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Fallen Joy

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Fallen Joy last won the day on May 20 2014

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  1. Natasha settles onto Kamal, feeling his pearled scales ripple against her sinewy thighs as he engorges in size. She notes a warmth embracing her firm waistline soon after Alexandria settles. Those carmine irises shift, vision siphoning through the cascade of dreadlocks as she cants her head towards the witch. Mind on the battle, it inspires little carnal response, but the ebony in her pupils imbibe and reflect the fatigue plastered upon Alexandria's face. The gold-clad warrior had become a rock against the battering waves of emotional and physical exhaustion, slowly grinding into a sandbed of exhaustion. Sarra's strength powered her to save Una Tal, but Natasha couldn't help but think of the wavering tread of Luna. Was Alexandria also pushing on because of obligation? The she-orc notes the weight of her ironed breasts on her back, the fine tremor in her hands, and the deep long draws of her breath. The arcane taxed the body in ways Natasha could never understand, but she understood the piling weight of fatigue. Silently one of her arms layered on top of hers, eye hardening with determined focus as Kamal drove them into the depth of the creature's lair. One thing she knew was that Alexandria's passion for victory held enough heat to turn the granules of sand into a brilliant glass, and she'd protect it from shattering with her life. Splash. The ground was wet underneath her boots with an unpleasant sludgy texture. An eerily tranquility existed with an occasional hiss from the winds through the tunnels. Natasha narrowed her eyes into the darkness and led the way forward. They traveled through the leech's hole, occasionally met with a sporadic dripping sound of ichor as muck siphoned from the ceiling. Their metallic boots echoed against the dirt walls. She did not pick up any lifeforms, and thanks to Kamal, they could sense the way to battle. The orc practiced slow, calming breaths. She was not used to this level of anxiety or apprehension. It was not for the battle itself but the safety of her ward and the thought of this gargantuan thing crushing her. She shivered the tension off her stiff shoulders, attempting to hone her focus on the battle's glory instead. An essential part of her intellect was her instinct and freemind; her body lived for violence and danced to the orchestra of war without thought. But current thoughts ground and rusted her mental gears, making her grimace and tense for no reason. Breathe it away. Natasha exhaled long and deep, internally laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of this newfound vulnerability. Never in her life would she have expected such internal tribulations. Suddenly the ground trembles under their feet, throwing her from her thoughts. Earthly debris rained down in dust above them. Natasha looked up in alarm for a cave-in. However, the ceiling remains relatively stable. Adrenaline tingling through her body, her mind suddenly shivered with a familiar purr. This monster really must have been enormous. Her mind went back to conquering it, and her heart raced with bloodlust. They traveled for perhaps another hour, miles into the dark tunnel, when something finally drew attention. It was another cocoon. It was unusually long and skinny, fixated to the wall with wiggling tendrils clinging ravenously. As they approach, Natasha with intent to slay it, the vessel suddenly illuminates. A pulsating crimson glows from within, intermingling with a thrashing movement. Natasha hesitates. "We should just burn it." But Alexandria would fill something more. Familiarity and arcane power. It was a signature that would ignite premature hope. It felt like Luna. However, when she removed the ichor (however she decided to do so), a silvery rod shot forth and flew around the air with a beautiful trail of twinkling light. It was Luna's staff-- a known sentient object the high witch was rarely seen without. The crimson glow was from the head, where rune inscriptions were engraved. It flew exuberantly with newfound freedom as if elated with joy and then settled before Alexandria. The silver sheened gold against her torch embers, and it began to oscillate with a low-frequency ring. As the waves of cadent magic reached Alexandria, though she could not hear words, the object's communication was clear. It wanted her to grasp it. When she did, Luna's voice transpired. "This staff was forged from the fragments of a blade legend says was wielded by Durga, an ancient goddess of my world. She dedicated herself to the protection and wellbeing of the universe. It, too, has a sentient drive to protect. It can absorb and expel kinetic and arcane energy. Let it protect you as I would." A cascade of warmth radiated up Alexandria's warm, and the staff's head transformed into a sapphire hue. There was already stored energy within. "I've seen Luna use this," Natasha said, looking the staff up and down. "Saw it sail from the tower and beat the shit out of an orc that was stirring up trouble. Should be useful." The staff blinked and flickered its cerulean light. "So you've come," The new voice launched Natasha into a defensive stance. Suddenly the distant darkness ahead, deceptively nothing but aphotic air, starts to wiggle like live worms. Then it pulled away into like an estranged door and revealed a large chamber. Ichor spindles wove across the space in multiple directions and pooled in puddles on the ground. Several cocoon ornaments dangled from the rocky overhangs. Light curtained down on the arena from fissures above, bathing illumination into the grotesque scene. But the details were barely notable, for in the dead center of it was the great and terrible beast. Its red eyes flared down upon them, rows of sharp foreboding teeth extending along its body. It glowered with malevolence. The creature was long and serpentine, and the base of its visible body was inserted into the earth. Directly above its head was a very particular chrysalis. Pale emerald hair dangled down from it, moist with black droplets and rivulets. Attached was a pale, feminine body with curves enraptured by ribbons of onyx like an exotic outfit. She had ashen pale skin, practically ivory against the ebony. The coven leader dangled there, eyes closed and still. One could have thought her dead, but a faint defiant glow coated her vessel, fighting against the spread of the poison. Only small patches of her body remained exposed. Her face was half obscured, and it was a wonder she could even breathe. "You're too late, witch. She's moments from being mine. There's nothing you can do to stop it. Once I have her, I will use her power to consume your entire coven!" It screeched loudly.
