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DarkFireMoon

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  1. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Critias in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    [box]Conclusion[/box]
     
    The culmination of force against the great dragon worked well... surprisingly well. The bolt of chromatic magic blasted into the dragon. The beast's natural resistance to magic defended against a portion of the attack, but the strength of Rin's determination proved stronger still. The magic seeped into the dragon, weakening him. Mae's arrow the size of a lance impacted Scae'lion's scales, and, showing that luck was on the Gaian's side, slipped right through the slightest crack in the supernatural defense. The green spear slipped into the dragon's flesh. Sadly, it did not hit his heart as it was too deep within his chest. However, it did go firmly into one of the beast's lungs.
     
    Maria's attack came next, and due to her powerful senses the world seemed to slow. Her masterful and devilish twirling of her sword traced a shining line in the air as she approached Scae'lion. Her strikes rained down on his eye, yet the dragon was still awake enough to close his scaled eye. The scales were not as strong as those on his body, and so several long white cuts sliced their way into the flesh of his massive eyelid.
     
    Kyeri's waves of fire washed over the beast as well. Her combination of fire magic and wind magic to enhance each other made the spell all the more powerful, and the spell impacted the dragon's wings specifically. The fire wrapped around the vulnerable webbing and ate it away. The dragon whimpered in agony, and fear. A flightless dragon was worthless, and broken.
    Lastly, Darien's mark of death was cast upon the beast. The powerful magic was ancient, and even Alikye had trouble casting such a feat. The dragon's natural defenses fought against the spell, and an internal struggle ensued. Two ancient beings of magic pressing their wills against each other. In the end, they met in the middle as two equal and opposite forces do. Rather than settling in the absolutely fatal internal locations, Darien's spell burned itself onto the spine of the dragon. As though it was tattooed via the old method of burning a brand into the skin of a prisoner marked for death, the sigil of doom was burned into the dragon's scales and skin where Darien stood.
    And of course, when force is applied, there is always an equal and opposite reaction. A reverberation fluctuated through the air, and through magic channels. The very same magic that Darien cast upon the dragon was reflected, in part, back at him. It would not kill him, just as his spell would not kill the dragon, but the reaction would cause the shape-shifting sorcerer to be forever fated. His doom, just as the dragon's, was sealed. Whether this doom was fatal, or terrifying, or even positive was unknown.
     
     
    The total damage done to the dragon left Scae'lion broken. Flightless, a damaged eye, a collapsed lung, broken and scared scales and bones. Their great enemy was defeated, and it was almost too easy.
     
     
    [hr][/hr]
     
    Alikye stood, and brushed off his limbs. He already felt this extra power fading. His wings began to retract, his beard dissipated, and his horns and aura shrunk and faded. He stalked towards the whimpering dragon, limping slightly. He was exhausted. These past few days of extremely heavy magic use had left him drained, tired. But there was one last thing to do, time to throw down his foe.
     
    [hr][/hr]
     
    Scae'lion groaned.
     
    'What happened to me..? I was so strong. How could all of these weaklings destroy me?'
     
    The dragon's good eye settled on Alikye, the E'lkiere was coming for him. In that moment he felt something. Magical in nature...
     
    'No... not possible...'
     
    Even as the E'lkiere approached, the dragon could see the faintest glint of red in his eyes.
     
    'He illusioned me... He broke me before we even started. Such power, what is he!?'
     
    Scae'lion drew a shuddering breath, a very painful act considering one of his lungs were pierced. He opened his mouth and words came out. Pained and panicked: "You fools, you trust him! He is evil, pure evil! Madness! He is controlling all of you and you don't even realize it! Run now, before he destroys you too!"
    Another shuddering breath punctuated the dragon's words, as he begged for them to listen. Would they listen?
     
    "He wants you to help him into the mountains... Have you thought about why? Why he would attempt to take my mountains from me? Attempt to harness dangerous magics that no mortal should have access too? Have yo--"
     
    [hr][/hr]
     
    "That's enough, Dragon."
     
    Alikye reached Scae'lion. He used the last of his enhanced strength and magic to send a telekinesis powered kick into the dragon's jaw bone, shattering it instantly. Scae'lion would say no more words.
     
    "I'm going to take some of his scales. Might as well get something out of all this, not like he needs them. Dragon scales are powerful things, a full coat is worth a fortune, and they are almost indestructible." With that, almost calmly, Alikye summoned an ethereal blade of magic to cut the shining white scales from the dragon's front right leg, causing the beast to flinch with pain. He cut a long square piece, oddly there was no blood. He then draped it over his shoulders like a cape. The look on his face was odd, surely, and he pondered his fallen enemy for a long moment. He had cast a spell of illusionment upon the dragon as he flew past his face, making the briefest of eye contact. Upon doing so, he had shattered the magical creature's will and confidence. As all soldiers know, a man with a broken will is no good in battle. The same, apparently, holds true for magical beasts. It was powerful and accursed magic, but it had done the job.
     
    Alikye snapped his finger, casting a spell of dispelling magic. All magic in the area would be undone. 
     
    Scae'lion's form shimmered and changed, and those standing upon him would have to leap off quickly to avoid falling. He changed into his human form, and he looked horrid. The horns on his head were broken, his right arm was heavily scarred, and both wings were in tatters. Not to mention the large bleeding hole in his chest, that was slowly healing already, and the giant branded Death Mark upon his back. His beautiful face was broken, jaw hanging slack from it's hinges.
     
    Alikye snapped his fingers, and from the ground metal flowed. It formed a chain that he sent around Scae'lion's neck.
     
    "You will live dragon. You are a rare and mythical creature, and it would be a shame to cut your life short just yet. However, I cannot let you roam free, so you will be coming with me."
     
    Alikye seemed tired, and his temper was short. His eyes flicked to the other members of his group, they had come such a long way down this long cold road. And there was yet more to come.
     
    "Come, my friends. Victory is ours. Let us rest, and then move on. Soon, we shall reach the end. The end of our road."
     
     
    Alikye turned his back upon the others, heading back towards their broken fort that due to his spell of undoing had already begun to repair itself. He was already drained, but it was nothing a few days rest couldn't fix. They would camp for a week, heal up, and then head back out to the Cold Mountains, where they would finally meet with the High Lords....
     
    A wicked smile creeped onto Alikye's face as he yanked on Scae'lion's chain, pulling the blind-in-one-eye-dragon along with him to the camp. Everything was going exactly as he'd planned...
     
    They'd never see it coming.
     
     
     
    To Be Continued in...
    A Long Cold Road: Journey's End
  2. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Rin in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    Kyeri watched with bated breath as Alikye and the dragon made their downward descent towards the ground. During their fight, Scae'lion had morphed back into his half-human half-draconic form, so he was considerably smaller than he was moments before. Still, he packed quite a punch, as he was still fighting the Elkiere fiercely.
     
    It was hard to see what they were doing exactly, but Kyeri feared they--or at least, Alikye--would hit the ground too soon. He wasn't using his new angel wings to fly away, and with the intensity of the battle, it didn't seem likely that he could. When Scae'lion started polymorphing randomly, Kyeri found herself taken aback to see the Puzzlemaster's ghastly form appear for a brief moment. And I told him to take care of himself! she thought, slightly bewildered.
     
    Then they both came crashing down like meteors. Their force was so powerful, the ground fractured like cracking glass and shook like an earthquake. Kyeri ducked her head when they connected with the earth, so when she looked up, she feared the worst for Elki. But she was reassured a moment later when he called out to them:
     
    "NOW!"
     
    At Alikye's command, the others started their finishing moves, as they had all so ardently promised earlier. Wasting no time in keeping up her own end of the bargain, Kyeri nodded to her little fox, and Ueneg hopped to float a few paces in front of her.
     
    She held out her scythe and started to spin it. Slowly first, then gradually faster, until it was nothing but a blur. Powerful wind gusted from the scythe as Kyeri channeled her magic. Upon reaching full speed, the fox also spun its tail, making waves of fire.
     
    As the wind and fire connected with one another, they made a powerful magical reaction. The fire suddenly burst into large proportions and funneled towards Scae'lion in an effort to attack him while he was down.
  3. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Darien in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    Kyeri watched with bated breath as Alikye and the dragon made their downward descent towards the ground. During their fight, Scae'lion had morphed back into his half-human half-draconic form, so he was considerably smaller than he was moments before. Still, he packed quite a punch, as he was still fighting the Elkiere fiercely.
     
    It was hard to see what they were doing exactly, but Kyeri feared they--or at least, Alikye--would hit the ground too soon. He wasn't using his new angel wings to fly away, and with the intensity of the battle, it didn't seem likely that he could. When Scae'lion started polymorphing randomly, Kyeri found herself taken aback to see the Puzzlemaster's ghastly form appear for a brief moment. And I told him to take care of himself! she thought, slightly bewildered.
     
    Then they both came crashing down like meteors. Their force was so powerful, the ground fractured like cracking glass and shook like an earthquake. Kyeri ducked her head when they connected with the earth, so when she looked up, she feared the worst for Elki. But she was reassured a moment later when he called out to them:
     
    "NOW!"
     
    At Alikye's command, the others started their finishing moves, as they had all so ardently promised earlier. Wasting no time in keeping up her own end of the bargain, Kyeri nodded to her little fox, and Ueneg hopped to float a few paces in front of her.
     
    She held out her scythe and started to spin it. Slowly first, then gradually faster, until it was nothing but a blur. Powerful wind gusted from the scythe as Kyeri channeled her magic. Upon reaching full speed, the fox also spun its tail, making waves of fire.
     
