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  1. Time elapsed while Arthur lead the way across the broken plains; the movement reminiscent of an alpine scramble which was a form of hiking that the mage loved. However, the important difference being that the current elevation was quite low, though falling down into a crevasse was admittedly quite dangerous as well. That said, the mutant gracefully hopped from stone to stone, or expertly planted his boot clad feet into notches in the stone as he navigated larger formations. As he did so, he periodically looked back to check on his companion who seemed to keep up with the mage’s pace swimmingly. Impressive as he often had to slow down for his usual clients, but it was still early in the first day so Arthur wasn’t wholly convinced. “Are you from Fracture? Your accent doesn’t seem local,” Arthur asked in the dark, taking small steps from foothold to foothold as he scaled an impressive boulder. As he waited for a response, the mutant reached the top and paused as he looked down at the gap ahead. His monstrous eyes picked out a familiar shapes in the darkness and his hand raised to halt Iona. It wasn’t a rune so the mage didn’t sense anyone. “Whiteflanged mushrooms,” Arthur explained to the witch, “Apparently, it’s the only edible thing out here.” The mage whispered a short incantation, his resonance spiking as his arcane energies picked up in the quiet of the Broken Plains. Suddenly, the mutant’s right arm stretched preternaturally, descending to the bottom of the ten foot crevasse like an airborne serpent. As he reached the bottom, Arthur moved to pluck the first mushroom when the ground split asunder, revealing a terrifying maw that snapped at the mutant’s gloved hand. Instantly, the black mage reeled away in shock, pulling his arm away so it snapped back to its original length like a rubber band. With his hairs standing on end, Arthur turned back towards Iona and shrugged his shoulders. “There’s a Kraith down there,” he explained again, gesturing with his fortunately unscathed hand to join him on the large boulder as there was enough space for both of them. “Come look if you haven’t seen one, and bring as large of a stone as you can carry if you can spot one. I’ve read about dealing with these things.” @Akako Akari
  2. Yeah, I don’t think I can keep up with things. I’m sorry.
  3. When Arthur entered the cabin, the mage unhooked the straps of his rucksack and tossed it onto a long sofa before joining it. The mutant stretched his long, muscular frame across the sofa, seating himself as comfortably as he would lounge in his own home. If he had one, that is. He yawned into his right palm, nestling into his new seat as he overheard snippets of Xartia and Leinhart’s conversation. Arthur made no comment, pretending as if he couldn’t hear them while his eyes closed in what he hoped would prove a nice nap. Fate had other plans, however, as Arthur’s eyes shot open in response to the sound of a nose-diving beast. His sensitive ears picked up the sound of a winged creature cutting through the air before something substantial crashed into the rigging and rat-lines and the deck below it. Preparing for a fight, the mutant sprang to his feet and reached into the folds of his half-robes. He rifled through a pouch of polymorphed weapons on his baldric, his fingers isolating the ones that would be too long for the cramped confines of the cabin before settling on the familiar miniaturized shape of his warhammer. Just long enough to be comfortably wielded in one hand and lethally effective at that. However, when Layelia nervously stepped into the cabin, the mage released the weapon and drew the drawstring of the pouch closed. Standing firmly in his place in case Layelia turned out to be a threat, he only needed to spare the newcomer a single glance to tell that she looked upon the mutant as if he were the source of a plague. Arthur rolled his inhuman eyes slightly and snorted in amusement, pulling off his robes as the woman jammed a letter into the vampire’s chest and ran off below deck. ”That wasn’t the least bit embarrassing, right?” The mage’s asked the others, just as rhetorically as his did sarcastically. Turning about, Arthur walked back towards the entrance of the cabin. “I’ll leave you two to figure that out. I’ll make sure she didn’t damage the rigging.” With that, the mage exited the room. @Twitterpated @Etched In Stone @Artificer @Malintzin
