ever meet them. But this was different. Iris only believed in good elements of the fantasy world, fairies, angels and anything else of the sort. That arrow and whoever sent it towards Ezreal was not part of that belief.

Still worried for what was about to happen next, the girl gathered small branches and dried leaves putting them together for a fire. Before getting it started – how would she even do that? – she gently took Madalene’s ripped dress off of her body. Iris wouldn’t leave her to catch a fever like Seamus because of the wet clothes and when she turned the woman over she saw the mark on her back in the form of a griffin. It didn’t look like a tattoo and it wasn’t a scar either. Iris looked at it curious and touched it with her finger as if to see that it was really there. She didn’t know what to think of it and assumed it was some kind of birthmark, designed almost too precise. She laughed at the thought of something in the forest giving her that mark, but then again, she just saw someone like Nim.

“You know Maggie,” she said thinking of her friend from the dancing school, “I think I was right when I told you that this is going to be an adventure.”

She couldn’t believe how close she was to her fantasies coming alive. This place had everything: chosen ones, fairies, strange events and a magical forest, not to mention the lady from her vision and the powerful words she heard coming from her beautiful lips. Who was that and what was the mission they all had to fulfill? She didn't thought of it as a hallucination anymore, now she believed that everything she saw was real. Realizing how incredible all of this was, her fear melted away like ice under the summer sun. She felt empowered and happiness filled her core. “I am living in a story!” she shouted with glee and turned Madalene on her back again, kissing her forehead gently.

"Fair and graceful like flowers in bloom
Were the daughters of men by the light of the moon."

Singing the verses from her vision Iris took Madalene’s and Seamus’ clothes and hanged them from a branch near the setting for the fire. After that she gathered dried leaves from the ground and green ones from the bushes near the river and covered the two of them to keep them somewhat warm. The dancer giggled at the sight; they looked so funny under the leafy blanket sleeping soundly.
The sun was setting filling the sky with beautiful shades of peach and rosy colors.
Feeling the cold air around her Iris went searching for tinder : dried mosses and cedar bark and after finishing the nest she got two sturdy sticks, making sure they were dry enough. She rubbed them together as fast as she could, but nothing happened. She had no idea how to do this further. She remembered seeing a survival guide on Discovery Channel sometime ago, but the explanations were just too complicated. The soldiers doing the show had some kind of a bow and a socket made of wood or bone, but form there on everything got really confusing. Hoping that the “Looney Tunes technique” would work, she tried again.

“Please God, please let it work!”

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“How did I know?” He smiled softly, his feet shuffling along the ground, leaning on his cane “Well Jinan, he hasn’t been around company for a long while, so when he frightened you, he came and told me to watch for you. He’s a kind creature, who has been here for many years, he is older than the trees themselves in some cases.” He nodded to himself , though he shot a sharp glance at his companion for calling Jinan an “Animal”. If anything humans were the animals, he thought quietly to himself, he too had seen the destruction the human race had spread across the earth. He had felt the angry eyes on him, for he was the keeper of the keys, he could say who could and couldn’t come here. For such a long time no one but him and the workers had tread these paths, he wondered if they knew how lucky they were, coming here and seeing it all.

“Jinan is a proud old creature, I do not wish to hear you call him an animal. Nor do I think it wise you call him that to his face, he may be kind and protective of you all, but he will not take well to that.” Stepping over a fallen branch he looked back to where the Twins stood, now alone. He felt the slight urge to go back and look for the silly things, but knew he was to tired to help if they were in need anyway. He looked back to the path ahead, looking at the arched branches that blocked out the sky, leaving them sheltered from the gentle droplets of rain, though it would soon fade away. Ahead through the entrance to the estate he could see the blue skies turning a dusky orange, silhouetting the house. He felt a rush of warmth; this place was his home, his sanctuary, the people and the creatures that lived with him his friends and family. He loved this place and was glad to have worked there, lived there and guarded the place he cared for. He himself had been there for just over 80 years, though he looked very little over 70 himself and was just over 100 if he remembered correctly.

“He is older than you or I could ever fully understand and has been guarding this place longer than I would ever wish to.” He stopped just at the edge of the trees, almost unwilling to leave the place. “He has been here since the end of the dark ages, when the Saxons and Vikings were pushed out by the French. Well that’s what I believe anyway, since he has told me many stories of his childhood back then. Though I do not know how he came to be here, he is Egyptian in heritage I believe, though he tells me his family has always been here. Since the gate was first built, it makes you wonder doesn’t it?” He looked at the young man beside him, his eyes sliding over the ruffled form, cane ticking into the soft dirt floor. He reached up, touching one of the old trees around him and imagined that like his old friend Jinan, he too could feel the course of the forest, the beat of its heart and the steady deep drum of each of its breaths, larger than he could fathom. Gold strands glittered lightly between his own grey hairs, few and far between. He sighed, stepping out into the light.

