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Prestississimo

Eye of the Storm

30 posts in this topic

Galen rolled his eyes heavenward as he heard Aku in his mind, For the love of... I apparently needed to put a hole in her head... But Galen had more immediate problems to worry about. Since he was the one that busted the handle, to keep others from coming in to help the mage, he also knew there was little chance of the woman opening... His eyes bugged out as the handle gave a metallic scream of protest for a moment before it twisted and actually did open for the woman. He then saw two of the Mage's apprentices standing there slightly dumbfounded and another one of the black cloth covered mercs standing behind them, also startled. MOVE!

That snapped Galen back to his senses, just as another bolt of lightning lanced into the ceiling, the iron rod melting and splattering molten beads on the floor below, which unfortunately did not hit the Storm mage. But, Galen was already in motion, pushing Anessa to the side as he employed his wings once more. Though they were invisible in the light of day, Anessa would definitely have felt their strong down draft as well as see Galen shoot forward at a greater speed then what he should have been capable of with just bunching his leg muscles. He hit the two stunned apprentices in their stomachs, effectively ensuring their continued inability to focus for the near future, and that bare skull came down with all his weight on the merc's forehead, the sound of a wet melon being thumped sounding form the impact. Galen had a good view of the man's eyes rolling up and back into his skull as he passed out.

And then he tumbled forward, right over the still unconscious form of the young woman that had gotten him to that door, and to a crouch. “Get a move on lady,” Galen growled over his shoulder, hoping Karewyn didn't have a chance to unleash any more hell, though, he could always hope for another wind gust. That, plus hallway and his wings... yeah, that would give him a nice little boost, now, was the woman that stupid or not?

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The door provided way more resistance than Anessa expected, but her wooden arms wouldn't be denied and she forced the door. Karewyn continued casting spell behind them, but Aku's rod protected them at least temporarily.

The skull-man stormed past her, clearing their path, and buffeting Anessa with an invisible gale. She stared in surprise for half a moment, before turning and trying to seal the door. It was completely warped inside its frame, and Anessa was left trying to jam it halfway in the doorway, half out, in an attempt to make it impossible to open. Just as she finished, she heard a massive thud from the other side, and her instincts told her it was the impact from a spell. Apparently Karewyn didn't care which way the door was supposed to open, she was just going to push until it broke.

Anessa turned back to the hallway where the skull-man was finishing up his clearing. She followed his instructions, sprinting down the corridor, as more spells impacted the door behind them.

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Galen, what in heaven's name are you doing? Aku asked inside of his head while he watched the door for a moment as Anessa went by him.

I'm having fun, why?

Galen, there was a perfectly good way to escape back there.

What do you mean? he asked mentally with a furrowed brow as he turned and raced after Anessa, then passed her again, intending to barrel through any more obstacle that might have been in the way.

The WINDOW you dolt! Aku yelled inside of his head, making him wince. You could have simply grabbed the girl and jumped out of the window!

Oh for fuck's sake,” he groaned out loud even as he caught an apprentice's head and banged it against the wall off the cross way he was peeking around the corner of. “You couldn't have said something sooner?” forgetting that he was talking out loud, looking in the three directions that he had available to him. He knew the path to the left led back downstairs, but he didn't want to chance being headed off, since the only way out of there was back through the entryway. He then turned to look at Anessa, “Which way did he bring you from the entry room?”

Then, since they were stopped, he faced her and began inspecting her from head to toe looking for any wounds, even reaching up to brush a large lock of hair behind her ear so he could see the side of her face, completely unthinkingly.

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Posted (edited)

When the skull-man addressed his question to Anessa, she pointed down one of the corridors. "I'm pretty sure we came from that way." She was looking down the corridor, and she didn't really have time to react when her companion brushed the hair away from the side of her face. She pulled away from him instantly, her face coloring a slight shade of green, and her eyes going wide.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to, um, you startled me." Anessa tried to explain. "It's just, you're a little intimidating. Oh, but, um, thank you so much, for saving me back there." The girl made as if to stammer on a couple more times, before finally settling lamely for, "we need to get moving. Uh, well, sorry."

She turned down the corridor she'd pointed out earlier, and started jogging down it. She reached the end of the hallway, and gave a yelp as a black-clothed man reached from around the corner, hands grabbing. Anessa swung her arms in a wild shove, and the man's eyes boggled as he flew backwards from the impact, landing heavily on his back with an audible, *whumph.* Anessa looked down at him, half-surprised at her own strength and half-relived. The latter was short-lived, however, when she noticed the three men standing behind his prone form.

