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Witch's Garden

Forest of Ethila

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a part of Witch's Garden, by Lurelle.

The darkened, deadly forest in which many corrupt creatures roam.

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Forest of Ethila, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

170 readers have been here.

Setting

One of the most heavily affected areas where the witch's magic inflicted the plague and curses. Things like enormous wolves and bears, tainted plant life, and vampiric trees thrive. It's a horrifying killing cycle; the trees claim the lives of animals while both hunt us. Attacks on the small towns surrounding the Kingdom of Light have been reported. The beasts ravage those towns. The last few villagers fled to the city. The ones that didn't make it in time.. well.. they must survive on their own.
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Forest of Ethila

The darkened, deadly forest in which many corrupt creatures roam.

Minimap

Forest of Ethila is a part of The Kingdom of Light.

7 Characters Here

Evan von Draver [0] Electric Swordsman
The Varlet [0] "You've got the Gold, then you've got my services."
Br'nard Even'star [0] "Ours Is The Fury!!"
Ezekiel Zakan [0] I really do not enjoy seeing everyone's soul, but if it helps kill that witch, I might change my mind.
Jinx Evergreen [0] "I've lost more than you can comprehend. Beat it, whelp, before I kill you."
Kasper Adamian [0] Always searching for something, whether in the present or the future.
Deac Aurelius [0] I'm not on a journey for revenge, I'm on a journey for closure.

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A full moon floated above Cliffton, but no beam of moonlight penetrated the gloomy forest clustering around the town's outskirts. There was another light, though, fiery and orange, throwing dappled shadows on gnarled trunks as it moved through the trees. The light emerged into a clearing, where it intensified and spread, illuminating the staff that bore it and the cloaked figure that gripped the staff in its hand.

Growing around the clearing were nine large, pale vampire trees, their thorny vines hanging limp and innocently still. A blood offering would have pleased them, but Safir had not thought to bring one, and there was no need besides. They would obey him or else. He raised his arms and bent his will to the barrier between this world and the spiritual plane.

"O bloody spirits of wood! By my power I give ye form and bind ye. Come forth!"

There was a sudden rustling throughout the clearing, and Safir was no longer alone. Nine figures encircled him, cloaked and hooded in shadow, their appearance disturbing and inhuman.

"Well met," said Safir. The shadowy figures shifted and moved around him like angry beasts. They didn't appear to be happy. Finally one of them spoke in a voice like the dry rattling of dead leaves.

"State thy purpose in bringing us here."

"Is that any way to address your master?"

"Thou art not our master."

"You will not be insolent with me again." Safir reached out his right arm and pointed to one of the vampire trees. Calling on the element of fire, he sent the power flowing out of him and directed it at the the tree trunk, where crimson flames immediately burst into life and raced along the wood, consuming it hungrily. Within seconds the entire tree had been reduced to ash, and one of the shadowy figures convulsed and faded out of existence. The other beings were obviously distressed, hissing and moving angrily around the circle of Safir's power, but so long as his concentration held, they were bound by his spells and powerless to touch him.

"So," said Safir, turning to the next spirit.

"What is thy command, master?"

"Have there been unusual comings and goings in this town lately?"

"Yes, master. Many new carts brought in, in the dead of night. Men with strange accents."

"Any equipment? Weapons? Armour?"

"None that we could see. We pay little heed to the tools of men, but for the dreaded axes."

"Very well. Remain on watch for the Queen's enemies. You are dismissed." With audible sighs of relief, the shadow beings slipped back into their tree-bodies and disappeared to whatever dark dimension they had come from.

So, the townsfolk of Cliffton were playing host to an armed resistance, the brave fools. How dare they challenge the Witch here, in the lands under the shadow, where her power was strongest and her servants unnumbered? They would soon be taught a terminal lesson, like countless others before them.

Safir rose into the air and flew above the dark treetops, drawing from the folds of his cloak an ebony horn rimmed with silver. He raised it to his lips and blew. A terrible noise shattered the midnight stillness, a sound to stop the hearts of the living, a sound of darkness and malice and savagery. Twice more he blew the horn as he skimmed above the shadowy canopy, and twice more the awful noise rang out before fading into silence. But the silence was no longer complete; now there came the steady beats of hundreds of gigantic, misshapen paws, ringing out a battle rhythm from the forest floor beneath Safir, keeping pace with his flight. And now, with metallic music, dark wings unfolded and rose from the trees, flocking to Safir's side.

Smiling faintly at the impending fate of the traitors, Safir sped on beneath the midnight sky towards the town of Cliffton.

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((Apologies if I'm posting too frequently. I was going to wait for more of the others to post first, but I want to quickly set up Safir's character and give him a bit of backstory so he's ready when the time comes for interaction with the heroes.))

Safir Azgard

On the outskirts of Cliffton, Safir descended and hovered close to the ground. Flying swiftly in human form for any distance took a significant amount of power, and he was planning to use more still before the night was over. Usually when out on the field he was much more cautious about spending his magic, but this little town lay in the heartland of the Witch's country, where enemies were few and the eldritch forces were strong. He could afford to be generous with his spells; after the night's business he would return at once to the Midnight Tower and recover his strength.

There was a reason Safir was staying clear of the ground. Directly below him were two dozen or so massive, hulking ur-wolves, their yellow eyes shining in his direction, mouths dripping with saliva, jaws gaping wide to reveal rows of wicked fangs. Supposedly they were under his command, like the Stymphalian birds flying above him, but nevertheless these creatures were dangerous, and he was wary of having so many of them close to him. Their blood-lust was so great, the only thing preventing them from ripping each other apart at once was the knowledge that they would have more succulent prey in the immediate future. It was best not to tempt them.

Safir opened his mind, making contact with the monsters around him. He pressed on their simple, brutish thoughts with his own iron willpower. "Circle the borders of the town," he said. "And wait for my signal. When you receive it, begin your assault and drive everyone out of their homes, making sure none of them flee the borders. Herd the people into the town square. You may kill a few, but I want most of them alive." Breaking the connection with their minds, which he found repulsively dull and inferior, he rose high into the air with speed and soared over the town.

From above, the miserable buildings constructed of mud and wood looked unbearably squalid. What a degraded race of peasants must live in a rat's nest of homes like this; it would be doing them a kindness to put them out of their misery. Eventually he found the town square, and soared down to alight upon the roof of the town hall. It was then he heard the screams.

As he'd half expected, the cursed beasts had been unable to restrain themselves. Faced with an entire town of tender, defenceless, sleeping humans, they had gone into a feeding frenzy. Well, it made no difference so long as some of the townsfolk survived to answer his questions.