*************************************

The twins were angry, no, that wasn’t the right word, furious. Darkness fell around their forms, cloud forming around them and blotting out the baking sun. They had not been heeded, even those who had heard their words, they had left too, one by one or in pairs, it did not matter to the twin. Their hair whipped around them in and unfelt wind, their eyes lighting their faces with an ill glow. It was not that the twins were vengeful or petty, but that there had never before been an element of their lives that was not regimented under complete control. They had watched the stupid, petty creatures leave, they would not follow unless asked, it was not their place to do so. If the forest swallowed them, it was not for them to stop.

The left looked at the right, her own light fading a little, though she was more than lit up by her other half. Jinan watched them for a moment, not replying to Nuram’s questions, his eyes carefully measuring the Twins. Soon they would become dangerous, they had nothing to bind them, no God or Myth to hold their form. They were good souls, pure of heart and mind, but they had also take on an aspect of the ruins he had not expected, jealous creatures, that wanted to have things for their own. He supposed that it was something he should have foreseen, for the Ruins had been so hungry of late, even his constant care had not been enough. This was a place to be lived in, full of those special enough, those chosen to guard it and reap the benefits of an easier more magical life. He remembered the old days, when it had been full of life and people, how the dark creatures wouldn’t come near, couldn’t, for fear of the people there. Now, now it was empty, vulnerable to attack, it was the ruins these people were here for, not the forest, sometimes even he forgot that.

“For the moment we are not here to serve the forest, though it is beautiful and the cause of this gate, we are here for the ruins and to protect it. Its call will fall strong among these few chosen, they only feel the forest so far, I fear if they come in the dark, it will be another story.” He got slowly to his feet, large eyes panning around to see if he could spot any of those who had been pulled in. Alas he could not, but he was not worried, this place would keep them safe, these people had been chosen both by the forest and the ruins it held.

“These people, they have been chosen for the similarities they hold, the bright spark that lets the light of the forest in so easily. We both know they are all looking for something, though they may not know it yet.” He looked down with solemn eyes “Poor things lose themselves, humans are weak, but stronger in ways than we could ever imagine. You remember how it was, before, when they used to cross the borders.” He sighed, reaching out to touch the hard scales of Nuram’s tail, tapping his nail along it for a moment. He only waited a moment, though they were old friends, no one was ever quite sure of which way the scorpion like creature would go and he did not want to risk getting hurt today. Atop his head his ears twitched, twisting to listen to the birds and beasts that occupied this place, calling it their home. Something had disturbed it, something that shouldn’t be there. His muscles twitched beneath his thick pelt, moving so his feet once more had a grip on the trees.

“Strangers in small groups are better than in their thous..” He stopped, head twitching to one side, not many things surprised him, Nim was one and he hated it. His tail twitched angrily as the little creature settled next to him, yes it was true, this was the guardian selected for its goodness, but he felt a very unsure that the little thing could do much protecting of anything. This was proved very quickly to be right, he snuffed out a breath, rolling his eyes. He had always been fine with the little thing and up until now, enjoyed its company, but now was a time of unrest, if it came to a fight, what would any Phooka be able to do against the creatures that were coming? He shifted his weight, letting his legs stretch, the muscles warming, he would have to go down and talk to the Twin, their glowing had stopped and he was sure they would be willing t help once more. Overhead the sky was darkening, he did not want the humans, whether they be worthy or not, to come weary tonight. He frowned, giving a deep nod to Nuram, letting him know he was going. Though he was by no means going to reveal himself to further humans yet, he could not let the die for their stupidity, not really.

“Come Nim, I will go and ask the Twins.” His voice was not a silken purr now, but a deep growl, rumbling low and threatening through his chest “I hope for your sake you did not mention us, you know we are not supposed to come out until the night and then only to protect them. If they had stayed where they were supposed to we would not have to do this. You could gain hurt from changing the will of the forest.” He leapt off the tree, moving soundlessly, not a single leaf moving on the trees he touched. His grace was unparalleled, having had over 1000 years to get used his body and how it moved, no0t wasting a single motion and always using every ounce of energy expelled. In the same way, he had been there when each of these trees grew, knew their stories and lives, how they moved and in turn the accepted him, telling him where to step and how mu8ch pressure to place, so he could use it to his advantage. In the trees he passed birds in nests, roosting high out of the way of the beasts below. In fact, alongside them were lizards, mice, monkeys and more, anything that could climb, for nothing else could truly survive here.

