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Jul 27, 11 at 10:34am ^re: The Chronicles
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Battle of Transylvania
Date: Approx 700BC
Location: Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania
Result: Decisive Coalition victory.
Jabahal's Coalition ............... Estenburg Retributionists
Commanders and leaders
Lord Jabahal ............... Alback
Veloci ...................... Sir Hector
Commander Pavon ............ Captain Cyrus†
19000 infantry ................ 9000 infantry
2000 cavalry ................. 2000 cavalry
900 hell hounds ................ 800 honor guard
(22,520 Total) ................ (11,800 Total)
Casualties and losses
350 infantry ................ 7000 infantry
50 cavalry ................ 900 cavalry
100 hell hounds ................ 400 honor guard
(640 Total) .................. (8300 Total)
Following the destruction of their city, the army of Estenburg led by Alback were determined to exact retribution. However they were effectively on a wild goose chase. Their first destination after leaving their city's destroyed site was the sorcerers' guild. Though once they reached the site of the sorcerers' guild they were left empty-handed, just rubble left from the destruction of the guild. They could only move around from village to village to town to tribe, asking whether they'd seen Jabahal's army or not. Soon Sir Benedict, Alback's close friend found a pattern for Jabahal's movements. They seemed to move in a sort of zigzag but ultimately a vector pointing southeast. Decisions were made to follow the vector to maybe get a chance to intercept. Meanwhile many people from these tribes, towns and villages joined the retributionists as they also wanted to fight against the force that took away their relatives to join the coalition.
Jabahal was confident he could trick the Estenburg retributionists into a trap following their undesired result at Estenburg. He was moving his army in multiple directions while trying to keep the movement southeast. Along the way he'd take people from towns and tribes to join his army and was at the same time trying his best to replenish his werewolf division. He was somewhat successful compared to what happened in the previous battle. He was looking for a good enough environment to achieve a good enough trap that could ensure the retributionists won't be strong enough to continue. After marching for weeks he finally reached the Carpathian mountains in Transylvania and he deemed it good enough for a tactically prepared battle. Veloci would as always be his voice to his army. Alongside him would be Commander Pavon, wearing the blue-purple Erebus on his armor. Knowing they'd be on his tail though, he had to prepare fast.
The Estenburg army arrived sooner than expected in only 2 days, due to the interception. Jabahal wasn't happy he couldn't develop his plans as he wanted, but nonetheless managed to get a good position stationed on the mountains, while the Estenburg army would be down below at the valley. Jabahal selected a half of his sorcerers and a group of werewolves to move out with him.
Jabahal's tactics for this battle was to personally attack the opposing army from the side while they're occupied fighting an uphill battle. When the Estenburg army arrived, Jabahal set these tactics straight. The next morning Jabahal moved out with sixty sorcerers and a hundred werewolves. The Estenburg army didn't seem to want to initiate an attack and so they stayed their ground. This inaction was in Jabahal's favor buying him time to circle around and sit ready for an ambush nearby the Estenburg army. A whole day of a standstill remained as no side took the initiative until evening. At dusk, at the coalition's camp Veloci and Pavon were arguing on what to do. "We strike now, we draw them out, we get the job done." is what Pavon told Veloci.
"Brother does not wish us to take the initiative though. There's good reason he's given out these strategy." Veloci said.
"Enough! If the arcane master was here personally, he'd done what I'm going to. Prepare yourself Veloci. I'm going to need you here. Tell the archers to move closer and fire." Veloci, reluctantly agreed to this.
Meanwhile, Alback had already readied his army and formed them. Spearmen in front, swordsmen right behind them with the archers behind them all while the cavalry were sitting at the flanks.
Coalition archers moved closer from the mountain side and started raining fiery arrows down on the opposing army. Once the arrows fell, they hit the spirit and charged in at full speed, roaring. "CHARGE! For our lost ones!" was the shout Captain Cyrus gave out. "For honor and the people!" was Sir Hector's saying to his swordsmen. Pavon's archers moved back to their army and rejoined the fight. With arrows raining down, the armored pikemen moved in to form a long phalanx line. Mantlets were set in to protect the sorcerers from arrows and once the raging army got close enough, the sorcerers started firing their unique shots of fireballs, lightning bolts and chains, freeze shots and telekinetic throws and turned the battle into a classic flashy death party. Things didn't look and the phalanx was scary to look when you're below them, until some archers for Estenburg got to fire against the phalanx and spearmen started to throw their reserve javelin to wear them down. At this point the swordsmen made their entrance, although very bloody and suicidal against the phalanx they created an opening for Sir Hector to get in the fray. With his greatsword he started swirling around against the pikemen, breaking their pikes which he continued to kill and break a big enough hole in the phalanx for the cavalry to move in and started wrecking their or retribution and havoc against the coalition front lines. This raised morale for the rest of the charging army.
Jabahal, waiting for an opportunity saw this time as perfect to perform his rear ambush from the valley. Nighttime had come too. Dropping out his hiding from the trees he came out and without wasting time threw an explosive fireball right into the side of the Estenburg army at the valley. The sorcerers and werewolves with him rushed in. The sorcerers with their magical bolts and lightning had created a similar situation as the sorcerers of the main army had done. The side flank of the Estenburg army quickly fell and they had little time to turn around. The werewolves ran in and jumped into the fray and had created their own bloodbath against the unprepared army. The army's temporary morale gain from breaking the lines of the coalition quickly turned to fear and it looked like a total defeat. This is when Captain Cyrus of Estenburg made a bold move.
"Retreat everyone my lord." Cyrus told Alback, who was confused at the losing situation made. "Please, let me handle them and get everyone you can out of here." Alback then nodded to Cyrus. "Thank you my lord" Cyrus told Alback as he set to charge the ambushers with half the honor guard knights. "Everyone! Get out! Tactical retreat!" Alback shouted, which seconds after the horn of retreat was sounded.
Jabahal meanwhile was enjoying himself dropping soldiers one at a time with his so called "Fist of Erebus" halberd. Captain Cyrus and the honor guard knights charged in though and the easy fight was over for the ambushers. It was werewolves and sorcerers against elite honor guard knights, a truly powerful and testing fight, while Jabahal met up with Cyrus. "So... you're the one who destroyed our city?" Cyrus asked. Jabahal just looked behind his helmet. "Talk to me, you demon." Cyrus continued, when he suddenly noticed the color of Jabahal's coat of arms, the same as the captured sorcerer told to them weeks ago. "I know you now... well I guess you don't talk much."
Jabahal took his helmet and revealed himself to Cyrus, with crystalline ruby eyes gazing at him which shocked Cyrus for a moment. Circling around each other, Jabahal's eyes suddenly turned pitch black which give Cyrus a true chill through his spine and then Jabahal made a sudden attack at the shocked Cyrus with with halberd and knocked him down. Cyrus quickly got up, rolling on the ground and drew out his broadsword and his secondary long dagger and charged in against Jabahal. Jabahal blocked his broadsword but Cyrus thrusted with his dagger unto Jabahal's face which narrowly missed him. Jabahal put his strength and threw him back with the halberd and made a slash, Cyrus rolled out and countered with a hack of his broadsword against Jabahal's knee. Jabahal getting annoyed, threw him back with a telekinetic blast. "So you have no honor." Cyrus mockingly said while getting up. Jabahal, almost as if he didn't hear him magically lifted Cyrus up and slammed him on the ground, then while Cyrus was trying to gather himself up Jabahal ran in and made a quick thrust with his weapon's secondary sharp end which Cyrus' reflexes failed him and got the spear in his hip while trying to spin out. Jabahal drew the blade out and tried to make a final slash which Cyrus hopelessly blocked with his broadsword while having his other hand over his wound. Jabahal then pushed him back and took a few steps back and shook his head for a few seconds. "So what? You're gonna kill me you bastard? Fine. Finish it." Cyrus said, while holding his wound. While Jabahal was just looking at him with his pitch black eyes, almost like he was disappointed, Cyrus suddenly threw his long dagger to Jabahal's face... only to be blocked onto the ground with his halberd. Jabahal's eyes turned back to its crystalline ruby state and with an uncommon grin on his face said "Who's the dishonorable one now?". Cyrus' mouth left opened was speechless, then with a telekinetic blast was thrown back and then before he could even get up had an explosive fireball hit him. "Little Mr.Sacrifice made his pathetic sacrifice..." Jabahal said while looking at the screaming burning Cyrus and grabbed his helmet and put it back on.
Meanwhile, the Estenburg retributionists were retreating from the battle. At the coalitions camp, the pikemen and archers were ordered to continue killing the fleeing soldiers. The werewolf division, cavalry and hell hounds were all released. The hounds were a terror for anyone fleeing, jumping them from behind and ripping them to shreds. The ambusher group however, while they had their own initial fun were facing a tough job against the honor guard knights. The werewolves were being slaughtered and the sorcerers could mostly just push the outnumbering knights back and buy themselves time so the charging cavalry of the coalition and hounds were redirected to help protect the rest of the sorcerers and werewolves. Jabahal rushed to them too and tried his absolute best to kill or push away as many knights as possible. The honor guard essentially also were sacrificing themselves to help the retreating forces get out alive. Their last stand was also tough. The hounds weren't good against these elite knights and only turned this last fight into an unorganized brawl, something that these independent knights are very good at. Jabahal ordered his men to stop and regroup to his side. Commander Pavon and Veloci and extra reinforcements arrived. The knight decided to form a circle once they saw themselves outnumbered by the reinforcements. This was of course a deadly mistake, against ordinary foes, it would be good as they are trained to fight this, but against sorcerers this was a death sentence. The sorcerers and Jabahal together created a crazy chaos, simultaneously firing and casting all sorts of magical attacks, while archers gave them a good run of arrows. The fight was over before it began. The knights were all dead in mere seconds of this chaotic attack. The rest of the retributionists had fled the field and this was a very decisive victory.
This was Jabahal's first major victory and showed what can be achieved when strong tactics, arcane arts, a well composed army and terrain advantage meet together. Most of Jabahal's losses were unfortunately for him his werewolves and sorcerers again, and he knew he needed to keep his sorcerers alive as they were irreplaceable. Werewolves were somewhat replaceable but again he needed them and they weren't numerous already. However it was pleasing for Jabahal himself to see that his tactics paid off well. Veloci was also happy for the victory and established a good relationship with Commander Pavon. Pavon was praised and taught some arcane arts by Jabahal himself as a reward and chose him for all future battles as his and Veloci's replacement, effectively earning him the rank of Prime Commander, something that was vacant. This still meant Veloci would be second-in-command after Jabahal though. The morale was also high among the coalition. However Jabahal knew he'd still have the retributionists following him later, so decided to split the forces up. The majority of the sorcerers alongside a small portion of his werewolves, Veloci and the heavy cavalry left to head south to the city-states of Greece, while the rest of the army under Commander Pavon's orders was ordered to head eastwards to the Black Sea to build a citadel.
The Estenburg retributionists were devastated and their numbers were far too few to continue a war against Jabahal's coalition. Also due to the devastating power of magic, Alback was determined on finding a way to stop or counter this extremely difficult instrument their enemies had. So Alback appointed Sir Benedict accomplish this task. Sir Benedict had this as his only priority. For further plans Alback thought the best thing to do was to recruit and hire forces. As a result he seeked out the Dacians for help and thought the best place to find eager soldiers would be the city-states of Greece, coincidentally the same area Jabahal and his small expedition had headed off to.
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Aug 08, 11 at 1:07pm ^re: The Chronicles
Speeches that are italicized are ones that are only telepathically sent.
Spoiler:Also a song
Also for your convenience, once you've reached the "battle" section, you may listen to this song to go with it :
Symphony X - Set the world on fire
Battle of Corinth
Date: Approx 700BC
Location: Corinth and its outskirts, Greece
Result: Strategic Allied victory
Estenburg Retributionists ............. Jabahal's Expedition
Commanders and leaders
Alback .................. Lord Jabahal
Sir Benedict ............. Veloci
Thaddeus of Corinth
3000 infantry ......... 1500 heavy cavalry
1000 cavalry .......... 200 werewolves
400 honor guard ....... 50 sorcerers
5000 Greek hoplites ......... 500 hell hounds
(14,400 Total) ............ (2,250 Total)
Casualties and losses
2000 infantry ......... Everyone
100 honor guard
1000 Greek hoplites
(4,600 Total) ......... (2,250 Total)
Following the battle of Transylvania, Jabahal felt little need to follow the retributionists and the war with Estenburg was mostly over for him. Their city was destroyed and leveled to the ground, their army decimated with little left. However Jabahal knew very well that their enemy had little to lose in this war and they'd surely be on a search to both gather and retaliate again. Jabahal thus split up forces, the majority were ordered to head to the Black Sea and build a citadel while a small expedition left, escorted Jabahal personally on a journey to the Greek city-states. Jabahal's reasons weren't really revealed to his men following him. Jabahal took a rather straight route, moving from Transylvania to Macedon and then to Thebes. The hardest thing for him was to keep his werewolves hidden and unnoticed. The hell hounds still could just be explained away as wardogs, even though when passing through cities, Jabahal still kept everyone besides his sorcerers and Veloci outside the city. Jabahal's destination was Thebes and that's where he remained.
Meanwhile the survivors of Alback's army were trying to gather as many as soldiers as possible and build up an army capable of stopping Jabahal's coalition since they knew that this was no longer merely a fight for revenge. Jabahal's coalition was far too powerful for anyone to resist and defeating them would be a favor to the world. Alback split up his forces and had himself first go to Dacia, then head to Illyria and after that move along Greece's west coast all the way to Sparta. Sir Hector would first go Thrace and gather as many soldiers as possible and then march to Athens and gather the rest of his allies from there. After that he'd have to meet up with everyone else. Finally Sir Benedict would leave with the honor guard on the task to find a counter to sorcery and sorcerers and he head straight to Thebes, as it would possibly contain the most secrets.
Thebes is where Jabahal has been aiming to reach. Orders were given to the heavy cavalry and the beasts of the expedition to circle around Thebes and head a bit south and remain there. Jabahal and Veloci alongside the sorcerers entered the city. The sorcerers were all wearing Greek clothes to disguise themselves, Veloci and Jabahal though both had their armor on.
"I want you to spread the sorcerers around the city, tell them to ready a safe escape route." Jabahal whispered to Veloci while walking in the streets. They both then stopped, Veloci nodded and turned away to the sorcerers to give them their instructions. After the sorcerers scattered away, Veloci got back to Jabahal and together quickly sneaked in the nearest building to their side.
They turned around to check what the building is, though before being able to do anything, they saw a man with some hammers and an oven. He was definitely a blacksmith, and he quickly spotted the two intruders and raised his short-sword.
"What do you want? Who are you" The nervous blacksmith said.
"Oh, we are --" Jabahal then threw a quick lightning bolt, ran to him and snapped his neck.
"Pity, don't you think brother?" Veloci joked.
"Hardly, you got the bag?" Jabahal said.
Veloci then drew out a big puffed bag out and opened it. He threw some clothes to Jabahal.
"Get changed, we got work to do." Jabahal said while taking off his armor. Veloci also proceeded taking his armor off. He slowly took off his boots.
"You know, we could have just stashed our equipment outside and let the cavalry keep them." Veloci said while taking his boots off. Jabahal stopped and turned to Veloci with a frown to his younger brother.
"Ok, I guess the cavalry aren't good, we could have had the sorcerers --" Veloci was saying before Jabahal interrupted.
"Shut up!" Jabahal shouted. A long moment of silence followed as Veloci felt a bit worried.
"Do you not understand what these equipments are? Do you realize what I went through to get this fist of Erebus?" Jabahal resumed.
"I just --"
"Shh-Shh. I give my armor and weapon to a sorcerer and they'll end up challenging my authority. Do you think my arcane skills by themselves are enough to stop fifty sorcerers conspiring against me and assuming my command? Huh?" Jabahal yelled.
"Sorry brother, your judgment is truth." Veloci concurred.
They both then turned away and continued switching their clothes. Jabahal and Veloci were both in Greek clothes. Jabahal stashed their equipment together. He then started a spell. Slowly the equipment all disappeared.
"What happened?" Veloci curriosly asked.
"They're just invisible for now. Come on, let's hurry." Jabahal answered. They then both went to the door, which Jabahal froze the sides of to create a sort of lock. They then left the small building, after which Jabahal again reinforced while Veloci was checking the quiet street to make sure no-one saw them.
Both of them then proceeded to the city's library. Jabahal wore a mask to keep his eyes hidden. They entered the quiet library. A receptionist stood before the vast numbers of ancient books.
"Excuse me. May I know who you are?" The receptionist politely asked the two brothers.
"I am a writer. This is my masked friend and assistant. His face was burnt in a fire when he was just a child. We would want to do some research on some lore and mythology. Please." Veloci kindly explained to the receptionist. The receptionist was a bit astonished and gave them a good look before he smiled to them. "Of course. The library is for you to use." The receptionist said before the two moved to the bookshelves.
"Look for anything related to blood magic." was the message Veloci received in his mind. Jabahal was looking at him. Veloci shook his head in agreement and the two remained in the library looking for anything they could about blood magic.
At Evening, hours since Jabahal and his brother have started their research, Sir Benedict and his honor guard arrived at Thebes. Marching in on their horses, they entered the city like mighty heroes with their shiny armors. A crowd gathered, the sorcerers disguised as civilians also joined to see what was going on. It was the Estenburg honor guard knights marching through and the sorcerers knew this would end up bad, thus they decided to prepare the emergency exit plan.
The honor guard settled in the city, most having a rest while a group of twenty knights escorted Sir Benedict to the city library. The sorcerers didn't even know where Jabahal and Veloci had left either, so they were clueless on helping them get out unnoticed.
Meanwhile back at the library, Veloci and Jabahal had brought out many books, some on the topic of blood magic. Their research was starting to get tedious though, as Jabahal hadn't found what he wanted. "Sorry, exactly why are you looking for blood magic?" Veloci whispered to Jabahal, who telepathically replied back. "Blood magic is one of the more powerful forms of the arcane arts. There's also something specific that I need to make sure I find."
"I've also found this book on portals. I don't know exactly what it is, but it looks interesting." Veloci again quietly said.
"Alright, take it if you want, but please try to get what I want here."
Veloci put the book inside his clothes. The many books were left open with the two reading them as Sir Benedict and his escort suddenly entered the library.
"Brother! What the hell!? It's them!" a nervous Veloci angrily whispered to Jabahal.
"Keep it cool, if they discovered us, wait for my signal."
Sir Benedict after a quick chat with the receptionist started walking towards them. Jabahal remained still, until Benedict was just a meter away. Suddenly in a burst of energy as if you'd let a bear out its cage, Jabahal blasted Sir Benedict and his knights away with a telekinetic shockwave. The two brothers then hit the doors, running as fast as they could; Jabahal creating a quick barrier around himself and Veloci while running.