Within minutes the dead silence of midnight had been replaced by a grim cacophony. Shrieks and cries of fear, frantic voices, chilling howls, the thuds of doors being broken down and bodies dragged into the street, the crash of farming implements raised in futile defence, the sound of flesh tearing and people sobbing... it brought a smile to Safir's face. Somehow the feeling of having power over people, of making them suffer and beg for mercy, always brought him a feeling of deep satisfaction, although there was little sport in hunting these farming folk. But he reminded himself that they were traitors who had schemed and plotted against the Queen of Dragons, and they must be held accountable for their actions; punishing them was an act of righteousness.

At last townspeople began to pour into the square, clutching torches, clinging on to family members and holding tight to whatever meagre possessions or makeshift weapons they had managed to snatch up. Many of them were spattered with blood. They came running, stumbling, staring into the dark behind them with terror. When it seemed that most of the townsfolk were accounted for, Safir sent a strong command to the marauding creatures: stay out of the town square. He could sense the beasts' unhappiness, but they turned their attention to the rest of the town, fighting over the most delicious parts of the kills they had made.

None of the townspeople had noticed Safir where he stood on the shadowy roof of the town hall. But now he raised his staff in his left hand, and with a sudden roar, an azure corona blazed around him as though a blue sun had fallen from the heavens. There were gasps of shock from the crowd below, and as all eyes turned towards him, the gasps turned into cries of fear and terror.

"It's him! The Witch's boy!"
"Gods help us!"

Some turned and tried to escape, but Safir made a sweeping motion with his right arm and blue fire erupted along the borders of the town square, trapping the people within. Slowly the entire crowd turned their faces towards him, their expressions stamped with dread and despair.

They know me, thought Safir with satisfaction, and they fear me most of all. As well they should.

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#, as written by Maeve
The Forest outside the Kingdom of Light

When the fight broke out, there had been nothing magical Ray could do unless Yule was with him- he could weave magic as well as any if only he had her supply to rely on- and he didn't. So he drew his sword, refraining against his gutteral instinct to scream a battle cry as he charged. They must be silent, for if they weren't their fight would gather a crowd. It was over quickly.
Ray intersperced with the group of others, panting quietly, but he knew he could go on for much longer. One of the advanteges, perhaps the only one, of travelling for so long, as he had. He nodded at the Ivory girl when she pulled out a map, chatting almost silently to others in the group, discussing the possible paths. But he broke off from talking when the young boy with the strange aura emerged from the shadows. Ray nodded at him and then glanced in the forest. He raised his voice as Ivory's question hung in the air.
"I might have a way. It wouldn't involve magic, really, or anything that the Witch might detect, and it would cut down our travel time by about a day and a half."
His eyes caught that of the cougar-cat's in the shadows and he blinked.

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((Wow, sorry for making you read all this. I'm having too much fun playing the baddie.))

Safir gazed down at the frightened townsfolk below him.

"You wretched ingrates. You dare defy the Queen of Dragons, after she spared your miserable lives? You know the price of treason. You shall all perish this day. I will lay waste this nest of vermin and set my mark upon it; I will raze the buildings to the ground and make a tomb for your lifeless corpses. Nothing and no one who dwells within this place shall be spared; the stench of death will lie upon the ruins of your town, the birds will not fly over it, nor will the soil bear fruit for twoscore and six years."

"Stop!" Someone pushed his way forward out of the throng of people, into an empty space before the town hall, directly under Safir. "Stop, sorcerer. These people are not to blame." The man was tall, burly, clad in leather armour with a bloody sword held in his right hand. "It is true there are warriors here opposed to the witch. But the townsfolk did not give us board of their own will. We forced ourselves on them. If you want the rebels, behold, here I am, the leader. But if you and your mistress even pretend to care about justice, leave the others be."

Safir allowed his gaze to linger on the man. He was putting himself in danger to buy the townsfolk's lives, a noble gesture, although doomed to failure. But Safir didn't appreciate being lectured on justice by this jumped-up sword-swinging oaf, who apparently fancied himself a great defender of the people. Did he not know that all justice, mercy and goodness flowed from the Lady alone? What did brutish thugs like him have to do with it?

"A pretty story," Safir said, "if only it were true. So, you are the one behind this charade. I have met many fools like you, with an excess of courage and a want of wisdom. You will die painfully for your folly."

"Perhaps," the warrior retorted. "Perhaps not. But even so, some things are worth dying for."

"I am glad to hear it. Then your journey will not have been in vain."

"Tell me," said the warrior, hefting his sword. "Will you come down here and fight me like a man?"

Safir sneered. "Why should I do that? You may be a man, but I? I am the lightning that strikes from Heaven, I am the raging fires of Hell. I am the Prince of Dragons, the shadow of Death, the sword of woe, the right hand of oblivion. You may fight like a man, for that is what you are: a weak, infirm, limited man. But I am Safir Azgard, and I will fight as I am: a force of nature. The autumn storm does not notice the tiny insects broken in its winds, the vast ocean does not heed the little fishes dashed upon the shores, nor do I care for the pretensions of my enemies. Bow before me or be destroyed; the choice is yours."

The warrior stared at Safir a few moments before speaking again. "Do you never think of the suffering you inflict upon others?"

"Suffering may be justified in pursuit of a higher goal. It may even be beneficial. As a steel sword must pass through the blacksmith's fire to become tempered, so our souls must pass through the fire of suffering to grow strong. I thank the fates for each instance of pain in my life, as each has served to make me stronger."

"But you're not the ones starving down here, are you? You and the witch live in your magic tower with all your needs taken care of, I don't doubt."

"Enough of this," Safir said. "I need not justify myself to you."

"Just tell me one thing, sorcerer: how did you find us? Did someone betray us, or was it your powers?"

Safir smirked. "Nothing in heaven and earth may be hidden from the Queen. She sees all, knows all and understands all. As her -"

Whoosh! One, two, three, four sudden blurs of motion speeding through the air! As they approached Safir, the arrows slowed and finally came to a stop, floating in mid-air a few inches from his body.

"Well done. Engaging me in conversation to give your archers time to take their positions. Unfortunately, it takes more than arrows to harm me, even if they are coated in death-lily poison. A scratch from one of those might kill an ordinary man, but I am not so easily felled." Safir made a flicking gesture with his right hand, and the arrows twisted and writhed in midair, lengthening into enormous, hissing green snakes, which floated to the ground and turned on the terrified townspeople. Safir could see the warrior looking distressed, obviously upset at the failure of his plan. Several of his companions came out of the crowd and together they faced the serpentine threat with weapons drawn.

"Go ahead and slay them," Safir said. "It makes no difference to me. Not one of you has the capacity to harm me." Now one of the snakes had the warrior in its coils.

"No!" A thin young woman with lank brown hair came running out of the crowd, dressed in a drab grey dress. She stared at the struggling warrior, her eyes large with horror. Then she turned and glared at Safir. "Stop it!"