“Twins!” He cried dropping from the tree before them, all to aware of the fact that they had never seen him up-close before. “Some of our guests have… Become harmed, will you please assist Nim and take them back?” He asked, his eyes running over their slender figures, they were whip thin, though well muscled all over, like a doe. He nodded to them appreciatively, letting their hands seek through his fur, wisely avoiding his loincloth. He rubbed his head against theirs, they glowed to much, they were so close to crossing over, they only needed a few things to tip the balance. The way they moved made him smile, skittish for sure, but also calm and smooth. He hugged them both close to him, this place would ache without them, they had been the only things of laughter here for over 200 years and he knew they were close with little Nim and the family in the house. Still there was nothing they could do, perhaps they would be sent back and become one of the guardians, for though in two bodies it was one soul they shared and they loved this place as much as he. He did not give them a longer look, but leap up into the trees.

“Nim, which way are they?” They asked, looking for the little creature.

(sorry unedited, will come back later so it makes sense, just want something up for you all)

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So it had been true, all of it. No hallucinations, no dream, no figment of an overstimulated imagination, just another resident of the forest. And an old one by Thomas' account. How old, he didn't say exactly at first but Demetrius was startled enough just knowing that such a creature wasn't ficticious, it's age was really no concern of his. What was of concern was that it was roaming the forest and, from what he could tell, reported to Mr. Thatcher. It was the worst form of conclusion, one that led only to more questions, more than he could allow to flow through his head just now, more than could likey be answered in a night of constant talk. Fortunately he had something to cut these questions out of his thought process, he received a dagger-stare from Thomas that was almost as shocking as the revelation that he in fact been confronted by what could only be described as a pet of the Gods. The question formed on his lips but was answered before he could compose himself enough to ask. Of course, he thought. How was I supposed to know THAT? But now he did, which was only an advantage in his mind. Should he run into Jinan again he knew what not to call him.

As Mr. Thatcher looked over his shoulder and back down the path Demetrius took the moment to apologise. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean any offence by the word. I just didn't know what else to call him... He's a bit of a shock to the system." He was speaking honestly and hoped that maybe he could lighten the mood and salvage some of his mind which seemed to be rapidly deteriorating the closer he got to the house. He waited for the other man to carry on his way, taking care not to peer over his shoulder and let him search for what, or who, ever it was he sought.

A few moments of silence signalled their continuation towards the edge of the treeline where they stopped again for Thomas to fully explain the age of Jinan. If he was right then Demi, while he wasn't an expert on animals, thought he may well be the oldest living creature on the planet. And he'd stood face to face with him. He shuddered without knowing why. Perhaps it was the images that came along with having lived that long. Seeing entire ages pass by and leave you behind, seeing the rise and fall of monarchs, governments, wars and times of peace. Considering the history of Britain he was amazed there was any room in Jinan's heart for the species at all. It certainly did make Demetrius wonder, it made him wonder what exactly was going on here. Ancient creatures, visions, injuries (Which he was sure he had seen in the bedraggled form of Ulva), there was far more than just a tour of a ruin at stake here and he knew it. With no idea how, he just knew.

"Makes me wonder a few things, yeah..." He started but decided not to finish with what was on his mind. Whatever the answer was it could wait. There was only so much a man could take in at one time and that limit had been passed at the top of the tower. "We'll be seeing Jinan again, won't we Mister Thatcher?" It was not a straightforward question. The tone suggested he knew the answer already and as a result it was more of a statement to be acknowledged. It was a dark tone that spoke of more than just curiosity, it spoke, if only very discreetly, of anger and disillusionment. For the first time since arriving in the charming grounds Demetrius had decided there was someone here he didn't like.

"You'll understand if I need to leave so abruptly but I took quite the tumble back there and I need to lie down." The hints were gone from his voice now and there was only a weary resignation to the inevitable that remained. "Good day Mister Thatcher" he finished with a quick nod of the head before setting off at a quick stroll to the house, mind already pulsing with thought once more. He knew he didn't like the older man but he couldn't tell himself exactly why until he thought it over on his way back to his room. It wasn't his demeanour, the man was a perfect gentleman with far more comprehensibility than others his age. It wasn't the house, the grounds or even the forest. Despite what had happened and the effect it was having on him, he loved each and every aspect of it, again without knowing how it could be. Why then should he find such a dislike for a man who had no undesireable characteristics and had invited him to this wonderous place for no more than to stroll and take in views that had eluded mankind for centuries? There's more to it than that he thought.

And there it was, plain as day to him now. He harboured such a feeling because that wasn't the reason they were here. They were not tourists and there was a reason no one had been allowed into the ruins for such a long time. They were here for some unknown purpose, which they were all blind to, it had to be. Why else would there be ancient creatures watching their moves, guides, unexplainable incidents? He felt insane for having such thoughts. But in times when one's own mental stability is in a questionable state there is only one way to test. He had to find someone else to back him up. And if there was anyone here that could put pieces of a puzzle together then he knew exactly where to find such a person. He checked his watch. He judged that he had enough time to shower, ask a few questions nearby while checking if Ulva was OK and get changed and ready to be in the bar to wait for Seamus. Then he could set about trying to find some answers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nuram listened patiently to his friend, waiting for an oppurtunity to find something, anything, that he could twist around and use for himself. It was terrible, and he knew it, to use one who had been so close to him for so long but he had no choice anymore. He did not respond any more than necessary, instead taking the time to enjoy the calm before the storm. And there was a storm coming, far away as it may be he could feel it. It had to arrive. For his own sake.

