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LoD II: Hail to the Kings, Baby

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When the Lady Blackhead suddenly emerged and announced herself as an ally, Schrei didn't visibly react. The newcomer's entrance rang loud, her words intended to be heard by all, so the small vampire couldn't possibly have missed it; yet there was no instinctive turning of the head, no twitch or glance towards the unexpected noise. Just stillness, and quiet. Only when the Lady addressed her personally did Schrei turn and make eye contact. a dark and unblinking stare that lasted just a little too long.

Dredge and Shugarath seemed to hold her attention more strongly, but even there her reactions remained subdued. She blinked at the cleric as he praised her with a flowery speech, then tipped her head towards him in acknowledgement, neatly sliding her knife into a hidden pocket as she did so. The warlord's offer she accepted with a simple nod before briskly moving to collect her pay. Her silence, as was becoming clear, extended to more than just killing.

Making her way over to the sack of gold, she crouched down over it, like a crow pecking at carrion, the folds of her coat momentarily hiding it from view. When she rose, it was gone.

She snapped her fingers twice. Loud, meant to catch people's attention and draw it towards her. With her index and middle fingers extended and pressed together, she tapped one of her ear mufflers once, apparently indicating that she'd heard something, then pointed down the smallest tunnel, the one with the glowing mushrooms.

Once she was sure at least one of them had gotten her message, she walked up to one of the cavern walls and started climbing, pale fingers nimbly gripping tiny cracks and ledges, creeping up higher and higher. Seeking vantage points, perhaps, or preparing an ambush from above.

Edited by bfc

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Pimp female Mr. T. returned Dredge's with bow with a slower more provocative bow of her own, before scooting towards the priest "Oh, Shu..Shug...Shugar...Shuggy! Mind if I call you Shuggy, darling? So glad to be part of this motley crew and even more glad to be behind such a strapping man..er..undead man, with such a strapping...er...firm..er...behind, I guess." Lady Blackhead turned away, cheeks flushed in embarassment. Her well thought-out statement turned awry after realizing the priest, Shuggy, wasn't quite, well, living. 

"However, I've had priests and quite a number of undead as well. Don't ask how. But Shuggar darling, If you can keep your lips sealed for most of the time, we might find other, better uses for it later. It is quite unbecoming of a man to speak so much. Much more than women. I hope your a bit different than all my other priests. They do tend to talk longer than than they could last," she quipped with a smokey mouth before hiding behind the priest.

Peeking over his shoulder, pimp Lady T watched the blazing bonfire with disinterest while her nose wrinkled on the scent of cooking flesh and blood. At the rate the flames are going they all might be facing not just a few beasts, but more of a stampede. When the time comes she'll be ready to cheer and boost the boys' morale while she cowers behind their backs. 

The snapping sound caught Lady Blackhead's attention. Glancing at the source, she found the luscious Schrei heading towards the smallest tunnel. Soft whipers of power ecaped the Lady's lips as three of her rings glowed briefly. The spell a combination of control, amplification and hardening cause the smoke in her pipe to travel to Schrei's location, tagging close to her back. The long tentacle of smoke extend from the Lady's pipe to Schrei's back, would act as both the Lady's eyes and ears and a safety net for Schrei that will quickly pull her back to the Lady if something unexpected happens. Even if she can't own Schrei, she can at least keep her safe. If the Lady plays her cards right she might get to taste Schrei as well.

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@bfc @Zashiii @Dredge @Grubbistch

The poor, poor giant, armored man. He seemed to labor under the assumption that Shugarath himself cared about the ambitions of these other entities, that their teamwork was of some tantamount significance to the priest. As he turned to face Dredge, stating that the warrior-caste had a task ahead of them, he merely held back a derisive laugh. Of course they did. Instead, the unhallowed priest brought a hand to his lips, covering his already covered mouth, and speaking through it, his muffled, raspy tones responding to the warrior. "Of course, dear Dredge. I wouldn't mind allowing you lot to continue ahead and make quick work of what lies ahead, as you are wont to do." There was something behind that tone. Something challenging. Shugarath wanted Dredge to fail. To suffer and be mocked for his failures, for even the King of Fire's armor to be torn asunder, and though he would never vocalize it, watching such empowered beings be humbled by what they sought to hunt would only bring the priest closer to his own goals. Politeness and sincerity were a mask for each of them. And though it couldn't hide each of the deathbringers' secret motivations, it could disguise what they were.

But the flaming king would serve Dredge's ambitions, however patiently. To follow Dredge in his foolishness, to attempt to succeed, was a minor play, something minimal at best, willing to draw none of significance to them. The Unhallowed allowed his hands to rest at his sides, as the two giants tried to summon the beasts in each hallway with their offerings of human-steak. As if that would draw out what they truly wanted. He knew that the lot had paid relatively little attention to his discussions, or else they would be martially their might to focus only on the middle corridor. The ancient hobgoblins were a martial race, trained in endless wars against humans and the creatures of the dark. Perhaps they weren't doing it out of honor, but instead their culture, but the two giants had yet to martial their forces or lay claim to the center passageway, to try to gain ancient warriors, tempered in wars against the creatures of light and dark both. Miserable little wretches, trying to smoke out intelligent creatures through offerings of human steak, with organ, bile, and waste still within their bodies, as if charred meat were a tempting offering to anything.

Turning back to watch the woman coming closer to him, gaudy with jewelry, Shugarath took in a deep, long breath. Pet names. Oh joy. This wasn't going to become obnoxious at all. Those dark, hollow eyes turned back to face the woman, addressing Lady Blackhead with casual scorn and derision as she once more attempted to reduce him to a mere pet. First a barbarian, now a pet. What a lovely creature this was. Perhaps her rather... Obvious embarrassment could be used as a tool. "You will call me the Unhallowed One, Father of the Nine, or Shugarath." His tone was cold, distanced, and now that he was deriding his allies mentally, most of the obnoxiously self-serving priest's words were pushed into the back of his head. "And you should take care, Blackhead. I've made more wretched women than you scream for my gifts." Beneath his helm, his lips slowly unfurled into a smirk, his vicious triple entendre hiding a number of intentions from his allies.