  2. Ferrah was more than a bit disappointed that she could only slay two spiders in this whole ordeal. Her war aggression was still rampant and eager to spring her tight body into violent action. But there was nothing but carcasses and allies left. The she-orc grunted as she planted her foot on one of the severed heads, rolling it back and forth under her heel in frustration. It took her a moment to shiver off the adrenaline, but she eventually managed it. Leaning down with an arm folded on her knee, she observed the spider's head slowly fissure and leak under the pressure of her weight. She eyed the pinchers. Ferrah was a beast tamer in her tribe, and though dragons were a recent specialty, she had tamed and conquered others before that. Savaging useful monster bits was part of the business. Ferrah reached down and tore one of the fangs from the gaping maw, detaching it with finesse, so the venomous sack danged at the end of the sharp stinger like bee guts. She then reached within her stash to retrieve a small glass vial. Ferrah started to milk the spider from its toxin until a vile pale lime liquid churned within two 3 ounce vials. She pocketed those. Then she traveled to a second spider and milked that one too. Instead of bottling it, she spreads the poison along her blade's sharp edge, allowing it to soak and fester. Grinning in satisfaction as the venom took, she rebinds the blade to her back. "If you two have no objections, a short rest might not be the worst idea. Take some time to get back on track and rest after a bit of a fight." "Rest?" Ferrah says with a grimace as if Vivian just said a horribly derogatory word. "Why need rest? Was no big fight." Ferrash crosses her arm, tightening her face and canting her head to the side. Her eyes shift to Daurner attempting to gorge on a venomous corpse. He must have had a stomach of steel; even Ferrah wouldn't indulge in such noxious meat. Her temper reared its back and snarled. "Lose time and day if rest." Of course, she was one of many. Ferrah frowned deep, wandering away from the group. She contemplated for perhaps the third time, continuing on her own. They hadn't traveled but a few hours, though she still didn't have an idea of their bearings and where the dragon would likely be. She had to be….patient a little while longer. It was a mission directly from Luna to do whatever it took to find this dragon. She didn't want to end up like Nigel. "Fine." She spits out. She goes into the trees and finds a thick enough branch to sustain her weight near the canopy. She removed her bone sword once more and rested it in the afternoon sun. It would allow the poison to seal into the calcium a tad more. She'd wait there until the group decided to move out again.
  3. The two witches made their way up the pearl-hued cavern, returning into the crimson flare of the orc courtyard. Matriarch slid the thick fur off her silky white skin; pale complexion so damp that she painted the image of living melting snow. Thankful to be rid of it, she exhaled pleasantly as she hung it back on the rack. "I know someone who should be able to fix a chain to the pendant," she answered Namiko as they continue through the hustle and bustle of the courtyard. "Let's head to the Blacksmith. We will need saddles from Tuvek as well." Tuvek was the Blacksmith of the orcs. He enjoyed working the underground lava pools beneath the fortress. It was fuming and unpleasant there, but the easy access to heat fit his needs perfectly. The witches (except for a few) spent little time wandering the fortress itself because of the unforgiving heat. They had magical means of traveling through the confinements, most notably spell-infused doorways that allowed them to quickly transcend one region of the fortress to another. These inscribed archways were scattered throughout the massive courtyard on selected outlets rimming its outskirts. One of such led to the underground lava forge. The orcs parted ways to allow them through routinely, and the Matriarch stopped the particular doorway after a time. With a small dagger's removal, she pricked her finger and siphoned a drop of blood to descend onto one of the ruins. It touched, magic ignited and the entire arch illuminated in a ring of ruby light. The air waved and churned like vapor in between. The Matriarch gave Namiko an assuring nod then walked through. As if passing through a curtain, she vanished. When Namiko followed, she'd fill a brushing sensation cascade around her body. For a split moment, it would be like swimming up from the deep end of a pool. The distorted image of a new location rippled before her vision, then instantly cleared as she broke the surface. They were underground in a cavern of amber-hued pools of heat. Decorating the walls was an assortment of armor, weaponry, chains, and saddles. The sheen and smooth metals boasted their quality through bright reflections and blinks of light in the magma incandescence. Leather and bone materials also shone from their polished surfaces. In another area of the forge, there was much larger armor clearly meant for the dragons and other burden-bearing beasts of the orc army. Three openings existed; one breathed a cool air from the outside, one of which they came, and a third near the dragon armor. "Ah, witches." Came a deep gruff voice. A sinewy six-foot orc looked up from his anchor workstation as the two witches transpired into the chamber. His skin was different from the other orcs, hued a dark velvet as if permanently dyed or burned from the lava's close proximity. On the anchor before him, a blazing piece of the metal sat underneath a large hammer amid forgery. Tuvek stopped his work and lifted a pair of goggles from his eyes. His irises were incredibly radiant and much more yellow than his red cousins'. He gave the two a stiff bow, about as much as his thick neck would allow without the bend of his back. "Matriarch and another who I have not seen." He spoke in orc. Tuvek imbibed Namiko's appearance, noting the robes and linen as opposed to metal and leather. "Come to get some armor?" The Matriarch swept across the room to approach him. Knowing Tuvek spoke little common language, she also spoke in orc. "Tuvek," she begins. "We need dragon saddles for our soon to be mounts." "Ah!" He says with a grin. "Was wondering when more of ye would stop by. Alexandria has been here several times. Working on something real nice for Syvos. What elemental are ya aiming for, Matriarch?" "It will be lightning for me." She says without missing a beat. "But Namiko here," she pauses to indicate Namiko. "Is undecided at this time. We'll return after a visit to the hive. In the meantime, do you have something that you can chain to this pedant for a necklace?" The Matriarch motions for Namiko to come close. Tuvek looks at the jewel with