He heard the tap of claws on his tail more than he felt it. He would be able to describe the segments of casing on his lower half as an exoskeleton had he known the word. It was thick, solid bone with very few nerves to pick up signals at the surface. Nonetheless, he could feel, if only very slightly, although he did not like to be touched most times. Today was different though, he knew it may be the final time he stood side by side with Jinan in a long time, or perhaps even ever again, so he endured it, even making the effort to rest a hand on the other's shoulder. Here he sensed the sudden tension in muscle and flicked his eyes down in the same direction as Jinan's ears had swivelled to see Nim there once more. He ignored the tiny creature this time, the humans were not his concern.

"I do not see how you can accept such faith in humans Jinan. You always were wise but more recently you strike me as a fool." There was no malice in his voice, no sympathy, no accusation, just honesty. "These frail creatures have run in here and followed blindly whatever senses they have. Were things different they would have perished already." He wanted to stop there but couldn't. "Were we not bound otherwise I could have snapped my claw and had them run right through these bushes into my grasp." He let his hand fall and raised a pincer to give it a snap in demonstration. "There is no more to them than we can see. Anything that comes from them hereafter will be the work of the forest and you know it." But the debate, if it was destined to rise to that, was cut short there. Jinan was leaving with Nim to find the twins. Nuram had never been as close to them, in any way, than the other two so he was a little wary about following. He had one more question for his old friend.

Taking a moment to assert himself Nuram followed along the path Jinan had taken, leaping out across the path the humans had occupied in a blur and charging through the treeline on the other side, keeping an eye and an ear out for Jinan's movement in the canopy above. He was difficult to follow, even moreso after all this time. With each and every passing year the guardian got faster and quieter. Will he never age? Nuram thought to himself as he hurtled along the forest floor giving chase. It took him a little longer than his friend to arrive and when he did he saw the twins in an embrace with him before he leapt off into the trees again. He caught up as quickly as he could without being too close.

"Jinan!" he called up. "You speak so readily of service and protection. But what if there was another way?" He wanted to extend a chance, something to consider if nothing else. And while remaining no different to usual. It was not going to be easy for him. "You have devoted so much of your life to this place, why not stop? The humans are here now. The other creatures roam day and night. Why not let the forest choose someone else? There is so much of this world, and others besides, that you will never see if you do nothing but what the forest and the ruins tell you. Something is going to happen my friend, could you tell yourself you were happy with what you have done when the end comes?" It was more than he had meant to say but if worst came to worst he could express it as an outburst of doubt, though it was something he rarely did. "Can you truly say you desire nothing more?" And so he stood staring up into the branches at Jinan, waiting for an answer.

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Tick... Tick... Tick...

Droplets of rain fell from the tree just above Ezreal, an almost rhythmic consistency from each drop as the exploded on his forehead. The Forest was now peaceful where it had been life threatening just a handful of minutes before. Ezreal's body showed little to know signs of life aside from the slow rising of his chest, and the fidgeting eyes from behind his eyelids. His mind was stirring, though consciousness was not all there. Yet. Overhead the wind have a tug at the oaks, shaking the leaves and allowing them to drop the weight of the water which had accumulated on each of them. As the drops slapped against his body, Ezreal's body gave a jolt, his back lifting off the ground by about a foot though falling back down again. Groans came from his mouth as his eyebrows scrunched together, his fingers slowly coming to life as he felt the moist earth around him.

A hand found its way to his chest, setting on the scar which had miraculously healed within hours. Though still tender to the touch, it was not as difficult to bear as it had been before. Ezreal did little to acknowledge the fact that it had closed. No, he was more concerned about why he was alive right now. He remember chasing after someone from the Ruins, though it was a blur. The last thing he remembered was taking a knife to his chest, staring into eyes which seemed they could swallow him whole and fading off into nothingness. His body felt like it had been hit by a train, not really wanting to move at all though it would be necessary at some point in the very near future. Ezreal took on the chore of rolling onto his side, feeling every individual muscle in his body pull at almost the same time, a great groan than before escaping from behind clenched teeth. His left arm came around and held himself up, taking a few quick breaths. His breathing slowed for a split second as he felt his stomach turn over, his eyes widening by just a noticeable amount. His body turned again and he came to his hands and knees, the contents in his stomach erupting onto the forest floor. Another growl came from his mouth, sucking the contents which had made their way into his nose back and hacking them out onto the ground with the rest of it.