Amused, Safir raised his eyebrows. "What was that, wench? You stare and speak boldly for one so lowly." But he had a sudden flicker of doubt... the way the girl was staring at him - could it be? No... but... and then suddenly he felt the pressure on the outside of his mind, someone hammering and shouting, Let him go! The girl was a magician!

"No!" shouted Safir. "Traitorous bitch!" He lashed out with his hand and a bolt of yellow lightning exploded from his palm, sped through the air and struck the woman in the chest. She screamed as she was blasted off her feet, tumbling across the ground several times, until she finally lay still.

"Suzie!" Now the warrior was hacking at the serpent's coils, managing to free himself and racing to her side. "No! Suzie! I told you, no!" He gently raised her and cradled her head in his arms, her eyes flickering open and peering blearily.

Safir pointed at the prone girl. "You are twice a traitor, once to your Queen and once to magekind. You use your gifts to aid the common humans who despise and persecute us. There can be no forgiveness for such villainy."

"Don't you see!" shouted the warrior. "It's because of you and the witch that people hate mages!"

"Lies," Safir said. "Your kind has always mistrusted us. I know that better than most."

The magician girl coughed, raising herself so that she was in a seated position. "No, he's right," she whispered in a hoarse croak. "There were always people who were prejudiced and cruel. But before, those of us with useful gifts were accepted, and the others were tolerated. Only the bad wizards were truly hated. But now... they're killing magic users because they say we're all in league with the Witch."

Safir said, "And so you would be if you had any integrity. But you would rather abuse your powers to render succour to the enemies of magekind. So be it. I am weary of this wretched town, and I pass my sentence on all of you: die. Die! Go down into oblivion!" He raised his arms and broadcast his summons to the Stymphalian birds and the ur-wolves. "Kill them all!" he commanded. "Kill them all! Death to traitors, collaborators and enemies of the Queen! Rend their flesh, shatter their bones, send them to the dark world!"

The monsters amassed eagerly, racing into the town square. Safir watched with expressionless eyes as the slaughter began.

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Under the pale light of the moon, the Midnight Tower rose ominously into the star-flecked sky. Not merely black, the tower seemed to be constructed of bricks that drank in the surrounding colour so that the whole edifice radiated darkness, the antithesis of a lighthouse beacon. A great black eagle appeared out of the night, swooping down to land upon the tower battlements, where it rose and unfolded into the figure of a man. He strode across the roof and opened a portal leading into the tower's shadowy interior.

Safir made his way down the steps breathing rather heavily, feeling all the magic he had used taking its toll. It didn't matter, as he was now back in the heart of his power where he could rest and recuperate. Descending several more shadowed steps, he reached the first landing, turned and made his way into his study. The room was circular and illuminated by twelve golden lamps suspended in mid-air. A writing desk stood in one corner beneath a window, and there were shelves crammed with potions, charms, books and mysterious objects, while parchments, scrolls and tomes of magic were scattered all around the room.

Safir seated himself in an ebony chair before the desk, rummaged around in the drawers and withdrew a scroll of parchment. This he considered carefully for a few minutes before taking up a quill and beginning to write. The town of Cliffton was discovered to be harbouring traitors and enemies of the Queen; now the town is purged of all inhabitants. This is the third township in two moons to have been found guilty of treason. The townsfolk are being manipulated by propaganda and agitators from the City of Light, as well as other foes who seek to overthrow the rightful Queen. Even more disturbing is the phenomenon of magicians who aid the Lady's enemies. This could pose a significant problem in the near future; steps must be taken immediately. He pushed the parchment aside.

All of a sudden the shadows lengthened and intensified, casting the room into gloom. A voice rang out, hissing. "Safir. Where have you been?"

"My Lady." Safir bowed his head towards the window, which faced the direction of the Queen's tower. "I was chastising your enemies."

"So you have been parading about the realm making a sport of killing peasants. Did we not instruct you to devote your powers to tasks of paramount importance? What news of the relics of Shimir?"

"My servants are even now abroad, my Lady, gathering as many artefacts as they can. And I am translating the texts we have recovered."

"Too slow! We need dragons. We will have dragons. Bring to us more magic, recover the dragon eggs, construct our dragon roosts immediately. All else shall wait. Once we have our dragon force, the entire world shall fall before us."

"Yes, my Queen." Safir sat with his head bowed until the presence of the Lady departed.

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Ezekiel had remained silent along the way to their camp. It was still dark outside, and he kept his head low on his bay horse as they traveled. He didn't want to hit his head on a branch.
They were walking beside a stream, and Ivory filled a canteen when they stopped to break camp. It was silent, except for the sound of the rushing water.
Then, after a pause, Ivory spoke up. "Well, we'd better set up camp. We should also organize a watch. Two people per shift... We need eyes watching over those who are sleeping."
Ezekiel smirked, knowing he would default to the night watch, mostly because he almost never slept.
So, after the archer declared having the first shift, he too spoke up. "I can take all shifts. Actually, I can for this night and more following. If I keep watch for two or three nights it will not be a detriment to me." He chuckled as he spoke, wistfully remembering the wonderful sleep he had gotten just the night before.
He dismounted from his horse and let it go it's own way while he looked around for a comfortable spot to sit for the night. The problem with insomnia seemed to be the uncomfortable numbness that crept in after only a few hours.
As he walked he observed the others in the group; restless, anxious, nervous, scared... all of those emotions were glowing around them. Unfortunately it did not light the forest any, but it was interesting to see the dynamics of the group.
Bricana, the one he assumed to be a necromancer, had wandered off. He didn't fear for her, though. She was probably performing a ritual of some sort if he had interpreted what she had said earlier correctly. “It’d be best if we found safety soon. I need to converse with lidless eyes before my draining strength prevents such crossings,” he recalled.
Lidless eyes? What else could that be but skeletons? Of course. Those now passed and gone.
Ivory was walking the perimeter, and seemed to have no intention of sleeping whatsoever, as anxious as she was. But she also wanted to be alone, so he let her do what she wished. Her obvious hatred for the witch was so strong there was no way she would betray them without being strongly mesmerized.
Looking up about halfway through his own walk of the clearing perimeter, Ezekiel found a comfortable looking few branches that he would probably perch himself on later that night. There was, unfortunately, no view of the stars. But he could see down and into the forest; closing his eyes, he would be able to see anyone that approached, even if they were charmed to be invisible. Unless, of course, they were one of the witch's fiends.
We are getting closer to our goal... But closer to death as well. I wonder if I even fully grasp what I am getting myself in to.
Regardless, Ezekiel wanted his shot of revenge at the witch. He prayed they would be able to kill her. Whether or not he had the honor to land the final blow did not matter, as long as she plagued the world no more. And if all he could do before some dark beast or magic killed him was destroy some of her creatures, that still was at least a pain in her side that he himself had caused.
Absolution was sometimes an impossibility, and he had learned to accept that one day in his nightly ponderings.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he walked across to the others and asked to nobody in particular if there was anything he could do to help set up camp.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss Desmarais