They were blocking the next passageway, armed with cudgels and clubs, they started running down the hallway.

 

Edited by Prestississimo
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Green was a new color of embarrassment for him, but somehow it looked completely natural on her features, at least to him. Of course, she seemed to only become more flustered until she finally turned and started running down the hall, so he followed in her steps, keeping his eyes at shoulder height, as he really didn't need to be distracted by admiring her form. And then she'd been surprised.

Galen watched this with slightly widened eyes, surprised, again, at how strong the woman seemed to be without seeming to be aware of it. That was a fairly long hallway, and the surprised man had made it more than halfway down it before landing flat. Damn. And then he saw the other three men at the end of the hall. He had yet to get the cowl of his cloak up to cover his head. So the grin of his lupine skull was visible, even though he would have been grinning ear to ear if he still had his natural features. He laid a gentle hand on her shoulder, silently letting her know she can relax a moment. He then reached a claw tip up and unlatched the magic clasp that held the cloak in place. Galen, seriously, no showing off, you know how I hate it when you do that...

It's not showing off if I'm having fun...

Oh goddess... Aku moaned as she mentally covered her eyes, knowing full well that this was not going to end well.

But Galen ignored this, flexing and stretching, watching the hesitation in the three men as they realized their normally intimidating nature was actually being taken as a challenge by the hulking... thing. But the larger of the three, who had been in the back, rested his hands on the other twos shoulders and gently pushed them to either side, allowing him to start walking forward at the same steady pace that Galen was taking in his approach. Oh? An actual challenger? He perked up at this, surprised that there would be such in this place.

The other wasn't as tall as he was, but he was definitely broad of shoulder and thick of muscle, which always got Galen's attention as far as measuring the potential length of the fight. Things went form over too quickly to perhaps a real test of his endurance. They stopped within easy arm swing of one another, and stood there, sizing one another up. Then the other flexed and jerked his shoulders before nodding to Galen, missing all of his facial expression, Galen simply shrugged and then tilted his head to one side slightly and offering up the side of his skull for the black clad man to have the first shot.

And it was taken, a heavy hay maker brought about in a full arc so that it could connect with all his weight. And Galen's head rocked to the side with the force of the impact, but he didn't actually move other than that. He nodded in admiration of the hit, and waited for the other to signal he was ready for the return favor. Once he got the nod, Galen gave the man exactly as he had given him, a solid right hay maker with his full weight behind it. The man, unfortunately, was not nearly as prepared as he thought he was for this, being spun a full three hundred and sixty degrees on his vertical axis and ending with up falling face don on the floor.

This did not seem to help the moral of the remaining two men, but, surprisingly, they did not run immediately.

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Posted (edited)

Anessa jumped a bit when she felt her new companion's hand on her shoulder, but was relieved when he stepped past her, ready to deal with the thugs. He relief grew to confusion, however, and eventually disdain, as the skull-man and one of the thugs postured against one another.

As her new companion laid out the large thug, Anessa felt the hair on the back of her neck rising, and she could almost perceive the electricity charging the air. Karewyn had probably already gotten out of the room, and no bets about where she was going.

Anessa grabbed the skull-man's arm and hissed at him, "Enough of this, we need to go!" and released it to go barreling down the hallway. The men with clubs were scary, but they were also nothing compared to Karewyn's magic. The first guy, the one she'd thrown before, had recovered himself and came in swinging, but she just shrugged off the blow from the club shoved him roughly against the wall, winding him again. She caught the next man's arm as he came in swinging and pulled him viciously, sending him sprawling behind her in a heap. She bolted past the final man, who by this point seemed too stunned to put up any real resistance, and turned another corner, hoping that her companion was following.

She rubbed her head where she'd taken the hit as she ran down the hallways. She didn't feel any worse for wear, and she couldn't feel anything too wrong so she resoled herself to ignoring any potential injuries for now. Sheexited the corridors into the waiting room where they had come in from, and hustled to the door, passing the unnoticed and unconscious forms of more black-clad thugs.

Edited by Prestississimo
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Galen actually pouted when the other woman stopped him. “But... the fun...” But she was already past him. And then he had a chance to fall in love all over again with her disregard for her own strength. Oh, for Goddess sake, Galen... Since he was so distracted, she simply stepped forward. So, when their own dagger was plunged into the meat of her upper arm, she couldn't bite down on the scream of pain. Enough time had passed with Galen's foolishness that the Mage Karewyn was able to slip up behind her.

