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Witch's Garden

Tainted Countryside

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a part of Witch's Garden, by Lurelle.

Farmer's land has now been transformed into vicious killing fields.

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Tainted Countryside, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

198 readers have been here.

Setting

No one dares to drink the water, pick the fruit, go into the orchards. Blood stains the soil. The plants can move.
Watch out for killer pumpkins!
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Tainted Countryside

Farmer's land has now been transformed into vicious killing fields.

Minimap

Tainted Countryside is a part of Witch's Garden.

4 Characters Here

Kazuhiko Hikaru, "Kazu" [0] "I go where the wind happens to take me. Don't try to hold me down; because I don't fight for others. In this world, it's either me or you. Don't make the mistake of thinking that I'll choose you over me."
Ira Maholight [0] "Here unto me, spirits of the damned!"
Navassa Lu'un [0] "Let's kick things up a notch.. where's my beer?"
Ivory Hekat [0] Hero Four. "Move your body when the sunlight dies. Everybody hide your body from the scarecrow. Everybody hide. Make a wish when your childhood dies. Hear the knock, knock, knock when she cries. We're all alone tonight."

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((Playing a bit of catch up! Do not fear! I shall be brief!
Also, should we still be posting in the Kingdom of Light? Or would this be considered the Tainted Countryside?))

::Bricana Wynn::

Escaping didn’t go quite as smoothly as it could have. But to look on the bright side, they were successful. Bricana swept through her memories carefully as they rushed through the forest, trying to recall if anyone who had seen them escaped remained un-silenced. That would be dangerous. Not only would word travel quickly that a rebellion of magic wielders and warriors breeched the gates, but soon they'd be considered traitors to their own people. Had they gathered months earlier when the brave and courageous were taking up arms against the Witch, they would have been considered heroes. But now… To bring the Witch’s attention on what little civilization there was left was treacherous.

The eerie winds of the woods danced across the skins of the adventurers. Eyes from unseen beasts prickled the hair on their necks. They were making haste towards a town known, to the Ranger, as Syra. Picking up stragglers as they continued onward.

As the night began to ring of evil, the group decided to stop and make camp. Introductions were being passed around, but not even Bricana, the girl who could converse with the spirits who had passed, could keep her chest from heaving apprehensively. The air was thick with a sense of doom-laced silence. She blinked around at the moonlit faces. One by one a name was offered up. Ivory. The huntress. Kasper. The small boy. Br’nard. The frightening barbarian.

“Bricana…” she spoke, trying not let the rush of her pulse come out in her words. She turned towards the healer, “It’d be best if we found safety soon. I need to converse with lidless eyes before my draining strength prevents such crossings.” She pulled her spit-less tongue across her dry lips, swallowing loudly. She wasn’t sure if the fellow adventurers understood that she could talk with the dead. Nor did she explicitly care to blatantly spray the fact in the middle of these disturbed woods. She kept her jaw firm, hoping they would grasp her meaning.

If they were going to survive until Syra, they were going to need some ‘Divine’, or rather, ‘Unholy’ inspiration…

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#, as written by Lurelle
((Let's put it in the Countryside. Outside City Walls should be considered the country or the forest, right? Anyway, forgive me for randomly wandering. I don't know where we planned to go - so maybe a camp somewhere .. by a town..?))

