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Vansin

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Vansin last won the day on May 13 2018

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  1. Though the sight of Ioreth's body wrapped in the clinging white cloth was a welcome one, Viscerex knew a woman's nudity was a secret better kept than revealed. He turned and exited the river on the opposite bank and collected a heavy wolf-pelt cloak from a tree branch where it had been hanging during these warmer times. The barbarian threw it over his shoulder and brought it across the river to the elf. "A warhorse?" might he have enjoyed the opportunity to talk of how weak Constans had made this little town? How his lack of experience and his fanciful notions of peace had doomed Coth before it even began? That God had judged him unworthy, and that darkness would overcome them all as Ioreth had forseen? Yes. But, Ioreth had gotten him a warhorse. When he was a boy, his father had stolen him a pony and he had learned to ride. Atop his tiny steed he had tasted the air of freedom, and he relished the chance to do so again. A warhorse. He had seen them in the stables of knights before-- towering beasts from which great men could look down upon their enemies as they smote them in glorious battle-- yet never had he imagined he might have one of his own. After all, they were expensive (or, for the aspiring horse thief, well guarded) and rare. "...where is this horse?" he asked, unable to restrain his enthusiasm. He could complain about Constans later. Really, such complaints were useless anyways. The boy would continue to flail helplessly in the face of God's displeasure and Coth would be razed to the ground in the wake of his impotence. When that inevitable day came, Viscerex would take Ioreth on the back of his new horse and ride with her to the dark forests of his youth and there make her a queen over all his people. A warhorse. "I...uh...I mean to say thank you, lady. I am not worthy of your gift." gift giving was the basis of all relationships, be they familial or romantic. In this gesture, Viscerex could only see a hopeful future, despite all the darkness in Ioreth's dreams. @KittyvonCupcake
  2. At first, Viscerex was perplexed at the tall creature's easy familiarity with the human tongue. Of all the things he expected to hear on the far side of a portal to another world, his own language wasn't one. But it wasn't exactly speaking his language, was it? Did it merely sound so? "...kill them?" Viscerex repeated. He tilted his helmet at this curious aboriginal. "I wasn't hungry." he answered. What use was a dead animal to him? Even if those mossy giants were made of meat, which he doubted, he still wouldn't have eaten of them. He'd stick with Ioreth's rations which were, unlike anything they'd find on this side of the portal, certainly not poisonous. "I am Viscerex." he gave by way of answer to the wooden man's questions. He decidedly did not answer about his purpose. His purpose was to guard Ioreth, and he knew he could guard her better from this strange creature by not letting the creature know why he was there at all. If Ioreth wished to say it, so be it. He would not be the one to speak of it first. His hand fell atop the handle of his knife. In the hands of a smaller man, that huge knife would have been called a short sword. Viscerex suspected its heavy blade would work to great effect on a plant-man. His fingers gently curled around the handle. He wondered if the wooden man bled. Yet without Ioreth's word, he remained still. His entire body was tensed, waiting for a sign of her displeasure.
  3. Viscerex tilted his helmet to conceal his expression, and released Ioreth. Her standing before him, practically bare, incited feelings in him which were inappropriate for the situation. He bit his tongue to dissuade himself from following his natural instincts, and instead addressed her questions, "I have had them, many times." he admitted. "Enough times to know that when they are not obeyed, they spread to those we care for most, who are rarely prepared for them. Your priest does not know God, and now you suffer for it." It was lucky for Ioreth that Viscerex knew how to interpret God's visions, or else she might have ended up with the burden of two men's follies. But it would not happen. Now that Viscerex could see how willing God was to burn through Ioreth, he would keep faith and obedience forevermore. Now it was a matter of getting the boy priest to do the same. "So, if he is so foolish as not to fear God, then I will make him fear me. He must be made to act, lady." ___ "Absolutely not." Constans grumbled, as Dale pulled his grandfather's rusty short sword from its sheath. Sabine helped steady him as he rose to his feet. all around his right eye the skin was swollen and red. Soon, his face would be awash with colored bruises. "Father, he struck you!" Dale answered, shaking his grimy weapon. Constans was still seeing double, but his head was clear enough to know that Dale Thimmick running off to stab Viscerex was a terrible idea, and would leave poor Sabine and her sisters orphans. Dale continued shouting angrily about