Ragged breaths followed, not a hundred percent sure if he was going to release more stomach acid and bile onto the ground. A few seconds brought relief to the man, his upper body rising from the ground and his hands finding their ways to his knees. His eyes looked around the forest, taking notice to his surroundings... He had no idea where the hell he was at. His eyes trailed to a large oak, a familiar object sticking into the pulp of the tree. Ezreal sat there for a few more seconds before finding the courage to stand up, the process taking much longer than normal. His first two steps were shaky, almost like a new born colt though he gained his barrings eventually. He slowly made his way to the tree, almost tripping over a root just before his hand took hold of the hilt, his weight leaning on the tree as he took a couple of breaths, another drawn out groan forcing its way out as he pulled back on the knife with all his might. The first attempt was for not, not even budging the blade. He took a few more breaths, repeating the process though pushing and pulling the handle up and down, finally fishing the blade out of the tree. With great relief he staggered backwards, staring at the blade in his hand. It weight seemed ten times what it was, decreasing the amount of time for it to find its way back into its sheath.

WIth very little reason left in him, he looked around, not having the slightest idea where he was. His arms hung at his sides as he looked around, finally looking at which side of the tree the blade had been in, looking in the opposite direction. He stood there for a minute or two, mustering the strength to take the first step forward. Odd noises escaped from his throat as he pushed onward, his breaths still ragged as they were before. He swallowed back what traces of saliva and acid in his mouth, his teeth rubbing against each other and giving off a odd feeling which he wasn't all too fond of. His eyes were cast downward though had the tendency to look up from time to time to make sure he was still going in the same direction. He concentrated on making one foot go in front of the other, finding each step a little harder than the one before it though he could almost feel his body waking up. His foot caught another root as he neared a tree, his left shoulder slamming into its dense bark as he used it for a source of support, growling a little under his breath. His eyes looked up to the clouded sky, an exasperated look on his face. "Shit..." He mumbled, finding his path and getting his feet moving again.

Ezreal's eyes followed places where the grass had been ripped from the ground, places where things wider than his own feet had been slammed down, gripping the ground and darting in the direction he had come. 'What the hell happened...' he thought to himself, not fully aware as to what happened to his body.

-Ten to Fifteen minutes later-

Ezreal had somehow made his way back to the path, his feet sluggishly pulling himself back down the road they came in on. He was breathing harder than he had been, and his body just wished to stop by all means though he wouldn't let it. His left foot took a slightly longer step than anticipated, creating yet another roar from inside his chest. He paused for a moment before continuing on his path, little attention being given to his surroundings aside from following the worn path in front of him. His continuation was short lived as the strength in his legs gave out for a moment, his body dropping to the ground as he found himself back on all fours yet again. Saliva dripped from his mouth as drew breaths, his fingers digging into the mud bellow him.

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Ezreal slowly pushed his shoulders back, making his upper body come up, his left hand standing it up with support from his knee. He growled a little as he stood up, every individual muscle in his body cussing him out in different languages. His feet drug on back the way they had come in, figuring they too would end up finding their way back to the house. His hair was wet and dripping from droplets of rain combined with a small trace of sweat, a faint taste of salt entering his mouth as it slid off his face and onto his lips from time to time. His body seemed to limbering up slightly the more he walked, the lactic acids not able to hold on as the muscles pulled on each other, driving out the soreness little by little. His left hand came up, forcing his fingers through his hair, hesitating just faintly when pulling against knots. Mud which had been tainted with Ezreal's own blood clung to the back of his head, sliding off as he raked his fingers through it.

"Fuck me right..." He mumbled to himself, letting out a rough breath as he came into sight of where they had entered. His eyes looked down at his shirt, his left hand pulling on the severed threads around his chest, inspecting the scar which hadn't been there earlier that morning. He gave a faint frown, his eyes narrowing as the perfect, pink line across his chest almost emanated outwards, driving thoughts into his brain which he didn't even want to think about right now. His hand dropped and he closed his eyes for a few steps before looking up at the garden through the hole in the woods.

Ezreal emerged from the tree line, using his index finger to fling off the excess rain on his arms. He looked up as a staff member advanced to him, a confused look on their face. "Mr. Ezreal!" He heard them say, noting the guy was probably about 10 years older than him, if not more, "Sir are you alright...?" The guy asked, Ezreal just nodding and giving a half hearted grin. "Just get me to my room please." the guy seemed to hesitate, staring at his shirt for a split second before coming back to reality, "Er, sure." He motioned for another male to come take Ezreal to his room, the twenty year old feeling like he could pass out at any given moment when given the green flag. "Do you need help walking sir...?" the guy asked, Ezreal shaking his head as his eye lids dipped for a moment, "Na, man..." His words were slow to come out, the younger man grabbing Ezreal's wrist and ducking under his arm, allowing Ezreal to put some of his weight on him. Ezreal cussed under his breath, "Sorry, got a little out there for a second." He mumbled the words, shaking his head and slapping himself on the cheek a couple of times.