Alyss Desmarais

Alyss watched with some mixed feelings about the arrival of more animals. Her arms prickled as the cougar stared at her with gleaming, narrowed eyes. She moved her own gaze away, at Bricana.
“It’d be best if we found safety soon. I need to converse with lidless eyes before my draining strength prevents such crossings.”
Alyss thought about the words Bricana had said. She couldn't quite tell what sort of magic she performed. It wasn't simple like "Oh, I'm a shapeshifter". She left it to the others to figure it out.
"Well then, are we done? Let's get moving." Alyss did not like the prospect of being outside the city at night. "I'll keep watch above and follow you."
She wanted to get out of here and settle down, so she'd calm down. Even though she was exhausted, and the idea of one more transformation would kill her (not literally) she knew she wouldn't be much help on the ground. She had no weapon. And with the amount of energy she had, she'd just be a liability if a fight were to stir. She inhaled and took a running start in a different direction, her transformation was complete in a manner of seconds. She rose into the sky, blinking repeatedly to protect her eyes from the cold air above. She hovered for a moment before falling into a common pattern: wings outstretched, banking every now and then, forming a wide circle of vision. The trees blocked most of her sight, but if she concentrated she could see the group still standing. Alyss beat her wings, lowering herself slightly to see better.
She'd be their eyes in the darkness, if someone were to potentially attack.
Technically, they had all night to travel. But she figured she wasn't the only exhausted one. They'd need rest, and then travel the next day. There were towns along the way.. hostile towns. But they'd accept weary travelers' coins, wouldn't they? Alyss thought about it unhappily.
She knew that day travel was somewhat safer. The majority of mutated creatures were asleep, hidden in plants or underground. But the plants were at their maximum strength, with the sun shining above. At night, their petals shut and poison could not be released. Alyss, from unfortunate experience, remembered a fluorescent moss that could move and creep around watery areas, which could grow around a figure and cover them within the moss, eventually suffocating them. Alyss had been fortunate enough to have her gift. She grew to a bear, and then slipped away into a fox. The constant change of forms had made the moss reduce and recede. She had survived, barely.
She reminded herself that these people were all strong, even more than herself. They would kill the witch. She knew they could. But before then, lots and lots of walking had to be done.
It'll be a miracle if we get there without some sort of confrontation, she thought. Alyss flapped her wings again, impatient to be moving again.

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#, as written by Maeve
Ray watched as the woman named Ivory and her Pan examined his cougar. He inclined his head to their comments, and then the others began introducing themselves. Ezekiel. Ivory. Kasper. Br'nard. Bricana. Jinx. Alyss. All of them powerful names, and as each spoke, the forest seemed to get denser with every passing second. He examined the minds of the pure animals carefully, to see if they could sense anything that would be pontentially dangerous to them. They weren't quite at ease, yet weren't panicking either. He took that as a good sign and stepped forward. "Raymond," he said, his voice seemed unaturally loud in the silence. The shapeshifter, Alyss, had shifted into various forms and finally settled into what appeared to be an eagle. The cougar beside him shifted impatiently. He pressed some of his calm unto her. The dark circles under each and every man's [or woman's] eyes seemed to grow until their eyelids were nearly dropping. He was tired as well. Even if they didn't care much for his "transportation," they would have to accept it unless they planned on walking there, or in Alyss' case, flying.
"If we are to make camp soon, we must leave immediately."
He called with his mind, gently touching that of the roan mare's. She hesitantly stepped into the clearing, obviously frightened of the cougar and fox. The spotted panther also strode into the clearing, touching his nose to the cougar's before turning back around. A few more wild horses, three Bays, and a small Pinto stallion, were coaxed by his mental request. He deemed- with all these animals, they would all fit. He didn't dare to call back any more animals- their absense would be noticed by the witch's spies. He gestured to the animals, impatient to be moving, nearly swaying on his feet.
"It's safe," he muttered warily.

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#, as written by Maeve
Two Years Ago - The Forests [Since there's not much to do until they get moving...]

