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supernal

I have no eye and I must blink

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After the grenade blast, Thurgood pops back out to shoot any survivors, including finishing off the one Lamistadt shot.

The mage was actually dumb enough to pop out again from the same window. Aveline lined up and fired another burst of three. One skipped off the side of the window, one hit the wall behind, but the third hit its chest, probably a through-and-through rather than a kill shot, but enough to halt the spell for good.

On 12/28/2017 at 6:50 AM, ButAHumbleBard said:

"Suppose we should aid our new allies...puny insufferable pests..." 

"HEY!" Aveline shouts back, "I actually hit the guy that time!"

But apparently the giant doesn't care as he hurls a large chunk of concrete at the window, likely finishing off the foolish mage. Then Aveline turns to look at Starken.

"Holy shit, I am pretty fuckin' puny compared to him..." Aveline thinks.

Thurgood opens the chamber of his grenade launcher, and the empty 40-millimeter shell drops out, still smoking, onto the rubble to bounce and roll away as he pops a fresh frag round in and closes the chamber again. "Fuck, probably coulda pasted the whole group if I dropped the muzzle a little..."

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A reproaching flinch followed the larger man slapping mud onto his chest. He brought his hand up as though he meant to rub it away, but stopped. It wasn't quite worth it, especially if it would lead to him receiving a second slap to his already wounded torso. His thoughts on the matter he matched verbally. Something to the effect of, "The mud is the infection, brute." The name by which he referred to Starken did not register as an insult to Lamistadt. Rather, he saw it as a matter of fact. He was tall and brutish and lacked a tendency toward contemplative thought, from what he had seen. But that didn't matter to him. He was a gold warrior to have by his side.

He recognized that the giant wished for him to go first, but not the reason why. So when they came to the elves and halted in distanced, but respectful regard, there was silence. Then he glanced at the giant, who looked down at him, and he turned back. "Uhh... Lamistadt Shield." He said, stiffly jerking his thumb at his muddied chest. Then a static point at his companion. "Starken. The uh, giant." And then he eased into less jerky movements, as his gestures were always smooth when his hands came to rest near his weapons. He tucked his thumb in his belt and let a palm rest on the hilt of his machete. It was not a gesture of offense or readiness for violence, but more a place of ease for one strapped with as many weapons as he. Those that were hidden didn't settle in the most comfortable ways, but they never did, and as ever, they served a purpose.

"Mercenaries. Something about an artifact, and..." He let his gaze move and settle on the building past the elves, as frost seemed to weave across the ground in icy tendrils and climb the building the mage had been stationed in. He was crawling up the sill of his opening, as a matter of coincidence, clutching his chest and fighting the pain that surely came with the blood seeping past his gnarled fingers. The other arm was dangling uselessly, and the mage lifted its hand to create a platform of energy before him, trying to walk away from the building. Perhaps he sensed the approaching danger, but even as he walked out on the platform he was creating as he went, the ice gripped his creation and followed him, until it climbed his very body and froze him. And he did not move. The ice formed around his spell and it became impossible to discern whether it was still active, and he remained motionless, suspended in the air as that same frozen herald continued to move toward them. 

Lamistadt, as he watched these events transpire, had been raising a finger, and he developed that into a point past the elves saying, "Now is a good time to run." And did not hesitate in acting on that notion, even if it meant leaving the others to whatever fate came as a consequence to being frozen like that. It was in his nature to act mostly in his own interest, and so he did.

Edited by Wanderlost

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Watching Lamistadt from afar, Serre found himself more than a touch emboldened with his (literally) giant barbarian ally was nowhere to be seen. Then he found himself shrinking away from the Shield youth much in the way a slug ebbs from salt, when he spotted the two armed-to-the-teeth elves. The so-called courage trickled in his veins once again when a small contingent of mutants put themselves on a collision course with the gathered crowd. He thought that he might join his comrades in defeating these people, with their intact faces and such, and then found himself assessing the crumbled ruins directly around him for viability as a permanent residence when he saw the barbarian come around again.

Serre needed to take a break – his heart couldn’t handle that much flip-flopping.

