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I have no eye and I must blink

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Starken's grip tightened as the crackling of the thick dead vines splintered in agony until exploding into shards as he pryed himself free crashing into the ground. 

The creature exuded power with every movement but at the price of each step it took and swing it made being slow and labored as stone and vines cracked and rumbled. It was however compensated by the slithering vines which glided with deadly precision along most surfaces.

It was failing to read Lamistadt's movements and in frustration the creature slammed its hands into the ground, causing the earth to shake as vines with sharpened edges began shooting upward from the ground. 

Starken rolled avoiding being impaled just barely though he did not escape completely unscathed several slashes from the narrowly missing vines sliced along his legs and back.

He scrambled to claim his thick, iron blade. "Keep him missing..." Starken growled with a devilishly pleased grin until he saw an opening. Rushing forward with the stride of a powerful steed Starken thundered toward the creature slashing the protruding vines meant to end him before swinging a savage strike claiming the lower half of right leg of the towering stone/vine creature sending it tumbling down. It's hands tearing clumps of earth as it fell.

The creature lay still, appearing to have been defeated. A dark substance spewed from the wound, staining the surrounding land in blackness.

Starken climbed the fallen creature, stabbing it's chest, though the thickness of its hide only allowed the blade to go halfway in. He let out a thunderous laugh and spit down on the creature.

"A fine claim indeed!" He called out to Lamistadt unaware of the large hand raising behind him. The creature clasped Starken in a powerful grip and slammed him into the ground before it attempted to sit up. The sword remained half impaled into it's chest serving as bullseye.

Starken laid motionless on the ground face down in the blackened filth that was still flowing from what remained of the creatures leg.

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Yes, keep him missing. Only careful maneuvering had saved Lamistadt from being maimed. He had nearly lost the ability to walk, or have children. Instead, his focus had bought him a gash on the leg that opened the leg of his pants as well. He danced, long as he could, until one of the sharp vines stabbed at him diagonally, catching in his clothes as he turned in the dance. He cut the vine, but saw that it did no good. The real damage seemed to be being done by his giant-ally. He knocked the thing down and stabbed it, and Lamistadt saw this, pausing long enough with his own fight against the vines to feel one stab up and cut the heel of his back pant leg, and even some of his boot by how it felt. 

He was in the middle of a two-fingered salute when that happened, after Starken had declared victory. Needless to say the monster's come back widened his eyes and tightened his lips. 

"Alright." His brow came lower over his eyes and he sheathed his sword. He had to skip to the side for the vines before he could match the approach of their opponent, drawing his revolver. He shot the thing in the head, sure, but that only really stunned it. Fortunately, it was a by-product next to Lamistadt's intent. He was a professional. A powered man in a powered world, and he was at least a little more than the weapons he carried. He manipulated the explosion from the shot, augmenting the flashing gout of flame into an extended blast. He expended more of his magic than was warranted, he knew, but finishing the assignment without the aid of his contractual companion struck him as something worth avoiding. 

The mercenary walked his revolver-made-flamethrower forward, catching the wooden beast on fire as it tried to block the attack with its arms that satisfyingly melted away. He stopped the channeling as soon as he thought he'd burned away enough of the monster to disable it, and left it to collapse half-headless and on fire. There over he stood, his weapon aimed with the intent to fire another round in case it moved. Fortunately, however, it didn't.

Seeing that that was the case, he replaced it in its holster, taking a moment to gather himself and measure how much he had expended. After his moment of reflection, he recognized he had expended at least the amount of magic that could be accumulated in a day. This fact irked him, and he swore over it, but he let it go. If Starken wasn't dead, everything would be fine. His stores would accommodate another excessive show of power if he was mindful, and the brute seemed a force to be reckoned with. 

Shifting his boots in the black pool seeping into the earth, Lamistadt came to his accomplice and coaxed him onto his back with some aggressive booting. He didn't plant his foot on the man's chest, since that would be rude, but he did follow his foot over and lean down with his hands on his knees so his face wasn't too far up. He examined the man's face, slapped at his cheeks, and looked for breathing, hoping not to have to go further in his assessments, even though he would if necessary.

Edited by Wanderlost

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Starken's paw-like hand snapped up at the contact with his face in the attempt to wake up, and clasped tightly on Lamistadt's throat. His eyes slowly opened as he grumbled incoherently while sitting up. 

He turned, realizing what he had just done bringing his hand down. "Had a dream of large women...aggressive women." He explained before looking at the crumbling ash that was the creature.