Yule shifted under him, enjoying the rush of the morning breeze. The sun was just topping the horizon, glittering like a thousand candles in the dark sky. When shifting his conciousness, combined with his bond with her and his "power," with her permission he could enter her own conciousness and merge it with his, allowing him to see through her eyes. The blacks and whites became more prominent, along with the blues and reds, whilest green and orange faded away completely. When he heaved a sigh, content, he wasn't sure if it escaped from her body or his; likewise as he sniffed the air, interpreting all the scents that the drafts often carried. Just then they spotted a herd of deer bounding through the meadow, a particularly large buck standing out in Yule's silver eyes. Ray retreated from her conciousness, disgusted by the way she viewed the animals. For he'd entered their conciousness enough- he'd felt their experiences at the hands of the hunter as if it was happening to his own body. Disgusted, Ray dismounted after she'd captured the buck with her claws and simeltaniously snapped most of the bones in it's body. He winced just as a foreign thought brushed against his protected mind before quickly retreating.
Ray turned, but not fast enough. The demon was almost immediately on top of him. Yule was about to interfere before Ray spoke to her aloud- with a demon around, it would be unsafe to lower his mental barriers. He wasn't as strong then as now- the demon laid various cuts on his forearms and torso. Neither of which was protected by armour. It was obvious the demon had protective spells around him, deflecting every blow he landed. He hopped backward, slithered under the demon's outstretched arm as he paused to deliver a blow, and spun on his heel, jabbing his long sword into the demon's neck. Immediately it disintegrated, but by now more were gathering. They massed an attack. They were kniving Yule's wings, long and sinewy and delicate, slashing the brilliant silver silk with various cuts and scrapes. She was plucking them up in her jaws as Raymond cut, parried, and smashed his sword into their eye sockets- the only place where they were unprotected- so they could see, he presumed. Just as Raymond was leaping over a body that was already turning to ash in the breeze, a demon stabbed one of his claws into the lower muscle of Raymond's back, piercing vein and tissue. He roared and turned, a lucky shot in the eye. But they were too outnumbered.
Yule took a deep breath and snorted.
They froze.
It took a moment for Ray to comprehend what she'd done.
They were all turned to silver, solid silver, the same color as her scales and eyes and as his tattoos.

Outside the Kingdom of Light

Raymond shifted his sword on his waist before he patted the cougar gently on the neck, yet carefully....carefully... She wasn't a tame beast, but a wild animal. He would do his best to not provoke a fight. For if there was, the animals wouldn't consider the delicate frames of the creatures on their backs. There were things even telepathy couldn't affect- like instinct.
He swung his leg carefully over her side. She bore his weight easily. He was surprised at how strong most of the animals were, the exeption being the sick horse. Then again, it wasn't easy out in these woods. He planned to keep a hold over most of their minds, surpressing their pull towards the denser parts of the forest, where they could protect themselves. Even so, it was rapidly exhausting him. He had to keep his mind somewhat distant so the animals wouldn't pick up on the wariness and slouched over, glad he had the cougar under him for support.

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Ivory looked at the many animals that had come careening through the woods. She looked at the self-proclaimed "Raymond". Another magic user. Ivory felt a liking to this sort of power, however. It felt more natural than telekinesis or using spells to conjure up objects... Ivory too felt comfortable with animals. She could often draw animals into areas. Although, it was not nearly as powerful as the gift Raymond displayed. Animals would sometimes follow her, or let her approach them. At best, Ivory could soothe wild creatures.

Ivory neared one of the Bay horses and put a hand on his nose. He closed his eyes and pushed into her palm. Yes, she still could do it... but what use would it really be? Ivory withdrew from the horse, whose eyes snapped open when she left.

"I think I'll be better off on foot. Don't worry, I'll keep up," Ivory said, nodding in Raymond's direction. Without further conversation, the group set off. They travelled in relative silence, each person retreating into their own minds. Ivory ran easily through the woods, moving alongside the horses. Hers was an easy gait, feet falling on the uneven ground rhythmically.

After a while, the group slowed. They had been traveling by a river, flanking the moving water. It was wise. That way, they would be near a water source. They stopped in a clearing. The City of Light was now far away- insignificant. Ivory stopped next to the stream. The water rushed by, clear and clean. Ivory took out a canteen and filled it. Who knows when they would find clean water again.

Pan dipped his head to the small river and lapped away. Ivory rubbed his head.

"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." Ivory looked out at the surrounding trees, standing close together. The woods provided too many places for things to hide. Ivory took her bow off her shoulder and held it lightly.

