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Mickey Flash

Green Wreckage

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Her bed felt strange.  The mattress was being set off balance at her feet in a rhythmic way that was off putting and relaxing at the same time.  She didn't know why her bed would be so hard, or where her covers were located at.  There was a chill in the air that made her feel the loss of her blanket.  She groaned and tried to roll over, but something hard was in the way.  Then she felt the wet splash upon her hand, and her eyes cracked open to see why her hand would be getting soaked in her bedroom at home.  It was then that she noticed that she wasn't in her bed.  The incomprehension and shock took a minute to get over, as she tried to rack her brain on how she came to be here.  She was laying on a piece of debris, more than likely from some sort of wreckage of her ship.  She remembered flashes of lightning, gales of strong winds, and the boat being rocked side to side as if it were a toy in a tub of water.  She'd been terrified, fearing that she would perish before ever having accomplishing anything in her life.  The strength of the storm, Mother Nature, showed the inconsequential beings on the boat that they had no control over whether they lived or died.  The All Powerful Mother Nature decided that.  Malia was the queen of Elendaron, but she'd been shown that she was as insignificant as the smallest insect.  She was lucky to be alive.  She couldn't believe she'd survived it.  The others that had traveled with her more than likely hadn't made it.  It was hard to believe that Lorial, one of Malia's private protectors, hadn't been able to weather out the storm.  She'd been sitting on the crow's nest, cackling with glee at the way that the ship had been thrown around.  Malia looked around, but saw no sign of Lorial, or anyone else.  

She noticed that she was wearing her green warrior's garb, which looked fierce (and to Malia, secretly feminine), but now looked soaked and like seaweed.  It would be hard to see her laying there with all the other seaweed and debris.  She pushed herself up, but the board she was on was still half in the water and she lost her balance.  She fell into the water with a splash, gasping at the wrong moment and inhaling a healthy amount of salty water.  She coughed heartily, trying to get all the water out of her lungs.  After she coughed enough she looked around, clearing her throat periodically when it felt like more water was trying to block her airway.  She saw nothing but sand, beach, debris, and seaweed.  An area of tree coverage wasn't too far away, and she wondered how far she'd have to travel through it to find another intelligent creature.  The sun was going down in the sky, which told her she'd been out longer than she'd first thought.  Soon it would be dark, and she had no protection or help.  She would have to do the best she could until she could find some help.  Fear spiked through her person, but she squared her shoulders and trudged forward in the wet sand.  The sand seemed to suck her bare feet into itself, as if to say that it didn't want her to leave.  She couldn't help but wonder if staying might not be the best choice.  The woods looked dark and scary, but she could see that there was nothing here for her.  She dragged her feet forward, ignoring the pull of the sand and the alarms going off in her brain.

Spoiler

earth_anime_fairy_by_musicbella-d3chiaw.

@Rhysing

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The sun was setting, turning Aldren's hair to fire and setting her dark eyes alight. The heat of the day had dissipated and an increasing coolness had settled over the island. Aldren found this place years ago on her journeys with Rolfe and had used it ever since to restock supplies (namely fresh water) on their trips between Genesaris and Terrenus when they didn't stop by Elendaron. As far as they knew, it was uninhabited.

The storm the previous night had been a vicious one, but Aldren and her crew had ridden it out with dangerous glee. They sang shanties to the wind and tide while the waves crashed down upon them, lighting crackling its dance, and thunder booming to the chorus, as if their ship were unsinkable and they were death's masters. Aldren was beginning to see why people thought them insane.

They were loading the last of their supplies into the long boats, nearly ready to row back out to the ship, when one of the crew came up to her. 

"Captain," the male began respectfully, "Some debris has washed up on the shore, looks like the remnants of a ship." 

Aldren raised an eyebrow at that, but simply responded "Show me," and he began to lead the way. She shoved her hands into her pockets as her gray trench coat fluttered behind her like a bird's tail, boots sinking into the sand, and tricorn hat casting a shadow over her face. Pushing past some undergrowth, they emerged onto another part of the shoreline were a few others had already gathered, among them Aldren's first mate, a young female with short dark hair. She was crouched by something.

"What is it?" Aldren asked, coming to stand next to her. 

"Footprints," the first mate answered, "not one of ours, too small, probably female." Aldren recalled that her first mate, Scylla, had been a tracker before turning pirate.