You filthy bitch,” the angered, slightly crazed, woman's voice sneered as Aku flung herself around and jumped away from the woman. This left the dagger in her upper arm, pinning that side of her cloak to her body as it began soaking the blood and sticking to her fur- and skin-less flesh. “You've ruined everything! I've worked for decades to get this far and you think I'll let you get away with destroying it all in a single afternoon?!” The magic was building again, and there wasn't any way for Aku to stop it, so she followed Anessa's idea, turned and bolted for the nearby door. She was glad no one was actually waiting in the waiting room when the door shattered in the wake of another shock of electricity. But, Aku wasn't by the door or even pausing, she was running full tilt.

Thankfully the door was still open wide, so she was able to skip out with a down draft of her wings. But, apparently, their ordeal wasn't over with. Using her other hand to yank the dagger from her upper arm, she gripped it tightly as she faced the semi circle of Guards that had apparently hemmed in Anessa as well. This isn't good, we can't take on the guard... unless they're helping... Aku shook her head angrily, silencing Galen as she approached Anessa and tried to listen to what she was telling the guards, hoping they were both wrong about this.

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"You don't understand!" Anessa pleaded with the guards. "We're all in danger here, we need to get out of the building!?"

The man standing at the front of the squad frowned. "No one's going anywhere until I understand what's going on. Go over it again, from the beginning."

Anessa sucked in breathe to begin another tirade when she heard something shatter behind her. She turned, to see the skull-man incoming from the entrance, and behind him she heard the characteristic crackle of more spellcasting. She turned back to the guards, who were now eyeing her new companion wearily. "Look, the mage has gone crazy, she started attacking us out of nowh-"

Her sentence was cut off by a shout of "GET DOWN!" from one of the sharper guardsman. She turned again, in time to see Karewyn complete whatever lightning spell she was casting and she hit the deck as fast as she could. She felt crackling energy run through the room. Some of the wild spell struck some of the guardsman, though the more savvy of the guard had either dropped to the ground as well, or activated their lightning charms, protecting them at least in part from the spell.

When the maelstrom of lightning had dissipated, Anessa chanced a look at Karewyn, and was shocked to see glowing blue lines coloring the woman's skin. Her eyes were azure lights without pupils, and electricity crackled through her form without any regard for the limits of spellcasting. Suddenly, Karewyn's interest in her particular field of study made a bit more sense.

Edited by Prestississimo
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Yup, time to go, Galen said from the depths of Aku's mind, who in turn grabbed Anessa by the arm and looked towards a ridge, not terribly far away, but far enough that, with any sort of luck, should provide at least something of a buffer from the immediate range of the now wild mage's talents. “I'll have to apologize to her at some point,” Aku said out loud though she wasn't speaking to anyone specific, “I honestly thought this was dissecting for the sake of, not for a purpose, good or ill...” Then she was silent a moment, gathering to her the left over energy from Karewyn's spell casting as well as that which flowed freely through this place, but mostly this was going to draw primarily from her own internal node.

The female wolf wolf black fur covered neck and lupine face, her fur and skinless body hidden except for what was out in order to hold the other woman's hand tight, seemed to freeze except to take two solid breaths in and out, then spoke, “Banna flúga,” shaping the dual part spell to do as she wanted. First, she used a ward, which would force the two of them up off the ground a short distance, and then the aid of flight, which she would augment with her own wings. Landing, on the other hand...

She could feel the gathering of another electrical strike when both of their feet flew straight up as if the ground didn't want them there. Arching her back, the female wolf extended her spectral wings in the waning light of the day, and, for a brief moment, there were soft electrical lines of energy barely discernible as they outlined the broad strokes of her wings. They arched upwards as far as she could just as the flight portion of the spell took hold, and the downdraft aimed them towards the ridge in a rush of movement. She tried not to be the highest point in the air, but she could only glide after this, so it was a gamble between a little bit of altitude and a little bit of screening. “Please Goddess, we're almost there...”

 

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Anessa was surprised when Aku grabbed her hand, and she didn't speak up nearly in time. Aku took them both off of the ground, and a few moments in the air was enough to have Anessa taking deep gasping breaths. Her beleaguered attempts at respiration were met entirely without success, and without a solid connection to the earth, Anessa could feel the energy quickly draining from her body.

The pair were, however, quickly approaching the ridge that Aku was aiming for, and Aness would be alright when she landed. Would need a moment to regain her energy, but she would be okay...

All of her hair stood up for an instant as one arcing bolt of lightning flew past her. That gave her enough warning to spin around and see the second spell heading right towards her. Anessa's last conscious thoughts were concern that the arcing electricity would hit Aku as well. On a reflex, she wrenched her arm out of her companion's grasp.