After said brief respite he put his powerful eyes to work again and noted a few things all at once. Lamistadt was a strong one but he could only take so much damage and had taken enough to bolster Serre's confidence again. The armed elves were dangerous but seemed undecided as to whether to ally with Lamistadt – that meant they could probably be tempted to an opposing side. The giant was also out of sight – this did not mean removed from the battlefield necessarily but at the very least Serre had speed and distance on his side.

Most importantly was the frost. He knew what it meant and, from the looks of concern flashing across their faces, they didn't. Serre dropped to the ground, revealing kneecaps that bent the wrong way and which absorbed the shock of his fall with ease, as well as feet with round knobs on either ends. Knobs which rolled in their sockets, gifting Serre with an innate ability to roller blade over any reasonably level terrain.

The goal was simple. Zip through the crowd and take whatever weapons and shiny belongings he could snatch meanwhile continuing to skate on by. He hoped to put the frost between them, and dissuade the elf and the mercenary from giving chase. The best-case scenario would be that they did give chase, proved slow, and were caught in the stasis, giving him an abundance of time to make his escape.

Let's see how the dice turn up.

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Well, arguing and whatnot aside, Aveline had been looking over to the building, seeing if the mage was foolish enough to pop back up, if he was even still alive. When the frost crawls up, she just stares as the mage tries to escape through the iron sighs of her AK, kind of transfixed by the fractal patterns of crystals it was making.

Thurgood looks over at her, then at Lamistadt as he takes off, and as both now look at the frost, Thurgood notices that more is starting to climb up the pile they're standing on.

"I wonder if he's like a banana frozen in liquid nitrogen now," Aveline says as she sees the mage freeze.

"Let's not find out," Thurgood replies as he steps up to her and starts pushing her away with him. Both start moving as quickly as they can away from the advancing frost.

Problem is, chunks of broken concrete, structural steel, and other detritus do not make for a very speedy egress, the hundred-plus pounds of armor and gear they're swearing do not make their muscles' burden easier; the shrubs and saplings growing among the rubble help some, but it's all they can do to stay just ahead of the advancing frost and not twist an ankle, catch a foot, or stumble on the uneven, obstacle-laden surfaces and as far as they know, become a flash-frozen sculpture that will not survive thawing as the water in their cells crystallizes and obliterates all of their tissues.

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His feet and form carried Lamistadt swiftly away from the encroaching frost. What mind he had to pay to the rubble was paid, and the rest was spent on his escape. That was, until he noted another mutant approaching from the side. Being ahead of the elves, he felt comfortable enough turning to face him as it neared. Its deformations were mostly covered in cloth, and he didn't see much of it in the flash it took for the thing to grope at his belt and snatch his axe. The mercenary made swings with his fist and knees, but the cretin slipped through and away of him with irritating grace, and had little distance to intercept the approaching elves and the ice behind them. 

A snap decision told him just to run and forget his weapon or theirs, and that they had enough to lose whatever the vermin of a man might snatch. So the Shield child turned and continued to run, wasting little more time on concern over that. 

His run carried him North. Deeper into Bi'le'ah and closer to their goal, wherever it turned out to be. And indeed, there seemed to be some significance in the structure still standing in the shattered square he came to. With his hands on his legs, he panted, not seeing it until he looked up. 

A temple, intact if only for the wide, fluted colonnades which supported it.

It seemed, as was made evident by the great oak which grew from the hole in its roof beyond, that its arches and domes had failed where those had not. And even then, vines and ivy had climbed and rooted in the superficial cracks in the stone, worming their way in with time as a weapon, seeking to lead the whole thing asunder. But in the present, it stood, and he had not further time with which to ogle the beauty in the structure's slow death, for he turned. First to make sure the frost was not upon him, and second to see if any of his companions had made it away and caught up.  

Edited by Wanderlost

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Sure as Lamistadt's seldom-blinking stare or unwavering grip, the frost had halted somewhere he could not see, and no allies came clambering past the ruins. Upon this sight, something faltered in the mercenary. Sadness, worry, and fear did not seldom threaten the threshold of his heart, but in that moment, it made his lips quiver and his eyes and eyebrows twitch. But, as though they had come on bad company, those emotions were quick to flee from him. What did it matter whether they lived or died? He hardly knew them, and he was not the victim here. He was the survivor, and sometimes, that was all he ever wanted to be. 

