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  1. The mutant unwound his arms, bringing the hilt level with his abdomen and extending the blade's narrow point in front of him, threatening any who dared to enter his range. Arthur turned his gaze as a pirate assaulted Enid, driving her backwards with whirling cuts from his sword. He nearly wheeled about to strike the new enemy from behind, aiding his companion. However, a second pirate came to to the aid of his compatriot, lunging in the engage with the mage's sword. Arthur met that pressure with pressure of his own, pressing laterally against the pirate's cutlass as they crossed blades. The black mage advanced on his lead leg and lifted the hilt of his sword, his lower hand changed its grip, cupping the long sword's pommel and transitioned into his Two-Horned guard. He held the blade in a rigid fashion, making it nearly impossible for the pirate to prevent the thrust that the mage leveled on his face. The blade's tip passed through the pirate's skull easily, killing the man as Arthur framed his right foot on the pirate's midsection and kicked him away while wrenching his blackened blade out. Meanwhile, Enid had dispatched her opponent and returned to his side, casting a spell against the enemy mage who had been making a mess of their companions. Arthur followed with an attack of his own, not leaving it up to the Duchess' men to finish the pirate mage off. The black mage rummaged through his harness and crushed a vial of thermite dust in his hand, speaking a string of short incantations in a strange tongue as he did so. The mage extended his arm in a punch, his limb suddenly stretching out towards the wand-wielding pirate's abdomen in a serpentine manner, and crossing the great distance in a near instant. As it did, his second spell came into effect as his arm was wreathed in a black, metallic like second skin and burst into flames as his fist impacted the pirate. The force of his blow was suddenly tripled and the explosion would tear a hole in the mage pirate's stomach, sending the pirate toppling to the ground, gore spraying in nearly every direction. The attack drenched Arthur's attacking arm in blood and blown up viscera. A downside which became very apparent once the mage's arm stretched back to its normal size and the armored skin dissipated into a black mist. "Do you have anything with more oomph?" the mage asked Enid, "If we hit them as hard as we can, we may be able to disperse them long enough to reunite with the rest of the duchess' forces." @Tyler @Lady Gilaen
  2. The mage listened to the leader of their expedition, his eyebrows arching curiously when he mentioned the travelers who had traveled into the mountains and had since disappeared. He wasn't particularly surprised by the development; if one were to be lost, the place that they were going to travel through would be as treacherous a place as any. Arthur gritted his teeth in a strange smirk, his anticipation ramping up within him in a combination of anxiety and elation at the upcoming challenge and proximity to the ultimate danger. The mystery made Arthur eager to begin but he understood that his other companions might need more rest. Albeit brief rest, Arthur agreed as he turned towards Luna as she spoke of her leeriness at Lirrey. He'd underestimated the strange village during his first night in town, having slept through the night as if there'd been nothing to worry about even if the mutant was a light sleeper. "I agree," the black mage spoke up, leaning back into the couch as he got comfortable, "We should stay alert and leave as soon as we can in the morning. If anything happens tonight, I can formulate a Circle of Protection inside this room and we can stay inside of it until it blows over." Arthur turned his gaze back on Connor, "Speaking of which, I'll stay here on the couch then. Let's sleep in shifts? You can go first. Too excited to sleep just yet."