  4. The response was seemingly instantaneous from the mutant. His athletic form bursting into action as Arthur’s elbow whizzed by his opponent’s face harmlessly. Arthur swung his hips back the opposite way, pulling his attacking arm to its original position. It wouldn’t end there, however. With his opponent retreating, the warrior mage only knew one response to such shameful behavior. Advance! As the mage retracted his elbowing left arm, the mutant switched stances in a flash, his left foot skipping forward while his right skipped back in a single swift motion. Arthur transitioned into an orthodox stance, bending his knees as he landed in his new position. The choice of stance switching accomplished two things: it turned the black mage’s right leg into his power leg, and the bending of his knees provided a spring-like effect when Arthur leaped towards the retreating Ryker. Explosively, the mutant charged at his opponent through the air like a human missile. His hips turned to the left in midair and dragged his right leg across in a jumping switch kick. The blow was aimed to connect Arthur’s shin with the left side of Ryker’s head. Arthur wanted to hurt his opponent, hoping to surprise the retreating man with the titanic spurt of activity from the mutant’s fast-twitch muscles. However, if Ryker managed to lift his left arm to defend; Arthur was more than willing to test the sturdiness of his defense once again. With every kick, relying on such a defense became more and more precarious an option. @Better Than Gore
  5. “Gather away,” Arthur replied to the pink-haired witch, his eyes rolling slightly in the darkness at the harsh tone that she spoke in. The mage wasn’t particularly upset by Iona, though neither did he enjoy being spoken down to, nor was he used to such treatment. Most would take one glance at his fiery set of orange eyes and realize that it would prove better for their health not to aggravate Arthur. In that sense, the mage was both annoyed and impressed by the witch. “I’ll keep watch while you do. No sense being ambushed while you play with the vegetation.” The black mage nodded as the cloaked woman agreed to travel over the rock field, choosing the dangers of the crevasses in exchange for the shorter route. Such daring stoked Arthur’s sense of adventure and brought a wolffish grin to his lips. Arthur watched Iona while she worked her magic, staring with awed interest as shadowy clawed hands lashed out from the confines of her cloak and gripped onto the stone. When she was pulled upwards onto the natural platform, the mage grinned and followed suit. However, he gripped onto the edge of the boulder with his gloved hands and lifted himself onto the boulder with a single flexing of his muscular arms. “For future reference, I’ll make this sign if I sense others,” Arthur instructed, moving his fingers into the shape of the rune of Egoth. It would be effective for the mage’s devices as none of his magic required such a hand sign. “I’d hate for you to get scared,” the mutant teased as he hopped across a five foot gap and landed on a smaller boulder. He hopped to the next jutting stone, giving Iona the opportunity to leap onto the stone he’d just departed. “Keep up though I doubt you’ll have any issues with that impressive magic of yours.” @Akako Akari
  6. The mutant surveyed his surroundings carefully as he continued their trek south, navigating around jutting rocks in an attempt to remain on mostly even ground. Arthur’s sharp eyes remained alert and surveyed the mage’s surroundings with every ten paces. Simultaneously, he kept his remaining senses attuned for anything that drew near. For the moment, the mutant sensed nothing which made sense considering that they were still within sight of Inns’th’s gate. The mage intended to continue his watchful vigil regardless. It would be folly to do away with his discipline so early, or at any point of this undoubtedly perilous journey. ”I’ve set aside a small bit of time in my calculations for that, actually. An emphasis on small. As my alchemy professor at the University used to say during our harvesting walks through the meadow: Gather and move, young Uskglass, gather and move..” Arthur smiled earnestly and chuckled, reminiscing of older and much simpler times when his only worry was the honest acquisition of knowledge. His stroll through memory lane did not last long, however, as his visage hardened and the mutant instantly crouched low like a hunting cat. He gestured for the woman to do the same, moving slowly and behind a large boulder that blocked their advancement unless they preferred to walk the full way around the craggy area. Turning to Iona, the mage spoke again but in a whisper this time. “If you want to study your samples in depth, wait until we reach Bloodwatch or until we get back to Inns’th. “Now, there’s no need to be alarmed though. I don’t sense anything but I recognize this landmark from my map. We can travel around it if you’d prefer, but I think we should travel over them. Are you confident in your ability to jump from stone to stone? There’s dolines, deep craters and other assorted dangers between the stones.” Arthur explained, his wolfish smirk slightly visible within the gap between his bevor and helm. His gaze tilted upwards at the boulder they hid behind; the stone’s height rising above the mage’s standing height with no visible holds for feet and hands. “Do you need a boost?” @Akako Akari