his intentions and, on account of thesteady throb of pain behind his eyes, Constans was having difficulty finding his usual forbearance. "Dale, I forbid it." he said, and his frustrated and pained voice cowed the farmer, whose shoulders drooped as he lowered his sword. Sabine shook her head at her father and helped Constans out of the house. Together they walked up the hill and many Cothites joined them on their way, gasping at the prophet's injured face and whispering prayers to God. Viscerex's name was quickly brought up as the culprit (though neither Sabine nor Constans had said it) and by the time the crowd reached the summit Constans could barely shout over their cries of indignity and of vengeance against the violent barbarian. "People!" he cried, throwing his hands up and producing a fiery display. He hated to use God's flames so flagrantly, there was a part of him which wasn't sure they'd even come when he called anymore. But they did, and the crowd quieted. "Listen to me! He who brings violence to Coth is defying God's will! Do not injure another because I have been injured. I live, I will be fine, and God still smiles on us all. Why resort to vengeance? Why taint our holy fields with blood?" But the people were not swayed by him. After, when he went inside to recuperate, they decided that the prophet's words implied that Viscerex himself had defied God's will by bringing violence not only to Coth, but to Coth's leader. Quietly, so as not to upset the father, they descended the hill and collected their sturdiest weapons and implements and, with torches lit, ventured out of Coth and into the forests to find Viscerex. @KittyvonCupcake
  4. "Because of me." Constans said, all sorrow. "I'm not moving fast enough. I'm not figuring it out. Something is coming and he's shown it to me again and again for weeks, and now he's showing it to you too because I'm missing something." It was the only explanation he could come up with. God was finally discovering the limits of his chosen prophet. "There's darkness in the wilds. It's coming to destroy Coth. Or half of Coth. Or...I don't know. It's powerful and it's coming. That's all I've got. I'm sorry Ioreth." He patted her back and watched her throw up. *** "It's definitely Hazel." Dale said, scratching his head under his hat. His daughter Sabine was ambivalent. They stared at Old Wilma's tree together. "Yes sir," Wilma said as she came out to join them in her backyard. She carried a tray of tea for them, and set out a small table to rest their drinks on as they did the business of the prophet, who had occupied Dale's house to tend to the Lady Ioreth. "Yes sir," Wilma repeated, "It's a good strong Hazel tree. I renamed my family "Hazel" because the prophet foretold that this tree would watch over one hundred generations of my descendants here in Coth." "Mhhhm." Dale said, nodding slowly, "So which part of it is the wand?" "The what?" Old Wilma said, blinking. "The wand. He said to get a 'wand of Hazel'." "It's like a stick, father." Sabine said with a sigh. She walked away. Behind her, Wilma Hazel and her dad discussed strategies on how to acquire the best stick for the prophet, but Sabine paid them no mind. Instead, she looked down the road. Cothites conducted their day as they always did, some very fast, laborers, and others, traders, leisurely and conversationally. They wore colors of green and brown and white. They seemed healthy and satisfied. The markets overflowed with food. People were at peace. A year ago, Sabine would have never dreamed of living somewhere like this. She walked further, to the edge of Wilma's property: a cliff-side overlooking the long slope of the hill. Wilma was quite high up, and the view was breathtaking. Yet something was off, a black sore spot streaking across the streets below, headed very clearly toward her father's ranch. It was a man. A big man. The biggest man in Coth. "F-Father!" *** "-and just yesterday I sent Tirkas and Demi out. Tirkas. He's our best warrior. Supposed to be my bodyguard. I sent my own bodyguard. Doesn't that count for anything?" Was he talking to Ioreth, who couldn't decide whether she was done vomiting or not, or to God? He certainly didn't know. He opened his mouth to speak again but then, abruptly, Viscerex was standing over him. Rarely did the two men speak. Constans had little interest in talking to men who hid behind masks, and Viscerex no doubt thought him something of a weakling. But God had given Constans more than prophesy and fire. Never in his life had he been so physically powerful. He could run as fast as a horse. He could crush stone in his hands. He stood up. Viscerex punched him once, maybe more. He couldn't tell. He saw stars, little green stars. He was vaguely aware of dropping to the floor. He reached up to grip weakly at Viscerex's boot. With his foot, Viscerex nudged the priest onto his back. The man looked cross eyed, and was groaning something unintelligible. Viscerex shook his head and returned to the matter at hand. He leaned beside Ioreth and inspected her face. She seemed able enough to travel and so, tenderly, he wrapped Ioreth in a blanket and threw her over his shoulder so that if she needed