Alyss had flown for so long, she felt even her feathers hurt. She was more than relieved as she spotted people in the forest, tiny miniature people. They were building camp, probably. She tilted down and rocketed to the earth. She would've been a flat feathery pancake if not for natural reflexes. Her wings braced in front of her and slowed. She transformed instantly, her arms shielding her face as her wings had. She was running to slow the momentum of the sudden descent, and stumbled and came to a stop on the ground. She sighed with relief. Alyss was sprawled on the ground in an unappealing mess, eyes closed. She could've just fallen asleep then and there.
"Who's keeping ...watch?" She said, struggling to not yawn. One of her eyes opened to see cloth of some sort in front of her. She'd been sleeping on stone and brick for such a long time. She scooted forward and lay so that her head and shoulders rested on the cloth. She felt like a lazy slob. But then, she'd been transforming all bloody day. It was unusual for her to shift so many times. But she didn't want to feel like she wasn't helping.

She must have drifted off a couple times. She was completely unaware of what was going on around her; which was completely against her normal code of conduct. Alert 24/7. No exceptions.
Except for when you're about to die of sleep derivation, she thought to herself blearily. She'd take watch sometime later.. she needed rest right now.

Jinx Evergreen

The healer had not said a single word on the 'journey' so far. She'd eyed anyone who'd try to speak with her with irritation. She didn't care too much about the people; she wanted to kill that bloody witch. She had been carving her knife into a tree when voices began to float towards her. She stood uneasily. Spirits? Mutations?
She had snuck off without anyone noticing to find the source. It took about five minutes, with her hidden behind a hopefully safe juniper bush. Her curious green eyes peered through the dark wood to witness what was going on. H heart flew to her mouth.. a strange apparition was stalking the edges of an apparent circle. Bricana was there, with the huntress Ivory. The apparition was screaming at Ivory. But why?
"What the hell?" Jink said a little too loudly. The spirit seemed to turn to her. The thing was scary. Jinx took a step back.. what in the name of the gods was THAT?

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss Desmarais

Alyss barely had ten minutes of rest before her toes suddenly tickled. Her eyebrows twitched in her sleep and she rolled over.. and then sat upright immediately. "What the hell.."
Water was making it's way to the camp. Was a river overflowing? No..
She got up.. looking around for anyone else. Oh yeah, she saw them. As well as the most terrifying creature she'd seen so far. Numerous legs and eyes and a huge gaping mouth.. Lays stumbled backwards. Her heartbeat began to ring in her temples, in her blood.. adrenaline kicked in almost instantly. Without permission, she transformed. Into a bird.
Ugh.. no, I don't want to escape. But maybe..
With a burst of speed, she hurtled at the beast. The thing terrified her, and made her want to run off, tail between her legs. But judging by the scent in the air, there were more. Her talons gleamed steely in the dying fire as she slashed them at the creature's eyes. She didn't have time to see what she'd done, but judging by the amount of substance on her talons, it wasn't that bad. As she shapeshifter disappeared into the treetops her features melted away, into something small and skinny. It dropped from the trees and slid through the brush. It's coarse fur and bright eyes identified it as a fox; the thing darted forth. The desire to feel flesh rip under fang and claw drove her forward, until the last moment where she lunged at the beast. Her jaws locked on to one of it's legs and held itself there.. it wriggled.. trying to tear loose a large chunk of the beast. That wasn't going to happen.

She realized that Raymond was already on his feet, fighting somewhere near her. She let go, but a sudden force slammed into her; hard. She was tossed into the air. Her legs scrabbled desperately into the air - before she slammed headfirst into a tree. She slid down, her form already growing to her normal human form. Alyss could do nothing but lie in shock and pain.. the pain in her skull was overwhelming. She wanted to lie down.. rest.
If I don't move.. I die.. come on, weakling, you can at the very least move.. she snarled to herself. Her arms complied as she dragged herself a couple feet away. Alyss felt that a firm hammer had been lodged in the back of her head. She put the pain as her least priority. She got slowly onto her feet, her vision instantaneously blacked out, but then she regained sight soon after. She blinked several times before attempting to move.
She knew she was being slow. She knew this thing was probably just playing with her, letting her live just to kill her when she tried to attack again. A hint of doubt blossomed .. but she had to fight. If she transformed more than once, she'd die. So the shapeshifter would have to choose well.
Her eyes, full of cold fury, locked onto her target. Her muscles tensed. She gathered the strength to move, and then charged.
Her face grew and twisted as her teeth thickened and sharpened, her back legs sprung forward while her front claws formed enormous black claws. An unearthly snarl tore through the woods as she leaped at the creature, her claws scoring marks around it's front. She swiped, but it backed up, readying to strike itself. Alyss took her stance, raising her head to let out another more quiet, though challenging roar. Her teeth bared; challenging this beast to take it's turn.

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“Siegward!”


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Tainted Countryside: Ambushed!
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His attention whipped from the monster that prowled several feet in front, who had locked eyes with him as it encircled them, observing each other and waiting for the perfect moment to strike, straight to the alarm of Brianca's voice the moment.

"Wh-!" He thought she was in danger.


Only to find one of the fiends reared back like a python, to strike in a split second. Siegward immediately raised his sword in it's way, and catched the beast's bite at the blade. Metal cut through scale inches deep but the creature seemed to feel no pain, as it gurgled hiss continued to spray festering saliva unto his hands.

"What!" He finished his sentence, her scream saved him.

Siegward slid back from the blow, his shoes scarring the ground as he was pushed back a good two steps. His arms burned from the strain forward, pushing against the disbalanced creature. Jinx instantly drew two of her knives, pouncing unto the creature as she tried to run them down it's spine. Their blades drew like butter to the effect of Brianca's curse, stripping flesh from flesh.


And even though it didn't stop the beast but it was enough. It had bought him enough time to notice once more the Sigils drawn by Brianca buried at their feet, he had to be rid of this one first though.



"Infuriae." He freed his left hand, holding thumb to forefinger. Words that were neither ancient, nor of any language. But epithetical descriptions of the events that were to occur, invoking upon a a shared understanding by all who heard it. He hushed The Rage of Fire.

Then gestured a line to the bottom of it's neck. "Colstalis." The Great Impact.


"SINDARHAN!" He howled out the last stanza: The Art of the Embers. Loud and clear rang his Call, did the campfire unceremoniously dim. Then. When all seemed lost, like the spell had failed and Siegward was doomed to a contest of strengths with the creature. From the dying wisps of flame burst forth a roaring conflageration that sent splinters in all directions, till it struck true on the creature's head, searing heat washing into it's eyes.