"Shoot them!" Benedict yelled. The downed knights then quickly got up and fired their crossbow bolts, many hitting them both with the quick barrier their only defense which was wading thin with each bolt. At the library door, two knights were left who quickly drew their swords out. Veloci and Jabahal both blasted them with their telekinesis and fireballs and made a run throughout the streets. The sorcerers could tell that it was time to execute the plan. The two brothers ran back their hideout which Jabahal smashed the door. "Hurry up, get your armor back on" Jabahal said while throwing Veloci his armor and weapons.
Fully armed and armored, they left the building but were quickly confronted by a group of the honor guard knights. Jabahal started off with a telekinetic shockwave, which was followed by a fireball from Veloci and then a chain lightning by Jabahal again. Jabahal drew the fist of Erebus out and charged against the burnt and shocked knights and quickly killed them. They then ran to the heavily guarded gate with most of the city's guard and honor guard there. The civilian-dressed sorcerers though created their havoc with some arcane spells and also got the horses ready for everyone to leave quickly. The honor guard didn't follow them and Sir Benedict got back to the library and despite failing to catch them, he had a grin on his face since he was already at a head start for his research as Lord Jabahal had already left all the books he found there open.
Jabahal, Veloci and the sorcerers all moved out south on horseback till they found the waiting cavalry and werewolves. After a quick rest with them, Jabahal decided to get everyone to Corinth, since it was both near and also could be their only destination if Thebes gets reinforced. And so all the forces moved out to Corinth. The heavy cavalry, werewolves and hell hounds left outside in the outskirts, remaining and waiting to charge in from behind if a battle ensues. Jabahal, Veloci and the sorcerers tried to scatter in the city. Jabahal and Veloci started to move to the city center.
"So brother, what the hell's going on here?" Veloci asked while walking.
"Are you blind? Looks like the cursed forces have come to Greece."
"We can take them though. Come on, they're nothing against you and our sorcerers. Add in the waiting beasts and cavalry --"
"Yeah I know what you're gonna say." Jabahal interrupted. The eager Veloci then stopped and looked at Jabahal.
"We can probably, and that's only a 'probably', fight our way through. We're not of the gentle kind though. We'll have a whole Greek league then joining forces against us." Jabahal explained with reason. The two then continued walking and reached a corner which would head to the city square. Jabahal stuck to the side wall and slowly moved to the corner and peaked to see what was there.
Although he had a bad angle, what he saw was too big and too recognizable for him to miss. He saw Alback in talk with a Greek man, who looked like a military general while a whole army was behind them. Jabahal also knew that the troops behind Alback weren't all that there was; many were probably left to take a rest in the city.
Jabahal then was shook from behind. "Brother, we have a problem!" Veloci whispered.
Jabahal turned around and saw a group of Estenburg soldiers moving their way. The two brothers' armors were also too obvious for the soldiers to miss. There was no way out besides going to the city center square which was suicide anyway, so Jabahal quickly drew out the fist of Erebus and started running at the chatting soldiers with Veloci running behind him. The soldiers once noticing these two quickly drew out their swords. One of them cowardly ran out to city square instead of fighting though. The rest were quickly sliced with the fist of Erebus, but not before the retreating soldier crossed the short distance to the city square. "They're here!" he shouted to the main army.
Jabahal and Veloci ran as fast as they could. Jabahal tried to telepathically communicate with the scattered sorcerers. Some of these sorcerers quickly joined them running. The group then got into a building and onto the rooftops. What they could see was obvious, there was now a curfew with city guards and soldiers running through the city streets.
"Well that's it we're doomed." Veloci hopelessly said.
"No, not this day." A confident Jabahal declared.
He then took off his helmet, put it on the ground and reached his hands out. He was slowly lifted in the air with his hands giving out a glow that passed his gauntlets. The sorcerers with him stared in awe. In mid-air, Jabahal's eyes switched to the whole black color then back to the ordinary ruby red. This switching suddenly started getting faster and faster. Jabahal started slowly screaming and the glow in his hands now covered his whole body, his head being the part exposed showing this. His head then finally darted upwards while the eyes were still switching until he suddenly fell on the ground. Veloci rushed to his side and the arcane master quickly got on his knees and up again.
"What was that? Meteor strike?" Veloci desperately asked.
Jabahal started laughing while putting his helmet back on.
"You'll see what I just cooked, or shall I say ordered for our friends here." Jabahal mocked.
They remained at the rooftop for some time while trying to slowly observe around them. It wasn't long before one of the sorcerers was seen and their hiding place was spotted. They all started moving again, on the rooftops, but more and more patrols were seeing them until they jumped inside one of the buildings near the city gate. Jabahal alongside the sorcerers and Veloci rushed outside the building, but it wasn't good. He saw a phalanx with Sir Benedict and the Estenburg honor guard behind, in front of them. He quickly turned back and behind him another phalanx also stood with Alback, Swordsmaster Nathan and the Greek commander also behind them. Sir Benedict then drew out his sword and cut his palm while grinning at Jabahal.
Jabahal, seeing no way out then moved his hand out and attempted a telekinetic shockwave. It wasn't working.
"I believe you were searching in the Thebes library for this?" Sir Benedict shouted while continuously crossing his sword on his hand to drop blood.
"As a matter of fact, yes, I was looking for that. Without silencing me, you pathetic fools would be without any tool to fairly stop us! You mean nothing to me anyway. This is just a short reckoning." Jabahal declared.
"Brother, what the hell?" Veloci whispered to Jabahal.
"Just buy me time." Jabahal whispered back.
"Hey! You know, you killed my friend Cyrus!" Alback shouted from behind.
"Oh! He attacked me, I was just defending myself." Jabahal replied.
"Destroying our city; was that self-defense too?" Alback angrily yelled.
Jabahal stood for a few seconds watching then replied "Well I guess I was at fault there. Sorry for that."
The Greek commander commented back "What a poor excuse of a beggar this is!"
"Commander Thaddeus of Corinth. He has also agreed to join us." Alback said.
After a few moments of silence, the phalanxes then started to double envelop the group.
"Brother!" Veloci shouted.
"Just a little more." Jabahal calmly replied, which he after drew out his weapon.
Jabahal charged in alone against the front phalanx and his double-edged halberd was perfect for hacking the tips of the many pointy spears. At this time thunderous roars could be heard in the distance. The phalanx was pushing against the spell-silenced arcane warrior, a spear thrust catching his arm and giving a small cut. Suddenly something could be seen in the sky, roaring too. The two phalanxes then also gave a charge, the sorcerers being practically unarmed were slaughtered and only Jabahal and Veloci were hopelessly fighting off in an extremely tiny space against two walls of soldiers. However the roars from the sky were much closer now and Alback saw it come from behind Benedict's group. It was a brown dragon.
A brown dragon was a massive hellish behemoth with two twisted horns on its head and bat-like wings. This brown dragon came in just in the nick of time. It swung down onto the group guarding the gate and with its massive wings sent everyone on the ground including Sir Bendict. Lord Jabahal was now free and once again with his magic, made a quick shockwave around him, sending the phalanxes down, and then fired an explosive fireball against both of the two groups. The brown dragon started breathing fire down against everyone and the reserve group Jabahal had left behind also charged in at the gate fighting Sir Benedict's group creating a brawl. The dragon started burning buildings and totally disorganized the main army.
Jabahal seeing things satisfying enough shouted to Veloci "Hey! We're getting out of here. Catch a horse!"
"What about the rest of the group fighting? Tactical retreat?" Veloci loudly asked amidst the chaos.
"No, we have no choice. They retreat and everyone will be on our tail. No chance." Jabahal shouted before getting on a horse. Veloci followed him and the two fled the battle scene.
Meanwhile the dragon drew the main army to the city square. Ordinary spearmen and soldiers were just dieing with no hope of a fight. Thrown javelins were mostly dodged by the giant beast, while arrows looked more like an inconvenience rather than damaging. The hellish lizard whipped anyone charging towards it from behind with its tail. It then created a large circle blast of fire against the main army and prepared to take flight again. The inferno was great and nothing could be seen. Out of the burning smokes, Alback, the former ruler of Estenburg emerged running and from the short distance that he had closed in with the beast; he jumped and caught the dragon's left foot, just as the hell lizard had taken off into the air again. The army stopped firing their arrows once they saw their leader holding the dragon's leg.
Meanwhile Sir Benedict and his forces were losing their fight against Jabahal's reserves. Benedict was thrown on the ground by a werewolf, which was in turn killed by an honor guard knight. The situation looked doomed for them, when from the outskirts a small army was seen charging in. "Here arrives Sir Hector, my liege!" Shouted one of the honor guard knights.
Seeing the reinforcements would be more than they could handle, Jabahal's reserves retreated out of the city gates and into the outskirts, where the dragon could be seen from above.
It wasn't the best idea though, as Sir Hector and his reinforcements also steered to lock down the retreating forces. Sir Hector had brought many archers and horse archers with him from Thrace and also hired Scythian mercenaries. The arrows fired against the small retreating group, forced them to charge into the army. The werewolves and heavy cavalry were both great battle initiators, but this wouldn't count for much besides the first charge. After smashing into Sir Hector's army, the hotheaded werewolves and cavalry found themselves fighting against multiple soldiers at once, the hell hounds were better as their smaller size meant they could get themselves out of being cornered. Despite their efforts, they were outnumbered and outfought and their blood turned the outskirts of Corinth red under the bright night sky.
Now it was all down to the dragon and Alback. The dragon tried steering and making tight turns in circles to drop its foe, but Alback's grip was tight. The dragon soared back to Corinth, lowered its altitude and smashed into the main army while breathing its fire with no aim to just burn anything it could. This gave Alback time to climb onto the dragon's back, where he thundered down his longsword into the dragon's thick hide. The caused the dragon to roar in pain and again take flight upwards. Since it seemed that this was actually hurting the dragon, Alback continued to do this. The beast flew to the outskirts far from where anybody else was, then took a quick dive downwards and crashed into the ground. Alback was thrown off and bit the dirt.
The dragon sat on four limbs and turned towards the downed hero and stared at him while he got up. The two looked at each other face to face, staring into each other’s eyes, both determined to kill the other off. Alback charged directly at the dragon, the dragon breathed fire but Alback slid beneath to its underbelly with his sword held up, ripping a straight line on the dragon. The beast tried a quick belly slam by pushing its own belly down but Alback rolled out before he could be hurt. With the dragon down, Alback jumped and ran to the dragon's head and with all his will and strength slashed the dragon's neck. The dragon instinctively started swirling its neck and head around, but Alback grabbed the brown dragon's left horn to stabilize himself while he slowly sliced the monstrosity's head off.
The dragon was dead, its head sliced off by Alback. The day was over, Jabahal's expedition forces were all dead and only he and his brother managed to flee the battle.
With the dragon dead, Alback's friends and allies rushed to his side while he held the dragon's heavy head in his hand.
"That was truly a feat only a legend can accomplish sire!" Thaddeus congratulated.
"My Lord. I can not believe this." Swordsmaster Nathan cried.
The army cheered their victory and Alback threw the dragon's head away. Amidst the cheering crowd of soldiers, Benedict rushed to Alback's side.
"Well, I know I slayed a dragon. But I must give my thanks to you Benedict for finding a counter to the sorcerers' magic." Alback said to the gasping Benedict.
"Thanks Alback. But there's something of great importance that I must tell you." Benedict said while gasping. Alback looked into Benedict's eyes.
"In the book I read about this spell to silence the sorcerers, I also just found something very interesting." Benedict explained before pointing to the dragon's headless corpse.
"What?" asked Alback.
"Get its heart while it’s still fresh and eat it."
"What's gone into you, friend? Me eating a dragon's heart? Why?"
"The book said that eating a brown dragon's fresh heart will grant superhuman strength."
Alback turned back in awe.
"Do you have the book?" Alback whispered to Benedict, whom in return quickly gave the book with its page to Alback. He read it and dropped on the ground, feeling a great dilemma.
"Do it my lord." Benedict whispered.
Alback was convinced and slowly approached the corpse while the army were having their celebrations. Alback cut the chest open and grabbed the large heart out and started biting in like a hungry animal. In all of a sudden, everyone's attention was drawn to Alback and the celebrations went silent as the hero was wildly eating this heart. Once he finished eating, everyone just continued to look as a great silence covered the area. Alback then started coughing a bit and dropped to the ground on his knees. Soldiers and honor guard knights rushed to his side but were stopped by Sir Benedict. "Everyone stay back!" Benedict shouted. Alback's muscles started boiling as he completely fell in the ground, rolling while screaming in pain until he became unconscious while his muscles continued to boil.
He was taken into the burnt city for rest.
The next morning Alback woke up. He got out and was greeted by Benedict who gave him a gauntlet. He was asked to punch a Greek shield with all his strength. Surprisingly Alback punched a hole right through the shield; the dragon strength had worked and now the hero had superhuman strength.
Alback gathered his victorious forces and instead of heading to Sparta decided to chase Jabahal down. His spies were confident that the bulk of Jabahal's forces had built a citadel at the cliffs of the Black sea, east of Transylvania. With Sir Hector's additional recruits and Thaddeus of Corinth joining, Alback felt their forces would suffice to face the coalition again.
At the other side, Jabahal and Veloci fled North, into the mountains where Veloci offered his brother to read the book he stole from Thebes' library. The book was a short grimoire solely focused on portals. Lord Jabahal wasn’t Arcane Master of the sorcerers’ guild for nothing. After spending only two full days studying and practicing, he finely mastered the book’s instructions and teachings on portals. Despite the loss on the battlefield at Corinth, the failed attempt to find what he needed on blood magic and Sir Benedict finding a silencing technique, Jabahal was still glad his brother could make up for them with this grimoire. These portals would mean he could move his army straight across the Black sea without sailing and enter Asia Minor. Marching his army would be meaningless as all he had to do from now on would be create a large enough portal and essentially teleport his army around.
For his first long range attempt, the arcane lord created a portal for himself and Veloci with a destination straight to the Black Sea cliffs. They entered it, but once they arrived, there was no citadel. This was hardly Jabahal’s fault though as he had no precise coordinates. However, over just an hour of jumping around the area with his portals he found and reached their semi-constructed citadel and army. With his new techniques, the lord had just come up with new ideas too.
Edit: Aug 13, 11 11:38am
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|Tiger of Wu||
Aug 24, 11 at 9:38am ^re: The Chronicles
A Quiet Visit
... by his standards
"Maggot," Basis shouted. Danog practically fell over in shock, before immediately turning and saluting. Realising there was actually no reason to do so, he relaxed.
"Basis," he greeted, continuing in his stride as the child appeared in the centre of the city. "I believe Malali and Emote are-"
"Bedroom as always, yeah," he stated completely dryly, looking confused when Other chuckled at the observation. Leaving Danog to his business Basis ran towards the palace, shouting for all the squishy and tender people to clear the way. "Mally!" he yelled as he entered the palace. He heard a quiet sigh coming from the bedroom and he went towards it.
"You shouldn't get too close, Basis," Other stated. He was, of course, ignored.
"Mally, I need to use your bathroom to have a bath."
"Why?" Malali asked in reply, keeping her voice very quiet.
"Because Basis's bathroom broke."
"Why not use another bathroom in the Wisper HQ?" Though the Nightelf kept her volume low, it was easy to hear her annoyance and frustration.
"Because every Wisper bathroom all broked as well."
"How?" Malali asked. Even without Basis' hearing it would have been easy to tell just how hard she was refraining from yelling.
"Because Basis broked them," Basis replied, grinning.
"You arrogant little-" Malali began, shouting loudly, before realising she was shouting and silencing herself. It was too late, however. The shout vibrated throughout the room and, through his hearing, it gave Basis a clear sight of what Malali and Emote were engaged in before he interrupted them.
Screaming, "Ew, ew, ew, ew," repeatedly, Basis turned and ran away as fast as he could.
"I warned you," Other stated.
It was ten minutes later when Emote, as Joy, found Basis. He was in the corner of the city's main bar holding his legs up to his chest, rocking back and forth. An unopened bottle of Seery's Hard Liquor sat next to him. "Hey Bas'!" Joy merrily greeted. Basis shuddered and pulled his legs in closer.
"Dirty lady stays away from Basis," the man-child whispered, grimacing. "Dirty lady was doing bad things with Basis' wife." Joy grinned, unable to stop herself. A large towel was around her neck and she used it to playfully cover her face, as if it would actually hide it from Basis. When she saw no change in his attitude she sat next to him; he shuffled away slightly.
"It's not what you think, Basis," she explained, playing with the towel. "It's just that... well, me and Mally like-"
"No!" Basis yelled, holding up a finger. "Dirty lady does not get to say Mally's name like that." Understandingly, Joy nodded.
"I'm sorry. Me and Malali like each other a lot, and so we were just doing what people who like each other a lot do. I know she's your wife, but you're in another universe most of the time, and... well, stuff happens."
"Basis understands," he sincerely said. "Basis has done it as well, with people like Ion and a tentacle monster and some rats once, but Basis would never do it in front of Mally." Basis looked at his feet with disappointment as Joy stared at him blankly.
"Basis guesses Basis should get used to the fact Mally can get lonely. She has to fight other people sometimes as well," wistfully, the man-child sighed.
"Right, yes," Joy nodded hurriedly. "Fighting, exactly, fighting."
"Maybe Mally could teach Basis her new punching technique?" he excitedly asked. Joy blushed as she giggled.
"Possibly later." Standing, she tossed the towel to Basis who easily caught it. "The bathroom you can use is three doors down from the kitchen in the palace. I shall inform Maitrey to organise you some clothes, and for that which you are wearing to be cleaned." Joy leaned forward and picked up the bottle of Seery's Hard Liquor.
"Hey Emu," Basis began, looking up at Emote. "... thanks." The goddess sweetly nodded before teleporting away.
"This bath doesn't have any toys," Basis observed in frustration. He jumped out of the bath, ignoring the fact he was spattering water and suds everywhere. He looked at the hooks on the wall upon which Maitrey, the head maid and Emote's most trusted servant, had left a pair of children's jeans and a child's t-shirt with a silhouette of a superhero and the words, 'Limey Man', printed upon it, as well as a pair of underwear. Basis looked at them as if they were the most complex puzzle in the world.
"This is a bad idea," Other stated.
"You always say that!" Basis shouted aloud.
"I'm always right."
"It's simple logic!" Basis argued, clearly agitated and agitating himself further but doing nothing to stop it. "Basis cannot have a bath without toys to play with, so Basis must find toys. Basis cannot wear clean clothes without having a bath, so I cannot wear those ones." He pointed towards the clothes as if the action meant anything. "And Basis' dirty clothes are off being cleaned, so Basis cannot wear them either."
"Basis, it's a terrible idea," Other repeated.
"No, it's the only possible way. Don't worry, Mr. Otter, Basis shall be silent and hidden, like Mally, like Solid Snake!"