"If you all don't mind, I'd like the first shift..." Without waiting for a response, Ivory walked away from the campsite. She began strolling around the clearing, keeping a perimeter. In actuality, Ivory wanted some time to herself. She could feel herself drawing closer to her ultimate goal. She didn't want to wait. She absolutely could not sleep. She felt better keeping in motion.

Pan trotted next to her, moonlight reflecting off his coat. Ivory stopped and looked up at the celestial bodies decorating the night sky.

"Kara... Dad... I swear I'll kill her, I will." Ivory clenched her first around the bow in her hand. Pan howled in response.

Ivory continued her patrolling of sorts. Nearly two minutes later, she heard something. Quickly, Ivory ran up behind a large tree. She glanced around the trunk, to see the tattooed woman... Brianca? Bricana? She was sitting on the forrest floor, strange symbols and lines carved into the dirt. Her hand was dripping blood and she was chanting. Ivory frowned. Whatever this was, it put her on edge.

Silent as the night, Ivory crept towards Bricana. She planned to shake her out of this crazy trance and stop whatever it was she was doing... It did not seem good in the least. Just as Ivory's feet crossed the edge of the circle, everything went to Hell.

Pebbles and twigs flew into the air, suspended. Strange lights whirled across her vision. Ivory jumped in confusion, whirling around. The circle seemed to be safe... What the Hell was this? Suddenly, a semi-transparent person appeared. The fuzzy edges sharpened slightly to reveal it was a young woman. Ivory gasped. Was it...? Could it...? The woman standing in front of Ivory was most definitely a ghost.

The spirit's shoulders wracked in awful sobs.

“My people… my home… in ruins!” she wailed, falling to her knees. She sat at the very edge of the circle. Bricana acted like a mirror version of the ghost, meeting her on the forrest floor.

“Spirit. Calm yourself. What is your name? And what is this village you speak of?” Bricana asked softly.

The woman's cries subsided, and she held herself tightly. She rocked back and forth on the ground, clearly still distressed.

“Suzie is my name. I am…” the ghost paused, “or rather, was a mage. Living in the town of Cliffton with my love… Our entire town perished because of the whims of that infernal bastard Prince.”

“What Prince? And how did he destroy the entire town of Cliffton?” Bricana questioned.

Suddenly, the spirit's eyes fell on Ivory, standing back in the circle. Immediately her soft, glowing appearance sharpened and brightened in alarm. Her back arched and she hissed through her teeth.

"What is she doing here?" the ghost screeched, eyes burning on Ivory. "Do you take me as some fool? That you would lead an assassin, such as this wretch, to my feet and I would oblige to commune with you further?!'" she howled. The spirit then proceeded to throw herself at the magical barrier surrounding the circle. Ivory had her bow drawn. Although, she didn't know what she could do. You can't kill someone twice, can you?

“I will rip out your heart and eat it myself!!” the ghost screamed, pounding on the barrier. Bricana whirled to glare at Ivory, fire in her eyes. Ivory glanced at Bricana and back to the spirit. She decided to tackle the offensive soul first.

"I don't know who you are and I don't know why you are so volatile and angry. Perhaps you mistake me for someone else. I am sorry that you have died. I had travelled to the town of Cliffton two years ago, very soon after my own home had been destroyed. I ask of you to calm down. Whatever you think you know is most likely wrong," Ivory said, calmly but forcefully. She looked back at Bricana. Ivory would ask what was going on later.

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#, as written by Maeve
It was sudden. And fast. Too fast for Ray to make any sense of it.
One moment, he was in the mind of his companion, her wings were his, her body was his, her view he saw. Then there were loud, resounding yells that echoed through the amphorpous place between dreams and reality. He blinked warily, not entirely sure of what was going on; unsure if it was worth awakening.
There was a large blur racing towards him, jaws gaping, saliva forming. "On your guard!" came a voice, deep and baritone, and it snapped everything into perspective.
They were- what do you call it?- Scylla. Yule had told him of them, speaking with a deep distaste, distrust, and overall, disgust [how's that for rhyming?]. He immediately drew his sword; he'd never removed it from his back, and charged the Scylla, roaring fiercly.