"Wynn, the Circle! Use the Circle!" Siegward yelled as the monster beared their combined assaults, he only hoped she knew what he meant. His own spell had taken quite a toll on him, primitive as it was, he had to force willpower and emotion in seconds, down the crude construction of his words. Something the higher magics eliminated and thus no wise man would do, but he did not have the time.

Soon his mind would cloud and he would become very distracted. Yet, the fight was far from over, as the other of the lizards began to make it's move.

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- Just outside camp -

Just before Hzz struck his target, it was warned by the human who stank of death and spun around, parrying with a steel claw, cutting into Hzz's mouth. But Hzz pressed the attack, heedless of the blade driving into the roof of his maw and the blood dribbling from his jaws, he continued to push Siegward backwards using the force of his long, serpentine, muscle-packed body. He felt another of the humans leaping onto his back and striking ineffectually, its steel claws blunted by Hzz's scaly armour. Now Siegward had drawn one of his paws away and was making some gesture along with loud noises, probably of distress. Hzz gathered his coils together for another strike when suddenly, a blazing mass of flame sped into view and charged into Hzz's body. The Scylla screeched, twisting and writhing in agony as the fire engulfed him, melting his flesh, cracking his bones and boiling his blood. No ordinary flame, it clung to the monster's body as he contorted and lashed in pain, until most of his head and the first third of his body were reduced to ashes, burnt beyond recognition. Hzz fell to the ground with a tremendous crash and lay still.

Zzz missed his target as Bricana rolled out of the way. As the force of his charge carried him onwards, he felt a slight tingling as the human threw something at him. He barely had time to worry about that as another human began firing long-distance claws at him, aiming for his sensitive antennae. He slithered swiftly through the foliage and leapt on top of Ivory; she lashed out with her lower leg, diverting his jaws, but not preventing him from piling the bulk of his body onto her. She reached out with her paws and clamped his jaws shut, the two of them struggling fiercely on the ground. Zzz knew he was stronger than the human, but she howled and out of nowhere a dwarf wolf appeared and attacked, savagely mauling Zzz's body. Zzz was surprised he was sustaining such serious injuries from a single attack, but he was determined to press his assault on the human and break through her defences. At that moment the dwarf wolf made a tremendous effort and ripped off one of Zzz's sensory antenna. Hissing with pain, Zzz shifted his attention from the human to the animal, but it nimbly skittered away and darted off to join the human, who had by now escaped and retreated some distance away. Zzz charged them, but a piercing pain tore through his eye, stopping him in his tracks as he clawed instinctively at his own face. He realised that the human had aimed true with one of her flying claws. A few moments later a second claw tore into another of his eyes, blinding him further and sending fresh blood flowing down his face, the claw penetrating his brain case. Zzz swayed for a moment, feeling the life start to desert his body, but he could still smell and feel the heat of the human close to him, and he launched one final strike with the last of his strength.

- Inside camp -

Tzz darted and weaved around Ray, hoping to catch him off guard. The human was swift, lashing out to cut at the Scylla's vulnerable eyes, but that would not be enough to save him. Tzz slowly pushed the human back in the direction of the trees, where there would be little room for him to swing his steel claws. Just as they drew close to the camp's outskirts, a strange alien force invaded Tzz's mind and left him feeling utterly powerless. The human took the opportunity to slip behind Tzz's head and smash his neck with a savage downwards stroke...

Szz loomed over the juvenile human, his spittle dribbling onto its sleep-befuddled form, but before he could claim his prey, a bird swept out of nowhere, tore open two of his eyes and skimmed away. Then a dwarf-wolf emerged from the darkness and worried at his flanks, clamping its jaws on one of his legs. Szz lashed out with his tail, struck a stunning blow to the dwarf-wolf and sent it flying out of the way. At last he turned his attention back to his meal. But at that moment an enormous hulking human reeking of blood and bear came charging and roaring out of the woods. It pinned Szz down to the ground with its bulk. Szz coiled his elongated body around the human, trying to ensare it, but it babbled in a deep booming voice and plunged its steel claw deep into Szz's flank, sending a spray of blood into the air. Szz slithered around the human, enraged, but before he could strike back, a great black beast barrelled into him and tore at his flesh with its claws. Szz's body slithered in a tight circle, trapped between the barbarian one side and the bear on the other. And now, a third human came running up with steel claw extended. Szz considered the situation briefly before lashing out at the bear with his powerful tail and launching a strike at the barbarian with his bared fangs.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss Desmarais

Alyss felt useless. Completely useless. She was back in her human form, sprawled on the ground, panting. She'd taken that final hit from the Scylla and had hit another tree. Damn, the thing was strong. Her fingers clawed their way to her face, to wipe the dirt and blood off. She couldn't find the strength to move anymore.
But the Scylla were dead. And Br'nard was.. naked? She averted her eyes. Where a snort of laughter should have come was a raspy choking sound. She rolled onto her back to breathe better, and shut her eyes. All she'd wanted was sleep..
But noo-oo-oo. Huge frickin' lizards come out of the place and start eating everyone. At least they were dead now.
Alyss sought sleep.. yet she knew, with a hint of displeasure, that they'd be expecting her to be a team player or something. And she'd have to get up. But she couldn't. She'd transformed much too many times that day.
Go to hell, Allandria. We've killed your pretty pets. You'd better be expecting one hell of an angry bear coming up to your castle...

The shapeshifter lay curled by the tree that felled her, asleep. Any damage that the tree had caused were hidden by her hair. Before she fell asleep, she felt slight guilt.. or embarrassment. Was she the only one to have been injured? Surely not, but no one else collapsed. She'd slipped out of consciousness fairly quickly.

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.:Bricanna Wynn:.
.:Forest of Ethila:.
.:Play Dead:.

Bricana’s eyes widened as the large monster, ready to consume Siegward in one gulp, burst into flames; the smell of burning reptilian saturating the air.

The Circle. Siegward was right, but how could he keep his head on straight when Death loomed so readily before them? She gasped for air, trying to steady her mind. She had closed the circle and filled in its lines; but perhaps some potency would remain. She shakily stepped into the remains of the circle.

The thwap and twang of Ivory’s bow announced her presence. Arrows flew fast and steady as they penetrated the beast deeply. Her lithe and fluid form gracefully battled with the beast until it sank to the ground, heaving a final breath. She watched as the huntress strode towards the camp and quickly dodged behind a tree.

“Some help?” she stated in a commanding voice.

Bricana squeezed her eyes shut, concentrating on her breathing and the pound of her heart beat.

“Goddess of Shadows,
Keeper of the deceased
Bind to thy realm
These monstrous beasts.”