The bolt hit Anessa squarely in the side, sending her spinning as she fell to the ground below. She was unconscious by the time she hit the pavement, but that didn't stop automatic processes from rooting her firmly in place as soon as she impacted in an attempt to restore rapidly leaking energy. Anessa's wooden arms burrowed ferociously, impossibly through the hard cement, seeking the loam below. While they worked, Karewyn was stalking over, blasting any guardsman unfortunate enough to be in the way.

The mage was still making her beeline for her downed target when an incredibly cracking sound resounded through the area, and the concrete under Anessa's still form split. Wooden tendrils emerged, swarming around the girl's body, layering protectively over her even as other, larger branches reared up, posturing aggressively towards Karewyn and anyone else who approached.

Unnoticed by most in the area, all the trees and plants lining the boulevard began wilting and decaying, apparently drained.

 

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ANESSA!” Aku had screamed in outright terror seeing what had happened. She'd felt the other weaken in her grasp during her improvised retreat, but things had been and still were happening too fast for the pair to really make any parallels about what was going on with their friend. Even now, the twin souls were kneeling on the ground, staring down at the aftermath of what seemed an eternity, but, in reality, had only taken the span of maybe ten or fifteen seconds. And now there was a lethal barrier of trees around a barricade of branches and brambles. And Anessa was gone, completely invisible in the midst of all of this.

Okay, color me jealous... THAT is some impressive wood.

Aku's bugged out at that mental comment and she brought a palm to her head, “For the love of... Really?!” she asked in exasperation, then gave up even trying to figure out the other half's mind right now, she'd determined only a crazy person could figure him out. “You know what? Nevermind, just shut up, I don't want to know or care right now...” Her eyes settled on the stalking electrical horror that was stalking towards the improvised forest barrier, and was sure it wouldn't stand up long against the creature... but it didn't need to.

Just long enough... Galen finished that thought even as she could feel him mentally limbering up. She nodded silently to herself, and him, as she tried to think of a quick way to get out of this. She watched as two of the guardsmen leveled what might have been powerful lightning spells towards the thing that had been known as the Mage Karewyn, only to watch them be absorbed completely. Then two even more powerful blasts were leveled at the guards and she watched them be vaporized by them, causing her to flinch.

Feedback loop?Aku frowned at the cryptic words, trying to puzzle out what it was Galen was asking her, not a new thing for the pair. And then it hit her, use her own reflective nature against her. “Wire... and something strong...”

There was a mournful pause before an image popped into her mind and where to find it, Ya know, that was some expensive wire I had plans for... Galen whined, but Aku was already reaching into the proper pocket and slipping the heavy gauge wire from its pocket. “Yes, well now it's going to a better purpose,” she said as she pulled out an anchoring stake that they used when pitching their tent. It probably wouldn't last long, just hopefully long enough...

Plan in mind, she stood to her full height and then handed the body over to Galen as she twisted and fell so their back was to the cliff that they had been standing atop of. He had his eyes closed as the ground whistled closer, listening to what the Storm Mage was doing and preying she couldn't hit him before he got tot he ground. Well, couldn't hit him no matter where they were. Then he tucked his legs in forcefully, which spun him at the last minute so he could use his wings as a parachute before absorbing the remainder of the momentum with his legs and a grunt.

 

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Unconscious though she was Anessa was no less dangerous, and immensely more so in fact. The aggressive branches surrounding her wooden shelter lashed out. Some were vaporized by Karewyn, though one of them managed to impact her squarely and send her staggering back.

Not all of the attacks were aimed at the rouge mage, however. Some of them struck guardsman standing too close, and one particularly unlucky fellow was impaled, and flung a distance away. With a roar of immense anger, Karewyn absorbed a couple of other attacks from the guard, and redirected the energy at Anessa's haven. The blast exposed the girl momentarily, and a quick glance would reveal that already she had healed much of the damage from the electricity that had run through her, though the main wound site, damaged as it was by Karewyn's magic, remained charred and leaking what appeared to be sap.

Almost immediately, however, any view of the girl was lost as new branches wound there way protectively around her. The tree and plants on the boulevard were all but gone now, completely subsumed.

Karewyn howled again, and began charging another spell. Some of the savvier guards were calling in for reinforcements armed with attacks not based in lightning magic. Preoccupied as everyone was, no one noticed Galen descending from above.

