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Lady of Day River

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As the beast and the mortal drew ever closer, they were suddenly separated. Not by a solid mass, or even a threatening one. That, at least, was what the Serpentine had in his mind. The rough force with which he was hit by the ink would not falter his movement. The tentacle, however, hit him square in the chest. The pressure pushed into his chest could have killed him, but it didn't. No, Cassius Asttel was not going to die today.

Now! Do it now!

The Serpentine's mind sprung to action, focusing on the force that had prepared itself to enter his body. The millisecond that mass touched Cassius' body, the pressure was distributed throughout his body. The thousands of pounds pushed through his body, even distributed, hurt. Flailing backwards through the water, the man's lungs were emptied upon impact.

Death? No no, my boy...

When the Serpentine felt the cold air on his back as his body surfaced, his head sunk. Listening carefully to the seemingly superior speaker in his mind, Cassius grimaced at the words. The shock of the blow he had just taken was significant enough to force movement from his mind, or abilities at the moment.

Head hanging limply in the water, body bobbing from side to side with the current, Cassius could breathe. How, his head was beneath the water? Movement, as if something moving beneath his skin.

My neck... What is that?

Cassius tried to speak in the water. Nothing but bubbles were issued from his mouth. Possibly the Siren could hear him... if demise had not already knocked upon his door.

Siren! Are you there?!

Cassius was unsure of what he was doing. His body was no longer gripped by this paralysis. So, with a burst of physical prowess, the human shot through the water, downward. Fighting through the aching of every limb and joint, Cassius powered his body downward.

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The beast seemed unwary of the Siren that span behind it; if only it knew that promise of death that came with that short blade, then perhaps it might have turned to greet his foe head on. But, alas, it was in the throes of ignorant bliss, delighted with itself that it had managed to strike all three of its targets at once and, a notion that came from countless prey struck that never survived. A more than reasonable conclusion.

Pontus was floating, shrouded in a blanket of ink and kept safe by the beast?s own devices; the Siren had managed to get behind the creature undetected. The third member of this little party, seemingly the most dim, decided to attack the creature all but head on. The bubbles warned the beast of the third?s consciousness and as it broke through the cloud, Serpentine would meet a most battle-ready kraken.

Those two barbed tentacles shot out, slithering to either side before shifting to converge upon one point with the Serpentine man in the middle; it meant to catch him and hold him in place. No sooner would the two ends meet than the tentacles tensed and those barbs shot themselves outwards; with the proximity of being held and the force of the propulsion of those barbs, the kraken would not be surprised if the barbs went clean through its target?s body.

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Rise, my child!

His eyes opened suddenly, and his body jerked up, until it was balanced justly within the waters. His muscles, which quaked with excitement, heaved up and down, and the mere effort of shifting his arms pushed the boy great distances through the gorge--alas, he never did pierce the cloud of ink, and thus, remained out of the Kraken's view.

In what seemed like an eternity, only seconds had passed; in but a moment, a man had matured beyond the ages, and attained a knowledge of the elemental spectrum that most dedicated their early years to learn. His prophecy was timely, and was beneficiary of his bold bravery and daintful dilemna.

The Wildarm shimmered fiercely. The Pontus, with an unspoken understanding, extended his left arm. Beneath him, the unsettled debris and dust of earth itself was shaken aloof. Each individual particle floated up from the depths, and wove themselves tightly within the hand.

In a few moments, the boy wielded a spear made of Earth itself. The Gaian Grungnir. He pulled the spear back, and looked into the abyss before him--where one would've seen ink, he saw the Kraken, illuminated by its aura. Because of this, he was able to aim carefully, making sure to avoid either of the two smaller aura's near the beast.

Water spiralled around the spear, and with haste, it was thrown--one might've expected the spear to move slowly, but it moved with a supernatural speed, for the water itself pushed the spear along, like a rocket fired from a cannon: with a boost from a watery-explosion at its base, the spear had become a torpedo. The Kraken's left eye was the target.

And behind it, swimming through the ink with untamed ferocity, was the Prodigy.

--Where...has this power come from?

Nils' prophecy has revealed to him the abilities of the Elementum, granting him moderate control over the elements and knowledge of how each element interacts. Such abilities will grow over time, as the boy puts them to use.

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The Siren would not see the progression of the battle to the front of the beast, but instead allowed his rage to grip his vulnerable form, the short sword in his right hand suddenly becoming an implement for evisceration. The abhorrence before him because the Mother Parasite within, and thus did the beauteous Celestine strike - driving the tip of his blade toward the back of the beast's form. Growling as he began to stab and hack away at the wall of flesh before him, the Lazuline changed his anger and hopelessness into a sense of abandon, funneling frustration through his combat.