    As the wind and fire connected with one another, they made a powerful magical reaction. The fire suddenly burst into large proportions and funneled towards Scae'lion in an effort to attack him while he was down.
  4. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Just a First Mahai in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    As Rin rushed toward Kyeri, Ueneg chattered frantically, sensing the ill-will of the beast within the half-elf. Kyeri was dumbfounded; why would Rin attack her? They just helped each other a moment ago, didn't they? Weren't they comrades? But that didn't seem to faze her--the half-elf was coming closer and closer. Kyeri turned around in a last minute attempt to dodge Rin's attack. But it never came. Turning back cautiously, she saw that the half-elf was subdued. Somehow, something stopped her...
     
    From where Kyeri was floating, she could hear the rumbling shatter of the stone hut as Alikye's magic tore it asunder. The noise attracted her, causing her to swivel her head in its direction. Her mouth immediately widened into a smile, for it was Alikye! He woke up! He was different, though--cleaner, clothed, and in grand robes at that. He was also pulsating with powerful magic, magic Kyeri didn't think she'd ever feel from any one mage in her life. He put that magic to good use by destroying the Alpha Ice Giant before it could hurt Maria. It was a fascinating move; as he was gathering his magic, the snow that had been falling around them froze midfall. Kyeri's breath felt like it had been frozen in place as well, dazzled as she was by Alikye's power. And when the giant was finally downed, it fell again, almost as if nothing ever happened.
     
    Ecstatic, Kyeri flew over to him along with the others just as he was calling them over.
     
    "I need you to listen. Scae'lion is almost here, we must stop him. The time for cowering in defense is over, it is time we struck back!" His voice echoed powerfully, no doubt enhanced by the magic that was overflowing in him. "I will force him to the ground. When I do, I need you all to hit him with everything you've got! If he gets the chance to attack, we're done for! Are you with me?!"
     
    All around her, the others pitched in with their assents. Mae returned as well, thank the gods! Kyeri was beginning to wonder where she'd went.
     
    "I'm with you. It may be my final attack for a while but I'm with you."
    "Let's end this."
    "It's good to have you back. Shall we?"
    "I think it’s about time the cold mountains were free of this draconic scourge."
     
    Kyeri smiled widely. "You can count on me as well, Elki! And Ueneg, too." The fox peeked out from under her long rust-red mane and sniffed the air about them. She tightened the grip on her scythe and mustered up the courage she would need for when the ice dragon would come.
  5. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Rin in [Sea Haven, Nvengaria Quest] Pearls of Wisdom   
    When all the papers were signed, the receptionist gathered them and lent them over to Ambrose to look over. The scholar paused a moment to consider Mira's signature--a big, round happy face--and decided to let it pass. He would need all the help he could get. "Let's get some Booze!!" the energetic girl roared out after completing her form.
     
    Ambrose smiled politely. "I hope you won't object to some of Sea Haven's finest vintage? It's the Baron's favorite rum." Pausing shortly, he wasn't sure if he had said that correctly. He didn't drink frequently, so he wasn't sure of what terms were in use. "Wine is available as well," he added slowly after a moment of thought. Motioning to the group, he led the way to the castle solar.
     
    [hr]
     

     
    It was a fine room, not too big, but rather cozy and secure. Just what was to be expected of a room in which private discussions were meant to be made. Ambrose checked the fire briefly before pacing over to one of the smaller side tables, on which was a tray bearing a decanter of said rum with cups. There was also another decanter with fine red wine. He poured himself a cup of rum, poured into another, and offered it to the nearest standing person.
     
    Hastening over to the table in the middle, he quickly pulled out several old parchments that had the appearance of architectural blueprints. He spread them out evenly and waited for the group to come over before saying, "Here are some plans I discovered in the archives--they depict a series of crypts built directly below the castle." Taking an absentminded sip of the rum, he continued, "Along with some other clues I dug up on my research, I have reason to believe that our first pearl lies somewhere deep underneath...for when the pearls were first documented as missing, Sea Haven was experiencing inner turmoil." Ambrose began to pace, his hands folded behind his back, lapsing into his scholarly-lecture mode.
     
    "The House of Rosengarth--that is, the current Baron's house--was split with inner strife. The then Baron of Sea Haven, Sir Torvis, was at odds with his younger brother, Sir Robert, over the latter taking a marriage partner who wasn't a suitable match for a member of the Baron's family. Not only that, but he had blatantly jilted his previous betrothed in order to be with this lower-born woman. Whether it was witchcraft or the own lady's charm, Sir Robert was positively infatuated with his new flame. After they were married, she put an odd request to him:
     
    "To give her a necklace strung with all of the ten legendary pearls.
     
    "Now, even after breaking the most common rules of tradition and nobility, this was a pretty tall order. For you see, the ten pearls are ancient heirlooms of the Sea Heaven barony. When the barony was first established here, the pearls were gifted to the first Baron by--and here, many accounts are made--some say by the merpeople, others say it was a mysterious mage, and yet others claim they were the first ten pearls to have been fished from the ocean and were of such beauty that they were given to the Baron. 
     
    Ambrose caught himself before he could go off topic, and remembering that his guests probably didn't share his interest in history (especially that bouncy Mira girl), he cleared his throat and said, "Well, to keep from boring you with what is generally known as a long story, what happened in the end was that Sir Robert did indeed defy all the bounds of logic and stole the pearls to make them into a necklace for his beloved. To this day, no one knows why he did so. But when he handed the pearls over to his lady, it was the last that Sea Haven would ever see of them...and also he of her, for she too disappeared mysteriously.
     
    "For his crime, Sir Torvis exiled him from Sea Haven forever. And it seems from there that it is illogical that we should ever find one of the pearls hidden deep in this very castle's crypt, no? But yes! Or rather, we shall find one. I'm certain of it." Turning back to his plans of the underground crypts, he also pulled out several yellowed leather-bound books, opening all three at the same time, and flipping them open simultaneously with as much haste as he could allow himself to exercise on such old leaves, he finally slapped them at the pages he wanted and pointed exuberantly at the old writing. "Right here! Sir Robert's journal, in the entries right before he executed the theft and then directly after--I know not why I should do this and it fills me with great guilt to even think of it, but for her I shall...the deed is done, but I have tricked her.--Beyond the 'I have tricked her' part, there is no explanation of how he tricked her, but it is to my belief that I retained at the very least, one pearl. This journal continues up until he is exiled, for he never brought the book along with him. It was a miraculously lucky find, for I found it collecting dust quietly in the archives at the very back of the shelf, most inconspicuous had I not scanned the first few pages. Even that was tricky, for Sir Robert didn't sign his name anywhere in it, and I could only discern his identity from what he talked about in the pages...
     
    "And ho! Before you contradict me with Sir Robert's exile, look into this book." It was the second volume in the middle. "What I am pointing to here is an entry in one of Sea Haven's annals of a body interred into the Rosengarth family crypt bearing no name. Only infamous family members are buried in such a way. They are also denied the cosmetic funerary redressing; so he was interred the same way he was found. Considering the time at which this body arrived and when Sir Robert's exile started, I have firm belief that it is indeed Sir Robert's body. And next, consider this book--"
     
    His movements grew in fervor and his voice more excited as he presented his findings to the group. Pointing at the third and last book, he said, "This details the efforts to relocate the pearls, since then dropped. Notice that throughout this span of time, no necklace of any ten pearls has been reported to have been made anywhere, not in Nvengaria, or on Genesaris. Of course, the world is a big place and there's no true certainty of that, but these pearls were magical and something of the sort would've been highly publicized. Sea Haven is only a barony after all, not much of a consequence flaunting its old heirlooms unlike if one had tried to rob the dukedoms, earldoms, and even royalty of Nvengaria. At most you would just bring shame upon the Baron's family. But if you tried with any of the others--" Well, he didn't have to go far to let them know that the higher nobility would tear the thief apart from limb-to-limb. It was all a matter of power and importance. "--excuse me, I think I'm going off topic. But at any rate, the reason I believe no such necklace has been reported is because Sir Robert's wife was not given all ten pearls; hence, 'I tricked her'. She certainly didn't stop to count them, though, for she was long gone after the fact. However, please turn back to the annals." And he flipped to a certain page. "She may have realized her mistake, for here, a few months or so after Sir Robert's interment, a series of crypt break-ins were attempted. And the only way that could've happened? If someone who knew the way about the castle was directing the break-ins. Mind you, they were failed. She was not present, per se, but it is my belief she provided the burglars with inside information from her brief time spent at the castle. It is also my belief that before Sir Robert's death, and even til then, she had been tracking him. But she apparently gave up after those first few attempts. Perhaps because she died? Or did she realize the futility of it? But moving on..."
     
    He closed up the three books and put the focus back on the plans of the crypt. "This here begins our first step in recovering the first pearl. It may daunt you that I haven't found leads on the others, but rest assured that these were magic pearls, and they were said to have been magically linked to one another. Therefore, upon finding the first, it will also direct us to the second, and so forth. Hopefully a good number of them aren't strewn individually across Nvengaria--or even Genesaris!" He let out a little amused laugh, although some of the group may or may not find that last statement amusing. "So, what is our first task, you wonder? Well, the Baron has given me permission to investigate the crypts of the castle. He also says there is no consequence in opening an unnamed Rosengarth's coffin, so long as we don't break anything. It'll be quite easy to find him; we just need to find the one with the same date as marked in the annals, which I remember." With an apologetic smile, he said, "Not quite the start to the adventure you must've imagined, but I promise you it will get better. Whenever you're ready, we shall go at once."
     
    So basically to find this first pearl, he was asking them all to enter the crypt and rifle through the body of a dead guy. Were they up for it?
     
