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The Hummingbird

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The Hummingbird last won the day on April 28 2018

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About The Hummingbird

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    Penguin Overlord

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    Writing, drawing, reading, sleeping
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    Expert Charcoal Wielder, Conte Crayon Adept, Surveyor of Acrylics

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  1. Sweet Pool is... damn, you guys. Things just got serious. I started up some Digimon Cyber Sleuth for some downtime and Divinity 2 Original Sin for more serious downtime.
  2. Though most of his face remained frozen in indifference, one brow rose as Gabriela concluded her words. For whatever she might be now, he saw that she was no longer the small, weak, pathetic creature he only once visited in the cold of night, and tortured in the strange lands far from here. No black tears fell from her honeyed eyes; there was no sadness to be seen. No love for anything, no claim even on sympathy, nothing but what she spoke of – a cold, dark, consuming hate for a world that had betrayed her endlessly. Slowly he removed his arm from her shoulders, his hand coming to rest with its twin on his lap, where his fingers tapped in a rhythmic pattern. The battle waged on the field before him was forgotten, even as one turned to go and the other declined to surrender with any note of grace. People were cheering and cursing and booing all around him, but he gave none of this any notice. All that mattered was this small form of hate sitting at his side, looking into his eyes unflinching, undaunted. Then he inclined his head toward her, in a unexpected sign of what she had never earned before. Respect. “Now you see,” he said, his voice dropped to a venomous whisper, but the fangs dripping with it were not aimed at her. “This world. What is it to you, this place of shame and treachery? What did it ever matter and why? Why did you ever care for it, when it has brought you to this end?” His lips curled in a sneer. “And I will tell you, it gets only worse. Look through yourself beyond this land, and tell me what you see. What? Is it not so easy? Then let me tell you – blood. Blood and betrayal, treason and hypocrisy.” Again his hand shot to her, to seize her chin, forcing her to look at him once more, their eyes matching, one of honey and one of silver-flecked gold. “Hurt, Gabriela? Why are you hurt? Why bother to feel hurt? It does you no good. Hurt is a weakness, which you cannot afford any longer. My dear, you are utterly alone in this world, and I am your only listener. Yes, me, one whom you despise. I am the only who understands your hate for this… realm of atrocity. “You call me a masochist? Why not? This world, Genesaris the heart of it all, sustains me, and I enjoy watching it rot for all it has become. Even this place whose people worship a so-called Saint has wilted in violence and love for bloodshed. Indeed, I am a masochist, and I’m also a sadist, because I enjoy the pain it must endure now, all the killing… for the sake of pain and the sake of killing. For my sake, Gabriela. “I am Ryzerus Ryan Destiny, and the destiny I see, is a vile end that lies in a cold, disdained grave.” His brought his face close to hers. So close. “Show me what you’ve learned, my love. Spit on the grave.”
  3. Though his eyes were fixed steadily on the battle, Ryzerus’s true attention was focused on the dethroned Queen of Orisia. While his senses did not fail to take in the wonders of the tournament, they were sharpened further on the woman who hated him so. As the fighters below moved in stealth and violence through dust and dirt thrown up by heavy footfalls and air stirred by blade and body, he carefully examined the Queen through touch alone. She was warm now, giving off the human quality of body heat. Her skin was darker, and her eyes were no longer the molten gold he was familiar with. She was so different in this human body – ah, but she was still beautiful, still alluring. And her voice. That was the same too, and he smiled. When she attempted to free herself from his arm, he merely leaned into her and tightened his hold. She wasn’t getting away. To any onlookers, they might see only an intimate couple, unaware of the tension between the two, the disdain and the hate and the uncomfortable strain that tightened both their faces and their chilly manner. “You’re not happy to see me?” his asked, his voice dripping a sweet poison. He shifted in his seat and rolled his eyes. “Please. I wrapped my powers around you the moment I decided you were worth the effort.” He raised a hand and waved it around, mimicking the motion of weaving an invisible thread. “Marvel at my uncanny ability to hide my magic from even the likes of ancient vampyres. Now that you’re human, of course, you’re even more helpless than before.” Ryzerus leaned back as the figures down below began to fight in earnest. He watched then with boredom in his eyes. He had seen battles to the death, entire wars razing entire cities, he had seen airships crash into holy temples, gods and deities impaled and defiled – what was this, compared to all that? “What made you decide to abandon your heritage, Gabriela?” he suddenly asked, a little too loud for comfort. “What are your plans now? While your kingdom slowly shrivels and dies, what will you do? Oh, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t give a fuck about your kingdom. No, no. It’s you I’m most interested in. I’ve never seen someone run so desperately from everything when it goes wrong. Imagine, being one of the great powers in the world… then leaving it behind.” He glanced at her. “But you’re still Gabriela, my dear. You ask what remains of her? Everything that matters, love.”