It served only to exacerbate.

As the violence grew within the Siren's form, so too did the inherent aggression in his body make its presence known. Many, when infected with the Mother Parasite, were known to become feral beasts - concerned only with survival at any cost. So did the Lazuline confront this 'beast' for the first time; his synapses conquered by draconian instinct. Water surged about his flailing form, and the ink cloud in the distance permeated through the water - a fitting allegory for the manner of transformation experienced by the Celestine. Where once there was only purity, now there was a stain; of hate. Until -

Definitions drifted lazily through the water, their forms floating tacitly through the depths of the Day River. Though their forms were verily distorted by the currents; torn by the swath of waves and tumult which had erupted from the Lady, he could yet decipher their meaning. This being bearing apples knew of the Sirenfolk - of his homeland and race. This placed him among the minority of Landwalkers; the Informed. Very curious, it was, this knowledge on his behalf, and for a moment the Siren gave pause from his assault to consider the implications...

... then verily ignored them.

He had a battle to win.

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No sooner had Cassius exited the shroud of liquidated mist than he was grasped by two sinuous appendages. Quick instinct and impulse alone acted at this point.? The? barbs promised a sweet release from life. Cassius Asttel was not prepared to accept the hand held before him, willing to drag him from life. As if to add to the peril approaching the Serpentine, these tentacles had barbs.

The tentacles quickly grasped for him, no sooner would the odd appendages have grasped him before he was inflicted by the barbs. However, secondary subconscious had control over his physicality.

You dimwit, I'll handle this.

His arms pushed down with a huge assertion of power, lifting him in the water as the tentacles lashed out. The masses closed around his legs as he? moved upward. The barbs touched his skin, but were not expected to enter. Pressure Manipulation had spread the force of the sharp points through his body, so after changed, they shouldn't have had enough force to enter him.

Suddenly... pain. Looking down, half expecting the tentacles to have crushed Cassius' legs, the Serpentine was mistaken. The barbs... they had penetrated the skin.

What?

The Serpentine growled in pain, unheard through the dense liquid about him. Quickly regaining his wit, Cassius gripped his blade tightly and looked down. The tentacles enclosing him, the blade would be plunged into the tentacle at his left.

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Familiarity breeds contempt; contempt breeds pride; pride breeds death.

The kraken had grown much too accustomed with simply overpowering whatever had ever come its way; for a while now, it had been all but hand-fed a number of creatures for its supper. The captain of the ferry was working directly for the kraken, feeding it tourists with the promise that he?d be given all of their valuables after their flesh had been rent and consumed; having failed at his job, the captain was of no use and was currently writhing on the ground in pain on one side of the river.

But as I was saying?pride breeds death, it goeth before the fall, so to speak. Automatically, the kraken couldn?t even fathom the thought (and who could blame the poor fish) that its intended targets could have possible survived the sonic boom that came with its inkjet; it didn?t bother looking behind it or even sensing through the ink cloud to see what may lay there.

What a terrible mistake.

The attacks came upon it almost in rapid succession.

A skin-crawling screech permeated the medium of water as an earthen spear punched a hole clean through its larboard ocular; blood spilled to mix with the ink, green with black, as the kraken thrashed its tentacles about in a desperate attempt to knock away whatever may be assaulting it.

Shortly after the spear made contact, it felt one of its tentacles lopped to pieces by the prey it thought it had killed with the prior attack! These stubborn creatures were so annoying!

But no matter, all it had to do wa?

SKREEEEECHHHHHHKKKHKHHHHCHHHHH!!!!

The Siren; they were all alive! That very same aquatic creature slic-n-diced at its back, severing through its various organs that had been guarded only by a several gossamer thin layers of flesh; aberrant anatomy was shorn away and its brain was all but cubed.

With one last, final, gambit, the kraken gave its last and final breath.

Resolution

  • The Kraken shrinks away as ink bubbles from its form and shoots out in all directions; a sonic dome is embedded into this attack.[/*:m:mclubm0y]
  • All players are struck, forced to surface, and flung out to land; the Lazuline lands on the left side of Day River, Conquest and Fiend land on the right side.[/*:m:mclubm0y]
  • They all quickly realize that the Lady of Day River is still present and not a product of the Kraken at all.[/*:m:mclubm0y]

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The Prodigy's lance had flown true, but before he could reap the rewards of such a strike, he was stricken off guard. A familiar force slammed into the boy, and threw him from the water. He landed, rolling, on the right side of the river.