  6. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from sheep in [Sea Haven, Nvengaria Quest] Pearls of Wisdom   
    When all the papers were signed, the receptionist gathered them and lent them over to Ambrose to look over. The scholar paused a moment to consider Mira's signature--a big, round happy face--and decided to let it pass. He would need all the help he could get. "Let's get some Booze!!" the energetic girl roared out after completing her form.
     
    Ambrose smiled politely. "I hope you won't object to some of Sea Haven's finest vintage? It's the Baron's favorite rum." Pausing shortly, he wasn't sure if he had said that correctly. He didn't drink frequently, so he wasn't sure of what terms were in use. "Wine is available as well," he added slowly after a moment of thought. Motioning to the group, he led the way to the castle solar.
     
    [hr]
     

     
    It was a fine room, not too big, but rather cozy and secure. Just what was to be expected of a room in which private discussions were meant to be made. Ambrose checked the fire briefly before pacing over to one of the smaller side tables, on which was a tray bearing a decanter of said rum with cups. There was also another decanter with fine red wine. He poured himself a cup of rum, poured into another, and offered it to the nearest standing person.
     
    Hastening over to the table in the middle, he quickly pulled out several old parchments that had the appearance of architectural blueprints. He spread them out evenly and waited for the group to come over before saying, "Here are some plans I discovered in the archives--they depict a series of crypts built directly below the castle." Taking an absentminded sip of the rum, he continued, "Along with some other clues I dug up on my research, I have reason to believe that our first pearl lies somewhere deep underneath...for when the pearls were first documented as missing, Sea Haven was experiencing inner turmoil." Ambrose began to pace, his hands folded behind his back, lapsing into his scholarly-lecture mode.
     
    "The House of Rosengarth--that is, the current Baron's house--was split with inner strife. The then Baron of Sea Haven, Sir Torvis, was at odds with his younger brother, Sir Robert, over the latter taking a marriage partner who wasn't a suitable match for a member of the Baron's family. Not only that, but he had blatantly jilted his previous betrothed in order to be with this lower-born woman. Whether it was witchcraft or the own lady's charm, Sir Robert was positively infatuated with his new flame. After they were married, she put an odd request to him:
     
    "To give her a necklace strung with all of the ten legendary pearls.
     
    "Now, even after breaking the most common rules of tradition and nobility, this was a pretty tall order. For you see, the ten pearls are ancient heirlooms of the Sea Heaven barony. When the barony was first established here, the pearls were gifted to the first Baron by--and here, many accounts are made--some say by the merpeople, others say it was a mysterious mage, and yet others claim they were the first ten pearls to have been fished from the ocean and were of such beauty that they were given to the Baron. 
     
    Ambrose caught himself before he could go off topic, and remembering that his guests probably didn't share his interest in history (especially that bouncy Mira girl), he cleared his throat and said, "Well, to keep from boring you with what is generally known as a long story, what happened in the end was that Sir Robert did indeed defy all the bounds of logic and stole the pearls to make them into a necklace for his beloved. To this day, no one knows why he did so. But when he handed the pearls over to his lady, it was the last that Sea Haven would ever see of them...and also he of her, for she too disappeared mysteriously.
     
    "For his crime, Sir Torvis exiled him from Sea Haven forever. And it seems from there that it is illogical that we should ever find one of the pearls hidden deep in this very castle's crypt, no? But yes! Or rather, we shall find one. I'm certain of it." Turning back to his plans of the underground crypts, he also pulled out several yellowed leather-bound books, opening all three at the same time, and flipping them open simultaneously with as much haste as he could allow himself to exercise on such old leaves, he finally slapped them at the pages he wanted and pointed exuberantly at the old writing. "Right here! Sir Robert's journal, in the entries right before he executed the theft and then directly after--I know not why I should do this and it fills me with great guilt to even think of it, but for her I shall...the deed is done, but I have tricked her.--Beyond the 'I have tricked her' part, there is no explanation of how he tricked her, but it is to my belief that I retained at the very least, one pearl. This journal continues up until he is exiled, for he never brought the book along with him. It was a miraculously lucky find, for I found it collecting dust quietly in the archives at the very back of the shelf, most inconspicuous had I not scanned the first few pages. Even that was tricky, for Sir Robert didn't sign his name anywhere in it, and I could only discern his identity from what he talked about in the pages...
     
    "And ho! Before you contradict me with Sir Robert's exile, look into this book." It was the second volume in the middle. "What I am pointing to here is an entry in one of Sea Haven's annals of a body interred into the Rosengarth family crypt bearing no name. Only infamous family members are buried in such a way. They are also denied the cosmetic funerary redressing; so he was interred the same way he was found. Considering the time at which this body arrived and when Sir Robert's exile started, I have firm belief that it is indeed Sir Robert's body. And next, consider this book--"
     
    His movements grew in fervor and his voice more excited as he presented his findings to the group. Pointing at the third and last book, he said, "This details the efforts to relocate the pearls, since then dropped. Notice that throughout this span of time, no necklace of any ten pearls has been reported to have been made anywhere, not in Nvengaria, or on Genesaris. Of course, the world is a big place and there's no true certainty of that, but these pearls were magical and something of the sort would've been highly publicized. Sea Haven is only a barony after all, not much of a consequence flaunting its old heirlooms unlike if one had tried to rob the dukedoms, earldoms, and even royalty of Nvengaria. At most you would just bring shame upon the Baron's family. But if you tried with any of the others--" Well, he didn't have to go far to let them know that the higher nobility would tear the thief apart from limb-to-limb. It was all a matter of power and importance. "--excuse me, I think I'm going off topic. But at any rate, the reason I believe no such necklace has been reported is because Sir Robert's wife was not given all ten pearls; hence, 'I tricked her'. She certainly didn't stop to count them, though, for she was long gone after the fact. However, please turn back to the annals." And he flipped to a certain page. "She may have realized her mistake, for here, a few months or so after Sir Robert's interment, a series of crypt break-ins were attempted. And the only way that could've happened? If someone who knew the way about the castle was directing the break-ins. Mind you, they were failed. She was not present, per se, but it is my belief she provided the burglars with inside information from her brief time spent at the castle. It is also my belief that before Sir Robert's death, and even til then, she had been tracking him. But she apparently gave up after those first few attempts. Perhaps because she died? Or did she realize the futility of it? But moving on..."
     
    He closed up the three books and put the focus back on the plans of the crypt. "This here begins our first step in recovering the first pearl. It may daunt you that I haven't found leads on the others, but rest assured that these were magic pearls, and they were said to have been magically linked to one another. Therefore, upon finding the first, it will also direct us to the second, and so forth. Hopefully a good number of them aren't strewn individually across Nvengaria--or even Genesaris!" He let out a little amused laugh, although some of the group may or may not find that last statement amusing. "So, what is our first task, you wonder? Well, the Baron has given me permission to investigate the crypts of the castle. He also says there is no consequence in opening an unnamed Rosengarth's coffin, so long as we don't break anything. It'll be quite easy to find him; we just need to find the one with the same date as marked in the annals, which I remember." With an apologetic smile, he said, "Not quite the start to the adventure you must've imagined, but I promise you it will get better. Whenever you're ready, we shall go at once."
     
    So basically to find this first pearl, he was asking them all to enter the crypt and rifle through the body of a dead guy. Were they up for it?
     
  7. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Darien in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    As Rin rushed toward Kyeri, Ueneg chattered frantically, sensing the ill-will of the beast within the half-elf. Kyeri was dumbfounded; why would Rin attack her? They just helped each other a moment ago, didn't they? Weren't they comrades? But that didn't seem to faze her--the half-elf was coming closer and closer. Kyeri turned around in a last minute attempt to dodge Rin's attack. But it never came. Turning back cautiously, she saw that the half-elf was subdued. Somehow, something stopped her...
     
    From where Kyeri was floating, she could hear the rumbling shatter of the stone hut as Alikye's magic tore it asunder. The noise attracted her, causing her to swivel her head in its direction. Her mouth immediately widened into a smile, for it was Alikye! He woke up! He was different, though--cleaner, clothed, and in grand robes at that. He was also pulsating with powerful magic, magic Kyeri didn't think she'd ever feel from any one mage in her life. He put that magic to good use by destroying the Alpha Ice Giant before it could hurt Maria. It was a fascinating move; as he was gathering his magic, the snow that had been falling around them froze midfall. Kyeri's breath felt like it had been frozen in place as well, dazzled as she was by Alikye's power. And when the giant was finally downed, it fell again, almost as if nothing ever happened.
     
    Ecstatic, Kyeri flew over to him along with the others just as he was calling them over.
     
    "I need you to listen. Scae'lion is almost here, we must stop him. The time for cowering in defense is over, it is time we struck back!" His voice echoed powerfully, no doubt enhanced by the magic that was overflowing in him. "I will force him to the ground. When I do, I need you all to hit him with everything you've got! If he gets the chance to attack, we're done for! Are you with me?!"
     
    All around her, the others pitched in with their assents. Mae returned as well, thank the gods! Kyeri was beginning to wonder where she'd went.
     
    "I'm with you. It may be my final attack for a while but I'm with you."
    "Let's end this."
    "It's good to have you back. Shall we?"
    "I think it’s about time the cold mountains were free of this draconic scourge."
     
    Kyeri smiled widely. "You can count on me as well, Elki! And Ueneg, too." The fox peeked out from under her long rust-red mane and sniffed the air about them. She tightened the grip on her scythe and mustered up the courage she would need for when the ice dragon would come.
  8. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from ~Harlow. in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    As Rin rushed toward Kyeri, Ueneg chattered frantically, sensing the ill-will of the beast within the half-elf. Kyeri was dumbfounded; why would Rin attack her? They just helped each other a moment ago, didn't they? Weren't they comrades? But that didn't seem to faze her--the half-elf was coming closer and closer. Kyeri turned around in a last minute attempt to dodge Rin's attack. But it never came. Turning back cautiously, she saw that the half-elf was subdued. Somehow, something stopped her...
     