  4. As he waited for the young man to awaken, Kaige rummaged through his pack. Fortunately, it had survived the brawl with the monstrosity down below, and while a few of the contents inside had been destroyed, there were some that were still salvageable. Among those were packets of herbs and ointments for wounds, which he used sparingly on the minor but troubling injuries he had sustained during the battle. Even small wounds could fester and become infected. But the best find in his pack was a spile and a small bottle. Both were dented with the latter quite twisted, yet still usable. An hour or so later found Kaige still waiting as he drank water from a tapped maple and ate a small repast of cheese, oats, and dried meat. He watched the young man sleep away the day, his patience never waning as the sun sank and the moon began to rise. He thought about the transformation, the wolf the young man had been and was returned from. He had formed a few theories when the young man finally stirred, standing a bit too quickly. He fell and vomited, something quite understandable, considering the situation. Kaige walked over to the young man, bending beside him. One hand tossed a torn but still warm cloak over him, while the other offered the contorted bottle of water. “Thirsty, wolf-boy?” Kaige asked companionably.
  5. Blood and violence. Lust and cheap thrills. Such was what made up the lives of humans, and this tournament that gambled on lives proved it. He had never been fond of mankind, but this was disgusting. He glanced over the heads of the gathered spectators as they cheered the combatants, a sneer of contempt passing over his face. In all the many years he had been alive, he had seen nothing but humans bringing death wherever they went. Perhaps it was only fitting that they now sought to kill each other in pastimes such as this. Alas, he had not come to view the fight. No, his sojourn here, far from Genesaris, carried a far more important purpose. A tall man of auburn hair and golden eyes flecked with silver picked his way carefully through the balconies and favored seating, ignoring the irritated look sand growls aimed toward his intrusion. He had chosen clothes carefully for this event, this foray, making sure to blend in with the rest of the Terran –pardon, the Fracturians? – now gathered together. The style of Fracture was different from his homeland, and due to the hostility between the two lands, he had no wish to announce where he was from. He had picked out as humble sierra-brown coat and a simple tunic and slacks of modest dark browns and reds, with vines embroidered around the low collar and loosely fitted sleeves. A pair of low leather boots completed the ensemble. He followed the path that had drawn him here, the sense that he had carefully traced ever since the aura had changed in a way so thorough and drastic it could not possibly be ignored. As such, he found her quickly, the girl in blue –the human girl – seated alone amidst even this great crowd. With smooth steps and a graceful sweep his tall, angular body, he dove in like a predatory bird and sat beside her, draping a long arm across her petite shoulders. “Why the long face, my dear?” Ryzerus smiled.