Uh..

With utmost cognizance, the boy spun, and returned to his feet. Here, the magic of Cure was utilized to replenish his health, mend his minor cuts, and quell the pain of his bruises. Otherwise, he was alert...and puzzled.

The Lady remained before him, amidst the water--his comrade was on the opposite side of the River--and the stranger was on the same side as himself. What, now, was to become of the trio..and what had become of the Kraken's corpse?

Celestine!

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As the water grew green with the vile ichor of the kraken, the Siren merely continued to hack away with abandon, until -

Oof.

The sound was audible as Celestine was propelled from the waters of the Day to land roughly upon the shore, his form rolling a few feet before coming to a rest. Giving a slight groan as he flipped to his back, the Siren's vision was filled temporarily with multitudinous specks of obsidian fatigue. Running lithe fingertips across his stomach, he paused only before the omnipresent wound of the Parasite Mother. So, it wasn't merely delusion, or a side-effect of being slammed with that amount of power - he was truly afflicted; held to the Grand Edict. He could never return to the Sirenhome; never bask in its glory while the sun set upon the Landwalkers.

What, then, would he do? If he could never go home, then what place was there for a Siren within the waking world? In a world of humanity, the Lazuline would live through generations of friends; of lovers and acquaintances. He would not die, but would be forced to endure death. Could he survive in a lifestyle such as this? Was it even worth the effort? Celestine's answer came, as though on cue, from the lips of the Nils Pontus.

"Celestine!"

The Siren's heart stopped for a moment then, deciding whether it should die or grow to love these creatures around him - these fragile beings called humans. As his lips broke into a smile, the Lazuline could already see his destiny unfolding before him; to be a shepherd for these people. Many had come before him to act as a guide, but none would be remembered as Celestine would be - for he had what they did not. Timelessness. Longevity.

Thus was birthed the Shepherd.

"Are you still in one piece over there, Landwalker?"

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Eminence found her way true, slicing deeply into, and eventually, through the tentacle wrapped around him. Hearing the noise of the beast's demise beneath him, Cassius' legs began to fight free of the weakened grasp about them. Suddenly, the tentacle fell from him, retreating into darkness.

Thank you...

The Serpentine grabbed one barb in his leg, pulling gently. Pain shot up his leg at even applying a small amount of force to the wound. Leaving the barbs to reside in his leg, Cassius began to swim toward the surface, his legs fighting to keep mobility beneath him.

Where were the others? Had they made it safely from the water? Sword still in hand, Cassius Asttel broke the surface of the water. His arms sprawled across the ground before him as he released his sword, letting it fall before his hands as he pulled himself from the river.

One of the companions was behind him as he sat, facing the river and staring at his legs. The other appeared to be on the other side of the river.

"Are you still in one piece over there, Landwalker?"

The words came from the companion further off. Surely, he was regarding the man behind him, so Cassius kept quiet.

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Down at the bottom of Day River, the Kraken?s body floated, lifelessly, along wherever the powerful currents of water would drag it; tentacles lagged behind it and it was swept along the ground, perhaps hidden from view for a while as the water was still cloudy with the ink the Kraken had released in a last-ditch attempt.

Soon, it would dawn on the party that the Lady of Day River was not a contrivance of the Kraken, for truly, how might a large octopus be capable of the intelligence and verbal mastery needed to create an illusion as intricate and realistic as she?

NAY!

Her head canted to one side and then the other with the most sorrowful pensivity that one may be able to perceive at one time; her eyes, depthless pools of obsidian, all but screeched of her internal anguish and her arms seemed to sway in an incoherent breeze.

?Please?.please?help me.?

A whisper borne upon a whisper borne upon the wind.

Being in her presence too long brought tears to one?s eyes.

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The Parasite Mother felt the heart of her host soothed by the lack of danger about him; the subtleties of friendship and humanity washing over his advanced synapses. It seemed that the imminent danger which had threatened him not moments before was lost to the throes of happiness. It was thus that the Mother once more began to thread her host's body with her insidious toxins - an anesthetic once more, and steroids beyond what he had experienced before. This creature would be honed to the Queen's expectation - no matter how much time it happened to take. She could feel her children festering within her, and they would need much energy to thrive in this environment. She knew the perfect way to give them what they wanted.