His casual internal derision of the majority of his allies was shattered by the fellow undead, snapping her fingers, the noise resonating off of the walls, loud enough to draw his attention. Turning towards the girl, he then saw the smaller tunnels. So, that was what he thought he'd heard. His expression quickly changed from one of peaceful contemplation, to readiness for war, for combat. Though he himself carried little in the way of direct violence, or raw power, he had to temper himself. Power was necessary for his endgoals, and no matter what he had to do to obtain it. This was an opportunity to hone his skills. "I understand, child. Please, allow me to... Attempt to dissuade them." Stepping forwards, the undead did have a mission to carry out, one that would, doubtlessly, draw more power to him, along with greater opportunities.


@PurplePanda

As the elf, however, at the other end, broke through the exit to the "beast"s gullet, she found her feet finding the faces of ugly little abominations, crushing rotted, already-weakened teeth down with her heels, as she smashed through into the opening. A single, bubbly stream ran through the center, perhaps tricking her that she was only now in the beast's stomach, with its juices roiling and babbling like a brook inside of it. What a terrifying creature!

The goblins, however, had to make a choice. Charred, tasty meat at the end of the tunnel. Or ugly elf-meat, not even burned, here. To such depraved, broken creatures, it was a genuine question. Elfmeat was unhealthy and dry in the first place, and a number of the goblins merely decided to go around her, charging around the girl like a horde, moving as a storm of angry little things, dashing past one another in order to get into the opening, and steal and take whatever they could manage, the storm of bodies in the tunnel causing it to tremble, like an earthquake, as they made their way to a cruel and unknowing fate. A good number of the goblins, however, were hungry enough not to care, and charged the elf, clawing at her and chomping into her, long, taloned nails breaking off into her skin, like little bullets of infection, pushing past skin and armor, and leaving their green touches all over her body.

But the girl seemed to have a trick up her sleeve. One that a number of joyful, starving goblins received, in the form of a full belly. Not in the way they'd expected though. Considering that their stomachs were now impaled by thick, viscous black sludge, the creatures' faces quickly contorting into agony, as their own stomach acids boiled and burned their insides, digging into them and claiming their lives now that organ had been punctured like tissue paper. The others watched with terror as the elf unhinged its jaw, and began to vomit up that black liquid, as if she were retching it up and out of her tarnished elven soul, let alone her body!

The goblins weren't foolish creatures, dumb by any means. So instead of directly engaged the creature, they grabbed wet rocks, and fistfuls of water, throwing it onto her, and aiming for her eyes and her stomach, pelting her with the projectiles and trying to break down the liquid by mixing it, a technique learned to prevent fetid wastes from clogging up the stream that they drank from. A few rocks likely found purchase in the side of the elf's head, as the goblins who threw it began chanting. Goblinoid for "Black Tar Elf". Chanting it as if expecting the chant to make it back away, when mixed with sharp, jagged rocks aimed at her body and smooth stones aimed at her face. They'd stay away, if they wanted to eat the elf. And it wasn't even worth eating the elf now, these ones just wanted her dead.

Luckily her projectile vomiting did hit other creatures, the goblins attempting to escape from the tunnel to find the meat at the far end, the charred flesh to feast upon, to eat and grab and rip and tear to pieces. Some of them made little trip barriers, and were crushed underfoot, heel and talon digging into their flesh, and rending their backs apart, spines exposed and heads crushed into jagged stones and footholds knocking teeth loose, until splatters of blood escaped from the crying, unconscious creatures, as they were reduced to becoming new footholds, the agony of the acidic spray helping lull them to a deathly sleep, with their injuries.


@bfc @Zashiii @Dredge @Grubbistch

Meanwhile, in the cavern, the "heroes" of the tale could feel it. That this wasn't just a single beast approaching, coming to find the bodies and bring it back to their tribe. They had summoned the horde. The still water in the back of the pool flooded out from the thundering impacts through the walls and the cavern, the bats quickly dispersing into the openings above, rather than face these ugly beasts.

But by the time the first one arrived and poked its head out, Shugarath had long been ready, the priest uttering an infernal word, and sending a spear of flaming pillar through it, and a number of its allies by proxy. The small tunnel, for an instant, filled with char and death, and the priest couldn't help but feel the base smugness of successful murder.

But he was quickly made silent, as the bodies were torn apart by their starving brothers and sisters, the horde of goblins tearing past their former friends and families, grabbing hold of their limbs, and using them as weapons. Savages to the end, the beasts swung around torn-up limbs. Legs were clubs, strengthened by a +1 charm of rigor mortis. Skulls were projectiles, and teeth and talons both accompanied them, as the goblinoids tossed their new weapons at the undead, a skull cracking against his armor and stunning him for less than a half-second. But even that was enough. These creatures were lined up for the slaughter, tactics a distant twentienth in their mind, as they spread out. Some jumped on the footholds and handholds of the cavern walls, trying to grab the new meat and knock it down onto the spikes and spines, so that their meat would be fresher. Some of them charged the warriors in front of them, attempting to lay waste to any who would get in the way of their meal. Some even grabbed excrement and organ from dead goblins before them, and tossed them, to help these brave souls. But most of them didn't care.

No, most of them were going straight for the meat, ready to rip it into a trillion tiny pieces, and feast upon them, before making their next call on what to do.

Hell hath no danger like a starving animal, and these goblins were very, very hungry.