his squinty eyes, then thoughtfully rubs his chin. After a minute, he nods. " Got some obsidian ash material from your last mission. May be able to forge a glass holster around the pedant then hook that to a chain. Can you leave it with me?" The Matriarch looks to Namiko. "He may look all brawn, but this orc has a certain finesse to him. We can temporarily trust him with the pendant while we get our dragons." The good thing about the soulless, enslaved orcs was that there was no room for deception or betrayal amongst them. The Tuvek holds out his massive hand for the pendant. If Namiko agrees, it falls into his palm like a tiny little teardrop. Tuvek then gives a low whistle. Short sibilant clicks come from his armor before a silver dragon slithers from the depths of his armor. It's a juvenile thing, no more than two feet long. Tuvek holds the jewel to the dragon, who delicately grabs it and places it in a forked holder on a different workstation of scattered gems and stones. Looking over Namiko a second time, Tuvek says something more to Matriarch, who translates. "Tuvek wants to know if there is anything else you need to be made before we leave?" If not, they would continue to push onto the dragon hive. The Matriarch approaches a threshold different from the one they entered. It tunnels near the dragon armor and is much larger- an entrance to the dragon hive. It was connected to the Blacksmith so the dragons could be fitted for saddles or armor. Once Namiko was done with Tuvek, the Matriarch activated the threshold, and they stepped through the magical curtain once more. When they reappeared, they were surrounded by a jungle of sounds: hisses, croons, snarls, and the flurry of wings. As they were no longer within Mt Ariadne but her unnamed little sister, the temperature significantly decreased. This mountain was much smaller but connected to Mt Ariadne through orc dug-out tunnels. It was meant for one thing: dragon breeding. The Sister witches found themselves standing at the base of the internal chambers of the mountains. There were spirals and palisades of rocks on structured levels of architecture like an ant-hive. Flying amongst the empty air, nestled in random piles of stones, or curled amongst random deposits of beautifully shelled eggs were rider dragons. There were 45 in total, not counting the unhatched and young. They presented in rainbows of colors and sizes. Some were saddled or marked, indicating ownership, but many were naked and wild amongst the pack. The Matriarch took a moment to admire the scene before speaking to Namiko. "Now you choose your dragon; this is no one's decision but your own. There are fire, acid, and lightning types. You must choose it, and it must choose you. I'll meet you back here when you find yours." With that, the Matriarch separated from Namiko in search of her own steed amongst the hive.
  4. As the crimson drop descended and splashed upon the scribbled and cracked rock the dirt, the magic breathed to life. Rivulets of lilac and cerulean colors rose against the dead gray earth, and Luna's memory transpired. Though seemingly impossible, Luna seemed even more dilapidated than before. Age broke through fine fissures of solemnity and despair plastered around her face. Her forehead compressed against her staff, hands entwined on the rod and body leaning on its support like a cane. She did not say a word to Alexandria at first, the grinding gears in her mind almost audible. Gradually she pivoted towards the entrance of the lair. It was a tremendous black orifice on the earth over 30ft in diameter. Ebony sludge decorated the even edges, and color faded out of existence as it deepened. Its real depth was a mystery. The memory stood at the border, gazing down into the belly of black. "I've finally understood what it is," she whispers. "It is an old creature, perhaps more than I. Likely born deep in the festered earth during the origins of the Dark Forest. A rapacious but insignificant stunted creature at the time. It fed on the iniquitous energy seeping from the forest, nurtured quite literally by dark deeds committed within. Time gave it strength and size until it finally gained some sense of necromancy from all that energy. And started to feast on the tainted, lost, and vulnerable souls that wandered within. It is so permeated with an evil that muck oozes from its shell. Evil is so...contagious." The witch raises a gloved hand, her fingers lifting to indicate a smoldering pile of debris flaking away in the near distance. The stack is so flakey and ashen that it is almost unrecognizable, but carcasses similar to the leeches encountered were distinguishable amongst the filth if observed slowly. "If enough of it gathers, it forms a vile greedy vessel that consumes all around it. This one has grown substantially and has an outer layer of great tenacity. But poppet...your Sable Blade should guide you true to its heart. Though I am uncertain if such wounds can kill it. It must be purified. "I've managed to find and destroy most of these young ones... The rest, I hope, fades when I destroy this beast and free our Sisters. I will free them...I can….I..." Her body sways closer to the edge, toes hovering over the air. "I'll fix this..." The image falls over, descending into the void just as the rune's magic dissipates. Natasha watches it all silently, mulling over the information within her mind. She did not know what it meant to purify something. The concept of evil was also unfamiliar to her. Orcs were raised in things that others might have considered evil. Some might have regarded orcs as chaotic evil entities. Luna's rambling almost seemed as insane as her mind clearly was becoming. Seeing the smoldering pile of creature bodies was a relief though, it meant they did not have to hunt for them. It also meant that despite Luna's withered appearances, she still had magic coursing through her body. The Natasha walked up to the side of the hole. Her crimson eyes somewhat illuminated as they focused on the darkness. "It's about a 50-foot drop. Don't see anything." She says. "We'll need to climb down. Actually…" She reaches her hand up and prods the familiar adorning her locks. "How big can you get?" The image of two brawling giant serpents interrupted her thoughts and almost elated her like a child. Almost ashamed of the mental giddiness, Natasha slowly clears her throat. "What I mean is, can you lower us down there?" As she awaits his answer, Natasha makes another torch using a dead branch and hound saliva from her stored vile. The wood ignites with a flower of flames. She drops it down the hole, watching it sail in a ring of light along the edges of the tunnel until it bounces on the ground. They could at least see where they were going. Didn't change that looking down there was creepy as hell.