Celestine's attention was stolen completely by the woman in the center of the River as the carcass of the Kraken floated listlessly in the currents of the Day. Her sorrow was palpable, swamping the Lazuline in the murk of sadness. This was clearly the woman they had sought to find in the wake of the Day River- it could be no other. Bristarra; swept from her homeland during the Trade Wars and left to the annals of obscurity. It seemed as though she yet yearned for assistance, though the Siren was unsure of what he could offer such a being. He did not wait for an answer from his companion - did not suffer the moments between response and help. He merely --

staggered, his footing suddenly unsure.

Spinning his arms wildly in the air to balance himself, he found no stability between the ground and his limbs. Toppling unceremoniously, the eyes of the Siren struggled to remain open, before he finally surrendered to the sweet embrace of --

Darkness.

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Sitting beside his sword, the source of the words that had been issued seemed to be in a small amount of peril. What took him? Watching the man fall, Cassius furrowed his brow. Dismissing the other's plight as simply having fainted, the Serpentine had quite clearly not seen the wound.

Looking to the Lady floating above the water, her words were registered in Cassius' mind.

But... but how?

Unsure of how he could possibly help the ghostly figure, Cassius Asttel stared blankly at his pruned palms.

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[Per Request]

The Lady turned her sorrowful eyes to the one person amongst the three who had taken the time to actually speak to her, and ask how they could be of service. She swayed to and fro in an incoherent breeze, perhaps caught by a multitude of invisible hands that wished to tug her down into the depths of hell while others still wished to drag her to heaven; she was caught in the maelstrom between the two forces.

?First, you must shed yourself of the lies. Crennilius, my father, has steered you astray. He knows full well what has happened to me.?

He words grew stronger as a blind rage, like a fire, swept over her ethereal being.

?He sold me to a captain, to assure his own safety and even make a little money on the side. He used me as he wished and discarded me when he was done. He does not send you to me to ease his grief; he wants to know if I am truly who I claim to be?so that he can cover up his dark deed.?

In the midst of her words, a darker deed transpired.

A shadow, a creature that could be described as nothing more than darkness shaped as a humanoid, moved from the depths of its nature; like a cloak, it slid along the ground until clawed hands could grasp the arms and legs of the Siren. It wasted no time in drawing the creature into its bottomless depths; what could stop it? On this side, only the Siren lay.

The shadow-creature glanced to the other side and, should the other two be glancing this way, they would be met with crimson orbs of atrocious acts incarnate. When its grip had been affirmed, the shadow folded into itself and, as simple as that, both the shadow and the Siren merely ?disappeared.

?The only way that you can save me?is to kill the sin that links me to this world. My father must die for my spirit to rest.?.

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The Prodigy remained still. From his position atop the rocks, he could see the Lady swing her head; her words were inspired, and her demand--her lament--was simple.

But was murder truly...simple?

As the thought crossed his mind, Nils turned to catch the birth of a shadow, which appeared to tear through the fabrication of space itself, and birth a portal between unknown lands. This makeshift bleed was the key to magics unknown..and now that he knew them, it would be mere time before the boy grew into them.

Alas, turning with unerring grace, he called to Cassius.

Celestine is gone...we will worry of him later. What shall we do of this old man?

And then, he turned to the Lady.

I need a weapon, dear Lady. Odd as it might be to inquire of you...might this Captain or your father hold such an artifact?

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The short pause between his question and the Lady's response was lengthened for what seemed to be eternity. When the reply was heard, intent listening was all Cassius was capable of. His eyes flitted from their current position to regard the Lady. The Serpentine's thoughts raced as he fought to comprehend her utterance.

Noting that the ghost of a woman's complexion seemed it could only be that of sheer agony, Cassius' features mocked hers in pure sympathy. Her figure seemed to be fighting to maintain it's spot in reality.

With a rather sudden start, Cassius became aware of another substance in the area. His eyes darted once more from their spot. This time, however, to the Siren. A black matter, neither solid or liquid, seemed to coil itself about Celestine's person. Before it had swallowed her, it would bear the words pouring from the Serpentine's mouth.

"What are you doing?!"

Then, there was nothing. The Siren simply... vanished. The silence that could have followed this act was non-existent as the other spoke.

Celestine is gone...we will worry of him later. What shall we do of this old man?

Before Cassius could talk, the man spoke again. The very second the man finished, Cassius Asttel began.

"Well.. Do you have any clue where he may be found?"

With that, Cassius stood, replacing Eminence in her sheath. Standing even with the other figure, Cassius faced the Lady once more.

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