  7. After preparing himself and his equipment, the mutant and his new traveling companion found themselves walking underneath the archway of Inns’th’s southern gate. The sole fortification that blocked off the large encampment from the rest of the nightmarish region of Yh’mi. As they stepped safely to the opposite side, the gate closed behind them with a mechanical clicking that filled Arthur with an odd sense of finality. It was the mage’s first time in Yh’mi proper, and his impressively muscled body was tingling with anxious excitement as the two of them were left alone with the vast stretches of cursed land to themselves. Under his vestments, the mutant was grinning roguishly even as his frame suffered from slight tremors of apprehension. “It’s seventy five kilometers south to Furthest Point. That should be two days worth of careful walking,” Arthur told the witch after they were totally alone. When the pink-haired woman hired the black mage, he had practically been rushed out of his pitched tarp and through the gate by Iona’s eager insistence. So it was well worth it to discuss logistics as they walked. ”We’ll walk about eight hours a day, not including when we stop for breakfast and lunch. When we stop for the evening...” Arthur paused as he began their trek, stepping carefully across the ground of the massive rock field. He pondered for a moment on the misnomer he’d just uttered, knowing that ‘evening’ didn’t offer a proper distinction for darkness always fell over Yh’mi. “At the end of our daily trek, we’ll cook at least fifty yards from where we’ll sleep, and we’ll sleep in shifts of four hours. I’ll stand guard first and you after me. We’ll be able to sleep as much as we’d like and replenish our supplies once we reach Bloodwatch base on Furthest Point..... ”But most importantly, we need to keep a light on at all times,” the alchemist finished speaking, walking around a large stone as he unlatched his wax canvas rucksack and placed it onto the boulder. It was a sturdy thing, made of tough material with a bedroll composed of several grey wool blankets and his canvas tarp lashed to the top of the rucksack. A large white crystal with a hollow center was strapped and hanging off the bottom of Arthur’s pack. It was a creation of the mutant’s efforts of transmutation, and hopefully would function as intended once they reached their destination. The mage produced a thick, waxy candle from a side compartment on the pack. He cast a cantrip with a quick gesture that lit the wick with a white and black flame, then placed the candle inside the rune-etched lantern. Strapping the rucksack to his back again, the mutant was off again, gesturing to Iona to continue. On his first foray into Yh’mi, Arthur was dressed for adventure and battle. The mage wore a dark blue padded aketon and chausses over his bulky torso and trunk-like limbs. The chausses were tucked into black boots that looked nearly new. Aside from the gambeson he was wearing, Arthur had a scant few pieces of armor. A black-colored jack-chain of steel sections were tied to the sleeves of his aketon. Meanwhile, a blackened bevor was strapped around his neck, protecting his neck and the lower half of his face. A kettle helm of black steel was plopped atop the mage’s head, creating a slight opening from which only Arthur’s nose and eyes could be seen. However, his animalistic eyes were covered in a pair of goggles, its lenses tinted a bright orange. The black mage’s outfit was rounded out by his black fur-lined robes that settled upon his broad shoulders and fell just past his hips. @Akako Akari