"You might want to reconsider Solid Snake."
Shrugging, Basis walked towards the door and he knocked it repeatedly, using the vibrations to see into the hallway and palace beyond. Sure the coast was clear, he opened the door and ran out, stark bollock naked.
"Sssuvi, Sssuvi, little birrrdy," Firine giggled, spinning around the bird. He pulled his wings in closer and sadly looked at the demon who spun, practically dancing. "Ssstill all alone, ssstill uselesss." The demon laughed louder as the Rukh pulled his wing over his face and tightened his body into a smaller shape.
"Sister," Firinar began, pointing outwardly from the stables, Suvi's current, makeshift home. "Is that..." he trailed off, unable to finish.
"It looksss like Basisss... naked... sssprinting... laughing... with gunsss..." Firine stated slowly, just as dumbstruck.
"Of course it is," Firinar finished, watching as the child ran with pride. Firine shook her head and then turned back to Suvi.
Basis walked into the kitchen, in which Emote and Malali stood. The former took the form of Hatred and the latter was rummaging through the kitchen's large refrigerator. Basis cleared his throat and slowly both Emote and Malali turned to look at him. He stared back at them, through his blindfold, and he spoke. "Basis is..." the child paused, looking from goddess to Nightelf. "Clean." He finished. Malali shook her head when she saw the obnoxiously bright green t-shirt that Joy had picked out for him. Even outside of the bedroom, she had a rather persistent sadistic side.
"Well done," Hatred sneered. "Now perhaps you can conjure the brain power to go home."
"What ya doing?" the child asked, ignoring Hatred. The goddess looked to Malali and the Nightelf shook her head, at which point Hatred grinned, a rarity for the form.
"It has been a long time since Malali has spent time with Basis."
"The more the merrier!"
"Look at the expression on her face! Do it."
"We're preparing for a picnic, Basis," Hatred stated dryly, her voice not showing her minuscule amount of happiness. Malali sighed. "Would you like to join us?"
Basis said nothing in reply, he simply walked towards a counter, grabbed a nearby loaf of bread and then set it down, collecting buns and baguettes around it. After a few moments of intense staring, he proceed to quickly open a drawer and grab a knife and then rummage through cabinets, grabbing jars and placing them around the bread. He assaulted the fridge next, Malali hesitantly moving for him, and after grabbing chicken, ham, doclu and beef joints, he ran back to his sammich station and crafted various sandwiches with unnatural speed.
Malali shook her head and playfully, but still frustratedly, punched Emote in the arm. Hatred responded in kind, sending the Nightelf into the wall. Her hand reached for Kaavel, dutifully at her waist, but she released it with a scowl and then stood, continuing to gather things for the picnic, and a few other things for Basis. Once he was done with the sandwiches and they were packed, Basis was given a red jumper to keep warm on the journey and the three of them left for the stables.
"Sssuvi, Sssuvi, little birrrdy," echoed as they approached. "Unwanted, sssad, sss-... sshhit." Firine turned around and she saw Malali, Emote and Basis. Behind them Firinar stood shaking as if electrocuted, already silenced, unable to warn his sister of their approach. "Uselesss cun-" Malali buried the blade of Firine's kama into her head, and she faded back into the weapon.
"Taunt him again and you will burn along with our contract," Malali stated, staring at the kama as Firinar faded out of physicality and back into his kama as well. She placed the weapons onto her belt and then signalled for Suvi to rise with her arm. Slowly, hesitantly, the Rukh moved its wing from its face and then stood. He stretched his legs, keeping the act contained, trying not to draw further attention to himself.
Basis ran to Suvi and then jumped atop his back, ignoring the fact he had no saddle. Suvi shrunk, turning his head slightly, clearly uncomfortable. "Basis is a knight of the bubbly table and you, big bird, are my valiant steed," Basis stated, tussling his feathers. They stood unmoving, Suvi looking from Basis to Malali and then back, and again. Malali nodded; Suvi knew where they were going, and Basis was a handful but he was trustworthy... mostly. "Come on," Basis whispered. "Big bird is Basis' valiant steed. Basis needs you; let's go!" With a merry chirp, Suvi shuffled past Malali and Emote who moved for him and then he and Basis took off, flying north. Malali and Emote, still as Hatred, exited the stable and then the goddess grabbed the Nightelf.
"We'll join when we can," she stated, before spinning and throwing Malali into the sky, towards the same direction that Suvi and Basis had went.
"Where are you going?" Danog asked, not letting go of Maitrey's robotic hand.
"I doubt Basis cleaned up after himself," she responded, slipping her feet into sandals. Danog groaned.
"I thought we could spend some time together before Lady Emote returns. If she comes back as Hatred you know that she'll keep us apart."
"Well I must clean it before she returns, so if you want to spend time together, assist me." Danog groaned again, louder, but he threw himself off of the sofa and followed as his fiancé led him towards the palace's main bathroom. When they entered, they saw what appeared to be the scene of a massacre, minus the blood or bodies. Chunks were broken out of the wall, the bath was in eight different pieces and the floor was covered in water, which somehow hadn't leaked into the hallway. A pile of alien guns sat in the middle of the room. "How did no-one hear whatever caused this?" Maitrey asked, fixing a lampshade that was hanging from the wall.
"Forget it, you're on your own," Danog stated, beginning to leave the room before Maitrey pulled him back in.
Suvi landed at the picnic spot with a happy chirp as he saw Malali. Basis could utter only, "Fwuh?" before looking from Malali to the sky to Malali again. "Teleportation?" he asked. Malali shook her head. "Time manipulation?" Malali shook her head again. "Did Hatred throw you?" Malali nodded, and Basis stroked his chin in wonder. "Do you think she'll throw me?"
"I trust that she has been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time, Basis," Malali replied as she pulled Firinar and Firine from her belt. She approached Suvi with them and the bird shied away, until she glared sternly and he shyly shuffled towards her. She placed the possessed, chained weapons around Suvi's neck. "They're unable to move for at least a day. Drop them in the ocean somewhere, preferably cold, and then return to us." Suvi looked at the weapons around his neck with fear, then he saw Malali's stern glare again and he quickly took off.
It wasn't long before Joy appeared in a puff of blue smoke, grinning. "We made Hatred have an argument with Danog so that we could change faster," she explained smugly. Her smile faded when she looked at the food basket which Malali had been carrying. "I'm sure we packed more than that," she stated, scratching her head.
"Most of it fell out when you decided to throw me here," the Nightelf replied, stern glare still on her face.
"So what do we have?" Joy asked.
"Two cakes, an apple, a juice-box, a bottle of some stuff and one super-Basis sammich!" Basis yelled, striking a pose because shit obviously just got real. "Basis doesn't eat Basis' own masterpieces, it's too sad, so lesbians can share it."
"No, Emote can have it," Malali stated, causing Basis to frown slightly. Joy shrugged and the three of them sat down, Emote taking the sandwich and Basis going for the juice-box.
"Basis has been working on a battle-technique," Basis stated, to which Malali said a silent prayer for whatever Deity would listen to grant her patience. "What Basis will do is jump in front of a Challenge and then clap in their face really loud, blinding them!"
"Not everyone has sound vision, Bas-"
"Like this!" Basis dived in front of Malali and then fell backwards into her, clapping his hands together with as much strength as he could muster, seemingly unaware that he was still holding the juice-box. What resulted needs no description.
After a short scuffle involving the words, "I'm going to jam that straw into your eyeball you little shit," things eventually calmed. Basis was going to town on one of the two cakes, Malali was enjoying a rather lush apple with the occasional swig of Doclu wine and Emote finally took a bite out of the super-Basis sammich. She tried not to show how much she wanted to spit it out.
"Basis," she began. "What's in this sandwich?"
"Schicken, shayad, maynass and schilli shauche," Basis replied, mouth full of cake. Joy slowly nodded as Suvi returned and Basis jumped up from the cake and ran towards the bird. Suvi hesitantly backed away, and then launched into a full-scale run (as much as he could, at least) away from the man-child. As the chase ensued Emote opened the sandwich and showed it to Malali, who took another swig of wine.
"Why do you think I let you have it?" Malali asked in amusement. "Basis' vision doesn't allow him to read labels." Joy laughed and then shook her head, looking at the super-Basis chicken, noodle, peanut butter and mayonnaise sammich as the child ignorantly ran around with Suvi.
"Well he got two right, at least," she stated, taking another bite.
It was late at night when Malali, Emote, Basis and Suvi returned to the city. Emote was still as Joy so she offered to quick-step everyone back, but Basis preferred to ride his trusty steed. Suvi had gotten used to him enough to oblige. Though Malali occasionally slurred something about wanting to ride Suvi as well, empty bottle in her hand, Joy decided it would be better if she took her instead.
As Basis returned to the stables with Suvi, he found Danog waiting for him. "Lady Emote wished me to tell you that she and Malali have already retired, and you are welcome to stay at the tavern inn as her guest," he stated. He had tried to stroke Suvi but the bird still didn't like him, and as soon as Basis dismounted he scurried to his bed and curled himself up. Danog shrugged and turned back to Basis. "She added that you are only welcome to stay as her guest as long as you pay to repair the damages you did to the bathroom." Basis pulled his pockets inside out.
"No can do, maggot."
"Well... then repair them yourself," Danog stated exasperatedly, turning and leaving. Basis looked to Suvi and grinned.
"What are you doing?" ... "No, the book said you had to put your leg higher."
"Try harder!" ... "Does that help?"
"Shut up." ... "Not so hard, you'll break something."
The door to Emote and Malali's bedroom broke open, and Basis ran into the room with his fingers in his ears. "Lalalalalala," he shouted, not wanting to see whatever it was the goddess and Nightelf were doing. Blinded, he ran into the wardrobe head-on and knocked himself unconscious.
"Hey Basis, Basis, big brother, Other, both of you, maybe even the third guy if he chills out buthe needstolearn tosharehiscandyotherwise-"
"What are you doing here?" Other asked as he awoke, seeing Quick-Step, the third child of the Basis Program.
"I live here, it's nice and I keep my things hereand thecolourscheme matchesmylikeofth-"
"Where is here?" Other continued, rubbing his head. Quick-Step shook his head so fast that all normal eyes would have been able to see was a skin-coloured blur atop a neck.
"Can't tell, it's secret, but it's safe, safe and Isavedyou andcolourfuland Dakuwon'tbeabletohurtyou andshecanfindusan-"
"She? Is Shell coming here?"
"Youdon'tremembershegotyouan-" Other reached out and grabbed Quick-Step, causing him to fall silent.
"Who is she?" he asked. Quick-Step smiled and began to shake vigorously.
"She is back, big brother, she is back and she'sgoing tosaveus andshecanbringustogetheran-"
"Who is back!?" Other practically screamed, knowing the answer but having to hear it.
"Bigger sister is back, big brother," Quick-Step stated, still vibrating within Other's hands. Genepool-2. "She's back andshe'scoming tosaveus."
Haunting words echoed within Other's and Basis' shared mind. "It is a bad day to live."
"I told you to just let it go. We should have repaired it ourselves," Malali stated, sipping some tea, clearly tired. Anger stood and looked into the bathroom, which was still a complete mess, haphazardly put back together with bubble-wrap and duct tape. "But no, you had to-" A wisp of red energy knocked Malali's tea up into her face, and soon afterwards Emote's hair was set alight. Danog and Maitrey watched nearby.
"Let's not fight like that when we're married," Danog said, looking down at Maitrey's robotic arm. Anger turned towards the two of them.
"Who just called us married!?" she ferociously spat, some hair still burning. Danog quickly kissed Maitrey's cheek and then turned and ran for his life.
[color=#666666]This message was edited on 2011-10-05T05:00:32-07:00.
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Aug 25, 11 at 2:41pm ^re: The Chronicles
Skahrscherad and the murder
Strongbeak had been so named because he was the first of his clutch to break shell, and his mother had been a very optimistic crow. Her hope, in this case, had been misplaced, as Strongbeak did not seem intent to live up to his name. As crows went, he was peaceful, and a little slow. Not ideal. If not for Skahrscherad’s guidance and magic, he would probably have had a bad meeting with a fox’s teeth many years previously.
He was old, for a crow, but the concept of age wasn’t one that really touched crows until a member of the flock was old. He, like the rest of the murder, was aware that they had lived for a long time. Longer, certainly, than most crows. But he didn’t see himself as ‘old’. He simply saw himself as being, until such a time as he no longer was. Things were simple for Strongbeak.
Unless, of course, Skahrscherad was asking after him.
He was perched on the branch of a tree, bobbing his head in time with the murder’s guardian’s descriptions of ‘things’ he wanted Strongbeak to procure. Some of them weren’t things the crows had ‘words’ for, and they were always the toughest to find. Things of man, usually. Strongbeak had never wasted his time attempting to understand the rapidly changing society of man. He knew that they were dangerous, and that sometimes they gave him food, and that was good enough for him. It was a point of view that amused Skahrscherad, although he had never quite learned why.
“...And a large silver cup, shaped like a chalice,” Skahrscherad finished. “Can you find all of those things for me?” Strongbeak blinked his black eyes once and thought about them.
“Think so,” he agreed. “Will try. Now, or is fine later?” Skahrscherad made an odd noise that was almost a cluck, ruffling his feathers up as he thought.
“As quickly as you can manage, but there is no rush,” he responded. Strongbeak let out a caw of acknowledgement, then took off.
He went to talk to Runs-by-rivers. She always knew if they had to be somewhere soon, so he liked to check with her before he left the murder for any sizable length of time.
She was sat at the foot of a large tree, her broken wing stretched out to her side. That was the position it hurt the least in, he supposed.
“You’re leaving,” she told him before he could say anything. He bobbed his head in response, surprised, and she began to preen her feathers. “You have a place to be. Should go,” she finished. Strongbeak blinked, then bobbed his head again and started to Look for things.
Strongbeak had a little bag that he wore around his neck when he went hunting. He hadn’t liked it much to start off, just like he didn’t much like the ring around his leg, but Skahrscherad had told him it was safe and he’d found it useful. The wizard had called it a make-lighter, make-smaller bag, but all Strongbeak knew was that he could put things in it and make them disappear, and then Skahrscherad could find them again later, which was good enough for him.
He found the plants first. Plants were easy to find, and he understood what he needed to get better than most of the things Skahrscherad asked him for. It was always nice to start a potentially frustrating search with some easy successes.
He was halfway through pulling plants up with his beak when it happened. He heard a coo. He looked up.
A pigeon was watching him with the intently vapid stare that only pigeons could manage. At least it was a wood pigeon, and thus fairly well-kempt by pigeons standards, unlike those scratty city pigeons with messed-up feet and dirty feathers and – he repressed a shudder – all kinds of lice.
“Go away,” he told it. It cooed at him and tilted its head, but didn’t go away. “Mine. Go away,” Strongbeak repeated, but the pigeon was hopelessly oblivious. It walked towards him, head bobbing in time with its steps. Strongbeak didn’t really understand pigeons. Then again, he doubted the pigeons understood themselves either. Pigeons didn’t seem to understand anything. “What do you want?” he asked, shifting his weight from one claw to the other. The pigeon bobbed its head some more and continued to watch him, so Strongbeak gave up on it and went back to his plants.
It followed him.
Every time he took off to find another plant, even when he started to venture into the nearest human-inhabited place for some of Skahrscherad’s more specific things, it followed him. The damn thing was the most determined pigeon in the world, and poor Strongbeak had absolutely no idea why. Every time he told it to go away, it would just blink at him and bob its head. It was worryingly persistent.
“Silver chalice,” Strongbeak murmured, focussing on the description Skahrscherad had given him of the last item on his want list. He couldn’t get a fix on anything like it for a while, then he got a flash of a location, then nothing again. That meant it was being moved, which also meant it was probably being used. Just his luck.
“Coo,” said the pigeon. Strongbeak gave it the most evil look he could muster. He was pretty sure only male pigeons cooed, at least like that. Was it mating season? He hoped the pigeon wasn’t blind enough to have mistaken him for a female pigeon.
“Go away,” he repeated.
“Coo,” the pigeon repeated back. Strongbeak ruffled his feathers in irritation. Longwing and Cuts-with-claws would have a field day if they ever found out he’d been stalked by a pigeon.
Undeterred, Strongbeak took off, heading for where he’d briefly found the chalice. The pigeon, of course, followed him, and landed next to him on the fence that ringed the back garden of a half-house. Skahrscherad called them semis. There were people inside, one of the small one with its face pressed up against the window.
“Coo,” suggested the pigeon. Strongbeak decided to call him Bob, because of the way he bobbed his head. It was easier than just thinking of him as ‘the pigeon’.
“You have it easy,” he informed him, peering at the house. There were no open windows that he could see, and after one nasty experience where he’d tried to fly through glass, he wasn’t keen to test it. There was a cat flap, but that also meant there was a cat. Besides, humans didn’t respond well to birds inside their nests. Strongbeak was fed up of people trying to hit him with brooms and mops. One angry male had once tried to shoot him, too. He hadn’t liked that.
He settled down to wait. So did Bob, which was quite a feat of patience from a pigeon. He waited until he heard the big metal death machine rumble at the front, and until he had very definitely seen the cat leave the flap and prowl away down the street, then fluttered down and went inside.
So did Bob.
“Go away!” he hissed, and he’d lost track of the number of times he’d said it. He wasn’t certain, but he was sure the coo the pigeon emitted this time was faintly self-satisfied.
Resigned, Strongbeak hopped down the corridor and into the kitchen, bright eyes glancing around for any sign of the chalice. He saw it, up on the draining board, and made a victorious noise as he flew up and wrestled it into Skahrscherad’s special bag.
“Coo,” Bob remarked, hopping over to the bowls and pecking at them.
“There’s no time to eat the cat’s food,” Strongbeak told him. Bob just did that irritating head-tilt and continued to try and break the cat food into bite-size chunks. Strongbeak fluttered to the floor, then realised something that Bob probably hadn’t intended to point out, but had anyway.
There were two bowls.
Fear wasn’t something new to Strongbeak, but it certainly wasn’t a pleasant sensation to revisit. He flew back to the cat flap as fast as he could, Bob still following despite the food on easy offer in front of him. He didn’t stop flying until he was well out of sight of the house, and stayed in the tree he’d come to rest in for quite some time, trying to catch his breath. He hadn’t even looked behind to see if Bob had followed him – although he had. Strongbeak was not Hooktalon. He was under no illusions about his chances if he encountered even one cat. They never let you go. Sometimes they pretended to, just to catch you again. They were dangerous, cats, and Strongbeak didn’t like dangerous things.
“Coo,” Bob remarked. The crow looked at him. He didn’t seem particularly out of breath.
“Smug sheller,” Strongbeak complained. Bob blinked at him, his lack of comprehension painfully obvious. Strongbeak sighed, and took off for home.