    From where Kyeri was floating, she could hear the rumbling shatter of the stone hut as Alikye's magic tore it asunder. The noise attracted her, causing her to swivel her head in its direction. Her mouth immediately widened into a smile, for it was Alikye! He woke up! He was different, though--cleaner, clothed, and in grand robes at that. He was also pulsating with powerful magic, magic Kyeri didn't think she'd ever feel from any one mage in her life. He put that magic to good use by destroying the Alpha Ice Giant before it could hurt Maria. It was a fascinating move; as he was gathering his magic, the snow that had been falling around them froze midfall. Kyeri's breath felt like it had been frozen in place as well, dazzled as she was by Alikye's power. And when the giant was finally downed, it fell again, almost as if nothing ever happened.
     
    Ecstatic, Kyeri flew over to him along with the others just as he was calling them over.
     
    "I need you to listen. Scae'lion is almost here, we must stop him. The time for cowering in defense is over, it is time we struck back!" His voice echoed powerfully, no doubt enhanced by the magic that was overflowing in him. "I will force him to the ground. When I do, I need you all to hit him with everything you've got! If he gets the chance to attack, we're done for! Are you with me?!"
     
    All around her, the others pitched in with their assents. Mae returned as well, thank the gods! Kyeri was beginning to wonder where she'd went.
     
    "I'm with you. It may be my final attack for a while but I'm with you."
    "Let's end this."
    "It's good to have you back. Shall we?"
    "I think it’s about time the cold mountains were free of this draconic scourge."
     
    Kyeri smiled widely. "You can count on me as well, Elki! And Ueneg, too." The fox peeked out from under her long rust-red mane and sniffed the air about them. She tightened the grip on her scythe and mustered up the courage she would need for when the ice dragon would come.
  9. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Rin in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    As Rin rushed toward Kyeri, Ueneg chattered frantically, sensing the ill-will of the beast within the half-elf. Kyeri was dumbfounded; why would Rin attack her? They just helped each other a moment ago, didn't they? Weren't they comrades? But that didn't seem to faze her--the half-elf was coming closer and closer. Kyeri turned around in a last minute attempt to dodge Rin's attack. But it never came. Turning back cautiously, she saw that the half-elf was subdued. Somehow, something stopped her...
     
    From where Kyeri was floating, she could hear the rumbling shatter of the stone hut as Alikye's magic tore it asunder. The noise attracted her, causing her to swivel her head in its direction. Her mouth immediately widened into a smile, for it was Alikye! He woke up! He was different, though--cleaner, clothed, and in grand robes at that. He was also pulsating with powerful magic, magic Kyeri didn't think she'd ever feel from any one mage in her life. He put that magic to good use by destroying the Alpha Ice Giant before it could hurt Maria. It was a fascinating move; as he was gathering his magic, the snow that had been falling around them froze midfall. Kyeri's breath felt like it had been frozen in place as well, dazzled as she was by Alikye's power. And when the giant was finally downed, it fell again, almost as if nothing ever happened.
     
    Ecstatic, Kyeri flew over to him along with the others just as he was calling them over.
     
    "I need you to listen. Scae'lion is almost here, we must stop him. The time for cowering in defense is over, it is time we struck back!" His voice echoed powerfully, no doubt enhanced by the magic that was overflowing in him. "I will force him to the ground. When I do, I need you all to hit him with everything you've got! If he gets the chance to attack, we're done for! Are you with me?!"
     
    All around her, the others pitched in with their assents. Mae returned as well, thank the gods! Kyeri was beginning to wonder where she'd went.
     
    "I'm with you. It may be my final attack for a while but I'm with you."
    "Let's end this."
    "It's good to have you back. Shall we?"
    "I think it’s about time the cold mountains were free of this draconic scourge."
     
    Kyeri smiled widely. "You can count on me as well, Elki! And Ueneg, too." The fox peeked out from under her long rust-red mane and sniffed the air about them. She tightened the grip on her scythe and mustered up the courage she would need for when the ice dragon would come.
  10. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Darien in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    The sky above had opened fire with bullets of ice. It peppered the battlefield without hesitation, threatening everything with obliteration. Darien threw up a defense, a mini force-field of wind magic that deflected the snow away from his person.
     
    Alikye had returned, and he was strong. A ferocious power and confidence surrounded his perfected image. This kind of magic would tear most beings apart. As Darien closed on their regrouping, Alikye crushed the battered alpha giant with just a gesture. His attempt to bolster Maria’s attack was a success, and they’d cleaved the giants’ spine just before Alikye’s power aura emerged from the hut.
     
    Darien caught up with Mae, Rin, Alikye and Maria. The wound on his wrist from his blood contribution healed over, and he felt better than he had since being clubbed by the first giant. A little time to heal before the dragon arrived. The dragon dove towards them, and it seemed Alikye’s plan was to meet him head on.
     
    “It’s good to have you both back”, he muttered after Maria had spoken, directing his soft reply towards Mae and Alikye, who both harbored a fresh strength for the final fight.
     
    “Everything we’ve got?” Darien licked his lips, the purple glimmer in his eyes pulsing in delight. “I think it’s about time the cold mountains were free of this draconic scourge.” He winked playfully and turned to Mae.
     
    “I’m glad you’re okay.” He paused for a few moments of silence and then tried to ease the tension as the group looked on at the coming dragon, “It’s going to get a little nippy up here without my cloak.” he joked.
     
    He gripped Alerstrad and considered how he could make the biggest impact. How does one kill a dragon? Taking a couple of steps back from the group, he began chanting under his breath, too quietly to draw any real attention. He drew complicated symbols on his left arm with the tip of the dagger, drawing again from the magic that existed on the fringe of his mind, something sinister and connected with a past long forgotten. But it had worked with Maria, why not against Scae’lion?
     
    He wasn’t simply fusing his power with a blade this time; he was harvesting magic from the air and storing them in the glyphs on his skin. Feeding from the powerful aura that Alikye and Mae and even the echoes of Rin’s demonic side and the alpha giant’s magic. When the time came and the dragon was grounded, he would pierce its’ hide with the dagger and unload a venom of dark magic that would eat at Scae’lion from the inside, first defrosting his lungs and reducing his ability to use magic.
     
    He knew Alikye would be going for the kill.
  11. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to ~Harlow. in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    "Are you with me?!"   “Alikye.”     It was a voice that had no immediate direction. The fact that it belonged to Mae was as obvious as its carried distance, her words echoing through the newly quieted grounds, muted somewhat by the weight on the wind. Then came her light - faint but present - beaming between the breaks in the veil of falling snow just behind Rin. It illuminated the undisturbed valley before her, a beacon of unebbing warmth that could be felt by all.   She quietly approached the two of them, nodding to Rin with a silent understanding of thanks. Had it not been for her, the giant would have surely pursued the elf further, and she would have never been able to recover. Mae then turned to Alikye, eyes fixed on his as she stepped closer to him.   The elf reached out to him with her good arm, entranced in a state of bewilderment and bringing a temporary stillness to the storm. She had to touch him - to be sure. It was a selfish gesture, invading his person without so much as a warning, her heart pounding against the cage of her chest as she did so.   “Don’t tell me it’s been that long..” She drew her hand down the side of his face, grazing his new facial hair with the back of her knuckles, “I’m glad you’re awake. I felt something -” Mae withdrew her hand, face wrinkling with concern and residual fear, “I wasn’t sure - ”   Her voice trailed off and she shook her head, blinking back tears behind a hardened stare.   "Let's end this."
  12. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Rin in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    The normal giant fell as Rin stood there. She looked as she would attack Kyeri next. The magical energies that would normally tire out the half breed continued to leak out and spill around her as the snow began to heavily fall. It didn't hurt her unlike the others, she had spent brutally Cold winters in her homeland.

    It did however stick to her alabaster skin. She roared then, the magic from her tainted form flying here and there at the moment, as she tried not to let the beast control her. But it was no use. None at all and she seemed to be heading at Kyeri.

    It was then something came into her mind that stopped her from moving. The crimson black speckled eye closed. She gritted her teeth as even though before she had been a wild feral monster. She flailed her arms for a moment as she felt something enter her. A calming motion.

    Though at the same time the chains formed magically back around her neck, the beast returning to sleep. She would ask later who was able to perform such a feat. She opened her eye as the sane part of her returned.

    Her head was lowered.

    "I'm with you. It may be my final attack for a while but I'm with you."

    It was all she could say at the moment. She was physically and emotionally drained from fighting the ice giants.
  13. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Critias in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    [box]The Camp[/box]
     
    The normal giant cried out a shattering yelp of pain as Rin clawed out it's right eye, after leaving numerous wounds all over its body. Blue blood rained down everywhere, causing massive patches of frozen ground to become like sheets of ice. Followed by her flame dancers, which impacted in gushes of flame, the giant fell to it's knees in a defeated fashion. The wounds were deep, but it was even then regenerating large potions of ice-skin and tissue. Her attacks had bought them a few moments of reprieve. Just enough, in fact, for Kyeri's lightning attack to hit. There was a blinding flash of light as the arc of energy connected from the sky, to the giant, to the ground. The ice giant cried out, its back arching as it's cry echoed throughout the land. Its eyes were directed skyward as it slowly began to crumble. First an arm fell off, then its head, then all at once it's body fell into numerous pieces. The combined efforts of Rin and Kyeri had expended the magical reserves that kept the being together.
     