  6. As if sustained only by the life of the monstrous being born within it, the structure began to collapse. Slowly the walls began to crumble, joined by the jagged roof of the ruins. Beyond the entryway, stone and marble fell in greater and greater heaps, until finally a large block fell from the ceiling near the entrance, blocking the way out. Kaige twisted his spear once before pulling it out as the creature groaned and, battered by falling rock and sustaining atrocious wounds, became still. The wicked light in its eyes faded, and the earth trembled. Kaige felt the evil of the place abating even as it shuddered and caved. Its work done, the wolf turned and, with great leaps and bounds, made its way out of the falling ruins. Kaige did not bother to hesitate as he followed suit, using the last of his strength to slam his spear into the ledge of the earth and pull himself out. The sun was still high in the sky, beaming down in waves of warmth. It was if it was pleased, smiling down on them in approval for their deed. Breathing hard yet recovering quickly, Kaige rushed over to the wolf as the heroic beast too buckled and fell. He knelt beside it, examining it for wounds he had not noticed or injuries obtained from the battle. He saw a few lacerations, cuts, scratches, tufts of fur ripped out, but nothing apparently fatal. Hesitatingly laying a hand on the black fur, he was about to check for broken bones when the fur shifted under his palm, transforming into a completely different living form. Kaige stood and leaned against a nearby tree and waited for the young man to wake, looking as he had to Port Kyros. “I’ve got some questions for you, my boy,” he murmured.
  7. Breathing deeply, Kaige mentally examined his body. He was heavily bruised, and sensed what was probably a few cracked ribs, with one likely broken. It was a clean break. He placed a hand over his side, his eyes closing for a moment as he summoned the healing spell he could use only once per day. Slowly, the injury aligned itself and stitched together, the pain fading as the ribs healed steadily and the accompanying bruise faded to a sickly yellow before vanishing altogether. He glanced at the wolf, then at the creature. The monstrous thing had paused, and Kaige could feel it – the fear it had so hoped to impose upon him and the wolf it now felt itself. Heaving himself to his feet, Kaige gripped his spear tightly and smiled. The wolf charged, a glory of vicious strength and savage speed. In a flash the monster was suddenly screaming as jaws ripped away at its malformed eyes, tendrils whipping all around, claws raking wildly at the wolf and the air in agony and fear and helpless rage. My turn, Kaige thought as he charged forward. Trained from a young age, Demon Hunters were masters of the spear. They hunted demons, beasts of legend, and ancient threats across the world, exterminating all and anything that threatened humankind. Operating in the shadows and secrecy, they followed only loosely their self-imposed laws and rules, and bowed under no official leader. But they did tend to obey the strongest of them, and acknowledged the skill and talent of that individual. Kaige was that man. He dashed into the hurricane of tentacles. His spear whirled around him, the long blade singing as he handled it with all the deadly accuracy his harsh teachings and grueling lessons had bestowed upon him. Every tentacle that whipped toward him he evaded with the kind of dancing footwork only a true master of the form could have, his spear lashing outward, cutting away at the limbs that crashed to the ground, one by one, seeping the thick black blood that ran now all over its body and blinded its ripped and missing eyes. The creature tried spitting globs of acid, diluted with blood, to no avail as the Demon Hunter slipped around the monster. Again, the creature tried to strike back. Kaige spun in a tight circle, his spear a perfect extension of his body that sliced away the last tentacle the creature had left. By its own momentum, it smashed into the wall, gushing blood. Kaige let loose a wild cry as he ran forth, and sank his spear as deep as it would go into the creature’s writhing body.