So he turned to the dilapidated temple and walked toward it and inside. It was the sort of place one expected to contain supernatural wonders, yet all there was was the mighty trunk of a tree disgracing the sacred ground of Gaian worshipers, which seemed to have fallen to another force previously. The walls were cracked and weeping from recent rains, and sound died at the ears in each of his steps as he ascended the altar's dais. In the ruins of the smashed headpiece laid nothing of remark, and the mercenary took a moment to admire the organs mounted in the wall behind it.

Then he went to the back room. Crossing under the door triggered some sort of spell, which emitted a delicate chime, and a man in a white mask who was standing at a great oak desk scattered with papers snapped his head up at Lamistadt in surprise. He had, wrapped around his fingers and dangling, a brilliant fiery stone with pink dots mounted in an amulet, and was frozen in a position with his other hand outstretched, cradling a matte purple gem made of angles. But his paralytic surprise did not last long before he opened the hand with the amulet and pushed it toward Lamistadt, throwing him back with an expulsion of arcane force. The mercenary hit the wall, and his newfound adversary darted out the other entrance to the preparation room. 

There was no time to waste on the pain he was suffering, so even as he was struggling to get the wind back in him against spasms in his lungs, the warrior was pushing up from the wall and gathering his mana. Moving through that empty doorway a second time begot no chime to denote it, and likely didn't need to. The figure, wearing plain brown robes with hair to match, was just exiting the temple through the front entrance, and he was not inclined to let him get away. 

Lamistadt pressed his body against the doorway with both hands on it, and through channeled embellishment, pushed off with enough for shatter much of the door's frame and fling him forward. It took more magic to keep up with the momentum, and he flew past the masked man, coming to a halt in a number of quick steps and turning with wide eyes. His gun came to hand rather quickly and he fired two of his remaining shots. One landed and the other missed, the force of the round knocking him back and unhanding him of the fist-sized gem. He watched it roll, then looked to Lamistadt. 

"Not gonna let me go, huh?" He shouted, holding his hand to the bullet wound in his arm. 

The mercenary drew shadows over his eyes as he tilted his head down, took aim, and fired for center of mass. The bullet, strangely, did not meet the target. Instead, it struck the air in front of him, flattened, and fell to the ground as a useless lump of lead. His enemy shouted, "Have it your way, thief!" And waved his hand, manipulating some energy that manifested as something like a heat wave, warping Lamistadt's vision of all that stood between them as the projectile flew toward him. It landed, despite his raised arm in defense, and laid a cut on his forearm and across his collar and shoulders. 

"Ah!" It open the skin and he knew he was bleeding, but for all the shock that came with the nearly invisible attack, it didn't hurt as much as he thought it would, which perplexed him. Nevertheless, he lowered his arm and fired another round at whatever barrier the man had in front of him, then pushed off the broken stones of the courtyard, flinging himself directly at the man. 

Whatever he had used to defend himself against Lamistadt's bullets shattered like glass against his augmented movement, and next thing he knew, they were both on the ground. The masked man, whose mask was now cracked, showing milky white flesh beneath it, rose a fist and punched at the mercenary. It was easy enough to arrest the attack by planting his arm past the man's shoulder, and he pressed the barrel of his gun to the man's throat and fired, only to have the barrel explode on him as the bullet met that same force before leaving the barrel.

The man beneath him was struggling, and the mercenary was still recoiling in shock when a fist hooked near his eye and dazed him further. That was not to say he didn't have some sense of the situation, or know what he should do to further defend himself. He was a trained professional after all, and he showed it. He leaned in, hooking his arm under the man's left, preventing him from following through with a punch to the ribs, and partially blocking a hit from the other fist with his forearm, though it still hurt. Then he regressed to an aspect of his magic he hadn't touched in years. Mostly, he avoided it like the plague, as he had not left the Elemental Knights on the best of terms, and worse still, it made him think of his family. 