    Simultaneously, Maria's black bolt of lightning, boosted by Darien's blood, impacted the Alpha male. The arc collided with the creature's back left shoulder, leaving a deep wound. The would refused to heal, however, and was seared black. The death magic of the E'lkiere was such that it counteracted the healing effects of the Giant's bodies. The Alpha roared in rage, his eyes growing wide with pure fury. It whirled around and set its sights on the thing that had hurt it:
    Maria.
     
    The creature lifted both of its arms into the air, and grunted some inaudible words. There was a flash of blue light, and the air stilled for a moment. Then, the spell took effect.
     
    The blizzard, already heavy, suddenly began increasing rapidly. It was as if someone had turned gravity's effect on the snow up ten fold, then fifty fold... then one hundred fold! Quickly, each individual snow flake began to impact the ground around them like bullets. The Alpha male was largely unaffected. The ground, the wall, and the surrounding area however began to be torn up by the magic. Then, the Alpha made a powerful throwing movement with his arms. The wind picked up, and a huge gush of the bullet-snow was directed right at Maria. The attack would pulverize the stone and ground around her as though 20 mini-guns were aimed at the spot she was in. Would it do the same to her?
     
    And that wasn't the worst of it. Scae'lion was almost there. Would anything save them, at this point?
     
     
    [box]Alikye: The E'lkiere[/box]
     
    [spoiler]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kASL3Vd5fkA&list=FLEWXB6xj_txeg7GTI0sW3nA&index=17[/spoiler]
    "You have about five minutes... make them count."
    "Good luck, my son..."
    As Alikye gripped his Heart of Heart, the first thing he was aware of was blinding fire running through his body. Such agonizing beauty rushed through his veins at that moment, that the E'lkiere knew what it was like to be unmade and remade. In the stone tent where he was housed, the entire room was filled with light. The light increased in intensity, until it was blinding. Then, it was over.
     

     
    Alikye stood, slowly. He was almost unsure he was in the real world until he felt the biting cold.
    "I'm back..."
    He felt different. He looked about himself. He could see... everything. Molecules, atoms, the air currents, magical energy, he could see it all with no effort. This was a strange feeling. He reached up to touch his face, when he suddenly felt a beard on his chin where it hadn't been before. He also felt his horns, and noticed they were much longer as well. Not to mention he had three pairs of wings, instead of the normal two. But the changes were not just physical... they were also internal. He knew things, and he knew in that moment that he had all the knowledge of the beings inside of him. Spells that he'd once thought were impossible, movements so graceful they seemed impossible, all were suddenly at his beck and call. He suddenly knew what he was working towards, his absolute limits. They were... unbelievable.
     
    He stepped forward to leave the stone tent. Suddenly, the thick rock that made up the tent exploded. He reeled in shock as the fractured stone littered the area around him. Simply by moving, he'd caused a massive burst of energy to erupt. The power was so much more than he was used to. He took a breath and brought his new found strength under hold. Unlike his aura which was usually explosive and massive, using the millennia worth of knowledge, he condensed it down all to fit in his form. His aura, once wild, was now the aura of a master. Blinding and dense. 
    'I definitely need to learn how to do this normally so that I can't be sensed for miles around,' he thought to himself. It was only then that he noticed the clothes that had somehow appeared on his body. They were grand robes, tied down to not hinder him in battle.
     
    He blinked. He felt a powerful surge of energy, and his head whipped up to see a massive Ice Giant casting a spell at... Maria! Even from here, he could see. His vision was flawless even from this distance. He was so late to the battle, everyone was scattered around. He could feel the chaotic mess that was now Rin, and practically everyone else was hurt or drained from battle. And... where was Mae?
    He turned around until he felt her energy. It was different, but he also sensed much pain. 'No!'
    He had taken too long. It was time to make up for it.
     
    [float=right]                [/float]
     
     
    The E'lkiere took a deep breath, and when he spoke his voice echoed across the mountainside. All would know: He had awoken, and he was angry.
     
    "You shall not harm them, never again!"
     
    He channeled energy into his body, and he was surrounded suddenly by blue light. The energy he was gathering was too great to be held in his physical body, and thus it radiated off him. He stepped forward and made a gripping motion with his right hand.
     
    All the snow in the area stopped falling, as if it was frozen in the air. The Alpha male roared in anger, but found itself completely unable to move. As Alikye lifted his hand, the giant lifted. His telekinetic powers having increased in strength to this point was amazing, even to him. He reveled in this new power, but he knew it wouldn't last long. He had to move quickly. When the Giant was about ten feet in the air Alikye made a decisive, and cruelly ruthless, crusting gesture with his fist. The Alpha male cries of pain were cut short as his entire being was crushed down violently, spurting the blue freezing blood everywhere, into a ball the size of a melon. That ball fell to the ground with a dull thump. 
    The snow began to fall again.
     
    With one push of all six of his wings, Alikye launched himself over to the wall. As he landed he clapped his hands together, unleashing a wave of golden light that would impact everyone, save Mae. The healing energies would help, he hoped. Onto the next problem... Rin.
    Alikye turned he gaze to her, she had become a beast. He sighed, and blinked. His eyes flashed red, and he uttered a few words in a language so foul that the area around him darkened for a moment. This was the magic of the Skindancer Demons, a kind of incredibly powerful mind-effecting magic.
     
    "Alek, crevat-ish re'k!" 
     
    This was a call to Rin's inner self, giving her sane mind more control. At least, he hoped. They didn't need another foe on top of everything else, they didn't have time.
     
    "Everyone!" The Eldar-form E'lkiere called out. He hoped everyone heard him.
     
    "I need you to listen. Scae'lion is almost here, we must stop him. The time for cowering in defense is over, it is time we struck back!" As he spoke, he imbued his voice with magic. It echoed around the camp loud enough for everyone to hear. He hoped Mae was alright....
     
    "I will force him to the ground. When I do, I need you all to hit him with everything you've got! If he gets the chance to attack, we're done for! Are you with me?!"
     
    He stood there, arms spread wide, imploring the others to help him. He could not take down a foe so powerful on his own. Even as he stood, the Great Frost Dragon loomed even closer, it's massive size becoming apparent for the first time. 
     
    This was the climax of everything they had worked for, they had to make it. They just had to.
  14. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Just a First Mahai in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    "Whoa!" Kyeri yelped as the Ice Giant almost whapped her with its humungous palm. She spun out of the way in midair, going in circles at least four times. When she came to, she was a little dizzy but still focused on the battle nonetheless. She was just in time to see Rin jump down from the Ice Giant and prepare a spell while on the ground, dark energy sizzling. A chant in a foreign tongue was spoken in incantation of the spell. When she raised her hands, a pillar of heat and fire dancers appeared right beside her, aiming for the monster.
     
    During that moment, Kyeri and Rin had made eye contact. It was a strange moment. Kyeri could tell something was different with Rin...something feral, wild, and ferocious. It put a chill down Kyeri's spine. But she shook it away soon and broke the eye contact as the fire dancers were zooming in closer to the Ice Giant. She needed to make her mark, too! No way was she going to let Rin do all the work...or anyone else, for that matter.
     
    Raising her scythe high above her head, she shouted above the din of the battle:
     
    "You are the thunder and I am the lightning!"
     
    "A tree of light, a tree of spark,
    Light, then sound, paints the dark--
    A beautiful work of nature's touch,
    The power to grasp, a bit too much!"
     
    The chant done and over with, she struck downwards with her scythe's sharp point as if she was going to hit the Giant again. However, there was a good bit of distance between them, so it touched nothing but air. But that air was soon sizzling with its own electrifying energies to accompany Rin's fire.
     
    Using the storm to her advantage, Kyeri raised the scythe well above her head again and the crackling magic that had been building up on the scythe shot into the sky. It rumbled in the clouds, dark and brooding. If everything went as planned, a lightning bolt would soon make its way down onto the Ice Giant's head in accompaniment to Rin's fire dancers. Lightning was part of her short-lived plan to explode the Giant from the inside-out, anyway. Short-lived, but not forgotten.
  15. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Rin in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    "Whoa!" Kyeri yelped as the Ice Giant almost whapped her with its humungous palm. She spun out of the way in midair, going in circles at least four times. When she came to, she was a little dizzy but still focused on the battle nonetheless. She was just in time to see Rin jump down from the Ice Giant and prepare a spell while on the ground, dark energy sizzling. A chant in a foreign tongue was spoken in incantation of the spell. When she raised her hands, a pillar of heat and fire dancers appeared right beside her, aiming for the monster.
     
    During that moment, Kyeri and Rin had made eye contact. It was a strange moment. Kyeri could tell something was different with Rin...something feral, wild, and ferocious. It put a chill down Kyeri's spine. But she shook it away soon and broke the eye contact as the fire dancers were zooming in closer to the Ice Giant. She needed to make her mark, too! No way was she going to let Rin do all the work...or anyone else, for that matter.
     
    Raising her scythe high above her head, she shouted above the din of the battle:
     
    "You are the thunder and I am the lightning!"
     
    "A tree of light, a tree of spark,
    Light, then sound, paints the dark--
    A beautiful work of nature's touch,
    The power to grasp, a bit too much!"
     
    The chant done and over with, she struck downwards with her scythe's sharp point as if she was going to hit the Giant again. However, there was a good bit of distance between them, so it touched nothing but air. But that air was soon sizzling with its own electrifying energies to accompany Rin's fire.
     
    Using the storm to her advantage, Kyeri raised the scythe well above her head again and the crackling magic that had been building up on the scythe shot into the sky. It rumbled in the clouds, dark and brooding. If everything went as planned, a lightning bolt would soon make its way down onto the Ice Giant's head in accompaniment to Rin's fire dancers. Lightning was part of her short-lived plan to explode the Giant from the inside-out, anyway. Short-lived, but not forgotten.
  16. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Ayden in The Haunting of Morgana [Quest]   
    Meliora had not been talking to James long when they were approached by a pale woman with flowing black hair. "Hello. My name is Alie. Alie Zarin. I saw that there was some trouble with ghosts here, so I've come to lend my aid.” She had the most striking crimson eyes Meliora had ever seen on a person. She also carried a sword on her back, her cloak was of quality material, and an aquamarine necklace on silver chain adorned her neck. So she seemed rather well-to-do, at least for herself. Meliora nodded her way.
     