  8. The fierce flames bursting around Akni drove Landon back a good few paces, though Ark simply stood there completely unfazed. Once Landon had recovered from the bright light and fierce heat, he stared n rare awe at the great dragon that was his mate. Though he thought she was beautiful in her human form and stunning in her half-dragon morph, neither could compare to what she was now. In fact, he wouldn’t have been surprised if she simply flew off and forgot about him and everything – everyone – else. What would a dragon have to do with such a meager man? Ark was a different story, but if the draconic nature took over, he was in for a long walk home. “Impressive,” Ark commented mildly. “Pretty!” Aslashar chirped. I’m doomed, Landon thought. Then the great, gorgeous dragon landed and spoke, Akni’s telltale sardonic grin clearly showing that her personality had not changed a bit. Landon relaxed rather noticeably, even rolling his eyes when he saw the fragments of her clothes lying ripped and torn on the ground. “Thoughtful as always,” he sighed as another large dragon took the place of Ark. The mountainside seemed a little crowded then as Ark, who was still even larger than Akni, craned his head down to preen her neck in a dragon-nuzzle. “Far thee well, granddaughter,” he rumbled. “All the best I shall wish for thee. I must depart, for I have many things I have left untended and must see to, but surely we shall meet again. Our blood doth calls to each other over many leagues, and the land is but small.” He turned his great head to Aslashar. “Aslashar.” “Master!” it squeaked. “Wait on me no longer. I return thy power, for thou has slaved under me long and I request thy service no more. I trust thou has learned thy lesson.” With a great sigh, Ark breathed a great sheath of fire over Aslashar’s tiny body. BOOM A bird – a firebird molded of blazing white and blue flames – hovered in front of the dragons and a slightly singed Landon. Rearing back a head of untold majestic beauty it screamed a hunting eagle’s cry, and with one beat of its enormous wings it rose into the air, an imposing sight of power and magic that had been chained up for too many years. Mighty Aslashar wheeled in the sky and turned westward to return to the desert that was home.
  9. This monster was no normal nightmare, and any normal human and indeed, any animal would have run screaming from the terror. But neither Kaige nor the wolf were normal creatures, and the hair on both stood up not from fear, but with aggression. It seemed the monster knew their fearlessness, but it was not afraid either. In a grotesque combination of slither and staggering crawl, it approached them close, the tendrils shooting forth as it sought to kill. The wolf was thrown across the chamber, but Kaige had no time to worry about the beast as the monstrosity targeted him with the same violence. His muscles bunched, tightened, releasing in a surge of strength and rising adrenaline, sending him into the air as the tentacle whipped beneath him. He hit the ground in a tumbling roll, evading the second attack; the descending whiplike appendage smashed a deep hole in the floor. The monster growled and then screamed as Kaige whirled around in a full spin, severing the tip of the tentacle with the blade of his spear. Enraged, the monster, writhing, spat a mass of sizzling poison at the wolf that sped toward it then like a bullet, to no avail. Leaping, the wolf latched onto the monster, its teeth and claws digging into the twisted flesh. One thorny tendril lashed out crazily at Kaige, and he felt the sting as it slashed him across the left shoulder. He stumbled, and another limb coiled about a leg, pulling him off his feet and hoisting him into the air. It made the mistake of trying to draw Kage into its foul mouth, for never once did the spearman lose his head; he stabbed and slashed with the spear straight into the maw, and another shriek echoed throughout the ruin as a piece of with might have once been a tongue fell to the ground, spewing vile bodily fluids and blood across the stone-and-marble floor. It flung Kaige away and he hit the wall with a smack, feeling something break as the abomination fought with the determined wolf. Talons rose up and were forced between wolf and monster, prying against the wolf’s body in an effort to tear it away.
  10. It's Renovatio Day. It reached 20,000 posts!
  11. Speaking not a word, Kaige followed after the beast. It paid him no mind, interested more in the increasingly warped surroundings and the scents it breathed in, but as it trotted deeper and deeper into the ruins, Kaige was sure that it sought the danger here to confront it. He jogged after the wolf, regulating his speed so that he never got ahead of it, slowing when it slowed, stoping when it stopped, and running it ran. All the time, the sounds grew in the ruins, echoing down the long hallways, seeming to chase after them while drawing them further in. It was the sound of slime crawling along a rough surface, viscous and evil, and the sound of bones clicking together hollowly. It was the sound of a long sigh, too, and Kaige heard these sounds and knew they were coming close now. Very close. The structure of the ruins, understandable and efficient before, now evaded any reason and was chaos and madness. The angles of the walls and ceiling erupted here and there in insane designs and shapes, eventually coming together to form the doorway that led into a darkness so thick it seemed no light could pierce it. Kaige bared his teeth as if he too were a wolf, as the animal bristled and snarled, stalking into the blackness. The sounds pulsed like a giant heartbeat here. Slowly, the shadows receded, drawing inward before the two hunters, forming a shape born of nightmares. Perhaps, once, it had been a beast not for from a great cat or massive wolf itself, but now it towered above them, on legs that more resembled tentacles that anything else, with thorn-like protrusions jutting out of the skin. Its face was a horror of fangs and teeth, dripping venom so sharp it steamed as it touched the floor. Talons scraped along the floor as it breathed in and out in that evil sigh, and its eyes – black, soulless eyes focused on those who so foolishly came here. It did not speak, but lashed out at once, a tentacle whipping towards the wolf.