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Another mighty pound of those invisible wings and he was racing forward, but not directly at the rogue mage. Instead he made a bee line for one of the massive lightning rods that dotted the town to help divert the electrical rage of the skies away from the houses. Sliding to a stop next to it, he slung a loop of wire around the middle and made it tight, then he did a cartwheel kick to build up some momentum and threw the stake at the electrical charged creature that was so intent on killing. Of course, the line wasn't nearly long enough to reach the woman from where they stood.

But it didn't have to.

By now Karewyn had built up such a charge that she was magnetic, so the metal alloy of the stake was drawn right towards her and acted like a compass needle, firmly pegged on the woman... creature... whatever the hell it was. One of the less bright guards tried a spell he was absolutely sure would work because of its sheer power, and watched it be absorbed and then almost immediately be poured into the casting of the next spell. But this time the electrical discharge was sucked into that stake and then the wire it was attached to. Immediately it began glowing red hot, but it didn't vaporize right off as Galen was afraid would happen. And that meant the plan had a chance to work.

Karewyn probably meant for it to be a short blast of energy, but the lightning rod and it's extension opened a path to ground so easy that the stored energy of the Mage immediately began pouring out of her in a hurry to get to that end point.

Galen was already on the move, not bothering to watch, because there was no telling how long this would last. Instead he was stopped just out of impaling range of the wall of branches, switching back to Aku, mentally thumbing through her metal repertoire in the hopes of helping the injured woman in the ground. “Anessa?! Can you hear me? We really need to get a move on... can you get out of there?”

Forest walk! And for once, Aku understood almost immediately what it was her other half was talking about, so she handed the body back to him. He had no idea if it would work here, but he had learned the trick from a druid, how to pass through the woods without being detected even by the trees themselves. It came in handy when needing to flee, but it only worked on some woods, and he wasn't sure this even constituted brambles at this point, but they would be sitting ducks once that wire melted.

Taking a moment to center himself, he whisper in old Entish his wish to pass unmolested through this wood, and then took a step inside of the kill zone to test if it would actually work or not...

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The twitching branches failed to react at Galen's approach. Some of the brambles were dying now, having completely stolen the energy from all the greenery in the immediate area, Anessa's defenses were weakening.

Outside of the briar, the guard appeared to be turning the tables on Karewyn. Suddenly bereft of the ability to apply lightning in a lethal manner, the mage was a sitting duck as the guard rallied. Reinforcements had arrived with wands and charms for non-electrical spells, and blasts of flame accompanied by pulses of water were now barraging the woman, impacting hastily woven shields.

The blue lines suffusing the mage's skin began fading, and the crackles of electricity steadily lessened. Encouraged by evidence of the efficacy of their effort, the guardsman redoubled their spellcasting, pelting Karewyn's magical defenses. Under the renewed assault, however, something changed. A scream of intense rage ripped out of the rouge mage's throat, and the fading blue lines suddenly redoubled their intensity, reaching an almost blinding luminosity. Waves of magical energy roared off of her figures, and anyone who had seen an elemental overcharge before knew what was coming next. "GET DOWN!" shouted one of the guardsman, though none of them really needed the advice, as to a man they ran for cover.

The explosion was massive. A huge blast of electrical energy washed over the entire area, testing the magical defenses of everyone present.

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Hearing the scream of warning, and glad for his ranger training, Galen found himself leaping over, smashing through the now brittle vines and roots in the heart of the defense ring. He was off, of course, coming down beside where Anessa was laying amidst her defending ring of vegetation, instead of over the top of her to help shield her from the building blast. It was also too late to adjust, so he lay there inside the depression she'd created, and road out the magical blast. Then he paused a good four or five seconds seconds afterward, listening to what was happening outside the depression before he sat up and peeked over the rim of the small crater.

Carnage was the first word that came to mind. Anything that could have been affected by electricity had been. Even the lightning rod was warped out of its shape, a ring of molten metal where the wire had been attached showing just how good a buy it had been by channeling as much as it did. Sadly, there were more Guard bodies laying about as well, unmoving, some of them deformed by the power of the electrical blast, muscles forced beyond their normal range of motion by the charge passe through them, and then locked in place afterward.

What worried him most, though, was the lack of a Karewyn electrical beast shaped body in the last place he'd seen her. Either she vaporized herself in that blast... or...

No, we're not even going to think that. Positive thoughts...

I'm positive I'd really have liked to see her dead,” he growled mostly to himself before he turned to look down at Anessa. She was in a bad way... “So, by her reaction, I'd say flying out of here is out the window. We're going to need to get out of here,” he was still only talking to himself, not even really to Aku, his mid working over the available information he had and trying to make a plan. The first thing was if he could even pick her up or not, so he knelt next to her and tried.

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