  8. As the cambion and vampire made their way towards the ship’s stern, Arthur followed suit but stopped short on the quarterdeck. It was his first stop on his mission to sail the vessel out of the harbor, stepping around the helm and orienting the rudder away from the dock. Arthur watched as his companions disappeared into the cabin, pondering curiously as to how they knew each other. Xartia seemed to have many odd friends, though admittedly the black mage considered himself one of them. With the helm turned the opposite way, the mage continued with his duties and walked the length of the vessel until he was atop the forecastle at the front of the ship. As he walked past, the mutant began to cast tiny spells of prestidigitation, undoing the various knots that tied the ship to the dock. Arthur ignored the mechanism of the windlass at the front of the vessel, and grabbed hold of the anchor’s chains with both hands. The spellblade’s impressive musculature strained and tightened under his robes, pulling the anchor upwards and out of the water before it was attached to a hook on the ship’s hull. With the anchor secured and its chains in a neat coil, the ship began to slowly drift away from the dock. Carefully, Arthur navigated Xartia’s vessel out of the harbor, unfurling the sails on the main mast about a quarter of the way as they crossed into the open bay. The canvas sails picked up the wind, increasing the vessel’s speed by a fair amount. Arthur used ropes to tie the helm into place, knowing that they were expecting him in the cabin, but that he couldn’t leave the wheel unattended either. Soon, the vessel was on its way out into the open ocean, and Arthur opened the door that lead into the luxurious cabin where the others resided. @Twitterpated @Etched In Stone
  9. Arthur watched his diminutive companion with an amused grin on his face, his hands holding a pair of utensils as he surgically sliced a chunk of saucy beef. Skewering the piece with his fork, the mutant brought the morsel to his mouth and chewed ravenously, enjoying the delectable taste of his carefully picked entrée. He swallowed and leaned across the table, seizing Cabbage’s pot and laid the receptacle on the table as a curious centerpiece. The mutant laughed genuinely while the leshen swung the tiny replica of his tournament weapon, cutting himself another piece of steak and deposited into his mouth. It was closely followed by a pair of sautéed potatoes. He scratched his chin as he pondered over the flavors in the way that only a skilled cook could. The potatoes could use paprika, the mage thought as he cleared his throat. “Show them how it’s done, Cabbage,” the black mage applauded, chuckling again as he grabbed his flagon and washed down his food. “You’re already more skilled than the field.” Arthur’s gaze darted to Enid, grinning at the witch’s deadpan display of comedic wit. “Very wise,” the mage replied with a wolfish grin, “In fact, while I agree that sweets may prove a more difficult opponent than those provided to me so far. An appetite as monstrous as mine can’t be beat by any combination of Clafoutis, Crème Brûlée, Éclair, or a Croquembouche.” The mage’s eyes narrowed as Enid pointed her fork at the tiny leshen. Arthur extended his fork-carrying hand, crossing ‘blades’ with the witch in a manner reminiscent of their fencing duels. Fierce as they often were. “I thought fey were supposed to have an affinity for forest spirits,” Arthur responded, speaking for the leshen as Cabbage would have only been able to reply in some variation of ‘BEH.’ Of course, he rethought his words afterwards. The world of faeries also functioned on the principle of dog-eat-dog. It would prove a fun game in any case, whether Arthur was correct or not. “Perhaps we should do battle, Enid. Myself, in defense of my leafy friend. Yourself, in accordance to your strange dietary habits. It would be fun. After all, you’d win this tournament if you entered instead of me.” With their forks trapped in an overlapping grip, comically suggesting a clash of sorts, they provided quite the strange sight for Gabriela as she approached their table. Arthur stared at the unfamiliar woman with a confused look on his face, though he didn’t retract his fork at any moment. The mutant hadn’t expected anyone to pass by, whether to deliver a compliment or otherwise. And yet, there she was. Speaking on the fight that apparently she’d spectated. That she was making light of... The mage set his fiery, inhuman gaze upon the dark-haired beauty, fixing Gabriela with an animalistic stare that people only received in their worst nightmares or in the wilds... through gaps in sylvan shadows. Arthur couldn’t help it, of course. His eyes were monstrous indeed. He would not pounce, however, as the big bad wolf often did. Though the stare persisted for a quiet, seemingly endless moment. Then the mage’s lips curved into a smile, emitting an amused snort which indicated that he took no offense at the Gabriela’s words. “The secret to my success, hmm?” Arthur hummed as he pondered on the joking query, keeping the prongs of his fork braced against Enid’s own. “I suspect that it might be my impeccable fashion sense. My opponents couldn’t bear to destroy such stylish garments.” Pausing in his own amused rambling, the mage enacted a spell which caused another sautéed potato to float up to the mutant’s mouth. He chomped on the hot