“You got everything. Good work,” Skahrscherad congratulated him when he had finished looking through the bag’s contents. “I’m impressed.” Strongbeak puffed up his feathers proudly, before a concerned coo made him deflate again. Skahrscherad glanced in the direction of the noise, and made a weary noise, dismissing it. Strongbeak, however, flew down to where Longwing was doing his level best to peck out all of Bob’s feathers.
“D-don’t be mean,” Strongbeak told him firmly. Longwing gave him a derisive look.
“It’s a pigeon,” he pointed out. Strongbeak cawed angrily, which didn’t faze Longwing even a little bit. “Pigeons are tasty,” he added. Bob seemed to understand that one, as he hopped backwards a few steps.
“Might have lice,” Strongbeak returned. Longwing shuddered. “Besides, Cuts-with-claws will laugh at you if she hears you’re reduced to attacking pigeons.” Longwing glanced at Bob, who cooed, the threat apparently already forgotten.
“It’s a pigeon,” he reminded Strongbeak once more. “Crows have no business protecting pigeons.” Strongbeak glowered, although he too hopped back when Longwing turned a vicious look on him. “You chatter well, but you couldn’t shell a seed if you were starving,” the younger crow mocked, raking his claws on the ground in amusement. “Go well with the pigeon. You’re both entirely dense.” He cackled. “Let’s call him that. Entirely Dense.”
“His name is Bob,” Strongbeak disagreed, ashamed of how small he sounded.
“Edee. Entirely Dense!” Longwing returned with a chuckle. “I thought magpies were supposed to pick up shiny things, anyway.” He looked at Bob again, then up in the trees, where Skahrscherad watched with a disapproving expression on his face. “Not worth it,” he decided, and took off.
“Coo,” Bob told Strongbeak, before spearing a worm that had broken the surface, tricked into thinking it was raining by Longwing’s prancing.
“He’s scary,” Strongbeak responded, hoping he was agreeing with the pigeon.
Bob gave him half the worm.
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|Tiger of Wu||
Oct 07, 11 at 8:35pm ^re: The Chronicles
Love Rhymes with Hideous Car Wreck
"M'lady, it's coming from Malali's bunker," Maitrey explained, pointing towards the flashing light in the distance of which she spoke. "I thought it unwise to send anyone to investigate without your consultation." Emote, as Hatred, nodded.
"I will go," she stated simply before jumping down from the high wall of the city, landing with a loud thud on the hard dirt. The flashing light was red in colour and bright enough to be seen in daylight from even Emote's palace; it flashed every five seconds for one second at a time. Malali was currently away from the city, looking into the aftermath and repercussions of Amadeth's actions in Australia. Emote would usually respect her privacy, but she also couldn't allow something so foreboding to shadow over her city, especially since Malali could be away for weeks or months at a time.
"So, do we have a spare key, or-"
Upon reaching the bunker's entrance Hatred raised her foot and kicked the metallic door open with ease, the keypad mechanism spitting sparks like a dying man coughing blood. Immediately the door rebounded off of the wall and slammed shut again, then it was held closed by the gun turrets which hung from the ceiling and shot at it, trying to get to the intruder. Hatred grabbed the door's handle and then slammed her shoulder into the side of it, ripping it from its hinges. Holding the door as a shield she descended down the stairs, bullets ricocheting back into the bunker, and upon reaching the turrets she took them both out with the door in a single swipe. Casually she tossed the door down into the bunker, squinting as red light filled the room every five seconds. As she walked down the final few steps and into the bunker, the light fell dead.
The large monitor of the huge computer in the room, either lucky enough to not be hit by the ricocheting bullets or resilient enough to not be affected by them, lit up. Upon it was the image of a dwarf who was all too familiar to Emote. "Do you have permission to be here, goddess?" Arimus the dwarf asked, looking sternly at Hatred. She made no attempt at a reply. "Regardless, the fact you're here means Malali could not be. I ask you to pass what you're about to see onto her as soon as you possibly can."
"Wait, is he still alive, or-"
"This is an automated message, I do not know what you're about to see or hear, but it will be of grave importance and from the IUA. Try to treat it with the severity it deserves." For a moment the screen turned black, then it was replaced by the image of a reptilian creature with translucent scales wearing the uniform of an Inter-Universal Alliance officer, standing in what appeared to be an armoury.
"Malali," the creature, known as Darish, rasped towards the screen. "We require your help." And so Darish went on to explain the situation, believing his message would be given directly to Malali. "We know of no other who can fix this, and we implore you to aid these people. The teleporter pad within this bunker has, to my understanding, been modified to act as a void-rip; I trust you still have a few stabilizers, so take one with you. If there are none, we will send an extraction ship once the situation has been resolved." Once again, the screen turned black.
"So are we going to tell her, or-"
"Stop doing that!"
Hatred searched the bunker until she found a stabilizer, then she put it around her neck and stepped onto the teleporter pad. Before she could figure out how it worked, she vanished.
"Are you another who has come promising salvation that you cannot deliver?" a man, who appeared to be some kind of red elf, asked.
"I promise nothing," Hatred replied, quickly getting to her feet; the teleportation had caused her to stumble and fall upon re-materialisation.
"A refreshing change," the elf continued. Emote observed that the tips of his long ears, poking out from beneath his light blue hair, and fingers were purple. "So why do you come to us? You do not wear the clothing of the others, and your magic is beyond the limits of the Ones of Night."
"Consider it reconnaissance," Hatred practically spat, finally taking in her surroundings. Crucified in the clearing were the corpses of creatures, humanoid, appearing half-way between human and elf. They had blue skin and dark blue hair, and the few with slack jaws revealed sharp fangs within their mouths.
"Reconnaissance?" the red elf repeated, ignoring Emote's reactions to the corpses of what were, the goddess assumed, Ones of Night.
"I know of one who can help, and I can send her here."
"Ah, so you are another come to promise false salvation. Unless if she who you speak of is a hybrid, then neither you nor she can help." The red elf, elderly and with colourful robes, slowly shook his head as he turned and began to walk away.
"You call her a hybrid," Emote began. "But I know her as a nightelf." The red elf stopped suddenly and turned back to Emote. "The offspring of your kind and the Ones of Night," Hatred explained, sneering. "Red and blue becomes purple. They are less elf-like than you, and more elf-like than the others. Correct?" The red elf stared downwards, then looked into Emote's eyes as Hatred morphed into Sorrow. He said nothing about it; apparently shape-shifting was common in his world.
"Please," he began, slowly and quietly. "Follow me."
The red elf, whom Emote assumed to be the elder of his clan, led the goddess back through his village. It was protected by high stone walls and consisted mostly of makeshift huts, shacks and tents. The people wore extravagant jewellery, the kind only city-folk with time to spare would indulge in, and their clothing was made of fine and complicated materials. These were no tribals, it was clear they had been run out of wherever they were previously living... but there were so few of them. 'Are there not any others left?'
"There are a few others who have formed villages like this," the red elf stated as he walked, as if he could hear Emote's thoughts. "But their standing is unknown to us. They were to act as decoys for the Ones of Night whilst we camped around and defended the Temple of the Old Ones. Which is where I'm taking you now." They stayed silent for the rest of the walk, until they reached the Temple of the Old Ones. "Observe these markings, shape-shifter." The red elf ran his hands over said markings. They portrayed a crudely drawn image of what appeared to be five elves bowing down to a moon. "At first we thought it to mean that in order to end the wars between us and the Ones of Night, we would have to join them in their beliefs, and worship the Dull Sun. We sent four ambassadors to see if they could be reasoned with, two males and two females, and after a year we were sent their heads and four children... the first of the hybrids."
In place of Sorrow appeared Love. "And what was their significance?"
"The prophecy states that in times of great agony, the Temple of the Old Ones will open to those who are pure and deliver the world into a new age of peace. This temple has not opened once in all of recorded history... but it opened for the hybrid children. I am the only one to enter the temple and escape alive; it tests the mind, the body and the soul of those who enter it, and only those of the greatest strength are permitted to continue. So, believing it our only choice, we raised and trained the hybrid children and, when they were ready, we sent them into the temple together."
"And you never saw them again?"
"... no. Upon learning of this, the Ones of Night increased the frequency of their raids, and increased the number of those they take alive. If they were to get through the temple, to get to the Old Ones, they would surely kill them, and in turn destroy not only my people but themselves as well." The red elf fell silent and Love stood in thought for a while.
"And you say this temple tests the mind, body and soul of those who enter it?" she asked, eyebrow arched.
"It makes you face your greatest fears, forces you to relive your darkest memories; my own survival was dependant on my guards, who gave their lives so that I would escape. We believed the hybrids to be able to get through the temple with greater ease, but they have surely perished as well." The red elf sighed. "Tell me, shape-shifter, will you contact your hybrid, this nightelf? Will you deliver us our salvation?"
"Mally would enjoy being able to punch The Deathknight in the head again, even if it's not really him."
"No reward? Don't bother."
"Like you even need my vote anymore; fuck 'em all and let Myrmidon sort them out."
"Malali will be ang-g-gry if we d-don't tell her, so we sh-should."
"Hey, Love, we need a tie-breaker over here."
"Just hurry up and say it, you daft bitch."
"... no, I shall not," Love finally stated. The red elf's eyes widened.
"You would willingly allow us to perish!?" he shouted.
"To save her the pain of her greatest fears and darkest memories, I would kill you myself." Love looked from the supposed elder to the temple. "Good luck, red elf." She yanked the stabilizer from around her neck, disappearing from whatever world she was on.
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Oct 17, 11 at 12:28pm ^re: The Chronicles
Chase tries to explain...
I get a lot of questions on how exactly I do the things I do. “How do you make the water twist and turn?” They ask. “How do you make it freeze and thaw just the way you want?” I sometimes reply that the power of my deities is responsible, that it is the blessing of Meliana and nothing more. That’s a copout answer though. People see me make the motions and take the stances and think there’s something more, and they’re right.
It’s hard to explain really, at least at this point. If someone had asked me 8 years ago I probably could have explained it in detail, when I first came to the temples of my god and goddess for training. It’s a beautiful place, Meliana’s shrine, built into a cliff overhanging the ocean. The buildings go right back into the rock, all polished wood and stone. Water cascades down every wall, pools filled with lilies and flowers in each room. But I am letting myself become distracted.
Coming back to my original point, it is hard to explain just how exactly I manipulate the liquid. This isn’t like in the stories, where magicians must use exact gestures and incantations to perform spells. It’s more like... like the water is a part of me, an extension of my will. When I want to split a stream in half for instance, I don’t think about the movements. I just visualise what I want to happen, and my body reacts instinctively. Asking me how I do these things is like asking someone else how to move a limb or say a word, you don’t think about it, you just do it.
That isn’t to say that it just happens, of course. When you first choose which of the divine to follow, you are trained to master the gifts given to you. Each deity does it differently, even twins like Meliana and Marooma. Personally instructed by the goddess, I learnt all the movements and gestures, but that’s the easy part. The difficulty comes in learning to do them all without thinking. Try to command the water consciously and you won’t even cause a ripple. It has to be instinct, impulse, or else the element won’t respond at all.
I only experienced a handful of the techniques Meliana uses to help her followers master her blessings. Relaxing herbs and mixtures, meditation, anything to help me lower my guard and break down the barriers established within my mind. It took some time, but in the end I succeeded, just like all the other initiates. It was a proud day when I could fill a chalice without touching it, Meliana watching as I did so. The small smile she gave me then is one of my most treasured memories, and something I can always recall in moments of hardship.
I...I suppose I don’t get asked these questions any more now. Ever since I awoke to this new world it’s been important for me to keep my presence hidden. The people here aren’t curious about the gods, they don’t even know they exist. Sometimes I even doubt it myself, that my past is nothing but some elaborate fantasy, that none of it actually happened.
But then I bend the water, and know that my gods are out there somewhere, waiting for me.
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Nov 20, 11 at 2:30pm ^re: The Chronicles
Last Days On Earth: The Third Last Day
“Which would you rather? Death, or burning out?”
The words echoed above the laughter; malicious, angry, hateful.
“It shouldn’t concern you,” was his only response to the mocking lights.
“Tell us where it is or get shot!” The voices echoed. Only then did he notice the two women tied up, both looking remarkably similar aside from their eyes.
“You kill without remorse yet you can't bear to watch me do the same” again they laughed at him.
“Slaughtering the weak and pure...”
“No, don't do it!” He screamed as a man made from the lights walked forward with a sword. The watcher couldn't do anything but observe the fateful scene take place. The sword of light pierced one of the bound woman through the gut. Blood spurted from the wound and spat from her mouth as the blade slipped in and out the body.
“Ha, I’m going to make you suffer for a thousand life times at his request!”
The light snickered at him.
While one woman bled across the vast nothingness the other slowly rotted, falling away till there was nothing more than a maggoty corpse standing vilely before him.
“I’m sorry,” The onlooker said falling to his knees.
“Prove it,” the light spat. “Show me.”
The Laughter resumed.
Johno bolted upright in distress. His forehead and chest were coated in sweat. His breath was heavy and his limbs trembled weakly. Staring at his hands he tried to calm his furiously pounding heart rate. The nightmares were getting worse!
It took many moments for Jonathan's muscles to relax from the erratic twitching. Once he was relieved of the tension caused from the horrid and vivid dreams; he looked over to the other side of the bed where; Christelle rested sleeping tranquilly, completely oblivious. At least his sudden rise hadn't woken her, she appeared rather peaceful in her slumber.
Pulling the blanket off to free his body Johno twisted off the bed and stood in the morning light filtering through the nearby blinds. With a quick search of the floor he found his suitcase. Digging through it's contents he grabbed a pair of pants and a shirt, throwing them over his shoulder and wandered to the en-suite.
After a cold shower and changing into his new set of clothes he left the bathroom to once more seek his suitcase. The oaf had forgotten his razor to shave his ever persistent stubble. In the bedroom however he noticed an odd anomaly, his Stone Dagger was glowing black. He remembered the exact same thing occurring in the hospital the day before. It wasn't really a glow, more the exact opposite. Rather than emitting light, it swallowed all luminance, looking like a pulsating shadow. The hazy dark non-light was slowly fading. Picking up the weapon the shade returned back to the stone allowing the light to filter in-between the blinds once more. 'Wonder what the heck that's all about?'
Replacing the dagger into it's sheath and attached the both of his weapon holsters to his leather belt. After another glance at the sleeping Christelle Johno departed the room.
The oil in the pan sizzled away as the sausages spat and burst allowing the aroma of meat to fill the kitchen. Using naught but his bare hands Johno turned the cylinders of meaty goodness; watching them change from pink to a luscious brown. Tomatoes also roasted away in the pan spreading the juices around. A second pan was nearby cooking sunny-side-up eggs, although only two had the yolk still intact.
“Johnny? What on earth are you doing?”
Christelle had woken from the smells of food and was clad in a soft woollen dressing robe. Slowly she made her way over to Jonathan.
“Cookin'.” Johno replied smartly “What's it look like.”
Timely the toaster popped demanding the chef's immediate attention. Grabbing the crisp bread Johno immediately got to buttering. Christelle on the other hand had other ideas.
Wrapping her arms around Jonathan she stroked the base of his chin.
“Did somebody forget to shave today?” She giggled.
Johno muttered annoyed at himself; he'd done exactly that. Continuing with his task he grabbed some of the tomato, a couple of snags and the two good eggs as well as some bacon cooked earlier.
“There yah go, brekkie.”
Johno raised the plate of food in front of Christelle's face.
“You went to all this effort and the most romantic thing you could think of to say was; there yah go brekkie?” Christelle asked jokingly.
Johno shrugged as she took the plate from him, he couldn't think of anyway to make that statement any more romantic than it already was considering the gesture of food. Christelle giggled at his befuddled look.
“So why the fancy breakfast anyway?” she asked, sitting down at the mahogany table.
Serving his own food he ripped apart some bacon tossing them in his gob. What was the point of cutlery?
“You ... 'ave me .. bed ta' sleep in.” Johno stated between chews, “Least... I do.”
Taking a bite from a sausage he joined Christelle at the table.
Christelle wasn't coping to well with swallowing her own meal. Her face was going red with laughter and she was trying in vain not to spit out half her hot tomato. Forcing down the mouthful she sighed in relief pausing to allow her cheeks to relax.
“Manners aren't your strong point are they?” She pointed out with a small smile.
Johno licking his fingers clean raised his eyebrows in sincere confusion “What yah mean Christy?”
As Johno snatched up another snagger from his plate Christelle burst out in another bellow.
The thunder roared above as Johno and Christelle ran through the rain. The lightning coloured the two in a vibrant shade of blue for but a few moments. Jonathan was eyeing the light storm not with suspicion but with interest; natures fury was something he found rather awe inspiring. Gave him that good old sense of adventure that every single Aussie craved. Christelle on the other hand seem to be enjoying dancing in the rain.
Any ordinary male would have found the beauty twirling around in the downpour erotic and Johno wasn't going to deny that he did. However the ex-con had a more sinister idea, so devilishly amusing he couldn't contain the grin.
“What are you smiling about?” Christelle questioned in ignorant bliss.
Johno's response was to show her exactly what the answer to that was. With a massive step Johno pushed forward and leapt into the air.
It was too late for Christelle when it finally dawned on her. Heavy boots hit the five-inch deep puddle with an incredible force. The water exploded out in reaction, soaring into the nearby sky. The lovely lady barely had time to squeal as the liquid splashed down upon her it was fortunate she wasn't wearing white.
“Hey, you were already wet.”
Even the thunder shuddered in laughter as Jonathan sprinted away from the slim figure of miss February.
With a giggle filled yell “You are going to cop it now Johnny,” Christelle chased the Australian through the raining streets of Lucrecia.
It was midday and sunlight was only just breaking through the dark clouds in the sky. The roads and building sparkled as the sun reflected off the puddles and wet walls. The couple were both panting and laughing from their playful run, each soaking wet from the now subsided storm.
“Hey you sir”
Both Christelle and Jonathan stopped and turned still exhausted and letting out the occasional bellow.
“Well G'day mate how can I help yah?” Johno questioned whilst attempting to keep a straight face.
The man before him was dressed in a very wealthy looking suit with a black wired earpiece and a very snazzy tie. For a second Johno thought the man was with the FBI.
“Name's Graham, I was hoping I could request your assistance” Stated the suit in a very deep voice “I am willing to pay you of course.”
Johno looked at Christelle and raised an eyebrow of confusion, she appeared to be just as baffled as himself.
“What can I do for yah mate?”
“Well our election Candidate has disappeared of recent and he needs to give his election speech in an hour and nobody has seen him”
This confused him even more, how could Johno possible help this bloke? “Right-eo mate?”
“Oh my apologies sir I should be more to the point. You have a striking resemblance for our Candidate Michael Mathews and I was hoping you could cover for him.”
That name, it rang a bell in Johno's head, he had heard it before. Somebody that looked like him.