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The rocks that found purchase in the side of her head knocked her head around and scraped bit of flesh off, which was annoying to be sure, but the sensations were the best feeling it could hope for. It was awake, alive, and in control. Having lots of rancid goblin shit was much more troubling, and just so very gross. With her tendrils, she launched to the top of the small ceiling, holding up there as if on stilts as she took out the shovel from behind her back and dropped right down on the attacking goblins with a side swipe with the broad head shovel, managing to knock a good four of them down while landing on one. through the horde avoiding her, one tendril managed to pierce five through the belly and go to the works with their soon to be deadened bodies. A smile broke on the elven form's still unhinged jaw as it was time to go spear fishing. Through the heart or through the neck, goblins were left with sudden wounds as they thought only of meat. Where did this thick hole in my chest come from? Why was my putrid goblin blood just flowing from out of this gaping hole in my neck. Tendrils whipped up and down like a needle from a sewing machine on low power. Every one was focused on a specific task. The one from the left shoulder focused mainly on stabbing just through the pelvis, leaving a goblin of five in their thick swarms suddenly falling to the ground, paralyzed as their agony was amplified while still being trampled.  The right shoulder tendril found more purchase in stabbing right through the bellies, leading to pierced intestines which was bad enough, but more and more goblins came to finish the job too quickly. The left bottom tendril was busy shishkabobbing goblins and eating them down by the fives at a time. The right bottom was satisfied with whipping down and smashing in the heads, working off a speed and rhythm.   Those goblins that managed to dodge only got inaccurate penetrations in other vital organs like their lungs, livers, or much less savory places.  Any one who came too close with a deliberate attack  had to deal with Shovel mc swings and not only a face full of ichor, but a surprising fifth tendril that shot out from her mouth like a horrifying mosquito. 

When you're a penguin in need of food, some times you have to deal with the sea lions.

The thing that was, possibly just Mayumi loved every minute of it, gaining rhythm and momentum, but never blocking the direct exit point. If the beast needed to vomit so many rotting people, then who was it to judge? It made much more fun of a game, how badly do you want to leave? Can you make it past the traps? It let out a shrill shreik that sputtered with ichor that might have sounded like laughter if you were only so insane.

 

Edited by PurplePanda

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If there was one thing Dredge cared little about. It was the plots and schemes of those around him. From what he remembered, he had been grown up and was trained in a culture where lies, treachery, and murder were the core elements of life. There must only be two. So the way he saw his comrades or hidden agendas was what made Dredge truly dangerous. If he failed at stopping them and he was killed, then he deserved it. He was not strong enough and therefore the rightful ones to rule took their claim to it, and he respected that. Yet he hoped that they only saw Dredge as a big man with a sword, a fool and freak. It was best to have your potential future enemies think little of you. 

 
But all of that took an even further backseat when the goblins arrived in a horde. Hundreds and perhaps thousands were claiming for the burning meat of his former employees. A deep smile formed on Dredge's lips, genuine joy of what he saw. What set Dredge further apart from his allies was one crucial thing, his imagination and creativity. For them, these goblins were simply a means to an end. Cheap, easy to kill, canon fodder that would serve as a stepping stone. But that's not what Dredge saw at all, for him he saw a people who were suffering. A people with low intellect that could easily be manipulated and then raised to help drive home a message to the rest of the world. The demi-humans can be saved, we will be hunted no more. 
 
Though that was enough of the plans. It was time to fight. The group of men had never seen him fight, and boy were they in for a show. Dredge's armor had various devices and equipment integrated into it. Devices that needed to be charged with some of the more energy reliant devices beginning to fail. Though there was one that still worked extremely well, and very loud. So before Dredge even drew his sword to face the oncoming horde, he doodled on a device where his armor flipped open like a hatch to reveal. After a few moment, a faint sound could be heard coming from it. It would then grow and grow until it was finally revealed at a loud and clear volume even in the midst of the cries of goblins being slain or letting out war cries.
 
 
It was music. Music from a completely different world and it could met your damn face off. And with that music, Dredge let out a torrent of gleeful laughter as his sword magically flew to his hands and he charged forward. To gaze upon Dredge in battle was to see a man who cared only about one thing. Claiming the head of his enemy. It was like watching someone do something as natural as breathing. The sword he gripped clashed into the horde sending scores of goblins flying in the air. Waves of the little green bastards slammed against cave walls and were stomped beneath his massive boots. Hell, he even picked up a few and crushed them with his own hands. 
 
But as the horde surrounded Dredge they began to tackle him with the full weight of their bodies. Slamming into and grabbing on like tics trying to sink their bone blades in his armor and find its weak spots. They did this to the point where Dredge had vanished out of sight. A few moments passed and the Fire King would get a wonderful surprise. Goblins began to scream as smoke rose from the pile. And in a massive upwards blast of scorching white hot flames, the goblins that surrounded Dredge were turned to ash. Dredge commanded fire like it belonged to him, and once the flames around his body began to settle he looked across the battlefield to see the Flame Giant and give him a mocking head tilt as if to say "Sup with it." The gauntlet had been thrown down. There was no reason they couldn't have a little fun before getting the job done. 
 
Edited by Dredge

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The battle had commenced, and yet there was something wrong with Feurerkönig. His movements seemed sluggish and clumsy, as if he had difficulty controlling his own body. In the chaos of battle, one could not hear the argument the fire king seemed to be having with himself.

Suddenly he fell to his knees, crushing a few goblins in the impact, but what was more surprising was what he said and how he said it. "Shugurath!"

This was not the joined voice of the two beings fused together, this was a single voice, young and filled with passion. Inside the twisted psyche of this tyrannical juggernaut, both sides were conflicted with how best to deal with the sea of goblins attacking them. If not for the incredible durability of his armor and the flames that cloaked him, the goblins would have made a quick meal of him. Feurerkönig's only hope of surviving would be for a decision to be made, and quickly.