  5. Alexandria harnesses her internal connections to the iniquitous being and pursues. Natasha silently follows. The forest's tranquility is welcoming, though only the calm to the storm of their final battle. The she-orc has little to say during this stretch of their journey; she focused on imbibing the environment for unexpected dangers and obstacles, daring to bombard their last road to victory. But the forest remains quiet. She wonders if other fissures caused the neighboring creatures to flee and leave an eerie silence. Just how large was this creature? If Bales' broadsword couldn't pierce it, how would her gauntlets? It was sure to be the largest, formidable creature she'd conquered to date. No matter the size of the serpent, wyrm, leech, or whatever this was, its body would fall with a cleave of its head. Still, entering the orifice of the beast that literally vomited possession was unnerving even for the intrepid orc. Losing in battle was one thing; losing her mind was another. If its caprice was impenetrable, Natasha might have to fall to the less ideal position of supporting Alexandria. The thought of not directly fighting made her twist in the stomach. Maybe it had eyes she could blind... "We have finished all of the witches, I believe. Save for Luna." Alexandria says and draws the orc from her meticulous thoughts and battle strategies. Be it her estranged connection or obligation to the witch, it was impossible for her to ever tune out the sound of her voice. "Whatever you do, stay away from the ichor. Bale said it threw up on him, avoid it at all costs." Alexandria stops, and so does the orc. Natasha looks down at her. She could never get used to the way the witch stared at her with such devotion and compassion. It was like a foreign language she slowly learned to appreciate. "Even if it means leaving me, get Luna and run." Natasha grimaces. Her instinct is to reject these words. Orcs rarely run from fights. Natasha never ran from a fight. Despite this immutable fact and Natasha's disgruntlement of Alexandria ordering a warrior such as her a pusillanimous task, the obligations of slavery push rebellion away. Words instead slide from her lips like melted butter. "I have no intention of being possessed, Alexandria," she says bluntly, almost as if offended. "But under your orders alone, I will favor Luna if your lives are endangered….And we will run." The butter churns into a sour taste at the last word. Swallowing it bitterly, the she-orc continues on. The pursuing silence was a little uncomfortable, so even if it meant walking towards death, Natasha appreciated their arrival towards the lair of the beast. As they progressed, the woods became even more disturbing and dark. The light beam in the distance was swallowed; it appeared to be mid-afternoon, but that reprieve was tentative. They returned to the dismal gray land of the desolated wood; the trees were thicker and taller. Many of their trunks gradually reached impressive sizes with roots as large as their legs. It was an older part of the Dark Forest. In times when it wasn't plagued with the leech-like parasite, it might have been filled with mysterious, dark, and even enchanting creatures of the night. Instead, it looked like a spider's nest of ichor. The black creeping substance multiplied by ten-folds. It crept around the cold ground in veiny structures that pulsated and wiggled like worms. The dirt lost both color and texture, almost hard as cement but as brittle as silicon. Natasha could hear the superficial layer crunching under her metal boots. That was when she didn't hear the sickening gush of the ichor sludge. It also began to hang from the trees in web-like spindling, threads….and a cocoon? "What is…" Natasha started, pausing by an almost human-sized cocoon hanging inches from the earth. The chrysalis pulsed and suckled on some unknown substance inside. Curiosity got the best of her. "Stand back," she said to Alexandria, lifting a gauntlet and stabbing at the head. She slices the thing open. A body plummets to the ground grotesquely, followed by a wretched rotten smell that pulls memories of the decomposing rider dragon. Natasha, living in a harsh sulfuric volcano environment all her life, and intermingling with not the most hygienic species, is unbothered by it. She leans down. "Don't know what it is." The animal was horrifically disfigured and unrecognizable, flesh shriveled of volume but wet with body fluids. "Can't even see what was--" A screech interrupts her, and an elongated two-foot ebony-colored creature with a mouth of spiraled teeth bursts from the animal's chest. Natasha was thrown off, but quick reflexes gave her as much as last-minute lean back, so the lunging teeth didn't latch on her face. Her back hit the ground, and the creature sailed over her in a small arch, landing face down in the dirt. She rolls and swipes her gauntlet. Instead of slicing it through, there is a clink, and the creature moves to its side. The thing squirms and aggressively slithers in a chargeback to her face. Bale's words suddenly screaming in her head, Natasha unlatches a dagger from her waist and flicks it. Her aim precise; it lands right in the open gutter mouth of the creature, impaling and killing it instantly. "Fuck," she curses, falling back on her rear. "The hell is that?" It indeed looked like a leech inside an onyx shell, with garbled drooling teeth hanging from its dagger shanked maw. Natasha gets closer and prods its hard body with her gauntlet. It had an incredibly dense caprice. She lifted her gauntlet and stabbed down hard. Her forceful strength makes the entire body bend in a tentative curve of resistance before finally piercing the flesh in a sputter of black. The she-orc frowns deeply. Was this some type of youngling of the creature? If so, how hard was the armor of the real thing? Mauling over her new disturbing thoughts, the she-orc glances around the immediate area. There were no more immediate cocoons in the vicinity. It appeared that it could only potentially nest if it had a nice body to nourish the thing. Either way, it was a shitty complication to their mission. The she-orc stands, pulling her dagger from the body and resheathing it. "If come across more cocoons, should burn them. Hopefully works." This couldn't stop them though, they had to keep moving. Luna's last rune should be close.