The footprints lead to the jungle and looked disoriented in their placement, but a nod from the other woman told Aldren that they were fresh. "Scavenge the wreckage for anything useful," she ordered the crew, then turned to Scylla, "do what you do best." Scylla nodded, and together the two left the shoreline and disappeared into the foliage, following a phantom.

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Malia felt like she'd been walking forever.  She knew she hadn't, but she could no longer read the time through the sun now that she was in the woods.  The dark woods had a strange twilight look to it when her eyes had adjusted.  She could see things more clearly, and didn't feel like she was fumbling around.  But after you pass one log, you pass them all.  She couldn't tell if she were walking in circles, or making her way to some sort of destination.  And the twilight effect was quickly waning.  It was now almost getting too dark to see her own hand in front of her face.  She needed to take a new tactic.  She could get lost in these woods and die without anyone knowing.  She needed to see which way to go, or to at least find some sort of shelter.  She couldn't see through the trees, but maybe she could see above them. 

The trees were very tall, but not much taller than the trees from the woods of her small village.  She used to climb them as a child, much to the dismay of her mother.  She took advantage of her tree climbing skills now, and found a tree with a low hanging branch.  It wasn't long before she was halfway up the tree.  Her arms were a little shaky, but when it felt like she was straining too much she'd rest on the branch before climbing to the next one.  At the halfway point she came to a problem.  There were no branches close enough for her to grab and pull up anymore.  She was stuck.  She could climb back down, or stay the night in this tree.  Neither idea sounded good to her, and she wracked her brain for a solution.  

A rustling in the wood drew her attention.  At first it seemed like the wind, but then more noises could be heard.  Louder.  Louder still.  She squinted, unable to see in the dying light.  As she leaned forward she almost fell from the branch when a large creature burst from the greenery.  It was a Raptor, and she'd never thought to see one in her life.  She wished she hadn't.  The razor sharp teeth had saliva running down them, as it sniffed in the air.  It let out a reptilian screech, as it quickly shot forward.  It had smelled something.  Maybe it had smelled her?  The creature must be hungry to be hunting like this.  Malia had heard many stories about them, usually bedtime stories to scare children to sleep, but she'd always heard they were quiet and still stalkers.  They only went into action when they knew prey could not escape.  Malia panicked, and looked around.  She was stuck in this tree with no escape.  She didn't think the creature saw her, but she couldn't be sure.  Besides, what other creatures were around to draw the predator's interest?  

Spoiler

The Raptors -

Type: Reptilian Beast – dinosaur.

Description: They aren't usually spotted running about, to see one is most rare – and to see a wild one and live is even rarer. Those who have never been to DashKanchay before wouldn't be the wiser. But at each gate into the City they are statues that guard the entrance. - And unless provoked, or sensing a threat they are just that..Statues. These Raptors stand five and a half feet tall, razor sharp teeth – stone colored scales. They are still as the night sky and unreal appearing. If you were to touch one of these raptors at the city's gates it would feel as cool and smooth as stone. Because let us not forget that Elendaron is home to dinosaurs.

 

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A scream pierced the stillness.

Scylla threw out her hand, signaling Aldren to halt. This didn't strike the Captain as a good sign.

"What was that?" She asked in a low voice, looking to the other. Her first mate's brow was furrowed in concentration, or maybe it was worry, perhaps both. Scylla turned her head slightly. Oh it was definitely both.

"I'm not sure," she drew her sword, Aldren did the same, "but this region is filled with the untamable, so gods only know. Do you want me to scout from the air?"

Aldren shook her head, "No. We'll proceed together."

They pushed further into the jungle, occasionally hacking leaves out of their path. It was growing darker by the minute as shadows stretched long in the fading light. This didn't seem to bother Scylla as she continued to track whatever it was they were tracking, and Aldren's eyes gradually adjusted. The crew would likely be wondering about them, but they wouldn't leave until the two returned to shore. 

The jungle came alive in the twilight. The sounds of life, of bugs and birds, and whatever else was waking up began to rise around them. A melody of existence.

Aldren collided with Scylla, forcing her from her thoughts. "What, what is it-" she immediately shut up when she saw what was staring at them through the greenery, what Scylla had frozen in the face of. Aldren gripped her sword tighter. 