Fortunate, at least, for his survival that all of that rage and hurt aided him in his savagery as he created a blad from the butt of his gun and repeatedly drove it into his opponent's face and neck. He screamed as he did it, or yelled. Either way, it tore at his throat as the delayed pain from his previous laceration suddenly became agonizing. When he stopped, the man wasn't moving, and the porcelain that might have otherwise helped protect his face was no longer white, or in any small number of pieces. 

Panting, the mercenary looked at the bloodied butt of his weapon, from whence a metal blade now protruded. His grip was so tight for the pain the man had caused him that, also due to his forgotten trigger discipline, he depressed its trigger, and the thing just clicked when the hammer came down on a chamber, and the lack of response addled the man, as did his own clumsiness. Whether it was jammed or empty, it did not fire. More importantly, he sat up and channeled the last of his magic to remove the blade, forcing it to recede into the handle and mend what deformations it had caused. The end of the barrel was distended and the metal near the end had split. He'd have to wait and mend it in his off time. Until then, he was merely thankful that it still fit in its holster. 

That form of magic had its uses, but he lacked the reserve of mana to do anything amazing with it, and it was particularly cumbersome how anything done with it remained as it was, where other elements dissipated and did not often require direct components. 

With his gun holstered, he got up and looted his enemy. The warrior's shaking hands first found the amulet, then a little gold and a dagger that he fussed into his axe loop. Then he dragged himself over to the other component of what he was sure must have been the artifact he was sent after, and tucked it into one of his inside coat pockets. It was a nice feature for such a long thing to have copious amounts of room in its pockets, and ideal in the moment. He tucked the amulet into an inside pocket on the other side, and staggered Southward.

He had what he had come for, but he was still deep in Bi'le'ah. With nothing left of his firearm and hardly any mana to draw from, he knew he would have to be very careful getting himself back out of the area. 

For the first few minutes, it was easy. He couldn't see everything, but what mutants were wandering and lingering were easy enough to skirt around. But then he came to the ice. It was strange in that no steam came off of it, yet it was still slippery. At the edge was a large man, mid run and totally encased in a transparent layer of the crystalline structure. He recognized Starken as much by the man's minimal gear as his size and shape. As for what would become of him, Lamistadt just didn't know. 

He found it safest to skirt around the field, which was rather expansive in its finality, and he did indeed spot the shapes of the two elves further back. 

Voices came from a building near the edge of it, and he was careful when he pressed himself against the wall outside and listened in. Their conversation seemed useless until he made to slip past, then someone shouted to quiet them down and their cackling reduced to murmurs, as he did to a crouch. "Everybody! Look! We have perfect prey out there. We are gathering the clans and preparing an ambush for when the frost recedes. Until then, we must ensure that nobody goes near! It is too dangerous." It left Lamistadt with valuable information, but he had no way of giving it to his former allies. With a final look to them, frozen as ever, he continued onward. 

If ever he would have been called a hero, it would not be for that, or really anything else he had done. But he continued on, knowing he could not live down his mistakes. 

In a place where there must have been a garden, now had grown a forest, and he almost went straight through it before noting that one of the trees very definitely moved, and laid deep black eyes on him, as if to dare him to venture further. Instead, he gave the area a wide berth. This led him instead to a familiar set of buildings, and he found the alley behind them. The fountain laid in the center, and large chunks of concrete littered the area. Here, it was quiet and empty, and he stopped at the corpse of the mage he had killed before. 

Lamistadt had not desecrated the corpse as it was now. It was absolutely mangled and missing much of its ribs as well as the flesh on its face and much of its innards. The fear of whatever predator had done the work was not an unfounded one, as howls brought his eyes up to the way he came, and two massive wolves charged him. He cursed and drew his sword. They leaped in unison, and a defensive cut drew across the nose of the second. With both barreling into him, he was most certainly not left standing, nor with his weapon in hand. One whimpered and had a fit of bloody sneezing while the other growled and bit into his shoulder, its bottom fangs activating some component to those invisible lacerations from his opponent before, which shot pain throughout him and whited out his mind for the length of two blinks. As it pulled and tried to rend his shoulder free of his body, he fumbled for the ring at his wrist, with which he pulled a dagger free of its sheath and plunged it almost fully into the thing's neck, 'causing it to gurgle and choke and move to the side as the other attacked. 