HOW DARE YOU ATTEMPT TO GAIN HELP FROM THAT INSUFFERABLE BAG OF BONES!

We need his help, Feurer Krieger. Without him we cannot hope to convert all of these goblins on brute force alone. You have to think deeper than simply mindlessly killing things.

HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO PURGE THIS PATHETIC PLANET IF YOU AREN'T WILLING TO KILL THESE WORTHLESS FLESH BAGS?!

There is more to this mission than just killing everything! We cannot fight this battle by ourselves, we need more than just your brawn and my knowledge. You need to actually THINK about things, Krieger, not just smash through them. Armies don't come from nothing, and I know how to win us one without having to lift a finger.

Hmm, very clever. Fine then. We'll do it your way, but don't fail like Dredge has failed with this ridiculous barbecue plan.

A for effort at least, but thank you as always for the vote of confidence, old friend.

"Shugurath!" The voice called out again, this time returning to it's normal combined tone. "I need one of your gifts for this spell!" Grunting with effort, he threw up his hands in the air palm raised upwards, the magic coursing through his body as it reached upward into the ceiling above. Runes of magic began to make their way through the stone, but he would need time to complete it. With the goblins doing their best to rip his attention away from the ritual he was trying to perform, it would be a hefty task indeed.

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Like a squirrel Schrei scurried, scrambling from handhold to handhold with such relentless speed that anyone watching might have feared for her life, had they not seen her survive a sword through the chest barely a minute before. The goblins who followed were no slouches themselves, but even they would have trouble keeping up. She had a head start, and while the hungry beasts were honed by instinct and evolution for this task, the vampire's movements were almost scientific in their precision, as if she knew in advance where to place her hands and feet for the best possible grip. The situation might have seemed precarious at a glance, but she was in no immediate danger.

At least, until Dredge started blasting his music. Schrei suddenly paused as the noise started to ramp up, and one hand went to the mufflers over her ears. Hard, synthetic things, similar to headphones in general design, with small knobs hidden around the edges. She tweaked one, frowning down at her employer, then resumed her ascent. Still quick and confident, but not so unnervingly fast as before, and some of the goblins were catching up on her now. One reached up to grab her boot, and she swung her leg out of the way, then swung it back and smashed the creature's hand into the cavern wall. It wailed with pain, and one of its fellows shoved it aside, eager to take its place.

The vampire, however, was having none of it.

She dropped without warning, her foot crashing down onto the nearest goblin's skull and knocking the creature loose from the wall, sending it tumbling down to a hard landing. Schrei did not follow- at the moment of impact, she'd grabbed another handhold and held on, now swinging sideways to boot another goblin in the face and knock it into two more before hauling herself up with one arm and carrying on the way she'd been going.

At last, she reached a ledge just large enough to crouch on. Here she made her stand, knocking away any goblins who came close with vicious kicks while one hand dipped inside her coat, retrieving something from within.

She watched the carnage unfold down below, quietly waiting. The clients had only given one command: if they bring out any leadership, take their heads and be sure the underlings see it. Hence, she'd positioned herself with a good view of the battlefield and a clear route (albeit a dangerous one, relying partly on gravity) to any potential targets. There were other plays she could make, plays that might quickly resolve the entire situation- but this was their plan, not hers, and interfering beyond her intended role could throw the whole group off balance. Danger or no danger, the job came first.

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When the sudden horde of goblins trampled into view, the Lady Blackhead felt disgusted. Not by the creature's petty scrambling for half cooked half burned flesh, nor with their violent, death inducing squabble and bickering but with how filthy and outright nasty they looked. Granted the this was not the first she had seen one, as someone who seeks for pleasure even in the most uncommon places, it was not surprising that the fair Lady herself had partaken in prime goblin flesh both  and in bed. But the ones before her are definitely not in accordance with her already disturbing her taste, as her tastes covers from all folks of life, living and nonliving, to all known races, modern and ethnic to all things listed in the international bestiary. Which really says a lot about the Lady.

While she was distressed at the revolting sight in front of her, another unexpected event unfolded. The immediate entry of one of the most grating sound to ever defile her elegant eardrums brought the lady to her knees, both hands cupping her ears in an attempt to block the cacophony of noises coming from the being called Dredge. It seems that despite the ladies love for music, sometimes there are beings who listen to jarring melodies like Dredge's if any sane person can actually call it a melody. It sounded more like an earsplitting orchestra of all the unpleasant sounds in the world. Forcing herself upright, she prepared herself for whatever comes-

The sudden surge of magical energy from Feurerkönig brought a smile to the Lady's black painted lips. It should be more like this. No disgusting mobs, no suicide inducing symphonies. Just power against power. Yes, let the big boys expend their power fighting while she wait in the sidelines biding her time and waiting for the perfect chance to drive a wedge between this shaky alliance. After all if these beings were to run rampant doing whatever they want to the land, there would be no place left for her to take pleasures from. Based on the coalescing power, she can deduce that the resulting power would be a big one but would require more time prepare even if the priest gave Feurerkönig his blessing. Seeing the seething mob of creatures heading for the caster, the Lady took it upon herself to keep the rampaging little runts occupied.

"Boys, boys. Such a shame. Truly. To think that you would let a woman, no, a lady such as myself to face down these appalling pack of vile creatures while you cower behind me twiddling your little boy thumbs." Rich sultry laughter bubbled from her lips as she raised her free arm forward facing the approaching goblins. A couple of her trinkets simultaneously glowed as motes of power gathered into her outstretched palm. "Shugar daddy, little Dredgey, allow me to show you the difference in our skill," the Lady boasted as the converging light on her palm reached its climax, spilling forth into the space between her and the creatures then she softly moaned the final words for spell activation, "Hard on."