to vomit she would do so behind him. He left Constans and the bedroom, and left Dale Thimmick's house, and left Coth. People gawked and jumped out of his way, whispered to each other-- exactly what they always did. He was an outsider to them. An enemy not yet turned into a friend. Yet in the wilderness he could pay attention to every sound, every sight. He had to. Nothing was excessive or emotional. Danger was abundant. Though, perhaps, danger was less abundant in the clearing by the river Viscerex inhabited. Here, and into the river, he carried Ioreth. Once she was in the water, he held her only under her knees and behind the back of her neck, keeping her head always above water. Yet every other part of her he could submerge, he did. "Water cools the fire inside." he explained. @KittyvonCupcake
  5. In Coth, we have a special way of expressing an overload of enthusiasm, which I will demonstrate now: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! So much to say! Look at the depth of Kitty's art! Do you see it people? Is she not a world class artist? Did you like one of her pieces? Look again. There's always some thoughtful detail you didn't catch the first time. And then there's Witchy's chibipocalypse. Cuteness nests in her very soul, and I particularly love how wide-eyed Constans is. Take Kitty's and Witchy's art together and you actually get a very real expression of both sides of the guy! How lucky am I!? And then, of course, you gotta see Inked's art to understand the relationships. There's love and then there's, as you can see, harassment. But it's all love all the time really. Truly, is there such a collection of beauty and talent that can compare to these holy Cothite women and their magnificent art and prose!?
  6. WHAT TYPE OF METAMATERIAL (Solabernite seems appropriate)
  7. U suk Rocco

  8. "...he looks very fierce to frighten the conjurer or to see if he is courageous. The conjurer must be brave, and holding a hazel wand in his hand must draw a triangle by striking towards the South, East, and upwards, and command--" Constans shook his head and looked down at the sheet of paper upon which his hand had been writing, without his knowledge, while his mind had been occupied on other matters. "What?" he whispered to himself as he read the selection. How could he write any of this? He hadn't been thinking about...whatever conjured thing his pen was warning him about. He'd been thinking of Ioreth. With a start, he jolted up from his seat as his mind's eye blazed with the sight of her collapsed in a field of fire. On the other side of the room, Constans' meandering cobra raised its head to watch its master flee from the library basement below the ruined church. Outside, Constans abandoned the convention of roads and instead tore through yards and gardens, his sleek black clothes giving him the appearance of a shadow flicking down the hill to escape the light. But light was what he found at Dale Thimmick's field. The still smoldering grass surrounding the indent of her body attested to the truth of his fiery vision. The flames had nearly gone out. He decided to call them back. Constans threw his arms up as though trying to hurl something and, obediently, the green fires grew up in a ring around him. He leered at them like a man punishing a guilty crowd, looking at each new flicker of green with suspicion. "Why? You think I don't get it? You think I'm not doing something about it? You have to punish her?!" he said, pointing to the house where Ioreth had been brought. "Or was she not obedient to your damn satisfaction?" he hissed at the flames, "Was that she would do anything for me not enough? Am I not you, here? Is love for me not love for you? When has it not been?! And more! When has my love not been your love too?" With a swipe of his hand, the fires vanished. He dared not linger, lest he think about what he had just done. Instead, he went to Ioreth's side. "Oh, Father!" Dale exclaimed, "I'm glad you come. I believe she just woke, let me take you to her." it was a foregone conclusion that Constans knew what was transpiring. The priest stalked after Thimmick through the modest passageways of his homestead. "Certainly gave us all a fright to see that green fire surround her." Dale said by way of conversation. "Rejoice." Constans said in a dead voice, "You saw a miracle." When Dale presented Ioreth to him, he fell to his knees beside her. "More water for her!" he commanded in a most unfamiliar way, "And a strong tea!" Dale jumped to obey. "Hey," he said, softly, as he rubbed Ioreth's back, "How are you?" She looked as sick as he ever did. He shook his head at her condition while she was doubled over. "I think Dale's got a little vegetable garden out front that no one's wretched on in months. Should I take you?" he said with a weak smile. Dale Thimmick returned shortly with the water and hot tea, setting it in front of Ioreth and Constans both. Constans picked her's up and brought it to her hands, helping her tip a small sip into her mouth. "Is there anything else I can get you, father?" Dale asked. "Yeah. A wand made of hazel." Constans said, not looking away from the elf's wrung face. @KittyvonCupcake