  3. Arthur locked his jaw closed, bringing an abrupt end to the stream of flames that he had breathed upon their ambushing enemies. With the brush aflame, dark smoke wafted into the sky which served as a signal for the other marines in their expeditionary force along with the sounds of battle itself. Though seemingly impressive, Arthur's spell had only managed to kill one pirate, leaving the others free to charge from down range, closing the distance on the mage and the others in an instant. The mutant reached into his robes and rifled through one of the pouches on his harness, retrieving a diminutive item that looked like a black tooth pick from afar. It wasn't. Whispering words of power, the mutant undid the polymorphing spell that kept the item in its tiny state, causing it to expand and lengthen into the mage's prized long sword. Bogatyr was an impressively large weapon, fitted with a 42 inch blade and waisted grip meant for two hands. The blade's steel was the color of the darkest obsidian; a menacing sight as Arthur took the weapon in both his hands and aimed its narrow tip forward and down towards the ground. The stance kept much of his body open to attack, but it was deceptive. In this stance, Arthur was like an iron gate. Steadfast and immovable. A pirate charged Arthur, lunging forward with a thrust of the criminal's cutlass, aiming to pierce Arthur through the chest. However, as the cutlass' tip made its approach, the mage lifted his sword high, striking the cutlass from below and forcing the shorter blade into an overhead position as the mutant followed suit with his own weapon. Arthur transitioned seamlessly from the parry into an overhead high guard, immediately taking advantage of the opening he'd created in his opponent's own stance. The mage wound his arms in a clockwise direction, sending his blade in a crosswise cut that lopped off the pirate's raised forearm. The pirate fell back, screaming and clutching at his horrific injury as bright arterial blood squirted from it in gruesome spurts. Leaving his sword in a hanging guard near his head, Arthur turned to look at Enid as she joined him. "What do you mean?" the mage asked, "As always, the dead have unfinished business that they want me to attend to." @Tyler @Lady Gilaen
  4. I'm sorry. My medical residency started last Monday and I worked 70 hours last week. But I'm gonna make posts in the call room when I'm out of the lab.
  5. I'm sorry. My medical residency started last Monday and I'm bogged down with my cases. But I'm gonna make posts in the call room when I'm out of the lab. @Vetanoob
  6. Arthur followed along with the rest of the expeditionary group, his boot-clad feet sinking into the sands of the oasis as they moved along on their route. As the others discussed the pirates, the mutant tried to ignore the conversation, temporarily hiding his sullen look and tone of voice which was fortunately mostly obscured underneath the tints of his sunglasses and the wrappings of his scarf which cascaded from his pith helmet. He couldn't help himself, however, for his (mostly) secret communion with the spirit of one of their murdered victims made the topic quite touchy for the black mage. "Trust me," the mage interjected into Enid and the duchess' conversation with a dangerous voice, a tone keen on the possibility of violence, "If we run into them, you won't have to pursue them across Taen. I'll resolve things definitively." If his face had been visible, they would have seen his wolfish gaze narrow into dagger points, staring about like a predator as he walked along Enid's right-hand side. Even with his clothing obscuring parts of his face, Arthur knew that Enid would recognize the psychology of his behavior, and likely understood that he wouldn't be satisfied until they met the pirates in battle and the spirits of the fallen were allowed to pass on in peace. "No more reckless than I usually am," the mutant replied in a sulky whisper, "I'll be able to sleep once I've completed this Death Offering...." While they conversed quietly, Arthur came to an abrupt halt when the faint sounds of rustling brush reached his sharp ears. His eyes shot open behind the dark lenses of his sunglasses and his heart began to pump rapidly as his body burst into instant and decisive action. Before Enid called out to the others, the mutant was already rushing past the witch, and stepped in between his partner and the bush to her left. Fortunately, there weren't any of Abigail's men in the way, leaving the underbrush open to the mage's attack. Arthur spoke a phrase in a strange language in an amplified voice, echoing across the expanse of the oasis as he took a deep breath. Suddenly, his chest and throat expanded inhumanly and swiftly returned to normal on Arthur's exhale as a long torrent of flames rushed from his open mouth and washed over the dry brush with violent intensity. Their enemy wanted to get the drop on them, but they couldn't have foreseen the duchess' hiring of outside help. Much less, the help of mages like Arthur and Enid! @Tyler @Lady Gilaen