Camouflaged by shadows and vegetation there stood a reptilian creature. It was like smooth stone before them, with piercing amber eyes that looked back into their own.

They were filled with hunger. 

"Run," Scylla whispered to her, "Run."

In a split second Aldren had grabbed Scylla's wrist, thrown her hat at the creature, and hauled ass into the woods.

She could hear as the beast begin it's pursuit.

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Lorial coughed up what seemed like gallons of water.  It very well could have been.  She'd been thrown overboard during the raging storm, and into the chopping, violent waves.  If she'd been one iota less vampire she would have drowned in the dark depths.  Instead she'd swallowed quite a bit of water, and waded her way to shore.  She knew she would find land, since they hadn't been too far from land when the storm it.  They just hadn't quite made it.

The sun was going down, and she had mixed feelings about that.  Being part vampire, she felt her vampire abilities strongest in the darkness.  The wood nymph half of her flourished in the sun though, and she felt a pang as she saw the sun disappearing into the horizon.  The wood nymph half had always been her favorite half, for she despised everything about the vampire nature.  

She sniffed the air and could smell the queen.  She'd been here, and she'd been alive, which was a relief.  Lorial didn't know if Skacharm would allow her to live if she didn't do her duty and protect the little elven female.  She had also made the mistake of liking the new queen, which she rarely allowed herself to do.  She was just so... naive.  She really didn't know the first thing about saving her own ass, or suspecting others' nefarious intentions.  And for some reason Lorial was fond of her for it.  Maybe it had something to do with the rarity of it.  And the fact that her innocence wouldn't last forever, so Lorial was witnessing a special part of Malia's life.  Whatever.  She just couldn't help liking the girl.

Lorial heard a strange screeching in the distance, and it immediately alarmed her.  She didn't know what she was running into, but she used her vampire speed to follow the sound.  She hoped she wasn't too late.  She stopped for a moment to sniff the air, and she could smell the queen stronger now.  The ground was trampled with claw-like footprints, a sure sign of some large predatory animal.  Lorial growled low, and her eyes lit up a bright pink.  She felt the need to kill something.  

________________________________________________________________________

Malia could see the two women off into the distance, right into the creature's line of sight.  Her eyes widened as she watched them run, and the creature took chase.  They might be able to outrun this one, but they wouldn't be able to outrun the others that were going to show up to ambush them.  Raptor's were rare, but they stuck together.  They always ran in packs.  

Lorial showed up out of the greenery, like a wet amazon warrior.  She was growling and staring intently in the direction of the raptor, probably thinking it had killed her charge.  

"Lorial!" she screamed, then realized a minute too late that Lorial would have been able to hear her if she'd whispered, "I'm over here.  Please get me down."  

Before she could take her next breath, Lorial had her out of the tree.  She knew what Lorial would do next, if Malia didn't say something quickly.  "I know you want us to leave, just in case the raptor comes back... but we can't.  There were two other women that were being chased by the creature.  If they hadn't have showed up, he would have had me for dinner.  We have to save them."  

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Aldren hadn't run this fast in a long time.

She could take on any man without much trouble, but beasts were another story. They didn't think like people, they didn't move like people, and they certainly didn't fight or attack like people, which meant Aldren's swordsmanship was only worth so much in this moment. 

Fortunately, that's why she had Scylla. 

Scylla, her tracker, her hunter, her shifter, who knew of beasts across the world, who had pursued them with such success because she herself could become them. But Scylla's shifting abilities were limited, and Aldren was certain she couldn't turn into whatever the thing was that was chasing after them. But she could turn into something equally dangerous. 

They approached a break in the foliage, and Aldren could already feel the change that had overcome her first mate, a sort of predatory nature that always set her entire crew on edge. 

Aldren grasped a low hanging tree branch, using momentum and strength to swing herself up and away from immediate danger as Scylla leaped into the small clearing, no longer human. The form she had taken was one of her favorites.

Before Aldren's eyes towered one of Morgana's feared sand lions, the city from which Scylla hailed.

She was massive, all lean muscle and raw power, lion-like body reaching to Aldren's elbow, and her head taller than that. Her slick fur was sand colored with faint striping, perfect for blending into the dunes. And she was absolutely terrifying. 