    "So it's with ghosts that we've got trouble? Then it's not just rumors..." she trailed off a moment, thinking. To Alie, she said, "Help would be much appreciated. Do you come on the part of any particular organization? Or is it just yourself?"
  17. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Darien in [Sea Haven, Nvengaria Quest] Pearls of Wisdom   
    Ambrose returned his handshake cordially and exchanged other introductory formalities. After this, the scholar turned his attention to the ragtag bunch assembled in the reception hall. Whilst they spoke between themselves, Darien had a few moments to learn a little about them.
     
    Stood straight and calm a couple of feet behind the others at the desk, Darien imposed no threat. It seemed unnecessary to push his introduction in here as well, there would be time for names later. The important thing was that Ambrose seemed capable enough, at least even from their brief words, Darien could assume a great deal of the scholar’s intellect, and that was the most important feature a leader could have, at least for a quest in which the acquisition of historically lost items was the only real concern. They would not need a military leader, and from the looks of things, it could be surmised that the group had enough combat experience anyway.
     
    He connected the voice of the brash, apparently young girl Mira, which he’d heard from the courtyard. She appeared to be young, but appearances were often deceiving. Almost every member of this group, including Darien himself could attest to that. The androgynous half-elf hadn't shared a name yet. Despite his gender-bending features, Darien could ascertain that it likely identified with itself as a male, though it might not be as clear cut as that. He guessed the elf would be at least a century old, if not two. Then there was that distinct floral scent that hung in the air, almost dripping an alien sense of seduction. A woman of the fae. He had heard her name also, when she’d asked the receptionist if she was in the right place. Morven. She was absolutely tiny and had the voice and youthfulness to match. But the fae were never young, she could be thousands of years old for all he knew.
     
     
    Darien groaned inwardly, taking care to ensure that it wasn't noticeable. Forms? What happened to the golden days of questing, where a man would mistakenly drink heavily the night before a quest began, and awaken still slightly drunk, to a violent headache and a toxic stomach, then quite simply they would shake hands with their equally hung-over questing partners and hit the road to the quiet mumbling and daring stories of the previous night’s drunken mishaps, no formal contracts to be made. Darien was sure he’d soon be forced to take out some kind of insurance on his person. The thought amused him, a contract in which, should fatal harm come to his body; a size-able stipend of money would be delivered to his house. Nobody would receive it, and it would be reclaimed to the pocket of a noble, who would shrug their shoulders and say “No family? A shame. We will repurpose this money for the good of Genesaris!”
     
     
    Nevertheless, Darien took his forms from the desk and waited for his turn to use the ink. He did not bother to read them, and instead simply chose to trust that he wasn't turning over his soul to Ambrose in paper contract. He didn't care to read whatever the reward would be either.
     
    After a little deliberation to match the others and make it seem like he cared for the contract so as not to hurt Ambrose, he took the quill and signed in his usual spidery font and drew his signature panther off to the side.
     
    Once he had finished, he slid the forms back onto the desk and made it obvious that he was ready to continue onward.
     

  18. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Critias in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    [box]Alikye[/box]
     
    [spoiler] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H529fng2Sfw[/spoiler]
     
    This wasn't right...
     
    Alikye spluttered, pushing the water out of his mouth. He lay, face down, in the inch or so of water that covered this place deep within his being. He tried to move, but found it so hard; as though his body weighed a thousand pounds. He forced his head to angle slightly so that he could see the Shade of his soul. The creature was standing before the pedestal that held his Heart of Hearts. The crystal glowed, fluctuating between white and black. The darkness of his soul had won. He couldn't fight against himself, everything that he wished he wasn't had turned out to be far greater than what he actually was.
     
    His thoughts turned to the others in his group. He pictured Mae, her innocence and drive. Darien, his daring and cunning. Rin, her shyness covering her inner strength. Maria, her dark zeal and deadly accuracy. Kyeri, her girlish charm and surprising amount of power. He suddenly felt a connection to Mae. He got a clear mental picture of what was happening to her, at the same time she connected with his pain. He felt her suddenly be shaken, hurt, disrupted.
    'NO!'
     
    He had failed them all. Because of him, they were all in danger. He suddenly felt Rin's energies flare and warp into something else. Something horrible was happening. Outside of his internal struggle, the others were facing such adversary that he dared not think on it.
     
    'Ugh, Alik, please wake up!'
     
    Kyeri's mental call made him blink. He needed to get out of here, to help. He needed to save them and complete his mission. He needed to save Kishian, he needed to get up. Within his mind, something stirred. He felt a little bit stronger... perhaps...
     
    Just enough to stand?
     
    The Shade ceased it's revelry of the Heart, and turned to look at Alikye.
    "... You cannot win. Stay down."
     
    Alikye grunted, slowly, painfully, forcing his arms to move. He began to crawl towards the Shade. This seemed to greatly disturb the creature, who took a step back.
    "... Stop that. Go away, stop resisting!"
     
    Alikye's jaw was set so tight that he was slightly worried his teeth would shatter. Each time he lunged forward to grasp at the ground with his bloodied hands, it got easier. Each time he felt stronger.
    "Go, my son. Over come."
     
    "I will never... Stop fighting..." 
     
    "... But why? I have defeated you. You are dying."
     
    Alikye stopped crawling. He closed his eyes. No, he would not give up so easily. He shifted his weight, and slowly, so slowly, rose to his knees. His wings dipped down, the effort of holding them up still too much for the mage. He bared his chest to the Shade.
    There was no wound.
    "Really? I don't see anything wrong with me," Alikye said, through a pained smile. He had, whilst crawling, summoned the necessary energies to regenerate the wound. The Shade took another step back. Alikye stood, finding his strength returning. It was as if the thoughts and hopes of his group had in some way granted him the strength to go on. He flexed his arms, breathing deeply. When he opened his eyes, they were pure white. 
     
    "White is a mixture of all colour, you know."
     
    The Shade roared with anger, and dropped it's staff of shadow. It lunched at him in an animistic way. But to Alikye the creature appeared to be moving in slow motion. What had changed?
    "You feel loved, Alikye."
    "Father?"
    "This is the feeling of having a family. Support. You can do anything, if you are loved."
    "I will never forget again, father."
     
    He met the Shade's attack by grasping the creatures arms. The resulting explosion of power created a crater in the ground, and all the water was flung outwards. Energy arced, colours burst, but the Shade could gain no ground. The creature roared in his face, but Alikye's expression was nothing but softness. It was as if he had channeled his father's loving nature.
    "I accept you."
     
    The Shade was stunned. It blinked, the darkness that made it up shimmered softly.
    "... What?"
    Alikye smiled at it. 
    "We are one. I can not change that, nor can I get rid of you through violence. Instead, I choose to love you. I choose to love myself."
    Alikye hugged the creature close.
    "... No, no! NOOOOOOOO!"
    In a burst of light, their beings began to fuse. The Shade shed pure darkness, and Alikye emitted pure white light. The Shade tried to pull free, but Alikye's hug was too strong. His will to accept the parts of himself that he hated was infinite. He had to do this, to be whole. Soon, the light changed to a light grey, and it became blinding. Just like that, it was over. They were one.
     
    Alikye took a deep breath. He felt much stronger, but he was not done here. He turned to the Heart of Hearts, and began walking towards it. He reached out to touch it, but was interrupted. 
    &quot%
  19. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Darien in [Sea Haven, Nvengaria Quest] Pearls of Wisdom   
    "Ambrose, I presume?"
     
    The scholar whirled around in surprise at the sound of the voice. His heart beat with excitement, for it was not a voice he heard regularly at the castle nor one he knew and that could mean only one amongst many things--and he was sincerely hoping it was for the pearls. His dark, smoky gray eyes taking in the figure of the man before him, he said, "Yes, this is he." Seeing the man's hand open before him, he took it up in a hearty shake. "Darien? Very nice to meet you. And I'm--but you know my name already."
     
    He turned back towards the reception hall and peeked his head in. One, two, three people already! The receptionist looked a bit befuddled and gave him a reproachful glance for not being there when he was supposed to be. Ambrose chuckled sheepishly and turned back to Darien. "Oh, you've been waiting? How rude of me! I hope you haven't been waiting long?" The question was directed to all of them, if they could hear him. He took stock of the others with his eyes as he motioned for Darien to join them in the small reception hall. A petite young woman with lustrous dark hair, an androgynous black-eyed figure, and one very boisterous girl.
     
    "Oi, we gun' get 'em pearls or what?" the girl asked in a rough dialect. Ambrose tilted his head in confusion and was about to speak to her when she added, "I'm Mira and what the fuc' are ye?" Apparently talking to the androgynous figure.
     
    The scholar was shocked to hear such a little girl use such...language. "Young lady, do watch your tongue at the castle," he said, not sharply like most outraged officials would be, but equal parts firm and gentle. He was quite the laid-back sort of guy. "Here, and elsewhere," he added after some thought.
     
    Anyway, turning to the others, he said, "I take it that you all are here for the quest? Again, I sincerely apologize for keeping you waiting." He came round behind the desk, standing just beside the receptionist, and pulled out several sheets of paper. "Here are the release forms. These will sign you up for the quest, outline your rewards, and make clear what we are responsible for and what we are not. I suggest you read them over carefully." They took up three sheets of paper for each person with regular-smallish print sporting official words typically found in contracts or similar such papers.
     