The light spread before the Lady Blackhead only to disappear and be replaced by a thin flimsy glass-like sheet of air. The newly formed barrier, powered by her spell of hardening, acted like a wall protecting both the Lady and the little boys behind her. Countless goblins threw themselves into the makeshift elastic wall then were bounce backwards to where they came form towards their brethren, the act similar to children throwing themselves on fluffy mattresses only to bounce back up again. The spell itself is simple enough for the Lady, making the air hard enough to become solid but soft enough to be elastic. Despite all her boasts,the Lady herself is still human, and sustaining this large of a wall for a long time will be taxing especially for a delicate and dainty little lass such as herself.

"Boys, hurry! My boing-boing barrier won't last long against this many goblins. If you are planning to do something, do it fast now."

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@PurplePanda

Those who stayed behind to watch the strange creature, and kill the elf, and maybe eat it, but probably not, quickly leapt behind whatever cover they could find, scrambling behind rocks and natural bridges and stalagmites whenever able, easily finding complete and utter safety behind it, or so they'd hoped. A few of them weren't quick enough, or hadn't gotten with the program fast enough, so those were now shovel-decorations, adorning the elf's new weapon with their gray matter and blood splatters with a singular impact, the rough smash of metal on them quickly reducing their skulls to fragmented bits and pieces. Though, it'd apparently misjudged it's strength, having casually smashed  goblin's head with enough force to shatter a solid bowling ball, let alone a humanoid skull. The first poor thing in the path quickly found its head nearly bisected, the slow motions of the skull cracking and bending and shattering into pieces small enough to roll down spine, and rip the head asunder resulting in that goblin's impact on the bodies of the others being relatively little. Mostly because its head was now caved in so neatly and perfectly that it no longer recognized a head, soft gray matter knocking up against the body of the other.

Unfortunately, had the beast wanted the time to surprise or shock the creatures, Mayumi would have none of it, the immediacy of the ooze's psychoactive effects leaving no room to ask "what just happened", and replacing instead with a wordless scream, face's etched and carved into horrified expressions, each impact through their body quickly reducing them into mindless, shallow husks, incapable of humanoid speech any longer, shattering and breaking them into pieces under the impacts.

But, fortunately, someone stepped forwards. An apparent hero among the goblins, stepping forth and starting to speak. Before it experienced the unfortunate side-effects of trying to face the elf, stabbed through the neck, and quickly pain-driven into unconsciousness. But, luckily, that only meant that his hand clutched down on the glass bottle in hand, a vial of alchemist's flame, quickly igniting his body, smoldering heat and flames covering his oil-slickened skin quickly enough to burn along the tendril, tickling it with blazes hot enough to sludgify the goblin's eyes out of its skull. Well. Heroes have to make sacrifices, don't they.


@Dredge @Grubbistch @bfc @Zashiii

Shugarath couldn't help but feel a minor, quick tick of frustration, now that he'd speared through three of the damned things, a smoldering hole through the first several goblins to enter in in various places a side-effect of his handiwork. It took but an utterance to slaughter these creatures, to reduce one's stomach, one's chest, and one's head into ashen-lined holes. And yet, for the three he'd killed in the time it took him to utter a noise, eighteen more had replaced them, tearing up the bodies and lunging at the undead and his companions with near frightening intensity, with the primal singlemindedness of a wounded animal, rather than the kin of goblinoid he'd expected to come across. Was it truly even worth it? To lay these things under his thumb? They could hardly register affection and humanity, as they tore their own asunder to get through. There was a lack of elegance, of grace to it, one that made him think of each and every one of the goblins as Dredge, for but an instant. A side-ways spear of flame combined with his arcane word, producing three smoldering holes through three goblins, smashing into each of them far more lethally and accurately than he had when he'd had the upper hand.

It had taken precisely half a second, however, for the undead to turn his head towards Dredge, his brow knitted in immense anger, bordering on loathing. "Cease this minor annoyance, Dredge, and I may bother to dig your body out from the corpses." Shugarath spoke in that same, raspy tone, unfortunately nigh inaudible under the rancid screams of the goblins facing the giant's wrath. "No, at this point, I imagine you know I wouldn't bother." A groan knocked against the inside of the undead's skull, as he prayed in his mind that he wouldn't have to bother convincing someone else to save Dredge's ability to breathe after his kills crushed him under their weight, the little maggots were spiteful things.

The smoldering wave of flame that engulfed the goblins, however, charred them, and heated Dredge's armor. The metal within soaked up the heat, as if becoming infused with it, after charring so many into ash. But worse was the ash, the thick cloud of hundreds of pounds of flesh being incinerated nigh instantaneously causing a thick, pestilent cloud of decayed, frayed, sickened goblin to waft into the air, the black smog of sickening, cindered beastman. Fortunately, very few of the creatures actually had need of breath, save the goblins. On the flip side, the battles that they raged became split, the ability to see within the cavern weakened immensely by the blackened ash cloud... Unfortunately turning the beckoning head tilt of the dark lord into something that most wouldn't be able to see, or register

Shugarath, now blinded by the Sith's passionate start to the battle, was being smashed and hit into, goblins crushed under waves of flame, releasing fewer charred bits into the air, but still helping in the desecration of vision betwixt the organization, none of them working as a unit, yet. Only to hear one of the Fire King's twin voices call out to him, beckoning him for some manner of gift. As the undead priest was about to ask what in the nine hells he wanted, a goblin head knocked into his skull, and he had to turn, the time intended to be spent speaking replaced with the sharp bottom of his staff puncturing through the beast's head. "You miserable wretch! I have too many gifts for 'one of them' to be applicable here!" Shugarath growled in frustration back, now amplifying his voice with spell, under his tones were a thundercrack across the cavern. Of course, the priest had an idea of which power he desired. And with but a flick of his gaze, a blink, towards the Fire King, the spiders returned, their movements quick and erratic. The flaming man had accepted the contract before, and his force of personality and strength both were reinfused with the lifeblood of Demogorgon, with the Demon Prince's energies seething throughout his being.