  9. Viscerex got portals. He understood them. No one ever expected the hulking warlord to make sense of magical forces, but if you looked at magic backwards from the perspective of the natural order it so frequently defied, magic was strangely intuitive. Animals can't talk. So what does magic do? It lets you talk to animals. A sword can't cut you from a league away. So what does magic do? It kills someone who isn't even in the same damned town as you. You can't travel to a distant continent in a single step. So what does magic do? If you just went and picked anything nonsensical and asked a mage, they'd gladly brag about how easy it was to do. Because mages were insane. And portals were insane. And he'd just stepped through one. See? He got it. Suddenly, there was no horizon anymore, just an endless crowd of trees looming over him, beckoning him with thin fingers to explore their fatal mysteries. Viscerex scowled. Nothing was more dangerous than an unknown forest. It was enemy territory, a labyrinth of chaos where every thing had found a refuge in the food chain it could defend. Every thing but you. He would have never willingly traveled here, but it was no good place to leave the two women alone. By the time they arrived at the clearing and Ioreth tasked him with the grass beasts, Viscerex was itching for a distraction from the warning signs flaring in the back of his mind. He stepped in front of the women and stared at the herd. It might have been possible to give them a wide berth. It still was. But to do so involved going back into the jungle, where Viscerex had no idea what predator was about to lunge at them. And anyways, one of the closer grass beasts had noticed them. It stomped its hoof against the ground. Viscerex tightened his hands into fists. He had been challenged. "You two go. Leave them to me." It had been a long time since an animal had called him to battle. The smaller forests of Coth had been easy to tame. This new realm would be nearly impossible. So it was here, with these heavy green animals, where Viscerex would begin the impossible. "KEE-YAI!" he yelled. Across the open field, his voice struck like thunder. Head after mossy head raised to stare at the human intruder with anxious eyes. Viscerex pounded on his chest, bent over and slammed his palms on the ground, walked further and screamed again. He threw his arms wide. He was massive. His clothing and leather armor stretched to capacity as he flexed his chest and arms. The Rixnour slammed its hoof against the ground again and cried out a warning. Viscerex ignored it. Other males began to call out too. Viscerex stopped. For a moment the Rixnours gave pause, thinking the human had finally been cowed. Then the human hurled an ax at the nearest Rixnour. All hell broke loose. Five of the beasts lowered their heads and charged toward him. They weren't fools. Only the one or two closest would actually try to strike him. The rest would try to intimidate him for a few gallops and then peel off. Foreign animals though they were, Viscerex could tell right away which charging Rixnours meant to hit him and which didn't. He turned toward the ones who did, and settled into a low stance with his open hands out in front of him. Through the impassive eyeholes of his helmet, the barbarian lord watched his challengers with patience. And just, just when the first Rixnour seemed poised to barrel through him, Viscerex slapped one hand across the beast's face and grabbed its mossy shoulder plate with his other. With a mighty leftward twist, Viscerex wrestled the beast off of its feet and wrenched it onto its side. In pure confusion, the Rixnour hit the ground like a boulder. It dragged over the earth, its momentum carrying it past Viscerex who, miraculously, whipped around in time to make equally short work of the second charging Rixnour. His triumph over the two beasts gave pause to the rest. A Rixnour, once knocked over, was as good as dead. Their immense bodies could not be lifted back upright. Yet Viscerex looked behind and saw that Ioreth and Holly were only part of the way to the moss-covered bridge. The Rixnours were already hesitant, but he determined to put them into full retreat. Then they would truly know that Viscerex was the man who could tame them. Two fists slapped against his chest and Viscerex roared in fury. From under his clothes his skin began to glow green and then, quick as a lightning strike, the green light exploded into green fire. The magnificence of this self immolation sent a ripple of air across the open field, and the Rixnours flinched at it. Further, at the sight of the burning green man striding toward them, they lost all fight and stampeded away. The calves squealed in panic, and Viscerex smiled to know they would fear him always. When they were gone, and the echoes of them crashing through the jungle underbrush had faded, Viscerex dimmed God's fire until it was gone. With his skin still smoking from the divine heat, Viscerex approached both of his conquered foes and heaved them back upright. Each, when it was on its feet again, charged off after its herd with nary a look back. Viscerex then joined the women at the bridge and crossed it carefully.