"Seems you finished what was left. No thanks needed." Starken claimed as he pushed himself up looking over the filth he was covered in. A laugh roared through his mixture of beard and mane, before patting the top of Lamistadt's head with his filth covered hand.

"Tiny weapons and magic. Full of surprises. You just keep 'em missing." He continued to laugh before taking up his sword again. "Onward. Hopefully more to kill on the way." He examined several wounds, applying some mudd and moss to patch what he could before moving onward. 

"When we get back, you'll drink with me. The cold mountains houses ale and meed, treasured by those fortunate to taste. Much like the women. If you ain't never known the love of a woman of the mountains..." Starken scoffed before continuing with the assumption Lamistadt wasn't too far behind. "...I once broke three ribs. She was perfection."

Edited by ButAHumbleBard

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Wherever it had come from, Lamistadt had produced a small, guardless dagger to press to the giant's wrist when his fingers tightened around his throat. His not-apology, however, came with the release of his throat and a sudden talkativeness that put the mercenary at ease, in a way. He liked not having to talk, and other people seemed to enjoy going on without interruption. So he let the man talk and fumbled with a mechanism in his sleeve. He took a pause in that to wipe some of the black blood from his hair, and followed Starken only after retrieving his axe from the corpse and wiping it on his long coat. 

Starken said there would hopefully be more to kill, but Lamistadt felt otherwise. The fight had been quite a thrill--it had made him feel something, but it had been totally unnecessary. They had a job to do, and expending their energy on meaningless fights before the ones that counted was simply illogical. 

"Yes..." He said in response to his declaration of sharing a drink. But he mentioned women, which made Lamistadt tense up. He didn't like women. Not that he was sexist or anything. Only that they came with a whole lump of social expectations he still didn't fully understand, and sex didn't quite interest him. They served no purpose to one so solely dedicated to his work. Except perhaps to drive him mad with anxiety. 

It had not been such an issue with Evelyn the other day, admittedly. Talking with her had been doing business. He'd learned the ins-and-outs of that well enough, and knew what would be expected of him. He had control of that situation. But mountain women ready to jump on top of him and break his bones for some wild desire he didn't share lacked appeal. "We'll have a drink before we part ways." He assured the giant. 

And they were off, as they already had been by Starken's lack of relent, and not long for the edge of Bi'le'ah.

Edited by Wanderlost

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Starken pressed forward with renewed vigor. The recent collision with a formidable creature had given him just the jolt he needed to keep motivated. Such was the feeling of the hunt, it brought him memories of home, and the many beasts that wandered through the harsh frozen lands.

As they neared the edge of Bi'le'ah and their destination had finally come into view Starken was brought to a halt. An uneasy calmness fell over him. This should not be as easy as walking in and out like the wind. He could feel, not to far off, eyes watching their every move. He crouched and crumbled dirt between his large fingers lifting it to his nose as he inhaled deeply.

"We're not alone here. Proceed, but maintain vigilance. I sense those who watch us now will reveal themselves before too long...perhaps they only mean to observe..." He grumbled before standing straight, the full length of his massive frame. "...for their sake that is all they should desire."

His sword swung back over his shoulder with heft, eyes darted off in several directions as a few ruffles confirmed his observation, but still Starken pressed forward.

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Serre ducked behind a fragment of wall at the top floor of a partially intact building. He pressed his back to this wall and slid into a squat, wiping his brow with the palm of his hand and then drying the sweat on his crusty pants.

Those guys knew how to fight. When he saw the vine-stone golem approaching them, Serre figured he would wait for the thing to make short work of the two hapless warriors, then he would pick his way through the bush and loot their cooling corpses. But they had managed to overcome the behemoth. Starken was strong and durable; he'd been flung around like a rag doll and survived concussive impacts that would have caved in the skulls of lesser men. Lamistadt was fast and clever; he faded from sight during one of his attacks, and was apparently competent in combat magic.

Serre would have either have to keep his distance and wait for them to kill themselves, or call in reinforcements and hurry them along.  He decided for the former, if only because he hoped to split their belongings with no one.

The two men were now in the city proper. If Serre had hair, the changes in the atmosphere might have made that hair stand on end, but instead his full-body callous started to tingle and contract. He peered out from behind his wall and down a dozen meters to watch Starken and Lamistadt prowl the city streets, and enter a bubble of augmented magic.  

(Note: Rolled 99 = any cast magic goes awry and has unexpected results.)

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