A prickly, driven mist emerged from the runes around her. Slowly at first, but more fervently the harder Bricana pushed. The mist wrapped its gaseous body around the two dead beasts in the clearing, causing the corpses to burst into dust.

Making its way towards camp, a tendril swirled quickly around the wounded Scylla opposing Ezekiel, binding its legs and jaw tightly to the ground, awaiting its doom. The potency was not enough to kill the beast, but enough to trap it against the earth.

Once the mist consumed the corpses of each Scylla the pebbled remains of the animals quickly gravitated towards Bricana, outlining the soft remains of her circle before sinking into the ground. Sweat poured off of her brow as she warily looked up towards the camp, her nerves twitching at every sound. She picked herself up and shakily began towards the camp, unaware of what she would find.

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#, as written by Maeve
[OOC: no comment x]

Ray had sat, panting, after all the Scylla were dead. He cast his mind out, just in case, and found no echoes of their twisted mind. He heard of the commotion with Ezkiel but had to sputter through a fog of exhaustion. He'd barely gotten any sleep. Of course, just as we reach camp, we're attacked by a bunch of evil animals. Why couldn't there have been...butterflies, or-or shooting stars? He leaned his head back, massaging his temples before lunging to his feet. Standing there was most of the group. Jinx was a healer, apparently, because she was kneeling by the injured man and cleansing his wounds. Most everyone else was stationed in the clearing, including... Br'nard. Skyclad.
Ray was too tired to keep a hold on his emotions. He burst out laughing, doubling over in his hysteria. After a few moments of this he returned to his former position, mildly embarrased for such an outburst, glancing apologetically at Br'nard before taking stock of his own injuries. Just a headache and a dislocated kneecap. He walked, a little off-balance, over to Ezkiel. He'd seen the coils of the snake wind around the man but was too dizzy to do anything about it, poor an excuse as it was. He wasn't 100% about the healer and had to make sure.

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.:Bricana Wynn:.
:.Feigning Friends to Fight the Foe:.

Bricana wheezed past Siegward, placing a hand up in protest.

“Explanations later… Secure camp first...” she panted. Her feet felt as if they were coated with lead, as if the fiends of the spirit world had encumbered her stride. She pushed her shackled form into the clearing and surveyed the damage. Jinx was working on Ezekiel, commanding him to bite down as she ran her healing fingers over his chest.

Alyss was collapsed on the ground. Her human form nearly escaped Bricana’s memory. She was unconscious but her small ribcage continued to rise and fall. She was a strong one.

Then there was Br’nard. Completely exposed. Blood and sweat tricking down his body, rising and falling across his rippling form. A few jeers later and the barbarian was charging towards Siegward with testosterone filled force. Bricana pursed her lips tightly, her bony knuckles pressing whitely against her thin skin. Members of their group lay wounded and they chose now to get into a who-is-the-bigger-man fight?

A high-pitched ringing tore through the air as Siegward’s sword separated into two pieces. Bricana growled in the back of her throat and marched away from the scoundrels, kneeling before Alyss. She cradled the girl’s small form in her lap, feigning compassion. Jinx kneeled before them, whispering a soft prayer of mending. The Light flickered and stitched its way around the shapeshifter, her skin growing a bit rosier with each second.

As Bricana had hoped, she was able to siphon some healing through the contact she made with the girl’s body. Gritting her teeth as a foul sting electrocuted her body, she watched as small amounts of deep liquid bubbled from her scratches. She wasn’t sure how much the Healer had seen of her circle. But she wasn’t going to take any chances, squeezing onto the poor unconscious girl’s body with all of her might, gleaning every bit of Light she could afford.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss Desmarais


In the darkness, Alyss could almost feel a strange flickering of light, like the protests of a dying candle. She wanted to reach the light and grasp and pull her way into the distant beacon. The welcoming dark surrounded her, enticing her into sleep and rest. She was warm, here.. the light forced it's way around her, blinding light that burned and healed at the same time.

The shifter's eyelids twitched and then opened slowly. But I was just getting some rest!, she wanted to yell, complain, argue.. she didn't have the strength. A soft and involuntary sound escaped her throat as she looked around, felt the ground under her hands. She'd remembered everything now. And then came the anxiety. Her hand felt the back of her head. She'd expected her hand to be glistening in a dark substance that smelled of copper. Alyss was delighted to find that there was nothing but a trophy scar.
"Thanks, Jinx," she said softly, looking into the healer's eyes. They echoed powerful green jade. Yet she suspected that the healer was just as tired as she was. Turning back around and rolling into a propped-up position, with her elbows holding her up, she could see that Bricana had been sitting by her as well. She didn't know what or why she'd been there, but did she deserve a thanks too? Her eyes focused on Bricana's, before shifting off once more to investigate camp. It was, without a doubt, a royal mess. The forest had taken yet another precious resource from them.
She paid some attention to the stand-off between Siegward and Br'nard. She'd been too deep in sleep to remember what they'd gone on about. Judging by the lack of Siegward's sword, and the uncomfortable look on everyone's face, it seemed an interesting quarrel had just taken place. Alyss didn't mind being absent for that one.

"I think.. water... let's get water," she mumbled. She would greatly appreciate the cool, clear liquid before she passed out again. She would let those two continue with their.. show of manly display? Was that what it was?
But anyone interested in fresh water could accompany her. Alyss regretted not bringing a flask. But bags of any sort limited her movement. It was that split-second dash that usually determined Alyss's life. If she didn't doge that arrow or sword or claws swiftly enough, it was farewell to one of the last shapeshifters.
By some miracle, she rose to her feet and lifted her head to the air. She could feel the breeze, but couldn't pick up any clear sounds or scents. So she turned, to where the damp marks on the ground led. She knew Br'nard had somehow caused it. She followed it, silent. Alyss promised that, upon the killing of the witch, she'd sleep for a week straight.

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#, as written by Maeve
"I'm well enough. It's good we've got a healer with us." Ray replied to Ezkiel. So it seemed as if the group had gone mainly unharmed, except for Alyss, who'd passed out earlier; whom thankfully Jinx was attending. Just then Siegward made a derogatory gesture to Br'nard. Ray winced. He knew better than to interfere with their battle; he only hoped that they wouldn't kill one another off before they reached the Witch in the first place- they needed teamwork. He ran a hand through his hair as the two sparred.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss Desmarais

Alyss threw her head out of the water. Her mouth was an "o" as she panted, water streaming down her face and hair. "Thank god," she breathed. The crisp, cool water had refreshed the shifter greatly. She staggered back through the wood. Her stride evened into normal walking. Alyss felt .. sloshy. Now all she needed was five loaves of bread and honey. She licked her lips as Jinx came up to her, offering her some brightly colored herb. Alyss wanted to sniff it, but she restrained for the healer's comfort. Sniffing things seemed to make people nervous around her, for some odd reason.
"Thanks," she responded softly. After watching Jinx begin to tend to Ivory, who seemed to have a strange ailment that had to do something with her soul. "Perhaps we should try and get some rest before dawn.." Alyss trailed off. She didn't want to seem like the only weak one here. She did feel energy still in her, but if she got no rest she would be a zombie tomorrow. And that would help no one.
"We cannot fight a witch with sore limbs and tired eyes," she commented. Self-consciously she lowered herself to the ground and sat. It seemed Siegward and Br'nard were still at it. With what, she did not know. She was not some egomaniac male.
She snorted softly to herself, and then realized that a guard had to be set up. Alyss glanced surreptitiously at the rest. They might not find sleep as easily as herself; were they shaken up still, from the attack? Should she take guard? She waited with the tiniest hint of a frown on her face.