Its sharp fangs hit the side of his head and dragged over his ear, wet and warm, distinctly cutting through it and flooding the mercenary with the shock of it. He reeled and tried to fend off the giant wolf with his arms raised, though that only offered them as a target. The sharp fangs puncturing his sleeves brought him back, and he punched the wolf in the ribs, then the head, and sustained many more wounds before it was laid to a gruesome rest, just as its companion was, and again, Lamistadt rose from a fresh corpse. He seemed to have made a habit of creating them of the inhabitants here, and perhaps even regretted that that was how things had turned out.

Yet again, however, he was alive, and that was what mattered to him.

Lamistadt had a frightening moment as he limped to pick up his sword where he teetered and blacked out for a moment, staggering to a halt. He was in a daze, and would definitely have to seek medical attention soon. There was weakness, pain, and soreness wracking his body, and he doubted he would have even the fury to force his way through another fight. Especially having to fight to keep his eyes open. That was, until he was walking South again, and forced to pay closer attention to his surroundings. 

Surely blessed by Gaia even despite his sins, he was left alone as he dragged his feet to the edge of Bi'le'ah. Perhaps it was for the gathering of the clans of those mutants, but the ruins had mostly been empty.

That was, until the wolves returned. 

By this time, Lamistadt had recovered enough of his magic that the three wolves that broke into a howling and barking run when they saw him were not as much of a threat as before, but that did not make him any less mortal. They must have tracked the trail of blood he had almost surely created in getting as far as he did, but he found some further fortune within himself. He had enough mana to run, modifying jumps to fling himself forward and time bounds to carry him across the fields with the wind flying past him until he tumbled into the edge of the forest. It was a struggle to push himself up, but he did, and he kept to a mundane run for further distance, even as things became blurry and every present flaw in his mind and body threatened to trip him up. 

He did well. Well as any determined man might have until he came upon a patrol of normal sized people with decent postures and conventional weapons. Then, something told him it was safe to give in and he stopped, panting against a tree before he collapsed. 

. . .

He next woke with a gasp, trying to sit up only for shooting pains to throw him back down into the pillows beneath him. He swore, and a familiar face approached the bed. Evelyn's appearance seemed beautiful in that it heralded a wash of relief over the mercenary. She told him, "You did good, mercenary. Get some rest and we can discuss your payment later." And walked away, and that was all he needed to let his head lie back, his eyes skirting over where his long coat hung before he passed into rest.

He distinctly remembered three heavy breaths as he blinked his heavy eyes and fell to sleep.

Edited by Wanderlost

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Epilogue: Thurgood and Aveline

As the siblings reach the bottom of the pile, the pieces get more broken, more jagged, and more dangerous moving slowly, and even potentially lethal for those in a hurry.

"Come on Av, it's gonna catch you!" Thurgood shouts. The field of frost is right on her heels when one slips into a crack.

Aveline then falls right on top of Thurgood, pinning both to the jagged concrete chunks and twisted, rusting rebar as the frost quickly envelops them both in a fairly compromising position...

...it looks like they're fucking, is what I'm getting at.

It would be more than a day before the frost recedes, and right behind it, hungry, violent mutants waiting to rip them to shreds. When the field finally backs off the siblings, Thurgood quickly scoots out from under Aveline as the mutants close in. Having few other options, he flicks the safety off his AK and onto full-auto, and sprays controlled bursts at the mutants' leg level, knocking a few down and forcing the rest to back off, giving him the bit of time he needs to pull Aveline's foot free.

As soon as it is, she flicks the safety off her AK to single fire, gets to one knee, takes deliberate aim at a large group of mutants gathering around an opening in the rubble, and launches a frag grenade from her underslung launcher. the blast kills half the group and scatters the rest as Thurgood switches to his Mossberg, lying behind a taller chunk of broken concrete. As each mutant is forced to come around the corner for their prey, he blasts them each with double-aught buck, slipping a shell back into the mag tube between shots.

Meanwhile, Aveline is picking off mutants with carefully aimed shots from her AK, but it takes time to line them up, and the group is getting closer.