  12. That's what happens when The Rules of Magic are all against you.
  13. The mountain landscape was huge, sprawling out around them in streaks of pristine white snow and undisturbed grey rock. Still, it was uncomfortably confining, almost claustrophobic, for Ark’s great size, and so, in a flash of red light, he morphed back to his handsome human form, leaving Landon to fall unceremoniously to the earth. Landon glowered at Ark; the elder dragon ignored him with a mirthful smirk, leaning against a jut of stone quietly as Akni fell into silence against her fallen father. The bones had long been picked clean by scavenging predators and carrion eaters; by the polished scales still remaining on the ground, the dragon hunters had never been able to venture so far into the mountain range to find the body and strip it of its armor. But there were other marks, too; long, straight shafts protruding through the gaps in the ribs, with one cracked bone forced out of alignment. Arkanalandis had not died a kind death, but it was a quick one. Coming forth, Landon knelt beside Akni and put an arm around her in a rare show of compassion and shared grief. Mighty Aslashar followed suit and hovered around Akni’s head. “Ultimate sadness,” it murmured. After a few minutes, Ark finally approached and began digging a hole next to the skull. What he retrieved from the earth was a marvel of manufactured art and power. It glowed a bright wine red that melted the ice that had formed around its body, a fierce dragon carved from such a pure red ruby that a fraction of the statue would have fetched a fortune from any king or queen. It was a solid, heavy stone, the wings folded in close to its serpentine body and head, sharp teeth bared together in an eternal snarl. Fire opals were set in to give life to the eyes, either one of which would have been the centerpiece of a royal crown. As Ark freed it from its confines, a low, draconic howl rushed around them, the spirit of the dragon set within the totem. “It is this which thou has sought, is it not, granddaughter?” Ark asked solemnly. “It is yours by right.”
  14. Warily sliding back and to one side, Kaige let the wolf pass by unmolested. Still, his spear only lowered when the wolf’s back was in clear sight. Kaige had been in too many battles where the enemy would turn at the last second, punishing those who thought themselves to be secure too soon. Still, prepared as he was, Kaige sighed in quiet relief, for the low ceiling and narrow walls of this particular space would not have made fighting particularly pleasant. But now what? There were only two ways to go; out the way the wolf had come, and back into the ruins, where the wolf was headed. And Kaige was not yet done here. Kaige watched as the wolf melted into the darkness, its black fur matching perfectly with the thick shadows. Perhaps it was not wise – perhaps it was foolish – but Kaige hoisted the spear over his shoulders and followed the wolf with silent steps. It seemed to know where it was going, and he did not. As they walked through the ruins, the shadows deepened. The feeling of being watched raised the hairs along the back of Kaige’s neck, and the low sounds echoing through the building didn’t help. There were sounds of skittering mice, falling pebbles, marching spiders and the occasional slow drip of past rainfalls gathered in stagnant puddles. These were to be expected, but there were others sounds too, something low and malicious and dangerous. Made by something vile, and Kaige could feel it as he came to the stairs behind the wolf. The beast did not pause or hesitate, continuing down, graceful as only a beast of prey could be. There were more runes here as well, tracing the cold walls to either side. Kaige ran a hand along one foreboding line of script, frowning. He felt he’d seen something like it before. It meant nothing good. He looked back at the wolf, wondering what drew it here, wondering where its path would take it.
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