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#, as written by Maeve
Ray watched as the fight was narrowly resolved. Tension was in the air. Jinx was attending a few of their group in the corner. He headed to the river and stripped, cleansing himself, then threw his clothes back on, feeling much better. The cool water had refreshed him, and the group had a bit of time before dawn. Still, his eyes were getting droopy again. If they kept up these hours at this pace, none of them were going to survive the week. He reached into his pack with few provisions. He was glad he'd packed beforehand.
After examining the woods, he deemed there was near nothing- no herbs, no berries, no food that hadn't been affected by the witch's spells in one way or another and was safe to consume. He would have to rely on his packs.
Ray reached into the bag he'd strewn so carelessly by a large oak and glanced inside. A few slices of bread, some herbs, the remedies he'd pickpocketed from the herb shop. He slapped some of the honey on a slice of the cold loaf, along with the rosemary that'd been mixed with poppy seeds in a stray jar. Leaning his head against the trunk of the tree, he left the food out incase anyone wanted the rest, although his stomach wasn't quite full.
"Anyone hungry?" he asked, before closing his eyes. Their fight had shaken the animals within miles around- the extensive magics being used had left aftereffects in the minds of many. They shouldn't have anything to worry about, at least for the night. He was asleep within seconds.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss Desmarais

Her feathers shifted gently in the wind as the banked, spiraling downwards almost lazily. She plummeted through the leaves as she turned into a sudden dive, and landed effortlessly on her feet. "Morning, everybody," she greeted cheerfully. Well, somone's in a good mood.
"We ready for today?" She gave a look around camp. It wouldn't take long to clean up, and then get onto business. She began to put out the flames, recoiling from the heat that still fought to live. She despised fire. Alyss straightened her back, and rolled her shoulders. She was extremely pleased that she wasn't too sore that day. She was still keeping in shape! Or, well.. she would be. This journey would be a test of her - and everyone else's- physical and mental limits, she supposed. Exciting! I'll finally be able to see what my breaking point is. Alyss would have grinned at that. She was unusually giddy this morning. "Hey! Come on! Let's get up and at it!" She chirped loud enough to wake shthe rest of the remaining people. "We have a witch to kill," she added softly, more to herself. But at the moment, she was more concerned about breakfast. She was hungry.. unfortunately, there were no convenient berry bushes around. She had wished for them, but knew that they probably would have already died off and been burned or something. Alyss had been a vegetarian before living in the forest, that fateful day she left her warm life as a merchant's daughter. She'd allowed herself only mice, and then rabbits, and then deer. Bears, too, if they happened to wander by. She'd been living off nothing but bread and water for awhile, too, she recalled. She stood leaning against a smooth tree, surveying everyone and trying to be patient. She saw Ivory and greeted her, too, while staring distractedly at the now-dark pile of ash and blackened wood.

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#, as written by Maeve
If Ray dreamed, he didn't remember it.
When he awoke, it was because a piercing call echoed through his head. He groaned and clutched at his temples, already feeling the headache coming on. The dead branches of the oak tree he was lain beside looked almost stunning against the deep blue of the sky and the red and magenta the sun was casting across the sapphire span. He smiled a little bit. It seemed almost unrealistic, that beauty could exist in the world of atrociousness the witch's reign had brought upon the country.
He wiped off his trousers and stood. The sparse pieces of battle armour lodged in his pack would stay there; travelling with heavy equipment was a pain. He stood and stretched for a moment, then reached out gently, ever so gently, with his mind, and still he could feel the warm presenses of the surrounding animals- there were only three or four. "Is everybody awake?" he said to Br'nard, whom was standing by the waking Ezekiel. Alasse was beside him. "C'mon!" he called across the camp, though it was unnessasary, it looked like everyone was up. People were appearing out of trees, grassy spots, the sky. "We should get going," said Ray.

Ach sorry I haven't checked on here for a while! Hope this small post suffices. @.@

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Martha!


Siegward's lashes brushed against inked paper when the high-pitched shrill of an eagle speared into his tent.

"Noisy-ass." He mumbled through muffling pages, even though he would usually know the difference between a bird and a mule -or be damned, only half of his brain was awake. On his face laid a moutain of strewn papers, he was barely able to breath through them.

Last night's events had had him spurn into long hours of studying, driven by adrenaline and his need to never again be threatened. A night spent by candlelight borrowed from the spit, flipping through page after page of legends and songs. Having buried his sword and said his goodbyes, if anything, Bernard's little outburst showed him that he was still ill-prepared for the dangers to come -from friend or foe.

It took a second shrill to jolt him to his feet, where he stumbled around his part of the camp for awhile, sorting through ink and biscuits. He barely ate anything.

"Hey! Come on! Let's get up and at it!"


"Birds are the same, EVERYWHERE!" He hushed in his tent, though no one would not hear it ...except the 'Everywhere' part which was just accidently blurted out. Siegward was not a morning person, but he too had to come out eventually, with his bag stuffed haphazardly. Wearing the same old shirt, robe vest and everything else.

When Ezekiel came out, Siegward waved his hand a little to greet him and smile that looked sheepish and dazed. Same went for Ivory, Ray and Alyss, though it felt awkward being nice to the thief who used to steal his bread. "Hail." He would occasionally utter as he stumbled past one of them on his way to the firepit, Bernard however, he would rather not talk to for awhile. Siegward understood their need for cohesion, but even so he was still human and felt that it would be too pretentious to act like nothing had happened.

As he passed Jinx's spot, he paused for awhile, he had spied her crying a little last night.

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#, as written by Maeve
"Walking, I suppose," he said in response to Ivory's comment. Ray glanced around, unsure. He usually had an impeccible sense of direction but the thick expanse of trees barred his vision and apparently, his mental compass. He wished he could clear the trees, but he didn't have enough agility to climb the huge oaks without tiring, and honestly, he didn't want to. It looked like the fire was out and the campsite was clean. "Let's head North, then," he called loud enough for everyone to hear, and set off, boots crunching on the stacks of pine needles, strewn from the ever-dying forest.
Just as they reached about a mile from the clearing, Ray smelt something peculiar. What was it? He glanced around at the others' faces and tried to gauge their reactions. He didn't want to panic on them, but if he was identifying the plants correctly...
The witch's spell had poisoned them. And they were releasing that poison into the air.
Damn!