A petrified man, almost transfixed on Johno's eyes. It was a horrible memory. Michael's head flew up showing the obvious pain, but before he could scream, Johno's hand had caught it, silencing him and suffocating him. He fell unconscious.
“Are you okay sir?”
Johno snapped back to reality.
“Yeah I'm fine mate,” Johno reassured “fair dinkum!”
“Well are you interested? You will only need to speak for roughly twenty minutes and we will pay you handsomely in advance. How does a grand sound?”
“Bloody oath, sounds beaut, sign me...” Johno looked to Christelle who simply smiled and shrugged “up.”
Two women fawned over Johno adding what Johno deemed to be unnecessary amounts of make-up. Removing his sun glasses and hat, much to his discontent, they brushed his hair back and sprayed it with some horrid smelling hair product. As the two women worked a man stood in front of him briefing him on the speech he was about to give and who he was filling in for. The man by the name of Michael Mathews, who looked and dressed rather similar to Johno, was a politician trying to obtain a hierarchy position of ruling the world. From what Johno could understand this fella wasn't altogether popular; and he was dead. Johno knew this because he had been plagued with the visions of his demise, from a vampire self dubbed as The Standard.
Finally Johno stepped onto the platform in front of thousands to give his speech. A small alter like object held a microphone and the copy of his speech.
“Dear people of the world, my name is Michael Mathews and I am here to propose myself as the future ruler of this world.”
“As we all know this world has been through much pain of recent from the damaged caused by magical beings to the devastation brought by the Death Knight.”
“My proposal is to create an army of defenders that will protect us from these evils. If I am elected I will supply Grey Matter Industries with the funding they require so they can in return supply us with the technology needed to defend our world. The army itself will be commanded by a man known as James Smith, an expert fighter and strategist.”
Something about the name James Smith seemed horribly familiar but he quickly shrugged it off his shoulders.
“With me in rule this world will be in a better position to move forward, never having to be concerned about your own safety and well being.”
“On top of safety I will push for better living by acquiring more resources from other planets. To do this I will be enlisting the aid of The Resonators from another planet. The Resonators are talented at both negotiation and trade and will provide us with more than substantial progress.”
“I wish to give growth to our mighty planet so that it can one day be claimed as a Utopia! To do so we will abolish the ones responsible for the Planets hardship. We will...”
Reading on before speaking Johno could not bring himself to say what remained about hunting magic casters.
“Actually, I lie. My name is Johno and I can't be rooted with this no more! I have met Magic users and they are not evil by inheritance. We should not strive for a Hierarchy, we should be striving for a pure Democracy. You should all make your own choices in life and better the world together! Good day to yahs!”
With that Johno walked off!
“That was amusing.”
“Yeah, and now I reckon it'd be wise if we got out of 'ere!” Johno said grabbing Christelle's arm and starting to run. Thankfully the suit had paid him in advance. The only problem now was getting away with the money still in hand after clearly humiliating his role.
“You just couldn't help yourself,” sighed Christelle as she ran besides Jonathan “could you Johnny.” Angry shouts from behind pushed the pair forward as they fled through the streets laughing.
Johno's chest was aching, both from the running and the continuous laughter, when the two came to a stop. Both were panting and smiling simultaneously as the sun was starting it's curve down towards the horizon.
“I think... I've had enough... excitement for one day,” Christelle panted between breaths.
Bent over, arms on his legs, he huffed his agreement.
“Well, shall we?” she raised her elbow out in invitation; staring in the direction of her home.
The invitation was highly appealing to the single man however something out the corner of his eye caught his attention and he knew he had to pass on the offer. “Actually; mind if I request a rain-check? I have some things I need to do. I'll catch yah at yours ai charisty; I won't be long.”
Christelle sighed again but couldn't help smiling when she saw the Australian bachelors own grin. “Fine; but don't forget I work tonight; so make sure you get back before I lock the doors.”
Johno couldn't help but stare at her backside as she walked off; he was after-all only human. Turning he stared at the building of interest: Lucrecia Mail. Jonathan had another idea that he considered most amusing.
'I think you'll like this a lot.'
Edit: Nov 20, 11 7:21am
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Dec 06, 11 at 3:47am ^re: The Chronicles
Aphosis, Lord of Chaos and Servant of Darkness
Symphony, Princess of Order and the Bearer of Light
Aphosis was a general in the Third Door War. He fought against the Gatekeepers to secure a valuable foothold in the Hall of Dimensional Doorways. His objective was to claim one of the pure-nuetral worlds for the use of his old master, Dez'lak. However, he was reckless and arrogant, the man fancied himself a god. With the help of many other Keepers, the Light Queen Ma'at killed the interloper, restoring balance. At least, until her daughter Symphony was slain by Dez'lak, who had used his pawn Aphosis merely as a distraction. And so the two gods met in battle with their armies, striking with all their power. This is what caused the Chaos Core and the Lodestone to overheat, this is the cataclysmic event that sealed or broke thousands of Doors. But this would not be the final confrontation between the two forces...
Aphosis' soul, so evil and power hungry it was, refused to die. When the battle ended, the will-o-wisp could feel it's energy from the world in which he was slain. He feasted upon this residual energy until he could open the world's Door and escape.
Upon arrival, he realized that he was still too weak, that only real living spiritual energy could give him the very thing he desired: a body, so that he may reawaken the Chaos Core and rule over all dimensions. He fled into a nearby world, for he had been by a familiar enemy...the damn bitch queen.
Yes, Ma'at had survived, though she was barely more than a wisp herself. With little regret, she stumbled towards her daughter's casket. As any parent knows deep in their hearts, their children have far more potential than themselves. So without a tear shed, the Queen of light poured the rest of her power into the body of Princess Symphony. The girl breathed once more, unable to comprehend the damage her death had done to the world.
Perhaps suicidal or just bent on revenge, the girl attempted to use her power to capture and kill her only enemy- The shade Aphosis.
They emerged into the world of ours, one of the more neutral ones with few demons or angels. Their prescience caused quite a stir, enough spiritual energy was released to revive the once dead duelist before them. The baby had been thrown into a ravine, his powers hidden and unable to save him. Raised from the dead, the boy began to walk and began making his way towards his destiny.
The spirits seemed to be unaware of this miracle, and the two fought for many years without reprieve. It was only until both had expended their energy that the felt the boy's prescience. This time it was far more powerful...and far more appetizing.
The Dark one forced his way into the warriors body, giving him new powers, however the Princess managed to gain permission. She rewarded him as well.
So the three wandered the world, sharing one body. Unbeknownst to Blitzkrieg, these spirits fed off of his life and the energy of those he fought, slowly gaining power. They grew as he did.
In present day, Blitzkrieg has reignited the Lodestone, and therefor, the Chaos Core as well. The spirits have also separated form his body, though they are all still severely linked. He can be taken over at any moment, but he still has the power they gave him.
Apophis is currently attempting to use his renewed force of Door Breakers to kill Symphony, Blitzkrieg, and take over. His latest plan is to open the Chaos Core and take the spirit energy within. To do this...he has gained allies...
Meanwhile, Blitzkrieg and The Gate Keepers have discovered his plot and are trying to gin members as rapidly as possible, still, he may need to call in some contacts...the Duelists.
God only knows how this ordeal will end.
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Dec 24, 11 at 8:00pm ^re: The Chronicles
The Coil: Malali
Welcome. How would you introduce yourself in your own words?
Malali: My name is Malali, daughter of Lar, child of Tyrnealylth. Under tutelage of Master Gala I became a warrior and hunter; after avenging my family, I fought as a protector of Lar until I was pulled from my world into this one. After deciding that Lar was better off without my presence, I now reside here as a wanderer.
Emote: She's modest, remember what Agent McNair said? Malali's a superhero! Justice in nightly form, the protector of this world.
Malali: I care not about what McNair says. The... Producer? Told me to be myself, so I shall.
Emote: This is going to be a long interview, isn't it?
Spoiler:Warning, file not registered. Open at your own risk.
Amahackingyourinterviewdeth: Yes... Yes it is.
What reason or reasons lead you to become involved in duels?
Malali: I am an arrow with no target. This whole ridiculous notion of dueling simply provides them to me.
Emote: Ahem. She does it to protect you all. To protect us all. She's just a bit grouchy.
Malali: ... I am not grouchy.
Do you have any favourite people/places/events from your past?
Malali: Many, but I will assume you are speaking only about in my time on Earth? There is of course Emote, but there is enough information about our relationship on the intranet that it would waste your time to speak of it... Am I pronouncing that correctly? Intranet?
Malali: The company of Basis, a child experiment with attachment issues, can be enjoyable... When he isn't being intolerable. The desert and the Antarctic were pleasant; more than once during my travels I awoke in them and thought that I was in Tresed or Eci, back in Lar... The Egyptian temple and Grand Canyon were tolerable for similar reasons, as well. I cannot stand these cities, though; their buildings are huge and have strange designs, and they are highly populated, far too densely. Even the forests I have encountered here are polluted by the sounds of vehicles and the sights of cities in the distance... I hear tales of a place called the Amazon; supposedly it has vast sections untouched by civilisation, and it is said that there are tribes of warrior women like myself. I would like to visit there some day.
Malali: I speak ill of this world frequently, but I am at least grateful to have encountered Emote and Suvi in my time here.
Emote: What about your crush on Tetrath?
Malali: ... Do you want me to punch you? I admit I do consider him highly but only as an enemy. Thus far he has been the closest thing to The Deathknight I have fought, thus when I kill him it will be the closest feeling to the satisfaction of ending my nemesis that I can currently reach.
Emote: You're starting to sound like an addict.
Malali: ... I can quit whenever I want.
What are you currently up to?
Malali: Recently there was an incident in which dark things happened and masses of power gathered, supposedly like never before. I do not recall this incident, but I am being forced to take things slow as I recover from it.
Emote: Nurse Goddess is on the job! The Firins still have torture-time left so I'm using them to stop her from escaping my city unsupervised. Oh, torture-time probably sounds bad here; it's alright, we can edit that out later.
Malali: Once I've been deemed recovered by my oh-so-better-half,
Emote: Thanks darling.
Malali: I'm going to make contact with the IUA, the Inter-Universal Alliance. I know not if they've been monitoring this world since Arimus' departure but if I am to don the proverbial mask and cape I believe they could be very helpful.
What are your hopes/plans/expectations for the future?
Malali: Hopes? Some semblance of peace, and to live with Emote for a very long time. Plans? Practically what I've stated. Expectations? None.
Being totally professional, how do you identify yourself sexually? Lesbian, bisexual, diviniphile etc.
Malali: I am a lesbian, by your terminology.
Emote: Well, technically she's bi. It's not just a sexual thing, I've seen her look at Danog a few times, it appears simply psychological.
Malali: This is my interview, not yours.
Emote: True, but McNair said he wanted people to know about you, not hear your half-ass attempts at avoidance.
Malali: ... It is common for men to be prideful and egotistical, and all that it entails; such qualities are undesirable in a mate. In my lifetime I've found females to have... Less annoying qualities.
Spoiler:Warning, file not registered. Open at your own risk.
Amahackingyourinterviewdeth: Pot calling the kettle black, right? "I am Mally, hear me roar, do not offend my honour, rawr!" Way to completely neglect the whole kidnapped and tortured as a child factor. Me? I go both ways. I go any way. But you know this already.
What were the inspirations/influences of the creation of your character?
Malali: ... The what?
Spoiler:Warning, file not registered. Open at your own risk.
Amahackingyourinterviewdeth: I'll take this one. You mean that guy holding the puppet strings? Well, for Malali, I think he based a lot of her on the fact she would be venturing into the world of the NDL. Seeing how other duels have fared she needed a variety of skills, abilities and equipment, and everything else was built around it. In order to truly escape Lar (which was a creation all in itself long before Malali was added to the equation) and be able to truly be a part of the NDL, the people she knew and loved had to die. She needed a reason for her to become the reckoning force of nature that she is, which came in the form of her lifelong tragedies. She needed a focus, which manifested as The Deathknight. And a little bit of spice for dialogue, since the puppet master can't help himself, which came as the Firins.
Amacontinuingtheexplanationdeth: Puppet master likes strong women and he's always had a penchant for the hunter/stealth archetype, ergo a female hunter with vast warrior capabilities. As for her race, it was a toss-up between an elf and an orc. Humans get boring very easily, and Gala was imagined as a dwarf before Malali was conceived. In the end it was decided that an orc with Malali's rage issues would be too cliché, and since she was to be a hunter with old tribal ties a nightelf worked best.
Amaaddingafinalthoughtdeth: So, basically, she's Batman... But of a fantasy breed and with a vagina. And Batman needs his dear beloved Joker, enter yours truly.
How was your early childhood, before the Krondorians took you and all that entailed?
Malali: My life was one of simplicity, for the most part. As the daughter of the tribe's elder I was taught all that was necessary to take over after his five hundred years were done. My grandfather taught me for the most part, as father was always busy. He taught me to commune with the world around us, magic as you call it, and he would oft take me hunting. He knew that I held little interest in the politics of our tribes and other such things I would need to know, so he taught me those lessons in ways I would be interested in; I recall one lesson better than most. We tracked a boar for two days, and it ran across the nightelven border into orc territory as my arrow pierced its heart. Orcs came quickly, alerted to the disturbance by their shamans, and they took the boar away. Because it died on their territory it belonged to them, and we could not retrieve it; we could do nothing but watch as our prey was taken. A few days later an Orc emissary was escorted into our camp, carrying a boar, more plump than the one we had killed. He placed it in front of my grandfather and left without word. I still do not understand what he was trying to teach me that day.
Emote: Tell them about Suviria.
Malali: ... If I must. Suviria was a woodelf, niece of her tribe's elder. She had many brothers and cousins so did not undergo the tutelage I did, but she was taught that she had to act as if royalty, and be treated as such. The first time I met her we lay beneath the raining night in the mud, and spoke of how we detested such obligations. I spoke of my job at the bakery, and how I was always being pulled away from it to learn the ways of an elder; how I wished I could give up my destined title, to simply work and spend my time with my brother and friends. Suviria spoke of similar ideas, and we bonded over them. We would meet in the centre of the forest, a neutral territory, frequently. Eventually word spread that we were consorting, and it led to me losing a lot of so-called friends and her practically being made into a prisoner by her uncle. Not long after this, Prince Sasad took his prisoners. The rest is history.
Malali: I was a simple child with simple wishes, all of which were denied to me because of duty and obligation.
Emote: Not far off the rest of your life, huh?
I suppose it is inevitable that I get to a question regarding your lesbianism... Ness. I'll make mine rather tame considering the other ones I expect you'll receive. Which form of Emote do you prefer?
Malali: There are many deciding factors involved in such a preference, and many conflicts in these factors. Love is deeply caring but she is oft busy seeing to her city, Joy is fun but impatient and, at times, annoying; Anger is generally unpleasant but exciting.
Emote: Anger and Mally have a special game which I like to call Super-Murder-Death Time. The result is usually either us having to wait for Love to bring us back to life, or Mally needing a few days of healing.
Malali: Fear and Sorrow I will not speak of so openly, but the connection is just as strong as with the others. Hatred... Hatred has no place inside of her for relationships of this nature, if any at all. In short, I prefer each form equally aside from Hatred, who only does what she is obligated to the other forms to do and otherwise resents me. Without a more specific question I'll have to leave you with that vague answer.
Which of Emote's forms is best in bed?
Malali: Ah, alright then.
Emote: It's me.
Malali: She's... Correct, actually. Next question.
Emote: But the readers won't be able to see-
Malali: I said next question.
What would be your favourite trope from the website, TV Tropes?
Malali: I have no idea as to what you're talking about.
Spoiler:Warning, file not registered. Open at your own risk.
Amahackingyourinterviewdeth: Tropes aren't particularly something she's aware exists, you understand, but we can hazard a stab at Lady of Death given her penchant for badasses with boobs. Personally I'm fond of Rape As Backstory, Rape As Drama, Mind Rape, Rape As Comedy, Date Rape, It's Not Rape If You Enjoyed It, Gratuitous Rape, Rape Is A Special Kind Of Evil, Roaring Rape of Revenge- you see the pattern, I'm sure.
Why haven't you kissed Silence yet?
Malali: Because he is an egotistical child who believes he has more skill and wisdom than he actually possesses and wishes to ride on the robe-tails of others. I would rather spend a night listening to Blitzkrieg speak of the Mongols and Cleopatra and the Mongols than I would waste any more breath on Templesmith's desire to masturbate on the thought of gaining attention through me.
Emote: Heh, I remember Cleopatra; sleeping with her isn't really an accomplishment, she gave it to anyone who asked. She knew how to work her tongue, though.
Malali: ... Next question.
Did you ever consider the feelings of Basis. I'm pretty certain he liked you. Even if he is so young and you are so... Old...
Malali: I have considered that his feelings for me may be more than that of a friend, but even if that is the case it is simple, harmless infatuation. If he truly knew me, the things I have done, I am certain he would not feel such a way. Even if that isn't the case he is, for all intents and purposes, a child, and a rather annoying, male child at that. If he were more subdued, mature and... Well...
Emote: Had a vagina.
Malali: I might not have been so quick to dismiss his feelings, but there is little point dwelling on ifs and mights.
How much bird seed does it take to feed a Rukh?
Malali: None. Suvi is a predatory piscivore with carnivorous tendencies. A few times a week he will fly away hungry and return later, satisfied. His diet mainly consists of large fish though he will sometimes snack on bovine.
Emote: He ate a shark once. We were out flying and he just plucked a motherfucking shark from the water. This is a bird who will shy away and cramp up when the children want to play with him, and he eats motherfucking sharks.
Why is Suvi your only pet? Are you too good for goldfish?
Malali: Well, yes. Suvi serves as my transportation; without that factor I would have no need for him and he would be released. I do not desire animals for company-
Emote: She barely desires people for company.
Malali: ... Will you stop that? He is just a vehicle which I take care of and use when necessary.
In your own words, what is it like being a saviour of planets and universes? Is it in any way strange being, shall we say, just that badass?
Malali: Over the course of my life and the things I have witnessed and done, I've come to accept the insignificance of many things. I saved a planet, so to speak... What does that even mean? One large rock floating through space in one solar system within one galaxy amongst potentially billions of, if not infinite, others throughout the cosmos. I am not some kind of hero, or a badass if you will, I'm simply one warrior amongst countless others doing what she needs to do to keep the rock that she is on spinning.
Furthermore, what advice would you give to those who wish to become badasses like you?
Malali: I would advise them to have less childish wishes.
Is there any Duelist you think needs to be eliminated and would you ever seek to do this yourself, or are your days of fighting evil mostly behind you?
Malali: Perhaps my days of hunting such evil are mostly behind me, but I do not believe my days of fighting it are over. This world is open and vulnerable; so long as that remains the case and so long as I am still here, I foresee only more chaos.