Unfortunately, beginning and maintaining a magical ritual would be no small feat. Though the goblins had no weapons through which they could harm the giant, their bodies and their weights pooled up together, as they smashed into him, the scent of burning, sizzling meat only beckoning more of the beasts to lunge ahead at him, each impact, while not harmful, breaking down his footholds, as burnt-open wounds spilled festering blood onto his boots, the heat evaporation only turning the cavern more pungent and distracting the further they continued this battle. Miserable little wretched things, all of them starved, and vile in their hungers.

Meanwhile, atop the many handholds and footholds of the caverns, another battle waged on. A very different kind of battle, one where the slightest slip up could endanger any. The goblins may not have been martially trained or experienced, but they held skill and instinct on their side, each pull of their lithe, slim figures pulling them forwards so that they shot like cannonballs. Even without keeping up, there was always the pressure. Even a slightest slowdown, the slimmest missed handhold, could result in the vampire's last will under the pressure of goblinous weight. Each leap of the goblins pushed them forwards, and some even lunged off of their companions' heads, to send them careening to the ground, smashed underfoot and leaving a splatter of gray matter on the floor as others began to slowly use the sacrifices(willing or not) of their friends in order to push ahead.

With the thick black ash within, the vampiress might not have noticed everything with her sight, but her auditory abilities would suffice with ease to make the observations. These weren't a led people, a people who followed command. These were beasts. Hungering things, starved for power and, more importantly, food. If they had trudged forwards, in a stampede, like this, then there was little doubt that there was no true leadership here. Merely a wave of goblins.

No, wait, there was something.

Something from the deeper confines of the left hallway, like a pinprick on skin, barely registering with any senses amidst the chaos, but a sensor like the vampiress had the best chance of noticing this almost non-instant. These pinpricks continued with slow, cautious movements, each one hardly registering. Coming from the sides of the wall and above, away from the stream that bubbled beneath it. Creatures were coming. Creatures far more cautious and dangerous than single goblins. Six... Five of them? It wasn't particularly easy to sense amidst the chaos, but there were at least five. And each of them was nearly as tall as Dredge himself, despite these near silent motions.

However, on top of that, the undeathly ugly beasts continued their work, happily charging into the fray, trying to find more meat. Only to be stopped, by a strange, thin film, something quickly smacking them backwards and causing a slight stretch from the elasticity between it. They were, undoubtedly, all deeply frustrated at the strange action, each one of them clawing and digging at the air as they attempted to peel past it with claw and nail, scraping down it to wear it down, until nail became bloodied stump, each goblin working regardless of the others, some of the clawing people crushing their fellow goblinoid against the elastic wall, nudging into it until their bodies went flat.

Shugarath, however, had long since had enough of this. His gaze turned towards one of the goblins, and he muttered a single name under his breath. "Juiblex."

One of the goblins, pressed up and squirming against the wall of air, stopped, his body convulsing madly as his arms and legs began to melt, viscous sludge gathering at his fingertips, and spreading, burning off his limbs rapidly, and eliciting screams that punctuated even the fury of combat, drowning out Dredge's music for the five seconds it took before the goblin's throat was too torn and decimated to accomplish much of anything. The pools of sludge that were his arms slowly fell to his sides, dripping onto his kin, and causing him to suddenly perk up. He was feeding. If he touched people, he could feed, he didn't even have to fight the monsters, there was so much food right here!! His lower half quickly turned into a tail of the same sludge, like a genie's bottom half, immediately shooting down the tunnel, as the goblin, gifted with the ability to feed, gorged himself on the air wall and his kin, the greenish, mucuslike slime dissolving the materials it touched with an unnatural ease and simplicity. That was the hole plugged up for a bit, until the goblin was full.

"Is there anything else you miserable wretches need from me now?"

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As the flame poured onto the tendril, a wretched, skull shattering screech echoed out through the cavern. It was more surprise than pain that these goblins had any fight to them at all. Black blood didn't really /burn/ that quickly, even with some thing as potent as alchemist's flame. By the time it reacted, it simply sloughed  off half of it's tendril much like a lizard losing it's tail. The discerned black tendril flailed and  thumped around  before dissolving into sticky, tarish ash. As for the rest of the body, it reacted quickly more to fear than threat of the flame and would take a quick leap away from the flames, more towards the river. 

It landed with a buck-kick downwards, crushing a goblin down and breaking through ribs and vertebrae under the black thing's gaining weight. The remaining tendrils whipped out in a quick mass of frenzy to clear room for the next wave of killing. the tendrils were getting thicker and acted right now as quick clubs and when caught under the chin, ripped right out of the gobblin's rotting skin, through tendons, and nearly ripping out their spines, leaving them a sputtering fountain as they  found rest on the blood stained, visceral cave ground. Some of them might have found escape from simply being knocked into the water instead of properly being dealt with in this time. 

With overflowing ichor from the goblin's putrid and rotting beings, it descended it's 'stomach' and forced most all of it up and through the throat in a sudden and even more forceful spray than last time, just to make sure  the perimeter was safer. It didn't seem very scared, it seemed to be doing what ever it pleased, especially when it grabbed a goblin with it's tendril and went to shove it feet-first into an further extending jaw, before discarding the howling and dissolving uneaten half into the water. 

From there it went back to business as usual. Being a filter in the endless hoard of goblins, and slowly gaining more and more power from low quality flesh. 