  7. Even in the aftermath of Akako's reunion with Koji, the tension felt palpable enough that Arthur could have released Bogatyr from its polymorphic spell and cut clean into it. The guests and Akako's attendants seemed to try to enjoy the performances or attempt to concentrate on their duties, but Arthur felt their trepidation and felt moved to remain in the vicinity in case anything bad happened. To that end, the mutant found himself seated on the silk sheet to the Daiyokai's left, his fur-lined robes cascading around his suit-clad form like black waves that gave the mage an intimidating look, especially when paired with his pale, angular features and fiery eyes which shone a luminescent orange and looked more akin to the eyes of a wolfish beast than a human. While they watched the dancers ply their trade, Akako's servants had been gracious enough to provide him with an entire tray of eclairs (which Arthur was quickly making short work of) and an oversized saucer (meant for Oni guests according to dog raccoon who had attended to the mutant's needs) filled with flavored Yokai sake. "You're supposed to act strong for your people, vixen..." Arthur spoke up, verbally pointing out that he could indeed sense the woman's restlessness. He couldn't say that he was an expert on the enigmatic demoness. It was safe to say that there were no people with such expertise, not even Akako herself. The alchemist knew her better than most, however, and it wasn't difficult to piece together that Koji had thrown her off her game. "I'm sorry that I wasn't here earlier. I should have been next to you when that man arrived, but it doesn't change what you have to do. These people expect your protection, so please try and look like you're in a protective mood..." It was a bit like a lecture and totally inappropriate considering their relative stations in life. But it was necessary and at least spoken privately amongst their small party of Akako, himself, Xartia and his son. "Not that I know much about being a leader," Arthur joked, sticking out his tongue in a teasing gesture as he lifted his massive saucer with his right hand and took a long drink. Arthur found his sip interrupted as the hairs on the back of his neck stood on-end, and his dangerous eyes darted towards the dark being that was assaulting his senses with its putrid aura. With a spoken word, the mutant lifted the veil over his sight and activated his Third Eye, which revealed the wraith that was gliding towards Akako. He watched the thing curiously, staying his hand whilst the ugly thing delivered its message. However, Arthur remained alert and his sharp eyes studied the wraith with a predatory gaze. "People seem to be really testing my patience today," Arthur's annoyed voice broke the silence after the wraith's disappearance, swallowing half of another eclair before turning to Akako again. "What's with these pushy guys whose attention you seem to be attracting?" @Akako Akari @Twitterpated @Damnatus @Tenkai Matsumoto
  8. Sorry @Vetanoob, got a bit busy during the week but I managed to post last night.
  9. The mutant grinned when Connor handed Dr. Starweight's letter back to him, knowing that he indeed had proven his authenticity. That said, even if none of them had arrived with forthright intentions, their host didn't have much choice other than to accept their aid. After all, this deep into Yh'mi and any help was scarce. "That settles things then" Arthur replied, putting the letter away in his rucksack and strapping the bag to his back as he took up his poleaxe again. The mage followed after Connor and the others, listening to the researcher's words as they slowly made their way back into Lirrey. Arthur didn't want to reenter the village to say the least, but he didn't want to be rude either. Once they were back within the village's limits, he went back to feeling strange and on edge, especially as the town's enchantment began its subtle assault on his psyche. "So that's what that is," Arthur responded to Connor's explanation with a frown, his fiery eyes surveying the stone houses and his surroundings suspiciously. Though it proved a decent length walk, the group had made their way back into the inn in no time, and soon they were all resting in Connor's room. The mutant left his rucksack, robes and weapons at the front of the room and took a seat on the room's solitary couch. The mage snacked on a bread roll he had snagged downstairs, followed by an apple from his own food supply. As he ate, he listened to Connor's prolonged explanation and couldn't help but be incredibly interested in the details that the researcher was sharing with them. "This seems fairly out there for just the four of us," Arthur remarked though it wasn't a complaint. He was glad for the opportunity after all. "I'd expect that the authorities would have sent an expedition by now or would be preparing one as we speak in the face of such strange developments. Do you think there's any chance we'd come upon other travelers this far south? Especially those with a similar goal to our own? Furthermore, have any of you seen another person since leaving Inns'th but before our rendezvous here?" @Vetanoob @Gloxie @Shamash