  6. The cerulean flames extended out to whirl like planetary rings around Namiko's enchanted spheroid of water. The flares' light embraced it, and thoughts channeled into the province. As if it were the cranium of a mind, the memories danced within. Then a diamond bejeweled mist Chyrsanthe's body and glided through the air like fairy-dusted winds to surround the globe. The elements orbited in their bewitchment, and for a moment, it appeared Namiko was a celestial goddess holding an entire world's life in her hands. Then there was a sudden surge of coercion within her hands as the metaphorical planet started to condense tightly into the size of a large marble. The magical pressure required to contain it was phenomenal and threatened harshly to explode out. However, before admonition rises into fruition, the Coven Soul's arises within and blossoms. The collective behooves Namiko to open her gateway to it. If she listens to the beacon, amiable energy cascades upon her, and the burden of maintaining the vessel dissipates to half. The Matriarch's solar energy has joined her, bridging their powers together through the collective. The white witch's hands are mirrored to Namiko's, though no sphere exists with them. The spell accepts the balance and completes. A lovely pendant rests within Namiko's palm. It is cerulean and crystalized like the arctic sea frozen in time. It breathed with a low albeit great luminosity, a galaxy of stars and nebulas seeming to ride through the ocean waves. The chamber's bonfire hearth settled to its original state, and Chrysanthe opens her eyes. They hold a tentative white glow until her silvery mane settles to a rest. She deeply gazes upon the two witches; a sense of respect drifts across her slit pupils. "The spell is complete," her mental voice echoes. It is breathy and worn; the spell has taxed the dragon. "You two possess a union I have not witnessed for a long time in this selfish world. My opinions of this coven have been elated for a time." The Matriarch opened her eyes, lowered her hands, listened to Chyrsanthe's words, and genuinely appreciated the meaning. Her thought turned to Luna and imagined how her heart, too, would be elated with joy at the message. True to reflect her leader, the Matriarch bows her head with a hand placed on her armored chest. "We are honored by your words. We promise to save your child." The dragon sluggishly shifts, her talons losing a sense of their ordinary grace as she travels from the flame and onto an elevated plateau. There she lays onto her belly, tail curling entirely around her. Her neck remains elevated to watch the witches. "You will be able to access my memories of your destination. The lands may have changed since my last time there, and I cannot prepare you for the consequences of time. You must bring my egg there and let it saturate in the magic there. If it remains strong, the dragon will hatch. Sister Witches, come close; I have one last gift to offer." Looking to Namiko and nodding, the Matriarch travels close to the platform. When Namiko joins, the dragon inhales and blows a hot breath upon them. The Matriarch startles, her skin feeling ignited with flame. However, the striking burning sensation penetrates deep beneath her skin, and she is suddenly invigorated with energy. She gasps and drops to a knee, breathing heavy puffs of white. It takes her a few moments to adjust, but then she stands and smiles widely. As if the fatiguing journey to Dougton had been erased, her arcane eyesight is rejuvenated. Her mystic clouded eyes illuminate and churn as The Third Eye opens from its slumber. Her vision is a vibrant network of magical spindles and cobwebs once more, no longer grayed and faded from innervation. Gratitude swelling within her, she bows again. "Thank you, Chrysanthe." The dragon looked to Namiko, speaking after she experienced the revitalization of her power. "I am putting all my faith in you to continue my dying generation. You must succeed." She gradually begins to lower her head, a fine tremor in the muscle of her neck. "Now, I must rest. Good luck, Sister Witches." Her head lowered behind her talons and encasing tail, deep ensuing breathes indicating that she fell into a deep slumber. The Matriarch reaches over, placing a hand on Namiko's shoulder. She smiles gently, joyed to see her glory within her eyes again. A premonition does not generate from the physical contact, as the Third Eye has chosen not to disclose the future. However, the white witch still feels the purity and elegance of Namiko's magic tingling at her fingertips. "The pendant is beautiful," she said, looking down at the jewel Namiko holds. "We must prepare for our journey. It is time for you to bond with a dragon mount." Their next task would be to travel the coven's dragon hive, where Namiko and Matriarch would need to empathetically link with their life-long mounts. The Matriarch had not done it due to the fatigue of her Third Eye. They would also need to select which orcs would be accompanying them for this mission. "Come, let's go."