Emote: She's not entirely being truthful; some of you may recall that there was a point where our dear Malali turned into a celebrity, and began working with those who govern the world in order to promote her image as a protector, and to make everyone calm down and get back to work. Anyway, every now and then they shoot contracts her way, bounties and such, rogue agents, dictators and so forth.
Malali: I wouldn't deem that hunting evil, just plain guild... Mercenary work. As far as elimination goes... I wouldn't be sad to see Tetrath dead.
It seems apparent that you have feelings for the also clearly lesbian Emote. What is it like trying to deal with the Goddess' mood swings?
Malali: I'm certain she has as much trouble dealing with my mood swings. I will admit that it can be difficult, but it has never not been difficult with anyone else in the past.
Emote: She's downplaying it. We were having sex once and I shifted into Hatred who ended up breaking almost every bone in her body.
Malali: It was like I was back together with Shenna again.
Do you ever think you'll encounter Arimus again? If you do will you leave him to Amadeth's devices or will you try to help him from the insanity he has found himself placed into?
Malali: From what I understand, Arimus is with Amadeth as some form of pet or bodyguard. I believe I haven't seen Amadeth for the last time, and as such I believe I will see Arimus again, yes. Arimus, as a dwarf, was a liar, a thief and a murderer... But he did help me finally kill The Deathknight, so I suppose I do owe him. When such a time comes I will try to discern exactly how sentient he is, and act accordingly.
Mallllyyyyyyyyy, why can't you invite Basis to more fights? They're all kinds of fun and we make a good team and Basis likes it when we can pull off SUPER COOL COMBO MOVES WHILST ON FIRE or something.
Emote: Stop being silly, Basis, you can visit us any time you want and we can always go fight some bad guys whilst on fire, yeah!
Malali: Don't encourage him.
I put a voodoo doll of Blitz in a box. You slice up that box. The voodoo doll is somehow missing. This is not a question.
Malali: ... I would like you to find the envelope in which that question was sent, you'll know which it is because of the copious bubble-wrap within it, and then burn it along with the inevitable twenty other questions from Basis.
Emote: On the double, question guy!
Considering the vast array of abilities that the Duelists possess, is there any one in particular you think might be fun to play around with?
Malali: I would enjoy being able to shape-shift. This world, for its faults, has some interesting cultures which I would like to observe without having to keep myself constantly hidden. I've tried illusions before but they cannot be held for very long, and the magic here is too weak for me to completely alter my physical being.
Emote: She tried to use a light-based illusion to hide from Basis once; it failed, miserably.
Malali: Shut up.
Now that your life has become stable, at least compared to the way it used to be, how do Firine and Firinar handle what must be unbelievable boredom, what with all the lack of killing?
Malali: The Firins fight as much as they used to; granted it's a lot less than it was in Lar, but the majority of my time on this planet has been spent travelling. My life may have become more stable but the battles still occur as frequently as they once did, the only difference is that we are not constantly moving in between them.
Malali: Gods damn it, you both said you were going to be quiet for this interview!
Malali: I apologise. As I was saying, the Firins are generally bored when not fighting anyway, which has always been the case; they handle it with snide remarks, pointless arguments and fantasies about what their existences once were. Since acquiring Suvi I have noticed they also put a lot of energy into tormenting him, for which they are punished often.
Malali: That's it, no torturing for a month. Do not argue with me!
Emote: Excuse her, she'll be back with us in a minute.
In your relationship with Emote, which one of you pretends to be the man?
Emote: How very sexist.
Malali: I do not understand. Why would one of us pretend to be a man? Surely that would completely contradict the very point of lesbianism. If you mean in a sexual way, than you are foolish to assume; we have appendages and abilities other than a penis which do the job just the same, oft times better. If you mean in any other way, then you are an idiot; we are both capable, independent people with our own lives who have a relationship based on mutual love and respect. There is no man, or the man, in the equation.
Emote: You go girl!
Malali: Shut up.
Emote: Yes ma'am.
Has any of Earth's culture rubbed off on you strongly? Are you particularly fond of any of its music, or cuisine, or any works/practitioners from other mediums of creative expression?
Malali: Your attitude to music has intrigued me greatly, but it has not rubbed off, as you say. In Lar music is a deeply personal thing to be cherished and respected, to be given only to those closest to you. Here it is more like a piece of meat you would peddle at the market and sell to the highest bidder, and even then it is usually the sloppy cuts from the inbred pigs that earn the most money. Emote is always trying to get me to listen to your music, but I rarely do.
Emote: Love and Anger have joined forces on a crusade to make Mally listen to metal. Love thinks it would be cathartic and Anger imagines the two them fighting to the sound of Black Sabbath and it is, apparently, too awesome to resist.
Emote: Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, I knew you were going to say that. Well how about I come up there and show you?
Malali: You'll have to excuse her, she'll be back with us in a minute. And yes, this does happen often.
Emote: Right! Sorry, Anger was ranting something about my intestines. Anyway, even Hatred has occasionally left music on around Mally, and I won't even go into what I've tried, but she's a stubborn little nightelf.
Malali: I've found much of Emote's literature to my liking, particularly Joy's section of her library; there was a book called Yes Man by Daniel Wallace, I believe, and it was both an interesting personal journey and subversive look at the nature of mortals, as well as offering insight into your various societal views. To speak shortly, there are a few things I have enjoyed and more I plan to look into, but to this day nothing I have experienced of your cultures has surpassed nights of sitting beneath the stars and sharing stories and songs with old friends. What I've seen of your various cultures has been too impersonal, too disconnected, to have any kind of profound effect.
Emote: ... Hey, guys, maybe we should get Sorrow that guitar she likes.
Knowing what you know about how the afterlife works in your world, are you ever concerned about what lies waiting for you once death finally catches up to you?
Malali: I am oft worried of what will happen when I reach my place amongst the stars. I do not fear that which awaits in terms of punishment, I have made peace with the fact that I have a lot to atone for, and I will atone in whatever way pleases my God, be it in her service or time in exile, but I do fear the judgement. To be in the presence of a being I have respected and loved since I was young and to have her gaze upon my past, to see the things I have done... To see the disappointment on her face as she looks upon what her child has wrought... It is not a pleasant thought, no.
On that subject, considering the hardships the lower circles have caused you, do you ever have a desire to take the fight to them?
Malali: I do have such a desire, yes, however it would be a pointless fight. These are not intelligent, self-aware beings who understand mortality and morality, these are but wild animals acting upon their evil-born instincts, no matter how much they dress themselves up as otherwise. They are born from the evil of mortals; even if it were possible for me to wipe them out, it would only be a matter of time before more were bred. The Nine Circles are made up of a Hydra comprised of only heads, and trying to cut them all off would be a fool's errand.
Spoiler:Warning, file not registered. Open at your own risk.
Amahackingyourinterviewdeth: Super Special Amy Fact: Back in the old days the mortals believed they could at least curb the demon population somewhat, and so whenever a prisoner of notable strength was deemed guilty they would be taken to the Multi-National Council (kinda like the United Nations, only without a bunch of Arabs slipping them money to look the other way) and they would be drafted into a special army, and trained for at least a year. Once the number reached one hundred, the prisoners would be armed and sent into The Fifth Circle with the aim of killing as many demons as they could. On the last operation, as it were, each of the hundred prisoners was captured almost immediately upon entering the circle and, after a few years, they were sent back to Lar. Almost half of the mortal population was slaughtered, after which it was decided that The Lower Circles were off-limits entirely.
Amaaddinganotherthingdeth: Oh, and in case you were wondering there was one survivor of that hundred prisoner army. She escaped back to The Fifth Circle, built her power, and took on the title of Firvara.
How would you describe your own personality, by any means of explanation you feel comfortable with?
Malali: Broken, is perhaps the best word. Lost would do.
Emote: A hunter without prey. A soldier without a war to fight.
Malali: I've tried to replace that which I have lost with other things, and sometimes it has worked, other times not. Some call me heroic. They are mistaken.
Emote: That it? Gods you're grim. She's not all that bad, just has some issues. She still has a place for happiness and fun, and she still has a sense of justice... She's right about one thing, though, she is most certainly lost. We're working to find her again.
Do you have any last words you'd like to add?
Spoiler:Warning, file not registered. Open at your own risk.
Amahackingyourinterviewdeth: Well, I'd just like to say it has been a pleasure; I love you all and look forward to your inevitable, painful deaths.
Malali: I do not, particularly. Are we done?
Emote: Don't be rude! Thanks for the questions gang, we hope you've enjoyed reading as much as... Well, maybe not as much as Malali's enjoyed answering, but you get the idea.
Spoiler:Warning, file not registered. Open at your own risk.
[color=#666666]This message was edited on 2012-04-23T01:00:02-07:00.
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Jan 03, 12 at 9:02am ^re: The Chronicles
The Second Last Day on Earth – Part 1
The room was dark; all but a single flickering light bulb that hung from the ceiling, swinging back and forth. Underneath the moving circle of light, heavy shadows cast underneath, sat a macaw on a pedestal. It's eyes were large yet thin; staring at Johno with an evil intent “Hello. How are you?” you the macaw asked hopping onto the floor. It slowly walked towards the Australian; each step it grew in size.
“They just don't learn,” the macaw stated as it came to a stop before Jonathan. The macaw was now twice the size of the man and backlit from the swaying globe in a very ominous manner.
The beak turned upward revealing a set of massive teeth more fitting a shark than a bird, “It has been a while since I ate!”
The teeth tore into Johno's flesh, ripping into skin, fat, muscle and bone. The pain was agonising. He swung his hands pointlessly in attempt to wrench the bird away from him. The avians claws slammed his remains to the floor robbing him of all available strength. Johno could do nothing but scream and squirm as the demon macaw chewed it's way up from his legs.
Flying from under the blankets; Johno perched himself on the edge of the bed prepared for an enemy avian or otherwise. After a few calm moments he relaxed his muscles and sat down on the mattress.
'Well that was odd; good thing Christy's still at work,' he thought; slightly annoyed at his own ridiculous response to the nightmares.
It seemed his nerves weren't completely at ease when a loud noise erupted from his cell phone. Having fallen off the bed; Johno pulled himself back up and answered mobile phone, ringing and flashing with Christelle's given nickname.
“G'day Christy, what's up?” Inquired Jonathan.
“You that's what up!” Christelle yelled in a strangely happy tone “What exactly is this in the newspaper?”
The Australian couldn't contain himself; within moments he bursting out in laughter, completely forgetting all about his nightmare.
“It's not funny; Skippy!” Johno laughed harder as Christelle attempted an insult. “Everyone at work is making fun of me because of your personal advert!”
It was hard for the Australian to even breath; let alone formulate a response, “they're... just... jealous.”
In the background giggling voices could be heard “seeks a passionate romance as well as an unbreakable mate-ship.”
“Yes, well since Jessie discovered the ad it's but nothing but that:” the sound of the mocking giggling grew louder; “If interested... and your name happens to be Miss February... Christelle please contact me on my cell number... I saved it under the name Johnny for yah... hahahaha ha”
“See what I have to put up with,” Christelle's voice growled out of the mobile.
Johno continued to laugh; feeling mighty pleased with himself.
“You know to make up for this you can go buy me some groceries,” at these words from Christelle Johno's laughter pattered out; Johno wasn't a big fan of shopping. “There is a list on the bench.”
The Australian sighed and agreed before the two said their sentimental farewells.
Johno didn't mind waiting at the pedestrian crossing for the light to go red; gave him time to look over the shopping list. Most items seemed rather ordinary; milk, bacon eggs. However tampons was something he honestly didn't feel comfortable purchasing from a shop and that was just one of the items. Christelle wasn't making it easy on him it seems. “Guess this is what they call Karma ai.”
Finally the little man turned green and Johno walked across the road; only making it halfway across before it started flashing red. “How bloody fast do they expect me to leg it across?”
On the other side Jonathan made his way past a series of constructions sights, each crashing and ringing with noises of heavy machinery and shouts from exhausted workers. The Australian could feel his head pounding at the sounds as he walked past four of the newly designed skyscrapers just being erected. Shopping wasn't something Johno enjoyed and with the loud noise; he found his irritation at his current predicament amplified.
“Where are you going blue boy? I told you to take them over that way” A loud roar of a voice boomed above all others “Your a Brute; all brawn and no brains. Well at least you have strength in your bones unlike all these weaklings! Everyone get a move on I want that base done in the next ten minutes!”
“Will ummm do... that, thank you?” responded the strangely familiar voice to the obvious boss of the work site.
“Yes sir is what you say! No wonder you have light blue hair; only an idiot would dye it that colour. NOW GET TO WORK!!!!”
“Ummm, yes. Sure.” The familiar voice responded; quickly ending his sentence as required, “...Sir.”
Johno had to investigate; surely that voice and blue hair couldn't simply be a coincidence. It had to be him. Dropping the list he peeked through the tarp covered fence for a chance to identify the person behind the voice.
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|Tiger of Wu||
Jan 17, 12 at 2:24pm ^re: The Chronicles
Bloxwich sighed, sitting in her and Cannock's old hideout. Looking at the decrepit couch upon which she sat, she stroked the brown, leather arm. An empty room, she thought. The walls were bare, and aside from the couch and a small, stained coffee table the room was barren of furniture or decoration. An empty life. Miles' prototype harness lay limp on the floor, Bloxwich's weapons scattered around it, all but Cannock's shotgun which was neatly propped up against the wall. His Desert Eagle was atop a handkerchief on the coffee table and next to it was an empty revolver, a single bullet standing straight upwards in front of it. It was Bloxwich's revolver before Cannock died, at which point she took to using his Desert Eagle. She lightly touched the ring which hung from a chain around her neck. Happy Birthday, Cannock.
Bloxwich put the single bullet into the revolver's cylinder, spun it, aimed it at her head then pulled the trigger.
She was still alive. Damn.
Aiming the gun at the wall, she repeatedly pulled the trigger until the bullet was fired then she threw the gun, hitting the impact mark it made in the wall. She made no sound, no cry of anguish, no sob of sorrow, just silently leaned back and contemplated what would come next. A cake. How many candles? He was forty-six when we met, twenty-eight when he was killed. She shook her head; both of them had been revitalised so many times that it was impossible to keep track. We kept track once, then we just lost it. It's amazing how time means so little when you're... Bloxwich couldn't bring herself to think the words. It has been one year, four moths, two weeks and a day since you died. She laughed, then sniffled, then rubbed the tears from her eyes.
"Not many things can shock me," Weg stated, opening the door to the room. "But hearing you snivel... I've got to say, it makes the list." He pointed at her left hand. "Well, that and your glove."
"What do you want?"
"I want to help a friend."
"I'm not your friend," Bloxwich spat. She didn't know why she had said it. Weg had been her only friend since Cannock died; Mortality and Grin were always watching her like some kind of experiment to take notes on, Vas was always worrying for his own safety, Miles was too busy hiding in her cave and the rest... nobody understood. Weg didn't understand, couldn't, but he at least didn't pretend to, and he didn't tip-toe around her as if she were some kind of mine-field waiting for one misstep to trigger it. Then again, Weg was never really afraid of anything. Like Cannock. She didn't know why she had said it, but she had said it and she would make no apology for it; she also didn't know why she would make no apology.
"I guess that leaves me with just two friends," Weg stated, walking around the coffee table. "And one of them's a cat." He sat down. Bloxwich sneered and turned away. "Can I at least sing for you, Switch?" Weg went on to ask. "It is your birthday."
Bloxwich shook her head. "No," she whispered. "Today isn't mine anymore." Cannock and Bloxwich had lost track of their birth dates as well as their age, and as such chose their anniversary to be their shared birthday. "It makes sense," Cannock had said, so many years ago. "It was the day I truly came to life." Bloxwich had punched him in the arm when he said that. Then she dragged him to the bedroom of their small, shitty apartment and the two of them spent at least three days in there, only getting up so that Cannock could pay various fast food delivery boys for low quality, high fat sustenance. "I hate the idea of tips," he had said as he got out of their bed and found his wallet. "If you want real pay, get a real job. No better way to dissuade them from asking then answering the door naked." By this point he was at the front door shouting back to her, she recalled. "Hell, if he's cute I might bring him back with me." She chuckled at the memory.
"Happy birthday to you," Weg began. "Happy birthday to you," Bloxwich turned and glared at him with cold anger. "Happy bir-... okay, maybe not." She turned away again. Weg stood and pulled a piece of paper from his pocket then placed it onto the table. "I'll call you when I know more." He paused, as if waiting for a reply, then he shrugged and walked out of the room. "Take care of yourself," he yelled back as he exited the apartment. Bloxwich sat in silence and stillness for five minutes, then she tentatively picked up the piece of paper. On it was an address and a name.
"Not anymore!" Bloxwich heard Archa scream as she walked up the stairs. Ida was fitted with a suppressor by design, the Daewoo K7 being used mostly by special op forces. Combined with the argument that was happening upstairs Archa couldn't have possibly heard her taking out the building's guards. There was the possibility he would see that the security cameras were dead, and soon enough the power would be out, but he wouldn't be able to tell specifically that it was Bloxwich who had come for him; whether that would make him more or less dangerous, she did not know.
"Please," someone else cried back. Human, female, twenties at a guess, mid-west American, clearly in distress of a highly elevated nature; she was in pain but still alive, her voice had a hint of defiance to it, and if Archa had attacked her he wouldn't have been able to stop until she was dead which meant there were more guards or minions; the defiance showed that she was generally more proud than afraid, but if it was only her own well-being at stake there would be more defiance than distress, meaning Archa was busy threatening a loved one, a child or parent or brother or... husband.
Satisfied with her reasoning, Bloxwich pulled the pin from a grenade with her teeth, kicked open the door then threw the explosive in. She pressed her back against the wall beside the door and turned her face away; the building shook and the sound would have deafened a normal person. Bloxwich already held Ida, and she unholstered Itn before entering the room. There were ten creatures, not including Archa or the woman; five appeared human, two were shades with increased intelligence and the last three were some form of demons or daemons. Either way, those that the grenade didn't kill all bled and dropped when riddled with enough bullets.
Crackling energy exploded from where Archa had fallen and now stood; it flew towards Bloxwich. She dived and rolled, holstering Ida in the process, then quickly found her feet and held out Itn. A short burst exploded from the gun as she ran towards Archa with her free hand outstretched. He fell backwards against a wall and began to hiss as Bloxwich held a small, metal, Christian cross towards him. "So you haven't found the angel's heart yet," she stated as Archa tried to push himself through the wall behind him, writhing uncomfortably and sweating profusely.
"Not yet," he managed to mutter back, doing his best not to look at the cross.
"Where's the kid?" The woman, or at least what remained of her, appeared older than Bloxwich had previously guessed; a child was the more likely threat-bait.