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Dzz almost hit the human, but it shielded its face with its front paw and managed to turn Dzz's jaws aside. Nevertheless the momentum of Dzz's charge sent predator and prey plunging out of the tree, and as they fell, a great axe flew spinning over Dzz's neck, missing him by inches. The two of them struck the ground hard, Dzz's twelve pairs of legs bracing to absorb the impact and allowing him to recover faster than the human, who was winded by the fall. As Dzz propelled himself inevitably toward his target, jaws snapping, the human produced a leather object and entangled it in Dzz's fangs. Dzz flailed his head in disgust, trying to expel the foreign object and eventually succeeding, but the human had taken advantage of the brief respite to roll away and unsheathe its metal claws.

Dzz gathered his long body and struck with all his might in a powerful feint. As he'd anticipated, the human charged, striking back hard and true. Dzz let it draw close before subtly shifting his aim, his head flying past to the right of the human, while the force of the human's motion sent it past Dzz's head into his mighty coils, which in a blur of motion encircled their prey, scaly pillars of muscle piling upon scaly pillars of muscle, wrapping the human in an embrace of death, squeezing the breath out of its warm mammalian body.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss shuffled forward, nose to the air. It wouldn't help to be not paying attention.. the town seemed mild enough. She was in her normal human form, and had split away from most of the group. She'd, of course, ignored Br'nard's complaints about her patronizing him.
As she walked through the dirt streets, she felt slightly uncomfortable. Everyone stared at her for her odd skin tones- so, she was a little tanner than some others! But she knew that it wasn't just a tan. She came from elsewhere, a far-away place where everyone looked like her. The shapeshifter continued to wander. She came across a group of little kids, who were gawking at her. They were scroungy, with dirtied cheeks and hair, and worn cloth shirts and trousers. Little ragamuffins. The girls had braids down their backs. They looked at her eagerly.
"Lady, do you have any food?"
"Can we have your shoes?" (seeing as they had none)
"I want those shoes!"
"I called 'em first!
Alyss stood there, staring in surprise. Should she give the kids her shoes? No.. she'd need those. Maybe she should buy them food, they looked hungry. But I need food too, she thought despairingly. In the Kingdom of Light, there were always beggars. If they bothered Alyss, she'd ignored them, but these were just children..
She was spared from the puzzling thoughts as an elderly woman walked forward, seemingly from the shadows. She looked straight at Alyss. "Come on, children. Back into the house. You may have some food there." The children turned and resumed their cheerful, naive chatter as they ran inside the building. Alyss straightened her back and looked back at the old lady. Alyss realized she was blind. Surprised, and a little cautiously, she thanked her for sending the kids away.
"Yes, I care for them. They're all orphans of the people who've died from the plague. Poor younglings," the lady added sympathetically. Alyss looked up suddenly.
"You mean, the plague is here, too?"
The lady's face showed she was genuinely surprised, as well.
"You didn't know? Yes, it's big news all over the kingdom! The plague is everywhere. Especially here." Her tone of voice made Alyss suddenly afraid. The lady sounded fine with it. Cheerful, actually. As if the people dying around her didn't affect her in any way.
"I'd, um, best be going." Alyss took a deep back. The lady moved her head slightly.
"Are you sure you won't come in?"
"No! I mean, no, thanks. I need to go. Now."
The lady turned around and went back inside. Alyss watched. The children had disappeared. Probably into another part of the house. After the lady had entered the house, the door closed. By itself.
Alyss took off running, thoroughly creeped out. She ran fast, trying to remember where'd she'd walked before. She got lost for a minute, but then saw the dangling sign of the tavern. She let out a relieved sigh. That was immensely creepy. What was up with that lady, anyway? Alyss thought as she settled down in front of the tavern, leaning against the front. She made a mental note to tell everyone about the plague. If they didn't catch it here, that is.