  7. Una Tal's soul is torn free; a horrid screech oscillates within the realm of the River. The iniquitous creature bleeds onyx ribbons, ichor smoldering into soot from the inflicted wound. Like a vampire against the dawn, its cries fade into rays of light before vanishing into a creeping silence. Sarra and Una Tal's fragments continue to illuminate in the brilliance blossomed from the unity between them. "Sisters, we must go." With a soft smile, the souls simultaneously follow her into the gateway back into the world of the living. Their forms dissipate as she exits through the gate. Natasha pauses, her gauntlet moments from stabbing the earth in her fight against the storm. Flakes had frosted her eyelashes, sprinkled powdered white throughout her ebony locks. Her torso was so stiff with cold that her ribs protested the stretch for further harsh, bitter breaths. But then abruptly, the maelstrom placates and settles. Her flying locks drop around her neck and shoulders. Between the blood rushing her in her ears and the furiously shrieking gale, the she-orc had not heard Kamal even as he hissed in her ears. However, she did see the dust settle and felt rapids of warmth shower golden rays curtain her vision. Her pupils constrict, and she squints through the newfound amber-tinted dewdrops dripping from her thawed eyelashes. Alexandria stood there, bathing n her triumph. She never looked so glorious. The Witch stood there like a defiant beacon to the aphotic curse of the Dark Forest, defying years of shadowed grim sludging the foliage and bark. The very trees seemed to breathe for the first time around her arcane aura. Sharing her luminosity was Una Tal's soul, its pure and untainted celestial energy pulsating like a star beside her. Natasha's eyes turned beyond her allure to gaze at the banshee. Una Tal's body was frozen in time. Running down her legs and arms from unknown orifices was the ichor, plummeting onto the earth and sizzling away. "I will not be stopped." As Alexandria hissed, Natasha's face plastered in a wide grin. That was her Witch. "And you will not keep my sisters from me!" Una Tal's soul charged forward, penetrating the chest of the banshee. It screams, silvery slight exploding from its eyes and mouth. Color rushed through her body, the embodiment of the soul embracing the entire vessel. Then, as if drifting down through a gentle stream, the sea witch flutters to the ground before settling on her side, as if up-washed ashore form a great wave. A cadent breath escapes her chest, mist flowing from her plush coral lips. She is alive. "You are full of surprises," Natasha's voice says from behind her. Alexandria could turn and see the she-orc grinning down at her. Even the cold-faced warrior could not shield the glimmer of enamoring within her carmine pools. She exhales softly upon the Witch, watching the rivulets of water frame and brighten her soft bedewed flesh. A single clawed nail runs under a droplet moments from falling from Alexandria's bottom plush lip, Natasha's enthrallment with the gold-clad warrior almost overwhelming the entirety of her mind. Though the distance between them begins to close, the moment is interrupted by an eruption in the earth. "ARRRRGH!" The roar ravages the air as the land tremors beneath them. Trees vibrate, banishing winged creatures into the air. Natasha tightened her thighs to brace her stand. Glancing around, she saw ominous admonitions around them. Boulders are beginning to tilt inward, and the soil feels unnerving soft. The earthquakes intensify, and the ground starts to give. "We got to move!" Natasha rushes to Una Tal's unconscious body, her enslaved obligation rekindled, and grabs her around the waist to leap away. Moments to follow, the terrain splits into an open maw that begins to devour the surrounding forest. The she-orc rushed forward in any direction out from the collapsing floor underneath her feet. She bends her body over the witch to protect her from the whipping branches breaking and splintering around her. Finally, the fissure reaches its peak, and the quakes settle. Natasha stops heaving heavily over Una Tal's undamaged body. She sets the witch down and brushes twigs from her head before looking behind her. A twenty-foot flaw was left in the land. Natasha slowly steps to the edge to take in more detail. Slithering like worms from the broken dirt is more ichor, bleeding and seeping into the blind void of the crack. The fallen trees' jutting roots seem to wiggle and squirm, more ichor spilling from the broken bits. This creature festered and intoxicated every ounce of this forest, it seemed. How long has it lived in this wood to poison so thickly? The she-orc turned away to search for Alexandria. "Una Tal safe," she says when she finally finds her. "Looks like whatever you did, pissed it off. Probably injured." Now was the time to strike. It was rearing violently like a cornered cat, but this overwhelming creature seemed acutely much more vulnerable. With the mist thinned, more forest became clear. Una Tal remained sleeping on the ground, with no indication she would wake soon. Natasha frowned at the body. How would they continue forward? Then as if a sudden stroke of luck slapped them in the face, the distant brushes rustle. Natasha tenses and raises her gauntlets but immediately settled when Bale worked his way from the entanglement. Looks like a couple hours of rest was enough for him to move again. "Bale," she says in orc. "Yeah, it's me," he says, kicking off a vine wrapped around his ankle. "Picked up your trail, been trying to catch it." He turns his eyes on Alexandria and takes a moment to bow his head before turning again to Natasha. "What the hell was that?" "Witch made it mad," Natasha says, canting her head towards Una Tal. "Took its prey. Feels like this thing is everywhere." "It is everywhere," Bale says with an annoyed growl. "Natasha, this creature is huge. At its full length, it would probably curl halfway up our mountain. And it bleeds all over the place. That black shit just oozes from it like a mucus." "What is it, some kind of wyrm?" "More like a leech. It must have come from deep underground. A lot of its body is still buried. If it wiggles enough, the ground quakes." Explained the fissure. The creature must have been thrashing with fury. "Its caprice is pretty tough, and I couldn't pierce it. Then it vomited that shit on me, and I lost my mind." Bale narrowed his eyes. His pride seemed particularly stung by his possession. "I'm going to tear that beast apart." "No," Natasha snapped. "You're not." Bale stared. "Can't leave Una Tal here," Natasha gestures a second time. Bale looked at the Witch and frowned. "Why can't you--" He cut short at the glint in Natasha's eye and instead chuckled low. "Alright. Because you saved my life." Bale walked over to Una Tal, easily cradling her in his massive arms. "Which...by the way." "Don't fucking say it. You're a worthless piece of shit for being captured. But you're still a good fighter." Bale grinned. "Right. See you back in the mountain." The orc turned his head back to Alexandria, bowing his head a second time. He begins to walk away, pausing to look over his shoulder for a final caveat. "It's the weakest point is in the mouth, though that is arguably the most dangerous as well." "I'll bring you back a tooth," Natasha finishes. With that, Bale rushes off with a decisive leap over the fissure and disappears into the forest. They were almost at the end of this hell hole. But like a mountain hike, the challenge was the steepest and required the most endurance and willpower right before the peak. Several hours had passed now; she had a jerky piece of meat and a swing of water during that time. But fatigue did not dare toy with her mind, not when there was so much at stake. Without missing another beat, she speaks to Alexandria. "Can you feel where to go next?"