morsel, humming at the exquisite taste. Annoyingly, he refused to let up in his childish game against Enid. “Enid, what would you say my secret is? Am I the strongest in Fracture, or are my opponents severely lacking?” Arthur returned his stare to Gabriela and gave a tiny, irreverent bow. Of course, he didn’t know how odd that would be for the erstwhile Queen. She was probably used to a much more ample display of decorum from her subjects. “In all seriousness, thank you. It’s good to have admirers. Please, take a seat. I’m sure we’d all enjoy your company. I’m Arthur Uskglass. I’d shake your hand but as you can see... I’m locked in a life or death struggle with my friend Enid.” In that moment, the mage locked eyes with the green-skinned witch. @Spooky Mittens @Gil @Pasion Pasiva
  10. “Makes sense. I doubt you’d be able to go on excursions like this if you were stuck developing a clothing brand and maintaining a commercial location.” Arthur spoke casually, his eyes momentarily scanning the wide expanse of the ocean before him. He grinned as a breeze passed him by, picking up his clothing and hair as it swiped by. It was good to be at sea again, a locale he had circumvented on his arrival to Genesaris as he had taken an airship instead. The mage returned his gaze to the conversation at hand, sending a nod the vampire’s way as their hands clasped together in a respectful manner. “Pleased to meet you, Leinhart. Hopefully, this quest proves fruitful for us all.” Releasing Leinhart’s hand, the mutant shifter his gaze back to Xartia. He listened intently to the other man as he explained himself. His plan was quite roundabout, though it made sense considering how tragic the circumstances were. Arthur couldn’t understand Koji’s insistence in coming after his young siblings. It was insane and pointless at that, but the two often functioned hand in hand. “I’ll help prepare your boy,” Arthur finally stated with a serious tone of voice, “You might be better off just approaching Koji directly. In my experience, those kinds of people only understand might. But if you feel that this is your best course of action, then I’ll follow your lead.” Arthur picked up his rucksack and slung it over his shoulder, moving to follow Xartia towards the captain’s cabin at the stern. “Does this ship have a crew or is it just us? I could lift the anchor and unfurl the sails while you guys head inside. I’ll have the ship sailing out of this harbor before you guys get comfortable.” @Twitterpated @Etched In Stone
  11. The arcane energies surrounding Arthur swelled in the aftermath of his spell; his resonance strengthening in response to the very possible need that the black mage would have to cast for a second time. And then some considering the ever increasing flow of skeletons that were filing out of the ruins and joining their brethren. The other warriors from the auction entered the fray as well, as one young man imbued his swords with the power of lightning, another began firing his gun, and the clawed woman from before continued to swipe powerfully at the flaming undead. As they fought, Arthur debated which spell he should utilize next, and whether such an effort would prove futile due to the seemingly endless stream of animated skeletons. They were after him, so running off and forcing the creatures to follow crossed the mage’s mind. However, he couldn’t know what sort of destruction they’d manage to cause running through Dawic. And there was no telling if Arthur would be able to deal with the mass of undead elsewhere anyways. The other possibility was fighting through the undead, making his way through the ruins until all of the dead in the catacomb were destroyed. It would save the town but it was a dubious proposition to deal with that number of skeletons in the confined spaces of the underground. “Huh?” The mage replied curiously as Jo grabbed his attention. With a snap, Arthur fired a front kick with his right leg, aiming to drive the ball of foot into another skeleton’s sternum as it approached them from the mage’s side. The kick didn’t destroy the creature but it knocked it off its feet, causing it to tumble onto a pair of skeletons behind it. “If they were bandits instead of undead, would you hand over everything you own to them? Who’s to say that this tube is all they want? They might just destroy the town anyways. Plus, Dawic seemingly cleaned out the entire ruin. The undead might desire everything back.” The mutant pauses for a moment; the gears in his turning as he continued to contemplate matters. In the meantime, the mutant retrieved a miniaturized item from his robes, and undid the polymorph spell upon it. The item turned into a full-sized one-handed mace, which was perfect for