    A quill and inkwell stood nearby for the signing. "When you are finished, we shall head to the solar for a discussion of the lead I have recently found," Ambrose said. He was really ecstatic about uncovering the locations of the pearls that he wanted to start as soon as possible with whatever could easily be started with. He was eager, but not selfish; he wouldn't force the quest-takers, likely to be foreigners who just arrived, to start the journey straightaway. Besides, his first clue was close to home.
  20. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Darien in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    Kyeri noted with a fresh feeling of triumph welling deep inside her one side of the giant's head sliding away. As the massive half-head slid away, the portal to her dimensional pocket unleashed a massive wooden bureau that went headlong down to the ground. As it smashed on the snowy surface, a plethora of dark and pungent smokes erupted from its wooden splinters. It had been carrying expired year-old potions that Kyeri had been hoarding. Oh well, they were of no use anymore--especially since they were expired.
     
    When the head finally cleared from the neck, Kyeri noticed Maria right in front of her. She was ecstatic that she'd just completed quite the combative move with the dangerous one of the group ('cause this made them friends now, riiiiiight?), although that joy was soon to be short-lived when Maria started sliding down along with the giant! "Maria!" Kyeri called out, shocked.  She dove down, her hand reaching for the murderess', but then the flash-freezing ice giant blood caused her to back off and block it out with another wind-and-fire barrier. She so hated this, but she would be even more useless to the group frozen.
     
    When her barrier cleared away she saw Maria getting closer and closer to the hole. She dove down as fast as the winds and swirling storm could allow her. And then for a split second, she lost Maria to the dark abyss. "Oh no!" she cried. But her lamentations were for naught as the woman suddenly shot back up from the hole and perched onto the fortress wall. It was a hard hit she took, but she was still alive. Good, Kyeri thought, relieved.  She took a sweeping look about the camp, noticing that Rin looked markedly different, and surmised one giant down, two more to go. Unfortunately they were two of the bigger ones.
     
    But where's Mae? she wondered concernedly. She continued to look around the camp but still couldn't find any sign of Mae. Gritting her teeth, she rebuked herself for having to forget about another one of her friends at the moment, but the situation at hand was more pressing. Remembering the situation, her eyes flitted briefly to the stone hut Alikye was resting in. Hope he's ok, she thought. For some reason, that creepy winged man wants him. He must be valuable in some way if that guy'll go through such lengths to capture him. She sucked in a deep breath. I don't mean to sound rude, but if that's the case, I sure hope he wakes up with something up his sleeve soon. 'Cause I don't see Mae anywhere, Maria just shot back up from the hole, Rin is horned (which is actually good now that I think of it, because that means she got a boost in magic, right?), and Darien...She then realized she saw him nowhere at all. She noticed a black panther suddenly at Maria's side when her eyes swept that way, though. Great, Darien's gone too!
     
    She didn't want to abandon Maria but this time she decided to cast her lot in with Rin. Besides, Maria had that panther. She must've summoned it or something (or so Kyeri thought). So she wasn't really alone.
     
    Flying over to the Ice Giant that Rin was battling, Kyeri stretched out her scythe and let its sharp point dig through the icy skin. Whilst Rin was clawing at it, Kyeri swept in circular motions all around its body hoping to carve the thing up like a Thanksgiving turkey. Ueneg kept up her barrier defenses so that she wouldn't flash freeze. But she knew the giant would only regenerate--this was just a temporary measure. Even the dimensional pocket she opened up in the other one's head started to refreeze not long after. By the gods, if they were suddenly immune to fire and could regenerate from their wounds, what would stop them? What would destroy them?
     
    Think, Kyeri, think! She grit her teeth as her scythe went over a rough region. What can stop ice besides fire? What can stop their regeneration?
     
    An idea came through her head that involved the explosion of an Ice Giant from the inside out. But that was risky! All that blood would splatter everywhere and freeze everything; not to mention everybody. Ueneg couldn't be at more than one place at the same time. Ugh, Alik, please wake up!!
  21. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Rin in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    Things just went down so fast. Kyeri had barely been able to do much when the Ice Giants broke through the wards they'd set up! Everything, from the vines and fire and...nothing worked on them. Kyeri only watched with disbelief as the fire traps barely did a number on the Giants and any wounds they inflicted on them were quickly healed again. How could they fight against regenerative foes?
     
    The earth shook and fissures cracked through it. The startled neophyte mage leapt into the air with the wind holding her up. Ueneg curled up on her shoulder under her long hair, shielding itself against the onslaught of snow and ice. Kyeri ducked her head as the fox made a flaming shield to protect her from the sudden ice attack from one of the Giants that surely would've frozen her if the fox was not as quick-thinking.
     
    When she surveyed the scene again, she saw Darien floating in the air glowing purple and Maria rushing at a Giant with her sword, glowing with power as well. She didn't know what was going on, but she had to make her mark in the fight before the others took all the fun away!
     
    Brandishing her scythe, she dove for the giant that had been making trouble for Maria and Mae earlier. All the while she kept funneling wind about her with traces of fire, doing her best to keep dry and deflect moisture. It would not do to be frozen in this situation at all. "Hey there, ugly!" she shouted once she was within earshot of the thing. She whizzed about its head like a gnat, trying to make it dizzy. Also trying to gain traction for a certain move she had in mind. "Miss me! Whoops! Now you see me, now you don't!"
     
    All were words of bravado. And all were hiding the underlying fear she felt in the pit of her stomach. These Ice Giants just terrified her! But she couldn't let that fear get in the way of her and her newfound friends. Not when they saved her from the Gate, and not when one of them was not up to snuff at the moment. Although Kyeri believed they could really use some extra help by now.
     
    Here goes nothing, she thought, and stopped behind the Giant's head with her scythe raised above her. She probably didn't see it, but Maria was also targeting the same Giant's neck. Using all her willpower, Kyeri swung the scythe pointy-side down on the thing's head. A mass of wind swirled around the weapon, making her hair fly crazily behind her. "Let's see you try to regenerate your way...through this!" the girl ground out. The scythe's magic crackled at its point, preparing for the opening. If all worked well, Kyeri will have opened up a dimensional pocket right in the middle of the Giant's head and upper neck, using the hollow of its throat and brain cavity in the skull as key opening points. Some of her things she kept in storage might pour out of it...but that was all part of the plan too.
  22. Like
    DarkFireMoon got a reaction from Darien in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    Things just went down so fast. Kyeri had barely been able to do much when the Ice Giants broke through the wards they'd set up! Everything, from the vines and fire and...nothing worked on them. Kyeri only watched with disbelief as the fire traps barely did a number on the Giants and any wounds they inflicted on them were quickly healed again. How could they fight against regenerative foes?
     
    The earth shook and fissures cracked through it. The startled neophyte mage leapt into the air with the wind holding her up. Ueneg curled up on her shoulder under her long hair, shielding itself against the onslaught of snow and ice. Kyeri ducked her head as the fox made a flaming shield to protect her from the sudden ice attack from one of the Giants that surely would've frozen her if the fox was not as quick-thinking.
     
    When she surveyed the scene again, she saw Darien floating in the air glowing purple and Maria rushing at a Giant with her sword, glowing with power as well. She didn't know what was going on, but she had to make her mark in the fight before the others took all the fun away!
     
    Brandishing her scythe, she dove for the giant that had been making trouble for Maria and Mae earlier. All the while she kept funneling wind about her with traces of fire, doing her best to keep dry and deflect moisture. It would not do to be frozen in this situation at all. "Hey there, ugly!" she shouted once she was within earshot of the thing. She whizzed about its head like a gnat, trying to make it dizzy. Also trying to gain traction for a certain move she had in mind. "Miss me! Whoops! Now you see me, now you don't!"
     
    All were words of bravado. And all were hiding the underlying fear she felt in the pit of her stomach. These Ice Giants just terrified her! But she couldn't let that fear get in the way of her and her newfound friends. Not when they saved her from the Gate, and not when one of them was not up to snuff at the moment. Although Kyeri believed they could really use some extra help by now.
     
    Here goes nothing, she thought, and stopped behind the Giant's head with her scythe raised above her. She probably didn't see it, but Maria was also targeting the same Giant's neck. Using all her willpower, Kyeri swung the scythe pointy-side down on the thing's head. A mass of wind swirled around the weapon, making her hair fly crazily behind her. "Let's see you try to regenerate your way...through this!" the girl ground out. The scythe's magic crackled at its point, preparing for the opening. If all worked well, Kyeri will have opened up a dimensional pocket right in the middle of the Giant's head and upper neck, using the hollow of its throat and brain cavity in the skull as key opening points. Some of her things she kept in storage might pour out of it...but that was all part of the plan too.
  23. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Yojimbo in [Sea Haven, Nvengaria Quest] Pearls of Wisdom   
    Ss-ss-ss. Ss-ss-ss. Ss-ss-ss. The sound of a dozen chittering and chattering minds flooded over the low rhythmic pulse of the tide. Sen snapped their eyes open and everything went silent, before the roar of the sea returned. Those two perfect, over sized almonds of wet onyx, swiveled in their sockets, searching the city streets and his nostrils flared, taking in the briny smell of the place, along with a hundred other scents. "How can they stand the smell?" The words were spat out, dripping with venom. "Stings." He wrinkled his nose, from side to side, the thing changing ever so slightly in its slant from the rest of his face. "Nn.. better." These words rumbled out in a low, bass.