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#, as written by Lurelle
The shapeshifter blinked as Siegward exited his tent. He'd said "EVERYWHERE!" really loudly, and she'd suspected he must have woken from a dream or something. She replied very tightly to his greeting, and responded instantly to Ivory's preposition. She packed up her fair share of what to carry (though she felt restricted).
Alyss began walking by Ray, pleased to be moving now. She observed the skies - it seemed that she expected some mighty dragon to come and land upon them all. The ever-present threat of death lingered here. She didn't like it.

Alyss knew, from her view on the bell tower and from her flights to retrieve the life-sustaining bread, that several towns lay ahead. Once, she'd remembered, there'd been smoke rising from one. An emourmous plume of smoke that threatened to let down a rain of ash upon the kingdom. The king's personal dog, a 'mage' had been summoned to blow away the coming cloud. When he'd failed and been deemed a liar, needless to say he was executed. But the cloud hadn't come. It was interesting, it was an amazing plume of absolute gray and black that had risen from the tiny wooden village. It wasn't just a bonfire gone wrong. The entire place went down. Nearly everyone died - Alyss overheard the guards discussing the number of refugees entering the city. Less than a quarter of the people had made it to the gates. So she'd known of the mysterious disaster that had occured: it wouldn't surprise her if every single one had been destroyed in a similar manner.
She'd been walking for a bit when suddenly her nose wrinkled. She took a step back, in surprise.. a sudden smell had come upon her. No, on everybody. They seemed to sense it too, but were curious.. her attention turned to Ray, who'd been in front. "What the hell is.." her sentence trailed off as she followed his line of vision. At a cluster of tall, almost radiantly colored flowers. They blended into the foliage despite their bright hues.. but something seemed weird. Their petals were spread wide open, the strangely colored center seemed to be releasing something.
Poison? Gas? ... I've never seen these before.. Alyss shook her head, like an irritated dog, trying to dispel any effects the suddenly fearful plant may have been releasing into the air. It wasn't going to work, most likely, they were simply her instincts. "Hey, uh, let's move away from this.. plant.." Her speech felt weird. Heavy, almost, like it was thick on her tongue. "Now!"

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.:Bricana Wynn:.

Bricana launched herself haphazardly behind a tree after the armored beast surfaced. Her strength was all but gone. She craned her head against the trees sharp bark. With shaky hands she reached for a charm and began forming the words “Morior Intereo“ in her mouth. No sooner had she tried to utter the curse than a deafening pain began to seize her body. Her back arched and the small amount of bread and dried meat she had eaten earlier came spurting out of her mouth. Regaining control of her body she withered back against the tree, the pain in her head making her vision blurry.

She heard the shouts of her comrades and possibly the twang of Ivory’s bow. Tones began to echo, time slipped slower. Bricana closed her eyes drinking in the false sense of security; the voice of her thoughts were as articulate as the voice of an angel.

“Dearest Goddess…” she paused, her eyebrows curling up into a look of desperation. She had honestly never considered that the Goddess of Hell may listen to her followers just as the celestial beings were preached to. “I haven’t the strength to fight in your name… And my companions have souls which walk in the Light.” She paused, letting out a guttural heave, “Or at least not openly in the dark. But we are weakened…” she trailed off, realizing that if by some flit of a chance this plight was actually reaching the Goddess, that she wasn’t one to swoop down and help powerless mongrels. She decided to change her angle. “This monstrous beast was set on us by some morsel of a being who claims to be far more powerful than even you, my Queen, and we aim to eliminate this roach… “ A groan slipped from her mouth, this ode to the Goddess must be having some effect because her veins seemed to be pumping power slowly through her body. “But – we lowly mortals cannot fight her alone. She is too strong, we need your help.”

Moments after Bricana whispered these words, whether by consequence or coincidence there was an odd change of events. A soft whirling sound cut through the air followed by a loud crackle that made her jerk her head around the tree, still too weak to fight the beast but growing strong with the bass-octave pulse of each heartbeat. Giant, jagged tendrils of what seemed to be lightning-like, coursed through the open air into the scorpid, the smell of burning arthropod wafted through the air.

Another war cry burst from the barbarian as a rapid stream of creaks rang from a nearby tree. It was followed by infernal hissings and sprays of acidic blood from the scorpid. Lifting herself wearily to her feet, Bricana dashed her eyes around her wounded comrades. One of these is not like the others… There was a newcomer to be found.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss saw Br'nard and Deac fight the beast. A mysterious newcomer had arrived, and had attacked almost instantly. She turned - to see Bricana, hunched over. Her nose wrinkled as she saw her vomit. As soon as Alyss had taken a step to go help her, she was up and about, observing the carnage. Blood was splattered across the ground, over the dirt and grass. The earth wanted to shrink away from the acidic substance, she knew. It was vile.

Alyss went forward, the heat surging through her veins had stopped, and her heartbeat stopped throbbing madly. She stepped delicately over the mess that was now the mutant scorpion, to see the man that had appeared before them. She spared a quick glance at Deac, and then engaged in conversation with the new arrival.
"Hello. We thank you for your help." She began politely. Quite unlike herself. She gave a meaningful look at Br'nard. This man, who threw the disk, had helped them greatly. Then again, Br'nard was Br'nard. The shapeshifter adjusted her attention once again. "What is your name?" She took the liberty of asking for the group. But she was interested, in this newcomer. The disk he threw affected the beast more than a normal one should. He had powers, of some sort. So maybe he would be helpful, if not irreplaceable in their journey. As she thought it, she felt the tiniest prick of guilt.
Right, Alyss. Because these men could have potentially saved your life by killing that thing. You didn't even fight it. You just flew off, she thought to herself. Would she even be helpful, should they attack the witch? Or would she just stay hidden in the corner, like she had this time. She felt angry at herself.

"Okay, Br'nard. Let's find some drink for you," she said wearily and began walking, following the most interesting, gathered, complex scent. She could smell burning juniper, the hazy scent of smoke, cows and some sheep, and a strong scent of fresh dirt. Ahh, a farming town. Without realizing it, she realized she'd morphed into a fox. She decided to stay in transformation. To help keep direction. She padded forward, alertly. Everyone had done something in that fight. Bricana had done something, Br'nard, Deac, and the newcomer had all fought hard, and Ivory had shot that graceful, perfect arrow. Everyone had done something that wounded the beast. Except her. Her thoughts darkened.
The fox gave the tiniest of sighs as it slid through the underbrush.