skeletal monsters. Arthur struck the floored skeletons until their flaming heads were smashed to bits. His temper flared, however, as Jo added a measure of threat to her words. The muscular black mage turned to the woman, wondering where she found the gall. He wanted to respond in kind but the mage shook his head. “Fine,” Arthur unscrewed the top of the scroll case and dumped the contents into his free hand. It was seemingly a large set of parchment fragments, rolled up together into a single, ancient package. “But I’m not handing them the contents, if they want that, we’ll just destroy them all. I doubt the town wants a sleeping nest of undead under their feet anyways.” Disappearing the scrolls into his robes, the mage screwed the scroll top back on and frustratedly launched the scroll case into the mass of skeletons. Arthur’s jaw dropped as the effect was instant, the flames upon the skeletons dimming and their advance halting in unison. “The seal,” they chanted as they gradually turned about and began to file their way back to the home where the ruins were found. @Mickey Flash @Dauner Light @Dresdnd
  12. The second round was over and it proved to be nearly as uneventful as the first. During his time in Predator’s Keep, the mage had made a point to stay in his rooms, figuring that the man who had busted their queen’s nose wasn’t exactly welcome even if she happened to be missing in action. Arthur shook off his agitated trepidation, however, and made his way down to the feast on the evening after his second fight. Bathed and smelling of cologne, the mutant was seated near a corner of the feast hall with two of his companions. Arthur was dressed in a grey three piece suit, the subtle lines of a monochrome plaid pattern were spread across every inch of the fabric. Underneath his suit, he wore a white dress shirt and a dark blue tie with hundreds on tiny white dots stitched on. The outfit was rounded out by a black belt and same-colored dress shoes, while his black robes rested atop his shoulders in an intimidating blackened shroud. The mantle of black fur around Arthur’s neck and shoulders like the mane of a wolf’s winter coat. “I heard that the host of the tournament said that we would be tested,” Arthur relayed to his friends with mirth clear upon his voice between bites of his impressively extensive meal. A large wooden board functioned as a platter, nearly every inch of it covered with some morsel. The center of the platter was dominated by a Chateaubriand steak atop a hot plank and dressed in bèarnaise sauce. The steak was cut into three smaller filets, their centers pink, warm, and practically bursting with juices. The periphery of the board consisted of three boiled crawfish, a wedge of provincial cheese, a roll of dark bread, multiple roasted cobs of corn, and a portion of potatoes that were cut into quarters and roasted with chopped parsley on top. “But I think this may be my first real test,” the mage joked, gulping down ale from his flagon eagerly. @Gil @Spooky Mittens
  13. His opponent had erred. If it had been his prerogative to forfeit the match, he should have disengaged and departed. It would have been safest. Arthur’s upbringing among the Ouread Hexblades would have urged the black mage to chase the departing Kenshi out of the chamber like a mad dog. The mutant would have had to control himself, knowing that such conduct would likely see him disciplined by the tournament organizers. However, his opponent had no intention of ending the battle cleanly. Instead, Kenshi chose to persist, stepping forward with his left leg and attempting to grab hold of the mage’s pollaxe. It would prove a grave mistake. With the pole braced against his opponent’s right forearm, the tip of the foot long spike at the top of the axe head was less than a foot away from Kenshi’s face. Simply, with the spiritual warrior’s left hand on his sword’s saya and his left hip rotated away, pulling the scabbard back to draw his sword from his Iaido stance. His hand had to travel much farther to grab the pole than the linear route that the spear needed to travel in order to reach its target. Arthur’s opponent’s advancing step only shortened the distance the spear needed to travel significantly. It also presented the left side of his cheeks as a target. If the spear connected with its target, and it was likely to, the spike would penetrate flesh and travel unimpeded through Kenshi’s mouth (causing damage to gums and teeth) until it exited through the opposite side of his face. Arthur pushed forward on the polearm, aiming to drive Kenshi backwards and to the ground in a dynamic display of strength and technique. @Etched In Stone
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