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Fire, smoke, ash, all the ingredients of a true war zone filling the entirety of this cave. Though one side of Feurerkönig was ecstatic about these conditions, the other understood it was only a matter of time before they were overwhelmed. Chaos was screaming through every nook and cranny, destruction being a rampant effect of the maligned character's actions. Something had to be done to reestablish order, or else things will only become worse in the growing seconds. Feurerkönig struggled in his attempt to keep the spell going, his rage growing by the moment. This was to be their moment of proving their superiority over the mindless rabble that lived within these caves, yet they were making no progress in bending them to their will.

Still the ancient runes burned their way across the roof of the cavern, piercing through the ashen smoke with it's angry red light. Using magic for creation instead of destruction was not a new experience for the fiery monarch, as it came with the training he received in the various schools of Terrenus and Genesaris. Magic was the means of bringing about one's will into reality, focusing on a singular idea in which to pull from the ether and into the material world. Such was the grander power of a wizard, even greater than the means of which one could bring doom upon others. Because of this, Feurerkönig found the attempts at breaking his concentration vexing, the warrior within him wishing to exterminate everything in his wake. While it would be satisfying, oh so satisfying, such actions would not complete the mission, not by the means of which they wished to do so.

Power, glorious power, running through his core while the phantasmal spiders crawled underneath his blackened armor. Such was the power of the Nine, an awesome gift which he found himself craving at times, and so his resolve was steeled against the assault of the mindless green skinned fools coming to stop his efforts. Maybe there was something to what the undead fool was spouting, some amount of truth within his words and preachings. Becoming addicted to such malignant power was dangerous, but in his quest for ever lasting peace within Valucre, it would be well worth the risk. With this power, he could cleanse the world of suffering, ending the misery of all living things, by snuffing out their lives forever and ever.

Unfortunately even with his enhanced strength, the tide of goblinoids was starting to wash over him with ever increasing concern. Chattering idiots who wished for nothing more than to satisfy their own primal urges, driven by rage, hunger, fear and simple minded madness. These were not the creatures that made up an army, they were dregs sent to die in the hopes of softening up the enemy before the true forces arrived. Even in their state of unrest and dangerous confusion, Feurerkönig knew they could be shaped into something greater than what they are now. Some metals defied the hands of a Smith, refusing to be shaped into the desired form, but these proved to be the better choice when compared to other materials. Such would be the case for these simple creatures, when they were forged into potent weapons of war against the realms of man.

"From the depths of the pit, I summon forth the feast of the damned!"

It happened slowly at first, the drifting precipitation of a strange, doughy substance that caught in the mouths of the simpering goblins. They chewed upon it, tasting the mana and delighting in it's taste, desiring more of the nourishment, which kept their minds off of slaughtering Feurerkönig and the others. More and more of them began to notice the gift which seemed to endlessly rain upon them in a gentle shower of the fire king's mercy. Death was in the fates of all these wretches, but not just yet, not in this place of darkness and fire. First they would feast, then they would swear fealty towards him and his compatriots, to fight and die for them when they pleased.

"You will never go hungry, so long as you call us master, and swear your loyalty to us until the end of time. Do this, renounce your former leaders, and join our crusade, for the chance at uprooting the surface world, and to devour the flesh of man."

His voice boomed outwards via magic, slicing through the madness while the little cretins began to feast on his gift to them. Their mood seemed to improve as they ate, their demeanor calmer and more amenable than before when they began their flood of carnage. Perhaps they could truly be reasoned with, brought to heel, shaped by their will, and reborn into the warriors he knew they could be. This was the future, and he would make sure that it was paved in blood, bones and death.

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@Grubbistch @BiggieSmalls @Zashiii @PurplePanda @bfc

 

While Dredge loved the theatrics and flair of music accompanying the slaying of goblins, Dredge also knew when fun had to end and one had to get serious. He had to start supporting his teammates in battle, or this wouldn't be a goal that could be accomplished. While many of his teammates had their own personal agendas and more than likely they wanted to see the other fall. Dredge didn't share in those ideals. He knew he had served along side cultures and ideologies that valued one's own ambitions and pride, but also knew the value of teamwork and using combined might to achieve conquest beyond one's own limits. So it was for that reason that Dredge shifted from leading in as a tank doing damage, to doing damage control and support. 

 
Cutting off his music, Dredge noticed that he was surrounded by all these negative emotions and blackened haze of smoke and ash. The perfect combination to steal power from. While he had yet to be able to muster up power from thin air like his comrades could, but in places where hatred, desperation, anger, and pain were weighing heavy and in concentrate. He could grab that power and take it to fuel his own attacks. It wasn't an ideal system, but it was all he could do. 
 
So pushing his way back towards the Fire King, Dredge began to bat goblins away from him that attempted to strike at him. The Fire Giant was up to something while he wasn't sure what it was, he knew it had to do with getting these little bastards on their side. He needed to make this quick and as efficient as possible, and in the ensuing chaos, he hoped no one would see this as he was covered in the cloud of smoke and ash.
 
Levitating his own body a few inches off the ground, a massive almost Kaiju sized claw made of pure Stygian abyss black energy pushed its way out of Dredge's armor and form. It's massive size dwarfed all around it, it's body reached up and touched the very roof of the cave and as if it were a specter, it's massive size was hopefully concealed by the smoke. All the negative energy produced by his teammates, the goblins, the souls of the dead and their final moments of agony and pain, even the smoke and ash funneled into it. It circled down into a vortex and the hand used that to conceal itself from others. Though the silent one, the elf from atop the rafters would have a more than good look at what lurked behind Dredge's armor. Sucking it all in, Dredge quickly brought the hand back in cleared the path for Fuerer. 
 