    A moment passed and the being extracted himself from the shadow of the alley-way in which he had been resting. "It seems some small piece of luck has fallen upon us today." He mused, as a long, spindly fingered hand traced the letters of an add that had been glued to the wall of the alleyway. "Reclaim ancient pearls. Adventurers required. Inquire at Castle to the attention of one Master Ambrose." Sen read the thing in short, incomplete bursts, allowing his lips to work back and forth against his teeth. The way they moved was unnatural, a kind of fierce and wandering undulation. "Seems promising." Dexterous fingers slipped beneath one corner and peeled the thing free, folding it quickly, before tucking it into an empty belt-pouch. "Off we go then." The humanoid turned, swiveling in place, and sauntered castleward with practiced nonchalance.

    The short walk quickly found him in the baron's courtyard. A small woman lingered there. He breathed in slowly, inhaling the scent of the two individuals, familiarizing himself with it. Yes, a woman indeed. Elven? No- Close, but not quite, older than that- one of the Fae. He wore dark hunting leathers, dyed a deep blue, near black. On his back rested a bow of simple darkwood and a quiver, while a rapier swung easily on his left hip. The handles of two long-knives protruded from the lip of his soft-leather boots as well. His face was an ashen white, eyes a deep, glimmering black and hair a milky lavender. Long, pointed ears  and the sharp angles of jaw and chin betrayed his race as some kind of exotic elf (that is, at least, what he appeared to be). Narrow shoulders shifted, feigning nervousness, while one slender leg kicked idly at the ground.  "Looks like we're both here for the same thing." His hips rolled from one side to another lazily before he walked forward, withdrawing the folded. bit of poster. Sen's voice was like honey- rich and sweet in timbre. Alto in tone it played up and down in shifting cadence, lilting. It almost seemed accented and yet it lacked the trappings of any particular language or region. Once more, was this person a man or a woman? So terribly hard to tell with elves- they were a rather androgynous sort.
  24. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Rin in [Sea Haven, Nvengaria Quest] Pearls of Wisdom   
    Morven had never been to Sea Haven, she had just come to the lands of Valucre. The Fae had not settled in yet. Though seeing posters all around of wanting to obtain knowledge and learning appealed to the young woman. Though it had taken a good few hours to come across the castle, she stood outside of it for a moment.

    The poster she had seen had called for brave people. Morven was a diviner, able to see the past present and future. When she thought it was proper to. And coming from a small forest like dwelling made the big cities look bigger than they were to the Fae.

    Morven sighed. She didn't know how to feel about coming. She barely knew fighting techniques, save for the few she had learned in the last quest she undertook. Save for that she didn't know if she qualified for brave.

    Gathering her courage she entered the building and looked around for the man named Ambrose. He was the one allowing or disallowing people to join the quest. Was it a quest? She didn't know. Walking up to the desk she looked at the person behind it.

    "Is this the place we can join the quest that's listed on the poster? I am Morven, and I've come to join it."

    The Fae then placed her arms against her torso. She was a small woman. Her height was only 4'6 and yet she acted like a wise old woman. Though the Fae was old, Morven presented herself as a young adult.
  25. Like
    DarkFireMoon reacted to Darien in A Long, Cold Road: Part II   
    Darien began to zone out as Mae spoke, but he heard her words loud and clear. They had to set up and defend Alikye.
     
    “One hour.” He said to the others. “ Scae’Lion has foolishly offered us one hour to prepare. We’ll make it count.” In the distance, three successive earthquakes marked the progress of the ice giants. Kyeri and Ueneg set about the basics: Light. Orbs of fire began to appear around the camp as the little fox went to work. Rin was weak, and needed rest, but Darien knew she had more power to draw upon when the time came. It was down to Maria and him to set-up defense of the E’lkiere. He continued to count the seconds down as the hour ticked slowly by. It was plenty of time.
     
    He looked at Maria’s blade, the Seven Kill Steel, just as she masterfully flipped it behind her and slid it into its dark sheath. A single raindrop dripped from the tip and fell to the ground before it fell into place. She sighed, and he knew that she had made the decision to guard Alikye. He looked into her piercing red eyes and addressed her seriously. “You’ve made your decision, protector.” He briefly wondered which was sharper, the murderess’ mind or blade. “We should follow the dragon’s advice and get him into one of these bunkers. I can throw down some more protection magic and that’ll free you up to get into the thick of the fight. You won’t have to play babysitter, but nothing must get to the bunker. We die first."
     
    Darien immediately knelt down and picked Alikye up into his arms after Mae wrapped him in her cloak and paced over to the first bunker. Once inside, he propped the unconscious body of Alikye against the wall as he set up a makeshift bed. He quickly examined the E’lkiere’s vital signs whilst working magic with his other hand. Tendrils of byzantium purple rose from the ground to form an entwined bed at waist height. It was angled so that Alikye wouldn't be completely horizontal, should he wake. The tendrils breathed with magic and responded to the body of Alikye as Darien laid him down. They rose around his sides and danced lightly across his skin, offering further healing. “Wherever you are, Alikye, we’re going to need you back before the night is through.”
     
    He examined his unconscious face, looking for any motor response, but there was none.  “We’re not at last ditch efforts yet, but if I didn't try this you’d tell me off anyway.” He placed his hand on Alikye’s forehead and quite literally buzzed him with white magic, hoping that the message would reach him somewhere deep in his dreams, like some kind of mental resuscitation, offering a tiny link to reality. You need to win, Alikye.  No immediate response followed, but that was as he expected. Whoever had hold of Alikye was holding on tight. He could even feel the strong-spirited magic that scattered turmoil in his aura. It was distinctly otherworldly and fae. The fae kingdom never allowed him to study their magic. They were alien to him - nothing like the understandable magic of demons and angels.
     
    Before Darien left, he raised more tendrils by Alikye’s left side; they climbed across each other until they stood an accommodating pedestal, in which Darien carefully placed Kishian, Alikye’s beloved staff. The tendrils danced around it protectively, and Darien detected the living staff’s grateful response. He then clicked his fingers and a small orb of light appeared on the other side of the altar, providing light should he wake. He turned and left, sealing the doorway with more purple tendrils as he went.
     
    Back outside, Darien walked to the dead center of the fortress camp, now lit by the bonfire Kyeri had prepared earlier. The rain didn't threaten to put out the magical fire, but it did dampen the wood, giving off dense white smoke and water vapor that drifted and was blown violently away by the wind above. He shifted his weight from foot to foot as if testing the ground for solidarity, and then undid the lace clasps that kept his jerkin on. He slipped it over his head and folded it neatly out of habit despite the fact it was sopping wet and was only to get wetter in a pile on the floor. Then he sat cross-legged in the mud, as if ready to meditate.
     
    Darien tuned out of the camp and into nature, enhancing his senses - although he hardly needed to, the hefty footfall of the giants in the distance shook the ground with each step they took. He’d like to say they marched together in coordination, but it did not remain that way. A defined, more stern and vicious stomp began to alternate the other minor quakes, as one took lead. Three ice giants approached from far, yet there was clearly a trailblazer: An alpha-giant. Darien wanted a better look, but there was no real wildlife around.
     
    He finally pin-pointed a tiny red-breasted nuthatch flitting across the sky, disturbed by the explosions in the mountains and he took control of its tiny mind. Suddenly, the bird's vision was his and he could see the ground far below as he flicked his wings. The bird’s heart was pumping and it was fearful, the weather made it almost impossible for it to fly and it was struggling to keep air time, Darien had to help stabilize with  a little wind magic, though it was weak at this distance. He was some miles from the camp. He circled round and immediately he saw them. They were huge. Over 40 feet tall. The leader stood a head and shoulders above the others and with each gigantic step he took, his colossal, arctic muscle rippled across chest and shoulders. In one hand, he carried a gigantic mace of ice. It looked as though he had simply ripped it from the mountain, then, left undisturbed for an age in his slumbering arms, large icicles had formed spikes that jutted out in every direction: A brutal morning star that could smash, batter and crush anything in the giant’s wake. The alpha giant’s other arm sported a gauntlet-like set of ice claws that were no less scary than the mace. Icicles hung from their forearms and formed deadly shoulder guards, the other two were only slightly less menacing.
     

     
    He eased his hold on the bird's mind and returned to the camp, but not for long before zoning out again. Forty minutes is all they had left, and he intended to fortify Alikye’s construction. Presently, the mace would brutalize them in one lethal swing. He began to hum, and as he did, he raised off of the floor, hovering effortlessly a few feet above the ground. The peculiar purple of his irises expanded to fill his eye sockets, quickly engulfing both pupil and white and then began an intense glow. The resonant humming came from somewhere unknown in his chest, as it had when they fought the Lacertanza. It built until there were seemingly multiple voices humming in unison, but it remained quiet and likely inaudible to the rest of the group as they busied themselves with preparations. A visible purple barrier formed around the entire fortress, a massive bubble of protection that quickly materialized into tendrils like those he’d used to protect Alikye, although this time they were translucent. The tendrils interlaced and thickened, climbing over one another to reach the top of the camp and then suddenly they snapped together tight. The weather no longer penetrated to the group, but they could still see out. The oddity that was their campsite, a fortress, surrounded by Mae's wall of thorns and encased in shadowy tendrils like a giant translucent ball of yarn, would be able to absorb some of the impact to come, but it would not hold against three giants. Darien did not intend to let them get so far.
     
    They might need to disarm the giants, and then he intended to fight on his terms, outside of the camp. They could not be allowed close enough to make any attempts for Alikye. When the time came, he would take the fight out to them. His only hope was that the others had as many secrets to offer as he did. He stepped down from his floating meditation and stretched. The branded tattoo on his chest blazed a hot white and Alerstrad, which hung loosely from a leather band at his ribs pulsed a similar color. The purple of his eyes did not show any signs of relent. His usual light-hearted and laid back demeanor was gone, and the gravity of the situation had Darien ready for war. Again.
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