He pulled himself off the guy after a small amount of resistance, "Lets go." He said, taking in a breath and letting it out quickly, his eyes turning and landing on someone who was quite familiar... The name finally popping into his head, "ELISE!" he finally let out, ducking his head and slowly making his way up to where she was at, grunting a little as he finally made it. "Hey," He started, taking a look at her before speaking again, "What happened to you out there...?" He asked, a visibly concerned look on his face, a trace of the same lurking in his voice.

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#, as written by echored
”Almost there, little thing.. not sure..,” she paused, inhaling as she took another long stride in front of her, “not sure why that creature wanted you, but it must mean you’re important. If anything, I have to keep you safe for Rea,” Ulva managed to say aloud finally in completion to the bird, through broken sentences-- most of her attention was focused on her speed and steps. She couldn’t recall a time in her past when she had this must energy or endurance. It had to be some of the wolf elements inside of her still, somehow effecting her strength. She wondered if she would always be like this now, or if it was just a weird psychedelic after effect of being near the forest. It didn’t matter now though, she was here as ever and a part of her had the feeling it wouldn’t be easy to leave even if she wanted.

Her bare feet felt natural, sturdy against the soft earth that was her bounding spring forward into the woods. The path was cast in shadows, the sound of trees whispering ever so faintly along her sides. The lights ahead into the clearing were becoming brighter, maybe only a mile or so away now. Ulva could feel the bird struggle in her hands, trying to etch its way out. “You want free, huh?” Ulva panted, not questioning it’s motives, but instead letting her hands open up to let this creature loose. She wasn’t’ sure if it could fly as well as a normal bird, seeing as it had what seemed to be mouse attributes. Yet the wings began to take off, shaky at first, but it held its own, keeping a fine pace along her side. She had to admit she could run a slight be easier and faster without it pressing against her chest. Her arms were free now to propel herself forward, a silent and swift protector to this little defenseless creature. Once again she had the feeling that if she could lead them to the clearing, to somewhere in the forest, they’d be safer... surely a reckless assumption, but being at the house wasn’t offering any more aid than the potential of such a mystical forces. There had to be more forces of good than evil amongst them, she had to believe it.. more of the glass half full type. And with that thought on her mind, she allowed herself to expose a hesitant smile, a tiny flash of unnaturally white teeth at the bird.. mouse... Stich

The moment of optimism was short lived for Ulva could hear a noise gaining upon them. Was it the black creature that had attacked them just moments before? Ulva wasn’t going to risk glancing back until she heard a noise, a female voice. “Huh?” she huffed, slowly to a jog as she saw what looked to be one of the other Lucky Draws running after her. She hadn’t met her yet, not caught her name... and yet Ulva could sense something wasn’t right about her. The two made eye-contact and it was in that brief second that Ulva could read the intent in her eyes. Ulva’s gaze narrowed, attention jumping from over her shoulder to the bird. “Keep going,” she spoke aloud, pushing herself to run even faster since stopping could be a trap. Stopping is what that girl wanted her to do, and it didn’t sound like a good idea.

What worried Ulva was that, besides her own footsteps and the woman’s there was yet another noise. This sound was coming from the tree line along the path, a moving rustle through bushes and leaves that was holding the same speed as she. This girl had a partner of some sort. What the hell was going on -- something Ulva would have moaned aloud but instead she just shook her head and edged the bird on faster, giving the creature an occasional glance to make sure it was still by her side.

The clearing was ever so close when she there was a force around her ankles. She looked down to see what looked to be winding snakes of darkness twist and dance rigidly around her calves and up her thigh. Pure fear was the last thing she felt before Ulva realized she lost her balance, the force of the tendrils pulling her legs from beneath her coupled by a forceful push on her back-- the bitch really had the nerve to push her down. Time seemed to move in slow motion as she lunged forward, her body rolling in a graceful tumble to the ground until she ended up on her back, head thumping against grass. At least it’s not pavement, she thought blankly, her chest pounding rapidly as her icy blue eyes stared up at the starry night sky. Stitch had stopped flying, taking a perch in the open gap between her neck and shoulder, part of its body taking refuge under her loose locks of blond hair. Part of Ulva felt honored that the tiny creature stayed by her side, by the other half of her wished it had kept flying and got away while it still could. The woman that gave Ulva her final push to the ground hovered above her, looking down at Ulva with beady evil eyes that only some demon could hold. Thomas would have never picked someone so evil to come to the forest or ruins, it just didn’t seem right. Then again, nothing seemed right. To make thing worse, the jagged tendrils of darkness crept up her body more, wrapping themselves tightly against her figure. She could feel the pressure, the strings tightening around her torso causing her to breathe harsher. Ulva could feel the tension inside herself building, the urge to shift forms again. The wolf was clawing to escape, a defense mechanism ever on the verge to take control. But now wasn’t the right time. She had to stay human and deal with this or should be giving up all hopes at taking care of Stitch, the obvious treasure amongst the bunch. Ulva bit her tongue as she fought the tingling sensation running up her spine, denying her bones the movements needed to change form. Though in many aspect, turning into a wolf would be helpful... sharp teeth was a better weapon than well.. the nothing she had now... besides communication. They could speak, it was the only way.