"Shotgun Av," Thurgood says, "you don't have the time to aim right now…"

Knowing her brother’s advice is actually sound, she quickly brings up her own Mossberg 590, takes the safety off, and drills some buckshot into the chest of an attacking mutant, pumps the slide, and catches two more with the next shot’s spread. Thurgood ran out of targets, so he pops up in time to see a mage fling balls of energy, right at Aveline!

“Move it Av, NOW!”

When she rolls, instead of getting up, the balls land inches from where she is, heating her armor up.

“This way’s clear, come on!”

Aveline stands up, but finds that she cannot put any weight on her right leg, so she instead has to hop in his direction.

“Twist your ankle or something?”

“Nah, I can’t walk on it or something...”

Thurgood looks down and sees her ankle resting at a weird angle. “Fuck, ya broke it,” Thurgood says, thinking of a way to get her out of here.

Fortunately, the remaining mutants have backed off, content to wait for the mages to wear them down, at whom Thurgood tosses a grenade. Then he takes off his backpack.

“Take off your pack,” Thurgood tells Aveline, “I’ve got an idea.”

Once Aveline takes hers off, Thurgood loosens the straps on both all the way, then sets them on front of Aveline, steps down, and crouches behind her back.

Put your legs in the straps, then hand ‘em to me.” Once they’re in, Thurgood puts his arms through both sets of straps, cinches them down, and with the most loaded squat he’s ever done, manages to pick up both loads, and Aveline in full armor, with the packs forming almost a reverse makeshift Snugli. It is with that setup he carries Aveline up the hill of rubble, and then they both see it: a gathering of dozens, if not hundreds of mutants crawling around the rubble, stepping out of empty buildings, or walking down the streets in all directions, heading right for them.

Oh, fuck!” they shout in unison.

Thurgood opens the chamber to the underslung grenade launcher, and loads a fresh frag round as the empty shell of the previous drops out, and starts moving back in the direction they came from, pausing to point and shoot the grenade round, and starts moving again while loading another one.

"Hey Av, could you get in my pack and dig ou-"

"Forty-mil?" Aveline asks as she reaches back with another grenade round.

"Thank you!"

Thurgood keeps launching grenades at the mass of mutants in front of him, parting the horde and allowing him to enter a ruined building with little resistance while Aveline keeps shooting, keeping the mutants off his back, which right now means her. Thurgood moves as quickly as he can through the piles of decorative materials, drop-ceiling tiles, fallen concrete, and furniture until he reaches the other side of the building only to rach a giant trench.

Among the various pipes, remnants of pavement, and broken sidewalk is a giant tree root growing between the separated parts of a rather large pipe.

"What's the holdup?" Aveline asks.

"Water main broke here and formed a long sinkhole," Thurgood replies as he spots a thick, iron pipe; likely a gas or steam line that traverses the sinktrench.

"Well, just go around then!"

The sounds of approaching mutants' feet slapping on the bare concrete and shoving things aside gets louder.

"Through them?" Thurgood asks, "there's a pipe still laying across though, it's gonna be our best option. Spread out your arms and legs to help me balance, and stay still!"

With some trepidation, he puts one foot on the pipe, spreads his arms out, then puts the second in front of that. Slowly, but surely, he crosses the trench on the pipe, constantly shifting his weight and load, and after a few close calls, manages to make it to the other side, which presents a path between two large walls of rubble. Before he does that though, he takes out one of the M67 hand grenades, finds a small chink of rubble, places the grenade on the edge just in front of the pipe, places the piece of rubble over it in such a way that it holds down the spoon, then he carefully pulls the pin,  and scoots away, making a very rudimentary, not very well hidden, but damn near unavoidable booby trap for those crossing the way he did. Then he starts walking onto the ruined building ahead, not as big as the last one, but in obviously much better shape.

While carrying Aveline through the intact doors, they both suddenly smell something.

"Hey, somebody's cooking something," Aveline whispers.

"Yeah, I noticed. I'd like to get through here undetected if I can..." Thurgood says as he swaps his AK for his shotgun.

Then he tries to slowly make his way through this re-purposed ruin, sneaking in the more shadowed areas, and staying deathly still when someone suddenly opens a door. The mutant walks closer, as Thurgood has his shotgun at head level, ready to fire.