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#, as written by Lurelle
((fff you're about 3 days behind the group ^^; I'll open a spot for you to come in.))

Alyss arched her back against the side of the tavern. It was beginning to get hot, and she felt uncomfortable even in the shade. Hesitantly deciding to go inside, she's still not relieved. The shapeshifter could spot a woman somewhere toward the back. She had bottles upon bottles of that really potent stuff...
"And this is what alcohol does to you," she said with a slight smirk. She crossed her arms and glared at the bartender, who seemed to be the main supplier for this person. I think we should probably meet up and get going again. I don't like it here.
What with the creepy old lady... what'd been with her, anyway? With those homeless children? And they way she talked about the death of those people so calmly, casually. She narrowed her eyes. What if the lady hadn't just been an old lady.. maybe a person in disguise? No. And then she remembered laughter. High pitched, cruel. She'd wanted it to shut up the second it started. The same laugh, that old lady, and a darkened cloaked figure. Allandria..
She shook her head like a wet dog. The witch wouldn't risk being in the town. There was a chance she could catch the plague here. Then again, the shapeshifter did not know Allandria's intentions. The witch was mad.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Alyss didn't turn her head when Deac spoke to her. "Unusual would be an understatement," she muttered. "I ran into a bunch of ragged orphans a few blocks down. Some old blind lady came out. But it was weird... She could tell exactly where I was standing. She looked at me. And then she spoke of the kids - their parents. Acted like it was a trip to the store. She was very suspicious," Alyss continued. She inhaled.
"I don't like this place. I think we should gather and leave as soon as possible. It just ... feels wrong." Wrong indeed. The shapeshifter felt a mad desire to fly off, and never come back. An aura of despair here was bothering her. As she waited for Deac's reply, she turned her head again to the drunk woman. She was sort of concerned for her. After all, she was talking to nothing. She creeps me out, too.
Apparently nothing was good about this town. Alyss wondered where the others were... safe, she hoped. Alyss didn't want another potential run-in with the suspicious old woman.

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#, as written by Lurelle
Deac didn't say anything for a while, so she kept quiet as well. And then he spoke suddenly. She turned her gray eyes on him. She took a while before replying.
"The children's parents died from the plague. Which means they got to watch their mom and dad die, slowly, in front of them. Firstly, how did they void it - and second.. they were acting strangely. Well, not strangely for children, but a child cannot forget things so easily. They seemed cheerful, happy - their eyes were bright and playful. Not the aged, hurt look of a young one who has lost so much. The kids lost their family so suddenly. Which means they didn't forget on their own!" Alyss stood straight. As much as she despised the thought of returning to the orphanage, she had to. Those kids were not safe there.
"Let's get going. We should have some time before everyone gathers." She began to walk, back outside into the heat of the sun.
As they went, she could see a medium-sized brown dog sniffing the rubbish along the streets. She slowed her pace, and stared at it for a while. The dog turned around to peer at her, and then shot off like a rocket, baying miserably. It's bones showed clearly through the dirty fur.
"Deac, that lady is going to recognize me. At the orphanage. She might be blind, but I can tell that there's something wrong with her-" before she could finish, she hunched over to the ground. In a split second, her forms lost that of a human and instantly doglike. As she stood, blinking in the sun, a sudden wave of emotion came over her. Pure desperation, hunger, fear, pain. They flooded her mind and left her unable to do anything but blink. After a moment, the emotion left as she gained control of the form. She meant to say something, but only a low whine came out.
The single old man who had been in the street with them fled into what seemed to be his house. He'd seen her transformation - "Damn," she muttered. She only growled.
Hoping that Deac understood, she took off sniffing the ground, trying to recreate her path. She'd forgotten in her fear-induced escape, and didn't want to have to go through the trouble of finding a hidden landing place as a hawk.

She wagged her tail. This was only the second time she'd managed to transform into another, different living creature before.