  10. "That makes things embarrassing for me," Arthur admitted with a scoff and sheepish chuckle, noting the nature of the exit that Enid's magic had created. Naturally, he expected to simply carry the bodies out of the dungeon they'd found themselves trapped in. However, the sentiment was probably too hopeful. Things rarely turned out so perfect. Crouching low, the mage gently laid the bodies down as if he meant to leave or burn them along with the pirates. A grin spread across his lips as he accepted the new challenge. "But I am a mage, Duchess..." the mutant replied, standing up straight as he reached into his robes for materials, "So I suppose I'll solve this problem with magic." He allowed his words to hang cryptically in the air, watching whilst Enid and Abigail exited the Forge. Quickly, the mage first aided Henderson in lighting the corpses of the pirates aflame. With little materials, the mage spoke unintelligible words of power and took in a sharp breath, his chest expanding like a wyrm before expelling a torrent of flames from his mouth. It set the bodies ablaze and gave them a time limit in which to solve the issue of the other two corpses as the room began to fill with foul-smelling smoke. "Mention the details of this spell to no one," Arthur told Henderson as he stood over Darwin and the researcher. The mutant began to chant aloud, the verses of an incantation flowing past his lips as his teeth seemed to sharpen into a monstrous smile. He bit into the wrist of his left hand and pulled away as blood spilled gruesomely over the bodies of the fallen. His energy spiked as his spell came into fruition, his resonance (aura) appearing as a white and black flame that waved around like a candle in the breeze.... Moments later, Arthur and Henderson made the climb out of the Forge with black smoke on their heels. The climb had been easy and they didn't bring the bodies with them. There was something different about Arthur, however. His left hand was wrapped in bloody bandages and two hand-sized wooden statues hung from cordage around his neck. The mutant had used his necromancy to transmute the corpses into a pair of mortuary statues. Temporary coffins that would preserve the bodies. None save Enid would know the drawback of such an intervention and Arthur wasn't telling. As they reunited with the rest of Abigail's men, as they traveled through the desert, as they camped overnight, and even as they trekked through the oasis. Arthur was under attack, the ghosts of Darwin and the researcher shrieked involuntarily in the horror and confusion of death. They begged the mage for respite. Darwin begged Arthur to keep the Duchess safe while the researcher begged for vengeance. Their burden was truly the mage's to carry. "I've got a headache," he remarked to Enid, having left his rucksack in the vehicle and only carrying his newly filled waterskin. Arthur cast a quick cantrip, causing the water within to practically freeze. The mage took a refreshing drink, keeping his senses sharp. @Lady Gilaen @Tyler
  11. Arthur watched uninterested as Enid and Abigail discussed the particulars of the researcher’s final message. He agreed that the researcher must have meant dusk; however, he also didn’t understand how the mountain could cast a shadow after evening settled in totality. Of course, the mutant believed they’d figure it out once they escaped the ancient site. If they could indeed escape from the trap they’d fallen in. The mage’s mind drifted to thoughts of escape, but Enid seemed to beat him to the punch as she stepped forth to surmount the obstacle that laid before them. Arthur climbed out of the sunken area within the chamber, and left Enid to her task as he ran the other way into the previous chamber. The mage skillfully leaped from phosphorescent marking to marking, avoiding the retracting spike tracks while making his way to Darwin’s corpse. He didn’t know the man but that didn’t mean he didn’t deserve a proper burial. It wouldn’t have been very responsible either. Corpses didn’t make for extra decoration in the dark corners of the world. These were prime conditions for reanimation. The mage hoisted Darwin’s (mostly exsanguinated) body onto his broad right shoulder, managing the to carry him and his travel pack as he made his way past the traps. A testament to his conditioning as he returned to the Map Chamber, comforted to find that Enid had created a point from which to possibly escape. With one arm, Arthur hefted the dead researcher onto his opposite shoulder before turning to address the others. “We should burn the pirates’ bodies before they continue to victimize people in undeath, and take these two back to their families.” @Tyler @Lady Gilaen
  12. I’m here. Sorry was just on vacation over the weekend and was dealing with some stuff on Monday. I will have a post up today.
  13. Posted. Sorry for the inconvenience of taking the extra day, I was dead tired and all burnt (still burnt lol) after getting back from vacation yesterday.
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