  10. The prophet smiled and his eyes dimmed. He watched the lookout boy run off. His fingers twitched. All he needed to do was curl them into a fist and the last of Xildara's hunters would burn. Yet she had spared the boy. She had witnessed the savage wrath of God and still her heart was filled with mercy. Constans knew then that he would care for this girl so long as he lived. Somehow, he was serene. A night of fire and death could not dull the ecstasy of God's passage through him. Even the blood, even the horror was muted. He knew that if he, Constans, had committed the atrocious harm which befell those hunters he would have wept for having done it. But it was God's prerogative to give and take life, and Constans saw the wisdom of his divine method now that the boy had disappeared from sight. No hunter would visit Coth looking for Xildara anytime soon. Not with the stories that lone survivor would tell. It was no accident, Constans knew, and it was no murder. It was a stroke of destiny and he was the painter's brush. He strode toward Xildara and helped her to her feet. Wordlessly, he pulled her close and held her. The serpents of her hair slithered over his cheek, but to his astonishment they began to leave as the sun peaked over the horizon behind Xildara's back, its golden light casting God's peace over another new day in Coth. [End]
  11. This is a good idea. Mickey, Vielle, well done. If I had the time to help this I would. I hope others do.
  12. "Fascinating." Constans said, observing Demi's handiwork. "When you return from this mission, please visit me in my library under the church. I have at least three books on anatomy that I can think of off the top of my head. And if they're not what you need, we'll go to Ioreth." Ioreth, of course, being the notoriously capable bookseller who was erecting Coth's first grand library. While Constans' small personal collection was impressive, it paled in comparison to the knowledge the elven woman's book retrieval company could produce. Noticing Demi glance over his shoulder, the prophet of Coth turned to see Tirkas enter the forge shed. Constans smiled wide and swept beside the elf, clapping him on the shoulder and facing Demi. "Demi, this is Tirkas. Tirkas, Demi." he said gesturing between the two. A few minutes later, the trio stood at the edge of Coth. Behind them were fields of grain rippling in the fresh western wind. Constans had walked them to the edge of town, but this was where he would leave them. "I know I have told you both but I will say it again one last time: darkness gathers in the wilds. More and more frequently do I dream of sinister portents gathering under a long shadow. They are not mere nightmares. You cannot go out into these wilds wondering if you will meet with danger. Danger is waiting for you. But what kind? That is the question whose answer I need. All of Coth depends on you now." And with that, Coth's father kissed them both on the cheeks, and invited them to depart. Though he wore a smile on his lips, the crease in his brow spoke the worries his mouth withheld. As they left, he watched them until they shrunk to little specks on the horizon and disappeared. @ViverFever @Spooky Mittens @Ghorroj
  13. My favorite "system" is D&D's vancian magic system where you have spells your characters knows and every new day you have to load some of those known spells into a limited amount of slots in your mind from which they can be launched into the world. It allows your character to have a broad knowledge of spells while still forcing you to think ahead and prepare. That said, magic systems are good for video games and TTRPGs. In fiction, the best magic systems have no explanation save for whatever explanation is required to propel the story forward. The major difference between a story and a game is that in a story magic is just another dramatic tool to enhance the themes and tone and direction of a plot. Stories that delve too deeply into their own magic systems often do so to their own detriment. It doesn't matter that we understand the mechanism by which magic works, so long as we can appreciate its effects on the characters and the direction of the story.