The reptilian creature came to a stop before her, and Scylla stared it down with those glowing amber eyes, growled at it with raised hackles, exposing canines twice the size and length of Aldren's fingers. The creature hissed right back, crouching low before launching at her. Scylla sprung to the side, out of the line of attack, before pivoting and lunging into its side. She tackled it, the force of her weight pinning it to the ground and razor sharp claws tearing through it's scaled hide.

The creature writhed beneath her, snapping with teeth and kicking out with its legs until a blow finally connected, sending Scylla tumbling away. She quickly found her feet again, looking to continue the onslaught.

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Lorial looked at Malia for just a moment.  A moment in Malia's time, but longer for Lorial who's ability to move fast made it necessary to think faster too.  She thought about how stubborn this little queen was.  She would never let Lorial just drag her away.  She would insist that they save the women, strangers, people Lorial didn't give a fuck about.  But Lorial did feel.... soft feelings toward Malia, which almost made her flinch.  She didn't want the little queen to be disappointed.  She slowly started to smile, as the thought of fighting off some kind of predatory creature began to seep into her bones.  She felt a rush of adrenaline, and her eyes turned a darker pink.  She felt the energy begin to build up in her body.  She worried that Malia would be vulnerable though.  Weak and alone.  Then she remembered that Malia could adopt others abilities.  Yeah, it was a fairly new ability, but this would be a great opportunity for her to practice her new powers.  Her eyes narrowed on Malia. 

"I'll help them," she said slyly, "but only if you help them too."

"Me?" Malia asked with a squeak.  She had seen the changes over Lorial's face in that moment, not understanding a single one of them.  Now she began to worry.  "How can I help them?"

"Touch me," Lorial said.  She had prevented the queen from touching her until now.  Not because she was afraid that the queen would adopt her powers, but because she didn't want to use her controlling ability on Malia.  She liked her too much to make her one of her puppets.  Not everyone became puppets, but quite a few of them did.  

"I.... I thought you didn't want me to," Malia asked in confusion.  She watched as Lorial pulled up the damp sleeve of her black blouse.  "Are.... you sure?"  She could see where Lorial was going with this, but they didn't know the consequences of her abilities yet.  And she'd never tried to do it on demand.  "What if I can't?"

"I'll help you," Lorial soothed her.  Malia reached over and grasped Lorial's arms.  Nothing happened.  She sighed.  Lorial snaked her hands around until they were touching Malia's skin.   A slack look came over Malia's face.  "I want you to loose whatever it is that is blocking you from taking my powers.  I want you to just take what you need.  No more.  No less."  Suddenly Lorial felt a pull from her arms, as if something was under her skin and was being pulled toward Malia.  It was an unsettling feeling.  She almost pulled away, as she felt her body feel a little weaker.  It was almost the same feeling she got when she was hungry.  She suddenly realized that Malia could suck all of her power out, and leave Lorial to die.  It was the first time she realized the little queen's true power, and respect suddenly filled her.  

Suddenly she was released.  She fell back a step, and Malia looked up at her.  "I... I..."  Malia couldn't think of what it was she wanted to say, but she could barely think.  She felt the power in her smaller bodied frame, and it was enormous.  

"Let's go," Lorial snapped.  This wasn't a bonding moment.  It was a taking care of business moment.  

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

The screeches that the creature was making wasn't just in protest to the damage being done by the lion.  It was calling out.  Calling out to its family.  Not too far away you can hear more screeching, reassurances from the pack that they were on the way to save their brethren.  Two more creatures burst from the brush onto the fighting scene.  One of them was the same size of the creature involved the fighting.  The other creature was bigger.  

Lorial and Malia appeared not too long after the other creatures arrived.  The vampire speed was not lost on Malia.  She touched Lorial again, getting a shot of her strength.  Lorial closed her eyes as a flash of weakness went through her.  Then she pointed at the larger creature.  "Hey!  Big brother!  Come get some."  She motioned him to come to her, and her eyes were almost totally red.  Her fangs had lowered, and she was ready for battle.  

Malia moved over toward the tree that one of the women was clinging to.  "Hello.  We're here to help."  She pulled herself up to the branch with no trouble.  She didn't realize, but her eyes were slightly pink now.  "I'll make sure you'll be safe."  She knew it might be confusing to the woman, after seeing her in the exact same situation just moments before.  "I got a jolt of power.  And Lorial is really powerful.  She'll kill the creatures in no time.  She told me she killed a dragon once, by herself."  She hung on the limb like a monkey, her balance unusual and animalistic.  "I'll just watch until it seems like she may need me."  She smiled reassuringly at the red haired female.  