*Boomph*

The booby trap gets triggered. All the residents rush to see what the fuck just happened, while Thurgood, fueled by pure adrenaline, sprints out of the building, trying to take as big of an advantage as he can with that distraction.

Three hours later, exhausted, thirsty as fuck, but ahead of the murderous mutants, he manages to bring Aveline, and all their gear, out of that cursed, post-apocalyptic porn set, and to the nearest medical facility.

((Not as long and detailed as I wanted it to be, but I think there's a point where a post can get too long.))

 

Edited by notmuch_23

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Full Summary

Evelyn DeLamprey, of Handymen intrigue, indicated to its partners that it would be in their collective interest to secure a powerful divination artifact which it has managed to track to Biazo Isle; this will grant them the ability to peer even more deeply into cosmic mysteries. Having no need to convince anyone of anything, Evelyn took off by itself to Biazo and leveraged underworld contacts to contract reliable mercenaries to seek out the Right Eye of Mogonto in the chaotic ruins known as Bi'le'ah.

At a bar-tent in one of the shanty towns spread over the Isle, Evelyn meets with Starken and Lamistadt, and offers them each eight ounces of Terran rhodium for completing the job. They're given details about what they're after and where to look. The two of them leave the next morning, after a necessary round of drinks, food, and sleep.

The journey to the ruins proper is uneventful – until it isn't. Just outside of Bi'le'ah the two mercenaries are attacked by a golem made up of vines and stone. Here Lamistadt showcases his versatility and Starken his brutal strength, and make short, if challenging, work of the obstacle.

Once inside of the ruins, Bi'le'ah spares no time in showing these men how it has earned its ill repute. It introduces to Lamistadt and Starken an atmosphere which makes magic untenable; spells can be worked but are guaranteed to go awry. This is to both the detriment and benefit of the two men; detriment because of Lamistadt's reliance of spellcraft, and benefit because it makes it more difficult for the sudden swarm of mutants descending on the men, at least one of which is a competent mage. Their clash is vicious and short-lived, with the two sellswords coming out on top by the skin of their teeth.

During this time Starken and Lamistadt are separated, reunited, and separated again. Another attack comes just as Bi'le'ah turns its attention back to them all, heralding a time-stasis by way of covering the ground and buildings with frost. The mutants continue their assault and Lamistadt finds unlikely allies, Thurgood and Aveline, in a pair of heavily armored elves who have broached Bi'le'ah in search of their own treasure.

As the vested parties make their way out of the time-stasis field, a wayward mutant skating on bone-wheels passes by and nabs an axe from Lamistadt's belt, putting him down a weapon. Lamistadt heads further north, the twins having been unable to escape the stasis in time, and discovers an ancient temple – and inside of it a man in a robe hunched over two gemstones. Lamistadt identifies one as the target of his job and the two engage in a fight which ends with the robed man stabbed and bludgeoned to death. Lamistadt loots him, finding the amulet among a few other things, and makes his way out of the ruins.

Running mostly on fumes Lamistadt manages to survive an attack by a wolf pack and makes it out of the city limits. He faints. When he wakes up it's inside of a hovel with Evelyn encouraging Lamistadt to rest, and they would square payment away on his waking.

The time-stasis resolves itself, depositing the twins and the mutants back in real-time. The twins pick up where they left off. In a dazzling display of gun play and explosives and cleverly placed booby traps and a gristly moment where the sky is painted with the red of blood and the white of skull fragments, Thurgood and Aveline make their way out of the city with a mob of mutants on quickly losing their trail.  

Minor Summary

Evelyn hires two mercenaries to find the Right Eye of Mogonto on its behalf in Bi'le'ah. After navigating the chaos of the Bi'le'ah ruins, fighting against mutant swarms, squaring off against a dangerous mage, and surviving an attack by a pack of wolves, Lamistadt manages to secure the artifact and bring it back to the Handyman.

Rewards

  • Evelyn
    • Right Eye of Mogonto
  • Lamistadat
    • Oracle pendant which allows him to remote view [sight] anywhere in Terrenus
    • 16 oz of rhodium (includes Starken's share)
  • Thurgood and Aveline
    • Bracelet which generates combat barrier, which can negate physical or force attacks. 3 charges
Edited by supernal

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