  8. I'm not sure if you were waiting for an answer to this, but I'd say lets continue to push on. There will be other opportunities.
  9. Natasha placed a hand on her abdomen, feeling a rare tenderness from the gale attack's intensity. Her temper snarled within, boiling from the disgust and resentment rekindled against magic's injustice against the mundane. A sharp tinge in her side told her a rib was likely bruised or cracked. Magic had a way of penetrating the orc's muscled defenses. She whipped her dreadlocks from her eyes, narrowing her carmine gaze before she heads back towards her crimson gold-clad ward. However, as she makes her way back through the mist, a newly intense frost breathes over her metallic boots. Snow seemed to transpire from the dewy atmosphere, coming forth in flakes that soon salted the earth. The tips of her boot pale with ice growing like rapidly spreading vines; friction suffers under her tread, making her slide an inch which each step. "What the hell…" she mutters in wisps of thick white, the wind heavier with each movement. Although she was getting closer, Alexandria was disappearing due to the sear density building in the weather. Urgency overcoming her, Natasha breaks into a sprint, but the weather matches her. Alexandria's tantalizing thoughts, the turbulence of her suffering, seem to influence the area around her. A cyclone of wind manifests around the witch, magic surrounding her through Una Tal's shared emotions. Despite their rivalry, the two inexplicably coalesced through the bonds of the coven. "Yes, Sister.." Una Tal echos, her red eyes widening in excitement. "Feel the turmoil and misery we feel. Feel it and escape into the sweet apathy of a soulless vessel. Become one of us. Let that egg of darkness hatch and grow." "Alexandria! Fight her!" Natasha yells, throwing her hand to her face as tiny icicles attack her eyes. The newfound hurricanes push against her. It shoves so mercilessly that the friction under Natasha's boot gives, and she falls to a crouch. "Alexandria!" The churning winds surrounding Alexandria drown her voice in a maelstrom of mist and ice. She is completely shielded from her. The last thing the orc sees is Alexandria encasing in pale white frost. "NO! ALEXANDRIA!" Something long and slender is tossed from the whirlwind, wiggling frantically within the air. Grunting, Natasha is able to catch Kamal within her palm. Bringing him down so he can wrap around her body. She speaks slowly to him. "Hang on, we have to reach her." Shoving her gauntlet into the ground, the she-orc relentless start fighting to get closer to the witch. " I won't lose her." Within the heart of the storm, the two witches stare upon another. Una Tal watches the curse of her banshee voice start to seduce Alexandria. She does not seek to attack Alexandria physically, as this was a battle of emotion and the mind. A test and temptation again loyalty. If Alexandria succumbed, she wouldn't need lift a finger. She'd take her like she did the others, corrupt their weak minds, and serve them to the great evil in the forest. It all started with her...Almost romantically, Una Tal wishes for Alexandria to join her. Little did she know, the frost upon Alexandria's body meant more than the curse of the banshee. The begrudged Sisters connected on ill-defined planes "You can't escape me, here." Within the Rivers of the Dead, Una Tal's soul responds to Alexandria's words. The soul is twisted and weak, her eyes open, the Gaian colors shimmering with anguish and plea. There are ebony tusches of ink spindling around her vulnerable nude representation. The soul cried silently for a release from its violence and malicious prison. Alexandria performs a spiritual spell, and the arcane of Sarra spirals into it, feeding fervor to combat the spirits. The soul does not fight it; she smiles and closes her eyes. The shockwave hits, and the onyx bonds break from her body. The soul of Una Tal shoots her eyes wide open as if awakened with new realization and vigor. Alexandra rushed forward to grasp her, the soul reaches her arm back to be taken. But then something terrible happens. As their hands each touch the River surface's reflective plane, an explosion of black energy erupts between them. Of course, the soul was not within the banshee but the more significant iniquitous entity cursing the Dark Forest. As Alexandria touches the soul, she feels his vessel, and the creature backlashes drastically. Chaotic winds of black, permeated with horrible feelings of anguish and terror, infest the Rivers and dye the waters black. Alexandria is threatened to be thrust back by the sheer force of it, but there is resistance in her hand. Grasping her wrist is Una Tal's soul, a talon of ichor encompassing its body and spreading towards its desperate face. "Sister!" she cries. Her voice is pure and true. It is the soul imprisoned by the creature trying to escape the hold. Alexandria is placed under a phenomenal strain and an even more outrageous choice. This is her opportunity to free Una Tal's soul and restore her Sister. Still, the gravity of energy pulling her down lays her in grave danger of being consumed not only by the River but the poison now lurking within it. She could abandon Una Tal as well, saving herself but leaving the soul to the clutches of the beast. At