"What kid?" Archa spat, his discomfort rising, soon to reach pain. Bloxwich quickly glanced back; it was hard to tell because there were so many pieces scattered around, but there was no child, nor indeed any additional person. Guess I was wrong. She looked at the somewhat undamaged head of the woman. Only your life was under threat, and that was all the defiance you could muster? Whatever speck of guilt she felt for sacrificing her had dissipated within that moment.
"No," she said, holding the cross closer to Archa's face. He was reaching for the gun at his belt, but his arms were beginning to spasm. "Your mother. Where is she."
"Ass-fucking Cannock in hell." She shot him in the arm. He didn't scream. She shot him again. He screamed.
"Where is she?"
"Being ass-fucked by Cannock in he-" She shot him a third time, then a fourth and fifth. For a few moments there was silence, all but Archa's heavy breathing, and then he spoke again. "The Shivalba are planning an eradication of... of Schmadten. She's helping them. They-" Archa's words turned into horrible cries of agony as Bloxwich pressed the cross into his face. He shook, spasmed and burned as she pushed him to the ground, then she dropped Itn and held him down. With a quick spin of the wrist, the cross rested on her middle finger like the head of a ring; she balled her hand into a fist and proceeded to beat him with it. Flesh flew away from his face with each strike, as well as shards from his shattered, black skull, and Bloxwich kept going until she felt herself pounding only a puddle of wet mince on the floor.
She stood and flexed her hand, grimacing. You shouldn't have brought Cannock into it.
Satisfied with the information, she deactivated her harness' EMP mechanism and exited the building, beginning the long walk back to civilisation. After a short time, Bloxwich pulled a remote detonator from her pocket; she flicked the plastic safeguard up and pressed the red button.
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Jan 19, 12 at 12:46am ^re: The Chronicles
The Brofist of Power Pt I
AKA Another Excuse to Break the Fourth Wall A Lot
A deep sigh passed through Maxwell's beak.
"What's wrong, Psyduck? Ray asked. Selena lifted her eyes from the book she was reading to stare at the Savior of Mankind as well. The three were sitting in an abandoned library they had converted into a temporary base while they searched for the Writer. The library was one of many buildings falling into disrepair in the megacity of Idonkare.
"Well, dood, it's just..." the prinny plushie sighed again, "I don't know. I'm just missing something that makes a hero complete. I mean, we're sitting here reading these stories about all of these d00ds who saved the universe and they all have a sign, you know? A high-five, a thumbs up, something like that. But I..." Maxwell stared at his wing-arm-things and flexed them hopelessly, "I can't do anything like that, d00d. I'd explode if I did the high-five thing and I can't give a thumbs-up because I don't have any thumbs!"
Ray and Selena both looked confused.
"But Makthwell..." the Princess of Elinia said kindly, "How do you hold your weaponth and pull thingth out of the Pouch of Infinity without thumbth?"
"I don't know, d00d!" Maxwell wailed in despair, holding his face in his wing-arm-things.
Maxwell shook his head, "I gotta go for a walk, d00ds." The Savior of Mankind stood and plodded toward the door.
"Maybe one of us should go with you, Makthwell," Selena said, half a suggestion, half question, but the prinny plushie shook his head, his afro bobbing dangerously close to the walls of the library.
"I'll be okay d00ds," he said with a sad smile, "I just want to clear my head." He stepped outside, closing the door behind him, and walked into the streets of Idonkare.
The city was one enormous clusterfuck of buildings that had, over time, become so crowded that there were no longer any real streets in the city, because of buildings being constructed on the streets themselves due to a lack of room. Getting anywhere in Idonkare was a matter of making one's way to the Central Complex at the center of the city where people's houses had been leveled and a smooth wall had been built around the edges with tunnels drilled into them that led to various sectors of the city. The wreckage of the ruined houses still lingered, however, because there was simply no place to put it. Shipping it through the tunnels would only block them, and burning it would suffocate the entire city. The tunnels were not big enough for compactors to fit through - they were barely large enough for Maxwell to fit through - anybody taller had to stoop while they walked.
Stalking out of the tunnel, Maxwell emerged into the central core of Idonkare, where the city's rampant pollution and inability to clean up after itself had led to a dense smog settling in the air in much the same way fog would in a more regulated settlement. The sun shone above through the eerie yellow-green filter of smoke and gasses. Fortunately, Maxwell was a plushie, so none of that mattered.
His peg legs clanked on the steel of crushed walls and street signs as he stared wistfully at the people around him enviously. A pair of young boys managed to throw a metal disc into a net and celebrated by jumping into the air with their chests out and colliding with each other, then promptly high-fived when they landed.
"Way to go, brah!" one said, before they both doubled over in a fit of hacking coughs brought on by the smog.
Maxwell turned his gaze to two older men dressed in black with masks over their faces. They slapped one another's hands once, twice, three times, then bumped fists and saying to one another, "Let's do it, bro!" before hefting a pair of guns onto their shoulders and picking up a large burlap sack off the ground and charging down a tunnel.
The Savior of Mankind heaved a sigh, flexing his fins. He could never have that. Any of that. That dependency on another, an absolute solid trust that somebody had his back the way that a 'bro' did for his bro. The brofist was the ultimate sign of trust and respect, at least as far as Maxwell knew, and...he didn't have anyone like that. And if he did, any fist bumping would result in an explosion that would kill his bro. He came upon a puddle of acidic rain and stared at his muddled reflection. His own face stared back at him, looking to be on the verge of crying. And he did want to cry, Maxwell realized, letting out a sniffle.
If this were a Disney movie, it would be the point where a few somber notes began to play and he sang a sad song about not belonging.
He began to hum a few notes half-heartedly, but even breaking the fourth wall could not cheer him up, and he broke off almost as soon as he began.
He clambered up a heap of debris, eyes fixed on the ground.
"Hey, little man, you look down on your luck. Wanna have some fun?" He looked up at a woman standing near a street post on its side, a lit cigarette clutched in one hand on her hip and the other offering him a hand. She was wearing knee-high black boots with impossibly high heels and a dirtied skirt that was shorter than a quick sneeze that did not quite meet a white blouse that barely concealed her saggy breasts. Scraggly brown hair grew just passed her shoulders and bangs were thrown haphazardly into her eyes. She smiled at him through thick lips that seemed to have been painted with scarlet lipstick. Maxwell stared at the hand she offered him, taunting him. His eyes narrowed to slits as his frustration boiled over into anger. He turned his glare up to the woman's face, a slow frown beginning to crease it.
"Leave me alone, d00d!" Maxwell cried, leaping into the air and punching her squarely in the jaw. She managed to sail into the air for a few brief seconds before the Savior of Mankind exploded from the impact and all of his usual senses vanished.
Exploding was always...a strange sensation to reflect on afterward. Existing as nothing more than a soul was an experience that Maxwell had never quite been able to articulate to neither Ray nor Selena. It was sort of like existing everywhere at once - or at least it felt like that - and yet being restricted and unable to move or sense anything. There were no thoughts or feelings until Maxwell's body had begun to reform. Memories were always the first to return, rushing back in a massive jumble and for a few brief, tantalizing seconds, Maxwell could remember people and places that he had never seen before. It was a hint about what he had to do, he was sure of it! But then everything would fall into place and he could no longer recall what he had seen, only knowing that he had remembered something. Then his body returned with a loud pop, and the prinny plushie could feel himself anchored to one spot again. And finally, his senses came back.
When Maxwell opened his eyes, he was standing on the scorched surface of the concrete slab heap where the woman had been. Around him, a few flames crackled feebly in the aftermath of his explosion. He stared at the wreckage around him, his previous anger fading away and the overwhelming depression took over again. He sat down - carefully - and finally gave in and began to cry.
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Jan 20, 12 at 2:54am ^re: The Chronicles
The Brofist of Power Pt II
The Chapter where Maxwell goes Emo and Doubts Himself
No, shut up, maybe they'll forget!
Maxwell walked dejectedly back down the tunnel to the library, head hung low. He had sat in that one spot crying for hours. He would have still been there had a passersby not mistaken him for a stuffed animal and kicked him for sport. Maxwell was pretty sure the hospital he'd taken the young man to afterward would be able to treat his severe lacerations and burns.
When he had nearly arrived at the library and was just stepping out of the tunnel, he glimpsed an enormous meteor hurtling out of the sky just before it crashing into the library. The prinny plushie had to squeeze his eyes shut against the heat that blasted outward, searing his skin.
Even in his depression, a thought pounded in his head. Selena. Ray. Forcing his eyes open and holding his arms up to shield himself, Maxwell took a step toward the flaming wreckage of what remained of the four-story structure.
"So, you've finally arrived!" Maxwell felt the heat recede and stared up at the source of the voice. Standing among the flames was a man. His gaze turned to a glare at the sight of a snarling and struggling Selena, her arm twisted behind her back, in one hand, and an unconscious Ray being carried like a sack in another.
"Who are you, d00d!?" Maxwell demanded, wing-arm-things drifting to the Pouch of Infinity.
The man stepped forward. No longer wreathed in flames, the Savior of Mankind could see his features more clearly. He was about average in height, about five feet and seven inches with a small face and deep, golden yellow eyes. Three jagged diagonal cuts marred both of his cheeks, both beginning near where his eyes met the bridge his nose and fanning down and back just in front of his ear lobes. His blonde hair was wild and disheveled, but still short enough that his bangs did not quite reach his eyes. Most curious was that while his left arm appeared human enough, his right arm was covered in sleek black fur and was clawed.
"I'm your villain for this story!" he said with a sneer, showing a row of sharp, pointed teeth, "Since Nezia is busy forming his Legion of Intimate Emo Vultures or something. You can call me Lavir."
Selena's struggling became even more frenzied, "You know Nethia!?" she demanded at the same time Maxwell said, "Nezia's still alive!?"
"Of course he is. You failed to finish him off. You're no hero! He'll be back, and this time he'll be in this universe!"
The insult struck the prinny plushie at his core, but he ignored it for the time being. Selena's aura flickered, poised to strike at the villain, but he whispered something Maxwell could not hear and the aura vanished. This d00d was definitely not a companion, and he had Maxwell's friends in his hands.
"Let them go, d00d!" he growled. He was not in the mood to humor whoever this was, and he was hurting Selena besides. She was grimacing now as the man pulled her arm even further behind her back, perhaps in retaliation to her struggling.
Maxwell opened his beak to retort, but it was Selena who responded with an incredibly lame, "With pleathure!" She headbutted the man in the face and leaped away when his grip loosened, putting space between herself and him. Snarling, the villain flung Ray at her. The Princess of Elinia caught the young boy, and both plummeted off of the beam Lavir had been standing on into the blazing inferno below. Maxwell caught a flash of green before Lavir had lunged off of the beam at Maxwell.
The Savior of Mankind leaped back, barely avoiding the swipe from Lavir's clawed hand, and pulling an item from the Pouch of Infinity. It was a thick leatherbound tome. He threw the book at Lavir, who slapped it to the ground with his human arm and followed smoothly by smashing his elbow into Maxwell's face so hard that the prinny plushie was sent flying into a wall before his body had even managed to explode. Maxwell reformed with a pop, wishing that he had proper teeth so that he could grit them in frustration. He dug into his pouch again as Lavir charged with his clawed hand clenched in a fist, and did not even bother looking at what his hand revealed, not wanting to give his foe any warning. He threw it and caught a glint of steel before Lavir caught what Maxwell now saw to be a knife in his teeth, crunching it into pieces without even pausing. The prinny plushie's eyes widened and he knelt, using his afro as a shield to the oncoming blow. The fist never came, however. Instead, Maxwell gasped at the air rushing out of him as Lavir punted him into the air, his human hand lashing out and closing on something Maxwell couldn't see before he exploded.
This time he reformed about forty feet in the air. The Savior of Mankind glared at Lavir, staring up at him with a gaze that put Maxwell's to shame. For the first time, he could feel a sense of hatred in his foe. That did not matter. Maxwell arched in the air and dove headfirst toward his opponent. He had hurt Selena and Ray, and was definitely not a good guy. That was all there was to it. He plunged his hand into where the Pouch of Infinity should have been, but gasped, then noticed the pouch dangling in Lavir's hand. "D00d, that's cheating!" Maxwell shouted at him, trying to twist in the air to land on his feet, but he wasn't quick enough and collided head first into the ground, exploding once more and sending up a cloud of smoke and dust.
The Savior of Mankind tensed, staring at Lavir through the smoke, thinking as fast as he could. The man showed no sign of attacking for now, at least. He just had to come up with a plan. A kamikaze, maybe? Maxwell was immortal, after all, and the way Lavir kept his distance when he struck Maxwell made it fairly clear that the explosions could hurt him.
Before he could go beyond that, however, Lavir spoke, "Is this all you are?" he spat, holding up the Pouch of Infinity, "You can't even fight me without this, can you!?" He looped it through his belt, and for the first time, Maxwell noticed a collection of four small satchels around it as well.
"You've got four pouches, d00d!" he said, "Give mine back!"
Lavir laughed, "You want this pouch?"
"I want it, d00d!"
"You want this pouch!?"
"I WANT IT, D00D!"
"Well you can't have it!" Lavir screamed, eyes bulging, "If you want it so badly, take it back from me!"
Maxwell's eyes narrowed. Lavir thought he was useless without the pouch, did he? Well, he'd show him! "Hard on!" The air was engulfed in a blast of scintillating light of all colors. The sun cut through the smog of Idonkare briefly so that it could reflect off of Maxwell's shiny armored plating as the Savior of Mankind struck a pose and the background exploded into rainbow colored flames as he completed his transformation into Mecha Maxwell.
Lavir snorted derisively, waving Maxwell forward with his clawed hand. Snarling, Maxwell activated the thrusters in his feet and jetted forward. Lavir sidestepped with inhuman reflexes and drove his knee into the red gem in Maxwell's chest, and then swatted him into the rubble of the library. The prinny plushie managed to get his arms on the ground and push himself into the air in a clumsy attempt at a flip and charged at Lavir again, peppering the villain with fire from the laser blasters mounted onto his wings. His foe broke into a run, zigzagging to avoid Maxwell's barrage. Maxwell soared over him, racking his brain for a way to get the Pouch of Infinity back. As long as he stayed in the air, Lavir could not reach him, but he could not reach the pouch, and his barrages were doing little more than annoying the villain for all of the reaction he showed. Still thinking, Maxwell arched through the air in a wide loop to make another pass around only to find Lavir running sideways up a building, leaping off and turning a much more elegant backflip off of the edge. Maxwell's eyes traced Lavir's ascent into the air, and seeing where he would fall, the Savior of Mankind deactivated his thrusters, trying desperately to make himself stop to avoid the man, but he skidded through the air anyway just as Lavir turned his flip and kicked the back of Maxwell's head, spiking the prinny plushie back to the ground like a volleyball.
Maxwell pushed himself to his feet, arms trembling with the strain. His armor was cracked and breaking in places; he could feel shards of metal pressing threateningly into his skin. A loud thud alerted him that Lavir had landed behind him. With a roaring battle cry, Maxwell activated the thrusters in his feet again, throwing himself backwards at his foe, twisting to perform a roundhouse kick in the air.
It wasn't enough.
He felt Lavir's boot catch his neck and spun Maxwell around before pressing him firmly into a wall of concrete behind him. Lavir did not lessen the pressure, driving his foot further into Maxwell's neck, holding him against the wall effortlessly. Still, the prinny plushie tried his best to pry the man's foot free, but it was difficult without any thumbs to grip it with.
"You're pathetic!" he spat, "The Savior of Mankind? Ha! You can't save anything."
Maxwell's eyes bulged.
"You could not save your friends. If I had wanted to kill them, I could have done so effortlessly and you could not have stopped me. That much is clear after this...I hesitate to call it a fight. And what about that time back in Nezia's castle? You attacked them yourself and would have killed them were that woman any weaker!"
Maxwell sagged, letting his arms fall.
"You cannot defeat me. You cannot reclaim your pouch. If you weren't immortal, I'd have killed you five times over!"
"You are nothing but a worthless stuffed animal, a child's play thing to make them feel safe at night! You might as well be inanimate doll for all of the good you can do in a real battle!"
It was true. It was all true.
"So how do you expect to save the entire world?" Lavir demanded, "What have you done to prove that you can!?"
It was true. But...he was trying! Maxwell was trying his best with what he had! He stared at Lavir defiantly, "I'll beat you, d00d," he managed to gurgle.
Lavir raised an eyebrow, "Is that so?" he said softly. He pulled back his foot and let Maxwell fall to the ground, "Then prove it."
There was only one chance to beat Lavir, and Maxwell knew exactly what it was. Now having a plan firmly in his mind, he plopped down on the ground.
"...What are you doing?"
Maxwell stared up at Lavir, "I'm waiting. You think you're so tough, but you won't be laughing soon, d00d."
Before Lavir could say more, the fire nearest to the pair flared and parted and Selena walked out, clothing torn and ripped in all places except, conveniently, for the bits that covered the parts of her that any straight man would actually want to see. She carried Ray in her arms.
"D00ds, you're okay!" Maxwell cried, overjoyed at their survival. Selena flashed a smile at him, before glaring at Lavir.
"Why haven't you killed him yet, Makthwell?"
"He's really tough, d00d!" Maxwell whined, "But it's okay. Once Plot Convenience Man shows up, I'll beat him, no problem!"
Both Selena and Lavir stared at the Savior of Mankind, dumbfounded.
Lavir recovered first, "That's your plan!?" he screamed, fists shaking in what was likely an urge to strike Maxwell. He relaxed, "So you can't do anything on your own."
"Makthwell..." Selena said gingerly, "If Plot Convenienthe Man hathn't thown up already...I don't think he's coming."
"Don't be silly, d00d! I'm the main character! He's gotta help me eventually or else the story would be over!"
"Well, that'th true, but...maybe you should try to think of something else."
"No!" Maxwell folded his arms stubbornly, "I'm gonna wait for Plot Convenience Man."
Lavir laughed, "Fine! One hour for him to arrive!
Maxwell turned to Lavir, "Fine, d00d!"
But an hour passed, and nothing happened.
"So..." Lavir grinned, "Even the Deity Ex Machina has abandoned you."
Maxwell stared at the ground, wide-eyed, not even seeing Lavir's sneer or Selena's pitying stare. It couldn't be. He was the Savior of Mankind. Surely that counted for something. Where was Plot Convenience Man!? If ever he needed a magnificent asspull power-up, it was now! But he was not coming. And Lavir's words struck him once more.
You can't do anything on your own!
"You win, d00d," Maxwell muttered, "I can't beat you."
Surprisingly, Lavir looked shocked. "Y...you're giving up?" he asked. He frowned and reached into one of his satchels to pull out a book, muttering to himself, "I'm going to have skip a few chapters..."
Curiosity overwhelmed the Savior of Mankind and he looked at the cover, "How to be a Villain".
"Let me see...ah! Here we go! Chapter 6. What to Do When You Have Defeated Your Nemesis...hmm..." Lavir frowned, "Agh! These options all sound so good!" He glanced at Maxwell, "Here, what do you think?"