Ulva swallowed painfully, teeth gritting as her hands tried to pull the restraints off around her chest but it was no use, they were ghost-like. “What do you want!” Ulva finally shouted, eyes locking on this woman as her shoulders shook against the ground beneath her feet.

”Nooo!” was the immediate response, then doubled over as if fighting some inner force. The cry sounded different, the tone in voices varying from the one she heard moments earlier. The wrappings around her seemed to respond to this cry, looping downward around her body until it finally set her free and dissipated back into the shadows. Ulva sighed, taking in a gigantic huff of air, thankful for the feeling of uncompressed lungs. The woman backed away, gripping her head, clearly experiencing a headache or some sort of inner struggle. Ulva wasn’t arrogant or naive, she had the feeling this woman had a split personality, or at least a bad case of the possession. Ulva sat up, her adrenaline still pumping, her senses becoming alive the longer she was surrounded by the forest. “C’mon, Stitch,” she whispered, scooping the bird back up and standing up to her feet. She placed the bird back on her shoulder, sure that it would start flying the moment it realized she was running again. Her stance was spread, ready to take off any second, but part of her needed to watch what was going to happen next to the woman.

“I-I'm sorry... Th-That wasn't me. I promise...Can I help you?” Elise spoke, Ulva inching backwards a few steps each time the other spoke one word. By the time there was a good 15 or so feet between the two, Ulva had regained her posture and stood as strong as ever, confidence and determination building each time she blinked. She wouldn’t end up on the ground again, not if she had another to do about it.

“If you want to help me, go back... I can’t have you trying to kill me again,” she said slowly, the sound of her voice cutting through the air like knives. It was as blunt and cold as Ulva had ever been, but it was only natural now that she had to defend her life and this tiny creature’s next to her. With that said, Ulva didn’t give much time for the woman to respond. Instead, her hair whipped back around, leaning for once more in a long stride forward atop the pathway. Minutes and she and Stitch would be in the confines of the clearing. Once there, the mission was hazy, but at least she had a current goal to reach.

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From the tree tops stood Jinana, he watched the fight, watched as it moved ever closer to the edge of the tree line, they would be here soon. He shook his head, he was not needed here, not with the other to guardians and others needed his help, he could feel the little wolf human, she had felt this way since her feet had first stepped into the woods, now it was like a blazing light in the air; so much potential. He stayed and watched as the last back steps of the dark creature echoed in the forest, the trees sending out warning. Of course it wasn’t just their fight, the three guardians were not the only guards of the ruins, the trees and forest were more alive than those in the new world, though not many knew it. Under his finger pads the tree thrummed almost silently, each tree telling the other of what was going on, their roots touch where their voices could not reach and soon even the ruins knew of the demons approach. His ears flickered, these weren’t demons, why had he used that word? They were dark creatures, yes that was for sure, but not demons, they had not seen a demon in almost a thousand year, most did not wish to cross, so they never came.

Shifting on his feet he followed the darkness in his mind, leaving behind the fight and following this new and worrying development. He wore no bell tonight, this was not a test and he could not chance begin heard. The trees softened his almost silent passage, till not even the leaves above so much as moved at his long looping jumps and soft running footsteps. The trees always told him what they saw, now all they could see was the wolf girl, the thing chasing her scared even these old trees. They would not see it, did not want to look and refused to tell the others of their fear. Even a dying tree could talk, could sing of its pain, this scared him, it could only be a demon, but what was one doing here? He lifted his muzzles as he moved between the trees soundless, scenting the air around him, it must be in the gap of his sight. It had been a long time since he had not see what he was going to, Jinan could be blind for all he needed his eyes here, but still when it was like this, the only thing he could use were his own eyes. His tail trailed in the air behind him, almost a flag behind him, coiling through the air, then strait as a sheet of paper.

Underneath him passed a vast stretch of land, they were coming closer to the clearing, he would not allow the demon to reach it. Ahead he could two girls and one of them had come with Thomas earlier as well as the man he had spoke with, but the other he had only seen briefly in passing, this was the one that the trees refused to see. Even though the girl was light in build, Jinan knew better than to underestimate the power the creature could hold. He inched down the tree closest to the girls, his eyes falling on one bird. He paused, his claws barely marking the surface of the tree, so they were coming back, no wonder with all the magic trying to infuse itself into the humans, but he had not expected it to be so quick. No only would the little bird fix things, something it loved and did better than any other creature to have ever existed, but he was an alarm for evil. No wonder the black dog like creature had gone to the house, he could not have let the creature live, it would have cause havoc to any planed attack. He smiled a toothy grin, it was more than brilliant that it had survived, but he feared for it in the presence of a demon.