Then it came down like mana from heaven. The Fire King's spell had begun to nourish and feed the goblins, even calming a fair amount of them. They might be able to even listen. Though Dredge doubted that this would last long. For in the rear of the horde he saw massive figures as tall as him began to push their way back up to them. He could not allow this to happen. Hopefully the elf had positioned herself in a manner that could get a drop on them and kill one or even two. That way Dredge and Shug could move into strike while Fuerer could bewitch the goblins with his magic and words. 
 
Using some of his new magical power seized from the air around him. Dredge tapped into it and would send a mental message to all around him with his mind. Hopefully it would get through, he had only ever communicated mentally with one person in this world and that was with his hand touching directly against her forehead.
 
"I know we all might hate one another, but we need to band together. The Fire King has the main horde distracted. But pushing up from the rear appear to be their leaders. We can't allow them to rally them. Move quickly and strike now." With any luck, the message would go through. 
 
Dredge himself would let the Fire King work and he would begin to push towards the incoming figures with haste. They needed to end this quickly. 

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Finally, after a long arduous battle of attrition between the Lady's boingboing barrier and the rampaging mob of goblins, the Fire King completed his doughy spell. With the Fire King's crusty gifts, the mass of vile creatures were distracted enough that Lady Blackhead deemed it wise to let her barrier down. Keeping most of the goblins at bay took a large amount of energy from her that at some point earlier, she was already down to her knees. But thankfully the Fire King pushed through and they are all granted a little breathing room from the constant fleshly bombardment.

Plopping down into a sitting position, the Lady just had enough time to take a quick puff off her cigar when the godforsaken Dredge conjured a Kaiju sized claw which, well, clawed its way forward and backward, the wretched act passing narrowly missing the Lady on both accounts. A stunned look formed on her face as it took a couple of moments before mind registered what had suddenly transpired not even realizing she was already up on her feet. She was this close to dying, a hairs breadth away from losing her delicate life. And to add insult to injury, it was not due to the suicidal efforts of the goblins but because of her detestable allies. She was at the forefront of the fight, taking the brunt as she kept most the larger part of the mob away from her so-called allies, reducing the pressure on them and they had the audacity to threaten her fragile life. Then to top it all off, Dredge even managed to grab the attention of the massive figures at the rear of the enemies group and all are headed towards the nearest enemy they saw, the Lady Blackhead herself.

"I've had it with all of you!" the Lady shrieked in indignation, her former self-proclaimed elegant demeanor long gone and replace with the angry tantrum of the crooked old hag she truly is. Fueled by anger and frustration, she raised her forearms forward, palms facing the the cavern's ceiling and began to mumble unintelligible words in a language that is should not be possible for humans. As magical energy surged around her, all her trinkets and jewelries slowly melted into heavy shadowy mists and like thick smoky vapors dribbled down from her slender neck, pass her ample bosom, trailing down her long nubile legs only too pool under her exquisite feet as a sickening mass of wriggling, gyrating and groping tendrils of murky darkness. As the mists poured down, the cadence of the Lady's chant grew higher and stronger until the her last trinket dissolved into the black mist and joined its brethren at her feet, and then her chanting abruptly stopped, the darkness following suit. Forcefully pulling out strands of her silky raven black hair, she breathed like a woman does to her lover, "Come," then threw her ill gotten strands of hair into the waiting mass of darkness. Like a pack of wolves, the hazy tendrils pounced upon the strands their and as they had their fill of the Lady's hair, the tendrils converged, their forms shifting until it grew into the shady projection of a phoenix then settled into a different fowl of a more aquatic variety.

Without confirming the identity of her summoned creature, the Lady turned back to her companions. "Well, if you boys want to stay back and hit from a distance like little girls, fine. Let the ladies go headfirst into battle. Chauvinist pigs."

With that the Lady leaped on top of her yet undefined avian pet which grew until it's two thirds the height of the cavern. "Forward, Umbral Phoenix," she urged her mount. The gigantic bird followed its masters orders, waddling through the cavern with its squeaky webbed feet squishing tiny goblins with each step and its flipper-like wing swatting the swarming goblins out of its way as it made a beeline towards the massive figures at the back of the goblin army.

Edited by Zashiii

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Circumstance was an interesting concept, or was it coincidence? It was hard to truly believe anything happened in this world for a reason; sweltering, consuming madness infecting the sentient with genius. Or was it genius infecting the mad? It was hard to tell in this case as he had only been travelling where the winds of chaos blowed and thus all over the world she went; The sensation of  violent and specific chaos pulling her toward the direction of a most interesting phenomenon!

A message, in his head no less.

The voices were a constant, but this one was new. Strong, willful...delicious. Was it madness that spurred Dredge to send a localized message that a passerby most curious attuned to? Or perhaps the genius of forethought in calling for assistance! He always contemplated such ideas, and accepted the most generous offer. "This one os intrigued. A most dangerous game; to follow a voice that isn't yours" his voice spilling out of his lips like spoiled milk from A hot glass. His cloak bustling around him as he followed the source. His talents proceeding him

The battle beginning to roar within the cave easily heard to anyone clpse enough to the entrance. The cloaked figure staring at it's entry several feet away and immediately felt as though hid very being was squirming in excitement. This was it. The source. 

His form shifting toward the threshold of the cave where he was now in full view. A cloak of horrific patchwork consisting of tanned skin of different shades of red, grey, and even pink. A hood obscuring all but the twinkle of two brilliant white lights marking his iridescent pupils. The rest of his form covered in this unsettling cloak except for a pair of scarred, clawed, hands that continued to rub themselves in interest

The message from earlier claiming they needed assistance in dealing with these green skinned vermin, or that was assumed as he saw the great deal of them...surprisingly calm? It was hard to tell as there was some sort of fire creature and a...giant pigeon? 

He couldn't help but laugh, a slow churn of vocal chords making a terrible parody of the otherwise jovial reaction.

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