first, the choice is almost overbearingly the latter, as the tenacity of the energy is grandiose enough to pull her immediately to her knees. "DON'T LET GO!" The voice comes from deeper within. A warmth cascades over Alexandria, and the power of Sarra's merged soul rises; her transparent body is suddenly beside her, grasping the wrist of Una Tal's soul. Long lost from this world, Sarra is not truly there but exists as the arcane power within Alexandria. Her sentience is beyond mortal understanding, especially in this plane. Perhaps it is a piece of Alexandria that wishes to prevail. As Sarra's hand grasps the wrist over Alexandria's, the River's weight is not as prominent. Then a warmth emanates from within the Coven's Soul itself. A fragment dances frantically, and an orbital extends, merging in a twist around Alexandria's connection to the Collective. The energy urges her to open her vessel to it. If Alexandria does, another emerges from her body. It is Una Tal herself, the corresponding fragment desperate to be reunited with its missing half. Her hand grasps over the wrist, and more vigor arises within Alexandria. Una Tal faces her Sister, even as the forces of darkness try to pull them all into its belly. "You can do it…" she whispered, in a tone full of hope and devotion--so strikingly different than the corrupted banshee. "You must have faith in us all. Including Luna…" An infuriated roar erupts through the Rivers, darkness daunting any light that threatens to shine. Familiar blood-stained eyes open within the black hole attempting to devour them. "SHE'S MINE! I WILL GORGE ON YOUR SOULS!" Sarra and Una Tal's fragments turn their heads defiantly towards the beast. Their bodies illuminate with strength. "Believe in us!" Sara yells. "Save my soul, Sister!" Una Tal follows. A golden light blossoms brilliantly from Alexandria, her own force fighting against the darkness. "PULL!" They yell.
  10. Ferrah pauses to gaze up into the canopy, watching as a minuscule oscillation leads to the rain of dead leaves. Her carmine eyes, evolved to pierce through the darkness, tune into the shadowy crevasses within the foliage. Silk tendrils wove through the branches, some newly torn and waving in the cross breeze. Her heart immediately started to race with a lustful excitement, heat rising from her tensing muscles and a sneer plastering upon her hardened face. A hand gripped the handle to the bone blade, and she swung it to her front. "Got some insects headed our way, if I'm not mistaken. Big, too," Saul warns. "Oh, yeah..." she purred devilishly. She could decipher that much from the sounds of borough bending against weight and the near-silent rustles increasing in frequency—the others geared up at well, readying themselves for a battle. The smell of adrenaline in the air turned her on, made her roll and bite her lower lip. The anticipation of driving her blade into flesh made her practically salivate. Then, in an ambush and awe technique, the spiders descended upon them. Too bad the group was coiling for a counterstrike. Ferrah was disappointed to discover she wasn't immediately selected to be pounced on, perhaps it was the size of her blade. As her eyes watch the battles, those sharp ears pick up on the squirming of Dauner in one of the trees above. At first, they were calls for help, followed by a grotesque sound of cracking exoskeleton and a wave of force. Then more pleads and sounds. "Get me down, get me down. I hate being poisoned. I taste, like, delicious, but I'll definitely give you food poisoning. I don't wanna get eaten, dammit. Just get me down already." Ferrah crotched down, the veins in her chiseled thighs building before she sprung like a deadly beartrap into the air. Bone blade held at a precise diagonal angle, she whipped it like it was nothing and cleaved five clustered branches from the trunk of a tree. At the end of the slice, the blade's rotating weight assists her in turning to plant her metal boots acrobatically on the underside of higher intact limbs. It was a feat that could only be appreciated in slow motion; the branches bend, and her position fights gravity. That blood-lusting gaze hones in like a lion on her true targets. Dauner would suddenly feel his weight give; the branch supporting his webbed cocoon cut and sending him towards the earth. Above him, the offshoots supporting the webs of the two assaulting spider jumpers were also severed. All three fell, but only one would make it to the ground in one piece. With surreal synchrony, Ferrah's legs reload as the bending branches under her feet fling her off them, her own push projecting her at their peak. She beelines like a bullet towards the two descending spiders and the cocooned man, blade dangerously loaded. She locked in their positions in her mind's grid, plotting the perfect swing. In the next moment, she cleaved the spiders each through the thorax, the ending trails of her descent decorated in yellow insect guts exploding from busted bodies. She lands crouched on the ground, bone blade coated in ick and loose webs. Behind her, four pieces of dead spider hit the earth. Oh, and so does Dauner, split free of his cocoon prison. Not looking back, Ferrah moves forward, looking for more delicious arachnids to slaughter.
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