He slid down the last bit of tree, just as Ulva ran towards him, he had liked her profile sheet, she had sounded like a wonderful person, someone who as truly alive. He bowed low to her, his feet finally on solid ground, his luminous eyes bright even in the darkness beneath the treetops; glowing like cats eyes. He moved on to all fours as she passed, unsure if the wolf girl had seen him but somewhat uncaring. His eyes were now fixed on the other girl, she had the shimmer of a demon beneath her skin. His tail twitched angrily behind her, its three meter length a roiling snake of flesh behind him. He stalked forward low against the ground, his body moving with eerie grace, teeth gleaming white in all the darkness. From his pocket he pulled three small round pebbles, they had been a gift from his mother when he was a child, a nightlight of sorts for his fear of the dark, but they had never lost their glow. He threw them out, not aiming to hit the girl, but spreading a dim almost impossibly low glow in the ground. It was the type of light, that if you looked directly at it, you could not see it and that was exactly why he had thrown out three. The light would not of course reach above the waist of the girl, but now he could see her legs more clearly, his reflective eyes glowing ever brighter. The rocks emitted a low pale green light and skittered across the pathway they were on, gave definition to the impenetrable dark.

“You may not come here, I can not allow you to pass, to chase one of the young or to hurt any of which I have spent my life guarding.” His voice was a deep growl, almost too low for human ears. “You must let her go, she does not belong to you, I do not know why you are here. Your kind never wish entrance to these lands, what have you come for?” He inched step by step closer, wondering if the demon would show its face in hers and try to battle in the human body, he hoped not as he did not wish to hurt any of the chosen and would be punished if he did. The wind ran through his thick pelt, brining smells of blood and the fight, it would be coming their way soon. He licked his nose, eyes scanning the area around her, he prayed to his deity that the girl would survive.

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The creature gripped tightly to the twin, his paw sinking into the soft flesh and soon her life started to pour out. Along with her dripping, dribbling flow of blood, now came sparkles of gold, falling to the floor and then going dark. He had rather hoped to eat the little girl while she was still alive and gain some of her forest magic, but in truth it did not matter, he would eat her anyway, she was his now. Thick lines of saliva dripped down into her wounds, burning her pure flesh with its darkness and she screamed every time a strand touched her. It turned its head back and forth, yes he could probably take these humans, even if they were chosen, but he did not wish to lose his prize. He moved in rippled shadows, wondering if he should drop from this side and eat, he could always come back. He watched the second twin, moving to dodge her attack and taking slowly a step back further and further as they went. He could smell the hate on them all, yes that was right, let hate fill you and you too will never pass through the ruins. His laugh was a cackle, though it did not last long. Before him the dog was rolling in the dirt, small thing that it was, probably trying to heal its mild wounds. Yet it shot up running at him and as it did, its pelt lit on fire, a fire bright in the dark, burning his eyes.

Rea ran forward, pleased her plan had worked, most of her body was on fire now, trying to cleanse her immaculate white pelt of the mud she had put on it. The creature backed away and she leapt at his face, wanting to scare it back into the forest. Her body twisted, not wanting to go near the foul smelling thing and its face turned as she did; but not towards her. She smacked into the side of its head, her light going dark as the last of the mud fell from her, but already it was going, its eyes must have been very unused to the dark, she thought. Its claws scraped across the trapped twin, opening four slashes across her torso and most likely that would kill her. Rea scampered to be out of the blackness’s reach, her feet gathering beneath her as the free twin screamed, her voice full of such sorrow, her second half would surely soon die as the gold poured from her. Rea’s attack had however been successful as the creature took forest one step then another into the forest. She blinked unhappily as it paused at the edge, her teeth clicking in her small dogs jaw, but it dropped the second twin their and ran into the dark.

She yipped triumphant and ran full pelt into the forest, not stopping by the twin. Yes she felt sorry for the dying girl and doubted anything could be done to save her, but she would not allow the beast to escape, fear that it would return filling her. Her white pelt made her a target for any who might have wanted to attack her, however nothing much hostile lived in the forest, only visitors disturbed the peace. She followed her nose, she could smell its foul blood a mile off, she would not lose it. Her feet were sure beneath her, padded feet digging into the soft soil and wood sorrel wherever her pads might land. It was heading to where she had found Ulva, that odd little clearing. She didn’t know why, but she was profoundly relieved that it had not gone for the crown of the hill, she knew she must not let it there. Her eyes were better in the dark but not perfect and soon she tripped on a tree root, but this did not stop her for long, this body took pain more readily than her own and she was up on her feet in under 30 seconds. Her legs propelled her forwards and she hoped madly that what she was doing was not foolish. She could not help herself, she had to protect the people, even if it mean dying herself.