The prinny plushie scanned the page:
So you've inexplicably managed to defeat your nemesis? Well done! Now is the best opportunity you'll get to prove how villainous you are to your nemesis, so be sure to make a great impression by doing one of the following:
A. Let him go. You're so evil and powerful that he won't possibly be able to come back and defeat you, and you should let him know that!
B. Boast about your Extremely Evil Plan (see chapter 2: Formulating an Extremely Evil Plan if you do not have an Extremely Evil Plan) and give him all of the details, because you just kicked his ass and he can't possibly stop you now.
C. Tie him up and place him in your Overly Elaborate Death Trap (see chapter 4 for details on constructing an Overly Elaborate Death Trap), making sure that you do not stay and watch your nemesis' demise.
D. Any combination of all of the above.
Whatever you decide, though, make sure that you do not kill him, remove his soul, or leave him otherwise incapable of thwarting you later on, because when you're ruling the world with an iron fist, you're going to need entertainment, and dead heroes are only funny once.
"I don't care, d00d," Maxwell said numbly, handing the book back, "Just do whatever."
"Makthwell!" Selena said.
The prinny plushie shook his head, "It's no use, d00d. I can't beat him." And even if he did manage it somehow...Lavir was still right. He had failed to protect his friends. He was no savior.
"I can't decide," Lavir said at last, "Here, I'll tell you what. I'm going to take a day to sit down and hash this out. You've really thrown me for a loop. We'll meet back here tomorrow, you useless doll, and by then, I'll know exactly how to humiliate you!"
"Fine," Maxwell said hollowly.
Lavir snorted, and then stalked off into the flames.
"Makthwell, what is going on?" Selena asked.
"I just...I just..."
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Jan 21, 12 at 6:44am ^re: The Chronicles
The Brofist of Power Pt III
This Part is Boring, You Should Probably Skip it
Because Nothing Important Will Happen In It
Selena stared down at Maxwell, hands on her hips, "Makthwell, what hath gotten into you?"
"Leave me alone, d00d."
"Oh don't take that tone with me mithter!"
"It's my fault what happened to you d00d. Take Ray and go."
"Excuthe me?" Selena demanded icily, "I wath there, too. I didn't get thith way by mythelf. We are in thith together."
"No butth! We need you, Makthwell. We need the Thavior of Mankind."
To Selena's surprise, the prinny plushie stood and glared at her. It was...strangely fearsome. She had never really seen Maxwell express anything passed a naive complacency with the world and the occasional droopy depression when the plot called for it. Seeing open anger on his face was terrifying. She stood her ground however. Maxwell needed this. It tore her apart to see her good friend in such a state, and she would do whatever it took to get to the bottom of what was troubling him.
"I'm not the Savior of Mankind, d00d!" Maxwell shouted, "I'm not even a hero! I couldn't save you or Ray! Even though it wasn't mentioned in the last chapters, people live here, and that d00d kicked a meteor into this place! Thousands died, d00d! I couldn't protect anyone! I'm not those d00ds in those books we've been reading! I can't be them! I'm clumsy, frail, and I don't even really know how to fight!"
Selena put on a glare of her own and stomped forward until she towered over the prinny plushie, "Bitch, bitch, bitch!" Maxwell staggered backward at the blatant swearing and the fact that Selena had spoken the words without a lisp - but that was mostly because 'bitth' sounds stupid. "That'th not the Makthwell I know. He'd do thomething about hith problemth." That wasn't true at all and she knew it. The Maxwell she knew was adorably oblivious to his faults and even those of others at times, or if he knew, he didn't care - but he still managed to succeed. More than could be said for him now.
Maxwell was hissing through his beak, sounding as though he were releasing steam. "What do you know, d00d!?" he bellowed, "Don't you understand what it means to be the Savior of Mankind!? It means that someday, there's going to be a thing that's going to be capable of wiping out everything! I can't save one person, not even myself, and you want me to believe that I can save billions? No matter how hard I try, d00d, I'll never be a good warrior or a smart tactician," The latter was probably true, but Selena wasn't about to tell him that, "Any time I manage to succeed at anything, it's completely by accident. I..."
"What!?" Selena demanded, then instantly wished she'd had the word back. Tears were trickling down Maxwell's cheeks.
"...I don't want to risk the universe on an accident. Let somebody else be the hero. Somebody who's got thumbs, and doesn't explode at the drop of a hat. Somebody who's smart and doesn't have a verbal tic. Someone...human...ish."
She fell to her knees and hugged Maxwell to her tightly, taking care not to touch his afro. Her own tears mingled with his. So that was what this was all about. Being human...ish. Or, knowing Maxwell, at least having thumbs.
"Makthwell," she whispered, "You don't need any of those things to be a hero. You've got what matterth."
"Don't say heart, d00d," Maxwell interrupted.
Selena laughed against the prinny plushie, "No, no. I wath going to thay that you have the will to be the Thavior of Mankind. You care about the world, or thith wouldn't be bothering you tho muth. How many other Duelithtth can claim that? Have you read thome of their character theetth? It'th thcary how few of them acthually care!" she gave the Savior of Mankind an extra squeeze, "I'd rather put my trutht in you."
Maxwell pulled out of the hug and stared at Selena flatly, "That's just another way of saying heart with a lot more words, d00d."
Damn. He'd caught on. Even so, he did not look quite so bleak anymore.
The Princess of Elinia put a hand on Maxwell's cheek, "Makthwell...do you want to be the Thavior of Mankind?"
She could see the wheels in Maxwell's head turning as he considered the question. He stared at the ground, still warm from the heat of the flames of his battle with Lavir, then he looked at Ray, still unconscious because he wasn't a central character to the story at the moment, and finally, his eyes rested on Selena's.
"Yeah, d00d...I do."
Selena's face broke into a grin. She could have danced with the Savior of Mankind if it would not have caused an explosion, so she settled for giving him the most brilliant of smiles.
"But," Maxwell said, "I gotta beat that Lavir guy when he comes back or this Crowning Moment of Heartwarming will be for nothing. He's still got the Pouch of Infinity, so I have to either find a new way of fighting him or think of some way to get it back."
The Princess of Elinia nodded, "I wath thinking about that, Makthwell, and I have an idea." Grinning broadly, she reached into her Deep Cleavage of Item Storage and produced a single piece of paper folded several times so that it could fit within said cleavage without causing people to stare. Because people in this world are decent and wouldn't have stared at such a lovely pair of breasts otherwise. Also, this is the city of Idonkare, and the people there don't care about anything, breasts included. Just in case you haven't gotten that joke yet.
"What's that?" Maxwell asked curiously.
"It's the author's notes for what's supposed to happen in the next chapter," Selena said.
"D00d, that's great!" The Princess of Elinia held it down so the prinny plushie could read along with her.
"...His handwriting is atrocious," Selena said, frowning.
"Is he even writing in English?" Maxwell added.
Try as they might, neither of them could make out the finer details of the next chapter.
"Well, that's okay," Selena said, "We can at least try for a title drop. See?" she pointed to the only legible words, "The Brofist of Power." She looked at the Savior of Mankind, "So..."
"So..." Maxwell nodded, looking at his wing-arm-things, "I'm going to learn how to make a fist."
"It appears so," Selena concluded, folding the note back up and putting it back from whence it had came, "We still have plenty of time, Maxwell. Let's get started and practice making a fist." The Savior of Mankind nodded and began to work his wing-arm-things vigorously, because using the time they'd been given for actual training and combat practice would be silly.
Kalek stared at the paper in front of him, "So, okay." he glanced at the Organizations Leaders, "I understand that this Lavir guy stole our Satchels of Holding Things, but is that really such a big deal? They're outdated technology at this point."
"It is not your job to question orders, weapon!" a fat man with a toothpick mustache said.
Kalek waved a hand dismissively, "Yeah, yeah..." he frowned as he looked at Lavir's profile.
"Special powers...the powers of Badass?" he asked, frowning, "The hell does that mean?"
"It means that he can do anything as long as it's badass," a skinny man with a thick mustache replied.
"Which means," the fat man added, "That the only way to defeat him is to out-badass him."
"But badass is completely subjective!" Kalek complained, "I mean, yeah, I know that I'M pretty badass, but still. That seems like a complete bullshit power to have."
The executive of the Organization harrumphed at the Duelist Hunter's foul language, but said nothing of it.
Kalek continued to read, "...Oh come on! He travels around on a giant flaming meteor!?"
"Well, the author kind of hadn't fleshed out Lavir's abilites when he wrote his entrance, so he just tied it in to Lavir having badass power."
Kalek sighed and folded up the information on the Lavir and stuck into his pocket, "Well, whatever. I'll be back, I guess." He walked off, rolling his shoulders and thinking that he should probably be in a forest somewhere with a hot fairy, but oh well. Lavir needed at least some explanation, and he was only here to provide that, and also to cameo.
Maxwell's heart pounded in his chest. He hadn't mastered the art of making a fist, nor had he found a bro to fist with. Lavir was probably going to kick his ass just as brutally as he had last time. But...
He closed his eyes, breathing softly. Even if he was beaten, he had promised Selena that he would not give up. Trying was all he could do. If he didn't even try, then he failed. That was that. Selena had taken Ray to the hospital to be treated for his injuries, but would probably be back just in time to witness the battle, because that was how Things Worked.
He spotted a glint in the night sky, and then a meteor crashed in front of him, spraying him with dirt and mud.
"I've returned, useless doll!" Lavir sneered from atop the blazing clod of space rock.
Maxwell stood, "Ready when you are, d00d!" he said.
Lavir smirked, "I see you've got your spirit back," he cracked his knuckles, "It shouldn't be too hard to break it again, though!" He leaped off of the meteor, to begin the fight that would conclude in the next and final installment of Maxwell and the Brofist of Power.
Edit: Jan 21, 12 8:40am
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Jan 21, 12 at 11:22pm ^re: The Chronicles
Skahrscherad (and the murder)
You Awaken From Dreams Of Flying And Falling
This is no time for sleeping, wizard.
There will be no more rest.
Not until he lies dead.
Torlinus awoke with a start, a gasp of air through a dry mouth almost enough to make him choke. Unsettled, he put one hand against his head, closing his eyes against the pain that was already building behind his eyes. His bedclothes and covers were covered in more sweat than one man had a right to produce.
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he slipped from the bed and cleared some of the dampness with a nearby rag, before venturing outside to the water tub. It was not yet dawn, and the night was cool on his exposed skin, making goosebumps rise along his flesh. He splashed a little of the gathered water onto his face, drying the worst of it with the back of his arm, before exhaling heavily and walking back inside.
In the next room, a cloth hung over a cage in which sat a sleeping bird, one of Lord Winterbury’s less valuable chasers. He could hear something simmering despite not having left anything to boil, or indeed any sort of fire, but it was common enough for him to dismiss.
Every night now he’d heard the voices. They didn’t feel quite right, and he could never recall their words once he had woken from the nightmare. And that was what they were – nightmares. He had at first dismissed it as yet another price to pay for messing with the forces that defined the world itself, but he was now beginning to have his doubts.
He sat on the bed, put his head in his hands, and stared at the books that rested on the shelf opposite him. One bore his name, not that there were many copies of it. Nobody with sense messed with Naming magic. Mostly because most wizards had the funds that it wasn’t necessary to bother with the risky procedures involved. Even Torlinus mostly did it for the challenge, although in some cases he was saving not inconsiderable amounts.
It was, he felt, a valuable investment.
In his dreams, he had wings, and he soared high above the tallest of buildings in Verulamacæstir, his sharp eyes still able to pick out everything below. A haze of magic hung over the world, a general buzz characterised by the occasional spots of colour that defined particularly good or particularly evil magic.
He hovered, the air catching beneath his wings and rising him up as gravity pulled against him. Circling in the thermal, Torlinus watched, and saw blackness creep in at the edges.
His brow knit together in confusion, except in his dreams he had no such facial structure, and the feathers of his back rose instead. Something was infesting the magic, seeping into the ley lines and out of the meeting points to cast a faint grey miasma over the air of magic itself.
There will be no rest, Skahrscherad.
He moved from the thermal and glided at a manageable pace towards the town so far below, towards the blackness.
There is no time for sleeping, wizard!
And then he no longer had wings, he was nothing but a man again, and as man unsupported in the sky is wont to do, he fell towards the earth.
There will be no more peace until he is dead.
“There is something which I desire that I believe you are in a unique position to give me,” the man at the door began. Torlinus regarded him warily. He often got visitors to his door requesting the services of a Circle-certified wizard, but none carried themselves the way this man did, or had quite the stench of black power about them.
He was young, perhaps younger than Torlinus himself, and tall. He wore black robes that had managed, somehow, to escape the dirt of the road, and had black hair to match, his eyes a deep blue. He was confident, arrogant, haughty.
“Come in and we can discuss it,” Torlinus offered, stepping back and holding the door open. The man gave him an intrigued look, then inclined his head once and stepped inside.
Torlinus poured tea, brewed the conventional way. Magic was useful, but he played with things too dangerous to invoke them for such rudimentary tasks. The man outlined what he wanted Torlinus to do for him. At no point did he even seem to consider the idea that the wizard might refuse.
What he wanted, he explained, was for Torlinus to manufacture him immortality.
Torlinus had, of course, laughed in his face, at which point the black stench about him had become almost acrid, and he had become very serious. What he wanted, he explained, was immortality, and he would get it. He was a wizard, clearly of the conventional sort, and what he wanted was not obtainable the conventional way. Torlinus did not think it was obtainable in any other way, either, but the other wizard thought differently.
He spoke a few words, his knowledge of the names clearly stilted and uncertain, and a coin that was tarnished black formed itself in the middle of the table.
What he wanted, he reiterated, was immortality. Torlinus was going to give it to him, or there would be consequences.
Torlinus hadn’t touched the coin, not being a fool, but the blackness emanating from it was clear enough. The wizard had power, far more than Torlinus did. A theory was something Torlinus could produce for him, assuming it was possible.
He hated himself for doing it. For agreeing to it. But he had to. At the end of the day, he enjoyed living, even if he did not want it to be forever. He did not want it to end there.
“Wait,” he started as the man crossed his threshold. Blue eyes, dark and cold, regarded him with a contempt he did not try to disguise. “Your name. That I may tell you of developments,” he asked, his tone hesitant and uncertain. The man only snorted.
“You want my name?” he repeated. “I am not fool enough to give a naming wizard something with that much power over me.” He smiled. His teeth were startlingly white. It had stood out against the overall blackness of him. “I thank you for the gift of yours, though.”
Torlinus thought of the coin, resting in quiescent blackness on his table, and felt a little sick.
In his dreams, birds flew with him.
They were black, and although he did not know well the difference he thought them to be crows, rather than ravens. They would look at him, but he did not know if they meant to speak, if they even could.
You must cease your dreaming, Skahrscherad.
They knew him not as himself. They flew above the grey-clad cities with him, they found the points where the ley lines met and leaked blackness, and they would caw urgently as if to make him do something.
He would shrug, a complicated manoeuvre in his bird’s body, and try to say ‘I cannot fix it, I do not know how’, but all that would come out was the cry of a bird of prey. Then they would take off again, ruffled-looking, and Torlinus would look at the holes in bemusement.
We must kill him, Skahrscherad.
He would take off, but the blackness would pull on him, attempt to ground him. It ate at his feathers until he had no flight left in him, it pulled on what made him into himself and tried to drag him to the floor.
We must kill the darkness, wizard.
He would get just high enough to fall, and break himself.
Torlinus stared into space, the words on the desk in front of him blurring into meaningless lines. He was tired. He had not slept well for months even before the dark wizard had visited, but now he could barely close his eyes without thinking of the coin, still resting on his table, mocking him.
The wizard he had seen twice since, and although fairly angry at his lack of progress, still a little understanding. It was becoming clear that the longer he had to wait, the worse things would get for Torlinus.
The kite in the cage above him squawked, and it jolted him out of his stress-induced daze. Ruefully, he ran a hand through his hair and attempted to concentrate. It was difficult. He was beginning to realise, though, that it was not impossible, and the thought terrified him even more than the black wizard did.
He should have asked for help. He knew he should. But he knew, too, that the concept of ‘black’ and ‘white’ magic was not one that people were inclined to believe in without seeing it for themselves, and it took a certain amount of breaking the rules to be able to do that. As a naming wizard, he was ostracised on an almost unspoken decree, for not quite following the ‘rules’. Who could he ask for help? Who could he expect to believe him?
He walked outside to clear his head, hoping the cool air would do for his head what sleep had done once. There were pigeons on his lawn, most of them pecking at the stale bread he’d left them. One of them just looked at him, barely blinking, head moving only when Torlinus did, and it unsettled him enough that he had to retreat back indoors, shaken up but sharp once more.
He was watching the birds falling out of the air.
They all seemed the same, save for the white-and-black ones, but he knew that these were different crows, not a dream-produced clone of one. They fell, one by one, two in tandem, one barely in the air. The blackness was catching them, swiping them from the air as easily as a giant cat might. It pained him, and he did not know why.
From a tree hung low with black magic as fruit, a pigeon watched him, blinking rarely. Torlinus hovered, the blackness avoiding him, and regarded the pigeon carefully.
There can be no time for sleeping, wizard.
It looked at him dumbly, like any other pigeon, then flew off with a distressed call as the blackness reached up. It was not fast enough, though; just as the crows had been pulled down, so was the pigeon, falling into the blackness and disappearing like the rest of them.
We must defeat the darkness, Skahrscherad!
One day he would fall out of the air, just like the pigeon, just like the crows. In every dream he fell to the darkness eventually, although every time the way was different.
At the bottom he could see a single, tarnished coin.
At the bottom he could see that dark wizard, smiling with bright, white teeth, a flock of dead birds at his feet. He would pick one from the floor and slowly, methodically, pluck all of the feathers from it.
There cannot be rest until the darkness lies dead, wizard.
His mouth moved, and although Torlinus heard no words, still he understood the meaning.
“I know your name, Inditch, and through it you belong to me.”
Torlinus woke from another dream where he hit the blackened floor, shook his head slightly, and slipped from his bed.
We must kill him, wizard.
The darkness must die, Skahrscherad.
He walked into the next room, trying not to glance at the coin on the table in the adjoining one, and pulled the cloth from the cage of the red kite, whose name was Striker.
There can be no rest, Skahrscherad.
He flipped open a few books, murmuring slight words to himself, and as his eyes ran over the symbol beneath the Kite’s cage, he cycled potential syllables, almost on a whim, one eye on a book labelled only as Darkness.
Not until he lies dead.
His memory of the next few moments was hazy at best, but there was disorientation, and he could feel himself falling, before rising, only to be pulled brutally all the way back down to earth. His cry of fear and pain was incoherent even to him.
For the first time, he understood the voices.
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