  14. Constans looked up, watching the trail of dust float down to the floor from the intruders' footsteps. He was delighted to find his happy home so alive with action. There were moments, and they were becoming more frequent, when he really ought to have been more concerned about what was going on around him. Yes, there were hunters here. Yes, he was probably going to have to punch one. But there was a tug in the back of his mind that he was starting to get familiar with and it told him things would end up wherever he wanted them to. Like that day when Coth had been on fire, when he had looked upon his burning civilization in the strange green light of the rising sun and saw in the unreal symmetry of that altered existence a future which was specifically in his control. He felt like God. He felt like God. But he wasn't God. And the puzzle of that duality was far more stressful than the idea of a few men coming into his basement to try something so frivolous as hurting his new friend. That, anyone hurting Xildara, was simply not going to happen. He felt it. Like the feeling of an open palm about to hold something lovely to touch. Like a parted pair of lips just before the breath of speech escapes. If that didn't make any sense, it was because there wasn't a sense made to sense it. What part of his mind was it that could so deftly hang from the precipice of possibility and decision, free-falling forever between them, looking in both directions at once? Constans looked back at the Gorgon with pursed lips. "I don't think you're ever going to have to run from this place." how annoying it must be, he thought, to be afraid next to a man who could feel the future. "Sorry, uh. I mean. Let's deal with this here." he said with a sympathetic smile, clearly for her benefit. The massive serpent around the fire raised its head and flared its green hood. Constans met its gaze and their eyes lit like signal fires passing a warning to one another. Constans blinked in surprise and suddenly he was knee-deep in a sea of green fire. Xildara, the basement, the bread. They were gone. The snake was still there though. It raised itself up higher, laying its head on his shoulder. Constans wrapped his hands over it, hugging the friend who shared his soul. He was warm, comfortable. His muscles twitched gently in this unfeeling paradise, as they might when he was dreaming of himself doing something active. Which was sort of what was happening. As far as Xiladara could see, Constans and his serpent locked eyes and then the father of Coth looked toward the stairway that descended down into his basement. "This won't take a minute." a voice said out of Constans' mouth. It was his. Almost. His eyes weren't glowing anymore. They were shining. Whatever side of the room he looked at lit like daylight, if daylight were green. Stranger still, wherever this light fell took on the strangest aspect. Hard angles bent. Smooth surfaces looked jagged. Did things look the same reflected in that otherworldly light? Or did they look like strange facsimiles of themselves from a dimension in which the rules of realty were a step out of line? And the shadows! The shadows were deeper than seemed possible, each a bottomless hole of black contrasted to the green shades which colored everything around them. The first hunter descended into the light and Constans snapped to attention. "Hey, welcome! Okay bye!" With a savage gesture, Constans' arm thrust up like an uppercut. But he was ten feet away from the man. Yet as his fingers curled together, lines of green-hot fire wrapped around the hunter's limbs. The man's arms and legs sliced off easily, flipping lifelessly to the floor, but his torso hurtled back up the staircase. Other men cried in shock. One of them tumbled, falling down the stairs and into Constans' and Xildara's view. A different man. The smile on Constans' face was triumphant. "You like hunting monsters? Fun, right?" the otherworldy Constans-voice taunted. He walked up to the man, leaned over and picked him up by the throat like a doll. The man was bathed in the green light, and the horror on his face looked all the more obscene in the strange distortion. "Congratulations. You found one." The man's body began to shake, he tried to scream but from his throat only fire escaped. His eyes burst like grapes, and fire flowed from them too. It was all green. His skin flapped like a sail caught in the wind as God's fire shuddered through him. When Constans dropped the body, looking down at it like a toy he was sad to discard, there was little more than a stinking pile of human skin left. An arrow flew down the staircase. The arrow head and shaft caught Constans in the cheek. His face spun from the blow. He looked down in surprise but soon delighted in licking the bloody arrow head inside his mouth. Fire caught up and down the arrow shaft and in a moment the entire arrow was gone, burned through completely. Constans stormed up the stairs and grabbed another hunter, the admirable fellow who managed to fire off his bow. A moment later, Constans was dragging him by the back of the neck like a puppy back to the basement. His eyes were on the man, blasting green light. Clearly the light distorted the hunters' senses, for the man was following after Constans like a drunk. Yet when Constans eyes, and their green light, fell upon Xildara she would feel only the slightest unease. Surely, everything the light touched looked strange. Shapes seemed to look wrong, angles were impossible to comprehend, yet the grace of Constans' smile seemed to protect her from the worst of it. He held the hunter before her, like a cat with a prize mouse. "This one is yours. Do what you were born to do. Feel the rage inside you. And you-" he said, cranking the man's neck until his face was aimed at her face, "Look at her. Pay attention."
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