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Aldren studied the elven girl before her with clever eyes, keeping her expression a careful neutral.

She was small, much smaller than herself, and had to be at least a couple years younger, but Aldren noted some strength in her physique. This was admittedly a strange encounter, and given how sincere she seemed in her enthusiastic behavior, Aldren could guess that the girl had no idea that the real danger was not the slobbering lizards, but rather the woman beside her.

Speaking of lizards, they were making an awful racket, screeching and snapping at Scylla and the other stranger, Lorial, who had joined the skirmish; but that was all the better for Aldren. They couldn't be too far from the shore, and by extension, her crew, who would no doubt hear the ruckus and come to investigate.

Casisth would drag their asses if he had too.

With just that information tucked away, Aldren felt she had the upper hand, though she would test the waters with caution. While the blonde appeared relatively harmless, this Lorial did not. The girl had claimed she once killed a dragon, though Aldren was willing to call bullshit on that. She'd been to DragonSoul Summit, seen the winged beasts herself, and even she could not imagine bringing down one of the towering creatures alone.

Regardless, Aldren could sense the magic within them, feel the strings of it tying them to one another, strong enough to put her on guard and have her own magic at the ready.

But for now, she watched as this Lorial tore through the lizards with an animalistic ferocity, right at home with Scylla's current state, her red eyes flashing and.... were those fangs?

Not human, not elven, but something other. Perhaps she was like Scylla, or perhaps she was something else entirely. A wild card placed upon the table, face hidden, carrying with it the potential to change the game entirely or to fall back into the deck. Gambles were only whatever one made of them after all. Risk and reward.

So how would Aldren play this round?

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Lorial was having a fun time, tangling with the savage creatures.  She rolled on the ground, holding the neck of the neck of the creature in her hand easily.  It was snapping at her, wanting to bite into her head and rip it off more than likely.  She grinned at him with a set of sharp fangs.  Her eyes were dark pink, and she had the urge to bite into him and rip his throat out.  She didn't though, knowing that to do that might release a monster inside of herself that she didn't have control over.  She threw it up against the tree instead, intending to break its back.  It didn't break though, and the creature just seemed to be bounding back as if it hadn't even felt it.  She'd either gotten him at a wrong angle, or she'd had more of her strength siphoned from the little queen than she'd realized.  She heard his strange screech, as it showed its anger.  She screeched back at it, and ran toward the big scaly reptile.  It's claws were out, ready to rip her to shreds, but she managed to use her vampire speed and dodge those as she slid around him and landed on his back.  She gripped her knees tightly into his ribs as she wrapped her arm around his throat.  She began to squeeze, and the creature went crazy.  It started to buck and flail.  Lorial actually laughed as she was flung around, almost losing her grip.  She repositioned herself right at the moment that the monster decided to land on its back, where she was riding.  She hit the ground awkwardly, but she was a vampire.  This meant broken bones weren't going to slow her down much.  It sure was enough to irritate her though.  

Lorial flung her arm, and quick as a blink vines started to wrap themselves around the limbs of the creature.  It was held down tight, unable to move.  "Awwww, poor baby!" she teased it as she popped her broken arm back into place.  

____________________________________________________________________________

Unknown to Lorial, because she was having too much fun with the large raptor, the smaller one was circling its way around the tree where Malia and the red haired stranger were located.  Credit could be given to the creature for having a plan, and a sneaky one at that.  It was allowing it's brothers to distract Lorial and the feline while it planned to kill the other two.  

Malia had some advantages on her side, now that she had Lorial's abilities.  She could hear the animal moving in the brush, even as quiet as it was trying to be.  She could hear it's heartbeat, and scent its distinct frangrance.  She crouched low on the branch, wondering if she was the only one who knew about the reptile sneaking up on them, or if the female beside her had a clue what was going on.  She felt the strength inside of her bunch up, as she waited for the thing to pounce.  Once it did she would have no mercy.  She could feel this urge inside her to destroy it until nothing was left, and then drink it's blood.  She wondered to herself how Lorial lived with this kind of power and hunger in her all the time, every day, without giving in to it and drinking everyone dry.  She had a new respect for the woman, now that she knew what Lorial was dealing with.  

@Rhysing

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